“The media image of the ‘terrorist’ works together with the police to defend social peace. The citizen applauds or gets scared, but always remains a citizen, that is to say, a spectator. The ‘armed struggle’ presents itself as the superior form of social confrontation. The one who is militarily more representative – according to the spectacular effect of the actions – therefore constitutes the authentic armed party. The State from his side has every interest to reduce the revolutionary threat to some fighting organisations as to transform subversion into a pitched battle between two armies. What domination fears is generalised and anonymous revolt […]”
“One thing is that anarchists have weapons, a much different thing is to be an armed group. […]”
On the 11th of March 2009, a video with the title 19 seconds of social war was anonymously uploaded to the web. Three anonymous fighters with their faces covered show the easiness and efficiency with which it is possible to attack those who destroy your life. To attack a bank in a few seconds, two hammers, a spray can and determination are enough. Maybe at the moment, the most notable aspect of the video was the acceptance it got on youtube, it was enough to look to the comments to have an idea of this. But actually, the most notable in our opinion, was the wave of sabotage actions that happened in the Mexican capital (and certainly also in other regions) after the spreading of this video. The propagation of sabotage had nothing accidental about it, it was due to the simplicity with which this symbol of domination was attacked and the facility by which certain means could be acquired, this means: reproducibility.
For long time, the majority of sabotage actions which flooded anonymously and informally – or some with claims – Mexico City and other regions of the country shared a characteristic that went beyond any claim. This characteristic was that the attacks were realised with easily reproducible means that are therefore accessible for any comrade, or for anybody who feels the need to attack what is oppressing and exploiting us. Also today, many attacks are realised in this way, which is strengthening their propagation.
In an insurrectional and informal struggle project that intends to propagate itself on a, let’s say, social level, but also amongst comrades, an as necessary as indispensable element is reproducibility. Concretely, reproducibility means that acts of sabotage are realised with means (incendiary devices bombs, explosive weapons or other tools) that can be easily made and used, and that can be easily acquired by anyone. The intention beyond this is that sabotage might be in reach for anyone, that each person might get access to attacking what is oppressing him or her and that one doesn’t have to go looking for an already formalised (or sometimes spectacularised) group to learn how to do thing. Reproducibility is about the individual himself or herself finding the means to act, meeting up with comrades in affinity with who he or she shares knowledge, discussing things trough and stepping on to action.
When we speak about informality, we are not only speaking about it as an organisational method of the anarchist struggle, we are also speaking about it as a means by which the individual acquires absolute autonomy and therefore doesn’t have to submit to the ideology of a group – groups that are often of authoritarian colours, but go well camouflaged as “libertarian” or “autonomous” and insert themselves in this necessity to pass on to the attack, taking over anarchist projects or individuals to later on submerse them in a logic of submission to a central apparatus. But it is precisely through discussion, thinking and critiques that the individual meets the need to converge with other singular individuals, or with other collectives that themselves are consisting of individuals.
Reproducibility also encourages the radicalisation of the individual or collective acts of attack, extending to the maximum the autonomy amongst individuals and collectives, generating, when one desires, an informal coordination in which, outside of the logic of dependency or acceptance, one could also come to share the knowledge of each comrade concerning sabotage.
Some particular realities
Gasoline, glass bottles, burned oil and rags are easily acquired. Also other materials with which one can attack the system and its cops can be easily found. For us, all means that are in accordance with the ends are weapons that can be directed against power. Maybe some are more destructive than others, but no any means gets ideological overrating over another. For example, guns over molotovs, or dynamite over home made incendiary devices. Also, the reproducibility of the attack depends of the particular characteristics of each place. For example, in Bolivia, where black powder and dynamite can be found on any market, on almost any place, these materials are easily acquired and makes that their use during revolts in such places is very common.
In our context, dynamite was much used during the Magonist revolts in the north of the country, because the possibility to acquire it was very easy as the north is a mining region.
Although in current times, the acquiring of explosive materials is usually a bit complicated, we could mention that in the case of the Oaxaca insurrection, home made explosives were widely used in the form of “coyotas”, which are basically party firecrackers with nails attached to it as shrapnel. They were extremely harmful for the cops who were repressing the revolt on the barricades.
Nevertheless, this reality of daily war, of drugs and arms trafficking, this need of the State to keep the country in a permanent war zone, makes the acquiring of short and long guns, grenades or whatever you want possible. In addition, society is used to its use and familiar with its use: in many cases, you learn it from when you are a youngster, be it for defence or for other reasons. So the use of guns to hit power, or their use during a generalized revolt or a conscious insurrection, is very likely. And again, the example of Oaxaca (as well as other revolts that are less known) illustrates clearly what we are saying.
For the moment, we do not want to enter into the discussion on ethics and morals concerning the use of guns or the disarmament of society. We are no pacifists, but neither are we warmongers. Nevertheless, we can affirm that reality has shown us that the society in arms in this lasts years has only massacred itself, something that is obviously in the interest of the State. But as anarchists
we go in another direction: we go towards the need to attack power with all means that are in accordance with the ends. The use of guns is in accordance with anarchist ethics. Here we are speaking of revolutionary action, of conscious acts of sabotage and their easy and efficient propagation to destroy power.
For the destruction of the myth of specialization and professionalism: neither spectators nor actors.
With all the rubbish that the system spreads through television, cinema, theatre and fiction books, an image has been created of the saboteur as a professional of violence. An image of a professional saboteur that, maybe unwillingly, is complemented by the visual propaganda of some guerilla armies or radical urban guerilla groups (leftist, marxist-leninist or also anarchist) in which their members appear with machine guns and other heavy weaponry in an attempt to have an impact in the eyes of the State and of society; or, with their own words, to propagandistic ends. But we can also add to this the image of the “reckless hero” that some comrades create around the figure of comrades who in the past (and the present) took action.
Taking out of the debate the fact that in certain moments anarchists – and any person who is rebelling – need to learn the use of guns (something that in Mexico, as we said in the previous paragraph, is more common than learning how to read) and learn fighting strategies on the countryside or in an urban setting, this type of armed visual propaganda is nothing more than a hindrance to the propagation of attack and sabotage on wide levels, in the social context, outside of our circles and before all, autonomously, for the following two reasons:
- Firstly, because the image of the professional of violence leaves aside all those who want to attack, but are not finding the so-called adequate means to attack the system (whatever the case might be, because the majority of it has to do with spectacularity), and this makes that these individuals desiring to attack stay immobile and spectators.
- Secondly, because the visual propaganda of the professional saboteur generates an abyss between the individual, the organisation and the organisations. The individual feels the need to attack, but believes that in order to do so, he needs to belong to a professional urban guerilla group, to a systematic organism, or that he has to create an organisation that specialises itself in this and leaves aside other aspects of life where intervention is also necessary. When he doesn’t find the organisation to back him up, or when he finds himself in the impossibility to use certain means, again there is immobility and spectators, because the individual stay immobile facing the im-potence of not being “on the level” of attacking the State. It is clear that everybody is capable of looking for the means he or she wants, there is no doubt about that, but my comment, apart from being based on experience and of knowledge about other experiences, projects itself specifically in when this type of visual propaganda leaves on the side not only the comrades who in one way or another have access to manuals and other things that older comrades have left them; I am speaking concretely about a comrade that is isolated (whatever that might mean) from the movement, or about a person who is an “ordinary” citizen” but has decided to stop being it and attack, who then find themselves many times in an impossible situation.
But the myth of the specialist or the professional of violence has other bad breaths
Many times, together with the propagation of this type of visual propaganda (more concretely by comrades, leaving aside the image that the State creates of terrorists), you have also the fact that one believes that the more specialisation the attack requires, and the more the means of attack are specialised, more damage is done to the infrastructures of power (meaning by this persons and things). The practice itself showed that this is not true and that this is many times a projection.
The comrades who in 2011 attacked the Wal-Mart of Buenavista in the central zone of the Federal District, give during an interview for the book “Que se ilumine la noche” a clear account on how just some easily acquirable elements and determination were needed to cause mayor damage to the infrastructures of power. A glass bottle, gasoline, condoms as a time delay and pills of ammonia sulphate were enough to cause the total destruction of the Wal-Mart. Another example could be mentioned of the comrades who in Tijuana burned 31 new patrol cars of the municipal police. Some short guns to cover the retreat, a car, some litres of gasoline and determination where enough. We are just mentioning these two examples because of their supposed “spectacularity” and huge damage, leaving aside the hundreds of sabotage actions that are being realised with molotovs or home made devices consisting of plastic bottles, matches, cigarillos and gasoline.
Also, the myth of the professional of violence or of specialization is often supported by another factor: to be or to want to be always at the height of the system.
By always wanting to be at the height of the system and to wage competition with its armies, besides falling in the trap of measuring ourselves with the same stick as the system is measuring us, the attacking group ends up being a mirror image of the armies of the system, even ending up considering the armed act or the guerilla group an end in itself and not a means to attack – giving often more valour to guns and its iconography than to other means of intervention.
When sometimes it has been said that groups end up begin a deformed mirror image of the State itself, one is also speaking about the vainglory and the overestimation given to guns, to rifles, to explosives. These elements, that should just be tools of the revolutionary, end up becoming his identity, loosing his particularity as an individual, delegating his own identity to a false identity supported by a commercial instrument-icon of the system like weapons – instruments that one uses out of necessity, far away from all fetishism towards them. Weapons are a commodity and the best we can do with them is to render them… usefully useless. As anarchists, I believe this strongly, we are against the fetishism of arms and against any organisation (or acronym) that converts itself into something identitarian and that ends up with denying the individual or the individuals. Our only identity is our own individuality, our only iden- tity are we ourselves and this can be seen reflected in mour words, thoughts and acts, that flow together as one.
So then, what do we want and what are we proposing?
Concerning the attack against the structures of the State and Capitalism, but above all against Power, we desire a propagation of attack, of sabotage and of the insurrectional perspective. What we are looking for, is the intensification of the social war day after day. That every person who feels the need to attack the State, Capitalism and Power does so, getting, above everything else, out of the idle position of spectator or of the immobility due to a lack of means.
Concerning anarchist organisation, we propose an informal organisational method, that is therefore in constant development and self-criticism, a method based on affinity and not on delegation or systematic agreement. An organisational method built starting from the needs that we experience in our immediate surroundings. An informal method that doesn’t place any organisation or acronym above the individual, but where the organisation stays subjected and submitted to constant practice and constant thinking, just as action is. An organisation based on the informal method of struggle that can be capable to propagate itself and be reproduced in qualitative terms.
Concerning the use of guns and explosives (easily acquired in this territory), a struggle consistent with the acratic principles and with informality. An acting that cuts in a slash with the vainglory of guns, that breaks with the fetishism created around the armed sabotage; a consistent struggle that by attacking power destroys the discourse that places the armed act above other acts of sabotage, and a critique on the fetishism of illegality. Through acting, break with the commercial discourse on guns, mirrored by the big vanguards and militant armed organisations who are placing their militants in a game of power, mirrored in every aspect of their organisation. This is what we want to say by seeing oneself through the deforming mirror of power. We are not proposing a structured armedist struggle, but a direct struggle against power in its totality, a struggle that is capable to propagate and to reproduce itself. And if guns are easily acquired, may their use then be consequent and always as means, never as a goal.
The social war is a constant reality, the individual or collective attack is also so, better when this reality propagates even more, disperses, spreads out through the whole territory. And to contribute to this, the means of attack easily reproducible and easily acquired should be the perspective of concrete attack that accompanies our struggles for anarchy.
For an informal, anonymous and autonomous practice of attack against power
Negación #8 Septimbre 2016 -Transalte by Avalanche anarchist magazine #8, Europe