Wednesday, April 21, 2010

crudo is dead.


Due to a variety of factors, this blog is over, and so am I.

I'm out of the (A) game. I have a lot coming at me, from a family tragedy, to money issues, and a lack of time to devote to revolutionary projects.

Furthermore, I feel more and more alienated from the anarchist scene, especially the flourishing subculture of insurrectionalism.

I wish everyone the best of luck as I will have to begin a grand project indeed, carrying on with my life.

If you enjoyed the magazine, I'm glad you did. If you enjoyed what I had to say, thank you. If you read and got something out of this blog, here's to you.

Perhaps if you are lucky, you will find the last Vengeance somewhere. But, no promises.

crudo is dead.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Talk in Milwaukee

Saturday, April 24th, somewhere in Milwaukee...

"Crew Formation: Experiences from Insurrectionary Community Organizing in Modesto, CA

crudo, from Modesto Anarcho Crew, discusses successes and failures in organizing in working class struggles and communities in the heart of the foreclosure and economic crisis. From working with motorcycle crews to occupying foreclosed homes, he draws on years of experience in organizing in "one of the worst cities in America."" -

Bring your game face and a note pad, you might learn something.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Problem with Hip Hop: Patriarchy, Proletarians, and Revolutionary Culture

This article appeared in Vengeance #3, as well as an issue of the Revolutionary Hip Hop Report, published in Modesto.

Punk rock was the first style of music that really meant anything to me. That’s not really true, I was into grunge and radio rap for a while, but punk was the first musical culture that I felt any real affinity with. After all, punk was what lead me to anarchism, and then to class consciousness. Around the same time that I was getting into anarchism, I was also playing in bands, setting up shows, and tabling with anti-war, crimethinc, and animal rights literature at local concerts. By the time I was 18, being an anarchist within punk rock was what I considered to be the best way to get towards a freer world. I felt that the punk scene represented what could be the ‘revolutionary agent’ within society. I reasoned that this group of kids united by a love of a musical style could become radicalized, they then could go out and “do stuff.” I received a rude awakening from this hypothesis when the band I was in was invited to play with some pretty big bands like Phobia and Resist & Exist in LA and San Diego for a series of benefits for the anarcho-punk publication, Profane Existence. LA is a hot bed for anarcho-punk and crust bands. There, I watched probably a thousand kids singing along, surrounded by anarchist banners, and literature tables. Yet, despite the sea of people who were “down,” a ragged collection of a million “Support the ALF” patches, and hundreds who chanted along with the lyrics, I realized how empty all of this was.

People here were united in an aesthetic and for the enjoyment of a musical style. It was also telling to me that the people I met in the various activist groups and at places like the Che Cafe (a radical space and infoshop) largely came from outside of punk and often did not dress the part. As I became older and more involved in community based action, I discovered that people were motivated to take action against Capital based on the conditions that were imposed upon them by class society. Slowly, as I came to class consciousness, and I grew to see that in punk, not only was class largely not discussed; there was a lack of looking at one’s relationship in class society. Meaning that if you put on an Aus-Rotten record you might get schooled on what the US was doing in Columbia, but you’re weren’t going to hear about the singer’s work and why it sucked. Punks largely didn’t talk about being without money or working – perhaps this was because of the class composition of punks, or perhaps it was just because of the cultural tradition of many anarcho-punk bands. As I became older, I was introduced to other forms of music that I was not before; namely hip hop, largely through the leftist political rap group, Dead Prez. Soon, I was listening to more political hip hop than I was political punk rock, and now, I listen to mostly non-’political’ hip hop.

At this point in my life, I find hip hop to be the most class conscious form of music. By this I mean hip hop is the most clear musical style that articulates the singer’s relationship to the commodity while at the same time expressing their struggle within that relation. The narrative that is found in hip hop is something that I think all proletarians can appreciate and find resonance with, even if the image of the street hustler or an up and coming gangsta is far from your present reality. The idea that one can only beat the material conditions that are imposed upon our lives by taking risks, breaking the law, through the action of close and trusted friends (thus making the police, feds, and snitches enemies), and not hesitating to use violence to achieve such ends, is a fine narrative indeed. Because so much of hip hop is about the reality of life within poverty, ghettos, and being forced into certain situations (drugs, prisons, police brutality), it can act as a vehicle for creating class consciousness. When people understand what they go through is not their fault, but the product of a system that, in fact benefits from exploitation, then they can make a better analysis of the current system and their place within it. The problem with hip hop however, is that much of it has created what I would refer to as a ‘false class consciousness,’ that has nothing to do with abolishing our present conditions and everything about class ascension. Meaning, the goal is not to abolish class, but to rise up from the bottom and get the fuck out.

Much of the substance of hip hop is also problematic: black market capitalism, prole on prole violence, and rampant sexism. Patriarchy is perhaps the most problematic aspect of this, and one of the biggest barriers holding hip hop back from being a truly class conscious form of music. This happens for several reasons, and probably the largest driving force is, of course, the music industry that demands that rappers keep turning out hits about empty sex and booty jams. But beyond that, the narrative of most hip hop starts off firstly with that of the individual; that individual largely always being a young male, as opposed to being any young proletarian or the collective body that is the class. This young male, in his attempt to appropriate material conditions (often through criminal means), also often sees female bodies as objects that he wants to appropriate. Thus, women, like money, cars, jewels, etc, become commodities to be accumulated for the purpose of consumption. In fact, women are often seen not only as commodities, but as commodities that require the buying of even more commodities. Thus, hit after hit about buying women various objects for the purpose of acquiring them, or talking about how other males are broke, and thus less admirable suitors towards various female bodied people continues to be pumped out. It is no surprise that these songs are hits, as they reinforce the values of the culture and help to reinforce racial stereotypes of young men of color. Thus, as female bodied people are commodified into objects just like cars or jewels, it becomes necessary for them to be demonized or spoken of simply as “bitches” and “hoes.” This is done for the sake of writing them and their agency off; thus justifying their position as commodities. Since much of hip hop has written off a whole section of the class, it thus cannot truly be a vehicle for class consciousness, and thus cannot be revolutionary. There are several artists out there who attempt to fight this (for instance the Coup, “Pimps down, hoes up!”) or 2pac (who although in some songs states that he is pro-choice and pro-woman, then goes on to state things like MOB, or Money over Bitches). This further plays itself off in hip hop culture, such as in the video, or on stage, or just in the sheer lack of female emcees singing and performing. In one of the latest Young Jeezy videos, “Put On,” which includes references to the economic recession and housing foreclosure, and is an all together pretty class conscious video. The video is then shot to shit when Jeezy comes out flanked by three women who do nothing but dance around him in a provocative manner. Hip hop not only often lacks women’s voices, it silences them. By denying women the opportunity to talk about their relationship to not only class society, but also their lives within the patriarchy, hip hop in essence further strengthens those systems of domination. Until hip hop sees women as active players in their own lives, able to articulate their own needs and desires not only as people but also as fellow proletarians, it will not be fully class conscious.

Hip hop is also further problematic, because it shapes and influences so much of proletarian and youth culture. Modern hip hop, while often antagonistic towards the police and aspects of the power structure, it does not question the nature of wage labor and commodity production. Since the late 60’s and 1970’s, the various nationalist and liberation movements that sought to organize and liberate the internal colonies in the ghettos and barrios of the United States were crushed by the US government. In the place of these groups and political parties such as the Black Panthers, self-defense crews formed into gangs. Political revolutionaries turned instead to drug trafficking. What was first seen as a movement to liberate communities, instead the focus became much more individualistic and concerned only for itself. Modern hip hop is a product of this class decomposition. The drive to accumulate material conditions and ‘fuck everyone else,’ shows this clearly. The influence of the drug game that has grown since the 1970’s and has thus influenced hip hop has spread to every t-shirt, car sticker, and rap album in the English speaking world. With the dreams of the 60’s crushed and nothing new to take its place, this new ‘false consciousness’ now parades around, offering no real opposition to Capital. While it may claim to be against snitches and the police, as long as this is only for the purpose of protecting the power and markets of the drug trade, then it will only be the musical voice of underground capitalism.

At a time of great crisis, we do need proletarian cultural forms like hip hop. While I have talked a lot of shit about it, truth be told, give a poor person a mic, and they’ll in the end give you something good, at least part of the time. Still, for hip hop to be a way to explain actual conditions and thus create class consciousness on a mass scale, it will have to leave behind much of what has been a part of hip hop culture for so long in the past. It must come to terms and destroy its patriarchal language, themes, and ways of presenting itself. It must bring female bodied people into the picture and allow them to talk about their lives as proletarians on even footing. It must turn away from being an individualistic movement, and instead focus on destroying the things which create poverty in the first place. Many new class conscious and anarchist hip hop projects exist here in
the US and in Europe, and for me are very exciting. Emcee Lynx, Drowning Dog, DJ Maletesta, Kenny Arkana, Looptroop, and Sherman Austin are all creating great hip hop music that is both revolutionary, class conscious, and also banging. Hopefully this continues and artists like this will become bigger and more popular within the class. Please, let the beat drop.

This article was submitted by “Crudo” from the Modesto Anarcho Crew. Send us your writings, ramblings, art, & poetry to: RHHRorg@live.com

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sweet and Sober Hooliganism?


Sorry to those that have been checking this blog and found nothing new. The gears of class society and the sounds of sires turns and whines in the background, and sometimes keeps me from thinking of things to bring to this table.

I made a bet recently that I couldn't go a week vegan straight edge, so I'm up for it. While I was driving today, I did think about proletarian struggle and being sober. I remember reading and listening to a lot of the vegan straight edge bands of several years ago, before I grew out of punk and stopped paying attention. Bands like xgatherx always impressed me, even if I wasn't totally into their politics or scene. I remember reading in the straight edge communist zine, xTotal Destructionx, that they were draw to xvx because the idea of a sober revolutionary youth force appeared to hold possibilities for them.

I was straight edge for a time in high school, after I went through a phase of dabbing in the usually high school parties. After I grew older, I came to enjoy more and more different beers, mostly the high end IPAs and such. But then you grow out of paying $20 for like 4 beers a night, and then move on to the cheap shit, which will get you drunk and also tastes great with Taco Bell or a late night sandwich, (another downfall).

Anyway, it seems in this society, (and I'm totally going to steal this from David Gilbert right now), but we often live at two polls. One, the puritan vein, which preaches abstention, the other, which goes for excess. Often, perhaps, with either sex or drinking, or whatever, the best would be right in the middle.

When I think of sobriety, or eating healthy, or anything, a lot of thoughts come to mind. There is a part of me that wants to use my body and time with it as expendable, to get cheap thrills and enjoy myself. But, from lung caner to obesity, we all see the pit falls of this. There is another part of me that feels that any calls to go vegan or moralistic and stupid, and also are idiotic with the amount of money such a lifestyle demands. However, our health is in some small ways what we do have control over in our lives, for revolutionaries interested in the long run, health is something that we should take seriously no?

If health is broken down, away from lifestylism, away from consumerism, away from veganism or any moral urge to "vote through the market," what are we left with? For working people without a lot of money that wish to stay healthy on a budget, what should our direction be? Throw into the mix the lack of time we have at lunch breaks to get food, the limited options due to cost, and also the time factor of preparing meals, not to mention the difficulty that comes along with feeding children - the odds are not in our favor. Capital tastes so damn good at times, and it also is often cheap and quick and easy to get. Plus, like the patch next to the smokes, they want to sell you your cheeseburger as well as your ab roller.

I think for groups of revolutionary proletarians perhaps the solution comes not so much in pushes for just the individual to 'get their shit together,' but in talking in groups about different health concerns and how to proceed. To people want to quit smoking together? Do people need groups to discuss mental health and drug and drinking problems? Will group meal nights lead to more healthy meals? Perhaps time to quit going to taco bell and start up the bbq for some roasted veggies? This ain't no DIY rant or some plea to get back to the land simply as a 'means to break capital,' but, let's take good care of these bodies, we're going to use them to do some pretty crazy shit.

knowwhatimean?

Friday, March 26, 2010

get off the internets!

I'll be hitting the road soon...

NYC bookfair, come to the Fire to the Prisons table, should have some Modesto Anarcho stuff there, come chat.

Milwaukee April 24th, speaking there. Possibly a comedy event the week before as a benefit for someone/something.

"You see me, hi hater!"

Friday, March 19, 2010

Comedy


So, I did them shitz at the BASTARD Conference. I'll be doing stand up at a benefit for the Oakland 100. Come out and support me, but more importantly, support those that riot.

Info about the event here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

K'Naan - Total Piece of Shit

So, one of the best song's on the last album, against the rich, and about the realities of wars and poverty, got turned into a shitty ass ra ra song about "waving flags" at the Olympics. I mean, get your bread up, but this dude is a total beez.



Here's the original version.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My Review of RIck Ross's 'Port of Miami'

Check out at the Anvil here.

Boss Music?

A Review of Rick Ross, Port of Miami - by crudo

I first heard of Rick Ross when I watched Katt Williams' American Hustle, which features Ross's hit song, "Hustlin'" as it's opener. "Any nigga that hustle, that's our national anthem right there. Even if yo job don't require no hustlin; even if you a librarian," he comments after the song is cut off. I forgot about Ross for a bit, but then heard Ross on a Lil' Boosie track later while in the library while working on the latest issue of Modesto Anarcho. Lil Boosie himself, is a southern rapper who has done some great stuff and is someone that I just recently heard about due to anarchists holding a banner at a Reclaim the Streets party in the south reading 'Free Lil Wayne! Free Lil Boosie.' Anyway, after hearing Ross on the Boosie track, I downloaded Ross's 2006 album, The Port of Miami, largely because it included the 'Hustlin' track. About a year ago while in Phoenix, I read an article that Ross wrote in The Source about the Miami drug trade and so the reference to cocaine trafficking was neither lost on me nor surprising. For fans of the film Scarface it's not a surprise, but for those that don't know, Miami is one of the major entrance points for cocaine entering the United States, largely from Latin America. Ross's album deals largely with these themes and the problems that erupt between the state and poor (black) people that sell drugs to make ends meet. However recently, accusations over Ross formerly being a prison guard have lead many people to question whether or not Ross's gangsta rap persona should be taken literally at all.



First, we should look at Ross's music. His themes are pretty run of the mill in the "cocaine rap" world; a genre that I find myself listening heavily to these days. In fact, Rick Ross takes his name from "Freeway" Ricky Ross who helped launch the spread of cocaine and crack sales into the United States in the 1980's. Radicals should be keen on remembering this, as he was also the person that was moving that shit while the US government was racking in the cash from such sales and sending it out to the Contras in Nicaragua. History aside, unlike some of my currently favorite rappers such as Lil Boosie, Young Jeezy, Slim Thug, and Plies, Ross's flows leave one often unsatisfied. He has a slow style that makes him come off as almost an overweight Mace; it's often so slow it appears that he's just talking and not rapping. Sadly however, unlike other physically large rappers who used their size as a way to project their voice (Big Pun and Biggie come to mind), Ross simply just kind of plods along in the songs, never really giving much emotion to what he's talking about. Many of the hooks are catchy however, and this is what often saves the song. The first half of the album is saved largely due to this; songs like Push It, Hustlin, and Cross that Line (featuring Akon on the hook), prove this to be true.

Second, it's interesting to look at Ross's background as a prison guard. In as issue of XXL Ross commented after months of allegations when rumors began circulating once photos of Ross in a prison guard uniform appeared online. "Me not answering or addressing that situation has nothing to do with my career," he's quoted as saying. "I've accomplished enough, and I've made enough money for me to be good. ... Yes, it was me in those pictures. But I'mma tell you this. Me taking that job, I was doing my job. You understand what I mean?" He goes onto state, "But, just to let you know, that's what I witnessed. It's a reality. I cannot discuss certain people that's still in the streets, and I will not. I took a street oath, and I'mma live by that, and I'mma die by that. And it's not about a music career, 'cause that shit, I'm good. It's about me and being in the streets." I'll leave it to the commentators on the streethop.com messageboard to level the critique: "Well I see it, the "image" these fake ass niggas wanna have of being tough guys selling rocks on the streets and running from the Police..," claims one person. Another person writes, "like i said this just shows how fake the rap game is today. how a nigga go from a prison guard to a rap star. damn only time a real nigga see the inside of a prison is when u doin hard time not when u a watch dog."

Letting go of the issue of Ross being a former guard, we can then move on onto critiquing the videos that came off that album. Starting with "Push It," which features a sample from the song "Push It to the Limit" by Paul Engemann, which was one of the main songs from Scarface. It's no wonder why Ross decided to sample this song, as his version and the video deals with the ins and outs of the Miami drug trade and the video apes much of the film. However, it's hard to tell where Ross's experiences begin and what is simply gleamed from drug and popular culture. Some of the lyrics of the song are redeemable, as they deal with the realities of class society. "All I seen is the sruggle/Its like im trapped in this slum/Niggas were badly paid/No water we barely bathed/Better be better days on the way/Thats on my daddy grave." The video for the hit song 'Hustlin,' is much more interesting, and suggests that Ross himself might have something more interesting to say than just reticulated bits of pop culture. At the start of the video he states, "Miami, a playboy's paradise. Pretty girls, fast cars; that's just a facade. The bridge separates south beach from my Miami; the real Miami, Mi-yayo, this is where we hustle." The video moves from a scene of bright colors and scantly dressed women, to a more starker shot of a ghetto with people posted on corners and people slanging various wares from out of their cars. We then see Ross as he drives through this area collecting money from various pushers and a woman who we can assume is a prostitute. Certainly not the "Pimps down Hoes Up!" perspective of class antagonism that rappers such as the Coup would promote, but then many would argue that performers like Ross are simply telling us how it is and not as it should be.

Still, Ross constantly portrays himself as "The Boss," and we can assume that he at least enjoys having himself (or people thinking of him) at the top of this pyramid of 'black market capitalism,' not gripping about the effects of such or his position at the bottom of it. However, Ross still comments on the realities of the drug trade, "See most of my niggas really still deal cocaine/My roof back, My money right/I'm on the pedal, show you what I'm runnin' like/When they snatch black I cry for 100 nights/We got 100 bodies, serving 100 lifes." Probably my favorite lyrics on the whole album is from the track, "Cross that Line," which is probably just because it features Akon and includes some of the most class conscious lyrics on the whole album. "I was birthed in the crackhouse/But what made it worse every first is a packed house/Little brother knowin' life illegal/No toys just playin' with pipes and needles."

Going back to the end of the Hustlin' video however, I find it interesting because it shows Ross on top of a mansion, surrounded by red flags, with scenes of drug underlings and prostitutes doing their thing and stacking paper, and Ross firmly placed at the top, rapping about it. Perhaps this is what is troubling and ultimately most boring about artists such as Ross: there's always going to be something interesting about illegal activity for the sake of making money in defiance of the law, but why do we always hear about those at the top? Wouldn't it be more interesting to hear something that a prostitute or a low level drug employee in such an underground organization has to say? Who wants to hear from a "boss" anyway, much less a former pig? Be it at McDonald's or the coke game.

Friday, February 26, 2010

"And So It Must Spread..."



"Because of their manner of dress and their behavior, they did not resemble the students that we have become accustomed to dealing with over the past six months."

Rioters Clash with Police in Streets South of UC Berkeley

from Daily Californian

A crowd of more than 200 people swarmed the streets of Southside early Friday morning in a riot involving six law enforcement agencies, runaway dumpsters, flaming trash cans, shattered windows and violent clashes between rioters and police.

What began as a dance party on Upper Sproul Plaza led to an occupation of Durant Hall at around 11:15 p.m. Thursday to raise support for the March 4 statewide protest in support of public education.

UCPD Captain Margo Bennett said the occupiers "cut a lock to get into the construction area and then cut a lock to get into the building" before vandalizing the area.

"There were windows broken, there was spray painting and graffiti on the interior, there was construction equipment that was tossed around," she said.

The occupation evolved into a riot as it moved onto streets south of campus, where a protester broke several windows of the Subway at Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue at about 1:41 a.m.

Bennett said the occupiers were able to leave Durant Hall without police confrontation because UCPD did not have adequate staffing and the Berkeley Police Department had not responded to the scene per UCPD request before the occupiers left.

She added that UCPD believes many of the occupiers were not UC Berkeley students.

"Because of their manner of dress and their behavior, they did not resemble the students that we have become accustomed to dealing with over the past six months," she said.

After moving off campus, the group grew and settled at Durant and Telegraph avenues.

Officers from UCPD, Oakland, BART and the California Highway Patrol, in addition to all but four Berkeley Police Department officers on duty that night, responded to the scene, according to Berkeley police Dispatcher Rayna Johnson.

"It's a little hectic," Johnson said.

Berkeley and UCPD officers stood shoulder-to-shoulder in a line on Telegraph Ave. facing the dancing crowd, which had formed around a stereo system blaring music from a shopping cart.

The tone of the gathering changed at about 1:55 a.m. when a dumpster was pushed into the center of the intersection and set on fire by members of the crowd. The Berkeley Fire Department responded as people danced on top of the dumpster and shouted, "Whose street? Our street!"

Employees of the Blakes on Telegraph bar and restaurant brought out buckets of water and fire extinguishers to douse the flames.

Officers physically pushed the crowd back so that Berkeley fire personnel could extinguish the flames. Sporadic fights broke out within the crowd, causing police to advance their line on the growing mob and use batons to push it back.

Members of the crowd hurled glass bottles, plastic buckets, pizza and other objects at the police line. The crowd's size and intensity fluctuated as the police and protesters clashed and multiple members of the crowd were detained by police.

Marika Goodrich, 28, a UC Berkeley senior, was arrested at the intersection of Durant and Telegraph avenues and booked for assault on a police officer, inciting a riot and resisting arrest, according to Berkeley police Officer Andrew Frankel. Zachary Miller, 26, a UC Berkeley alumnus and an organizer for the "Rolling University," was also arrested at the intersection and was booked for inciting a riot, resisting arrest and obstructing a police officer.

No arrests were made on campus, according to Bennett.

At about 2:43 a.m., the mob accompanied the shopping cart as it traveled east on Durant.

As the crowd moved, a white Dodge Charger turned onto the street and people ran alongside the car as it advanced, a practice commonly referred to as "ghost riding the whip."

Around 2:55 a.m., the crowd settled on College Ave. outside the Unit 1 residence halls, where some members propelled a dumpster down Durant Ave. toward police.

About 15 minutes later, after the crowd launched a second dumpster down Durant Avenue, a line of police vehicles charged through the streets, scattering the crowd in all directions.

Police ended the riot at approximately 3:15 a.m.

When the crowd had left Durant Hall earlier in the night, UCPD Chief Mitch Celaya said the main concern for police was to assess the damage thus far and monitor the crowd as it proceeded down Telegraph Avenue.

"We're going to hopefully secure the exterior," he said. "We're going to take a look to see what, if any, kind of damage has been caused. We're concerned about the group as they march around, that they don't commit any acts of vandalism, not just to our property but to the city."

Although the occupation had been planned, the decision to move off campus could not be attributed to any one person, according to Callie Maidhof, a representative for the occupiers.

"If you get all these people here, what they decide to do is what matters," Maidhof said. "It's not whoever may or may not have planned it, that's irrelevant at a certain point."

Shaunt Attarian, Chris Carrassi, Tomer Ovadia, Sarah Springfield, Zach E.J. Williams and Mihir Zaveri of The Daily Californian contributed to this report.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Holla at ya boy!


So, word on the street is that after the BASTARD Conference there is going to be people doing comedy. Just saying...

Also, who's down for a rematch with the RCP?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Some Videos That Are Getting It In

Thanks to Hip Hop Vancouver for a heads up on some of these...









Thursday, February 18, 2010

Contribution to New Website


Looks like I'll be contributing to a new website called "The Anvil," which is an anarchist review site for music, film, movies, and games. I've submitted a review of Rick Ross's 2006 album The Port of Miami. I'll be posting up a link to the article when the site goes online in a few weeks. The other reviews look really interesting and there is talk about making a print publication with the various reviews every few months.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Audio from Riverside Event


Here is the audio from the Riverside event talk.

Download here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

If You Don't Steal From Your Boss, White People in Ties Might Steal It Instead



Crimethinc has called for a day of action - no, not save the bagels day, Steal Something From Work Day! When I first heard about this project, I was excited. I have some reservations now, but I still think it's a cool idea and we'll see where we can go with it. Regardless, cool conversations will be sure to come up with people as we try and 'get the word out' about this. But, it does bring up some interesting tensions that we can explore.

First - intentions. Many of us steal from our jobs. If you work, you probably take things in some regularity, when you come across them and it is in your interest to take them. So then, what is the reason behind having a "day" where you steal? Are you going for gold? Is this the day that you finally get that coffee maker you've been eyeing, or you finally shut off the cameras and have a friend "rob" you? Is the goal to get people who don't steal to steal? Can we assume that other people don't steal? Is the purpose of this day simply to start conversations with people about resistance to work - and thus how theft at work plays into that? We seem to be making a moral argument then don't we? Work sucks, bosses suck, so it okay to steal from them, they deserve it. I like this logic, it could be beefed up to an understanding that bosses and those who work are two different classes and will never have the same interests.

The video summs up my ultimate problem with this project. As it states something along the lines that since bosses extract surplus labor value from us, stealing from work offers us a chance to get a little bit of that back. While this is cool and conflictual, it holds the same logic of thinking that dumpster diving is somehow a moral act against capitalist waste. Something like Steal Something From Work Day might get people to talk about destroying capitalism, but ultimately it as a project will have to be superseded for capitalism to be destroyed. Why then have projects that only go half way? If capital can only be negated by the self-activity of proletarians negating their class roles and their labor and acting in their own interests collectively, then let us push for projects which push toward or create those associations - not attempt to make moral arguments in the face of exploitation.

Hmmm...what the project seems to be getting at is how to organize or network with people on the job, however, Steal Something From Work Day seems to resign itself to the individual doesn't it? It's great Timmy the anarcho-punk dish washer, or Susie the queer bike messenger racked a roll of toilet paper at Craig Rosebraugh's latest Vegan cafe in Portland or whatever the fuck, and they can run home and upload a photo of it for the site, but it seems to be what we are after is a qualitative way of relating to people at work that gives us power - not just a few material items.

Sure, stealing from work is part of that, and the act in doing so can create trust between people that can hopefully lead to other things, but what is important out of that is not so much the act in itself, but the association that is created between proletarians. Hopefully this leads to other forms of action: taking out and resistance to the implementation of surveillance at work, collectively getting raises, collectively refusing the implementation of new policies at work, preparing for strike actions, covering for each other, etc.

Within this tension, we come to a critical question: in the modern age, how do we resist at work? For those of us of a more insurrectionary or left communist mind, we largely are at a loss. If we accept the critique that unions are the left wing of capital and stamp out working class self-organization and militancy and also reject anarcho-syndicalism's call for the formation of industrial unions ala IWW, then what do we propose? We seem to be at a loss for how to resist at the one place where capital needs us to be - work.

While I am glad that Steal Something From Work Day at least attempts to grapple with this tension and move the debate forward, obviously I think that the end project falls short of what such an idea could do, simply because it seems to be more about the individual than the collective. However, this is an open project, and people should run with it. At your workplace, what kind of associations could you create around such propaganda, ideas, and conversations? Could this lead to other forms of action? Could this plug into something that you are already doing? Check out their site and get some of the stickers and posters made up and start talking to people. At the very least they are funny as shit and will help add to a confrontational tensions between labor and capital where ever you work. The video at the top is also amazing and already has up to a 1,000 hits.

Furthermore, as insurrectionary communists and anarchists, how do we resist and organize at work beyond just theft, avoidance, etc? How do we link up with other wage earners?

Here is a link to Seattle Solidarity Network that hopefully holds some clues. Long live the mob!

Also, a link to Modesto Anarcho #4, which includes the article, "Workplace Resistance at a Small Business." About a shoplifting worker's council (one of the last articles).

Monday, February 8, 2010

Dana Ward Pulled My Prole Card


Another set of trips out to a variety of places of late, Santa Cruz, the bay area, Phoenix, LA, and Riverside has me thinking about the next issue of Vengeance and thoughts on anarchism and it's scene.

In Riverside last weekend, MAC was invited out to table at this event that featured me speaking, someone talking about feminism, and then Dana Ward from Anarchy Archives. At the end, there was going to be a round table discussion about strategy in Southern California.

The event space was at some middle class coffee place that allowed people to hold an event downstairs. About 40 - 50 people showed up, mostly young, but a fair mix of individuals. The kids in Riverside seem to be interested in setting up a infoshop (something that seems to happen to every group of anarchists in every town, every couple of years).

The first workshop was hosted by a woman with the Inland Empire Feminist Collective, which brought with them some zines about stuff such as DIY menstrual pads and anarcha-feminism. The workshop that they gave was like sitting through someone reading wikipedia out loud, no offense. They gave textbook definitions on what feminism was, what patriarchy was. Then they (this is all off of large pieces of paper) told us what liberal feminism was going through Marxist Feminism and into anarcha-feminism. While this might have been interesting in a setting like a college presentation, the presenter did nothing to critique liberal or Marxist feminism at all, and did nothing to talk about their own affinity towards feminism, what lead them towards such a position, etc. Then, they had us fill out this questionnaire about feminism, which resulted in a discussion that for me was really boring and liberal, with basically the group and the presenter coming to the conclusion that in order to "help women" (as the questionnaire asked) we should change the way that interact with each other and "call people on their shit." While of course, this is all important; we should hit people in the face for making rape jokes and write nasty things in stupid magazines, can't we also state that the struggle against patriarchy is a struggle against class society and the dictatorship of capital over all life and cannot be divorced from each other?

While I think it's great that someone presented something at an anarchist event that wasn't male and white, I think when politically such presentations are so muddled and unfocused, they really don't get us anywhere. I think if the presenter would have focused more on why she became a feminist, what that meant to her, and what she wanted to do with that critique against this world, then we would have had a much different conversation.

Then I spoke, doing basically the same talk that I had done in Phoenix and some other places, entitled, "Activism vs. Intervention." I introduced where Modesto was, what MAC was, then talked about the importance of finding tensions and expanding them, and what I saw the differences were in activism and intervention. Then I gave some examples of how MAC has either intervened in various struggles or aided them. I also raising the question for discussion, asking if we wanted a scene or a working class counter force in society? This got a lot of people talking about the limits of the scene and also about how they could do this in the tensions that already exist in their areas. I really enjoyed how the discussion popped off from that point and people really got into talking about stuff in the local areas and what they were doing. What was working, but also where they were having problems actually going on the offensive. All in all, a really good talk and some really good responses.

Then Dana Ward from Anarchy Archives talked about anarchist infrastructure. Basically, he talked about a lot of stuff, mostly historical, which was interesting, but then he basically presented a thesis that self-management of industry was a good was of showing people that anarchy is possible. He brought up the self-managed factories in Argentina, but also cooperative corporations in Spain which are very successful. He talked about how this was an example of dual power, and if these types of businesses could compete more, they could hopefully replace capital.

I should have shut the fuck up, but I brought up that self-management of capitalism was still capitalism. That while a self-managed factory might be "better" it was still part of a system where work was separate from life.

Dana responded by stating that he came from a working class family and that it was impossible for him to think of a life without work. He said that maybe there was something of a class difference between myself and him, and maybe I couldn't understand was he was getting at. Which I find interesting, considering all I remember my parents every talking about was complaining about their jobs, and the years that I spent working as a janitor, never once did I stop and think that if my bosses disappeared and I could organize cleaning shit up myself, I would enjoy it more. Yeah, you're going to labor to get food, shelter, etc in any society. But under communism, you have equal access to the means of existence and the land, not separated by mediation, nor divided into a specialized labor field. "Work," does not exist. But yeah, cooperative corporations running shit I'm not too stoked on. I also don't think they are going to bring down capitalism.

For more on this, read What is Communism? by GD, or anything by him on communization vs. self-management.

After his talk, Dana Ward was leaving and I shook his hand and stated that we probably agreed more than we disagreed. He kind of blew me off but we talked for a couple minutes. I find it interesting that I was part of one of the only groups at the event that was doing anything to put ideas that he considered relevant into practice and because I wasn't excited about Wal-Mart becoming a co-op he kind of shrugged me off. Anyway, can't win em all.

Next, there was a discussion on what people wanted to do in So Cal. People were able to discuss the tensions in their area: foreclosure, immigration, jobs, education, etc, but beyond stuff happening on March 4th, there seemed to be little idea of how to move forward. Modesto maybe be fucked up with drama, drugs, and legal problems, but at least we got plans and lots of them. I really tired of going anywhere, being in a room with a bunch of people, and having no one have any idea what they want to do. Where is people's fire? Where is their desire to get crazy and do something, even if it just something small? Why do people always have to look bored and defeated?

Been thinking more and more about the new Vengeance, and hopefully it will be crazier, meanier, funnier, and more classist than the first.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Everyone is going to jail.


"I'm out of control, like a nigga locked up that just got out of the hole." - Young Buck

Friends in Phoenix are facing charges stemming from violent police repression of a joint march of Native youth and anarchists. More info here.

Alfredo B. is still getting fucked.

Ojore Lutalo, former BLA soulja, who escaped prison, robbed drug dealers, was out for a bit, was arrested on his way back from the LA Anarchist Bookfair. More info here.

Finally, you can't even have a dance party now days. SF benefit dance party gets broken up, although people did not go quietly.

My advice. Rent a hall. Get some djs. Get some cheap beer. Have a party and really make some money. We all need it.

Friday, January 29, 2010

vengy

The class war begins in the desecration of our ancestors: millions
of people going to their graves as failures, forever denied the
experience of a full human existence, their being was simply
canceled out. The violence of the bourgeoisie's appropriation of
the world of work becomes the structure that dominates our
existence. As our parents die, we can say truly that their lives
were for nothing, that the black earth is thrown down onto
them blacks out our sky.
-Nihilist Communism


I had a rather large post ready to go about the LA bookfair, but blogspot fucked up and deleted it. I'll be trying to post up some new things on here in the next few days.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

ignorvengeance

So. Back from a little va-kay. A week of going between an occupied foreclosed house and the bay. Going to start working on the final Vengeance now, in this lovely little computer lab.

LA Bookfair!
Fire to the Prisons!

Friday, January 15, 2010

come on in ya broke muthafuckas

So, we're sitting in a massive occupied foreclosed house. It's pretty redonkulous. The Like Lost Children blog has a article up about it. So check it til I write something.

Read here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Friday, January 8, 2010

Blast From the Past


BA-CAW!

Great talk by 'insurrectionary anarchists in seattle' that is a couple years old, but still pretty good.

Check it here.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I'm good - support Brian and Kristy



All my charges were dropped. But, two people from Modesto are facing charges for their role in the needle exchange program that was busted last spring.

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Calling all friends, comrades, supporters, & allies,

To get things started right with our Trial date & the new year, we are calling on all to help set up Rally & a Demo out front of Modesto Courthouse & elsewhere (use imagination) this coming Feb. 1, 2010, to educate the public of the issue at large & stand out as presence & resisting State repression against 2 public health workers that will have almost been in court a year by March 2010 for helping people & reducing the spread of disease through needle use.

Bring signs, banners, friends, and noise!

Solidarity!

More info, court date, location, & time here:

Stanislaus County Courthouse
800 11th Street
Downtown Modesto

Upcoming Court Calendar:

- February 01, 2010 @ 1:30 PM in Dept. 8
- March 15, 2010 @ 8:30 AM in Dept. 8
- March 23, 2010 @9:30 AM in Dept. 8

PLEASE spread the word.