A Message to Wisconsin's Insatiable Workers and Students
We’re watching the RSS feeds and news sites like we watched Al Jazeera during the Egyptian Uprising. We’re looking for a sign. Hoping that the rage we share cuts through our daily routine. We’re hoping that what’s transpiring in Wisconsin is an internal error in their system, and that it’s irreparable. We’re praying at our grandparents graves that they, who fought for dignity or who bowed shamefully, will give us all the strength and resolve to push ourselves beyond our limits of politeness. Wisconsin, we’re looking to you like we looked to Egypt, like we looked to all the places that have recently flared up. We want you to say it’s on. To say we don’t have to be afraid anymore, and we don’t have to take shit. We want to be forced to stop watching, take sides, and join up.
What we need from you:
Never go back to work. Never go back to school. Spread the occupation beyond the symbols of power. Occupy and block what counts. Attack symbols, occupy infrastructure. Extend the scale and scope of the struggle by attacking what links the governor’s position with the misery of daily life. Fight, with all means, and through fighting make connections with others you never knew.
Teachers, elaborate your teach-ins. Tell your story, encourage everyone you touch to say why collective struggle (not just bargaining) is a necessary part of our position in this world. Talk about your dying grandmother. Talk about your difficult addictions. Talk about history. This law is an attempt to conceal the realities of our daily lives and to liquidate those stories from the future. Reveal this, and make possible the education that was never allowed in school.
Care-workers, your strike is extremely significant when most waged-labor now includes elements of care administration. For this reason, your participation in the most undocile parts of the struggle is needed, not simply to share the skills of your vocation, but to interrupt the ways in which care is structured as a passive and neutral force.
Students and young workers, you set the tone for what it means for our generation to struggle. Don’t limit your abilities; don’t restrain your rage. Expose the policing and pacifying elements in the demonstrations by refusing to limit yourself. When the National Guard comes or if the counter-demonstrators attack, you will need improvised barricades. If those forces need to be pushed back, you will need to be the ones to throw the first rocks. If you occupy a position you will need the means to feed yourself. The large Grocery Store owners have already sided with the Governor, take what you need from them. Refuse all concessions, refuse dialogue with union managers, and bosses. Expose and undermine those elements publicly. Humiliate them when they try to speak, make them run when they try to pacify and limit the struggle. Make the prison guards and law-enforcement workers choose between siding with struggle or siding with government. There is no middle ground.
Anon and techies, solidarity is a weapon. As we’ve seen in recent revolts in North Africa and throughout the Nile, the use of information-technologies, social-networking and DDoS against the ruling party, against government infrastructure is a pivotal dynamic of contemporary struggles. Tweet hard, flashmob. Get behind a proxy, and let the us all know you got our backs.
The struggle must become dangerous to those in power. If the demonstrations are docile, they will never connect with those who have already been excluded from the world of unions and job security. The demonstrations must change their tone in order to resonate with those who live on shit-wages and tips, with those who are murdered by police, whose entire neighborhoods are already excluded from the bargaining table. The police, either in blue or in National Guard attire will be standing between you and all the possibilities that can emerge from a fierce and diverse struggle. One way or the other, they must be confronted, and defeated.
Struggles have a short period of time when they appear to be the door through which possibility enters. As soon as these possibilities are perceived, the police will attempt to neutralize them. We must act quickly and with precision in order to defeat the police and open up the struggle, to keep it going. This sense of urgency is the single order when we are racing with the police to occupy these zones of possibility. But if we can take positions and keep them open, a new time and a new rhythm takes hold and spreads almost as hastily as the operations of the police to conceal it. If you can achieve this, Wisconsin, you will set the precedent for the rest of us. The new rhythm will put to rest everything normal about our misery and exploitation. And it will be heard, reverberated, and mashed up by all the worlds that open to it.
We’re anticipating your song Wisconsin,
Some insatiable service-industry workers in the South