Imagine for a moment you’re at a bar and there’s an immigrant in front of you.
He’s quiet, but not antisocial, casually dressed but not sloppy. He seems just like anybody else except he isn’t. What you don’t know is he’s been working as an aviation programs engineer and even helped design fly-by-wire planes, in which manual controls are entirely replaced by computers. Smart guy, very talented, “high energy” as Il Duce might say; a success story from India and right out of American mythology.
Now, behind him, a new sound; old, fearful, you hear a hellish cry: “GET OUT OF MY COUNTRY!”
Who the fuck was that? There appears to be a bit of a scuffle in the back, some guy hassling the immigrant you were just studying, but the bar manager seems to take care of it. The man, who appears to be just some old white dude, looks pissed. There’s something about him, but you can’t seem to place it. The man leaves, but in a few minutes comes back through the door. Perhaps he left something?
He shoots 3 people, two of them Indians who he mistakenly took for Muslims.
Maybe you’re at a protest this time, holding your sign and feeling the electric current of hundreds of other bodies joined in solidarity. A man emerges from the crowd, egging you on to hit him. He spits at you like a diseased raccoon and curses like a fucking sailor. Maybe he’s drunk you figure, or at least too high to really know what’s going on. Someone else pushes him away.
He pulls out a pistol and shoots them. He’ll only be charged with assault.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. We’re not even a full year into the reign of a new emperor and already the political climate has become practically poisonous, a vile and noxious cloud not only choking the most at risk in our communities but the people seeking to defend them. People have called for Antifa to be declared a terrorist organization; state governments are writing bills that allow protesters to be run over and have their property stolen from them.
It’s a situation not unlike the one faced by French Illegalists at the turn of the century:
“Against us, all arms are good; we are in an enemy camp, surrounded, harassed. The bosses, judges, soldiers, cops unite to bring us down.”
To be a thinking person in this country of barbarians is to be a criminal and with ever-increasing fervor the tribes loyal to the new Emperor aim to make war upon us. There are millions of people sitting in front of televisions as I type these words that would see nothing wrong with a few hundred lives sacrificed every year to “keep people in line” and you can be sure that folks like you and I will be among them. The cops don’t stop them, they exchange racist texts with them; they console men who kill unarmed black children and tell them what they did was just.
To be an Anarchist, a Communist, an Anti-Capitalist or Intersectional Insurgent is to be potentially marked for death. This is not a metaphor. This is real life.
If you roamed the streets of Syria with nothing but a baseball bat you’d be thought to be suicidal; if your “war against the State” consisted of nothing but flames and gasoline every fire station in the country would be well enough equipped to handle even your most daring of raids.
The people who overwhelmingly support the policies and politicians that want to see you stuffed into a coffin are getting rather shooty as of late. I ask a simple question: do you have the tools to protect not only yourself but the people you care about?
The Great Misfortune
Let’s not kid ourselves: “radicals” are about as far from “revolutionaries” as turkeys are from the T-rex. Somewhere along the line the Left stopped being dangerous and almost went extinct. After the IWW was broken in the 30’s and Labor’s power was smashed, after the ALF-CIO denounced communists and dropping acid was a stand in for revolution, the only place you could find the same current that scared the living piss out of emperors and presidents became smoke-filled college dorms or momentary marches down half-way empty streets. In essence the Left’s ideas about human liberation from the chains of capital were so heavily hunted in the physical world it ran back into our heads; like Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers the Left was thought to be extinct, the sight of a Hammer and Sickle more like the discovery of a dinosaur bone that any kind of political statement.
But times ain’t what they used to be.
Enraged by Trump’s actions and betrayed by the Democrats, the specter of radicalism has returned like an angry ghost hellbent on revenge. Millennials are tired of capitalism yet Bernie’s “political revolution” failed to deliver on anything worthwhile. Non-violence has shown itself as only a great way to get arrested.
Yes, the militant Left seems to be emerging from the ground like cicadas in the Florida summer, hisses and noises slowly building to an unshakable chorus. Signs from the previous generation still remain on the still wet wings of these new militants however. Black Bloc is back but we’re still battling over protests, people joined arm in arm around buildings are generally just a nuisance and not a blockade.
The Anarchists and Militants of all stripes have become neutered, putting us in a dangerous predicament not faced in other countries. Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to be members of a gun-owning household and about six-in-ten gun household members (64%) say they “often feel proud to be American”; roughly half of all the guns in this country are possessed by just 3 percent of American adults; many of the cheapest firearms to produce (ones with open bolt actions) are specifically banned under the NFA and the Hughes Amendment, effectively keeping self-protection out of the hands of the working class.
This is not Europe, this is the United States of fucking America, a morose fiefdom where people can walk into a goddamned Starbucks with 30 rounds of armor-piercing bullets.
What this amounts to is a tangled web of dark implications too dire to think about, a hidden threat of wealthy and well-to-do patriots fully armed and very capable of destroying any gains a revolutionary movement might make in a matter days. They can afford to laugh at riots because they know when the chips are down any effective means of self-defense are firmly in the hands of one class and one ideology.
There is no specter haunting any continent besides the FAI and even then only in small spontaneous camps. Cops and Nazis alike(but I repeat myself) have stormed protests and proceeded to beat the shit out of whoever they like because they pose no threat to the ones doing the beating. Police still want to go home at the end of the day; the minute they are faced with somebody more than capable of inflicting even worse harm they can commit they suddenly become negotiators and peacemakers. Recall the inbreds at the Malthur Wildlife Reserve were treated like honorable enemies because they had fully automatic weapons that could slice a pig up in a matter of seconds.
Recall also they were all aquitted by juries and served almost no jail time.
Compare that with the protests at Standing Rock, where State forces have literally blown people’s arms off without any repercussions besides being prayed at. The camp, now in shambles, is done. The DAPL will be built, the people have failed, and all they have to show for it are bruises and injuries.
But what if the cops hadn’t been so eager to permanently maim protesters, or rush into camps? What if they had been afraid? What if Anarchism and Anti-Capitalists really were something to be afraid of again?
What if the resistance was armed?
The God That Lied
Modern protesting, a hold over from liberalism, assumes a few things:
The people in power care about what their livestock have to say.
There is some imaginary field surrounding all of us called “human rights” that these people feel morally obligated to respect.
The Enemy can be persuaded or guilted into giving up all its power to form some grand utopian cabal that spans the globe without any violence.
These ideas are ridiculous, some religious fantasy stillbirth from the 1960’s dragged around and paraded at every “demonstration” as if they were some patchouli-soaked Christ-child sent to heal us. It’s all lies. All of it. Just ask any black person.
These concepts are nothing more than implanted fictions given to you by the State to keep you docile and obedient, and were recognized as such one hundred years ago. Do bosses care about the food or shelter of the workers they fire? Do the police wonder if someone’s “rights” have been violated when they beat them with batons or shoot them on sight? They scream to you about non-violence while they steal almost every dollar you generate with the threat of force and starvation looming above you.
Rights are a fiction, a spook, and the sooner you realize the only “rights” you have are those you are willing to enforce the sooner you can join the rest of the planet in what we call life.
Enzo Martucci wrote:
“The freedom of an individual ends where his power ends.
If I want, and my power permits, I can command others. But in this case the power exercised over them is not authority because they are not bound to recognize and respect it. In fact, if they would rebel and use their power to impede my attempt at domination then all would remain free without anyone threatening to lord it over them.”
Anarchism has in effect relied on coercion: we will not work unless you do this, we will not stop rioting unless you give us this.
We can impede power plenty of ways, and lord knows radicals have learned an assortment, yet we never seem to make the idea of attempting domination a dangerous one. We walk the streets naked everyday with the sincere hope in our hearts that our weakness be respected as if our frailty was a virtue.
We protest laws that allow people to run us over and smash our skulls underneath one-thousand pounds of steel; we beg that the same people smashing us with batons eventually respect us; we don’t demand dignity, we whimper for permission to be treated as if we had any.
Is this the Anarchism we want, a tradition of asking to be human rather than demanding it? The majority of what passes for “direct action” nowadays is nothing more than calling upon the Enemy to be a better ruler instead of making ourselves ungovernable.
This tactic has never worked and the idea that any people, themselves surrounded by violent men and women defending imaginary lines carved from the corpses of millions, would believe them speaks more to strength of mass hallucination than any matters of politics.
As I write this a cop has pulled somebody over outside my window, his flashing lights a silent roar that he has caught his prey. If he does not forcibly detain his victim he will at least rob her to pay for the use of his protection racket. We will drive by, even if he beats or punches this young woman with sandy blonde hair because we are too weak to live without him.
If he killed her right now what would happen? Why shouldn’t he? What’s he got to lose? What would he even risk if he spread her brain matter everywhere in an orgy of foaming neurons and shark tank adrenaline? Nothing from her, nothing from the community around her. The slave cabins will remain quiet and after the protests are over he’ll be right back on the job.
Because he, and his entire department know they have nothing to fear. That we rely on them.
Pick Up YOUR Weapons and Declare YOUR War
I’ll say it plainly: an armed person is in command of themselves. They can not only defend themselves and thus be free from the “protection” of the police but move to enforce their own values on the world around them. When a cop tells you to take off a shirt he finds offensive(say, a Black Lives Matter t-shirt) you obey because the mere threat of violence and death is enough to make you comply. You are not sizing up the cop and wondering if you can out box him or pin him to the ground because you know no amount of muscle will stop a 9mm hollow point from ripping through your face like chemotherapy in a cancer patient.
There is no reason Anarchists can’t do the same.
Klansmen get awful scared at the sight of a loaded rifle, Nazis seem less likely to flex their muscle when they know a .357 is set to demolish in 2 seconds what took 2 years to build. To point a gun at a cop is a death sentence(unless you’re white of course), yet the mere idea that a shootout could occur is often enough to keep them on their best behavior.
Robert F. Williams was a classic example of this tactic being put into action.
“Robert F. Williams would become the leader of the Mabel, NC chapter of the NAACP and organized a black militia to fight against the Klan, much to the dislike of moderates in the Civil Rights movement. Williams was a WWII veteran and shared the skills he accumulated with his fellows to fight back against the violence of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Citizens Councils. This was shown to have quite a high level of efficacy; by simply being armed black militias were able to scare Klansmen out of action.”
Where the FUCK did THAT kind of politics go? When did we start asking for anything instead of taking it? Why have we let the enemy dictate what is acceptable for us? Why have we huddled together in weakness when we can proudly stand under our own authority?
“Revolution and insurrection,” said Max Stirner, “must not be looked upon as synonymous…The Revolution aimed at new arrangements; insurrection leads us no longer to let ourselves be arranged, but to arrange ourselves, and sets no glittering hopes on ‘institutions.’”
When we begin to make ourselves free we pave the way for the freedom of others.
Guns may be the great leveler: they don’t have to be expensive, they don’t have to be fancy and they can be wielded by the sick or healthy, young or old, by any sex or gender. Anyone can use them to arrange the world around them.
Firearms are Anarchism in action, a tool that instantly frees you from relying on hierarchical authority. YOU can repel a burglary, YOU can stop a rape, YOU can keep racist scum from even showing their face in the neighborhood either individually or collectively; no authority is involved, no 911 to call or infrastructure to uphold, effectively making the State obsolete without relying on the spooks of “rights” or “laws” or some religious belief that “deep down everybody is good.”
When it becomes clear that threatening the life of an Anarchist by driving a car through a protest or pulling a gun at a rally becomes potentially deadly the aggravation will end. When police know they risk much more than a two-week paid vacation when they rampage through a neighborhood the harassment will cease. When it becomes clear that a rapist won’t live long enough to beg for mercy from a sympathetic judge the patriarchy will retreat.
Every anarchist with a gun in her hand is Anarchism made real, a potent force capable of holding the world accountable and demanding autonomy, the same world currently hidden behind walls, fences, badges, and uniforms that you and I have built for generation upon generation with our bare hands only to have it stolen from us by the diktats of the “markets” and the owners who treat us like cattle!
Well comrades, will you continue to let them steal from you? Will you continue to live as a peaceful and pacifist herd? Will you continue to let the State and the bourgeoisie steal your value, your time, your bodies, and your lives all while they ransom your safety for continued obedience?
Or will you begin to steal them back, one by one…
…at gun point?
If you can steal no other property from the State…
…at least steal back yourself.