“Our hostility is a spreading flame””

Paris: Chronology of solidarity actions with those accused in the burned police car case

Posted: September 27th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Reportbacks, Repression & Prisoners | 2 Comments »

Translated from paris-luttes.info

Post updated on October 8 2017 to include new actions and link to full English translations where available

The trial is ongoing for nine people accused of participating in the burning of a police car on May 18th 2016 in Paris. Because solidarity attacks continue to occur throughout the French territory around the trial dates, here is an attempt at an exhaustive chronology of direct actions carried out in solidarity with those accused in this case.

All links in this article are to French-language communiques unless stated otherwise. All actions are in France unless a country is indicated. Since most of the texts linked to have not been previously translated, we opted to simply translate a sentence or two from each one to give a sense of the action, in addition to providing the link. All italics are translators notes.

Many of these actions specifically name Kara and Krem, two anarchists still in custody in this case. Krem was based in the Paris area prior to his arrest, while Kara is from the United States. Their verdict is expected on October 11, 2017. Read the rest of this entry »


La Chapelle: Defending women or attacking the poor?

Posted: August 12th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Broadsheets | 2 Comments »

From Paris Sous Tension #10  released in late July 2017 and distributed in the streets

It’s easy to just look out for yourself. It’s easy to want to push hardship out of sight when you don’t feel affected by it, when the system favours you. It’s easy to find excuses not to be in solidarity in these democracies that have found ways to dress themselves up, “liberty, equality, fraternity” (1), and relegate cruelty to a darker past or to far-away lands, to cover your eyes and not see what’s going on outside your door. It’s easy to be contemptuous of those who struggle to survive, at least for those whose money allows them so much. But it’s also easy to brag about your success, your cash, your social position that’s held up as a model, as a way to conceal your own existential and emotional misery, the disappointment in the face of our childhood dreams of freedom and self-fulfillment, this frustration that all the money in the world couldn’t take away. And yet, there are those who feel no shame in pushing these plain truths aside with their arrogance.

Last May, a series of articlesin the newspaper Le Parisien (2) took up the disgusting campaign waged by some politicians and citizens in the La Chapelle-Pajol neighbourhood between the 10th and 18th districts of Paris. On May 19th, a so-called “Women’s march against Obscurantism (3)” organized by the right-wing Republicans party in the lead up to the legislative elections had at its head Babette de Rozières (the local candidatea) and Valérie Pécresse (the party’s president in the Paris-area). This event took the shape of a small rally at the La Chapelle metro, with as many journalists as “demonstrators” to elaborate (for the media) their ideas about how it feels in the neighbourhood’s streets. The rally was pushed back by a counter-demonstration until these celebrities had to take refuge in the lobby of a building. In practice, these politicians from the Republicans party were taking advantage of the sexism in the area (the harassment of women by many men either alone or in groups) and deliberately exaggerating it to denounce without distinction “street vendors, dealers, migrants, and traffickers” as being clearly responsible… Easy scapegoats for these partisan reactionaries of the dominant order, of police occupation, of empty, sterile streets (also known as public order), of gentrification and the attacks on the poor that come with it. Easy scapegoats too because these are often people who spend lots of time in the streets, whether by choice or from necessity, rather than just spending all their time commuting, working, or sleeping as they would like us all to do. At last, they concluded that the 18th district is a “lawless zone” (as though the law prevents sexism…) and called for more cops, more ID checks, arrests, ticketing, and targetting of undesireables (undocumented and homeless people). Read the rest of this entry »


Revolution against all governments: Critical reflections on the attitude of the Syrian opposition towards Turkish politics

Posted: July 7th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Syrian Revolution | No Comments »

Translators intro: I chose to translate this text because there aren’t many texts circulating in English critiquing the complicity of the Syrian opposition groups in Turkey with the increasingly authoritarian position of the Turkish government, especially not from an anti-authoritarian perspective. Though I do consider this text to be substantially  anti-authoritarian for its insistance that revolt must not confine itself to a single country or tyrant, the author situates his argument relative to several categories that are essentially authoritarian, particularly “state-building”. Though state-building is often presented as nearly a synonym to “peace-building” and the word “state” is sometimes carelessly used to mean “society”, the author doesn’t get into enough detail on these concepts to allow us to understand them other than literally. That said, “state-building” and “the rule of law” are juxtaposed with radical Islamist groups and “developing citizenship” is presented as an alternative to the sectarianism pushed by meddling foreign states — this is a context for which anarchists in North American or Europe have no comparison. That’s why, in spite of the references to “state-building”, “citizenship”, “rule of law” and rights discourse, I still consider this text to be of interest to anarchists and to anyone interested in understanding grassroots struggle in the Syrian diaspora.

Translated from Tamaroud [At the time of posting, tamaroud.com seems to be offline… text is available in google’s cache]

Some quick critical reflections on the practices of the Syrian revolution, taking its attitude towards Turkish politics as an example:

As a refugee or resident in Turkey, I’m overcome by contradictory feelings when I talk about this country, which has taken in millions of refugees, particularly from Syria and Iraq. Its political elites are engaged in several ongoing regional issues, notably Syria with all its ramifications. What I find striking here is the widespread attitude of support for the Turkish government by a large section of the Syrian opposition located in the territory of this state that seems to defend the cause of the Syrian people. This raises major doubts about the solidity of their values, which have in turn led to popular protests in Syria about the suitability of the opposition and the effect of passing on their views to future generations.

The question is this: why would Syrians in Turkey defend the politics of the Turkish government and justify most of the recent decisions and behaviours of its disgraceful ruling party? Especially as this party sets caution aside to proceed with lightning speed towards a classic form of authoritarianism following the failed coup attempt? Prominent opinion makers in Turkey keep their mouths shut, especially those who find themselves in official positions in the state. Read the rest of this entry »


Paris: A second trial of the struggle against the deportation machine

Posted: June 13th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Repression & Prisoners | No Comments »

Translated from Indymedia Nantes

On May 30 2017, judge Gendre released a committal order of her own, sending seven additional companions and comrades to court in connection to the struggle against the deportation machine in Paris.

In a first trial concerning the struggle against the deportation machine, on June 23, 2017 in Paris, four people who were subjects of one of the preliminary inquiries into this matter. After various reclassifications and withdrawals of the charges, three of them are accused of “tracing inscriptions on facades and street material” (meaning tags) in January 2011 and two of having “willfully damaged a banking ATM belonging to the Postal Bank” (by pasting a poster) in February 2010 during a group stroll.

In parallel to this, on May 30 2017, judge Gendre released a committal order of her own, sending seven additional companions and comrades [1] to court in connection to the struggle against the deportation machine in Paris. Although the date of the trial has not yet been decided (though it may be set in the next few weeks), we can already say a few things about it.

This second trial stems from a second preliminary inquiry that lead to five house searches in June 2010, then to the arrest of two additional people on October 28 and January 19 2011 (one of whom spent a week in pretrial prison). The charges ranged from “serious damage or destruction to property in a group” to refusing to give DNA and fingerprints [2], and also included “willfull group violence” relating to some unfriendly visits to the Air France office at Bastille square and to the SNCF (national train company) shop in Belleville, as well as to the redecoration of the poor windows of a Bouygues telecom store at the same time. These two actions took place on March 17 2010, a few hours after ten undocumented people were sentenced to years in prison for the fire that destroyed the Vincennes detention centre [3].  Read the rest of this entry »


Solidarity with the anarchists and anti-authoritarians charged with terrorism by the Belgian state

Posted: June 7th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Repression & Prisoners | No Comments »

Translated from La Lime

This text from La Lime, a solidarity fund based in Brussels (whose name translates to The File, like filing through bars) was republished in early May 2017 in advance of a hearing for those charged in this case. An older version of the text circulated in April 2016 before the previous hearing.

If fighting for freedom is a crime, innocence is surely the worst of all

At the end of 2008, during the period of diffuse hostilities set off by the revolt in Greece after the police murder of Alexis, the Belgian Federal Prosecutor launched an investigation targeting anarchists and anti-authoritarians [1]. In 2010, on the basis of a list of actions attributed by the police to the “anarchist movement” and while the struggle against a new closed prison [2] in Steenokkerzeel pushed ahead, judge Isabelle Panou was assigned to the case, which was classified as anti-terrorism. In May and again in September 2013, upwards of ten searches were carried out as part of this investigation against various residences and the anarchist library Acrata, located in Brussels. It’s only at this moment that the existence of an anti-terrorism investigation became visible for the first time. This investigation is led by the anti-terrorism section of the federal police, with support from National Security, the General Intelligence Services, and military security at different times, as well as by the anti-terrorism services of other European countries. The investigation was completed in 2014 and today sees twelve anarchists and anti-authoritarians sent to court. Read the rest of this entry »


The Deportation Machine Case: Trial date set for four comrades

Posted: May 31st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Repression & Prisoners | No Comments »

From Brussels Indymedia

After seven and a half years of pre-trial hearings and thousands of pages of disclosure, after fifteen people had their homes searched, were arrested, followed, eavesdropped on, filmed, interrogated, incarcerated, placed on house arrest, and kept under various bail conditions for seven years, the state and the justice system will finally take only four people to trial on June 23 2017 in Paris. The most serious charges served only to justify the intensity of the repression, since they were dropped, leaving only the more limited charges (graffiti, light property destruction, refusing to give DNA and personal information, etc). Let’s take this occasion to all show our solidarity against borders and against all forms of imprisonment, while refusing the categories of “guilty” and “innocent” imposed by the powerful and while rejecting the Justice system. Read the rest of this entry »


Marseille: Anti-gentrification myths and lies for welfare case workers

Posted: May 22nd, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Broadsheets | No Comments »

Texts translated from issue 5 of Du Pain Sur La Planche [1], published in March and distributed in the streets of Marseille. The first text is a short but incisive critique of liberal anti-gentrification organizing that seeks to set out a positive local identity that needs to be protected from change (which, under capitalist social relations, can only be a lie); the second is a reflection on the role of the welfare bureaucracy in building a docile workforce and maintaining social peace.

This wonderful neighbourhood…

In the early morning on the way to work, X is passing through the market in the Plain[2] when she hears shouting. She has to elbow her way through to get close enough to understand what’s happening. A woman, surrounded by several men (four “stall holders”), is blocked in by a motionless crowd. These assholes are insulting and threatening her, punctuated with disgusting sexist comments. Though isolated among these jackals and their accomplices, she stays strong and holds her ground. Just beside her, an old man is being abundantly berated by another merchant, who says that he’s already warned him, that he doesn’t want to see him around, that he’s already stolen things several times: if he comes back, he’ll kick his ass. It seems the woman has been singled out by these four horrible people because she defended the old thief. Running ever later and rightly furious now, my friend X tries to find others to help her tell the stall holders to fuck off. But in vain. One of the few responses she received was that “it livens things up”. Hard to conclude anything positive from this anecdote that combines “class” violence with sexism and regular old assholery and that makes visible (yet again) the petty cowardice of crowds. There is one thing though: the attitude of the person who got in the way of something she found disgusting and X, who tried to ease the pressure on her and offer her a way out. Read the rest of this entry »


Introduction to a book by anarchists from Aleppo

Posted: May 17th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Syrian Revolution | No Comments »

Translated from Tamaroud

The following discussion seeks to reflect the current situation of Syrian individuals who are trying as hard as they can to free themselves from patterns of collective hypocrisy and over-optimistic thinking. Our experiment was still just newly born when it developed the problem of being unable to clearly distinguish the latent authoritarian power in society and in the state, to draw back the curtains that have concealed it. At the start of the revolution, in small gatherings of friends, we predicted that if the struggle lasted longer than a month, then the country would descend into civil war – this wasn’t just an intellectual exercise, as it’s our current reality.

Revolutionary theory, or even theory in general (any attempt at analysis, extrapolation, or critique) is seen as an aberration when it’s produced by a “normal” individual. Theory remains the exclusive domain of a supposedly “elite” political and cultural class in Syria, with its long and documented history of struggle and imprisonment. This class has in the past organized itself into clubs, parties, or groups (such as the Damascus Declaration, the Attasi Club, or civil society groups)… Read the rest of this entry »


1917: An anti-war revolution

Posted: May 14th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Broadsheets | No Comments »

Translator: Text from the April 2017 issue of Canons Rompus, a revolutionary anti-war journal published in France. Not tied to a specific ideology, this journal engages a critique of the state by analyzing the role of the military in politics, society, and the economy. This text is interesting in that, departing somewhat from their usual anti-war stance, it appears to say that the Russian withdrawal from World War 1 represented an abandonment of internationalist principles and led to the consolidation of the Leninist “revolutions are the internal business of states” ideology that continues to operate today (in the pro-Assad opposition to the Syrian revolution, for instance).

Exactly one hundred years ago, in March 1917, the Russian revolution began.

This revolution, lead primarily by farmers, workers, and soldiers, set off a world-wide revolutionary wave and kept the working class’ hopes alive for decades…

We want to draw attention to the role played by war in sparking the revolution and in its continuation, as well as on the importance of the question of peace, starting in the very first street demonstrations. Read the rest of this entry »


To Live in Revolutionary Time

Posted: May 11th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Syrian Revolution | 3 Comments »

 Translator’s Introduction to The Formation of Local Councils by Omar Aziz

Translator’s introduction to the English translation of Omar Aziz’s text The Formation of Local Councils. The translation can be found here. As well, we have laid out the introduction and the translation as a pamphlet for easier reading and distribution, and the PDF can be found here.

On 17 February 2013, the Local Coordination Committees of the Syrian revolution reported that Omar Aziz, prominent Syrian intellectual, economist, and long-time anarchist dissident, died of a heart attack in the central Adra prison. Held incommunicado by the air force intelligence since 20 November 2012, the big and warm – albeit ailing – heart of Omar Aziz could not stand almost three months of detention inside the infamous dungeons of the Assad regime. The reports of his passing emerged on the second anniversary of the Hariqa market protest, when 1,500 Syrians vowed for the first time not to be humiliated in the heart of Old Damascus. Aziz leaves behind a rich, significant legacy of ground-breaking intellectual, social and political contributions as well as an unfinished revolution and a country in desperate need for people like him. (Budour Hassan: Rest in Power)

Omar Aziz, revolutionary anarchist born in Damascus, was a friend and comrade to many and is fondly remembered and deeply missed. His text, The Formation of Local Councils, remains one of the core strategic proposals of the social revolution in Syria. He first published it in late 2011, and then released an expanded and revised version in February 2012 with a new introduction. This present translation offers the introductions to both versions and the full text of the second version. It doesn’t seem that Omar’s intention was to produce a static, finished text — with his emphasis on adapting to local context and changing conditions, it’s likely he would have continued to revise and change his proposals. You will notice some repetition between the two introductions, which is simply because the second was written to replace the first, and so they weren’t meant to be displayed side by side.

Although Omar’s name is somewhat well known, there has not been an adequate English translation of his writings. As well, the text was very much an internal document, circulated among people organizing in Syria. There are large sections presented as bulleted lists of proposals, and there is essentially no context given. The Formation of Local Councils was only published publicly online after Omar’s death in 2013; perhaps the lack of translation since then reflects the difficulty of presenting this important text to an English-speaking public in a way that allows it to be understood. However, the text is tremendously rich and offers many concrete ideas and reflections for those in western countries engaged in struggle against the state and reactionaries, and for autonomy and freedom. Read the rest of this entry »