I read some interesting articles on the international Anarcho-blogosphere about the need for more insurrectionary Anarchism versus the more middle class oriented, Civic Anarchism.
The Insurrectional Anarchist practices the original Class War methods of classical Anarchism, meaning Propaganda of both the Word and the Deed. These actions imply that the Anarchist reads and writes prolifically, and then proceeds into the insurrectionist mode. The insurrectionist mode involves industrial or commercial sabotage, firebombing work places and factories, destruction of targeted private property, attacking cops at protests, fighting back against Fascists at their demos, and killing selected targets from the elites and the powerful.
Some defenders of these methods call themselves Anarcho-Nihilists or Anarcho-Individualists. A few have even stated that their actions value more than their lives, and that imprisonment from the state becomes the beautiful moment of peace, and for a few, a true clarity of vision. They also state that the insurrectionist locked inside the prison inferno is truly free because he or she has no more fear of the State.
Civic Anarchism tends to exist in many urban centers of the ‘Western’ European and Colonial-Settler European regions, such as the Americas and Australia. The Civic Anarchist, and mostly associated with the Anarcho-Syndicalist, radical unionist bunch, reads and writes a lot, and then works within the system through ‘radical’ organizing. They eschew violence and often condemn the violence of certain Anarchists. The ‘civies’ might organize a workplace, or help out in a strike, but there is a lot more organizational tactics at work, such as endless meetings, writing articles for Indymedia, or setting up a benefit punk show for collecting more organizing funds.
According to the Insurrectional Anarchists, the Civic Anarchists play it safe like their Activist-Leftist, Middle Class counterparts. According to the hard cores, the Civic Anarchists are really Anarcho-activists, and they are not much different from the mortal enemies of Anarchists: the Marxist sect-ideologically crazy activists, with their ideological platforms and assemblies lasting over two hours.
The insurrectionists might have very good reasons to criticize the civic-minded Anarchists. Anarchy is not just talking at meetings and writing polemics. Anarchy also represents the actions of taking what is ours and attacking targets; however, the insurrectionists, like their civic rivals, are also guilty of too much talk.
Too many Anarcho-revolutionaries scream their violent works on their own websites and hard copy pages – and they have even given interviews related to ‘illegal’ activities to corporate news organs! A good example were some Eugene Anarchists that publicly proclaimed their resistance to the State and Capitalism after the WTO protests in 1999.
After their foolish interviews to the corporate press, the full violence of the State came upon them, and then a few Anarchists ended up doing some hard time in prison. While these same insurrectionists are often fanatics for ‘security culture,’ they have often broken their very same rules. Nothing is more damaging to any revolutionary group than having boasters and blowhards scream about their ‘actions’ against the enemy.
I have also read uncountable declarations on the Internet blogosphere, mostly coming from particular Anarcho-gun owners, stating that they were ready to violently throw down against the US government if they try to take away their guns. Oh really? Are those armchair tough guys going to risk it all when the SWAT team thugs show up at their front doors? It is one thing to write the tough words on the Internet, and it is quite another thing to actually engage in a heated gun fight with the authorities.
All of those hard cores know full well that the state spies and police forces are also listening and reading their pronouncements. In the dangerous world that we live in now, one simple slip of the tongue, and often a person goes down. Sometimes, the civic-minded Anarchist that printed the insurrectionist diatribe in his or her written format, whether electronic or paper, represents the one that pays dearly. Other times, the insurrectionist falls into his or her own imprudent post-action actions. The state authorities don’t care much either way, because at least they have found another enemy to destroy who is against the legitimate authority of the state.
Anarchists ought to remember the first rule of any organization antagonistic to the state: silence. For example, the Italian Mafia has always had its code of ‘Omertà,’ and the Ashkenazi Jewish communities of Eastern Europe had the code of “Mesirah.’ The Gypsies have also used their code of silence against harassing state bureaucrats.
The Anarchist community has to abide in the code of silence. Silence has generally related to the first law of both prudence and maturity. We also have the old saying, ‘silence is golden.’ If an Anarchist has committed a propaganda of the deed, then the Anarchist must never talk about or refer to the past event – ever again. After an action, it is even best to stay away from friends and alcohol for a few months, so that the boasting, imaginative mind never tempts the loose, undisciplined tongue.
Most importantly, we Anarchists ought to realize that the mental concepts of our selves are illusions. We have our likes, dislikes, cares and preferences, but just like human culture throughout the various ages of history, all cultures change. So do we. We are not the same people that we were ten years ago, and definitely not twenty years ago. Yes, we do have similarities to those ancient selves of ours, yet we are now a different breed.
Even with these changes, our egos often get in the way of clear thinking. We often surmise that both our personal views and words are truth, while our perceptions are the absolute truth. We often dwell too much on the personal mind garbage. Instead of letting go, we get bogged down inside our recurring thoughts.
Unlike the Marxist sectarians, Anarchism contains some marvelous diversity within its methods. Squatters who take over an abandoned building and open it up for the homeless and vagabonds are doing a great work too. They have fixed up an abandoned property left to rot by some property pimp, and now they can live freely without the common anxieties of having ‘to make rent payments,’ or relying on the landlord to fix the problems. Other residents that have had to pay rents, have seen such successes, and they would also want to enter such living arrangements.
There are other methods that have worked splendidly, such as living in trees to save a forest area, video exposures on the cruel methods of factory mass murder of animals for cheap meat, corporate billboard sabotage, cop watching on a Friday night, setting up a spontaneous street party in a busy intersection, such as Reclaim the Streets, or camping out in a park right in the heart of a large, corrupt mega city, which led to the Occupy movement. All of these tactics have worked and they will continue to work because they have used the greatest powers of the Anarchist, direct action and mutual aid.
As long as we Anarchists keep up the diversity of our work, we will continue to be old nails on the floor for the creeps of the State. We Anarchists are not criminals however, nor should we glamorize muggers, petty thieves, robbers, looters, wise guys and con artists. Unlike them, we fight to build a better world for ourselves. The criminal elements only want their inflated egos caressed. Their worlds are only for themselves – and themselves alone. There is an old saying, ‘there is no honor among thieves.’ This is also the truth.
We can kill the obsessions with ourselves, keep up the revolutionary work, and finally, keep our mouths shut – bearing our secrets forever, while simply holding on to our reserve and dignity. The state authorities and the elites will definitely persecute us, but the invisible barbed wire of silence, coolness, and a noticeable lack of ego trips will weaken all of their insidious methods – security culture or no security culture.