Listen to the Episode — 72 min



Clara: The Ex Worker;

Alanis: An audio strike against a monotone world;

Clara: A twice-monthly podcast of anarchist ideas and action;

Alanis: For everyone who dreams of a life off the clock.

Clara: Welcome back to the Ex-Worker! Last summer, we produced a special episode on the Brazilian uprisings against the transit fare increases that spread into a nationwide rebellion. One year later, Brazilians are once again engaged in mass protests and resistance, this time focused against the World Cup. So in our twenty-fifth episode, we’ll share a recently published interview with Brazilian comrades discussing the anti-Cup resistance and its context, as well as a short essay about the role of the World Cup and mass sporting events in upholding capitalism and the spectacle.

Alanis: We’ll also be sharing a review of the new green anarchist publication Black Seed, a first hand perspective on anarchists in Ukraine, news, upcoming events, and prisoner birthdays. I’m Alanis,

Clara: And I’m Clara, and we’ll be your hosts. As usual, you can find more information and links about everything we discuss, plus a full transcript of the show, at

Alanis: And if you want to send us any feedback, suggestions, criticism, or anything else, you can do so by email to podcast at crimethinc dot com.

Clara: All right! Time for the kick off…


Alanis: Let’s start with the Hot Wire, our look at resistance and revolt happening around the world. What’ve we got today, Clara?

Clara: Well, as you may have heard, the world is in pretty deep shit right now. Civil wars are raging in eastern Ukraine, where dozens of soldiers have been killed and Russia has partially closed the border, as well as in Iraq and Syria, where the rebel Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant controls portions of territory and Iraqi Kurds have seized oil fields and are clamoring for independence. Violence is escalating in Palestine, where the murder of three Israeli settlers and a Palestinian teenager have escalated into rocket attacks by Hamas and Israeli military bombardments that have left over 100 dead.

Alanis: Even amidst all of this conflict and chaos, we still want to share updates on prisoners, protests, acts of resistance, and other bits of news that as anarchists make us perk up our ears. So here we go.

Clara: Monday June 23rd saw the beginning of a massive hunger strike throughout prisons in Greece; as of the first count, several thousand prisoners in eleven prisons are refusing food and demanding the Greek state cancel its plans to convert several prisons and wings of prisons into type “C” (or maximum security). These measures, which would structure the Greek penal system to look more like that of the United States, will primarily affect anarchists and other rebels convicted of terrorism, who would serve a minimum of ten years in these restrictive units, with indefinite possibility for extension. The hunger strike also demands the return of conjugal visits for prisoners, as well as the release of all immigrants held in detention camps. Outside solidarity acts have taken place all over Greece and abroad; thus far eighty anarchists have been arrested in Athens alone for protesting against the restrictive units.

Alanis: Anti-fascists in North London responded to an attack by a neo-Nazi group on a Jewish man and a musician at a music festival. Following the scuffle, in which one Nazi was arrested, a group of about 100 antifascists took to the streets, covering up fascist graffiti and removing the stickers the group had been putting up in the neighborhood.

Clara: Animal rights activists opposed to the planned killing of over 1600 kangaroos cut through fences at the Parks and Conservation depot in Canberra, Australia in order to slash the tires and smash windshields of 10 government vehicles.

Alanis: And animal rights activists in Malaysia have been busy as well, conducting [raids on two fur farms in two weeks( They released 50 mink at one farm, and damaged equipment at both.

Clara: The struggle against the T.A.V., or high speed train, is heating up in Italy: two excavators and a concrete mixer were sabotaged near Genoa, and a political party office in Rovereto was molotov’d in solidarity with comrades facing charges for anti-T.A.V. attacks.

Clara: Over the first week of July, the Earth First! Round River Rendezvous took place, in the Klamath Knot region of Cascadia (around the California/Oregon border). There’s a tree sit going on now in the Mattole Forest against loggers attempt to cut old-growth trees in northern California; find out now at

Alanis: In the wake of a successful demo in Nantes, France in February against the planned construction of an airport in eastern France, repression has come down against residents of the Zone a Defendre, or ZAD, which we discussed in Episode 14, and other rebels. We’ve got a link to a summary of the repression in English posted on our website.

Alanis: Residents in Rembang City in Jawa Tengah, Indonesia have attempted to block the construction of a cement factory in their town, entering a standoff with military and police who showed up to protect the interests of the company.

Clara: In San Francisco’s Mission District, the war against the tech industry, surveillance, and gentrification rages. A Google express delivery truck had its tires slashed while it was sitting in traffic, while protests and interruptions continue against Google’s recent I/O conference in San Francisco, as well as the company’s shuttle services in the East Bay and their Mountain View headquarters.

Alanis: In legal news that will certainly impact anarchists and protestors, the Supreme Court unanimously agreed that police must have a warrant to search a person’s cell phone. The ruling may substantially impact the legal treatment and protection of individuals’ data.

Clara: And continuing on the theme of “small legal concessions that might positively affect us,” a federal judge in Portland, Oregon, ruled that the insanely convoluted process by which people can get off of the no-fly list is unconstitutional. The no-fly list (which is part of a larger thing called the Terrorist Screening Database) is a way for the government to keep off of commercial flights those dastardly fiends whom the FBI determines to be potentially engaged in “terrorist” activity. There are a lot of these people, according to the government—as many as 21,000, including 500 US citizens, and very possibly some of you listeners—and if you are on the list you won’t be able to fly in or out of the United States on a commercial airline. The court’s ruling will allow people to find out why they are on the list.

Alanis: Animal rights activists Tyler Lang and Kevin Oliff, whose cases we’ve reported on before, have now been indicted on federal terrorism charges for allegedly freeing mink and foxes from fur farms. Kevin is still in jail in Illinois, serving a 30 month sentence for having bolt cutters in his car. Tyler was re-arrested in Los Angeles. Here’s an excerpt from a statement on their support website:

Clara: First, let’s acknowledge the timing of this event: We’re well aware that arresting Tyler Lang on an indictment of federal charges was coordinated to coincide with the annual National Animal Rights Conference and the Fight or Flight Tour fundraiser. It was the FBI’s blatant and clumsy attempt to scare activists, create divisiveness, and deter Tyler and others from the above-ground activism they practice. But word of the incident spread quickly—not only among attendees at the LA conference, but throughout the country’s network of animal advocates—and one thing is resoundingly clear: we’re angry, but we’re not shaken.

Alanis: They’re in need of money for legal support. You can stay updated at supportkevinandtyler dot com.

Clara: As we mentioned in our last episode, June 11th was the yearly day of solidarity with longterm Anarchist prisoners. The day encourages conversation and actions focused on keeping some of our longest-imprisoned comrades on our minds and involved in the movements that they’ve been stolen from. The day also specifically seeks to raise fund and demonstrate solidarity two eco-prisoners serving over 20 years each, Eric McDavid and Marius (formerly Marie) Mason.

Alanis: This year, on or around June 11th, over 41 events in at least seven different countries took place. From events in which prisoners called in to answer questions about life behind bars in Berlin and Bloomington, to dinner and movie events in Tel Aviv and New Orleans, and an online art show, hundreds of dollars were raised for Marius and Eric. There were also some spicier events, including a Friday-the–13th-themed noise demonstration at a jail in Durham, North Carolina and a roving dance party in Denver, Colorado. Under the cover of night, rebels also burned radio towers in the UK, sabotaged a mobile animal-slaughtering truck in Oregon, and spiked trees in Florida.

Unfortunately, a person was arrested in conjunction with the Bristol arsons, and faces charges in connection with several dozen actions that have occurred there recently; we’ll post updates on our website.

Clara: Thanks to everyone who brought attention to their cases and contributed acts of solidarity! For more information about June 11th, Marius or Eric, or to read reportbacks from these events, visit, or find more information in the show notes for this episode.

Alanis: In other prisoner news, Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily MacMillan was released from jail after serving two months for being assaulted by an NYPD officer during an Occupy protest. She read a statement from the Women of Rikers Island exposing the horrific conditions faced by incarcerated women in New York; you can read the statement at sparrowmedia dot net, or by following the link from our website.

Clara: The FBI has visited the homes of activists in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, in connection with Donna Borup, who failed to appear for trial after her arrest at a New York anti-apartheid demonstration over 30 years ago. Remember, if you’re ever visited by the FBI or other law enforcement agents: 1) Say only: “I have nothing to say to you. Give me your card and my lawyer will contact you.” 2) Contact your nearest National Lawyers Guild chapter to let them know about the encounter. 3) Contact the Bay Area Committee to Resist Political Repression at: BACRPR [at] and let them know what happened.

Alanis: A little bit of good news, finally - long term black liberation army prisoner Sekou Kambui has finally been released from prison! He’s currently in a halfway house in Alabama, out of prison after almost 40 years inside. Congratulations to Sekou - we’ll post any info we can find on how to continue supporting him.

Clara: And finally, in more state repression news, the revolutionary anarchist rap group Insane Clown Posse lost a lawsuit in federal district court, when a judge ruled that the FBI can’t be held responsible for how local law enforcement uses their report on gangs. The report labeled fans of the group, known as “Juggalos”, as gang members, and police departments have targeted them as a result; the ACLU filed a suit claiming that the gang report violated their rights to free speech and due process.

Insane Clown Posse member Joseph Bruce, known as Violent J, said in a statement released by the ACLU, “This is not the end. We’ll keep fighting to clear the Juggalo family name.” He continued, “While it is easy to fear what one does not understand, discrimination and bigotry against any group of people is just plain wrong and un-American.”

Alanis: Wait. Did you just refer to the Insane Clown Posse as anarchists?

Clara: OK, maybe not technically. But Juggalos are sort of like anarchists, right?

Alanis: Uh… no.

Clara: Well, c’mon- they’re at least our homies, right?

Alanis: Look, stop. Just stop.


Clara: And now it’s time for some listener feedback. We’ve heard from some of you about our Communization episode - thanks for that - and we’ll get to your comments next time so we can have time for our autonomous podcasting unit to respond. In the mean time, we want to share an excerpt from a piece written by an anarchist in Ukraine, partially in response to the CrimethInc discussions of the recent revolution there. You can read the full piece on the insurrectionist blog 325, at 325 dot nostate dot net.

Alanis: I’m writing to you from Ukraine. I participated a lot in the Maidan riots and different anarchist initiatives during that time and want to make several comments that I find to be important for a better understanding of events. In general I agree with your hypotheses, but I want to emphasize several details, which will make the picture not so dark.

To start with, nationalists and fascists took over the forefront of the confrontations only in the media image of Maidan. They have no real control over activities of protesters, but they controlled the scene of Maidan and the fascination of the mainstream medias. Fascists from “Right Sector” and other organizations had a control only over their members. And their organizational structures weren’t very hierarchical. Groups among them were decentralized.

Some of their members had a really vague understanding of far-right values and had supported them only because they were the “most radical” force. Dmytro Jarosh, the leader of “Right Sector”, was more a media person, the speaker of “Right Sector”, than actual Fuhrer. Now “Right Sector” almost has disappeared from public discourse. When the new authorities killed Oleksanr Muzychko, a commander of “Right Sector” in the Western regions of Ukraine, and several other provocations had happened, they disintegrated into a fictional “monstrous fascism” in Russian propaganda.

The real danger for anarchists was presented by “C14” neonazi group – youth militants from Svoboda party. They have almost no political hegemony and support from other protesters (the Svoboda party tremendously lost their support as the result of their opportunistic policies during the uprising). They know Kiev antifascists and anarchists by face, because we had confronted a lot of them before Maidan. This group was not so big (100–200 people), but well-organized and better equipped. We couldn’t form an anarchist “hundred-unit”, because of their pressure. And during the defense of the Occupied Ministry of Education they were the biggest threat for us.

I talked with dozens of other militant protesters and usually they discuss anarchism with great interest. Most of them didn’t believe in any parties and fought, as they used to say, “against the police, authorities and corruption”.

Personally, I consider the fantastic self-organization and solidarity among the protesters as the manifestation of practical “folk anarchism”, although it was badly understood.

Due to the consequences of Maidan and considering the demands of the protesters, the political impact of the upheaval is not nationalistic, but liberal. The dominant part of protesters talk about a “better state (that is, welfare state) with a bureaucracy that is not corrupt, police which take care of our security and an army which will protect us from invaders, etc.” The new president of Ukraine in his last speech promised that he will decentralize all authorities and give more rights and resources to local communities. And I’m afraid that smart ‘soft policies’ might repress the protest atmosphere for another decade. At the same time, it doesn’t seem that political elites understand this. They keep being corrupt and voting for brutal neo-liberal reforms.

The majority of people have decided to give credit to the new authorities. The degree of radicalism has fallen down. People think that they can achieve compromises with them and usually use tactics of picketing and other legal forms of protest. The efficiency of those tactics is not so big, so I hope it provokes people to become more radical.

And I think that national rhetoric about Maidan was superficial. The Ukrainian flag and the slogan “Slava Ukraini” (Honor of Ukraine) lost in some sense their state symbolism. During that time they were symbols of riots. Although after the beginning of the war, a strong reaction among the society has started. There was a shock, people didn’t know what to do about the Russian army in Crimea, so they gave credit to the army and the new authorities (right-centrist and neo-liberal parties in parliament). Today, common patriotism and nationalism displays itself as Russophobia and support of the Ukrainian army in the war, but not in support of the authorities and a strong state. There was a moment before the election of the new president when people believed that somehow Poroshenko would bring the stability back. That’s how most of them justified why they voted for him. But it seems to me that officials keep loosing their support day after day.

Second, in fact, there were no “hundred-person fighting units with a strict hierarchy of command”. Self-defence forces consisted of approximately 40 hundred-units in Maidan. And only a dozen of them were nationalist or fascist. Others have been united by regional (for instance, Lviv hundred) or community (Afghanistan veterans hundred) principle. Also there were not only “militant” hundred-units that took the brand “hundred”. For instance “Art hundred” which used to make decisions by consensus (they were strongly influenced by anarchists). I consider even more prominent that during the clashes on Grushevskogo street and Instytutska street, the real force who fought the police consisted of thousands of autonomous groups. From 2 to 10 friends used to fighting with police without any organizational membership. I personally participated in clashes just in a group of my friends who were not anarchists! (I didn’t participate in an affinity group during that time and all of my anarchist comrades were away at that time). Moreover, hundreds-units didn’t have 100 persons in them. Before [the] clashes on Instytutska street, most of the “hundreds” have 20–40 people in. People just used to leave their hundreds after they got bored. There was a funny moment in the occupied Ministry of Education (the defense of that place were held mostly by anarchists). Two guys that joined us said “we left our hundred, they do nothing, and it seems to us that guarding of this place is more exciting). The constitution of militant protesters was very dynamic and not unified.

Third, after the clashes on Instytutska street, finally Maidan spread to all neighborhoods in Kiev and then to most of the cities and even villages in Ukraine. People self-organized into local self-defense forces to fight the police and “titushkas” (pro-government militants). We (anarchists) understood the necessity of decentralization and spreading the protest to all parts of the city and the country, but due to the lack of experience of direct action, we haven’t brought an impulse to this tactic. People intuitively came to this after the government had blocked the subway which paralyzed the transport system in Kiev. The unprecedented state violence on Instytutska Street was so terrifying that even schoolboys with wooden and metal sticks from villages in central Ukraine pushed forward to stop buses with “titushkas”.

These local self-defense forces are more or less active up to today. For example, they fight against property developers. I think that tactic of bringing disasters to quiet neighborhoods and blocking transport and other infrastructures in the cities might be fruitful in further uprisings.

To sum up, I think far-right organizations are likely to capitalize on the uprising which is fertile for anarchism, but they have to evolve and adapt to that new ground. They have to make a serious effort to stay there. They just can’t fully absorb protest from below.

So I think this situation is not so bad for anarchists. I encourage anarchist groups to take a part in a heart of uprisings, proposing not only more radical forms of direct action but drawing a truly radical political perspective. The best places for agitation of people are barricades. Also we have to provoke radical changes. We have to open new sides of what is permitted. First Molotov cocktails in the history of independent Ukraine was very different. For example, today cops and politicians are not untouchable anymore in Ukraine. What is next? We have to take on private property. We don’t have to wait until the creation of a “big workers movement” as my syndicalist comrades do, or seek for mainstream media attention, or approval by liberal friends (as many of us did), we have to fight the state and the reactionaries now.

Clara: We alerted our correspondent from the original CrimethInc piece who contributed to our previous discussions, who replied with the following comments:

It’s interesting to see the wide range of different Ukrainian anarchist perspectives—from those who attribute all agency to Western political puppeteers, to this insurrectionist take at the other end of the spectrum.

I agree with the author’s critique of the perspective repeatedly suggested by the Autonomous Workers’ Union: we needn’t—and shouldn’t—wait for a 19th-century-style workers’ movement to get off the ground before we can take part in contemporary struggles. Doing so could only marginalize us as the front lines of class struggle shift further and further from the workplace.

On the other hand, I agree with the assertion in the original CrimethInc. Ukraine analysis that it’s no coincidence a movement rallied around national flags could transition so easily into nationalist war. Granted, from the 18th century French revolution and its reprise in 1870–71, through the Russian and Spanish revolutions of the 20th century, to the aftermath of the Arab Spring, there has always been a two-way door between revolution and war. But national flags are never just blank canvases that can signify whatever people want them to. They bring a deep and powerful history to bear wherever they appear, subtly structuring the popular imagination along nationalistic lines. Playing with flags is like toying with the relics of some ancient god, which seems long dead but can draw new life from anyone foolish enough to accidentally put their flesh at its disposal.

Likewise, the great danger is not that fascists will emerge victorious from this neoliberal revolution, but rather that fascism will quietly enter the public subconscious as the first of all last resorts. It’s beside the point how much political leverage fascists retain in Ukraine today as a new normality is consolidated; the question is how much purchase they will have on the popular imagination the next time there is a major rupture. Fascism and anarchism pose rival solutions to the problems of the globalized era; in the future, it may make all the difference whether formerly “apolitical” people who have finally been pushed too far identify revolt with anarchism or with nationalism. However overblown reports of fascist participation in the Ukrainian revolution may have been, fascism scored a powerful international publicity victory by being associated with the Ukrainian revolution, one that may yet have serious consequences in other countries.

In any case, I don’t mean to be a naysayer, and it’s heartening to hear that at least one Ukrainian anarchist feels there is potential yet in that context. We agree wholeheartedly that anarchists should be on the front lines of uprisings wherever they occur. Good luck to our comrades in the Ukraine; please keep us abreast of new developments.

Alanis: In other Ukraine news, we read recently that members of the Kharkiv Autonomous Worker’s Union have squatted a building and created a new social and cultural center, in their words, “for living, working and leisure of workers who suffered from consequences of interethnic war and other forms of social oppression.” We’ve got a link on our website to their statement and a brief video from their collective describing the project.

Clara: As always, thanks to everyone for keeping the conversation going. If you want to weigh in, you can reach us at podcast at crimethinc dot com.


Clara: And now it’s time to share a piece of the CrimethInc Contradictionary. This episode is brought to you by: Hooliganism and Global Village.

Clara: For more information about the war in every word, visit


Clara: As this episode goes into production, Argentina and Germany are just about to begin the final match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. And guess what? We don’t give a shit who wins. Because no matter who scores the most goals, the people of Brazil, and the exploited and excluded around the world, are the real losers in the World Cup. FIFA’s colonization of the country has accelerated the impoverishment of the Brazilian people and the expansion of global policing. Soccer is supposed to transcend politics; in fact, this rhetoric is designed to mask the reality of exploitation and misery behind the glossy team colors and pageantry. Let’s listen to some of the voices from behind the scenes of the spectacle.

[audio collage of World Cup protest coverage]

Clara: In this episode, we report on the reality of the World Cup as experienced by those who are suffering from it and resisting it. Here we share an interview that appeared recently on the CrimethInc blog with Brazilian anarchists who explain the context of the protests and how they relate to the recent upheavals in the country.

Alanis: What is your analysis of the situation surrounding the World Cup? Why are so many Brazilians opposed to it?

Clara: There are many reasons to oppose the World Cup in Brazil. Since 2007, popular committees like the Comitê Popular da Copa have been organizing protests and campaigns against the social costs of the World Cup, with the participation of many anarchists.

First of all, 250,000 people have already lost their houses in the cities that will host the games, without a fair repayment and under operations reminiscent of what the former Nazi government did with Jews, immigrants, and others: they painted a number on their doors one day, and evicted them the next. Those people were forced to sign papers accepting these bad conditions, or else lose everything with no hope of repayment at all.

Second, there are thousands of workers who earn a living from informal work on the streets, and they will be forbidden to work inside the FIFA-imposed perimeter during the days of the games. This perimeter extends for two miles around the stadiums and the area of the Fan Fests, where the games will be shown on the streets via giant screens. In addition, prosecution will target those who sell products that FIFA has been given a monopoly over, such as the products of sponsors.

The families of the ten workers who died during the construction of the stadiums are also waiting for reparations.

Alongside all this, FIFA is imposing a state inside of the Brazilian state. The whole population can see how corruption is increasing with these structures for the mega-events, while our lives are being destroyed. In 2007, the government said that no public money would be used, yet we have seen approximately $4 billion spent on infrastructure to host the games. That includes mega-stadiums and roads, and lots of other buildings that won’t even be finished for the games and will not be useful in the future, while hospitals, schools, public transportation, and work remain precarious for most of the population. Strikes are taking place everywhere in a way we have not seen in a long time, including teachers, students, bus drivers, and subway workers.

Nor have the other struggles in Brazil disappeared. The homeless movements, indigenous resistance, the black and women’s movements, and LGBTTT organizations are all getting some attention now, fighting for their rights and intensifying their struggles. The MTST, a big movement for housing in São Paulo, organized an occupation with a thousand families, including those who lost their houses because of the World Cup, near the Itaquera Stadium where the first match will take place.

The expected profit for FIFA in Brazil is greater than the last two World Cups put together. To ensure this, state repression has increased against social movements and all manifestations of dissent—criminalizing strikes and demonstrations that block the street, persecuting leaders and collectives, attempting to pass anti-terror laws and other oppressive measures. They are using vague terms that leave a great deal of room for interpretation to the courts. For now, nobody knows exactly what is a crime or what can land you in prison during a demonstration or mobilization. During the games, there will be a state of exception and special courts to condemn people.

Another $1 billion has been spent on training and weapons to repress demonstrations. Israel is providing training to the police and the army, and is selling drones and other anti-riot weapons and devices. The military police are being trained by the French police as well as the former American mercenary company, Blackwater [which has changed its named to Academi]. Rumors that the huge organized criminal groups in Brazil want to repeat the actions of 2006, when they brought all of São Paulo to a halt, are being used to justify these operations.

All the police forces and the army are working together in a way we have never seen before. Probably the biggest legacy of the World Cup will be the growth of state apparatuses for governance and repression. These apparatuses will keep this country a perfect place to exploit cheap labor and resources while a growing economy grants enormous profits to international Capital.

Alanis: Is the struggle against the fare hikes, which took places last summer, related to this struggle against the World Cup? What lessons have been learned and what are the new obstacles that must be overcome?

Clara: Yes, they are related. First, because many of the movements, collectives, and autonomous militants that composed the struggle against the fare hikes are involved directly or indirectly with the uprisings against the World Cup. Second, and maybe most importantly, they are related because they question a project of a society based on the logic of capital. Remember, the fare hikes were attempted in a country that has one of the most expensive public transportation fees of the world, relatively speaking (consuming approximately a third of the average household income), and a very precarious, overcrowded transportation system owned by a small group of businessman. This is a place where the urban fabric nearly collapsed due to lack of planning, where public space is being hijacked by the private sector, where roads and highways are controlled by the automobile industry, where the distribution of the city geography is dictated by real estate speculation.

In this scenario, the fare increase was much more then 20 cents: the hike would interfere directly in the mobility of people and, in a city like São Paulo which has 28 million people, it became an issue of depriving the population of basic rights such as school, health care, or home ownership. With that context in view, we can see that when an international company such as FIFA puts on a huge enterprise such as the World Cup, the whole country is submitted to the same immiseration as the fare hikes would produce. This is a matter of the privatization of the public sphere with the collaboration of the local government.

The World Cup did not start on June 12. The World Cup already started in 2007, when Brazil was officially given the responsibility of hosting this massive capitalist spectacle. From that moment, people were being evicted from their homes in order to build stadiums and infrastructure for the Cup, workers were having their activities restricted by the government, and so on. This is the reality of the Cup for the poor and peripheral. These same people are not going to be able to go to the stadium to watch the matches, because the cheapest tickets cost more than the monthly minimum wage. In that sense, the Cup is a classist spectacle that the poor are not only unable to see, but they also must pay for. So these struggles are related in the sense that they both confront a development project that has no place for the majority of the country’s population. And, not by coincidence, they both encounter the very same response from the state: the brutality of its police and army.

Alanis: The Black Bloc is all over the news again. Are these actions bigger than in previous years? Are there other tactics that have spread in Brazil?

Clara: Black Bloc tactics are not really on the news right now as much as they were in the months following the victory against the fare hikes. They are still occurring on the street, albeit on a much smaller scale and without much coordination. But they remain a target of the state and the media; the Black Bloc appears on the news as a “threatening organization” that is being investigated as a terrorist group. This is probably because the authorities fear that this reaction to (and intolerance of) state violence can spread. The police are looking for the origins of the black blocs, trying to find out who these people are, collecting information about those detained at demonstrations and from others who leave traces on the internet. They are performing a big lawsuit as if the black bloc were a national criminal organization. What bullshit.

But there are many people who have been introduced to radical thoughts and tactics for the first time through the black blocs in last year’s demonstrations. Consequently, many of them act without any other anarchist background, as if they were a movement, with “official” Facebook pages, calling demonstrations by themselves. This can facilitate the pigs’ work of finding and identifying them. Also, we can see some of them acting as if their tactics are the best on all the earth, that they should always be used no matter how or when, and not trying to engage in dialog with the other movements that call for demonstrations. So these people sometimes act in a way that ruins the original plan for a march route, or that exposes others to more risks rather than protecting them—such as barricading other people into the same corner with the police, saving their own asses while others are trapped.

Unfortunately, some other movements are avoiding them, and sometimes avoiding everybody with black or black and red flags. This is a moment to rethink the way these tactics should be used. But it is difficult for other anarchists to create dialog with this new generation. Maybe only experience will show us solutions.

Alanis: Have the uprisings that followed last year’s Brazilian protests in Bosnia, Turkey (again), Ukraine, Thailand, Taiwan, or anywhere else influenced the struggle against the World Cup? And have the nationalists who caused so much trouble in the movement against the fare hikes returned to the protests in Brazil?

Clara: After the uprising in Turkey, we haven’t seen any other social mobilizations being particularly influential on the struggles here. None of these other movements have been discussed in the debates here.

Fortunately, middle class liberals and nationalists haven’t found a reason to come into the streets again. We saw only one attempt to recreate a march for “Family, God, and Property”—a reenactment of an event that took place during the dictatorship—but it was a true failure. But it is possible to feel that this tension with the nationalists persists. Recent events—including people publicly beating accused thieves or even locking them to posts, and lynchings that had the support of some journalists and authorities, usually against black and poor people—have showed that Brazil hides a monster that can emerge at any time.

The favelas have been severely affected by the development plans leading up to the World Cup. There have been evictions and raids and some deaths. How have people responded to this repression? In the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, we have witnessed the most offensive operations since 2009 by the UPP’s—the Pacification Police Unit, a project that has the objective of seizing control of the favelas where the only state institution present is the police. This is like a new conquest of the West, with the excuse of “fighting the drug market,” in which private capital supports this operation in order to explore the potential of these communities that until now use resources and services beyond the control and taxation of the state. Resistance to these operations has been strong, and these units are always attacked, particularly after the police commit murders.

We see this “molecularization” of organized revolt when these frequent murders are followed by huge riots. In São Paulo, in January there was at least one bus burned every day in protests against police brutality or for better life conditions in the poor neighborhoods. This is even taking place in small cities like Paty dos Alferes, where all the police stations were burned and all the police were attacked by crowds after a girl died during an arrest.

Alanis: What have comrades done outside of the protests and riots? Are there new participants, new spaces, new tools, new meeting points? What do you think comrades can do to build strength through these movements in Brazil?

Clara: After the uprising in Brazil during June 2013, we already knew that other fights were about to take place against the World Cup. So during the rest of 2013, we saw radical tactics and also radical organizing taking place in all the struggles in which anarchists could be involved. We witnessed new occupations by the homeless movements, including buildings with hundreds of families. But we didn’t obtain any new spaces for anarchist projects, and anarchist squats and social centers are very rare in Brazil. The few that exist are threatened by serious repression.

At the same time, some of these spaces and collectives saw a huge groundswell of popular interest in participating in debates, organizing, study groups, and other forms of anarchist activity. It was good to see that people realize that the struggles of 2013 emerged from an anarchist tradition and experiences from the anti-globalization movements of the preceding 15 years.

We should return to this question again after this new June, this new winter to come; we will see where we will be after that. But in this moment, it is important to test our abilities and the connections we can make. In this context, being in contact and sharing knowledge and support around the world is very important. Thanks a lot for this conversation.


Clara: And now we’re going to share a feature one of our listeners alerted us to from the excellent blog Dialectical Delinquents, which has been covering the Cup protests in Brazil. In this article, a European Situationist-inspired radical reflects on the function of mass sporting events in reinforcing capitalism and the Spectacle. It’s titled, “ve haf vays of making you happy.”

Alanis: Football: the goal of a goalless world, of a goalless life. The opium of the people.

What began a long time ago as a primarily working class sport played and developed on the street or other unsurveilled places by the poor has now become a method of turning those workers into spectators, controlling those streets and places and making the life of the poor worse.

The seemingly endless spectacle of sport has as its base the repression of communities of struggle. In the wake of the repressions of class struggle communities from the mid–80s up until just a few years ago, football increasingly became the surrogate “working class” connection to the world; the participatory compensation and consolation for the repression of these struggles, for the repression of a real connection with history. People pay exorbitant amounts of money to travel to and consume these events in order to say,“I was there!”. An ersatz history mediated by sports heroes and team support clothes, etc. History as a commodity. History as conspicuous consumption.

But with Brazil the contradictions of the show are becoming transparent: sickness and shacks for the poor – health and mansions for the rich. The commodity spectacle has its priorities, and investment in image and diversionary entertainment has become more profitable than production of the bare necessities. Today, the rulers present method is a slight variation of the standard “bread and circuses” method since Roman times: geneticallly modified crumbs and football played by millionaires.

John Dennis, a radical miner during the strikes of the 70s and 80s, said once to me that when he was a teenager he was a Sheffield Wednesday fan. But he always felt that it was a role he felt obliged to play – to put on a show of joy when the team won, to be sad when they lost; it was something he felt obliged to play as an unwritten rule of his friendship with the other fans.

Nowadays that role, the face painted in national colours that the fan puts on, most obviously supports the terror of FIFA and the Brazilian cops. “We know this world is shit – let’s just enjoy what it’s got to offer” shrugs off critique and critical self-reflection with a conventional mixture of naivety and cynicism. A taxi driver in Fortaleza said on June 16th, “There has been some mindless violence with the protests, but now it’s time to enjoy soccer.” The brute violence of the cops and the state and all the forces supporting this sick show turns against the conscious violence of the opposition to dismiss them as “mindless killjoys”. The desire to belong, separated from the struggle for a community against this world, becomes simply a suffocating duty to conform. It’s expressed in the form of the fans’ exaggerated pretence of brashly affirming what they have been told must be affirmed. Regardless of what people genuinely feel, invent or initiate, one must keep up appearances. That which appears on Facebook is good, that which is good appears on Facebook.

When people dress up in colourful masks and funny clothes and take endless selfies, life and the self has grown old and cannot be rejuvenated with dazzling colours. It can only be evoked as a photo posted on the internet. The greatness of this costume drama increasingly flourishes at the dusk of life, and the impending midnight of the planet.

This banal display quite consciously supports the positivism that capital tries to turn into an obligation in the face of all this positivism’s very evident miserable negative consequences (occupation of the favelas, evictions, gentrification, intensified poverty and sickness, sex tourism, tear gas and bullets, deaths on the construction sites, etc), which the movement of proletarian subversion in Brazil over the last 12 months has made it impossible to not be aware of. We can hardly blame FIFA and the rest of the bourgeoisie for acting in their own brutal class interests – but the spectators who want to remain spectators, the willing collaborators, those complicit in their own misery – these are the cowardly enemy within, always playing safe, always faking it, always avoiding the depths and staying on the surface, always flowing with the tide until it eventually drowns them.

The World Cup is a subtler version of the Thai ruling class’s method of recent hierarchically organised forms of leisure consumption:

Clara: “Are you in need of a pick-me-up? How about a free haircut or hot meal? A dance show by women in PVC miniskirts? Perhaps a chance to pet a pony? All this – and more – is now available to you courtesy of the Royal Thai Army’s “Happiness” campaign, which is staging free festivals across Bangkok to “bring back happiness” to the Thai public following last month’s military coup. A bizarre combination of an army-controlled street party and a music festival, the “parties” have been taking place in parks and squares, where the public is showered with free food and drink and given an opportunity to watch the army sing and dance — and take selfies next to trussed-up soldiers….The campaign is by order of Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, who took control of Thailand two weeks ago in a military coup… Prayuth has said the coup should be celebrated as an opportunity for Thais to feel good after a long stretch of political in-fighting left the country deeply divided. “The Thai people, like me, have probably not been happy for nine years,” he said last month. “But since May 22, there is happiness.”

Alanis: The goal of the spectacle of the World Cup, as of the leisure spectacle as a whole, is to be seen to be above politics – it insinuates itself into a community of false friendship mediated by what this society has defined as “happiness”:

Clara: “There’s a predominant climate of fraternization,” President Dilma Rousseff told reporters in Brasilia late yesterday. Rousseff said the mood shift reminded her of when she watched the 1970 World Cup while imprisoned by Brazil’s military dictatorship. The advance of Brazil’s national team in that event began winning over fellow inmates who had refused to support the squad because they expected victory would only strengthen the military regime, she said. “Brazil’s team represents our nationality,” she said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. “It is above governments, political parties and interests of any groups.”

Alanis: Even prisoners under a brutal dictatorship can appreciate the positive value of the nation, and football as its ambassador, as long as they give up their silly notion that football strengthens military regimes (and certainly not then to go on to recognising that these militarised regimes can take both a dictatorial and democratic form.). But in being overpowered by the show of football and its ideologies of fraternisation, even a prisoner can give up his angry point of view and be turned into the pliable self that enables this society crush people more easily.

Given this extreme fragility – that of each individual’s sense of self in a world that destroys all individuality and the community of solidarity that enables individuals to recognise each other, positive affirmation of situations totally outside of the individual’s participation/control becomes a pathological need, a desperate way of connecting with someone, in this case through sport (though cultural mediations are usually just as alienated). The fans try to delude themselves into believing they are somehow participating in all the decisions by acting like would-be managers of “their” team: “we should put X in Y position and concentrate more on Z, and that bastard Q should have been sacked years ago”, blah blah blah. They compete with each other by showing off their expertise, learning all the minutiae of the history and gossip of their and their opponents’ teams. Community by proxy, a vicarious form of decision-making - the only kind that capital produces, and produces en masse the more genuine community and the taking of significant decisions it represses. All that frenzied passion and exuberance towards the unpredictable, unrehearsed, unscripted suspense of the game is all focused on the pitch, a mediation totally outside the control of the fans, whose eyes never meet. The only game really worth playing is everywhere repressed with distractions, lies and stun grenades: the unpredictable, unrehearsed, unscripted suspense of the revolutionary adventure.

Clara: You can read more coverage and analysis at


Clara: The final whistle may have blown, but the World Cup is not over. The people of Brazil will continue to feel the impacts of the entire miserable spectacle for many years to come. The destroyed homes are not coming back; protestors snatched under special laws will face years of legal ordeals or prison time; the police and military will continue to use their training and weapons to brutalize the population; the decaying infrastructure of health, transportation, housing, and education will continue to get worse as the sparkling stadiums slowly rot with disuse. And the ordeal of the mega-events is not over: the 2016 Olympics are just around the corner, which will certainly result in another round of repression, displacement, and impoverishment.

But Brazilians aren’t giving up. We’ll keep you posted on the social movements and anarchist struggles there as they continue to develop. And remember - FIFA is an international organization with a global reach. No matter where you’re listening, you can take actions to interrupt the mass sports spectacle, to strike back against the exploitation and greed that led to this nightmare. No matter who wins, all of us can struggle against the nationalisms that claim to speak for us, the patriarchal values that focus attention only on men and their games, and the capitalist economy that reduces all of our lives to units of exchange. And the stakes of these struggles are higher than any soccer game. Let’s play to win.


Alanis: And now it’s time for the Chopping Block, when we take a look at the latest in anarchist books and magazines and share what we think. This episode’s choice harkens back to our third episode, when we explored green anarchism. While critiques of civilization have been absorbed into the analyses of many anarchists today, there doesn’t seem to be as much specifically green anarchist discourse and action in North America these days. There’s the Earth First! movement, which toes the line between green anarchism and more traditional environmental protest; there’s also been a resurgence of indigenous struggles, especially in Canada and some part of the US, which share overlapping themes. But now a new print publication has emerged to continue and develop on many of the themes formerly explored by the late, great Green Anarchy magazine. That new publication is called Black Seed, and we’re excited about its possibilities.

Clara: Black Seed is a 32 page biannual green anarchist newspaper full of critical analysis, news, interviews, and poetry, whose debut issue came out this spring. It’s intended, in the words of its editors, as a “green anarchist provocation” to “push the dialogue further and open a space to engage critically with the development of capitalism and the state, along with the dead-ends of environmental activism.” The editorial collective includes some former contributors to Green Anarchy magazine, the infamous anti-civilization journal that produced 25 colorful issues between 2000 and 2009; the new publication intends to pick up where it left off, but with less focus on hunter/gatherer pre-history and anthropology (as well as what the editors criticize as the “fetishization of primitive cultures”). Instead, the articles begin from personal experiences, stories of rebellion, and thoughtful and passionate reflections on contemporary anarchist struggles through an anti-civilization lens.

Black Seed starts off with a long excerpt from a primer published by the former Green Anarchy Magazine collective that lays out some basic principles of green anarchism, including critiques of technology, industrial production, leftism, domestication, symbolic culture, and mass society. It was striking to me how incisive these critiques remain today; they offered a thought-provoking framework to be elaborated through the subsequent articles.

My favorite article in this issue, titled “Land and Freedom: An Old Challenge,” examines the implication of this old anarchist slogan for struggles today both in cities and in the countryside, including a wide-ranging proposal for intensifying our relationships to land through active resistance and a fascinating critique of the concept of affinity. Two of the longer features include a first person account by a indigenous Salish warrior about genocide and colonialism in British Columbia and an interview discussion about indigeneity and resistance between a Black Seed editor and Dine activist and musician Klee Benally; each of these ends with a promise that the article will be continued in the next issue, scheduled to be released in the fall. One article harshly critiques the return of nonviolence discourse and practice into radical environmental movements, taking Earth First! to task for the campaign-based model we heard debated in Episode 10. Anarcho-primitivist superstar John Zerzan contributes a dazzlingly erudite reflection on animal life and anthropomorphism, while another contributor critiques permaculture and sustainable agriculture from an anti-civilization and anti-colonial perspective. There’s also a review of the 1978 gay history and anti-civilization classic “Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture” that reads it alongside Silvia Federici’s “Caliban and the Witch,” Episode 2’s Chopping Block pick, and “Against History, Against Leviathan” by Fredy Perlman, which we reviewed in Episode 3.

Black Seed continues Green Anarchy magazine’s infamous tradition of news briefs about animal attacks against humans and infrastructure, militant actions by the Earth Liberation Front or anti-police rebels, and almost comically horrifying developments in techno-industrial society. While these fit the tone and carry on the tradition, they read like a roll of news postings on one of the innumerable blogs catering to the niche interests of green- or insurrecto-leaning anarchists. What’s the role of print publications in disseminating news, when even hardened primitivists often get theirs instantaneously online?

Other features include a large spread of information about radical prisoners with mailing addresses and case information, responses to the call for submissions, and a variety of poems about nature, alienation, and resistance.

One aspect I appreciated about this new journal from the beginning was the willingness to include diverse and even contradictory perspectives; even the introductory principles are presented critically, and the various contributors speak for themselves and sometimes disagree, rather than toeing a single party line. Nonetheless, it’s clear in this new incarnation that insurrectionist, nihilist, and trans and queer influences shine through far more than the traditional anarcho-primitivist focus of the original magazine.

Another theme that runs through the issue is an effort to engage with indigenous struggles respectfully and on their own terms. As the introduction states, “We also think that existing native traditions somehow relate to our project, which is very different from saying that we should emulate, parrot, or parody them; we… cannot be sure how to negotiate the relationships between post- and pre-colonized people. What would it mean to live in an intact social body that is in spiritual connection to the earth?” The question remains unanswered, but offers an intriguing divergence from the often aggressively secular or materialist focus of much anarchist discourse.

I left my reading of Black Seed with one main question - who is the magazine intended for? It’s certainly not intended for a mass audience; indeed, it harshly critiques any efforts to dilute messages of pure anarchist negation to accommodate potential allies. It doesn’t seem to emanate from within the radical environmental milieu that it critiques at points, nor to be primarily oriented towards those within it. In its discourse and distribution, it appears to be mostly oriented towards other anarchists within the North American subculture. Green Anarchy, and its predecessors like Do or Die and the Earth First Journal from which it emerged, existed in a context of surging environmental and animal liberation movements and widespread direct action, interwoven with but distinct from anarchist currents active in anti-globalization, punk, and other contexts. Thus its cranky extremism could influence both greens to become more anarchist and anarchists to become more green. The context has shifted now; the distance has grown between ecologically-oriented activists and insurrection-oriented anarchists, and I wonder towards whom the editors will direct future issues.

Whether or not you were a fan of Green Anarchy magazine, we’d recommend Black Seed to anyone interested in how to give up and keep fighting in the face of the Leviathan of industrial civilization. We’re excited to see how the journal develops, and look forward to its contribution to a richer green anarchist discourse in North America.

Alanis: Black Seed is published by Little Black Cart; you can read more about it at blackseed dot anarchyplanet dot org or littleblackcart dot com.


Clara: And now it’s time to wrap things up with next week’s news. Here’s what’s coming up:

Alanis: On July 15th through 22nd, the Summer for Climate Justice Action Camp takes place in Utah.

Clara: Supporters have called July 25th as a day of solidarity with Jock Palfreeman, an Australian antifascist who is imprisoned in Bulgaria. This guy defended a Roma kid who was being attacked by Nazis, and in the process, killed one of the Nazi attackers… whose dad happened to be a local political big shot, so despite being a hero, Jock got a long prison term. He definitely deserves international support, so for more info on his case, follow the link from our website.

Alanis: And South Side Chicago Anti-Racist Action has issued a call for a Day of Action Against Fascism on the 31st of July.

Clara: From July 30th through August 1st, folks are gathering to protest the dastardly convergence of politician and corporate scumbags known as the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, in Dallas, Texas.

Alanis: There’s also a conference in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico called “Moving Beyond Capitalism” from July 29th to August 5th.

Clara: The Philadelphia Anarchist Book Fair will take place on August 23rd.

Alanis: And Anarchist Black Cross groups have called for an International Week of Solidarity for Anarchist Prisoners during the last week of August.

Clara: And finally, a few prisoner birthdays that just happened recently. On June 28th was Tom Manning, anti-imperialist prisoner from the United Freedom Front;

Alanis: And on July 10 was Gary Tyler, who has spent most of his life in prison after being framed for a self-defense killing when a racist mob attacked his school bus as a teenager.

Clara: And that’s it for this episode! Thanks to all of you for listening, as always to Underground Reverie for the music, and especially to all the people in Brazil and beyond who are standing up against the world cup! Love and solidarity to all of you from up north.

Alanis: Next time we’ll kick off a two episode series on anarcha-feminism, so stay tuned. Till next time…

Online resources

Links and references from this episode of The Ex-Worker: