USA: Property Destruction Is Not Enough

  • Posted on: 10 September 2019
  • By: thecollective

From Anathema Volume IV Issue V, September 2019 via Anarchists Worldwide

After Ori Feibush’s house was vandalized in late July, conversations sparked again in Philly about whether the attack constituted violence whether it was justified. Feibush – the widely-hated founder of OCF Realty, who for many years has been shamelessly spearheading the gentrification of Point Breeze – has few defenders, which presents the opportunity for one of the better dialogues communicating why targeted property destruction might be happening and why it might be effective.

The conversation about this latest OCF vandalism – in which most people commenting online reacted positively to the news – was heartening. It suggested that something has qualitatively changed in how people are understanding property destruction and why it makes sense. In the long battle over this topic in this country, which from my vantage point has been raging since Occupy Wall Street, perhaps we have finally gained some ground.

But if we’re gaining ground in one battle, it’s probably because we’re quietly losing in another, more important one. If we’re finally winning the conversation about property destruction, maybe it’s partly because it is no longer relevant.

Before the Trump era – especially during the Clinton and Bush years, when the world seemed to have reached a global consensus that capitalism and the nation state were awesome – property destruction was especially dangerous to power in that it disturbed the social peace, serving as a reminder that things were not in fact awesome at all. As Trump took hold of the state, grassroots white supremacists also gained power, and anti-authoritarian struggles became focused on countering their presence in the streets. This has made discussions of physical violence relevant again for the first time in decades. Yet give the opportunities this has presented for us to put forth various ideas about violence, it seems like we’ve accomplished disappointingly little regarding this important topic.

Instead, we’ve arguably lost some ground by ceding the conversation to “self-defense” justifications of physical violence and by discussing violence almost exclusively with regard to people whom internet leftists like to call “Actual Nazis.” It is not a radical discussion to think punching a nazi is okay, and it is not a victory that after much internet discussion we’ve gotten many people to take up this non-radical position. While conversations about why and how we’re fighting white supremacists are important, the exclusive focus on discussing violence against grassroots racists is conveniently derailing us from talking about what kind of violence might be necessary and appropriate against the people who are actually in power.

Today power is in a state of crisis that I have not seen in my lifetime. Global capitalism is in search of a lifeline it may not find; the climate is already spiraling out of human control, with genocidal consequences. We have a president who is unprecedentedly unpopular with at least half of the population, which in turn reflects the increasing polarization of the country between left and right as capitalism and the state increasingly fail us all. As things become more extreme, this means we and other people who lean anti-authoritarian will be up against racist militias, who are often military-trained and organized to respond to crisis scenarios. Right now it’s hard to imagine our side winning such fights, and we need to talk about how to do more to move towards not being immediately crushed by white supremacists in a crisis or collapse scenario.

And what about the kind of violence, death, and destruction that will likely happen in the course of liberation? It seems like many people genuinely think that radical electoral politics will gradually move us closer to revolutionary transformation. Others – maybe some of the same people – believe that mass social movements will develop to such an extent that physical violence will be negligible in the revolution they will eventually produce. These outcomes seem highly unlikely, if only because the state seems willing to do almost anything rather than lose power. But those of us who want to get rid of the state – and all kinds of power over others – rarely discuss, whether ethically or practically, how we imagine dealing with the kind of violence that will be necessary for an insurrection or revolution to spread or succeed.

It is especially rare that this conversation leaves the realm of ethics and enters into practicalities. Anarchist attempts to take up physical violence against power have a long history, including in this country – from assassinating presidents to shooting up corporate bosses. What can we learn from the strategies and tactics of the past? And what about other people who get caught up in the crossfire of insurrectionary violence? Avoiding such conversations in order to appeal to liberals and leftists isn’t doing us any favors – it just adds to the impression that many of us do not really want to deal with the problems involved with enacting violence.

As anti-authoritarians, we often get stuck in dialogues with other that keep us stuck in limited, reactive mode – for example, all the conversations in which we are asked to defend our vast and unrealistic critiques of the system. How can we be more intentional about what we want to be talking about and what ideas do we want to be spreading? Let’s not be afraid to challenge the questions themselves and change the terms of the conversation – which like everything else are convenient for power.

Let’s also consider what we’re capable of and what we can each contribute to stopping this system of power – or at least parts of it – before its genocidal effects make these hypothetical questions about violence posed to anarchists completely irrelevant. Some of us may focus on attack; some of us might focus on developing skills and infrastructure that will keep each other safer and healthier as attack succeeds and/or the system we’re fighting deteriorates. Let’s point our skills and passion towards liberation.

Responses to any of the questions or ideas brought up in this opinion piece are welcome! Write to anathemaphl(at)riseup(dot)net

(From Anathema Volume IV Issue V, September 2019)

Note from Anarchists Worldwide: The photo accompanying this article was randomly sourced from the internet and is used for illustrative purposes only – it did not accompany the original version of this article.

Comments

revolutions and insurrections is the business of national armies, mercenaries, intelligence agencies, and corporations.

other than that, it’s pipe dreams.
target shooting and assemblies, or super duper top secret meetings, will not save you.

you are alone, not one will follow you into the attack.

But those things are made of people, right?

Therefore ... The stupid would be in the failing to build capacity before attempting to do the do?

No, the stupid would be not to....use this opportunity to bait senileoldtroll into a chat! ; P
If we were together, we would be unstoppable! ; )

I'd like to hear your honest answers to the questions in the article above.
I was considering doing so to, maybe even mailing them to the address they posted.

In a world without the Amazon forest, how do the answers look?
A developer's house gets messy?

I don't think there's much you can achieve in terms of effectiveness of "strategies and tactics". I think the most you could hope for with "more than property destruction" is carrying out your tacticool yolo rowdy backflip successfully, enjoying it, not regretting it, and not getting caught.

I'd love to think otherwise, I'd love to be dragged by the hand into the fucking meeting (and possibly taken to be shot in the back in a vacant lot, mr. informant).

No really, I need you to be real and not an illusion.

But if you're not doing it "mr.tru believer", "mr. it can be done, and i know how", then who do you think is?!!!

Was the possibility of what you imagine even there in the first half of the 20th century? Is it here now?

All I know is there's a lot of talented people at fun things like hacking and "more than property destruction".
Most of them are bought and or uninterested in the kind of shennanigans you might like.
Look at all the defcon conferences. All that knowledge is put to what use? Loss prevention at companies, giving a clue to the government.

Those who want the most bloodshed are already getting in their gallons, and cheering on the debacle of the status quo.

I swear, please share all your ideas, i won't even mock them.

the will not go far. the state is so good at stomping opposition that it even has to make it up in order to justify its bloated apparatuses and over-funded over-supplied over-staffed agencies. no real opposition exists, so they prop up any mirage of visible clowns to create the image and the narrative of an enemy. they play whackamole with themselves.

daily there are car crashes in highways and the resulting traffic jam is part of the daily normal business of things, so are the ever more frequent natural disasters. any insurrection that is conceivable and viable will not amount to more disruption than either of those things.

the forest fires in California and the Amazons and the hurricanes are more costly and disruptive to the state than any shennanigans some little group could have come up with and yet they are part of their business as usual. the technologies they (gov and corps) fund, the bubbles they inflate and pop, the market crashes, are all more disruptive than anything you or i could dish out! and that's just what they do in order to make their system work! it works because of all that, not despite of it!
yes, this is all an abstraction! im abusing the exclamation mark! this post could have used a few drafts and edits!

i've been having a bad few days

Lol sorry to hear about your bad days but how can I possibly respond to that? We'd have to spend hours discussing if we even want the same things, for starters?

And I'm always trapped on these sorts of topics only because discussing them on public forums with strangers is obviously a stupid and pointless thing to do.

I can't tell you how or why not to despair, only strongly recommend that despair is just as useless and objectively worse for your headspace? *shrug emoji*

i can be pretty flexible with "what i want" with regards to this topic/type of discussion because it depends on the desires, interests, needs, skills, willingness, commitment, trust, personality chemistry, affinity etc. of the other people who would be involved. we all have our boundaries, but i guess everyone has to bend a bit to accommodate each others limits and let their best aspects shine.

i've never even gotten far beyond the premise (that would come up by accident, and i would have to pretend to be uninvested in the topic, to see how it plays out, not revealing more than what each is saying, only going as far as they take the convo. furthest i've gone is how the most eager seem to think things through the least, and those who do think things through a bit more don't do shit, plus other people suggesting a kind of prepping that is not individualist, actually kinda lowkey foodbanking for more than just your household, storing cans from here and there) with anyone.

discussing it for hours could be nice, depending on the discussion right? obviously public internet forum with strangers might be literally the worst medium. but why not? it's not as if we're actually going to do it, right?

I might be suggesting to you that finding these relationships IRL is probably the only thing worth investing in at all.

I'm a big believer in how the main problem is we all just keep sitting at the slot machine, expecting our hopes and dreams to shoot out on the next pull.

That said, yes. Statistically, stupid people are reckless and smart people paralyze themselves, thinking too much. Both of these are common disappointments I've found lol

i agree.

one caveat: i do not insist on making the qualification that those who are brash and reckless are stupid, and those who think and wait are smart. the opposite is just as common.

some reckless acts that seem underwhelming to some expecting something more spectacular require a resourcefulness and fast thinking that what is accounted for in first impressions. when smart people get locked up or killed for acting without delay, it's often without a silver lining. poetic attempts to make their efforts seem like more than brave mistakes are like adding insult to injury to me. most people that think a lot, like academics, are very stupid.

fortune favors the brave, there is a wisdom at work in body in movement, there's also a beauty in waiting, beauty fades, truisms and idioms suck

I said - statistically - damnit!

J/k

I think I agree with your views, anon 14:54, tho you are talking in very general and uninvested terms, so you're halfway into making sense. Providing examples for what it means to you, that should make it clearer.

It can be probuctive to be more anecdotal, afaik security culture allows.

what do you mean by that? give me an example maybe

by the way, i was just about to reread this and give a serious shot at answering some these questions sincerely for myself

As far as I know, guns are pretty easy to acquire in Uruguay, that is a country bordering with Brazil... .I just wonder why the FAI types over there instead resorted to noise bomb tactics n other petty shit. At least if they'd put some houses of farmers or mercenaries on fire...

Not meaning to moralize or expect others to "do it better"... just wondering. Oh and where's ITS when we need their murderous tactics? Or aren't they just around for shooting at rando armless, hardly-related civilians? Or just some fake bullshit?

On the other hand, most insurrections and revolutions in history were not due to State forces, even is some were used by these. The CIA knows how to start insurrections yet they'll fail at having a properly autonomous movement that doesn't rely on suspicious from-behind funding and manipulators.

You are likely another Infowars dupe who, just like his communist enemies, believes in the omnipotence and omniscience of central governments, in how only *they* can bring about an insurrection. Go read a few books, now, son, and come back to us in a few months.

haha, no, i'm not that.
i just feel like provoking those who i'd like to discuss with, to make them come out of the woodwork, as they rarely bother by just the prompt of the article for example.
i've read books, no winning recipe in them.
it just shows that carnage is just more of the same status quo, nothing liberatory about it.
to think outside the box, you gotta somehow get out of the box or take a peek out of it or uh...
metaphors suck.
so i don't think that gov is omnipotent, but an opponent does not need to be omnipotent in order to have an almost insurmountable advantage over you. underestimating or minimizing the odds does you no service.
sincerity with regards to you limitations is a good starting point. now imagine something that's never been imagined before.

revenge vs disruption

creating a window of opportunity vs making the best of an opportunity

four distinct scenarios or goals that may overlap. which is your positioning within them? that will determine priorities and focus.

are you set to harm someone, or to stop the functioning of a business or an institution?

are you making chaos so that many can live a moment of freedom or are you prepared to use a moment of chaos as a distraction to achieve a goal (like looting, delivering, freeing someone, traveling across a place, escaping, placing something, i dunno)?

in reality, you who are reading this at this moment are not doing and will not do either of these things.

what is the thing that you want to look like your doing, or fool others or yourself that you have the intention or the repressed fantasy of doing?

(say with gruff mean voice) "more than property destruction means we mean business" grrrrr

what are you getting out of it? the posture i mean? what has the author done besides a weak premise for a discussion only demented fools take to their ultimate consequences?

tom nomad has babbled about disrupting policing. how long would you want to disrupt policing in an area how big? for what?
you can't keep it up indefinitely? how long is enough if it's just for show? is the priority not getting caught or stretching it as much as possible at the near certainty of getting caught or killed?

nihilists attacks are like firecrackers with serious face.

when there's a storm or power goes out are you ready to loot? have you honed a prankster and mischievous mindset to make the most out of any slip up you might come across, any opportunity for a pickpocket, a grab, a hit and run, a suckerpunch, a tire slash, a flick of switches, a placing of locks, etc more can be said?

no online "anarchist" lives like this, it's used used as rhetorical device, the few who try it out once, end up in jail, then dead, and then in books

better double up on nurturance culture and non-violent communication, because your macho pipe dreams are going nowhere

There's none between disruption and revenge. It can be two moments in a same process... revenge can be gained through disruptions, or at least partly.

But revenge is not to avoid! Imo it's a necessary aspect of all anarchistic relations, as it is assuming the social role monopolized by the cops in society, being basically a revenge predatory force. Accountability processes... Call outs... they're useful only at further adjusting and improving a more totalitarian society.

Revenge, retaliation, are measures for a world of free relations. If ills or abuse is committed against someone, vengeance is what can set the records straight. It is authentically a liberating feeling when you successfully avenge yourself, but creeping trials are only sowing more resentment and helplessness. Politely arguing with your enemy, even yelling at him, won't do much but also make you weaker. You gotta break him, make him bleed, feel pain... figuratively or not.

i was not placing dichotomies, i said they could overlap.
the choice is along the lines of priorities because of time and resources constraints, and in order to have clearer goals and avoid distractions.

there was not in this case, any moral consideration.

i agree what you said about revenge,
but it’s not more than poetics.
it’s as unrealistic to think that we can all get along, to think that we can give everyone their comeuppance.

there are only so many hours in a day, and a well executed revenge could even consume a lifetime.
when all things are considered, maybe you’d rather do something else with your time.

NOTHING scares these pigshits more than having the fight come to their homes where they think they are safe. A single spot of paint on the window of their house probably hurts more than having every window of their office smashed to bits. After all, it sends the "we know who you are, bronze!" message. I still remember how fast the Bank of NY and Bank of America dumped Huntingdon Life sciences after someone sank the B of NY CEO's fucking yacht back in 2001.

" A single spot of paint on the window of their house probably hurts more than having every window of their office smashed to bits." LMFAO Ressentiment creates such hilarious stuff.

Drawback:

You might get wrong house (person could've moved, be renting it, or they don't actually live there)

Offices are harder to miss or confuse plus actually disrupt their daily operations, and message is clearer, seems less like a petty personal vendetta.

Plus maybe they won't even notice the spot of paint on their window (which is certainly less than property destruction, unless it's something more as in something else entirely, like perhaps a prank, a curse, a Rorschach test? what kind of things can a spot of paint be construed as?).

Which is more surveilled or less guarded?

I don't know, but BOTH ARE ILLEGAL. DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME (OR OFFICE).

Rorschach test 1 on anarchist activist.----
Subject was shown an ink blot which resembled a spot òf paint on the window of a capitalist's house, and he described what it resembled was a major attack upon the military industrial complex of the capitalist State.

Which connects to reality of how things happen irl, but that's also a high-risk bet. There's so many variables to take into consideration and I don't think the graffiti anarchos have a supercomputer at their disposal for these calculations... or if they calculate at all beyond chess games.

But that's the thing... corporate offices are not like a private yacht or secondary residence. Even with attack against property there's hotter and colder targets.

and when you're objectively far weaker than your enemy, fukin with their heads is a great way to punch above your weight. they'll tend to overreact so it's like fishing with dynamite, fair warning. that just happened in ontario with the mayor of hamilton and awhile back with tucker carlson too

Thing is... Insurrectos who really wanna stick it to The Man shouldn't be hanging out too close to activis analysis. Where the latter focuses always on the mere storefronts of their enemy, insurgents are about overthrowing/breaking/destroying them. Such was the original meaning of "direct action" before it got dissolved into dumb activism, long ago.

Yachts, resorts and villas can be quite easy to attack, but you gotta do some investigation and infiltration work to get there... Which is also part of the fun!

My biggest content lies in finding a solid enough conviction/motivation to get all the way there. I think that when looking back at the SHAC movement, we should be looking more into what has DRIVEN these people into doing this stuff, than the power and effectiveness of their tactics. The "morale of the troops" is a central catalyst, the tactics are just consequential of the driving narrative.

"contention", not "content", lol

"We?!"

Yep he's gonna unite all you individual loser schmucks into one unified "We" and then parade you down the mainstreet with banners and slogans pinned to your free t-shirts.

Fantastic tag for t-shirts! Printing them already, Mr. Tuffboi. Yours will be free of charge, darling.

Whoa! My mistake... I meant by that, "most visitors of this site, and the anarcho non-visitors, except LeWank, SE, and most likely YOU too".

> "I think that when looking back at the SHAC movement, we should be looking more into what has DRIVEN these people into doing this stuff, than the power and effectiveness of their tactics. "

Isn't it pretty clear what drove people in SHAC to do what they did?

Why did the later educated youths went on the bullshit PETA bandwagon (during our current decade)? The cause that was driving them was roughly the same, if I'm not mistaken.

So Weber keeps kicking back. Rationality of action wasn't the same? The culture wasn't the same? Just a context thing? I just ain't sure that the rationale of action dictates the tactics employed.

There is a solid argument for defending the other oppressed species, and the one I found is how these creatures have little understanding of what's happening to them, and have little means to defend themselves against it. From this realization, you can come up with a plethora of front lines and tactics. Or praxis.

But now Novatore's gonna hate me...

I wish i had links..but I am sure there exists interviews and other material from SHAC people that went to prison talking about why they chose the tactics they did.

I would be willing to bet one of the reasons is disillusionment from being involved in similar PETA tier activity you described and realizing it doesn't get anywhere or _FEEL_ like it gets anywhere.

I am sure you are aware there are usually more radical elements and more liberal, reformist, etc elements to any movement or whatever. So while there are the PETA kids of this decade you bemoan, there are also still ALF actions happening, or even things like Direct Action Everywhere...

Direct action on behalf of _the_animals_ also seems like a less messy endeavor in a lot of ways than a lot of the politics around uhhh "human liberation". Besides most people thinking you are fucking insane for your animal activism/philosophy. And then there's the whole single issue nature of it...

I don't know, sorry for the shotgun approach to commenting :p

Someone needs to do a model like in "Limits of Growth" but call it "Limits of Revolt".
Input things like "more than property destruction" and how much more is more, and try to derive the effects.

Carlos Margarita (see how clever i mock to avoid misspelling, or looking it up?), just to mention a someone, wrote a thing, and died like an old fart, with a toot.
But interesting the considerations that are alluded to on paper, not quantified or really arranged and planned for, but alluded to, much more than many do.
Most don't even consider that much, and that's a pathetic example, that shines in absence of much at all.

But what about pirates?

WE need to look at what motivates each individual pirate in exhaustive detail, then distill that in to a perfect formula for MAKE TOTAL PIRATE DESTROY. WE will then owe our pirate gratitude to fauvenoir yaHAR?

And not seeking any pirate celebrity. "Rationality of action", dude. Look it up. It's more than just about causes. A rationale represents the entire spectrum of some people's motivations into joining some initiative. Just by looking at the causes you stay at the surface level, and it ain't very efficient at understanding the movements we witness or take part in.

i'm anon too!

i didn't understand all that jumble of words the first time, but i did the second time i read them.

watchu a snob? what's this talk of pirates?

who said anything about pirates? i was talking about this guy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Marighella
dammit, you made me look for it.
he wrote a thing, also did a yolo and died

I asked you about pirates, since your comment was way vague... also how did Marighella died like an "old fart"? His death within the context of a personal war on the regime was nowhere near what I'd describe as dying like an old fart in some residential home or something. I think your comment would have needed more clarity so that pirates be kept at bay on the high seas! Ahoy!

i often offhandedly denigrate people i lowkey admire, projecting self-loathing onto them. they are only more successful failures.
it was only a remark on his age. he would have been more agile had he done that younger. there is more information elsewhere, but even if you can learn from it, there is an undeniable pathetic element.

i find the juxtaposition of the book selection and the guns very puzzling

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