This Was Our Job

But it’s not anymore.

Three years to the day of the first post to This Is Our Job, I’ve decided to end this particular anarchist project in order to devote myself to other anarchist projects. Primarily, I want more time to spend on the translation and preparation of book-length releases to be published through memory_lapse press, which is my own small printing initiative.

I’m still not sure what the first few books, if they ever do see the light of day, will consist of. Insurrectionary anarchism has meant a lot to me over the past four or five years, but in all honesty it’s also had certain negative effects on me that I need to distance myself from. So perhaps the books will deal with topics both confrontational and constructive, contemporary and historical, but always holding fast to a core of of antiauthoritarianism and its undying relevance to those who can truly see the world through its veil of falsehoods, still certain that it should, can, and will be a far better place.

I have some things to say about the current shape of insurrectionary anarchism as a current within a broader antiauthoritarianism, as well as the role and effectiveness of what’s come to be known as counterinformation as a means of spreading the news and discourse stemming from anarchist insurgency. I must admit that I had reservations about going ahead and openly sharing what I wanted to say, but as this is my last post, I might as well make it everything that it should be.

Ever since my first exposure to insurrectionary anarchism, I’ve gradually distilled certain aspects of the theory behind it as essential and discarded the rest. To me, a fecund anarchist insurgency is diffuse, illegal, offensive, strategic, consistent, and ethical. It’s primary aim should be to attack the physical infrastructure of repression, thereby reducing and eventually crippling the ability of that repression to function. What follows from this is not a wholesale destruction of every element of society as we know it, but the opening of space into which constructive anarchist initiatives can flourish. As domination is pushed back, liberation moves forward.

Yet in practice, this isn’t quite what I’ve been observing for the most part from action groups and individuals engaging in insurrectionary anarchism. Despite my enormous respect for their heroism in putting their lives on the line to attack the brutal irrationality of power, many of them have been seriously deficient when it comes to target selection and technical execution.

Without pointing the finger at specific examples of attacks that I’ve found rather pointless—attacks that were seemingly carried out solely to get a communiqué some exposure on the Internet and allow the participants to flex their muscles a bit, even if just for show—I feel that basic strategy isn’t being taken into consideration by those engaging in anarchist insurgency. This is leading to the lengthy imprisonment of many comrades, often in exchange for negligible infrastructural damage, and that is an unsustainable equation for a tendency already so marginal that it can only be considered the avant-garde of the avant-garde.

When attacking a target, a good first question to ask is: how much of a role does this specific target play in repression (or even, to what extent am I personally repressed by it?), and how much would its destruction hinder that repression? It’s a simple question, yet a review of most of what constitutes insurrectionary anarchist attack these days clearly demonstrates that it goes unasked.

The state deploys specific front-line repressive elements: police (precincts, vehicles, and other equipment), courts (and the buildings that house them), and prisons (including the private corporations and state agencies that manage them). The next line consists of intelligence agencies and their physical infrastructure (offices, vehicles, computer and communications networks, etc.). Finally, there is military infrastructure and all that entails.

On the capitalist side, repression flows from the financial industry, the advertising industry, and the manufacturing and retail industry, among others. But let’s take the financial industry as an example. Causing minor (or even major) damage to an ATM or bank branch is, to a banking conglomerate, largely equivalent to a mosquito bite. The true operational infrastructure of capitalism resides in offices and corporate headquarters, and while these targets may be difficult to access, they shouldn’t be neglected outright.

Yet such state and capitalist targets are rarely if ever attacked. Is it because the potential prison sentence for gluing shut an ATM card slot is far less than that of setting fire to a police helicopter? Is it a lack of vision, ambition, ability, resources? I wish I knew. All I can say for sure is that by attacking what I would deem to be low-value targets—targets whose repressive value to the system is so low that it may as well equal zero—insurrectionary anarchism is falling into the same trap as all the other anarchisms, relying solely on hackneyed routines that lead nowhere beyond the subcultural ghetto of those already involved.

As an adjunct to the above critique, I want to say something about bombs. I think it’s clear that the use of bombs by insurrectionary anarchists should either be discarded altogether or left to those who truly have an expert grasp on the fabrication of safe and effective improvised explosives. How many times have we read about bombs either not detonating at all, detonating at the wrong time and harming random passersby in the process, or detonating as planned yet causing ineffectual damage? This doesn’t even take into account the comrades who have already been killed or seriously maimed by the premature explosion of bombs they intended to use on targets. I feel strongly that, instead of bombs, a concerted effort should be made to use well-designed portable incendiary devices, since a potent raging fire will always do more damage than a low-strength explosion.

Now to counterinformation. My main frustration with This Is Our Job has been that very few people read it. Perhaps the blame for that is my own, as there might have been things I could have done to promote it more. But the dilemma remains: if the goal of counterinformation is to spread—as widely as possible—news and discourse stemming from anarchist insurgent action, then counterinformation itself must reach further than it does at the moment. I don’t really know how to make that happen, and that deficiency has troubled me for most of the three years that This Is Our Job has been active. I’m not privy to what kind of traffic other counterinformational sites have been getting, regardless of language, but I can say that my own numbers have been positively anemic.

So, given all of the above, it seems apt to put an end to the project at this particular point in time. The archives will stay online, in both the former and current locations. I will always try to fulfill any requests to retrieve specific pieces that were posted at some point. And I still welcome submissions for translation from the Greek- and Spanish-speaking milieus to the usual e-mail address. Perhaps they might make their way into a book at some point.

Finally, I want to thank all the comrades who took the time to read the site regularly and who contacted me personally to keep me informed, coordinate work, send me pieces for translation, or just say hello. I only hope that one day, somehow, we can meet face-to-face to share a drink, a meal, an embrace, and the whispered intimacies of our passion for liberation.

Up the rebels, always.

—Matthew (This Is Our Job)

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Friends of the Earth torch police car in Buenos Aires

As we’ve already stated, the police will be attacked, whether with bullets, fire, or explosives. We call the things we do by their names, and we want our comrades to do the same. We’re not going to say we’re carrying out a rat poison campaign by torching a police car, and while we don’t dismiss that option, there’s a time for everything.

We encourage all actions that aim to break with order, indifference, and normality, regardless of the effectiveness of those actions. But we feel that a better analysis of reality is necessary when the time comes to undertake an action in solidarity with the prisoners of the social war, as well as more appropriate decision-making regarding the type of conflictivity we want to provoke in order to spread the chaos and destruction being proposed by the Informal Anarchist Federation in this region. We are aware of the need to multiply actions against symbols of power and exploitation, and we believe that the best way to raise the cry of destruction is through propaganda by the deed. We therefore adhere to the Informal Anarchist Federation project, contributing with direct attacks against capital and the state, inciting direct action, and exchanging views with other comrades who have decided to shift to the offensive.

Thus, as the comrades from the Fire Cells Conspiracy Revolutionary Organization have already suggested to us, we must reiterate that it would be better for us not only to have a radical and insurrectionary discourse through which we can feel ourselves identified with the Informal Anarchist Federation, but also to bring that intransigence into the daily practice of our lives—even more so when we join the front to ensure that anarchy lives.

Let’s be clearer and more blunt by explaining to those interested in our actions—however, wherever, and whenever we do what we do—that all our intentions should be more sincere and contain greater relevance and commitment in this war to the end.

At 1:30 a.m. on October 1, 2012 we torched a patrol car belonging to the 47th Precinct of the Argentine Federal Police (at 4250 Avenida Nazca in Villa Pueyrredon), at the very corner of that taco stand, right under their noses and their cameras.

We also claim responsibility for setting fire to a luxury vehicle parked next to the SPS private security and surveillance company in Villa Devoto.

—Friends of the Earth (Informal Anarchist Federation)

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Sentences announced in 2nd Halandri Case trial

On Tuesday, October 2, the sentences were announced in the second trial of the Fire Cells Conspiracy Revolutionary Organization. The trial began in December 2011 and dealt with three bombings carried out by the Fire Cells Conspiracy in 2009: at the apartment of former Interior Vice-Minister Panayiotis Hinofotis, at the Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace, and at the apartment shared by politicians Gerasimos Arsenis and Louka Katseli.

Recall that since September 7, when Conspiracy comrades Damiano Bolano, Giorgos Nikolopoulos, and Michalis Nikolopoulos walked out of the trial (Christos Tsakalos had already done so earlier) and fired their attorneys, none of the accused comrades have appeared at subsequent sessions.

The judges, as expected, twice assigned the comrades court-appointed attorneys. But the comrades rejected those attorneys, refusing to be represented by them. The comrades therefore received notice that the trial would continue “as if they were in attendance,” which in fact meant “without their attendance,” and the October 2 session went ahead as such.

Bolano and the Nikolopoulos brothers were each sentenced to seven years in prison for “participation in a terrorist organization,” ten years for each of the four acts of “fabrication, supply, and possession of explosives,” and seven years for each of the the three “instigations of simple collaboration in explosions caused by unknown perpetrators, which caused a danger to people and property.” The total sentence for each of the three comrades is therefore 68 years in prison, with the so-called “combined sentence” being 34 years, out of which 25 years must be served (because there is no life sentence in Greece).

Tsakalos was sentenced to seven years for “participation in a terrorist organization,” and he released the following statement:

Statement by Christos Tsakalos Regarding the Fire Cells Conspiracy Trial

Yesterday, while I was sitting down to a chat with my comrades here at Korydallos Prison where I’m locked up, I found out about the sentence the courts imposed on me for the Halandri Case.

It was the finale of a judicial-police performance that ended without our attendance, because weeks ago we had already distanced ourselves from the trial—offending its laws, insulting its power, spitting on its justice, and rejecting its attenuating circumstances.

I had hardly learned of the sentences when some comradely “ribbing” began. The reason is simple. The courts and their puppets separated our sentences, condemning each of my three comrades to 34 years in prison while inflicting a mere seven years on me!

The judicial clergy naturally gave me a “soft” sentence, not because—despite their burning desire—the Antiterrorist Unit was unable to link me to the Halandri Case, but because of the certainty of a more serious sentence of many years that they’re reserving for me in the upcoming trials. Everyone knows that my name is in all the accusatory briefs concerning the Fire Cells Conspiracy (and of course some of them attribute the role of “leader” to me, thereby surpassing the limits of ridiculousness), while the Italian authorities have also initiated criminal proceedings against me.

But the empty eloquence of legal verbiage has never meant anything to me, nor has the democratic discourse of justice, with its presumptions of innocence and its evidentiary proof.

I continue to be an enemy of the black plague of justice and its functionaries.

Therefore, when the first arrest warrants for the Fire Cells Conspiracy were issued four winters ago, I didn’t hesitate for a single moment. The newspapers and television were portraying me as the “head” and “founder” of the Fire Cells Conspiracy, but the Antiterrorist Unit couldn’t find the evidence to issue a warrant for me.

Nevertheless, I walked directly through the doors of anarchist clandestinity and joined my brothers and sisters named in the arrest warrants—equal among equals, friend among friends, comrade among comrades.

Because no arrest warrant and no prison are capable of separating those who defy power, those who make warrants explode with the endless poetry of dynamite, and those whose comrade is fire.

Thus even now I reject what separates us legally, and I throw my “soft” sentence back in the judges’ faces.

I’m disgusted by their hypocritical decency, and I’m keeping my accounts open with the judicial mafia.

Also, to me, freedom isn’t bargained for in the enemy’s courtrooms. Freedom is a strictly personal cause, not to be begged for but conquered—day by day, thought by thought, gesture by gesture, smile by smile, attack by attack.

I continue to be an unrepentant anarchist of praxis, a nihilist against all social peace, and forever an urban guerrilla of the Fire Cells Conspiracy.

I therefore nullify legal truth and the word of law, following the truth I chose to believe and struggle for—my own truth, that of permanent anarchist insurrection and the new anarchist guerrilla warfare.

There, where everything is possible.

—Christos Tsakalos; Member of the Fire Cells Conspiracy (Informal Anarchist Federation/International Revolutionary Front); October 2, 2012; Korydallos

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Two communiqués from Operation Ardire prisoner Giulia Marziale

Operation Ardire prisoner Giulia Marziale has just released two fascinating communiqués about the ludicrousness of the charges against her and about the hypocrisy of people who sympathize with political dissidents elsewhere while condemning those in their own backyard.

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Police car torched by Cholera Cell in Buenos Aires

From Contra Info (September 27, 2012):

Rat poison campaign:

At 11 p.m., we torched a new red Volkswagen belonging to the 7th Precinct criminal investigation squad at the corner of Calle Irigoyen and Calle Jujuy.

The action was carried out in the context of the September 21–30 global Week of Agitation and Propaganda for Prisoners of the Social War, as well as the context pertaining to our survival in Buenos Aires.

We’re getting closer.

Know that we will attack you and your accomplices from the State and the TBA railway company for those murdered on the Sarmiento line, know that we will attack you for the increased ticket prices that force people to be added to a social control list via their SUBE card, know that we will attack you pig businessmen who sell us food poisoned with shit. And above all, know full well that you police pigs—who are the slaves of the rich and do nothing but kill, torture, and imprison—will be the first to fall.

Strength and dignity to all the comrade prisoners in Italy, Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, Greece, Switzerland, Indonesia, Germany, Russia.



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