Insurrectionary Anarchism



today we're going to focus on introducing the basic ideas of insurrectionary anarchism hurry up comrade shoot at once and the policeman the judge the wealthy before a new police will hinder you hurry up and say no before a new oppression convinces you that to say no is nonsensical and crazy and that you should accept the hospitality of an asylum hurry up and attack the capital before a new ideology makes it sacred for you hurry up and refuse work before a new Sophists tells you work makes you free hurry up and play hurry up if you've had any exposure to enter kiss them in North America or Europe over the last few decades or if you've been listening to our podcast regularly you've probably heard the term insurrectionary anarchism tossed around quite a bit just like anarchism insurrectionary anarchism can mean a lot of different things to different people and that's because also like anarchism it isn't a static set of rules or positions that one must adhere to but rather a way of thinking about and engaging with the world by definition an insurrection is an act of revolting against a civil authority or government so an insurrectionary anarchist would be an anarchist who is in favor of revolts against civil authority or government or more specifically one who believes that smaller revolts against Authority will lead to larger revolutions but aside from this straightforward definition insurrectionary anarchism is heavily informed by a rich history which we're going to dive into in order to clarify how this tendency came about and what it looks like today it's the late 1930s at the tail end of the Spanish Civil War the CNT a large and diverse anarchist organization in Spain agreed to join forces with the Stalinist in the Popular Front betraying some of its more radical elements the split wasn't entirely cut and dry some insurrectionary elements would always remain within the CNT including an internal organization called the FAI the Iberian anarchist Federation but the differences between the FAI and the more moderate syndicalist leadership of the CNT marked the beginning of long-standing tensions between anarchists who advocated for large formal organizations and those who advocated for illegal actions in 1940 the Spanish Republicans including the popular front and the anarchist forces lost the war to the nationalists who were led by General Francisco Franco he would rule Spain as a fascist dictatorship until his death in 1975 an anarchists who were on the losing side of this battle paid heavily under his role 200,000 political dissidents were executed and many others were imprisoned in jails or labor camps are forced into exile often either in France or in South America some anarchist who had been exiled to France such as the infamous Francisco Sabbath a apart better known simply as Sabbath they fought with the French Resistance during World War 2 and subsequently also spent time in concentration camps during and after the war some of these exiled radicals returned to Spain and fought in small clandestine affinity groups against the Franco regime within these small nimble groups they waged attacks assassinated political figureheads and police and freed prisoners while robbing banks to support themselves and living illegally England s Tinley fast forward to the 1960s another group called the situationist international began to make its influence felt in France and abroad especially during the massive student and worker uprisings in May of 1968 their theories which extended to the entire structure of capitalist domination influenced anarchists heavily this included talking about the spectacle a complicated concept about which a lot can be said let's just call it shorthand for the way in which our interactions with each other are mediated by images in the mass media situationist ideas also draw heavily on Karl Marx's theories about labor commodities and alienation while simultaneously advocating for insurrections as a break with daily monotony and routine they were critical of large anarchist organizations which they viewed as fossils from another era not so incidentally members of the Situationist International were also involved in material support for political prisoners in Francoist Spain escalating attacks around Europe provoked controversy in the various anarchist millou's and organizations some of these attacks included machine gun fire against the Spanish Embassy in London as well as the kidnapping of the Vatican representative to Franco as Spain these attacks were in solidarity with political prisoners of the Franco regime and often made reference to Situationist ideas in their communicates the ideas were growing teeth meanwhile in Italy a tendency called common tees mo also utilized the Situationists critique of everyday life while advocating the return to illegal actions not so much the bank rock being illegal ISM of turn-of-the-century anarchist but rather a buildup of smaller daily illegal acts such as shoplifting expropriation and fare evasion they felt that the struggle against capital should be waged in a criminal way in direct conflict with the law and the misery of everyday life class tensions were heating up throughout Italy student and worker organizations as well as Marxist armed struggle groups contributed to a complex terrain of struggle the revolutionary movement including the anarchist one was in a developing phase and anything seemed possible even a generalization of the armed clash but it was necessary to protect oneself from the danger of specialization and militarization that a restricted minority of militants intended to impose on the tens of thousands of comrades who were struggling with every possible means against repression and against the state's attempt rather weak to tell the truth to reorganize the management of capital that was the situation in Italy but something similar was taking place in Germany France Great Britain and elsewhere some anarchists found more affinity with one of the armed groups called revolutionary action whose members advocated for tactics that were widely reproducible rather than ones that required special trainings such as gun fighting and urban guerrilla maneuvers in his prolific writings over the next 40 years Bonanno would elaborate on this idea of using reproducible tactics to generalized struggles he would become one of the most well-known and influential anarchists in the insurrectionary tendency the long-standing tensions with the formal organizations the influence of the Situationists and their critique of everyday life the petty illegality of common t small groups of students and workers and urban guerillas all of these factors contributed to the climate in which insurrectionary proposals were hatched but insurrectionary currents also developed independently of the situation in Italy in Barcelona for example after yet another reformist move by the CNT in the 90s similar insurrectionary ideas and tactics began to emerge none of the classic insurrectionary texts have been translated into Spanish or Catalan at this point but perhaps the proximity to Italy and circulation of comrades had something to do with it furthermore in Chile the development of insurrectionary ideas mirrored their emergence in Italy stemming from critiques of the Marxist urban guerrilla groups which were active after the fall of the Pinochet dictatorship so what are some of these ideas a few tenets of insurrectionary anarchism the time is now many organizations and movements including some that are explicitly anarchist promise to challenge the powers that be as soon as the groundwork has been prepared but the world is always changing and one may lay a foundation only to discover that the terrain has shifted once one gets used to waiting even if it is only a matter of needing to prepare a little more it is always easier to go on waiting revolution like Parenthood and everything else momentous in life is something one can never be adequately prepared for often this preparation is framed in terms of the need to do more outreach and education but until there is a clash until the lines are drawn there is nothing to talk about most people tend to remain aloof from theoretical discussions when something is happening when the stakes are high and they can see concrete differences between opposing sides they will take a stand enforcing such ruptures one can compel those who hide authoritarian and capitalist allegiances to show their true colors while offering everyone else the opportunity to form other allegiances insurrectionary anarchists are often criticised for their belief that immediate attack is always the thing to do to react immediately against oppression without thought for the consequences is beautiful and perhaps a way to recover one's humanity in a desensitizing world but it is not always strategic it's up to individual actors and affinity groups to have discussion about how to act in a strategic way that takes their conditions into consideration in formal organization the more energy one puts into maintaining an organization the less time one spends struggling formal organizations with membership cards and platforms always require that the most energy be spent on maintaining the organization honing their positions and padding their numbers less formal organizational structures small groups that can come together at the appropriate time if need be can spend less time maintaining themselves and more time waging attacks and engaging in clashes these large formal organizations and Confederations may have made sense at one point in history as a way to fight against domination but as capitalism has become more flexible and its logic more ingrained in us the ways in which we fight against it must also be flexible affinity we act in small tight-knit groups of trusted comrades sometimes referred to as affinity groups this was how anarchists acting against the Franco regime organized themselves and has since become an important strategic point for insurrectionary anarchists these structures also tend to be more resilient in times of state repression since their bonds are based on trust experience and acting together rather than pure ideology permanent conflictual ''tis we are not sure if the socialist communist democratic or even anarchist utopia is possible and if so it's certainly impossible to imagine what it would look like given how much our ideas and positions tend to change during times of struggle rather some insurrectionary anarchists believe that the meaning of being an anarchist Liza's in the struggle itself and what that struggle reveals more importantly than simply acting insurrectionary and artists focus on how to make sure their actions spread they don't believe that a few people repetitively pummeling certain capitalist targets will make an insurrection or revolution but rather that these small attacks are more like sparks and once the spark catch the fire can rage attack of the refusal of mediation pacification sacrifice accommodation and compromise and struggle it is through acting and learning to act not propaganda that we will open the path to insurrection although analysis and discussion have a role in clarifying how to act waiting only teaches waiting in acting one learns to act given that the situation in North America is drastically different from the conditions in which these proposals were formed how can we be useful today well for starters insurrectionary anarchists don't take these ideas as gospel rather use them as they see fit to contribute to ongoing struggles and tensions that are inherent within our capitalist world insurrectionary anarchists are probably best known aesthetically and in the mainstream media for their participation informations called black bloc's at protests this tactic involves individuals dressing in all-black and covering their faces to form an amorphous blob of indistinguishable individuals who can carry out actions including attacks against property with less danger of being singled out by police journalists or good citizens although not all insurrectionary anarchists engage with black bloc tactics nor is every black bloc participant an insurrectionary anarchist this tactic has proven to be one of the most visible and widely reproduced in demonstrations around the world including the famous 1999 seattle protests against the World Trade Organization in some places insurrectionary anarchists choose to wage struggles against specific aspects of capitalist development such as the construction of prisons or detention centers infrastructure projects such as highways gentrification and development in neighborhoods or increased policing and surveillance anarchists will sometimes come together in constellations of small affinity groups to undertake multifaceted struggles against these projects often discussing how to intervene within existing social tensions rather than trying to manufacture tension against a specific project these struggles most often consist of propaganda distribution agitation larger demonstrations and small reproducible clandestine attacks because they're organized informally they're better able to withstand repression than a centralized organization insurrectionary tactics developed in part as a response to the imprisonment and torture of radical anarchists under the Franco regime and today supportive prisoners and anti prison activity remains an weren't part of the insurrectionary practice historically this has involved assisting comrades escapes from prison and helping them live clandestinely once they're out today in an age when the states level of control makes this much more difficult insurrectionary anti prison practice has tended to focus more on encouraging connections within prisons fostering the ability for revolts to happen and strategizing about how those revolts can echo inside as well as outside of prisons in places such as the United States arrests and incarceration are common experiences among disenfranchised communities in this context hatred of prisons and police becomes a point of connection between anarchists and other marginalized and angry folks the struggles that come about based on these specific tensions often prove more interesting and fruitful because they're based in direct conflict rather than simply ideology there isn't a single way in which all insurrectionary anarchists act the common thread is that we do act and in acting we learn find meaning and understand our place in the world from the classic insurrectionary text at daggers drawn we can choose not to live that is the most beautiful reason for opening oneself up to life with joy there is always time to put an end to things one might as well rebel and play is how the materialism of joy talks we can choose not to act and that is the most beautiful reason for acting we bear within ourselves the potency of all the acts we are capable of in no boss will ever be able to deprive us of the possibility of saying no what we are and what we want begins with an O from it is born the only reason for getting up in the morning from it is born the only reason for going armed to the assault of an order that is suffocating us on the one hand there is the existence with its habits and certainties and of certainty that social poison one can die on the other hand there is insurrection the unknown bursting into the life of all the possible beginning of an exaggerated practice of freedom you

4 thoughts on “Insurrectionary Anarchism

  • Taken from : "Teen Scene_The Monthly Magazine for Paranoid Rejects from the Boy Scouts ANXIOUSLY Awaiting Puberty."

  • … Im sure it so in other people's lives or worlds. I don't think anyone cares here. Likability or utility of personality decide. I go to a rave or sum, but that's about as far of any movement or part of joined forces… I got no words! Dammit! … I am stilL me N loss of mind aint big loss… fixed morals on that. Whatever it means… I dont believe anyone gives Fuck alL about the kids. So i give it no value… That fool patterns.. Yeah, welL… I figure Out a way motivate N not suicide the principles on it to Sell socialism to… ? .. To pay for some deficiency.

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