This spring, as recent waves of revolt began their gradual retreat into our memories, a few of us in the Midwest paused to collect our thoughts and reflect on some of the rupturous moments we’ve experienced over the last six months. Archipelago is but one product of these reflections: a fresh project with a familiar premise. The strong connections that exist through this region aren’t new, nor is the idea of pooling thoughts and analysis in a publication, but it has felt pressing, in this particularly ripe moment, to ensure space for these conversations to mingle and stew with one another.
The content of this issue is largely the work of a small group of people in a few cities, however, we’d like to extend an invitation to anyone who is living and struggling here in the nocoast to submit content for future issues. Send us: reportbacks, dialogues, love letters, strategy statements, position papers, communiqués, articles, death threats, hi-res photos, and responses to anything from this issue (because, let’s be real, we KNOW you have feelings about “Don’t Move to the Bay”). What are you doing after May Day or for June 11th,* or whatever?
Issue 0 contains over 80 pages of original editorials, communiqués, analysis and photography, as well as an extensive dossier of actions– entirely printed and perfect-bound by some unruly locals, in a delightful pocket-sized edition. Please get in touch by email if you’d like a copy, and we’ll try to have a more reasonable method of distribution figured out soon: email@example.com
An excerpt from the Editorial Notes:
We’re pleased to present the preliminary issue of Archipelago, a journal of Midwest anarchy. We do this, not to affirm some idea of the Midwest as a strictly-bounded geographic area or to affirm ‘the anarchy’ as a static ideology– rather than align ourselves with a political position that bases itself on a program or utopian vision (read: anarchism), we want to engage with and subvert the chaos, the anarchy, that exists around us. Furthermore, we wish to acknowledge what ties us together: our separation from the coasts, our relative isolation from one another, our penchant for troublemaking, and our desire to overthrow everything in this terrible world. And, although we often find ourselves adrift at sea without a navigable course, lines of affinity occasionally appear to us with startling clarity, contributing to a burgeoning collective intensity and helping our islands seem a little less distant from one another.
While this journal will mainly focus on points of conflict that present themselves around us and that we involve ourselves in, we also want to draw lines between our struggles here and those in other places; coast to coast, across borders and oceans. We conjure inspiration and strength from our comrades everywhere, however, we don’t want to place them on a pedestal just because their actions appear more spectacular to us. We’re waging war on the existent here and now; we continue to experiment and process, to understand and convey these things as well as we can. There isn’t one way to overthrow empire or for us to see our cities in flames, but rather a multiplicity of positions and approaches that can bring us closer to the moments of rupture we long for.
[Certain] questions remain dear to us: how, in places where we are few and spread out, can we contribute to ruptures that feel necessary for our survival? How can we share tactics and analysis and compare notes in a manner that doesn’t revolve around cliquish counter-cultural circles and already-present points of contact? How can our struggles not feel so isolated to our individual locales, but relay off of and amplify each other? On this note, this issue-zero focuses primarily on acts and evaluation originating in a few midwestern cities. We hope that this won’t always be the case and, as this publication disseminates, those both known and unknown to us will contribute articles, critiques and conversations.
In putting our thoughts and analysis out into the world on paper, our intentions are multifaceted. The obvious tension between how things appear on the internet and how we engage with them in the world is rife with potential and pitfalls. We can’t begin this project without asserting our commitments to the printed word, but not solely as a reactionary position against the internet. We want a record of our thoughts and movements to exist in various forms, for careful consideration and fond recollection by history, and we want these records to exist on our own terms. We hold nothing but contempt for the media and place no trust in their (lack of) representation of our struggles. Let our direction be clear: we write for those whom we hold in our hearts, and for those who hold us in theirs. For those we have met, and the future comrades we yearn to encounter, and to anyone who is enraged by the tyranny of capitalism.
*International Day of Solidarity with Marie Mason, Eric McDavid and Longterm Anarchist Prisoners. GO!!! june11.org