Repression is something that is very difficult to avoid for those struggling for the subversion of society. When we struggle for our freedom we are soon confronted with the State and its various repressive organs: from cops on the streets to the courts and even prison.
Finding oneself in jail some day is a gloomy perspective which, as revolutionaries, we must always take into account. If the repression strikes particular comrades first, one must not forget all the same that its goal is not just to imprison or “punish” those who have crossed certain boundaries, but also to stop or slow down dynamics, struggles and projects. It is about this less obvious aspect that I wish to talk here.
Repression is not a personal matter
When the repression strikes, a common reaction is to turn in on ourselves. We take shelter, problems are not faced openly, what happened is discussed of course, but in small groups and not publicly, as though the repression was something not for everyone to see (not just anarchists, but “society” in general). Personally, I think that this is a serious mistake, and that when something like this happens quite the opposite should be done. It’s meaningless to hide what was previously in full evidence.
Basically, repression is not just about a person or a “phantomatic” anarchist movement, but concerns all of society because it is also aimed at intimidating other potential rebels. If a comrade gets arrested we must break the taboo of not talking about it and, who knows, perhaps by explaining what has happened other “outside” people might also sympathize with the arrested comrade?
Another issue that comes up regularly in relation to repression is solidarity.
Don’t get me wrong, it is important to take care of comrades in prison or in difficulty, but the reflex is usually different. For many the question of “fighting repression” and supporting the comrades becomes the main thing that they dedicate themselves to, often forgetting that before ending up in prison these same comrades were carrying out struggles and projects, which can now find themselves in difficulty due to their absence.
In my view, solidarity must also be that of continuing these struggles and projects and not accepting that they be interrupted because a comrade was put in jail. If we were to do otherwise we would end up going round in circles: comrades arrested – struggle against repression – more arrests – etc … with no way out. One should not forget that as anarchists our aim is the social revolution, and that as long as a State exists, repression will exist. So if we want to struggle against repression, we must struggle to destroy the State.
When repression strikes us we often talk of breaking the isolation, which I basically agree with. But for many, breaking isolation means forging alliances with other more or less revolutionary groups with completely different objectives to ours. While we want to destroy the State, they want to take it over or reform it to prevent some of its “excesses.” The logic is that we are few and “vulnerable,” and that we must therefore seek “protection” through numbers. Breaking isolation in this sense means opening up to political groups with which we have nothing in common in terms of ideas.
As I see it, breaking isolation is something different: instead of being open to other political groups, we have to go for reciprocity and complicity among the oppressed like ourselves or among potential rebels, not other revolutionary minorities. For this, we need to open communication channels (such as leaflets, posters, newspapers, a presence on the street) and take our ideas into the streets, whatever the weather.
[Translated from Dissonanz (Zurich), 33. August 3, 2016 by Brèves du désordre]
Call for a meeting about the new repressive operations of the Swiss State.
On 24 June, after an unauthorised demo in Basel, 14 comrades were arrested. Over the days that followed the police conducted searches in several places where people were living. 7 of these people are still in custody.
On July 10, four additional searches took place in St. Gallen and Zurich. On the warrant the reason cited was the arson of a telecommunications antenna.
Next to a list of possible evidence the search was also aimed at finding a specific person. So far the person has not been found.
These are just the latest event in a series of cases of repression. Due to the alleged crises of recent years European States are trying to neutralize their enemies or those they consider such more and more, using the “terrorist threat” not only within their borders but also beyond them. Activists and anarchist milieu are not spared from this process.
We think it is important to talk about these changes / intensifications, but also to question them critically. We propose a meeting between anarchist and anti-authoritarian comrades to talk about this issue.
However it should not be to “find technical solutions”, lick our wounds or slide backwards on the defensive.
This meeting is an attempt to analyze the situation together and share information in order to strengthen each other to counter-attack.
We think it is important to pursue an active practice of destruction of this society with determination. The State seeks to arrest us, atomize us, scare us, but we will continue our projects and our struggles.
Our comrades in jail or on the run are not alone. We are with them side by side continuing the practice of which they are accused.
A few Anarchists