CrimethInc. on the Current Wave of Uprisings

  • Posted on: 31 December 2019
  • By: thecollective

From IGD

On this episode of the It’s Going Down podcast, we present a recording of a talk given by a member of the CrimethInc. collective at the Humboldt Anarchist Bookfair outside of Eureka, California. They discuss how struggles in contemporary times are not just a two side struggle between labor and capital, or even, the anarchists vs the State, but now against rebellious populations, the State’s police, and also far-Right autonomous forces, along with recuperative Left elements.

From the description:

Once upon a time, anarchists saw ourselves as engaged in a two-sided struggle between the common people and the institutions of power. Today, as the future of neoliberalism becomes uncertain, we are increasingly finding ourselves in three-way fights that pit us against both the reigning authorities and far-Right nationalists driven by their own vision of civil war.

How do we strategize for conflicts that involve three or more sides, so that one adversary does not benefit from our victories against another side? This has been a problem for anarchists at least since the Russian Revolution.

In this presentation, we will introduce the concept of non-binary conflict, consider case studies of contemporary three-sided conflicts around the world, and discuss how this can inform our struggles against fascists, the Trump administration, and the centrists of the Democratic Party.

More Info: Crimethinc.com, CrimethInc. interview with It’s Going Down looking back at 2018, Humboldt Bookfair website.

Music: Tragedy “The Ending Fight,” and From Ashes Rise, “The Final Goodbye”

Comments

n ur invited

Still cringe so hard every time I fail to click past the intro fast enough. It's been YEARS but it's still so fresh!

i post-ironically enjoy both intros so much that exaggeratedly meme whip to them and pantomime the lyrics XD

"I'd love to have a conversation with yawl…" applause....end of recording.

After introducing himself as merely a participant of crimethink, he goes on to briefly describe CT, just in case some normies in the audience of Humboldt anarchist book fair (!) haven't heard of it.

Then after somewhat immodestly boasting of publishing for about a quarter of a century, he announces that CT is an informal network stretching out around the globe facilitating dialogue between social movements in different parts of the world. Yet CT bills itself as a Decentralized Network, and indeed, the speaker later goes on to claim allegiance to that very principle of decentralization. Oh well, I suppose mediation does not necessarily imply a center, although CT certainly does seem to be such.

One get's the impression upon listening to this lecture that the legitimacy of an anarchist outlook is to only be measured by its proximity to, or participation in, social movements and struggles, rather than maneuvering within and/or without the waves of historical change that more or less outstrip the scale and influence of anarchist social movements (TM). Furthermore the condition of the later are assumed to be strong enough to grapple with a three-way-fight, as three or more interested social elements vie for control globally.

Not to worry though, for the answer to the problems of social movements and struggles are...you guessed it!...more social movements and struggles globally! Just keep gazing through the insect eyes of the global lens, as you stumble about to organize and ready yourselves to and jump into the fray to save the day! And also everyone remember this great slogan (29:59) the "struggle within the struggle IS The Struggle"!

Finally, if "the kind of activity, the kind of protest tactics that we have employed as anarchists don't necessarily identify people as our allies" (32:30) and if "we can imagine fascists appropriating many of the tactics that we have developed", then why persist in participating in a network that obsessively and repetitiously promotes an aesthetic, or even a strategy, that glamorizes street-based struggles (or even the more legitimately sounding "social movements") as the end-all and be-all of anarchist expression?

I don't speak on behalf of CT obviously but my short answer to your critique is about visibility, rather than "legitimacy". This is the old canard of 90s era insurrectionary anarchism, isn't it? Not completely misguided, more a messy result of trying to walk a knife-edge of open conflict with the state and not just immediately getting killed lol

I don't really disagree with much you said but should we blame all of these shortcomings on one radical publishing platform that's stuck around awhile? On the fact that marginal political tendencies only tend to reach beyond their isolation through visibility? Is this even a failing or just a reality of power (or lack thereof)?

Lots of anarchist projects don't achieve much visibility because they prefer to keep low profiles, which is often preferable! Certainly doesn't make them less legit to me.

I agree SOT.
I declare Crimethinc, LBC, anews and IGD (even sub.media, or autonomies blog, list goes on) successes, with no ambiguity nor irony implied. They are real and can be critiqued and shit-talked all day long. Their merits and qualities are often taken for granted or ignored. You don't know what you have until it's gone.

heh! probably the best measure of anarchist legitimacy; tidal wave of shit-talk followed by quiet acknowledgement that your project was pretty rad once it's gone.

"I don't really disagree with much you said but should we blame all of these shortcomings on one radical publishing platform that's stuck around awhile? On the fact that marginal political tendencies only tend to reach beyond their isolation through visibility? Is this even a failing or just a reality of power (or lack thereof)?"

I don't see them as shortcomings or as failings necessarily. They seem more deliberate than that, or at least it's obvious that they choose their words very carefully.

"Lots of anarchist projects don't achieve much visibility because they prefer to keep low profiles, which is often preferable! Certainly doesn't make them less legit to me."

I don't recall criticizing "visibility" or the legitimacy of CT in this context (you inverted what I was saying about legitimacy and how not sharing CT's view may call that into question for others). I imagine that a certain amount of visibility is fine, but that gets into activism and activists strategies for promoting a project which is a different and beyond me, and not for me to judge.

No, you didn't criticize visibility. My point was if I shift the emphasis from your word to mine, then most of what CT has been doing makes sense, coming from their legacy-of-the-90s position, etc. So what was your point about legitimacy then? You feel that CT gatekeeps it or something?

The slogan of the struggle is the struggle of the slogan!

One get's the impression upon listening to this lecture that the legitimacy of an anarchist outlook is to only be measured by its proximity to, or participation in, social movements and struggles...

Indeed, this is the perspective of functional grown-ups. Sorry to harsh your vibe, dude.

Are these "functional grown-ups" not capable of thinking for themselves, or do the social movements assign them their 'functions' to fulfil? Or does the CT network determine these functions? Does the "facilitation of dialogue" within THE NETWORK become the social fabric, or the curtains which obscures the would-be anarchistic content therein, as THE NETWORK positions itself center stage? Do activists really act, or it merely a performance?

So you'd rather that a presentation had not taken place? I guess that would really facilitate dialogue more effectively, huh?

So the facilitation was all about the presentation....got it!

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