September 17th - the 1 year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street.
There is much yet to be done - and perhaps more has been left unaccomplished than what had been hoped, but the reality is that uprising is a much longer thing than revolution. Revolution is a term you use after uprising - and to achieve it, you need resistance.
The resistance, a broad term here to describe all those above-and-underground freedom fighters, anarchists, radicals, and others working to build up a new world of freedom and equality by means of human rights and nature, has been allowed to further thrive in the last year thanks to a more popular support from the Occupy movement. At times, Occupy and such voices as Chris Hedges were permitted to steer away the support, even vilify, true resistors, but as the initial hopes of diplomacy, reform, and nonviolence wear finally wear off, what's left is a unspoken tolerance to a diversity of tactics in changing the world. This is for the better. At first, it seemed that as Occupy begun a mass witch-hunt of anarchists and black bloc tacticians, it would undermine the entire core of the movement, which was based on the collaboration of anarchists and M15 Spanish resistors in the first place. While this died down, a new tolerance was born out of the sheer volume of police brutality, manipulation, and success that was enjoyed by autonomous anarchist actions. By May Day, the peacenicks and neoliberal hippies in the movement turned a total blind (or even supportive) eye towards the glory of the capitalist and state destruction which swept the national scene in a total feat of autonomous direct action. In many places, the black blocs were even joined by unbloc-ed people, who participated in every joyous minute of resistance along with the rest. It was beautiful. Although the NATO/CAN-G8 events were mildy hostile to anarchists in general, the resistance continued to grow.
Mainstream Occupy seems to be feeling the effect of their initial idiotic ploys - when getting arrested for the cause was a badge of honor, where it was altruistic and novel to suffer brutality and arrest for the "good of the cause". Of course, it was irrational. The truth is that you should never get caught. No matter what you're doing, don't get caught. That didn't seem to make sense at first to people, and now of the 7,000 arrests, countless raids and other forms of political injustice that has been suffered at the hands of the un-careful, a large chunk of people are now more concerned with the aftermath - i.e. court dates, struggles, and responding to all of the police action. In this way, the state has been able to stale the Occupy movement just the way they wanted. If they couldn't slander the cause, if they couldn't convince people away, if they couldn't scare you off, then they can and will lock you in court proceedings for the next year or so. Court is the last and most effective way to gridlock an uprising. So many people let themselves be caught, now they have to pay for it by shoveling money into the hands of lawyers (NLG, I'm looking at you), serving time (NATO 5, I'm looking at you. And you, Pax), and sitting in endless court proceedings (Bellingham 12, you silly geese). What good are these people that were willing to sacrifice when now they are going to continue paying for it when everyone else needs commune and organization to act up and out? None. You're no good to an uprising sitting in jail or court. It's a pity.
But it's not the end.
What this has done is shoved the resistance back underground, but it's different. If Occupy was ever good for anything, it's that it shined a light on what could be, and coaxed the underground out just long enough to expose the mainstream to a diversity of tactics, one that continues to exponentially undermine the old and dated notions of "why can't we just all get along?" and "groovy!". The underground stayed out just long enough to spike terror into the hearts of the oppressors and their fanatical middle-bourgeoisie. For the rest, it was almost as if resistance was taught by an old judo mentor, coaching the young grasshoppers of resistance on how to use balance, the mind, and the fist to down their oppressor. Lessons that have been well learned. Where the Black Bloc only appeared for an occasional convention (RNC/DNC, WTO, NATO etc.), the Black Bloc makes an appearance at nearly every "Fuck The Police" march, "Anticapitalist" march, and other large protest, nationwide. The growth has been incredible. Now, don't get me wrong - I don't advise throwing on black and running out into a crowd to wreak havoc. I think it is good to consider and develop affinity groups, coordination, and a discussion of when and where to deploy a bloc tactic versus making it a fashion statement for the angry people. With consideration, the bloc tactic can be super-effective, but mindless, the success will be much more scattered. On the other hand, seeing black bloc everywhere makes the feds shit their pants, something which I highly condone. And I suppose it might be good for the economy, a rise in adult diapers outfitted with every pig's badge. That's a future I can agree with.
With the resistance having gone underground, it's a lot harder to track what has been going on. Much more focus now has been put to affinity groups and other autonomous actions, which because it happens in smaller, less publicized, and more coordinated mayhems, is more likely to be reported in a local paper or police blotter as random misdemeanor crimes or editorials contributing to a black-and-red scare, takes a careful eye to spot. It helps to plug into above-ground radical news as well. Several regional anarchist news places exist, though with such a broad area to cover, one still may never hear of smaller, effective targets that have been served, and then you might be buried underneath a wave of ideological squabbling, which can further detract.
But again, this does not mean that resistance is dead. Like an idea, resistance is bulletproof. It is held in the hearts and minds of all those who fight with it. So long as there is freedom, resistance won't die.
Take a look. Even in the wake of the court-trapped phase of Occupiers, resistance acts in solidarity. In Seattle coming soon (it had been postponed recently) a federal grand-jury is taking place. And while I can rant endlessly on the treachery of grand-jury systems, it has inspired wave after wave of solidarity action. From banner drops over bridges, destruction of political and corporate property, sympathetic suicide of tires, vigils, and statements drawn up from Seattle to Paris in support and solidarity of the "Pacific Northwest Resistors". Viva la resistance. Even after all we've been through, humanity is not lost in the underground.
If we were to consider Anonymous as underground (the die-hards are, at least), we also must consider that the TrapWire discovery has been one of the biggest contributions to countering the mounting threat of privacy invasion, the threat of judicially enforced pre-crime laws and factors to mark and discriminate people based on looks and movements rather than the perpetration of actual crime. As TrapWire has surfaced, a lot of attention has now been focused on similar programs - even mainstream news has picked up the goods, The Guardian splaying out a new EU internet and CCTV program that mines data from all the internet to identify and track people with dossiers compiled by suspicion. While these news sources will never credit Anonymous as the initial wave of truth here, you can thank the underground for still being able to move from camera system to another without being tracked and watched.
It takes more than that though. This brings us to our task.
The Resistance needs to be stoked.
The actions and events planned at the S17 Occupy Wall Street gathering will help, but until then, and after, we need to do our part. If any of us were involved with activism, we need to not allow complaceny and apathy to take over. No task is more important than gaining freedom. Bills, Azalieas, Gardens, and counting your money can wait. They really can. Your life won't end. Redirect your attention to resistance. Get back into the habit of questioning. Everything. Question everything. Carefully network and recreate affinity groups to operate autonomously and effectively. Even if that means jumping onto Newsvine and writing article after article, building a solid core of people who will develop discussion, that is good. And if that means forming a camera-hunting party to shut down local CCTV systems, or perhaps a smashy-smashy party to visit BofA windows, that is even better. Do what you can, but don't simply do nothing. Apathy is death - we can't afford that. The rebels of the Free Syrian Army, engaged in brutal conflict for freedom and sovereignty, are not terrorists. They are people. Average, everyday people like you and I (well, we might be a little unaverage, but that aside). If they suddenly decided to embrace apathy, get a job, pay the bills, and be a good capitalist, then where would they be? Unhappily oppressed. And after what they have done now, they would also be hunted down and slaughtered in broad daylight without resistance. Yikes. Is that a future worth embracing? If we stand for nobody, why would anyone stand for us? Syria will not be revolutionized by apathy, it takes hard work. It unfortunately takes bloodshed. The dictatorship is so complete that no other way can the people achieve freedom than by armed resistance. Perhaps the USA is not ready for such a thing, but we have to start somewhere. If we can so totally undermine the state and circumvent them to insert The People as the rulers of themselves, and still have peace, then that's awesome. It however, remains to be seen. 'Til then, we must gather. Prepare. Act up, act out. Resist. Question.
We have to stoke the resistance fire. The underground is not an ethereal entity, operating around us all. We are the underground. It's not an organization. You don't need to submit a resume to be a freedom fighter. You simply need to fight for freedom. If you are young, if you are old, if you are disabled, if you are more than abled... you're all equally capable of waging resistance against the iniquity, the capitalistic greed, the oppression we are now more and more being subject to by a tyrannical and horrible state system that feeds off one palm, and destroys with the other. Our state does not exist to simply smite the other nations, it exists simply to smite us. In a world where large-scale invasion and conquest is antiquated and impossible, it is the influence of corporations and military snatch-and-grabs that conquer the earth and it's people on all fronts to organize the new world order of superficial and totalitarian control that is become the reality of our age. If we do nothing but consume from the hands of capitalists and politicans, we will produce only spoiled creations of a first-world nation. If we do not escape and resist from our chains, then our ideas will so much resemble vomit that human rights becomes a fairy tale, and freedom is allowed to be redefined in the newspeak dictionary. That's not a appetizing future. Rather, by infusing freedom and human rights into our lives, into what we, the people, create, we will rise above our oppressors. Any way that we do that, is resistance. Resistance is beautiful. Is it so hard? No. The first step is to ask questions.
Lemme know how that goes.
Perhaps we'll meet on the frontlines some day. I'd love to see you out taking the streets with us.