5 Reasons Why Property Damage Can Be Moral

It is perhaps common sense in our society that ‘vandalism’ and ‘theft’ are immoral and universally unacceptable actions whether done for personal gain or as part of a political project. This is mistaken for a number of reasons:

It was okay in the past.

Lots of leftist and liberation movements of the past made use of property destruction as a tactic, it was very effective in helping win important goals – from the Boston Tea Party sparking the American Revolution, to the suffragettes, to riots which played a key part in the civil rights movement, to striking workers sabotaging machinery as part of the class struggles which brought you your labour rights. Nowadays no one gives a fuck about the fact that rebels broke these sacred laws. We only care that we have civil rights, or an independent country, or universal suffrage, or an 8 hour work day. At least with enough historical perspective, we tend to believe that the means of property destruction is justified by the ends sought by progressive and radical movements.

suffrage
Arson and window-breaking were major tactics of the suffragette movement in their fight for women’s political power

The current configuration of property reflects a violent and illegitimate set of social relations.

It is entirely legitimate for members of the dispossessed majority to reconfigure that property. What’s the difference between graffiti and a billboard? What’s the difference between a broken Foxtons window and a demolished family home? They’re all fairly similar acts on the face of it – physical structures are altered by human activity for some purpose. The answer is not inherent in the action, the blow of the hammer or application of paint, but in human social relations. Two of these are consistent with capitalist property relations, two of them aren’t. If we say the hoarding of property by a minority through the exploitation of the working class is illegitimate, i.e. if we question the social construct of property, then we see that property damage is just another human change to the built environment, abnormal (and allegedly immoral) only in that we believe those who own property now deserve to control what is done with it.

If you believe that the current distribution of wealth is unjust then shoplifting or squatting is no more or less immoral a means of altering that than amending a tax law or levying a fine. Unless you think the current distribution is perfect then you should accept property destruction/expropriation in at least some cases. Gentrification and advertising are property destruction, things like fracking which put the natural world at risk are something worse – biological terrorism is perhaps an understatement given how many millions are predicted to die from climate change. Most likely you’re not against all property damage, just that which expresses working class agency.

foxtons
Window of an estate agent profiteering from gentrification smashed at Reclaim Brixton protest. Police line up to ensure only the right kind of property damage happens.

Lives are always more important than shop windows

French Marxist philosopher Alain Badiou summarises it better than I could in his book on riots – this is him on the London 2011 and Paris 2005 uprisings:

“In these processes, where the state puts on its most hideous expression, a no less detestable consensus is forged over a particularly reactive conception that can be summarised thus: the destruction or theft of a few goods in the frenzy of a riot is infinitely more culpable than the police assassination of a young man – the assassination that caused the riot. The government and press hastily assess the damage. And here is the vicious idea spread by all this: the death of the young man – a ‘black hooligan’, no doubt or an Arab ‘known to the police’ – is nothing compared with all these additional costs. Let us grieve not for the death, but for the insurance companies. Against the gangs and thieves, let us stand guard, shoulder to shoulder with the police, in front of our property…
Here, by contrast, it will be asserted that the life of a young man is priceless – all the more so in that he is one of the countless people abandoned by our society. To believe that the intolerable crime is to burn a few cars and rob some shops, whereas to kill a young man is trivial, is typically in keeping with what Marx regarded as the principal alienation of capitalism: the primacy of things over existence, of commodities over life and machines over workers.”

baltimore
A police van torched in the Baltimore Uprising. The violent resistance secured the indictment of all six killer cops.

People are more important than things

It is of course true that a death is more important than a smashed window, ‘broken windows are not broken spines’ as the Baltimore protesters have it, it is catchy and accurate but we should push further. We don’t need to invoke the violent and final destruction of bodies as the sole means to justify property destruction. Nor do we need to invoke the ‘feeding his starving family’ scenario to justify expropriation. The most extreme manifestation of structural violence is of course death, but it is not the only manifestation – people’s futures, their desire for self-actualisation, their autonomy, their physical health – these also must be valued above the sanctity of a pane of glass or a cop car.

Lives rank above property in life not merely in death.

The dull grind of wage labour is a slow and cruel means to degrade the human body and soul, robbing people of their potential and their time for often pointless or even socially harmful work (kills a fair few people as well – take a look at statistics for suicide, depression, stress-induced diseases, workplace accidents). A call centre may not be the site of deaths, but it does suck life’s vitality vampire-like from its wage-slaves. Burn it down, have no moral qualms. The student occupation of Millbank in 2010 (shattered glass, graffiti, fires, and all) was a totally moral response of working class youth to the theft of their futures at the hands of tuition fee rises and EMA cuts.


Workers destroy the symbol of their hated work regime in the film ‘Office Space’

We built the infrastructures that hurt us

It is a particularly fucked up aspect of capitalism (and feudal, slave and other class societies) that everything used to hurt the working class and oppressed people is a product of their labour. We don’t control what we make, capital owns it and controls its use and distribution. The bailiff who evicts you is running on the energy of the cornflakes he had that morning, curtesy of the collective labour of farm and factory workers, lorry drivers, and supermarket shelf stackers – and you’re the shelf-stacker. The bullets use to cut down mine workers at Marikana were made by workers not so different from the poor miners. Police cars, Starbucks windows, the luxury apartments that displaced you from your social housing – all are built by people like you, as part of the collective labour which you like everyone else contribute to. Workers contribute living labour which is converted by capital, says Marx, into dead labour. This means that the working class creates a world alien to it, which it doesn’t control, but which is the product of its own efforts. Think of Palestinian workers forced by economic circumstances to build the very walls and settlements that colonise their homeland. This is called alienation, and it’s pretty fucked up when you think about it. If our dead labour is coming back to haunt us, we have every right and duty to exorcise it.


A section of the apartheid wall in occupied Palestine; thousands of Palestinian workers help build these walls, driven to it by the economic hardships of Israeli occupation. Pretty twisted, huh?
….

There are legitimate and serious discussions to be had about property destruction, but drop the absolutist moralism please. Sure, not every act of destruction is respectful, or tactically sound, or clever, it may even be reactionary (think: EDL smashing a Mosque window); but those are the kind of questions that should be debated, starting from a more mature position than ‘vandalism is immoral because it is.’

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Disorientation

http://warwickdisorientation.tumblr.com/

Welcome to Warwick. You will hear that you have worked hard to be afforded this privilege to be at this elitist institution. We ask that you question what that privilege means to you and to those that aren’t here.

If you think that things are not okay, “business as usual” isn’t working – you are not alone and this space is yours.

As students we are both a subject of and participant in the oppression perpetuated by the institutions of power that will be sculpting your “education” for at least three years. We as the Disorientation Collective stand in solidarity with anybody who has experienced structural oppression (including but not limited to sexism, racism and classism) that this university is complicit in. We don’t suggest that you drop out, but rather that we shape our educational experiences with critical analysis and direct action. This guide is a catalyst for critique, opening a dialogue and getting involved.
What is the Disorientated Dissident? Put simply, it is a collection of things that the university management don’t want you to read. For your Vice Chancellor Nigel Thrift and his cronies, the ideal student is apathetic. They don’t give a shit. All they want is to get drunk at POP, do a minimum of work, and come out with a 2:1, an internship at Goldman Sachs and a great CV. That is what you’re paying £9,000 a year for. In their mind, you are a consumer who has to be kept happy and under control, a data point who can be birthed out into a banker’s suit and keep up the ‘immaculate’ graduate employment statistics.

But what this kind of education gives you is not a critical perspective, or a ‘good investment’: all it gives you is the ability to replicate the systems that created this university in the first place (capitalism) and perpetuate structures of oppression and dominance.

Warwick serves the interest of the elite. Traditionally it has been a university of careerists; business people, labour activists and arms manufacturers (they didn’t advertise that in their welcome pack did they?)

History is incomplete. Here you won’t learn about our colonial past and present but you can take control of our future. You can question who gets to tell the narrative, instead of people with access to money and power (white cis men) and break down the pillars of privilege supported by the hierarchies within the university. Ask yourself why isn’t your professor a woman of colour?

This model of the student consumer is based on the fact that you have to pay in order to be educated. £9k a year is the price of learning – but what are you paying to learn? You’re being trained to cover up oil spills and suck out all the resources from our Earth, slaughter children through the arms trade, to force through redundancies, to facilitate the ongoing gentrification of communities, to inflate markets to the point of bursting.

You’re helping generate a £71 million surplus over the last 3 years – whilst accommodation costs, food costs, sports costs, educational costs continue to increase and teaching staff face a 15% real terms pay cut with little or no union support and Nigel Thrift gets a £42,000 pay rise.

We can already hear the Russell Group agitating for a fully privatised university in which you pay an incredible amount and in return receive a master class in how to replicate and reinforce a fucked up system. We are here to tell you that that isn’t fucking life, and it isn’t worth paying for. Being a student historically has been about fighting against domination, oppression and structures of power. It’s about thinking about different ways of organising society, different ways of loving one another, different ways of seeing and being in the world.

Whilst at Warwick we have a chance to organise in opposition to the systems of powers which see climate destruction, war, racialized violence and the rest as a good opportunity for profit. Across campus there are hundreds of people who think like this, and they can’t wait to meet you. Together we are building a community which resists alienation and creates safe spaces for all oppressed peoples.
Thinking critically about your place in society and its relations to others is a revolutionary act of resistance to the status quo. We stand in solidarity with anyone who fights to end oppression and domination, and we are on your campus. Come get involved.

Signed: The Disorientation Collective

https://www.facebook.com/warwickdisorientation

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

8 Ways ‘Liberal Democracies’ Are Structurally Violent

TW: rape culture, racism, death, police violence, misogyny

Facebook page ‘Anarchist Memes’ recently posted this image which reads ‘I think it’s time we abandon dogmatic adherence to nonviolence’.

AM

One response I saw ran along the lines of ‘we shouldn’t be using violence in comparatively democratic and nonviolent European regimes’ so I thought I’d write a series of blog posts outlining why European regimes are anything but nonviolent and exploring the legitimacy and efficacy of a diversity of tactics versus dogmatic non-violence codes. This series will draw heavily on Peter Gelderloos’ ‘How Nonviolence Protects the State’ and will explore the harmful role of pacifism in the activist left. The first post explains 8 ways that violence pervades liberal societies.

In order to experience Western society as generally non-violent you have to be in a very specific structural position. In simple terms, in order to buy this shit you really have to be a cisgender, heterosexual, middle class, white, male citizen of a Western country.

Note: I’ve decided to focus on Europe rather than the USA in this piece because many liberals will accept the all-too-obvious violence of US society – from Ferguson, MO and post-Katrina New Orleans to the US-Mexico border and the US Empire – but will profess that European social democracies are nicer, more humane, free of such deviations from true liberal democracy (strange that the heart of capitalist liberalism is the most unequal, impoverished, racist and violent of Western nations, almost as if this violence is not an aberration at all but is in fact integral to liberalism).

1. ‘Fortress Europe’

A nation-state implies exclusion of certain individuals from the national community, through violence if necessary. ‘Fortress Europe’ refers to the fact that, though for Europeans the EU has dissolved borders within the liberal zone the outer borders of Europe are heavily policed. According to ‘United For Intercultural Action’ 17,306 deaths can be attributed to European border security policies in the period 1993-2013. Jimmy Mubenga was murdered by private security firm G4s in 2010, and in January of this year Greek coastguard deliberately drowned a boatload of migrants. This is structural violence. I’ve been to Harmondsworth Immigration Detention centre, it was totally grim and lifeless – we should make no mistake, the policy in this country is to imprison migrants in inhumane and abusive conditions.

2. Imperialism

Everyone knows about the great European empires which, while priding themselves on their ‘civilisation’, committed genocides and kick-started their industrial developments on the back of a brutal slave trade. Less commonly understood is that things haven’t changed all that much since the heyday of Empire. Today, following a 2011 bombing campaign by Britain and France, Libya has disintegrated into civil war and is plagued by ascendant Islamist extremism. European nations collaborated in the US conquest and plundering of Iraq which brought about over a hundred thousand deaths, mostly civilian. A litany of similar ‘interventions’ counted on the military support of European nations. Quite simply Europe is a willing collaborator in the violent mayhem brought by the US Empire. This is violence conceived and perpetuated in the liberal West and enacted on the Global South for the benefit of capitalist accumulation. So much for the ‘zone of liberal peace’ that democratic peace theorists harp on about.

3. Climate Change

Anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change is perhaps the greatest threat to the wellbeing and continued survival of humanity today. Climate change is likely to have the most severe and deadly impacts in the Global South, where poorer nations have less ability to respond and less resilient infrastructure. For example, when droughts cause food production to fall the poorest are the first to die. The fossil fuel economy, both at the stage of extraction and the resulting climate change, disproportionately impacts the poor, people of colour, and those in the Global South. Just like in New Orleans after Katrina, people will die, lose their homes and be displaced by escalating and ever more frequent natural disasters – this is a violent system in which the consumption and profits of the richest kill and dispossess the poorest. As Deidre Smith eloquently points out in a piece at 350.org which seeks to make links between resistance to militarised police and racism in Ferguson and the movement for climate justice: “Communities of color and poor communities are hit hardest by fossil fuel extraction, as well as neglected by the state in the wake of crisis. People of color also disproportionately live in climate-vulnerable areas.” We must resist the ideological push to naturalise disasters that are a direct result the capitalist mode of production and whose differential effects are determined by imperialism and white supremacy – there are few truly ‘natural’ disasters distinct from social (power) relations. If we see that deaths due to (un)’natural’ disasters are the result of social relations then it also becomes clear acts such as fracking are violent actions.

4. Fascist/Racist Violence

The Greek fascist party Golden Dawn’s rise to prominence and attacks on migrants and people of colour is the most clear example of the violent racist organisations that exist on the fringes of political culture in European countries. In recent years the far-right attained greater traction across Europe, from Hungary’s Jobbik to the French ‘Front Nationale‘. This brings with it racist attacks on people of colour and political violence against the left (for example against Greek antifascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas and French antifascist activist Clement Meric – both murdered by fascists). These movements may appear marginal yet there are also thousands of racist hate crimes each year across European societies. These movements must be fought by militant action, to refuse defensive violence against them is to put pacifism above the safety of oppressed communities.

220px-Good-night-wide-pride

One reason that Britain has not seen the level of fascist violence as other European nations is the successful tradition of militant – i.e. physical force – antifascism, as documented in Sean Birchall’s ‘Beating the Fascists’. From the 1936 Battle of Cable Street which saw off Moseley’s Nazi-sympathising ‘British Union of Fascists’ to the pitched street battles between Anti-Fascist Action and the Nazi ‘National Front’, British leftists have seen that fascists are physically beaten off the streets.

5. Police violence

On the 4th August 2011, police marksmen extra-judicially executed Mark Duggan, a young black man, in Tottenham. A stream of lies poured from the Met’s PR machine – that Mark had shot and wounded a police officer, that his bullet was lodged in the police radio, that he was one of the most dangerous gangsters in Europe. The press took up these lies and playing on racial stereotypes of black as criminal they smeared him. This murder sparked a nationwide uprising which the police brutally crushed, handing looters of items worth pennies months in prison, magistrates’ courts working round the clock. Years on there is still no justice. An inquest full of contradictions, police perjury and a miraculously moving gun came to the absurd conclusion that the killing was lawful. Stop-and-search is a violent practice, involving daily harassment, humiliation and physical violence against people of colour. Deaths in police custody are all too common. Just the other day police raided well known gathering points for the homeless in London to continue their campaign of harassment and criminalisation of poverty (a product of the economic order which they themselves uphold).

Malmo

Similar police violence is widespread across Europe – for example the Swedish cops who recently ran down anti-fascist protesters on horses. The violence of police and prisons is at the heart of maintaining an intensely violent and, on a humanitarian level, dysfunctional liberal order.

6. Patriarchy

The patriarchy is a system of power of men over women enforced by violence and by restrictive social norms. Rape is an epidemic in all societies, including ‘civilised’ Western ones, for example one in five British women have been subjected to a sexual offence. Recent revelations about the attitudes of police and social services to rape victims in Rotherham shows the extent of violent rape culture. The question of rape also intersects heavily with state violence – as in the recent ‘spycops’ case in which female activists had long term sexual relationships with undercover male activists leaving the women to feel, as on put it, as if they had been ‘raped by the state’. Women are subject to pervasive instances of catcalling and street harassment. Further, the boundaries of acceptable gender expression and identity are police by everyday acts of violence – trans women especially experience harassment, assault and murder for simply existing in public and a 2013 European Union study found that half of LGBT Europeans sometimes avoided public places to avoid harassment.

Fuck Patriarchy

Non-binary gender identity is erased and goes unrecognised even by supposedly progressive institutions – the NHS, for example, will only provide gender reassignment surgery if a person expresses, to their satisfaction, a gender identity opposite to the one they were assigned at birth. For example, I was recently told the story of an afab (assigned female at birth) trans man being criticised by his doctors for wearing pink shoes during his transition. Given the psychological impacts and stresses of gender dysphoria, this refusal of state institutions to recognise the reality of diverse and fluid genders is an act of violence intended to bring people in line with the patriarchal, binary conception of gender.

7. Work and Poverty

Perhaps a controversial thing to call violent, but the wage labour system is violent in many ways that are just as real, though less apparent then the other examples here. For starters, in a society which has the material means to provide for everyone’s needs, where there are warehouses filled with food, much of which is then wasted, and homes lie empty and rotting, the wage system denies access to these goods to those who don’t submit to the authority and exploitation of an outside force. Austerity kills and poverty kills, largely because we if we are denied access to the labour force then we are denied access to the necessities of life – as with the 10,000 people who died after being wrongly declared ‘fit to work’ by ATOs. This is a system that will starve you through artificial scarcity to impose work discipline. This system can only exist because of the implicit and explicit violence of the state in upholding private property and suppressing anti-capitalist resistance. Wage labour is also a theft of human life and potential, it causes stress, alienation, and thousands of accidents and deaths a year. The dull monotony of life in a call centre or office is a fate imposed by violence not the natural necessities of producion for human need.

8. Corporate terrorism

As I write this there is a copy of the ‘Daily Telegraph’ next to me on the kitchen table, the front page emblazoned with the dramatic headline ‘BRITAIN GEARS UP FOR WAR ON ISIL’. ISIS/ISIL/IS/whatever-they’re-calling-themselves-now are a particularly nasty Islamist organisation that has carried out various beheadings, massacres and other atrocities. But we must be more than a little sceptical when the press dubs them ‘barbarians’ and Joe Biden hyperbolically threatens to follow them ‘to the gates of hell’. The dominant narrative draws on their ‘mediaeval’ methods of warfare to separate their violence – scary, Oriental, barbarous, conducted in the name of a foreign god with knives and rifles – with our violence – precision, surgical strikes on ‘terrorists’ with highly advanced computer technology, civilised, proportionate. Yet we must ask ourselves, is it any worse for ISIS to behead a journalist than for British companies like BAE Systems to supply arms to Indonesia or Israel to carry out their genocidal actions in East Timor and Gaza with fighter bombers and cluster bombs? Supplying weapons to repressive regimes and for genocidal wars is terrorism.

460_0___30_0_0_0_0_0_killer_coke

Western companies also carry out economic exploitation in the Global South, their demand for cheap products leads to death and suffering – whether it is Coca-Cola killing union organisers, Primark sourcing clothes from unsafe garment factories leading to atrocities like the Rana Plaza collapse or Apple’s Foxconn plant where nets had to be installed to stem the tide of suicidal workers jumping from the factory roof.

N.b. I do not profess to be an expert on all of these topics – given the diversity of issues covered in this post there are sure to be errors. Regarding oppressed identities I lack the relevant lived experience. Please call me out if I have inadvertently made any factual errors or used outdated, oppressive or problematic terminology.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shoplifters of the Working-Class, Unite!: Expropriation, autoreduction and the legitimacy of theft.

lenin was a cheeseboard

By Parris Komyune

 

Over the last decade, Europe has seen a steady increase in the direct action approach to shopping; supermarket raids where everything is free. Since as early as 1974, anarchists and autonomists have raided supermarkets essentials before redistributing them to local communities. The police stood aside. The managers quaked. The pensioners on the outside revelled. When the mayor of a small town in Andalucía, Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, led farm labourers into a supermarket to expropriate their stock of basic necessities he was quoted as saying:

The crisis has a face and a name. There are many families who can’t afford to eat.

Refusing to pay for commerce is, to many, an abhorrent act of anti-social thievery, taking from society without the purpose of giving anything in return. To sink the capital worth of a commodity through expropriation is damaging for the economy, morally repugnant and a…

View original post 960 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FREE UNIVERSITY

As future students work their way around campus, past bright yellow adverts, ably assisted by the student salespersons, watched over by private security and benevolent management, we are trying to imagine an alternative.
Our free university is an attempt to see what the university could be if it wasn’t constrained by profit. Above all, we want to see what other forms of education would be like.

We want to work with prospective students to see what the future of our university could hold – how we could form a university on the basis of co-operation not competition, education not training, autonomy not discipline
.
If a degree wasn’t a commodity to be bought for 9k a year, if the government weren’t intent on making universities into office blocks, and if students were really, genuinely free, what would the university be?

Come and join us outside senate house on the 20th and 21st, 10am-4pm, to take part in the free university.

Free University Poster

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Anti-Fascist Speech

We as Warwick ASN coordinated with Warwick Anti-Racism Society to organize an anti-fascist demo in response to the presence of the neo-nazi National Action on campus (event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1492530907648469/?fref=ts).  The speech below was delivered by one of our members at the rally:

Empathy

To a considerable extent, I feel neither qualified nor entitled to issue this speech today.  Although I may identify as queer, although I am repulsed with such gravity and vehemence as I look upon the malignant spectacle of the National Action page, recognising the history of maleficence in which it is rooted and the inconceivable anguish it still now inflicts – my perspectives are circumscribed by a lack of experience of the grave structural virulence of fascism.  I hope I am subject in spirit and in sensibility those who have suffered, and still now suffer, in the throes of its persecution – yet however fervently the abstraction of its totality beleaguers me thus, it is indeed still contained and absorbed within a sphere of privilege.  I think, in recognising that sphere, I can begin to dismantle the perceptions and principles which fortify its barrier – and, yet, I still deliver this speech with apprehension, knowing that some words articulated herein may be muted or distorted by that shield. 
                When I first composed this speech, I wrote of fascism in a broader social context – then, on the second attempt, I wrote about empowerment which, however virtuous in intention, could only translate with a contrived condescension – and I realized I was still wreathing myself in this barrier; however intensely I wished to stray beyond it and identify with the pall of fascism, I was still immersing myself in its light and expecting others to know that same shelter.  I was, indeed, still oblivious to the point.  That point is not me standing here and beseeching you to simply embrace your identities and to find solace in fellowship and in love – as much as I wish for that ideal – but rather acknowledging the hardship in doing so, beyond this maudlin and self-indulgent aspiration to inspire.  It is, indeed, not to espouse some utopian concept of bliss and unity and splendour, emblazoned in the vision of a free, just, egalitarian and liberated society; but rather recognising the rigours of that emancipation.  It is not to simply rejoice in our diversity as if we were bathed already in aurora – though of course we should celebrate thus and be unified in such a dream – but rather striving to identify with the vicissitudes and heavings of this squall, and the reverberation of its clamour; to focus on empathising with those victimized and doused by its wrath, and those most vulnerable to its violence.

                I say this not simply as an appeal for people to recognise the contours of their own privilege, and how to detach themselves from that to remould their capacity to ally with anti-fascist and liberation struggles, but also because it embodies the virtue which distances us from the malignity of fascism – empathy.  It is the foundation of friendship, of every profound interaction we share with one another, of every radical left principle such as mutual aid that we as Warwick ASN – and individuals – espouse.  It is the nexus which binds us beyond difference and distinction, which empowers us to compose our own conception of reality from the fragments of those with whom we share it. Empathy repudiates the atomization and homogenization of our personhood, esteeming the artistry of external identities as we reflect upon our own, that we may interlace together and, in our diverse and anarchic and spiralling imbrication, fortify and embellish each individual braid.  Empathy moulds us, and galvanizes us to mould.  It encourages us to transcend ourselves, to relate and identify with experiences that are not our own.  It connects and unifies us, and yet dismantles the notion of uniformity, in weaving the texture and embroidery of our shared humanity upon this resplendent and perennial tapestry.  It is the virtue which tempers the construction of our own identity and consciousness in consideration for the individuality of others, such that we may learn and edify and experience in symbiosis, that we may discover freedom in binding inextricably with others; that we may associate as free individuals who do not simply extract from one another as commodified utilities, but rather truly cooperate.  It is refracting our own light through the prism of another’s experiences and marvelling in the incandescent spectrum which emerges, as it expands our own perception of the coalescing hues and patterns which imbue our mutual reality.   

                It is, indeed, the disengagement with suffering, the inability to meaningfully and compassionately learn from one another, that defines the abhorrence of fascism.  It is the inability to perceive this fabric as anything more than an expanded model of one’s own streak within it, infused with the same texture and constitution.  It is to align oneself in parallel with other threads, but to never intertwine and coil together in the elegance of pattern.  It is the insulation and containment and desiccation of reality, a negation of our individual capacity to mould that reality through our personalities and experiences, by necessitating its projection through a singular objective lens; it is to confine the artistry of this world to one aspect, one shade, one regimented sculpture.  It is the will to subjugate, and not associate; to demarcate, and not connect; to assimilate, but not to define and mould.  It is identify oneself not within a community of free individuals, but with a structure with suppresses and homogenizes that freedom.  It is to fade into a blank canvas, and to be not the agents who strew it with a myriad of swirling shades and tones.  It is to be engineered within a blueprint of death – not, indeed, bound only the abomination of genocide and mass imprisonment and the imperialistic, nationalistic and militaristic quests for supremacy, but rather in dictating the very demise of our personhood, and our ability to rejoice in and embrace the identities of others, and to understand how their expression enriches our world.  Fascism seeks to promote liberty through incarceration, and unity through fragmentation, and revival through suffering.   

                Yet the liberty of the individual can flourish only within a climate of communal liberation.  Our aegis against fascism is not simply to combat it – but rather to forge a safe, inclusive and liberated space, an environment of empathy, compassion and harmony, in which its execrable weed cannot take root.  That is the space ASN, and Warwick Anti-Racism society, and innumerable other groups, strive to create.  That is why we as ASN call ourselves anarchists, autonomists, libertarian socialists, anarcho-communists – because we envision it as the only way to prevent the fraying of this tapestry, to dispel the ire of this tempest as it besieges its grace and seeks to wrench these roots from the earth.

                We must not simply seek to contest fascism – we must fashion alternative spaces which sentinel the virtues of individuality, liberty, solidarity, autonomy, harmony, community, democracy and affirmative action; wherein everyone feels safe to express and represent themselves, and which empowers and supports those who are systematically marginalised and oppressed – which accommodates for the specific needs, circumstances, abilities and identities of all.  We must craft spaces where fascism can find no platform – and Warwick can be that space.  It can be the space where the venom of fascism and prejudice is purged from this soil, where all may immerse themselves freely in light and bloom in undimmed iridescence.  For some of us, that entails stepping outside the barrier, though it may have shielded us from the rain.  It means stepping outside its comfort and sanctuary and realizing others don’t have that shelter.  It means recognising that there’s a turbulent and calamitous world beyond it, and that we cannot continue to dismiss the bludgeoning crescendo of this rain and the flurrying siege of gales as long as this barrier remains to protect us, passively gazing as these flowers are swept away in their vortex. 

                I won’t simply encourage everyone to embrace and love themselves for who they are despite those burdens, to cultivate and champion their identities despite those winds – because sometimes you need to step outside the barrier to realize just how glacial and frenzied those winds are.  Although I – and I’m sure we all – wish for a world where people can exercise that freedom, this is not yet that world.  But true warmth is not simply bound in envisioning the cessation of that tempest – it is bound to each other, and in the creation of spaces akin to the world of which we dream.  True artistry and abundance and vitality and texture and beauty is bound not in apathetically isolating oneself from struggle, but fighting with others and unifying against it, to liberate one another through compassion and love.  True resistance to fascism is bound in care, and in kindness, and in mutual humanity.  It is not simply acknowledging whether you have shelter – but whether others do too, and empathising with how these elements impact their lives.  For we alone reinforce the materialization of this barrier.  We – as individuals, as a community – must stray outside this shield, and even in trembling together, huddled against the rain, ignite the aurora within ourselves.  We must listen to those who have struggled through these tempests for longer than ourselves within this community, and never impugn the gravity of that which they have encountered, and to learn and empathise and realize that just because some are dry does not entail that others are not doused or extinguished by these rains.  Remember, in articulation and action, that freedom and hardship and safety are not simply as you envision them: that the lens of this barrier often distorts our perception of a shared and diverse reality; that ‘freedom of speech’ is facile for those whose safety fascism does not directly imperil to claim, and that it is perniciously dismissive of vulnerable and already oppressed minorities.  The incorporation of fascism in such an abstraction jeopardizes the freedom of expression and speech, and the safety, of others – fascism in itself menaces the very essence of inclusivity, the very nature of free speech.    

                Thus we must not simply fight against fascism, but often fight against ourselves.  We must not simply embrace one another, but fight for one another.  We must not simply fight, but care, and empathise, and love, all the more fiercely, when fascism demands of us hatred.  This world, this aurora, may not yet be ours – but we may still ignite a spark of its splendour, and together defend it against these rains, and nurture and kindle and share in its warmth, and irradiate the depths of this eclipse.  We must fight this pall as we weave our tapestry across it, as we rejoice in the wonder of its every embellishment.  We must be the aurora.    

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whats this all about then?!

Welcome comrade, to our wordpress.

The Warwick Autonomous Student Network, is part of a national movement of autonomous students.
We are a collective of individuals. We wish to create spaces, hold events, disseminate materials, host workshops, all with the aim of discussing, and acting upon the system in which we live. We wish to study a broad range of critiques and theoretical perspectives, but emphasise, both in practice and in theory, a commitment to individual as well as collective liberation.

Furthermore, we wish to establish, or be involved in establishing an active, open, inclusive and truly libertarian political culture within warwick, working to establish and promote student led media, propaganda campaigns, music and culture nights, co-operatives and more.

In conjunction with this, we would like to stimulate a greater integration of Warwick’s politically aware students within the local community; promoting local community projects and events, from antifascist groups, to community kitchens.

From this we would like to promote the establishment of affinity groups, and organize together for direct actions (on and off campus.)

As such, we oppose all forms of social domination. We are avowedly feminist. We are against any form of discrimination against people for their gender (whether self-identified or presumed) or their sexuality (or asexuality). We are anti-racist, anti-fascist, Anti-capitalist, Anti-state.
We wish to work with any and all groups dedicated to liberation, and action.

We wish to commence a series of film screenings, readings, lectures and workshops on libertarian history, theory and practice. This discursive stage will embody an open and accessible space for critical enquiry into radical left-wing ideology, serving as a framework around which an active and enduring ASN body will be formed.

As an inauguaral event, we are presenting a screening of ‘Libertarias on the 27th february, in room h1.48 of the humanities building ( for more information see https://www.facebook.com/events/216816441858283/?fref=ts)

libertarias film screening

The film, set in 1936, embroiled in the throes of the Spanish Civil War, follows the story of a young nun, Maria, who is impelled to flee her convent and is recruited into an anarchist feminist militia. It chronicles her personal metamorphosis as she acclimatizes to a reality starkly contrasting with her once ensconced and serene life, bound up in the fierce fellowships and macabre struggles of the revolution.

The screening will be followed by a discussion of the dynamics and manifestation of feminist and libertarian theory, exploring their fundamental interconnectedness and the historical role they assumed within the Spanish civil war.

We heartily invite you to attend, and to get involved in planning future events and action!

Love and solidarity,

“There is no authority but yourself.”

Warwick ASN

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment