Ramblings From a Former Anarchist Jurisdiction
Post Rebellion: Anarchism and Every Day Life
The interim period is a nightmare.
Everyone will experience this eventually. When rebellion dies down, & folx return to their “normal” lives, the dream of freedom and the smell of flaming precincts losing their allure, you, and the few remaining, will be left asking yourself: “What do we do?”
There will be grief, a sadness that will take over. Friends lost, lives changed, liberation deferred- all of this will hit you. The trauma of battling the state and the Fasc will come up, adrenaline no longer drowning it out.
The future will look uncertain. Fog covers the horizon, and what looked like the birth of a new world, glimpsed in every burning cop car and every balaclava-clad face, has receded into the distance.
There are only ghosts.
It is easy to feel despair. I do not blame anyone for feeling this. But this isn’t the end. Not yet, and there is much to do.
This is where it really begins.
But you must do one thing first. Check in with yourself.
In insurrectionary times, there isn’t much time for self care. Between the feeling of obligation to go out as much as possible, FOMO, and the thrill (i.e. addiction) of confrontation- this will culminate in fatigue.
Depression, anxiety, PTSD, night terrors, all symptoms of a wounded person.
You should do what you can to turn them into beautiful scars. There is no escaping the fact that you have been changed by this, however, it hasn’t only been negative, but positive in ways unforeseen.
You can see clearly now.
And this clarity of vision is priceless.
You should spend some time reflecting on what has and hasn’t worked. What “liberatory” practices lead to domination and coercion, and be critical. Now is the time for honesty. There isn’t the distraction of riot cops and protest “leaders” screaming anymore. Both were there to deny you the space to think.
Add to your knowledge by learning from others, through books, podcasts, and conversation with your elders. What insights from the past will help us now, and tomorrow? Be shameless in ripping off their theory and praxis, and transform it beyond recognition if needed. Use their ideas to crack open what is possible.
There is now time for all the training you realized you should’ve done long ago. Throwing a punch, shooting a gun, infiltration, OSINT, whatever you want to do, do it. Skills like facilitating mutual aid groups, conflict resolution, becoming a medic, logistics and comm support, distros, zine printing, propaganda and radical art. All of this is needed.
And remember, you are not alone. There are folx out here, beyond yourself, just as adamant as you are. They are nodes of connections to others as well, from local to around the world, performing anything from union organizing to antifascist action to group therapy to self defense, so many ways to learn, share, and prepare for the next uprising.
This zine is my node of connection to y’all. It is to keep the dream alive. The fires of revolution may have died, but beneath the ashes, lay red and black coals, unseen, but smoldering.
Waiting for tinder, ready to light up the world again.
Protests in Colombia
Thousands of people in cities across Colombia have been protesting the far right government of President Ivan Duque for 2 1/2 months. The ESMAD which is the Colombian version of the riot police, has responded in force with 67 confirmed deaths and thousands more reports of severe injuries and missing persons.
The protests started as a response to a tax on daily purchases that Duque tried to implement during Covid lockdowns. The minimum wage in Colombia is $260/month.
Now the protests are covering a large range of societal issues in Colombia. Protestors are demanding the immediate resignation of the Ivan Duque regime while also asking them to be held accountable for the government response to the peaceful protests.
This concerns us in the United States because our own ICE officers trained the Colombian ESMAD & National Police. Our tax dollars also fund the police in Colombia. Biden has given millions to Colombia to fund their police.
Colombia is strategic to the U.S so our government treads very lightly when it comes to critique of anything the Colombian government does. With so may countries in the area moving towards socialism, Colombia will continue to be strategic to the United States. If you can remember when an assassination attempt was made in Venezuela on Nicolas Maduro, they trained and entered Venezuela via Colombia.
When the Haitian President was killed the murderers were also linked to Colombia.
If the Colombian people are successful in getting rid of the U.S puppet government it would be a huge hit to US imperialism in Latin America.
Life Post-insurrection and Climate Doom
Every morning I wake up in a state of anxiety. I dream of riot lines and flashbangs. Immediately, I doom-scroll through twitter and check the rising covid cases. At the sound of a bike or loud car, I panic. After a year long insurrection, I have absolutely no clue what to do with myself. I speak to many of my comrades who are in a similar predicament and it is as if we are barely holding on. So if you are in a similar place dear reader, know that you are not alone.
We put ourselves through hell, night after night. The things we experienced no one should ever have to go through. Many are left with scars, both physical and mental. From getting shot at by Brent Taylor, to getting suffocated by fed gas, there’s so much we witnessed and experienced. In the moment we laughed and chanted, now I burst into tears at the thought of going back out. I am one of the fortunate ones. I was not grabbed in the first waves of repression. I did not take a rubber bullet to the face or get beaten with a baton. But survivors’ guilt isn’t constructive, and these scars are only temporary.
The fear of repression looms over me. Sometimes it feels like it was all for nothing. But deep down I know this to be false. We hold accomplishments galore! Never before has such a militant movement sustained itself in such a way in so called America. Riots occurred in nearly every state and city. That alone is enough to take in glory. The movement and its longevity alone will be enough to inspire hopeful rebels for generations.
Many of the material achievements were not the end goal and perhaps shouldn’t be the focus. However, for me, they are a way of quantifying and removing some of the doom. After a year of riots the city is spending millions to rebrand and rebuild. Our local officials and oligarchs took a severe blow from having their precious downtown ransacked over and over. Ted Wheeler and co’s way of life was, for once, threatened. Mass public opinion of the police has drastically changed; 27% of Oregonians are in favor of abolishing law enforcement.
The nation’s longest standing police union was forced to move out of the city. PPB has lost many officers, including higher ups like Chris Davis. They now struggle to gain new officers. Vast arrays of mutual aid networks were also built up which have been responding to the devastating effects of climate change.
Climate change is much worse than initial predictions. A recent study has revealed that warming is likely to reach five degrees celsius by the end of the century—For reference, the ice age was six degrees cooler—which is a rather bleak forecast. The signs and current effects are already surrounding us. Devastating forest fires made the air unsafe to breathe last fall, and turned the sky red. A recent heatwave broke records and sent the mercury to upwards of one hundred and fifteen degrees in Portland, killing over seventy people. Floods are wreaking havoc in Europe and across the globe. It is very difficult to not be overcome with depression about the state of the world.
“The very nature of states is to control populations, but many of the billions will not hunger quietly. Yesterday the late Victorian holocausts triggered millenarian uprisings amongst those being swept away by the spreading flood waters of the ‘world system’. Tomorrow, as the tide retracts and surplus populations are left on the (desert) sand, we seem set for yet another, if anything more brutal, century of wars and insurrections.”
— From “Desert” by anonymous
This, no longer impending, doom is a time for action. Local—Ted Wheeler spent the heatwave on a date and at his daughter’s swim meet—, national, and global governments are failing to do anything to curb the effects, let alone provide aid to individuals suffering. We have already seen how anarchists and other radicals can band together to provide mutual and direct aid. We will continue to build these networks and spread our ideals. Now we must attack! Take revenge against those who have destroyed the ecosystem.
If Ur Dad’s a Cop
slap him in the face
take his can of mace and spray him till its all he tastes
then run up to your mom
punch her in the mouth and ask her
“where did things go wrong?”
your familys probably hated
your house is full of racists
Nickelback is on your playlist
my condolences to you
run away from home
and be antifa’s new recruit
Thinking Beyond the Waves
Many people become radicalized during public waves of protest. You decide to come out to that one march, have an experience that forever changes your mindset, and you delve into a new life. Then, one day (maybe it slowly creeps in), you realize the “uprising,” the “resistance,” appears to have dwindled. Does nobody care? What can we possibly do to reignite the spark? Have we lost?
Don’t worry, we have not lost. It was never about winning in the first place. Welcome to the rest of your life as a defector.
It might feel impossible. After that rush – the days, weeks, and months of adrenaline, comradery, putting every ounce of yourself into a revolt – how could things possibly go back to normal? Fear not, that flame will become an old friend that returns when you least expect it. And while there are ways to build community resistance and encourage another wave to come sooner, ultimately you must find some way to make use of the time when you can’t get more than 30 people to a protest. In each season, determine where your energy is best spent and how you can meld smoothly into the next.
There are effective things you can do with thirty people. But actions generally have to be either low-risk, involving legal disruption methods, or completely hidden and underground. Toppling a statue in a park only requires a half-dozen people in the middle of the night, some gear, and spraypaint for messaging. Not even to mention that racists and alt-right have their own wave cycles, and community defense is a year-round task. So if you are being driven to act and disrupt, do it. But seeking the thrill and glory of a riot is going to lead to mistakes and missed opportunities.
Sweep defense, fash bashes, public emergencies – there are endless ways to resist oppression and build mutual aid networks when the protest wave settles. Stay busy and sharp, but when needed and appropriate. What I think people seek during the wave is the adrenaline and clarity. There are two sides in a clear conflict, and sometimes you win the upper hand. Waves are an important experience in a community as a time when you finally feel you’re on the offensive and not just digging in your heels, cutting your losses. And of course, retraumatizing can be more comfortable than sitting with trauma. Reprioritization means doing what will be most effective, not what feels best.
I’m focused more on surviving emotionally and preparation. The foundation of any rebuilding is healing from the trauma and damage in relationships that happened in the urgency of nightly protests. Therapy if you can, learning about trauma responses, and social processing. Throughout this process, you can really reflect on the last year. Not just what happened, but what you did.
How did you respond to different groups and people that arose? Who did you seek out for companionship and guidance? How did your beliefs shape your actions as you gained knowledge? What would you do differently if you had been dropped back into May 2020? All of these reflections are important because there will be another wave. The stakes will probably continue to escalate. You have a chance to make the next wave longer and more effective with the experiences you’ve gained through blood, sweat, and tears.
You might have to rebuild your sense of identity, whether this was your first year protesting or you’ve seen a few rounds. I recognize that, even having been protesting and counter-protesting for several years, I found myself swept up in the last year. I never thought about having to return to daily life, acted in short-term interest because in my mind I had to. I had to empty every part of myself into making it stronger, supporting other people, dealing with crisis after crisis. And sometimes you have to. But remember that every time but one, you can expect the social conditions to settle. You will have to find some routine that is not getting tear gassed or pulling the snack cart in between pushes. The adrenaline can no longer hide the pain and struggles that you’ve been pushing back.
Mass protest will not topple the US government. Mass mobilization can bring us to the brink, can redefine social norms, and challenge the legitimacy of ruling powers, but an empire is not so easily burned. It is merely another way to spread our ideas and be a pain in the ruling class’ asses.
I advocate for balance. You can throw all of your identity and relationships into each wave, collapsing and crashing when the protests quiet. Or you can learn with each one, investing in the opportunity that mass mobilization offers without cutting your ties to your life outside of it. And when the signals are clear that the wave is receding, you can adjust. Be realistic with what you can achieve and who it is wise to work with. Accept but do not succumb to the urgency of our collective suffering. Use it with discretion, to leap at opportunity and act wisely in the meantime. Stealing food from supermarkets and doing jail support for your community might feel less glorious than pushing a police line back, but it is no less important.