Topic of the Week: Your Favorite Anarchist Action(s)

  • Posted on: 22 February 2016
  • By: thecollective

We thecollective invite you to discuss your favorite anarchist actions from the distant and/or recent past, or in an imaginary future. Of course, definitions of "anarchist action" will be questioned as well and we expect to see many different ideas about the designation of an action as anarchist. However, this thecollective contributor suspects that even those that would dismiss the idea of an "anarchist action" completely still have a special place in their hearts for some kinds of behavior. What might those be?

What have others done that inspires you.
What can others do that would inspire you?
What do you find most meaningful about such actions?
Were they actions that you would want to happen again? And could they?
Were the authors of the acts anarchists?

Links to relevant media, discussion, and critique always welcome!



That dude that took his chair to a protest. That was awesome. For me, I feel most inspired by antics than anything else. Bill Brown's graffiti campaigns showed a way to use graffiti vandalism to engage the authorities at a university, which created a controversy, empowering various other actors, from fellow vandals to activists within the university framework. It also challenged the power of university authorities and its campus newpaper. Not bad for a one man battle against a single institution, just using a marker and sending letters to the editor.

Yeah ok... that action was memorable. But I always wanted to know what was the backstory for it. I mean the armchair offensive guy who looked stoned..

I did recall also using a big chair in a demo back in Greece. In that case it was to throw it at a bunch of Muhrican douchebags sitting on a bar terrace for laughing at the same demo being repressed by cops, after shouting "Hey, morons!" at them. Chair hit and rolled all over their table, smashing all their beer pints and fucking up the place. You don't how much damage these large bamboo chairs can do.

1/10 second later they went running after me in a busy street. But hey, I was on a mountain bike in decent condition, so I just outrun them in a shuffle. Some idiot onlooker attempted to stop me but he couldn't. Went riding down the posh nightlife street really fast... laughing hard like The friggin' Joker.

But that wasn't over. Next morning while talking to my Greek buddies at the squat about that demo, they told me that after the march being repressed by cops, they alll went to the City Council that had a session that evening (for some reason). They took the mayor and other bureaucrats hostage, forcing him to release their three comrades who got arrested during the demo... then during this occupation, the douchebag tourists that I had just attacked showed up and provoked the anarchists in the place (most probably because they were pissed off about what I just did), only to get pushed and beaten back like idiots.

Ah those wild nights in Greece. I hope they still happen sometimes.

>But I always wanted to know what was the backstory for it. I mean the armchair offensive guy who looked stoned..

If you're talking about the Oakland "Armchair Anarchist," the story is pretty straight forward. It was Move In Day, part of the Occupy protests, pretty much on the tail end of it (at least in my mind, it's where I mark the end of the plateau of Occupy as a centralized "thing"). The idea was that there was this massive abandoned government building, a short-ish march from Oscar Grant Plaza (where most of Occupy Oakland happened), which we intended on occupying and turning into a new community center or whatever, a center of all things Occupy. I think a good chunk of the people (myself included, if we're being honest) didn't expect the police to resist much, since the mayor was already on the back foot for mishandling things. But as another large chunk of the crowd had anticipated, there was indeed a large police presence very intent on stopping us. Well, one guy brought a chair to sit in after we occupied the (presumably barren) building, but ended up having to use it as a shield instead. So you end up with pictures of some well-prepared anarchists with shields and whatnot, plus a guy who made due with what he had.

Who is bill brown? What are you talking about? <--- this video which was part of the larger call-out for what I subsequently learned was a faint echo of the anti-globalization summit-protest era. At the time, I was young and surrounded by aging, activist relics from the 90s. After being drawn in by the excitement at the time, eventually developed a real anarchist analysis, including a pretty strong critique of activism. But the direct experiences with repression and the minor black-bloc actions were formative.

I watched people I already knew, organizing and coordinating large-scale, autonomous projects without money and to this day, I believe that in certain circumstances, there's a lot of potential in old leftist tactics. The visibility and culture of resistance that defined this era, for all it's faults, is under-valued today.

I feel you man. I see what you're saying completely.
I think it must be the social impacts of technological change as much as anything else for why things have gotten so bleak.
Thanks for the cool video, never seen that.
The panopticon is upon us.
Instagram is the auto-panopticon.
Real life is being strangled by capitalism.
Much love to those who have the energy to resist.

PS it's pretty cool how you recognized what you were into was linked to what came before your time. Many people never get that, and i think that separates those who really care from those just latching onto a fad.

Thanks, you're a sweetheart. I pieced it together later by reading a lot of critiques of the summit-hopping 90s, it held my interest because of how vivid the experiences in the streets were. Believe it or not, I found a lot of that information through this website … even though I get irritated by this place sometimes, thats why i'm grateful to the folks who maintain it.

Leon Frank Czolgosz

biologically dynamic community, where players' innate functions are encouraged and appreciated in mutual benefit -conscious to the ultimate cosmic law of reciprocity-.;
simply taking autonomous power in our lives, naming the civil-interloper and telling it off, ever-vigilant that it will remain nipping at the heels of our movement, for a while. we, radicals have to-enjoy the food we eat, our daily activity, our thoughts, language…
all relations are sacred, no-thing is.
theres a special place in the heart which sees each-individual-dream matter as we sun-dance to-gether a-round the may-pole, our totem.

for the infinite strike against the all-social-domination , why not begin with our ritual holidays?
like Trick-or-Treat, April Fools or MayDay! where the freaks come out to skip-parade through the streets,wreaking havoc, knocking over things and getting in the way to agitate for general revolt. neighborhood assemblies will form, conversation occurs, more and more people continue opening their eyes upon the spectacle and look to drop out, look to shut it down.
spectacular episodes attract attention. the chaos doesn't stop.
we have to keep the pressure on, keep getting together
tear off the doors and shout-it-out from roof-tops
Clandestine Action is Open Revolt!when we don't wear it on our sleeves
we sweat and bleed
getting what we need only by following what we want and giving all we have.
endlessly transforming, every-one is part of The Song,
beauty and the beast are right where they belong

shout-out to FoodNotBombs and all the commons!

successful life is ever preparing for what is to come.
all things ebb and flow in season.
in the governance of cosmos, there is no hierarchy, it’s total chaos.
our situation is always determined by the forces of action generated between celestial bodies. our field-of-play is indeed a facsimile of the atomic relationship.

civil-authority has set arbitrary rules to drive a wedge between the child of Earth and her natural order.the dominant Gregorian calendar disorients people from our innate, intuitive connection with the cosmic balance.

i like to see the lunar calendar honored, it counts 13 months to an Earth year.

what is the individual but a heavenly body?

If there is going to be any calendars, it must include some anarchists in the buff, either partially or fully, to celebrate anarchy. Hopefully with anarchist paraphernalia, like a Politics is Not a Banana or Bash Back photo shoot. They did go with their images, we need more!

Also glamdalism was the shiznit

Yeah, fuck yeah, and that shit is more relevant today than it was then! I haven't seen any footage like that yet from the folks who just did that last year on the Slovenian border, but yeah, that. If that happened even once in the US you can be sure it would change the conversation dramatically!

came here to troll, but that video was awesome. thanks for sharing!

I came here to troll... but I just CAME at this video. Sweet joy!

Here's a heroic standing example of true anarchy and should be seen by everyone on the planet. Anarchist film events who don't show this while knowing it exists aren't just worth attending.

What I've read about the actions of the metropolitan indians has always been real inspiring to me.

You mean the racist-as-fuck, high-as-balls, dumbass hippies from the 70s in Italy? Yeah, their antics were an amusing footnote to the autonomist movement.

My favorite action has got to have been a small march in seattle that erupted after the police shot as killed a man... The greatest and most fantastic tactic I have ever seen was employed during this march!! the use of NEWSPAPER boxes!! these NEWSPAPER boxes were thrown in the street and threw thorough oppressive storefront windows!!! NEWSPAPER BOXES!!!!

attack on mac user

i see you

My favorite has been watching how many anarchists so eagerly turn their backs on what they supposedly believe in to vote.

The election is the ONLY thing those in my circle have been talking about, to my endless chagrin. Anyone else experiencing this? I forget there's elections, etc... When you don't believe in what entirely exists in human minds anyway.

Maybe i'll post something that isn't cynical later this week.

Well, that's 'cause in the U.S. anarchists are just pussed-out liberals, delusions-of-grandeur division. Is that news to anyone?

That time when I was already to go out the door to smash shit and then thought, "Why? Who gives a shit? If I put a bumper sticker on my car or write a blog post, I will have the exact same impact. The Herculean Forces are doing our work for us. Anarchy is at hand. It is within you. And it will be here in the real soon enough. Besides, trying the change shit is a humanistic lie. Nah, I'm going to go tend my potatoes instead."
That was my fav.


Taking a shit on company time \m/

One year Chicago's annual Anarchist Halloween Parade didn't have enough attendance to effectively take the street (a problem that would only get worse until the Parade eventually disappeared), but rather than calling the whole thing off, the participants started doing some really aggressive trick-or-treating at nearby businesses. A Starbucks got straight-up looted by a masked crowd and marching band and a bunch of people stole designer sunglasses from some really expensive boutique store. Somehow there was no police presence and everyone got away with no consequences.

Don't know if that was my favorite action but probably my favorite from this city in my time as an anarchist. Other than the PROLE STROLL!!

proles on the stroll for sure

Caucusing for Bernie Sanders

What Enric Duran did was cool - (nutshell: taking out a tonne of small loans adding up to almost half a million euros, and then giving it away and going into hiding.)
Not easily reproducible, but still inspiring.

The Comprehensive Catalan Cooperative and Faircoop are also interesting projects.

This is not what I expected to find inside this thread, but I guess it's appropriate...

What about, like, occupations? That moment when the question shifts from how to hold the barricades to how to supply them to what forms of life to create behind them... Nothing more beautiful.

trying to remember a zine i read.

talked about scapegoats, g-d (written like that), negativity, feminism

read it along it online along with delete me so ugly, same style of zine


That time at BASTARD the vending machine got raided.

I guess my fav actions that others did and didn't took part in was the full-on defense of Villa Amalia squat in Athens, that happened at two similar instances where hundreds of cops and Golden Dawn fascists mobilized to attack the place, and squat defenders were able to gather enough people quickly to resist, both in front and in the squat, where there's bee a heavy exchange of molotovs after which the fascists and pigs had to call it quit. The squat was eventually evicted through more "comprehensive" tactic by the State forces, yet it showed that the whole idea that occupations cannot be resisted against the "might" of the State is a MYTH, and that all depends on its occupiers and defenders motivation and preparation to protect it. It has to be the one where anarchists in Greece contribute to the local community reopen and guard the playground in Agios Panteleimonas area against fascists and racists, as seen in the video, a playground that was shut down for almost 6 years by neonazis of "Golden Dawn" party and racists in the area, because the fascists did not want greek childen to play along with children by immigrants. Anarchists have kept opening the playground twice a week for almost a year now.

that time when blackbird raum was playing at the long haul after bob black spoke, and some traveler @-kids from santa cruz didn't have the $5 they were asking, so they just walked past lawrence at the door. he (lawrence) came running into the packed room after them, shouting at the top of his lungs (and extremely agitated) "STOP THEM!!! STOP THEM!!! THEY DIDN'T PAY!!!!"

positions of power... even a bill-collecting doorman.

From 1981. They probably did have the money spent earlier on drugs and booze.

non-action is central to anarchism, in some understandings; e.g;

"Central to Taoist teaching is the concept of wu-wei. It is often translated as merely non-action. In fact there are striking philological similarities between 'anarchism' and 'wu-wei'. Just as 'an-archos' in Greek means absence of a ruler, wu-wei means lack of wei, where wei refers to 'artificial, contrived activity that interferes with natural and spontaneous development'.5 From a political point of view, wei refers to the imposition of authority. To do something in accordance with wu-wei is therefore considered natural; it leads to natural and spontaneous order. It has nothing to do with all forms of imposed authority." -- Peter Marshall, 'A History of Anarchism'

the stand-offs at Wounded Knee (1973), Oka (1990), Gustafsen Lake (1995) and others in which people make a stand by holding to a natural course in spite of influences from authorities to do otherwise, is not a planned offensive action against the 'authorities' and neither is it 'resistance'; i.e. it is a non-action in the sense of wu-wei. Stand-offs do not fit the grammatical construct 'anarchist action'.

indigenous aboriginal languages do not reduce 'actions' to the over-simplistic 'doer-and-deed' depiction that noun-and-verb Indo-European/scientific languages-and-grammars do. in the physical reality of our natural, actual, relational experience, action is relative as in the conjugate relation between outside-inward orchestrating influence actualizing inside-outward assertive potentials.

When the orchestrating influence that normally 'works' is ignored [because it is not in harmony with the natural flow] then anarchism as non-action manifests. the cats that are not about to be herded, are not 'resisting' those who are trying to ''herd them', they are simply not validating their authority. if visitors to the asylum are confronted on the grounds by inmates in uniform, blowing whistles and descending on groups of visitors directing them this way and that way, to withhold validating their directives is not 'an act of resistance', it is non-action as in wu-wei.

there are many such non-actions highlighted by standoffs like the ones mentioned and thousands more on smaller, more personal scales that go unreported, and they all contribute to cultivating more of the same by giving permission for non-action to others who witness them..

aggressive actions may be induced during episodes of non-action but in the relational dynamics of our natural experience, epigenesis is in a natural precedence over genesis.

Is it fair to say that perhaps humans are at a point, like cyanobacteria before us, where we won't be part our own re-balancing, re-harmonizing, instead giving way to that flow after/because of our annihilation (Medea Hypothesis)?

And, if so, what does that day-to-day practice of wu wei then look like?

I'm not actually engaging with emile because there's never any point in talking to them but for anyone who takes this crap seriously, the notion that the warriors at wounded knee, oka and gustafsen lake "weren't resisting" is the same old semantic nonsense from the gibberish-bible this person is always thumping.

Sure, etymology and language are interesting realms of enquiry. No, syntax is not the source of all oppression, nor is it the primary tool. All those protracted exchanges of gunfire between the warriors and agents of the state were very fucking "wu-wei".

Picture me rolling my eyes so hard I almost fall over.

we are The Borg. you will be assimilated.resistance is futile. - Star Trek
try not; do, or do not. there is no try. - Star Wars
adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own - Bruce Lee
relations are all there is - emile
the same old semantic nonsense from the gibberish-bible - Anonymous (not verified)

As it relates to a sense of belonging is not the same same as the abstract resistance of agitpro obsessed anarchism.

As usual emile is right.

Here's a simple question: What would those indigenous warriors think of you jokers and you stupid little hair-splitting opinions about nothing I wonder?

what you call 'hair-splitting' is the difference between Western 'good and evil moral judgement based organization' and relational organization which is inherently 'beyond good and evil'.

the natural community is a relational community wherein relations are the basis of incubating, nurturing and sustaining the ecosystem dynamic.

the existence of categories that breaks the ecosystem apart into independent entities is intellectual idealization that derives from the structures of language-and-grammar. categories do not exist as independent entities in the physical reality of our natural experience. they don't exist, they don't have power. their system of laws promulgated by the central authority of the category are language-based abstractions. such laws do not exist in the physical reality of natural experience.

to 'attack' or 'resist' these idealized structures is to acknowledge their existence and thus confuse 'semantic reality' for 'reality'. the indigenous warrior whose understanding has not been hijacked by European language understands this;

"No state can impose itself even if we never oppose it. The mental stance of wu wei (not action) from daodejing is way for it accepts no rules even as it co-exists with them. This is the power of humanity that no state can ever control; that terrifies the forceful who see themselves as the leaders. States are of force, while humanity is power. The USA talks forcefully of Soft Power and Hard Power because it has no power. It talks of The Rule Of Law because it makes the laws. As illustrated by the prominence of their kind of language, the country is the worst joke amongst many bad jokes.
This is what the Western world has come to and it is our fault. This will be so long as when we speak English we speak their English. Their English is killing our mother.
Turn away. Refuse their products. Refuse their taxes."

what would you have us attack? what would you have us resist? pie-in-the-sky belief in the existence of 'independent' categories of things such as states, corporations, races, nationalities?

relational community is being hijacked by belief in the independent existence of categories; i.e. we are bewitched by language and it is holding us captive.

what must come under attack is the belief in categories for the categories do not exist in the physical reality of our natural experience; they are 'spooks' that haunt our intellect [Stirner, Nietzsche, Mach].

A much more skilled inverted Machiavellian/Tzuist approach to an orientation against power which is based much more on a non binary approach of stealth, avoidance and the war that you don't fight then direct confrontation, initiated resistance and war seeking. It means you force the issue of contradictions in language and realize that language is reality not the institutional manifestations which have no physical reality outside of belief fueled correspondence and relations.

some ideas transform our idealizing, as is the case with Différance and deconstruction. the word is not the source of the meaning, ... the meaning comes from the transforming relational continuum. the child-soldier is not the local jumpstart source of his killer behaviour, the social-relational tensions spawn these behaviours, and so on and so forth as they re deferred into a relational upstream till the roots of meaning are no longer distinguishable from the relational medium which mothered them. Bohm gives the example of repeated enfolding and unfolding of a drop of india ink in clear treacle [as with pulling and folding taffy] where the black threading of the transforming drop manifests as a gray shade that pervades the entire medium. topologically, the drop is still intact, but our sense of vision is unable to 'resolve' the connectedness as a one-ness..

fundamentalist-rationalists prefer going with literal logocentric meaning without any deconstruction and evidently, it is very irritating to them, when others explore 'deconstruction' in their interpretations.

the notional concept of 'categories' that imputes logocentric meaning to 'humans', 'races', 'nations' and 'corporations' as separate and independent being-things [that are seen as the basis of relational actions rather than vice versa] fabricates a logocentric/semantic reality that needs 'deconstruction' in order to recover the physical reality which underlies it.

literal interpretation of semantic reality has been hijacking our understanding and this will not be overcome by upgrading the cleverness of the literal interpretation of semantic reality. using deconstruction to expose the contradictions, is the path to liberation from our logocentric/semantic self-imprisonment.

So … you missed the "don't bother replying" part huh? I'm not talking to you, I'm completely dismissing your nonsense with a relational flick of my wrist. As if I would ever try and tell you to DO anything, that's a laugh. You're completely useless at anything except typing long, rambling essays featuring your stupid little mutation of the noble savage fallacy.

Hah! The ol' binary of the noble savage vs modern primitivist alternatives comes up a lot in all sites varying from gun shooters to hampster husbandary. Some folk just get stuck in the Hobbesian mindset it seems. Rather one should view indigenous paradigms as exclusive of Xtian morality.
Its unusual to see the editor of a site come under so much attack, different yet disturbing.

Why do you keep saying emile is "the editor"? Where did you get that from? Emile is a big dork with about 10 talking-points that they repeat ad naseum. They've appropriated and reinterpreted what they think is some kind of amalgamated indigenous worldview and built a pet theory around it. I've watched many other indigenous folks (besides myself) point this out but emile is immune to critique. It's just noise to me by now but every once and awhile, they do such an over-the-top misrepresentation of history that I can't stand it and get successfully trolled.

Its the Journalistic style and bold unswerving lengthy mono-dominant discourse which identifies him, to my well travelled literate experience, as an editor, well, maybe an informal editor, (the collective's quintessential scape-goat), who controls the agenda of the sites interests. Nevertheless, cutting edge rebellion.

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