The majority of this podcast is devoted to discussing violence in various forms, in particular the practicalities and morality behind it. We have a varied set of viewpoints here, but by no means do we encompass the entire spectrum of anarchist thought on violence within this podcast, rather we attempt to cover most of it.
From It's Going Down
As the smoke from May Day clears we hear many people asking, why? Why did what happen, happen? We also hear many people throwing around baseless accusations and assumptions; it was a bunch of angry white men, there was no message, they weren’t really anarchists, it was just mindless vandalism. We are writing this to address some of this and to counter the narrative of the police, business owners, and main stream media. We cannot speak for everyone there, but as some participants we can speak for ourselves.
On May Day 2017, massive demonstrations against capitalism and state violence took place in Paris, France. Afterwards, sensationalistic footage circulated around the world of police being attacked with Molotov cocktails. Yet these video clips do not show the larger context. They do not show the intensifying police repression of French society as a whole, nor the police attacks that provoked such desperate acts of self-defense. In this report from France, our Parisian correspondents describe the events of the day and offer more background on the clashes.
From Running Wild
A MEMO FROM THE OFFICE (Contributed by another comrade in So-Called Australia)
Jobs Destroy Our Dreams
When I’m not at work I study the world. I read news articles and books, I listen to podcasts and I write my own articles and reflections. I practice music and I share music. I exercise and I go outside. I volunteer and try to help build a different world with other people. I dream of new possibilities for everybody and for myself.
A Report and How-To Guide from May Day in Portland, Oregon
On May Day 2017, anarchists participated in lively demonstrations all around the United States, from the heartland to the coasts. In the Northwest, Seattle witnessed a successful block party at the site of a juvenile corrections center, while in Olympia anarchists barricaded train tracks to oppose fracking and clashed with police. Support arrestees here. Yet Portland, Oregon may take the cake for the most creative and combative May Day. Demonstrators not only defended themselves from unprovoked attacks from police who declared the march a riot—they also introduced exciting new innovations into the aesthetic of the black bloc street presence. Here, comrades from Portland explain their goals with the giant spiders they created for May Day, and offer a helpful guide for those who wish to make spiders of their own.
Events like May Day are a temperature check for the collective hive mind of the left reflecting on the year behind them. Because it is a tradition that skates back more than a hundred years, it rarely stands out as the most pressing of days, mainly because it is part of a regular organizing cycle. Good years or bad losses, May Day comes on the same day.
Portland Police Bureau declares a riot.
Little Beirut was on fire this May Day. For one hot minute, at least.
Portland's annual organized labor marches have also become a recurring excuse for confrontation between the heavily geared-up Police Bureau and masked anarchists known as the "Black Bloc," who this year dragged newspaper boxes onto the light-rail tracks to make a bonfire, and traded projectiles with riot police—Pepsi cans and smoke bombs going one direction, and noise grenades the other.
From Gods & Radicals - by RHYD WILDERMUTH
It is the first of May.
For Pagans, witches, and druids, this is Beltane, a celebration of the beginning of summer observed almost continuously in much of the European world for centuries.
For Marxists, Anarchists, and revolutionaries of all sorts, it is international workers’ day, a commemoration of the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago which birthed a modern uprising against Capitalism and the police state.
Mayday, to the anarchists, is a holiday of remembrance. Perhaps you’ve heard the communists and liberals say that it’s a celebration of the eight-hour workday. I suppose it’s that too. But for me, it’s a holiday to remember when the State put anarchism itself on trial. In 1886, the line was drawn and the US radicals lost their innocence; the illusion of “free speech” and free association was shattered. Let that illusion never re-form.
Snapshots from the History of May Day
May Day is one of the days on which anarchists celebrate self-determination and self-realization. People have lit bonfires to mark the end of winter for thousands of years; it wasn’t until industrialization forcibly disconnected people from the land base that nourished them that May Day came to be observed as a labor holiday. At base, May Day isn’t about labor: it’s about abundance. It’s about excess, pleasure, freedom—the burgeoning source of life itself. As a millennia-old holy day honoring the return of spring, May Day directs our thoughts to nature—a wild and beautiful chaos that flows through us and nourishes us, which we can enjoy but never control. Our joyous acts of rebellion do not point to a world in which workers are paid a little better for their labor, but to the possibility that we could sweep away all the forms of oppression that stand between us and the tremendous potential of our lives.