A brilliant criticism to the farmer (principal) of Queen Mary Factory Farm (University) by Anarchist in Space

anarchist in space

I wrote the below email today to the Principal of Queen Mary, after a horribly patronising email was sent around about impending cuts. It probably wasn’t a very good idea, but it was one of those situations when i was absolutely fuming and couldn’t stop myself.

Have a read – I might put it on the gravestone that I’ve ordered…

Dear Ms A**** – FAO Prof Gaskell,

Many thanks for this email. I am especially grateful for this email as it confirms a
number of suspicions held by myself, but I suspect also widely held among us staff,
postgraduate students, and the undergraduate students whom we teach and support.

First, that the strategy of UUK and its affiliates (including QMUL) is chiefly to
patronise and belittle the intellect of our workforce and students, claiming that we do
not understand our position in relation to the economic conditions that we…

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“This is it then, this is the end.”

We began walking over a deserted Westminster bridge, the rain pouring down
hard on us. In front of us, thousands of students were making their way
through the streets of Lambeth, a borough with high levels of
impoverishment, to demand “Educate, Employ, Empower” to I'm not quite sure
who.

In many ways, this moment really did feel like the end of the student
movement. Those in power sat smugly and safely behind the police fortress
that had been set up along Whitehall and Parliament Square. The NUS could
lie to anyone still listening that it had represented its members as well
as bolstering their own chances for power in the Labour party. The majority
of people seemed to have no problem with parading straight past Parliament
and onwards to Kennington Park, seduced perhaps by that promise of
employment. Damp and despairing it felt as though this had been some sort
of last chance and we'd lost it – nothing had happened (although we can
take some comfort from the egging of Liam Burns and chants of 'NUS shame on
you, where the fuck have you brought us to').

2 years before marching from A to B was simply not an option. Instead we
targeted those who wanted to see us denied free education (both free as in
no price and where learning is free from the dictates of the state and the
market) and indebted for the rest of our lives. Students stormed and
smashed the Tory HQ creating a spectacle that inspired and galvanised
students here and in Quebec. With the NUS condemning our actions, we went
on to show how much more effective we are outside these sorts of
organisations. Another demonstration saw the windows of other government
buildings smashed in and protestors get close to breaking through police
lines around parliament. These experiences, these acts of fuck you and the
destruction of power, were a kind of empowerment beyond the NUS' wildest
dreams.

The NUS' march was purposely designed to kill off the lessons and
experiences that we had gathered from these times – to kill off the student
movement – as we creeped around backstreets and into a south London park
encircled by railings in the 1800s to prevent unrest. But whilst the slogan
and route were organised around demobilisation they provoked an angry
response that asserted our need for action, autonomy, and anger.

The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts counter march saw over 1,000
students (whilst the official march managed only a couple of thousand more)
gather at UCL with substantive demands and propositions illustrated by
banners proclaiming 'Smash the NUS', 'The Dead Bury the Dead – Never Work'
and '#Wrong to Work' and insurrectionary literature from the Imaginary
Party declaring 'Educate, Disempower, Destroy'. The march was for 'free
education' and for the freeing of society but also for the destruction of
the NUS which is a barrier to our practices and aims.

Plans for direct action were stopped by heavy policing (surely they don't
have the funds to keep this up?), with the NUS stewards relishing their new
found 'authority', and perhaps a lack of communication between ourselves.
Whilst energy had been high at the start, the longer we were funnelled down
the streets by the police, the wearier we grew. Our attempts to make a
break down the Strand rather than join the NUS march at Embankment were met
with lines of police and reinforcements arriving behind them. Our numbers
were simply not enough to overcome this total policing. And so we arrived
on the corner of Westminster bridge, Parliament square on our right blocked
by 2 barriers with lines of police and riot vans. We half-heartedly
discussed possible plans knowing they would come to nothing.

But there is still rage. Even though it did not manifest itself in
particularly obvious and compelling forms that day. We got to know each
others faces, or eyes, for those wearing masks. And that is the start of
something.

And perhaps we were looking in the wrong place for that rage at this
moment. Maybe the streets, blocked and lined with riot police, are not the
place to meet right now – although, of course, this is where the beauty is.
The other day I spoke with three women in the computer room of our Further
Education college about the introduction of fees for their courses that
will come in next year. This is where the rage is. They described their
anger at the government 'robbing' from them. They explained how they were
studying so that they could get a job to be an example to their children.
They were surviving on £30 a week.

*'I think education should be free – it shouldn't be like that [ever
increasing fees]'*

*'We don't know where we're going to stand with fees coming in, we've got
our kids to look after as well,'*

*'Don't try and rob from me to make yourself pppffff'*

*'It's ridiculous where money is – they let the rich off and f the poor,'*

*'they waste money on stupid sculptures, that new building, that point
thing, the Shard shit'*

*'You can't even have little treats, it is £30 a week on food. We can't go
out, we don't have a social life'.*

*'We're just surviving, just getting by, without this education now, where
am I going to be?'*

*'We're trying to help ourselves but we're just in debt.'*

*'I was watching This Morning and they were saying that if you live on less
than £400 a week you live below the poverty line. I'm poor but you're not
helping me,'*

*'They really categorised us now – we're poor. Categorise us, put us into a
little...'*

Listening to them, I did not even bother to mention the student demo. It
felt as if I would be somehow selling them out suggesting they come along
to something I had little hope in to start with. They were busy enough
looking after their children, studying, and surviving.

Clearly, then, this is not the end – there is a belief in free education
and the anger with which to obtain this and much more. NCAFC has called for
a National Day of Action on December 5th in all places of education.
Drawing as well from the Imaginary Party's literature, it is clear that the
struggle, having learnt from Quebec, should return to these places, where
we can listen to and organise with each other. Whilst never forgetting
Milbank.

N.B.
As we publish this post we are hearing news that
UCL has staged a sit in (with the possibility of it turning into an
occupation) over UCL management's involvement in the social cleansing of
Carpenters Estate. Elsewhere across London university campuses this
evening, there is a protest of cleaners and student supporters outside
University of London's Senate House for sick pay, holidays, and pensions.
Earlier on in the day, UCL academics lobbied the 'UCL council' against
reforms to Statue 18 which would give management powers to *fire at will*.
Now those words uttered as we crossed the bridge seem so laughable.

'Anonymous'- Radical writers collective

A.C.A.B not A2B

 (A critique of the TUC model of Demonstration- and a look to the Black Block)

Every smashed window is a portal into the future, as John Holloway might put it, a crack into the capitalist structures that exist now, and a temporary move into a future that looks beyond the idea of private property as an institution of any importance. Meanwhile, the politics of solidarity, mutual aid, horizontal organization, and direct action (by some accounts the corner stone’s of anarchism, at least in the libertarian communist trend) are at no point more alive than in the swiftly moving sea of black. An unidentifiable gender, race, and classless mass; each individual afforded their own autonomy to move or act in any direction whilst simultaneously forming parts of collective units (affinity groups) which all feed into a collective mass- this is self organization and leaderless management in action.

Meanwhile a mass of people are told by the bureaucrats and backstabber’s of the TUC that they are part of some mass movement, a movement stumbling towards “a future that works” and are consequentially lead like cattle to the slaughter to hear Edd Milliband talk about how Labour can co-opt the struggle against austerity and package it in a neat framework of reformist politics. The naming of the October 20th march, selection of certain privileged intellectuals to speak, and ideologically authoritarian pacifism (take for example the TUC stewards who attempted to prevent and break up the direct action by disabled people against the cuts when they tried to block a road) amount to little more than an attempt to crush intersectional approach to resistance, and effectively dump large diasporas of the anti austerity movement (e.g. queer, women’s, people of colour etc) into the thoroughly reformist box of workers against the cuts.

Imagine for a moment if “a future that works” was in fact named ” the future is now” and created a space where every section of anger could take steps relevant to them in a broad range of direct actions. Imagine the power of DPAC blocking either end of oxford street, whilst insurrectionist anarchists smash its shops to pieces, families use the distraction to occupy and take over closed down libraries and child care centres, UKUNCUT stunt against a tax dodging business, and unemployed people banner drop from the job centre. Imagine the power of 125 thousand people taking action for the now instead of being told to walk from embankment to Hyde park for the future. Instead of looking to Labour to reform our future, we must take it upon ourselves to liberate the present.

Most of all though, the TUC’s organizational steps in their so called protest do not represent  a crack or attack in the status quo but in fact serve only to reinforce the position of our oppressors. First of all, within the discourse of “a future that works” we are offered not an alternative to those things that oppress us now; we are fed a future that is reliant on capitalist modes of relationship, that is locked squarely in the framework of bosses and workers, of some owning the means of production and others toiling in them- I don’t want to work, I want to live. My second point of issue, is the TUC’s insistence on the presence and inclusion of professional politicians and statists arguing the case for their political programme on a soapbox provided by the so called “resistance”; what kind of resistance is it that invites our oppressors (those who in the days of new labour began this austerity program) to lecture us from their ivory towers of luxury expenses and extraction from life as a prole/pleb on why we should pay for their crisis.  Finally, the decision by the TUC, to work both for (supporting them in their so called struggle) and alongside (agreeing on a march root, attacking those attempting to take direct action etc) the police (those boot boys and murders who form a shield wall between us and the realisation of freedom, between us and the puppet masters) will always hamper the movement from self emancipation and smash its ability to self organise.

So, perhaps counter intuitively (given that the Black Block demands such a strict dress code) I argue that the TUC option of “demonstration” is the enemy of creativity, of imagination, and of real predigurative1 action; whilst Black Block creates a world of unlimited potential, individual expression, and all power to the imagination. There is perhaps and argument to be made, that the action of the Black Block are fundamentally machoistic and elitist both in there mode (often that of property destruction) and in its dominance of the discourse (e.g. March 26th in so far as “anarchist thugs” filled every major newspaper headline, whilst hundreds of thousands of other protesters were largely ignored). I will try briefly to offer a contrasting analysis to this position.

First, I would like to argue that the destruction of property is in fact a destruction of the male chauvinism, violence, and elitism on which institutions such as Banks, Government Buildings, and Anne Summers operate; and would further point to the multitude of actions beyond property damage that members of Black Blocks have participated in (from window cleaning of empty buildings and council housing to opening squats to provide homes for homeless families). The fact that Black Block also relies on personal autonomy and group solidarity, for me at least defies the accusation of elitism (so often cast upon this tactic by other leftists). Black Block is a tactic to protect everyone (regardless of their mode of action) from persecution by state or cop and within this sea of anonymity there is space for everything and anything from window smasher, to medic, theatrical protester  to media person, five year old to grandparent. Never mind thousands of V’s Marching on Parliament, this is hoods and masks attacking the reasons of our sleepless nights and nightmarish day, attempting to shape a new society based on basic human solidarity; (exemplified through the diversity of action e.g. one person smashes a window, another helps to hide that person, another writes the literature explaining the whole action, and another tends the wounds of those injured rucking with the filth) Black Block- now recruiting!

As for arguments around the negative discourse of the Black Block, I would argue there is little any of us can or should do to influence the language and arguments the bourgeoisie press choose to use in attempting to undermine struggle; our actions must be judged by our own morality and by history, the Black Panthers, the ANC, even Ghandi were dismissed by their own press as criminals and yet today we hail them as heroes. We should not modify our politics or our tactics in order to suit other people’s ideas of “acceptable forms of resistance” and if anything the importance the mainstream media afford to Black Block should act as something of a call to arms to all those content to be confined to police kettles and pre agreed A to B’s. I argue we should be lead by what is effective and what we believe to be just, imagine if you will for a moment the power that the anti Iraq war movement would have held had it decided to mask up and occupy army recruitment centres, sabotage Ta Bases, and destroy machines in weapons factories- imagine for a second the power of one million E.D.O decomissioners. The power of the Black Block lies in its prefigurative and post capitalist approach to the notion of resistance; whilst the A to B of the TUC is trapped inevitably in a capitalist mode- marches are not the limit of our imagination speeches cannot contain our desires.

This then, is a call out to mothers and fathers, children, workers, unemployed, queers, people of colour, and all others to join the anonymous mass of the Block, not as a means to an end but as an act to change our reality in this moment, to reinvent the now. The tactic, the mode of action is ultimately for you to decide; but your family, your colleges; your friends are already your affinity group. Mutual aid exists in everyone’s lives: when we buy our friends a pint or make them a cup of tea; we organize horizontally when we pick a movie collectively or decide what toppings to have on a pizza, we show solidarity when we care for our friends children or visit them in the hospital when they are ill, and we take direct action when poverty forces us to shop lift or the cold forces us to rig the meter. We are all common sense anarchists; we need only to formulate our subconscious actions, conceptualize these divided thoughts to reach our potential- Black Block is one way towards this conceptualization. Next time the aparatchiks at the TUC organize a “mass show of strength”   to bolster their outdated and irrelevant analysis; lets fuck them off and do our own thing, let us take action, and rather than allowing some smarmy fuckwit in a suit to tell us what our future is going to be, let’s be the change today, that we want to live tomorrow.

Smash Capitalism, Create Anarchy.

Panarchy*- The Revolution of Refusing to Grow Up.

As “children”, we play, we explore, we imagine, we create, we have fun, we are taken to mystical lands and parallel universes; we construct the worlds we want to see in the moments we want to see them and we break the boundaries of the physical world, of norms, of rules, of laws, of governance and of hierarchy. Through the school, the television, “adults” around us, the media, work experience, and countless other institutions of authority we are taught the dogma of  so called “adult hood”. We are constantly berated with questions like “when are you going to get real/get a job/grow up”; and have responsibilities, “not wasting our so called fucking potential”, and employment forced upon us.

As “adults”, we become mindless autobots: snippets of other peoples imaginations are forced down our throats though the form of television, film and music, our fun is commodified  into package holidays, weekend festivals, and parties (small explosions of freedom that can be neatly slotted into our alloted holiday time), and we spend our days inputing endless streams of data, building lifeless office blocks, and buying and selling shit we don’t need from/to people we don’t like. Our lives as adults exist entirely in the physical, the so called real; even philosophy, science, and art are only of value when they become commodities, physical entities (capitalism cannot feed on imagination).

Growing up, is not about the process of aging, gaining life experience, learning, or wisdom (all of which are beautiful, meaningful, and worthwhile things); many twelve year olds are “adults” in the sense that I say it and some seventy year olds are “children”, growing up is the process of accepting  the 9/5 work-life, the 2.5 kids and house in the suburbs, the death of the imagination, and the five year fucking life plan, as some kind of infallible religion. Growing up, is the process of learning deference to the Politician, the Police Officer, the Factory owner, of learning discipline to the Parent, the Teacher, the “God”, of learning slavery to the system; growing up is learning to be a worker and forgetting how to play.

As children we are not useful to the capitalist world around us, we would rather create share and love with our fellows than spend our times producing pointless crap like adverts and designing the latest Nike Air Max. As children we ask questions which threaten the hierarchies and systems that enslave us as. As children we endlessly ask why? Why do they go and kill people granny? Why do we have cars teacher? Why do we have to work mr/mrs/it? These questions, these questions that we forget through years of psywar(1), could be the beginnings of revolutionary and fundamental change  in our somewhat floundering and generally totally fucked up society were they to be asked by “adults” in the same numbers as they were by “children”, but the sad truth is the the slow monotony of the production line has us sold (in more ways than one).

Yet, there is still hope, we can find inside ourselves inside all of us that free spiritedness that once we knew as a good friend. Every single one of us, when we climb a tree, write a song, make love, build something for our home, create something for us and our friends; is tapping into that “child”, is tapping into the world of play that can make us free. Play, one of the corner stones of childhood, is revolutionary in so far as “Play is Voluntary(2)”, it does not have set rules save for those designed by the players (in this sense it is about community self organization), it is creative and liberating allowing us to make and live the world we want to see. Play is not the antithesis of work, but rather what work should be; if we allowed ourselves to play and not to conform we could build fabulous houses for everyone, invent new medicines for our ill, and feel the cool wind on our faces once again instead of simply surviving through a constant chain of soulless interactions, money making schemes, and work houses.

Personally I don’t ever want to grow up, I want to be free to ask every why and when it is not answered or answered badly I want to ask and ask it again until with those around me the why becomes no longer a question of merit and a new one becomes our goal. I want to spend my days pretending to fly, and watching as whole universes open and close before my eyes, I want to make games of building houses and fun of clearing the waste; I want to create where adults have destroyed and I want to live a life free of the monotony of work under bosses and managers. I want to say fuck responsibility, responsibility is a word designed to make us individualists, to believe that we alone have things of importance to do and to subjugate us- usually work or children are considered the only meaningful responsibilities to have, lets care and work together so that all responsibility is shared until there is no such thing. I want to tear down the schools, and in there place let us all learn together, always;  not just as people of young years but as people of all years horizontally, vertically and diagonally. I want to tear down the billboards selling us our own poor asses back to us, and in their place lets plant trees and in there branches build tree houses and on the walls of those tree houses let us paint beautiful pictures. I want to create music all around us every day, not listen to some recorded sound mass produced to make money for some spineless record company. I want to run away to a never land and never come back; because never land does not have to be some world far far away and not in this “reality”, it can be here, and now, and forever, so long as we believe it, so long as we create it.

Please, lets you and I not grow up together.

*Panarchy: A ridiculous invented word, splicing pan (as in peter pan the popular “boy who never grew up”) with the word anarchy.

  1. psywar or psychological warfare is the concept that as well as physical wars e.g. killing foreign soldiers, there are frequent attacks through media etc to change or attack the ways we think. For suggested examples of psywar see http://www.psywar.org/
  2. Bob Black- The abolition of Work