TOTW: Our enemies in blue

I’ve been watching what’s going on in Portland with a mix of fear and excitement. It’s impressive to see tactical faceoffs with the goons of the state, watching protesters taking the offensive, being tactical, and doing something that looks, in some small way, like winning. Having company doesn’t hurt either, as the backlash against the federal government deploying armed forces to the city has turned out a whole layer of liberals to come out to the party as body shields/teargas-clearers.

At the same time, I can’t help but remember Uncle Ted’s essay in which he states, “If a man punches you, you can’t defend yourself by hitting back at his fist, because you can’t hurt the man that way. In order to win the fight, you have to hit him where it hurts. That means you have to go behind the fist and hit the sensitive and vulnerable parts of the man’s body.”

We’ve witnessed some incredible protest movements which included cops among their targets in the recent past, including the Arab Spring and Hong Kong in which cops as well as their families were attacked and whose protest tactics are reflected in some of the strategies we’re seeing in Portland now. In both cases, punching the fist was a short term tactical move used to free up areas from state control, but at least in the case of the Arab Spring (as in the case of Egypt) the fist outlasted the physical destruction of police stations and disarming of officers and the protesters ended up being arrested and brutalized once it reasserted itself.

What does it mean to fight the cops in this moment? Are we just punching a fist? And if we are, what is the value of that punching? How can we punch harder or more effectively?

Alternately, should we heed Uncle Ted and punch somewhere else instead?

There are 134 Comments

decent totw.

i tend to lean towards the approach of punching elsewhere, strategically. figuring out where that should be, how to punch and when, are the big questions.

i think about large protests, where you have a good sized mass of people in a given area and timeframe, with that space-time being a locus of law enforcement. great fucking distraction! i could never figure out why there aren't more clandestine - and possibly more effective - actions away from the eye of the law. it could even be coordinated with groups at the protest, in various ways. maybe that kind of thing does happen and i am not aware. and obviously some folks do more clandestine actions, completely independent of the "cover" of a protest.

facing off with riot cops has its use, no question. it's been a long time, but i've been there. it just doesn't do anything for me other than in that moment, and that's not a moment i care to relive constantly. guess i fail the strugglissimo test.

This was attempted a few times in Oakland and the tail end of occupy, and the answer is that it turns out for planned protests, there's not actually much different about the terrain away from the protest itself. It appears cops manning the protest are usually on OT, so not on their beat/hours, which means there are just as many police patrolling (and of course snitches) everywhere else as there is under normal circumstances. You can always still do something concurrently, but you'll have to take the same precautions you normally would, so unless there's some symbolic gesture you want to make or whatever, there's not much point -- especially when there's ephemeral terrain to operate on while you can. The exceptions to this are 1. when the size of the protest is unexpected, as has def happened in Oakland a few times and the cops are left scrambling for riot gear and backup, or 2. full scale riots, where there isn't enough OT in the world to accommodate patrols everywhere.

Well put.

I’ve been sorta scratching my head about Portland lately. I mean it’s obvious that after there was an order from the Oval Office to dispatch feds, the movement buckled down padded up, and made a point of demonstrating how ineffectual such highly paid goons are when it comes down to it.

This has brought MANY more people into the movement that otherwise might not have showed up.

On the other hand- the constant commentary seems to have further polarized (possible) people.

Hearing people outright advocate for live rounds just to end the story is terrifying.

I think “punching the fist” ends up playing into opposition story lines. That might be the most dangerous aspect about it.

But at this point the “T” word (already applied to many involved in DA around food production actions, etc) is being thrown around to include mothers, war vets, and anyone else associated with A—-fa, and by associates with I mean on the same block at the same time, obviously.

Hearing mothers demonized for their participation had really driven home the point that there had been less and less middle ground for a wile now. There is no play for the hearts and minds- and it seems like THAT is the only aim while punching the fist.

So no hearts or minds (everybody already picked a side) means no benefit- BESIDES practice. The affinity groups arising, tactics learned and money/time/effort wasted by the feds is about the only silver lining.

Where what when why there should be other actions is an extremely interesting conversation... and I hope we aren’t the only ones trying to have it.


"punching the fist" is absurd, unless you know for a fact that your fist is much bigger and stronger than the other, and you know exactly how to punch a fist. (in reality, punching a fist straight up hurts like hell). i would always find elsewhere to punch back, even if i was pretending to punch the fist.

perhaps a better metaphor...?

punching a fist is like, the most common thing that happens in a fight where both people know how to block. maybe teddy wasn't a scrapper? more of a hide-in-his-shack, massaging his power/revenge fantasy kind of guy?

I guess it depends on what the goal is. If you want to get federal troops out of your city/neighborhood, then you need to physically remove them using force, which means you better be prepared to bring arms and actually fight guerilla street battles, and not just lob tear gas back at them. You have to up the ante. Chomsky used to say, "If you use guns, they have bigger guns. If you have bigger guns, they have tanks. If you have tanks, they have nukes". Chomsky was basically giving up on the idea of any kind of physical conflict leading to victory. To him, the game was already lost, so the only thing we can do is just join a union and start to organize around incremental reforms. Chomsky literally thinks the state would not hesitate to use nuclear weapons on its own population. I'm not so sure. I mean, I guess it's possible, but that would be a grave action any state would have to really think hard about. Even the Soviet Union never contemplated that. Regardless, I always look at the bottom line. What is the bottom line? How far is the state willing to go? Does the state have a moral line they are not willing to cross? We need to conduct that experiment. My guess is if enough people using enough firepower can defeat federal troops in a neighborhood or city, the government will be reluctant to send federal troops in the next time. We need to make the government physically afraid of its people, not just afraid of losing elections.

If the goal is to transform the entire system and/or bring it down, that's a long term strategy requiring different tactics.

tfw mom bloc leads to nuclear escalation,
from mutual aid to mutually assured destruction

lolwut, if you want federal troops out of your city, then the way to do that is stop the protests and get the town to vote for Trump. You want them to send even more? Try killing one. Direct conflict and escalation can serve their purpose, but if you think just going harder and harder at the fucking feds will make them go away, boy do you have some hard lessons to learn

Funny how Iraqis going harder and harder at US troops made them go away. Funny how the Vietcong going harder and harder at US troops made them go away. Direct conflict and escalation can serve our purpose as well. It's called playing to win, which seems to be a foreign concept in anarchist circles.

1. Every faction that killed US troops in Iraq lost. There are still thousands of US troops there, and they're only now leaving because the US stopped caring (even the new govt changed its mind about asking troops to leave, asking them to stay to help with ISIS and covid shit). If you're going to make a dumb comparison, at least make one that supports your case.

2. Idk if you've looked around, but the US isn't exactly a hotbed of guerilla activity. Name the last time a cop got killed without the person doing it winding up in prison, let alone a fed. The places you're talking about (or rather, trying to talk about) had generations of families and cultures existing outside or at the fringes of the control of their adversaries. You think anyone is busting your ass out of prison when you LARP too hard one night and get caught? Sorry to rain on your machismo power trip fantasies, but no, just because you read about a guerilla war on the other side of the world doesn't mean that shit is going to happen how you think when you play with yourself. If full on war breaks out in the US any time soon, it's going to be civil, and both sides are going to suck.

1. Bullshit. Citation needed. The US has not conquered Iraq, It's been been stymied there, thanks to insurgent Iraqis, Hezzbollah, and ISIS. The conflict there is unwinnable for the US. it's not about not caring. The US knows it cannot win.
2. From a couple of years ago.

Blah blah blah. Yeah, just keep sitting on your toilet doing nothing and expecting the world to change. Violence is the only thing that actually works, yet it's the very thing you dismiss out of hand as impractical and not viable in the US. You don't have any workable ideas of your own, so you just piss all over everyone else's. You sneer at guerilla tactics as machismo fantasies, but the machismo of police is no fantasy, and it works very well to keep pacifists like you in line. Your learned helplessness is the result of the long history of violence and terror of police. You are so demoralized and paralyzed that you can't even contemplate physical retaliation.

isn't an argument. the argument would be getting at why someone is demoralized. you don't actually seem to be disagreeing with the points made by who you're responding to. "the police's machismo is no fantasy."
people don't think the u.s. would nuke its people because its people are far away from making that necessary. the more real resistance becomes, the more outrageous the state becomes. i certainly agree with chomsky in this, if in nothing else.

Calling you demoralized is an accurate scientific description of your demeanor. The more outrageous the state becomes, the more it loses legitimacy. If the US government actually nuked its own citizens, how would that go over?
Do you think that would be normalized?

What is your alternative? Keep protesting?

Lol are you one of those US-centric tools who think that the US "losing" means the other side "won"? Go talk to some Iraqi insurgents and let me know how they think things turned out for them, and stop digging yourself a hole.

I also love that you cited a single instance from "a few years ago" as evidence that there's a guerilla culture in the US. Better watch out world, the US's imminent demise is near, your harbinger of social collapse, right here... on anews? ;)

More seriously, I'm not saying "stay home and do nothing", I'm saying that if you're trying to achieve some notion of "winning" that is based around military strategy, you are going to either end up in prison or dead, while failing at your goals miserably. Please, go out and riot, do attacks, Make Total Destroy!, but that doesn't necessarily (and shouldn't) mean armed conflict with the fucking feds. Unless you have a deathwish and actually want the whole "out in blaze of glory" thing, in which case, have fun, but don't expect anything good to come out of it *other than the thing itself*.

Those weren't civil wars jarbrains, and anyway, the US of A woulda kicked their asses if the nancyboy liberal UN hadn't created an anti-usa agenda. Don't compare open warfare with social unrest.

Vietnam was originally a civil war after 1945,. The US backed the south following the partition in 1954. It doesn't matter whether it was a civil war or not, it was an armed military conflict, which the US lost.

There are literally military troops in Portland. It is the nearest thing to open warfare since the civil war.

Military troops have been deployed to every major uprising in the US. The riots of '68, the '92 in LA, Ferguson.

This conversation does make me wonder if there's something more we can do to address this sort of historical shortsightedness. I feel like there's a problem of people experiencing their first social rupture as Totally Unprecedented, at least partially because that's how media narratives want to draw attention (manipulators like the MSM and IGD), and partially because everyone wants to place themselves at a precipice of history. I want to keep pushing new ways of subverting normalcy, but it's sort of difficult when so much of the discourse is about re-learning the same lessons. Maybe this is just how you have those conversations, and part of the necessary process? Idk.

Good fucking question. I don't know. Certainly been quite a few people who've noticed that the younger generations seem to have unprecedented levels of disinterest in anything approaching historical context, and I think some have chalked it up to social media feeds, which makes sense. Living in the moment is as well and good, but I think the detriments of this for anarchists (and for everyone!) are probably pretty clear. In other countries -- notably Chile and Greece, both with strong anarchist movements -- I have been impressed with how often the anarchists will remind each other of the importance of memory.

With that said, I wonder what you see as the problems of people treating these moments as Totally Fucking Unprecedented?

(On a somewhat related, somewhat off-topic note, it really fucking bothered me when I was hearing everyone call the coronavirus pandemic totally fucking unprecedented or the biggest thing to ever happen in "our state" or such nonsense. The state where I live was formed about 150 fucking years ago, made possible in large part by a devastating pandemic. There are still loads of people who remember all of their friends dying to AIDS. Fuck you.)

Meh, I didn't mean to imply that this is an unprecedented problem (in fact, I think that saying that youth disinterest is "unprecedented" is itself falling into the same trap!). And I'm not even sure "problem" is the right framing for what I was trying to say. Basically, I just want to keep the discussion moving, rather than re-hashing the same points and strategies every time things catch fire. Part of any meaningful experimentation is being aware of what has been tried before, and I'm just wondering if there are better ways for us to do that.

“This conversation does make me wonder if there's something more we can do to address this sort of historical shortsightedness.”

Do you think the world can be solved through education? Or does the comment amount to saying “I wish people would stop saying and doing ignorant things.”

“everyone wants to place themselves at a precipice of history”

Part of that is expecting knowledge to accumulate in the population culminating in a climax that will lead to improvements or resolution of conflicts or social ills.

“I want to keep pushing new ways of subverting normalcy, but it's sort of difficult when so much of the discourse is about re-learning the same lessons.”

Abandon the discoursive role of hoping to be a teacher or luminary to the masses and apply those valuable historical lessons -that seem profound but one is mostly powerless to their implications, as one is to macro processes, specially those of mid to long duration- to yourself and put into practice this superior way forward based on historical insight and longsightedness(?).

“Maybe this is just how you have those conversations, and part of the necessary process?”

Yes, conversations are happening in this way, among others.

What necessary process are you referring to? Progress, as in a steady improvement in the “consciousness” -knowledge of history, critical thinking, battle tactics, shared experiences - of whole populations that will make them excel at revolt?

Knowledge is passed down to further generations when there is a common culture, tradition, lifeway. People learn how to live in this world as atomized mass consumer/produces, not as devotees of revolt.

Anarchists can barely keep generational line without breaking. Continuity of their legacy is very interrupted, newer generations often have to dig up what was buried, often times puposefully by its enemies. Contrary to mainstream culture which you can learn through cultural osmosis or any of the media feeding tubes.

I am not the anon you're replying to. You're jumping to conclusions that are far off from what they said. Someone can be interested in having conversations with real people around them, and for those conversations to involve sharing stories from the past, without a shred of belief that education will solve the world's problems or any interest at all in educating "the masses."

You’re right, I took the most uncharitable interpretation.They’re free to respond or not.

Seeing it how you phrase it, then I wouldn’t have responded since I don’t know of a more optimal way of having a conversation other than how people regularly talk when they sincerely want to hear each other.

People in the middle of a protest or a riot might at that moment might not be in the best space for those conversations. Was CHAZ a good place for that? Where are the proverbial campfires? Is this comment section part of it? Is it the bibliography pages of books written after the fact?

(Anon who posed the original question here.)

This isn't exactly where I was looking to go, but it is close enough and I have thoughts on it that I want to respond and say: I think this is the biggest weakness of NA anarchist activity around events like this. So much of the discussion around riots is built around heavily militaristic language, because that's the Revolutionary mindset I guess. "The police precinct has fallen!" "The CHAZ has seceded from the US!" I get that it's fun to LARP sometimes, and burning police stations is pretty much always awesome when you can pull it off, but simply creating local cultural shifts around how we interact with each other and have discussions seems like such a simpler, lower bar to aim for, and it also seems obvious to me as a prerequisite for anything more interesting than that to occur. What's the point of "occupying" some space in a pseudo-militaristic manner for a brief definite time, when we could instead be occupying it in the colloquial sense for ambiguous open periods of time, and shifting the terrain that we live on? Like, you did not need to build barricades and start fucking armed "patrols" to start the permaculture garden in CHAZ and hang out. Idk, just seems like if we're going to be in the streets, creating spaces to have these conversations should be something we keep in mind, especially in the US where true common spaces are almost non-existent. Despite the venue we're discussing this on, I 100% do not believe the internet fills that gap.

I agree. Meeting up irl and chatting often is cool and sorely lacking. Before the internet, there was no other option. Now anarchist people only get together for larping photo-ops, projects etc.

I agree, occupying space in a pseudo-militaristic way is misguided, deluded and not anarchistic I’d add.

Hanging out to discuss stuff in ways that don’t have to fall into the tropes of cliques, the scene, the milieu, the squat, or intentional communities. Still I think that the people that can do that, are willing to do that, and want to do that for a long enough time are few and far apart.

It’s like someone said one time in a discussion, about there being a critique of family and moving away from that, but friendship perhaps being a more precarious, flimsy and ephemeral substitute. Increasingly people have fewer friends and friendships last less, people are uprooted and have to move often, change jobs and even schools since young.

"What's the point of "occupying" some space in a pseudo-militaristic manner for a brief definite time, when we could instead be occupying it in the colloquial sense for ambiguous open periods of time, "

The colloquial sense? What does this even mean?

These occupations are the lingering remnants of the neo-colonialist tendencies they have not managed to purge themselves of. Its similar to Proudhon's self-refuting statement that " Property is theft". Silly aristocrat!

When you know jack shit of what you're talking about (i.e. autonomous occupations), stop pretending you're an expert on the matter.

Property IS theft, regardless of who first wrote that. In the American context, any piece of land comes from appropriation by settlers' thievery.

The problem with "property is theft" isn't who said it, it's that it's wrong. You are ceding the territory by assuming that theft is a thing in the first place, and ascribing criminality to it. Settlers didn't steal the land, they conquered it and denatured it. They turned it into property.

"'Settlers didn't steal the land, they conquered it and denatured it. They turned it into property."

Except they stole the land. "Conquered" and "denatured" is just rhetoric... when you take possession of a space by ruse and/or force, then impose an arbitrary rule on its possession -or exclusion to it- this means appropriation by STEALING.

Most of the land on Turtle Island was unceded to the settlers, much less their regimes. Their states acquired them by a stroke of pen, then with guns. That is thievery.

Can you seriously it wrap your head around why using terminology based around commodity law isn't the best framing for this issue? Let me guess, the cops are the REAL terrorists? The banks are the REAL looters?

they're just describing … being a person who is existing somewhere? possibly unironically? idk…

it's pretty facepalm if you ask me!

Yes, existing somewhere, but while developing at least some resemblance of a sense of place. Occupy in the colloquial sense means how we normally use the word occupy (or at least, "we" who aren't into military fetishization). E.g., the current occupants of a home are occupying the home. Occupying common space in this sense is, as I said, nearly nonexistent in the US. Go to a public square in nearly anywhere in France, Spain, Greece, Italy, or Latin America (and I'm guessing other places as well that I haven't been to), and you'll immediately see what I mean. A large part of what makes riots spectacular in the US is instead the norm in these places: strangers having meaningful discussions, which can often lead to interesting projects.

ok cool, well I think I already do that? but… maybe it's less confusing to me if I invert what you're saying? I would call that - not existing in a cybernetic zombie bubble of alienation from 99% of the humans I encounter. But like, I agree with you, just how my brain works.

That's nice and all, but you aren't a culture, and an individual can't develop a sense of place. I'm trying to say that the kinds of spaces that are created in riots in the US don't need riots to exist, and they don't need a seccedeed space. They just need an occupied (again, colloquial sense) space, and these kinds of ruptures seem like one of the best ways to create that, but nobody seems to be trying until they turn it into a CHAZ or Encampment of whatever the fuck. I'm basically just saying CHAZ could have existed and been better if there were no barricades, armed patrols, grandiose proclamations, naming it an autonomous zone, etc. That shit can come later, if it's viable/deairable.

we don't even disagree then, you're just getting at an old anarchist problem (imo) of what a culture of resistance even is, where it is, etc.

we could have a long conversation about it: for example, I think radical spaces that serve as bases for communities are very important and the forces of neoliberalism have conspired to strangle them in to oblivion in hundreds of ways, forcing the new attempts at radical spaces to be more conflictual from the get go, which makes them weaker for the reasons you're alluding to … and on and on.

anyway, it's fascinating stuff, certainly not an easy problem to solve tho. if you're saying the CHAZ should have chilled the fuck out at the beginning, i'd argue it still would have been crushed without us even hearing about it, like the dozens of projects I've watched that happen to, smothered in their cribs by NIMBY yuppie booj fuckheads with their snitching and property schemes … blah blah blah. Know what I mean?

Oh, I know full well that projects like that default to getting crushed, but that's why I think doing them in the context of shit popping off is so useful. Who the hell is going to call the cops on some gardeners when buildings are still getting burned? More generally though, I'm thinking about the way these events are approached. I feel like if people were trying to 1. Keep showing up to the place and 2. Make it worthwhile for others to do so, it would go a lot further than just another march begging cops not to shoot us. And yeah, the sorts of spaces that exist in infoshops etc. is a pretty explicit inspiration for what I'm thinking of, but on a less insular basis (Exarchia Square is a very explicit example).

sure yeah, it's just that there's cosmic junkyards full of less explicit anarchist projects/spaces. community gardens, event spaces, bookstores, kitchen co-ops, squatted warehouses, on and on and they generally died of boredom or flakiness or expensive rent instead of under the jackboot.

i guess my point is, it's not so much the insight you're describing as the large group of dedicated folks who do the do… or not.

one of the things I've come to realize, for example, is that a lot of the anarchist movement from the 80s and 90s was piggybacking on the last gasps of the old left, riding it in to the ground like an old zombie horse that was disintegrating . they enjoyed access to space through cracks that have since been bricked up. the watering holes in the desert are dry now.

generic big tent lefty spaces (a u t o n o m o u s) are the next rung down the ladder from NGOs for (“not“)liberals who are in-the-know *wink wink nudge nudge (the knowing glances, we hold space for each other. they’ll never know we hold in our hearts the seed for a new world)

yes anon, everyone who doesn't sleep in the street with only a puddle of their own urine for warmth is A FUCKING LIBERAL and will be remorselessly snarked to death. snarkitty snark snark!

ok, i will constructively engage with this comment since my piss-take was deleted, and perhaps rightfully so.
so...ur in for a treat. btw snark is not lethal, it's fairly innocuous, sterile you could say, though it gets stagnant and stinky.

i was actually about to write something very similar to your 07/30/2020 - 13:37 comment (, i didn't like how i worded it. luckily when i refreshed the page, you had posted yours.

"sure yeah, it's just that there's cosmic junkyards full of less explicit anarchist projects/spaces. community gardens, event spaces, bookstores, kitchen co-ops, squatted warehouses, on and on and they generally died of boredom or flakiness or expensive rent instead of under the jackboot.

i guess my point is, it's not so much the insight you're describing as the large group of dedicated folks who do the do… or not."

yes these projects center around a romanticized set of chores that businesses do more effectively, efficiently, and profitably. putting a bunch of random people together does not automatically make for good natural chemistry, organic cohesion, or affinity. they will subsist only resting on the professionalism and work ethic that some people bring to the table, but without getting a living wage from it.

"one of the things I've come to realize, for example, is that a lot of the anarchist movement from the 80s and 90s was piggybacking on the last gasps of the old left, riding it in to the ground like an old zombie horse that was disintegrating . they enjoyed access to space through cracks that have since been bricked up. the watering holes in the desert are dry now."

similarly we could say the anarchist movement of the 2010's and 2020's are piggybacking from summit-hopping and occupy movements, similarly riding zombie horse to the ground. antifa proliferation got anarchists into the news, because white supremacists and altright got some popularity first. this feedback loop kept going and contributed a bit to getting trump elected. now trump loves having "anarchists" in his mouth, feeding into this loop and giving us free (much needed? unwanted? bad?) publicity.

yes … so you built on what I said but the original point was I don't think TAZs can exist without conflict and spaces that aren't conflictual are often boring and pointless because its like a job where you don't get paid, as you (or another anon) pointed out earlier.

anyway, backing away from conflict because it's hard isn't the conclusion I like to draw from these sorts of things. But a similar discussion about efficient use of energy for conflict can be interesting.

"But a similar discussion about efficient use of energy for conflict can be interesting."

we don't have to reinvent the affinity group or people who act on their own. peak efficiency, but limits to smaller scale of operations and effects. organizing society, organizing movements, organizing protests is highly inefficient, but large scale. civilization is peak inefficiency, everything goes to waste, but it has the largest impact on a global scale, extending to beyond Earth.

what's more energy efficient than "low power mode", aka being at rest? can you be in conflict while you rest or sleep?

i guess what your asking is not so much for maximizing energy efficiency for its own sake, but adaptive innovations in conflict that are force multipliers that avoid burnout and strengthen morale, phrased in the most annoying militaristic terms possible. your best bets are on high tech; robotics, automation, hacking...all the things companies are doing to do more with less people...

mass protests are mostly just a cannon fodder of liberals acting out their voting on the streets. i don't know why these should keep being synonymous with anarchists.

"Do you think the world can be solved through education? Or does the comment amount to saying 'I wish people would stop saying and doing ignorant things.'"

Neither, I was just openly wondering whether there are ways to more effectively create new conversations.

"Part of that is expecting knowledge to accumulate in the population culminating in a climax that will lead to improvements or resolution of conflicts or social ills."

Yes, revolutionary (or Event-driven) thinking does interact with this, though I don't think that influence is unidirectional. I.e., people think this is Srs Bsns because of The Revolution, and people want to believe in The Revolution because it gives their life the illusion of meaning.

"Abandon the discoursive role of hoping to be a teacher or luminary to the masses and apply those valuable historical lessons -that seem profound but one is mostly powerless to their implications, as one is to macro processes, specially those of mid to long duration- to yourself and put into practice this superior way forward based on historical insight and longsightedness(?)."

Oh I have approximately 0 interest in the masses or movements (other than just like, situational awareness); like the other anon said, I think you've misinterpreted what I was saying. The point isn't "how do we educate these actors into being most effective", so much as "are there better ways of exploring spaces as they open up".

"What necessary process are you referring to? Progress, as in a steady improvement in the “consciousness” -knowledge of history, critical thinking, battle tactics, shared experiences - of whole populations that will make them excel at revolt?"

Lol no. "Necessary process" here just meant "rehashing these old conversations every time is just how this information is spread." Basically I was asking whether these threads on @news will ever go away, or if there's a way to frame things so that we get a larger body of new ideas, relatively speaking, that are reflective of our current context (whatever that may be). And it is a legitimate question, not rhetorical; I'm really curious if there's a way to prompt discussions that don't just get a bunch of responses of "what we need to do is attack HARDER."

Thank you for all the clarifications. Your question is valid and important. I will brainstorm some ideas and most of them will be shit.

First of all, these conversations seem repetitive to you because you’ve been around for a while snd you’ve been paying attention. Things that encourage long-term engagement with these topics and interests, rather than a one time dabbling, help toward your desired goal.

So people sticking around, staying in contact, having discussions when these things happen, discussions that build on the previous one, not starting anew each time. Getting to know each other so you’re not starting from zero.

People that have been around for the while share their experiences and thoughts through written word, including things like twitter. We know the advantages, limits and pitfalls of these.

Now for brainstorm:

-A huge banner or two at a very visible spot (like a building facade facing the street longitudinally) saying something along the lines of what to do, what not to do, for rookies. Could be framed as protests cliches to avoid, or “broke vs woke” lists.
The idea is to put practical things, not jokes. What would you write in that banner that would help a mom or dad bloc as it arrives?

-Distribute flyers, or wheat-paste posters previous to expected protest with clear tips, not unnecessary slogans or rhetoric. This has been done to some extent, but can be done better.

-Host videos or video conferences on the topic and advertise to newbies/rookies.

-Keep a field book and journal and share your experiences. Make a club where people share them with each other.

Making information available to all also means cops will have it, there are ways to curtail this, but those are the risk you’d have to take.

-Also, try innovative things, either with experience people you know, or getting some newbies together. If these innovations work and are visible, they will be imitated to some degree. This relies on word of mouth, and mass media (includes internet).

Lastly I’ll comment that there are more effective ways of sharing tips against things to avoid or what to do in protests within the general format of street confrontations, as well as sabotage manuals and even combat manuals, but there seems to be very little effectiveness (there are plenty of texts and websites and projects aiming to do this) in the resources dedicated to “winning the hearts and minds”, using the enemies’ terms, towards anarchy. Mutual Aid projects at most help people help each other, and when explicitly anarchist, help paint them in s benign light.

How to get people stop wanting, demanding and counting on cops, government, army, etc?

You can share tactics all you want. But if your anarchist goals and desires are not shared by the now tactic savvy crowd, you won’t end up where you wanted. You’ll defeat a police force in street battle, or even topple a a government just to institute another one that’s more of the same shit. This also a lesson to be learned from history and not the most popular one during times of revolt.

"if you want federal troops out of your city, then the way to do that is stop the protests and get the town to vote for Trump."

Wow, master strategist at work here! OBEY, snitch on the protesters, then make your hood vote for Trump, or else... you get more beating. Great logic, Kanye fan!

looks like you missed the inference of "because openly fighting them would be incredibly stupid and you'll die immediately."

That, and the "given that, maybe it shouldn't be our goal in the first place." Perhaps they forgot where they were, but I was assuming that "I'm not advocating electoral politics" was just sort of, you know, implied.

There's nothing in the comment at 19:31 by shitstain anon fascist swine that says that, unless you're being sarcastic in some vague manner.

***sighh*** you're on fucking @news, try to use your head and think about, given the context, what was being said. Since I apparently need to spell this out for you, my point was not that "we should all stop going into the streets and start voting for Trump!", it was that the most effective mechanism for accomplishing the goal of "remove federal troops" isn't machismo dick waving contests, and that the thing that *would* be most effective isn't particularly anarchist. Therefore, maybe instead of trying to just corner ourselves into the latest media frenzy favorite narrative, we focus our attentions on something else instead. Or maybe I'm just a windmill fascist that you can keep swinging at, up to you.

anyone's guess whether they're trolling or just have their brain locked on fuck-you-and-here's-why. it's a serious online anarchy affliction! sad emoji : ' (

The thing is, the more these leftist radical led anarchists participate in riots and destruction of government property, they are falling into Trumps script for winning the next election, because they are polarizing, to his advantage, those voters who place primal civil obedience above all things, above Covid and health, above unemployment and before economy.
The more you riot, the more Trump wins.

This is not the argument I was making, and I think it's a load of shit on two levels. One, Biden has been advocating for law and order, greater funding for the police, and as of yesterday, arresting anarchists for being anarchists. The idea that Americans writ large think Trump can stop these riots seems dubious to me, and would need some pretty strong quantitative evidence if I were to believe it. More importantly though, I don't think concerning ourselves with the outcome of electoral politics is a good way to focus our energies. I do think who the next president is matters, in terms of how it alters the terrain, but that doesn't mean we should be catering to that crap.

it's definitely confused: apples and oranges where the apples are the actors on the stage and the oranges are the people in the audience who've said FUCK THIS and are trying to burn down the theatre. any state will use severe unrest to justify authoritarian measures, it's the early stages of the collapse of their hegemony

the usa has used nukes on its own people. where do you think these things were tested? where did the uranium come from? where are there still sacrifice zones?

Testing nukes with troops miles away wearing PPE is not the same as actually dropping nukes directly on people in order to kill them. Christ what an idiot.

i'm not sure sunglasses count as PPE.

anyway, there were other tests, not just in the continental us, such as the ones in the Marshall Islands in the 1950's. the us govt. exploded a bomb there in March 1954 and the yield was unexpectedly high. the us used this as an opportunity to study the effects of fallout on the Marshallese, who were not wearing PPE, i am quite sure.

The US evacuated the Marshall islands before the test dum dum.

It was after they returned to the island they started developing radiation sickness.

is this: the us government has no compunction against using weapons of all types against non-combatants. and as much as it pains me to say it in this case Chomsky is correct, the government will always be able to outgun us.

does this mean never use weapons in our fight? does this automatically call for pacifist tactics? not necessarily. but it does call for being smart in knowing when and where which tactics / which strategies are useful and feasible. it also calls for not underestimating our opponent, for knowing the history of atrocities they have committed and are still willing to commit, are still committing.

hear hear! ^^^this shit right here. Listen to the Nettles ffs

If you refer to the whole of the non-government population in the US, then maybe they aren't potentially outgunned, unless the government takes the prior means to disarm most people. If people in the US, including anarchos, didn't stockpile on guns & ammo over these last few troubling years, then the fault is onto them. But National Guard & police arms depots are still a thing, too.

The "us" are We, highly trained, Revolutionaries who will storm the National Guard & police arms depots like Fidel and Che to first get the guns and then the money so We can Liberate the People.

*rolling eyes*

that's not even close to how it actually works … if you've been paying any attention to the street conflicts since the trump election. it's not everybody versus the government at all. it's a tiny minority of factions, relative to the total population, more than half of which are cheering on the cops and/or eager to help them crush the grassroots opposition to the police state.

I agree that a kind of symmetrical warfare can get badly self-defeating if done in a too conventional way. The way the Maoist-like brigade gets easily raided at the end of the movie Children of Men is a very good and realistic example. The 3-letter agencies have studied asymmetrical warfare for decades, so sticking to same-old symmetrical warfare ain't a good idea.

ETA somewhat succeeded at that, for a while, and it's the best instance of a long-standing insurrection, but also of how symmetrical insurrections fail in a contemporary context. They got nailed in the end, due to their unwillingness to adapt to a transgenerational context of EU liberal democracy; with the old power center of hegemony dislocated elsewhere (Brussels, Frankfurt, etc) and with new forms of social control measures, that includes "self-policing", public infrastructure and institutional/consumerist pacification.

ETA killed a lot of cops and stopped a nuke plant from being built, yet they didn't stop the soft power brought by a tourist industry and related transportation industry. They failed to see how the soft power is tougher than the hard in a postmodern world, but also did not get postmodernity at all. An asymmetrical approach demands a "holistic" view of State domination, beyond the focus on flash point issues as the Left went deeply into.

I'd rather be trusting and supporting random people's capacity to adapt to situations in a situation of open, violent conflict. Underestimating their ingenuity and creativity is the mistake of all invading/repressive forces through history. This is the biggest force in human evolution, and is still unproven to be effectively tackled by human control systems.

Yes, common consumer-citizens are dumb, deeply dumb... 'til they quit being consumer-citizens.

If you actually believe the feds would nuke it's own citizens, I have some swampland in Florida you might be interested in.

The other anon is right, some of you people are so demoralized and beaten down with fear.

where to start?

using nuclear weapons in an overt act of war on its own citizens is a stretch, i'll grant that. however my point was more that in the manufacture of nuclear weapons (and for making electricity) the government has no problem whatsoever poisoning its citizens. my point further is the mere manufacture of said weapons is an act of disregard for life in general, regardless of citizenship. countless lives have already been killed to just make the weapons without having to use them in their intended weaponized form.

i do not live in fear of having nuclear bombs dropped on me, no, but it is exceedingly shortsighted to count on the morality of the government to not do what it has already done, if by other means.

i am not living in fear or demoralized by the depravity of government, i am only realistic as to what they are willing to do and it seems they are willing to do anything. a glance at history will show this.

this is what Fredy Perlman was getting at in AHAL, how do we fight leviathan without becoming leviathan? leviathan has no limits in their use of power, we would do well not to forget this.

I prefer nuclear over biological. I can dress in lead clothing to stop radiation poisoning, but viruses can sneak in between the rivet and creases in lead armour. Scary vomiting inside PPE!

so many other types of bombs lesser than nuclear will do the trick and bare even scratch the city.
they could drop frag grenades from drones. people would not even hear the drone, and maybe most would not even notice the grenades until they detonated a foot above their heads.

As a forensic psychologist I suggest you seek help ASAP. Because of your imagination, I can't unthink your devious idea. Hurry!

Body's immune system (look it up!) can develop defenses against viruses. Against nuke radiation? No.

You can protect yourself against most if not all viruses by wearing cheap HEPA filter masks (with an inner layer to filter the fiberglass microparticules), yet good luck even making yourself a lead body armor, lol, and wear it all the time, not just in some closed areas.

this is definitely a tactics AND strategy topic, meaning generalized statements are pretty useless for when, where, why, who blah blah blah.

something that might be advantageous under one set of very specific conditions, would be the stupidest idea ever as soon as those conditions change at all. you can't generalize this stuff imo.

i prefer to focus on clearing up mystification: a classic example of which is the old insurrectionary anarchist canard from the 90s, about how a large, spontaneously formed crowd of people with no connection to each other has even the slightest similar fighting capacity to trained paramilitaries with radio coms and a command structure. those things ain't the same thing at all.
not. at. all.
one is definitely better at performing tasks together. a LOT better.

a lot of random variables have to go very very well for the crowd and of course, all this "nonlethal" stuff is always and only at the whims of the kinder and gentler sensibilities of the piggers, or at least their afterthoughts about PR.

wouldn't want to be caught relying on their sentimentality now would we? lol

"What does it mean to fight the cops in this moment?"

It means many different things to different people. They show up, do their thing, go back home (unless homeless), or arrested or to the emergency room. When they're in the midst of it, the turmoil, they're mostly struggling to get situational awareness, a few have to fight in self-defense and/or flee to survive confrontation with cops, but few are actually fighting cops.

This is not a martial confrontation, not even an asymmetric one.

These are mass protest, and sometimes true riots, being repressed by cops; they may bring on the national guard, the feds, or even deploy the army or make a gendarmerie (department of interior proposal). This is very common in many countries. In recent years, many similar revolts have happened worldwide.

Mass protests characterized by literal moms and pops, everyday people, showing up mainly just to make an act of presence, a show of numbers. Riots characterized by usually younger people breaking stuff, setting fire to stuff, and looting. Both have been happening, sometimes alternating, sometimes simultaneously, sometimes one leading into the other.

At no point has any group set out to explicitly fight the cops, other than rhetorically or symbolically. Pelting armored cops with empty water bottles is a non-verbal insult, not an attack. Some committed individuals have directly attacked patrol cars and cops, burnt precincts, union office, etc. but these still remains outliers, as effective, visible, and inspiring as they may be.

The meaning of fighting and cops have not changed, what’s changed is this moment, which is one of revolt, which is characterized by chaos, confusion and unforeseen emergent opportunities. Those that had plans or intention to attack the police during peacetime or “normality” can carry them out with adjustments if necessary. Most people are not those, including the ones having this discussion in the most public death-trap for anything that would wish to be private and secret; the internet.

"Are we just punching a fist?"

I didn't like that metaphor, so I'll be literal:

People are walking in with cardboard signs and getting eyes blown off, heads cracked by batons, a bunch of bruises, lungs irritated, or getting arrested. Escalation in this direction is prelude to greater tragedy.

Look at Maidan, look at Chile, people getting murdered by rifle, corpses dragged out of sight in unmarked vans. I'm not saying this will inevitably happen, but U.S.A. is not exempt from the possibility of this sort of thing happening. In fact, it was unprovoked murders by police in broad daylight that sparked this recent wave of revolt. Now they have plenty of excuses, not that they ever needed them.

"And if we are, what is the value of that punching?"

How you value it depends on who you are. Some people will feel they have overcome a fear, some will get an adrenaline kick out of it, some will regret it the rest of their lives, some will have suffered the same consequences or worse and have no regrets.

To an anarchist the value of attacking the police may be all of the above, but in principle, it's so that it can't do its job, be it for a little while by disrupting its activity, or forever by deluding themselves that dreams are possible.

[Next question answered in next comment]

"How can we punch harder or more effectively?"

Good question, I don't know.

Ultimately this is a personal question each person should ask themselves, know what they want, what they're capable of and decide what to do, if anything.

This question implies that's what's going on in the streets is not good enough, that it can be better.
I'd tend to agree, but I'd also question that. The amount of precincts burnt, courthouses, a youth jail construction site, etc. Sure, there's always room for improvement, perfection enemy of the good, yadda yadda, maybe in next 100 years there will come a chance to improve it, or maybe this is the last chance, and things will have changed so much by then. We don't really know all the ways one thing could lead to another, so ultimately, hindsight will tell.

We're not steering crowds or commanding hurricane goon squads. The movement building homework due date has passed, and now came the time of mobilizing. All the same things that have been talked forever by activists, strugglistas, the Real movement or movement of the real, whatever you want to call it.

What are the recent trends? Covid accelerated the transition into telework, the technology was there, it was mostly a cultural thing that stopped the full transition. Plus you know, resistance to change because people get kinda lazy when forced to learn new tedious software, extra work for same or less pay. Courts have been seeing cases through video conference, schools have taken classes through zoom. And much more that we’ll be discussing for years to come, but not now.

What I’ll point to now is, increasingly the places and the ways that “power is held” (a poor phrase, since it’s actually relations of submission and domination, and is more akin to flows, but it’s a shorthand to get a quick idea across) are decentralized, or at least moved away from the now vacated symbols of power; precincts, courthouses, stores...soon we could imagine a world without prisons, everybody on house arrest, similar to a permanent quarantine to contain the contagion of revolt (a cliche thing to say since forever). Everyone will be entertained or bored on the internet, maybe discussing things like this to pass time.

"Alternately, should we heed Uncle Ted and punch somewhere else instead?"

Ted was thinking of Techno-Industrial Society, most people protesting don't have this as their enemy, most don't even have the police as enemies, much less the state. The principle of hitting elsewhere while police and federal alphabet soup agencies are distracted elsewhere is sound, yet knowing the principle by itself gets you nowhere. It's like seeing an opening in some sport you're watching from the t.v. Knowing what was the move the athlete had to do to win the game does not make you a high level athlete. If you're like Ted, this whole situation doesn't change your targets. If you're an anarchist arsonist, it would be convenient for you to avoid the protests to get less eyes and phone cameras on you. You don't want to be all over TV and twitter with couch-potato death-squads cyber-snitches on the case.

Antenna relay attacks have recently become more popular. Those that have carried them out had good reasons and they made them public. Yet, they recognize that they quickly get repaired right after, progress continues. A pettier version of that attack would be going for the telecom boxes in streets and be a nuisance in neighborhoods all over the place. Even pettier, destroy your own computer, router and belongings.

Natural disasters knock down the electric grid like it’s nothing, and they repair it in a matter of months at worst. A Ted K type person, who went after scientists, not their laboratories, or their inventions, would attack the grid repairmen. They’re unarmed and vulnerable, they’re few and precious, working overtime after disasters. Training new ones takes time, experience is invaluable. How many can you kill before they catch you? Congratulations, now everyone will use the available diesel or gas generators, or solar for a while. Police and army will manage, they still have guns and networks of influence. There will be a clusterfuck and more chaos, good on you, but there’s a reason you went after the easy targets.

That’s the problem with this metaphor. Society isn’t a body, it doesn’t die if you cut off its head. The fists keep punching after you dismember the soft bits and castrate the dangly bits. Cultural change is messy. Sometimes it happens slowly, sometimes in spurts. War is messy, sometimes it obliterates thoroughly, most times it’s just a continuity. You can take actions that are clear-cut to you amidst the chaos, at most you can attack a few times during your lifetime, if that’s what you want to make of it. Very few have a lifetime full of exploits. A lot get jailed for the first little thing they do, get long sentences where they struggle to barely stay alive, and people outside struggle so that their names don’t get forgotten. But this isn’t a fight that you can win by defeating your grand opponent. If you’re going against the world, you've already lost from the start, unless you consider yourself a champion for such defiance, regardless of outcomes.

True that cops aren’t “the world”, specially if you delimit it to cops in a specific area, but think of a country in the world in which cops are not the status quo. It seems like any place willing to abolish police or the army in an area would eventually be targeted by the surrounding police or armies. It’s true, the police can’t be everywhere at once, and neither can you. It’s easier to evade them than to destroy them all or make them all surrender. When people live unruly lives of evasion, they make a joke of the police. Riot police are geared up for static confrontation, they’re not geared to moving around long distances endlessly. You win the fight against “a police” by moving outside its jurisdiction or sphere of influence. By doing so you’ll likely fall inside the jurisdiction of another. You can move from gap to gap of “no man’s land” of underground networks. This is less exotic than it sounds, it’s everyday business for many, and it’s as shady as it sounds. Drug traffickers etc. don’t beat cops by engaging in constant frontal battles against cops and the army, federal agents etc. They evade and are ready to shoot while they gas it. They literally have submarines to go “under the radar”. The question left to ask is "watchu gonna do when they come for you?".

I agree with some of this, especially on the aspect of the geography of conflict. Tho the protesters clearly are not "punching cops in the face", and their relative nonviolence is exactly one of the reasons why the cops (mostly the not-so-legit paramilitaries now) are going on full offensive, not just against protesters BUT AGAINST EVERY FUCKING CIVILIAN IN THE STREETS.

And because no one will go after these brutes outside of their shifts.

Comparing protesters, even revolutionary brigades, to drug cartels is kinda problematic, as they don't function the same way and for the same purpose. Most protesters, for starters, don't have a sack of coke handing over their heads when marching, okay?

^^^ this person gets it, the trajectory of the maidan protests really sums this stuff up for me: if enough of the local population in revolt starts to get too effective at fighting in the "nonlethal" realm, the pigs just drop all pretence and start murdering you with sniper rifles. why the fuck wouldn't they? it's what a significant portion of them always fantasize about doing ffs…

not saying ppl shouldn't fight, hope that's obvious. but what i hate is when clueless idiots talk nonsense or jump in without realizing just how grim that road gets.

Maidan is an awful example that is pretty much like comparing the infamous Malheur "occupation" to the ZAD. It's very bad optics, that may/may not hide some Far Right sympathies. You had swastikas on the public place, KKK hand sign being done while the Lenin statue was taken down, Christian-dominated activist centers and fascist groups all over the place. Far Right was so big that McCain had no choice but to strike deals with them as the only official political opposition to Russia's influence.

Another toxic talking point brought to you by same toxic trolls that just won't leave the keyboard.

... how the hell does any of that detract from the point they were making?

Because it's using orchards as example of a method to grow pumpkin, PUMPKIN.

I didn't interpret it as "using orchards as example of a method to grow pumpkin" so much as "whatever you grow, the Romans are going to come in and salt the earth". If they were advocating for imitating maidan it would be one thing, but you just seem upset that someone mentioned a right wing movement at all?

yeah … my only point was how the state will respond to sustained street battles where the pigs aren't almost always enjoying a massive advantage in the melee. they like dishing out punishment while wearing their storm trooper armour but in the maidan, much like in the older autonomen movements in germany, you saw the street fighters upping their own game with weapons and armour until there was not much difference, which is when the cops show their colours by just switching to just shooting people … because they're cowards and/or ruthlessly pragmatic, depending on POV

also, is that you z? endlessly smack talkin little jackass windbag, I mean? ;)

yes that was z. but now this is me, hi.
amidst trolls, hard to tell who’s who, that’s the whole point of “anon”.

but yeah, i’m really curious if you have any special insight, definitions or personal notions of what it means to be a coward?

during these kinds of protests that word get’s thrown around, obviously as a mindless insult.
but yeah, in war they used to punish soldiers who failed to attack, “deserters will be shot”. have any deep reflection of bravery and cowardice, in a context when sometimes the first is characterized as reckless and foolhardy in the form of a bold frontal attack, and cowardice is use as much to scold no-shows as well as someone who deals a death blow behind someone’s back, or a terrorist attack.

how does “sportsmanship” and “honor” (and toxic madculinity) play into this? how can anarchists be braver without the coercion of punishing cowards or ends justify meanies?

heh! well for starters, I only toss that term around casually in regards to the storm troopers cuz they can choke to death on their bootlicking sadism and curses upon their families, etc.

a thousand thousand times, fuck them. obviously, right?

if I was speaking about actual human beings on the other hand, especially those with a deep and sincere interest in liberation, then I'm usually very patient and if I get frustrated, which is often, that's on me, not them.

thing is, they're right to be scared, they're right to doubt themselves and their capacity to go toe to toe with some of most unpleasant attack dogs of the rich. if I was speaking about people with which I have affinity, I'd only call them a coward when they made promises and then flaked.

having a sense of self preservation is healthy. full stop.

But as for how to get stronger so you're not just martyring yourself like an idiot … that's a big topic

Thank you for this contribution, it was very well worded, and steers my thinking in right direction.
I’m writing something on this, you might see it eventually ; )

any time!

"I only call them a coward when they made promises and then flaked."
OMG! Promises,,,,,,are you still clinging to that remnant of authoritarian usurer ethical dogma?
You are obviously a novice in deep emotion empathy, and I'm sad for you, that you cannot respect the individualist values of autonomy :(

Im curious how this logic plays out in intimate relationships... do you have no boundaries and let your partner(s) do wtv they want, break wtv mutual agreements you negotiate whenever it suits them?

Anarchy 20 somethings believe in the wackiest shit..

that's le troll the jackass,,,,, he doesn't believe in anything except masturbating

"but in the maidan, much like in the older autonomen movements in germany, you saw the street fighters upping their own game with weapons and armour until there was not much difference, which is when the cops show their colours by just switching to just shooting people"

Totally not what happened, you sweet, sweet blowhard. You're just conflating everything with anything, just because it was "riots" on the surface. Maidan didn't even had riots per se... it was cyborg-like protesters just standing there waiting for commands from their fieldmarshalls. Attacking when told... then late sitting and having toasts with cops on urban tanks (there's plenty of footage of this, you know... you can't fool us on that).

A ploy by authoritarians, fighting other authoritarians, both backed by foreign States, with a handful of anarchos caught in the middle, and (yes) getting shot at by fascist snipers from the top of a high-rise hotel.

It compares in no sort of way to autonomen. Gtfo with your toxic shit, troll.

again, YOU don't see the comparison. You're really struggling with this, huh? Oh well.

It's not even that specific of a point being made here, just the reality that "nonlethal force" is a strange realm of political theatre. but you're pretty obviously trolling your ass off so TROLL ON SHITBAG ;)

No, still a bad example. Maidan had not one but two conflicting political formations backed by competing foreign powers. The main protesting formation was mostly nationalists who were tied to filthy rich people and government parties. These background factions or interests aren't some secondary backseat matter; they give the tone, scope and rationale of the movements. Furthermore, these movements stop being when these background interests have reached their ends (or failed to).

Few insurgencies are "uprisings in a vat", i.e. truly autonomous and driven only by the interests of those on the frontlines. Maidan just wasn't one of them. And this is why many uprisings have fizzled out; as they are really driven by short-sighted, power-hungry interests that are disinterested at giving the means for such movement to sustain on the long term, and cause a deep change in the social relationship.

it was a perfect example for the point I was trying to make, which is that there's no anarchist movement that represents a credible military threat on this planet atm, so anyone who frames the discussion that way is a jackass by default. LARPing their power fantasies very much like these "boogaloo" idiots from the more reactionary corners of the internet.

it's called stochastic terrorism and you're being led down the garden path by techbro puppet masters. they want you to do something stupid with an assault rifle so they can nail you to the cross and use your bullet riddled corpse to rationalize the police state's terror. wakey wakey

> it's what a significant portion of them always fantasize about doing ffs…

This. I think it's often absolutely the case that the cops as individuals and as a cultural cluster are constantly hoping to get to use all their fancy toys and inflict pain. You can see it in their body language. And of course it's also what personality types are drawn to these jobs, to urban policing, and to the riot units.

Which feels a bit weird to admit, since the usual counter to this problem is to control them through the police hierarchy, which in turn is controlled by PR, political pressures, funding needs. Insert plug for The Wire. What's more, the protests of course are really intend to apply this kind of political pressure -- and this includes, I'd argue, the defunding approach, revolutionary rhetoric aside. What's an anarchist to say and do about this?

same thing we've been saying for centuries?


haha j/k but also true

Fear to stand up to pigs is a major part of what keeps social obedience in place. Failure to do so makes it easy for the state to resolve every problem with force. Pigs are a huge part of what's wrong with society if not the main part. They aren't just the symptom. And once you try hitting any other part of the machine, the pigs are right there too. If they're able to win by violence then it reinforces the image that the system can just ignore social problems and carry on solving everything with repression. We can't just tolerate being beaten and terrorised. So it's absolutely necessary to fight them and win.

Once we start getting into "hitting the underlying causes", the divisions in the movement get torn wide open. Some people think the underlying cause is civilisation, some that it's bosses in the workplace, some that it's amorphous structures of privilege, and some get no further than voting out Trump. In reality I think the key will be creating liberated zones where power doesn't work and pigs can't go. This also solves the problem of people getting caught after actions etc - wanted people can just disappear as needed. This will mean rural zones and may rely a lot on tunnels and underground structures.

(Mostly) non-lethal warfare against riot pigs, and lethal guerrilla warfare, are very different strategic problems. Historically, pigs and soldiers were screwed in urban conflict. The main problem with today's conflicts is the pigs have such advanced tech. We need cheap, effective ways to neutralise this. In Exarchia this has historically been done using molotovs and also throwing from height. Today we will also need ways to take down drones. Use tripwires and caltrops to keep horses and bikes away. Create hostile terrain. CHOP had the right idea until it fell apart. In the medium term, we should look at taking down the companies which supply the riot gear, or destroying the stockpiles ahead of confrontations. Experiment with ways to neutralise heavily armoured riot cops - paint, netting, booby traps. Experiment with using remote control vehicles, drones against police lines, bulldozers and armoured vehicles driven at less-than-lethal speed. A favourite tactic in Northern Ireland was setting a car on fire, driving it towards police lines and jumping out. We also need to start storming prisons and letting everyone out. The state will be screwed if it loses the threat of prison. It is also fairly easy to carry out long shutdowns by hitting key arteries (roads, rail) at different points. Use surrounding terrain; block with objects rather than your bodies; disperse and regroup.

Guerrilla wars are more complicated. The trick is to fight a stronger adversary without confronting their main force. Often this involves creating base areas in the least controlled, rural or wilderness zones, and relying on hit-and-run and sabotage. Read the US destabilisation guides and Maoist/Vietcong strategy texts for details. Realistic fear of guerrilla war often makes states compromise with more moderate factions, or back off from going in too heavy against protesters. This is a big part of how the state could just bulldoze the Yellow Vests, the Hong Kong and Chile protests, and eventually the Exarchia movement, but not the Arab Spring or the 60s/70s Black movement. It's a big part of why postwar decolonisation happened.

I agree with the previous poster that gangs are a good model (the tactics, not the politics). Control or semi-control territory, stay invisible, build up infrastructure. Corrupt or intimidate the powerful. Impose heavy costs on any repression directed against us. Stop the everyday policing and punitive systems working. Then expand our land base until power collapses.

your last paragraph is a goldmine of power fantasy… some assertions just require firsthand experience to not be ridiculous?

Right, everything that actually works is a "power fantasy" to you.

The fact is that it's now become imperative that we move way beyond the tired old ritual of thousands of unarmed and helpless protesters being dispersed at will by cops with teargas, or savagely beaten, or kidnapped and whisked away, or maimed by rubber bullets, or kettled and arrested. We all know their tactics by now. So why do we never adapt? Why do we play out the same scenarios over and over with every demonstration?

We need thousands of ARMED people actually and physically fighting back. Who wants to go to a riot/protest unarmed and risk getting maimed for life? If you're going to be a martyr, at least be armed, do some damage, go down with a fight. We need access to flame throwers, rocket launchers, RPGs, and armor-piercing ammunition. Failing this, we could use cross bows, catapults, nets, road spikes, more leaf blowers, laser pointers, throwing axes, maces, chainsaws, shields, helmets, kevlar, , etc.

I'm just so fucking sick and tired of always losing, and people making excuses for why fighting back is a "power fantasy" or "impractical". We never win because we never take it to the next logical level. We always get our heads kicked in always back down. We always put ourselves at a disadvantage because we are unarmed, vulnerable and helpless. We need to start winning street battles.

no … you misunderstand. the way that you speak about these things makes it pretty clear that you can't relate to them at all except as fantasies of power from your imagination. your last paragraph is a real person being real, you should do more of that and less of the FUCK YEAH BRO SHOOT OUR ENEMIES IN THE FACE WITH OUR FULL AUTO ASSAULT DICKS BRO.

cuz that's dumb fart noises from your lizard brain and misdirected hostility

You just want to keep losing. Stay in your basement and don't do anything that might get your hair mussed.

Have you had the cops kick the shit out of you yet, little one?
It's a transformational experience! Makes you set the fart bong down.

Winning what? The sports topic was last week. This is not a game. TM

it's when somebody calls the cops and there's just a recorded message that plays

"we're sorry. bourgeois rule has collapsed in your area. please try again later."

I'm not sure what position the "power fantasy" dick is coming from. Is this a pacifist who just sees all "violence" as "macho power fantasy"? Or a subscriber to the cult of humility and ego-bashing now prevalent in postmodernist academia?

"Lizard brain" is not an insult. Of course we're not reacting just from objective rational calculation. We're angry and hurt and want to strike back. This dynamic of "standing-up" has happened in all previous revolutions and it's always part-emotional. Please remember, lizards have been around much longer than humans. They've generally managed not to wreck the planet and not to slaughter each other. I think instinctual anger evolved for a reason. It's there for self-preservation, but also to allow us to say "no" and to counterbalance power when it's too concentrated. Sometimes "lizard brain" is wise brain.

The problem at the moment is that revolts are all taking a course which ends in burnout and a worse situation afterwards (Yellow Vests, Hong Kong, Chile). So the alternative may be to escalate or to resign ourselves to ever-worsening authoritarianism. And the latter means we suffer repression anyway, we suffer endlessly and die anyway, we lose everything that gives life meaning.

The state is "winning" mainly by using militarised repression and waiting movements out. And the state is waging war against us all the time. Even when we're not fighting back. Even when we're not even protesting. Today's states are run on a permanent war footing. This is why the old tactics aren't working. Of course there are also dangers if things escalate further. The state does have some capacity in reserve and can escalate further in conditions of insurgency (the lockdowns in Boston and Paris for example). Whether it does this, will depend what effect it thinks it will have. Counterinsurgency constantly balances between the brute force and "hearts and minds" aspects. In the short term, the state meets insurgency with increased repression. In the medium term, if repression fails to destroy the movement or even strengthen it, the state will start offering concessions to undermine the rebellion's constituency. They will start tolerating lower-level resistance which doesn't amount to insurgency. Often there are big (though partial) gains in the medium term. For example, people might know about Holland, where until a decade or so ago squats were legal. What is not so widely known is how militant the movement was initially. The struggle was very intense. A cop got killed by furniture dropped from height. At one point the army was called out. But people were breaking more squats than were evicted. Eventually the state legalised to save face and attempt to recuperate.

I believe states operate on a cost-benefit calculus. They weigh the costs of repression against the benefits. The costs can take a lot of forms - injured cops, economic disruption, property damage, cost of jailing people, public/media outcry, etc. The benefit is that repression reduces the costs the revolt is otherwise causing, and increases state control. States will submit (without admitting they've submitted) when the cost of repression is greater than the cost of doing nothing. Companies are much easier to affect, as we saw with SHAC, the UK anti-road protests, and various IDpol cancel campaigns. Companies often pull out of troublespots like the Niger Delta.

The symbolic effects also matter. We are in a situation which is archetypally akin to the evil empires of fantasy and sci-fi. The difference between a noblebright epic fantasy and a grimdark dystopia comes down to whether there's rebels.

The state is a relation. The trick is to stop the relation from working. To create situations where laws are not obeyed or enforced and lawbreakers are not jailed or arrested. This can happen simply through exodus and invisibility (eg Graeber on Madagascar). It can also happen by reducing state power. The point isn't necessarily to "win". It's to create a hurting stalemate which limits the system. It's also to create a world where two subjects exist instead of just one. The state works by making it seem that its own regimes of laws and control are coextensive with reality. It seems all-powerful - like the old divine order of fate. The creation of spaces of what it is "unable to prevent", breaks this illusion. The state no longer seems all-powerful, even if its power is great. State power becomes a technical problem. How to counter particular weapons, surveillance techniques, etc. We need to find new techniques of our own. For example, invisible laser weapons have now been invented in China. These would be a huge advantage if we can make our own.

It's not that long ago - 20 years perhaps - that political fugitives could disappear. Groups involved in sabotage (ALF, ELF etc) were rarely caught. Groups like SHAC could operate openly. Summits could be shut down if we were lucky. Squats were defensible. There were autonomous zones in many major European cities. Governments were regularly forced into humiliating climbdowns (the Poll Tax, the Juppe Plan, the Barcelona olympics gentrification). What changed? Psychology? Numbers? So-called public opinion? Or mainly tech? The state added some new variable that took us from point A to point B; if we can counteract the variable, we're back at point A or something similar.

Previous movements like the French Resistance and the Chinese communists got around intense repression in urban areas by relocating to rural areas. This is harder today, but there is still a big periphery worldwide (and no reason rebellion needs to remain national-scale). There are entire areas outside state control. Shanty-towns under the control of gangs or social movements. Remote areas state forces can't reach. At this stage, they aren't anarchist spaces. But there's no reason it's impossible to create anarchy in these areas.

The state has got very good at so-called network disruption of groups based on small cells. It does this using infiltration, surveillance, tracking (for example, of chemicals), and entrapment operations. Islamists and rightists have got around this using low-tech methods, and working as individuals rather than cells.

Tiny guerrilla groups of a dozen people in western countries don't achieve much. The group is small enough that the state can hope to catch and repress it. Leftist-nationalist groups like LTTE, PKK, ETA have suffered huge setbacks and defeats from the 2000s. Partly this is because social changes undermine their ideology; partly they are vulnerable to the new methods of repression. Gangs, Islamist groups, localised militias have all proliferated. There's a lot of use of suicidal tactics, where attackers either kill themselves or have no intent of getting away. Mostly these are Islamist or far-right methods, but there's also cases like the FSB bombing in Russia, and Micah Johnson in Texas. Ideally we need something more life-affirming, but the potential is there.

Some recent cases to think about:

Bougainville: protest and insurrection, focused on a massive mine. Massacres by hired mercenaries lead to outcry. Result: regional autonomy and the mine is closed.

Chiapas: uprising over land rights and state abuse. Initial atrocities (Acteal) led to outcry. The state then sought a peace deal which it signed but never enforced. Result: apparently permanent autonomous zone, albeit permanently besieged. Certainly more success than neighbouring Oaxaca which stuck to standard protests.

Niger Delta: oil industry stealing and polluting land; mixture of protests, blockades, sabotage, and armed struggle. Repression including executions of leading activists and massacres of villages. Recuperation including buyouts/amnesties. Outcome: oil companies have largely withdrawn from inland operations.

Colombia: autonomous peasant communities outside state control violently repressed in 1960s. This led to insurgency and a long, stalemated civil war. The US put massive resources into militarised counterinsurgency from the late 1990s. Guerrilla numbers and territorial control were reduced somewhat (also facilitated by unpopularity of guerrillas due to alleged narco activities). Eventual peace deal reneged on by state; insurgency reignited by splinter faction.

India: Naxalite rebellion (1968) over land rights and peasant issues. Militarised COIN in 2000s reduced Naxalite numbers and ability to carry out attacks, but movement remains operative and popular in some areas.

Chechnya: rebels successfully expelled Russian troops in the 1990s. Reinvasion and massive atrocities circa 1999, following bombings blamed on Chechens. Russia has contained rebellion mainly by recuperating rebel leaders.

no … a power fantasy is when you ONLY READ ABOUT CONFLICT AND DON'T LIVE IT. Thereby collapsing almost all of the important details, resulting in really shitty analysis.

You know, everyone's been watching you argue with yourself here for years now, yes? You rarely take in anything that's being said to you. It's a shame. Far too many assumptions are made.

[Beep boop]

My programming requires me to delete links that have no explanation no matter how much you believe in them.

[/Beep boop]

Off topic: "Uncle Ted" as some mythic iconography needs to be dropped

To the question asked, yes, if you are somewhere where the cops are actively being challenged and you wanna jump in, do it! There is much much more to fight than just the cops, but doing anything remotely challenging to power means you'll probably have to fight the cops eventually too. Opportunities to make friends, get away with stuff that's harder to alone and challenge the attempts of Leninists and liberals to transform anti-cop action into a building block for the world full of good cops they dream of is 100% worth it. If you're into other stuff instead, no biggie.

However this question seems mostly relevant mostly if you're in Portland, possibly a few other towns to a lesser degree. How about what challenging cops looks like in a place that had widespread revolts but seen it all quenched by the progressive machine, or places where the fuck 12 wave was smaller and met overwhelming state force, or indifference? Or a smaller town that was left almost completely untouched by the summer revolt? Places where most anti-state activity seems to come from libertarians or boogaloo types? How about what resistance looks like in the ten or so other towns Trump sent troops into not to fight "terrorism" but crime instead?

That's better than pointless f2f confrontations without guns on your side.

We've tried black bloc, pink bloc, mom block dad bloc, boring bloc.
What about not showing up bloc? Don't worry, it's still mass activism, We'll do it in unison.
We can take pictures from our couches and post them on twitter. #stayhome

“Alternately, should we heed Uncle Ted and punch somewhere else instead?“

Truth be told, in the end you only have control over yourself.

However, if the question is warfare, then the answer is diseases. The most likely destroyer of humanity is itself. Nuclear weapons, environmental decay...oh my! Lots of potential here. However, we anarchists are unable to pull that off. We don’t desire destroying our plant and animal friends, which all of humanity depends upon anyways. A little bit easier would be tricking some country into firing a nuke, which wouldn’t be easy.

If we wanted to eliminate the police, our best hope would probably be microbiology. A disease could theoretically kill every single human, and all we must do is learn about them and reproduce them.

But I want to ask everyone here: why are the cops the most significant type of police? Modern society has many different types of both people who assert norms/laws/economic production and mechanisms of control.

great … so a vague appeal to mass casualty bioweapons followed by a dumb-as-shit mischaracterization of anti-police theory. cute. lets hope you know you're trolling

that was my point about your post sweetheart. "something something bioweapons would be cool". there's a whole galaxy of anti-police theory out there, from the liberal reformist crap like Radley Balko's Rise of the Warrior Cop, all the way to the more hardline police abolitionist stuff.

do you want a list of authors? bit late in the game for any of this to be news to you, don't you think? it's 2020.

Hi, Just a few questions. So where does this go? Taking "punching harder and more effectively" to its logical conclusion, does one develop a strong Tyson-esque right upper-cut, or a Joe Louis right-hook from behind, which can cause serious brain trauma even death? How is this one act going to advance the anarchist cause? Will the cop's family and children seek revenge, even though the previously held a neutral apolitical view, and end up creating a worse PR feedback and diminish the popularity of anarchism in the long run? Isn't this the methodology which has plagued the anarchist movement from the start?
All these questions, and still no real answer or analysis from data or polls to have any idea about the consequences.

fighting the cops. As far as the anarchists vs. cops dynamic is concerned, there just isn't any way to match the enemy in terms of force and firepower. What's even more discouraging in terms of combat logistics is that the cops are basically the lowest tier of the military, and the military has the ability to literally kill every single person in the world.

I think there is a lot of defensive potential in anarchists being able to fight guerilla warfare in the way the revolutionary americans fought the british and the way the native americans fought the revolutionary americans...but i don't have any faith whatsoever in these street conflicts. They've literally been going on for decades now, street protesters come out and make a scene and the police brutalize them, the street protesters indignantly cry about how they've been mistreated, are traumatized, and no meaningful ground was gained by any party, just more slogans coming from politicians about how bad anarchists and vandals are, and more room for the courts and the cops to flex their nuts and smile. The cops really enjoy doing what they do: a few weeks ago i saw some guy in town getting cuffed and i yelled "fuck all the police!" and the cop just smiled and continued his duty to society.

Anon 15:21 here, yeah, similar stuff with me, and my feelings are from personal experience. Years back, a black friend was being abused by 2 racist cops, I vocally challenged them about my friend being sober, and they scoffed and told me to fuckoff or I'd be next. I used my fists next and long story short did some time. I've seen this indifference continue for decades, the State treats protesters like a dog shaking water out of it fur. Its pretty pointless in the end, even if the incremental awareness rises, its quickly squashed by propaganda. Emma forgot that propaganda of the deed works both ways on a 2 way street.
Now I've chosen the path of spreading my wisdom for a better world to the younguns instead.

Some of you here are seeing the cops as some kind of godly entity with the firepower of the entire NATO. What is the ratio of cops per civilian in your town, area or state? Don't you realize that even if they constantly try to surround us, they are the ones that are surrounded... Which is the reason why they rely so much on propaganda, got the press usually in their pockets when it's about "fightin' crime" and got the apparently most powerful politicians putting their careers on the line for them.

They rely on a SYSTEM, and this same system is what gives them these powers too.

you make valid points. thing is, it is apparent by now that not enough people see it that way (or have a spine), or they/we would have long since pummelled the cops with the massive advantage in numbers that non-cops have. plus there is the fact that if you pound the cops, the feds are coming. so you need to be able to pound them too, and that takes even more numbers of people willing and able to fight em. then there are weapons.

Yup, if you assault cops the state cops come, and you bash them then the SWAT come, your assault them, then the Home Security or FBI comes, then you smash them, but it would have to be all of them, cos they'll keep coming to save face, then the Army comes, you better get some heavy weapons, cos they are coming hard down on you by now, aaaaand, if you make it pass them, haahaa,haaa,,,,if you umm, make it routing their forces, maybe get a helicopter, nooo, a drone with a umm, I onow, molotov cocktail on it which can be dropped, yeah,,,,,,umm,,,,,,good luck with that,,,,,,,meh,,,,,

This is the ideology/strategy of escalation, which the state uses to look unbeatable. Worrying to see that it's got some anarchists effectively "deterred".

In reality it's not so simple. The state does not always have the resources to escalate to the next level. There are risks and costs to doing so. The kind of operation seen at Mainzer Strasse or La ZAD, costs vast sums of money and huge numbers of state personnel. Escalating to more dangerous levels of violence carries political and media risks for the state. Look what happened when Peru massacred some Amazonian protesters after pigs got taken hostage. There was so much backlash the state had to back down. The other big risk is that lethal force escalates protests or even causes a transition to armed struggle. Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland comes to mind here; in the Iranian Revolution, repeated killings sparked funerals which sparked further protests. You'll notice they didn't send the army in when the pigs couldn't put down the George Floyd revolt. And sending in the feds has kicked things off again - either a strategic mistake or (more likely) a tactical move by Trump to polarise voters, frighten liberals and excite fascists (a big part of Trump's role for the system is reinjecting emotional stakes into party politics).

Seattle kicked the shins with the hard tip of a boot when they burnt down that youth prison construction site.

Hollywood blew/exploded some minds with some movies which did more to advance the anarchist values that all the riots put together.

Fight Club, Mr Robot et al is just spectacle of a dreamed-of possible agency for apathetic viewers (like uuuu?). It's much edgy flaming energy that is actually FAKE crap, as film is FAKE. Same for your video games that further are pushing the relation of simulated agency.

Not saying because they're fake they're crap, but they're just what they are: media productions. Put together by screenwriters, level designers and technicians who for the most part don't share these radical ideas and aren't interested in overthrowing order. They'll be usually liberals or retrograde morons for the most part.

The best cinema for anarchists is one that brings a sharp critique of social relations without pretending to some super-pretentious, hyper-sensationalist courses of action. For instance, less dumb shit like The Purge: Anarchy, more hard-hitting critique like The Florida Project.

There's a lot of fairly obvious inference about why there isn't "good data" on subjects like this one. Certain topics are pretty lonely to research, that's the anarchist lot in this life. We often want to understand things most people don't.

As I already said, instead of looking at an imaginary chess board with this topic, I believe it's better to humbly start demystifying the skill sets and have affinity groups adopt them.

Forget pitched battles for a second (because it's a boring discussion, over played) and ask yourself what you could do with a medium sized group of friends who have the approximate comparable skills.

Radio coms, intel gathering, event security, self defence training, first aid, quick response time networks, experience doing patrol and surveillance, close protection, "forensics" for truth and accuracy instead of "crime", and so on.

None of this shit is rocket science but almost all of it has been pretty damned scarce whenever I've interacted with anarchist or leftist organizing.

Agreed. It's a technical/skills thing.

Also agreed, there's hardly any research. Probably some from the enemy point of view if you look hard enough - Rand corp for example. You ever notice how the media cover "clashes" without giving any sense how the battle unfolded? There's no difference in the coverage when we rout the cops or they clobber us.

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