TOTW: Life's a riot

Anarchists have been given a lot of flattering if largely undue credit this week for the riots kicking off across the US in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. Aside from reprising our role as the phantom outside agitator, and while I can’t assure you of how many of us were doing things like stealing police horses, stealing cars from dealerships, attacking police precincts and looting big box stores, I’m willing to bet there were more than a few.

This topic of the week is about riots. Riots have been a time-honored tradition for anarchists, and I’m curious what their significance is to you. This week we found ourselves in the heat of things, though with hints of being overtaken by the trauma of state violence, good samaritans cleaning up “their community” the morning after, and years of legal support spoil things.

Before the morning comes, I wanna hear what riots mean to you. Carnivalesque events where the normal rules are suspended, giving space to new possibilities and forms of life and where new affinities are formed among the ashes of so many Targets? Something to be avoided except if those who claim to be directly affected by whatever issue the preceding tedious protests start it? Flashy events often fetishized but best avoided except by those who want to be low-hanging fruit for police action? A chance for you to help out with medical or legal support skills honed through years of experience? A little of everything? Something else?

In addition, I’d like to see the best riot porn you’ve found from the past week.


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an erosion of "order". I personally tend to get excited by chaos, all the excitement of the coronavirus made me feel this way too, even though that made me a little scared unlike all the George Floyd riots.

"I wanna hear what riots mean to you. Carnivalesque events where the normal rules are suspended, giving space to new possibilities and forms of life and where new affinities are formed among the ashes of so many Targets?"

Of course, and people were desperately needing a carnival after being locked down because of Covid.
They so desperately wanted to go shopping like before that they stormed the Targets, jk.
In many places, the way the government mistreated or antagonized the people during Covid is backfiring on them. This, in a way, is like a prison revolt. And this comment is also in a way is like complete nonsense.

Funny picture, just the other day my neighbor was telling me how a bunch of gyms might go out of business because of Covid quarantine and because they might have to pay back the money of memberships they charged during lockdown. I'm also reminded of the so-called "retail crash"(of it's windows) in light (of the fires) of the different stores that have been Targeted and looted.

But as the move is increasingly towards online shopping and services, it'd be interesting to see people targeting warehouses. Some people that think they know ( say that one of the responses the economy will make in light of the way the Covid pandemic impacted supply chains is to shift from a just-in-time supply chain and diversify it to make it more resilience resembling more of a just-in-case supply chain for certain goods. This implies the need for keeping stock and for warehousing certain goods. The location of those near you and nature of these would be good to know, as it might come handy now during riots, or later during a natural disaster.

Also funny to be reminded how some (Keating) was saying how a fare strike or something centered around public transport might start something like what went down in Chile, but of course, everyone else in the USA would have bet that something like this would do it, as it had before. Race lines and white supremacy implicit and explicit in government and many groups have polarized the political once again, and this is old news, but it's also been the current news since forever.

"Something to be avoided except if those who claim to be directly affected by whatever issue the preceding tedious protests start it?"

Hell no. You do you, regardless. If it appeals to you, and you feel compelled to, go. Sure, be considerate of others if you want to be nice, and mindful of your surroundings to stay safe within the risks you're willing to take, which it'd be nice if you didn't impose them on others. Unless you're like Nechayev and think getting people arrested will radicalize them, good luck with that, asshole.

"Flashy events often fetishized but best avoided except by those who want to be low-hanging fruit for police action?"

Definitely. Avoid being where the police, unless you're going after them, are and find your own low-hanging fruit.

"A chance for you to help out with medical or legal support skills honed through years of experience?"

Definitely. It's vital that know what you're good at. If you're a slow runner and have a terrible throwing arm with bad aim, act accordingly.

"A little of everything? Something else?"

They're definitely also a wake-up call for normies, whether they live em directly, or through media.
By this I don't mean it makes them nearer to be "one of us" but it often brings to the discussion topics that the status quo would prefer to have swept under the rug and forgotten. Facing these situations, which they would not have to during business-as-usual, those that were predisposed to have stances similar to ours will make up their minds.

On the other hand, the government uses this opportunity to rule by using fear. They were already doing that with the new enemy of the Covid, and now they have the help of this recurrent enemy, the people.
I say recurrent, but it's not either or, it often is it's best ally and its constituents. ACAB is catchy, kill the cop inside your head, less so. All the people, self-appointed grassroots community and movement leaders or representatives that will single-handedly have more influence in quelling the revolts than any individual cop, whose mere presence may actually incite them and agitate them, will get off the hook and no graffiti or chant will be said about them and their complicity. Much less of any of the people who nod their heads while listening to them, legitimize them and amplify them on social media, and much later may even vote for them in some election, if it came to that.

You will see flipped and burnt cop cars, and burning police precincts, but probably none of the politician's cars, nor of all the snitches and peace police will have slashed tires by the end of this.

"In addition, I’d like to see the best riot porn you’ve found from the past week."

I'd go look for some, but I risk wasting hours on twitter cuz there's sooo much footage from soooo many cities. This is unprecedented, not just the amount of cities in revolt, but the amount of footage and data collected. This, along with the decade+ of data from internet coverage of instances of revolt, will be juicy training data for the counter-insurgency a.i. that will be decentralized, distributed among the different drones and networked devices (mainly smartphones that are being used to "contact trace protesters" right now).

someone make the distinction between riot porn, riot erotica and riot hentai

Where to find these warehouses though?

And to loot a warehouse you need a mob- it's hard to direct a mob at a warehouse. And a warehouse can better protect itself since it doesn't need to be accessible/visible to the street (no windows to smashy smash)

Warehouses seem better for planned/small group actions than riots

what are people's thoughts on the difference between protestors who smash bank windows & cop cars vs ppl who only are interested in looting from nike?

maybe the protestors who smash bank windows already have fashionable footwear at home

The commodity no longer holds full power over us. Of course I'm stealing from a piece of what Debord wrote.

The Decline and Fall of the Spectacle-Commodity Economy

"AUGUST 13-16 1965, the blacks of Los Angeles revolted. An incident between traffic police and pedestrians developed into two days of spontaneous riots. 1 Despite increasing reinforcements, the forces of order were unable to regain control of the streets. By the third day the blacks had armed themselves by looting accessible gun stores,
enabling them to fire even on police helicopters. It took thousands of police and soldiers, including an
entire infantry division supported by tanks, to confine the riot to the Watts
area, and several more days of street fighting to finally bring it under
control. Stores were massively plundered and many were burned. Official sources listed 32 dead
(including 27 blacks), more than 800 wounded and 3000 arrests [...]all the ideologists and “spokesmen” of the vacuous international Left, deplored the irresponsibility, the disorder, the looting (especially the fact that arms and alcohol were the first targets) and the 2000 fires with which the blacks lit up their battle and their ball. But who has defended the Los Angeles rioters in the terms they deserve? We will. Let the economists fret over the $27 million lost, and the city planners sigh over one of their most beautiful supermarkets gone up in smoke, and McIntyre blubber over his slain deputy sheriff. Let the sociologists bemoan the absurdity and intoxication of this rebellion. The role of a revolutionary publication is not only to justify the Los Angeles insurgents, but to help elucidate their perspectives, to explain theoretically the truth for which such practical action expresses the search."

Also, thanks for the hint, here's some other relevant reading material:

-This one is directly relevant to the matter of stealing fashionable clothing, among other goods:

"We hereby reject any form of self-imposed austerity. We posit that we want nice shit for everybody and that is not only feasible but desirable. We will not put forth graphs announcing how much work (or not) will require such a project but will state that such a project is part of our desire for communism. We hereby reject all forms of feigned punk slobbiness, neo-hippie shabby chic, or pajamas in the outdoors. We see the stores of the bourgeois parts of town (& the newly-gentrified ones too) and say that we want that shit and even more. Capitalism is that which stands in the way of us having the shit we want with its hoarding of commodities only to sell them to highest bidder.

We’ve been told to live with less and less by not only Green Capital, but by the Church, by our liberal “friends,” and even by fellow comrades. Fuck that shit. Nah; if we’re going to be putting our shit out on the line it’s definitely not going to be so that I can live simply."

Nice Shit for Everyone

-This one is related to crime, criminality and illegalism:

"Anarchist discussions of illegalism become confused when it is defined in relief; “if the law is a criminal imposition by the ruling class, criminals are truly revolutionary regardless of their actions” they say. Such a definition leads to idiotic floundering to find a place in the revolutionary milieu for notorious criminals. Yet even the most dedicatedly nihilist anarchist would balk at seeing the perpetrator of the Montreal Massacre, a misogynist with an utterly incompatible vision of the future, as a comrade or as being of the same class or category. Rehabilitating certain anarchist propaganda of the deed causes further problems, as it relies on the stale moralism of accepting certain crimes (theft, forgery, counterfeiting, fraud) while decrying others (acts of brutality, property destruction and murder). An illegalist declaring of alliances merely creates a false dualism between the “good” criminal, who identifies sites of oppression that they lash out at, versus the “confused” or “bad” criminal, whom works against the interests of their class or others. It is through this prism that we discuss the infamous Bonnot Gang and Russian Nihilists, groups that engaged in “campaigns” of robbery and assassination, and are celebrated for their refusal of respectability in order to wage war on the state.


It is only in coming to terms with the dangerous core of the illegalist tradition, the necessary connection between insurgency and criminality, the attack launched on the operationality of sovereignty, the creation of a crisis within the functioning of the state, hostility to the police, that the illegalist tradition can prove useful to us now. Insurgency always requires an embrace of criminality, a direct material conflict with the operational capacity of the state, and likely requires crime to be engaged in, but crime that has, on its horizon, a sense of amplifying conflict within a material terrain of engagement with the very logistics that determines the act to be illegal. Illegalism, when understood in this way points to a conclusion that many, largely the more naïve among us, specifically many within the “movement building” and “dual-power” tendencies, have been loathe to accept, that criminality lies at the core of the insurgent project, not as an inscription of meaning for our actions, but as an intent, a posture toward action itself, an absolute, total, material hostility toward governmentality itself.

An Enduring Passion for Criminality

You have could have just posted the links or paraphrased instead of apeing another person's words. Silly men only capable of imitation. Men are a odd creatures. They appear to have intelligence but it is stunted and they cannot move beyond mimicry. Mankind are one of the few species we have observed that enslave themselves. Their deeply entrenched self enslavement indicates they are intelligent albeit of scant intelligence. It breaks our heart that their deficient intelligence will not allow them to break free of the cage in their mind. There have been only a few that have proved their capabilities are well beyond mimicry and obliterated the cage in their mind. One went by the name Levain. You are no Levain. I am sorry.

It has been predicted that mankind will be enslaved by another species on earth in the near future. It is believed that man will not noticed they are being enslaved by others outside of themselves.

They have already been enslved by another external entity called emotional capitalism. Its the next level beyond ideological brainwashing and focuses on linking instinctual feelings with static economic anxieties rather than with natural performative creative wellbeing.

I think the best things about what’s going on right now:

1) Radicalizing a new generation.

2) Honing skills for people who have been doing this kind of thing for awhile.

3) Normalizing certain practices that would have been considered too risky in the US just a few years ago.

4) Testing the State’s ability for control.

5) People actually taking the things they need/want in order to help their already precarious economic situation when this eventually dies down.

My main interest when any riot breaks in is whether it'll change the course of history or having people stupidly go back to the new-old normal (i.e. social liquidation). Somehow, since this current uprising was years, decades in the making, I got this feeling that it's one of those rare events that cause some huge tectonic shift.

i'm slightly curious about this:

if you are taking it to the streets, in the general vicinity of your (or someone you know) neighborhood, breaking shit and looting and whatnot, and there are small businesses (cafe, bookstore, whatevs) there that let's say are owned by folks you know are struggling economically; do you loot their shit? do you protect it from others? do you just skip it over? something else?

A few thoughts on that:

It depends on the business & on the person doing it. Some local businesses, which might be struggling, are owned by city council members who've supported policies that have hurt people, like anti-homeless ordinances (or whatnot), so in that case, for some who vandalize their businesses, it makes a certain kind of sense to.

Other people who smash local businesses might have their own personal reasons to do so, like maybe they were racially profiled while they were browsing that stores merchandise.

Other people could make the case that local capitalism is still capitalism, that those businesses employ people in order to generate more wealth for themselves & that life wasn't much better before the larger monopolies took over & ran out "mom & pop" stores.

Some others might argue that all commodities come from ecosystems that were destroyed to produce them to begin with & that it's fair game to destroy basically everything around us in retaliation.

Some might see this situation as an exception to the general rule of "only smash corporations & government infrastructure" because during the actual street fighting, things happen & in the moment it doesn't serve your best interests to start policing other peoples behavior when the cops are chasing you & shooting things at you.

But certainly it's not cool to try & get someone arrested for smashing or looting any business. Jail time can wreck peoples lives & hurt their loved ones as well. It's definitely messed up to protect businesses with firearms. Some windows & whatever else in the store isn't worth taking a humans life. If you're concerned about a specific place of work, like a radical bookstore, co-op cafe, or whatever, & you see people start to target it, just try to let people know that they're actually not as bad as some other places are. Usually people get it & will move on to the next place. Most of the time, what it seems you're concerned about, happens in a heat of the moment situation & if you don't be a jerk to the person attempting to do what you think is questionable action, they'll understand.

“I don’t shyly step back from your property, but see it always as my property in which I need to ‘respect’ nothing. Just do the same with what you call my property!
With this view, we will most easily come to an understanding with each other.”

haven't seen many folks argue for mutual looting, even among identifying anarchists. this impasse I imagine has to do with how tethered the majority are to deeply ingrained property relations and economic logic, even if both parties believe the police to be illegitimate. if the police were actually abolished, what then takes place?

You kids today don't know how good you have it! I used to have to watch blurry nth generation VHS tapes of riot porn. And I was happy to have them! *grumble*

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