Friday, February 26, 2010

John Zerzan discusses DO@ block on his radio show [VIDEO]

This comes a little late, but since we haven't updated the blog in a while, I thought I would post the video from John Zerzan's radio show which followed his visit to Arizona. He spent much of the time discussing the DO@ bloc and things he experienced on his trip. Two people from Phoenix called in and shared some thoughts on the situation in Arizona and what we're up to.

Anyhow, enjoy. We're working on some new stuff that I think will be pretty interesting, mainly focusing on calling out and challenging white people around questions of white supremacy, the policing of migrants and freeway development on the reservation. You know how we do it: look for contradictions and push on 'em. So, stay tuned for more.

Personally, I've got a lot of thoughts running through my head these days that are cross-pollinating, going back to the Indigenous resistance panel at the LA Anarchist Bookfair (which included DO@ participants) up to and including some of the new stuff that has come my way since then. I'm going to do my best to get them all down sometime in the next few days, if I can, in some comprehensible form. I'm very excited about some of the action ideas we've been tossing around. Hopefully they'll make a splash.

In the meantime, enjoy the video. You can catch John's show every Tuesday night at 8 o'clock our time, sometimes streaming video. And, for those going to San Francisco for the anarchist bookfair, John will be speaking, so you can catch him again. If all goes well, there'll be some discussion of DO@ there as well.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Reflecting on what the immigrant movement might learn from the "6A" statement

We were watching the local news a few years ago. A cameraperson for a local news broadcast was following Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio on a tour through his notoriously awful jail facility. It was being broadcast live and Joe was his usual cocky self.

Typical of the kind of uncritical platform that the media regularly gives Joe, he was armed with the mic himself. Obviously thrilled at his chance to speak directly, unfiltered, through the media, and filling the role himself that would normally be played by a reporter, he approached an inmate. "You enjoying your stay here?" he asked, chortling in that characteristic farm animal way he has.

"No, sir," replied the inmate, looking down and stating the obvious.

"You got anything you want to say?" grunted the sheriff to the inmate, sticking out the microphone again.

"Yeah. I do," said the prisoner, a visible rage welling up inside him. "I just want to say that every night before I go to sleep I pray that in the morning you'll wake up, go out to get your morning paper and get hit by a truck."

Infuriated, Arpaio called over the guards. "Put this wiseguy in solitary! Bread and water!"

The prisoner was hustled off in a rush, but even though we couldn't see his face anymore, we could tell he was smiling. And so were we.

I bring up this actual event because recently a controversial article, authored by "Anonymous Arizona Anarchist Advocates for the Assassination of Arpaio" ("6A") has been making the rounds. The article defends the deployment of the infamous "ASSASSINATE ARPAIO" banner which was on quite obvious and bold display at the January 16th march to the jail.

A lot can be said about the banner, and the writers do indeed say a lot themselves. The article is well-written and entertaining, and really doesn't require any additional defense, nor does it seem to ask for one. So I won't give one. I'm more interested in the questions it raises.

I do have some quibbles with it, however, which I'd like to get out of the way before I consider what the statement means for the movement. For instance, I can see the point of the authors making up quotes from silly pop stars. However, in the current climate, I think such fiction-writing comes across less as satire than is perhaps intended when it is extended to organizers like Sal Reza. I understand that a lot of people, myself included, legitimately feel like Sal has acted badly and said some ridiculous things ("crazies", denouncing us as unwelcome outsiders, etc). But while we envision a different sort of movement, we don't want to destroy it. I think its fine to take self-important movement leaders down a notch, but it's important not to inadvertently feed fears of police meddling.

It would be a shame if peoples' legitimate, if overblown, fears about COINTELPRO operations provided the excuse to avoid responding to the very real concerns raised in the DO@ bloc statement. To the extent this is the case, the utilization of satire must be considered very carefully. Likewise, given Arpaio's history of manufacturing his own threats, one should be careful about playing into his hands as well. Joe loves to appear persecuted. I say this not to chastise but rather to caution. I really liked the Zack de la Rocha quote, though.

That said, I started off my article with the interview I saw on TV in order to illustrate a point: even though the authors have taken what seems like an extreme position (and despite the fact that they themselves equivocate a bit on what they meant by it), this is only so when viewed from certain angles. From the perspective of the one prisoner above, for instance, it's unlikely that such a proposition seemed so to him.

Indeed popular rage at Arpaio seethes in this state, especially amongst the poor and working class of all races, the overwhelming victims of Joe's attacks. If the banner shocked, you should hear some of the things people say when the camera's not running. More than once I have had someone I just met, from middle aged women in line at the grocery store to young kids in graffiti crews, say much worse about "America's Toughest Sheriff ()". At the bottom, where we know better than to waste our time voting for our prison warden, Joe is truly hated.

It's only in the bourgeois press and in the polite middle classes that Arpaio is seen as anything other than the class enemy, plain and simple. The downtown yuppies look down on him and mock him as a doddering old coot, much like they mocked that murderer Bush the Younger.

But those of us at the bottom of the class hierarchy know the truth of it. Joe locks up our friends all the time. In a sprawling city without decent public transit, our friends wind up in his tents in the 120 degree summers for DUI. While in there they accumulate vast debts that they struggle to pay on minimum wage. They lose their apartments and their cars. Our friends get nabbed by his deputies for being brown and wind up back in Mexico, even though they left there when they were six months old. Or they get snatched at a protest for daring to form the radical wing of the movement. It's all the same. Amongst our class, we don't mince words when it comes to Arpaio. We know the enemy when we see him and we call him such.

I write this next part not to lecture the authors of the piece, but to make my position clear. I am not a believer in propaganda of the deed as a political strategy. I have said before and I continue to believe that, if the movement is going to focus exclusively on Joe (and this is an important question to ask), then the best possible outcome is for a direct action movement engaging in creative resistance to force him to resign and flee the state in humiliation and defeat. This is the kind of outcome that builds movements and sets them off towards their next challenge. As the "6A" authors themselves point out in their piece, whack Arpaio and there's just another asshole waiting in the wings to replace him. To prevent that, you have to change the politics of Maricopa County. I'll come back to this point.

I don't need to give a history of the Galleani circle to illustrate this point, I hope. Propaganda of the deed might be exciting and sometimes even inspiring, but it is far more often an indication of the defeat of a movement than of success, a symptom of weakness rather than strength. We all get a laugh from history that Spanish anarchist exiles tried to bomb General Franco from the air after WWII. But we also forget that they were "Spanish exiles" for a reason. Franco had won. Also, however popular such sentiments may be, it's important not to write checks that cannot be cashed. This isn't a call to conservatism, but a reminder that, even when we speak obvious truths, escalation does not serve a movement that isn't prepared to deal with the consequences.

As with any rule, there are exceptions (we all cheered when Hitler got it in Inglourious Basterds), but we should be careful when making them. And in general these exceptions come during revolutionary situations when contradictions explode onto the stage. I do not believe we are yet in this kind of situation. And trust me, if we were, and Arpaio had to deal with a real popular movement from below, he'd be running with his tail between his legs back to Berlusconi's Italy for protection. Creating and supporting such a movement is our task as revolutionaries.

Still, I think there is something important that we can learn from the "6A" statement that would be useful for the movement in general. The crux of the argument, which I like, is that despite all our efforts, Arpaio is returned to office time and time again with large majorities backing him. Statewide this political reality is reflected in the supermajorities backing every anti-immigrant initiative on the ballot. He has continued to use the immigrant movement as a foil to bolster his approval among reactionary whites in the county and to solidify them in their obstructionist position to working class unity.

As it is currently oriented, the movement plays into this trap time and time again. The sheriff may seem a useful dupe, but one wonders, as the statement asks us, what all the marches and sign-holding has accomplished, after all, if all it does is make Arpaio stronger? To say nothing of whether it attacks the overall statewide system of white supremacy (which must be our larger goal). Even if we are not advocating political murder (and I am not), is there a point at which it is all right to ask this broader question? If it's only taboo that keeps us from thinking critically about the kind of movement we have, then by all means, let's blaspheme!

But when we ask critical questions about the movement we are answered with silence. The strategy that it is following is the strategy that it will continue to follow, despite (or perhaps because of) its failure. And that's just that. So we are told.

But despite the righteous outrage and condemnation that "6A"'s bold statement has elicited in some quarters, doesn't organizing in opposition to one politician who is essentially immune from electoral challenge, and therefore from popular pressure, eventually beg the very question that so-called responsible moderates now decry? I mean, in some sense, isn't the "6A" statement "baked into the cake" as the movement is now oriented? I think so, and that's a problem. But it's not a problem that anarchists created, even if it was anarchists who made the banner. And it isn't a prisoner problem either, just because a prisoner spoke out on TV. It's all our problem as long as we continue down this path.

This is why we at PCWC, along with our other comrades, advocate for a reorientation of the movement away from focusing on Sheriff Arpaio and towards a broader view. One that incorporates more voices and links more struggles. One that demands free movement and freedom from dislocation. One that challenges the checkpoints. One that challenges the Border Patrol on the rez. One that fights the cameras on the freeways and streets. One that opposes the dislocations of Native peoples for resource extraction. One that sees all the police agencies as complicit in the attack on people of color specifically and the poor and working class generally. One that fights Wackenhut's prisons, the FEMA camps and the tents at the same time. We want a movement that is not afraid to ask questions and, importantly, unafraid to make connections.

One part of that organizing was the DO@ bloc, which was itself a manifestation of much deeper work at coming together with comrades that in many ways stand outside the movement as it now exists but who deserve a respected place in it. For us white anarchists in particular, we have another particular charge that goes beyond critical solidarity with regards to the movements with which we engage. We have a special obligation to reach out and explain to white people why they ought to reconsider their reactionary position with regard to the immigrant movement. And we have a political burden to create situations that reveal this hypocrisy and put white people in political predicaments where they must choose a side. Which is it? Solidarity or reaction? Getting white people to answer that question, that's our task and one that PCWC takes very seriously. Think about contradictions in the white working class and push on them. See what happens.

It speaks volumes that, despite the extensive popular hatred of Joe, the immigrant movement has not been able to tap into it. Indeed, it appears afraid of it. With the exception of the first few popular explosions and megamarchas, a popular movement against Arpaio and the broader attack on movement has not manifested. In fact, the risings in the early days were much more broadly aimed than at one measly county cop. So what happened? Where did everybody go, and why? Should we be afraid of these questions, too?

Since those early days, many people with legitimate reason to oppose him politically from the poor and working class have not joined in. In essence, the migrant movement has failed to mobilize a popular movement against Arpaio. Also, white anarchists have failed to mobilize white people. We mobilize ourselves just fine, no doubt. But too often anarchists are so disgusted with the white communities that we left or opposed, that we are loathe to engage with them. The problem is, this only adds to the climate that leaves the migrant movement reaching out now to hypocritical politicians, aging pop stars and President-Saviors to rescue it. Lacking a popular movement, it doesn't matter how Arpaio leaves the scene, someone else just as bad will surely take his place, even if they are less ostentatious in how they do it.

Likewise, the movement is unable to create a dialog that goes beyond just one person to challenge the entrenched system of white supremacy throughout the state. It is afraid to call out local police forces, preferring to maintain the illusion that one cop shop is worse than the others, despite the obvious evidence to the contrary. Organizers work with Phoenix PD even as the agency moves steadily ahead towards turning every beat cop into an ICE agent. The same with Chandler. Look at where the alliance with Mesa's Gascón got everybody.

The politicians that flirt with the movement are likewise useless. One thinks it's okay to dislocate Indigenous peoples from their homes for the freeway, and to shift all the pollution and resulting health issues that come with it onto the reservation. And another denounces anti-Arpaio protesters with his mouth while taking money from the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association with his hands. And on and on.

This is a failed strategy.

And while a bullet in this situation doesn't solve it either, we ought to be thinking hard about what would. Internally, in my opinion, this process begins with addressing the concerns of the DO@ bloc. On that basis we can heal wounds and build a unified movement that can discuss strategy and tactics in a democratic fashion. With regards to the anarchist movement, it must be on us to create the kind of situations and manifestations that bring white people around to the importance of solidarity. From there we can start to think about victory.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This Thursday: 'A Critique of Biopolitical Economy' with Rob Poe

Rob Poe is a regular attendee of Beer & Revolution and participates in discussions with a critical voice that I respect. This Thursday afternoon he will be giving a talk at the ASU West bookstore called "A Critique of Biopolitical Economy". I find his politics interesting for a variety of reasons, not least of which is his willingness to critique technology from a Marxist perspective. Below I have linked all the relevant information for those interested in attending.

Thursday, February 18
A Critique of Biopolitical Economy
A talk by Robert Poe (MACS graduate student, ASU West)
4:00pm - 6:00pm, ASU West Bookstore

Robert Poe will be presenting portions of his Master's thesis, A Critique of Biopolitical Economy, which engages thoroughly with the works of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri (i.e. Empire, Multitude and Commonwealth). He grounds their political economy in the history of the Marxist and anarchist political traditions and subsequently critiques how emancipatory their conception of resistance is as understood through the political subject of the multitude. Given his strong philosophical background he will also be critiquing their use of prominent thinkers and concepts in the history of philosophy, particularly Spinoza (the concept of the multitude is taken directly from Spinoza's work). Ultimately, he hopes this project will provide a sustained critique of current movements which seek to challenge global capitalism from a predominantly apolitical position (i.e. the abandonment of the struggle for political power). The philosophical concepts of immanence and transcendence also play a crucial role in this presentation. He will look at how their philosophical and religious interpretations are equally applicable to the realm of political economy, specifically to the re/production of and struggle against global capitalism. The work of Spinoza plays a key guiding role in helping to understand the complex entanglement of politics, philosophy and religion.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Decolonizing, Destroying Borders and Attacking Infrastructure What side are you on?

I have been very encouraged by the level of analysis and evaluation that has come out of the DO@ organizing this winter. It's great to see people excited about ideas, about exposing those ideas to the real world, and then coming back and grappling with their implications. This is the kind of movement we need: a thinking movement that acts and evaluates itself.

It's also a sign of a democratic movement (in the most positive sense of the word), in that it means we are exchanging ideas and debating direction and ideas in a cooperative and constructive fashion. This kind of interplay of ideas is vital to a living movement, and it's important, in particular, to building the anarchist movement which must, necessarily, be critical and creative and open to debate by all participants.

This, I think, puts in stark contrast the way that anarchists approach movements versus others. Compared to how so many other actors in movements, particularly liberals, that I have engaged with over the years comport themselves, anarchists really struggle with ideas, unafraid to go places that others don't dare to investigate. This is important and something not to let slip away from us. I think it's something that makes anarchy attractive to non-anarchists. The liberals are not going to delve in depth into the roots of ideas.

So, it's great to see another addition to the discussion around DO@ and the projects were all engaged in, this time coming from PCWC's comrades to the South, Survival Solidarity. I have re-posted the first part of their essay and I highly encourage people to follow the link at the bottom to read the rest. Another solid contribution to the discussion. In particular, I'd like to say that I really like the fanatical title of the piece. Drawing lines is important. Props!

Read on!

Decolonizing, Destroying Borders and Attacking Infrastructure What side are you on?

By: Survival Solidarity

A question that all past revolutionaries have had to ask themselves at critical moments in humyn history: Which side are we on? —Down with Borders, Up With Spring!—Panagioti.

On January 16, Diné, O'odham and Autonomous/Anti-authoritarian (DO@) people answered a call-out from the O'odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective and Phoenix Class War Council to form the DO@ Block. The bloc, consisting of anarchists and Indigenous people, converged on occupied Akimel O'odham Pi-Posh land (Phoenix) to take part in what was a larger march against Maricopa County, AZ, Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio is well known for his racist border politics and strict prison regulations. However this time people were confronting his repression on those that take situations into their own hands and defiantly cross the border without the permission of others.

No deportations, relocation's or foreclosures.

The Bloc's adorning of masks and hoodies was not the only point of contrast between them and other march participants. The DO@ bloc represented the distaste in many people's mouths from endless banal discussions and approaches to the border. It brought the unwillingness to ignore the nightmare of capitalism that socially reinforces the walls that divide us. The DO@ block consisted of those that chose to no longer acquiesce to the displacement of people due to capitalism, colonization and invasive infrastructure projects.

Read the rest at the Survival Solidarity blog.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

That's the sound of history repeating: the poll tax riots and the January 16th migrant march

Watching the short video (posted below) of the storied Poll Tax rebellion in the UK got me thinking about the current political climate we face in the wake of the police attack on the DOA contingent a couple of weeks back. As I viewed the video, I couldn't help but draw comparisons between the attacks that they faced there, and what we've seen here from movement leaders, politicians, the authorities, the alternative press, and the mainstream press. While there are many differences between the attack at the Anti-Arpaio march, and the massive movement against the Poll Tax, which culminated in the popular insurrection in London, it is worth noting how the many voices of power find harmony when attacking those who make demands beyond reform.

It's worth watching the video, which is a compilation of footage and interviews following the London riot, the parallels are striking, most notable are the denunciations that come from the media and liberals. Indeed, about a minute in there is a wonderful interview with a spokesperson from Class War, who really sums up exactly the position that so many people here have been struggling to articulate following the hub bub on the 16th.

Continuing on that note, John from the Haymarket Squares (who have provided the movement with so many great anthems) has posted up a great new song breaking down what happened and calling out the leadership of the migrant movement for tossing the anarchists aside the moment things got the least bit uncomfortable for them. In his song he has a great line which really summarizes the crux of the contradiction, especially given how much work and support the anarchists have given the migrant movement in a time when allies and solidarity from people -- especially white people -- outside that community have been limited, to say the least.

"Cheers for marching with us in solidarity, havin the guts to hold your ground against wreckless authority
Oh, we won't stand up to the P.P.D., but we needed a scapegoat, thanks for the help, now it's under the bus you go."
He follows this up later with another great bit of analysis:
We're gunna turn our backs, when you're under the horses hoofs
With the pepper spray still blinding you, we're gunna feed you to the wolves
Even though those cops have never been friends to us,
thanks for the help, now we're throwing you under the bus
Solid analysis and just the kind of thing movements need. Word up to John for hitting the nail on the head.

The thing to realize about both situations, the reaction to the January 16th police attack and the history of the Poll Tax riots, is that such things are not random. They do not result because of bad personalities, bad cops or bad politicians. The come from the fact that anarchists and the left want different things, even when we may share some short term goals, such as defending migrants from attack by the state or abolishing a regressive, unfair tax. That as much as liberals and others on the left will pretend that we're on the same side, deep down that is only true to a limited degree.

Indeed, perhaps the most common refrain from the mouths of liberals and leftists is that "we're all on the same side" or, "we all want the same thing". As I said, this may be true to some limited extent with short term goals. But these kinds of crises reveal a contradiction that always lies beneath the surface whenever the left and anarchists interact, especially when leaders are involved. This contradiction is that we demand changes far beyond what they are willing to ask for (or can even conceive), and that our demands (and those of the base of their own movement, generally) necessarily force them to reveal themselves as the managers of movements.

Consider the point raised in the Poll Tax video. The spokesperson for Class War points to a fundamental difference between themselves and the so-called organizers of the poll tax protest. It's central to anarchist organizing that we don't believe that movements need leaders in the strict sense. Our class can organize itself and decide for itself what to do. That puts us at least potentially at odds with every movement politician, whoever they are, and in whatever movement. Not at all times, but the groundwork is there for it to emerge at any time.

The more this tension is understood going into and participating in movements, the better off we will be, because we will be able to anticipate such reactions. Those of us who participated in the anti-war movement, or the anti-globalization movement, for instance, saw the same dynamic play out. Anarchists are often welcomed at various times because there is a need for dedicated people, but with time, the political aspirations of movement politicians, or the political pressure to moderate demands or to appear responsible, puts pressure on this relationship. And, when you're dealing with liberals, while they expect you to moderate your views, they can never enter into a true relationship of solidarity with you -- after all, they cannot make their views more radical in exchange. This is a lesson worth learning from history and these two examples serve perfectly to illustrate it in my view.

Indeed, there is another lesson for us in particular that comes out of our role in the January march, which is that, beyond our general politics as anarchists, the composition of our contingent was a threat as well to various elements in the movement. The alliance between Native youth and anarchists was a stick of dynamite, not just for the police, but also for the leadership.

This is important to remember, and the O'odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective recently put out a statement calling on the migrant movement not to use the police attack as an excuse to ignore the demands made by the bloc. Those demands are legitimate and deserve a response. Addressing these concerns will only make the movement stronger. The question is whether the movement, in particular the leadership, is capable of addressing them. Let's hope so.

As for the continuing fallout from the march, there's some good news to share as well, two of the arrested, Garyn and Claire, have both had their charges "scrapped." Garyn had been charged with "aggravated assault on a police officer and disorderly conduct," Claire was facing "resisting arrest and disorderly conduct." The clearing of these charges makes us glad, however there are still three others facing aggravated assault charges, there should be more information soon on how you can help support them. The five arrested had their names dragged through the mud by the press, now that some charges have been dropped can we count on them to put forth as much effort in clearing their names? I think we know the answer.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Thoughts at the end of one year of organizing and the beginning of another

Last Sunday was our biggest Beer & Revolution yet. Somewhere around seventy people or so managed to come out, pack themselves into the upstairs at Boulders on Broadway and listen to Eugene's John Zerzan and Tucson's Dan Todd speak on primitivism and the many problems with anarchist practice and presentation in the era of mass society. I'd like to thank John for coming up and delivering the goods, and for being, as expected, such an uncompromising, provocative speaker. I'd also like to thank Dan for both making the night possible, but also for being a supportive comrade and presenting such an interesting talk. We'll have our audio up soon (along with, hopefully, the audio from last November's B&R with Crudo from Modesto Anarcho) so others can appreciate the insightful comments and questions that, as usual, came from B&R's thoughtful anarcho-population.

In a way, it was a great climax to what has been a little more than a year of organizing under the Phoenix Class War Council banner. Has it been only a year?! Many people expressed to me their excitement at the event and the sense that, after the stress of the last few weeks, something like this was needed. I find myself in that same camp. Sunday was a good time and a great success and it was wonderful to look around the room and see so many comrades, both old and new -- people I've shared the pen with, people I've taken the streets with, people I've handed out flyers with, people I've faced down the cops with, people I've traveled with, people I've talked with, people I've read books with and people I've tasted pepper spray with.

In that year or so I've become excited about Phoenix anarchy again and it feels good, especially after at least a couple of years of serious doubts. Indeed, in a lot of ways PCWC was and is an ultimatum: it was this or throw in the towel and become a survivalist. Over the years, seeing so many of the movements and groups we put so much energy into defeated, marginalized or, most frequently, co-opted, was depressing to say the least. But it did light a fire in me to think about how things could have been different. It seems I wasn't the only one.

I didn't want to go down without a fight, but it did seem like we had done a lot of fighting over the years to little affect. When PCWC formed, we vowed that we were going to try new things and, most of all, exciting things. We were going to think hard about how to frame what we wanted to say, to ditch our residual leftism and to think about who we were talking to, and to try to interact in new ways and with movements we previously would have written off or, perhaps, even opposed. We weren't going to be cowed by calls to leftist unity or by reactionary anti-right oppositionalism. In short, we were going to build an anarchy that took Arizona's particular political and historical situation seriously. We weren't going to pretend this was either California, New York or, for fuck's sake, Europe. After all, Phoenix is O'odham land. Our politics should reflect that. So we set ourselves to study. Props, among others to our comrades in O'odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective and, also, to the deceased Bradford Luckingham, for helping us get a better sense of that.

And we were going to come out of the closet, so to speak, and to embrace the awkwardness of our politics. No more excuses. No more would we apologize for our Luddism: technology is class war. Neither would we hide our race traitor politics: white supremacy is the glue that holds American capitalism together. We would oppose the cadres and mass organization-builders. We wouldn't disguise our contempt for the Left: we have no use for their recuperations and professional activism. We would continue to emphasize that there are no objective economic conditions for revolution: we can burn this down whenever we want (and don't we try a little bit every day?). We wouldn't shirk from our determination to drive a stake into the shriveled heart of this vampire capitalism but we would stick to our conviction that the most likely way to topple the capitalist dictatorship was by attacking the contradiction of white supremacy. Still, we wouldn't be dogmatic about where that struggle would be -- it could just as well be at the border as in the streets. We were going to think hard about how we engaged our enemies and perhaps re-evaluate who we considered our friends. We'd listen hard for sounds of movement we might have otherwise missed. As a political minority, we were going to look for arguments that would have the power to remake movements and to open opportunities for struggle that were libertarian. We were going to look for the weak points in the armor of our opponents. And we weren't going to compromise. The middle ground is the graveyard of movements.

We would take those ideas that were useful, wherever they were, and we would make them coherent and consistent because, after all, they were to us, regardless of whether they were to anyone else. We would show how they were all class war to us. We'd acknowledge a history of anarchist struggle that went back both a hundred thousand years and at the same time to all the dates that the Euro-oriented anarchists celebrate. We'd recognize Ukraine, Spain, Hungary, Czechoslovakia. 1917, 1936, 1956, 1968. Et cetera. We'd dutifully mourn on the correct anniversaries. But we'd also defer to a thousand years of Indigenous living and struggle in the Southwest "U.S." And word up to Chiapas, Argentina and Chile while we're at it. And sweet Greece, our lover still. At the same time, we'd remember Nat Turner, the LA riots, the Underground Railroad, Bleeding Kansas and the San Patricio Brigade. These would not be contradictions to us.

Most importantly, perhaps, we were going to try and show how anarchy can win. How we can avoid boredom and accomplish goals. And we wanted to celebrate a culture of success and reject routine. We want to read, think and attempt. Then do it again. Try something we haven't and see what happens. Push on a contradiction and see how things re-order themselves. Have our hands in a few different pots to see which one seems fruitful.

Considering all that, I can unequivocally say that we have accomplished these goals, and that I am so happy to see so many others in town share both this same spirit and desire. If this year has convinced me of anything, it's that a small group of people, thinking carefully and creatively, can have a huge impact. And that when you might think you're just a small group, it will quickly turn out that you are far from alone. I have learned again that I can inspire and be inspired. That my own conditions can drive me and that the conditions of others can as well. And that both can come together to build solidarity, struggle and, I hope, revolution. I feel lucky to have this kind of movement in Phoenix. This is the spirit that propels me into PCWC's second year.

In the last year we took the streets more than once. We faced down the cops. We revealed the contradictions in a movement that, wrongly, gives one racist police agency a pass even while, rightly, attacking another. We took over the lobby at the Arpaio talk at ASU (while our comrades sang him off the stage) and showed that we can take and hold space. We had articles published in both the right wing Libertarian press and the pro-migrant press -- at the same time! We faced down Nazis in the Inglourious Basterds Bloc and proved that we can stand our ground, even when the liberals run and hide or, even, denounce us. Their arrows bounce off us. We captured the imagination of the press more than once. We challenged the colonialist attitudes of the leadership of the immigration movement. We saw more than once a glimpse of a movement that could truly throw the system into crisis -- but on our terms. And we lust for it again. We put out a newspaper and countless flyers. We saw the police state at the border and tested the limits of resistance to the fontera cops and the bloody wall they defend. We put 'anarchist' back in the google news search for Arizona more than once.

We formed the DO@ bloc, which was truly a history-making event in Arizona. We fought out of self-interest and we fought for solidarity. We did half a dozen Beer & Revolutions. We sold books, set off a First Friday insurrection and formed up the Hip Hop Bloc. We did shows for a variety of causes. We screwed up our courage and interviewed anarchist popular celebrities. We sent t-shirts that we made across the seas and saw them sported by hip hop stars at shows in our own neighborhood. We met new comrades, traveled to Europe and Mexico, and helped to build a renewed statewide anarchist community. We expanded the debate on the Border Patrol checkpoints. We intervened in the fight against the speed cameras. We gave no quarter to those who would seek to manage the struggle for freedom. We felt our power and dispelled as myth the sense of helplessness that the state, capitalism and the Spectacle seeks to impose on us from birth. We can do this. We know it. Even more now.

Still, we have some challenges ahead of us. First and foremost, we must defend our comrades arrested at the anti-Arpaio march (and to call out those who would hang them out to dry). This is a point without compromise. Beyond that, we have a tremendous burden: we must find a way in this next year to press further our initial attempts to dialogue with white people about the necessity of throwing their lot in against white supremacy and with the migrant movement, to challenge them to find connections in their own struggles to the fight of those they incorrectly perceive as alien. We have had surprising success so far. Now we must expand it.

At the same time, we must remain critical of all the forces within movements that seek to marginalize, invisibilize and control. When movements stop moving, they die, and we are tired of movements (de-)composed of grave diggers. We must push for broader arguments, the building of new connections, the expansion of the democratic space within movements and a tolerance for a diversity of tactics. Creativity is our watchword. That which hasn't been done must be done.

We have struck a heavy, if imperfect, blow with the DO@ bloc. Not everything we do will be an unqualified success -- politics is complicated, especially when we're dealing with movements, leaders, vested interests and, to top it off, groundbreaking solidarity and ideas of a kind and combination not seen in Arizona in a long time, if ever. Some will not appreciate it, most of all the media. That obvious fact doesn't get us down. We don't judge ourselves by the predictable denunciations that emanate from the dinosaur left or capitalism's lap dog media. We value much more the words of support that come from unexpected places. But the new reactionary bedfellows -- the leadership of the migrant movement and the racist county attorney Andrew Thomas, all denouncing with equal volume both our arrested comrades and the anarchist movement in general -- speaks volumes, not least about the challenge we represent to the status quo. We should think about that. Imagine the force that could drive them together!

When you're doing something new, it's not always possible to get it totally right. Still, people should not let themselves be misled about the effect of DO@; it was a tremendously complicated thing and it was history making. We accomplished all of the goals that we set out for ourselves. Now we must follow this up, ensuring that voices previously excluded are heard and, importantly, respected, and that the message of DO@ bloc gets the response it deserves. We shouldn't let the liberal left ignore the statement of the bloc by diverting everyone's attention to the quite foreseeable police violence at the march.

This year I hope to expand the impact of our ideas beyond Arizona and the Southwest. I want to get the new magazine out. I'd like Beer and Rev to have a first year anniversary. I would be into expanding PCWC. I want to put out a broadsheet and some new shirts. I wouldn't mind seeing a ten year anniversary of May Day 2000 (May Day Y2k10). I would like to engage more around sports and around the economic crisis. I'd like to be surprised by something (don't get any ideas, coppers, I meant something good!). I'd like to see the freeway expansion stopped. I'd like to see the emergence of a direct action movement around deportations and foreclosures. And I would love to see the direct action movement around the speed cameras return. I want to see anarchists in the news a couple more times. I'd like to intervene in a struggle that we haven't yet intervened in. I'd like to get a new copy machine. I'd like to do more interviews of anarchist and anti-authoritarian musicians. I'd like to put out a positive vision of what we want and where we stand. I want to break a thousand hits in a day on the web page and set a new record for us. I'd like to find new ways to deepen and spread the influence of anarchist ideas.

And, most of all, I'd like to be even more excited about Phoenix anarchy this time next year than I am right now. Cheers to my comrades, old and new. Let's press the attack! Now more than ever!