Things need to be said about the general strike in Oakland [on November 2nd]. There are things that need to be addressed and positions to be clarified. This is not a justification of some of the actions that happened during the general strike because these things need no justification. But because people are so keen on having an opinion on everything, we would prefer that when they say shit, they are accurate. This is also a love letter and a note of encouragement to the people on our team.
One of the most exciting actions to come out of the general strike was the anti-capitalist march. Of course, the shutdowns of banks and work places that were threatening their workers was amazing, but there seems to be little strife around these things, and therefore little to say beyond “Fuck yes, shut everything down.” But as the anti-capitalist march was one of the more confrontational (and therefore controversial) actions, there are plenty of things to say.
First things first, we were not direct participants in all of it, but we fucking love property damage. This is a very non-political (in the classical sense of the word) love and really we just love to see shit fucked up. Fuck normalcy. Besides the wanton vandalism, this march was exciting because it was a large group of people acting completely outside of and against the general political sentiment of what has so far been the occupation movement. This does not mean, of course, that it was against the occupation itself because the very non-hierarchical and overarching nature of the occupation allows for these sorts of things to happen within it. That liberals want to say otherwise says more of their own ideological naiveté and blindness.
This was also the radical wing of the occupation flexing its muscle. And it is always the radical elements of these sorts of movements that provide the energy, space, and bodies necessary to move forward, expand, and not sink into stagnation. We are situated in an ongoing global civil war, and, for the first time in a long while, there is a combination of basic infrastructure/solidarity and a large mass of bodies that, together, provide a platform for offensive and creative attacks on capital. The anti-capitalism march was a test run of this. Here we want to make clear that we do not believe that breaking windows and spray painting walls will materially hasten the revolution. We don’t think any pro-revolutionary believes this. But what is important is that pro-revolutionaries are learning how to fight, and, beyond that, being able to momentarily break out of the suffocating pressure of society.
What we found comical about this whole event was that the liberal pacifists themselves destroyed the myth of ideological pacifism, although from their position they are not able to see this. In the process of smashing bank windows, there were a couple protestors that took more hardline stances on pacifism, with a couple individuals going as far as grabbing, hitting, and tackling the people smashing windows. There was also talk from some of the “peaceful protestors” of forcefully removing people’s masks. Of course the sweet sweet irony in all of this is that while property was being destroyed (and it should be made clear here that it was only banks and union busting businesses that got destroyed – not that we, the authors, have any problem with small businesses being attacked. In fact, we absolutely love it as ALL business is still business.), the only violence directed toward actual human beings was on the part of the “peaceful protestors.” We notice here that the projected goal of pacifism, a peaceful world, is not possible through pacifism. We also notice a definite difference between non-violence and pacifism: the former being a specific tactic individuals might choose to employ; the latter being an ideology forced onto other people. It is here that we see the very same logic of the state and the police embodied in actual bodies. That peace has to be forced upon other people, regardless of how this happens. It should bring you joy then to hear that the peace police were beaten Greece style with wooden dowels and poles.
So it becomes obvious that it is not violence that is the issue, as the peaceful protesters are quick to use violence themselves. No, the issue is of intensity. Of image. The “peaceful protesters” wish for the occupation movement to be nice and soft, attractive to the media, the ultimate source of parasitism and representation. So when an amorphous mass of bodies that are not identifiable comes crashing with all of its chaos and intensity through the city, the first immediate reaction is to use any means necessary to attenuate the intensity of those bodies. Simultaneously, the unidentifiable and unrepresentable mass needs to be reduced to something that is identifiable and representable. That something can be nothing and everything all at once strikes more fear into the citizen’s heart than the police with their guns and grenades and tear gas and cages. The label “the anarchists” is thrown onto everybody who does not protest the proper way or who wears all black. This is not because of the actual political content of the rowdy hooligans, clearly. There is no thought whatsoever when this label is thrown about in such a manner. It is entirely an attempt by those who have completely internalized their alienation and the logic of this world to bring these outsiders back into the discourse of Empire, although clearly in a negative way.
All of this only further proves the existence of world civil war, and that Occupy Oakland is a battlefield. The divisions created by this march are not political in the traditional sense. It is not one tendency against each other. This is quite plainly a battle between ethical forms-of-life, meaning these conflicts are over the way people do the things they do. This is most evident in the fact that on both sides of this are anarchists and communists. And this is where it gets interesting: those anarchists and communists who were not for the property damage could be later seen telling those who were to “calm down.” It doesn’t matter that all anarchists are against the state and capitalism when there are those who are firmly attached to the life dampening nature of society itself.
None of the authors of this were present for the attempted building occupation later in the night. We do know however that it was not a violent action until the police showed up. That people were prepared for this does not place the blame on them but only shows their accurate understanding of the function of the police. We also know that the GA voted to endorse and support all occupations of buildings, so those that are saying this was not done with the consent of the occupation can shut up and stew in the short comings and failures of consensus and democracy. Losers.
Mad props and so much fucking love to all the Oakland hooligans who have been, continue to, and will be keepin’ it real.