A Report from the Conspiracy of Insurgent Anarchists Concerning the Past Two Years in the San Francisco Bay Area
From Fireworks - by Conspiracy of Insurgent Anarchists
08.11.15 - Editor's Statement: Sometime in the summer of 1965, a woman named Oedipa Maas walks into a taqueria on 24th Street in the Mission District of San Francisco. At a table in the corner is a man named Jesus Arrabal, a member of the Conjuracion de los Insurgentes Anarquistas.
He looks up from his bowl of menudo and see a young gringa he met once on the beach in Mazatlan. As it turns out, Jesus is now the co-owner of this fine taqueria and he beckons her over to his table. Oedipa sits down with him and notices an old issue of Regeneracion, the anarchist newspaper put out by the brothers Magon. It is sitting next to his soup, looking as if its never been opened before. It is date November, 1904.
When she asks him about the paper and how he received it, Jesus tells her the following: “They arrive. Have they been in the mail that long? Has my name been substituted for that of a member who’s died? Has it really taken sixty years? Is it a reprint? Idle questions, I am a footsoldier. The higher levels have their reasons.” Soon after hearing this, Oedpia leaves the taqueria and goes off on an adventure that is best told somewhere else. Back inside the taqueria, Jesus opens the brown newspaper and proceeds to read news of a revolution that has never stopped occurring despite countless rumors of cataclysmic defeats and inescapable prisons. Somewhere in those fading newspaper lines of deeds long past, Jesus finds the instructions he has been waiting for. Like a disciplined anarchist from old, he quickly and effectively carries out those instructions on the streets of the Mission District.
49 years later in 2014, a similar occurrence takes place in a taqueria on 24th Street. A man walks in and sits down at a back table in the corner. He is there for a while, not ordering anything, checking his watch as if he were waiting for someone. Just as the owners of the establishment are beginning to find his presence dubious, a woman with gray hair walks into the taqueria and sits down at the table beside him. She hands him a folder full of documents, says a few quick words, and then takes off. Not wanting to be rude, the man gets in line, orders a large horchata, and after leaving a 5 dollar tip, slides the cashier an ornate invitation to a wedding. He is out the door before she can read it, and when she does there is spelled out plainly in both Spanish and English: Conjuracion de los Insurgentes Anarquistas – Conspiracy of Insurgent Anarchists. Below that is a time and place to receive further instructions. However, it is not until July 16th, 2015, over a year later, that these instructions are finally received. We now reproduce for you a partial translation of what was recovered. Some fragments may be more useful than others. The ellipses contained within brackets designate missing and illegible sections or pages.
A Report from the Conspiracy of Insurgent Anarchists Concerning the Past Two Years in the San Francisco Bay Area:
Section I: Oakland, Ferguson, Baltimore
Since the execution of Oscar Grant in 2009 and the street riots that followed, Oakland has consistently been at the vanguard of the anti-police struggle. A sticker of the time depicted the murderous cop behind bars, and bore the slogan RIOTS WORK. It summed up what everyone was thinking: if we simply attack them and do not stop, something will happen. To a greater or lesser extent, many people realized that riots would get the goods, be those goods a cop in jail or the total destruction of the white power structure. This tear in the social order went against the reigning ethos of the non-profits: be non-violent, be non-threatening, be inconsequential. By 2010, it was undeniable that a new spirit had taken hold of Oakland, a spirit that wanted to lay waste to the police. In 2011, when the tents of the Occupy Movement sprang up below City Hall, this spirit came into contact with the greater world. A faction of those in Oakland wanted to bring immediate destruction to the police, the banks, and the corporations. A bigger faction wanted something else, something vague and ineffective, and once the police had crushed everybody and scattered them to the winds, only the spirit remained, contained in the hearts of all those who had felt it, even if only for a night. It turned out that the spirit was contagious and could not be contained.
After Trayvon Martin was killed by an armed vigilante in 2012, the NAACP, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the familiar pacifiers of rebellion were quickly on deck to quell dissent and channel it into ineffective marches that did nothing. In 2013, when the verdict was announced and the murderer set free, a large series of disturbances took place in Oakland and other cities across the US. Downtown Oakland was hit by large, riotous crowds who destroyed property and attacked the police. It was by far the most aggressive response to the verdict and received national attention. In response, the City of Oakland, the OPD, the Chamber of Commerce, and a port commissioner went on the offensive against the movement in Oakland. The media invoked the white anarchist outside agitator and blamed them for the violence, erasing the presence of rioters who were not white and not anarchists. While this media narrative was being created to great effect, new methods of crowd control were introduced, including golf cars with mounted PA systems, stronger police lines, and expanded logistical capabilities that allowed the police to deploy quickly and in greater numbers. These police measures were quite costly but served to placate business interests in Oakland.
Several months after these riots, an incident occurred at a known anarchist space in Emeryville, a small city surrounded by Oakland. A large meeting was called to discuss current initiatives and future projects. However, the meeting fell apart shortly after someone pointed out the unbearable whiteness of those in the meeting hall. At some point in the conversation that followed, a local anarchist said he advocated the burning of black churches, in general. He also clarified that he was for the burning of all churches. Because this local anarchist insisted on verbally stating his commitment to burning black churches, a large schism opened in the local anarchist scene. One faction was committed to intellectual masturbation, insularity, and irrelevance, while the other faction was committed to real projects, initiatives, and direct action in local neighborhoods. In between were a variety of people who melted away into the void. We mention this only so our international comrades are aware of the context. These facts are already well known by local and federal law enforcement given their wide circulation on the internet.
Nearly a year later, Michael Brown was assassinated by police in Ferguson, Missouri. Soon afterward, the black population of Ferguson and the surrounding area began a low-level guerrilla war against law enforcement. Officer were shot at, armored personnel carriers were molotoved, and stores were looted and burnt. Only the looting and burning made it to the mainstream news. Word of the guerrilla warfare was suppressed. When anarchist comrades from the surrounding area came to assist, they were sometimes greeted with suspicion (given that most anarchist in the US are white). However, during the days that followed, the anarchists were generally accepted as part of the struggle against the police.
The mainstream and local media, the police, and white business interests began speaking of outside anarchist agitators encouraging violence in Ferguson. This narrative was similar to the one created in Oakland after the Trayvon Martin protests. But there was one large difference. Between 2013 and 2014, the mainstream black figures like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were publicly called out and discredited by the Ferguson rioters. As their popularity decreased, it became clear that a new black liberation movement had been birthed, and that it had no need of anarchists in order to be violent and effective. Because this new force was clearly visible, vocal, and undeniable, the narrative of the white anarchist outside agitator did not gain much traction in the mainstream media or public perception. What little credibility or attention the public may have given to these counter-insurgent narratives were soon erased in November of 2014 when a federal grand jury found there were no grounds to charge the officer who assassinated Michael Brown.
An uprising spread throughout the US after the announcement of this verdict. In Oakland, this uprising lasted for nearly three weeks and shifted to both Berkeley and San Francisco at various moments. It involved the widespread use of fire, looting, vandalism, and violence against the police. Over a million dollars of damage was done to all cities involved. The police began to publicly complain about being at the end of their strength and growing tired. The California Highway Patrol, the armed force that protects the State of California’s roadways and government centers, began to use extreme violence against large crowds who shut down several major freeways for hours at a time. In one incident, the California Highway Patrol began firing on crowds with rubber bullets from an elevated freeway. Towards the end of the uprising, an undercover Highway Patrol officer took out his gun and began pointing it at a hostile crowd. There was even rioting and looting on Christmas Day, and by the time the empty and futile New Years celebrations were over and done with, it was clear that 2015 would be a year of great calamity and upheaval.
Since the outbreak of the uprising, the white anarchist outside agitator narrative has been forgotten by the media and no longer used in the same away against anarchists in Oakland. There was certainly much anarchist participation in the November-December rebellion, but there was no effort to spread anarchist propaganda, messaging, or viewpoints during this same period. While various anarchist groups and publications continued to print propaganda, literature, and books at consistent rates during the rebellion, there was no attempt to hijack, detour, or usurp the purpose of the uprising. In very general terms, anarchists assisted whenever clearly acceptable tactics and behavior had already been demonstrated by people in the streets.
Shortly after the uprising, a series of suspicious fires took place in Oakland. One was the burning of the AK Press and a neighboring building, the other was a popular store on the corner of International and Foothill. The former was located in a Latinx barrio on a heavily trafficked intersection. Another fire along International later displaced over thirty Latinx resident from an apartment building. These fires took place during a string of arsons in the Mission District of San Francisco, another Latinx barrio. These arsons displaced hundreds of poor and working class people from their homes and livelihoods at a time of extreme gentrification. It is more than likely that all of these fires were tied to development schemes. On the street, this is well understood to be the case.
In response to this repression, various projects and initiatives arose against the multiple large development projects planned through the San Francisco Bay Area. There has been a high level of anarchist participation in all of these efforts, although the other groups involved are numerous and diverse. They have used multiple tactics, from direct action to land occupation, and a high number have met with success. The racial component of gentrification is now clear to the population of the US, and it is all the more easy to stop the development plans of the white power structure. One example is the black social center Qilombo and its effort to claim a specific city block and turn it into an urban garden. This garden and the surrounding block was named Afrikatown, with banners installed on light poles indicating that it is a black neighborhood. The land Afrikatown was set to be gentrified but now those plans have been halted. Their determination to put a stop to the dreams of the white power structure has had a tremendous effect. After various efforts such as this one, it is clear to the white power structure that future resistance to future gentrification will be fierce.
These types of initiatives and projects happened directly after the uprising and represent a defensive offense against the forces of repression. They were well advanced when news emerged from Baltimore, Maryland that a young black man had his spine severed while being driven in a police wagon. Once word had spread throughout the city, a ferocious rebellion quickly unfolded that devastated a major eastern metropolis and brought images of resistance to every computer and television. The entire country saw riots more similar to Gaza than any seen in Oakland, replete with hundreds of young people throwing rocks at heavily armed police throughout the day. In solidarity with the Baltimore rebellion, a demonstration was called in Oakland on the evening of May 1st, 2015.
During the demonstration, a large group of mostly black people destroyed the cars in at a Honda dealership, even setting one of them on fire. It was a quick and devastating demonstration that galvanized the mayor and the business community into action. Not understanding the predicament she was in, the new mayor of Oakland enacted a ban on nighttime demonstrations and began to arrest dozens of newly radicalized people. Libby Schaaf, a white woman from the hills of Oakland, ended her political career as mayor by encouraging the police to become more repressive against the new black liberation movement. In particular, she personally ordered the repression of a demonstration for black women murdered by police. Libby Schaaf is now the most hated Oakland mayor in recent memory, fully embodying the white power structure that has ruled Oakland for over 150 years. With new developments and gentrification being challenged from every angle, the City of Oakland is now poised on the brink of war. What reigns now is a temporary stalemate. While the forces of order and reaction can only catch their breaths, the forces of freedom and revolution are only growing stronger.
At the time of this writing, the anti-police movement has truly become a national movement. Oakland is now one of many US cities leading the way forward. From 2009 to 2015, the police have killed nearly a thousand people each year. At the time of this writing, the US prison population is still the largest in the world, cops routinely kill with impunity, and capitalism is still destroying the lives of millions of people. Riots can only work for so long and as a political tactic they will only ever land a few cops in a few prison cells. There are very few choices left for committed black liberation militants. Just as happened in the 1960’s, a serious and organized offensive against the police will eventually begin. It is in this context that US anarchists will soon find themselves.
Section II: Cultural Composition and Societal Patterns of Anarchists in the San Francisco Bay Area
To begin, we would like to state that the population of the greater Bay Area is nearly equivalent to the population of Greece. The majority of the Bay Area population lives in a vast metropolitan sprawl than begins near the Chevron refinery in Richmond. From here, it stretches southward past Oakland, through the suburbs of Fremont and Hayward, all the way to the edge of San Jose. From here, the sprawl then stretches northward again through Mountain View, Menlo Park, the familiar Silicon Valley towns, past Stanford University, up over the hills of South San Francisco, and all the way to the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. The areas outside of this sprawl are Marin, Contra Costa, Solano, Napa, and Sonoma counties. While these areas have their own suburban sprawls of considerable size, there is far more wild nature in these areas thanks to the amount of wealth its residents posses.
The major urban centers of Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose are extremely racially diverse. The poor and working class population of the Bay Area has historically resided in these major urban centers. All three cities have a tremendously rich anarchist history that is kept alive through both living descendants and anarchist historians. The descendants are very silent, some would say mute, while the historians are very talkative and expressive. In between these two narratives, it is possible to glimpse the significance of the Bay Area to the international anarchist movement. It has and continues to harbor the most advanced remnants of anarchism in the US. Before it was nearly extinguished by witchhunts, murders, imprisonment, exile, the second world war, and more witchunts, the anarchist movement on the western coast of the US was pervasive, organized, and determined. An insurrection in Tijuana, multiple general strikes, sabotage, bombings, expropriations, dozens of newspapers in every language, international contacts, and dozens of communes all existed or took place on the western coast between 1900 and 1941.
The period of extreme counter-revolution that followed the second world war drove the remnants of the anarchist movement underground, although the flame would emerge from time to time. The famed 1960s and 1970s saw the proliferation of Maoist or state communist organizations in the Bay Area, thus marginalizing the anarchist movement even further. Despite these unfavorable conditions, anarchists were able aid all those who fought for freedom in this time period. It would not be until the 1980s that punk renewed anarchism in the Bay Area through its rebellious energy and contemporary outlook. Once again, the movement found young people eager to learn about anarchism and who were dissatisfied with the capitalist disaster around them. It was through the UK that both punk and the Earth Liberation Front entered North America in the 1980s. Embedded in these two cultural phenomena were the rudiments of the anarchist guerrilla, the anarchist propagandist, and the anarchist youth movement. This new generation often provoked incomprehension in the older generation of anarchists, but enough of a connection was made to restore anarchism to its proper place in the Bay Area.
Punk was a European movement that spread across North America to a mostly white population. It was the primary mechanism through which young people found anarchism in a time period of extreme repression and cultural sterility. It remained a vital force until the 1990s, when capitalism began to absorb punk and strip it of its revolutionary connection to anarchism. This battle grew extremely heated in the cultural arena, with some anarchists even naming themselves Chumbuwamba and making pop music that would lure random to people to revolutionary anarchism. In the political arena, the anarchist guerrilla of the Earth Liberation Front proceeded to engage in nearly 10,000 acts of sabotage and capitalist industry and infrastructure.
In 1999, the cultural arena was abuzz with the film The Matrix just as a new revolution began to emerge. Riots broke out all across North America, starting with Seattle in 1999 and ending with the Cincinnati anti-police riots of 2001. Anarchists were deeply embedded and part of this vast new movement that had spread throughout the country. A revolution would surely have occurred, if not for the attack on the World Trade Center. What followed next in the United States was the equivalent of a fascist coup that few perceived and no one rose up against. It froze the landscape and isolated the anarchists to repression.
Punk continued to carry anarchism within it through this time period, but throughout the 2000s punk was heavily commercialized and degraded. The old anarchist institutions continued to exist regardless of what happened to punk, although now punk was no longer bringing as many anarchists to the movement. It was during this hopeless time that a group called Anarchist Action emerged in the Bay Area. It staged actions in Palo Alto and San Francisco, reviving anarchism and bringing it to the doors of the rich. Its heart and birthplace was the Mission District of San Francisco, the neighborhood mentioned above. From 2003 to 2005, this group created a new generation of anarchists in the Bay Area. A federal witchhunt in 2005 broke the group apart and halted its activities. But it was too late for the government. A new wave of anarchists would soon bring anarchism back to life in the Bay Area.
When the fascist government of the US began to crack down on Latin American immigrants, anarchists lent their assistance to the immigrant struggle in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and several other cities. A general strike of Latinx workers shook the US on May 1st, 2005, reminding the capitalists of all they depended on for their wealth. Its epicenter was Los Angeles, a historical and contemporary stronghold of anarchism. On May 1st, 2006, the Los Angeles police attacked an immigrant march, signaling their intolerance for any future disturbances. Following this repression, anarchists were the first to volunteer and take the risks others could not, such as blocking entrances to immigrant prisons or holding demonstrations under heavy police presence. In this, the idea of anarchism spread far outside the confines of punk and pop culture. It was with these connections that anarchists began to circulate between Mexico and the United States, reactivating the most potent coast that has ever existed on this earth. The revolutionary situation in Mexico and the insurrection in Oaxaca brought revolutionaries from the Bay Area down south where they learned of the living revolution in the place where it never died. From 2005 to 2007, this new generation of anarchists had circulated so much that the international anarchist conspiracy had been reactivated and spread throughout the world. Starting in 2008, this new wave brought up hundreds of anarchists who dispersed themselves throughout the Bay Area and began to organize. But by 2012, it was clear that capitalism had pulled a trick on the anarchists no one anticipated.
Thanks in no small part to its punk influence, anarchism in the Bay Area had remained mostly white up until 2012. When anarchists arrived in a neighborhood, they might ride a bike down the street, sit on their porch, and generally make themselves visible. In a period of non-gentrification, these are normal activities. However, gentrification in Oakland started in 2005 and grew steadily worse. Being white in Oakland took on heavier connotations, especially if one was an outsider. By 2012, the white anarchist was culturally and racially enmeshed in the process of the gentrification. Over the next years, many people who were gravitating towards anarchism fell away from it. Some were accused of being gentrifiers and retreated, afraid to confront their class backgrounds or psychological problems. Some drifted into the communist salons or various reading groups. Some kept doing exactly what they had been doing and handled criticism accordingly. Others never were anarchists and simply wanted a social scene in which they could become popular. Anarchism in the Bay Area is better off than it was in 2002, but it underwent a severe purging in Oakland due to its racial and class composition. The anarchists who remained active in Oakland were the ones were able to decolonize themselves of their Eurocentirc logic and remain true to their anarchist principles.
It is without question that the FBI has and continues to manipulate racial tensions between non-white people and mostly white anarchists. The accusation of being a gentrifier or colonizer quickly became a common refrain of suspected informants, eager to simultaneously discredit and exploit this relevant and timely conversation. Because of its militant history, Oakland is perhaps one of the most infiltrated and monitored cities in the US. Instead of withchunts, the authorities have opted for flooding the political scene with informants who preemptively neutralize any potential revolutionary developments. This puts anarchists who openly organize at a disadvantage, as they always attract the police and have limited options once they are surrounded. But despite all of the informants embedded in Oakland, rebellion still emerges that thwarts all of their plans and calculations.
In San Francisco, the anarchist population has long been under siege. The importance of San Francisco to international anarchism is equaled only by its near total sterilization by the forces of order. All but a handful have been able to remain in this hyper-gentrified city. The stronghold of the Mission is surviving for now, and unfortunately anarchists have not been able to assist in a greater capacity. Social organizing and public actions have been the common tactics of anarchists in the district for many years, but what is needed, in no uncertain terms, is the reemergence of the anarchist guerrilla. It has vanished in North America for unknown reasons, and is now mute. The developers in San Francisco, having driven monthly rents up to $4,000 a month, are not meeting with any serious threats along their path. In any popular movement there is always the wing that sustains, the wing that creates, and the wing that fights. We are missing the fighting wing, clearly.
The situation is so dire that massive sections of the population would support a traditional anarchist guerrilla group if it emerged. But it is unlikely there will be a group that publicly claims actions, given the current level of surveillance and the possibility of capture. Conversely, it is now quite easy to hide all of ones actions and intentions, given the extent of the surveillance. If a person goes offline, it is quite often that they simply disappear to the authorities. With their reliance on digital technology, tyrannical governments like the United States are losing their grip on the fabric of reality. To compensate, they are attempting to economically cleanse the cities and plug the population into their surveillance network through smartphones and surveillance cameras.
Instead of a coherent guerrilla movement like those in Latin America or Europe, we see a steady stream of sabotage and arson taking place throughout the Bay Area on a weekly basis. No one claims it, no one ever discovers the authors, but the effect is undeniable and clear. A giant luxury apartment complex burns down in San Francisco. Dozens of fiber optic cables are cut. A squirrel knocks out power to Berkeley. A housing development is torched in Dublin. A car dealership is torched in Novato. Electric transformers are shot at by snipers trying to knock out power to Silicon Valley. In Oakland, Hayward, and San Jose, the police are shot at regularly. The entire sprawl, from Richmond to San Jose to San Francisco, is alive with discord and rebellion. It simply has not chosen to give itself a form. When it does it will meet with instant support from the majority of the population as long as no one is hurt or killed. We can say this for a certainty.
The government loves attacks where innocent people are killed, so much so that it has been known to stage false attacks. We will always denounce the taking of innocent life, just as the population of the Bay Area surely will. But attacks against capitalist property and gentrification that harm no one will meet with resounding success. The way is open if that is desired. Actions against the police will also meet with success given the current context, but only if they target individuals or groups within the police departments with documented instances of fascist or racist behavior. This is the first time in many long decades where a majority of the US population hates the police. Anarchist organizing has always been against the police, and now our most common slogans are spoken openly by normal working people.
The spirit of anarchism is firmly embedded in Oakland. In the 1980s, an old anarchist came out of the shadows and revealed himself to an anarchist historian. He was called “John the cook,” and he had lived in Oakland many years. His true name was Vincenzo Ferrero. After fleeing from a bombing charge in San Francisco, he changed his name and lived out his life in Oakland. He lived to be 100 years old. He was one of many, and he lived his life knowing many people. These secret anarchists, mute about their true beliefs, could not help but be themselves and spread anarchism to the best of their abilities throughout their new home. The first main wave of anarchists hit the streets of Oakland after the great earthquake of 1906 displaced them from San Francisco. Today we see anarchists arriving in Oakland from San Francisco once again, displaced by the economic disaster of capitalism and gentrification, now seeking refuge in the rebel neighborhoods of the East Bay. Perhaps a revolution will occur, the economy will collapse, or the great earthquake will bring the metropolitan sprawl of the Bay Area to its knees. In any case, we must dedicate some thought to the immanent disaster ahead.
Section III: Prospects for the Future of the San Francisco Bay Area
It is tempting to use words like justice, vengeance, or recompense to describe what the earth is about to do. But these are human concepts that are completely inadequate for the situation. We know that the ice caps are melting rapidly and that 10 feet of sea level rise will have occurred by 2050. We know that the Pacific ocean is warming up and rivers are running dry. We know that hurricanes are increasing in their frequency and destructive abilities. We know that mass food production is being disrupted and will collapse in the next ten years. The mainstream calls this climate change, the academy calls it the anthropocene extinction, and a few women are getting close to expressing the inexpressible. Despite all of these efforts to communicate what should be obvious, the population of the earth remains inert, slightly trembling, and mostly powerless in the face of the ongoing disaster.
In the sprawl of the San Francisco Bay Area, the majority of anarchists are engaged in projects and living lives with limited goals. These include workplace organizing, urban farming, squatting, housing rights movements, land occupations, free clinics, food distribution, propaganda, media, street demonstrations, possible sabotage, and a variety of other actions. Some anarchists have created or joined communes throughout California at increasing rates. However, these projects and the lifestyles that enable them remain firmly rooted in the existing state of things. The majority of anarchist in the Bay Area pay rent to live, work to pay their rent, and their projects are often reflections of their lack of time and energy. Given this situation, it is clear that anarchists are in no position to meaningfully challenge or halt the ongoing environmental destruction of the Bay Area, let alone the earth. Without a unifying understanding of the situation and a shared willingness to act, there will never be a conscious and intentional movement to save the earth.
To begin this process, we advocate a unified strategy we will call anti-capitalist bio-regional insurrectionalism. Like the words listed at the beginning of this section, this designation is inadequate to the situation but nevertheless remains our best approximation. Our strategy will be anti-capitalist in that capitalist property relations will be abolished. In this regard, the various groupings in the sprawl of the Bay Area will have free access to housing and land, thus eliminating scarcity of resources and reducing the chances of internal conflict. It will be bio-regional in that the population will have to regenerate the land and return to an adequate level of balance in order to survive. Each bio-region is different and possesses qualities that are not shared by many others. For example, it is more than possible for the population of the Bay Area to achieve balance with land with a minimum of hardship or calamity. In the Bay Area, it is materially possible for everyone to have enough water and grow enough food. Unfortunately this is not the case for the sprawl of the Los Angeles region, where only a fraction of the existing population can live off the land.
While the Bay Area has a population of 8 million people, the greater Los Angeles region holds nearly 19 million. Along with the major cities of the states of Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico, the Los Angeles region is surrounded by dry plains and arid mountains. In the event of an environmental disaster, the populations of these sprawls will likely flee north to sources of fresh water. If such mass-exoduses occur without preparation, the probability of internal conflict increases dramatically. It is not impossible for millions of people to continue living along base of the Los Angeles mountains and their watersheds, but dwindling snowpacks and rainfall levels will only make it more difficult.
The strategy we advocate will also be insurrectionalist in that land will have to be expropriated and the destruction of the environment halted by any means necessary. The entire sprawl of the Bay Area exists along the base of small mountains and hills, all of which need to be reforested. While the poor and working class population inhabits the sprawl, the rich have built their houses in the hills atop vital watersheds. In many cases, the roads to these houses were once creeks that have now been culverted or simply destroyed. All of this will have to be corrected if a balance with the land is to be restored. Beyond this, much of the flatland sprawl will have to be restructured in order to free up farm land, something that can be easily accomplished. Because of the coastal fog that hits the Bay Area all year long, the watersheds are capable of producing more than enough water for the population not only to survive but cultivate a large amount of food. In addition to this, the rainbow trout are still returning to several watersheds in the Bay Area and the genetic descendants of the original California salmon are currently spawning and returning to the watersheds of New Zealand. With a full return of these and other fish species to Bay Area watersheds, the original conditions known by the indigenous will be a reality once again. While the grizzly bear will never return, it was not so long ago that a black bear walked in to Tracy, California, just on the edge of the Bay Area.
We do not advocate a bolshevik style expropriation, we instead advocate a steady and unrelenting explosion of existing contradictions. In the context of the ongoing environmental disaster, it will become impossible for the rich to maintain their watershed destroying positions. A unified movement to restore the land, composed of hundreds of thousands of people, will cause the rich to flee or willingly deconstruct their homes and roads. Those that maintain their position of privilege will obviously incur the displeasure of this vast movement and suffer the natural consequences. But until this movement is created, isolated or sporadic attempts to scare the rich out of the hills will only serve to make our inevitable tasks more difficult. It is best to take the sprawl before heading into the hills. We believe it safe to assume that 1 million people in the Bay Area are not only armed but amenable to this form of anti-capitalist bio-regional insurrection. It is highly likely the majority of the remaining 7 million will also be amenable, but not until practical and tangible results are achieved. For this reason, we must repeat that it is best to take the sprawl first. Without the support of a majority of the population, a movement to save the earth will not have the necessary strength.
With the long-term survival of human, animal, and plant life at stake, this insurrection will meet none of the ideological stumbling black experienced during the 20th century. Capitalism, anarcho-syndicalism, state communism, state socialism, industrial unionism, or any other ideology predicated on the existence of earth destroying infrastructure cannot and will not be able to remedy the situation. Any attempts these ideologies might make to revive themselves will be met with the full force of reality. The planet will simply not allow us to make any further mistakes. The penalty for failure is death and extinction. The point where this will be challenged the most is when we are forced to deactivate the existing nuclear reactors in California.
To deactivate the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant 300 miles to the south, we will need the help of scientists and engineers. We will also need to keep a significant amount of capitalist infrastructure intact in order to safely transport the fuel rods to a secure location. Under no circumstances must we keep this infrastructure intact once or task is accomplished. We will not be successful in this effort without the full and friendly support of scientists, engineers, and specially skilled workers. Once again, the penalty for failure in this case will be death. The Diablo Canyon nuclear reactor is situated directly along the Pacific Ocean just as the Fukishima reactor was in Japan. If the fuel rods have not been removed and the reactor deactivated before the next major earthquake, a meltdown will occur the size of which we cannot predict. While the Bay Area is not in the fallout path of this potential meltdown, the consequences to the coastline will be felt for many decades, if not centuries.
Likewise, we must protect and keep intact every water treatment and sewage disposal plant. Disease and death will quickly follow the destruction of these facilities and greatly hinder any positive future developments. While much of this infrastructure can be quickly changed and useless infrastructure cut from the grid, it will be many years before the population stops relying on piped-in water and can live off the watersheds. If the petroleum refineries, malls, industrial facilities, and corporate parks are gotten rid of there will certainly be an abundance of water in our reservoirs, but we must eventually abandon the water system we have inherited from the past. As for the sewage system, people will have to stop sending their shit to someone else to deal with. Our shit is vital to a healthy earth, and not enough of it is properly composted and turned into nutrients for farming. If for no other reason, our own shit will force us to restructure the city and abandon a vulnerable and easily destroyed sewage system.
Many elements of the anarchist movement on the west coast of the US are heading in this direction currently, and we hope the ideas presented here can spread and be articulated in reality. Existing projects should federate immediately and seek out other groups, anarchist or not. If a practical example of this federation is necessary, we encourage our readers to look to the federative practices of contemporary Kurdistan or the current methods of the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico. The earth is making all argument against an anti-capitalist bio-regional insurrection quite meaningless. Our task is to bring about this insurrection as quickly and thoroughly as possible. We do not have time for mistakes, as we have mentioned, but we cannot encourage people to move slowly. As some friends have said elsewhere, impatience, incomprehension, and carelessness are the enemy. We must wait patiently until the population comprehends our intentions. We must not be careless when we finally begin to act.
Further communication from this body will likely be unnecessary in the future and it unlikely that you will have received this message in a timely manner. We wish you the best of luck. Stay free.