An article from Do or Die Issue 10. In the paper edition, this article appears on page(s) 355-376.
Well, here you have it again, our much loved and loathed letters pages. And increasingly populated by loonies it seems. Oh well, we had many laughs on the long and lonely cathode ray filled nights in our dank dungeon office. As this is the last issue of Do or Die, do not send any letters expecting publication, although we still welcome your comments on this issue. Write to a prisoner - not us!
Dear Do or Die,
The 'Fiesta of Life against Death' action, organised by the Disarm DSEI Collective, was a day of action on 11th September 2001 against the Defence Systems Exhibition International (DSEI) at the Excel Centre in London's Docklands. When we heard that someone was planning to take on an arms fair (surely one of the more blatantly evil manifestations of the capitalist world order) we were excited. Here was an opportunity to use the creative power of Reclaim the Streets (RTS) events and the anti-globalisation/anti-capitalist movement and target something specific, thereby avoiding the lack of focus that, for example, had marred Mayday. On the public relations front the state would surely be on the back foot. Portraying those who attack a fast food restaurant and paint the Cenotaph as mindless hooligans was easy, a bit more difficult to justify cracking heads to protect the sale of weapons systems to noted abusers of human rights. Building on the potential of the upswing of interest in anti-globalisation politics it was hoped such an event would attract a large crowd.
However the end result was 500 people boxed in and manipulated by the police, with little concrete action against the arms fair - with some notable exceptions. Over the top of this sorry mess floated a banner with the legend "I feel a smile coming on". We feel that an opportunity to break the sterile boundaries of symbolic protest and actively disrupt an arms fair was missed. We feel that our movement cannot afford to forgo mass street action which forges links and empowers in ways that clandestine action cannot. And yet it should not show itself in ritualistic set pieces with the police on certain days each year.
This is an attempt by two people, who responded to calls for help from the London based Disarm DSEI collective, to analyse the mistakes made and to try to make suggestions for more successful actions in the future. We need to look at our failures as fully as our successes.
As a movement we need to consider where our money comes from. Large private donations, however well intended, have multiple negative effects. Firstly by bypassing the need for stalls, benefit gigs, pub collections etc., an important point of contact with the public is lost. Fundraising isn't just about cash it is also about raising awareness and starting the 'word of mouth' chain. Without contact with the public important feedback is missed. Also, subtly but perhaps more significantly, individuals who can be relied upon to come up with cash end up having more sway over which aspects of our politics are concentrated on at the expense of others. If one collective can put out a few thousand pounds worth of glossy publicity with little effort, this has the effect of drowning out other ideas and making groups look more organised than they might actually be. (We can think of a few events apart from Disarm DSEI that this applies to). Another important aspect of large donations is the sloppiness with money they can produce. People seem not to value what they haven't sweated for - throwing money at a problem is not an alternative to forethought and planning.
The propaganda for this event was almost all of poor quality. It was pretentious, mystifying and not inclusive; a picture of giant pink snakes attacking some ugly dancing peasants on one of the flyers being a weird choice of image. One of the flyposters failed even to mention that DSEI was an arms fair, apart from having a pink tank and the phrase "be charming and disarming" - whatever that might mean. Little effort was made to appeal to other groups who might have been interested. In fact, publicity seemed designed to appeal to a small sub cultural set. It needs to be understood that the concept of "party" and "pink and silver" is not more inclusive, merely exclusive in a different way. It seemed to be avoiding any reference to politics or to action. This was to be a giant party - "bring your blue suede shoes, puppets, circus skills, drums and instruments".
Either this was a tactic to draw high crowds and a low police presence, which assumes that people aren't politically motivated and need to be bribed with a party to take any action. Also the police aren't that stupid, especially after the City of London action on June 18th in 1999 (see Do or Die No. 8, pp. 1-34). The fact that in the week running up to September 11th, there were several arrests for conspiracy to commit violent disorder shows this. Even if you bill an event as the most peaceful party the police aren't fooled. Perhaps in future we should experiment with directly political and militant propaganda. Certainly the police response wouldn't have been different if we had announced our intention to burn the place down! (If we had announced a genuine effort to smash the fair there is a good chance the press would have taken more interest and although they would have printed a load of bollocks, it would have at least helped to hype the event).
The other alternative is that people genuinely believe that by some arcane summoning of the life force that the forces of global capitalism will be overwhelmed, that people really think that by their fierce dancing they will bring down the institutions of capitalism. This is called Magick. Expressing your idea of freedom and liberation by simply dancing in the street, you are neither going to stop an arms fair nor create a viable alternative. It is protest not action. Flowers down the barrel of a gun or levitating the Pentagon didn't work last time and it is unlikely to in the future - until the dawn of the Age of Aquarius obviously...
Worse still, some of the publicity was wildly inaccurate. Telling people to meet at Tidal Basin Road, at exactly the spot where Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) had a legal demo arranged with the police and the police were at their fullest strength. Whereas in planning a different meet-up point had been decided which would have allowed for more freedom of movement. Publicity needs to be taken more seriously than this; it is one of the most vital roles that can ensure the success or failure of the day.
To the north of the Excel Centre is a working class estate. In a nod to class struggle politics, it was decided to try to generate awareness about the day on the estate. In itself not a bad idea. However, the sight of an uninvited samba band complete with men in pink frilly shirts blasting away at full volume at a busy market (thereby according to angry locals stopping people from making a living) did not inspire confidence in the idea of a connection being made. Perhaps when working in other peoples' areas a slightly slower and more steady approach is needed. Maybe a "pink and silver" approach is not everyone's idea of inclusive and creative, as the market traders seemed to think. "Coming round here dressed like a bunch of fucking fairies, upsetting people", was one comment.
Hampered by minimal numbers it was never going to be what had been planned for. After we were swiftly boxed in by the police, we became stuck and pushed into the sanctioned police/CAAT space. It was frustrating and disempowering as people fiercely danced to the police's tune. A samba band is not always the most appropriate response. While they can energise and move a crowd, they are also slow and unwieldy and can hold a crowd stagnant and passive awaiting a police kettle [a tactic the cops use to contain crowds in Public Order situations]. Perhaps it is time that party as protest is not always the first response of our movement in mass street actions. In fact samba can encourage protest rather than action. Given what was going on in the Excel Centre I certainly didn't feel a smile coming on.
Dear Do or Die,
'Give Up Activism', a sharp yet flawed polemic, has been clarified and improved by your Postscript (in Do or Die No. 9). Indeed, Activism is not some disease of the mind that can be cured by an act of will, but something we're currently forced into. It's perhaps best compared to having a bad leg! If you've got a bad leg, you have to walk with a limp or else just stay put. And as any doctor will tell you, it's better to walk it. But they'll also tell you it's important to stop limping as soon as you can. If it becomes habitual you could be limping for life. In short, we need to develop a paradoxical relationship to our Activism - recognising we need it, but recognising we need to be rid of it as soon as possible. To do this we need to look at what took us to Activism in the first place, in order to discover what lies beneath it. What needs do we have that currently can only take that form?
When the Liverpool Dockers were on strike, one came down to talk in Brighton. An audience member was kind enough to inform him that he was willing to support the dockers, but only provided they "changed". Politely the docker suggested perhaps they didn't need to change quite as much as he thought, and cited an incident where they'd got some harbour-side eco-protesters de-arrested by threatening to walk off the job. [Probably Liverpool Docks tropical timber action 1992 - Ed.] Yes, yes, interrupted the questioner, but are you willing to change?
An extreme example, perhaps, but it exemplifies the oft-heard Activist mentality that it's our 'job' to 'educate people'. True middle-class philanthropists, we nobly sacrifice our time and energy to struggle to make them more like us.
It's not just that this patronising rubbish might be a bit off-putting to people. The point is that this is capitalist thinking, and we need to think of things in exactly the opposite way if we're ever going to get anywhere. All that stuff we did, all those dank squats we did up to lose again, all those riot shields we bashed our brains against, if we didn't do it for ourselves then why the fuck did we do it? Out of the goodness of our hearts? Give us a break!
'Give Up Activism' is excellent at pinpointing the negative side of Activism (i.e. when we fall into a militant self-sacrificing role which makes us no better than Trots) but neglects an ever-potential positive side which informs Activism but always threatens to transcend it. Crucially, and unlike the Trots, we can recognise that we choose to do what we do - that it isn't some kind of duty imposed upon us. This gives us the capacity to see our actions as coming from our own needs or, to toss in yet more Situationist jargon, to develop radical subjectivity. (Even when we don't use this capacity, it still lies latent.)
Of course, as we're keen on saying, we have much the same tangible needs as anybody else. We like to breathe clean air, don't want to eat GM foods or slave in shit jobs etc. (We also have a few of our own, of course, such as our fondness for giros to arrive on our doormats and our seemingly insatiable desire for smack and cider.)
But we can also see our needs in a broader context. We know we're not happy just being workers, students, consumers or any other kind of alienated subject of capital. We want to do things for ourselves, and in association with others in some kind of community. We create our own spaces not out of any selfless desire to be unpaid social workers, but because we want someplace we can go that isn't part of the marketplace. We want others to come to them because we're glad of the company. And we try to piss off the authorities because we don't like them, and doing it makes us feel better.
Inevitably this carries its own negative side. It leads to people looking inside some tiny scene for all their answers. It leads to us developing our ritual habits, such as bricking the cops on certain fixed calendar dates without a thought for how those actions appeal to or affect other people. And, as the author of 'An Open Letter to the Direct Action Movement' (see Do or Die No. 8, p. 141) has argued, this voluntaristic basis to our movement allows some to pick and choose campaigns in order to create their own self-image. Instead of shopping for clothes we adorn ourselves with issues - both are ways of building roles. There's probably a thousand other by-ways within which we could get lost inside Activism, but they share one root - they're all ways of adapting to this world rather than aiming at the next.
Yet those of us willing to accept their own little ghetto in place of world human community are taking second best and know it. Our micro-world of Activists is but sips for the thirsty, just about enough to keep going but no replacement for the ocean we want to dive into.
Moreover, unlike our questioner above, we do not see change as something one directional. We do not see the rest of the world as something outside ourselves which we need to fix, or re-make in our own image. Our desire to connect to others outside our scene also springs from our own needs, not out of some misplaced missionary zeal. When we talk about change we also want to change ourselves. And we can only do that by others changing us. Only others can get us out of the ghetto, can extinguish our Activist role.
In short, Activism is good in giving us a short-term stop gap answer to deeper needs, limited but something we probably wouldn't get any other way. But it's also bad, in that it can lead us to mistake the stopgap for the solution, the crumbs for the bakery, the trees for the wood. Giving up Activism is always the goal. But currently, our only possible route towards this is through Activism itself - for only by going through it can we transcend it. A strange paradox, and it's perhaps inevitable that we can only see it sporadically. There's always the pressure to 'normalise' our movement by making Activism into our job, our identity, self-therapy or in some other way explicable within capitalism. (The ever-shifting dynamic between militancy and true radical subjectivity is no doubt the cause of the bizarre love/hate relationship many of us have developed with the scene.) It can't happen by act of will alone, only by a combination of action and circumstances. But being clued up about the situation helps. Activists of the world unite... you've nothing to lose but your roles!
The Bash Street Kids
Dear Do or Die,
I am an elephant living in a big old barn in Friesland. I have many cows and am considering shaving them to produce crow milk, from this substance can be derived a most delectable cheese. My contacts in adjacent galaxies have confided in me that this can be utilised in interstellar travel. I must admit that I found this rather disturbing, as I have only recently renounced the wearing of pantaloons. I find shorts all the more fitting in this most clement of climates. Although mine have proved rather uncomfortable. When descending from horses it is advisable not to disturb the hills of moles, as it can be a frightful job in the reconstruction, and usually requires copious scaffolding. A new lick of paint may also be required, though I often have trouble whilst donning a Cockney accent, it appears to be rather dated. The workmen have, on occasion, referred me to their grandfathers for effective translation. Alas, my Welsh friends speak in silky tones that I suspect are cunningly veiled insults. Apologies to anyone reading this backwards, it is a dreadful waste of time. Onwards rode the light brigade, and thus we shall proceed; though both appear to have been mistakes. For my part, I think that I shall stay here, occasionally glancing backwards into the sunset. We shall endeavour to prevent this communication from transcending idiom and form and descending into mere mindless self-expression. Teetering on the edge of that great abyss, though I long for the breeze through every fibre. I should like to make a few more things clear, before fractalisation takes hold permanently. As a dear friend of mine once said "My brain is on fire". It wasn't, of course; it was just his imagination. Chained with chains of chain he escaped the Castle only to drown in the Moat. A brief breath of freedom, and then the taste of stagnant water. I loved him well; he had many names, both male and female. When taken as a whole, it becomes abundantly clear that the work of Guy Debord is nothing more than an elaborately coded suicide note. An elegy for the death of passion. An attempt to reduce the irreducible, that yielded only ashes. To decipher this, you need but read between the lines, avoiding words if possible. The poet was wrong, beauty is between the thighs of a woman, and truth is a damn evasive thing. Butterfly nets do not suffice for this task. No indeed, think again!? Take off those trousers, and walk! Will someone hold my hand for me, and lead me through the woods to the fabled oak tree. I remember many people, once. The River is fleeting, all the better for washing things away, don't you think? It has to be said, "Whale fins come to those who wait", sometimes her majesty shows herself. Sometimes she breaches, the God is in that moment. What of truth? What indeed. Fire at will! If anyone reading this scrawl is interested in the subjects raised, then please do not hesitate to correspond with us via the letters pages of Do or Die magazine. A cursory look at previous issues reveals hot debate on closely related matters. Thus, I await your arrival with folded hands.
My sincerest regards,
PS: I am told that the forthcoming issue of Do or Die will include a treatise on the correct way to ride a donkey. Is this true?
Dear Do or Die,
I want to make some comments about some differences I have with the tone of your otherwise excellent journal.
The articles tend to fetishise struggle, confrontation, militancy (from the grim covers showing policeman and demonstrators locked in confrontation, to the Burns slogan about 'Liberty's in every blow', to the lack of dialogue with different viewpoints - how about, for example, publishing a response from Ya Basta! about their views on your article 'Ya Basta(rds)' - see Do or Die No.9). If as a movement we are about being something different, reclaiming subjectivity, poetry without poems, love (all evoked in the best writing in the anarchist tradition from the Situationists to Barrot, Camatte, Perlman), why would we want to fetishise militancy and macho-boy images of struggle?
I explain confrontational tactics when they are used as arising subjectively from a sense of frustration and anger at the way in which capitalism and the holders of power are hell bent on the pursuit of power, control, profit, and the destruction of the biosphere. We do not have much time before global warming and habitat destruction devastates our world, and the system is out of control.
What your journal does, and which leaves a bad taste, is to objectively glorify, rationalise and advocate militancy and confrontational tactics. The militant becomes separated from his or her real needs and need to change the world. This point is from Barrot (alias Gilles Dauve, in Eclipse and Re-emergence of the Communist Movement) in a foreword which is omitted (I wonder why?) from the 'Revised Edition' pamphlet published by Antagonism Press. I want to quote it because it seems relevant to, for example, the attitudes expressed in the articles on Prague, (see Do or Die No.9):
"In spite of its shortcomings, the Situationist International has shown... it is not only important to understand the historical movement and act accordingly, but also to be something different from the attitudes and values of the society the revolutionary wants to destroy. The militant attitude is indeed counter-revolutionary, in so far as it splits the individual into two, separating his needs, his real individual and social needs, the reasons why he cannot stand the present world, from his action, his attempt to change this world. The militant refuses to admit that he is in fact revolutionary because he needs to change his own life as well as society in general. He represses the impulse that made him turn against society. He submits to revolutionary action as if it were external to him...". (p.7)
Speaking for myself here (and not just interpreting Barrot) I think that to be something different from the values and attitudes of our world. We need to be creative, joyful, loving, generous, imaginative, humorous, tender, sensitive; instead of (to give some of the values and attitudes of our world) militant, grim, macho, authoritarian, domineering, mean-spirited, hating, manipulating and humourless.
We need to think for ourselves, do what we think is best and respect the views of others to do as they think best. None of us know for sure which are the best actions, but if we keep in mind that we want to be something different we can make judgements that do not reproduce the attitudes and values we want to change.
If at times for some that means more confrontational tactics out of self defence or in a subjective expression of frustration, then those people will have stayed in touch with themselves rather than submitting to action as if it were external to them, and will have done so without being fuelled by the fetishisation or glorification of confrontation, or the acting out of patterns of anger.
There is a stock response to the fluffy/spiky debate which has become fashionable to the point of authoritarian orthodoxy by Reclaim the Streets and some Earth First!ers: that it is a diversion, a distraction. This is however not the only response, which would be for both to respect the rights of others for their perspectives, with everyone keeping in mind the aim to be something different. What tends to happen on larger demonstrations is that the gathering of large numbers of people, most of them wanting to avoid confrontation, becomes the smokescreen needed for more confrontational tactics by those who have prioritised these, who rarely carry out the same tactics in small groups without the 'cover' of a large crowd.
The original article on 'Give Up Activism' makes some important points, drawing on Vaneigem and Camatte to do so. But the Postscript added in Do or Die No. 9 is a bizarre return to 19th Century workerism and productionism which is out of tune with the ethos of the movement, which is about a different way of life in which production isn't separated off and fetishised as it is in industrial society, in which all classes are involved in a system which has reduced people to workers and the earth to a mere resource. It is the totality of the system that we want to change. For many thousands of years we all had access to our livelihood by having access to land. Hierarchical state societies and capitalism have taken away this right. How we address our relationship to land now that capitalism has taken it away from nearly everyone and turned it into monocultural deserts is no easy question. But fetishising workerism and production diverts the ground back to capitalism. Keep up the good work.
I'm contacting you with an unusual request. I doubt if you'll print it (because you didn't print my article) but there's no harm in writing anyway. I'd like to hear from men and women who have chosen not to have children. I'd also like to be in contact with people who are thinking about the possible effect on our environment and on other species of making an individual decision to reproduce; and with people who are concerned about the environmental results of rising global human population. I'd appreciate the opportunity to talk about these issues with other activists who are thinking about them, and I would like to feel more supported and less isolated within the Earth First! movement as someone who has made the decision not to become a parent. Thanks.
Dear Do or Die,
I was wondering whether you could put Mordechai Vanunu in your next issue. Mordechai Vanunu is a political prisoner of conscience who took pictures inside Israel's nuclear installation when they claimed that they were not developing their nuclear capability. He gave his pictures (for no money) to the Sunday Times for them to publish. While in London he met a woman called 'Cindy'. He went with her to Rome where he was then kidnapped by Mossad (the Israeli Secret Service) on the 30th September 1986 and it turned out that 'Cindy' was a Mossad agent.
It is illegal under international law for a government to arrest someone who is not in their own country. He was tried in a closed court and sentenced to 18 years imprisonment of which he has spent eleven and a half years in solitary confinement. In 1998 he was released from solitary and is due for release from Ashkelon Prison (in Israel) in 2004. If you want more information on Mordechai Vanunu then you can get in touch.
The Campaign to Free Vanunu
185 New Kent Road
Tel: 020 7378 9324
I'm writing from Pisa, for the Silvestre Collective. We have known that Do or Die new issue is out, and that's a good news!
Actually we have read some pages from Do or Die that came us photocopied through Green Anarchist. We appreciated the 'Ya Basta(rds)!' article (Do or Die No. 9, p. 11), because the White Overalls/Ya Basta! are real bastards, but don't understand then why you printed their communiqué of Tebio protests (Do or Die No. 9, p. 27) - that communiqué is full of lies and misrepresentations.
First of all they lie about the march structure, since anarchists were not behind White Overalls but in the tail, well isolated from them for fear of direct action. Near anarchists there were only hundred policemen, but the block managed to attack a bank (smashing windows and some computers) and some multinational stores.
Then the Ya Basta! communiqué is a proof of self exultation, since they say there have been hard battles in front of the fair gates, but actually people stayed there for less than 1 hour (not even doing civil disobedience) and then went to have lunch at the Mobilitebio camp, leaving the White Overalls alone with cops and TV cameras for their favourite action: fake clashes!
On TV and photos it seems they are clashing, but actually cops never hit people but only the pads, and White Overalls on their side use no sticks or whatever, they just push with plastic protections. And if you've seen them in action in Prague you'll see that it was the same, except for they had sticks... but they were only in the hands of back lines who couldn't reach cops! They surely know how to create a show!
But the better came later, when, after their 'clashes', word was circulating that the convention had been stopped for the whole day. Something White Overalls were proud of, and they stated in the communiqué. Actually Greenpeace, who had members inside the convention, assured us the halt was only 30 minutes long. Just a coffee pause, nothing more. And Ya Basta! knew this, but continue to glorify their battle saying they closed Tebio.
Last but not the least is the content of a leaflet with a kind of '10 Commandments' distributed by the White Overalls before the march. Stating that no individual act or direct action would be tolerated, and inviting people to tell them who was doing what, they finally exposed their nature: white police!
Their activity is not to defend people from cops, nor to attack property, but to defend society from revolutionary desire of destruction! They have hierarchies and leaders, they mystify reality, they participated in elections, they attacked comrades doing direct action, they even defended policemen from comrades, they assaulted the social centre hosting direct actionists' Controtebio (different from their institutional Mobilitebio platform) and much more.
And what their communiqué fails to recognise is that for Controtebio, made of anarchists, land squatters and radical leftists, the protests were not limited to a march but went on for 3 days. In the first day we gathered in a square where we set our camp, and from there various unauthorised marches and road stopping went on, some with spray painting on banks' windows, cash machines and walls, and even a bank camera disrupted. Also with the big Tebio banner in front of the exhibition teared down and destroyed. Then in the evening a group of people ambushed biotech scientists going to a gala dinner and threw at them rotten vegetables and trash, and I think that was what cops didn't expect and surely attacked scientist directly.
Then on the second day afternoon, after the institutional march where Controtebio wasn't desired but went there and took action, there was a 2,000 strong march of Controtebio, completely over numbered by riot police. And for all 3 days we kept leafleting and doing stalls to inform on genetics.
Well, that's what happened in Genoa on those days, some of which you will never know about from protest leaders as Ya Basta! As you won't be informed that in the following months various direct actions against genetics took place: trashing 5 GM test fields, attacking an Aventis research centre, an Asgrow farm, an agriculture research centre, various banks financing biotech and lately torching a Monsanto grain store. The Italian anti-genetics movement seems on a good start, isn't it?
PS: If you want to print part of this letter I think it would help to let it known who White Overalls are. Be sure that there will be more troubles with them here, but try to halt them spreading in UK too! And if some UK activists are coming to Genoa in July for G8 you better know that White Overalls will lead all protests and will be there in full numbers. Most Italian anarchists won't take part to G8 protests in Genoa, cause it seems the city will be completely militarised and I don't think going where 20,000 cops are waiting you is so smart. Action should be anywhere, anyday and anyway!
Dear Do or Die,
I was disappointed to read the letter in your magazine warning against the Anarchist Heretics Fair. It is not Far Right. What brings the organisers together is my economic analysis originally in Green Anarchist and now in Alternative Green. It describes how the core exploits the periphery (today, the Third World). So it is as useful to right wing survivalists as left wing hippies.
The battle will not be between Left and Right but between Left and Right decentralists against Left and Right centralists. So the decentralists must talk to each other.
Your letter writer in Do or Die No. 9, 'B', is poorly informed. I was not "kicked out" of Green Anarchist for being far right. I resigned, as GA No. 29 makes clear, because my fellow editor started being dishonest and misrepresenting my ideas. He has been asked to leave GA, presumably for the same lies and misrepresentation that he is now notorious for.
Alternative Green has absolutely no "links with fascists". They, with the most centralist political idea of all, would not be interested. I had links with Trans Europa of the radical right because they agreed with my economics. They were not fascist in any way. I now have links with Troy Southgate of NRF. He used to be distributist like the Green Party. (Schumacher - Small is Beautiful - was a distributist; tax big business, subsidise small business) but he is no longer. He is not anti-Semitic, though he is racist, but not to the extent of advocating repatriation, only separate living. I disagree with this, but we talk because he agrees with my economic ideas. Until you realise that this is all about economics, the causes of poverty, you won't begin to understand what's going on.
Given the total failure of anti-globalists to produce any ideas whatsoever ("replace capitalism with something nicer!") I'd have thought that my analysis and policies would merit careful examination.
I've just sent you a cheque for a Do or Die, and then thought, why not send you a 'communiqué' myself! Situated 'up here' on the outermost fringes of the Isle of Briganti, the Outer Hebrides, known in Gaelic as Eilean Leodhais, a super quarry (proposed to be the largest in Europe) has just been turned down by the local people, animals and wider community of the Mother, and coincidentally by the 'Scottish Executive'.
Yes, the 'Harris Superquarry' project is no more. Blessed be. However, the 'Executive' still has plans for a super quarry at Durness at the North West of the mainland, so work is still needed solidarity wise there.
The day before the official announcement of the planning refusal for the Na Hearabh (Harris) quarry was made, I stumbled across a sea eagle, washing in at a shore. Sad to see such a glorious bird rotting and decaying. First time I've seen one as well. The feathers went to Sovereign Dine'h Nation where a super quarry 100 square miles in extent devours not just the Mother but the culture also. (See http://www.lisnet/bgmtnupdates.htm). Black Mesa mine will close.
There is a 'development plan' in the Council offices. The main lynchpin of this plan is the 'Outer Hebrides spinal route' - a road building plan which will break the Mother's back if allowed to continue. So a long deprived, exploited, abused and colonialised people and land are offered millions of EEC/Government money for instant happiness. This combined with a Christian religion that sees the Mother as 'a lump of rock' has led to a situation where ridiculous horrific manic so called 'development', a false trip as we all know, was planned here. Not any more, blessed be.
Trees not sheep,
Dear Do or Die,
I think people are being misled. This global resistance and global networking is I think a product of technology that is distorting peoples' view of the world. Of course global resistance is vital but it can only practically be fought in our own backyard. The Class War movement of the 80s I think hit the nail on the head and I think people have only come away from this, in fear.
The best we can do is to attack the State by any means necessary in our own nation and this is how global resistance and global solidarity is created, not by networking, conferencing, trying to build global movements. People in other nations can only do this also - attack their own States by any means necessary, and this is how they create solidarity with us, practically and morally.
Of course there is a question of tactics: to hit multinational corporations, Parliament Buildings, centres of commerce? To block roads, to disrupt road building, to sabotage the security forces? To work in autonomous groups, individually or en masse? To work underground or overground? The who, when, where, how and why are all vital as are ongoing discussions and debates about what we are all doing, but the basic "goal" and the basic "means" towards that "goal" have remained constant.
All this globalisation malarkey is just us being distracted by the perverse distortions of technological advances. Our "global resistance" seems to simply encourage people to buy air tickets and computer, email and mobile phone equipment, when these are the things we should be dumping for a start. But how could we liase with the Zapatistas without these things? We don't! We do what they are doing, create revolution in our own nation. We don't do this by subscribing to the latest capitalist perversions; we do this by dumping them.
But how do we organise without this technology? Hey, anyone remember the world ten years ago without all this technology? My, how our minds are quickly twisted into thinking we cannot fulfil our lives without purchasing the latest electronic toy that is on offer.
Come on children, these toys are just distractions. We do not need them. We only realise this as we dump them and go with what is left: our own innate sense of solidarity, our own natural urge towards co-operation, our own spontaneity and wildness, our own irrepressible spirit, our own anarchy. These things are the death of technology altogether, the end of capitalism nationally, globally, and the beginning of our real global solidarity, just as they have always been. Technology, in all its forms, only crucifies these things and twists our minds and hearts.
Dear Do or Die,
I have noticed quite regularly a certain dynamic and pattern that often goes on within groups of people prepared to do action together. Often you'll have someone, or a couple of people, brimming with enthusiasm, anger and confidence, and when putting their ideas to the rest of the group, a couple of people in the group will then pour negativity on the idea and try and persuade the rest of the group away from doing stuff. Often it is dressed up as concerns about safety or the strategic/political importance of an action. But often I think that it is because of their own fear and lack of confidence at the time, that they are often not facing up to and acknowledging. If they're a particularly strong member of the group they can sabotage a lot of the ideas and energy of a group, rather than let others go for it.
Confidence is a really tricky thing. What we do is often mad, putting ourselves at risk for no tangible personal gain. It takes guts and confidence to want to go for stuff, and this confidence is a really fragile thing, especially when it involves group confidence. Handled right, our collective confidence can soar, but it can only take one misplaced or thoughtless comment to crash everyone back into apathy and despondency. When others are trying to get their bottle up for something, we should be doing our best to support and encourage them.
So I would suggest that if an action is proposed by someone in your group, particularly a new person, and you don't feel up for it, instead of immediately dissing the idea, stand back (whilst honestly examining your reasons for not wanting to do the action, perhaps your confidence has disappeared) and let others go for it with their confidence intact. Rather than pissing on their fire.
Dear Do or Die,
Thanks for Do or Die No. 9 which I received a few days ago. It was a pleasant surprise, as was Issue 8, which helped me through the first few months of my sentence at Wandsworth, was confiscated on arrival here at Elmley, along with most of my books, magazines, papers, newsletters etc. They were all classed as "offensive material", and not a lot gets past the censors here. It's funny to think that the prison service finds anything more offensive than itself. So I've been frantically reading the journal before someone in a uniform notices it. Luckily I am able to keep abreast of current events through the completely inoffensive Daily Mail which I am given once a week.
I was given a 2 year sentence in October 2000 for my part in the May Day mess in London that year. For my first 3 months inside I was locked up for 23 hours every day, even if it was raining. That's a lot of time for thinking. Thinking about how I got to be in prison, going over and over my actions on the day, the consequences for me, my partner, my daughter, lots of personal stuff. Asking myself - was it all worth it? And always coming up with the same answer - no. It's easy in this situation to forget the context of my actions, the circumstances on the day and my reasons for being there. Reading the articles in Do or Die has helped to remind me. While I don't want to ignore the personal stuff, to concentrate on it too much is dangerous in prison, you just end up feeling miserable. I want to keep the anger that I've felt all my life, or at least since I realised how fucked up the world is when I was about 10 years old. I just have to remember to use that anger as best I can, and not just explode with frustration whilst surrounded by several thousand riot police armed with big sticks and cameras. So it's very useful to be able to read other peoples' thoughts on the tactics used in the resistance to and ultimately the destruction of the capitalist machine.
So, thanks again for helping me through this, in fact for helping me to make the most of my situation. Of course all my letters are read by the forces of darkness, so I now look forward to my cell being turned over by storm troopers and a controlled explosion being used to destroy your dangerous publication. That should brighten up an otherwise boring day.
Respect and solidarity,
(Written whilst in prison, now released.)
Dear Do or Die,
Nice one for my copy of the ninth edition. Once again an informative and diverse collection of issues. I particularly liked the article on Jacques Mesrine, for obvious reasons, and have been keeping an eye on the Sodexho and Co. stuff and I'm very interested in the CAGE group, sounds as if it could be big. Prison life is boring and letters that manage to get past the censors are great so I was well surprised, after having problems even getting Schnews, that the book reached me. I shall add it to my other copies when I get out, Eviction survivor though one is! (Half of the pages got trashed when thrown out of the tree!) Well thanks again and keep it up! A question; could you be banned from publishing about certain groups under the Anti Terror laws? Would you have to alter your articles to show no support? It won't be long before no prisoner will have access to such enlightening literature. So let's keep up the fight.
(Written whilst in prison, now released.)
My dearest Do or Die,
I just don't know how to start this letter. Well, it would be best to start from the beginning, I suppose. Last time I heard from you in October 1999 when you sent me Do or Die No. 8 magazine. Yeah, it was so long time ago. I just need to say that DoD No. 8 was something really unique. Wow! What more to say: I keep reading it again and again... and then again and again! OK, you understand what I mean to say. Also I am pleased to inform you that there are more people here who really admire your work just as much as I do.
I am writing you because I will not and I don't want to believe that you are not coming out any more. Please, say that I'll be able to enjoy in you in many, many years to come! I wrote you two or three times last year (with and without enclosed money) but unfortunately no reply from you. This time I can only hope that this letter will reach you and finding you all well and in good health and that quite soon there'll be envelope with new Do or Die magazine No. 9. Lots of love and respect to all of you who make something so valuable and useful like my beloved Do or Die.
Till next time,
PS: I had unique opportunity to attend anti-WB, IMF, WTO demos last September in Prague. Please find enclosed my 'statement' I've written for some organisations which requested me for it. Well, I was really lucky because there were no evidence (photos, video etc.) against me. So there is a God after all - ha, ha!
Dear Do or Die,
Congratulations on a brilliant issue number nine. I was particularly inspired by the reports on anti-genetics actions and impressed with the analysis in the articles 'State of Terror', 'May Day', and the 'Pink and Silver' block article.
I notice that you list Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) as a group which uses "physical confrontation" against the far right. This is less and less the case in recent years - AFA is now almost entirely under the control of Red Action and seems more interested in slagging off other anti-fascists than in physically confronting the far right. Many groups have left AFA for this reason including Bristol, Nottingham, Wigan, Bolton, South London and Sheffield - with Leeds and Newcastle both kicked out in recent years.
While AFA has some good analysis and does some good work it is clearly a red front that no longer engages in street confrontation. So, whether you list AFA is up to you but you should also list the No Platform Anti-Fascist Network. This is a new development incorporating some ex-AFA groups and others of a similar persuasion. It is non-sectarian and committed to the dual approach of political and physical confrontation. Unlike AFA it has had a few good results on the streets against the BNP and NF in the last year or two.
Like Earth First! it's a network of independent groups so there is no national contact address, although if you send stuff to the Leeds address we'll pass it on to the nearest group.
Keep up the good work,
No Platform Anti-Fascist Network
PO Box 127
Leeds LS3 1TS
The pseudonymous letter slagging off Green Anarchist in your last issue was a good attempt for an amateur. Its author well affects the tone of a superficial "know all, know nothing" trendy that's in and out of the movement in a summer, the sort that used to rave about Squall and witlessly call GA "Green Anorak".
He blows it when he refers to "The Feud", standard Stewart Home clone rhetoric. Satisfyingly, he admits this is damaging them more than GA, so much so they're reduced to pseudonymously denouncing themselves in order to attack us, mainly to deceive readers an ocean away! Unsurprising, when exactly as Home was exonerating Tony Wakeford of far right links, the latter was hosting the website for Synthesis, the zine of ENM/NRF's Troy Southgate, a key organiser of the February 2001 'Alternatives Fair'. Also unsurprising, given our consistent exposes of Home's collaboration with fascists and the State, that 'Consumer Zombie' complains there's "too much conspiracy theory" in GA.
Yours - for the destruction of civilisation,
PS: Bob Black's no fascist, but Home clone and Holocaust denial apologist Fabian 'Fuckwit' Tompsett has intimidated DoD [not true, we have never been intimidated by him - Ed.] into publishing a second attack on him as such whilst allowing Bob no reply [again, not true, we happily publish any letters Bob sends us - Ed.]. Ask not why Bob allowed an innocuous student paper (see Friendly Fire, pp. 235-267) to be published in the Institute for Historical Review's journal 20 plus years ago - naivete, obviously - but rather how Fuckwit obtained a publication dedicated anti-fascist researchers can't. Also ask why Fuckwit denounces anarchists as "fascists" whilst associating with fascists like Home and Co., if not to promote a convergence agenda?
The letter from the anonymous 'B' in DoD No. 9, 'Fascism Behind the Mask of Anarchy' needs some comment.
The writer glories in the 'success' of alleged anti-fascists in getting an event s/he disapproved of (The Anarchist Heretics Fair) cancelled by means of threats. They inform us that Nexus magazine has "proven and documented links to the far right". (Unspecified, we're supposed to take B's word for that.) Having read a few issues of Nexus, I can only say I've found nothing in it very politically or morally objectionable. True, some of it is downright cranky - the UFO conspiracies and quack medicine etc. - but other pieces are solid information about serious health hazards and real state/corporate conspiracies. But this is irrelevant. Even if Nexus were to print extracts from Mein Kampf, anyone who thinks that justifies intimidation to deny free expression cannot claim to be an anarchist/libertarian of any description. Such people believe that violence or the threat of it is a legitimate political argument - the basic tenet of all authoritarians.
No, this isn't a fluffy/pacifist argument. Violence in self-defence against violent situations and/or institutions is always justified, e.g. as in Seattle, Prague etc. Disrupting the activities of the murdering scum who control global capitalism is both necessary and praiseworthy. But I suspect that is far too risky for cowards like B - if it isn't incompatible with their true ideology in any case. If anybody is expressing opinions you don't like, you have two choices: one, ignore them so as not to give them further publicity. Two, take them on in open debate and convince them and their followers of the truth of your doctrines. The only reason anyone ever advocates suppression or censorship is because they doubt their own ability to do the latter.
The end of B's missive gives off a strong stink of Searchlight/MI5 provocateur tactics. To print the name and address of the alleged organiser of the offending event can only be seen as an attempt to set them up for violent attack, despite the snidely sniggering, "Why not drop him a line or something?"
It's too much to expect you to feel any kind of ethical shame for printing this poison but try a little self-interested foresight. How would you feel about your details appearing in Spearhead or somewhere? Suppose there is some kind of attack on this man, do you really think it would end there? Would you like to see a C18 'firm' visit the next Anarchist Bookfair? MI5 and Searchlight would be ecstatic. The most charitable view is that you at DoD are seriously stupid [fair point - Ed.]. The uncharitable view is that you are fully aware of all this already. In short, if you want to create an atmosphere where most people are intimidated from showing an interest in any form of 'extreme'/unorthodox politics just carry on in the same vein. (And if you think you're getting my name and address you can go fuck yourselves! I'd probably end up in Searchlight as a 'fascist sympathiser' at the least.)
Greetings! Thank you very much for sending me your ninth issue of Do or Die! By far I'd have to say it is the greatest collection of personal demonstration and action accounts from all over the world I have ever read. It's absolutely brilliant!
Thank you also for including me amongst the other 'Prisoners of War'. However, I would like to rectify my sentence. I had the 6 life sentences dismissed on appeal in 1997. In 1998, 5 more years were dropped. At present, I'm doing a 10 year bid. It's been a long, difficult battle. And it's not over yet.
I am especially ill. They misdiagnosed and mistreated me. I have been left crippled for the rest of my life. Updates are at: www.drugwarprisoners.org Somewhere on there I have my own page.
Good news is that my first book, The Tallahassee Project has been released. This is a collection of photos and stories from female drug war prisoners originally intended as an exhibit at the 1998 UN hearings in New York City. The book was published with the aid of Dr John Beresford of the Committee on Unjust Sentencing, and is available through Amazon online ordering.
Presently, I'm working on my second book on the women here at Caiswell. This is the only medical centre in the US for federal female prisoners. While the Bureau of Prisons likes to tout it as the "Mayo Clinic" of federal medical centres, one must remember this place is so decrepit and rundown the Veterans' Association no longer wanted it. My mission is to close this place down. Thank you again.
Hi Do or Die,
Undercurrents are right. There are severe currents of wankerism amongst Earth First! Unless you are total egoism macho nerds, you, like me will be scanning nervously for camera people at actions. As you well know it keeps the pigs distant. And unless you're a complete and total wanker you don't fuck someone off who's in the middle of deep trance with a ritually abused mixed race woman. Unless you're Earth First! that is. But it's all just a game isn't it? Fucking morons! Occult meatheads! Nevertheless, Peace.
Hi Do or Die,
Glancing through your last annual I noticed a piece about Sea Shepherd. I have to point out that the Sea Shepherd's pursuit of the Makah Tribe is horrific racism. The one whale given to the Makah was that. It was a traditional (pre-colonial) give-away. I know this from my Native American campaigning. The Sea Shepherd ended up using colonial law against the Makah. 'Officially' the whale give-away was not an aboriginal hunt because there was a 70 year break in Makah whale give-aways. Why was there a 70 year break? Because of near complete destruction/suppression of a unique indigenous culture. Not without horrific theft and abuse of Native kids in 'residential homes'. Thus Sea Shepherd etc. have used a horrifically racist act to try and stop a real aboriginal hunt (i.e. a give-away not a 'hunt' in the western sense). Fucking morons! This situation needs sorting out if we are to make any 'New Age' real. Otherwise it's all still a white supremacist scapegoat 'game'. No thanks!
In love and extreme anger kid,
Dear Do or Die,
I am writing in reply to the last edition of Do or Die No. 9 concerning a letter entitled 'Fascism behind the mask of Anarchy' which libelled myself and others who participated in The Anarchist Heretics Fair (which was held in Brighton during May 2000) as being crypto-fascists etc. The author of this piece of writing cowardly declined to submit their name or organisation - but felt free to print a contact address for one of the organisers of the Heretics Fair.
The writer portrays myself as "a one man Christian anarchist" and claims that my website 'Albion Awake!' promotes and "promulgates a strange combination of conspiracy theory, evangelical bible bashing and British nationalism." Firstly may I just clarify that the title of my web site comes from the poetry of mystical bard anarchist William Blake and his epic poem concerning spiritual freedom 'Milton' - as the writer appears to suggest in his letter that the name 'Albion Awake' should be 'warning enough' to all supposed anti-fascists!
Secondly concerning 'conspiracy theory' - hasn't the person heard of people like the left libertarian Robert Anton Wilson (and his Illuminatus trilogy), Philip K Dick (and his VALIS trilogy) and the anarcho-gnosticism of anarchist Grant Morrison's Invisibles comic strip? These all deal with conspiracy theory themes through the medium of science fiction, but from an anti-authoritarian perspective. Not to mention the excellent Steamshovel Press magazine, an anarchist/situationist magazine and website devoted to investigating so called "conspiracy theories" etc? Are they all crypto-fascist?
By portraying all researchers into conspiracy theory as crypto-fascist you merely create a whole no go area for people on the left which only serves to create a vacuum for genuine fascists to exploit! (and Nexus magazine is subtitled as being for "information anarchists everywhere") What is alarming to me is the amount of so called libertarian anarchists who will jump to make such knee jerk reactions on the basis of such scant evidence. (Have such people who accuse Nexus magazine of being fascistic ever read a copy?)
And what's so wrong about being an born again Christian? Does that have to make me a fundamentalist bible basher? (which I emphatically am not!) Actually I have great respect and draw much spiritual inspiration from many faith traditions (including Sufism, Druidism etc.) What's so bad about believing that Jesus is Lord and Saviour of all creation - does that make me a fascist? I am opposed to all forms of political fascism, ideological anti-Semitism and reactionary racism - all of which are totally contrary to the Spirit of Christ. (And why can't an evangelical Christian be an anarchist?)
And as for promoting "British Nationalism" I prefer the term "folk autonomist" as nationalism always has statist connotations which I reject, by "folk autonomy". I would urge all readers of this letter to check out the sufi-situationist Hakim Bey's excellent tract Millennium (Please refer to the chapter entitled 'Notes on Nationalism'). For a definition, although Hakim Bey doesn't use the term as I have defined it, it merely refers not to classical nationalist Jacobin centralism but to the revolutionary Folkism of movements like the Zapatistas, Native American liberation, the Free Tibet campaign, the Black Panthers, the early Jewish Kibbutz movement and more. (Hardly reactionary, hardly racist and hardly state-nationalist!)
The problem with people like the writer of the letter 'Fascism behind the mask of Anarchy' is that they operate along the lines of what I would personally refer to as 'the Orwellian logic of leftism' - throw enough mud at someone whose views you don't like and sure enough some of it will stick, and should they then respond with comments to prove that they are not fascist, racist or anti-semite, the Orwellian leftist will reply "Yes but that's only 'Code words'" meaning you are a fascist-racist-anti-Semite! (In other words you're damned if you are and you're damned if you're not. Just like in the historical witch-hunts - now who's the real bible basher?) The coward who wrote this libel has merely confirmed his own prejudice.
To Do or Die,
Just why do anarchist publications, even yours, publish Stewart Home's libels against anarchists - not only publish them, but publish them without comment as if they were the ordinary stuff of anarchist-related dialogue? Once an author has publicly contended that anarchists - all anarchists - are racists and fascists, it should go without saying that he should be excluded from all anarchist forums. Home has done exactly that in Anarchist Integralism.
I sincerely hope that your readership is not as easily confused as the letter-writer who finds the so-called Feud between Home and Green Anarchist too complicated to understand. There is no feud - no feud peculiar to the participants - between Home and GA. There is a vendetta by Home against anarchists which, for tactical reasons, is for the time being focused on GA, initially because of the vulnerability of several of its activists as GANDALF defendants, and now because of some rather contrived controversies among anarchists (such as the pillow-fight over Steve Booth's 'Irrationalists' article). The details are mostly not important and fall easily into place once you appreciate Home's not especially sophisticated stratagem.
You might say that Stewart Home disdains to conceal his aims, although he does not disdain to conceal his handlers. First he assailed the Greens as fascists (Green Apocalypse). Green anarchists did not do much to rebut that, probably because they might make use of this external criticism against Green statists, especially "Formanists" who gave at least superficial credence to the charge. But then Home assailed Green anarchists as fascists, nationalists, racists, etc. - because they were, after all, Greens! Leftist anti-Green anarchists - such as Murray Bookchin and Janet Biehl - not only failed to defend their comrades against these libels, they publicised them so as to shore up their own crumbling standing among anarchists. Finally, completing a progression obvious in retrospect, in Anarchist Integralism Home characterises anarchists in general as genocidal fascists and racists.
At every step, shortsighted suicidal anarchists borrowed, then returned the weapons which would next be used on them. This has to stop. Just because an opportunist like Home has a printing press and a mysterious source of income at his disposal does not dignify his texts as either important or valuable. He is only as influential as his enemies allow him to be. You are one of those enemies.
Dear Do or Die,
Although issue nine was very interesting, I feel I must comment on the review of Beasts of Burden, and, in particular, the reviewer's arguments against the 'primitivist' angle of BoB. The statement that many tribal societies - in this case the author appears to confuse the words 'tribal' and 'primitive' (i.e. gatherer-hunters) - "...'managed' nature quite extensively" is misleading and not entirely accurate. The example given of the Native Americans is perhaps not as conclusive as the author may have thought, as generalising across the peoples of an entire continent is rarely accurate, especially in the complicated circumstances of the Americas.
The author then brings up the mass extinction of species in the Americas, Australasia, Madagascar and Hawaii. "Some attribute this to climate change, but it seems strangely coincidental that these extinction waves should flare up in different places at different times, shortly after humans appear on the scene." However coincidental it might seem, it is still an on-going debate among researchers in the field, and there is not enough evidence to tip the scales either way.
It seems to me that the author of the review conflates several issues, and uses out-of-date thinking to refute some of the (quite valid) points that Beasts of Burden makes. Is Marxist jargon like "primitive communism" really appropriate in a journal like Do or Die?
As the new secretary for the Libertarian Fraction of SAT (Sennacieca Asocio Tutmonda - World Non-nationalist Association), I thought I'd establish contact with you to announce our presence and tell you a little bit about ourselves.
Firstly, SAT itself is a global organisation with members on all five continents. It enables workers, progressives, anarchists and people broadly on the left to be in direct contact with each other, and on their own terms (i.e. outside of state/boss class control). SAT uses the relatively simple artificial international language Esperanto as a communication medium between workers.
The Libertarian Fraction operates within and outside of SAT, and unites people who define themselves as anarchist, libertarian, anarcho-syndicalist, anarcho-communist, etc. We aim to point out the practical use of the International Language as a tool to unite revolutionaries worldwide, irrespective of national languages (which can often be a major barrier to international intercommunication and collaboration). For us, Esperanto is part of the growing 'culture of resistance' on the international front. We also publish a regular journal Liberecana Ligilo in Esperanto.
Some LF members are involved in IWA sections, others in IAF member organisations, while others still, do not belong to either international co-ordination. We nevertheless believe that fighting global capitalism worldwide, can only be helped by better communication between anarchists and other revolutionaries worldwide.
If your group or organisation has any Esperanto speakers, they may be interested in our website: http://users.skynet.be/bs939002/L.L.html
Liberecana Frakcio. Otherwise, if anyone in your group would like to learn the International Language, then please contact me and I will try and put you in contact with comrades who can help with this.
SAT - Liberecana Frakcio
c/o Anarchist Federation
84b Whitechapel High Street
London E1 7QX
As you know, since the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon there has been a new aggressive action taking place by our respective governments. Here in Amerikkka they are tightening more screws and Bush and the Congress have come up with a new anti-Terrorist Bill. Though I have not seen the written contents of this bill, from what I have gathered from the news, it is very broad in their definition of the term 'terrorist' and 'terrorism'. I am afraid the government is going to use the 9/11 attacks as an over-broad excuse to classify and label all who protest, dissent, demonstrate, say anything that is anti-government will be met with this label and subject to severe persecutions, especially those of us who are anarchists.
Since the 9/11 event I have already been subjected to interrogation, threats and general harassment. Harassment that is beyond the ordinary harassment I had been receiving as a Political Prisoner, i.e. mail is coming to me very late and often cut in half, constant cell shakedowns and trashing, strip searches (as if I have some kind of gun or bomb up my ass or under my balls!). I have even found a few death threat notes laying on the floor of my cell.
I think this is a time (now) that the overall anarchist community and other politically active people recognise that we are going to be widely targeted and marked for many actions by the fascist state and their openly displayed objective for New World Order Fascism. I believe that now is the time that we truly begin to tighten up our ranks and begin to conduct real workshops and discuss some very serious and relevant issues and strategies while we still have time to do so. Because once the fascist states begin to lower the boom if we aren't totally prepared we are going to find ourselves so caught off guard that we won't know what hit us. I also think that there needs to be some way of teaching ones the 'art' of keeping their mouths shut and not responding or what I call 'dry snitching'. Dry Snitching is when one is telling vital information without realising they are doing so.
We need to also look at something else as well, and that is, how the fascist states will come down on Blacks and other peoples of colour. For it is a proven and historical fact that whatever happens or pains white people will feel will be felt much harder among Blacks and people of colour. We need to be addressing this and reaching seriously into the Black community and working with them on these relevant matters. As a Black man, I know the importance of this and have felt the brunt of white reactionaries, both from the fascist state officials and alleged revolutionaries.
By the way, I am the founder of Political Prisoners of War Coalition (PPWC) and if you'd like to read or obtain our materials or the materials I have independently written, please check out our website at http://www.geocities.com/ppwc_uk/intro.html or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Meantime, keep up the good work and I hope to continue receiving your great works.
In the trenches,
Ali Khalid Abdullah
3225 John Conley Dr.
Lapeer, MI 48446
Dear Do or Die,
There are some important inaccuracies in B's letter (see Do or Die No. 9, p. 221) glaring to anyone who cares to check out his/her assertions. B asserts coolly that I believe Bilderberg is "...part of a plot by the Illuminati". Uh? From the beginning on the website I decided to separate fact and speculation clearly. I even give this Illuminati story as an example of a 'conspiracy theory' therefore out of the scope of my analysis of the institution of Bilderberg.
Bilderberg is not "secret" as B asserts - it is secretive. It uses various cloaking tactics such as not telling the press of its venue nor issuing an attendance list until the last Mercedes has left, ensuring the press have nothing to report on.
Links on my website to right wing sites such as Spotlight come with an appropriate health warning. It would be misleading to pretend criticism of Bilderberg by the right did not exist. Surely better to acknowledge and criticise these sources than to deny them? The fact is Spotlight is the only paper in the world with sources that reveal venues before the event so is an essential ingredient in getting the press to cover Bilderberg. It might also encourage some healthy competition from the left.
B criticises me for being a 'Bible bashing Christian'. Is the Bible no longer considered spiritually acceptable? Are we Quakers now beyond the pale? And more importantly would I get similar criticism for being a Buddhist, a Moslem or a non-Biblical Christian?
It hasn't escaped my attention that most of the Bible (the Old Testament) which is my spiritual home is specifically Jewish and that Jesus was a Jew. How can I then be lumped together with anti-Semites?
Anyway, there are several points that make investigation of Bilderberg a continuing priority for the left: It is a club for the richest, most powerful globalisers, transatlantic media barons, bankers and multinational bosses. The Economist described Bilderberg as 'ne plus ultra', or 'the top'.
More than half the (unelected) government ministers for Europe, the European Commissioners, are ex-Bilderbergers. It was set up in the fifties by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, an ex-SS Nazi Officer exposed in a 1970s scandal for taking a million dollar bribe from Lockheed.
Not surprisingly the most cogent criticism of Bilderberg already comes from a left perspective. Mike Peters, Marxist Sociology lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University, for example, has written 'Bilderberg and the project for European Unification', published in the alternative left magazine Lobster, and way and ahead the best paper to date on the origin and role of Bilderberg. The only person asking questions about this elite club on the floor of the European Parliament is Patricia McKenna, Irish Green MEP. If B wanted anarchists and lefties to treat Bilderberg as dangerous right-wing territory to be avoided he, or she, has missed the boat by several decades.
Sooner or later, people in Europe are going to have to get over the anti-Semitic paranoia factor and start grasping basic facts about the realities of corporate lobbying. The facts should speak for themselves on Bilderberg. Let's make sure the extreme right don't get a look in.
PS: A large letter B is displayed prominently on the windscreens of the chauffeur driven black Mercedes that bring the fat cats to Bilderberg every year. I think B might just have been making fun of you. Now that is a conspiracy theory.
Thank you for sending new Do or Die to Zi a nechaj zit, we put it in our free library, which is used by people in ecological and alternative movement. Please let me write some critical words.
I liked Do or Die very much, I have issues 6 and 7 and they were for me and my work publishing a very useful source of articles about roots of ecological crises, alienation of men from nature and its consequences. I like your enthusiasm, celebration of wilderness (in world around us and also in ourself) and love for Mother Earth and its creatures. Your magazine was source of energy for me, because it was very nice to see people which take slogans about 'return to nature' sincere and truly. But new issue of Do or Die was disappointment for me. Nature and Mother Earth disappear from pages of your magazine and remains only masked city heroes throwing stones and bottles in senseless battles. I know how many energy and time my friends to preparing protests and activities connected with September 2000 World Bank and IMF meeting in Prague and I also see that it bring nothing positive for Nature, Earth and people who want to live in harmony with it.
I do not understand this street fighting against capitalism. In country which I live, majority of population want capitalism, they want more luxury, more consuming, using advances of technical progress and only few people care about natural world, about Third World and Earth. People who want live in another way, in voluntary simplicity, with nature, from local resources; free from hierarchy of civilisation and dictatorship of technical progress are small minority. What are we fighting against? System? System which majority of people want? We want win war with police, then with army, then win star wars and then create paradise on the Earth?
I think that more important is change minds and hearts of people around us. If majority of people in this society will want live in harmony with nature, simply, free, from local sources of nature, there will be no capitalism, no WTO, no IMF, no WB, because these things are not cause but consequence. It is like in article in Do or Die No. 7 which I translated to our magazine ('No-one Ever is to Blame', pp. 14-17): "No one really wants the world saved, not if it will significantly restrict their gluttony. All anyone really wants is someone else to blame." So we can blame capitalism, multinationals, WTO, WB, IMF etc. (list of enemies is long, you can choose...) and continue travel around the world to next city battlefield, fly over the oceans to fight for Mother Earth and enjoy lot of fun (riot is best adrenaline sport, better than bungee jumping). Who care that 80% of population in Czech Republic after Prague 2000 protests had biggest sympathy to police than the anti-globalisers? We can blame mass media and travel to some next summit in another country? But where in all this is nature, Earth, people in Third World? Are we really helping them? I do not think so...
Maybe changing our own life, making small steps in our communities, create alternatives to capitalism, rediscovering way how to live in harmony with nature, learning voluntary simplicity and spread this in our society, are not so exciting as rioting but I think it is way how truly save the Earth and help to people in Third World countries.
I am open to discussion and I wish you all the best.
With love from,
PS: Excuse me, but my English is not very good, so I hope you will understand...
I am a prisoner on Death Row and would like very much to have a pen pal who reads Do or Die. I would appreciate it very much if you could print my letter in an effort to find a person interested in writing me. I am a 47 year old Spanish male, former US Marine and Vietnam veteran. I'm bilingual, in English and Spanish. I enjoy travelling, snow skiing, most music and reading. I would like to find a sensitive lady to have a good friendship. I thank you for any assistance you can give me in this matter.
Manuel Pardo Jr. #111983
Union Correctional Institution
P Dorm P32125
PO Box 221
[Editors note: We get a few of these letters from Death Row or long term male prisoners in the US asking for women pen friends. As you can see, we do publish them, but we feel slightly confused about doing so. We'd be interested in hearing what other people think about it - especially women.]
Dear Do or Die,
The Pressmennan campaign was launched by genuine environmentalists. It started well, 2,000 locals signed the petitions to conserve Pressmennan Wood North (PWN), the local community associations put their names to the Friends of Pressmennan (FOP) conservation strategy, and the local paper gave favourable, intelligent coverage every week. The local council jumped on the bandwagon and went as far as putting a precedential blanket Tree Preservation Order (TPO) on the whole wood.
On the day of the TPO, an agent provocateur arrived. A saboteur had previously snuck into FOP. The provocateur started making inflammatory statements to the press, and set about alienating the local community.
The Edinburgh Evening News was used as a vehicle by MI5 to set up the campaign organiser for a civil interdict, having her viewed by the courts as guilty by association with the inflammatory statements of the provocateur. The interdict prevented her from showing journalists and experts around the wood. It also restricted her from site meetings with the Forestry Authority, Scottish Natural Heritage, Land owners, management consultants and council officials.
The Forestry Authority misrepresented the campaign group to their expert when he was invited to appraise the conflict, by not producing favourable press coverage nor articles written by the campaign spokesperson. Neither did they mention the petitions and the conservation strategy.
A powerful anti-Nature mason who had infiltrated FOP volunteered to represent the council at a vital Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) meeting. At this meeting he backed down and left the council open to financial loss if they pursued the campaign. He was accused of impropriety in The Scotsman newspaper.
A brilliant letter exposing the illegality of the felling plan and corruption of the FA was sent to the Secretary of State. In synchrony, it was sent to the media. The media awaited his response which was totally evasive, stalling and requesting documents we had already sent to him. At the time, the campaign organiser was being tortured by MI5 who were using frequency weapons.
After being badly sabotaged, the campaign organiser had to get ingenuitive. She hoaxed the spiking of the wood to give the landowners the moral high ground to ease the blow of having to back down. She wanted them to see the wood as beautiful, not as a business asset. White serpents in the shape of S's were painted with water-based paint throughout the wood, and diagrams of porcelain spiking sent to relevant organisations.
The Evening News, for MI5, set the campaign organiser up as having spiked the wood. Consequently, she was made the subject of a government terrorist tagging experiment. Finally, MI5 blackmailed an appropriate doctor to Section the campaign organiser. She was incarcerated at the time when 200 trees were felled.
|The Day I Broke the Rules
April 30th 2001:
I started talking to my teacher about the lecture he gave us about Mayday. I said "Sir: What do ya actually do on Mayday?" "Well it's a time of Anarcky and riots." "Really. Is it illegal?" "Well of course." "Damn. Oh well thanks sir." "It was my pleasure."
"Hey Benny", I shouted across the road, "'Sup, what are you doing tonight?" "Nothing. I'm gonna go and practice my skating." "WHAT - ain't U gonna prepare for Mayday?" "No, it's illegal. You'll go to prison." "No you won't, there's gonna be 4 hundred of us, they won't be able to handle it." "OK. But what are you going to do?" "Don't tell anyone, OK. Well, we are going to break into the bank and steal all the money." "Well, I don't know, it sounds dangerous, but..." "But what?" "But, I'll help." "Wohoo, pack your bag and meet me at my house." "Sure thing." (I ride on my bike with my bag packed.) (Ding dong, Ding dong.) "Hey" "Come on hurry up and go, I wanna get it over with"...
We've received already two copies of Do or Die 9, one of which is donated to our very own Kalakasan anarchist mini library and the other is intended for borrowing/lending purpose. As EF! campaigners we're with five other affinity groups here in the Metro. Two YCAL (Youth Collective for Animal Liberation) groups, SOS, FNB-Manila, Dare to Care and Pusang Gala (Wildcat) collective. All are keeping in touch as Local Anarchist Network - Philippines (LAN).
We're quite experiencing extreme financial difficulties right now. All of us got no job, laid off because of financial crisis in our country, 2 of us got kicked out from working in 4 NGO groups because they exposed themselves as anarchists. The NGO managements, mostly ND (National Democrat) Leninist-Marxist-Maoist.
I, with a few, have travelled the north, hitchhiked and on foot but still fucking expensive though - to personally and DIY see spots which were slowly devastated by irresponsible tourists and dynamite fishing, particularly in the 'Hundred Islands' in Alaminos, Pangasinan Province.
One place that caught our attention is the devastation of rice terraces in Banawe in the Cordillera region. We think that after 5-10 years half of it will be gone. I was surprised when some old folks there speak more of American English rather than Tagalog (Filipino language). Of course the American missions have a ethno-ecocidal impact among the Ifugao and Igorot tribes there. Foreign tourist mostly Germans, Aussies (which I'd mistaken as British), Koreans and Japanese got no respect and leave a lot of their trash in these spots - I always talk to people and entrepreneurs there.
We travel mostly south once a year or once every two years as part of our environmental activity to do something like cleaning the islands by ourselves and teaching people to recycle and plant and offer more vegetables in their (small) restaurants. Most eateries in the Cordillera region particularly in Baguio, offers dog meat!
Any old magazines, journals or newspapers that you think we might need or as long as it's autonomous, earth/animal liberationist, you could send 'em as well, because most of our reading materials in Kalakasan Library were washed away by the big flood last year. OK, thank you very much, especially for understanding our very poor situation.
Earth First! Campaign East M. Mla.
PO Box 176
Taguig Central PO
Taguig, Metro Manila
Dear Do or Die,
There is something extremely wrong with every single person in this world. They seem to be part of a pointless simulation.
The Matrix has portrayed this idea somewhat, yet we watch it and go back to our daily lives. Yet in this very life, underneath the seeming diversity in people's opinions, values, talents, and interests, there is something that makes everyone the same. It is as though this planet is populated only by mindless fakes, objects that provide the appearance of intellect on the surface but are based on only mechanical reflexes and primitive thought patterns.
I don't really care if anything I say has been said before, if it was portrayed in movies, in books, or in the lyrics of some useless song. With 6 billion people covering the globe at any given time, thousands and thousands of years of written literature, probability dictates almost any combination of words has occurred numerous times.
Yet there is clear evidence there was no action, so those words, just like the people who spoke them, must have been just more fakes. I am forced to use this language (also created by the fakes) because there is no alternative, so everything I write here could be misunderstood to make me sound like one of them, but it will be the action that I take and the dedication that will separate me from them.
In my estimation the fakes that occupy this planet don't make up 99%, but more like 99.99999% of the population. I know this because I've searched, and in my search have so far only found one true ally (I have found him via the Internet as well). But even with those numbers we would not give up because there is no logic in giving up.
The people on this planet are all fakes because the societies have made them this way. Ideas that populate people's minds have no logic or purpose. Concepts such as religion, god, morality, individualism, freedom, identity, happiness, love and billions of others are all just memes. Like parasites they infect the minds and spread from one person to the next. They have no point or purpose; they exist without any logical basis or foundation. The fakes are completely controlled by them, and they will never see beyond them. To not be controlled by them one must do more then just realise that they exist. One must resist any ideas that have no point, endlessly question, and never accept imperfection or compromise in any answer.
We (myself and my ally) are different though. While we have had the limitation of existing only in these societies, something has made it possible for us to resist being indoctrinated into becoming one of those fakes. We have no arbitrary wants, needs, desires, or preferences.
If this world continues to exist the way it is then nothing in it will ever have a point. It will always be just a product of random evolution, one with no importance or relevance. The only logical goal is to dedicate our lives to increasing our numbers, those that aren't fakes, so that in thousands of years our numbers may be such that the fakes would no longer be a threat to progress.
Those that join us must see every other person occupying this planet as the enemy, and us as their only allies. Like us they must have dedication only to taking the most logical action, and to nothing else.
To tell you more about us, we've posted some personal information about ourselves on a website. You'll also find past responses to us on that webpage.
Obviously anyone reading this email is most likely just another fake. Do not simply reply to this email; if you do your message will almost certainly be ignored. If you do wish to communicate, first demonstrate your interest by taking the effort to find us online, one of the ways to do that is described below.
Use a major search engine to search for every combination of any two words from the list below. The order of the words shouldn't matter as long as you do not search for them in quotes. Also when you pick the right combination you shouldn't need to look at more then the first matches.
There is no trick to this and this isn't meant to be quick, it should, however, be fairly clear if/when you find the right site. The following search engines were verified by us, please use any of them as other search engines may simply not list us correctly: MSN, Lycos, InfoSeek, LookSmart, HotBot, InfoSpace, Google, Ask.com, AllTheWeb, Teoma, WebCrawler, AltaVista, AOL Search, Netscape Search.
Perfect, theory, endless, desire, eternal, logic, driving, perpetual, vision, logical, infinite, dream, final, best, escape, objective, thought, only, ambition, clue, perfection. If this can't be solved, or if you never reach us, there should be no reason for you to give up, as we will never give up and thus there will always be some way to find us.
Ryan and Jacob
Dear Do or Die,
Yes, 'Do or Die' is a usually unacknowledged quote from Robert Burns. He coined the phrase by adapting it from a French revolutionary oath of the time. But it was still a surprise to see the verse it comes from on the front cover of the last issue. First time Do or Die has quoted a freemason with approval I think! It's from Scots Wha Hae. Looked at one way, this is a rather dodgy nationalist rant, and not really typical of Burns at all. Oh, alright then, let's call it national liberation.
The other interpretation is that it was published anonymously just after he'd undertaken to stop publishing subversive verse in order to keep his job as a revenue man or tax collector. His own postscript said it was inspired by Robert Bruce's "glorious struggle for freedom, associated with the glowing ideas of some other struggles not quite so ancient". This had, of course, nothing to do with the brutal clampdown then being organised against the Friends of the People and its paper the Edinburgh Gazeteer, for which Burns had never (honest!) written insurrectionary contributions. In particular, it had nothing to do with the impending trial of his friend Thomas Muir, for publishing seditious literature, namely Tom Paine's Rights of Man. Muir was sentenced to 14 years' transportation, but died on a prison hulk before this could be implemented, after an abortive American attempt to de-arrest him. Though hard for us to grasp now, Scots Wha Hae was apparently an historical allegory in solidarity with Thomas Muir.
It's generally reckoned Burns was lucky not to share the fate of Muir and another radical writer, Thomas Palmer. Like the English Ranter, Abiezer Coppe, 150 years previously, he always recanted or denied his views when under pressure. On at least one occasion he resorted to his freemasonry to wriggle out of trouble. Another bit of bother arose when he was alleged to have incited a theatre audience to sing the French revolutionary anthem Ça Ira at the end of a performance instead of the usual dirge about God saving the King, but claimed he "neither knew of the plot nor joined in the plot" and got away with it. He later wrote;
"Who will not sing God Save the King
Shall hang as high's the steeple;
But while we sing God save the King,
We'll ne'er forget the people."
Burns' short life (he died at 37) is interesting for us, now that we're 'terrorists', as an example of one person's survival through viciously repressive times. Did he sell out? Or was it that "Burns dealt with his situation with what we would call working class horse sense. He chose survival for himself and his dependants rather than martyrdom, a fair enough option in a period of defeat, and one that rings with everyday familiarity to working class militants."
I'm disinclined to see him as a sell-out, because he carried on supplying insurrectionary poetry to short-lived radical newspapers, either anonymously or using pseudonyms, until he died.
What Rab the Rhymer deserves, though, is to be rescued from the de-politicised, shortbread tin bourgeois mush-for-tourists into which he's been outrageously dumped. Recuperation, I think they call it. So for inspiration and laughs, here's a short activists' guide to the writer of:
"Ye see yon birkie  ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, and stares, an a' that;
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof  for a' that.
For a' that, and a' that,
His ribband, star, and a' that,
The man o' independent mind,
He looks and laughs at a' that."
Or woman, presumably, Rab? You won't have much trouble with The Tree of Liberty as it's in standard English. It followed Scots Wha Hae as a great anonymous rant, this time in explicit support of the French revolution, rather than veiled historical analogy. Not his best writing (he was never at his best in standard English, I reckon) but inspiring, daring in the prevailing climate, and obviously aimed at circulation beyond Scotland.
Verses on the Destruction of the Woods Near Drumlanrig is rather obscure. You'll usually find it only in an edition of his complete works. But it was well appreciated at Newbury. I don't know anything that better expresses the desolation and anger of seeing an ancient woodland and all its life trashed for the profit of the powerful. In that case "the reptile wears a ducal crown". It was the Duke of Queensbury raising cash to pay off an 'illegitimate' daughter. Only she turned out to be another toff's daughter, and managed to wangle loads of cash off both of them.
Ever thought there was anything recent about the media being full of lies and distortion, obsessed with the writhings and posturing of governments rather people's hopes and struggles, not to mention purveying yards of trivial shite about alleged 'stars'? Have a look at To A Gentleman Who Had Sent Him a Newspaper, and you'll probably agree there's not much new. Rab said it better and more wittily in 1789 than I can now.
Then there's the better known The Twa Dogs - A Tale. The gypsy's dog and the laird's dog meet up for a fun day around town, sniffing arses, knocking over bins and causing mayhem. In between, they have time to compare their lives and discuss the class nature of human society. They find themselves in doggy agreement, and you'll probably concur with these perceptive animals too.
Of Burns' long ballad poems, Tam O'Shanter is the one which gets all the attention. It was his own favourite - maybe because he hoped to make money out of it, but never did - and it's a drunken tall tale well told. But have a look at The Holy Fair. Much more political. The shallowness and repressive hypocrisy of 'official' contemporary culture gets a right hilarious kicking, whilst people's ways of avoiding and undermining it are well observed and enjoyed.
Hope I've turned you on to a revolutionary rhymer who's worth reading in our times. Thanks to the shortbread tin recuperators I complained about above, he's always in print and every library. A bit of an emotionally unstable sentimentalist, for sure, and not noted for moderate consumption of the electric soup, but who's perfect? Don't be put off by the language. If you don't have an auld Scots granny to explain, there's always a glossary.
1) That's not "wahey", it's "who have".
2) He was always a lover of Scottish ways and culture, but with a broad, inclusive view of humanity and respect for other cultures - except those of toffs and oppressors everywhere.
3) If that sounds well dodgy in our world, it doesn't seem to have been thought so in those times. Burns wasn't the only radical freemason by any means. Scottish freemasonry is a completely separate set-up from the English version and occupies a different (though no more savoury) niche in society. Predominantly working class, and one of the main institutions of sectarian bigotry, it's primarily a boozing club for the violent Orange Order thugs of yesteryear (frequently the present ones' dads). The sort of 'respectable' types who might well be English freemasons wouldn't touch it with a bargepole. That's now. In the 18th Century, Scottish freemasonry seems to have been different again - bit like a cross between the sort of men's club caffs which occur in Mediterranean and Turkish cultures and a credit union/mutual aid society of mainly poor farmers and craftsmen who were vulnerable whenever hard times hit. Not saying it was a 100% admirable institution, but very different from freemasonry as known and loathed in both Scotland and England now. The hocus-pokus aspect of freemasonry wasn't particularly weird in the 18th Century. Oaths and contrived rituals were par for the course in all sorts of groups, including revolutionary ones.
4) Jock Morris in Scotland - Class and Nation edited by Chris Bambery (Bookmarks, 1999). Jock Morris is an SWPer, but well worth reading on Burns. His selection from Burns' radical writings is almost completely different from mine, illustrating how much there is.
5) See The Lost Poems by PS Hogg (Glasgow, 1997)
6) Roughly equals smartarse. Not, as you might think, anything to do with 'burke'.
7) Literally 'calf' but the glossaries say it was used to mean 'a blockhead', 'a ninny'.
8) Maybe we'll let him off if he hadn't read Mary Wollestonecraft. Wonder if he did? They were exact contemporaries, being born and dying young in the same years. Burns was able to read widely in the later part of his life, and was in touch with the English radical scenes in which Wollestonecraft moved.