Solidarity is the Moment of Revenge

Last Tuesday, May 8th, DIY, a popular bar, venue, and social space, was destroyed by fire. Since it opened last year, DIY is known to be a gathering place for punks, queers, artists, rebels, and those who share an affinity: i.e. our people. Two neo-Nazis from a group calling itself Dark Ravens Armenia are responsible for the attack. The police reportedly took over 12 hours to arrive to the scene.

Two days before, parliamentary elections took place in Armenia. Some people somehow voted. Some were somehow elected.

Each moment of freedom is an explosion in the eyes of those who wish to control us. They try to intimidate us, attack us, ruin our spaces, ruin our lives. This is simply a product of the general political situation in Armenia, where the law, judges, and police serve the orders of those in charge. We can’t just say this is illegal, that this is a hate crime, but rather this is something inevitable. We will receive no protection from the state, just as we never have.

Solidarity means revenge not just on these fascists, nationalists, police, governors, but on all those forces all around us trying to destroy what we want to be.

11 May 2012
The Splinter Group

DIY is run by some members of the all-girl punk band Pincet, featuring former members of Incest. The bar, which had no insurance, is currently raising funds to rebuild. Clean-up is underway. Here is their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/212610838758412/

http://gayarmenia.blogspot.fr/2012/05/statement-by-ngos-and-activists-re-neo.html
http://gayarmenia.blogspot.fr/2012/05/please-help-re-build-diy-your-support.html
http://gayarmenia.blogspot.fr/2012/05/hate-crime-diy-bar-in-armenia-capital.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3xQekbddEs
http://www.ianyanmag.com/2012/05/08/armenia-yerevan-bar-set-on-fire-in-attack/

The Politics of the Night

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What the New York Police Department is guarding each night at Union Square is not the park, but the night itself. These hundreds of riot cops are not guarding the where, but the when. What’s become clear each morning at 6am is that what was so threatening to the state wasn’t that we came, but that we stayed.

We realize that there are only certain hours during which it is permissible to be political, to be social, to be public – the moments between rush hours, when offices are open, when the right staff persons are present to take our calls, listen to our grievances.

What is understood within this spectrum is that we must at some point return home, to the private, to the domestic, alone. It is this refusal that is the most subversive gesture – OUR REFUSAL OF THE NIGHT. The refusal that we must eat in private, sleep in private, that our social reproduction – the fundamental basis for production within capital – take place in private.

IT IS NOT JUST THAT WE COME TO THE PARK, IT IS THAT WE STAY.

When in the mid-70’s militant feminists began to organize demonstrations under the banner “TAKE BACK THE NIGHT” it was this that they understood – that it is these times when it is most quiet, most dark, that OUR VISIBILITY IS MOST DANGEROUS.

The riots surrounding one of the previous attempts at a NEW YORK COMMUNE, in Tompkins Square Park in 1988, were themselves A BATTLE FOR THE NIGHT. The struggle was around a claim that one did not need a permit to be homeless together, hungry together, depressed together, sick together, lonely together, bored together, unemployed together, down-and-out together, missing together, derelict together, a claim that no bureaucrat nor their mandates could fix or govern a way of life perpetuated by bureaucracy. The police, as they’ve always done, deal with the dispossessed in the only way they know how – THEY PUSH US, HIT US, INJURE US, SHOOT US, KILL US.

One of the first measures in any STATE OF EMERGENCY is the establishment of a curfew, as the state understands the basis of its sovereignty is CONTROL OF THE NIGHT. One of the first indications of A COMING INSURRECTION is the open defiance of that curfew, WHEN THE MASSES BECOME TRULY UNGOVERNABLE, uncontrollable: at night.

It is no secret, nor a revelation, to recognize EMPIRE IS ABLE TO CONTROL OUR THOUGHTS, our consciousness, our systems of belief, our politics, BY CONTROLLING OUR BODIES – what we’re able to do, where we’re able to do it, and with who. There are limits to how many of us can be together, walking, talking, sleeping – of course the less of us there are, the safer the state feels. But it is not just a question of bodies in space, but also the temporality of those bodies. NOT JUST WHERE, BUT WHEN.

First our offices close, then the stores, then the restaurants, then the bars – and each time the message is clear: GO HOME. And once home, sleep. It is this drive away from each other where depression sets in, AT HOME, ALONE, ASLEEP.

THE MOVEMENT OF OCCUPATIONS became a place of arrival, not just in space, but in time. For those of us bound to the institutions society forces upon us – their customs and habits internalized for generations – AN OCCUPATION IS THE ULTIMATE RUPTURE: a welcoming at any time, for those who want to meet, to talk, to sit, to sleep, to eat, to play music, to scream, to read, to plan.

What is radical about the occupations is their continuity, their becomings in time. It is this that is most threatening, because it is in this continuity that the new form of life finds its space of appearance: COMMUNIZATION, THE PROCESS DURING WHICH WE BECOME PRESENT, together.

It is this continuity the New York Police Department must destroy, every night – the birth and rebirth of our communism, A COMMUNISM OF THE NIGHT.

The MAY DAY GENERAL STRIKE will begin not when we wake up that day, but the night before WHEN WE REFUSE TO GO TO SLEEP, refuse to go home, refuse to be alone, when we STRIKE AGAINST THE CURFEW, when the fires stay alight.

30 March 2012
Festival of Savages

The Coming General Strike

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In the months since the Occupy movement began we have seen GENERAL STRIKES called in Belgium, Egypt, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Nigeria, Portugal, South Africa, Syria, Tunisia, and the United Kingdom.

Today, our comrades in Spain began their general strike, one week after their neighbors directly to the south, Portugal, had a 24-hour GENERAL STRIKE.

Since 2008 we have seen the popularization of the unfortunate acronym PIGS, used to refer to Portugal, Italy (and/or Ireland), Greece, and Spain. These countries in southern Europe were the hardest hit by the financial crisis, their growing debts threatening the stability of the entire Eurozone economy. As a result Europe has had its own North-South divide, wherein the south becomes Europe’s peripheral, poor, underdeveloped, unsteady, etc. What our comrades in Spain know, as in Portugal, Greece, Italy, and elsewhere, is that the real PIGS are the bankers who caused this crisis, the bureaucrats who administrate it, and the bourgeoisie who profit off of it. The PIGS are those who initiate austerity, not those who suffer from it. The PIGS are those who enforce this apocalypse. So today Spain has their GENERAL STRIKE. AS WE WILL HAVE ON MAY 1st.

As we write, there are currently 300,000 students in Quebec striking, having begun their OPEN-ENDED GENERAL STRIKE in mid-February. Their strike, which shows no signs of stopping, is in response to planned tuition hikes, which are just the latest in a series of austerity measures passed by governments worldwide in order to appease capital in the midst of its latest international crisis.

It is during moments of crisis that capital defines itself, these moments far more representative than its fleeting impressions of selective and seeming prosperity. For during crisis capital gets to RECREATE OUR LIVES in its own image, to restructure the institutions which define how we can live, to alter the services we depend on, and thus, our expectations of what our lives can be. The state sets the terms for a new relationship with which we’re forced to engage, austerity becomes THE WORST BREAK-UP IMAGINABLE, and with it, ALL OF OUR RELATIONSHIPS CHANGE, our lives becoming something else.

REFUSAL BECOMES MOST IMPORTANT DURING CRISIS. We cannot afford to pay more, get less, and earn nothing. The only thing we get from this life is debt. We refuse not just the latest demands of austerity, not just the system of capitalist relations which necessitates this austerity, but, most importantly, WE REFUSE THE LIVES WE’RE FORCED TO LIVE.

The GENERAL STRIKE rejects not just our employers, bosses, the owners, but the conditions in which these crises are inflicted. It rejects all of the identities applied on us, the roles we are forced to fill, and, worst of all, the escapist comforts with which we indulge in order not to kill ourselves. During the GENERAL STRIKE we appear in public to confirm that WE ARE NOT unemployed, precarious, temporary, students, immigrants, women, self-employed, entrepreneurs, artists, journalists, activists, Americans, white, academics, teachers, facilitators, intellectuals, hipsters, terrorists, geeks, interns, assistants, negotiators, nerds, New Yorkers, servants, the poor. WE ARE NOT NON-UNIONIZED. We are not the unorganized. As the Internationale says, WE ARE NOTHING, LET US BE ALL. We are dispossessed by capital, and as such, we are proletarians. THIS IS CLASS WAR.

Any time a workplace, union, sector, city, country makes a call, is it not just to get the attention of their bosses, employers, governments, owners, representatives, unions. It is a call to every other worker, i.e. everyone, to say that NOW IS THE TIME TO REFUSE. It is not a matter of endorsements, meetings, strategy. Whenever anyone anywhere says strike, they mean everyone, everywhere.

THE GENERAL STRIKE IS A THREAT. Every call is an invitation to begin OPEN REVOLT, to begin THE INSURRECTION. Whether the strike is planned for 8 hours, 24, 48, each deep down hopes to become not just indefinite, but infinite – to realize the full potential of its refusal. Every strike committee formed is a potential army, every open popular assembly on the GENERAL STRIKE is also an open assembly to begin to re-organize, or de-organize, the rest of our lives.

These threats are gearing up towards the GLOBAL GENERAL STRIKE, which will be indefinite, infinite. When everyone stops, or enough stop so that everything else must stop with them, so that THE OLD WORLD CAN NO LONGER CIRCULATE around us, through us. This is when the managers and economists, both in their right and left variants, have nothing left to manage.

This is what we see hinted at in TODAY’S GENERAL STRIKE IN SPAIN. This is what we’re working towards on MAY DAY. A beginning, a preparation, in creating the solidarities needed to REFUSE THEIR VOID, and instead to create our own.

29 March 2012
El Grupo Escindido