Communique to the fighting comrades in so called america, from anarchist Dimitris Chatzivasileiadis, persecuted for his relation to the guerrilla Organization of Revolutionary Self-Defense*
Response to the week of revenge for comrade Michael Forest Reinoehl, who was murdered by government order
The planned state murder of comrade Michael Forest Reinoehl reinforces our hatred towards the world of authority. In the greek territory, during the last period of bourgeois democracy, we have often experienced personified state executions by order of the authorities. From doctor Tsironis on July 11th 1978, to Michalis Prekas on 1st of October 1987 and Cristoforos Marinos on the 23rd of July 1996. Just as the greek state intended by murdering these fighters, so did the colonial state called USA, on the 3rd of September, aim to send to all the insurgents the message that nobody can surpass the iron law of the rulers’ military domination. We ought to pause for thought on these crucial matters born out of the state’s willingness to commit political murders. Such moments determine the evolution of the social movement for long periods of time.
Similarly, history and the current experience of class struggle teach us that targeted extrajudicial executions are not an exception to the rule for liberal regimes. They are as frequent as they need be so as to fortify the rule of bourgeois authority’s total control over life and death. The current minister of state terrorism of greece forbade state murders one year ago, stripping the human quality from those that the state decides to call terrorists. Extrajudicial was the murder of 15 year old comrade Alexis Grigoropoulos in 2008 in the turbulent neighborhood of Exarchia. Extrajudicial executions are way more than the personified ones. They target the class of the oppressed, of the exploited and the excluded in its totality. Extrajudicial are the executions of migrants at the borders, as well as the police murders of non white people in so called america, as well as the imperialist and colonial bombardments in the Middle East and Africa, the paramilitary murders in colombia and mexico, in occupied Afrin in Kurdistan, in occupied Palestine etc. Habeas Corpus i, the humanitarian law and the state constitutions, these apply only to the bourgeois class itself. The oppressed african people who were transferred in chains, or were born in so called america and who flood the prison camps of the colonial state’s penal system, they feel in their skin the fact that capital has no need for the freedom of movement of its wage or unpaid slaves. And not only it harbors no respect for its subjects, but on the contrary, it needs to perpetrate class genocide of the redundant populations, in order to reproduce itself and grow its accumulated power. And capital does this with all the means it has available.
It is superfluous for us, the organized enemies of the exploitative system, to talk about the historical and structural relation between racism and capitalism. It is a waste of energy to try to persuade those who experience racism daily on their bodies that this is a class issue. They know it very well, despite the tones of misleading ideology that is thrown at them by the mediators of the state. If the aspirations for assimilation into the system, the kind that liberals promote, still hold any ground, it is because we, the oppressed, have not yet sown practical terms for overcoming our dependence to capital. It happens to the degree that we, anti-state/anti-capitalists have not yet opened up the space to house the needs of the class of the oppressed and to bear new hopes. It is not enough to stress that capitalism was born out of colonialism. It is not enough to stress that if the anti-racist struggle is not revolutionary it cannot be anti-racist. Those of us who understand this historical condition, as the specific form of class struggle today, in so called USA, at the borders and the camps of the imperialist center and in any place where the nation-state acts, we have the responsibility to organize the revolutionary transition.
After centuries of slavery, the consciousness that a civil war has been taking place ceaselessly is again emerging massively. This was silenced as long as the one side, the tyrants, had the power to eradicate memory, just like they eradicated the grounds of the community MOVE on the 13th of May 1985. But the community is not lost. The moment it takes again to the streets, all the memory, all the class history comes forth like a volcano. As quiet as the previous period has been, all the more turbulent is the current crisis of civilization. However, at the same time, we are as unprepared vis a vis a death machine that fears nothing other than its own demise.
There are comrades who, despite their enthusiasm for insurrection, express fear towards the emergence of the civil war. We must avoid it, they nervously say. The enemy pursues a war conflict so as to crush us, they argue. Let them wonder though, what has halted the war until now? Who has been gaining ground, centuries now, from one-sided terrorism? If the state wishes to intensify the conflict against us, who can deter this without giving the state the authoritarian right to murder whenever, whoever it wants? When the enemy provokes you to war, the only way to avoid it is to sign an even worse treaty of slavery. How can we face the historical responsibility vis a vis the countless murdered brothers and sisters and say that we must leave to the class enemy the exclusive capacity to kill us whenever it wants? In the end, it is only the few who can maintain the privilege of survival up against the continuous racist murderous violence: those who belong to the race of the big bosses of capital and only on the condition that they prove, daily, their discipline to the rule of terror. Comrade Michael Forest Reinoehl breached this rule. He denied the passive consent to the monopoly of murder.
Nobody can honestly argue that liberation from slavery, the hope that was reborn suddenly form within the belly of the beast, can come about without a revolution. Then, let’s honestly say what is the most appropriate moment to intensify our efforts. It is the moment when the oppressed rise up together, the moment of the highest empathy, solidarity and consciousness of what is possible. Revolt dissolves the deceptive, and to a great degree self-destructive, faith in one’s ‘niche.’ This insurrection did this more than any other event since the revolt in Syria and the growth of the con-federalist revolution. The dissolution of the deceptive faith in niches begets revolt itself. It is a dynamic so universal, like no other social process. For this reason, it makes feasible and self-perpetuating, an expansive motion that is limited only by deeper class borders. Also, for this reason, insurrection spreads beyond the artificial borders of authorities. There are no historical laws, nor coincidental conditions, that are able to liberate people who do not want to fight for their freedom, just as nothing can stop the revolted masses when they are determined to go to the end. The black revolt in so called USA went far beyond all the realistic horizons of the days that preceded it.
The outbreak of a revolt comes at a moment when an event, which is never new, breaks the limits of tolerance. It begins with an internal rift inside people, but always in relation with and, more precisely, against the universal conditions. This has happened throughout history. Insurrection never breaks out due to some unique event; rather, it becomes necessary and feasible when the rule of terrorism, exploitation and execution ceases to be tolerated. On the other hand, the unique extremity can always be digested. The torture and lengthy intended murder of George Floyd by the bastards of the police became the spark inside a room full of gunpowder ready to explode.
Let’s retrace the history of this plantation called america. Just one century ago. In the mines of Rockefeller, Colorado. Let’s take a closer look at the workers in Ludlow, mostly migrants, who revolted in 1914. Let’s try to enter their hearts, to come closer to the real experience than what an abstract socio-economic analysis would allow. Typically free, but practically captives of the industrial camps of the bosses, which were guarded by armed thugs and national guardsmen. They had already fought for improvements in their wages and living conditions. But what caused a radical uprising were the cynical murders and the offenses against their community. Let’s look at them at the moment their armed revolt broke out. It was a celebration! It was the easter celebration of the greeks, where all the communities had been invited. The slaughter had already began. The crucial feeling that led that revolt into creating a revolutionary army, into destroying the counter-revolutionary mercenary forces, into occupying the surrounding towns and blowing up the mines of this banker, was the knowledge that there is no tomorrow. Because, it is only in the moment when we realize that there is no tomorrow within the financial and military walls of the master, that it becomes possible to pass to revolutionary struggle, in a world where there is no way back. And it is a cruel passage.
Consequently, it is the cruelty of the conflict with the class enemy that sparks the broadest solidarity, since it brings to the light the cruelty of tyranny. In 1914, this mutual touch was expressed in the forty thousand rifles that arrived in just a few days to the insurgent slave workers in Ludlow, from all over the country. Today, it is expressed in the wave of people who persisted in taking to the streets, to contribute to the aggressive initiatives in the urban slave camp. Insurrection begets a new faith, as it emerges from a rift inside a world that seemed so dark that we could not even see what it’s made of. It is something more than hope. This unprecedented mass of coherent human motion that is spread by the determination and initiative of true solidarity, immediately creates a new universe. Within the insurrection, love and our relation with death and vision take on their fullest meaning. This capacity is born by the voluntary revolutionary act. In the midst of the insurrection, that efficacious mirror of faith on which equality and open collectivity are founded, becomes a catalyst for exponential change. It takes no mental effort to recognize that the insurrection is the moment when the oppressed make peace with the reality of historical jeopardy and they sign an agreement of collective responsibility. If this was not the case, if the participants were taking cover in the crowd -which is a slanderous claim of reactionary sociologists, and at the same time exactly what the individualist bourgeois class does under the pretext of the rule of law- the revolted masses would disperse on the first repressive strike. Insurrections become crucial historical moments, because they dissolve, in practice, the paralyzing metaphysics of self-fulfilled rationalism. All rationalizations give way to the kind of solidarity that does not calculate costs.
However, there needs to be a next day, because the war is long. Ever since I read the american saying “god created human, and Samuel Colt made them equal” it’s made me laugh. Although there is some truth in the second phrase, still the established exploitative relations, the dependency on concentrated control and the developing structures of political heteronomy, have erected conditions that make it difficult to ensure one’s freedom, and even more so to ensure equality, by taking a gun, even during the first steps of the american dream. This condition of inequality is constantly growing. It is true that we cannot confront the american army in a frontal array battle, as those who are concerned about an intensification of the civil war argue. Never have the revolted managed to hold a barricade or a barricaded city up against the accumulated organic composition of military capital. However, many revolutions have been achieved, many state armies have folded back under the prolonged popular resistance, and the american army has more defeats than victories in its imperialist interventions resume. The image of a crowd that is crushed from the bombs of the death machines reflects an extremely narrow imagination, a product of the fixation with that moment when the masses take to the street. Life must go on, but on revolutionary terms.
Anarchists are the first ones to report against reformists. Yes, reformism is death, but the answer is not to condemn it. Nobody needs to say to the revolted that this institutional back-pedaling around state murders and the conviction of a murder cop, is nothing but the way to further fortify the state’s monopoly on murderous violence. Who can fool those whose life is no longer worth anything? These manipulations are not addressed at the insurgents, but at the fringe of the latent revolt: at those who still take comfort in their faith towards the state. Insurrection, through its practice, opens itself up towards this fringe. The conflict with state domination on the ground and in social life, which reveals the roots of the state, namely military rule, war, exploitation and patriarchy, dissolves the artificial veils of authority. For one whole century, since the 1st imperialist war, when the use of chemical weapons was first implemented, teargas in the service of every oppressive and exploitative policy, has contributed to the degradation of bourgeois democracy more than a ton of radical propaganda. Systems decay due to their inescapable contradictions, and the deepest internal contradiction of the capitalist state is its simultaneous denial and assimilation of society as a political subject that creates history. When, for example, the Organization of Revolutionary Self Defense was shooting against riot cop units, saying that “… it calls for and puts all its strength for the construction of the broad armed social resistance. So that we crush the terrorism and domination of the exploiters. A hand grenade for every teargas canister. Two bullets for every cop that strikes a blow” ii, it went a step further than assuming a position of battle in the class war: it posed the issue of social self-direction in its root, where the contradictions become destructive.
It is an evasion to point at reformists as the dangerous enemy. Particularly today when statism and capitalism have sold out any remnant of their promises. The most dangerous enemy is our own inhibitions, our own denial in taking initiatives and committing ourselves to the boundless organization of revolutionary struggle. This proposal is not at all abstract. It would be abstract if the dialogue ended here. Besides, comrade Michael Forest Reinoehl put this into practice. Lets pose the issue within the real field. How are revolutionary bases built here and now, within the insurrection and throughout its development? We ought to start from the immediate needs that drive people to insurrection: To resist the violence of the exploiters and to regain the wealth of the earth, in solidarity and with equality. Two very specific needs which, if we feel them, then we have the duty to organize their fulfillment here and now. If the organized anti-state/anti-capitalists are not ready to organize, inside the insurrection, the bases for direct socialization of resources, then it is sure that the revolted will disperse and fade back into the established relations, at the same speed as they gather. It is not necessary to be a marxist to comprehend this. I am sure that everyone has seen this happen. And in both historical paradigms of libertarian revolutions of the past century, in ukraine and in spain, the social revolution was not compromised by malnutrition, in contrast to what happened under the rule of the bolsheviks for example. The foundation of these revolutions was the direct re-appropriation of means of survival. Of course, conditions today are different. The class of the exploited is fragmented, and its greater part is excluded from work, excluded from means of survival, imprisoned in penal camps and concentration camps. However, this need is not canceled, rather it is intensified. The struggle for social survival is daily and it occurs already before the insurrection. At the moment the revolt breaks out, we need to have open organizational structures with totally practical purposes. These do not come about from group therapy on the moment of the eruption. Their embryonic forms must already be in place. The experience, the proposals and mainly, the collective bodies that are committed to this purpose and determined to fight the necessary battles, must already be available. I know that what I’m saying is not a great novelty, that in so called USA many self-organized structures for solidarity have been created, and that in the revolt both the organized and urgent solidarity shined. Let’s keep, however, the understanding of how critical the fight against the economy of exploitation and slavery is.
It goes without saying that the project to re-appropriate the social ground does not meet with the obstacle of some “conscience” which only the chosen few possess, but with the obstacle of state terrorism. It should go without saying that in order to combat economic terrorism, it is necessary to fight against military rule. If this is still a matter of controversy, even after two centuries of capitalist domination, it is because the internalization of state terrorism begets deceptive beliefs. Just as the comrades of Dielo Truda had noted (Workers’ Cause, the group of Ukrainian and Russian anarchist exiles in France, who wrote the Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists in 1926):
“The defense of the revolution is also one of the problems of its ‘day one’…The social revolution, which threatens the privileges and the very existence of the non-working classes of the present society, will inevitably provoke the desperate resistance of these classes that will take the form of a vicious civil war … If the workers are to preserve the gains of the revolution, they will have to set up organs for defense of the revolution, in order to field a fighting force that is equal to the task, against the onslaught of the reaction…But this measure (the consequence of military strategy in the revolution) should be the focus of attention even now. It must be thoroughly studied even now so as to avoid any fatal delays in protecting and defending the revolution, for in times of civil war, delays can prove fatal to the outcome of the whole social revolution."
In order to get the broadest orientation regarding this duty, I will refer to the recent and rich paradigm of the liberation struggle fought by the Kurdish revolutionary movement for over five decades. The Revolutionary People’s War iii, developed as a strategy by the PKK in 2010, consists of four parallel and correlated forces, which in the words of the organization itself are:
Serhildan movement of the people, that is, the social struggle of the society that will develop under the leadership of women and youth.
The organization of self-defense forces that develop the defense of the society from within the society. In other words, it is the development of a civil defense organization that can defend itself against violent attacks in every neighborhood and in all areas where our people are located.
The struggle of the Kurdish people in metropolitan Turkey and the socialist-revolutionary alliance with democratic movements, which grows on the basis of the mission and revolutionary role of the working class in the Turkish revolutionary movement.
The third point is the way for mass self-organization to take roots. Two comments: Social self-defense cannot be assigned to political party organizations. Whenever the insurgents failed to immediately create open combative forces and instead have substituted their weakness with the power of political parties, they have known the social defeat of revolution. But at the same time, the “determined revolutionary military bodies” which must be formed (in the words of Dielo Truda), cannot be created form zero in one moment, and even more so under the catalytic pressure of time. It has never happened so. It is this weakness which squeezes the revolt between capitulation and statist manipulation. It is not enough to point out that there were hierarchical organizations among those who came out armed on certain parts of the black revolt. To criticize this is useful only when it is anchored on our own revolutionary efforts. In fact, such attempts of militaristic assimilation gain influence only when libertarian revolutionary forces are absent. This is when the guerrilla forces should intervene, in the same way the PKK poses it, and the machnovites put to practice. The main duty of the libertarian guerrilla is not propaganda through deed, nor the necessary diffusion of class counter attack through time and space. The main duty is the preparation of the capacity of the revolutionary masses to liberate the social ground. Everything else serves this purpose.
So called USA is a vast country, along with Canada, a continent, full of chaotic megacities and sparsely populated regions of wilderness. And it is a country where guns circulate with greater freedom than anywhere else. We know of victorious guerrilla struggles that have taken place in small isolated islands and in totalitarian regimes. Particularly there, in the womb of capitalist democracy (the american revolution and its constitution preceded the french revolution), the enemy is not a dynasty that is secluded in some castle. The enemy’s authority is constructed in the totality of co-dependant social relations. The future is here, in the real conditions, as long as we free our will and our imagination from conservative dogmas. We don’t have to repeat the mistakes that the Black Panthers or the Weather Underground did, which they have themselves recognized (we can certainly make our own new mistakes). But the historical collective experience remains alive and it is coming back all the more relevant today. Just like everything that the history of authority has tried to bury. Inspired by these two historical paradigms, I would repeat as a basic guideline that radical development happens through the conjunction of the guerrilla aggressive action and of social self-defense. Guerrilla struggle is the root, and the revolutionary grounding is the forest.
Aided by these references to the combative foundations of the struggle against economic terrorism and annihilation, we can think about its practical aspects. In theory, no marxist or libertarian thinker would disagree on the proposal for the social re-appropriation of all the privatized social resources. But in which way is this proposal specified inside the reality of the Black Rebellion? The revolted, just as it happens in every insurrection of the post-industrial era (I’d rather call it hyper-industrial since it is from over-accumulation that fractionation and interconnection come about), attack and loot the most accessible places of the commercial chain. Some organized parts of the movement condemn the practice of looting. Others examine it from the viewpoint of tactics, but on terms of the spectacle, hence steeped into the ideological domination of capital, and on inter-class terms, hence, conservatively opportunistic. Class war, behind the front lines of the revolt, also takes the form of ideological and psychological warfare. Anarchists and social revolutionaries ought to be crystal clear in this point. Proletarians have the undeniable right to satisfy our needs here and now, with every opportunity in any way possible, a satisfaction that we have been deprived of for centuries so that the bourgeoisie reap security and pleasure from our sweat and our lives. And it is exclusively our right to make such political decisions on the tactics of class war. Any stance that does not recognize these exclusive rights and capacities of the class base is devious and even hostile.
However, we need to take steps further than just defending our right to survival and action. To see the boundaries of our practices, to look at the obstacles that confine us within such boundaries, to search for experiences and new proposals that breach these boundaries and to understand our internal weaknesses, social, political, organizational and practical, that prevent us from changing the conditions. The practice of opportunistic appropriation and unstructured distribution of consumer goods has its external limits. One economic limit is the finite stock of the market. Until 1914, all the invading armies were feeding themselves by looting enemy and ally territories. There was no other way. So, the armies were forced to move constantly or to make short campaigns. The growth of the capitalist economy created for the first time in history the capacity to supply armies from the rear of the battle front. The revolutions in ukraine and spain did not face this limit since their first act in every expansive move was to socialize the land. In a fleeting insurrectionary explosion, this limit remains dormant. But whenever a struggle has continuity, which is what we want, it cannot bypass this limit. For example, the commune of Oaxaca in 2006, whose base was the teachers’ strike, had implemented as a method of supply, the appropriation of goods by stopping cargo trucks on the highway. But, such a practice has certain demands: in the narrow tactical sense, it presupposes the ability for military confrontation with repressive forces. Also, it takes a well defended hold of a ground inside the location where goods circulate. We know that the barricading of neighborhoods and whole cities is of great importance to the continuation or revolutionary struggle, but they cannot hold for long without moving aggressively against the state mechanism. Actually, the cause behind most revolutions’ military defeat was their retrenchment inside an urban space. That same Oaxaca commune was savagely attacked by military mechanisms. So, reaching a more general conclusion, the supply of a revolt that has longevity, by appropriating the capitalist market, at least presupposes a combative structure. So, in any case, we must begin from the basic duty of self defense.
The risks become more manageable the closer we get to the functional spaces of the bourgeois class, in other words, when we hijack capital’s function of production and mobility, as well as the bourgeois classes’ survival. Close range fighting has always been a way to counteract the bourgeoisie’s dissociation that allows for the isolation and annihilation of the insurgents by use of mass bio-political or military weapons. We come to the political dimension of this shortly. The wider the space of the capitalist relations, the easier it is to come close to the class enemy, by decolonizing spaces whereby we regain the wealth that the enemy has stolen from us, for as long as the war is on. This general idea, which I believe the revolted of the current era inside the capitalist centers will embrace impulsively, befitting as it is to the developing circumstances, entails the transformation of insurrectionary dynamic into a permanent mass urban guerrilla force. Although copying historical paradigms is not useful, learning from various existing historical experiences may be fruitful, the most noteworthy being that of the proletarian struggle in italy during ’70s and ’80s, given that since then the capitalist factory has expanded and proliferated. However, even though the more you intervene inside the enemy’s networks the more you seemingly inhibit the enemy’s aggression against you, this does not alleviate the necessity for building military power, rather, it intensifies it. For an organism to bring chaos to the balance of the bourgeois governance, it should have greater internal entropy than that of the value added of capital, and this should consist of a kind of self organization more composite than the enemy can conceive of. To put it simply, it necessitates diffused masses, but a lot of them, as well as radical co-organization. We’ll come to that when commenting on the issue of federalism and sectarianism.
In the given conditions of so called USA, the fractionation of capital has opposing effects. The a-social formation of this state is exemplary of what capitalist chaos can be, but at the same time, it is exemplary of the fascist fractionation of capitalist military rule. The bourgeoisie was armed before we were. Not only their state, but also all their institutions to the very last private citizen. The Black Revolt faced this reality at the cost of blood. It had seen its face already at the beginning of the last republican governance. The insurrection did not have time to grab even a fraction of the market’s resources, because it was confronted with the “pan-american” armed bourgeois class, while the revolt was not armed accordingly, neither was it organized enough to wage an unorthodox lasting war against the bourgeoisie’s survival. And this is why the inherent limits of commercial economy did not enter the collective imagination. And so, our survival during a clash with authority, especially in so called USA, depends on the political matter of our relation with the middle bourgeois classes. Having specified this point, we’ll examine it at the end.
The prerequisites that I mentioned earlier lead us to the internal limit of the practice of looting the market. This relates to the fighting collective-social body itself as a combative force, as an organization with revolutionary characteristics. We are not a machine for producing results in a conflict of strategies. This was obvious already from the 2nd imperialist war. Nazi germany was not defeated by some more powerful or clever machine (even though there was one waiting around the corner, the so called USA), but by the popular participation in the resistance, in russia, and in the antifascist guerrilla forces. A collectively forming civilization is fighting against a civilization that’s been established for thousands of years. In the absence of a coherent force, the looting initiative reproduces and increases an existing problem: the deconstruction of the revolted community. To avoid misunderstandings, I don’t mean that the survival of the proletariat is a hobby. Political executives are way more concerned with their material pleasures than the proletarian looters. The problem is that private economy usually re-emerges. The looting initiatives in the midst of a rebellion, rarely take care to organize and cover the needs of the most weak and generally to distribute equally the goods, prioritizing communal needs. Surely, this does not excuse the repression against looting. However, from a revolutionary perspective we ought to give answers as to how we can loot everything without destroying the emancipatory horizon of the rebellion, and, of course, without being subjugated to the political economy of party leaders who want to maintain the status quo until…
Let’s refer to a characteristic and tragic historical paradigm, from which we have first hand detailed accounts. The revolt in Albania in 1997. This was the most powerful social event since the revolution in hungary in 1956. May ‘68 was a Sunday stroll compared to albania ‘98. Following the regime change and the opening of the country to the interstate market, the entire albanian population spread across the European Union and made the liberal europeans, and the greeks among them, rich by the sweat and blood of their labor. Albanian workers were saving up their remittances in the albanian para-banking system, with the promise of some bonus. After 8 years of accumulation, the albanian banks declared bankruptcy, after taking all their money out of the country. All the wages of the people saved up for a decade had been wiped out in one day in the framework of a plan for “primary accumulation.” Mobilizations began, followed by consecutive peaks. Clashes and hunger strikes, followed by occupations of police stations and disarmament of the police, then followed by the fall of the army in the government’s first attempt to launch it against the rebellion, and finally, the revolted ended up having occupied almost half the country and holding the entirety of the country’s military armory in their hands. It should be noted that the former socialist regime was implementing a dogma of popular defense until its fall. Every village had its weapons storage. Every family was left with a huge armory. For years following the revolt, every village was keeping this appropriated stock. But why? So that they can liquidize it all. Everything that could be sold was sold. The greek countryside was flooded by the albanian army’s AK47; every exploiter of migrant workers, every rapist, every fascist could have one. The truth is that even the armory for which I am persecuted today comes almost entirely from that revolt. But this is the exception. Already during the revolt, all the productive infrastructure, the basics that the albanian state had, that was not guarded by armed thugs, who were also mixed in the revolt, was literally taken apart. To the last handlebar of the last door, everything was stripped apart to be used or made into cash. I am not criticizing nor underestimating the proletarian will; I despise elitism. I wanted to cross the borders and join the revolt. As an objector of the mandatory military service I could not get a passport from the greek state, and then I was not familiar enough with the mountains to cross on foot. I have regretted not trying to go. But the development was disproportionately tragic in relation to the dynamic of the revolt.
Albanian proletarians, the most proletarian of Europe, who aided large parts of european bourgeoisie and petty bourgeois to climb the ladder, while they reached a point of occupying a country, with the state gone and with full military power, they found themselves again at the bottom of the barrel. The example of Albania is directly linked with the class struggle in so called USA. The albanian people, after decades of extortionate isolation from the rest of the planet, believed in the american dream. “We are all communists, but we love the USA, because they bring freedom.” This phrase, said in those exact words, summarizes not only the deceit of albanian proletarians, but I think also of a big part of the slaves of american colonialism. Today, albania is controlled by the islamic fascists of Erdogan, the scarecrow of NATO and russian imperialism, and the people are dying of hunger. Albanian comrades are reporting that there is no health infrastructure in the country, while the bourgeoisie are flying to Istanbul to get treatment for SARS-CoV-2. Behind the onslaught of fascism at the fringes of the planet, we can easily recognize its antisocial roots: the desire for easy wealth, the worship of luxury and gang culture, with all that it entails (patriarchy, militarism, exploitation and subordination). This is the american dream from the time of the Eldorado gold diggers to the last village of the earth.
The main inhibiting factor for a revolution in albania was not the exhaustion of consumer goods, nor the destruction of industry, since they had both land and weapons. The main problem was that the people wanted money, not land. And so they ended up, once again, working for the land and the industries of the bosses. Following this description, we arrive at the internal obstacles which produce internal boundaries, and which help maintain the external boundaries of the revolt. The problem with money, as with anything that is perceived as an exchangeable or consumable commercial good, is that its subject is not the worker or the surrounding life, the common body that is tortured, imprisoned and murdered in order for the good to be produced, but the private property owner and consumer. The opportunistic re-appropriation by unorganized bodies leads to our fragmentation. Instead of heading towards the human that creates a common future, we return to a situation of the private interest person dependent on commerce.
The belief that the proletarians need moral education so as to acquire collective values against private interest, is an idealist and elitist illusion. Revolutionary morality is shaped through the experience of revolutionary practice. Whoever understands this has the duty to free up space, to organize inclusive practices and offer these towards the collective development. The morality of solidarity and equality is not reached by invoking abstract iron principles, but by understanding the material conditions that reproduce the illusions. This can only happen in a dialectical way, meaning, through subversive practice, through the radical example, through a world that we hadn’t shaped in our minds until now. Specifically, to break this individual dependence from commerce and its ideology, it is necessary that active people find themselves in a condition that is antagonistic to that which leads them to take the place of the voracious consumer and property owner. There needs to be space for solidarian care, offering and equal distribution. In the revolt in albania, it was only the military personnel of the past socialist regime, along with part of the insurgents, who were trying to organize communal infrastructure. The tendency of individual grabbing for one’s own gain was incontestable. Before, the libertarian soviet federation that was germinated from the Insurrectionary Revolutionary Army of Ukraine (Machnovites) had forbidden theft. But this happened after all the resources had been socialized. There is no place for dogmatic principles. The same decision, which when implemented in the revolution of ukraine was revolutionary, becomes obscenely anti-proletarian when implemented in conditions of capitalist economy: it is counterrevolutionary propaganda that becomes the cover of repression against proletarian survival.
The way in which we satisfy our immediate needs and in which we manage the socialized resources during the insurrection, defines and prepares the civilization of freedom. The outward flow that can deconstruct the bourgeois world is horizontal giving and self-sacrifice. Not the offering from some organized people to the unorganized ones, however much this is also needed, but something more total and vital: the offer of each one and everyone to everyone and each one. The insurrection is the magic of solidarity. Revolution is the victory of solidarity, as said and tirelessly practiced by captive revolutionary comrade Pola Roupa, member of organization Revolutionary Struggle. The material of the social revolution is the experience that the Kurdish comrades call Hevjiyan azadi, free comradely life. This dynamic can defeat capitalism.
Let’s not forget though, that the Kurdish rebels who fill their life with this flow, point out the importance of organization, of taking measures and of ideological education. The organization of the insurrection should serve our immediate needs, that is the resistance to the economic and military terrorism, and should do so in the same way that universal freedom is built. Consequently, the organization of the social revolt and the guerrilla fight is the field where boundless equality is realized. So, social self-organization becomes revolutionary when it takes measures to ensure equality and tries to breach the class boundaries. We need the kind of political institutions that we make ourselves within the struggle: horizontal and inclusive. We also need collective practical measures for our mutual care and for liberating ground from the enemy. Moreover, we need to make procedures, across the front lines of the struggle, for our practical co-organization. Bakunin fought for the federalist organization of the exploited, without which there can be no freedom, no equality, but only the perpetuation of antagonism and of relations of dependence and subjugation. From this perspective, the dilemma whether the free Capitol Hill should be CHAZ or CHOP is a trap. If the free ground is not both, interconnected, then it cannot become a cell of revolutionary development -instead we would be going back and forth between the privileged bubbles of alternativism and reformism.
Revolutionary ideology means to make a plan of war, that connects the Here and Now with the universal (humanity and the Earth) and with the farthest horizon. Always starting from cultivating faith in revolutionary struggle, through paradigm, mutual experience, historical memory and imaginative initiative. Always keeping the upmost coherency, by specifying the federalist vision to our needs and capacities today. Always grounded in the kind of action that gives shape to ways of equality and becomes the seed for justice. Through the constant synchronicity of the general, the special and the specific, and the dialectical relation between quality and quantity, we can build self-organized communities and give solutions at the most direct level each time
Let’s take a step further with a coherent flow. The political-societal issue. The rifts within the economic and military terrorism create the base for social self-direction. As explained earlier, political co-organization is motivated by the will to re-appropriate, to collectively manage and equally distribute the social resources, and of course, by the organization of social self-defense. We’re not talking about joining organizations of ideological/program agreements, but about the co-shaping of political institutions, programs, decisions, experience and methodology from the very same body that is reborn through the insurrection. Political groups have a duty and can contribute towards social self-direction, by their readiness, their co-organization and their initiative for creating organized social bodies that become the cells of the community of communities. The societal issue is not some parallel universe, we are neither indifferent to it, nor forced into dealing with it. The social struggle here and now reshapes political practice and its organizational aspects, in a subversive way. The question of democracy, “democracy or not?”, “which democracy?”, is a totally pointless question outside of class conflict and social reconstruction. The condition of heteronomy is canceled at the point whereby we regain control of our common life’s conditions. So, I won’t go into abstract views about the societal issue, for now. But, I keep the conclusion that the attack against the economy and military rule of the bourgeois class is the foundation of social self-direction.
Two comments on the political dialogue taking place inside the movement in the so called USA, from the position I’ve developed so far. David Graeber argues in “The shock of victory” v that the movements’ goals can be distinguished into three time categories: short-term, medium-term and long-term. And he observed that those in which we are successful are the medium-term goals, while for the others we don’t get hands on results. In a closer look at the characteristics of such goals and by his examples, we can note that the difference is not only about timing, but about political topology. Into short term goals he classified the crucial ground of the struggle: the social space of the revolt, the fields of physical conflict, grounds of self-organization, infrastructure and executive mechanisms of state and capital. Into long-term goals he classified the forms of social transformation during the overthrow of authority, or simply the destruction of the state. Looking at what he calls medium-term goals there is a distortion of the underlying ground. While in the short and long term he recognizes the struggling community as the subject of transformation, at the medium level he classifies the state’s adjustments vis a vis the movement. Observing the real fights, many of which he participated in, Graeber formed the opinion that victories in a reformist direction are powerful, while those orientations that aim to abolish the political/military/economic domination of the regime are not victorious. In the traditional, simplistic anarchist distinction between social and political power, the conclusions of the above thought imply the dissolution of social power and the re-crowning of political power in its established form: the domination of statism. These conclusions are not true.
Indeed, the states and imperialist cadres of bourgeois economy make maneuvers, sometimes they abandon certain plans, they sacrifice their own executives, they take roundabout ways…Of course, Graeber’s examples concern a time period when the bourgeois class could make such maneuvers. The IMF managed not only to “survive” the anti-globalization movement, but even more, it became a key player in the plans of economic pillage that were introduced in the greek territory in 2009 and which will not stop until we make a revolution. Today, the crisis of over-accumulation leaves them no space for maneuvers. Either they will take the heads off their own class, so that they share the left over crumbs -which the bourgeois class has never done before reaching the point of its own demise-or they will continue the rage of terrorism. Naturally, they’re doing the latter. However, this is not the problem with the theory of the three terms. The problem is that it misses the coherency of the three stages. The truth is that when authority made some small retreats and maneuvers, this happened due to the correlation of cost and risk in the field of battle and on the big scale. The fierceness of physical conflict, not in financial cost terms, but as an experience, a paradigm, a legacy of combative organization and a threat to the balance of control, it it this that forces authority to make maneuvers, if it can. The dangerous dynamic of direct confrontation is utterly correlated with the general goal, since the more all-encompassing are the ideas for change, the greater strength, perseverance, solidarity, cooperation, ingenuity etc. they create. The victory of the Black Revolt is not the defunding of the police, nor the electoral victory of Biden. The victory is the social experience and dynamic that was created by the fighting community, and the renewed search for the prospect to totally subvert class tyranny. Whatever the “medium term” results, what determined the developments were those insurgents who got killed, the burned down police stations, the looted property, the radical communities born out of the events, the class power that was created suddenly and its uncontrollable prospects. The killing of a fascist, by comrade Michael Forest Reinoehl, had its particular contribution.
As much as I respect the participation of comrade Graeber in social struggles, and without lessening the esteem he deserves, I ought to say that the logic of a kind of social transformation that consists of a series of small changes without subversive outbreaks, belongs to the current of the statist left wing, which internalized its historical defeat by succumbing to the domination of bourgeois democracy. The question, “can we change the world without taking power?”, was the fatalistic reflection of the complete integration of state monopoly regimes into capitalist antagonism. In the same text he notes that “Presumably, any effective road to revolution will involve endless moments of cooptation, endless victorious campaigns, endless little insurrectionary moments or moments of flight and covert autonomy.” The insurrections are small, autonomy existing only in exile and everything is a fleeting moment without revolutionary peaks. Only campaigns will be victorious! For anarchists, the answer was clear ever since the first rift with social democracy: It is necessary and feasible to destroy the state. Revolution is surely not a matter of a single day, but a story of ceaseless battles and subversive events. The crowd that invaded the yard of the White House proved that revolutionary days belong to the present, and the future is looking stronger than the past. There will come a day when the White House will burn down, so will the Capitol and the Pentagon.
If you wonder what’s a critique on ideology got to offer to a memorial message for a murdered antifascist fighter, then trace back to the beginning of this message. The theoretical program that denies the necessity for overthrowing the institutions of heteronomy/subordination, fails to recognize the timeless class/civil war as the existing reality, and suggests to avoid it. By scraping the surface of this passive stance, we find an underlying underestimation of the power of social self-direction.
This is not about an ideological argument between the left and anarchism. The disagreement is deeper than that, it concerns the revolutionary vision and its practice in general. Since the ’90s, many parts of the left, during its crisis, took a turn towards libertarian positions. Among them were combative parts, such as the Zapatistas and the Kurdish liberation movement; there were also social-democratic parts. It was through the tendency for capitulation that we came to glorify partial struggles. Between these two poles, party line social democracy and traditional anarchism, many amalgams emerged, whose differences express the horizon until which each one sees itself.
The second point in the political dialogue inside the movement of so called USA, which I feel needs fierce criticism, is the tradition of sectarianism, the dogmatic attachment to the supposed self-efficiency of affinity groups; a trend that is powerful within the anarchist movement of so called USA. Before the reader jumps to conclusions, thinking that I am just another classic formalist, I want to note that behind these words is someone who did not need to read the situationists to become a robber. This is the speech, the account and the agony of a robber, of a fugitive, persecuted for his participation in guerrilla struggle, of a person who instead of waiting for ephemeral turbulence to get a whiff of change, made chaotic communism his daily life, and instead of waiting for the “movement to mature” in order to see federalism put to practice, he got organized with people who are ready to risk everything today (which is the only honest federalism). The social deconstruction, the fragmented proletariat, the world of clandestinity, the contradictions and the wealth of all this, I did not find these in sociological analyses -it is my world, our world. No model can be imposed on the natural dialectics of class struggle. Be that formalist, a-formalist, general or limited. So, lets take the opposite way to what we are used to: instead of looking for the examples that confirm our rigid theories, let’s observe reality and understand why it is what it is, through our own weaknesses.
Already from the emergence of nationalisms in Europe and until today, capital has managed to destroy the proletariat completely (not only ideologically) and to disperse the survivors vertically along the scale of value extraction. Bourgeois society is cannibalistic to its core. Everything that sociology calls society, and wrongly reproduced as such by the social movement, is actually a-society, it is totalitarian antagonism and deconstruction. The theories of deconstruction were the fatalistic adaptation of academic philosophy and political science to the development of class domination. Anarchists got steeped into this logic way earlier. Following the break up and dissolution of the First International, political sectarianism prevailed. Anarchism in spain was the exception, since there the specific federalist initiatives of Bakunin took roots. Today, humanity has become totally a-social, having reached the deepest historical limit of its fragmentation. The armed conflict during the ’70s and ’80s inside the north of global capitalism, signified, as a central field of conflict, the onset of the struggle between total bourgeois assimilation and the revolutionary restructuring of the social body. Were we to picture this, we could say that we just entered the margin of this conflict, where the fractionation and de-socialization of everything has reached its limits, and the counterbalancing trend is emerging more and more explosively.
In this era, that began revealing itself with the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic, the expression of the social body is entirely negative and defined solely by class relations. The class base is ordained to die and now it is beginning to imagine this. Now, as it fights, it realizes that it’s being manipulated like raw flesh, and that it is degenerated. But its rebellion cannot yet be a real act -it is the manifestation and mutual recognition, a conscience in motion, of its true condition. All the experience from self-organization of the past decades has given its place to the fight for survival. All our knowledge proves to be insufficient. The sectarian, and often elitist, self-organization of the past decades fails to perceive the world in its totality, and even more so to take revolutionary initiatives towards uniting the fragments of the proletariat. And this too gets rapidly pressed by the onslaught of military and economic terrorism. Self-organization emerges in new forms, with the emotive understanding of the boundless community against the totalitarianism of bourgeois domination.
The struggling communities by their self-organization, the fighting women, the fighting natives, the fighting non white people of so called USA, they recreate the lost open community. It is them who build a universal federalist movement and not some hegemonic political organization. Because, since the capitalist colonization of the Earth and the fractionation of relations of exploitation and exclusion are complete, no project of political/survival self-sufficiency can be feasible. The fierce struggle of the class base incubates the explosive negative imagination -absolutely anti-statist- that will change the class and political conditions. The embryonic forms of a new sociopolitical orientation are already in the make. Unavoidably, the social body will re-define itself, absolutely politically and against the state, although it will take time, many bloody fights, until the evolving revolutionary imagination becomes able to produce a new universal knowledge, given that the current knowledge is not yet able to invent the imagination for a total change of our world view. The proposition for organizing ourselves in affinity groups is historically dead: it has nothing radical to offer to the immediate struggle. The size of the mutual explosion, of the mutual needs and the collective imagination cannot be contained in any kind of retrenchment. At the same time, in order to survive and to liberate ourselves, we must do away with tribalism. The political retrenchment within affinity ties is enemy to the community: in historical terms, this is what begot war, patriarchy and the state. More and more comrades begin to understand this, but we must go deeper into the rift of perception and practice: we should abandon every methodology that stems from fearing one another and stops us from getting organized together, driven by the passion for maximum change. Let’s uproot vanity from our hearts.
During this phase where the course of class struggle obviously speeds up all around the planet, it is undoubtedly necessary for us to pursue maximum flexibility, the capacity to be everywhere, but with coherency; to develop the ability to concentrate our forces instantly, so that we can set up powerful bridgeheads, but also so that we can convey our living presence and our material to new hubs of revolt, with a speed that does not allow the enemy to manage the whole motion. To create such conditions of struggle that correspond to the current class conditions, we need to upgrade our organizational procedures. We are not yet capable of taking action about these class conditions. But, neither can the system improve them. The crisis of civilization is deeper than ever, it is borderline. The time has come for us to get out of our comfortable compartments. Nothing will stay the same, not our organizations, not our everyday life, nor our locales and the ground we tread on, whether we like it or not. I think I’ve said enough. Let’s conclude the two comments with the absolutely specific radical proposals of Bakunin and Dielo Truda: The freedom of each one broadens my freedom. Collective responsibility, unity in action.
Class-civil war would be an easy case if what we faced was the vampire’s tower and his mercenaries. But, it was probably never that simple, as Etien De La Boesi explained 500 years ago. Between the palace and the insurrection are interjected intermediate classes, which make up the majority of the population, until the time that the revolted dominate over the state. Never has a revolution occurred by an absolute majority. If it were so, revolutions would come out of the ballot box. In a political perspective, and also economic, the middle classes exist so as to be the cushion between the state and the proletariat. It is a particularly active cushion. It spreads exploitation wherever a weak point appears, so everywhere, vertically from top to bottom, and it mediates in the accumulative flow of wealth to the top. Moreover, it becomes the carrot stick in the illusion of class ladder climbing. At the same time, it mans the militaristic mechanisms of the state and capital, and it spreads fascist terrorism. In short, we need to step over them in order to liberate ground and pierce the conduit that sucks energy from the bottom to the top. Although as an abstract idea it is simple to comprehend, let’s have a look at its dialectics.
The proletariat, as described here, is not a dense grouping, but rather, a mutual state of exception and of destruction/self-destruction. It is a polemic margin, but not an ordered one. It is a margin in every direction. Downwards, an abyss of a fall, from which only boundless brother/sisterhood can shield us. At the horizontal level, there is the chaotic process of our co-organization, the historic back and forth effort to become a revolutionary class. And upwards is the molecular war with the bourgeois civilization. Peace and war at the vertical axis of the margin are coherent: For peace to be spread downwards, it is necessary for war to be intensified upwards, at the expense of the bourgeois class and its cushion. It takes the intensification of aggression against all authorities and processions, in all its levels, with the purpose to liberate ground and take back material/resources. The idea that we can attack the core of the bourgeois class, by bypassing the fascism of the middle classes or even allying with its progressive parts, is deceptive. History has taught us hard lessons on this. The betrayal of the Spanish Republic, the Unitad Polulare in Chile and so on and so on. But also the american “civil war” for Black people and until today; the attachment to the flagship of the liberals.
Saving our strength is important. The higher you aim, the bigger the “result to cost” fraction. By piercing through the levels of class control, we upgrade the quality of the consequences. This is why the guerrilla force multiplies the power of the movement. To take off the king’s head is an act of economy in the proletarian struggle. Many have fallen and many more will fall in side, yet unavoidable battles. However we should not lose sight of the catalytic purpose. And so, exactly because we cannot avoid the clash with the cushion and its sharp razor blades, it is meaningful to try to erode its conservative reaction towards the top. But let’s be clear and honest with ourselves. The social body that has power, in other words, the one that has military power, that can freely move on the ground and stop the enemy’s movements, the one that controls the economic flow, that has the greatest autonomy and mainly, the one that has social dynamic, this is the one that can force the enemy to reconsider its practices, its principles and morals. When an imagination able to create this kind of power is absent, we cannot inspire anybody to participate in our paradigm. Rightly, we try to spread communitarianism everywhere, against individualism; we try to implement practical proposals against bourgeois economy, to create welcoming space outside strict class criteria. Revolutionary ethics begins with the admission that we are all weak, alienated, lacking conscience (be very wary of pure conscience), that we are no better than the oppressors. Social revolution is already rooted in every project that creates the dynamic space for collective liberation. But, we can convince nobody unless we are determined to shake off the established oppression, with all our might, regardless of cost. The progressive and decadent middle classes are engulfed in the world of freedom, only when the fighting proletarians are ready to go over all obstacles that stand in the way of destroying the oligarchic pyramid. Then, the arrow of fear turns the other way. Those who withstand the war can make the keys for peace.
A characteristic example is the event that happened at the villa of lawyer Mark McCloskey in St. Luis, when he went out to his yard, armed with a rifle, to chase away the protesters. After this event he declared vi in Fox News that he is not a racist, that he defends the weak, that he has the right to defend his property and that he receives the solidarity of his black clients. Perhaps he believes all this. The bourgeois person, like mister Mark, may not have a very “bad ethics” or “bad ideology.” But, he surely has a very good villa, which drew the attention of the people who don’t have villas; surely, he has very good bank accounts and servants to maintain this villa and his whims, and all this he has by participating in the exploitative and racist penal system of so called USA. The important thing is that he has a very limited brain. He could not imagine what would happen if he’d faced a truly armed crowd. He is too stupid for us to hate him (although it would do him good), but it is necessary that we take away his rifle. And perhaps the simplest way would be to cut off his electrical power, his water, to take away his and his cops’ capacity to storm the neighborhood, for a few days. The reference to John Wayne McCloskeys’ rifle is of course metaphorical, since a single rifle wont be missed, and surely, you can get more rifles in simpler ways. The proposal concerns the clash with the bourgeoisie on a wider scale.
With these observations in mind, we come back to the societal issue. To reverse the balance of power between the proletariat and the middle classes, so that the latter disperse, paving the way for counterattack for the destruction of the state, and so that parts of them transform inside the social movement, it is required that our immediate horizon opens up without boundaries, bringing about the final blackout to the already dark horizon of the bourgeois class. In class struggle, horizon means political perspective and dynamic. We need our own complete counter-proposals against bourgeois democracy. We need to immediately ground, in a combative way, a new kind of federalism in order to reach far. Otherwise, we will lose ourselves once again, trapped in the devious reaction of the cushion, because of our own fragmentation.
Federalism never had national borders. The First International was international! Solidarity with the Black Revolution does not concern a single state location. The african continent feeds the whole planet with primary resources, and its land is diseased. Its children are dying, thousands per day, from malnutrition and disease; they become lab rats for capital’s biological weapons and for its strategy for sanitary exploitation, control and annihilation. The imperialist war machines, since the colonial era, never ceased to maim the Black continent. No political program can be recognized as revolutionary, without directly taking the initiative to attack imperialist military rule, without taking its equal share of collective responsibility in constructing an international revolutionary rebel force that will bring the resistance of the native so called america, of the Middle East and of Africa, inside the borders of the capitalist center and will reach all the way to the mines of Lonmin in Maricana vii, at the southern end of the continent.
The Black Revolt would not have created the fractures that it did, wouldn’t have been a remarkable event, were it not for the fact that Black people took the lead. But, the organized anti-state/anti-capitalists should ponder about their existence if, instead of being ready to rush to the front line, to reinforce and contribute to its organizational upgrade, they suffice in apologizing to the regime by pleading innocent to the accusation for inciting the revolt.
We have passed through the gates of a trial period, trying our stamina. In no time, we are already winning the battle of morale. At the cost of blood. What will survive is the kind of civilization and those communities that will be able to organize the future collectively, bearing all the world’s weaknesses. There is no way back.
Perhaps it is unusual for so many words to be written, political theory instead of a memorial narrative, for a message honoring a martyr of the revolution. I kept comrade Michael Forest Reinoehl firmly in my mind with every word I wrote down in this text. This text is not an act of revenge. I still haven’t paid a penny of my debt. I have only determined it. Our revenge will go all the way.
Honor and revenge for the antifascist martyr Michael Forest Reinoehl
Honor and revenge for antifascist martyr Anthony Huber
Honor and revenge for all the martyrs of the Black Revolt
Honor and revenge for antifascist martyr Willem Van Sporsen
“I’m not standing by. I really shouldn’t have to say any more than this. I set aside my broken heart and I heal the only way I know how—by being useful.”
REVENGE for centuries of slavery, for all the generations that didn’t make it to liberation. REVENGE so that the life that is coming can breath
I wish to send a greeting to the daughter and comrade of martyr Michael Forest Reinoehl: Looking at the pictures of you and your father from the protests, published by those who exonerated this state murder, my mind immediately went to my own daughter. Maybe I am mistaken, we are used to seeing our own dreams in the stories of others, I had the feeling that Michael had completed a life’s course when he had you by his side on the street. Maybe knowing that he left to the world a person ready to continue, he was free to give the fight with no way back. Maybe he was aways ready. Surely you know about that. I imagine that no words can bring you comfort. Besides, in our world, every presence that burns through time, leaves a touch so dense that it floods the earth. Michael is everywhere.