Archive for Strategy

An Alternative to What? Art and Counter Insurgency.

On June 17th a group of “artists” will entertain themselves, their friends and tourists in the neighborhood of Exarcheia. These groups, Troubadors Digital, ATATHENS, SarBarBar and Fabrica are all directly connected and in some cases housed under the same roof on Evripidou. All of them are implementing this program under the guidance and funding of co-Athens implemented by the European pilot program of the Municipality of Athens Curing the Limbo. The program is co-financed by the ERDF under the UIA program. On the same evening as their “walk” they will hold their grand online event opening with speeches by Kostas Bakoyannis and Melina Daskalaki the head Athens Development and Destination, an investment firm attorney and member of the defunct Drassi political party, a small party whose ethos could be extreme pro business.

Gentrification is not just a process of economic displacement. It is also a process of cultural and ideological displacement. And it’s this process that the “artist” and the “creative” become the crucial element to introduce to fund and to use as a spearhead. Within this counter insurgency capital itself searches for elements that provide safety for those individuals seeking an alternative outlet minus the uncomfortable aspects of oppositional culture. It’s in this process that a group of artists comes to the point where a city sanctioned cultural event in Exarcheia seems like the right thing to do. For now let’s ignore the absolutely infuriating situation that has allowed this to happen, the brutal repression of our neighborhood these past years.

You have to wonder, if these groups see themselves as an alternative, they mention it on every piece of content produced, what is this an alternative to?

It is important to understand that the artist often sees themselves as a natural outsider. In turn much of society does as well and makes assumptions based on this caricature. The assumption is usually political in nature, the individual in question must be “radical” as an outsider. This creates two separate issues, first the outsider does not question the scope of the art and it’s connotations, and for the artist this caricature creates an air of sanctimony that often looks like a holier than thou shield to deflect criticism. When we do criticise the artist those who watch will often be confused or make assumptions about those who are critical. This begs the question of what our criticism should look like and how action can oppose this general counter insurgency.

So let’s be real, what do you think the individual willing to work with the city to bring “culture” to an area forcefully occupied by the city thinks of it’s inhabitants? Are they just stooges tricked by the City of Athens, lured by a little money and credit on their CV or is there something more? If not do we think every artist in Athens is incapable of action in Exarcheia that doesn’t look like a farce mocking the neighborhood? That every artist in Athens doesn’t understand the importance of self organization within the neighborhood that is critical of the city and it’s benefactors? We know this isn’t true, so who are these people. What do you think they say about the anarchists and the “problems of the neighborhood” in private. Of course they aren’t the only ones, but this is the reality. And they know exactly what they are doing.

This is why we oppose them through direct action, not discussion. It’s why gentrification must be met with the wild nature of oppositional culture. If that is lost, if we are pacified, it is gone. In Athens the city and it’s investments may be running out of money, but the individuals who seek to use the general repression of the neighborhood still exist. They exist on Valtetsiou or Mavromachali, drinking fancy cocktails safely tucked away behind the riot squads. Imagine the individuals who choose to be in Exarcheia, next to the cops. The cops who have terrorized this neighborhood for decades. The city knows that in order to let them in, to have our neighborhood in relative safety it must be pacified first. The parks must be ripped up. The squats must be gone and the stekis and bars that support us have to be shut out as well. Believe it or not, we still have the upper hand and the potential to push it back where it belongs.

And it’s why I always ask, what is more dangerous to Exarcheia, the MAT cop on the corner or the introduction of liberal ideology spearheaded with money and guidance by the forces that want nothing but the neighborhoods destruction. The answer for me is clear.

  • Feel free to translate

Social authentication in light of the anarchist bans on Facebook/Twitter etc + Athens events

I have decided to restart this site under the old name for three brief reasons. And for those reasons this post will stay constantly pinned to the top.

  1. When/if the social accounts I manage are deleted I will need a way to authenticate new accounts. The political thoughts/commentary are not so important but live updates from the ground in the coming years wherever you are will be. These new accounts I may create will need to be trusted. This blog will list current usernames and URLS.
  2. I would like to encourage others to consider new means of effective communication. We can use the socials with the knowledge that we will be banned. This site, can easily be ported to TOR or other virtually unbannable servers. It’s not the best solution but it IS a solution. Back up your data now. Don’t wait and cry later.

Lastly! The new posts here from henceforth when not regarding authentication will list events I support or encourage. These could be meetings, demos, parties or whatever. Please do not message requesting event inclusion. At the moment both athens.indymedia.org and www.kinimatorama.net list most if not all events of a political nature.

Good luck to you all.

Original Twitter screenshot with my URL in bio. @exiledarizona is still the current authenticated username.

Safe & Sober, Party Laws and the Future of Downtown Tempe

Its 2015, I get some flack here and there for not updating this blog but in between all the other writing I am doing in multiple places EA only exists for the random posts and notes on the big piece of writing/book I am working with. So, maybe there will be more this year but Twitter and other means will more than likely suffice for now. Plus, it is dangerously annoying when my login page is constantly disabled due to bothack attacks. Thanks China/Russia!

Being away from Arizona for going on a year now has given me some time to reflect on projects, ideas and the future. Not just my personal future but where Tempe may be headed and what the immediate moment contains. It is pretty clear to me that the campaigns that have caused so much anger are ready to be nixed. I want this post to encourage the city staff to just do it and get it over with. I’d like to also offer some very basic alternate ideas for some of the actual issues Tempe has to deal with. The valley for me no matter what I am doing will always be my home. It is always important to me.

This post is going to lack context in the furtherance of saving space. With that said, Safe and Sober simply needs to go. The people who came up with the idea, and those who tacitly support it have a Tempe in mind that doesn’t serve the majority of the Downtown residents. It seems to me that it’s continued existence is now just a face saving measure. Let’s get rid of it. If we want to go above and beyond the policing tactic of DUI checkpoints and visits to our homes here are some ideas

  • Take a massive portion of the funding and use it for on campus education and empowerment programs to combat assault
  • Promote free ride and taxi systems for people who have had too much to drink.
  • Let neighborhood organizations educate new residents about the history of the Downtown Area in terms of partying, sobriety and partying responsibly
  • RELAX policing and laws so people are not afraid to have fun in Downtown Tempe 
Along with the last point we have to talk about the partying laws. These laws created by the the same people are one in the same. They have the same puritan impact of pushing what once was a thriving culture to the sidelines. This serves absolutely nobody, it certainly doesn’t make for good neighbors and it definitely makes for increasingly dangerous conditions while having fun. It might seem ridiculous that we have to argue that having fun is a good thing but clearly, one side here is out of step. It’s time to consider that it isn’t us. Here is what needs to happen, as sitting council member Corey Woods already stated; we need to give a warning first for parties. Some ideas
  • Roll back the system to include a first warning after 10 PM, the current fining system borders on harassment
  • Improve with support of the neighborhood organizations Downtown neighborhood lighting
  • Relax laws regarding outside gatherings, sound permits and other codes to encourage the unique atmosphere that has and still exists in our neighborhoods
  • Seriously consider allowing bars and other establishments to serve liquor until 4 AM

Personally, I believe that the current administration has it within their power to make these changes happen. And much, much sooner than later. With that said, there are next steps we can take as people who now have a stable base of support in neighborhoods all over Tempe. Besides encouraging the spread of our campaigns and ideas throughout Phoenix, Tempe is wide open. Some points of contention follow;

  • Develop neighborhood to neighborhood points of contact for our ideas both through social media and real life
  • Begin taking over traditional cultural mediums that we have yet to touch on
  • Use our current contacts within Tempe based companies and organizations to orient them for and against the specific initiatives
  • Fund projects through our base of support that are “difficult to attack,” spread this out into other areas if possible
  • Seriously consider running a candidate or multiple candidates in 2016 that could swing the election causing major issues within Tempe
I am looking forward to seeing my home again one day and the more of the above the better. It doesn’t have to be a constant struggle, and it seems to me that there is light at the end of the current tunnel. For now this is probably my last bit of above the scenes work regarding Tempe, this year is going to be a trying and challenging one for me. Writing, travelling, new projects and big ideas as always. And thats that.


From Fresno to Tempe, New DTC President Supported Ripping Out Sidewalk for Roads in Fresno Gentrification Group

Now, the City of Fresno plans to revitalize the area by tearing out the 50-year old pedestrian mall and turning back the clock to the days when cars drove Fulton Street. Mayor Ashley Swearengin says that the lack of vehicle traffic is holding the area back, and discourages private investment. Area property owners, including the business group the Downtown Fresno Partnership generally support the plan

Tempe is certainly rising! And with it brings a brand new Tempe resident Kate Borders, hired by DTC and tasked with the job of re-branding our neighborhoods. Certainly a tall order for a brand new resident but she seems to be up for the job fresh from re-branding Fresno California advocating for destruction of sidewalk among other tactics opposed by local residents. For more information on that read “Is It Terrible, Or A Treasure? Fresno’s Fulton Mall Debate Heats Up

Of course there are many, many people to blame for this ridiculous attempt to gentrify Downtown Tempe. And, they should be blamed and called out personally. The advertising agency Zion and Zion, the Awe collective tasked with the rebranding specifically. Don’t fall for the “they are just trying to get by.” We all, try and get by and live with the consequences of doing so. This push by real estate developers will impact our city negatively for the long term. It will push poor people out and chisel away at the small sliver of “not Arizona” in Arizona that we still have.

What will you do to oppose it?

 

Ferguson Police Documents Reveal Orchestrated Media Repression, Let’s Be Real Though

Just released documents confirm what many suspected all along. During the course of events in Ferguson the police created a no fly zone that was only meant to restrict media coverage from the air. This created a scenario where the full picture of events was difficult to gauge as on the ground cameras only reveal bits and pieces. During these sorts of uprisings news helicopter footage many times creates some of the most striking and obvious pictures as to the real situation on the ground. So, restricting it essentially stops a large portion of the population, even those already in support from grasping the overall strategic situation. From the Associated Press;

Such images would have offered an unvarnished view of one of the most serious episodes of civil violence in recent memory. The recordings also offer a rare look into government operations, especially as local public-records requests to Ferguson officials by the AP and other news organizations were denied or met with high processing fees

Along with this direct evidence, we need to step back and realize what this also means. It can be assumed with very little doubt that when photographers and other media were arrested for seemingly doing nothing that this, was also orchestrated. Of course it may never be possible to prove this directly, but it really doesn’t matter. When the worst is proven, we should assume the worst for all related questions. And, it is essential not to forget that for the past few years restricting news helicopters has been an unconfirmed but well recognized tactic during insurrection and protest. It is a national strategy, not a “hair brained local one.”

The media in Ferguson was restricted, managed and repressed in total

 

Why did the Ferguson police restrict the media? 

Well, we know the typical safe opposition response that simply, the police do not want to be recorded violating the law and beating citizens. Sure, this may partially be true but camera phones can record police brutality quite well, many times much better than news footage. The main reason though isn’t any more complicated than the safe one. Restricting certain types of media is designed to fuel an ongoing counter-insurgency operation. It is a tactic, not used to cover up the “crimes of the police,” but a tactic used to defeat insurgency.

So why is the real answer uncomfortable? Well, it requires the believer to really, in all actuality understand that the organized justice system is working to defeat you. They want you to stop protesting and are willing to arrest and restrict the media to meet that goal. When it’s just “police brutality” it seems manageable. Even when it’s bad you can work with the cops and fix the problem. But you can’t work with the cops, this is not Mayberry 1950, this is USA 2014 where millions of people are in prison. Where cops shoot people all the damn time. I mean hell, do you really think the cops care about a news chopper catching “brutality?” They are the ones shooting people. What they care about is more citizens joining an ongoing rebellion. Let’s be clear and real about it.

Over the past few months I have talked a lot about police strategy in Ferguson and elsewhere. Many other pieces have been written about it that detail specific examples of this. Remember that, the police restricting media is just a tactic. A tactic that allows their strategic purpose of controlling information to move forth in a less turbulent fashion. And propaganda by design is meant for the masses, which will influence the situation on the ground. It’s up to us to directly counter their propaganda with our own. In order to do this we need to drop the moderate pretense of “they want to beat us,” and move directly to

they want to stop us.

From outside agitators, to pushing racial strife, to good cop/bad cop, to mass arrests, empowering moderate community leaders and as discussed, restricting specific media….they are trying their hardest.

 

Our Shared Enemy, The Good White Liberal. On Accomplices not Allies in Ferguson

Peace Now Peace Forever

White liberals who spread myths about white anarchists did it for 1 reason;

Defense of their privileges. And this isn’t critical identity analysis. Just like most people will defend what they have the “good white liberal” will always call for moderation. Their politics will always reflect the status quo. Not on accident but out of defense of their own goals.

The violence in Ferguson for them, needed a scapegoat. They could of course, watch live video or look at pictures and see mostly black people engaging the cops. This of course, could never be their scapegoat as it would be racist. So, they turn to their natural enemy, the radicals whom they already distrust. The radicals that already threaten their privilege.

It is the anarchists and radicals who threaten their careers as politicians and resume builders. The good white liberals who seek justice and peace at the expense of anger do so to protect themselves. To insulate themselves from what scares them, what threatens their prospective jobs, tenure or political ambitions. After Ferguson, it isn’t even a question whether these people should be opposed and, the litmus test is simple. Who seeks to criminalize, compartmentalize and do away with anger, with resistance? The fighters in Ferguson who rejected their own “safe community leaders” should be our accomplices. And with this, we battle against our shared enemy, the good white liberal.

To me, this is the baseline of “accomplices, not allies.”

For more reading: http://www.indigenousaction.org/accomplices-not-allies-abolishing-the-ally-industrial-complex/

Unmediated Solidarity; Just Do It! Uncovering and Disrupting Police Disinfo in Ferguson and Other Flashpoints

Over the course of a few years, local police in a seemingly coordinated effort have put forth narratives designed to stop radicals from lending unmediated support to impacted communities during times of crisis. The pattern of this counterinsurgency strategy is simplistic yet fairly effective. A decade of intense militarization, economic decline and an overall breaking system has created a need for the state to stop uprisings before they take hold. Their strategy is two fold, divide the impacted community into good and bad protesters while concurrently attacking the anarchist movement.

Taking a look at Ferguson should reveal a pattern that follows along a fairly specific and similar national trajectory. This narrative is usually something like;

The police mention anarchists as the main provocateurs

This information is picked up by well meaning moderates within impacted communities

Disinformation spreads and does the damage it is intended to do

During a daytime news conference on August 11th the Ferguson sheriff issues the first statement blaming anarchists for starting trouble

Fairly amusing that a local sheriff would be privy to information detailing an organized plot by local anarchists to rile people up. Of course with statements like these the questions are never asked and the damage is done. The disinformation spreads and works to discredit anyone “causing trouble” and prevent radicals from continuing on the ground support. If you think this is some sort of conspiracy theory I suggest you take into consideration that the entire global community right now is experiencing serious social and political upheaval. If you think the USA is immune, I will buy all of your gold for a good price and teach you how to make 1000’s a week online.

My intention isn’t to shame or call out anybody who ends up using this disinformation for their own gain. As radicals we should understand that moderates, well meaning liberals and wannabe politicians will always be willing to exploit this disinformation. They do it in black, white, latino poor and middle class communities. That said, my intention is to explain that an effort by the state exists to isolate radicals and prevent them from participating in unmediated solidarity. What is mediated solidarity? Staged rallies put on by Democrats with a safe message for white people. Marches in circles around empty buildings on a Sunday guaranteed to be “non-confrontational.” Letter writing campaigns and unity rallies in high school gymnasiums. Unmediated solidarity?

Unmediated solidarity means support that is direct without the watchful eye of the state and lap dogs. Direct support financial and political to people arrested. Showing up in impacted areas, telling the real story on the ground. White people showing uncritical, uncompromising support during times of rebellion is crucial. We don’t need to wait for politicians or leftist social managers. They are irrelevant and should be ignored and shut down when possible. In Ferguson, anarchists have been reporting events on the ground since day one while also setting up a jail support fund. Where are the leftists? Mostly complaining about anarchists and sharing Al Sharpton quotes on social media.

Of course Ferguson isn’t the only example of this disinformation, in NYC last year police shot and killed Kimani Gray. Within hours there was a response from the community that was sustained for days. The interesting point about these events and the blame put on anarchists was that very little disruption ever took place. Small incidents here and there, for whatever reason necessitated police blaming anarchists for what boils down to, any and all non sanctioned behavior. Here is an article detailing small acts of disruption that took place and outside agitators blamed by the NYPD from the beginning. Much of this information and disinfo is chronicled on Twitter, it is worth noting that the platform has been under intense scrutiny by states looking to stop and disrupt unrest.

Blaming White People for Black Anger is Fucked Up

Here’s the thing. Were white anarchists at these uprisings? Sure, probably. Do white people always act perfect? No. Do white anarchists look to control or “lead” black anger? No. Do white anarchists seek to incite people? No. Anyone who tells you different is lying because they have their own agenda.

Anarchists want to support people in struggle, on the ground. It is that simple. Police, Leftist managers and capitalists would rather that not happen. Ferguson at least to me shows, we can do it.

 

Sheriff Joe to Invade Tempe this Weekend Amid Rebellion at Hub on ASU, Disruption of City Meeting and General Anger Over Police Crackdown

On Thursday night, after an ASU football game, Tempe police officers and firefighters found themselves pelted by beer cans as they responded to a disturbance at the Hub On Campus, a high-rise apartment complex for students.

In an e-mail to the Tempe City Council, Ryff cited the Hub incident as an example of the ongoing problem with rowdyism. He said that 13 minors were arrested on suspicion of consuming alcohol and that other minors fled the building as police arrived. A fire extinguisher also was discharged.

Rowdyism, or in a more honest world, students pushed to the limit. This limit is not only being hit on campus. On Monday night, community anger from long time residents boiled over at a city meeting in regards to “public safety.” This meeting was meant to be celebratory with “community leaders,” cops and politicians congratulating themselves on a job well done.

It did not turn out that way. Groups of long time Downtown Tempe residents came, stood up to the police, got threatened with removal and generally turned the meeting upside down.

Consistent acts of rebellion in response to the situation downtown. The City of Tempe is now taking the initiative in furthering the crackdown;

Ryff said he asked the Sheriff’s Office to participate because of his desire to sustain the Safe and Sober campaign, especially after the two recent incidents. Sheriff’s deputies have jurisdiction throughout the county, and the agency also has specialized units.

Sheriff Joe will be invading the Downtown Tempe Community this weekend. Our neighborhoods will be swarming with MCSO harassing anyone on the streets….

Disobedience is the only response, this is our neighborhood not theirs.

A special message to the frats on and off campus: The City of Tempe likes to make this about you. They want to claim that your behavior is the problem, that without you none of this would be needed. The residents of Downtown Tempe that enjoy living in a college town know that this is a lie. We know the city is employing this strategic crackdown in order to pacify and make our neighborhood a boring suburban wasteland.

Although, some practical advice to the ASU fraternities and students. Make an honest attempt to solve problems even while drunk without violence. Trust me, I understand that many times the dude who is getting a beating probably deserves it. Which leads to my last piece of advice – encourage men to stop raping, molesting, bothering, harassing and generally being rude to women. Imagine how many fights would be prevented if your friends employed this strategy.

We need to fight for our right to party, quite literally. They want you to stay on campus and shut up, they want us to leave Downtown Tempe and shut up. They are now bringing in truly horrid individuals with the MCSO this weekend to push us to an even greater extent. We have won this battle before, never forget that they wanted to blow up ‘A’ Mountain and the Flour Mill. This time though, they mean business.

What will our future acts of rebellion look like? Will we make it out of this with the last sliver of character Tempe has, or will it be lost?

For a wilder and more free Tempe.

Fucking essential for anarchists and radicals right now: Against friendship – Part I

This comes form Aragorn at Anarchy Planet at probably the most crucial time possible.  What is happening?  Why is it happening?  Is it purposeful on some level or did we do this ourselves. How the hell do we fix it?  Politics IS NOT your group of friends.  Time to take ourselves serious and get shit done. Re-posted in full below.

Read More @ Aragorns Blog

Herein we will begin to argue against the revolutionary importance of friendship. Will not argue that friendship isn’t a fine and wonderful thing for daily life, for the eating of brunch, or the consumption of beverages. This is all well and good, do what one will, live your life.

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What we will argue against is the way in which the affinity group model that has been abandoned generally (although not universally) in anarchist circles has instead migrated into an unconscious way of life. This migration has caused the conflation of social circles (aka groups of friends) with sharing political values (aka the party) with the result that anarchists (and the ASC who predate on our energy) have become countercultural against their better instincts.

To put this into different terms, the conflation of friendship with politics, if it is caused by conscious agency, is done so either by those who prefer to “just hang out” but also want to believe that they and their friends are conscious social agents OR by those who have a specific political project and want to keep it relevant by having it also be a place where social needs can be met.

If the conflation is not conscious, as in, it merely reflects the spectating nature that radicals have over their own lives, then it goes a long way towards explaining the increasing isolation of radical groupuscles. Our lifeways cannot be attractive outside our capacity to grow our social cliques beyond themselves. It is not that we are not desirable, it is that we are choosing the wrong way to communicate that desirability. Being sexy rebels isn’t nearly enough to affect the kind of attraction we would need to confound even the MSM view of us as dangerous outsiders.

Of course this is not some backhanded way to form or reform some type of anarchist political party. I am asking a question I don’t have the answer to.

Indeed I am suspicious about the way in which this friend-comrade indistinction has occurred. Sure, I can point to a reaction against the new left or organizationalism or the desirability of true affinity or the writing of Tiqqun, but the lack of experimentation after Occupy is suspicious. This is the time to change up, not fall back to pattern. Relying on the cool kids to decide what comes next has obviously had limited returns (unless you’re a cool kid and your goals are limited to, by definition, individual social rewards). Perhaps it is time to stop being coy and declare a goal or two.