The Future of 'Return Fire'

  • Posted on: 29 November 2019
  • By: thecollective
The Future of 'Return Fire'

The Future of 'Return Fire' (& vol.5 chapterised along with old volumes, vol.6 and vol.7 themes announced, submissions and collaboration invited, website launched) – U.K./international

Samhain, 2019

Welcome to our latest update of workings in the world of Return Fire, where we are still determined to bring you our thoughts and selections of theory, actions, reviews, poems, conversations, history, interviews, criticism, announcements and repression news – feeling our way towards anarchisms that indigenise. We will proceed in a fairly unorthodox (to anarchists) way, and one that despite the cynicism of our days we will try not to be embarrassed by, however trite it may seem (to those same anarchists).

1. Acknowledgments and Gratitude

We thank and acknowledge the various powers, processes and entities with which we find affinity, that house us in this world. At this turning of the wheel, we contemplate the boundaries stretching and flexing between the known and the unknown, the familiar and the strange, the imaginal and the dream. We thank everything we feed from (whatever toxicities it has been through to end up in the form it often reaches us in), and everything we will sooner-or-later go on to feed. From the seas to the cliffs, from the lichens to the wildflowers, from the heron to the bat, to our human families and collaborators, and the ancestors (also of our path and our place) for their various lessons, protections and warnings – we even acknowledge our enemies for the advice we find within the hostility provoked between us. We also acknowledge that we are here and writing from within a dense meshwork of energy exchanges, relations of care and support, and enablement that comes from people (of all species and forms) near and far to us in our everyday lives. Whether or not they share (all) our goals or tensions, this project is (also) in a state of becoming because of them.

2. The Project So Far

We completed the first volume of Return Fire in early 2013 (followed by its online version by the end of that year, which has continued to accompany each release it its own timeframe). Return Fire started as fanzine of comprehensive non-leftist (and non-rightist) anarchism as it stands in this decade; with heavy anti-civilisation leanings, but with an awareness of its origins beyond this.

While the initial hope was to publish offline reports from ongoing local and international struggles and to fill the gap left here in the U.K. by latter-day Do or Die journal for a long-form and eclectic eco-centric anarchist publication of theory and reflection, other obvious influences – especially in the action listings they would throw in – were the now-deceased U.S.-based Green Anarchy papers (though unfortunately the only thing Return Fire convincingly emulates thus far of their beautifully layed-out pages is their density!) and, initially, the unabashed conflictivity of 325 magazine (now seemingly discontinued too).

Now, we feel that the relationship between our later releases and the above currents (activism, anti-civilisation theory, insurrectionism and/or armed strugglism) has grown in nuance and qualifications, as we tried to engage (often through these pages) with colonialism, counter-insurgency, spirituality, converging technologies, hetero-patriarchy and environmentalism, and more, in both their legacies and continuities.

We’ve hosted new articles on ‘personality disorder’ diagnosis here in the U.K., anarchist practices of attack as they actually play out in our daily lives, smart city infrastructure and philosophy as it arrives in an English city, moments of conflict during previous generations on these isles, the industrial degradation of everything we know and love, poetry as a means to continue our visionary anarchic path, and more. We’ve brought out translations from territories in struggle as well as those languishing in capitalist normality, on the friends and enemies that comrades meet on our paths, and those reflecting on the macro-processes of state-building and state-avoidance as well as on the many mouldings and separations that we experience in the world today at the most intimate level. We have kept some writings that we considered classics (from anti-industrial manifestos, to situationism, to anarchist critiques of ecologists, to the Machete school of Italian insurrectionalism) in circulation in our editions, and sampled current theory and reportage (whole or in extracts) from forest gardens in Japan, barricades in Greece, bedrooms, prisons and workplaces from one side of the globe to another. As well as these texts we occasionally include the more interesting end of internet commentary exchanges on relevant topics… and, of course, a whole lot of action reports.

While a big part of our project is bringing material from the rest of the English-speaking world to our U.K. readership, also the reverse is true: hence we’ve hosted materials we picked from other U.K. print publications (from Affinity to Dark Nights), street-level intervention texts from Random Anarchists of London or by Wayne Spenser, and selections from U.K. web projects like Rabble, The Black Plume, The Acorn, or Fire on the Horizon.

We have tried to keep our beloved more-than-human cousins present in these pages, whether as subjects for medicinal or culinary interaction, exploration of the ways their often-unruly lives unfold, exposure of threats to them (and so to us too), mythical or imaginal significances they hold to us (and also some pitfalls of the above!), and so on.

When printing words by prisoners or news of their cases, we choose either situations with significant implications for the cycles of contestation they are connected to, or those we feel a particular affinity to: sometimes because their cases are still actively evolving and sometimes not. We do not try to do an information bulletin that is in any way to be relied upon as up-to-date, like those you can find online. But those cases we feature, we try to commit to continue updating on volume-to-volume.

We have also released (and will continue to release) works of selected non-anarchists when it has suited us, including polytheistic anti-capitalists, various ecologists, lootings from our raids into academic archives, indigenous folk who may or may not hold affinities with our project, and some poets of romanticism.

We are products of the (soon sadly to be bygone it seems) do-it-yourself underground ethic, and unapologetic about our style – we emphasise what we liked on any particular page regardless of the original, and we strip most referencing out of the few more academic (or academic-leaning) sources we take from, to let the arguments stand naked to be assessed by anyone regardless of whether they have access to privileged sources (i.e. paid-for journal access etc.). For similar reasons, in our referencing we don’t follow conventions that arise from academia, and when including material from those sources we try to balance it with addition of our own notes, explanations, and sidebars arising from street-level struggles and non-academic theorists, to keep referring it back to a fight within our own hands.

We don’t doubt have we been accused of conscripting work of those we’ve extracted texts from into our agenda (some of them *gasp* not even anarchists!) when surely disagreements exist between us. We are transparent on that topic, and are fine with that.

3. What’s New?

We are now hosting this website where you can download our publications. This now includes new, chapterised versions of the previously-released volumes 1–5 of Return Fire, allowing for printing and distribution as batches of smaller magazines and/or with specific themes in mind. This would be a good point to offer our sincere thanks to the counter-information projects that have previously hosted our publications for us; including (but not limited to) actforfree.nostate.net, anarchistnews.org, contrainfo.espiv.net, and 325.nostate.net.

We are honoured to have learned that a German-language book Die Smartifizierung der Macht (‘The Smartification of Power: contributions to an offensive against the technological network’) includes a new translation of our essay-supplement to volume 4, ‘Caught in the Net’, as well as the previously-translated ‘Smarter Prison?’ that we had put out.

In other news, more texts that have appeared in Return Fire (some for the first time) have been uploaded to The Anarchist Library web-archive, and can be browsed under the tag https://theanarchistlibrary.org/category/topic/return-fire and easily printed for reading or distribution.

The long-promised web version of the long-form glossary entry essay written to accompany Return Fire vol.5 our reevaluation of ‘Individual Will’ – is delayed while we correspond with publishers about our hope to turn it into the book it really always should have been. We are currently slowed by the disastrous crash of a file system in winter 2017-2018 (back your documents up, comrades!) which we are reconstructing the manuscript from, but once we have worked out the plan, a web version will of course follow at some future point. Contact us (see below) for more details.

4. What’s Next?

We are considering the future of our lives and projects – one option is winding down Return Fire, but inviting participation to make last releases undertaken under this banner as vital as possible, designed to hopefully stay interesting for future collaborating distributors, and to influence what comes next after the better part of a decade of slinging out print and electronic copies into the world.

We have a backlog of material that we are excited to (re)present – so after the longer-than-usual break we left for people to digest the contents of Volume 5, we will continue to release the present volume (and subsequent ones) in a series of shorter chapterised forms – aiming to have PDF releases close to or concurrent with print runs – to be concluded with a compiled electronic version, then decide what directions the project will or will not take.

We will include a growing focus on including interview transcriptions (especially noteworthy ones captured from the ephemeral world of internet radio/podcasts – which only continues to grow – that we felt should be put down and kept in circulation by other means) to bring the tone of the discussion towards something more organic rather than essay material or report-backs alone, as well as printing texts along with responses that they elicited, or putting different articles into conversation with each other in these pages by including them alongside. Here we aim to link resonant themes, provide historical or contextual information along with extracts from suggested sources (and references to the topics in previous volumes) that could be read alongside. In other words, trying to counter the eternal alienated present that the internet inculcates us with as much as (or often more than) the mass media which in past generations we more successfully kept ourselves more insulated from in our own little subcultures, which today seem flimsy defences indeed.

Every chapter should contain new material such as fresh articles or translations/transcriptions not previously online, as well as our selections of existing articles, editorial commentary we’ve pitched in, chronologies we’ve compiled, etc.

We are also choosing themes that our next volumes will be loosely based around.

5. The Current Theme: Leftism

Since summer 2018, we have been preparing the collated material for this staged release, still on an irregular basis. The topic that we hope to tease out a little more in detail in Volume 6 of Return Fire is the political and cultural practices and ideas of the Left; including historical and ideologically (because even if the Newest-of-the-New Left disowns, ignores or re-writes it, context matters…), but also contemporary and anarchist-adjacent forms. The aim is to see what serves us or not, rather than name-calling and guilt-by-association as anti-/post-left critique has so often been practiced (sometimes by us!). For example, this overall volume tackles common leftist discourses such as (its own forms of) ecologism, street confrontation as political ritual, indigenism, activism (from ‘mass-based’ to ‘urban guerrilla’ versions), polyamoury, prison abolition, as well as the appearance of leftism (and, behind that, Christianity) in unexpected places – anarcho-primitivism, for example, and some of more common arguments against identity. Some of these critiques are far from new (though we feel the authors did a better job than the general standard during these fraught conversations), while others are born of this present moment and currents flowing through it.

What do we even define the Left as? Is it something we categorically must avoid the slightest whiff of so as not to repeat the worst mistakes of anarchism’s first 150 years, or is there some grey area inbetween (for example) institutions or organisations and actual individuals? Towards considering this question, roughly every chapter will include a piece by some species or another of leftist whose words we both agree and disagree with in interesting ways, with our own critical notes. These will include strands such as radical municipalism, ‘nihilist communism’, pagan Marxism, ‘communisation’ insurrectionaries, post-situationists, class-struggle historians, anti-industrial critics, anarcho-democrats/populists, and anti-fascist watchdogs.

When all the chapters of Volume 6 are released, we will accompany the combined PDF version with the release of our own essay on the theme, inkeeping with our ‘glossary’ series of pieces on fundamental concepts to the contemporary anarchist milieu.

Thanks to those who’ve helped us and submitted material for the next phase of our publishing.

(The provisional theme for the volume after that is the society of the spectacle; what is it, and how has it changed since Guy Debord’s 1967 book by the same name?)

6. Our Relationship with You

Now being more established, we hope to attract submissions as an avenue for diverse and critical anarchist publishing. As before, our emphasis will be on the value we find in any given piece rather than its timeliness, with the hope that our new or old volumes can find value in circulation at any time, and in deference to the fact that today it is very hard for a print publication on the international level to in any way compete with the internet as a means for keeping abreast moment-to-moment.

We already have most content lined-up ready or undergoing translation, but Return Fire vol.6 can potentially include submissions and/or suggestions (including but of course not limited to articles on the stated theme of leftism). Get them sent in to us for our editorial selection process as soon as possible so we can correspond, explore the ideas, etc.; don’t worry about them being too polished if that’s a barrier to you. Another option is letter-to-the-editors-type pieces on either our framing of the theme or specific pieces released in the previous chapters. When the glossary entry essay on leftism is released, we will either engage with this correspondence in the text, or reprint them as a supplement publication.

We can’t say we honestly have high hopes for this wish to generate discussion working out, but along with the suggestions we already proposed in Caught in the Net’ to counter the down-spiraling of an anarchist discourse we witness falling victim to technological enthrallment, we thought we can’t give up and accept that conversation is something that now only happens on social media. As a firmly internationalist project, there’s a possibility we could help get submitted texts translated into English from other languages: however, with this work often falling on already-overburdened shoulders, we’d prefer authors find someone their end for a first basic rendering, to which we can suggest amendments to from there.

We will continue to welcome the autonomous printing and distribution of our volumes and related publications. Those already doing print-runs or those interested in doing so can contact us (see below) to co-ordinate about their needs. We also encourage feedback as to what use our magazine format (as opposed to online PDFs only) has had in your area or networks.

Thanks to the various printing crews for their patience, and apologies again to them (and others awaiting responses) for our slowness in communication and low online presence.

7. Contact Us

returnfire [at] riseup.net

Public key below for those using PGP encryption for email communication (please note that it is not registered to the above email address, which apparently causes problems for some people using the less-secure automatic decrypting plug-ins on their internet browser):

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Comments

This is all fine and good, i should get to reading them, i've only read bits and pieces in t@l.

But speaking of long awaited upcoming editions: WTF happened with Hostis 3: Fuck the cops? I saw the call for submissions a while back and then bloops, they devolved into a semi-active twitter and instagram account.

Imo Return Fire is way better than Hostis due to being far less intellectually pompous while being rooted in real life struggles instead of niche para-academic circles (starting with the godawful nihilo-edgy name of the latter publication). Their content was some of the most exhaustive you'll get in anarchist publications out there, and they arose in times when 325 had started to become a tad too dogmatic for my taste and suspiciously taking their cues from the mainstream propaganda.

Thanks for sharing your opinion, at a glance it seems that you're right on your observations, yet i've yet to catch up on return fire. Cool.

"Hostis" has always sounded to me like some overspecific magazine on elevators... with a design that looks just like the visual equivalent to elevator music. Now I get vaporware got trendy in the Bay but...

Colonialism, colonial, colonialism, that's all I hear, when it should be called evolutionary migration!

I heard Warzone Distro survived train hopping through the bomb cyclone and will probably get told to leave the Seattle anarchist book fair for their anti-left zines. That's just what I heard. Will L BC be there to fight alongside them? Only time will tell.

my thoughts and prayers go to the wellbeing of these now newly radioactive oogle(s). may god keep them safe and make them saints. amen.

Who else than Far Right sees the Left as their oppressors or primary enemy?

Furthermore, while this distro has been publishing texts that call for a *war* on the Left, all along with wolf imagery, they also did publish shit from Zhachev... And did they condemn the guy lately? Not sure about that.

Did you read what they published from him?

Who else? Not sure about primary...but try...

Aragorn!, Bob Black, Hakim Bey/PLW, Jason Adams, Saul Newman, Wolfi Landstreicher, Zerzan...the list goes on and on.

Isn't this even a post-left website?

Your conflating of "post-left" with "anti-left" can serve as a pretty efficient Trojan horse for Far Right entry into so-called anarchism, jsyk. Just as I'm suspecting Warzone to be at least allowing this opening, while pretending being "antifascist" (which doesn't mean a lot in the context where some Alt Right sacks of shit have already trying to play antifa by calling the antifa and commies the "real fascists"; which doesn't take out the fact that some commies are indeed Red fascist scum. Good lies always have a share of truth). But they aren't the same thing.

The whole point with my other comment down here is that being critical of the Left nowhere means I (or others) should consider leftists as my enemies. Only means I'd rather be keeping a critical distance from their activity and above it their politics.

Aaaand... cut to a bigger flowing cascade of bad-faith comments, in 4... 3...2... 1...

Hey, I see your point but it's just not a very strong one imo. "Allowing an opening for entryism" is a pretty vague allegation and assigning responsibility for it would be tricky or impossible. Aren't anarchists always navigating hostile terrain and walking knife-edges of contradiction? But wait, that's right! you're obsessively hostile to the @ position, so that explains why you want to jab your finger like you always do.

Attacking the author instead of the writing is kinda Maoish, comrade.

Fuck off, lol

Have you actually read any of the material they put out or just offended that some people hate leftistm?

Just wanna add that I got several problems with leftists in general, including some long-standing interpersonal conflicts that will likely never be resolved. Yet to me they're more of an annoyance like the many other foolish, bigoted people in the room *looking at our pompous resident trolls here*. At least a few aspects of what leftists have been developing irl has proven valuable and worthy of supporting. Where is the dreamy forest threehouse village created by our so-called eco-primmies, or are they just too busy reading and criticizing Zerzan?

What a bunch of clowns. :-(

seems like a good time to point out that grouping people in to large, murky categories and making sweeping generalizations about them is almost always terrible reasoning and worse, it's the first steps in othering so that you can justify doing nasty shit to them.

Except like, whichever categories I'm ok with.

that's what Gelderloos mentioned (in that conference i'm now spamming: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZN2if_uy5g) as "ethnic thinking", which along with "messianic thinking" are traps that even if a state is abolished it can easily lead to (and has led to in the past) another state formation

i also read "against his-tory, against leviathan" yesterday, and could see a lot of what he talked about in there too.

cool! it's endlessly fascinating to me as part of the "radicalization process", although I do hate that framing a bit. Slightly too law enforcement vibe.

But yeah, it's definitely this formula that can be applied to almost any ideology and arguably, it's THE way to convince people to be the aggressors against each other. IMO, this was at the heart of that toxic trajectory of those ITS folks, for example.

Defensive violence is of course, very different: untainted by the process of "othering the enemy" … because they're literally attacking you, obviously don't need to invent justifications.

the other thing that ITS/eco-extremists were trying to accomplish was pointing out the indiscriminate nature of violence, that if you want to engage in any form of violence, then thinking about it kind of defeats the point. Building ideological rhetoric to harm or attack someone requires some sort of othering.

because i liked what he said, it seems like the only way you know how to communicate is to other people.

so why does such a consistent bully-troll have any interest in abolishing the state?

oh and the classic "oh i was just joking you pussy so relax" really just lends itself to the idea that you aren't capable of honest discussion yourself

I wasn't referring to your reply to senileoldtroll, but your personally-invested replies to SE and written support to LeWay's "humor". You quickly fell in that site's very large dumpster.

oh you mean the one you practically spend all day on, and whenever someone triggers you, you try to deconstruct them and make them feel like shit? It gets really absurd talking to someone when you realize they are an absolute hypocrite.

I think im gonna go watch some dr. phil

"you practically spend all day on" Nonono.. you're clearly confusing me for the SE and LeWank trolls. There also used ot be the Emile and "Biceps" trolls that also worked 24/7 on here.

It's just lame how some of the pseudonymous trolls have worked so steadily for so many fucking years at keeping the quality levels of discourse in the comment sections so low. Then there's people like you standing by these guys. Why am I thinking there's some anti-anarchists out there seeking to fuck up or derail the discourse all the time? No.. that can't be true! Only honest commenters here, all the time.

i'm not that anon, but i do that as well, i feel called out.
i think many anons here do that.
except for the anons and pseuds that are actually leway,
that are actually there to steer the convo towards what he pleases.

i hate name calling ad hominems in comment threads, really takes away from topic discussion.
some regulars here are really invested in derailing discussion. when they pop in, even as anons, in a short duration the whole comments go to shit. there other day there was a literal spam attack.

i think the amount of will power to stop responding to trolls might be too much to ask of us.
to only post insightful and well polished comments with proper punctuation?
maybe we can cede the whole comment section and the whole internet as world-wide honeypot and have good discussion elsewhere? and by good discussion, the standard is pretty low, we can pretty much just howl at the moon in the rain and it'll be better discussion.

at this point if it didn't have comments and TOTWs. I just comment on here to chat, but the problem is that people here are way too mean spirited about it. For example: the anon above really hates emile, SE, LeWay. My opinion about all three are mixed, but 99% of the time, they don't direct insults at the other forum members like that anon does, so i generally appreciate their styles and opinions. The anon is just raging and not paying attention, I've disagreed with all three of those people on here, and said it. I've granted extra compliments to LeWay on the merit that sometimes he/she/it will write something and I'll burst out laughing.

Insulting individuals isn't any better than making false generalizations, we all do the latter on a pretty regular basis, however i completely despise people like the anon above who insult individuals and then carte blanche just do exactly the things that he/she/it preaches against...like...resident trolling, not adding their unique insights to a discussion (hence leaving this place a "hell hole").

Get a fucking life dude, you aren't that great or well accomplished either, and yes you do spend a lot of time on here, this conversation has taken place i think over the last 2 hours. "You" i think, did us a favor by posting that peter gelderlooz video and i bookmarked it thank you, but the shit that comes out of your mouth is just mean spirited. Go back to the fucking schoolyard playground.

oh! and TB, you should probably know that both ziggles and le fool were plenty hostile and tended to say some pretty vile shit but the mods have been grinding away for literally YEARS to keep them on a short leash and they know they can't get away with that stuff. They are kept in check, not principled.

OOOoOH NOoO I WiLL NOt BE KepT IN CHecK BY aNY MAnmaDE FOrCE OTheR ThAN by THaT FOrcE whICH COndeNSES OUT OF NAtuRAL EVEnTS!!!

"mods have been grinding away for literally YEARS to keep them on a short leash "

gotta love those anti-authoritarians!

ANEWS was so much better from it's start to 2014 before these ridiculous control procedures developed. In terms of my lovely haters, I'm a provocateur who brings what Bob Black would call friendly fire to these parts. I love the underlying idea of anarchy but see the idea being wasted by milieu scenesters who's becoming trapped by old soft and sensitive GenX era dogma. We live in an epoch of edgy shit posting which is congruent with countercultures of the past. Anews picked the worst time to get more censorious when edgy shit posting played a small role in getting a prez elected.

I communicate new ideas in a forceful written way, that's bound to get you majority haters. What I do bring to the table that many don't are clear concise communicable ideas that anarchy badly needs as it quarters into this century and beyond.

that's cute. anarchists have to just tolerate screeching jackasses. LOGICAL CHECKMATE. U WIN INTERNET

i agree with all you said.

but ur also conflating anons, which is the whole point of anonhood.
so keep going ; )

But does anyone notice?
But does anyone care?
And if I had the guts
TO PUT THIS TO YOUR HEAD
But would anything matter
if you're already dead?
And well should I be shocked now
by the last thing you said?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeNgscofzt8&t=2m12s

I FEEL PERSONALLY ATTACKED!!!

But yeah, expecting too much from anon internet discussion is how you drown in disappointment? I come here expecting to fling shit from trees and then I'm pleasantly surprised once and awhile. Like that link to the Gelderloos talk! Thanks anon!

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