"And finally, without doubt,these charges target a combative approach to anarchism that takes the individual, affinity, and informality as its starting points."

Brussels: Imagine for a moment… Reflections on two recent strikes

Posted: December 29th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Broadsheets | No Comments »

from L’Imprévu, #1, Dec 2016 [1]

Imagine for a moment… You’ve been wearing yourself out over years of work in a steel mill, eight hours a day doing something that doesn’t interest you, just sweating in the noise and heat, between the grey walls of the factory, until you’re physically and mentally depleted. And all that for… Really, why? To fill the pockets of shareholders, the same people who would throw you back out on the street at a moment’s notice if things stopped being sufficiently “profitable”. Bad enough in itself, of course, if not a downright tragic, humiliating, revolting scandal.

This kind of thing is the daily reality of a unbelievable number of people throughout the world (worse still, it’s the normal course of things) and among them, the workers in the ESB steelmill in Seraing who, to top it off, were denied their last two months salary — the miserly pay that you depend on to live and that makes you accept the daily torment of work.

In April, some workers were quite reasonably sick of the management’s bullshit and decided to turn their anger into action. Some members of management found themselves forced to work a bit of overtime, and one of them got a serious talking to. The police intervened to save the poor suits. A few hours later, a night team, though quickly assembled, decided to take action. Not to produce merchandise and further enrich the boss, but rather by finally doing a something useful in the factory: a large part of the work space (notably the offices) were ably destroyed using a forklift, which also caught fire shortly after. As well, several cars belonging to the bosses suffered broken headlights. Destroy what destroy us, that’s what it’s about; and that’s precisely our point.

The next day, a union rep appeared on scene to show off his nervous face for the cameras and to condemn these joyful acts of human dignity. Well of course, a union rep is, in a way, there to protect the factory: even when he seems nice, he’s still a cop. When the decisive moment arrives, it’s clear to see which side he’s on. The unions were much more excited about the prison guards strike in Brussels and Wallonia that lasted several weeks [2]. Unlike the prisoners.

Imagine for a moment… Locked up inside the bare walls of a prison, deprived of freedom and at the mercy of fickle and unscrupulous people who make their living locking others in concrete cages. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, they go on strike as well. Not because they’re sick of slamming the cell doors day after day, but because they want a better salary and more colleagues to help them in their grim task.

The unions and leftists supported the strike, but there is a fundamental difference between these two methods of putting pressure on the boss:  there are the strikers who block or destroy the machines, and thus the production of merchandise, and those who put the lives of prisoners at risk. Because when the screws go on strike, the prisoners don’t get showers, visits, or yard time [3]. Everyone spends the whole day locked in their cell, with the intolerable consequences that follow. In many places, the prisoners didn’t just suffer through the strike without doing anything and some unrest broke out. In the Tournai, Arlon, Huy, Landtin, and Andenne prisons, the prisoners responded by burning their cells, flooding the units, trashing the hallways, etc. Saturday May 7, a devastating mutiny rocked the Merkplas prison in Anvers. Whole wings were destroyed and burnt by the insurgent prisoners. Walls were leveled, fences torn down, whole units ransacked. Between striking guards and prisoners in revolt, it’s clear which side we’re on.

In these times, when the atrocities of this world are more obvious with each passing day, where we ask ourselves how many humiliations the oppressed will have to take before waking up, events like those in Seraing and in the prisons teach us a thing or two things: they may well put our backs against the wall, but there is always a way to recover our dignity. That’s why we can’t let the unions be our compass, but should rather be guided by our own strength, courage, inventiveness, and rage.

Endnotes

1] As far as I know, this French-language broadsheet, produced by anarchist in Brussels, does not have a web presence. Theiy direct the curious to Acrata Infoshop and offer the email address imprevu at riseup dot net

2] This strike started at the end of April 2016 and lasted over a month, before the state agreed to grant a pay raise and hire almost five hundred more screws and creating 1400 new spaces of prisoners

3] Or, often, regular medications, access to medical care, appropriate food, fresh clothes…


Back in the Slammer: A letter from Damien from the Fleury-Mérogis jail

Posted: December 28th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Repression & Prisoners | 1 Comment »

From Cette Semaine

Damien was arrested on Wednesday, December 7 in Bretagne, charged with attacks against the Chambre of Commerce, a Jaguar dealership, and other targets during a demo that took place on April 14 between Paris’ 10th and 19th districts. This is his first letter out since being denied bail.

I’m writing from Fleury, where I’m being held in preventative detention[1]. Since the charges against me are, as usual, totally boring and unimaginative, I wanted to offer a different telling of the lovely spring night of revolt, written by some true lovers of disorder, so that my comrades have an accurate and realistic depiction of what I’m alleged to have done: “Reportback on April 14: hold in the rage too long and it bursts out like it should”[2]

I don’t want to complain, so I won’t give a detailed account of my arrest, similar as it was to all those that happen each day, here and around the world. However, it does seem important to mention a few things.

During the search, the cops found some anarchist propaganda, namely some newspapers, brochures, posters, and tracts, as well as a few texts in the process of being translated. I refused to sign the papers dealing with the search as well as those for my being held taken into custody.

After being transferred to the police station in Paris’ 19th district, I couldn’t reach my lawyer. I refused to be represented by a different one and so my hearing was held without the presence of a lawyer. I made this choice because my statement to the pigs fits in one line: “I am neither guilty nor innocent. I am an anarchist. I have nothing more to say to you.

Because I refused to make a statement, I don’t know at present what evidence they have on file. These lackeys of the powerful only told me that they have 8 DNA samples that match my genetic profile, and I know from having seen it that their folder on me is a brick, six or seven centimetres thick.

To get more information, I’ll have to wait for my lawyer to have access to the folder and to come meet with me in prison. In any case, I’ve already made clear that I want the entire process and all my statements be made available to my comrades so that they can make whatever use of it they see fit. No copyright, no property, and without the censorship of the political bureau of any party, even imaginary ones [3].

After a night spent in the holding cells of the Paris courthouse, a sort of medieval dungeon where the cops satisfy their sadistic urges, I was taken to court for an immediate summary trial [4]. Since my lawyer wasn’t there, I asked for a public defender at the last minute in order to get the date pushed back.

The prosecutor, as usual, started bellowing a bunch of stupidness while making big gestures and sounding quite assured. She stated, for instance, that the residency declaration made by a comrade present in the room was inadmissible, because of grammatical mistakes in the text… And she continued, full of confidence, that of course, all opinions are respectable, even anarchy, but that is no excuse for the actions I’m accused of.

We have to admit, if these clowns in black robes didn’t have power over the lives of others, they’d really be good for a laugh!

But until such a time as the courts are destroyed and the judges are sent to their proper place, in the circus, we can’t let them say whatever idiotic thing that comes to mind. Regardless of the fantastic allegations of the prosecutor, anarchy is not an opinion, anarchy is a set of ideas that fit with a set of practices.

Since what I’m accused of took place during a social movement that wasn’t a single mass, I want to make clear that I refuse the humanitarian solidarity of the unions or of any pacifist or citizens’ group that plays the role of intermediary for the transmission of power. My only desire is for the complicity of individuals in revolt who conspire in the shadows, ai ferri corti [5] with the existant and with power.

My thanks to the comrade present at my arrest for the dignity she demonstrated in the face of the little soldiers of order, and thanks to all my comrades who reacted so quickly. Your support in the courtroom warmed my heart and gave me lots of strength.

Don’t be too worried about me. Having spent several years in prison, I know its social codes very well, and I will doubtless find among the undesireables, of which I am a part, a few complicities rich in possibility.

Because submission is never an option, because each individual act of revolt contains all the violence of social relations, because there remain countless stories to be written, across time and space, across the gray metropoles, inside and outside…

… the fight continues.

December 14 2016

Damien Camélio
n° d’écrou 432888
MAH de Fleury-Mérogis (Bâtiment D5)
7, avenue des Peupliers
91705 – Sainte-Génevieve-des-Bois
The French State, Earth

Endnotes

1] Pre-trial detention for people who don’t get bail
2] The link is in French, but the gist is that during a demo on April 14, as part of the movement against the new labour laws, a whole bunch of stuff got smashed, including hotels, art galeries, grocery stores, car shares, banks, and notably car dealerships. Folks went inside a Jaguar dealership and trashed as many cars as they could
3] A little jab at the appelists/tiqqunists
4] Often in France, the state will try to run your trial within a couple of days of your arrest
5] “at daggers drawn”


Rethinking anti-militarism in times of social war

Posted: December 23rd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: General | No Comments »

On the need for debate about the militarization of states against intensifying popular uprisings and revolutionary mobilizations

Translators note: This article is a proposal for a discussion on how to oppose the militarization of social conflict that was circulated among radicals in the territory of the French state on paris-luttes.info and other sites. This is a global problem, and so if you want to contribute to this discussion, I will share summarize or translate responses from anglophones and share them with folks on paris-luttes.

“In recent years, ethnic, tribal, social, and political problematics have re-emerged and contributed to tensions and conflicts in many regions of the world. […]
“The logic of insurgency and counter-insurgency have become essentially urban questions […]
“Guerillas, insurgents, and other non-state actors have taken advantage of the benefits of operating in this environment and will doubtless continue to do so.”
NATO – Operations in urban areas 2020
2.3.2 The Nature of the Enemy – April 2003 [1]
the NATO Research and Technology organization in Neuilly-sur-seine [2]

“The militarization of the state progresses at a hectic pace. More and more often and for many different reasons, military-style solutions are chosen that disturb or threaten to disturb the fragile social equilibrium”
Anarchist Prisoners of Korydallos
Letter on the assassination of Marian Kola – August 2013 [3]

In times of war. If it weren’t for the avalanche of alienation dispensed by the fourth estate, the media, and its commentaries that fade into declarations by decision-makers — ministers, presidents, religious leaders, and kings — we wouldn’t need to spell this all out. But the change in how uprisings happen and how they are repressed is clear, which means a debate about them is obviously necessary. Read the rest of this entry »


War among the Poor & the Daily Beep: Texts from Blasphegme

Posted: December 17th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Broadsheets | No Comments »

blasphegme2

Texts from the second issue of Blasphegme, pasted up around Paris in December 2016

War among the poor

Translators into: This text is a response to the death of Zhang Chaolin on August 7, 2016, following a violent robbery by three teenagers from the neighbourhood, one of over a hundred similar robberies targeting people who look Chinese in the past year. The narrative around this is that black and brown youth in poor areas see the Chinese residents of those same areas as more prosperous and single them out for robberies that often turn violent.

This summer, a man died after he was the target of a racist attack. We might be surprised not to have heard this mentioned by the professionals of the anti-racist cause, leaving the state and its representatives to take the lead. And if the irritating demand for “truth and justice” was not made, we can be sure it wasn’t for a good reason. On the one hand, the professional anti-racists ignored this story and on the other, associations from the so-called “Chinese community” took advantage to draw lines between groups of people, while the state was happy to play the anti-racist card, going so far as to inaugurate a plaque in honour of this man a few weeks ago.

Those who have always sought to oppose racism without trying to make a profession of it recognize that all the various waves of immigrants (and not just them) [1] have experienced the racism latent in a large part of the population (immigrant or not). It seems ironic, then, that the “anti-racist” ideology (and here we don’t mean the state, who during this same time is forcing out migrants in Paris and Calais) only takes into consideration certain expressions of racism, while leaving aside others. As if some deaths and assaults were more serious than others, some racisms and discriminations more serious than others. Read the rest of this entry »


Anarchist texts on the Calais Jungle

Posted: December 12th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Broadsheets | 1 Comment »

Although by now the Jungle of Calais has been destroyed, these two texts by Paris Sous Tension are still very relevant for understanding the situation of migrants in France today from an anarchist perspective. Many of the migrants were moved from the Jungle to various detention or housing centres, but all of those spaces are temporary and they will soon be back with the others in the camps that appeared or grew following the Calais eviction. In November, several thousand people were evicted from the Stalingrad neighbhourhood of Paris, where a camp had grown on the grassy medians of busy commercial streets. With right-wing politics ascendant here in the lead-up to presidential election in the spring, it is likely that the attitude of the state towards the migrants will harden and that the two strategies described in these articles, repression and management, will take on an increasingly violent character. 

“I don’t want to go there. That camp is a prison, a sneaky way of imprisoning us.”
from Paris Sous Tension, January 2016

In Calais, the year 2016 begins in the same way the previous ended: by further repressive measures against the undersireables (undocumented people, outlaws, rebels…), by declarations of war against them by the government and its police. All with the explicit support of the most despicable segment of the population, those who have turned to xenophobia to soothe their miserable existence and who rejoice to see the government — who, in their opinion, never does enough —  go all out and resort to drastic measures. Those who, when things get serious, always line up behind the state and demand as the price of their passive adherence that the order be restored. Their only concern is to preserve their small comforts, their precious bank balance, their precious car and daily routine, their precious space of mental peace that all allows them to live their lives without paying attention to the world around them. Read the rest of this entry »