Jun 212012
 

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WORK IS WAGE SLAVERY

PROPERTY IS THEFT

The history of the economy is the history of theft.

Look at the piece of land you’re standing on. It was once tended by people who knew how to provide for themselves and their communities without destroying the environment. The possibility of dignified life and work was killed by the governments and land owners who organized colonizing armies and brought over labour gangs of indebted European immigrants and kidnapped African slaves.

In both cases, we see the pattern of forced dependence. People who were actually working in a dignified way – which is to say, for themselves, for their communities, at their own pace – were prevented from doing so through the organized violence of colonisation. Land that had belonged to everyone was divided up and usurped by the elite, the ancestors of many of those who are still wealthy today. Even after colonization, labour was little more than a tax. Give up a certain amount, more if you were black and less if you were white, and keep the rest to feed yourself. You could at least still see the product of your labour, and nourish yourself with it.

But then something happened. Slavery gradually ended – not in a sudden moment of liberation, as the history books tell it, but through a gradual shift towards the more profitable system of wage slavery. While no longer forced to work at gunpoint, the end

result is the same with all of the means of survival out of reach without money; people are forced to work, spending their time in the service of capital. Prisons and police await those who disobey. No one was liberated. Rather, black and white were transformed into machines.

Where’s the use in outright slavery when the bank can own your house, the boss can own your time, the collection agency contracted by the credit card company or the National Student Loans Centre can own your future, fashion companies can own your insecurities, Hollywood producers can own your heart, and the newspapers can own your mind? The daily life of a worker-consumer only consists of scrambling around to appease her owner’s needs.

The factory system makes workers a part of the process. The service sector jobs of today go even further, making demands of our very moods. No longer do we owe our bosses merely a certain amount of product, or even a certain amount of time, but a measured quantity of enthusiasm. Service with a smile. Who can imagine a more intimate form of violence? We’re not even allowed to be depressed by our total lack of power over our own lives. Already by the age of five, the sullen and the impatient ones are screened out for Prozac and Ritalin prescriptions. Kids diagnosed with disorders are often suddenly “cured” when they are allowed to organize their own lives, or determine their own rhythms. But once the needs of the economy send them back to work, back to school, suddenly they relapse and have to go back on pills.

The disorder is the society that sends bodies through a meat grinder, that demands we become interchangeable parts. The blackmail is the society that demands everything from us – not just our time, our obedience, and our energies, but also our friendliness and good faith – and gives us nothing in return but the means to participate in it more fully, on its terms, spending our meager wages on resources stolen from across the entire planet; the right wardrobe, the right diet, the right music collection. In fact, this careful assemblage of mass-produced goods is the only legal way we have to express our individuality.

At the base, those who extol the virtues of work are the same old blackmailers: work for us or starve in the gutters. But once we begin negotiating those who call themselves leaders, they only start to make more demands of us. Let’s not negotiate with the world of work and misery that we desire only the end of, but attack it in order to destroy it…

While misery exists, we choose rebellion.

Jun 212012
 

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Social War

A war is already being waged against us daily by the state and capital , by the miserable roles of submission imposed on us, by the police and their prisons. A rotten social peace is enforced to conceal that people fight back against exploitation and domination. Social war means making this war two-sided.

Social war means us against the state. The existence of this war is the best-kept secret of our civilization. Naming it is the first act of rebellion, the first step towards claiming control over our own lives.

We thought it was a one-sided war – waged by Authority, against us. We thought we had no hope but to ignore it, to make this misery a little more tolerable. We hoped it would pass us by. But it’s only encircling us, tighter and tighter, watching our every move while offering us a million more ways to buy into the system, to participate in our own domination. And most do participate, first of all by shying away from admitting that the war exists. They’ll talk about change, about politics, about reform, about corruption, but they will never talk about war unless they mean something happening far away. Because to admit the existence of the war waged against us is to admit that there is a line that divides acting for freedom or collaborating with the system and that the two cannot be reconciled. If we see that we are not fighting back, then we would have to admit that we have surrendered. That we have already been defeated. But just because we’re not free does not mean we are powerless. In fact, the rampant surveillance sends an obvious message: the state is afraid of our ability to realize it as an enemy, and to act on our desires to put an end to it. Because we will never be powerless. We have the power, the responsibility, to fight back.

The war waged against all of us can become a social war as we join together to fight against those who have stolen our lives, broken up our communities, poisoned our world. By declaring war, humankind can rise from its grave. Because for too long, we have been fleeing the catastrophe of our original defeat, through the wreckage of generations piling high enough to block out the sun – exiled into a future grown nightmarish with the lack of possibility. The state of affairs that pretends to be something complete – a perfected civilization which we can only sit back and accept – actually demands that we make a choice: fight against it, or surrender to it.

Many people are already fighting, all over the world. We are fighting in whatever ways are available to us. Destroying the system bit by bit, whether by burning a bank or sabotaging an oil pipeline. Overcoming the alienation that constitutes our invisible prison bars, by taking to the streets to riot together or talking with our fellow workers and organizing a collective force against the power of the bosses. Deserting and disobeying all the rules written against us, by squatting and stealing for our survival, refusing military service, rejecting the roles we’re assigned, as good worker, good student, good citizen. Rewriting the usual endings; by supporting prisoners rather than letting them disappear in isolation, by beating up rapists and homophobes rather than suffering their violence, by creating forms of love that only strengthen us rather than containing and limiting us. Taking control over our surroundings by painting graffiti on the walls or occupying space and planting gardens. By arming ourselves with the ability to create a new world and destroy the one that has been imposed on us.

We don’t expect you’ll pick up this fight, not right away, because to be honest about your place in the world and take action means to declare war against your life support system, to attack the chains that confine you but also keep you safe, dangling above the abyss that the system has dug out of our lives. To choose your own side in the social war is to jump into that abyss. But unless we want an existence based on subservience, it is our only choice; there is, after all, a difference between life and survival. And as soon as you take the plunge, you might find there are others who have your back, others who will fight alongside you. You might know what it means to break the alienation that defines this society, to finally have some control over your life.

Until then, keep your eyes open. Don’t believe the lies they tell about us. You may think that by fighting back, we are being irresponsible but we know very well the consequences of our actions. Each of us face down the possibility of repression from the state; of a prison cell or, in time, a concentration camp awaiting us. We continue to fight, because we are in love with all the possible worlds that are not allowed to bloom. You may think we are the ideological, cold-blooded monsters they say we are, but hear how loudly the blood rushes through our hearts. Calculating people would not enter this fight, because we have such a seemingly small chance of winning. The cold, calculating ones are those who become politicians. If there is a choice between cynicism and hopelessness or a determined and focused attack on the present systems of domination, as anarchists, we choose the latter…

We continue fighting, because we hate all authority, and love freedom, which cannot be given, but must be taken.

Jun 212012
 

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FIRE TO THE PRISONS AND THE WORLD THAT NEEDS THEM

Prison is nothing more than a reflection of the society in which we live. Our society resembles a great open-air prison; with the threat of starvation if you don’t spend your energy on meaningless work for capitalism, with cameras on every corner, with the police intimidating and murdering in the streets like the jailers do to those locked in cages, and with borders drawn by our rulers serving as walls. The inside and outside of prison only differ in their degree of intensity, but both are based on domination, alienation, and control.

The state is not interested in reducing crime, but in increasing social control. Decent imprisonment, like a humane capitalism, does not exist. Imprisonment – being held hostage by the state – is a reason in itself to rebel against jailers and their barbed wire. Just like on the street, there are people in the prisons, psychiatric institutions, and detention centres who do not come to peace with their conditions, who do not bury a certain taste for freedom just because a judge decides that they will live in a cage. Within these walls, there are those who refuse the daily humiliation of obeying the guards, for whom the walls and the barbed wire are not yet seared into their brains, and who rather observe them as obstacles that have yet to be overcome. The punishment that the judge imposes upon them is a consequence of a world that is based on exploitation and obedience, a world that would not function without the constant threat of prison for those who choose to not submit to the misery surrounding them.

Waves of revolts, riots, and rebellions are widespread within the prison system. By rising up, by burning the prison’s infrastructure, by attacking guards, and by escaping, some prisoners have rediscovered what the system has tried to take from them: courage, the desire for freedom, and the will to put an end to at least a part of this society of domination through rebellion against it.

Our desire to live free of exploitation is worthless if we are unwilling to act on it. The prison machine isn’t as well oiled as it seems, and those on the outside can find its gears on every street corner – from prison architects to banks that finance prisons. Our passion for freedom is stronger than their prisons!

“It’s the most terrible institution of our era, this justice, tired of outbidding the crime it pretends to punish; it no longer crucifies, tears apart, skins, impales, brands, and even beheads. There is no longer the iron, the wheel, the gallows, the stake, or anything. What replaces them is time. Life amputated by time! This is prison: time imposed in its nakedness. We no longer kill, we let die.” – Serge Coutel

“Even if prisons were transformed from human storerooms into luxury hotels, even if the prisoners of all prisons are satisfied with ‘reduced sentences’, even if the everyday beatings of prisoners are replaced by sly agreements and assimilated by correctional policies in accordance with the ‘human rights’ model, even if the ‘white cells’ turn ‘pink’ and heroin gives way to methadone we will remain forever enemies of any structure that denies us our freedom. We will be the rebels inside your luxury hotels and the arsonists of legal justice. We will be eternal fighters in love with freedom. Better prison conditions mean nothing more than improved conditions of captivity. For us the issue remains in its essence, the condition of captivity in itself.” – Yiannis Dimitrakis, anarchist bank robber imprisoned in Greece

“Prison is not simply a place, it is also a condition, the antithesis of which is freedom. By the same token, the absence of freedom is prison, and only when the latter is perceived as one’s own condition does it become possible to enter the destructive dimension without measure…Nothing less will do.” – Jean Weir

Jun 212012
 

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COPS, PIGS, MURDERERS

The police claim their purpose is to “serve and protect”, but the 60 people who the SPVM have murdered since 1987 remind us that it is not us who the police serve and protect. We are told that we need the police, that their actions are excusable and necessary for our protection, that without them we’d all be killing each other. The truth is that we don’t need them at all. We know well enough who the killers are.

The police exist to maintain social order in the service of capitalism and the state; they’re not interested in reducing crime, but increasing social control. They are the ones firing tear gas and rubber bullets whenever a demonstration escapes their control, who attack striking workers or students. They’re the ones who stand between every hungry person and the grocery shelves stocked with food, between every homeless person and the buildings standing empty, between immigrants and their families on the other side of the border. The police literally put people in cages. They also convince many to live in cages of their own, made out of fear. They protect the rich, the bosses, and their property – not us.

Capitalism is a system that has been forced upon us. As long as anyone might defy the hierarchy of a ruling elite, the police are necessary to regulate, to discipline, to control. Police violence is not an accident – it’s business as usual. It cannot be separated from the larger context of increasing austerity measures, strengthening social control, new prisons, tougher laws, and omnipresent surveillance technologies. The problem is not just the violence of the police, but the police themselves, along with the courts, laws, and prisons which exist to maintain the misery of capitalism.

The police can only dominate us while we remain isolated. If everyone who hates them rose up at once, they would be powerless to stop us. In Egypt, it only took a week to burn down every police station and set every police department to flight. This is why our anger must be turned into action, such as when people rioted after the pigs murdered Fredy Villanueva in Montréal-Nord, when the Mohawks of Kanehsatake and Kahnawake erected armed barricades in 1990, or more recently during the combative demonstrations which have blossomed out of the student strike, where people regularly attack the police with anything from rocks to Molotov cocktails, smash their cars and equipment, and trash their stations.

The police are one of the most significant obstacles to the realization of anarchy – a situation which would require people to direct their lives according to their own initiatives, only implementing decisions they felt to be in their best interests. Conflicts would have to be resolved to the mutual satisfaction of all parties involved, not suppressed by a gang with a monopoly on force.

UNTIL THERE ARE NO POLICE PATROLLING THE STREETS, ARRESTING OUR LOVED ONES, AND HASSLING US AT EVERY TURN, THE POLICE WILL BE ATTACKED, ALONG WITH THEIR CAGES, AND THE SYSTEMS OF DOMINATION THEY SEEK TO PROTECT.

Jun 212012
 

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AGAINST THE LAW, POLICE, PRISONS, AND THE ‘GOOD CITIZEN’

The police, judges, the rich, and their prisons defend the present world of work and misery, and only through conflict with them will we create a world where these systems of domination don’t exist: where we are free to pursue our needs in common with others in the absence of the scarcity imposed by capitalism and the police who occupy our streets, caging the threat of freedom wherever it begins to bloom. We will always find ourselves on the other side of the laws they maintain; there is no way to destroy the state and capital legally. We know that equality before the law is a myth, constructed by the powerful in order to disguise that these laws apply to a reality of deep-seated inequality. The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.

To the rulers of this world, we are, indeed, all criminals – at least potentially. We are capable of threatening the tranquil sleep of power, because we can see through through the veil of the law, choose to ignore it and take back the moments of our lives, whenever we can, on our own terms. After all, we are the ones they are policing and monitoring. One can only wonder if it is the fact that this is so glaringly obvious that makes people blind to it.

If the banks are attacked, it’s because money is the central cause of misery. If the windows are smashed, it’s not because life is expensive, but because the existence of commodities prevents living at all costs. If the machines are broken, it’s not out of a desire to defend work, but to attack the slavery of salary. If police and prisons are attacked, it’s not just to get them out of our neighborhoods, but to get them out of our lives. Anarchists are those who would set fire to a bulldozer or a new luxury home rather than let a forest be cut down, who would rather hear the sound of shattering glass than a politician’s speech. The criminals are those who care. And the greatest crime is to sympathize with them. The greatest act of servitude is to pretend they are monsters.

In the eyes of the powerful, we, all of us, are to be domesticated. What better way to prove that we are well trained than to make us bow down to absurdity? Our bosses kill many people every year in this country through easily preventable work accidents, occupational diseases, and the release of poison into the air and water. Yet, we are taught to fear those weaker than us and to cling closer to our leaders for protection. The ‘good citizen’ collaborates with authority, reports suspicious activity, follows the rules and works hard, to make it easier for the government to protect him from shadowy threats that he cannot, and must not, understand.

The good citizen doesn’t notice anything suspicious when politicians and CEOs take credit for “creating jobs” and blame immigrants for “stealing jobs”. The good citizen may complain when the banks steal millions, but he will agree that it is terrorism if someone burns the bank down, and he will be afraid of the person who robs a bank. The good citizen goes to war for the ambitions of politicians and the profits of corporations.

The good citizen forgets where he came from.

The good citizen identifies with her owners.

The good citizen follows the rules that are stacked against him.

The good citizen has nothing to hide, and is willing to be strip-searched to prove it.

The good citizen is a snitch, a follower, a sellout.

The great empires weren’t just built on oppression. They were also built on the consent of the applauding masses in the timeless Roman stadiums of every dictator. The good citizen is the enforcer of law and order where the police don’t have the numbers to be present, and without them we become one step closer to determining our lives in total freedom. The good citizen will betray those who rebel. Most of all, he betrays himself, because the system he protects offers nothing to inspire loyalty other than lies

LET’S FIND EACH OTHER AS COMRADES IN THE CRIMINAL STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM –

AGAINST EVERY MENTALITY THAT WELCOMES POWER, AND EVERY CONSCIENCE THAT TOLERATES IT.

LET’S KILL THE COP IN OUR HEADS, AND REFUSE TO CARRY A PRISON INSIDE OURSELVES.

“In my life, I haven’t learned to crawl left and right like a snitch and informer, I haven’t learned to betray my friends and comrades, to abandon them, to denounce them in front of my persecutors to save myself. In my life I’ve learned to keep my head high, to be a proud person and not to crawl, even if that has a cost. If some people have learned to live like snitches, I really feel ashamed for them.”Vaggelis Stathopoulos, anarchist prisoner in Greece

Jun 212012
 

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ONLY GLOBAL INSURRECTION CAN STOP GLOBAL WARMING

It is a testament to the boundless horror of capitalism that after decades of its changelessness, of the end of history, of a famine of other possible futures even in the minds of children, that those of us alive today who will see this world change forever cannot count ourselves lucky.

Ecological devastation is present on a scale never before seen, along with misery, work, starvation, slavery, and war. The destruction of our entire ecosystem is built into the logic of capitalism. Carbon emissions and climate change are a mere symptom of the ecological degradation caused by capitalism. Taken as an isolated issue, climate change is ludicrous. Even if burning fossil fuels didn’t cause climate change, it would still be cancerous to humans, pollute the ocean and atmosphere, fuel the automobiles and missiles of war, and create the raw materials of everything from disposable plastic bags to useless toys. Just as cutting down the forest reduces the planet’s ability to store carbon, it also destroys innumerable species, rips asunder indigenous forms of life and evicts them from their homes, and destroys even the possibility of the joy many humans get from being outside. Even if a “green” zero-carbon capitalism was remotely plausible, it would transform living natural resources into dead capital. If it’s not production of carbon, it will be the destruction of water, of the soil, of our lives, all sacrificed to capital.

All of us secretly desire for this system to end. The grand illusion of Western civilization has always been the myth of progress, namely that the industrial present will righteously extend into an infinite future. This provides a certain sick comfort, along with a feeling of imprisonment.

Those self-appointed to “save” us from this crisis – the governments, scientists, activists – seem incapable of anything but sloganeering: clean development, carbon markets, sustainable development, climate justice, green capitalism. Governments rule by monopolizing decision-making, by seizing the central ground of society and making themselves the arbiter of social conflicts and the implementer of solutions. The state is the chief defender and administrator of fossil fuel-based capitalism. Rejecting the solutions of the state, refusing to dialogue with powerful institutions — in fact trying to disrupt them and eventually destroy them — is a crucial part of our fight to save our place on this planet. Because the way capitalism works and the way ecosystems work, there are no supply-based solutions to climate change. Green capitalism will not save us.

Climate crisis is already killing people and driving entire species to extinction every day. It will be used by the state to close borders, and to increase social control, warfare, and policing. We can accept more of the same by trusting in the solutions of the leaders we know are lying to us, or we can take things into our own hands…

Protest merely asks the state to politely stop. The point is not to ask for something to stop, but to make it stop. Sabotage is a fundamental form of direct action against capitalism, and so it is also fundamental to preventing catastrophic climate change. Sabotage is any act that destroys the reproduction of capitalism. How to blockade the flows of capitalism so as to halt ecological degradation and human exploitation? It may end with generalized insurrection, but it begins with a group of friends. Networks of friends can self-organize to halt the flow of commodities and carbon. As the state and capital enter into irreversible ecological crisis, the possibilities for decentralized social revolution bloom a thousandfold. Insurrection is the beginning of the realization of the anarchist idea that we can live without the state.

Further climate change will cause a deepening of misery beyond what any of us can imagine. If there is a choice between cynicism and hopelessness or a determined and focused attack on the present institutions of domination that murder our future, we choose the latter. While it may be true that the odds are stacked against us, there are thousands of instances of resistance, revolt, and mutual aid that indicate the possibility of subverting the present social order and of relating in radically different ways.

The time to act for freedom is now. To live is to resist, to obey is to die.

Jun 212012
 

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Black bloc: attacking authority, capital, and the state openly in the streets for all to join

“It is true that the state is not a window, but neither is it just an abstract concept. Breaking windows is not a revolutionary act and neither is any other act if taken out of context and presented as an abstraction, ignoring the intentions and strategy of those who break the windows. The state or capital or colonialism cannot be attacked as abstractions. They can only be attacked in their material forms, their social relations, and their institutions. It is not possible to attack all forms and material components of power at once, so they must be attacked in pieces at different times and locations.”

When the intention of being in the streets is merely to politely ask something of our rulers, demonstrations become reproduced as controllable and purely symbolic events. Enforced passivity and obediance characterize these marches from point a to point b which then pose no threat to the continuation of power. The role of the democratic dissident, who pleads for power to reform the system that should be destroyed, is something to be shed. The point is not to ask for our enemies to stop, but to make them stop.

People who recognize the state and capital as total enemies of freedom – and who want to destroy them rather than engage in compromise or dialogue with them – sometimes use the black bloc tactic in the streets. Black blocs are when people wear hoodies, pants, shoes, gloves, and masks of the same colour in order to conceal their identity, preventing the police from identifying and isolating which actions are commited by whom. Participating is as easy as bringing a fighting spirit, trusted friends, and certain clothing to change into and out of. A black bloc is not a gang – unless a gang can mean a group that shares the desire to act for freedom together. It is not an organization but a tactic open to anybody who wants to participate in attacking this world of misery, work, ecological devastation, and domination imposed upon them. A bloc is united by shared intentions to revolt, not by membership or allegiance to leaders, because anarchists self-organize and have no leaders.

Since the 1980s* when it became popular in Germany, black blocs have been used by anarchists so that people can act as they desire while minimizing the threat of repression from the prisons and courts, which use their laws to protect power and property. This social order which imprisons, exploits, and dominates us can be subverted by attacks, and black blocs allow people to attack and develop their strength with others. These moments, during which power loses control to enforce itself, create social points of reference for rebellions to come, pushing towards insurrection.

It is the police who are the front line of defense for this social order, and everywhere is propagated the myth that they are invincible. There is a constant effort to convince us that attacking them is senseless hooliganism. We know otherwise. Our lives can be reclaimed together in an empowering way and brought closer to freedom by acting against the enemies of our freedom: the police and their prison society, the banks and other institutions of capital, the good citizen snitches.

Those who revolt are presented as “thugs”. The authorities tell us that we are violent, because we are those who want to live our lives freely on our own terms, who refuse to reproduce the roles forced down our throats, who seek the abolition of property, capital, and authority for a world of total freedom and solidarity. This is all to distract us from the immense and systematic violence with which the power of capitalism and the state maintains its control. By struggling to put an end to this social order, which will always condemn us as “violent”, we can steal back our lives and dignity.

In a society that values property over life, property must be destroyed for us to live.

Jun 202012
 

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ANTI-AUSTERITY MEANS ANTI-STATE

“Beneath the paving stones, the beach”. – graffiti from Paris, May ‘68

aus·ter·ity

Government policies that systematically cut welfare, healthcare, student loans, and other social services.

It’s obvious why we should be against austerity measures. Some of us are students, some of us are on welfare, and a lot of us are dependent on the provincial healthcare system. In one way or another, most of us are dependent upon the welfare state; its destruction threatens our survival. But that is only because capitalism and colonialism have ripped away our collective knowledge of how to feed and care for ourselves, our connections to the land we live on, our connections to each other. The welfare state was created at a time when the capitalist mode of production needed obedient and loyal workers to produce goods, construct buildings, die in wars, and provide intellectual labour. But in a world of dwindling resources, growing populations, and increasingly efficient machines, we become less necessary to the maintenance of this system every day. We are, in fact, a threat to it – at least potentially.

The situation is too dangerous to allow ourselves to be led by bureaucratic hacks who negotiate with the state that we should be seeking to destroy. Our enemies have every intention of protecting the privileges that capitalism affords them, and now the survival of capitalism depends on an even deeper and more efficient exploitation. People will resist, of course, and to that end the federal government is expanding the prison system (there will be five federal and seven provincial expansions in Québec alone) and strengthening the apparatus of social control, with police patrols and routine surveillance on the streets of every city. Of course, this is despite falling police-reported crime rates and a decrease in severity of these crimes across the country.

Already many of us can’t afford food or rent; others barely get by. Already many of us are structurally prevented from improving our lives in any meaningful way. This is life under capitalism. And for capitalism to survive the current crisis, the circle of people who benefit from it
must be reduced in size. The age of the New Deal, the welfare state, and the middle class is over.

We will not beg for any reform from the state that trains us to be good workers, good citizens, and good producers for capital. We will unleash all of the fury and fear that has built up inside of us over the days and years that we have wasted in our roles of passive servitude. When we attack the structures that daily make us miserable and humiliated, we find a unique strength that breaks our loneliness and removes the label of worker or student, good or bad citizen. In our collective conflict with this system, we become uncontrollable. We choose to fight against the infrastructure of today rather than to demand its maintenance.

This is war against capital and the state, austerity and authoritarianism – whether explicit or mediated as democracy. When the rebels of Paris 1968 coined their famous slogan about throwing paving stones, they were implying that the world of their dreams lay buried beneath the generations of defeat that comprise capitalist history – but that all it takes to begin to uncover that world is to resist.