Berlin Anarchist Black Cross Statement on Mark Stone/Kennedy

One of the better statements we’ve seen so far.

Resources Section

I’ve added a new “resources” section to the links, but it’s still a bit sparse.  Suggestions are welcome.  It should be pretty clear from the current links the kind of stuff I’m likely to be interested in, but to summarise it’s a list of links for activists.  And I’m interested in both practical and theoretical ‘resources’.

Another cop outed

A third undercover police officer has today been revealed by the Guardian. Mark Jacobs, known as ‘Marco’, operated in Cardiff for four years, infiltrating the Cardiff Anarchist Network (CAN) and other groups including international anti-globalisation networks, No Borders, and the early Climate Camps.

h/t Fitwatch

Check your contact lists etc.

email address: marcobanjo2000@yahoo.co.uk

UK mobile: 07746080139

‘Greek’ number: +306942665880

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/cardiffmarco (screenshotted in case of removal or hiding.  Don’t forget to use a proxy before checking it out!)

Of particular interest here is any information metalheads may have on this guy.  That may be a bit harder to track down than people in the direct action movement.

More on Undercover Cops in the Direct Action Movement

The undercover officer unnamed by the Guardian is Lyn Watson, although that was probably a pseudonym.

This is her.

NEWSFLASH: Rupert Murdoch is Still A Cunt

It will come as no surprise to anybody that I am no great fan of Andy Newman and his politics, to put it mildly.

But at a time like this, that’s on the backburner.  Andy deserves solidarity against the disgusting attack on blogging freedom from the Murdoch press.

Details here.

p.s.  I kinda think an amusing solidarity tactic would be for lots of us to print overblown comedy threats against the NotW.  But there’s no point in me doing that by myself.  Anybody else up for it?

Why I Have a Problem With the Liberal Left

Inspired by this post from Sunny at Pickled Politics.

1) Constant bleating about ‘violence’, which seems to cover everything from broken windows to trying to break out of a kettle to looking at a policeman a bit funny.  Extra minus points for citing Gandhi.  Gandhi’s entire ideological perspective was based round the idea of trying to suffer more than his opponents.  If that’s your thing, knock yourself out.  (Or let the enemy do it for you possibly).  But don’t lecture people because they don’t want to martyr themselves for your precious sensibilities.  See also arguments about who ‘threw the first punch’, as if demonstrators and the state start with a clean slate every time.  The only exception to this is sometimes ‘historical violence’.  Which is why Labour Councils can set up monuments to the International Brigade while calling for the full force of the law to be used against physical force antifascists in the here and now.

2) Setting themselves up as spokespeople for social movements with absolutely no democratic mandate to do so.  Funnily enough, this is also a major criticism I have of the SWP (see Globalise Resistance, the ANL claiming credit for AFA actions etc).  So perhaps some of the mutual hostility is a conflict over limited turf.  But the liberal left, possibly without meaning to, use their access to the media to ‘speak’ for movements, even when they have no basis to do so or even when their arguments are not in anyway reflective of the wider mood.

3) A stubborn refusal to learn from failed tactics again and again.  Any news on ‘reclaiming’ the Labour Party from the left yet?  Because that particular tactic has been being argued for since before I was born.  Without anything to show for it.  It seems to be like the Rapture.  We should all have faith that it’s going to happen, whatever the evidence to the contrary.  When that’s possible, let’s just ignore that we fucked up and move on!  A bit of humility from those who called for a Lib Dem vote and a recognition they have a bit of a credibility problem at the moment would be nice. If unlikely.   It’s not ‘sectarian’ to call their tactical reasoning into doubt.

4. Left unity apart from with everybody I don’t like.  Possibly the most hilariously unselfaware version of this in recent times is Emily Davis’ post on Liberal Conspiracy.  But I’m being unfair.  She calls for both parts of the left, “centre” and “moderate”.  (“We got both types of music – country and western!”)  Now some might think I’m being hypocritical here.  Because not only is this post an obvious attack on parts of the left, I’ve also been known to call for “unity of militants” when it comes to antifascism.  But those people are missing a crucial fact.  I’ve never made a vague call for ‘left unity’ and I freely admit to being a grumpy sectarian.

5.  Reformism and other forms of making their peace with the establishment.  Socialism or barbarism, comrades.  Now more than ever.  We have a victorious rampart neoliberalism, which condemns many to grinding poverty and many more to simply existing and you want to tinker with the symptoms?  It’s like putting a band-aid on a corpse.  It might make you feel better, but it’s far past that point.  You can’t reform profit capitalism.  Kick it until it fucking breaks.

Some random musings on the student protests

Such horror, oh such a farce, a little bit of broken glass
You should think yourself lucky that this was done
You’ll have something you can whine about for years to come

(New Model Army, Chinese Whispers)

As the title says, just a few disjointed thoughts on the protests.

One interesting thing about these protests is that they have been entirely out of the ‘control’ of any of the organised left groups.  This truly has been a grassroots movement, where the only leadership seen (or needed!) has been the leadership of ideas.  Decisions have been made primarily on the ground, not from pubs and backrooms prior to the event.

It’s been a textbook example of why spontaneity is vital to any movement.  Praxis needs to inform theory, not vice versa.  And that is what has happened.  Thousands of students haven’t started seeing the police as their enemy because they read a particularly convincing anarchist pamphlet, or because of Ian Bone’s imaginative use of the word “wanker” at every opportunity.  It springs directly from their own experiences on the streets, from the reality of the class struggle, not from dry theory with no link to everyday life.

Same thing day after day- tube – work – dinner – work – tube – armchair – TV – sleep – tube – work -how much more can you take? – one in ten go mad, one in five cracks up

(King Mob graffiti)

The primitivist conceit that technology is counter-revolutionary has been destroyed for good.  This is, in many ways, the first movement that has truly realised the potential of cyberpunk theory.  From Twitter to Facebook to blogs to texting, the technology has transcended the limitations of its corporate creators, in order to be used to build and to create.  And the attempts by the authorities to wrestle control back have been unsuccessful.  As can be seen by the fact that, after the cops got Fitwatch closed down, the article exploded across the net.

Reformism is dead.  All that remains now is for the corpse to stop twitching.  Because this explosion of anger stems precisely from the fact that students previously took the argument of the liberals at face value.  Lobby for your preferred option.  Get promises from politicians to support you.  Then put your cross in the right box once every four years.  It’s not just Nick Clegg who has been shown up by this.  Liberalism itself has been shown, conclusively, to have failed.  And unless liberals face that openly and honestly, they do not deserve to extricate themselves from the dustbin of history.

If breaking windows and fighting back when the cops attack is ‘violence,’ then give me a new word, a word a thousand times stronger, to use when the cops are beating non-resisting people into comas.

(Starhawk, Staying on the Streets)

What is unlikely to result from this is a renewal of faith in the Labour Party.  That’s very different from the Thatcher years.  Because, unlike then, protesters have a recollection of a Labour government within living memory.  No longer do they get the luxury of opposition without having to face the consquences of their actions in goverment.  Again, the real world has crashed in.  Very few of those who have discovered why Tory hatred is such a fine tradition have any illusions in Labour.  Equally, it is noticable that the NUS and hacks like Aaron Porter are simply no longer relevant.  They’ve been bypassed by events on the street.

Finally, it is time to reject fully the false dichotomy between “good” and “bad” protesters.  It is a simple fact that the original occupation is what gave the movement the momentum to carry on.  And that, without a few broken windows, there is no way it would still be being talked about.  If you don’t like that, I can only advise lobbying reality to change its behaviour to fit your ideological preconceptions.

You found it all so easy to ignore the people who complained
And let their anger rise in flames
You thought this country was so great
That nobody could ever hate the way the system treated them
And then you wondered why they burnt your buildings down

(Subhumans, British Disease)

Security Alert: Undercover Cop in the Direct Action Movement

Mark Stone, real name Mark Kennedy.  Especially active in the Bristol and Notts areas, but seems to have got around a fair bit.  Check your contacts list.  Photos/further details on Indymedia.

In Defense of Valerie

If art is so violent, why is it that hooligans use Stanley knives…and not paint-brushes?

(Grant Morrison, Kill Your Boyfriend)

Valerie Solanas. A name that still causes ripples today. And the name of not only one of the most misunderstood (by many of her defenders as much as those who condemn her), but also one of the greatest artists of the last century.

Far too many people fail to understand that the SCUM Manifesto was never supposed to be taken literally. It was an intellectual provocation. A piece of anti-art cultural terrorism. The true legacy of Dada. It was meant to stimulate debate. It’s a piece of satirical literature, not a political manifesto.

So, why do so many who mention Valerie fail to understand this simple fact? Part of it is pure ignorance. They’ve not even bothered to find out what Valerie herself said about the SCUM Manifesto. And, of course, the other factor that has led to this muddying of the waters is Valerie’s shooting of Andy Warhol. Which leads us to the question of why she did this.

The establishment line is that it happened because she hated men and Warhol was a man. But, as is so often the case, the establishment line is not supported by the evidence. Those who cling to this explanation, as a drowning man clings to driftwood, fail to explain away the fact that Valerie associated with the ‘street gang with analysis’, Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers. Which was mostly made up of men. Even more specifically, she was personally close to one of the Motherfuckers’ founders, one Ben Morea. Those with at least a basic grounding in the SCUM manifesto might try to claim that Morea was obviously one of the weak passive men called for in the manifesto. That provides a superficial explanation at least. Assuming you know nothing about Morea and/or the Motherfuckers. Among other things, Morea was involved in instigating brawls with Maoist groups. In occuping a building at Columbia University. In forcing his way into the Pentagon. Whatever you may say about Morea, these are not the actions of a “passive” man.

So what are some possible reasons for this shooting, taking into account that nobody can truly speak for Valerie but herself and she is no longer with us?

I’d say it is fair to suggest that at least some of the motivation was personal. It looks likely that, at least in part, this was done to achieve a certain level of notority. Notority of course being the celebrity of the outsider. As well, all evidence points to the fact that Warhol was manipulative and actively unpleasant to many of those who were in his social circle. He played off people against each other, allowing people to fall in and out of favour, much like a medieval monarch. And sometimes actions have consequences…

As well as that, much can be explained if you understand the Motherfuckers milieu. Valerie’s action did not exist in a vacuum. Previously to this, the Motherfuckers had already taken a militant anti art stance. Their propaganda called for attacks on art galleries. When they were still known as Black Mask, they’d given out flyers attracting the homeless to establishment art shows to drink the free alcohol provided. They dumped uncollected rubbish (from a strike of garbage collectors) into the fountain at a bourgeois cultural event. Most significantly, they’d already carried out a spoof assassination of the poet Kenneth Koch (using blanks). Seen in this context, we can see that Valerie’s act was the culmination of this activism, not something that existed in isolation. Certainly, she took it one step too far. Much like Duchamp. Or Socrates. Or Jesus.

Finally, yes, she was almost certainly mentally unstable. Unlike such bastions of sanity as Van Gogh or Byron. So the establishment line has managed to get this one right. Even if they fail to prove why it is in any way relevant.

Besides, I’ll shed no tears for Warhol. He was one of the most prominent shock troops of those who see the purpose of art as being to titillate the status quo. Of those who would reduce creativty to consumerism. Of art as cultural production for the elite. Of ‘daring’ pieces on boardroom walls. He was a soldier in the ongoing war of art. He was no innocent bystander.

But, actually, none of that is why I love Valerie so much. It’s far more simple. In that one simple act of glorious nihilism, that statement of beautiful madness, she said something more profound about our culture’s worship of celebrity than Quentin Tarinteno could even dream of. And her actions still genuinely outrage and shock the borgeouise today. It reminds them that “art” is not their personal property. It belongs to the people. And that one action is a more significant piece of art than the entire output of the faux controversialists of the YBAers.

Art, real art, shocks and challenges and outrages and is still talked about decades later. And Valerie Solonas is one of the few truly important artists of the last century.

Prominent EDL Activist Resigns Over Far Right Infiltration

A prominent member of the EDL LGBT Division has publically resigned from the EDL, in protest against their tolerance of far right activists.  The thread in question is http://s1.zetaboards.com/  EDL_The_Forum/topic/3864223/1/ (Broken link).  I’ve screenshotted it, because the EDL admin have already said they’re going to trash it.  I’m not going to do much analysis, I think these posts speak for themselves.  “Homo Sapien” is the activist in question.  “englandman” is an openly antisemitic EDL supporter.  Roberta Moore is a leading member of the EDL Jewish Division.  And MJ is one of the EDL forum admins.