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Crimethinc - Fighting for Ourlives

Crimethinc - Fighting for Ourlives

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Published by HCaruthersIsDead

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Published by: HCaruthersIsDead on Dec 02, 2010
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07/15/2014

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 fghting  or our lives
 
an anarchist primer
 
FREE
ABSOLUTELY
 
We dropped out of school, got di-vorced, broke with our families and
 
ourselves and everything we’d known.
We quit our jobs, violated ourleases, threw all our furniture outon the sidewalk, and hit the road.We sat on the swings of children’splaygrounds until our toes werefrostbitten, admiring the moon-light on the dewy grass, writingpoetry on the wind for each other.We went to bed early and lay awakeuntil well past dawn recounting allthe awful things we’d done to oth-ers and they to us—and laughing,blessing and absolving each otherand this crazy cosmos.We stole into museums showingreruns of old Guy Debord lmsto write
ght foul 
and
 
 faster, my friend, the old world is behind you
 
on the backs of theater seats.
The scent of gasoline still fresh onour hands, we watched the newsun rise, and spoke in hushed voic-es about what we should do next,thrilling in the budding conscious-ness of our own limitless power.We used stolen calling card num-bers to talk our teenage loversthrough phone sex from telephonesin the lobbies of police stations.
We broke into the private poolsand saunas of the rich to enjoythem as their owners never had.We slipped into the ofces whereour browbeaten friends shufedpapers for petty despots, to draftanti-imperialist manifestos ontheir computers—or just sleep un-der their desks. They were shockedthat morning they nally walked inon us, half-naked, brushing ourteeth at the water cooler.
We lived through harrowing, ex-hilarating moments when we didthings we had always thought im-possible, spitting in the face of allour apprehensions to kiss unap-proachable beauties, drop bannersfrom the tops of national monu-ments, drop out of colleges . . . andthen gritted our teeth, expectingthe world to end—but it didn’t!
We stood or knelt in emptyingconcert halls, on rooftops underlightning storms, on the deadgrass of graveyards, and sworewith tears in our eyes never to goback again.We sat at desks in high school de-tention rooms, against the wornbrick of Greyhound bus stations,on disposable synthetic sheets inthe emergency treatment wardsof unsympathetic hospitals, onthe hard benches of penitentiarydining halls, and swore the samething through clenched teeth, butwith no less tenderness.We communicated with eachother through initials carved intoboarding school desks, designsspray-painted through stencilsonto alley walls, holes kickedin corporate windows televisedon the ve o’clock news, lettersposted with counterfeit stamps orcarried across oceans in friends’packs, secret instructions codedinto anonymous emails, clandes-tine meetings in coffee shops,love poetry carved into the planksof prison bunks.We sheltered illegal immigrants,political refugees, fugitives from justice, and adolescent runawaysin our modest homes and beds,as they too sheltered us.We improvised recipes to bakeeach other cookies, cakes, break-fasts in bed, weekly free meals inthe park, great feasts celebratingour courage and kinship so wemight taste their sweetness onour very tongues.We entrusted each other with ourhearts and appetites, togethercomposing symphonies of ca-resses and pleasure, making lovea verb in a language of exaltation.We wreaked havoc upon their gen-der norms and ethnic stereotypesand cultural expectations, show-ing with our bodies and our rela-tionships and our desires just howarbitrary their laws of nature were.We wrote our own music and per-formed it for each other, so whenwe hummed to ourselves wecould celebrate our companions’creativity rather than repeat theradio’s dull drone.In borrowed attic rooms, wetended ailing foreign lovers andstruggled to write the lines thatcould ignite the res dormant inthe multitudes around us.
In the last moment before dawn,ashlights tight in our shakinghands, we dismantled power boxeson the houses of fascists who wereto host rallies the following day.
We fought those fascists tooth,nail, and knife in the streets, whenno one else would even confrontthem in print.We planted gardens in the aban-doned lots of ghettos, hitchhikedacross continents in record time,tossed pies in the faces of kingsand bankers.We played saxophones togetherin the darkness of echoing cavesin West Virginia.
In Paris, armed with cobblestonesand parasols, we held the gen-darmes at bay for nights on end,until we could almost taste the newworld coming through the tear gas.
We fought our way through theirlines to the opera house and tookit over, and held discussions theretwenty-four hours a day as to whatthat world could be.In Chicago, we created an under-ground network to provide illegalabortions in safe conditions anda supportive atmosphere, whenthe religious fanatics would havepreferred us to die in shame andtears down dark alleys.
In New York we held hands andmassaged each other’s shoulders asour enemies closed in to arrest us.
In Quebec we tore up the high-way and pounded out primordialrhythms on the trafc signs withthe fragments, and the sound wasvaster and more beautiful than anysong ever played in a concert hall.
In Santiago, we robbed banks tofund papers of transgressive poetry.In Siberia, we plotted impossibleescapes—and carried them out,circumnavigating the globe withforged papers and borrowed moneyto return to the arms of our friends.
In Montevideo, in the squattedtownship, we built huts from ply-wood and plastic sheeting, piratedelectricity from nearby power lines,and conferred with our neighborsas to how we could contribute toour new community.
In San Diego, when they jailed us forspeaking our minds, we invited ourfriends and lled their prisons untilthey had to change their policy.
In Oregon, we climbed trees, andlived in them for months to pro-tect the forests we had hiked andcamped in as children.In Mexico, when we met hoppingfreight trains, we traded storiesabout working with the Zapatis-tas in Chiapas, about oods wit-nessed from boxcars passingthrough Texas, about our grand-parents who fought in the Mexi-can revolution.
[Overture:A True Story ]
 
It’s true. If your idea of healthy human relations is adinner with friends, where everyone enjoys everyone else’scompany, responsibilities are divided up voluntarily andinformally, and no one gives orders or sells anything, thenyou are an anarchist, plain and simple. The only questionthat remains is how you can arrange for more of yourinteractions to resemble this model.Whenever you act without waiting for instructions orofcial permission, you are an anarchist. Any time youbypass a ridiculous regulation when no one’s looking,you are an anarchist. If you don’t trust the government,the school system, Hollywood, or the management toknow better than you when it comes to things that affectyour life, that’s anarchism, too. And you are especiallyan anarchist when you come up with your own ideas andinitiatives and solutions.As you can see, it’s anarchism that keeps thingsworking and life interesting. If we waited for authoritiesand specialists and technicians to take care of everything,we would not only be in a world of trouble, but dreadfullybored—and boring—to boot. Today we live in that world of (dreadfully boring!) trouble precisely to the extent that weabdicate responsibility and control.Anarchism is naturally present in every healthy humanbeing. It isn’t necessarily about throwing bombs or wearingblack masks, though you may have seen that on television(Do you believe everything you see on television? That’s notanarchist!). The root of anarchism is the simple impulse todo it yourself: everything else follows from this.
We fought in that revolution, andthe Spanish civil war, and theFrench resistance, and even theRussian revolution—though notfor the Bolsheviks
or 
the Czar.Sleepless and weather-beaten, wecrossed the Ukraine on horsebackto deliver news of the conictsthat offered us another chance toght for our freedom.Tense but untrembling, we smug-gled posters, books, rearms, fu-gitives, ourselves across bordersfrom Canada to Pakistan.We lied with clean consciences tohomicide detectives in Reno, tomilitary police in Santos, to angrygrandparents in Oslo.We told the truth to each other,even truths no one had ever daredtell before.When we couldn’t overthrow gov-ernments, we raised new genera-tions who would taste the sweetadrenaline of barricades andwheatpaste, who would carry onour quixotic quest when we fell ored before the ruthless onslaughtof the servile and craven.When we could overthrow gov-ernments,
we did 
.We stood, one after the other,decade after decade, century af-ter century, behind the witnessstand, and shouted so the deafestself-satised upright citizen at theback of the courtroom could hearit: “. . . and if I could do it all overagain, I would!”As the sun rose after winter par-ties in unheated squats, we gath-ered up great sacks of brokenglass and washed stacks of dishesin freezing water, while our critics,sequestered in penthouses withmaid service, demanded to knowwho would take out the garbagein our so-called utopia.When the good intentions of lib-erals and reformists broke downin bureaucracy, we collected foodfrom the trash to feed the hungry,broke into condemned buildingsand transformed them into palac-es t for pauper kings and banditqueens, held the sick and dyingtight in our loving arms.
We fell in love in the wreckage,
 shouted out songs in theuproar, danced joyfully inthe heaviest shackles theycould forge; we smuggled ourstories through the gauntletsof silence, starvation, andsubjugation, to bring themback to life again and again asbombs and beating hearts; webuilt castles in the sky fromthe ruins of hell on earth.
One of us evenassassinated the Presidentof the United States.
Accepting no constraintsfrom without, wecountenanced nonewithin ourselves, either,and found that the worldopened before us like thepetals of a rose.
I’m speaking, of course, of anarchists—and when peopleask me about my politics, I tellthem: the best reason to be arevolutionary is that it is simplya better way to live. Their lawsguarantee us the right to remainsilent, the right to a public trialby a jury of our peers (thoughmy peers wouldn’t put me ontrial—would yours?)—whatabout the right to live life likewe won’t get another chance, tohave reasons to stay up all nightin urgent conversation, to lookback on every day without regretor bitterness? Such rights we canonly claim for ourselves—andshouldn’t these be our centralconcerns, not the minutiae of protocol and survival?
For those of us born into a captivitygilded by the blood and sweatof less fortunate captives, thechallenge of leading a life worthliving of stories worth telling is alifelong project, and a formidableone; but all it takes, at anymoment, to meet this challenge isto contest that captivity.
When we fght, we’re fghting or our lives.

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