They Can’t Stop Us; Why break Windows
The attack is the most beautiful moments an anarchist can undertake. Feeling the adrenaline of rushing to a window with a rock in hand, or the moments before striking a cop with your fist. Planting the bomb, pulling the trigger, shouting FUCK THE POLICE!. The attack is an experience unlike any other, one many of us desire to experience, and many of us have experienced. We get tingles and a rush of adrenaline just thinking about it. Picturing ourselves tossing the lit Molotov at a line of riot police is one of the most entertaining daydreams all of us have. Power alone in scandalous thoughts many in our own milieu have tried to extinguish. They tell us we can’t blow up a social relationship, but time and time again we show them we had a hell of a time trying.
Anarchist attack is a tradition and a foundational base of anarchy. Without the attack as the actualization of our desires and dreams, what are we but bitter Marxist begging the working class to follow us? Without the attack we are but mere political elites, constantly talking down to the slaves “below” us in hopes of them joining our ranks, by signing up for our Listserv or joining in our boring chants all about the “power” of the “working class.” We are just sophisticated creatures who talk talk talk.
The attack serves as a reaction to the constant tension between those below and those above. Our declarations of hatred are a downtrodden reaction to the strengthening grip social order holds around our throats. The bomb is planted not to only to instigate a reaction, but to defend against initiated violence against us. Social and material grips on our self, locking the gate to our unique, declaring us as criminals and roaches to be crushed under the boots of state tyranny, capital exploitation, and sexual shame. So much power pressing us against the walls in hopes to keep us there, willingly working and slaving away to continue the death march to extinction for profit and power. Boots on our throats, hands on our necks, and knives to our crotches, and they wonder why we react!
But among this reaction, this tension, we still do the work of our enemies for them. Shaming other comrades, letting them rot in prison alone without love and support, letting liberals boss us around because we don’t fit the criteria for their petty leadership. Selling out other comrades on ideological lines and dogmatic principles. Solidarity can feel dead at times, even at a moment when passion burns brightest.
At this point in history, we have reached an interesting rock and a hard place with lines blurred between right and wrong, where the liberal fog of non-violent “resistance” is but a facade fewer and fewer individuals are upholding. A time when Molotov cocktails have been thrown in America, Bristol anarchist showing their swiftness under stressful pressure and fear from the state. A time where it feels as if nihilist anarchism is growing in popularity. A time where Murray Bookchin’s ideas have actually inspired a revolution. We are currently holding our breaths, humming before the tension reaches a boiling point. So, why break windows you ask? Simply put, why the fuck not? However, before we can answer why......
1: The Anarchist Tension As a child, do you remember feeling tense, agitated when your parental figure ordered you around the house? Demanding you pick up the toys, to do your homework, and be respectful. Initiating this false facade of “legit” authority over your young and adventurous self? At the time, or currently, depending on your age you felt that tension. That bubbling rage inside desiring to shout NO! So petty we think now, but is it petty or is it microcosmic?
In school, work, or out on the town we can see and feel this tension everywhere. When the school child refuses an order barked at to her solely because her skirt is “too short” and “distracts the boys.” When your boss demands you perform better because you “just look like you aren’t performing at your best.” When the cop pulls the gun on the black individual solely for walking where society doesn’t want them.
Tension is our conceptualization of the power produced between opposing forces, contradictory forces. Whiteness against Blackness, the state against the criminals, society against the individuals. Tension is how we describe the grasp of our throats by the boot and the pressure of conformity. Our own conceptualization of a bubbling force of againstness between us, and them. Some say look at the grey, but it is as black and white as a dichotomy can be. There is no middle ground with power, you have it or you don’t. You are the powerful being in charge, or you are the bitter and resentful slave below.
Recognition of ones social and material placement. An understanding that the weight is on our shoulders. Our daily interactions are upheld by this tension, as is the slave’s reaction. Confrontations on every street corner surround us, and hold dominion over our existence because that is what life is. A constant tension, a feeling of weakness.
But within this recognition, we find the difference between tension and anarchist tension. The slave, the common worker, understands this relationship but accepts it with open arms. Opening the door to the unwanted guest out of a fear of repression and failure. Eager to please the ferocious monster, as it laughs. Selling their own child over to the beast to be sacrificed as they were, to become yet another common worker. To become yet another slave to drive the death march home to a decayed and destroyed earth, with only the faintest hint of nature left. This comrade, is what separates tension, from the anarchist tension.
The anarchist tension is not defined by the destructive and tyrannical relationship between the worker and the boss, rather it is defined by the bullet lodged into the bosses head as the worker runs in gleeful hurry to the nearest safehouse. The anarchist tension is defined not by the “checking of privilege” but the first to the face of the obnoxious bro calling the sexy lad a faggot. The anarchist tension is not defined by unease of submission but the refusal and reaction against expected submission. The anarchist doesn’t stop at saying no, they continue until death.
2. The Anarchist Reaction
Like tension, there exists a difference between reaction against power and the anarchist reaction against power. For the common slave, a reaction is simply a venting of unease. Complaints amongst co-workers about how hyperbolic the boss presents themselves as. Woman in the club bathroom mocking the jockey dudebros who hit on them in the most asinine ways. The reaction of the slave is merely a tension reliever that does not confront those with power head on but rather directs rage into small pockets that ventilate the rage so they can continue another day of miserable existence.
A more modern and personal example of this would be the petition. Internet sites such as Change.org, or Whitehouse.gov contain the possibility to make a petition and then attempt to make it viral for a week, in an attempt to garner as much gossip and supporters as possible. Then, when all is said and done, the petition and all talk of it disappears until a new petition takes its place, or a new social cause to get riled up about. Constantly shifting, but taking momentary pauses and going back to shopping working and general submission
Another modern example would be the role of opinionated journalism sites that tout “social justice” as a meaningful concept such as Huffington Post, or Jezebel, or even Black Girl Dangerous. Posting article after article based around the hot new social issue affecting modern society and all of its inhabitants. Like petitions, however, they are but minor ventings that simply proclaim a sense of againstness, but never actualize into one outside of social media. It should also be stated all of these sites feature ads, which generate revenue for these sites. This venting is not only useless, but it is commodified! Tired of racism and white supremacy? Read this article and oh also generate us money based on your frustration
And this is where the anarchist reaction diverges from the simple reaction. As anarchists, we take things further. We are radical, rebellious, iconoclastic slightly nihilistic individuals who’s only goal is the destruction of which destroys us. Capitalism, White Supremacy, Patriarchy, all of these apparatuses of domination that aim to control us, that expect us to submit. They are not met by a simple proclamation of againstness but a swift and decisive action that not only proclaims but shocks those in power. From the simple smashing of windows to the placement of a bomb or the robbing of the bank our actions are heard and felt rather than ignored and treated as everyday life.
As anarchists, our reaction is not simply venting but constant and consistent anger and rage towards this society. Our anger isn’t centred and focused on minute details of specific apparatuses but against them in totality. Our anger isn't brushed aside, it is fought back against with harsh repression. FBI raids, long prison sentences, infiltrating state agents. SO many resources are placed against us because of our reaction, not because of our positioning. Anyone can proclaim that they are against the police, but that is but a reaction. We not only proclaim, but we act by smashing up the state's vehicles and torching their offices, this is an anarchist reaction.
3. Why Break Windows?
Finally, to the point of this small zine; why break windows? As stated at the beginning this question has a very simple answer that doesn’t need entire pages to explain and justify. The smashing of a window is simply a microcosm of grander actions taken by other anarchists. Whether you are pro-violence and nihilist terrorism, or if you are against it, we can all agree it is much grander than smashing a simple window. However, as anarchist grand is not the point of our rage. Whether we build a solidarity network to help those in our lives resist the control and abuse by tenets pulling sleazy tactics, or if we rob a bank to fund our revolutionary activities, we are all contributing to a simple idea that we are the creators of our experiences. Not society, not capitalism, not socially constructed systems of control like race or caste. In our own ways, we all fight back and it is important not only tactically, but emotionally to support and declare solidarity with acts that resist and fight back. We can critique, and boy we do, but we can also accept and praise.
So rather validate and justify window smashing, I would rather take a more risky route and attempt to convince you why you should the next opportunity you get.
The smashing of a window, like all acts of resistance, is as exciting as it is risky. The adrenaline of running up to a window and smacking it with a flag is an experience unlike those which we commonly experience. Telling a cop to fuck off is nothing compared to smashing his car’s window out! Tagging “Fuck gentrification” on the wall of that new coffee shop is nothing in comparison to smashing its windows out during a riot or a small and simple attack with friends! Smashing a window is the most intense form of attack and tension building you can do without facing too much legal repercussions. Smashing a window is also ridiculously easy.
A wise anarchist once told me in his poetic writings that freedom is not an achievable goal, rather a lived experience, that we feel when participating in clandestine and violent acts against the establishment. Tagging will make you feel free, smashing a window will make you feel free. Yelling FUCK THE POLICE with a crowd will make you feel free. Simple acts with no meaning, except the meaning that comes with the anarchist reaction and the anarchist tension
Smashing windows is also a very popular, and very effective actualization of propaganda by the deed. I would not be writing this if it wasn’t for an anarchist smashing a window in front of me. How exciting and fun that looked! I kept hearing chants of “Anarchy now!” as well, so of course I went to google. Will smashing a window inspire everyone? Of course not! It will, however, inspire someone.
Lastly, why not? Smashing windows largely take place in 3 possible situations. A riot, a street demo, or a nighttime action taken with comrades. Alternatively and most oftenly, the act takes place when all 3 are combined. In all of these situations you are there because you are an anarchist, so make it an anarchist reaction! Turn the boring chants in loud decelerations and demands for freedom, then experience freedom and feel what it is like to resist and fight back as an individual, take power for yourself and throw the brick!
4. It Won’t Change The World; But It Will Change Your Night!
The most common argument against smashing windows, really the only argument worth engaging, is that window smashing does nothing to advance the “anarchist cause/movement” and “only makes others hate you!” Lets take a look at the various forms this argument exists in.
1. It both does not, and does change things. Nobody is going to argue that smashing a window will incite a mass and global revolution where workers worldwide seize the means of production and finally abolish the state, absolutely nobody argues that because that is not the point to breaking a window. Breaking a window is but an individual expression, an anarchist reaction. Breaking a window also separates the leftist charade, a.k.a. street parade, from the riot. Boring chants, boring leaders giving boring talks, boring walking in circles doing nothing but holding a sign. Until that is, a window is smashed. Dumpsters being thrown into the street and set on fire, projectiles being thrown at cops. A tone and aura of againstness and rage culminating into the most exciting moment of your boring life. Smashing a window is not a logistical choice to strategically advance a movement, but an individual decision to react and fight back and finally feel a sliver of freedom.
2. Smashing windows do not hurt workers, and if they do, then shouldn’t that business be smashed and torched? A common argument presented is that when you smash a window, workers pay for it. This is partly true, as workers pay for anything anyone does to or with the business because they are workers. If a janitor has to clean up a broken window, is that not already part of their job? Workers are defined by their business and the roles in place, which is already a damaging relationship anarchist are against. So why do we pretend we are saving them when we choose not to/stop someone from smashing a window? The only worker you are protecting is yourself to finally feel good about something you did and pretend as if you are some saviour. Enough with this anarchist! Lastly, let's say the worker’s pay is docked because of a smashed window. Why don’t we organize a solidarity network and get that payback? Hit them on multiple fronts, not dis-encourage action for the sake of presentation
3. Finally, it isn’t about looking good. We are not politicians, we do not have to care about being presentable or respectable. We are anarchist for crying out loud! We state within our name alone that we are against all this society stands for, is it any wonder why they shame us? As if your union strikes are as well-liked as teenage rioters. Both are presented as parasitic scum, damaging the core of this society. Both are presented as something to not follow and join in on, yet for some reason, people do anyway. Why is that? Because either people will like us, or they will not. Treating ourselves like show dogs, making sure all the hair is trimmed and fluffy and cuddly, will not change a goddamn thing because at the end of the day we are still a show dog who’s only reason for existence is to garner money for their owner.
Is it valid to not personally partake or agree with window smashing? Of course, but to so publically shame and harass those who do? As if your existence is any more relevant?
5. Whatever You Do, Get Away With It.
The fear of repression is the states strongest enemy, so, how do we as anarchist combat this? Simple. BE SMART. Getting away with smashing a window is incredibly easy, so here are a few tips.
1. Wear gloves. Crime shows are fiction. They cannot simply get your prints from a cell phone app. Prints, in reality, are actually quite difficult to gain, however one should still take precaution. It is obvious why if you are already in the system from prior arrest, but if you are not here is something to remember. The state recognizes patterns extremely well. If fingerprints are reoccurring not only are they stored in the database, but our link together. If you do get caught, well there is the evidence. How to avoid this? WEAR GLOVES. Really any gloves will do. You can buy black gloves for a dollar at the dollar tree for example, or find them anywhere in a cheap store. Also, garden gloves will hide your prints. Lastly, for those extra cautious, wear latex gloves underneath your gloves.
2. Cameras are everywhere, hide your fucking face. The eyes and forehead, as well as the hair of an individual, are not only the most recognizable features of the face but when linked together make the state yell “Gotcha!” It’s very easy to hide all of this. WEAR ALL BLACK AND BLOC UP. Simple guides are everywhere, and if nervous about NSA spying, simply google “how to look like a ninja.”
3. No time is better than now, but safety first. As important as it is to act and react, it is also just as important to not do so blatantly in front of a cop, or in the middle of a quiet time around a bunch of peace police. Some will argue, fuck that do it whenever and I agree with this position, but I am me and they are themselves. Are you willing to face time in a cell? It’s okay if you aren’t, but take care of yourself and realize you could get caught.
4. Don’t brag about it. It’s awesome, exciting, fun, and something you really want to share with others but for the love of god keep your mouth shut because it will get you caught.
In closing, smashing a window is fun but like all acts of resistance, it has its own danger. I personally argue to not worry about getting caught, and merely take your rage with you in prison and beyond. However, I am me and my own individual being. We are anarchists, not Marxists. You make your own decisions. Are you all about getting away with it, or are you uncaring? Neither determines how much of an anarchist you are, rather they determine who you are and what is important to you and that is okay.
Smashing a window won’t change the world, nor will it inspire a thousand new window smashers. It will make you feel a sliver of freedom and give you a memory worth keeping to keep yourself inspired and angry. It will grant you experience, knowledge, and excitement. It will give you something to be proud and happy about amongst the constant depression we all face about how miserable this world is. So, when asked why smash a window, answer back with...
WHY THE FUCK NOT