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California | San Francisco | U.S. | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism | Racial Justice

Telling the Truth May be More Radical than Smashing Windows
by MIM(Prisons)
Saturday Oct 20th, 2012 10:28 AM
This is a delayed response to Kolumbus Day/Anti-Colonialism activities. There seems to be an underlying analysis behind demos like these that these are positions of the radical minority. This piece argues that taking up an anti-imperialist analysis that recognizes who benefits from imperialism and who does not and openly promoting that analysis is much needed. The never ending attempts at populism among an oppressor nation do nothing to challenge the daily violence committed by this country.
Recently comrades at Anti-Imperialism.com have brought up the question of how First Worldism sets back the revolutionary movement within the oppressor nation [Amerika] itself.(1) When anti-imperialists begin banging their heads against walls of cops, it seems a good time to consider this question.

Over the Amerikan KKKolumbus Day weekend, a series of anti-colonial and anti-capitalist demonstrations were organized on the west coast. Judging by the turnout and support, there is not a big anti-colonial movement in the United $tates. This is no surprise, for it is the most powerful imperialist country in the world.

One anti-colonial march in San Francisco was dwarfed by the crowds of consumers, shopping on a Sunday afternoon. The organizers showed little interest in reaching out to the shoppers, and more in smashing symbols of wealth and exploitation. An hour pre-march rally seemed hardly noticed by the shopping masses. And the march itself lasted only a few blocks before violent clashes with police left 22 people arrested. A significant loss from a crowd of maybe 150 who had just begun to unveil its message.

The lack of interest in reaching out to the shoppers may reflect a correct analysis among the protestors that those people had no interest in or alliance with the message of their march. But if so this line was not put out publicly in literature or banners. We will argue here that doing so would have done more to promote divisions among the pro-imperialist camp, whereas the tactics of the day instead have helped consolidate those forces in recent years.

Last fall, thousands and thousands of Amerikans, primarily youth, rallied to the call to Occupy Wall Street, which evolved into Occupy Everywhere -- a rather frightening slogan for the youth of the number one imperial power to take up. More progressive, and often more experienced, poles in the movement steered things in an anti-occupation/anti-colonial direction. But somehow this wasn't as appealing to the Amerikan youth as rallying for more jobs, free schooling and better interest rates on loans. If we eliminate the flow of wealth from the neo-colonies, the people in this country will lose their high paying jobs and easy lines of credit.

Despite this self-evident truth, there is still not a strong voice drawing a clear line between those who benefit from imperialism and those who suffer from it.

In practice we see lines being drawn, as the more radical messages seem to accompany some tactics that trigger anger from the Amerikan "middle class." There continues to be backlash in some instances of calling those who vandalize property "terrorists" while telling them to target bank windows rather than their nice neighborhood. We have little interest in the petty bourgeois debate over what is okay to smash, but this whole debate serves as a convenient excuse for the Amerikan left to ally with the imperialist state. What needs to be challenged is the idea that the Amerikan "middle class" somehow deserves more than everyone else in the world and therefore is not the enemy like those evil bankers.

Interestingly, the bourgeoisie gets away with attacking those who act against the interests of the "middle class" as "outside agitators" and "spoiled white kids." This name calling serves as a distraction from the issues being demonstrated around. Of course there will be anti-colonial struggle in white faces in a white country. To argue otherwise is to breed confusion.

While we believe there is more anti-imperialist potential here in the United $tates than those who showed up this weekend, particularly among the internal semi-colonies who were sparsely represented at these events, the dominant ideology of this country is pro-middle class, which is pro-imperialism. Even the most radical Black organizations out here will say that "white people are exploited too." Yet the truth is the complete opposite: Black people aren't exploited either in this country. The sooner we all start being accountable for what we have, the sooner we can take a realistic approach to what we can do about it.

We need a strong line that says, yes, the petty bourgeoisie and the labor aristocracy in this country are the enemy of the world's people. Just as MIM has always attacked identity politics, this does not mean that petty bourgeois people cannot be anti-imperialists. We welcome and honor those Amerikans who choose to stand with the exploited peoples of the Third World. But let's make it clear that doing so requires opposing your own class interests.

After we draw that line, maybe we can think of ways to actually attack the interests of the exploiter classes, rather than just attack their symbols. Boots Riley, Oakland rapper and activist, has criticized the tactics of vandalism for alienating the majority in the city.(2) There is some truth in what he wrote in that we should not be helping the petty bourgeoisie unite with the imperialist state in opposition to anti-colonial voices, at least not without making significant gains somewhere else. Instead, we should be driving wedges between the various class alliances of our enemies, creating cracks in the system that make a little more room for the oppressed to move and organize. And perhaps ironically, pointing out the unity of the material interests of almost everyone in this country with imperialism can contribute to creating these cracks among those who have subjective moral objections to living off the suffering of others.

We do not believe that moralizing will "wake up" the Amerikan people and end this system of exploitation. We recognize there is no winning the majority in this country. So it is a question of recruiting the minority that care or suffer greatly under this system and promoting disunity among the rest. Finding effective tactics for either is our challenge.

Before we split the anti-imperialist camp over what we should do after the revolution (where we differ with the anarchist majority at this weekend's events), let's split with those who will organize and fight for the deepening exploitation of the Third World to feed the over-consumptive, privileged lifestyles in the imperialist countries. And let us be honest with our fellow exploiters, breaking the illusions of an alliance between First World social democracy and the interests of the exploited and oppressed. The one cannot exist without the other. The clearer we are about that, the more Amerikans are forced to make the choice between committing daily violence through their privilege and becoming a virus within the matrix.


notes:
1. Problems with First Worldism by Nikolai Brown
2. http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/10/08/18723363.php

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Insurrectionist
Sunday Oct 21st, 2012 1:46 AM
Burning them? Now that's radical!
by Konsider
Sunday Oct 21st, 2012 2:26 PM
According to MIM (Prisons) : "The organizers showed little interest in reaching out to the shoppers, and more in smashing symbols of wealth and exploitation. An hour pre march rally seemed hardly noticed by the shopping masses. And the march itself lasted only a few blocks before violent clashes with police left 22 people arrested. A significant loss from a crowd of maybe 150 who had just begun to unveil its message."

When and where did this "smashing symbols of wealth and exploitation" occur? Further, as much as some righteous activists wish it was, the arrests were not a result of "violent clashes". That the decolonize protesters beaten, and arrested were a confrontational contingent is media, police propaganda, and lies.
by Insurrectionist
Sunday Oct 21st, 2012 3:08 PM
All the people in the BLACK BLOCK/ANARCHIST crowd are their own worse enemy and that's why they show up in such small numbers and get their asses handed to them every time. It has nothing to do with the choice of tactics they use but the way in which they are delivered to the enemy. BLOCK BLOCK the way it's done is not very practical in taking on the forces of the state or attacking symbols of capitalism and oppression. Time to admit our anarchist way of delivering black bloc is a failure and a new approach to deliver this method in a successful way is needed!!!!!! Perhaps some leadership is necessary to carry out the attack.

The social war cannot be delivered to the enemy as long as anarchist ideals are getting in the way of organizing them into action. There can't be a leader of the black bloc or an organizer or a facilitator or a manager because it would negate the whole concept of living in a free society free of leadership where everyone works together as a team BUT PEOPLE ARE NOT CAPABLE OF FIGHTING WITH OUT LEADERSHIP AND THIS IS WHY BLACK BLOC:

FAILS TO ATTACK
FAILS TO PROTECT IT SELF AND OTHERS
FAILS TO HOLD THE LINE
FAILS TO PROTECT AN OCCUPATION
FAILS TO LEAD A MARCH
FAILS TO ATTACK CAPITAL
FAILS TO ATTACK COPS

When it comes to war, authority is necessary to bring it. Your leaderless black bloc brigade what ever you want to call it will continue to show it self as a failure by lending people in jail every time and getting people hurt and your number suck and get worse. Police are not afraid of you because you're a joke. Not even close to being a force to be reckoned with. Just a bunch of kids with no leadership.

Maybe black bloc is just a dumb idea and we need something more radical and destructive. The only thing the black bloc ever knew how to do is smash windows before undressing back into street clothes like cowards and blending in with the rest of the sheep. MEH EH EH EH!! :P
by Konsider
Monday Oct 22nd, 2012 12:46 AM
It's interesting that when the police beat the shit out of protesters, various people keep blaming resistors for not protesting the right way.
by Reach
Monday Oct 22nd, 2012 10:38 AM
Who exactly is insurrectionist talking to? He/she says that it time to admit that OUR anarchist way of doing things doesn't work, and then calls for leadership to smash things more effectively, but doesn't clarify anything about how.
by MIM(Prisons)
Monday Oct 22nd, 2012 3:19 PM
"It's interesting that when the police beat the shit out of protesters, various people keep blaming resistors for not protesting the right way. " -konsider

While it's a nice idea that we should be able to march and protest without repression, what is your goal? Our goals are stated clearly, and are centered around ending all forms of oppression. We all know that protest politics can't do this. Protesting is a tactic. It can be effective. The anti-colonial marchers were trying to make it MORE effective. That is what this discussion is about. Beating your head against walls of cops over and over to feel good and righteous does not get people free, feed people, end torture, etc.
by Insurrectionist
Monday Oct 22nd, 2012 6:23 PM
Not everybody comes with the same reformist agenda and not everyone is going to toe the line for reformists and their goals. The alienated and marginalized folk who war against state and capital are not interested in making friends with police or making things better. They are here to resist oppression be it the police or capitalism. The unfortunate aspect is everyone is willing to organize when it doesn't involve breaking the law but them minute it does nobody wants anything to do with it, including anarchists. There for it is very difficult to get a real insurrection going in the Bay Area until people learn to work with one another for the sake of insurrection.

Crackdowns in the aftermath of street battles is harder to prepare against since everyone is a virgin to house visit crackdowns. Unless you're ready to go in hiding like the "Weather Underground" sub-group of (SDS) there is nothing that can be done to avoid this. Never talk to an agent and always invoke the 5th when confronted by an agent or a police officer. Always ask if you're under arrest or if they have a warrant for your arrest or search warrant to come in. Never let them in out of common courtesy. THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS! THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS! AGAIN! THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS! THEY ARE YOUR WORST ENEMY! THEY WORK FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT AND WANT NO OTHER THAN TO LOCK YOU UP FOR GOOD! THEY ARE THE DOGS OF THE THE RULING CLASS! NOT YOUR DOGS! THEIR DOGS!

The minute every question you ask leads to a "no" answer, you say GOODBYE to them and slam the door on their face. You have nothing to say to them.

Be rude but don't be vulgar or threaten them in anyway. BE SMART!

This is how we rebel when they bring the war to our homeground. CODE OF SILENCE! YOU SAY NOTHING! YOU KNOW NOTHING! YOU WANT YOUR LAWYER! Because you are not in a position to fight back. Being confronted on the battleground and on your own home turf are entirely different situations and we can't beat them with guns on our home turf so follow common sense .......and everything will be fine.

Much Love!
by Anonymous
Monday Oct 22nd, 2012 7:27 PM
I feel that the original poster too easily brushed off the issue that the Black Bloc is made up almost uniformly of middle-class, college educated white people from fashionable neighborhoods. As a resident of east Oakland, I want you to understand that this is one of the key reasons that the remnants of Occupy Oakland have become extraordinarily unpopular among most of the city's residents. The Black Bloc anarchists are ironically viewed as an outside white colonialist force that is victimizing our city. When people talk about you in the east Oakland flats, this is the primary issue that is discussed. Most of the discussion here misses the point - no one in the general working class population cares whether you are syndicalists or primitivists or whatnot.....they care that a bunch of rich white kids are smashing up a working class, predominantly nonwhite city. Who you are and these actions are your statement. The call to 'radical anti-colonialism' by the children of privilege is viewed as paternalistic, oppressive and demeaning by most Oakland residents. You really, really need to change your tactics if you want anyone to take you seriously.
by Konsider
Tuesday Oct 23rd, 2012 12:25 AM
As regards how blac bloc tactics have been applied recently in Oakland, I feel they've been mostly idiotic grandstanding spectacle. This is a touchy subject though: the cops and the media try to demonize everything they can, so it's important not to regurgitate their distorted claims, and this is not about how we should act accordingly to please their publicity machine. Take for instance the recent police attack on the decolonize protesters in San Francisco: The cops are trying to play it off like they were the victims of blac bloc, even going so far as to post peoples mug shots in the popular media accusing them of being apart of "the blac bloc street gang." Obviously a critique of blac bloc has to steer clear of such deceit.



by an underground organizer
Wednesday Nov 14th, 2012 12:20 AM
As usual, the MIM(Prisons) has a long view on todays current events, with their knowledge of history of radical movements within the US.
It's analysis is needed as a somewhat neutral perspective in relation to the "anarchists" who seem to feed off eachother. We are existing within a small society (as i, too, am an "Anarchist"), so it's easy to be caught up in our own associations and recent history without insight based on a foundation of decades in organizing.
MIM(Prisons) is one of the most legit and radical groups we have interacted with. Dialectical differences aside, their work today is as important as anybody else, especially the United Front for Prisons and their support for the hunger strikers!