France : Burning Equipment and Reflections Against Those Who Make Use of It
July 9, 2019by actforfreedom
[This text from Indymedia Nantes deals with two attacks near Saint-Étienne, a small city near Lyon. The first targeted BTP Eurovia and the second the Delmonico quarry. Links with pictures and mainstream press articles below.
[Although I don’t agree that workers are as responsible for the harm their work causes as the bosses and owners, or that all work is as disgusting as being a prison guard, this text still feels like a worthwhile contribution to a conversation about the limitations of a class-struggle centric analysis. Because this text is right on that if those with access to the means of production won’t destroy them, the rest of us are going to have to.]
We still remember skimming the assemblies, the furious streets, the blockades, the occupied squares. We remember diving into the posters, the leaflets, and the journals . We were open in our words and encounters, avid and impatient to have it out with this world we were born into and that makes us die a little more each day. Raised on the morality of class, we approached the workers.Were they not our allies by definition? We dreamed of Haymarket, while most others dreamed of their buying power and a good retirement. We wanted to burn it down, they wanted to work better. We were too restless at work to not become disillusioned through contact with the exploited. This text is a distant echo of the nocturnal arson of May 14 and 16, 2019. These were attacks against work, of course, but also against all those who contribute to perpetuating it.
Saint-Etienne, two in the morning…
With quiet steps, we approached the site of this monstrous public works. The gate is open. We hesitate, we’re afraid, but the desire for action dissipates our apprehensions. We enter then separate. Each participant in the raid knows what to do. A subtle blend of anticipation and improvisation. Each prepares their vehicle, making no distinction between those of the company and individuals. Someone gives the signal. Suddenly, the lights above are joined by flames. We regrouped and rushed into the night.
What we destroyed is part of the means of production. The morality of class tells us that the labouring class, and it alone, can sabotage these means within the framework of their balance of power with the exploiting class. With the exception of a few Luddite moments, sabotage has never attained truly destructive intentions or intensities. This same morality insists as well that the labouring class should reappropriate the means of production. We won’t go on about historical examples because we don’t care. The people’s airports, prisons, and highways, we hate them all anyway. The means of production that make them possible should only be annihilated. And we won’t wait for the exploited to have a revelation to arm our resolve. Class struggle is a scam, since all classes reproduce themselves through work. Profit and power for some, salaries for others. Together, an indissoluble community of interest. Co-management. And you want us to march on May Day in the middle of this stinking, crawling crowd! No, we are filled with rage against work, its harm crushes our lives.
Its tricky to write about responsibility, especially when it is individual. For ourselves, we try to navigate between the shores of the doctrines of free will and absolute determinism. Those who unluckily crash on one side or the other are good reference points to orient our craft. We recognize that to a highly variable degree, individuals are always responsible for their actions.
Beyond the role their activity  plays for their class, the “workforce” retains their subjectivity and their power to act in all situations. Precisely where their power is found is also their responsibility. Those who resonate with these premises can begin to shift their gaze away from the state and capital to see the countless ordinary responsible parties. Those who lock doors. Who search bodies. Who assign grades. Who experiment in the laboratory. Who drive across the country to sell soda. Who automatically prescribe drugs, who sleep in their military uniform, who push their shopping cart, who drive a big rig, who go on ski trips, who install digital locks. Who take the subway, who slink down the street, crawl in the office, come home from the factory, pour back beers, enslave their wives, eat in restaurants, follow fashion trends, who sleep like the dead. Only to then swallow three coffees and start it all over again. Eight hours a day, 250 days a year, for forty years of life.
For a salary, these ordinary responsible parties aggravate the conditions of everyone around them, murder what is beautiful until the Earth weeps. And yet, this herd of workers doesn’t trash their work site or the means of production. So we will continue to do so. Because it’s necessary.
Two days later, new Vinci  vehicles will sleep on the pavement. In a week, the quarry will relaunch its extractive machinery. Our acts are as useless as their consequences are ephemeral. And regardless of similar actions, there won’t be chaos. We attack only for ourselves, to make and remake the intimate experience of our refusal of this world. The meaning and consistency of our lives emerges only in these few seconds.