Tag Archives: words

Call for autonomous organizing against the end of the world

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Received and posted:  an autonomous contribution to the debate on revolutionary strategy and to this website.

PDF handbill:  callout-for-organizing-against-the-end-of-the-world-bloomington

The situation: our world, the only home we will ever have, is being hurled into the abyss by imbeciles and nihilists. A 72-degree Christmas and a Trump presidency; lynching and deportation of our neighbors by police and ICE; pipelines desecrate the dead, while poisoning the living; billions of selfies, while 200 species go extinct every day; the feeling of powerlessness enforced by governments everywhere and the management of each detail down to the smallest part of our hearts: everything calls for this to end.

What’s necessary: that a new historical force rise up to face our situation; that we organize to make a better, livable existence on this earth and put an end to the reign of those who would continue this catastrophic course.

Our ethos: a spirit that stands against the end of the world — revolutionary and driven by the desire to fight, carrying the recognition that power needs to be built and organized. Committed to strategy, not ideology, we have a faith in practice, of an openness to the world, of being moved by the event, not criticality that puts one outside of every situation. We believe in freedom and know we cannot have it if we simply react and define ourselves against the forces that seek to dominate us: we must make ourselves a power in our own right.

The strategy: build autonomy and revolution from the ground up by establishing the infrastructural and organizational basis for another way of life. We must immediately and patiently grow our capacity and power — starting from our reality, what we want, what we need, and where we want to go. Everything we do, each piece, each practice, must be part of a broader strategy of giving ourselves the means to be more powerful and to face up to the need for another way of life, reducing our dependencies and increasing our power over our own networks of food, health, transportation, shelter, or communications. As we see it, a historical force capable of confronting capitalism, government, and catastrophe has to be materially capable of living through their end, of breaking their blackmail of enforced dependence. That’s why instead of mourning this world, we’ve begun getting organized together, to help such a force come into existence, to be a part of it, to do what we think is called for in our single existence on earth.

A tentative vision: a powerful, autonomous territory takes shape between a multiplicity of spaces and infrastructures –hubs, farms, clinics, hacklabs, cafes, workshops, print labs, gyms, mesh net- works, foundries, and forests— in neighborhoods and small towns from Bloomington to Chicago, to Evansville. Thousands of individual and organizational relationships are forged as fighters/ builders/growers young and old find each other, experiencing a solidarity born of combining their capacities –skills, knowledges, resources, and passions— along shared trajectories such that they will become capable of actually supporting an exit from our current, untenable way of life. In short, a territory full of all kinds of forms of life, rich in diversity yet united in the belief that this fight is the only dignified and just response to our time. And who over time have developed the means to take care of themselves and others in a growing and deepening way. As the Zapatistas say, we are “walking while questioning.”

Let’s find each other, and get going!

rififibloomington.wordpress.com   ill-will-editions.tumblr.com

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Memory versus Militarism

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Reposted from the H-T:

I hate the Fourth of July. I’d like to tell you why.

It is a celebration that, for me, reeks of rancid, shallow
sentimentality and ignorance of the true cost of war. I hate the cheesy flags, the flowing beer, the breezy one-day fraternity of neighborhood collegiality. Nowhere do I see or hear the reverence for the dead.

You see, I am a combat veteran of the American war in Vietnam, enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1968, at 17. I hate war and everything related to it.

I was not overly bothered by the egoists carrying the machine guns and other killing accoutrements in this year’s parade. Those weapons are precisely what combat is about — showing vicious and deadly intent to control and kill. My only complaint about their float entry was that it was a stunt for showing off their macho egos, but the weapons they were carrying are precisely the weapons used to kill. And, that is what war does — kill. The minute we ignore that, we are refusing to face reality. And, it is such a blatant lie to profess concern for your children seeing those weapons when we are the most warring nation on the face of the earth. War can not be made pretty—no matter what technology Crane employees try to hide it in.

My combat turned me from an 18-year-old naive Marine into an emotionally crippled 80-year-old man by the day I turned 19. I have never recovered. I never will. I live with post-traumatic stress daily. I had to leave IU in 2013 because of it; I am now on Social Security disability and 70 percent VA disability. I am so committed against war that it is all that I think of. I went to Crane to protest war on the day Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter visited and was kicked off the property within 23 minutes by Navy security.

We praise the military like it is some kind of religious icon, calling
all of them “heroes” and cheaply thanking them “for their service.”
Then, we wring our hands when the violence comes home with them.

A headline in a recent USA Today article (July 19) states: “Army seeks balm for veterans’ rage.” Really? The Army does know why veterans rage. They rage, as I do, because we were and are brainwashed in boot camp into the easiness of killing another human being, and then we receive zero re-socialization upon our return and discharge. The military does not want to see this very visible one-on-one relationship because it does not want to stop teaching soldiers, sailors and Marines how to kill. That —simply, simply, simply — is why the military exists. To kill.

I deeply resent the easy pseudo-patriotism exhibited by Bloomingtonians and all other Americans who are uncritical of their own complicit and complacent behavior and the behavior of our government. We can stop war, but to do so we must put our body, mind, money and spirit against the profiteers’ wheels. Until we do that, nothing will change.

-Tim Bagwell

In Memory of Clinton “Boo” Gilkie, A Premature Death

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Printable PDF: InMemoryofBoo

In Memory of Clinton “Boo” Gilkie, A Premature Death

Clinton “Boo” Gilkie was held in the Monroe County Jail since he was 16 after a failed robbery using a toy gun. He was set to be released from jail in late June. After sitting for 22 months, he was finally being offered a plea deal for time served. He qualified for bail – just $1,000 – the entire time he was imprisoned, but was too poor to get out. On June 7th, 2016, less than two weeks before his release date, Boo died inside the Monroe County Jail. His incarceration was absurd, his death, murder.

Even though Boo’s death was quieter than that of the Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge or Philando Castile outside St. Paul, who were both cut down by cops, it follows the same pattern – the premature death coldly dealt out to those who are poor and/or black in this society, whether by bullet, coercion or neglect.

Because Boo’s family was poor he was considered “indigent” which means the state would be forced to pay for his medication as long as he had no money on his books. When his family was able to put $10 a month on it was immediately taken by the jail to cover the cost of his medication. The only way Boo had enough money on his commissary to pay for necessary food that met his dietary restrictions and calorie needs was to refuse his medication. This means he was given the choice between access to food or access to medication.

The immediate cause of death was an aortic aneurysm, the result of the jail’s failure to treat a pre-existing heart condition called Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder. The jail was aware of Boo’s diagnosis and family medical history. Medicine and routine tests can manage the condition but the jail denied Boo access to these basic resources. When he died, the guards tried to claim it was an overdose and immediately isolated all of his blockmates, interrogating them and ransacking their dorm. Ex-prisoners who were released shortly after his death and other recent deaths reported that they were blamed, mistreated, and had no substantial support for trauma and loss. Counseling for survivors wasn’t made available, even at their request. While jail staff targeted and attempted to incriminate Boo’s blockmates, we know who the real killers are: the jail medical staff, the jail administration, and an institution that criminalizes race and poverty.

Boo’s premature death comes close on the heels of two suicides and countless suicide attempts in the jail over the last year and a half. These deaths have been under a new administration and jail-appointed medical provider. A suicide had not taken place in the jail for more than 30 years before this. A rise in jail overcrowding, minors tried and held as adults, incarceration for illness and poverty, and an increasing disregard for human life also mark an escalation beyond the last three, already miserable, decades of incarceration.

The system assumes it can keep failing our communities. This assumption relies on our hopelessness and complacency. The people in charge know that many of us get angry when teenagers are left to rot and die inside wretched cells, but they think we’ll stay quiet or take it out on each other. The rebels in Ferguson have demonstrated, though, that the only practical response is to find each other, combine our rage, and fight back against the enemy that cages or kills our friends, family, and loved ones. The legal system offers no protection to the poor, let alone to black teenagers. Our only protection, our best weapon is solidarity – what limits their violence and neglect is fear of our collective power.

If you miss Boo or are angry about his loss:

*Spread the word about Boo’s death. Fight against the media’s effort to sanitize the murder – they are simply acting as the mouthpiece of the jail and the cops.

*Revolt against his murder, against the next murder by law enforcement, and against the daily oppression across this society that mirrors and exceeds that of the prison. Remember that the Ferguson cop who murdered Michael Brown would not have faced any repercussions at all if a rebellion hadn’t broken out.

*Organize now in our communities to solve problems for ourselves and be prepared to address harm instead of calling cops. Stop snitching. If you’ve ever considered testifying against someone, remember that you might not just be sending them to jail but to their death.

Taking Sides: Book Presentation at Boxcar

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Wednesday, March 23, 7pm
Boxcar Books (408 E. 6th St)

Join us this Wednesday evening for a talk by and discussion with Cindy Milstein, editor of in the new anthology “Taking Sides: Revolutionary Solidarity and the Poverty of Liberalism” (edited by Cindy Milstein and published by AK Press).

This event is part of a larger book tour intended to spark critical
dialogue, speaking from our own experiences, in our own places, around the questions raised in “Taking Sides.” Such collective reflection is essential not only in helping to sustain the spirit of rebellion but also aiding it to claim some victories in the task of dismantling systemic violence, such as states, capitalism, and settler colonialism, or murderous policing, white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, and so much more. These events will grapple with the conundrums and beauty of revolutionary solidarity. How might it (better) shape our aims, strategies, and tactics given the current grassroots resistance, uprisings, and solidarity projects on Turtle Island and globally?

As the collection asserts — and these events will echo — the lines of
oppression are already drawn. The only question is, Which side are you on in the struggle against the violence that is white supremacy and policing? “Taking Sides” supplies an ethical compass and militant map of the terrain, arguing not for reform of structurally brutal institutions but rather for their abolition. Its thirteen essays are sharp interventions that take particular aim at the role of nonprofits, “ally” politics, and “peace police” in demobilizing rebellions against hierarchical power. The book offers tools to hone strategies and tactics of resistance, and holds out the promise of robust, tangible solidarity across racial and other lines, because in the battle for systemic transformation, there are no outside agitators.

“Taking Sides is more than a book; it’s a politic aimed at the heart of every radical struggling against a racist state.”
—Luis A. Fernandez, author of Policing Dissent

“Taking Sides compiles essential essays for street fighters, land
defenders, and anticolonial accomplices. Its words challenge the current pacifist and NGO-led narratives that seek to manage and disarm people-powered rebellions on Turtle Island, while inspiring readers to go out and fight side by side.”
—Franklin López, subMedia.tv

For more on the book, including its contents, see:
https://www.akpress.org/takingsides.html

The Spaces Between Tour

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Reposted from Bloomington ABC:

Monday, February 29 @ Boxcar Books, 6 pm

All too often as anarchists in the U.S. we look to places like Oakland or New York for cues of how to get it done. The problem with this being that most of us don’t live in anarchist-disney world, where anything is possible and everything is flammable, and we couldn’t afford the rents in Oakland anyway.

This tour features friends from Denver, Colorado and Richmond, Virginia coming to your town to talk about what it looks like for anarchists outside those spaces with longstanding institutional left bases. We think there is a lot to learn from the less glamorous towns and small cities where anarchists continue fighting in spite of it all. Sharing our experiences of building, failing, rebuilding, fucking it up and sometimes winning, we hope to strike up conversations with friends. Let’s talk community defense work, anti-police struggles, combating gentrification warfare, how not to let the liberals get us down and more.

Back to basics #1: Intervention

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The purpose of this site is to share news and analysis of the social and class clash in Bloomington and surrounding region. Our emphasis is on posting events, report-backs and communiques, and we’re thrilled when news comes in from unexpected and “apolitical” sources.  The radical minority is an element of the struggle, but hardly the most important one.

Generally, we only post events that are local, autonomous (outside of the electoral process and excluding politicians of every stripe) and self-organized.  For us, the revolutionary process is simultaneously creative (of new ways of being with others and of the new world) and destructive (of the old world), and we share updates reflecting both poles.  Write us with news or contributions at rififi (at) riseup.net.

We have received a request to step outside our normal posting rhythm in order to share basic tools for struggle, and we’ve accepted this proposal.  The goal is to cover the fundamentals of subversion: intervention, direct action, agitation, organizing, confrontation, etc.  These will be interspersed among our regular news and announcements.

Notes on Intervention:

by Red (for more of his writings, visit www.againstsleepandnightmare.net)

-Speak for yourself. If you are a small group, describe yourself as that (Friends of Black, for example). The thing to avoid is trying to represent yourself as any kind of “voice of the movement.”

-Be willing to provoke and advocate. If you are speaking for yourself, there’s no reason not to say “I think we should do this.”

-The strategic stance should be to interact, to provoke and to inspire. Don’t recite a fixed set of principles but instead show how the critique of capitalism matters to the conditions that people find themselves in.

-We must understand the spectacle as a real opponent and not irrelevant abstraction. Thus we should avoid any strategy which attaches our activity to any spectacular symbol. Instead, we need to attack both spectacular forms and spectacular symbols along with our efforts to attack particular institutions and practices. This is just an extension of not representing yourself as “the voice of the movement” and not dumbing down your ideas.

-Look at those struggles which have the capacity to bring large numbers of people together, which directly affect people’s lives and which allow people to take collective power. Transportation is one effective target here. Large factories might be another in places that still have them. Think flexibly.

-Think about a well-executed intervention as a rolling series of actions, interventions and opportunities to learn as well as influence people. If you’re not learning from people, you aren’t fully engaged with the process.

-An important part of our “theoretical work” is learning to express our positions as a completely open framework. Getting rid of things we don’t need to say is as important as saying those things that need to be said. Part of this openness is that we expect that in any evolving, rebellious situation, we should be learning much more than we are teaching. We aren’t here to talk about anything and everything, but to just talk about a few, unavoidable points.