This Was Our Job...

<table><tr><td>From <a href="http://thisisourjob.noblogs.org/post/2012/10/07/this-was-our-job/">This Is Our Job</a>

But it’s not anymore.

Three years to the day of the first post to This Is Our Job, I’ve decided to end this particular anarchist project in order to devote myself to other anarchist projects. Primarily, I want more time to spend on the translation and preparation of book-length releases to be published through memory_lapse press, which is my own small printing initiative.

I’m still not sure what the first few books, if they ever do see the light of day, will consist of. Insurrectionary anarchism has meant a lot to me over the past four or five years, but in all honesty it’s also had certain negative effects on me that I need to distance myself from. So perhaps the books will deal with topics both confrontational and constructive, contemporary and historical, but always holding fast to a core of of antiauthoritarianism and its undying relevance to those who can truly see the world through its veil of falsehoods, still certain that it should, can, and will be a far better place.</td><td><img title="Thankless, the pay is shit, and the vast majority of the feedback is negative. I hear you..." src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2012/catballoon.jpg"></td></tr><...

I have some things to say about the current shape of insurrectionary anarchism as a current within a broader antiauthoritarianism, as well as the role and effectiveness of what’s come to be known as counterinformation as a means of spreading the news and discourse stemming from anarchist insurgency. I must admit that I had reservations about going ahead and openly sharing what I wanted to say, but as this is my last post, I might as well make it everything that it should be.

Ever since my first exposure to insurrectionary anarchism, I’ve gradually distilled certain aspects of the theory behind it as essential and discarded the rest. To me, a fecund anarchist insurgency is diffuse, illegal, offensive, strategic, consistent, and ethical. It’s primary aim should be to attack the physical infrastructure of repression, thereby reducing and eventually crippling the ability of that repression to function. What follows from this is not a wholesale destruction of every element of society as we know it, but the opening of space into which constructive anarchist initiatives can flourish. As domination is pushed back, liberation moves forward.

Yet in practice, this isn’t quite what I’ve been observing for the most part from action groups and individuals engaging in insurrectionary anarchism. Despite my enormous respect for their heroism in putting their lives on the line to attack the brutal irrationality of power, many of them have been seriously deficient when it comes to target selection and technical execution.

Without pointing the finger at specific examples of attacks that I’ve found rather pointless—attacks that were seemingly carried out solely to get a communiqué some exposure on the Internet and allow the participants to flex their muscles a bit, even if just for show—I feel that basic strategy isn’t being taken into consideration by those engaging in anarchist insurgency. This is leading to the lengthy imprisonment of many comrades, often in exchange for negligible infrastructural damage, and that is an unsustainable equation for a tendency already so marginal that it can only be considered the avant-garde of the avant-garde.

When attacking a target, a good first question to ask is: how much of a role does this specific target play in repression (or even, to what extent am I personally repressed by it?), and how much would its destruction hinder that repression? It’s a simple question, yet a review of most of what constitutes insurrectionary anarchist attack these days clearly demonstrates that it goes unasked.

The state deploys specific front-line repressive elements: police (precincts, vehicles, and other equipment), courts (and the buildings that house them), and prisons (including the private corporations and state agencies that manage them). The next line consists of intelligence agencies and their physical infrastructure (offices, vehicles, computer and communications networks, etc.). Finally, there is military infrastructure and all that entails.

On the capitalist side, repression flows from the financial industry, the advertising industry, and the manufacturing and retail industry, among others. But let’s take the financial industry as an example. Causing minor (or even major) damage to an ATM or bank branch is, to a banking conglomerate, largely equivalent to a mosquito bite. The true operational infrastructure of capitalism resides in offices and corporate headquarters, and while these targets may be difficult to access, they shouldn’t be neglected outright.

Yet such state and capitalist targets are rarely if ever attacked. Is it because the potential prison sentence for gluing shut an ATM card slot is far less than that of setting fire to a police helicopter? Is it a lack of vision, ambition, ability, resources? I wish I knew. All I can say for sure is that by attacking what I would deem to be low-value targets—targets whose repressive value to the system is so low that it may as well equal zero—insurrectionary anarchism is falling into the same trap as all the other anarchisms, relying solely on hackneyed routines that lead nowhere beyond the subcultural ghetto of those already involved.

As an adjunct to the above critique, I want to say something about bombs. I think it’s clear that the use of bombs by insurrectionary anarchists should either be discarded altogether or left to those who truly have an expert grasp on the fabrication of safe and effective improvised explosives. How many times have we read about bombs either not detonating at all, detonating at the wrong time and harming random passersby in the process, or detonating as planned yet causing ineffectual damage? This doesn’t even take into account the comrades who have already been killed or seriously maimed by the premature explosion of bombs they intended to use on targets. I feel strongly that, instead of bombs, a concerted effort should be made to use well-designed portable incendiary devices, since a potent raging fire will always do more damage than a low-strength explosion.

Now to counterinformation. My main frustration with This Is Our Job has been that very few people read it. Perhaps the blame for that is my own, as there might have been things I could have done to promote it more. But the dilemma remains: if the goal of counterinformation is to spread—as widely as possible—news and discourse stemming from anarchist insurgent action, then counterinformation itself must reach further than it does at the moment. I don’t really know how to make that happen, and that deficiency has troubled me for most of the three years that This Is Our Job has been active. I’m not privy to what kind of traffic other counterinformational sites have been getting, regardless of language, but I can say that my own numbers have been positively anemic.

So, given all of the above, it seems apt to put an end to the project at this particular point in time. The archives will stay online, in both the former and current locations. I will always try to fulfill any requests to retrieve specific pieces that were posted at some point. And I still welcome submissions for translation from the Greek- and Spanish-speaking milieus to the usual e-mail address. Perhaps they might make their way into a book at some point.

Finally, I want to thank all the comrades who took the time to read the site regularly and who contacted me personally to keep me informed, coordinate work, send me pieces for translation, or just say hello. I only hope that one day, somehow, we can meet face-to-face to share a drink, a meal, an embrace, and the whispered intimacies of our passion for liberation.

Up the rebels, always.

—Matthew (This Is Our Job)

Comments

"harming random passersby in the process . . . use well-designed portable incendiary devices, since a potent raging fire will always do more damage than a low-strength explosion."

You are seriously fucked if you don't thing a raging fire won't harm random passersby.

yeah because random passerby, when witnessing a fire, will just jump right into it. Right.

You don't know much about raging fires, do you?

Radiant heat from a wooden house fully ablaze can kill at 30 metres distance, depending on size of house and wind direction, which can make 100 metres dangerous. So what about the kids playing next door you fucking psychopath!

THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS.

-b. traven (supporter of insurrection)

THE MENS MUSTIFY THE JEANS.

- A. Troll

We were actually staying late having an office orgy, and when the fire broke out we totally lost our minds and just jumped into it. how could we resist?

-those three athenian bank tellers

You forgot the part where their boss locked them in the building.

yeah, but bosses know what's best. as do firefighters, cops, and every other social manager. DON'T SET ANYTHING ON FIRE, KIDS!!!!

oh yeah, i did forget that part. good thing you remembered, it means they're not dead now.

You're right, anarchists should never set anything on fire ever. Good point.

Arson is against the law!

Yes, and if you do it for political purposes, and get caught, you get hit with a terrorism enhancement.

Right, Daddy.

Poppa State's always right, so let's let the DHS and its "terror threat assessments" tell us what are the good tactics!

Bow your head... down down down... ahhh! Good slave!

Uh, don't you mean the FBI, sonny boy? They are the ones who prosecute anarcho-terrorists not the DHS. Terror threat assessments?! What the fuck are you talking about, young man? You obviously haven't been doing your homework.

This is a really good article. I hope it gets translated and distributed. Such critiques are desperately needed.

As for effective counterinformation, counterinformation needs to be carried out as an intervention, and interruption. There is hardly anyone on the planet today who has access to the internet who can blame their active or passive support for the system on lack of information. The information is there.

Ignorance is a practice, not a simple lack of information.

For information to be acted on as knowledge, normality must be disrupted.

Wow, what an awesome point.

Hey, did you hear about the twin towers? 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB! END THE FED NOW!

"I agree"
- Paul Craig Roberts, right wing white supremacist published by AK Press

"current shape of insurrectionary anarchism as a current"

there are better ways of stating this. say what you will about the insurrectionist, if you start talking about the absurdist individualists; you gotta worry, we are the ones who actually have guns.

^^this guy in an alley! corrects your speech, shoots you for pocket change.

BALLS FULL DUST

“In the good old days of Really-Existing Socialism, a joke was popular among dissidents, used to illustrate the futility of their protests. In the 15th century Russia occupied by Mongols, a farmer and his wife walk along a dusty country road; a Mongol warrior on a horse stops at their side and tells the farmer that he will now rape his wife; he then adds: “But since there is a lot of dust on the ground, you should hold my testicles while I’m raping your wife, so that they will not get dirty!” After the Mongol finishes his job and rides away, the farmer starts to laugh and jump with joy; the surprised wife asks him: “how can you be jumping with joy when I was just brutally raped in your presence?” The farmer answers: “But I got him! His balls are full of dust!” This sad joke tells of the predicament of dissidents: they thought they are dealing serious blows to the party nomenklatura, but all they were doing was getting a little bit of dust on the nomenklatura’s testicles, while the nomenklatura went on raping the people… Is today’s critical Left not in a similar position? Our task is to discover how to make a step further – our thesis 11 should be: in our societies, critical Leftists have hitherto only dirtied with dust the balls of those in power, the point is to cut them off”

this analogy a shit

thanks for all the translations, they are greatly appreciated.

a question, regarding specific strategies for translating - do you have any advice or tips for someone looking to get into translating texts? also, do you recommend any computer programs or other tools that worked best for you?

thanks in advance.

C'mon why go to all the trouble to put up this kind of site, get a bunch of people interested and reading and then run off to do something else, like make some money or something.

Why don't you give up the domain name and/or the site and let somebody who has the time resources and ability to handle this kind of work do it?

I have seen one hundred too many "anarquista" sites burn bright for a minute and then vanish into nothing. Is that how you really want to roll? Another pinner?

On second thought, methinks this whole idea might be simple ponderous wanking and you'll be back posting cuz concerned citizens simply cannot stay away. At least one may hope.

This is a strikingly thoughtful and intelligent piece, especially given that it comes out of a current as deluded and unintelligent as "insurrectionary" anarchism.

no you

Uh Mathew, I don't think you understand insurrectionary anarchism.

You're not supposed to communique anything, as that creates an artificial divide and spectacle of militancy.

"t’s primary aim should be to attack the physical infrastructure of repression, thereby reducing and eventually crippling the ability of that repression to function."
This is completely wrong. You're also not supposed to necessarily attack important targets. Not only is it futile but leads to underground groups that are completely isolated from society. You're supposed to attack things to spread signals of disorder and develop a culture of resistance that leads to riots which lead to general insurrection. That's how you're supposed to escape the subcultural gheto, by attacking targets in everyday life that everyone sees, not some buldozer or oil tank in the middle of nowhere. It's a very metropolitan strategy.

Please read more before you write.

No, No, No, No! Insurrectionary anarchism is about liberating mink from fur farms. In the 1990's hardcore kids liberated thousands of mink all across North America; that's insurrection!

thanks for the lulz

LOL at the Hegel-class pretense...

Let's select this troll as Archishop and Grand Inquisitor for our upcoming anarchist dictatorship!

Rules for an ineffective, uncreative and irrelevant anarchy:

- attack nothing of importance
- if you attack, don't let anyone know, so one day, perhaps...
- burn yourself alive
- become a university professor who chit-chats about anarchist philosophy

Epic fail, troll. No real anarchist here actually takes you seriously.

Wow, claiming the name of insurrectionary anarchism to demolish it is really quite a feat...

You're right, thinking that capitalism is a social relationship made with constituent power rather than an organic force that exists outside of society and can be destroyed peacemeal by a tiny section of the population is totalyl Hegelian-inspired (wtf did Hegel write about class, anyway?) mythology of the proletariat.

And creating a situation where anarchist practice is spread beyond the ghetto and generalized without the actor-spectator vanguardism is total dictatorship.

And I'm not arguing for attacking nothing of importance, but the illusion that we can destroy capitalism in material terms.

Just some recent stuff recently posted on A-News, that I guess people on here who don't take these ideas 7seriously posted for the hell of it-

On not claiming actions :

http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/anarcotico-on-a-few-old-topical-q...

On insurrectionary strategies:

http://anarchistnews.org/content/symphony-without-composers

there is much more to read, if you wish me to post them.

But many points for deamonizing and ad-hominem against points which you don't understand.

And no, I didn't disagree about the pointon safety with flames either, but obviously if I fail to mention the things you got write when I discuss the things that you got wrong, I am totally responsible for you assuming that I disagree with the whole thing.

"I don't think you understand insurrectionary anarchism." etc

Hey you self righteous prick tell that to all the comrades around the world. 'Read more'???!! FUCK OFF. american fuckwit. have fun with your Bonanno-ist dogma. im sure the old man would have a few things to say about your view of what we're "supposed" to attack.

take your repressive fetishism of low level vandalism and shove it. cowardice does not good strategy make.

Summary, for those of you too busy exchanging whispered intimacies:
I'm quitting my blog and might start self-publishing books. If I do, I hope it will be awesome. Anarchism isn't as cool as I want it to be. I like fire more than bombs. No one really read my blog. I spent three whole years on it. If you send me translations maybe I'll put them in a book.

Honestly I had never heard of your blog, and I am into this kind of thing. Sorry. Good luck on whatever you choose to do in the future.

Same here. I only looked at the blog for the first time because this was posted on War on Society, and I thought, "damn, wish I knew about this sooner because I would have been following it."

Worker, if there's negative feedback against your work on Anews, that's most probably because you tend to be a prick, dissing some contributions as well as chatters.

There are some serious people on the other side of the screen, and even if they aren't in jail or chased by the FBI they'd like some more, you know... comradery.

I am happy to have this conversation f2f or over email but I strongly reject this. I believe perception is often confused with reality and think that many people are confused about the difference between the two. I (and @news) am here every day doing this project regardless of my individual opinions about some of the contributions (which are rarely expressed in the rollers BTW). A nice person would never put up with this shit.

This is a bloody strange argument: "I am happy to have this conversation f2f or over email but I strongly reject this."

You make public decisions, you are a public person, and so you should be able to have this conversation in public, not between in private between individuals. To say that you are "happy" to have this conversation and then say you "strongly reject this" shows that you are not open to criticism. You've already decided that you both disagree and "reject" the critique. And for your information, the question is not whether you are a "nice" person or not, but whether you act like a prick. There's a difference and it concerns your behavior not what kind of person you are, you, know deep down.

I think it's a reasonable argument ... and it's a bit strange to demand a customer service attitude from people who volunteer their time. What exactly obligates anyone here to be "nice"? How do you even measure it?!

Didn't even bother to think about what I wrote before you responded, did you? How do I know? You're talking about nice when the real discussion is about prickishness.

... my point was that you can't really measure subjective shit like "prickishness". You're pretty abrasive for somebody who's whining about other's percieved "prickishness" comrade ;)

No one is asking for a measurement of anything. The objective fact is that "Worker" complains about getting shit from people but refuses to listen to why people give me shit.

- Why people give *him* shit.

What, exactly, should I do with the information (all that has been provided so far) that I am a "prick"?

Seek public input concerning the beefs that people have concerning this website, they are specific, you know some of them already, and if you aren't really a prick you will try to solve those problems instead of denying their existence.

I am seeking that input now. What are the specific problems "people" have with this website?

You are seeking input in a thread devoted to a different subject which got hijacked. Open a new thread and seek input that way. Properly.

1) Stories have threaded comments for exactly this purpose
2) I have sought input hundreds of times over the past 8 years
3) If you have a specific criticism of the site that you'd like to post as a story, I'd be happy to respond to it

1) You need to make this a public call, something that all of the site's readers know about and not just the people who happen to find this particular tangent in this particular thread.
2) Yeah I've seen them but they don't concern things people don't like about your behavior, they have concerned design issues, posting features and such.
3) Specific criticisms would probably be one sentence things and thus not worthy of an entire story in its own right.

Putting "people" in quotes as you just did was a prick thing to do.

I agree that it was sloppy. What I was attempting to say was that this comment was just public name calling/shaming and I reject its intent. If there is a real criticism that you'd like to share with me IRL or at length in private, I'm **always** open to that. If you want to do it in public, that's fine too, but different.

Again you place a nice safe barrier between your public actions and any possible criticism of them which you want to be in private. This business about a public discussion being fine but different is just so much bullshit especially when you can't be bothered to explain what would be make it different.

it's awesome how you anon want someone else to be accountable.
you're an example to us all.

And it's awesome that you hide behind the name "Dot Matrix," which is just as anonymous as "anon."

I think Worker suffers from typical admin's syndrome, a result from someone who's been in charge for really too long as has developed a hyper-sensitively defensive attitude towards any impolite criticism coming from "below", as some sort of phantom pattern of "the fear of losing power".

Open yourself, Worker. At least once in a while. The proposal of a public call for feedback on Anews was is a good idea that I' seconding.

What are you afraid of... having hundreds of harsh, negative, one-sided replies? I wouldn't even make one... Stop being so insecure, re-fucking-lax!

Yeah, worker has to deal with constant abuse from smug sarcastic assholes and take *daily* stock of the total failure of serious resistance in north america without jumping off a bridge. I'm not a nice person either and after a few years of lurking here, I can only be in awe of the patience required to run this site.

Must be hard. Imagine his saint like patience! Jesus fucking christ.

I'm sorry you got hurt feelings from the internet? Feel better?

Hurt feelings? Hardly, mate. I'm actually laughing at the comment I responded to. Imagine the saint like patience!

My former point of contention, that I expressed in a somewhat insulting manner to get Worker's attention, was actually based on a real case of a really serious article written by me that was making an analysis of the greatness and failure of the ongoing insurrecto anarchy in North America.

Wow you are one sad fucking loser.

Society produces a lot of happy winners... like you, hipster?

- a proud "loser"

worker has to deal with constant abuse from smug sarcastic assholes and make a daily contribution to the total failure of serious resistance in north america

Fixed.

This Is Our Job abolishes agents provocateur as a separate sphere of life.

Good luck on the books, thanks for all the translations and info I couldn't find anywhere else. I'll miss your blog.

Thanks for your great effort, Matthew! Your blog was actually one of the longest-lasting in the anarchosphere, and I did reposted some articles from it on our blog.

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