TOTW: New laws in the new normal

the judge

“Potential illegality comes within the law today, but the farseeing eye of the censor looks ahead to foresee its possible outcome. In the same way social deviance today might be a possible object of study or surprise, tomorrow it could become a concrete manifestation of social subversion.” – Alfredo Bonanno, Illegality

The jury’s still out on what they’ll call this moment in His-story. Perhaps we’re too close to know. They may chalk it up as a post-Something: post-Trump, post-George Floyd, post-COVID (though this one is still premature). Regardless of name, anarchists traveling through moments, like this one, accumulate baggage they carry onto the next trail: suitcases brimming with perspective, experience, joy, heartache. A particularly heavy piece of baggage comes from the current moment: new laws to govern the new normal.

As a result, new transgressors are named.

Previously legal acts are now illegal. The free movement of bodies is restricted through health passports. And curfews, whether for virus or riots, illegalize the act of existing in space and time – the potential consequences for allegedly violating these rules are put on display in the sexual assault and murder of Sarah Everard by police. Virtual spaces are not immune to this shift, either. “Formal” illegality, such as hosting certain anarchist media online, is reclassified into “real” illegality in the form of terrorism charges, as seen in the case of Toby Shone [1]. In this way, an existing political critique of distributing anarchist literature transformed into an illegal social critique due to the context of unrest. This, then, justified the convenient enforcement of post-9/11 laws – legal baggage from a previous state of exception – in the same way that subversive music, books, and sexualities continue to be censored.

“Insurrection leads us to no longer let ourselves be arranged, but rather to arrange ourselves” – Max Stirner, The Unique and its Property

While the enforcement of laws is largely unremarkable to the irreverent anarchist, it can be beneficial to reflect on how we are arranged in this new legal landscape to anticipate and outmaneuver new attempts to restrict everyday life. Past examples of shifting legal landscapes include the popularization of surveillance cameras over the past 50 years and heightened security practices we still rely on as a result of the Green Scare. How will our current legal context in the new normal influence how anarchists arrange themselves illegally in the future?

Call this an exercise in precognition, to live in illegality more effectively.

What acts are likely to shift from “potential” to “real” illegality in the near future? Will mutual aid projects, like Food Not Bombs, be able to occupy the same space and time they did before, or will there be an uptick in conflict? How do anarchist media projects continue to rely on a corporatized, State-cooperative internet? This same skepticism can be extended to our individual reliance on "private" and "secure" tech used to communicate, like Protonmail and Signal. What other common tactics or tools are outdated in our new context? What mindsets don’t apply anymore? How does illegality look down the trail?

How far will laws in the new normal go? Will there be Voight-Kampff tests to differentiate anarchists from law-abiding citizens? Will legal changes be swift in the form of executive orders and armed police, or will requirements, regulations, and bans slowly devour us from the inside out? Can this be anticipated or stopped?

As do we not get caught?


[1] While these terrorism charges were dropped, they created the context for a guilty plea agreement on bogus drug charges.

There are 45 Comments

"As do we not get caught?"

stop being clout-chasing shitasses seeking internet fame. stop thinking we live in a post-anti-anarchist world, just because some social media d@rlings seem to be doing okay out in the open, and practice good security culture.

tl;dr: good opsec > likes&subscribes

So much useless rethoric about ilegality when most of anarchos are silent about COVID passports... Pathetic idealism at best.

what would you have anarchos say or do about "COVID passports" that would satisfy you? are you crying for more activism or just for more bitching on the internet? what shall we anarchost do, 14:14? lead us through our "Pathetic idealism"!!!

Just laughing on your activism and watching how pathetic it is so many theories without grasping the basics (pretending you are silent, not everyone)

Please explain what you mean. I don’t understand. It’s good the mod is protecting you from my mean retort though.

The title of our talk might seem, to the newcomer reading, a tautology. Interestingly, many of us who assume ourselves to be part of Anarchism, also consider that it is a reiteration to speak of “illegal anarchism”, however this particular label makes sense if, and only if, there is the existence of two antagonistic positions around the realization of direct action — that is, at the moment when we bring all of our theory to practice. This antagonism, as unfortunate as undeniable inside our movement, will be the cause of these peculiar “distinctions.” So to get into the issue of this theme, we need to address the false dichotomy: “legalistic anarchism “ v. “ illegal anarchism.”

And so we can plant this as a “false dichotomy”, precisely because the so-called “legalistic anarchism” is an unusual contradiction. From the moment we appeal to legality we are denying Anarchism. Anarchism is illegal or it isn’t Anarchism. That is its essence and meaning — its nature. For this reason, sometimes it seems so obvious that we forget to meticulously emphasize the anti-authoritarian character of Anarchism and therefore, that it is consequently anti-systemic; Anti-systemic and full of rage! We are against all authority; that’s our motto. For the same reason, Anarchists, from the moment we begin to assume ourselves as such, right in that initial moment, we are locating ourselves outside of the law.

When we affirm ourselves as Anarchists, we are against the system of domination. We fight against and object to the whole social order and all the laws that aid it. All laws have been and will be made to give juridical support to oppression and domination. If we are against the state we have to be strongly against the laws which entitle and justify its existence. Therefore, as Anarchists we are illegal because we are Anarchists, that is to say, by nature. Then for the much confusion that exists — a product of the liberal intoxication stalking again in these times — we must be very clear. And hence it should also be very clear that each time that this euphemism is used, when the term “illegalist anarchists” pops up, it is making reference to “insurrectionalist Anarchism”, to its tactics, methods and logic, and doing so in a derogatory manner with bad intentions — pointing the finger from the pulpit, from the supposedly “legalistic anarchist” stance. Or you could say from the denial of Anarchism. Here is a very timely moment for the maxim attributed to Camillo Berneri and Bob Black popularised in 1980s, in other words but without doubt words that certainly evoked the essence of the original sentence: “they are those anarchists, enemies of Anarchy”.

Before delving into the history of the so-called “illegal Anarchism” we should start by doing something about that incongruous position, both conceptually and practically speaking, that calls for “legalistic Anarchism” and that simultaneously belittles, outlaws and impedes the subsequent actions of the supporters and the participants of Anarchy. To be able to understand why and how such an ambiguous term came about in our ranks and to be able to explain the peculiar interest that exists and persists in using such a label, we have to, once again, ask the inevitable question: what is Anarchism? As Bonanno has pointed out: it is always necessary to return to this question, even when we are among Anarchists. Often, just to be among Anarchists makes this question inevitable.

Alfredo Bonanno explains that the reiteration of this question owes itself to the fact that Anarchism isn‘t a definition that, once reached, can be guarded jealously in a safe and conserved as a heritage from which we take our arguments each time that we need them.

Look, "Gustavo." It's neat that you're excited about discovering new texts in the library, it really is. But it's old to many of us and a mindless copy/paste without your additional reasoning as to why it should be a reply on this TOTW is just lazy. We expect more.

Imagine choosing to stick around after it's all become an old and tired copy/pasted re-run.
Laziness is a virtue. "Lazy" can only be used as an insult by someone trying to get you to do work you don't want to do.
For instance, you, in a roundabout way, trying to get me to spoon-feed you the text and make even more explicit how it relates to the TOTW, apparently. It should be evident with a cursory glance at the text. I cannot offer to give you a call an read it to you.
(Self)manage your expectations, multitude. You demand what you cannot offer yourself, to engage with the content.

Curious how you choose to remark on how old Gustavo's referenced text was, but not the Bonanno and Stirner quoted in the TOTW, nor the Bonanno referenced by Gustavo, specially since Gustavo is the more recent and less known author of the three.

Speaking of other people doing work for you, someone just translated an even more recent text by Gustavo Rodríguez, which coincidentally begins by also expressing being sick and tired about same ol' same ol':

"Since the defeat of Spanish anarcho-syndicalism, reiteration is a frequent ocurrence in the Babellian context in which the life of the so-called "anarchist movement" painfully takes place.[2] As if it were Groundhog Day [3], we are condemned to repeat the same experience of indefinitely. Time and again, the ideological displacements and the conceptualizations of others gain presence in our camp. Thus - again - the notions of "sect", "sectarianism" and "sectarian" emerge in the debate. We don’t have the slightest chance of escaping from this vicious cycle. Like Phil Connors (Bill Murray) in the famous comedy, every day the same song is hammered into us (at six in the morning!), forced to repeat ourselves in an infinite cycle from which not even suicide saves us."

If you read and contrast both these texts by Gustavo that i've shared so far, perhaps you might begin notice how the first is explicitly and directly related to the TOTW, while the second, isn't.

But as to my expectations, I expect vanishing levels of literacy and anarchy on your part. Even your memory may be leaving you, so feel free to rejuvenate it by diving into your old reading list, to retrace your steps, or into a stake, to hasten your pace in the direction you're heading.

I’ll say it plainly: an armed person is in command of themselves. They can not only defend themselves and thus be free from the “protection” of the police but move to enforce their own values on the world around them. When a cop tells you to take off a shirt he finds offensive(say, a Black Lives Matter t-shirt) you obey because the mere threat of violence and death is enough to make you comply. You are not sizing up the cop and wondering if you can out box him or pin him to the ground because you know no amount of muscle will stop a 9mm hollow point from ripping through your face like chemotherapy in a cancer patient.

There is no reason Anarchists can’t do the same.

Klansmen get awful scared at the sight of a loaded rifle, Nazis seem less likely to flex their muscle when they know a .357 is set to demolish in 2 seconds what took 2 years to build. To point a gun at a cop is a death sentence(unless you’re white of course), yet the mere idea that a shootout could occur is often enough to keep them on their best behavior.

Robert F. Williams was a classic example of this tactic being put into action.

“Robert F. Williams would become the leader of the Mabel, NC chapter of the NAACP and organized a black militia to fight against the Klan, much to the dislike of moderates in the Civil Rights movement. Williams was a WWII veteran and shared the skills he accumulated with his fellows to fight back against the violence of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Citizens Councils. This was shown to have quite a high level of efficacy; by simply being armed black militias were able to scare Klansmen out of action.”

Where the FUCK did THAT kind of politics go? When did we start asking for anything instead of taking it? Why have we let the enemy dictate what is acceptable for us? Why have we huddled together in weakness when we can proudly stand under our own authority?

“Revolution and insurrection,” said Max Stirner, “must not be looked upon as synonymous…The Revolution aimed at new arrangements; insurrection leads us no longer to let ourselves be arranged, but to arrange ourselves, and sets no glittering hopes on ‘institutions.’”

When we begin to make ourselves free we pave the way for the freedom of others.

Guns may be the great leveler: they don’t have to be expensive, they don’t have to be fancy and they can be wielded by the sick or healthy, young or old, by any sex or gender. Anyone can use them to arrange the world around them.

Firearms are Anarchism in action, a tool that instantly frees you from relying on hierarchical authority. YOU can repel a burglary, YOU can stop a rape, YOU can keep racist scum from even showing their face in the neighborhood either individually or collectively; no authority is involved, no 911 to call or infrastructure to uphold, effectively making the State obsolete without relying on the spooks of “rights” or “laws” or some religious belief that “deep down everybody is good.”

When it becomes clear that threatening the life of an Anarchist by driving a car through a protest or pulling a gun at a rally becomes potentially deadly the aggravation will end. When police know they risk much more than a two-week paid vacation when they rampage through a neighborhood the harassment will cease. When it becomes clear that a rapist won’t live long enough to beg for mercy from a sympathetic judge the patriarchy will retreat.

Every anarchist with a gun in her hand is Anarchism made real, a potent force capable of holding the world accountable and demanding autonomy, the same world currently hidden behind walls, fences, badges, and uniforms that you and I have built for generation upon generation with our bare hands only to have it stolen from us by the diktats of the “markets” and the owners who treat us like cattle!

Well comrades, will you continue to let them steal from you? Will you continue to live as a peaceful and pacifist herd?

Nazis had the 88mm cannon dude! You would have been queing up at Dunkirk for the first boat to get you the hell away.

Mr. Spock has the Vulcan mind meld. You'd be first in line to swear allegiance before the Empire.

Why do so many trolls live in Klanada?

a masterpiece of war engineering, that no 88mm Nazi cannon could stop!

Klanadians, both domestically and abroad got a thing called internet access, which allows for more or less regular trolling on anarchist sites when they ain't gpot nothing better to do, and they tend to be a special kind of troll. Harsher yet flexible, like water in the cold.... And in the cold season from November to April this means more influx of trolls, the Anews team knows!

But now away from "home", I have enough pains and funs in my hands to be my own troll, now. Most of the time at least, muchachoas!

The Muhricans had the exploding plastic inevitable, the avante-gard mind-warp which paralyzed all enemy trolls!

Damn, dood you must be OLD invoking Warhol like this. I was at the Factory in '66.. did we bang? I'm ready for my close-up.

Seriously though, don't you think that Warhol's aesthetic WAS new whereas Banksy's is an old hachneyed binary resistance?

It wasn't mass production it was detournèment. Warhol had the most avant-garde intellectual thinkers of his era contributing to The Factory's creative experiments. The Factory was, just in its name, meant as an ironic inversion of the mass production ethos. You should read his Philosophy! And he was FUN for chrissakes!

PS, Also, its more accurate to call this a sensual intuitive awakening, and rather than "intellectuals", the term "intuitives" would more accurately describe this aesthetic consciousness, which is always NEW, and unique.

Yeah he was also a bourgie liberal capitalist superstar scumfuck, right. I mean, the epitome reference for the decades to follow. If there's anything I can love Valerie Solanas for, it's you know the rest. But from his gang, Nico was such an awesome nihilist queen, tho.

"he was also a bourgie liberal capitalist" He grew up in an immigrant working class family, regardless of his path to fortune and fame, his values were mostly evolved out of his own unique imagination whilst he languished in a sick bed with a rare disease for many years. In fact he was insulated from the mass indoctrination of State education. So your opinion is a shallow leftist assumption that all people of fame and wealth are capitalists. At least you got it right about Nico.

PS And also, the prophesy, the " exploding plastic inevitability", just look at the PCB explosion in our oceans and soils now, The guy was a modern pop prophet.

Lauding Andy and the Factory scene on an anarchist website is pretty fucking weird, brow. Kill your idols... except John Cale.

"He grew up in an immigrant working class family, regardless of his path to fortune and fame, his values were mostly evolved out of his own unique imagination blablabla..."

Only a slightly, liberally different take on same-old self-made man mythology, brah. Sorry but no sorry to attack your capital-artiste idol.

Or maybe Valerie should have better pacticed her aim? Maybe not. This would have made him into a martyr of US liberal hipsters. Imagine having him as the new Christ for all them gentrifying White butterflies...

I don't actually care, I'm just stretching this thread along as far as it takes someone 15 minutes to read, thus attaining my prerequisited mount of fame. Thankyou, but if you can just keep replying a few more times to my comments my work is done and his prophecy will be realized for me.
Also, he staged the shooting, that is the whole purpose of guns, to create a dramatic atmosphere on the stage of life.

PS, Also, calling Andy a liberal hipster is like calling Mussolini a fascist! Ideologies are merely themes within the psychological script for survival. They are concepts reified by morons to sustain a grip on old traditional economic/materialist routines and rules.

Your and idiot

Woah dude. You mean there's people camping the litteral inventor of fascism... a fascist!? Barbarians!

People do not understand the full situationist power of the artiste upon his political emancipatory work! :-(

Remember, Warhol was apolitical, or above ideology or class consciousness, so don't regard this as a manifesto in support of the State or monarchy, he is merely stating a fact about reality of the moment. Excerpt from A. Warhol's Philosophy -
"What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coca Cola, Liz Taylor drinks Coca Cola, and just think, you can drink Coca Cola, too. A coke is a coke and no amount of money can get you a better coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the cokes are the same and all the cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.

In Europe the royalty and the aristocracy used to eat a lot better than the peasants—they weren’t eating the same things at all. It was either partridge or porridge, and each class stuck to its own food. But when Queen Elizabeth came here and President Eisenhower bought her a hot dog I’m sure he felt confident that she couldn’t have had delivered to Buckingham Palace a better hot dog than that one he bought for her for maybe twenty cents at the ballpark. Because there is no better hot dog than a ballpark hot dog. Not for a dollar, not for ten dollars, not for a hundred thousand dollars could she get a better hot dog. She could get one for twenty cents and so could anybody else."

could people talk about topics without getting into these pissing matches about personalities which is just celebrity culture bullshit, instead of talking about their own thoughts and actions? conversations become about avatars instead of people there's a whole thing about celebrity culture i guess

No, fuck off. Don't tell us how to converse. You're not the conversation rule maker here. If people are having conversations in a way that you don't like maybe your expectations are unrealistic. If people want to talk about celebrities based on a provocation from the topic then let it happen.

Okay, I'll talk about my own thoughts and actions. I want to be a famous anarchist even if its only for 15 minutes, and I'm going to dissolve the state!

has not getting caught actually changed that much tho?

careful planning is still a thing. building real trust or getting fucked over because you didn't, still a thing!
either you're literally being pursued by your enemies or you're in a targeted margin or you're not on the radar at all.

the curfews and health passports are definitely concerning, with parallels in the past that didn't include ubiquitous surveillance tech but also in the past, if the environment got hostile enough, you would leave. Anyway, it's still the same answer as ever imo, be smarter, faster and more ruthless than your enemies. luck helps too!

also ... maybe don't expend too much mental energy on paranoid thought experiments with extremely low probabilities? that's actually just you, sitting around being anxious with extra steps.

i think focusing of what new laws may arise is backwards and counterproductive. the way to go is focusing on what you want to do and how to do it. stealing food and living rent-free whether by squatting or rent strike will never be legal and is always already a crime, as is any act of defiance of authority even if supposedly defended by free speech since the cops and the state can act above the law in its own defense and that of its own interest, including covert actions by FBI, CIA etc.

the policing depends on surveillance and patrolling, so evading or obstructing the reach of visibility and mobility, helps

i think it can be helpful to think about how things are trending but i agree, anticipating a police response shouldn't dictate anarchist action

if we're speaking of trends, for some time now the big trends seem to be driven by technology, which moves and change at a rapid pace, while lawmaking often lags behind, struggling to understand, keep up, and regulate them. criminals and police alike are always quick to exploit these new technological innovations and applications. government and industry encroach on life through technology before it can be justified via legislation after the fact during some state of emergency like during post-9/11, post-covid and all the posts mentioned in the topic

in this way, laws are a threat more due to its inertia, its lagging behind, its traditions, tethered to the ancient constitutions of slavers and the morals of religions of slaves. other than that, the cutting edge provided by applied science, engineering, tech, is the driving force behind all current worrying trends.

Regarding 20:52:

This person should never venture outside of his Mom's basement.

Learn to thread your replies and to stop being such a noob or I'm gonna drizzle you in basement juice.

Q: "What acts are likely to shift from “potential” to “real” illegality in the near future?"

A: Like the post suggests, speech in favor of anarchism on the internet and sharing of information will constitute a crime. Like so

Q: "Will mutual aid projects, like Food Not Bombs, be able to occupy the same space and time they did before, or will there be an uptick in conflict?"

A: Years ago a Food Not Bombs in Florida had to go to court because giving food to the homeless is illegal there. No one went to jail, but anti-homeless laws are getting harsher and more absurd in most states as homelessness rises. Even loitering is being policed in some places.

Q: "How do anarchist media projects continue to rely on a corporatized, State-cooperative internet?"

A: The majority of anarchists will keep on believing they can subvert institutions by participating from the inside, be it government, industry, or the internet. Participation is obligatory and unquestionable. Asking rhetorically: How else can you engage? How unwise it would be to forgo all these wonderful tools and vantage points.

Q: "This same skepticism can be extended to our individual reliance on "private" and "secure" tech used to communicate, like Protonmail and Signal. What other common tactics or tools are outdated in our new context?"

A: I don't know, tentatively and provocatively I'll say trust is outdated.

Q: "What mindsets don’t apply anymore?"

A: I don't know. What did you have in mind? Again, just to provoke I will say trust doesn't apply.

Q: "How does illegality look down the trail?"

A: People going to jail for drug trafficking, human trafficking, fraud, money laundering, counterfeit goods and currency, theft, scams, hacking, prostitution, use and possession of controlled substances and terrorism, but all these activities will still flourish and be an integral part of the economy despite their criminal status.

Q: "How far will laws in the new normal go?"

A: As far they can, mostly uncontested,

Q: "Will there be Voight-Kampff tests to differentiate anarchists from law-abiding citizens?"

A: Big data is used to similar effects, there could be some more overt form of pre-crime policing along those lines, like the social credit score.

Q: "Will legal changes be swift in the form of executive orders and armed police, or will requirements, regulations, and bans slowly devour us from the inside out?"

A: Yes.

Q: "Can this be anticipated or stopped?"

A: It can be anticipated but not stopped.

Q: "As do we not get caught?"

A: Only 100% sure way of not getting caught is not doing anything plus good luck, since there's still the off chance that you could be falsely accused of something. The different precautions vary according to what it is you're doing, and consistency is key, when you start slipping, it ends. Another question would be what it is that you're doing that is worth it enough to do the time if you do get caught.

How can anarchists stay informed of the new laws? By reading the news or are there some other better online sources? And once informed on a particular bill, what's the course of action? A phone zap, lobbying, filibustering? Reminds me of this post

On the macro level, it is widely suspected that the reason Donald Trump is not in jail being held without bond is fear that prosecuting him would cause his followers to attempt to launch an all-out civil war.

On the micro level, we also have examples from the far-right of armed militiamen driving around armed in pickup trucks with bad/no tags and being left alone because cops don't want to get into a gunfight. Not all of that is from police sympathy for the militiamen, a healthy dose of not wanting to get shot is also involved.

Years ago in the 1990's all of DC's cops had to stay out a neighborhood in Anacostia after a 13 year old had been shot by a cop for allegedly trying to steal a car. Word on the street (presumed from the gangs) was that a cop had to pay for this in kind, a white cop was preferrred, but any cop would do. Cops had to wait for weeks for this to cool down before they dared show their faces again on that area. That actually made the radio and TV news.

All of this works the same way: raise the stakes until your opponent cannot stay in the game. Escalate until your opponent quits. Make yourself too expensive to fuck with. Those who know me know I've made it work for myself several times. You can do it too.

ok, Joe Pesci

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