On May Day 2017, massive demonstrations against capitalism and state violence took place in Paris, France. Afterwards, sensationalistic footage circulated around the world of police being attacked with Molotov cocktails. Yet these video clips do not show the larger context. They do not show the intensifying police repression of French society as a whole, nor the police attacks that provoked such desperate acts of self-defense. In this report from France, our Parisian correspondents describe the events of the day and offer more background on the clashes.
A Report and How-To Guide from May Day in Portland, Oregon
On May Day 2017, anarchists participated in lively demonstrations all around the United States, from the heartland to the coasts. In the Northwest, Seattle witnessed a successful block party at the site of a juvenile corrections center, while in Olympia anarchists barricaded train tracks to oppose fracking and clashed with police. Support arrestees here. Yet Portland, Oregon may take the cake for the most creative and combative May Day. Demonstrators not only defended themselves from unprovoked attacks from police who declared the march a riot—they also introduced exciting new innovations into the aesthetic of the black bloc street presence. Here, comrades from Portland explain their goals with the giant spiders they created for May Day, and offer a helpful guide for those who wish to make spiders of their own.
Snapshots from the History of May Day
May Day is one of the days on which anarchists celebrate self-determination and self-realization. People have lit bonfires to mark the end of winter for thousands of years; it wasn’t until industrialization forcibly disconnected people from the land base that nourished them that May Day came to be observed as a labor holiday. At base, May Day isn’t about labor: it’s about abundance. It’s about excess, pleasure, freedom—the burgeoning source of life itself. As a millennia-old holy day honoring the return of spring, May Day directs our thoughts to nature—a wild and beautiful chaos that flows through us and nourishes us, which we can enjoy but never control. Our joyous acts of rebellion do not point to a world in which workers are paid a little better for their labor, but to the possibility that we could sweep away all the forms of oppression that stand between us and the tremendous potential of our lives.
On January 20, when downtown Washington, DC was crowded with massive protests against Trump’s inauguration, police cordoned off an entire city block and mass arrested over two hundred people, slapping the same charge of felony riot indiscriminately on every one of them.
From It's Going Down
On April 22nd in celebration of Earth Day, local anarchists, Buffalo Red & Black, organized a “clean sweep,” picking up trash and sweeping the sidewalks, along Grant street on Buffalo’s West side. Many passersby approached us to give their sincere thanks. One resident intimated, “we need more of you guys out here.” In addition to the clean sweep, we handed out free snacks, beverages, and political literature: ”Know your Rights” brochures and CrimethInc.’s “To Change Everything” pamphlet. While going about our work, we had the pleasurable opportunity to talk politics with our neighbors. These talking points sparked inspiring conversations about alternatives to capitalism that are based in community building and community power.
A report from France
It appears that the French Republic is reaching a tipping point, a fundamental break with the way that rule has functioned here for three decades. Everything indicates that the political legitimization of racism and violent policing must either lead to tyranny or provoke an uprising. These two forces—tyranny and revolt—define the moment we are experiencing in France today. The confrontation is now permanent. In the following report, the second installment in our series leading up to the French elections, we explore these developments and the prospects for revolutionary movements in France.
A Critical Discussion about Armed Struggle with Anarchist Guerrillas in Rojava
At the end of March 2017, news spread that a new anarchist guerrilla group had formed in Rojava, the International Revolutionary People’s Guerrilla Forces (IRPGF). Their emergence has reignited discussions about anarchist participation in the Kurdish resistance and in armed struggle as a strategy for social change. It has been difficult to communicate with comrades in Rojava about these important questions, as they are operating in wartime conditions and surrounded by enemies on all sides. Therefore, we are excited to present the most comprehensive and critical discussion yet to appear with the IRPGF, exploring the complex context of the Syrian civil war and the relationship between armed struggle, militarism, and revolutionary transformation.
And Why They’re Becoming So Dangerous
On April 15, “alt-right” supporters of Donald Trump invaded Berkeley, physically attacking people in the name of white supremacy, anti-Semitism, and nationalism while the police looked on. A large number of them were outright fascists who had converged from around the United States in hopes of creating an advertisement for right-wing violence. Finally, the Trump regime is getting the street cadre it needs to graduate to the next stage of fascism. Setting aside disingenuous arguments that the best way to support free speech is to promote totalitarian ideas, we have to ask ourselves—who are these people? Why are they attracted to fascism? And how do we stop this phenomenon from spreading?
From It's Going Down
We’re several months into the Trump regime and we can now begin to make some relative critiques and analyses about our activity and how things have gone down. How have our predictions about Trump played out? Where has our analysis fallen flat? How have managers and bureaucrats from within the Left attempted to push revolt back into politics, and have we let them? But moreover, how have anarchist and anti-authoritarian rebels been successful in acting within the current situation? How have we not been? What do both our victories and our shortcomings tell us about what it would mean to go beyond the capacity and ability that we have now?