What happened to the Long Haul & Slingshot?

<table><tr><td>From <a href="http://nihilo0.blogspot.com/2012/11/what-happened-to-long-haul-slingshot... Zero</a>

A few years back I spent some time in the San Franscisco Bay area and had the privilege of hanging out at the Long Haul infoshop located in Berkeley, California. The infoshop hosted discussions about various radical topics and had a large library and meeting space where meals were occasionally served. Zines, books, and novel t-shirts were sold there to help make ends meet. And, of course, the Slingshot newspaper was published there along with the Slingshot organizer (which is distributed broadly at many other infoshops and independent bookstores). And, I'm sure, many of the things I've described still take place there.

However, it should be noted that the tone, tenor, and direction of the space (and particularly its publication) has undoubtedly fluctuated somewhat over the years. This is to be expected of such a public institution (as the prominent issues of the day change and those involved with the space come and go – bringing and taking various qualities or points of focus). And, when the space was raided in 2008, that undoubtedly shook things up. Since that incident... I imagine a certain hard-core has probably stayed away from the infoshop while undercover operatives have possibly filled the void or, at the very least, continued their presence. In any case, a tamer crowd has probably comprised more of the community since the raid.

With those things in mind, I'd like to make at clear that it is not my intention here to outright condemn the Long Haul. It may still be serving as very valuable resource within the broader anarchist milieu. But I must express my general disappointment with the latest issue of <a href="http://slingshot.tao.ca/displaybi.php?111001">Slingshot (issue #111, Autumn 2012)</a>. And, with that disappointment, I must wonder who is hanging out at the Long Haul and what the community surrounding the space is like these days.</td><td><img title="KK happened. Duh." src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2009/thelonghaul.jpg"></td></tr>...
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The first thing which drew my attention in issue #111 was a critique of a recent Black Bloc which occurred in San Francisco's Mission district. The piece, entitled “Black Bloc Breaks Windows, Fails To Make Impact,” written by Max Crosby, begins with a general assessment of gentrification and then turns into a general critique of insurrectionary vandalism. It gears up with a specific critique of the recent Black Bloc action:

<em>“The people who did the April 30th action made no subsequent effort to communicate their reasons for indulging in mass vandalism, thus robbing their efforts of all credibility. Evidently they said nothing because they had nothing to say. Their mass vandalism spree could have been a foot in the door for a larger message against the gentrification of the Mission in particular and against capitalist society in general, but nothing more was heard from them. With this lapse into characteristic complacency and silence, in their passivity and juvenile ineptitude the wannabe insurrectionary vandals handed a huge propaganda victory to both the Mission's bourgeois invaders and to the corporate news media, who were able to portray the event as an exercise in self-indulgent adolescent nihilism.”</em>

There is so much wrong with this assessment that I hardly even know where to begin.

First of all, there isn't always a need for those engaged in such an activity to overtly “communicate their reasons for indulging in mass vandalism” and any lack of a spelled-out explanation does not at all necessarily “rob their efforts of all credibility.” Some actions may speak better for themselves than you realize. If anyone is terribly concerned about the interpretation then they can do their personal best in trying to clarify or explain the action. Vandalism for a radical or revolutionary purpose deserves to be publicly discussed and those who didn't personally participate in the action should feel free to try and explain what they think it means. If Max Crosby does have an inkling about what the recent action was about, as the prose about gentrification suggests, then they can communicate their interpretation without demeaning the participants of the action. This is a task that above-ground radical writers should readily be willing undertake.

It is unjust to describe the members of a Black Bloc, who actively destroyed bourgeois symbols of repression, as lapsing into “characteristic complacency and silence.” To assess their action as a failure because they didn't issue a communique and because the media called them names... is ridiculous. Again... actions can speak louder than words and the Black Bloc participants have potentially set an example and presented a chink in the system's armor – and sympathetic radicals can still publicly interpret the significance of their action. If polite society wants to describe the Black Bloc participants as “self-indulgent radical nihilists,” that's to be expected – and I'd say it's fair trade for getting their shit smashed. But why are supposedly sympathetic writers, in a supposedly sympathetic journal, describing them in these terms?

At points in the article the author seems to favor militant actions (as long as they are followed by some kind of transparently clear public statement), and even suggests other actions. But the general tone of the article, the general condemnation, is the very same used by the bourgeois press which is supposedly being criticized in this article. Take for example when the author writes that <em>“Black Bloc tactics are solely for the fleeting entertainment of the people who take part in them. They communicate nothing to the world at large. They lead nowhere. They offer nothing to build on. Mainstream working people aren't going to adopt Black Bloc tactics, or join the Black Bloc at protest ghetto events.”</em> This is the same line of the bourgeois press and is not accurate. It's hollow condemnation and, basically, a counter-revolutionary opinion. The author does not seem to understand the motivation of Black Bloc participants, the message that Black Bloc tactics can convey, or who may eventually be moved by such tactics and join in. In the closing paragraph of the article the author writes about the “lack of credibility,” the lack of “commitment,” and the “failure of imagination” associated with the Mission District Black Bloc. In psychological terms... I'd call that projection.

Other articles in issue #111 of Slingshot were more or less interesting or insightful. It was interesting to learn about a ballot initiative in Berkeley to institute fines of $75 for sitting or lying on the sidewalk. An assessment of the recent uprising against police brutality in Ahaheim was interesting – <em>“What is striking is not necessarily the police's preparedness for war, but rather their obvious neglect to obscure their role as a counter-insurgency force. Thus, instead of donning the traditional riot uniform and the baton, the police wear military fatigues and are armed with rifles and less-than-lethal weapons that closely resemble grenade launchers. The image conjured is not South Central Los Angeles, 1992, but Afghanistan, 2012. Not urban riot, but urban insurgency.”</em> Other articles were about a People's Library which has been started in Oakland, a Food Not Bombs chapter in Missouri, a “bike swarm” activist group in Portland which meets up along the lines of a Critical Mass at locations “where social and political injustices can be found.” Issue #111 also included zine reviews and infoshop updates from around the world. These were all well and good.

One thing I noticed frequently throughout issue #111 was quite a bit regarding essentialist identity politics. At one level I think this could be a good thing. And I think cultural sensitivity and respect for personal or societal differences should generally be appreciated. However, in my recent experiences with radical spaces, I've found that essentialist identity politics are often used as a divisive distraction. For example... if we are at a meeting about some corporation that is dumping toxic waste upstream, I don't want the meeting to be derailed in condemnation of someone who says, “That's really lame.” Then when the person tries to apologize for their thoughtless words by saying, “Sorry, dudes,” I don't want it all to start up again because one person being addressed by such an apology will not tolerate being assigned a gender like that. I'm not going to argue about the benign intentions that either speaker may or may not have, but I feel that, sometimes, essentialist identity politics are used in a domineering, disruptive, and generally negative way. In a public forum people are not always going to be up-to-speed on the most precise politically correct speech. And those who aren't can sometimes still be otherwise valued friends, comrades, and associates. So... during important discussions when I see everything stop (and witch-hunts commence) at the drop of an innocent word... I become leery about those who focus heavily on essentialist identity politics.

As a general rule of thumb, I try to avoid both those who take an extreme position in denying the historic role of subjects like race or sexuality as well as those who try to make such subjects the central core of everything that matters. This isn't at all to say that racial slurs or overtly insensitive comments should remain unaddressed, but sometimes a word like “dudes” is gender neutral in the parlance of our day and, similarly, the word “lame” sometimes doesn't have anything to do with people who can't walk. Individuals, and the groups they are involved with, will have to decide for themselves what kind of words they will tolerate – but the strictest groups should remain somewhat private and public discussions shouldn't be derailed by relatively harmless words or actions.

But I honestly don't know the first-hand particulars of the situation at the Long Haul. So... this isn't to say that the problems associated with essentialist identity politics are, with definitive certainty, harming the Long Haul infoshop. But I did see some things in the Slingshot which suggested they might be. Without going into specifics about how essentialist identity politics can be problematic, I'll simply suggest that members of the Long Haul community may want to check out Lawrence Jarach's essay, <a href="http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/lawrence-jarach-essentialism-and-...“Essentialism and the Problem of Identity Politics.”</a>

Anyway... that's my assessment of the recent issue of Slingshot (#111) distributed by the Long Haul infoshop. And my title of this review wasn't so much about condemnation as much as it expressed sincere personal curiosity about what's happening at the Long Haul these days. I'd genuinely like a response from people currently involved in that community and maybe they'll use this prompt to give their thoughts on the subject. I hope I haven't overstepped my bounds and I do have the best wishes for the infoshop. It would be nice if more infoshops were as active as the Long Haul and it would be nice to see more radical newspapers pop up. I'm sure I'll get my 2013 Slingshot organizer in the coming weeks and hope to continue getting that annual publication for years down the road.

Comments

This is a garbage critique of a garbage "anarchist" newspaper. Fuck Slingshot, but fuck Nihilo-zero more.

Slingshot must have really done you wrong in order to get you so worked up! But my guess is you are just mad at anarchist projects that break out of your anarchy ghetto. I truly believe anarchist ideals are spreading and will be a force to be reckoned with sooner than later. I will lol at the fear in the hearts of our class enemies, but I will also lol @ the fear in the hearts of the oogle anarchists who will not understand what is happening. Two fold lols!

Also, I agree with the critique of the identity politics. Taking Slingshot in that direction is a fucking HORRIBLE idea.

what fucking time warp did you step into where you think the "anarchist ghetto" is made up of oogles?

Sometimes we weren't meant to jump to the left. Sometimes, we shouldn't step to the ri-i-i-ight. And when you put your hands on your hips, bring your knees in tight, the last thing you should do is do a pelvic thrust - it can drive you insa-a-a-ane. Why do the time warp again?

AHHH!! Your all fucking oogles because y'all throw the fuckin' word around without knowing what it means!!!

yr*

Touché.

I second this. There's almost no way to be cool and have a blog at the same time

Hey. If you want to see a better Slingshot, then send in articles. Some issues are better than others.
I would agree that the paper needs better content overall. Surprisingly, collectively oriented spaces thrive on people joining in and contributing what they think needs to be contributed. When that doesn't happen, stuff gets lame dude.

well yeah, maybe publications should exist when they have a clear purpose or thesis, and then when they've finished plowing that ground they should disband, rather than trying to become an institution and develop a sustainable professional formula (or, worse, just hope for interesting stuff to get submitted by people you don't know)

When I first started reading this I really didn't follow, i mean, it is OK that some anarchists might have a critique of actions that have happened over the past year. Even if the critique is somewhat off base it doesn't necessarily mean it should not be printed.

That said, essentialist identity politics are horrible and should be pointed out anywhere they spring up as the negative, activist ghetto disruptive crap that they are. If people are focusing on identity politics the police don't even need to infiltrate.

I don't disagree that contrarian points should sometimes be printed in anarchist newspapers and the like, but this particular article about the Black Bloc hardly met the Fox News standard for being "fair and balanced." The author seemed to be riding the fence in part and then, elsewhere, seemed to be outright condemning the Black Bloc tactic while insulting those who participated in it. A request for some sort of communique after such an action is one thing, but the petty insults and the hollow criticism is another. I see the particular article in question as causing much more harm than good. And I didn't see much of a counterpoint at all. Why don't they just give Chris Hedges column space and leave it at that?

Regarding your assessment of identity politics... "If people are focusing on identity politics the police don't even need to infiltrate." I might suggest that if too many people in your circle are focusing heavily on identity politics then the police may have already infiltrated. This isn't always going to be the case, but I suspect it probably is often enough.

indeed. i was going to say i think the example nihil0 provides of this is far too weak - people shutting others down at a meeting. these may be ugly and public instances, but the advance of identity politics has often had much uglier consequences, not limited to a few public spats but to long term destruction of 'radical communities' or potential momentum for radical change and even lives of individual members... once again i have to say that pro-active handling of sexism, racism etc within such scenes is an important step against infiltrators using such divisions against them. but sometimes, these are one and the same, and there is really nothing favorable to be said for anyone who brings up these topics merely to denigrate those who dare revolt. sadly this has happened all too often and in the bay this is not a new story.

A concise critique of this critique:

"It is unjust to describe the members of a Black Bloc, who actively destroyed bourgeois symbols of repression, as lapsing into “characteristic complacency and silence.” To assess their action as a failure because they didn't issue a communique and because the media called them names... is ridiculous. Again... actions can speak louder than words and the Black Bloc participants have potentially set an example and presented a chink in the system's armor – and sympathetic radicals can still publicly interpret the significance of their action. If polite society wants to describe the Black Bloc participants as “self-indulgent radical nihilists,” that's to be expected – and I'd say it's fair trade for getting their shit smashed. But why are supposedly sympathetic writers, in a supposedly sympathetic journal, describing them in these terms?"

1. Justice?
2. There is no black bloc that has set an example or presented a chink in the systems armor.
3. One can be sympathetic to anarchists and still think certain actions are self-indulgent and nihilistic. You have food but went out to dumpster more bagels? Self-indulgent. You want to destroy everything without pointing to a future? Nihilism. An argument has to be made that the black bloc is something more than this. Your "potential" doesn't cut it.

But yes, identity politics continue to cause controversy and strife.

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH NIHILISM

It negates life, it fast forwards goodness to the terminal stage of decay and cynicism, and puts a wall up which denies the potentiality that relationships create, it places a pall on even our instinctual animalism, it's definitely a bad trip.

BUT IT ALSO ALLOWS ME TO SAY THAT NOTHING YOU JUST SAID MEANS ANYTHING

Which is what I intentioned, since being a former nihilist ( waffling again), most of what I say is still steeped within the mystique of nothingness, it cannot be helped! So fuck off you meaningless piece of shit!!

Revolutionary nihilism is only connected with existential nihilism in a very loose sense of the word. This isn't to say that a revolutionary nihilist couldn't be an existential nihilist, but it doesn't necessarily have to be so.

The term "nihilism" is probably more misunderstood that the term "anarchism."

That's a good distinction, they are very different concepts, yet existentialism is compatible with the political form. Nevertheless, I still think both are poised over an abyss of negativity, that the destruction of the self or of society are desires of both schools of thought. One could even call eschatological beliefs nihilistic, or fatalism. Yes, it is a most misunderstood term, one has to have been hovering over the pit to comprehend it, and then, are we not always on a tightrope of uncertainty imposed on us from the authoritarian militarist forces which control this planet? Maybe the whole planet's mentality is lapsing into a dark-age nihilistic world view, which is very depressing for anarchists. Isn't this what Sartre attempted to express?(waffling on more) ;)

I'm reminded of the Wizard of Oz. Are you a good nihilist or a bad nihilist?

But seriously, I don't think nihilism always has to have a wholly negative thrust. I associate anti-authoritarian nihilism (which challenges social norms) as a generally healthy idea, or at least a dignified one. Existential nihilism, however, seems somewhat hollow. You mention fatalism and eschatological beliefs in terms of nihilism and I'd say that's fair -- as far as existential nihilism goes. It is akin to the worst kinds of blind faith. And so here we have a conflict with the definition of nihilism. As with the term "anarchy," one definition is almost the polar opposite of the other. But I think it can be argued that the most negative definition of "anarchy" would still be more meaningful (if not more redeemable) than the weak philosophical notion of existential nihilism.

Macbeth, is that you?

Yeah, the bleakness that existentialism offers, it does have a hollowness and voidness, I think this condition is related in some way to the rate of youth suicide, whereas, what you said about the anti-authoritarian nihilism, it DOES have a positive health about it, it is inspiring and challenges norms, yeah, nice insight ;)

then you have political nihilism, which is utilitarianism. i think political nihilism + suburban nihilism + fanatical violence is very healthy indeed! such a challenge to the status quo...and so much stronger, and, you know, more efficient, than all that doubt. Indeed!

I don't agree that political nihilism can be described as utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is mostly a humanistic christian philosophy, the sort of thing that political nihilism would wish to smash. What the hell is suburban nihilism, is this a term cops throw around in the debriefing room after a day of enforcing their power over those that are merely opposed to authority (new cop word, urban nihilist = rebel). And then you go on with adding fanatical violence to your formula, it's as if you are a cop fishing for attitude behind your boring desk job, on a tax-payers salary, trying to justify your whole meaningless existence! Get a life!

Political nihilism
Political nihilism, a branch of nihilism, follows the characteristic nihilist's rejection of non-rationalized or non-proven assertions; in this case the necessity of the most fundamental social and political structures, such as government, family, and law. The Nihilist movement in 19th century Russia espoused a similar doctrine. Political nihilism is rather different from other forms of nihilism, and is generally considered to be more like a form of utilitarianism. An influential analysis of political nihilism is presented by Leo Strauss.

OK, I'll check that out, always learning.

"rejection of non-rationalized or non-proven assertions; in this case the necessity of the most fundamental social and political structures, such as government, family, and law."

I can really go for this, but I love my mum, could political nihilism grant exemptions if it ever came to be?

no man, just kill her. UNLESS she gets with the program and starts writing propaganda for the "movement"

Umm, OK, I'll put this proposition to her. But wait! In the meantime, whilst the family unit exists, yet I myself oppose the institution theoretically, how am I to resolve issues of loyalty and compassion for family members who are comrades, since in this particular scenario, the family is the closest thing to commradship that I have experienced? This political nihilism resembles a totalitarian system, it is definitely at opposite poles to what anarchism represents. What I'm asking is, isn't there a transitional state to political nihilism, surely one does not put even the pet dog against the wall because it is dependent on capitalist tinned dog food? Surely not! Granted, once there are no dissidents left within the nihilist camp after their execution, do political nihilists mellow out, or will we have to continue to sing the party tune? Also, will people be given licence to carry arms and distribute justice on a drunken whim? Just asking.

I really don't know how to explain these things to you. When life is sort of a low-rent woody allen movie, I'm sure there are a lot of things that are beyond comprehension.

Maybe it's about you re-evaluating your values, getting out of theoretical dramas which have been part of the mainstream, but also the alternative options. Basically anarchism takes care of itself if you are true to your heart, human nature is not inherently evil as the christians would have us believe, or the statist fascists that indoctrinate us wish us to believe, to create their dichotomy and use the fear it manufactures as a control mechanism,,,,..

hm, christians? you're probably trolling, but...it's not my style to pass off cliches like 'true to your heart' although I agree and I do have a very guarded faith in 'the world', and a tragic(ly romantic) sense myself. it has very little to do with christianity or (often even performative) naivete. hard for me to get with that whole train, maybe bc my grandfathers family all perished in the holocaust, and he and my father were those hard jews (that i suppose ol nihilo zero would call 'existentialist nihilists' or some nonsense) who henceforth rejected 'god' and 'he state'...that isn't cynicism, that is a hopeful act, opening to something better, yet guarded against fanatical madness and lies, which is not exclusive to any particular institution or faith ...

Yes true. Anyway I'm going to annihilate the clichés in my mind for a start, then work my way down through the layers ;)

nihilism does not negate life. nihilism refuses to sacrifice life in the name of an ever receding future or some grand platform. nihilism is a cleansing fire that leaves room for all the subtle and grand joys which make life worth living.

As nihilo-zero pointed out, what particular form of nihilism are you referring to? I think it must be the existentialist form, which is sacrificial of ones own ego and vanity. But having been there, knowing its circular motion, which brought me back to the starting point after the journey into the abyss, it ends up that the subtle and grand joys could have been had without the cleansing fire,,, there was after all the cleansing water which was always flowing, and rather than burn a bridge or swim against a current, one can flow and reach the same destination WITH an ego, with ones ubermensch. Sorry about the metaphors, I just find it easier to explain concepts this way, and I don't have to waffle on tediously with page long explanations which are in the tl;dr category.

And it returns again to the universal human current with the dazzling rays of crime that breaks up and sweeps away all the crystallized reality of the circumscribed world of the many in order to rise toward the ultimate ideal flame and disperse in the endless fire of the new.

An Haiku --

Crime is life
Holding off decay
The sparrow eats a worm

"One thing I noticed frequently throughout issue #111 was quite a bit regarding essentialist identity politics."

This makes it seem as if you are not very familiar with the project, or the space. As someone that has had passing involvement with both i can say that the long haul and the slingshot have long been run by the waxing and waning contribution of anarcho-punks, leftists and wing-nuts. I think its content has pretty consistently reflected that.

That "Black Bloc breaks windows..." piece is a horribly hostile and inaccurate garbage put forth from the perspective of a reactionary leftist. There are a ton of these types in the bay and its not surprising that their sentiment would work its way into the collectivist project of the slingshot.

The people that keep these projects going is informal and rotating so basically if anarchists aren't willing to step up and maintain the revolutionary integrity of the project it falls into the hands of shitty leftists and wing-nuts.

Thats my opinion.

yeah, that's true. slingshot has really never been good in the decade or so i've been familiar with their work.

what - magpie hasn't been purged yet? i don't believe it. then again, hiding behind the 'trans' label may have its benefits for reactionaries (ya think?)

Various theories have been advanced as to whether this was a form of ritualized prostitution or whether these women actually were, in fact, high priestesses. Regardless, it seems the ancient Hebrews, who were a nomadic, herding people, appeared to have had frequent trouble keeping their men out of these temples, in which, by succumbing to the temptations of these women ‘they simultaneously accepted the female deity — her fruit, her sexuality and, most important, the resulting matrilineal identity for any children...’ It is widely speculated that Eve, the ‘God-defying seductress,’ was a warning to all Hebrew men to stay away from the sacred women of the temples.

hookers are literally people too

Sooo Slingshot USED TO be "hardcore" but now they've gone soft. Funny, they've been soft chewy liberals for as long as I can remember.

everyone I know has been quietly ignoring the thing for 10 years. i thought it was something you used to soak up rotting fruit juice at the bottom of a cardboard box at food not bombs in people's park. one time I went to a house in eugene in 2001 and people were wiping their asses with Green anarchy magazine because there was no TP. who wants a copy of the summer 2008 AJODA? cuz I have like 30 of them.

slingshot IS rotting fruit juice at the bottom of a cardboard box at food not bombs in people's park.

haha. one winter i burned Fighting for our lives by the hundreds to stay warm. So to be fair that magazine was useful to me exactly twice in my life.

if anarchists actually gave a shit about anarchy, they would burn every infoshop to the ground FIRST.

except the CCC. that place was hard.

sounds like you have your priorities straight. prisons, police stations, immigration detention facilities, municipal buildings... infoshops. definitely enemy number one.

members of infoshop collectives are just as mired in a ridiculous subculture as those who call for burning them down are.

Were people wiping their asses with Green Anarchy magazine but then reading liberal and progressive stuff. That seems to be the type of stuff people read when I meet anti-green anarchy folks.

Can I I have a copy of AJODA? One of my favorite sources of anti-authoritarian lit

I don't agree with all (or even most) of Max's points in this article about where the April 30th action failed, but it was a shitty black bloc, as they go, and people should talk about where these actions fail and succeed. Proli cars got smashed and slashed, a low income apartment complex that is a part of a project (albeit by a non-profit) to keep working class/poor latin@ families from being pushed out of the Valencia area was spray painted up with "fuck this shit," and some other really piss poor targets were chosen, showing that a lot of the people who came to fuck with the gentrification process in the Mission knew ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about who actually lives where and what the hell is going on.

On the other hand, some really great targets were hit - a $100K car, beamer SUVs, bourgie art galleries, the police station, etc. Targets like that don't NEED a communique to say why people are smashing them up. If people had the discipline to think before they smash and not run up to cars with kids in them, swinging sticks and pulling back at the last minute or smashing beat up 90s model minivans, people would get it.

SF has had some really incredible black blocs and people should go back to the drawing board for a minute and start thinking about discipline and strategy before they continue to spiral downward into minor inconveniences and become a joke.

fair
prick up yr ears listen to this word RESPONSIBILITY and think - the real master owns themself and they actions just mealy mouthed limp wristed resentful slave minded fools go off on this juvenile trip that has fuck all to do with real STRENGTH and DIGNITY
check out what the guys of CONSPIRACY CELLS OF FIRE said in theyr public statement after the marfin bank fuck up in athens...
your not a victim your in a war and you can be a bitch or you can be RESPONSIBLE

"limp wristed" and "you can be a bitch" really? (aside from all the other ridiculousness in this comment)

Limp wristed bitches are some of the hardest motherfuckers I know in the Bay and they will fuck your shit up.

I'd say your critique of this particular black black brings up far more legitimate concerns without being nearly as condescending or counter-revolutionary as MaxCrosby's critique in Slingshot. Although I can't confirm or deny any of your specific points about this particular black bloc, or the degree to which they may be true, if such tactics are going to continue being used then it most likely wouldn't hurt to generally have more discipline and strategic focus in carrying them out.

I'm not from the area but I do know the black bloc is a pretty blunt instrument. If you need the critical mass of militants that allows the bloc to seize space in the streets for long enough to do a bit of damage, you probably can't afford to pick and choose your vandals in this part of the world. The fighters are few. Some of them have shitty analysis and will randomly smash anything in front of them because the only affinity you share is class rage.

It just seems strange to me to call for a black bloc and then complain that a riot wasn't executed with perfect grace and sensitivity to all concerned. If you want accountability or precision, you should do similar clandestine actions with smaller affinity groups who share more of your views.

I don't think I am calling for things to be executed with perfect grace, but I do think the critique stands. The action had some serious faults. It had some serious successes.

I didn't call for the action, by the way, and I think looking at it in hindsight and seeing how things could be better is a good idea. Of course you can't control who will smash what, and there is no real accountability, and that's just a thing we have to work with. If people have shitty analysis or just extremely poor knowledge of the area they're tearing up, the fact that there's no accountability or that black blocs don't have the capacity to be as organized here as in other countries doesn't mean we shouldn't acknowledge the need for better analysis, better knowledge of targets and more discipline and work on making that happen.

Particularly as we see that black blocs are being targeted again with a renewed passion by police and media for repression, and with grand juries on the horizon, having more successful and strategic black bloc actions is something that should be on our minds. People shouldn't be blocking up for just anything and putting themselves on the line for some dangerous bullshit that doesn't accomplish anything, we should be continually holding ourselves to a higher standard and getting better, harder, making a bigger impact, and thinking about how we as anarchists/insurrectos/nihilists/etc. define a successful action.

To say that the black bloc is just a blunt instrument of destruction is not really true (unless we let it be), and to me, saying so really invalidates it as a tactic. If we're serious, and not just playing smashy so we can tell our grandkids about the rev/insurrection that could have been, we should be engaging in critiques to refine the blunt instrument without trashing each other or condescending to each other.

I think you're undervaluing blunt instruments now. ;) It's not such a negative characteristic in my mind. Only a question of what sort of tools for what sort of job. I've been in black blocs that served almost every function I can think of. From anonymous pickets of neo-nazis to peaceful demos where the bloc acted as a deterrent to the cops grabbing people. But this demo was supposed to be an anti gentrification attack, right? Anyway, I don't even think we really disagree that much.

I don't think we do either. I agree that black blocs can serve lots of different functions, which is why I'd hesitate to refer to them as such a blunt instrument that we kind of just have to expect collateral damage. I just want to say one more thing, and that's that an anti-gentrification attack that inadvertently targets those being gentrified out of a neighborhood is a huge bummer.

this person doesn't give a fuck, they are on a tireless MISSION to eradicate beauty and truth from the world. i am now more convinced than ever...my initial critiques only become more and more profound.

lolwhut

How about letting the grandmothers plan/lead street demonstrations and the young men in black attire serving to protect the women from being beaten/seized/arrested by the cops?

Also, why do things like cars and shop windows have to be smashed? If it's physical vandalism you're dedicated to, glue in parking meters and locked public restrooms seems more nuanced. With a camera in every cell phone, why aren't the photos of every judge, prosecuting attorney, lazy greedy court assigned defense counsels, or cop being posting along with contact info/habits and identity?

Why aren't their conversations being monitored? It's not that hard. Most government offices still use land lines. Almost none are secured. No permission is required to record conversations with these aparatchiks in a public space. Instead of ceaselessly whining about the technology, why not embrace it and USE it instead of smashing it?

In an age of high quality printers, almost any document and many currencies can be created/duplicated. Today's state is totally dependent on documents, highly sophisticated but vulnerable technology, AND COOPERATION.

Place an ad (anonymously) in your local classified or on Craig's List advertising an Edsel on the cheap or even an Escort service with your favorite judge's/cop's/prosecutor's/corporate exec's/government flunky's phone #. Sign them up for a subscription to Hustler...or even your favorite Stalinist/Nazi rag. Photograph their vehicle with license # and post it. Photograph their house. Do some research...find out who their network of pals is and post the map of relations including a description of each if possible.

A dossier exists of each and every one of you. Why aren't you maintaining a similar database of your oppressors?

u sound like a fun date

i would subscribe to your newspaper.

No. the "fuck this shit" was specifically on the new condo development, when the march passed the housing project, people told the entire march what it was and not to hit it. this is obvious misinformation. The projects are across from 4 barrel which got lots of attention while the housing project was left alone.

I'm willing to admit to being mistaken about what development was hit, but it was my understanding that the new Mission Housing Coalition (or whatever it's called now) building was hit. If I'm mistaken, it's not deliberate. I didn't hear anyone tell anyone not to hit any projects. Doesn't mean it didn't happen, just means the entire march wasn't told.

Also, there are multiple projects on Valencia in that corridor - not just the ones across from 4 Barrel. They are just run by 501c3s and the like.

Isn't "Max Crosby" actually Kevin Keating in disguise?

that would not surprise me.

Yeah, I thought that was common knowledge in the bay area? Keating uses pseudonyms quotes himself in his various articles under different names. As for why anyone would publish a douchebag like that, comes with the territory of having an open platform and editors with weak analysis.

If anything it communicates the weaknesses of the collective process.
It can be a struggle to have consistently good content when your trying to reach consensus with people with different backgrounds and beliefs.

i blame eggplant for such things he has taken a strong roll within the group and has been trying to stop anything radical from happening within long haul or slingshot for some time now

Slingshot is always a mixed bag. Hating it because you disagreed with something in it is lazy.

They had a killer piece about New Orleans a couple years ago after the squat fire there, and then a few months ago there was an essay called 'I, Capitalist' that was reprinted here that was also really good. No publication is 100 percent solid gold all the time.

I appreciate that Slingshot published that piece about New Orleans, controversial as it was. It helped that Slingshot asked someone from New Orleans to write it, and it helped even more that that particular writer, Jules Bentley, has a killer analysis of the shit happening in his city.

Actually this article remains a good read for anyone who might be visiting New Orleans this winter:
http://slingshot.tao.ca/displaybi.php?0106003

...didn't mean to post that twice.

That article was alright: clear, pretty nicely written if a bit repetitive. But I don't know if I'd call it a 'killer analysis' ... basically she says that efforts by outsiders to change the city are usually misguided, emblematic of racism/imperialism, etc.

I feel like that should be pretty basic

Yes, it's always a good idea to silence feminists, and isolate writers from projects that might cast criticism on your 3rd wave reactionary anti-feminist rand racist program. Cheers. You're sad, sad people.

I'm not defending this article, which is crap; I'm defending what it stands for, which is nothing like what your hack job implies.

It's almost as good as giving Alice Notley "a real dressing down" in that hack review of Alette.

Anyway, it's been clear for quite some time that these kinds of projects aren't good places for actual dissenting thought, or safe places for beautiful executions of any kind. How sad; it forces people to become professionals....The people are not reliable on any plane--and yes, the analysis is beyond weak. This goes far beyond Sling Slot, which has unfairly been set up here to serve one dimwits ressentiment.

Hey Nihilo,

Is there a radical space in your area and, if so, are you working to make said space more radical ? I have an infoshop near me but its run by liberals, progressives, and marxists. They have anarchist zines, books, and magazines but the infoshop people are liberal fanatics.

Infoshops are such odd spaces. Usually tons of radical literature but the spaces are run by non-radicals. I've visited about a dozen infoshops and there's usually one anarchist surrounded by democrats and liberals in who runs the spaces.

WEIRD! Me too. Good call, I never really noticed that til now.

Infoshops are a paradox. I've found some really great books at my local Infoshop but damn the people are so moderate. I made a joke about a local politician and the Infoshop people defended the politician about them being a different democrat or some progressive nonsense. Take any Infoshop volunteer group and you get one anarchist out of half a dozen of the volunteers. I should know as I volunteered with one and my Anarchist views were contrary to the bland philosophies advocated by the rest of the people.

I originally was going to post a simplistic "Fuck all Infoshops" but, unfortunately, I have found some really great stuff at different infoshops over the years....reading material that I could not find online, at the library, or references from friends.

But, most people who are involved in infoshops are liberals who romanticize anarchism and other radical ideas. Sure, a confused but sincere anarchist will be involved in an infoshop or similar space...I feel bad for them (definitely not talking from personal experience....ok, i'm lying)

I think liberals who use infoshops to win over radicals to bland moderate ways of thinking.

"I think liberals who use infoshops to win over radicals to bland moderate ways of thinking.''

Hit it right on the nose. Most infoshops are dominated by liberals with an anarchist or two sprinkled in....

Yeah. Us liberals are real impressed by the circle-A-stripe of liberals. Must be that strong smell they emanate. And all that inactivity, too...

When I don't vote, I'm referred to as a "purist" by anarcho-liberals and anarcho-democrats.

yeah but you can get anything from interlibrary loan

bingbot goood thing!!!

Which stinky people are you talking about? This is anarchistnews.org, after all...

Slingshot still comes out? LOL

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