[written to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the LA riots, one of the most significant events in recent US history – r&d]
LOS ANGELES, March 3, 1991 – On the shoulder of the freeway, police are beating a man. Because we are in the US, and because the man is black, we will know that this is a routine event, an ordinary brutality, part of the very fabric of everyday life for non-whites. But something is exceptional this time. There is an observer, as there often is, but the observer holds in his hands an inhuman witness, a little device for producing images which are accepted as identical with the real. The images – grainy, shaking with the traces of the body behind them – enframe this event, defamiliarize it, make it appear in all its awfulness as both unimaginable singularity and example of a broader category of everyday violence. The recorded beating of Rodney King marks, as many have noted, the beginning of one of the most significant episodes of US history. But few have examined this event in terms of the transformative effects it exerted upon contemporary spectacle and its would-be enemies. By spectacle, we mean here those social relations and activities which are mediated directly by the representations, whether visual or verbal, which capital has subsumed (that is, remade according to its own imperatives).
For us, the advent of the Rodney King video marks the first major shift in the political economy of spectacle, which we choose to describe as a passage from passive to active spectacle, from spectacle as pacifying object of passive consumption to spectacle as the active product of the consumer (whose leisures or recreations have long since become forms of work). In its classical form, spectacle creates a situation in which “spectators are linked solely by their one-way relationship to the very center that keeps them isolated from each other” (Debord.) But at a certain point in its development, spectacle dispenses with the need for centralization, finding that passive consumers can quite easily be recruited to the production of spectacle. The shift from unilateral toward multilateral relations does not promise an end to isolation, but rather its perfection. We might think of the distinction here as the difference between the television screen and the computer screen, but since we are talking about a set of social relations as much as technological apparatuses, we should be careful to avoid identifying such relations with any particular technologies. The video camera is merely one of many devices which assist in the transformation of administered life into self-administered life.
May 2, 2010
Greece:Massive anarchist demonstrations country wide. Lots of information, pictures and videos at Occupied London
Asheville, North Carolina: Dozens of store windows attacked by a black bloc. Article
New York Around noon, several Banks, ATMs, and American Apparel, and several other corporate storefronts on Broadway were attacked by a breakaway march dozens strong. Police swarmed the rally as it approached Union Square, arresting 5 individuals at random while the rest dispersed safely.
Santa Cruz: A torch-lit dance party hundreds strong took the streets of Downtown Santa Cruz, attacking a police car that attempted to crash the party. By the time more police arrived, several expensive “hipster” stores, corporate chain stores, and bourgeois shops that cater to tourists had their windows smashed.
Germany:Thousands of anti-authoritarians, police, and Nazis clash throughout the country. >Some more information here.
Victoria, BC: Police station attacked.
Zurich:Police use water cannon to disperse riots against bonuses for bankers. Article
May 1, 2010
We’ve been getting some calls and texts that a May Day breakaway march caused havoc in the East Village today around noon, with several banks and corporate stores smashed up. More information to follow.
March 13, 2010
*This is a communique that was circulated in Athens and Thessaloniki during the 3/11 demos
There’s no escape.
The big pricks are out.
They’ll fuck everything in sight.
Watch your back.
Harold Pinter (He already said it on February 2003)
In the historical point we are now in, the contradiction of capital is increasingly becoming clear worldwide. Proletarians around the world are in turmoil while their own reproduction becomes more and more difficult. As it is already difficult for the proletarians to continue their lives, it is capital itself as a relation of exploitation which is in a reproduction crisis. The current struggles of the proletarians are the expression of the current form of this relation of exploitation.
During the last year in China where the economy still grows very quickly, all kinds of contradictions are rising. Clashes of workers with the police is common for a number of reasons: because of demands for increasing the very low wages (on which steep economic growth is based), because of preventing land enclosures in villages, because of attributing compensation to dismissed workers, against the inadequacy of the health system resulting in high mortality rate of children. In USA where a historical low record of workers’ demanding struggles has appeared, thousands of homeless and unemployed people occupy vacant houses which have been seized by banks and students occupy universities in California and New York writing on their banners: We have decided not to die, demanding this way what was until recently taken for granted, that is, just their ability to continue being students. The reproduction of their own life (of course from a much worse position imposed by the hierarchy of capitalist states) proletarians in South Africa and Algeria demand as well as they clash with police because they still do not have water or electricity and are forced to live in slums; in India as well, because the price of bread suddenly rises and they starve to death. Last year in Spain workers in shipyards which are shut down burn police cars; in South Korea dismissed workers as well occupy factories and clash with police for two and a half months; in Bangladesh, dismissed workers again, clash with police and burn factories. In France and Belgium, dismissed workers kidnap their bosses, placing explosives in the factories and threatening to blow them up if not compensated for their dismissal. In India and China they kill their boss during the conflicts because of thousands of upcoming dismissals. In this historical phase proletarian struggles are objectively struggles for the assertion of the reproduction of life itself.