Contribution of the nine imprisoned members of the R.O. CCF and anarchist prisoner Theofilos Mavropoulos to an international anarchist meeting convened under the insurrectional perspective (Zurich, 10–13 November 2012)
The question is not whether we are more or less poor, but whether we live in a way that does not contain us. We do not want to repeat things that have already been said.
We have banished from our minds the idea of central governance, and we do not believe in legends about the phantom of the proletariat. We are thus neither faced with an isolated State, which allegedly gives commands from the palaces of its Power, nor with a society that is waiting to be awakened in order to revolt. Today’s society is a pervasive social factory that produces attitudes, values, ethics and habits.
Today’s society works like a social death machine, which devours time, space, emotions and consciousnesses. The centre of the State and the heart of the system are dispersed in millions of small and large representations of Power in our everyday lives. They lie at the language we speak, the images of advertisements, the architecture of the cities, the virtual reality of technology, the people-centered civilization, the firearms of cops, the national symbols of fascists, the locks of private property, the standards we fall in love with, the walls of prisons.
There are no innocents. We all make part of the social machine of Power. The question is whether we are oil or sand in its gears. Therefore, we reject the notion of the apparent innocence of society. Silence is never innocent. We hate both the hand that holds the whip and the back which passively endures it.
Nowadays the social machine is being transformed. The economic crisis that’s spreading over the privileged Western societies creates the need for a transformation of the management of Power. A new military-police state, along with the dictatorship of technology, is now shielding every authority. New police security forces, concentration camps for immigrants, reappearance of the army on the streets, further development of surveillance systems, DNA banks and genetic screening experiments lay more and more mines over domains of our lives.
At the same time the social mass has passed from the era of consumerism frenzy to the period where financial promises are broken and agony is being prolonged.
Nowadays this agony takes to the streets and protests, appears indignant, shouts or complains. It is a heterogeneous crowd that reciprocates within its contradictions. A mosaic of people comprised of yellers, democrats, reformists, leftists, non-aligned persons, indignant citizens, university/school students, trade unionists, hooligans, nationalists, anarchists, and so forth.
Therefore, those who see in these new moves against the economic crisis some perspective of liberation and anarchist awareness will soon be disappointed.
A large part of this ‘movement’ is merely nostalgic for the past era of consumerist abundance and does not want a rebellion against any authority. Quite a few indignant persons slept with their purses filled, and have woken up with bankrupt illusions. That’s why they hit the streets claiming their consumerist fantasies back into their lives. Almost no one truly criticizes the former way of life, desiring its diversion towards liberation.
On the contrary, they wish to maintain the previous order of things. Particularly in Greece, some people in fear of economic distress resort to the cowardice of racism and fascist propaganda.
On the other hand, professionals of the ‘revolutionary’ rhetoric, reformists of the Left and their sold-out unionists, are exhausting the widespread social anger into processions-litanies, thus parading the corpse of compromise.
As for a large part of societist anarchists in Greece, they fantasize about picturesque scenarios that speak of a social awakening and a magical time when the objective conditions will have come. But anyone who sleeps with hopes wakes up with nightmares.
To us, who identify ourselves as anarchists of praxis, insurrectionists, nihilists and anti-societists, the insurgency is outside and far from economic demands and objective conditions. We abolish the economy as a social relation between us and define our subjective conditions as a starting point of insurgency. To tell the truth, we are not interested in economic terms and theories, nor share the agony of figures, statistics and financial deficit with the society. We just know how much we are suffocating in the modern world of captivity, either this world is deemed sick from the economic crisis or not.
Nevertheless, we rejoice at the economic crisis. This crisis is to our benefit, as it causes gaps over the territory of sovereignty and helps us promote our own offensive. We abandon the language of domination, as well as the rhetoric of a revolutionary antidote to the economic crisis. We attack because we want to deepen the economic crisis and cause chaos in Western metropolises.
As already mentioned, a complex and contradictory community of people (from antifascist ultras to conservative patriots) resides in the indignant movements and intermediate struggles. This is our chance to associate anarchy with the most untamed elements that are looking forward to expanding the rebellion amid the slowness of intermediate struggles. To make this happen, we need to step forward by maintaining our autonomous political characteristics loud and clear, and not camouflaging them to gain social sympathies. We wish to cause the polarization, and not get lost in the mediocrity of social protest.
So, we suggest that we intervene in the intermediate social struggles. Flexible small groups of anarchists of praxis may penetrate into these large processions-funerals, and generate conflict against selected targets of Power, either by striking with the method of hit ’n’ run, or (if the circumstances are favorable) by erecting barricades and attacking the police forces. These moments of clash can be a first meeting point among the most ‘extreme’ and untamed elements that take part in demonstrations. The first experience of attack, direct action and factual solidarity is acquired out there. Unfortunately, this experience has often been abandoned to the randomness of the next encounter at the next protest march so far. But we grew tired of running behind the facts. We do not want to wait for the next rally in order to attack. For this reason, we also propose the creation and support of informal groups of anarchist direct action, so that the experience of clash with the existent will not be confined to moments of a demonstration or an intermediate struggle. It will instead be organized, coordinated and diffused in all aspects of our lives, making riots permanent in our daily circumstances. We wish to turn our daily lives into a constant battle against Power and its civilization.
To make this happen, we need to rule out randomness and automations. We can neither wait for any anniversary or commemorative dates, nor for the tardiness of the mass in large gatherings and demonstrations.
Informal anarchist action groups are dispersed daily into the fabric of society, seeking to cause sabotages which will short out the social machine. Small anarchist guerrilla groups can easily move across the radiant sweatshop of the metropolis and strike blows at the colonies of the empire. In our chosen new anarchist urban guerrilla warfare, we are currently expanding the options of targets which we attack, just like every authority expands its forms. Alongside the common targets such as police stations, political party offices, etc. we also detect new enemies like advertising agencies, statistical services companies, pharmaceutical industry corporations, information technology companies, symbols of the spectacle, genetic experiments scientists, DNA laboratories, schools of business executives, faculties of journalism and marketing, and so on.
Furthermore, an informal anarchist urban guerrilla group is able to cause short circuits in the normal trafficking of various different products within the metropolis, e.g. by barricading streets which carry heavy rush hour traffic, and setting tires ablaze, to attacking and destroying means of mass transportation (public buses, trams, trains). So, while we seemingly do not attack the ‘plutocracy’ (because the streets and public transport vehicles are typically used by everyone), we nevertheless inflict sabotage on Power.
We’re deadening zones of the metropolis to liberate time; the time to think, to feel, to wonder about things.
After all, anarchist insurgency is when you have questions, while authority is when you assume you have all the answers.
We’d like to emphasize something though. When we talk and think as part of the raging insurgency, we know that there are a thousand ways to act as anarchists. As we have often written, we want others to be able to appropriate the same means we use.
By this phrase, however, we want to avoid any confusion which might surround our thinking. When some comrades arbitrarily base the term of ‘appropriable means’ on some yardstick that measures our violence, they then tend to reduce the means of conflict that measures our violence, limit the very means of conflict, and isolate acts such as the placing of a powerful explosive device, or the political execution of an officer of Power. According to this kind of reasoning, such actions and the use of respective means (explosives, time bombs, and guns) are usually considered to require a specialization. On the contrary, we believe that especially today individuals who want to take their life in their hands can discover ways to learn and to use all sorts of tools of anarchist direct action, from a stone to a Kalashnikov. We do not wish to put limits in our offensive. And this thought can become yet another practice, so we suggest that informal direct action groups contribute to the transmissibility-contagiousness of their experiences by safely publicizing and disseminating online manuals for the manufacturing of incendiary/explosive devices, alarm clock detonators, function of weapons, etc.
Moreover, this proposal is written in detail in another text we published in the latest edition of our comrades from ‘325’ with the aim of starting a dialogue between the anarchists of praxis and the Informal Anarchist Federation cells.
We believe that what is necessary to become appropriable is the will towards anarchist insurgency itself, and the means are nothing else than objects which our hands and our desires are capable of discovering. Therefore, we avoid the distinctions of low- or high-intensity violence, and we destroy the reproduction of the expertise myth. A typical example of polymorphous anarchist action is the experiment of FAI/IRF, whose members claim responsibility both for solidarity banners and blocking entrances of commercial stores with glue in Peru and Bolivia respectively, and the shooting of a chief executive of a nuclear power company in Italy as well as the execution of three municipal cops in Mexico. After all, as Conspiracy of Cells of Fire we started somewhat like this, too, and we were never tied up to an arrogance of the means and their unofficial hierarchy.
Continuing our reasoning on how the existent can really be attacked, we believe that no attack speaks for itself. Today nothing is obvious or self-evident. Even the attacks on bank branches, immigration concentration camps, the street battles with cops during a demonstration may be forged and appear as something other than what they were meant to be. Not only will the representatives of Power distort these beautiful moments of war, through the spectacle and the journalists, but there are also living myths about self-evident notions from our side; the myth of the enraged society that supposedly sympathizes with us and supports our practices, the myth of mass violence, the myth of a ‘just cause’ in general.
But we do not need the ‘sympathy’ of a crowd of applauders, nor do we wait for the masses before taking action, nor do we have requests in order to defend a just or unjust cause, to be right or wrong. We are nothing less than what we are, and we’re searching for accomplices and comrades. We are anarchist deniers of the order, and we wish to self-determine our acts, because these are indeed our invitations to anyone who wants to take back his/her life. Because our acts makes us what we are. We therefore think that the informal anarchist direct action groups must not let the silence cripple their actions, abandoning them to the dictatorship of the self-evident each time, but we rather consider public communiqués of a responsibility claim to be significant.
Besides, if we abandon an action to mercy of the anonymity, it feels like we’re depriving the action of its own psyche and of the meaning it carries. The communication that has both been eroded and lost its substance under the influence of modern civilization is given meaning once again and liberated anew through the discourse of comrades who carry out each attack. Thus, the act itself ceases to be an end in itself, just a news article in a daily, or simply a blow against the enemy, and becomes something much more: part of a special history, part of a special legacy that’s written in the here, in the now by people who share a joint desire, that of a continuing clash and destruction of the existent; a heritage durable over time and open to criticism and evolution. Apart from committing hostilities, we believe that in this way we can achieve an everlasting insurrectional perspective, which embraces an international galaxy of informal direct action groups and sets the stage for a dialogue which in turn is crucial to the development of relationships and comradeship.
Each proclamation, each responsibility claim is an open invitation, a small contribution to a wider conversation, a way to pose questions rather than giving answers, a way to self-determine yourself against any official truth, a method of communicating with mates that you have not even met in person or never contacted before; it is the outsourcing of war against Power that we have within us.
Besides, every communiqué is the result of the desire of a group of comrades who sat down to discuss, plan and organize their action, and attacked their target, and then talked to each other again, shared their experiences, made an account and often their self-criticism, and chose to publicize their lived experience and consciousness of their offensive. To us, every cell or informal group is a living experiment of human relationships in a liberation perspective. Especially the cells that have proved durability over time stand for laboratories of subversion, exploring the centre of human relationships. It is certain that the comrades’ relations in informal groups are being tried, evolved, worn out, re-created, and each individual discovers more and more of himself/herself. A cell or an informal anarchist federation is not running behind the facts but instead makes things happen. Informal groups are shaped to overcome the randomness of historical conditions, and do not abandon their desire for attack to a circumstantial spontaneity. On the contrary, they declare their own war on the existent in the here and now without any delay.
These formations and nuclei are a way to bid farewell to the inertia of the masses. We baptize them with the names we give ourselves. The name of each group we participate in is our psyche, our soul. It’s our way towards self-determination and rejection of all social identities. We are neither proletarian, nor oppressed, nor workers. We do not wish to get lost in the anonymity of mass unity that removes our uniqueness. We are the name we chose for ourselves. For this we say that the name of a cell does not stand as an advertising sign, but rather as a callout to everyone in order to organize their praxis and create their own group, so as to pass from the point where a return to normalcy is impossible. For the constant anarchist insurrection that never ends. Because there will always be a new sunrise more beautiful than any previous one.
Conspiracy of Cells of Fire of the first phase
and anarchist comrade Theofilos Mavropoulos
Informal Anarchist Federation / International Revolutionary Front (FAI/IRF)