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Rethinking Crimethinc.

category international | anarchist movement | debate author Monday September 04, 2006 03:03author by W. Report this post to the editors

"Your politics are bourgeois as fuck"

There are two ways out of capitalism, revolution or death. Anybody who tells you otherwise is simply wrong. The US based sub-cultural cult "Crimethinc" (CWC) who mix anarchism with bohemian drop-out lifestyles and vague anti-civilisation sentiment would have you believe that capitalism is something from which you can merely remove yourself by quitting work, eating from bins and doing whatever "feels good". They carry on the legacy of prize-idiot Abbie Hoffman, printing books and zines which fetishise scams, petty crime and useless activist/punk sub-cultural activity like food not bombs, squatting, etc. They are anarchists by name only with little relevance to the rest of the anarchist milieu and no class analysis, let's venture into their secret underground "anarchy club".


Crimethinc claims to not exist in a failed attempt at being both mysterious and poetic, we'll have to start by stating that it does exist, it has a few addresses, a number of books in print and an online shop as well as a number of websites. It is a loose organization which represents a variety of political views a mish-mash of post-leftism, situationism, primitivism and all those "introducing.." philosophy books you don't tell people you read. Anyone can publish under the name or create content using their logo and each "agent" or group operates individually. There is no formal structure, membership or decision making process. One has to wonder whether it's as decentralised as they claim to be, while the hundreds of kids who post on the forum have as much legitimate claim to call themselves part of crimethinc there are really only a vanguard of 20 people maybe less who have had the pleasure of being published under the CWC title and who run the entire show. Calling yourself a crimethincer allows you the illusion that you're a part of something much grander though, when you're a bored suburban teenager that's very important and the well designed publications and impassioned prose in their texts makes for a very inspiring read. The problem is that once you analyse them critically you quickly realise they're barely saying anything at all.

Many aspects of crimethinc reference the Situationist Internationale and a large chunk of their ideas are based around the Situationist concept "the transformation of everyday life". The Situationists were heavily influenced by Marx and CWC are heavily influenced by American consumer culture it would seem. The call to transform everyday is a call to smash the current exploitative system, to participate in the class struggle, an ongoing historical conflict between the proletariat and the ruling class. Crimethinc substitute this class struggle with a teenage individualistic rebellion based on having fun now. Shoplifting, dumpster diving, quitting work are all put forward as revolutionary ways to live outside the system but amount to nothing more than a parasitic way of life which depends on capitalism without providing any real challenge. The arrogance of middle class kids (just like the hippies) supposing to change by world by roughing it as "poor" people for a few years is captured perfectly in the quote on the back cover of their book evasion.

"Poverty, unemployment, homelessness - if you're not having fun, you're not doing it right!"

Condescending, privileged, middle class crap. The only people who could think that poverty is in any way fun are wealthy kids playing at being poor for a few years, the daily reality of poverty, unemployment and homelessness for the average person is very serious and something anarchists should always organise against rather than mock.

The reality of the situation is that you can't boycott your way out of capitalism, dropping out of the system is never going to bring it down if anything you just re-enforce the system by recuperating people’s alienation and desire for revolution by selling them a new lifestyle under the same system. Capitalism is a system of coercion and control, we don’t work to support the system, we work because we need food and shelter and healthcare and the only way to get that under capitalism is with money. The only way we can get money is by selling our labour - the alternative is to rot, that’s Capitalism. I don't want to feed my kids out of a dumpster or have to scam free healthcare if I get cancer, it's not appealing or practical. There's nothing revolutionary about using your white, middle-class, western privilege to remove yourself from the system at the expense of those who remain trapped in it. None of us are free until we all are.

This idolisation of the grifter and scam as a somehow revolutionary tactic has led their followers, and they are followers they certainly don't have much say in the running of the sites and the shop, the informal organisational structure "we're all crimethinc" enforces this, to be mostly bored teenage boys. A quick browse around will show you this. The more worrying aspect is the "us against the world" mindset many of these youths have. Many view people who work regular jobs as an enemy complicit in the capitalist system, a system they don't fully understand and which crimethinc’s literature never fully explains. They have an embarrassingly liberal interpretation of capital and the struggle against it,

"By your 'support the working class' logic, I guess y'all should feel guilty every time ya boycott any megacrop like Wal-Mart - after all, they've got "working class" clerks workin' there too" – DizzIE

In this quote from a row over a scam to rob tourists (or neo-colonialists as some bizarrely called them), a crimethincer shows up the dangerous lack of understanding of class struggle. Boycotts of multinationals, much like drop-out lifestyles, will do little to bring about the fall of Capitalism which is a social relationship based on wage labour. I do not wish to deny them their right to be drop-outs and live out of bins so long as they realise they will change nothing by living like this. An inflated sense of self importance has convinced them that their chosen path is righteous and all others are brainwashed by the system or are revolutionary beauraucrats.

One of crimethinc’s more recent publications "recipes for disaster:an anarchist cookbook", is indicative of the massive problems with them. The book is a somewhat interesting list of pranks, scams and activist information. Proclaimed as the follow up to "Days of war, Nights of love" this book has many serious shortcomings. Recipes (little more than DIY guides) range from how to organise a black bloc to gynecology, Squatting, and “how to make a bicycle into a record player”. An eclectic mix of information, most of which is crap the rest of which is useless without political understanding. This is meant to be the practice where "days of war" was the theory but unfortunately DOW had no real theory beyond drop out and do what feels good. Organising a black bloc out of a handbook without any understanding of the social conditions which necessitate mass militant anarchist direct action is not just dangerous it's counter-productive to our entire movement. The book shies away from serious revolutionary information like how to organise a union in your workplace, how to organise at school, how to make contact and work with communities in struggle, how to break out of the activist ghetto, how to set up a social centre, how to provide prisoner support or how to support asylum seekers etc. All the activities amount to little more than activist busy-work, something to waste your time with while being a "drop-out", ease your social conscience and not have to do any hard work or compromise yourself by working with people who are complicit in the system. The Antifascist Action guide is well meaning but pathetic, it amounts to a bunch of kids masking up and getting their rocks off by confronting the cops before running off again. This is a common element throughout, these things are listed because they are exciting and dangerous and make you "feel good", not because they are effective forms of revolutionary organising.

Ramor Ryans review of Days of War.. is spot on and does not really need expanding on. DOW is massively plagirised, full of inaccurate and offensive accounts of radical history and tends to define things in very basic terms like good and bad without any solid ideas backing up most of their claims.

"Text, ideas, and graphics are borrowed and pilfered from the Stoke-Newington fanzine Vague, British graphic artist Clifford Harper, French situationist Raoul Vaneigem and indeed, the whole of the Situationist pantheon. They sack the archives of radical sub-culture to compound a falsehood, the basic premise of this book, that it is an instrument for “total liberation.” In reality, CrimethInc’s vision seldom rises above that of a suburban kid rebelling against authority. Mired in the punk rock and crusty sub-culture, the practical application of all this revolutionary theory is apparently realized by forming a band, fucking in a park, going vegan or—oh my God now we’re really fucking doing it!—giving out phony free tickets to the local cinema.9 It soon becomes clear that the real crime here is the way they plunder some of the finest and most invigorating ideas from the end of the 20th century, and render them dull and inchoate." – Ramor Ryan

When thousands of french students recently occupied their universities and trashed their cities in opposition to the introduction of the CPE law one crimethincer had this to say about the organised students;

"When I looked at the situation in France, I often thought that they were not enough dumpster divers collectives!"

What purpose or relevance this person thinks a dumpster diving collective would have served to a mass radical movement beyond getting some old sandwiches which could be looted anyway is beyond me. When mass struggles emerge crimethincers are of course thin on the ground, mass struggle means working with squares and allowing workers to be part of their revolutionary subculture, which just wont do. The book “Anarchy in the age of dinosaurs” published under Crimethinc by the Furious George collective (who each deserve a bullet for crimes against anarchism) is short and poorly written arguing against the idea of mass organisation and for “chaos” and “butterfly wings”, apparently.

“"Folk Anarchy is the name we have given to the arrow aimed at the heart of every dinosaur. We are replacing the mass movement with a scrappy multitude of mutineers, gypsies, sprawling shanties, thieves in the knight and mad scientists”

The lack of any critical analysis and focus on spontaneity are serious shortcomings for crimethinc which lead me to believe they do not believe in revolution and are quite possibly happy to be the kids living on the "edge" of Capitalism, a system whose excess supports their drop-out lifestyles anyway. This would explain why crimethinc have no theory for revolution, how to build to overthrow this system and how to make sure that once we do we hold on to our gains, how to organise a post-revolutionary world so that we don't repeat the failures of the CNT and other historical precedents. A spontaneous revolution leaves the working class no means to defend itself from reactionaries and state socialists. Crimethinc call for a revolution in everyday lifestyles and not life, they seek to define a subculture of individualists who care only about themselves and those immediately around them. A revolution of restless and spoiled middle class Americans that is contemptuous of workers and organised anarchists because in them they see the greatest threat to their bourgeois lifestyles.

The supposedly self-critical analysis in crimethinc’s 10 year report never touched on their failures as listed here. Perhaps this is something these kids will address now and hopefully other anarchists will add to the debate. I spent a few years uncritically spewing out empty crimethinc rhetoric and wasting time with their ineffective tactics and don’t wish to see another generation fooled. I would urge all comrades to seriously consider the easy solutions being peddled by CWC. The world can’t wait while serious revolutionaries are side-tracked by poor ideas and poorer tactics.

“Our demands most moderate are – We only want the earth!”
- James Connolly

Related Links
Post Left Critique of Violence Includes scathing critique of crimethinc
Days of Crime and Nights of Horror Ramor Ryan's review of Days of War
Ken Knabb on crimethinc

author by Mr C!publication date Mon Sep 04, 2006 05:44Report this post to the editors

Couldn't disagree with much of that. Crimethinc was a shitty subcultural phase which most people I know saw for the hollow reactionary shite that it is fairly quickly.
I hope you don't mind me saying, but you're a in a pretty good position to criticise Crimethinc having once been sympathetic to it so fair play to ye!

author by @ltpublication date Mon Sep 04, 2006 05:46Report this post to the editors

A extremely well written article.

Straight to the point and also makes a lot of sense.

Fair play, W.

author by Mad Gpublication date Mon Sep 04, 2006 09:08Report this post to the editors

Well written, W.
Way too much of that bullshit here on the West coast.

author by girlpublication date Mon Sep 04, 2006 12:37Report this post to the editors

great article, seriously. I remember finding their website and kind of being sucked into it (I was isolated and looking for any sort of activist outlet) after a few weeks though, I realized it was completely pointless and very few of the crimethincers are actually revolutionaries.

author by enigmapublication date Mon Sep 04, 2006 14:00Report this post to the editors

it is really getting old to see all these criticisms of crimethinc
i am not defending them in any way
but what do you expect to accomplish by this critique
which i has been exhausted on several differant occasions
it is getting rather trite and boring
"oh my God now we’re really fucking doing it!"
you can talk the talk but can you walk the walk?

author by W. - Anarkismopublication date Mon Sep 04, 2006 20:12Report this post to the editors

"it is really getting old to see all these criticisms of crimethinc i am not defending them in any way but what do you expect to accomplish by this critique"

If you read the article the whole way through I think you'll find I want to encourage kids to look beyond crimethinc and not waste their time like I did some years ago.

"it is getting rather trite and boring"

So is crimethinc, there's plenty more stuff to read on anarkismo if you don't like this.

"oh my God now we’re really fucking doing it!" "You can talk the talk but can you walk the walk?"

I can even do the secret handshake.

author by Tpublication date Mon Sep 04, 2006 21:46Report this post to the editors

I hadn't realized Crimethinc was such a fraud, although I would admit that I haven't read any of their material but have repeatly seen links to the site.

The analysis above which seems pretty alright would suggest to me that Crimethinc is some kind of front created by the intelligence services to dilute and confuse the message of what in fact is Anarchism.

Its really all about confusing the signal. The more sites and forums that are misleading and confusion about what Anarchism is about, then the more its will be diluted. What it effectively seems to do is to scoop up all those people who have some inkling there is something wrong with the system but who have never being exposed to any analysis of the system. This Crimethnic site then has lots of "radical" ideas with plenty of buzzwords and so in their eyes seems to be the place where its happening. It obviously appeals to an US audience seeing that the average person there grows up with their corporate media and will never get exposed to any sort of real analysis about anything during the entire life. When they see this stuff on Crimethnic, it passes for analysis and so the whole operation works perfectly and serves to cut these people off at the pass as it were and hence they never move on nor discover what anarchism is really about. Not only that, once they have read a few bits and pieces on Crimethnic, then it is likely that they will claim to know it all and have no need to listen or read any further. This outgoing wave of people then serve to spread the disinformation further.

From a marketing point of view we should consider it this way. Lets suppose you have 10 adverts on billboards in your local city for something, but someone else puts up 20 adverts that subvert your message, then from probablity alone and frequency of the display of the message, the subverted ones will seem like the real message, especially to those glancing at it. And I bet one finds a lot more URLS on various sites to phony sites like Crimethnic than to actual real anarchism sites with real analysis.

In others words Crimethnic is part of a ongoing COINTELPRO /PSYCOP operations and it works very well.

author by W. - Anarkismopublication date Mon Sep 04, 2006 21:54Report this post to the editors

"In others words Crimethnic is part of a ongoing COINTELPRO /PSYCOP operations and it works very well."

I would entirely disagree with this. I think the people who run crimethinc mean well and while I've no doubt that there have been state agents in crimethinc (as in all us radical groups) I don't they are intentionally running it to discredit anarchists. Many people I know who aren't cops come out with these sorts of idea which are just a crude rehashing of Stirner, Bey and Vaneigem without any real thought put into it.

Crimethinc are not a state agency, that analysis is too simplistic and easy. The fact is they're rebellious teens and post-teens who are out for a bit of fun but not actually interested in revolution. A vent for the inate radical urges we feel as alienated teenagers.

author by l.publication date Tue Sep 05, 2006 06:10author phone asaReport this post to the editors

"we work because we need food and shelter and healthcare and the only way to get that under capitalism is with money."

come on!!!!;) don't be funny, man!;)
reading your article, i came one desicion : "yea, you are "know everything" person...
sorry, folk, but when you make such critic, first of all look at yer self.. what YOU do right or wrong... in fact, i don't know any squat in ireland any commune... which is independent... when you will do better and more than crimethinc. i'll be grateful;))))

author by Paddy Rua - WSMpublication date Tue Sep 05, 2006 07:14Report this post to the editors

you really don't need to know everything to get to such a basic conclusion... the sad thing (that is not funny at all) is that many so-called anarchists are so muddle-headed to realize the basic realities of life, and ignoring real life, by who knows what reasons (probably a lot of middle class or bourgeois background maybe?), they only constitute a freak show that is irrelevant for 99.99% of the world. Not only that, but the inability to intervene in class struggle and do REAL change, makes them absolutely irrelevant for those who need a change the most.

We come from a different perspective... we don't care about hippie communes or such a thing. We believe in change in the long term, by persistent and constant activity organising the oppressed. On the long term, this is all far more meaningful than social experiments that have been done for centuries without advancing an inch the cause of freedom in the world. When your communes do any harm to the capitalist class, I will be quite grateful too. In the meantime, just a nice hobby for middle class kids who can afford it. We need something better than that.

author by w.publication date Tue Sep 05, 2006 08:11Report this post to the editors

"i don't know any squat in ireland any commune... which is independent... when you will do better and more than crimethinc. i'll be grateful"

I don't seek to create a culture of squatting and dropping out in Ireland, if you read the article you might understand that. I'd much rather see worker-occupied factories and mass working class struggles.

author by for w.publication date Tue Sep 05, 2006 09:04Report this post to the editors

"I don't seek to create a culture of squatting and dropping out in Ireland, if you read the article you might understand that. I'd much rather see worker-occupied factories and mass working class struggles."

do you read carefully what you write? ;)

*I don't seek to create a culture of squatting and dropping out in Ireland
*mass working class struggles

author by w.publication date Tue Sep 05, 2006 09:12Report this post to the editors

If you're going to bother reply you might as well make a clear point. If you're trying to imply that squatting and dropping out is a mass struggle you're wrong, it's a subculture that suffers from the limitations imposed on itself as a subculture.

author by A Prole - Int. Drunk Punks Federationpublication date Tue Sep 05, 2006 18:04Report this post to the editors

I find it troubling that this article and certain subsequent commentators point at long standing and international projects based on autonomous, nonhierarchical voluntary cooperation such as the Squatting Movement and Food Not Bombs to be distracting bourgeois pastimes.
Both of these "useless activities" which are supported by the efforts of anarchists of every class and nationality (most of whom have barely if ever heard of Crimethinc) are projects of direct action and community outreach which are aimed at helping _real_ unemployed and homeless people to survive and take back their lives from the system of capitalist exploitation. Taking food from the garbage is not only a temporary vacation for adventurous rich-kids. Projects for recycling garbage and squatting houses were being hailed as a revolutionary acts by even the most self-righteous "professional revolutionaries" not so long ago when the people's neighborhood councils in Argentina were doing it.
Given, many of the people who are involved in Crimethinc and Punk are middle class whites, but as a lower class non-white person I'd be personally surprised if the finger-pointers above aren't middle class whites themselves. Would they find these "marginal freaks" of the Crimethinc more acceptable as revolutionaries if they were clean "student-activists" with an exhaustive marxist rhetoric studying in college to become real middle-class proffessionals instead?
I also consider Crimethinc to be a sort of naive young-activist's ideological pre-school but this is not inherently negative as long as it's adherents move on from there to look at the orignial sources first hand (as apparently the author of this article did) .
Certainly that would be more positive for the anti-capitalist/authoritarian movement as a whole than the haughty elitism that permeates the "really-serious-professional-intellectual-anarchist" community.

author by Andrew - WSM - personal capacitypublication date Tue Sep 05, 2006 18:49Report this post to the editors

This article is a personal critique of crimethinc rather that a critique of squatting, Food not Bombs or the informal recycling workers of Brazil or Argentina. One could support one or all of these activities and still find Crimethinc to be of little value.

Some of the reasons why this might be the case are obvious - the informal recycling workers in Brazil and elsewhere do not choose their role because they were bored or alienated from western society. There work is based on the need to put food on the table and the lack of availability of more secure or better paid work. Nor indeed do their put forward their activity as an alternative to capitalism.

Squatting can mean many things. It can mean the mass occupation of housing by workers in need of housing - anarchist communists in Chile have recently been at the forefront of such struggles. It can mean an individual workers breaking into an abandoned property to fill a need for housing - I've done this for myself in the past and helped others in doing so. There is a political aspect to this but it is an individual rather than a collective solution - we should recognise this. At its worst it can mean a group of heroin addicts breaking open a flat to use as a shooting gallery with all the accompanying problems this means for those who live around them.

Food not bombs often provide a useful service but again Crimethinc is not food not bombs.

The problem with Crimethinc is not so much that they lionize what may be more or less political survivial mechanisms. The problem is that package this with a reactionary ideology that opposes collective solutions in favour of alienated and individualised dropping out to live the life of a parasite. The parasitical nature is clearly demonstrated in an article on the Crimethinc site titled "The Tourist Bag Scam" which advocates surviving through the robbing of ordinary workers. ( ) .

In defending the original article the poster reveals he is from "West Chester (one of the richest suburbs of Philly) " tending to reinforce the impression that Crimethincers are relatively privileged but alienated kids who like their daddys see the working class as suckers to be preyed on. Certainly someone from one of the richest suburbs of the richest country in the world is a world removed from the informal Argentine workers you want to hide him behind.

Crimethinc also are an extreme example of the major negative tendency in the anglo anarchist movement. That is putting empty but radical sounding rhetoric ahead of any practical activity that could build a movement capable of overthrowing capitalism. The end result of this is a movement that is largely composed of those new to anarchism who will stick around maybe a year or two before drifting either into inactivity or into an activity that they carefully isolate from the political positions they hold.

author by José A. Gutiérrezpublication date Tue Sep 05, 2006 18:53Report this post to the editors

"Taking food from the garbage is not only a temporary vacation for adventurous rich-kids. Projects for recycling garbage and squatting houses were being hailed as a revolutionary acts by even the most self-righteous "professional revolutionaries" not so long ago when the people's neighborhood councils in Argentina were doing it."

You are mixing things up, for the recycling projects were (and are still) done in Brazil, not Argentina. Anyway, in those countries there is a sizeable population that relies on them to make a living, to feed kids and so on. There's nothing revolutionary in those projects as such -and no one ever hailed them as revolutionaries for the sake of it. They have more to do with survival than anything else. As people were doing it, comrades thought, quite rightly, it was a good idea to get people organised to demand rights and struggle, as well as to set up some cooperative schemes. This, again was a survival matter in many cases. But comrades started moving it from there to an organised force. That's the point when it got linked to a broader revolutionary project.

The problem is when you turn something that is not an option for millions, but a pressing need, in a sort of fancy lifestyle: in first world countries, where survival is mainly not an issue, this is silly and not only that, it is as well offensive for those who did not have the option.

"Would they find these "marginal freaks" of the Crimethinc more acceptable as revolutionaries if they were clean "student-activists" with an exhaustive marxist rhetoric studying in college to become real middle-class proffessionals instead?"

Why not try, instead, just to get organised in their local neighbourhoods, trade unions, and why not, students' unions (in case they are students) and fight for real change? Why not go out there where the real struggle is, instead of lingering in futile lifestylism? I think this is quite easy to see as the spirit of the article. Our comrades include workers and students, and personally, I have no problems with students as such, by the way, as I don't have no problems with anyone else "as such"... probably you had a trauma at college, Prole?

"I also consider Crimethinc to be a sort of naive young-activist's ideological pre-school but this is not inherently negative as long as it's adherents move on from there to look at the orignial sources first hand"

How are they supposed to move on, if there is no debate, if no one challenges those views? I like somehow W provocative way to pose things...

ps. "I'd be personally surprised if the finger-pointers above aren't middle class whites themselves". Knowing personally comrade W. I can tell you for sure he's not a middle-class lad, but a working (not lower) class one. And white he is as snow, for, if you had any idea of Ireland, you would know that being a country of emigrants, the immense vast majority of the working class is white as the clouds that covers the skies of this Emerald island. Fortunately, we still don't have the "race-complex" here... or you can only be as anarchist as the colour of your skin? That is what I call smart politics. I am a latino immigrant by the way, with an Indian grandmother... maybe that gives me a bit more of "authority", eh?

author by Chinaskipublication date Tue Sep 05, 2006 18:58Report this post to the editors

well, if you just swallow it all without actually rethinking and taking own decisions on what's right or wrong, usefull or harmfull, no organization and no author will bring you positive impact. same goes for crimethinc or any other "very anarchist" organization or movement that claims to be more anarchist than another one :)

author by unclescams - Spokane Anarchist Actionpublication date Tue Sep 05, 2006 19:55author email spokanelac at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

who ever posted this critique and linked to here from the site (guydebord) said this: "If some crimethincer wants to tell me what they do besides squatting/dumpster divinb that is relevant plz do."

i understand a lot of what you are saying, but i think you make too may presumptions in regards to inactivity present in "crimethinkers" (or whatever)... this is what i have done in the past year in my fairly small town (please keep the small town aspect in mind for this...spokane, WA):

Besides certain things people can't talk about, I organized or participated in:
-a 4th of July Flag Burning (about 30 people)
-an ad-hoc radicalization of a local Peace and Justice Action League anti-war protest
-a Pirate Noise Brigade (halloween, 30 or more people)
-a Bush Protest on Nov. 2nd in accordance with WCW (30 or more people, and yes, i am now aware that they are an RCP front group...)
-Critical Mass, where me and 7 friends were arrested
-appearing on KYRS radio twice to talk about being arrested at critical mass, once to talk about our "collective"
-an ad-hoc seperate march of radical kids at a Cheney protest when he visited(maybe 20 people marched and chanted, and then were joined by more who became interested)
-a 4th of July Unpatriotic March and Picnic (about 50 people, )

-started Urban Capture The Flag (happens now once a week, as many as 50 people show up)
-collectively made and displayed around Spokane about 50 signs that read "Otto Zehm For Sheriff: Arm Cops With Two-Liters/Hog-tie Cops For A Safer Community" (about ten people total were invovled)
-provided an audience and a place to host an on tour documentary/workshop on anarchist therapy (a little over 10 people)
-an ad-hoc prepared-in-minutes counter-christian fundamentalist protest on "Kids Day" in our cities main and largest park (about ten/12 people, the christians were wearing "repent or perish" shirts)
-and of course, occasionally participating in Food Not Bombs which has been sustained for 10 years in spokane through snow and everything, and playing and putting countless benefit shows for KYRS and FNB and having/housing touring bands

If it weren't for crimethinc helping me "feel good" as you put it, i would not have been anywhere near that productive. I looked at your sites, and they do not provide much of an active alternative... ESPECIALLY not a "MORE" active alternative. Your alternative to crimethinc is not impressive or inspiring at all in comparison. As for your assumptions about crimethinc people not being productive, i have met countless others who consider themselves invovled with or inspired by crimethinc are !!!more!!! productive than i am in larger cities.

You choose to focus (almost solely) on working class struggle and we feel for and support your cause. All that we would ask is that you ACKNOWLEDGE the legitimate productivity of crimethinc as addressed by the "self critical analysis", and sympathize and support our cause as well. That analysis also did not include, for example, my accounts of the local activity i have been involved in, and it doesnt include the infinite amount of stories similar to mine that individuals could share.

As i said, i understand much of your analysis, but you give NO CREDIT AT ALL for what Crimethinc does, and you ignore the crimethinc suggestion that if, for example, you think their Cookbook was bad or incomplete, to WRITE AND PUBLISH YOUR FUCKING OWN.

Looking forward to the A.Y. printing of half a million copies of a zine, and multiple books and records and stickers and posters that portray your "real revolutionary politics" accurately.

Good luck to you.

author by w.publication date Tue Sep 05, 2006 20:38Report this post to the editors

You say I dont give credit to crimethinc, well I dont agree with their politics so why should I?
They are busy doing nothing as far as I'm concerned. I was a crimethinc teenager at one point, travelling around dumpster diving and squatting. It's fun, but not revolutionary. After a while the real world catches up with you and you realise you can't sustain that lifestyle.

"Looking forward to the A.Y. printing of half a million copies of a zine, and multiple books and records and stickers and posters that portray your "real revolutionary politics" accurately."

Relative to the size of the country we're dealing with the WSM puts out far more real solid anarchist material. 8,000 free bi-monthly papers, 2,000 copies of a free local paper in my neighbourhood and 2 magazines a year. These are all distributed around working class areas for free. Let's not get into a dick-waving contest here. Address the actual points made about your actions lacking any element of revolution rather than listing boring tiny demos you've attended.

author by Andrewpublication date Tue Sep 05, 2006 21:15Report this post to the editors

The printing of 500.000 free books sounds impressive, if you think moving forward can be measured in such a way. But then you discover that the collective that put these publications out is tiny. I know how expensive publication costs so all this tells me is that like Bill Gates they have access to a whole lot more money/resources then ordinary folks do.

Certainly there is a slickness to their marketing, as there is to Apple Computers. Ramor Ryan points out that slickness actually comes from recycling and neutering the imagery of previous movements and struggles. Pepsi or Benniton can do the same. On its own slickness tells us nothing.

There is nothing extrordinary in people with money being able to spend it printing thousands of copies of their thoughts. This happens every day in capitalism, most cities have piles of free papers scattered around. From time to time there is a radical one because someone won compensation from the police for wrongful arrest but you don't measure revolutionary politics by the ton.

Your list of demonstrations is interesting. I will not say they are worthless activity but I will ask what do you expect to build from such spectacles. Again you can't measure revolution by how many times you hold a placard.

For revolutionaries publications and specticles cannot be a measure of success in themselves. The success is not in managing to print 10 or a million copies of a proclamation. The success is not standing on the sidewalk with a sign 1, 10 or a thousand times. The success is only in the steps doing these things help you take in buidling a mass movement to overthrow capitalism.

Crimethinc fail that test because their politicis of alienation actually stands in opposition to building such a movement. They celebrate scamming workers out of their wages, they celebrate living as parasites on the productivity of others. I too have lived in squats furnished out of skips but I no longer imagine that was much more than a way to survive a chronically badly paid (but socially useful) job. I certainly did not and would not sneer at my fellow workers who somehow made ends meet while paying rent in the same circumstances.

We must not mistake the dancer for the dance. We are not revolutionaries in order to publish or in order to hold a placard. We are revolutionary anarchists because we desire to help build a mass movement so vast that it can take everything the state throws at it and still overthrow capitalism to replace it with a free society.

author by LS-crimethinc sympathiserpublication date Wed Sep 06, 2006 07:20Report this post to the editors

Certainly with an ideology that articulates work in such a quaint total embrace of the enlightenment, the following statement and above "critique" of crimethinc seems useful and defensible.

"I no longer imagine that was much more than a way to survive a chronically badly paid (but socially useful) job."

However, despite crimethinc's ravaging the corpse of the more interesting facets of modern radicalism, they have left the bodies relatively pure. You can still find them on and most young people with dreadlocks won't know what your talking about when you pronounce "detournement" correctly.

While I have my own beef with activism and it's trajectory, post-modern discourses on revolutionary struggle, and "the kids theses days," a return to Marx or Kropotkin will not save us. I'd much rather chew the delightful corpse of guy debord fucking Bruno Filipi having tea with J. Bulter, than even smell the putrid Leftism, you've seemed to step in.

Why assassinate the crimethinc child when suicide is a much more anarchistically consitent option?

The crimethinc debate is over. Neither side won. Crimethinc will continue doing what they do. More young people who enter into radical politics via DOW instead of Chomsky. Given our choices, I think we made out well. Nonetheless, none of you, who aim for the heart, will ever hit your target mostly becuase you'll never be able to pull the right triggers. Look in a mirror much? Perhaps there's targets that you don't fear shooting fatally.

enjoy being useful to civil society,
-L. Sionnach

author by Harrison Bergeronpublication date Wed Sep 06, 2006 11:03Report this post to the editors

Hmmm...and here I always thought of CrimethInc. as being about as open source as Indymedia. If anyone can pick up a pen and write something, slap a bullet logo on it and call it CrimethInc., I guess I fail to see how that makes it some kind of an members only club. I mean, publish a book and call it whatever you want. Start a sustainable farm for you and you friends to run projects out of and call it Anarchy World or a CrimethInc. compound. Who cares? If it's starting fires in the hearts and minds of apathetic kids, more power to it. Sometime we all need to drop the pride and stop and ask for directions...

author by Joe Blackpublication date Wed Sep 06, 2006 20:52Report this post to the editors

Harrison what you suggest might make sense if crimethinc were simply a self-help group or a cultural group with nothing much to say about anarchist organisation. They are not - they are extremely hostile to concepts of mass organisation. So while they might act as a positive in attracting peoples attention they act as a rather strong negative in directing them down a particular ideological path.

The article and the comments already posted here give some concrete examples of what I mean by this.

Secondly the 'everyone is crimethinc' thing sounds cool but is meaningless. Some of crimethincs printing projects probably cost a couple of hundred grand between printing and distribution. Only a tiny group of people control those funds and while some suburban teen may photocopy dozens of leaflets she is no more competing with that sort of publication operation then she is with Fox. In that regard crimethinc mirrors consumerist capitalism - we can all buy in but its strictly one dollar one vote. The brand is already defined for us.

LS-crimethinc sympathise - I've read your comment a number of times and I don't pretend to understand it. All I get out of it is that you think your pet dead leftist is better than who you assume the authors pet dead leftist is. Not only do I suspect your assumption is wrong but its really not much of an argument either way.

Your final point again seems based on an assumption about the success of crimethinc's marketing and circulation. Both these ideas have already been dealt with - I don't get the point of repeating them buried in a layer of jargon.

author by communistpublication date Thu Sep 07, 2006 02:42Report this post to the editors

This article is, at best, a sketch of a longer piece. The author systematically avoids really addressing the tougher issues and mostly just rehashes arguments that have been made before. For this to be really effective, I think:

1) You have to prove why revolution is the only alternative to defeat or death. If your goal is something other than just re-assuring other anarcho-communists you need to demonstrate that capital is in a continual process of closing off free spaces, and eliminating the room needed for freedom. Tell "crimethinc. kids" why their strategy won't work.

2) You should better address why their politics are bourgeois as fuck. Obviously illegalism and lifestyle politics have had a long and honorable association with revolutionary anarchism (I'm thinking the widespread vegetarianism and teetoaling -being straightedge- among Spanish peasant anarchists as well as the insurrectionaries who stole and robbed banks, such as Durruti). So please, go beyond a vague accusation that they are "fetishizing" these things.

3) You never speak directly to the criticisms Crimethinc. has made, even the ones that you allude to. For example, you never refute their charge that anarcho-communist reading groups and organizing are boring as fuck.

This is related to another problem I have with a lot of the texts coming out of anarcho-communist circles. Frequently, Crimethinc. and Hakim Bey are used as strawmen in the response to the arguments of the wider "post-left". And increasingly, articles like this even acknowedge it. For example, you cite Ramor Ryan who criticizes Crimethinc. for ripping off and impoverishing the Situationists. But no one ever responds to the very incisive critiques that the Situationists made of anarchist grouplets or of the anarchist mass movements of the first half of the 20th century. And these critiques are all firmly situated in a "class-based" perspective, so that ad hominem attack- so often used- is definitely not relevant.

4) Perhaps because of your distance from the object of your critique, your use of examples feels very distorted. You cite a single, presumably younger, poster on the boards to smear a much wider range of people. Its possible that many of them share troubling beliefs similar to dizzie's but you don't really cite anything substantial and just rely on the stereotypes that many people in anarcho-communist circles have of "crimethincers" (stereotypes which might or might not be fair). In my region, people associated with crimethinc. have worked on environmental defense, union organizing, independent media, immigrant solidarity, and arts projects. Quite frankly, many of these things make me cringe, but most of them are a far cry from what you portray as the typical crimethinc. kid's obsession with punk and dumpsters.

I think this is enough for now, maybe I'll contribute more later.

author by José Antonio Gutiérrezpublication date Thu Sep 07, 2006 03:58Report this post to the editors

I really don't think it is even worth to discuss the whole issue, but I was quite puzzled to see what Commie wrote: "For example, you never refute their charge that anarcho-communist reading groups and organizing are boring as fuck."

You organise when you have to, in face of a need, struggle, to improve a situation, eventually to change the world, not to be a bleeding entertainer... If that is the case, stay at home and watch some clowns on the telly, get some jerry lewis movies or the Simpsons if you prefer.

You get it all wrong there: I don't join the anarchist movement to get some nice hobby, but because I want to make a difference. People that have a real commitment to it, find quite enjoyable and get a great satisfaction out of the struggle to make the world a better place for everyone (despite arrests, beatings and numerous other inconveniences). But you don't stay in the "struggle" as long as you get it all nice and easy; you can go, thanks to conviction, through the tough times as well. And a revolution is not all party, party.

If you are there only to get the kicks out of the movement, expecting to get some entertainment out of it, misbehave for a while, do politics "Dennis-the menace-style", for sure you will last around only for a couple of months (in the best cases a couple of years) and then will vanish after a new fashion or passtime caught your attention. That's what a friend told me that was the cancer of the anarchist movement in England -that so many people instead of doing the national service, took anarchy as their national dis-service for a couple of years and then back to whatever.

It's true that in the anarchist movement there have been vegetarians, naturist and so on. But to call them lifestylist is absolutely wrong. They did not exchange revolutionary struggle FOR vegetarianism or thought this was all that matters. Most of them were active in unions or anarchists groups.

About the illegalists anarchists of the early xxth century, most of their activities were quite stupid in honour to the truth. And practising eventually illegal activities has not been a distinctive mark of anarchism, for every revolutionary movement at some point have gone thorugh that. The fact that you adopt at a point illegal tactics does not turn you into an "illegalist". For instance, Durruti was NOT an illegalist: he was an organised anarchist, active member of both the CNT and FAI, who never dared to suggest that "illegalist activity" replaced a mass struggle oriented politics. Indeed, his engagement in illegal activities was seen as complementary of that struggle and in many cases helped fund new mass organisations. So with your comparison of him and the crimethinkers, I think the good old Buenaventura might be getting some shiverings in his grave...

author by LS-crimethinc sympathizerpublication date Thu Sep 07, 2006 04:09Report this post to the editors

When i say: " Nonetheless, none of you, who aim for the heart, will ever hit your target mostly becuase you'll never be able to pull the right triggers. Look in a mirror much? Perhaps there's targets that you don't fear shooting fatally," I don't intend it to be metaphorical. Crimethinc exemplifies most of the tendencies of post '99 anarchist phenomenon in post-industrialized countires. Perhaps, there's a bit of leeway, if you are from England or another place where white-supremacy is not historically linked with the emergence of capitalism in primitive accumulation. Nonetheless, that does not, as a recent commenter mentioned, that if your critique is based on the identities and perhaps ideology intrinsic to that class, race, gender identities of said writers and actors, mean you can be convienently excluded from the same critical logic. My point is crimethinc is an easy target. You can cry about how you wasted your time with it or how it's politics are bourgeoisie, but that won't change your own will, or ability to be an agent of authentic revolt.

The post above makes more arguements I'd like to echo. How does crimthinc weild power to create non-subjects that engage the world without a historical precedence? How do you and most anarchists without a historically grounded culture (i.e. the service class of post-industrialized society) some how fall from this critique?

How is detournement not such a great idea?
If not detournement, than how do we engage social movements and aesthetics?

Like Genet fantasizing about nazis; keepin it mad lumpen,

author by Pat Murtagh - selfpublication date Thu Sep 07, 2006 13:49author email murtaghpatrick at hotmail dot comReport this post to the editors

I think that Jose Antonio Gutierrez really hits the nail on the head when he says,
"I really don't think it is even worth while to discuss the whole issue"
I say this as one of the "great sinners" who has flown off the wall on more than one occasion about so called "anarchist" tendencies that are more tailored to disgrace anarchism than any of its enemies could possibly devise. Anarchism has always carried a shadow self that embodied the will to fail in a purer form than anything found outside of religious sects that demand obsolute chastity whether aided by surgery or not.
All that being said i will put forward an absolutely sure sign post so that we can see whether we are making progress or not. Real political movements or parties with REAL prospects of changing things to their point of views pretty well NEVER spend an excessive time criticizing cults of exotica that seem to mimic their views. Do social democratic parties bother to make detailed criticisms of the zombie like remnants of Leninist sects ? Of course not. It would be a waste of time. They simply aren't important.
Similarily look to Spain where our comrades of the CGT or even the CNT have made the transition to actually influencing events. How much space in their publications do they devote to analysing/criticizing/denouncing etc. the importation of American fads of pseudo-anarchism ? The answer is "close to zero".
Some other movements in other countries are "on the cusp" of becoming effective. I'll make a little prediction about a signpost that can be falsified ie it can be proven wrong or right and is not just a matter of philosophical "wind passing".
The signpost is simple. The less effective anarchism is as a movement influencing the general population the more desperate the practioners of the ideology are in terms of "defending" their practice from things that approach the "Jesus is coming back in a flying saucer" crowd.
The more effective anarchism becomes the less time is devoted to "refuting" so called "theories" that have an emotional rather than a rational appeal. Eventually the time devoted to such matters approaches zero.
For myself, as soon as I have as little emotion about those who say "want to abolish civilization" as I do about 'The Church of the Nazarene' who outnumber such people by somewhere between 10 and 100 to one I will know that I am probably doing things that are much more effective than I do today. The same applies to the movement I have been part of for about 35 years.

author by Oispublication date Thu Sep 07, 2006 19:13Report this post to the editors

look to Spain where our comrades of the CGT or even the CNT have made the transition to actually influencing events. How much space in their publications do they devote to analysing/criticizing/denouncing etc. the importation of American fads of pseudo-anarchism ? The answer is "close to zero".

Yeah but if you read the CNT paper 'CNT', look at how much time they spend criticising the CGT.

The anarchist movement needs constant self criticism. And in anglo-phone countries, the crimthinc. buzz is still a significant part of our or movement and should be critiqued.

As Connolly said:
“The Labour movement is like no other movement. Its strength lies in being like no other movement . . . Other movements dread analysis and shun all attempts to define their objects. The Labour movement delights in analysing, and is perpetually defining and re-defining its principles and objects.”

author by Oispublication date Thu Sep 07, 2006 19:31Report this post to the editors

LS wrote:

Crimethinc exemplifies most of the tendencies of post '99 anarchist phenomenon in post-industrialized countires. Perhaps, there's a bit of leeway, if you are from England or another place where white-supremacy is not historically linked with the emergence of capitalism in primitive accumulation.

If you mean by "another place where white-supremacy is not historically linked with the emergence of capitalism in primitive accumulation" any where that is not the USA, then yeah you are right. But otherwise you are talking bollox. Crimethinc. liberalism has no significance outside the US.

Our critique is not "based on the identities and perhaps ideology intrinsic to that class, race, gender identities of said writers". Our critique is not based on identity at all it is based on critiqueing the reduction of human activity to wage-labour and all that that entails.

L.S. wrote: "You can cry about how you wasted your time with it or how it's politics are bourgeoisie, but that won't change your own will, or ability to be an agent of authentic revolt." The whole fucking problem is that our will, our agency, our subjectivity and human subjectivty in general is robbed from us under capitalism because we are reduced to a state of being proletarian. The solution for us is not to deny this reduction or this problem but to recognise it and attack it. The solution is to assert the potential human subjectivity that pursists in the proletarian. That is negate the essence of capitalism by asserting the coming into being of a community of human subects where once there was only wage-labour. That is the transformation of a commodity, a unique commodity that is the source of all commodities, into a human subject. Possible only through the coming into being of a community-against the commodity form.

Yes that's right today, capitalism can only be destroyed by the self-activity of the proletariat. (And that includes your 'service class of post-industrialized society'). Christ, what is it 30+ years since Daniel Bell and people still don't get the fact that from a class point of view service workers are workers first and formost.

Connolly was an insurance broker, Ascaso was a waiter. Whoop de doo, they were, like the proletarians that work in the service industry today still proles. So please don't offer us any more straw men working in mines. The proletariat only disappears when wage-labour disappears. Wage-labour disappears only under communism.

The struggle continues.

author by DIzzIEpublication date Thu Sep 07, 2006 20:12author email xcon0 at yahoo dot comauthor address phone 1-610-887-6072Report this post to the editors

Well, fuck!

I've been gone for a few days and in the mean time you (guydebord?) tried to turn me into some sort of crimethinc postergirl.

So I guess I'll have to react since you've personally drawn me into your little rant...

Let's start off with that quote of mine you, uh, quote. First of all, it's one sentence out of a page-long reply, the rest of which you completely ignored, or at least didn't respond to--save for the bit about wanting to DO BATTLE ;) (it's found towards the bottom here: As I've already laid out my views in that post, and as you ignored them once already, I'm not going to bother retyping them out, just keep in mind that you have yet to give me an answer as to why you think scamming a tourist (who you assume is 'working class', but anyway that's a whole other can'o'worms) out of $20 is selfish, and yet you've got no beef with that same tourist spending obscene amounts on themselves to go on a 'vacation' in the first place..anyway, I'm starting to repeat myself, go reread that post again).

Secondly, even the one sentence of mine that you quote, "Fuckin' A, by your 'support the working class' logic, I guess y'all should feel guilty every time ya boycott any megacrop like Walmart--after all, they've got "working class" clerks workin' there too, and--goodness, gracious--they'll be out of work if y'all ever shut Walmart down!" you somehow manage to attribute views to me which I at no time espouse. Fuck, I agree with you that boycotts are an ineffective tactic. That aforementioned quote is structured as 'if A thinks X in Y scenario, he'll also think X in Z scenario', it's not 'I think X in Y and therefore X in Z'. I don't support 'boycotts' as such, and I never fucking said I did, so don't attribute that shit to me.

Moving on, if any of y'all actually read that page, y'all would've noted that out of the 40-some comments posted in response to the tourist swindle, only about two other posters are at least mildly supportive of it, all of the other alleged 'crimethincers' agree with guydebord's views that the tourist bag is an evil, selfish, capitalistic swindle :`(

As far as I'm concerned, crimethinc is essentially a publishing company whose main purpose is to sell shit like 'elite' limited edition books ( and magic charms ( I hardly support them and would hardly call myself 'crimethincer.' So once again, don't attribute that shit to me. I post on the website, much like you do, and that's it.

Lots of you also seem to be interested in my demographic info. You speculate as to my age, economic status, location, etc. So let me satisfy your voyuerism and spell it out for you: I am an 18 year old Portuguese/North American female and yes (gasp!) I live in a 'middle-class' suburb, in an apartment within a gated community, and (double gasp!) manage to do it without mommy's or daddy's help.

I could go on bitching about all the silly shit in the replies, like your incessant name-dropping (I have no fucking clue who most of the folks you mention are and--worst of all--I have no desire to find out...I took a look at folks like Marx once and anyone who uses silly big-boy words like 'fetishism/reification' for simple thoughts like 'humanizing things/thing-ing humans' doesn't deserve the time it would take to suffer through the bulk of his monstrous corp(SE)us. But this has fuck all to do with the original post, so nevermind.

Anyway, it's also peculiar that you're so preoccupied with that one scam, whereas you can easily not do it if you don't like it, try one of the other ones like the complaint letter which specifically target corporations and therefore apparently spare your holy Working-Class, or you could consider that 'forewarned is forearmed' and never fall for the scam yourself, or think of it as a tool of breeding mistrust in everyday capitalist relations (you won't know /who/ to trust now), or, fuck...I don't care what you do.

'Nuff said?

Related Link:
author by prole cat - ctc supporter (personal capacity)publication date Thu Sep 07, 2006 20:37Report this post to the editors

While it is true that we can't "boycott our way out of capitalism", that hardly equates to, as Dizzie says,boycotts being an "ineffective tactic". (As any number of Latino farm workers in Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida would be quick to agree.)

By and large, I agree with Pat: let the children play, we should have more important things to focus on. Drop out cultures of whatever stripe, while not revolutionary, do us no harm, and (at least) are not activly supporting the capitalist status quo.

author by W.publication date Thu Sep 07, 2006 21:11Report this post to the editors

You seem to have personalised an entire 2000 word article assuming it to be about you because you are quoted, I'm afraid you are just one of many kids off that site I could have quoted. Your quote just captured the malaise that exists within crimethinc's followers perfectly. "Me against the world" that's not anarchism that's capitalism.

author by Joepublication date Thu Sep 07, 2006 21:50Report this post to the editors

So DIzzIE now admits to living in an apartment in a gated community in a wealthy suburb while advocating robbing workers on holidays. Given what you've revealed so far your sounding like one of those backpackers that fell the need to inform you they are not a tourist. But anyway W is right this is not about you.

Crimethinc decided to publish your article and they decided to do so without either a disclaimer or a reply. They obviously filter out some articles (otherwise their site would be swamped by spam). So a critique that uses your article as one example of the sort of thing they promote seems fair enough. W. could have used other examples, like their printed lauding of early Italian fascism and it's supposed creation of autonomus zones. Instead he treated us to a new one, one that for the reasons I've stated really is solid enough.

author by Jeezpublication date Fri Sep 08, 2006 09:32Report this post to the editors

Regarding the book Recipes for Disaster:

"The book shies away from serious revolutionary information like how to organise a union in your workplace, how to organise at school, how to make contact and work with communities in struggle, how to break out of the activist ghetto, how to set up a social centre, how to provide prisoner support or how to support asylum seekers etc."

I'm going to paste in the list of the recipes in that book, and many of them cover such subjects as making contact and working with communities in struggle, setting up a social center, etc. I'll star them for you.

Just as the above comment, one of the more specific ones in an often abstract and insulting rant, is incorrect, I found that much else in the so-called "critique" was incorrect. CrimethInc. texts have long stressed, over and over and fucking over, that the important thing is to overthrow capitalism and hierarchy, not just "live free." Anyone who can read can figure that out, so I won't bother with citations.

My experience has been that people involved in CrimethInc. projects 1) desire to equip others to be similarly active, while not thus becoming seen as dispensers of "revolutionary power" 2) are also active in community organizing and direct action 3) hope to work in solidarity with anarchists of other persuasions. It's sad and stupid that so much energy is wasted on obviously vitriolic attacks and defenses like the ones on this thread, when we should be working out how to start from our commonalities to take on state and corporate power and our various internalized forms of oppression. But I fear some people don't want collective, anti-hierarchical revolution so much as they want to think of themselves as superier to others.

Anyway, my little bit of empirical evidence:

Affinity Groups
Antifascist Action
Asphalt Mosaics
Banner Drops and Banner Hoists
Behavioral Cut-ups
Bicycle Collectives
Bicycle Parades
Painting by Bicycle
How to Make a Bicycle into a Record Player
Billboard Improvement
Blocs, Black and Otherwise
Blockades and Lockdowns
Classroom Takeover
*Coalition Building
Corporate Downsizing
*Distribution, Tabling, and Infoshops
Dumpster Diving
Food Not Bombs
Guerrilla Performances
Health Care
Hijacking Events
Legal Support
Marches and Parades
Independent Media
Mainstream Media
Mental Health
Musical Instruments
Newspaper Wraps
Nonmonogamous Relationships
Pie Throwing
Portrait Exchange
Reclaim the Streets
How to Build a Rocketstove
Security Culture
Smoke Bombs
Spell Casting
Supporting Survivors of Domestic Violence
How to Survive a Felony Trial
*Undermining Oppression

It strikes me that union organizing, etc. may have been left out of the book because the authors and editors felt that kind of material could better be covered by anarchist groups focusing on that approach. Many of the above skills would still be useful to them. I'd love to see more books of anarchist and direct action tactics--and less shit-talking, please. CrimethInc. has put "their money where their mouths are" by sharing whatever skills they have access to as far and wide as possible, at non-profit prices. No one's making any money mailing out 624-page books for $12, especially ones written by over thirty contributors--and the 500,000 print run of Fighting For Our Lives really was funded by donations and one fancy hardcover book fundraiser at the end.

An anarchist struggle depends on constant dialogue--but not to divide and frustrate; rather, to hone different tactics and strategies (rather than insulting those who try any other than your own) and provide constructive critcism including a modicum of good faith. It's my guess that the author of the above text either is young or has poor social skills.

author by Yespublication date Fri Sep 08, 2006 09:45Report this post to the editors

It's my fear that this author, being an internet being, has spent too much time on (one of the absolute worst manifestations of the CrimethInc. phenomenon) and thus missed some of the really good things that have come out under that umbrella. Too bad for them. It's ironic to see this quote from the person who posted this article on, in a way this usurper of the Parisian radical's name seems to have missed:

>Wed, 2006-09-06 12:03
>Insects sting, not from malice, but because they want to live. It is the same with critics – they desire our blood, not our pain.

True words! And what do they say about texts like this? And who else wants our blood, the blood of anarchists? Squeezing neither pain nor blood from our egos will serve us, though--we need solidarity, good cheer, and a conception of revolutionary struggle that extends across many approaches to create a broad front of people fighting from many different places--including dropouts.

author by Pat Murtagh - selfpublication date Fri Sep 08, 2006 13:41author email murtaghpatrick at hotmail dot comReport this post to the editors

As I said before matters such as 'Crimeth(INC) hardly deserve "political comment". Organizations such as the Spanish CNT "criticize up" in competition with the much more important CGT. They don't "criticize down" about cults imported from the USA. What I said was that it would be a signpost for our effectiveness if we gave more important matters more of our attention. You may be typed by your enemies. It says very much about how important you actually are. If you spend an excessive amount of time criticizing say, 'The Spartacist League' it probably means that you are about as important as they are.
One matter that should be swept away immediately. Anyone who reads ' Your Politics Are As Boring As Fuck' would be astonished !!! to see supporters of such a document sniveling about "sectarianism" and "unity". A pretty bloody obvious full fangs bared attack if there ever was one. I speak, of course, of those naive to anarchist sectarianism- of which Crimeth(INC) is a very clear example. The sauce and the goose and the gander I believe it's called. As for this "political Martian" I am sure that he or she would find articles such as 'The Unibomber:A Hero for Our Time' much more 'offputting' than attacks on other anarchists. There are eight million stupid opinions in the naked city , and this is one of them. I guess it can make money,however, so on to the audit.
The basic way to approach such outfits as 'Crimeth(INC) is to compare them to other groups such as fundamentalist churches that sell identity and unrealizable promises. The basic premises of such marketing are well established in the American market. There are "lost leaders" such as the "free" items provided by both religious organizations and Crimeth(INC). These are similar to other "lost leaders" in any retail business. They provide the "hook" for the more profitable items in the inventory.
An audit of the consumer items offered for sale on the website of this business revealed that the total cost of purchasing a complete identity (similar to "salvation" or "enlightenment" in other religious sites) was $229.50. This did not include consumables which were not presently available. It also did NOT include "shipping and handling".
This probably is in the mid-range of "psycho-change" enterprises. Some may be as little as $25, and some may range over $5,000 as one goes through "stages". This audit did not address the question about whether there are "stages" to this partnership.
In legal terms 'Crimet(INC) would be defined as a "partnership", perhaps a "limited partnership", though the internal accounts of the business are opaque to public view- AS ALL PARTNERSHIPS ARE. If you have EVER written a cheque payable to 'Crimethinc' be assured that they have a bank account under THAT name. AS such they will have attracted the attention of the IRS, AND they are registered as a business. The IRS is NOT as stupid as some anarchists are. In Canada it takes Revenue Canada about 3 years of "losing money" in a scam before they come down on you. How long has Crimeth(INC) been in business ?
The cost of production of some items available in the Crimeth(INC) inventory such as "posters" are about 25 cents. These items are retailed for $4.00. This is a hefty profit margin. "Stickers" cost about the same, and retail for $5.00. The books in the inventory appear to be sold "for cost", though there may be production factors that the auditor is unfamilar with. No comment can presently be offered on the "music" items for sale as the auditor is unfamiliar with the cost of production of same. Their retail cost ranges from $6.00 to $10.00. I urge readers to cost this out by seeing how much a burnable CD costs today.
An indeterminable item in the cash flow of any religious or "self help' enterprise is the proportion of income derived from "love offerings" or "donations". In the case of Crimeth(INC) as in any other enterprise selling ideas rather than goods this will represent a significant proportion of the income of the business. The continued solicitation of money that is NOT a purchase of goods is also opaque to the general public and hence to this auditor. You can be assured that it is NOT opaque to the IRS.
Be assured that this is NOT "political criticism". It's a hobby of mine that has continued on from the time I was 20 when I searched down the crookedness of the authors of 'Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain' and 'Astrological Birth Control'.
Some things are just too obviously crooked. If Crimeth(INC) wants to establish their bona fides let them put the same accounts on public display as they have to present to the IRS. For myself I WON'T PAY $229.50 for an identity when all the original and uncorrupted items are available free at a public library in a much more quality package. At the public library I can view the originals rather than the "Velvet Elvis" derivatives.

author by headmuzik - WSM (Personal Capacity)publication date Sat Sep 09, 2006 00:28Report this post to the editors

I find it nothing short of deeply disturbing that some posters on this forum are suggesting that we brush-over or attempt to ignore the support of organisations like Crimethinc for serial killers like the Unabomber for the sake of some kind of "unity" within the anarchist movement., Take this article this from their site, for example:

Note : This is NOT a letter from some unconnected figure or something that is only vaguely connected with Crimethinc, it is a document being hosted directly from their official site, from which we can only assume this is at least one legitimate Crimethinc position.
I am NOT about to "pass-over in silence" an organisation's support for such an individual with a view to some vague kind of "workers solidarity" or "unity" within the anarchist movement. In my view, opinions such as that put forth in that crimethinc article should be criticised and indeed ridiculed and at no stage should be considered part of any serious anarchist position or policy statement.
By taking such views seriously and being content to work with those who wrote them, we damage the credibility of our own ethical/moral positions.

I am glad that "Jeez" has provided us with what he seems to think is "empirical evidence" that the book "Recipes for Disaster" contains "serious revolutionary information ".

I do strongly agree with his statement "I'd love to see more books of anarchist and direct action tactics--and less shit-talking, please"
SURE! but this ""Recipes for Disaster" book seems to contain very little in the way of anarchist and direct action tactics as far as I can see.... I would love to hear how casting spells, having sex, shoplifting, throwing parties and "How to Make a Bicycle into a Record Player" now constitute revolutionary tactics that bring us closer to the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism.....
You have highlighted only 5 chapters out of about 61 that have any sort of "revolutionary" content - this constitutes a meagre 8%... if any book only devotes 8% of itself to revolutionary anarchist activity, then it is primarly NOT about anarchism - this is PRIMARILY a DIY/Squatting/Drop-out LIFESTYLE book and the very fact that that is the focus of the book damages the credibility of the small amount of revolutionary information or tactics that it does contain.

Neither do I think its acceptable to sideline union/worker organising in an anarchist book - Organising a Union is one of THE most important struggles anarchists can engage in - historically, unions have been the driving force behind many of the best reforms we have won from the ruling class - the 8 hour day, laws to enforce better working conditions (at least in most european countries/US). In terms of the revolutionary possibilities offered by Unions, we need only look to the Spanish Civil War etc...

As for the whole Scamming/Rip-Off/Petty Crime stuff that DizzIE is putting forward, I don't see even a vague connection to revolutionary political activity there.... though I do think it makes a good point as to the necessity of some kind of community policing even in an anarchist society :)

The "Holy" Working Class.... love it :)

author by Anarchistpublication date Mon Sep 11, 2006 08:03Report this post to the editors

This common claim that Crimethinc is based on individualistic philosophy is completely absurd, you seem to be missing the whole point of crimethinc’s writings. Many of you seem to make a common mistake in your criticisms: you don't seem to appreciate the revolutionary potential of crimethinc publications, only taking them at face value as some kind of glorification of homelessness, poverty & self-centered escapism – which couldn’t be further from the truth. Activities such as dumpster-driving, squatting and shoplifting are obviously useless in the long-term & it is stupid to think that any crimethinc-er would ever advocate them as a solution or a permanent alternative. Rather, these things are advocated as they give the individual a temporary taste of freedom and liberation from society’s domination. The freedom to chose our own fates- freedom from the domination and authority of others is one of the very basic human-animal desires we have and by making people realise how much they want this, it encourages them to fight for it, not out of a sense of ‘moral’ obligation but because they WANT to do it.

Crimethinc is not about telling you how & when you should be doing things or what you should be doing- it’s a mindset. The best and most effective activist & revolutionary is one who is truly motivated in their efforts because they really want to experience this idealistic world that they've envisioned and they want others to enjoy it too. Activism out of a sense of obligation, guilt, pity or through self-sacrifice is worthless in the long-term as these people aren't doing it for the right reasons and don't really have any motivation to ‘keep fighting’. For mutual-aid to become a reality, people need to want to co-operate with each other as they are used to being forced to work together only when authority enforces it upon them.

Crimethinc works on a principle of critical self analysis & the liberation of oneself and of one's own desires and, to liberate yourself you must FIRST liberate the world. Crimethinc plants the seeds, it gives you the mindset that will truly help you to be a proper revolutionary. Actions do speak louder than words and from my experience people who enjoy crimethinc’s writings are the ones who are most active and doing the most to further the liberation of the earth and everything on it. So before you criticise crimethinc you should read between the lines and see why advocating self-liberation is definitely NOT advocating individualism.

author by involved individualpublication date Mon Sep 11, 2006 09:48Report this post to the editors

...that no one makes money off CrimethInc. projects. Repeat: no one makes money from CrimethInc. projects.

Someone above suggested something to the contrary, and it has to be put to rest once and for all.

Some people have put in ten years of labor, and never made a dime for their efforts. Others do less, and make no more. No one makes money. It's an all-volunteer project. Not a cult group.

Now, our tactics, even our strategies, may look different from those of anarchists in other situations, and we may occasionally make a controversial statement, but our ultimate goal is to nurture non-hierarchical projects, desires, and struggles. I liked what the person above said about "criticizing down"--it just doesn't make sense. We're here to throw down with the ones who hold power in capitalism/patriarchy, not snip at other anti-authoritarians, however poor their social skills may be.

Those of you who want allies, perhaps allies experienced on other terrains, will find us eager to exchange support. Those who have worked with us in the streets have found us active, sensitive to others' needs, if a little over-eager sometimes. Those who simply want to attack will, after enough searching through articles written between 1996 (the above-mentioned one about the Unabomber--which is hardly as fucked up as the poster implies) and 97 (the "your politics are boring" text), find something to be angry about.

If you want to see some more current perspectives coming out of the CrimethInc. camp, try the magazine Rolling Thunder.

But maybe you don't care. Fine. If you're actually doing real, good work--and I hope so--don't waste your time attacking us. Focus on it. The world needs that. You'll notice CrimethInc. texts don't "criticize down."

And incidentally--though a lot of the users of this website seem to hate CrimethInc.--that's not representative. Plenty of anarchists--and radical groups, too--have much more supportive perspectives on the phenomenon. Have a look at, for example, or Earth First! You can find some Wobblies in the US who have also participated in CrimethInc. projects, too--one even contributed to Recipes for Disaster.

author by jeezpublication date Mon Sep 11, 2006 18:40Report this post to the editors

I shouldn’t have to say this, but—

If in your eyes there’s nothing anarchist about “Antifascist Action” or “Supporting Survivors of Domestic Violence”—

and any “true” anarchist group could find no possible use for technical information on affinity group action, blockading, black bloc action, graffiti, sabotage, infiltration, legal support, marches, security culture, etc. etc. etc.—

and in your eyes there have never been anarchist implications to Reclaim the Streets or Food Not Bombs or Critical Mass actions, or to independent media projects, or actions that target the hegemony of the corporate media such as graffiti and newspaper wraps—

then I give in, your politics really are boring. Or at least sectarian! They may serve your limited context, but open your eyes, there are a lot of points of departure for anarchists out there.

And the logic used in this thread to trash CrimethInc. as a “cult group” or whatever could be used for most anarchist organizations that spread propaganda.

author by ....publication date Mon Sep 11, 2006 19:05Report this post to the editors

Recipes for Disaster is “An eclectic mix of information, most of which is crap the rest of which is useless without political understanding.”

Useless without the proper part line, presumably. That’s dogmatism at its worst.

“The book “Anarchy in the age of dinosaurs” published under Crimethinc by the Furious George collective (who each deserve a bullet for crimes against anarchism) is short and poorly written arguing against the idea of mass organisation and for “chaos” and “butterfly wings”, apparently.”

That’s “Curious George Brigade,” not “Furious George”—at least get the names right so it seems like you actually saw the thing. And saying anarchists who have done serious organizing work in NYC, Scotland, and elsewhere deserve bullets for crimes against anarchism is just plain stupid: that outdoes anything overzealous in the old “your politics are boring” article.

The quote off the back of the Evasion book was indeed controversial. It hasn’t been on the back of any printings of that book in the past four years. All these issues have already been widely discussed in the US and largely resolved.

…and as for this speculative individual:

“If you have EVER written a cheque payable to 'Crimethinc' be assured that they have a bank account under THAT name. AS such they will have attracted the attention of the IRS, AND they are registered as a business. The IRS is NOT as stupid as some anarchists are. In Canada it takes Revenue Canada about 3 years of "losing money" in a scam before they come down on you. How long has Crimeth(INC) been in business ?”

All you have to do is check the files—no “CrimethInc.” is registered as a business. Go on, look! Don’t speculate, look! The IRS has never made a penny off CrimethInc. [except indirectly, when the books sell in bookstores, etc. that pay taxes]. That’s the truth, and anyone who wants to say otherwise had better be prepared to prove it. I cannot emphasize enough how incorrect this person is in his or her guesses as to what’s going on.

But believe whatever you want, I guess. As other posters have commented, it’s clear that this particulat dialogue was not started so as to find common ground from which to struggle.

author by Joe - WSM - personal capacitypublication date Tue Sep 12, 2006 00:03Report this post to the editors

I find the somewhat outraged reaction the existance of this critque has aroused quite curious. It's hardly like crimethinc were shy in attacking anarchist communists in the past, even the title of the article is a homage to a notorous crimethinc artilce 'Your politics are boring as fuck' which opens with "Why has attendance at your anarcho-communist theory discussion group meetings fallen to an all—time low? Why has the oppressed proletariat not come to its senses and joined you in your fight for world liberation? " This is a world away from the 'why can't we all get along' liberalism above.

There is nothing wrong with polemic, something crimethinc recognised in the act of publishing 'Your politics are boring as fuck' but the rule is always that if you are willing to give you should be willing to receive. That article had quite a bit of influence, at least googling the title turns up a large number of websites where it was reproduced. Was the purpose of that article "to find common ground from which to struggle." or was it to point out what was seen as a chronic failure of anarchist communist politics? I think the second - why not just admit this?

I woould be very interested in seeing a proper reply to this article from crimethinc. Something that isn't based on pretending that there is (suddenly) no place for such polemics or that W. is having a go at all squatters, every RTS etc. Something that tries to quantify the success or otherwise of crimthinc in a manner that goes beyond 'we (have the money to) publish a lot' (that after all invites people to ask where the money comes from). W's critique is that crimethinc pushes people getting involved in the movement into dead end individualist drop out culture and away from the sort of politics that might make a difference in the longer term. He writes this as an ex-crimethincer who sees these flaws through working through crimethinc ideas. He probably deserves a proper answer.


author by about crimethincpublication date Tue Sep 12, 2006 07:54Report this post to the editors

As somebody mentioned, the "your politics are boring" article was originally written in 1997. More recent crimethinc writings... as long ago as 2001, when "infighting the good fight" was published... do indeed take the approach of seeking common ground from which to struggle.

Your version of W's argument is intelligently phrased and tactful, and brings up questions many in anarchist circles (and presumably crimethinc circles, which are in some ways among the most vigorous and consistently active in the US) are ...or should be! ...talking about. W's version of his own argument is riddled with straw men, pointless viciousness, incorrect assertions, and seeking out the very weakest rather than strongest points of his "foe" for criticism. Seriously, basing his critique on an article written in 1997, a blurb that has been removed from the back of the book it was printed on (five years ago), and a couple random posts by kids who use the most open and least polished of crimethinc internet forums... that's tacky.

The only place where he really takes on crimethinc projects with any seriousness is in his slanderous attack on the "recipes" book, which is all teeth and no meat. We do indeed need useful critique of all anarchist projects. I beg you and others to provide it... without the pointless vitriol that makes discussions like this break down.

author by Joepublication date Tue Sep 12, 2006 23:37Report this post to the editors

First off it would be cool if you guys could post with something resembling names - it feels silly to respond to 'about crimethinc' and it is also confusing as to whether this means you speak on behalf of crimethinc.

From what you say it seems crimethinc may have moved on a bit since these early documents. Have you published anything on this progression because I would be interested in the reasons for it etc.

This would also be useful because although to you these are outdated concepts / quotes / articles which you no longer stand over the originals are still in circulation and all over the net. Therefore something that is widely understood in the USA movement may well be unknown in Ireland (where W is posting from) because the old stuff is still in circulation. It may also be the case that really this is only understood in your circles in the US and not that much outside of them - its dangerous to assume people have simply been able to follow such progressions, often they are quite opaque from the outside.

Finally I don't think you can simply evade responsibility for the tourist scam article as it obviously had to go through some sort of approval process to end up on the crimethinc page and has stayed there despite the controversy that has raged around it. Whatever the political differences the Crimethinc site runs like the one and if we published a really bad article we'd expect people to call us on it.

author by bribpublication date Wed Sep 13, 2006 06:22Report this post to the editors

Manuel Trackback

I just had to write a bit about this article because I partly really agree with W.
I do not know if its good and readable at all, because its quiet late now. But just have a look.

Related Link:
author by bpublication date Wed Sep 13, 2006 18:04Report this post to the editors

Hey Joe,

I'm the one who posted the comment "about crimethinc" to you, and I'll post under this name "b" for consistency's sake... if I continue to use this message board, which is quite an exception for me as I consider this a form of communication that breeds conflict more easily than revolutionary camaraderie.

Your points are, again, well-thought out. You're right, how the hell are people elsewhere supposed to know what we're up to in the US with only the internet to go on. I can't speak at all for, I have nothing to do with it in the slightest (crimethinc really is decentralized!), but I will say that, as someone involved with plenty of crimethinc projects, I regard it as one of the least promising and useful of the projects in that vein. As I said, I think that can be partly attributed to the medium... take your fellow W., he apparently read some outdated material on the internet, surfed for a while, found it understandably unfulfilling, and launched his reductive assault. No progress made towards the leveling of power on any front there.

Though is, as charged, the work of a small circle of organizers, and is concerned largely with the distribution of the most mass-produced projects to take the crimethinc name, it's a source for better-thought-out materials, in my opinion. As for whether it's elitist that the .com website is run by such a small number of people... it may be, but the same is true of countless other websites. The crimethinc mystique is the collective capital, the weapon put at everyone's disposal... unfortunately, as capitalism still exists, the means of production (and distribution of information) are centralized, and the closest we can get to holding them in common is to support each others' projects and share scams and other means of small-scale, short-term seizure of the means of production.

But we want the whole fucking bakery, don't get me wrong. You asked for links backing this up, and I don't have time to go through magazines and newspapers citing lines like scripture right now, but I can point to one well-known crimethinc text that came out in 2002 essentially saying what W. is trying to say above. You can read it at, I'll just quote a few choice paragraphs.

"[T]he traveler kid lifestyle is not in itself at all revolutionary. It may surprise some to hear this from us—that shows how little they’ve been listening all along. Shoplifting, hitchhiking, scamming, unemployment—separated from a program of life- and world-transformation, all these are merely alternative tools for survival, a survival which makes do with and ultimately accepts the status quo. Yes, it is better, however infinitesimally, to steal products than to give money to our executioners—but it’s not enough! Three millenia of shoplifting now, and the exchange economy is still thriving. If it’s life we’re after, not mere survival, as the old dichotomy goes, we can’t just sit tight now in our squats and punkhouses, eating dumpstered bagels and selling our shoplifted wares on e-bay; we have to keep on risking everything to challenge the system that denies us the rest of the world..."

"For the record, and to briskly repudiate every imbecile who has used “CrimethInc.” as a synonym for scamming and freeloading, we’ve never been interested in being or being seen as partisans of any lifestyle; we’ve always insisted that being radical involves subverting all possible lifestyle choices, all traditional strategies and identities. Revolution occurs when some part of the social equation changes: when apolitical workers initiate a wildcat strike, when middle-aged mothers start to show up in the black bloc beside their sons and daughters, when vagabond dropouts integrate themselves into local struggles for affordable housing. The letters we receive from adult secretaries who have used CrimethInc. literature to inspire themselves to change their lives are infinitely more encouraging to me than the scores of teenagers reading Harbinger as they set out on the hitchhiking excursions young folks always have. Not that there is anything wrong with being a hitchhiking teenager—but to be a dangerous hitchhiking teenager, you must do something more than simply hitchhike, and interpreting anticapitalist texts as glorifications of your hitchhiking doesn’t count."

"The creation of subcultural ghettos, the reinterpretation of subversive acts as promotions of some alternative lifestyle—these are processes by which opposition and subversion have been repeatedly neutralized over the past four decades, if not centuries. Yes, it is critical that we build new communities, with new cultural values and approaches, and that we not belittle these as “mere subcultures” when they do arise—for it is in these communities that we can develop and sustain a resistance, and create a context in which to lead free lives. It is also critical that we keep challenging these communities, that they do not become stagnant or self-satisfied: for as long as we are all under the great thumb, freedom is always for all or none."

Hoping for constructive criticism and the possibility of mutually beneficial relationships, even across ideological lines... b

author by 1/4 drop outpublication date Sat Sep 16, 2006 00:40Report this post to the editors

I didn't have time to read all the comments.

One thing that I don't see brought up very often is the fact that most crimethinc work is published anonymously. I like this. I think it brings us away from the ego-trip of seeing our name beneath what we might think is a new and revolutionary idea.

Rock on, everybody,

author by Joepublication date Sat Sep 16, 2006 00:57Report this post to the editors

It also means that we can put in print ideas that we would be embarrased to have our friends, neighboors and siblings know came from us. And that we never have to admit to having got something wrong.

There are places for anonymity particularly to do with work and security. But putting your name or a known pseudonym to your work introduces a valuable bit of accountability. It also forces you to expose your ideas to those around you and not just to what set of people already agree with you. That particular test tends to take a lot of hot air and posturing out of political writing.

author by mo5tarpublication date Tue Sep 19, 2006 16:38author email anarchymail.mo5tar at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

Dear Mr. Connolly,
First of all, Abbie Hoffman, a prize-idiot? Are you joking? Do you know what he did, how active was he? how much he pushed for and achieved? I doubt you even read any of his discourse or books!!
And in that same manner, you've approached crimethinc.
For one, who ever said that crimethinc is a unified thing? that they all agree on what is being said and written? Even in crimethinc books, there are great differences, within each book (for example the contrast between join the revolution fall in love, and hedon).. and between different books.
Not everyone who thinks of themselves as a crimethincer wants to live in a dumpster. But it is rather the idea and the approach to it that is in common.
The idea is that Anarchy, as much as it is a political idea and movement, it is a personal experience, it is about everyone being completely liberated from all sorts of social, economic, and political boundaries.
Now, you might hate that. As many old-class Anarchists do. Inspired by the traditional leftist attitude that politics can only be discussed in debate sessions, and over cups of coffee in Italian cafes. A true intellegentsia like you feels the need to be "proper". And thus not allowing others to express how they feel about it.
But let's look at it from your perspective. Isn't Anarchy really a personal experience?
Anarchy is not just about the basic political analysis, it is about doing whatever you want whenever you want it. And it is having "that what you want" not limit, but rather unlimit others around you. As Malatesta put it in his Anarchy paper, it is through the power of association that the human race has gone this far. Association with each other, having your acts empower others. In that sense, "your freedom ends when others' freedom starts" is a fake argument. In reality, your freedom starts when others' freedom starts as well. Because by you doing whatever you want, you'd be empowering others.
It is in that exchange, that empowerment, the vision of Anarchy lives. Because Anarchy is not just about dismantling the negative aspects of our society, but rather about building a new vision for the future. About enabling new horizons. And those horizons have nothing to do with "political analysis", they have nothing to do with the "class struggle", and most certainly nothing to do with the "seirousness" you ask revolutionaries to be. It is a whole new world, that is about joy, adventure, and creativity. I know you must think these are some luxuries only the rich kids can think of them, but you're wrong. I'd hate to break to you the news that poor kids in developing countries also want to live with joy, carefree, and go on adventures in their lives, and explore their creative energy that they have within. Anarchy is about opening this limitless world for them. A world when social, political, and economic factors have diminished, allowing everyone to do whatever they want. And having that "thing they want" not only not harm others, but benefit them.
Crimethinc, is a vision of that future. Some of us would reside to it after a long tiring day of work. Think about the future they have ahead, some might use it as energy to change their personal lives and fate.
I do not understand how can you be against something that is so varied and contrasting from within? I understand you cannot live without your seriousness, coffee, cigars, but haven't you thought that the whole idea of fighting for a better world is to actually achieve that better world and enjoy it?

author by bpublication date Tue Sep 19, 2006 18:06Report this post to the editors

Joe, the ones saying belligeraent stuff they should be ashamed of here are not the anonymous crimethinc writers. Yes, crimethinc does make use of the anonymous form, not only for security reasons (don't believe the hype above, many of the more militant strains in the US are interlinked with crimethinc) but also because the entire project is an experiment with collective authorship and an attempt to avoid rock-star fame (such as accrued to Malatesta, for example).

Anyway, if anyone wants a crimethinc text to engage with that is a better indication of where the whole project is at right now, I'd recommend the second issue of Rolling Thunder, which came out last February (I think there's a third one out now, too). Its main feature is an extensive discussion of if and how dropouts can play a role in revolutionary struggle. The conclusion offered is that there are many pitfalls to watch out for--notably those associated with subculture--but that, provided dropouts focus above all on establishing solidarity and common cause with folks in other walks of life, they can play a role in that struggle.

That issue also has an article on the current state of trade union activity in the USA, and the potential support roles dropout radicals can play in that context.

If people like the above writer were intelligently addressing texts like these, it would be a very different thing. If you hadn't heard of such texts, go have a look for them.

If those who wrote with such vitriole above do not do so, I think it's safe to say that they're simply looking for enemies.

author by Joepublication date Tue Sep 19, 2006 23:26Report this post to the editors

Ok from reading your last two comments it seems that your problem with W's piece is not in fact his conclusions (which you seem to suggest crimthinc now shares) but that in writing this piece he was intemperate and unaware of the shift in the crimthinc position since.

That is not that much of a complaint in my opinon and it seems the second part reflects a failure of crimthinc to communicate its changed position at the level it communicated the old position. Perhaps this is down to a falling off of resources over which you have no control but its probably not fair to blame someone on another continent for not keeping up with the latest documentation. The responsibility to communicate clearly is yours, W. can be excused in part also because some of the newer content of the crimethinc site seems to reflect that old position and we know that site is moderated by crimethinc people.

I'm not unaware of radical dropout cultures that were useful.In general I actively oppose the tendancy to dismiss people simply because they drop out. I'd certainly have no problem with your statement that " provided dropouts focus above all on establishing solidarity and common cause with folks in other walks of life, they can play a role in that struggle."

Certainly within the early IWW (for instance) there was an important culture of hobo union organisers. The gap we would seem to agree is between worshipping such cultures as an end in themselves and seeing them as one method / support of revolutionary activity. A lot of the crimethinc supporter posts on this thread seem to be trying to smooth over the gap - most notably the early post that tries to use the informal Brazilian garbage recyclers as a cover for dumpster diving in the US as an end in itself. Again suggesting that maybe you are not communicating the change of position to your own supporters as clearly as you think you are.

Is the issue of ' Rolling Thunder' you refer to online somewhere - there is probably little or no circulation of the printed form this side of the ocean and I would look at the articles you mention. I quite like the article you linked to in the comment before last although I think perhaps you are trying to hard to deny parentship of the myth you created. Blaming a 'certain kind of reader' for misunderstanding your purpose is an easy way out of asking the tougher question of 'were we clear enough in the first place'. And although it may be the easy way out it may also result in you failing to spot a flaw in your model.

Finally I'm not sure what exactly it means but I'd be very wary of the possible meanings behind the statement "don't believe the hype above, many of the more militant strains in the US are interlinked with crimethinc". Depending on what you mean by militancy I'd feel obliged to say that from what I've read the 'more militant strains' in the US seem to involve people doing pointless and even embarrassing actions based on ill thought out positions that have led to long sentences.

The exteme weakness of the political base of this militancy is demonstrated by the extraordinary percentage that have turned state witness. While on the human level I sympathise with those being repressed that sort of militancy I'd keep at the far end of a very, very long barge pole indeed. It can build nothing useful beyond demonstrating that militancy in itself is a dead end - but in the context of US politics that lesson is there from the 60's. But perhaps I misunderstand you - probably better not to go into all that much detail of what you meant anyway unless I have.

author by bpublication date Wed Sep 20, 2006 13:19Report this post to the editors

My problem with W's piece is that his point is--I'm quoting his third sentence verbatim--"The US based sub-cultural cult "Crimethinc" (CWC) who mix anarchism with bohemian drop-out lifestyles and vague anti-civilisation sentiment would have you believe that capitalism is something from which you can merely remove yourself by quitting work, eating from bins and doing whatever "feels good"."

That's a damn lie, blatant slander, and the most cursory research could reveal that that was NEVER a popular position in crimethinc groups, and still is not. Sure, I could quote texts endlessly from the last ten years, but I'm not the only one who can read... and lots of the stuff is on the internet, like the article I posted the link to. If W. wanted to engage in dialogue, he could have started with that piece. He sidestepped it so as to have a proper straw man. The article is in the introductory texts section of the .com website. A minimum of reading is necessary before an all-out public attack, I'd say.

In my eyes, the problem is not that crimethinc began as a lifestylist retreat from struggle and has changed over the years, and failed to get the word out in the process; it is that the parodied cartoon version of crimethinc, in which a bunch of lifestylists reject struggle in favor of pointless hedonism, has been so useful to a certain tendency in more traditional anarchist/left politics (a tendency characterized by, for example, calling Abbie Hoffman a "prize idiot") that it has been spread almost as widely in those circles as the actual material crimethinc has created. This creates trouble between people involved in, inspired by, or sympathetic to crimethinc approaches and people in the particular milieus in which these misrepresentations have been spread by texts like W.'s... and this trouble is not conducive to the establishment of solidarity or common cause, which is what I, for one, seek in my interactions with other anarchists.

I also have smaller problems with W.'s piece--it's poorly written, etc.--and seriously, he DOES state straight up that food not bombs and squatting are "useless activist/punk sub-cultural activity." But the bottom line is that he started with his goal, i.e. to talk shit and dismiss, and misrepresented as much as necessary to achieve that goal. Criticism would be great, if it was about how crimethinc could better do what it exists to do.

I'm sure that there are numerous serious disagreements over tactics, strategy, and politics between people involved in crimethinc projects and, for example, many of the people who use this webpage. I wish we were talking about them. Texts like W's make that harder, not easier. I stand by my assertion that he should be ashamed for clogging up the space we need open for real discussion with this bullshit. If he wanted to critique, he should start from the strongest points of the material, not the weakest--otherwise he's distracting, not discussing.

As for militancy, there are plenty of kinds. I agree with you, discussion closed.

Inform me as to how to post the "Dropping Out" article from the second Rolling Thunder here, and I will, if you like. Then there could be some debate about actual differences, not attributed positions.

Incidentally, I cannot believe I've let myself be sucked into spending so much time discussing this ridiculous scandal when there's so much here at home I should be focusing on. That's my own fault, but it does again demonstrate how much energy is wasted by focusing on these kind of provocations.

author by Joepublication date Thu Sep 21, 2006 21:20Report this post to the editors

Hi b
to submit an article just click on the 'submit article' link in the box at the top of the left hand column. Put it iin under 'other libertarian press'.

I think we have exhaused the discussion of W's motivation but I will state again that he is not as you portray an anarchist communist who went to crimethinc material to construct a critique. Rather he was (I suppose) a crimethincer who came to anarchist communism. I think you make assumptions about how crimethinc material is consumed and understoood by those consuming it that may not always be the case.

author by Kim - Anarkismopublication date Sat Sep 23, 2006 02:23author address Oslo, NorwayReport this post to the editors

There's no doubt Ws article was unnecessary unfriendly. That's bad, as it averts from his very sound and constructive criticism, and as it doesn't contribute to a frank discussion. However, those who dismiss his critique as something that doesn't represent Crimethink very well, should be aware of that's what the general image of them is.

"b" says the supposedly "parodied cartoon version of crimethinc" has made it really easy for "a certain tendency in more traditional anarchist/left politics" to criticize the very existence of Crimethink.

This is self evident.

"b" says the "parodied cartoon version of crimethinc " [...] "has been spread almost as widely in those circles as the actual material crimethinc has created."

It might be, but not as I'm aware of. Personally I've been checking out Crimethink from time to time (both web and published works). But honestly, it is from this material (and those who are associated with this material where I live) that I've developed my aversion for Crimethink -not through fellow anachists who's filtered out the more negative aspects of Crimethink, in order to fool me or something.

"b" continues: "If he wanted to critique, he should start from the strongest points of the material, not the weakest--otherwise he's distracting, not discussing."

Well, like I just said me (and several other I know of too), have developed their negative view on Crimethink from Crimethinks own publications. And seriously, when someone reads about dumpster diving (and lot's of other dumb stuff too, but this is really the tip of the iceberg which makes one TOTALLY drop their interest ), would they think that "this is just some stupid stuff, I'm sure there's more to it"? No, of course not!

They would rather stand clear of such pathetic suggestions, and rather search for a different group (socialist, anarchist, trade union or whatever).

Those of you Crimethinkers who've got better alternatives than dumbpster diving, critical mass demos, black blocs, etc. should be honest with yourself and openly acknowledge that many people develop this negative view of Crimethink because of it's general image -not because of those few Crimethinkers who make unconstructive suggestions.

The next logical step would be for those crimethinkers to establish contact with eachother, in order to develop a clear political communication strategy which is both attractive and sound. If this is not achieved, people will continue to regard you as subcultural freaks with no understanding of our daily lives as workers what so ever. If this is not changed you should blame yourself, not sincere people like me, who was looking for an effective way to fight capitalism, saw your material and threw it straight in the garbage can (which I've literally done several times, before I gave up on you as such).

I'm sorry for the way some of my fellow anarchists have formulated themselves, we anarchists have everything to win by cooperating. But it's not people like me`s fault that we've developed this negative view of you. We've all got everything to win by beeing honest with ourselves.

author by dropout?publication date Sat Sep 23, 2006 09:24Report this post to the editors

Is this the dropping out article referenced?

I really hope not, it's dire.

author by bpublication date Sat Sep 23, 2006 16:23Report this post to the editors

Perhaps this is a matter of different contexts. Where I live, one of the most important things we anarchists have decided to focus on is building solidarity with local immigrants. To that end, we have a weekly free grocery delivery to certain neighborhoods here, serve a weekly free breakfast to migrant workers waiting for day labor, and help organize monthly "Really Really Free Markets" at which hundreds of locals of all walks of life exchange food, goods, services, etc. The 'markets are a working demonstration of anarchist economics that have gained a lot of momentum for other local projects and given visibility to the anarchist alternative in general in an area where it used to be unthinkable. The May 1st demonstration, a march for awareness of the situation of immigrants and to remember the history of anarchist labor struggles, attracted the biggest crowd we've had at an unpermitted, explicitly anit-authoritarian event in a generation.

The resources for all these projects come from dumpster diving. The food we bring to others to show that we want to be connected to their communities comes from dumpster diving. The food that feeds us so we can focus on these projects comes from dumpster diving.

You call it "dumbpster diving," say it is pathetic (without giving any explanations!), and consider the issue closed. You think it's enough to say that the very idea of dumspter diving is stupid and disgusting. Perhaps you don't understand the context of the work we are doing in the US, where in order to mobilize revolt in certain contexts we must first present alternative survival strategies and then expand from those to how one subculture can connect with others in struggle.

You live in Oslo... it's a nice city with a proud anarchist heritage, and I have a lot of respect for the Norwegian anarchists I know. Perhaps you don't have to dig food out of the trash to eat there (I have to, myself). Norway is a wealthy nation compared to many. In the US, we have no socialized health care, and a great deal of terrible poverty as well as a few rich people. Perhaps your struggles in Norway center on achieving better wages through union struggles and so on. Those are worthy projects, and I'm glad people are taking them on. They are not the only worthwhile projects.

Perhaps you only recognize the tactics and approaches of your particular anarchist faction as legitimate. That's not particularly non-hierarchical of you, if that's the case.

You need not read crimethinc stuff. It may indeed be irrelevant to you. But you should leave open the possibility that in other contexts, it is useful and relevant.

Anyway, we don't need to be allies... I can't say I'm impatient to undertake collective projects with people who think "dumbpster" is really clever. But the least we can do, if we can't exchange useful constructive criticism, is not waste each others' energy with vapid attacks.

Through this whole thread, I have not attacked anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-communism, or for that matter any of the politics of the others who posted. I'm glad that there is a diversity of anarchist ideas and tactics. I'm willing to offer my perspectives on others' ideas and willing to receive useful constructive criticism of my own ideas--but it has to be useful, constructive criticism.

author by WES - CCSUPSApublication date Sun Sep 24, 2006 05:24author email wes06424 at speedpost dot netReport this post to the editors

I beleive you are right, people need to look beyond crimethinc, and maybe supposed 'crimethincers' need to look beyond thier current movement and make it active. I have been involved in crimethinc issues for a while and have spread a lot of thier propoganda, i see it less of an actual way to live and much more of a starting point that may help people break out of thier system of thinking. Possibly concieveing it as the hammer that breaks the glass. Yes, thats right im using pseudo poetic rhetoric to describe it, but a revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having. It can be used as a step to break people free of thier chains of thought. To stop thinking 'as a slave' in the words of the people who broke out Malcolm X. Only thing is he didn't go beyond the breaking point until it was too late for him, we need to and Crimethinc needs to stop being a cult and start being a movement. Move past the breaking point. Stop making it into a pop movement that is considered 'cool' by pseudo revolutionatires. Truth is we cannot revolt separatley, we need to organize. But we cannot stop our creativity. Words for thought

author by Kim Keyser - Anarkismopublication date Sun Sep 24, 2006 06:06Report this post to the editors

I agree. It is to a large extent a matter of different contexts -it can make it hard to communicate well. It's true that Norwegians got different issues, and few would have to look for food in dumpsters as there's still a certain social security here.

However, the point that I -and several other people too, have developed a view on Crimethinks politics as subcultural experiments mainly addressed to youth, and void of the more serious issues, through Crimethinks own remains true. And like I said, if Crimethinkers like yourself would get together to more clearly and unambigously communicate your constructive politics, I think it would attract more, and more serious people.

And like I said, the "dumbster" diving issue is only one of those issues which have -and still continues- to result in such a negative view.

I haven't read any litterature on dumpster diving in cleaner environments (storages, surpluses from stores that no longer need the merchandise, etc. ) in order to help people dealing with real issues -such as you described. This seems constructive, in fact, as people need to have their basic needs covered before one can invest time in planning revolution etc. The impression I got from dumpster diving was as a futile subcultural experiment which nicely lines up in Crimethink repertoire of such activities.

If there are some more serious texts about this, I haven't read it, because I got put off so many times. The fact that there were some really interesting litterature here and there made me come back and fint more, but after a while I decided not to waste more time, as those constructive bits were flooded in a nocean of non constructive ones, which I needed a fine strainer to find (ie. patience, that I didn't have).

It's also true that we don't have to cooperate practically now, but a successful revolution in fact necessiates international cooperation among revolutionaries. So in the longer term serious anarchists need to build links with other serious anarchists across borders.

Lastly, you write:
"You live in Oslo... it's a nice city with a proud anarchist heritage, and I have a lot of respect for the Norwegian anarchists I know."

In fact, anarchism has only been a marginal phenomenon here. There was a Norwegian syndicalist federation with as much as maximum 3000 members in 1919 or so, but it was crushed and around 1000 members got deported back to Sweden (were many of them came from after the defeat in the Swedish general strike in 1909).

After that we've only had a rather small federation of about 2-300 people (in the late seventies), which dissolved, probably mostly because their ambigous politics and internal differences.

We will try to reverse this by having a common politics in which every member will have to agree to, in the organisations we'll hopefully be able to build in the not so distant future. (We currently organise a study group with quite a few people, in order to reach such an ideollogical unity).

Weird you know Norwegian anarchists! There's not too many of them, and even I know quite few. Please let them know about this study group: , and urge them to get in contact with us, so we'll might be able to start real and practical projects here. There are several different peoples involved in the project, including people who've distributed that mass printed Crimethink pamphlet which I don't remember the name of.

Guess I should stop writing as this is already way off topic....

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author by prole cat - ctc supporter (personal capacity)publication date Sun Sep 24, 2006 23:17Report this post to the editors


Glad to see y'all haunting the alleyways of I could not agree more with Wes's statement, that "we cannot revolt separately, we need to organize." I also agree that there is a place for poetic expression and creativity within revolutionary circles.

In fact, I was quite taken with Days of War when I read it several years ago. As much with the quality of the writing- which was exceptional- as with the ideas presented (though there was a spirit of rebellion that permeated the book, that I also found inspiring.)

However. Over a period of time, I have come to see that the crimethinc material I once appreciated, celebrates some fundamental ideas that I just can't agree with; indeed, that I find *counterproductive* for the anarchist movement. Such ideas as revolution being a matter of personal rebellion, rather than social revolt. Such ideas as dropping out of society, as a means of building towards social revolution. (I am not critical of dropouts, as i lean somewhat in that direction myself. But I shouldn't confuse what i do to rescue myself and my family from the worst excesses of capitalism, with what I do to overthrow the behemoth.)

So I agree that there is a place for artistic expression in political circles (and I'll even concede that the class struggle pole is rather lacking in that respect right now, in our efforts to present a more *serious* alternative to Crimethinc, etc.). But in addition to art, there is also a place for staid, formal tracts and debate. Such expressions allow us to identify and clarify our core principles, without being swayed by emotion (such as that produced by poetic writing) into taking positions that are counterproductive (such as individualism, or political support for the likes of Ted Kaczynski, as in DOW).

There is a lot of such good material on anarkismo, with
being only a couple of the more recent examples.

Hope to see y'all around more!
prole cat, Capital Terminus supporter

author by Verdantpublication date Sat Sep 30, 2006 10:12Report this post to the editors

Well...One thing that I think of when I think about Crimethinc is that they were some of the first reading I was turned onto as I became more radical.

W.'s article is valid...For a seasoned, organized and effective anarchist. I've never considered Crimethinc an organization that revolves around significant damage to capitalist systems and that such. I believe that they revolve a lot more around personal empowerment, which I believe is necessary in order to free people from prevalent societal views.

I mean, think about it. You know someone like yourself or myself, and you know "anarchist," someone who's studied the ideologies, formed their own opinions, changed their lifestyles, their paradigms, et cetera. Imagine what even a progressive, a liberal would think when we attempt to bring our conversations into their realm.

We're stereotyped.

I've read Recipes for Disaster, and yeah, it isn't going to cause anything revolutionary, but it's a step. Just like Food Not Bombs (When I take a fair amount of offense to when W lumps it as ineptitude), it's the propaganda of the deed. Except in this case, it's sugar coated and deep fried in lard so that your average, young, innocent clip-board activist can take it.

Some aspects need to be moved away from as experience is accrued, yes, but you also need to get to the steps before that. Learning to walk before you run from the cops.

Second, W's article is pervasive with I problem I've seen in a LOT of political discourse these days: It's even more depressing than the news. Politics shouldn't always be separated from fun and actual happiness, and the article disposes of this wholesale in the rejection of Crimethinc's motivations and means.

Yeah, I know Congress just fucked us again. I've already got the balm on my ass from last time. Yes, I know I could be plotting sabotage instead of seeing the local musicians playing ad hoc on the street. I could be doing a lot of things, but the politics today are draining in every way imaginable.
When you start slipping into a depression, freaking out at friends, shit like that, you're no longer effective on the political scene, and I've seen that happen way too often. Yeah, Crimethinc's stuff could be considered "Juvenile".

But sometimes, I want to be a child again. Forget, if only for a moment, that National IDs are on the way, that almost no one around me gives a fuck about it, and just cause some good, old-fashioned mischief.

And don't immediately condemn those middle-class white kids. They're every bit as important as a working class ethnic kid. They need to be freed from their societal pressures just as others need to be freed from their physical pressures. That term's been flung around so much lately it feels like the new "gay".

author by now formerpublication date Sun Oct 08, 2006 06:15Report this post to the editors

I'm not an anarchist anymore.

"I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now."

author by Jonathanpublication date Fri Oct 27, 2006 05:54Report this post to the editors

Good article destroying the Crimethinc mentality...I would however just add that while I agree with almost everything below, I do think "food not bombs" dose some amazing work and feeds alot of homeless people around the nation...there is a place for direct service in the movement, so I think the writer unfairly lumps them in with Crimethinc.

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author by Ehnnahpublication date Wed Nov 01, 2006 07:38Report this post to the editors

"parasitic" lifestyle means to me that you dont support the things you're against and you (in a sense) clean up after the things you are against (again without supporting them) then when they die cause there is no one left to buy their crap cause everyone isnt, thats when capitalism eats intself. (I think this is where a lot of anti-crimethincers beleives it ends) but it doesnt end there. They all have a nice little way of making people who live this lifestyles lazy assholes. All this fight is to me is people trying to make other people look bad so more people can join them in their fight. In the end we'll just farm and make houses out of whatever the hell is left and be fine. Spoils of life are for the greedy. (that I think we can all agree on)

non-participation in capitalism is revolutionary because the opposite is capitalisms energy source.

Subversive participation within capitalism is just regurgitate food for capitalism to munch on later. The more you depend on capitalism for your means of action and "weapons" (not actual weapons) the less you'll be ready when it dies. The more you depend on found food and shelter the more you'll be ready for it when it dies. So in the end who really winds up being the one who needs capitalisms ass to suck the s#it out of?

"Capitalism is a system of coercion and control, we don’t work to support the system, we work because we need food and shelter and healthcare and the only way to get that under capitalism is with money. The only way we can get money is by selling our labour - the alternative is to rot, that’s Capitalism. I don't want to feed my kids out of a dumpster or have to scam free healthcare if I get cancer, it's not appealing or practical."

"we dont work to support the system...": despite whatever you're working for... you're still support the system by working.

"we work because we need food and shelter and healthcare...": how could anarchists beleive these things can only be attained via payments and exploitation of ones self is beyond me.

"The only way we can get money is by selling our labour": I can see it now... anarchists holding up signs that say "Will support capitalism for food.".

Id rather not have kids because the world already has enough energy consumers as it is. Id rather die of cancer than fall on my knees and use the privelages of capitalism to save me from cancer.

"Poverty, unemployment, homelessness - if you're not having fun, you're not doing it right!" : I agree with this.

"give me money, give me a job, and give me a home!" all I see is dependency on privelages spewed out by capitalism to keep us happy, numb, and blind.

"...they do not believe in revolution and are quite possibly happy to be the kids living on the "edge" of Capitalism, a system whose excess supports their drop-out lifestyles anyway."

Living on the edge of capitalism is a LOT better than living within it.

All this "better conditions for workers!" Gung Ho unionism is so counter-productive its devistating. All it is is a way of living comfortably in the confines that the master gives to you. Its all bullshit and there is no end to it. I dont see the logic behind any of it. "Lets end capitalism and stateism while the whole time support the very exploitative and robotic/lifeless reason why we want to get rid of it!"

author by ehnnahpublication date Wed Nov 01, 2006 08:43Report this post to the editors

You shouldnt have to exploit yourself to get the things you need to survive and supporting this working society is just another way of saying "I need you to survive." or rather "I need industry to survive." Crimethinc rejects that because it obviously (through many instances of survival without industry (human beings existance after all these years is one alone)) isnt true at all.

author by retiredpublication date Fri Nov 03, 2006 01:27Report this post to the editors

For you, maybe. What about the rest of us? What about the earth? We can't all be scavengers and parasites. The ecosystem can't sustain it. Neither can any society.

There are no individual solutions to collective problems. The Crimethinc mentality is pure selfishness. Most scamming, and all professional scamming, is pure selfishness. Professional scammers suck on society's neck no less than bosses, and in much the same way. We do the work, they get the benefit. This is not revolution. This is parasitism.

Crimethinc's is not even smart selfishness. They are totally amateur. Professional scammers don't have to eat out of dumpsters. Professional scammers can eat out of room service, any time they want. So can the bosses. Capitalism itself is a scam.

What has always separated anarchists from the myriad, statist reformers is that all they want is a bigger piece of the pie. We want the oven. Crimethinc tells you to settle for crumbs. This is not revolution. Ergo, it serves the bosses' agenda.

Besides, most of the scams they describe in their books were burned out years ago. They don't work anymore. Follow Crimethinc's advice and, sooner or later, you will wind up in prison. Professional scamming cannot be learned solely from books, anyway, any books, even the good ones. If you want to learn how to scam professionally, there are only two places do it, the classroom with a bunch of aspiring cops and lawyers, and the field with an experienced, competent mentor. Either work. Both is better.

And make no mistake about it, if you are going to scam, even part time, you really do want to first learn how to do it right, before you start sticking your neck out. There is a name for criminals who are not also criminologists. They are called "convicts."

There is also a name for people who don't work, are homeless, and eat out of dumpsters. They're called "bums." While a revolutionary can certainly bum, bumming itself is not revolutionary. If all you do is bum, you're not a revolutionary. If you call yourself one, you're a liar.

If you're not a revolutionary, you're part of the problem. Crimethinc, and lifestyle anarchism in general, is part of the problem. Is part of the problem what you really want to be in life? Then buy Crimethinc books. Read them. Do what they say.

Later, when you're bored, perhaps these people will help you:

author by Kim Keyser - Anarkismopublication date Fri Nov 03, 2006 16:50Report this post to the editors

I agree with retired of course.

However there seemed to be a couple of more serious Crimethikers in this thread as well. They seemed to imply that people such as "ehnnah" is just some bad isolated example of a Crimethinker (am I right?). I argued that this stuff that "ennah" is proposing, is what I mostly heard from Crimethinkers. Thus I urged the more serious ones to set up separate organizational structures if they wanted to know that Crimethink isn't just about such bullshit as "ennahs".

Won't you admit that there's at least a grain of truth it that?

author by Carypublication date Sun Dec 03, 2006 02:53author email lastrevolution at optonline dot netauthor address 30 Wickham Driveauthor phone 987-8917Report this post to the editors

A good article, to be sure. I've read some of the CrimethInc primers and am half-way through Evasion, and while romantic, does little to explain any actual plans for revolution, and for that matter, post-revolution. However, their advice in terms of shoplifting and direct action can be helpful.

In the end, revolution is what you make of it. Theirs just happens to be one without a future.


author by mpublication date Sun Dec 10, 2006 01:14Report this post to the editors

There are some valuable criticisms in this article and in the many replies I've read, and I definitely agree that for any sustained/sustainable revolutionary movement to take place, we have to move beyond individualistic "parasitic" actions at the fringes of the system, and organize at a larger scale that appeals to a broader spectrum of interests, experiences, and positions. Which is the reason I've found some of these comments, and the tone of the inciting article, to be just as damaging to the movement as crimethinc's "anarchist primers".

Underlying the crimethinc movement, and the much broader, more diverse and thoroughly theorized anarchist current in the west, there is a lot of continuity - we agree a lot more than we disagree, I think, in terms of critiques of the current system, the state of civilization, the abhorrence of violence and oppression and its stemming from a certain (capital based) way of organizing our societies... of course there are probably as many definitions of anarchy as there are anarchists, but creating camps, divisions, and "right" and "wrong" ways of revolting does little to mobilize these masses of the disenfranchised - and the little bourgeois white kids (and I am definitely one) also have compelling reasons to be discontent.

So to criticize certain isolated acts as parasitic is one thing, but to dismiss an entire current of thinking, and people who have been inspired by it, as unhelpful to the movement as a whole is probably one of the reasons we have yet to see a mass movement working in a coordinated way - you talk about crimethincers not being willing to associate with the "scum" who still participate in the system, but are you willing to work with crimethincers? And will our abilities to all work together in this mass movements you talk about be at all hindered by these internal squabbles?

Our work is invigorated by productive debates about tactics, but not by labelling, personal attacks, and perpetuating the idea of real vs. bourgeois revolutionaries - isn't "divide and conquer" the underlying theme of the green scare and COINTELPRO?

author by Jackpublication date Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:36Report this post to the editors

While I do agree that the simple premises of dropping out of school dumpster diving and "doing what feels good" is not a solution to capitalism, heirachrical structure and a movement towards a sustainable earth crimethinc has provided many with an opening to anarchism and since I have been interested in primitivism as an ultimate goal since it is ultimately the only sustainable form for life on the planet and syndiclism as a means towards that goal due to its strong organization and commitment to action. It is unfortunate that so much divison and shit-talking happens in the anarchist community while open respectful dialouges could be much more beneficial to establishing a venue for theory in action instead of the inaction of theory.

author by anarchistpublication date Mon Dec 18, 2006 14:11Report this post to the editors

Primitivism is not anarchism.

author by Westonpublication date Thu Feb 01, 2007 07:15Report this post to the editors

I think it's so cool how anarkists argue with and/or undermine the ideas and philosophies of other anarkists. This must be the forum where the Anarko-Fascists meet right? "everyone should have freedom of speech, except people who disagree with me"! Is that the motto here?

We're all anarkists and we should focus on at least tolerating what other anarkists have to say. I don't agree with everything Crimethinc says, but at least they are saying something. I don't agree with the ideas and philosophies of alot of anarkists, but at least they are working towards a common end. All I am saying is that unless we are working towards a world of anarko-fascism you should all learn to respect others' ways of working towards their own special revolution. Whether it be anarko-punk, anarko-syndicalism or primitivism shouldnt matter. What should matter is that were all working to emancipate ourselves and shake off the chains that are connecting us to our meaningless lives. Personally, I think that there is more to anarky than class struggle, and I hope the day comes when others think like that too, but I am not about to start undermining what other anarkists have to say.
That is all I have to type for now.
May the force be with all of you.

author by Joepublication date Thu Feb 01, 2007 19:08Report this post to the editors

Weston by 'Freedom of speech' you seem to mean anarchists should not be allowed to criticise other anarchists! This is a very weird definition indeed and if practised would be harmful to the anarchist movement as we would lose one mechanism to develop our ideas.

Providing this sort of discussion can be political rather then personal and based on arguing over the facts it is useful. Not every comment above is perfect but I think quite a lot is to be learned/clarified in the process of reading them all. This is a good thing.

author by Justin Operable - Anarchistpublication date Fri Feb 02, 2007 17:10author email streetguerilla at hotmail dot comReport this post to the editors

I don't see how anyone can take this critique seriously. It's divisive, petty, inaccurate. It seems as though the writer hardly read any lions share of their published material. So far as I've ever gathered, Crimethinc has never advocated dropping out as the ends. Only one small means, a way to lessen your interaction with capitalism, your consumption, and to allow yourself more time with which to fight. And if you're tired of young primitive punks who have a very limited understanding of Anarchy, but dumpster because it's part of their subculture, why do you shun people who could grow more well rounded, and instead leave them unaware?

Seriously, this article so grossly misrepresents the core of Crimethincs published work, it's appalling and irresponsible.

If we want a cooperative society, but let the manner with which our allies choose to live while fighting for it divide us. We're fucking doomed. If we can't find common ground now, and let people live how they choose to, so long as it's Anarchist, how can we ever hope to do it on a societal, or even a community scale. So many Anarchists complain about how counterculture kids wear the trappings of Anarchy but dont delve into the ideas, then when a group comes along that seriously pushes the ideas in a very real way to these kids, and makes more serious and committed anarchists than any of your books on theory have ever provided, everyone attacks it. Rather than allying with it, offering constructive criticisms as comrades in arms, making sure these kids put their gift economy where their mouth is and perhaps introduce them to deeper levels of Anarchist though, everyone pisses on it.

I'm extremely disappointed.

author by Tom O'Bedlampublication date Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:47Report this post to the editors

While I have been reading a bunch of Crimethinc's stuff and came to many similar conclusions, I wonder at such aggressively dismissive stances. Wouldn't it be better to engage these folks, rather than just slam them? Certainly much of what they have written is from the vantage point of bourgeois youth, but what of it? Would you kick a burgeoning rebel in the face? Would you supress all that energy? Crimethinc is limited in its analysis for certain, but they also have as you stated in a previous post, good intentions and certainly a lot of good energy and style! As someone who is much older I felt I wanted to say "Yes! and what about this? and this? and this? etc.".

I say encourage and inspire each other, the rest of the world will do enough rock throwing to keep us busy without always attacking each other because we have fallen short.

And we all fall short.

author by P. H. Madore - disproductionspublication date Tue Feb 27, 2007 20:19author email editor at litdispatch dot netauthor address Waynesboro, PAReport this post to the editors

"I don't see how anyone can take this critique seriously. It's divisive, petty, inaccurate. It seems as though the writer hardly read any lions share of their published material."

Fuck, this says it all for me.

I kind of have this sick feeling in my stomach.

Ya'll treat us like the rest of society treats us. I'm not sure, but I'm about ready to charge that this means you're the asshole here... I can't see how Food Not Bombs ranks as "useless" and I'm honestly not sure who determines "useful" and "useless'" when speaking in revolutionary terms.

Basically, are you kidding me?

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author by P. H. M.publication date Tue Feb 27, 2007 21:00Report this post to the editors

You know, if there are CrimethInkers who are pissed that people still work, they missed the chapter about work, and you know, if being a CrimethInker means a damn thing, then so does being an anarchist, but I'm pretty sure they're just words, and that the actions of someone calling himself a republican or some such could prove every bit as important as all the anarchist actions combined.

I see this as a very, very warped representation of CrimethInc. It is clear to me that the author has no interest in revolution. Lamenting a lack of organization in terms of the way a group you're not involved in handles its shit is indeed petty.

I'll be sure to take your gripes to the next Etiquette Council and when we revise Days of War, we'll take this oh-so-constructive critique (which seeks to learn the unique lessons inside the book, too!) review into consideration...

Just as it says in the Shareholders Report, my friends: THERE IS NOT ENOUGH BEING DONE.



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author by P. H. M.publication date Tue Feb 27, 2007 21:08Report this post to the editors

"While I have been reading a bunch of Crimethinc's stuff and came to many similar conclusions, I wonder at such aggressively dismissive stances. Wouldn't it be better to engage these folks, rather than just slam them? Certainly much of what they have written is from the vantage point of bourgeois youth, but what of it? Would you kick a burgeoning rebel in the face? Would you supress all that energy? Crimethinc is limited in its analysis for certain, but they also have as you stated in a previous post, good intentions and certainly a lot of good energy and style! As someone who is much older I felt I wanted to say "Yes! and what about this? and this? and this? etc.".

I say encourage and inspire each other, the rest of the world will do enough rock throwing to keep us busy without always attacking each other because we have fallen short.

And we all fall short."

I grew up wearing hand-me-downs (still do) and eating from food stamps. There's nothing bourgeouis about my mom--she rarely wins in life, and when she does, it's by mistake. I love her though and she did what she could to make it not so hard for us.

I feel like a lot of the leftists AND CrimethInc. kids I run into were fairly privileged. I don't hold this against them as long as they aren't, in effect, just the White Collar Corporate Criminals of tomorrow. I do think it means I have more in common with other people who came up like me, and they are often the older anarchists I run into, who didn't come awake in a time of global fascism and impending apocolypse.

All that matters is there here and now. Here and now I have it not so bad. I have no money, but I'm doing okay.

And I've been lower-working-class my entire life.

I just wanted to throw that out there for the other lefties who may come along and assume that only the privileged kids appreciate CrimethInc. I gave up on waiting for the vanguard to rescue me from my poverty.

author by ehnnahpublication date Sat Mar 03, 2007 13:34Report this post to the editors

"For you, maybe. What about the rest of us? What about the earth? We can't all be scavengers and parasites. The ecosystem can't sustain it. Neither can any society."

so what do you suggest, we just keep aiding the system because it will keep us alive? It indeed wouldnt keep everyone alive but doesnt that tell you that something is fucked up? If we were to all at least try to survive just off of whats in our immediate reach/off the land a lot of people would still die and do you know why this would happen? because people who keep the system alive to survive weaken their ability to survive on their own.

"There are no individual solutions to collective problems. The Crimethinc mentality is pure selfishness. Most scamming, and all professional scamming, is pure selfishness. Professional scammers suck on society's neck no less than bosses, and in much the same way. We do the work, they get the benefit. This is not revolution. This is parasitism.

Crimethinc's is not even smart selfishness. They are totally amateur. Professional scammers don't have to eat out of dumpsters. Professional scammers can eat out of room service, any time they want. So can the bosses. Capitalism itself is a scam."

I would much rather someone dumpster than scam because when you scam you make a void in capitalisms system that just winds up filled with more exploitation. And what... is it a mark of weakness to dumpster?

"What has always separated anarchists from the myriad, statist reformers is that all they want is a bigger piece of the pie. We want the oven. Crimethinc tells you to settle for crumbs. This is not revolution. Ergo, it serves the bosses' agenda."

Crimthinc says live off the crumbs till the oven breaks down out of lack of use and then take it upon yourself to figure your own shit out.

"There is also a name for people who don't work, are homeless, and eat out of dumpsters. They're called "bums." While a revolutionary can certainly bum, bumming itself is not revolutionary. If all you do is bum, you're not a revolutionary. If you call yourself one, you're a liar."

You can honestly sit there and say Crimthinc only advocates being hobo-esque? Remember this is about Crimthinc specifically so speak with understanding not misconception.

"If you're not a revolutionary, you're part of the problem. Crimethinc, and lifestyle anarchism in general, is part of the problem. Is part of the problem what you really want to be in life? Then buy Crimethinc books. Read them. Do what they say. "

Taking part in the problem is being apart of the problem, abstaining from taking part in the problem is not being apart of the problem.

all you bullshit "revolutionaries" tend to forget to think before you act and you wind up doing more hidden harm than you could ever know. If you even move in this society you fuck someone over. You become the active oppressor.

If you can honestly name some revolutionary action that doesnt impeed on somebody else I would love to hear it. and dont forget, you said it yourself, If you arent "revolutionary" (Revolutionary: radically [b]new or innovative[/b] ; outside or beyond established procedure, principles, etc.) then you are part of the problem.

author by retiredpublication date Sun Mar 04, 2007 01:25Report this post to the editors

>If we were to all at least try to survive just off of whats in our immediate reach/off the land a lot of people would still die and do you know why this would happen? because people who keep the system alive to survive weaken their ability to survive on their own.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. This would happen because the planet's biosphere is not capable of supporting six billion people trying to "survive just off of whats in our immediate reach/off the land."

No one can survive on their own, because no one is smart enough to make it through life with only one brain. We need each other. We always have. We always will.

Parasitism is not "surviving on one's own." It's living on the backs of workers, just like a goddamn boss.

author by Pow! - JTFCpublication date Wed Mar 14, 2007 23:59Report this post to the editors

Crimethinc. in all it's flaws got me here to this site. It opens closed eyes and helps us transform from slacktivists into organizers, thinkers and more than just capitalists. I think no matter what you have to say about them, half of you have to admit that it got you to where you are today. Thank you for arguing, it has broadened my idea of Crimethinc. and has given me a broader aspect of what is beyond dumpster diving.

author by publication date Mon Mar 19, 2007 06:40Report this post to the editors

You call their tactics ineffective, but what tactics do you suggest? Do have tactics that would be somehow more effective? Violent revolution ends in new authoritarianism, or it fails, and the system is restored stronger than it was before. The "drop out" lifestyle is the only way. Boycotting capitalism is the only way to fight it. Growing our own food, making our own medicine, building our own shelter, gathering and supporting eachother outside of the capitalist system is the only way.

author by Joepublication date Mon Mar 19, 2007 23:39Report this post to the editors

The big problem with the argument that "Growing our own food, making our own medicine, building our own shelter, gathering and supporting eachother outside of the capitalist system is the only way." is that it ignores history.

Not all that long ago quite large sections of the planets population lived in just this sort of manner. Then the came into capitalism and found it perfectly willing to use extreme violence to force them to end their way of living and get into the factories and the mines either as slaves or wage slaves. Capitalism today generally doesn't care about the odd isolated commune but it does take steps to prevent even small numbers of people 'dropping out' - witness the way Thatcher treated the 'Peace convoys' in 1980's Britain. Or the way the farmers are being treated in Rossport because Shell Oil wants their land for a dangerous pipeline

These are both examples from the west, much more brutal examples are available from elsewhere

There is no escaping capitalism for any but a tiny, tiny minority who have to hope that the space they occupy is not useful. It is not the only strategy, it is no strategy at all.

author by Just Someonepublication date Thu Apr 26, 2007 16:25Report this post to the editors

CrimethInc is a trendy, appealing little website, I'll admit. But why is that bad? It's much more accessible than sites such as this one. And as for those of you who criticize CrimethInc because it somehow subverts its readers away from real anarchism and toward lifestylism, consider the idea that CrimethInc is a first step. In almost every one of their publications available on the website, they encourage further reading of any kind. They encourage people to speak to other people and find others who share their beliefs. I, personally, have arrived at this site twice and both times I arrived here were due to a CrimethInc related search. I would never have found this website if it were not for CrimethInc. Consider that CrimethInc is an ideological hub, where those people who might be sympathetic to your goals will gather, and then, through the further reading they will now be motivated to do in order to be trendy, as you might generalize it, they may flock to your banner. But isn't all this banner waving a little childish anyway? Instead of all this "my revolution is better than yours" nonsense, how about getting in contact with CrimethInc cells and suggesting some activities you want to pursue, such as the formation of labor unions in your and their areas, things like student organizations, all the things you have proposed here. I'm sure a bunch of thrill-seeking teenagers would jump at the chance to get involved with others, and pursue some of what you see as "real anarchism." I would. See CrimethInc not as an enemy, but as a comrade who simply sees a different way to the same end. Your goals can easily work with their goals. Exchange information with them. Get on their forum. If you don't like the way they are pursuing their personal revolution, and you feel the need to change it, TELL THEM HOW. They're all waiting for a way to get more involved, I guarantee it.

author by Gavinpublication date Tue Jul 03, 2007 12:01Report this post to the editors

Honestly. You respond to allegations of parasitism with rhetoric that evetually ends up being meaningless. Dumpster diving, scamming, shoplifting etc. are all possible based solely on the fact that here in America we have abundance. Dumpster Diving requires that a producer of food produces so much food that they would be incapable of selling it all. Scamming requires that businesses are rich and successful enough to endure scam after scam, and shoplifting require much the same thing while encouraging overproduction. That's not cleaning up, that is overtly enjoying the benefits of the work of others, which is the definition of parasitism. You also act like this will, in some magical way, bring about the end of capitalism. You seem to assume that capitalism will simply "die", but the "traveler kid" lifestyle I've seen advocated in Days of War (admittedly the only CrimethInc text I've read through entirely) would be rendered impossible if that happened.

Also, I'd like to ask you how you could possibly agree with the quote"Poverty, unemployment, homelessness - if you're not having fun, you're not doing it right!". When I was younger, my family sometimes had to dumpster dive simply to live, and it seriously pisses me off when a "dropout" who could easily get a hold of food in many other ways could take that food away from people who really need it or from organizations like "Food not Bombs".

"If you can honestly name some revolutionary action that doesnt impeed on somebody else I would love to hear it."- You do understand that the goal of a revolution is to improve the lives of the people, right? You also understand that you are portraying your scams and dumpster diving as helping bring about the fall of capitalism, which would constitute a revoltion, right?

author by Hollypublication date Fri Jul 06, 2007 09:03author email brown.h.b at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

I agree that CrimethInc has some serious flaws in becoming an actual movement. But in some ways, I would rather see flawed movements and groups that help people on their way than nothing at all. To use a horribly academic word, they are out there, being part of the dialogue. I think SOME good can come of it.

My question is: where do we go from here? If CrimethInc is flawed, who do we turn to? Where does the revolution start? I'm not being sarcastic, I really want to know. Where do I start?

author by Jonathan - Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federationpublication date Wed Jul 18, 2007 00:36Report this post to the editors

They are out there yes, but I think that they are misrepresenting anarchism, and possibly deterring people who would otherwise be attracted to the idea. Perhaps some good will come of it, but if potential anarchists turn to authoritarian forms of socialism because the only alternative they are exposed to is to eat out of a dustbin, I think that would be more bad than good.

I think there are quite a few examples of *revolutionary* anarchist alternatives that we can turn to. The Especifismo movement of Latin America being a good contemporary example.

I think that a good way to start would be by educating yourself and possibly others, through a study group maybe, on the capitalist and state machine and how it works, as well as revolutionary anarchist theory and history.

Having done that (perhaps you already have) I think that one would start to see that dropping out of society, or living on its fringes, as idealised by CrimethInc, is not going to change society. No matter how much dumpstered waste you eat, the capitalist mode of production will create more.

What is necessary is to spread anarchist ideas and organise and agitate for their adoption on a mass level. One of my many problems with CrimethInc is that it does not appear to me to seek to spread anarchism amongst the masses, instead confining itself to pseudo-revolutionary circles of disaffected and often middle-class youth.

For anarchism to be effective, anarchist ideas need to be accepted by the majority or poor and working poor. Anarchists, I think, need to find social insertion for anarchist ideas and practice wherever they can.

If you are not already part of an anarchist collective or organisation, I would suggest you either seek to join one, if there is one active in your vicinity, or try to start a collective yourself, if there are other unorganised anarchists in your area.

That said, I would suggest you look around your locality and see what the needs and pressing issues facing the poor and working poor community are. Perhaps there are already groups or campaigns dealing with these issues, and your help as a volunteer might be appreciated. Once inside, you can try to push for anarchist modes of organisation, and to spread emancipatory ideas.

If you are employed, perhaps you can try to organise workers in your work place around an issue that effects you. Perhaps you are being forced to work overtime without compensation, through lunch or without efficient safety gear?

The role of revolutionary anarchists is not to try to live outside of society, but to try to get anarchist ideas accepted within popular society - to become the the 'dominant' or leading ideology - to argue for anarchist ideas wherever and whenever the opportunity arises; over the dinner table, in the cafeteria at school or at work, in the dole queue, and at the bus stop. And always to organise. We need to be present wherever the working classes, poor and oppressed are engaged in struggles against their oppressors.

I think the revolution starts when the poor, working poor and oppressed masses become aware of the injustice and oppression committed against them, become conscious of the fact that change is both possible and necessary, and have enough confidence in itself, as a class, to launch a revolutionary struggle against the oppressors.

As anarchists, our role is to spread that awareness, try to raise the general levels of consciousness, to insert ourselves and our ideas wherever there is a gap, and organise. That, I think, is the starting point.

In short, start organising.

For some practical organising manuals, go to then to groups > zabalaza books > downloads 2 > practical organising manuals.

author by Jonathan - Anarkismopublication date Fri Aug 03, 2007 23:42Report this post to the editors

Find it here:

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author by a23publication date Mon Aug 06, 2007 03:46Report this post to the editors

It's very odd that the 'anti-CrimethInc' contingent seem so set on perpetuating a blatantly false, caricatured view of CrimethInc, given that the latter have, on numerous occasions in this thread, clarified that their position is nowhere close to the 'irresponsible bourgeois lifestyle anarchism' so unfortunately attributed to them (a perspective reinforced only by the most cursory appraisal of their very earliest works).

In an article linked from this very thread, members of CrimethInc have detailed (to the extent that any truly decentralized network can exhaustively define their actions and agendas) their involvement with workplace organisation and other social-anarchist pursuits; they have also elegantly defended their 'guerrilla ontology' approach as a necessary (and non-exclusive) means towards ends I'm sure everyone who even vaguely affiliates themselves with anarchism would find amenable.

Furthermore, one only has to refer to their recommended reading lists and their literature itself to realize that many of their detractors haven't read them or, worse, have failed to grasp that CrimethInc operate within a more post-structuralist paradigm (ie. that 'decadent postmodern relativism' advocated by Hakim Bey, Bob Black, Todd May, the Situationists, Deleuze and Guattari, etc.) and thus have no easily definable central doctrine.

While Bookchin (alluding to some the above-cited influences, whose academese probably first stoked his vitriol) posited an 'unbridgeable chasm' between the 'social' and 'lifestyle' anarchists in his essay of similar name, it is perhaps worth considering that the former and the latter (where this bears no relation to the pseudo 'lifestyle anarchism' of 'anarcho-capitalism') are simply the agents of the same revolution happening on different levels of organisational complexity, ie. the individual and the social body. (Manuel De Landa's 'A New Philosophy of Society', and probably Negri and Hardt's Multitude too, serves as great scaffolding in extending this type of thinking).

At the very least, it is probably worth reading the loose historical analogue of this debate - the Bookchin article I mentioned and, importantly, Bob Black's rebuttal, 'Anarchy after Leftism'. While Black is by no means beyond reproach, 'AAL' responds usefully to many of the concerns raised in this thread.

In summary, I certainly share most of the aspirations of social anarchism; I can't help but feel though that the world resulting from the fruition of such aspirations should be populated by a radicalized people - in this regard, CrimethInc and its ilk are indispensable. While we're both fomenting and awaiting 'The Revolution', surely there are countless smaller revolutions to be initiated?

Or, as Terence McKenna once said, the THREE enemies of the people are hegemony, monogamy and monotony.

author by Gamblepublication date Sat Aug 11, 2007 01:10Report this post to the editors

Let me begin by saying that I was introduced to anarchy as a serious option almost entirely by Crimethinc. Nothing else reached me. There's something to be said for that.

However, after a couple weeks of sifting through their books, zines, movies, pamphlets, and posters I saw the major flaws. No, it is not revolutionary in itself to squat and dumpster-dive. It's not even viable.



By the way, Crimethinc (though it may be viewed as part of their 'polished presentation') admits openly the flaws and contradictions of their dogma. You would do well to do the same.

author by Paddy Rua - WSMpublication date Sat Aug 11, 2007 18:30Report this post to the editors

Gamble was quite obviously introduced to "anarchy" -whatever he means for that- through Crimethinc. Unsurprisingly for the kind of ideas he holds.

Anarchism, whether you like it or not, is not anything you like. It is a coherent set of social critique and ideas with a tradition of some 150 years. If you come up with ideas that have little relation to it, I'm so sorry, but that's not anarchism. You may like the word and you can use it, but it won't mean that much. If you think the anarchist approach is feudal, what means basically that you DON'T AGREE WITH ANARCHISM, then why call your own ideas anarchy? How is it you're so unimaginative not to call it differentely?

The funniest part is when he says: " is Marxist and Crimethinc. is not." . First off, as usual, "Marxist" is used as a term of insult. I wonder if Gamble has ever read Marx or Marxists. Surely not, as reading Crimethinc must be very time consuming. If you had, you wouldn't say such an obviously stupid statement. And if you had read the classic anarchists -from Bakunin on- you would find it quite hard to assure that Crimethinc is anarchist. It is not. It is something else, maybe valid more certainly not, but definitely something else.

Funnily enough, among many of this type of "newborn anarchists" (mostly coming from the US by the way) there's a tendency to label basic anarchist ideas such as class struggle, mass organisation, revolution and so on, as "Marxist", and worse, to label anyone who does actually any sort of political analysis or sound, well thought out articles, as "Marxists". And anarchist, well, is according to them anyone who does little favour to anarchism as an alternative.

A final issue. " (Crimethinc) admits openly the flaws and contradictions of their dogma. You would do well to do the same." All of ideas have flaws and contradictions are encountered in practice at all times. But it is not enough to admit contradictions and flaws, something has to be done to sort them out. This for Crimethinckers is irrelevant. In our case, the platformist tendency of anarchism was born as a deep self-criticism and has been developing this since a long time. The fact that you ignore this proves your own ignorance about this issue.

author by Ameliapublication date Mon Sep 17, 2007 15:38Report this post to the editors

I'm going to start this by saying that I am not an anarchist, as much as I thought my far-left politics and record collection made me one when I was younger. I'm still young, still reading and trying to decide what I think will actually aid the working class, realistically. I hope that I will not be the target of "You're not a REAL anarchist if you work for the MAN, man!" rhetoric.

I went through a CrimethInc phase as a teenager, because it was recommended to me by another dumpster-diving punk kid. I've read several of their books and zines. After taking it all in and meeting others who were "CrimethInckers" I decided for myself that it was nonsense, and sought better reading material on my own. CrimethInc did not, in my opinion, provide any insight as to how social change could be achieved. It jerked off my ego a hell of a lot by telling me that I was a revolutionary if I believed in autonomy, which I'm sure 90% of teenagers involved in the punk subculture do.

CrimethInc can, as a bunch of people have stated here, be a useful tool in getting young people involved in anarchism or other revolutionary politics--a kind of Anarchism-For-Dummies thing. It's quick to read, contains pretty words, and caters to the selfishness of middle-class teenagers. Some kids will seek out more information on the subject.

However, in the hands of other kids, it can be dangerous (And NOT in a romantic CrimethInc-y way; in a proliferating-ignorance way), because they will believe that they've read the "required material" and will not try to form their own opinions or educate themselves any further. These kids seem to be the ones rabidly defending CrimethInc's integrity as though W's critique were a personal attack on their identity, rather than considering what he had to say and possibly exploring what other anarchist (And maybe even !gasp! Marxist) writers have to offer them.

author by NO DANCING!publication date Mon Nov 12, 2007 23:04Report this post to the editors



It seems like people are so insecure when it comes to right-wing criticisms of the movement that they are afraid to admit pissed off white middle-class teenagers are a part of said movement at all. YOU are not just a pissed off teenager! YOU are a real anarchist not just some kid trying to reject his parents etc etc. It couldn't possibly be the case that teenagers tend to rebel because they are reaching an age where the suppression of their natural desires is becoming more apparent, evoking resistance.

Next: having enough petty bullshit possessions to be called "Middle Class" and then abandoning them to make your own lifestyle does not make someone's opinions or choice any less valid. This DOES NOT FOLLOW.

These disgusting stereotypes are primarily the result of JEALOUSY and FEAR on the part of older or less courageous anarchists. Just because YOU don't want to leave your middle class privilege and YOU'RE not fed up with "peaceful protests" that accomplish fuckall, doesn't mean everyone has to be.

This shit-talking about crimethinc is a miserable rationalization-via-stereotyping of all the movement's failures in recent years. How about taking a look at things without the fear and envy goggles. Do you think working within a capitalist system will bring about real change? I don't think wearing tight pants or going to food not bombs will bring about real change, but this clique isn't much different. If you're afraid to dance, it's not a revolution.

Quit making ad hominem attacks on stereotyped crimethinkers and take a look at the real issues.

(Notes: I am not and have never been a part of "crimethinc." I am not a teenager, nor am I part of the "middle class." I do think of myself as an anarchist.)

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author by Responder - Reality (Farther Eastern Cell)publication date Tue Nov 13, 2007 23:08Report this post to the editors

As is evident on the Infoshop article to which this is linked (I'm not giving it, because Chuck0 at this point is an apologist for Green Scare snitches), the CrimethInc. kids are now backing away from their "We're better than everybody" garbage. Next thing you know, they'll actually say that being a worker isn't so disgusting!

author by Halopublication date Wed Nov 14, 2007 02:43Report this post to the editors

We all buy books--hell I've even helped set-up a few anarcha-book stores and distros. And in all of them, we have mostly helped make AK Press Black Rose (etc) plus any number of major book publishers more money. I know lots of workerist anarchists who do this. ??? We are saturated in capitalist relations, this purity argument coming from a workerist anarchist is dumbfounding. This sounds more like the dumb shit little-informed culture kids who are into CWC say. That said, CWC has had an amazing effect on anarchism--do you really think that any of the people involved now would buy into workerist anarchism? I am lower-class and therefore workerist tendencies have a special place in my heart, but they are a mere slice of the movement as a whole. There is no central oppression of the current capitalist/racist/sexist/ableist/fundamentalist/statist/heterosexist/etc. nexus. There isn't (never was) a pure capitalism that was separate from all these other things (this is the Marxist lie, which we noticed in reference to only the statist problem originally in the time of the anarchist patriarchs)--therefore workerist solutions cannot liberate us from all of it, but only a segment. That is not to say that I am not committed to this fight, but I recognize all the others and am committed to them. And I act politically in a holistic manner in accordance with this knowledge, regardless of the fact that I am biased towards the anti-capitalist work. CWC acts similarly from what I can tell, but they are skewed towards culture (or were lets see the new book). I think that other people need to use the crimethinc title to write about other things--or try and ask them to round-out their theory by asking to have their specific interests represented. Has anyone actually done this? Or is this really just about workerist tendencies trying to continue the lie that capitalism is the central problem at play, with themselves acting as the 'central revolutionary actors' who have the 'truth'? Because this is not acceptable, one could argue is insulting to all us who suffer from these other vectors of oppression. We need to move against all them at once, and guess what, anti-capitalist/state struggles do not actually affect those other relations of power in themselves. We must move forward against all oppression, it is fine if people select their niches, but those niches should be informed and working with all the others--not presupposing itself as central. Guess what--CWC is postanarchist and that is what this fight is really about--holistic anarchism that considers all oppressive/authoritarian/hegemonic relations and workerist anarchism that theorizes the centrality of anti-capitalism/statism over all other modes of oppression. Yes CWC leads to moron kids who are running around doing fucked up shit with little to no ability for self-reflection or theoretical reflection coming into the scene and making things nearely intolerable some times. But guess what, they would NOT be here if not for CWC (and others), and it is the role of peoples who have been around awhile to try and talk to them about things. Not in a condescending way that presupposes their beliefs and problems, but in a constructive way. CWC didn't make them that way, they were uniformed before they picked-up a CWC book, and now they are running around looking for others to work with. So can we as anarchists deal with success? Because that is what CWC and others have been bringing--think before this last 10 years what was going on? So little (post-nuke) that people who called themselves anarchists in any major city could fit into a restaurant. That's not the case anymore is it? Well all that can be done is to understand that new peoples coming into the politics have some half-cocked ideas that lead to actions in kind often. that's not CWC's or any other propagandist's fault. these new anarchists also have ideas that break with the earlier anarchists --as described above-- this should be OK too. Things change.

author by Global Dissidentpublication date Fri Nov 16, 2007 03:24author email reid9001 at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

At least the CrimethIncers are leaving the past and burying "what anarchism could have been." The Makhnovists and Spanish Anarchists did a lot of great things back in the day, but their fight is over, they lost and some of their ideas are outdated.

Platformism sucks anyways. The people don't need some drawn out platform that expresses a desire to enforce some vague ideology. The people need inspiration, they need to see anarchy in action, that anarchy can work not just as a political belief, but as a way of life.

author by Andrewpublication date Fri Nov 16, 2007 04:17Report this post to the editors

There are two problems with your comment beyond the failure to address the article as opposed to employ stale rhetorical devices.

Your description of the platform simply demonstrates you haven't read it as you are unaware of its (brief) length and actual content. In other words you have put forward a purely ideological position and one based on ignorance.

Secondly a few years back crimethinc may have been bright shiny and new for those who prefer their politics to sound likeads for electronic gizmos. But they are not anymore, they are an 'old' politics just as the makhnoivists or the Spanish anarchists. A little bit younger to be sure but still old enough for critiques like the article you clearly haven't read based on someone putting crimethinc into their past and critiquing it on that basis.

author by Global Dissidentpublication date Fri Nov 16, 2007 06:14author email reid9001 at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

First of all it is not that I have a problem with the platform, I have a problem with platformism. You can't have true anarchy with a uniform ideological field, nor do I find it exceptable to attempt to create a uniform ideological field or to give people a platform that one must accept to "join the Revolution." The old concept of revolution is a fallacy anyways, by taking violent action against the state you are only acknowledging that the state has powers worth fighting against. It is better, in my opinon, to simply live as if the state did not exist.

And while it is ture that CrimethInc is a few years old now, it is wrong to associate them with politics, they are even a little aprehensive of calling themselves anarchists. Their books are not political doctrines or manifestos, they are guides on effective ways to live outside the system and inspirational fiction stories to give people hope.

author by Jonathan - ZACF (personal capacity)publication date Fri Nov 16, 2007 15:31Report this post to the editors

I think you are still misunderstanding platformism. It is not to "give people a platform that one must accept to "join the Revolution.'" In saying this you again demonstrate that you have failed to understand the basis of platformism, or that you are basing your critique on what someone else, who has failed to grasp the proper meaning of the platform, has said. What platformism says is that for any organisation to be effective it needs to be based on a common understanding of what oppressions we face, and a common strategy of how to challenge these oppressions. That does not mean to exclude people who have a different outlook from revolutionary struggle; only that for them to be effective they too should seek to team up with like-minded groups and individuals, and operate in a concerted fashion around common understandings and objectives. If your main focus is environmental, and mine is class struggle, how are we going to be able to effectively work together towards either of our aims?

I agree that anarchists should try to live as freely as possible, and try to deny the state the opportunity to control our lives, but to suggest that it is better "to simply live as if the state did not exist" demonstrates a hugely naive conception of the capitalist system - and the state that upholds it - and this type of logic is one of Crimethink's biggest weaknesses. I wonder what would happen if, say, a Mexican looking for work in the US decided to do exactly that; and just waltzed across the border as if there was not a state to enforce that artificial boundary. My guess is that they would get arrested, deported or imprisoned, possibly shot. Great advise. Now imagine all anarchists did something like that; they would soon end up dead or in jail. I don't think that would get us very far. Whether we chose to recognize it or not, the state does exist, and wishing it out of existence is not actually going to make it go away.

Neither do I agree that Crimethink are apprehensive about calling themselves anarchists, which makes me wonder if you've actually read them either. In everything of theirs that I've picked up they seem to proclaim themselves not only as anarchists, but the only anarchists who actually get anarchism. Or at least that is the impression I got.

Anyway, one of my biggest qualms with Crimethink is that you cannot overthrow the capitalist system by simply trying to live outside it. As much as it might pain you to know; most people are forced by circumstance to live within the capitalist system, as they are not a bunch of pseudo-revolutionary middle class kids with the luxury of dropping out of society for a bit, but devastatingly poor and oppressed workers and unemployed with families to feed, children to educate and elderly to nurse. Possessing nothing but the clothes on their back, a few sheets of corrugated iron to make up their shack - in which 10 or more people live - and their hands, they are forced to sell their labour (if they can get a job) just to survive. They could try and live as if the state didn't exist, but it would be kind of hard when a bunch of thugs, protected by an armed police escort, come to bulldoze their shacks because the state has endorsed the construction of a new shopping mall on the land which, until then, they had been squatting.

The only way to overthrow capitalism is through a mass movement of the poor and working poor. Entrusting the revolutionary task of overthrowing capitalism to the few who have the privilege of dropping out of society would be to abandon the 'masses' for a probably middle class minority. Sounds familiar...

author by Global Dissidentpublication date Sat Nov 17, 2007 04:49author email reid9001 at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

"If your main focus is environmental, and mine is class struggle, how are we going to be able to effectively work together towards either of our aims?"

Simple, we overthrow the government together and crush the corporations together. Then you go to your syndicalist factory and I'll go to my simple agricultural commune/forest food gathering tribe.

author by redbootspublication date Sat Nov 17, 2007 06:30Report this post to the editors

A good article but as to the discussion, Id say let it go.

Crimethinc sucks. The people in it suck. It is totally useless.

It's one thing to make jokes about them or whatever, but there is no point actually engaging in a debate with them

We have more important work to do.

author by g_train - ABQ CMpublication date Tue Nov 20, 2007 12:58Report this post to the editors

I've been listening to people rag on CrimethInc. for years. Booooooooring.

Do you realize what you could have been doing with your life rather than writing a slap-dash essay refuting CrimethInc.?

Think about it.

author by fpublication date Mon Nov 26, 2007 05:51Report this post to the editors

Though some of the criticism can be construed as constructive, I am disappointed by this article, because I generally agree with this website. I agree that tactics of shoplifting, squatting, dumpster-diving, etc. can seem a bit superficial to "serious" anarchists, and may indicate a generally privileged lifestyle, but as someone has already said... so what?

We don't choose our birth conditions, but as we age, we can choose to change according to our own desires, if we are lucky. Some of us are oppressed, and need organization to overcome our oppressors. Some of us are privileged and drop the privilege to live what we feel are more honest lifestyles. Some of us dedicate our lives to service to our species, or others.

It's all valid. Grow up and stop bickering. It's okay to disagree, but an all-out attack on groups of people sharing a similar dream of revolution is counter-productive.

I read Evasion, and suffered through the poor writing and shallow mind-set, to be happily surprised by pieces of beautiful writing and a practical message that you should create the life you want to live, starting with the little things. I do hope that the author matures enough to harness his hyperactivity to help others with the knowledge he's gained. anyway, it's a memoir, not a moral code. I have very many criticisms of it, but I don't think it occurred to me that I was a better anarchist than the crimethinc group because of it.

If you check their website, there are many practical applications of community anarchy. Sorry for the cliche, but it's effective: think globally, act locally.


Having said all that, I will still frequent this otherwise valuable site. I won't decry a whole community because of one point of contention.

author by struggleironvolcanoespublication date Thu Nov 29, 2007 12:18author email motorman at riseup dot netauthor address xauthor phone xReport this post to the editors

First of all, you can have full disclosure so we can be one step closer to having a face to face discussion with actual people. I am 22, i live in Brooklyn, I volunteer at an infoshop, and was raised in a born-again-christian home by lower middle class white parents who eventually became middle class parents through their family business, a small-scale tree nursery. I went to a high-end college on scholarship and eventually left to pursue activist work which could not stand for partial involvement.

I had just finished reading Days of War when I stumbled across this thread and read about 3/4 of its responses before writing. I have not had a good impression of crimethinc, almost eversince I became introduced to anarchism. This is not because I had read anything they had published: there is a very powerful opinion rolling around in the nyc anarchist community that Crimethinc is a juvenile, reactionary and dangereously watered down cousin to Anarchism posing as anarchism but really just providing hairraising propaganda material with the nicest covers and layouts around. The idea, as it has been expressed to me many many times, resonated with my critiques of something such as Adbusters: it is inert, it is naive, it defeats itself. I feel comfortable leveling that criticism at Adbusters, but after reading (in order), 2 crimethinc-related Curious George Brigade zines, the most recent copy of Crimethinc's journal Rolling Thunder, and now, finally, this book, my criticism is not as one-dimensional, it is more nuanced.

There is a review on that back that mentions that Crimethinc absolutely refuses to be pinned down. Therein lies the trouble with this book: it ultimately stands for very little that is concrete. It is more, it seems to me, a punk rock "Be Here Now" (Ram Dass), it is of the spirit more than anything. Therefor critiques about it lacking a list of things to do are irrelevant: I feel that it subverts these as much as possible, it wants only to encourage the bravery and fearlessness to have spirit which would logically carry out all these good things. It is likely to generate its punky equivalent of acid munching bourgeouise travel-to-india dropouts as did Ram Dass' book, but it is not without worth and that worth is essentially that it sparks the beginning of a long question to be edited and picked at by the reader forever. In this way it is much like a religious book and those who have made refference to this tone, I agree with you. The task then is to shuffle through the miles of bullshit to find this book's equivalent of The Golden Rule. NOT ambitious - but it's a beginner's guide.

The idea is to stir people up. To stir a stagnate people up, one must introduce them to a surmountable problem which they are capable of confronting and acting upon, and then there comes to tool of rage, rage at a vision where victory is not theirs. This almost inextricably must involve hyperbole and polarization and singleness of focus. Of course it is inherently incomplete, and leaves tremendous room for theoretical critisisms to be launched in hindsight (and win), but what is important is the creation of this moment of awakening. Without it, no real action can be expected, only intellectual musing.

Malcom X used to say that his job was "stirring up the negros". Now I hardly think that Crimethinc is a quarter of the way as articulate as Malcom and let us not get too mired in this comparison, but I see a history of these sorts of figures, and they are figures who are deeply subject to skewed interpretation and criticism because they fail to provide a formal academic list of things to do, but rather they want to awaken people to the vibrancy of being alive, and hope and trust that it will carry that this feeling will lead others to similar conclusions that they themselves have come to, based on this sort of lucid awakening to the world. The danger here is that in an effort to create this energy of "awakening" we have tried to rouse it as quickly as possible, and it has come at the cost of direction. Thus it invites a ferocious energy that might based on total misconception and actually work counter to the cause. That is the risk inherent. The question is, is it worth it??

It is, however, a commendably egalitarian approach: it does not say: you are too young, it does not say: you do not know enough, it does not say: you need it all worked out, top to bottom, or you have nothing.

This egalitarianism is what Crimethinc is good for. It has potential, just like the people it is trying to reach. It is interested exclusively in potential, thus its youthful bent, its constant punk/ "crusty" refferences, and really a shitload of naive whatnot. However I feel it is uninteresting to criticise them for this, because it goes beyond the standards of the book. It is a beginners manual, not the advanced text. The beginners guide to ANYTHING relies on a easily graspable premise and a host of statements which later recive qualification, even to the point to debunking original "placeholder" statements, but for now must exist so that the discussion might continue before getting ahead of itself. It trusts that the reader will read on, and think critically. It is a beginners manual and not the advanced text purely because it is imcomplete, because it contains loose ends to be medetated upon until one is ready to absorb more and go further.

So: dumpster diving. There are a disproportionate number of criticisms that reffernce this as a fine example to the problem with Crimethinc. On one end I agree: dropping out of a system does not dismantle it, it more of less tosses its peice of the pie back at the system, and the system catches and eats it, smiling. If anything, the system gets one more slice, or doesnt even notice. HOWEVER, i think this is an assumption we are laboring under, that dumpster diving might be this and only this.

A personal account: Recently I became so mired in my activist work and personal learning, it has required so much of my energy and time and resources (and money, even), that I have been so broke that it is either steal and dumpster to live, or slow down on the projects I have been developing with people. I decided that I would work an extra day and dumpster only what I needed to survive if I could not buy it with the extra day. I am also a chef, and am sort of disgusted by dumpster diving, but it was that way or the highway, and I did it so that I could continue helping my community to the utmost.

I would not have done so without the emboldening nature of Days of War. I know myself, I would have let a project go. Concider this, when saying that dumpster diving does no good. Inherently yes, it doesn't do a damn thing, but if it can be used to fuel something good, then its neutral impact has been convered into the positive. Perhaps Crimethinc would say "you haven't done enough, quit your job entirely and dumpster everything always", but that is the propagandistic nature of the material, beginner's material, material for stirring people up. It is not the goal that all food is dumpstered, but that resistance be fueled, and here is a tool to help. In this sense, I am arguing that much of the material in Crimethinc literature is going for the "shoot for the moon, land in the stars" mode, where your extremism is taken to heart but eventually tempered and lands somewhere lofty still - I question whether or not it believes itself entirely. For the purposes of formal critique we would have to rule this inconsequential: they've said their peace and now it's time to divide and conquer. But that would be to deny the very REAL and human nature of the whole project and the many others like it. They are non airtight thesis papers, they call themselves manifestos but do not do well to do it, what they are really after is the spark of life, and that is irrefutably useful.

Finally, I want to note that there is a target audience here, and it is casually informed, probably young, Western society people who are frustrated and hopeful. This is clear from the hyperactive nature of its layout and its cultural refferences. As a critique, for this to "fall into the wrong hands" is disasterous, and on that level I agree with many of the comments here. By the wrong hands I mean people who would take all of it literally and uncritically, and who would be likely to fall under that "i have formed a band and eat from the trash and am therefore doing my part" category. As support however, this book is enormously liberating for many of the same reasons, and that is the risk the book takes. It was worth it to me, because this was hardly the first book on anarchist thought I've read, it's really an experiment I did which turned into something surprisingly valuable. How would it affect someone going in blind? Not well, I would expect, if they were unquestioning. But the unquestioning will destroy even the best, most airtight work. But for those encountering it with trepidation and a head about them, I suspect that its absolutely scalding energy could plant a valuable seed that would later be manecured by better sources.

Agree or disagree?

author by Global Dissidentpublication date Sat Dec 01, 2007 10:46author email reid9001 at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

Some say that CrimethInc is immature, maybe they're right, but isn't the word "immaturity" used to describe all Anarchists by the statists? I agree that they have no concrete ideas on social revolution, but with all the platforms and manifestos that "organizational anarchists" have why hasn't a revolution occured? Why do the anarchists at the protests and rallys go up to the police lines, but not a step further. It seems the activists get caught up in the spectacle of revolution and continue throwing rocks and fighting police instead of putting their ideas into actions. Perhaps they are afraid they won't be able to have fun fighting cops after the revolution, when swords are beaten into ploughshares.

author by madcap - nonepublication date Thu Dec 06, 2007 10:59Report this post to the editors

Somebody's parents need to come break up the squabble. It's to be expected, but it's becoming embarrassing.
Who cares which group is more "anarchist"? I've heard this argument passing by the sports channel somewhere.
The immaturity here amazes me. It's ignorant and pathetic. How can a person with a clear conscience demean another's acts, consider them useless, while wasting so much time in doing so? It's illogical and childishly absurd. This is all a reinforcement of all of your inability to truly live outside the systems you claim to stand against. God (or somebody) help you both if either of you ever attain the political goals you spout so much about. Yours will be the first political disagreement or war to be remembered in the new history. Again, it's like two spoiled children: mother needs to come in and stop the squabbling.
Two soldiers may despise each other, but they stand side by side and will die for each other.
If they are as noble as their cause.
Nobody here seems to be.

author by Adampublication date Thu Dec 06, 2007 19:02Report this post to the editors

It's sad that so many want to plan, protest, and think some more. Change is ( historically) best carried out with the point of the sword, or the barrel of a gun to the temple. Not always for the right reasons, but change happened. A proper overthrow. When a shit ton of anarchists descended on NY for the WTC, the united states collectively said " where the fuck did those guys come from?". Action. Planning was over, and it was effective. Senate Bill 1959 shows that my mighty fucktard government is now afraid of:"...ideologically based violence’ means the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual’s political, religious, or social beliefs..." or thought crimes. Cheers.

author by Androidpublication date Sun Dec 23, 2007 04:30Report this post to the editors

If I wanted factories and commodities, I would discredit crimethinc too. However, I don't want to work in a worker controlled factory or any factory for that manner. I am not a worker, I am a human being. I want radical social changes that discourage these types of sadism. A return to social capital that promotes my desire for a tribalistic style kind of life. If you don't care for it than go run your factories, but keep them out of my life. Thats the beauty of ANARCHY, you are to have no control over how I spend my time.

Good luck with your worker-produced widgets. I hope you can use them to fill that empty hole you currently stuff with criticism for well meaning individuals, who seek to breed a culture of well meaning individuals.

author by Global Dissidentpublication date Sun Jan 06, 2008 08:49Report this post to the editors

"A return to social capital that promotes my desire for a tribalistic style kind of life."

Okay, more power to you. Just remember, as far as anthropology goes, John Zerzan is a hopeless romantic. Hunter-Gatherers are not without their inequalities and, depending on the size of your tribe, food distribution can become very...thrifty without agriculture.

author by Jack Skinner - NO AFFILIATIONSpublication date Tue Jan 15, 2008 04:37author email sw5446 at hotmail dot comReport this post to the editors

If Crimethinc. has nothing else going for it- it has a poetic and romantic ideal that can be very attractive. HOPE.
Yes much of Days of War was ripped off- does it really matter? It is a nice primer for those looking for alternative to the wake-work-eat-sleep syndrome. Their chapter on plaigarism (take from others only what works for you) was worth the time it took to read the whole book.
If anyone only uses one outlet for information then they will be blind and ignorant. We all need to search as many outlets (used bookstores, magazines,yes even tv) as we can. No one has all the answers for everybody. No one should claim to!
And no I have no need to feed my children from a dumpster, nor will I be squatting an abandoned building with them anytime soon. But I look at the world differently now, with more beauty and enthusiasm. And I never want them to lose a sense of wonder about the world, we have enough jaded assholes surrounding us.
All most of us want is some love and comfort, how we go about that is our own business. We all know that, one way or another, we are going to be serving others, working for others, and dealing with others.
There will be no global revolution! Willing to admit it or not- we all know it! Will the entire world wake up one day and say "Holy &#It, I see it now!!!" NO it ain't gonna happen.
With that said, there can also be poetry in the fight, as well as the love.
Sure we don't always agree with each others methods or ideals but isn't working together on this level what makes it all worth getting up in the morning.
P.S. For those of you that are still into labels I am more of a "libertarian" than an "anarchist" but I do agree with much of what "anarchy" has to say and I do not dismiss anyone's POV as long as they listen to others. I look forward to learning on

author by a thoughtpublication date Mon Jan 21, 2008 17:22Report this post to the editors

a lot of these shortcomings of crimethinc. seem obvious. you can't dumpster dive for dinner unless there's some store wasting tons of food. i appreciate the critique of classism, but i think it's equally important to address the sexism and implicit racism in the crimethinc. mentality. consider the omitted chapter of "evasion", which was about the "girlfriend scam" where you can get a girlfriend in every city who will always feed you and give you a place to stay. grow up! manipulating women's emotions to get them to give you things is fucked up. and failing to admit that many people of color could never get away with most of these scams because of racial profiling is offensive. i guess it's better than all these impressionable young people becoming skinheads. can't win.
finally, just because crimethinc. encourages thoughtless idealism and reckless "direct action" doesn't mean that some of the things they advocate can't be done thoughtfully and constructively by those who choose to be more conscious about politics. creating art or music, or changing billboards can be awesome. any anarchist who summarily dismisses "punk rockers" isn't giving credit where credit is due.

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author by the cat is a lion - suburban warfare collectivepublication date Thu Feb 07, 2008 07:09Report this post to the editors

the organized anarchists here are pissed off because crimethinc. people call themselves anarchists but don't represent what is anarchism in their eyes.

well then: let's just burn all those black&red flags and forget about this stupid word!

i'd been feeling uncomfortable about the a-word for quite a while but reading this stuff here i am finally convinced that we should regard anarchism as a nice thing to talk about in history lessons and move on to something really radical!

i will not organize in some networks where everyone carries the same flag! i will not seek for wisdom in books written one or two centuries ago! i will not follow the pseudoreligious cult that anarchism has become! you are almost as lame as marxist-leninists and the like!

if you hear rumors of some new radical movement rising that don't give a fuck the working class or labour unions or labour in general, that is not about theoretical chatting about how to make a revolution but about making this world we live in a better place NOW, than think of this comment as one of the points it all started at!

if this is anarchism i'd rather be a democrat...

author by response to "perspective"publication date Sat Feb 09, 2008 17:11Report this post to the editors

Perspective says:

"consider the omitted chapter of "evasion", which was about the "girlfriend scam" where you can get a girlfriend in every city who will always feed you and give you a place to stay."

Who is this person, and how do they have access to "omitted chapters" of Evasion? Sounds like bullshit if you ask me. Like the article itself, and much of the responses.

CrimethInc. has done some great stuff in recent years, which I bet 99% of the people who see this haven't even heard of, let alone read and considered. Rolling Thunder, anyone?

author by Global Dissidentpublication date Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:03author email reid9001 at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

"reckless "direct action"'

How exactly is direct action reckless? True, it may put demonstraters in danger and property destruction isn't really what inspires the masses, but a day of direct action is better than a year of theory. CrimethInc may be less political than traditional anarchists but dumpster diving, Black Bloc, DIY and especially Squatting and Autonomus Zones bring about anarchy in the here and now and have more potential to inspire the masses than dry academia.

author by alone_and_forgotten - Infantry 13publication date Wed Feb 20, 2008 07:24author email infantry13 at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

i dont completely agree with all of your points. crimethinc as i see it, is more of a gateway to breaking free of the system. It is a away of showing there are alternative ways of life and possiblities. Although Crimethincs ideas are simple minded and only really fight capitalism on small levels i dont think it is a bad organisation. They claim to be an anti workers collective. They are. They say that there is no true mebmbership and that each cell works on its own and thats how it is. They don't claim in any way to be a revolutionary group, or a group at all. They just claim that you can be free. If not free then atleast freer. So as i would put it crimethinc is a gateway to anarchism.

author by jimmy hoffa - AFL-CIOBGYNpublication date Fri Feb 29, 2008 15:14Report this post to the editors

i seem to remember another student who dropped out of the system while simultaneously leeching off its surpluses, holed up in a dingy apartment, drinking and publishing pseudo-revolutionary manifestos and communiques mixed with philosophy and realism.

unfortunately his preoccupation with ruthlessly critiquing all things existing while projecting the history of all hitherto existing society in order to distinguish himself from those philosophers who have merely described the world rather than struggle to change it left him with a cynical albeit brilliant sense of humor, and a lack of imagination and creativity which continues to characterize marxist organizing and oratory endeavors to this day.

i think the kind of hipster-revolutionary culture crimethinc represents has many good things to offer, and is a very good form of outreach as far as the demographic which it attracts is concerned. there will always be plenty of work to accomplish in the struggle to organize the just, creative future we all look forward to, so to the extent that people become inspired to resist, rebel, agitate, fight, propagate and build revolutionary community, crimethinc is daily accomplishing amazing things--and its a fuck of a lot more entertaining than selling newspapers and sitting through union meetings (very important, neccessary work).

whatever walk of life you are from you will be welcome in the movement because there will always be help wanted. but you wont be any help if you are out getting high or using your puritanitcal political ideology as an excuse to stay out of progressive organizing.

Anarchists of the crimethinc strain have much to offer the movement- heart, soul, creativity, spontanaeity, love, and all other instinctive revolutionary qualities marxists are not traditionally famous for. But they had better be prepared for the Spanish Civil Wars, Kronstadts, and 1968s of the future.

if you find marxist politics to be "boring as fuck" do us all a favor and make them more interesting and accessible to the rest of us.
anarchism is both essential to and supplementary to marxism.

the revolution will not be led by some mysterious clique of unaccountable self-proclaimed prophets who make proclamations about the destiny of humanity while pursuing their own individual interest. any anarchist can respect that.

"the people" incidentally dont seem to give a fuck-- lets get involved in bridging the gap between our black blocs & book clubs and "everyday people" who we need to start by learning from.

check out "colours of resistance" "indymedia" (duh) and "" for a good start-

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author by john - n/apublication date Tue Mar 18, 2008 01:05author email jg.fresh at yahoo dot comauthor phone 931-387-4311Report this post to the editors

isnt it possible that all your critiques of organizations encouraging individual revolutions are quite possibly a lazy attempt at further dividing the people that have to live in capitalist societies. Your beliefs in this article are proving to me, at least, that your as big of a capitalist as anyone else. Arent you just wastng time criticizing crimethinc , when you could be doing something a little more productive and revolutionary, and in all actuality are there enough people that are dedicated enough to your cause to have a total revolution? Isnt living parasiticlly off capitalism a good substitute to living a life supporting capitalism? Im only 16 years old and may not know everything about politics,revolutions or anything else but i do know that individual revolutions are good enough for me at this time in my life and until i can possibly see any intelligent non-violent plan for a total revolution ...i'll just stick to wHAT is actually possible in my life. I would actually relly appreciate a reply to my e-mail from someone who helped organise the website and article for further information......for now all i will say is you only have one chance at life and you should try to live the best you can no matter what that means to anyone else.

author by andy whoopublication date Wed Mar 19, 2008 00:59Report this post to the editors

Ok. I really do not understand why you have so much anger towards people who do something instead of waiting for everyone to do something. Because that's basically the point in quistion. Yes , I love the idea of anarchy, but are you actually waiting for it to happen? What these Crimethinc. people are promoting, is a way of living that bypasses this whole stinking system. It might be true that only 'white suburban kids' get into this shit, that only they have the possibility of 'dropping out', because they had the chance of dropping out in the first place. And yes, it might not be all that 'productive' to live on the edge (and off of) our capitalist system. But tell me, do you see any great revolution coming our way some time soon? What else have we to do, in the mean time, than mock their system, and send them little darts of discomfort and irrtation? Are you waiting for everybody to get organized in some grand international revolutionary scheme to overthrow those we have in front of us? If you are, please realize that we only have this, our here and now, and that 'direct action' (doesn't matter in which form) is truly the only weapon we have against this monster.

author by guydebordisdead//w.publication date Mon Mar 31, 2008 21:45Report this post to the editors

"Are you waiting for everybody to get organized in some grand international revolutionary scheme to overthrow those we have in front of us"

I am not waiting for anything, I am organising to win. To the comrade above who asked for correspondance - please check your emails.

author by goreverment - n/apublication date Tue Apr 15, 2008 16:22author email japshit at totaldeath dot comauthor address Ha nah thats okauthor phone fuck noReport this post to the editors

In all reality this all is simply fuel for the fire of the powers that be.. I mean Ive seen no americans rise up for that matter Ive not really seen anyone rise up and make a difference.. its all talk all planning all the groundwork or the big plan the great Idea. .think of all the blood thats been shed in past 300 years alone.. Ive seen nor read of anyone doing anything to stop it .. Its all been the same crop of assholes lineing up year after year to run the world.. if we really think that starting a union or quitting jobs will change anything we are stupid and ending capitalism thats crazy same as with communism or all of that shit .. I mean we cant change everyones mind by force or by knowledge some of the most beautiful and articulate (by beauty I dont mean physically) peoples of the world ended up pumping gas or farming potatoes .. some people fought in wars be them private or national ... some of them sat idle while the rest of the world fell to shit... I mean seriously the world will eventually go back to the state its supposed to be in human beings are merely a fucking blink of an eye to the universe the entire expance. we are all caught up in our names and our lives our jobs our health care.. I dont want any of it I am not an anarchist or any other type of ist Im alive... my life shall not be wasted fighting for scraps diving in fucking dumpsters .. fighting the fucking police.. working at a mcdonalds .. no Im gonna live a good life one I made for me and not one based on world views or oppinion... the world is starveing people are dying off in mass numbers everyone has a slew of problems that cant be fixed.. our entire species is killing itself from the inside out ... I feel it i know you feel it or you wouldnt be posting here you wouldnt care as much as you do about everything .. im not telling anyone to do anything more than smile you lived another day you survived this struggle this day you felt the sun rise and set the moon pass the entire skyline while you slept or fought or fucked or whatever you did .. you made it .. I mean my life isnt worth shit on paper I dont have a proper ID my bank statement says 0.25$ I farm my own food Im armed to the teethe and I dont feel the same struggles some of you might.. but I care about them all and I wish you all the luck at whatever you feel you must do in the advancement of humankind but just think of the after affects of your actions.. good or bad we might not have a soul or a god to answer to but we have ourselves and our minds....

author by Jimpublication date Thu Apr 24, 2008 03:01Report this post to the editors

I think this criticism of CrimethInc. entirely misses the point. Personal liberation is not only compatible with large scale social action, it is a necessary precondition to it. The kind of local strategies proposed by the situationists and CrimethInc don't just encourage "dropping out" and "dumpster diving" (although many have attempted these things as a means of living a more meaningful life). The basic thesis of CrimethInc is that hierarchy and capitalism can and should be challenged on a personal level, and that joy and beauty should be an integral aspect of revolutionary activity.

I think your rejection of these things is ultimately symbolic of the Marxist's problem in general. By only focusing on class struggle, production, work, and "concrete" aspects of revolution, you lay the foundation for a society that is just as tedious and autocratic as the one we currently live in.

In summary, CrimethInc has provided a perspective to the anarchist community that is absolutely fundamental to any large-scale social movement - personal liberation. Anarchism is most effective not just conceived of as a political theory, but as an orientation towards life.

author by arapublication date Thu Apr 24, 2008 04:02author email stt at hotmail dot comReport this post to the editors

it is important to critise everything to avoid anyform of brainwashed politics as im sure is pretty obvious. in that sense i think this article is pertty good, especially since you say you were once involved in the "crimethinc subculture". but to call every "crimethincer" basically an apathetic bored teenager looking for some pseudo form of rebellion is an ignorant broad generalization.

just because certin amounts of people chose to drop out,dumpster and squat dose not suddenly mean they are not going to be involved in real forms of anarchism. many teenagers might in some sense be roped into the crimethinc mentality as it dose in some cases glamorize the drop out culture that teenagers may be interested in. but to say every drop out sits around in a squat or fucks in a park 24/7 and thats the extent of their idea of anarchism is absurd.

author by ashleypublication date Sat May 03, 2008 09:11author email asher2789 at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

i have read most of the comments on this article, not all but most.

the one thing that strikes me as something good relating to crimethinc... is the desire it puts inside me to change the world. of course, one person cant do much, but to find other people who have similar mindsets and ideas and general openness would be a good start. currently, very few people i associate with have anywhere near a similar mindset to me, so its a bit hard to take action (there are other variables in my life as well the prevent action). but, crimethinc makes you dream... that life can be different, that we dont have to be stuck going to school for 13+ years to go to school again for another 4+ years to land some boring 9-5 job that rapes our planet and our souls, all to be 'successful'.

if theres one good thing about crimethinc (and i personally think there are many, although nothing is ever perfect) it is that it gets everyday people who are somewhat new to ideas such as anarchism to explore a bit more... to dream a bit more... to hopefully, when the stars align, they can help change the world.

maybe crimethinc isnt academia enough for you, but it works for me and im sure many others. i do want to be a part of the change, and one day, hopefully sooner than later i will, even if the change is small, its a start.

by the way, the magazine rolling thunder (which crimethinc publishes) is really good, a mix of entertainment and ideas and just general news that makes you question things.

author by RobReddpublication date Thu May 22, 2008 01:03Report this post to the editors

Once again....holy shit. To be perfectly honest, i found this article two years too late. I was browsing to see if crimethinc still even existed. I hadn't checked it out in over three years. W., i too, though not personally used in the "organization", was sucked into the pseudo-idealism of crimethinc at the age of fourteen or fifteen. It started when i received a vhs copy of "breaking the spell/pickaxe" combo in my mailbox by one of my out of town friends. At the time, I had already been involved heavily in the 'dropout' lifestyle, not by the views i never idolized in crimethinc, but because of my home situation. Im 21 years old now, and as a full-time worker, I still sometimes miss that selfish, individualistic attitude i had adapted at such an early age through bullshit. Crimethinc was only one amongst the sea of slightly involved/highly inspiring materials and data subcultures of the time and i was not 'fooled' by them, i was simply intrigued, and at such a young age, i don't think thats too much of a problem. I have always been, and was, shoved deeply into the drug culture, and at the time Crimethinc was the only easy accessible, understandable material besides long whinded Austrian and German philosophers that i had to steal from my dads closet. It helped me seperate myself mentally from the 'dropout' culture in my hometown that had no understanding of revolution whatsoever, and push myself in a more positive direction, a more 'revolutionary' direction. The only way that I could prove to all these junkies around me that dropout didnt mean suicide, it just simply was a safe idealism at that time in my young life, was to have all this readily available, cheap, material that you could pay for with the change in your back pocket-turned money order.

You're article is one of the most well-written critiques i've ever read on CWC, and its needed. I know thirty year olds that still wait for new stickers and such. I remember being nineteen and stuck in an apartment for two months straight, absolutely losing my mind. I was wanting something tangible again, something that gave anarchism to me by the spoonful again. I'd gone through hundreds of different materials and subcultural groups by then and i finally felt abandoned, like death was actually the only way out of capitalism. So i dug an old Crimethinc poster out of the closet and wrote a letter to the address printed on it, asking them to have someone write me back and let me know how someone so heavily involved as a child has been pushed out so quickly. Three months later, i got a response, i had already forgotten i wrote the letter. It was seriously a letter from some hitch hiking teenage girl that let me know she had been molested as a child and she felt her destiny was to squat for the rest of her life.

"Maybe I'll meet you one day. Maybe we've already met. Maybe I'll see you under the stars."

I crumpled it up and threw it away.

W. your article was extremely effective at the time, and id like to see some of you're follow up. I do have to say two negating things though, you absolutely stayed involved in the comment process as if you didnt think youre article was effective, it takes away a validity point each time you stand up for your self here. Secondly, i think you should credit crimethinc for being, in a way, "gateway anarchism", its kind of like painkillers to heroin. A good way to fuck your self up.

author by Oroboros - A_Ppublication date Sat May 24, 2008 07:30Report this post to the editors

Well, Crimethinc does some things very well. I like the art, I like the poetic descriptions, I like the sharp criticism of the status quo, and I appreciate that they helped spread information about Anarchist structure.

I have some points of contention against Crimethinc.

Crimethinc engages in ad hominem attacks against their critics. They dismiss their critics as either "spectators" or as wasting their time. This is blatant hypocrisy as usual. Look how crimethinc criticizes others, and tell me they are better than their critics. They are not.

Crimethinc material does not offer a viable means of resistance. There is no "one way" to bring about the revolution, or even basic reformism, but that is no excuse for providing nothing coherent as far as a plan of action. Crimethinc continiously defends that it is more than a collection of pranks and scams and glorification of self inflicted poverty, but I just dont see it. They claim they are more than that, but that is the bulk of what they write about, with only the most vague calls to action beyond that.

Crimethinc seems hostile to traditional Anarchists, or at least Anarchists who dont share their preference for lifestyle Anarchism.

Crimethinc glorifies a drop out bohemian lifestyle, then criticizes people for not getting more done in response to the books they sell. They talk about stuff like "falling in love as a revolutionary act". At poetic as that sounds, its actually bullshit. Love is important for every revolutionary, and its important to know what you are defending, but that is not the jist of what they are saying. Personal excitment and intimacy are worthwhile experiences, but that is not what it takes to bring down oppressive systems or create real change. Thats some hippie new age garbage mixed with really dumbed down situationism and bohemian dadaism. This is not a sentiment supportive of real revolutionary or even reformist Anarchism.

Finally, living in poverty sucks. I personally dont need corporate products to survive, but we at least need access to farmable land and water without being exploited by rent and usury. Living poor in a capitalist system without overthrowing it sucks, especially as you get older or if anything happens to your health. Advocating a change in perspective about living in poverty and eating out of dumpsters is harmful and just stupid.

Overall I have a generally negative view of Crimethinc. The worst of it though are their attempts at sounding mysterious as they make inflated egotistical claims of their own self importance while pretending to be humble and telling people not to worship them....its disegenious. It comes off phony, which it is.

author by Oroborospublication date Sat May 24, 2008 07:54Report this post to the editors

I have to disagree with the main author on a few points. For the most part he is pretty spot on.

I am an advocate of both revolutionary an reformist Anarchism in the tradition of the IWW and spanish Syndicalists, and also of indigenous popular movements against imperialism.

I like food not bombs. I like co-op living. I like the idea of growing my own vegetables and sharing responsibilities. I think these things can be valuable on a personal and collective level, but they are not substitutes for revolutionary action or reformist organization.

The problem with crimethinc is not that they support food not bombs or salvaging food from dumpsters. The problem with crimethinc is that they dont seem to be interested in anything beyond that, or when they do give the occasional call to arms they offer no game plan to define the means that are necessary....then the other 80% of the time, they are advocating a purely selfish drop out culture with no reference at all to revolutionary tactics in favor of drop out culture and the thrill of living dangerously. Its selfish as fuck.

Crimethinc overall is a liability to the Anarchist movement, and I think the criticism should keep coming, because the next generation needs to be warmed about falling for the same shit we did.

author by scarletpublication date Wed May 28, 2008 02:40author email scarletpeculiar at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

After reading the article.
and all the following comments.

It annoys me that people are just sitting around arguing the good and bad points of each side.
And wasting their time shooting down
each and everybody’s thoughts on the subject.

If you don't think Crimthinc is doing anything to help any situations.

Go Find Something else to do.

And If you like the whole idea of Crimthinc.
Use it.

It's as simple as that. Just stop worrying about the people that are agreeing and/or disagreeing it's solving nothing.

author by Oroborospublication date Wed May 28, 2008 04:37Report this post to the editors

I disagree Scarlet. I think there is value in the criticism and scrutiny of ideas. Also, dont be a hypocrite. You are criticizing crimethincs critics, which is your right, but is hypocritical when you tell others not to criticize the philosophy.

Crimethinc is having some negative impacts on the Anarchist movement. Its not just a matter of it being a tool to use or not use, its a matter of this philosophy being an influence on our greater movement, and us having the right to express a different opinion on those viewpoints.

Crimethinc often claims that it "wants to raze civilization to the ground" or otherwise makes claims to its own revolutionary potential, but regardless of what they thought would come from the kind of material they produce, a good majority of the crimethinc followers/advocates I have met seem actively hostile to *actual* revolutionary tactics and even the notion of activism beyond the selfishness of living dangerously for one own enjoyment. Most of them have pretty decent rhetoric against consumer society and government, but when it comes to collectivist organizing and action they seem to be influencing people to not take a meaningful stand for anything beyond their personal "revolution". They are watering down the movement in a bad way.

Crimethinc in my opinion is not even a good "intro to Anarchism". First of all, the material is too dumbed down to give anything more than an introduction to the concepts, but the fact that their material discourages meaningful collectivist action leads me to the conclusion that their material is not even a good intro but does more harm to the movement than good, even for the youngsters whoare just getting into it.

Crimethinc and its advocates are blatant hypocrites when it comes to criticism. Perhaps they should take their own advice, and even if they personally believe that criticism of crimethinc is a waste of time then perhaps they should mind their own business and also declare that criticism of criticism is a waste of time. Also, crimethinc has opened themselves up to criticism by criticizing others. The article "Your politics are boring as fuck" was a direct attack on traditional Anarcho-Communists, and even if that article is from several years ago they are yet to issue an apology or retract the story.

Considering how crimethinc attacks their opponents and insults revolutionary Anarchists in their literature, there is really no rational argument for not commenting on where we disagree with crimethincs material that escapes hypocrisy. One could easily say "If you dont find this criticism of crimethinc useful then find something else to do besides criticize our criticism". Bitching about bitching is the worst kind of bitching there is.

author by Potatopublication date Wed Jun 25, 2008 05:06Report this post to the editors

I actually found this article while searching for information on Crimethinc literature. I think you make some valid points, and probably know a lot more about this issue than I do, but I think you can give them some credit for at least publishing books and zines which are far-reaching enough to go from coast to coast on a level that is 'mainstream' enough for it to actually be presented to teenagers where otherwise they may never even be introduced to these concepts of 'revolution.'

Even if the group itself is a collective of middle class kids who are hypocritical in some sense, the literature put out by them allows the concepts of anarchy to at least be introduced in one form or another to a large audience. If that audience is motivated enough, they'll do the research and find out for themselves the truths about that group and make the decision to either follow their dogma of poverty and a hippie-esque sense of rebellion and free-spritedness or potentially they'll see the folly in making fake coupons to annoy wal-mart for a week or two and start to organize themselves in better ways.

I'm still making up my mind about a lot of these issues, but I can say that regardless of how truly revolutionary or truly selfish and hypocritical that group may be, their literature helped to show me a different lifestyle when I was in high school and was handed a "Fighting for Our Lives" zine.

In my opinion, it's a start - and you can critique them but it seems to me like it would be more productive to seek out these people and discuss the theory behind their politics (or lack thereof politics). Perhaps through debate everyone could benefit, or maybe I'm just too optimistic.

Be well.


author by Bryan Brickpublication date Mon Jul 07, 2008 15:43Report this post to the editors

So what are you proposing as an alternative to what Crimethinc is? wait for the revolution to come, and meanwhile just do alot of talking and backbiting about how useless everyone elses efforts are?? these are real anarchists trying to live their ideals right NOW, while you sound like the old guard of a cherished institution who is offended they didn't ask for your approval before calling themselves anarchists. Do you expect everyone to sit down to years of study before deciding how best to revolt? to make sure they're in line with your orthodoxy? People like you are the reason the movement is hardly moving at all. How about just showing some solidarity and quit with all the "more anarchist than thou" in-fighting?

author by Ororspublication date Fri Jul 18, 2008 06:23Report this post to the editors

"So what are you proposing as an alternative to what Crimethinc is?"

Perhaps a form of Anarchism more concerned with class struggle that has a little empathy and compassion and is interested in more than living dangerously for the thrill of it but actually cares about the forests, the working poor, the oppressed peoples of the world and believes in solidarity (An injury to one is an injury to all) and does not substitute hedonistic drop-out lifestyle for real revolutionary or even reformist action?

"wait for the revolution to come, and meanwhile just do alot of talking and backbiting about how useless everyone elses efforts are??"

I think there is a lot of work to be done in the here and now that includes forest defense, animal liberation, radical union organizing, alternative media, prisoner support and reform, spreading awareness and preparing for the times ahead.

"these are real anarchists trying to live their ideals right NOW,"

I am also an advocate of taking action now. That isnt the problem with Crimethinc. The problem is that the bulk of the tactics they advocate (There is some variation and self contradiction), are totally useless for the greater cause of class struggle. Its not the fact that they are taking action now, but the fact that they substitute "living dangerously for oneself in the moment" for "taking decisive action where its needed on behalf of class struggle". Its a question of tactics, values and priorities. I agree that the time to take action is always now.

"while you sound like the old guard of a cherished institution who is offended they didn't ask for your approval before calling themselves anarchists."

No. You sound like you are regurgitating right off the pages of crimethinc books. I never said they couldnt call themselves Anarchists (I am not the original poster). I said that their positions are selfish and amoral while their tactics are ineffective if not counter productive.....Maybe they have grown up a bit? I cant really tell, but I have philosophical disagreements with the influence they have had on the movement and I am entitled to speak my mind and voice criticism as much as you are. Stop trying to silence dissent with post modernist new age rhetoric.

"Do you expect everyone to sit down to years of study before deciding how best to revolt? to make sure they're in line with your orthodoxy?"

I never suggested anything of the sort. I havnt read all of these posts so I dont know if anybody has, but if not then Nice Straw Man.

I think there are ways to contribute to a movement regardless of how new you are to the philosophy. I do think that there is value in education though. Why would not not want to educate yourself and grow as a person? This education can come from alternative sources but what is the benefit of willful ignorance and self inflicted poverty? Too much work to read a book without pictures? A distraction from living dangerously and eating out of dumpsters? If you choose that as your priority that is your right, but I am also within my right to criticize that lifestyle as a tactic.

"People like you are the reason the movement is hardly moving at all. How about just showing some solidarity and quit with all the "more anarchist than thou" in-fighting?"

Blaming others huh?
I have many friends who have been interested in Crimethinc material at one time or another, and some associates who still partially associate with much of the philosophy. I certainly welcome their assistance when it comes to working together on real material objectives. I certainly would not turn anybody who is into crimethinc away if they wanted to volonteer for some real activism, forest defense, union organizing, or other forms of direct action.

However, I refuse to hold my tongue for the sake of being polite. There are points in their material which I strongly disagree with. I do not feel that addressing these ideas is counter productive to the cause. I think that a serious look at tactics priorities and goals is always a worthy discussion and should not be stiffed by people who are too sensitive to hear criticism of their work or philosophy. I do disagree with some of the tone used in the original article, but I also feel that he raised some valid points that other anarchists have also stated.

author by nonpublication date Wed Aug 06, 2008 06:00Report this post to the editors

There need not be a renewed Crimethinc, all there is to it is; if you don´t like it do something else. At least someone is trying! Now create your own group, collective or what not if you disagree with CWC, Anarchism is whatever you want it to be, stop being such a fucking sheep. Direct action through intellectual deeds! Now i´m going to critic myself on writing such a fucked up comment when i should be out doing what i say.

author by keep it goingpublication date Sun Aug 10, 2008 13:07Report this post to the editors

Read the original article (which was poorly written as many have stated above) and almost the entire thread – thanks to all who have posted. The only downside is that it’s taking place on computers. I think this thread is important because of how many people agreed with the original writing which is disturbing. Let’s forget the ignorant words like “kids” in reference to anyone who is into CWC and the amusing “organized anarchists” in reference to, uh, someone else. Let’s also just throw out the entire misuse of the word “anarchist” or “anarchy” – the writer seems to be more of a Lefty, Progressive, Labor/Worker’s Rights, or the other A-word that isn’t as sexy and no one wants to be called, gasp, an Activist. I just don’t see how this person is an anarchist. There are very few in the civilized world as far as I can tell.

While we’re at it, I won’t go into personal background as it serves no validation to being an anarchist and others in the thread should avoid this as well. Other BS to get out of the way, I’ve met a serious group of CWC (working on actual texts, haven’t worked jobs in years, haven’t paid for food in years, etc.). I don’t know them well, haven’t read all of CWC’s writings but enough over the years. They seemed liked real, free humyns that kicked more ass than anyone I’d ever met in the states – period. But that is my only association and it was very brief. I just can’t see the downside to what they were doing – living their lives how they wanted as well as trying to build momentum for mutual aid.

You summarized DOW as “drop out & do what feels good”. I guess to some that is trying to have a low impact on the earth, trying to inspire people to be receptive to new ideas, trying to think of ways to combat capitalism, etc. But most of all, I see CWC as having faith in humanity. Whereas the above writer seems to be more of the thought that he/she must save others or simply tell them what to do or both. “None of us are free until we all are” is the author’s own shitty, undefinable mantra. What does that mean? Are the women in Iran free? Are the women in America free? Who the hell is free now and who determines what freedom is for others? This is an important distinction that often leads to the hatred of CWC’s romanticism.

Now let’s cover the overwhelmingly touched on topics such as
Ted K. aka Unabomber – a man who wrote out exactly what he thought and followed through with action. You can agree or disagree with it all you want but ol’ Ted lived his life as he saw fit. If you want to argue for pacifism – do it. If you want to argue his manifesto – do it. Vague attacks on him or CWC for publishing any of his writings accomplishes nothing.

I believe a lot of the text above was written from a perspective outside the U.S. Another oft referred to action: dumpster diving. If you have ever spent any significant time in the U.S. or I’m guessing large chunks of the “first” world, then you would stop cutting on/downplaying/dismissing the significance of d. diving. I can see no harm in finding shit someone is throwing away and reusing it. How is this revolutionary? Again, I think you would have to have lived in the states and SEEN the amount of waste to understand what is possible in reclaiming it. I have a small family and we eat dumpstered food consistently, our house is furnished with “trashed” furniture and appliances, and local groups have raised money selling dumpstered items at garage sales or online for various projects. This is such a small part of CWC texts anyway but still, why does it bother the author so much?

Lastly, poverty is touched on quite a bit. I think many refer to the idea of anyone enjoying “poverty” having to be a trust fund kid’s perspective. Like so many other misused words, poverty, and more specifically “poor” can be looked at in many ways. The U.S. has one of the poorest cultures on the globe. Meanwhile, businessmen, tourist or missionaries will tell you how “poor” Guatemala is – a country with a rich history/culture and intense natural landscape. Again, maybe you have to live in the states to understand this mentality; but to some “poverty” is a much better life than the current prison many Americans live in daily (job, rent, etc.). Talk to the millions of homeless in this country and you’ll find out that many people of all backgrounds (and privilege of course), although not ecstatic about their situation, prefer it to the norm – these people could never be so narrowly defined as white, middle/upper class, kids, etc (at least not the homeless camps in the woods I’ve visited).

In evaluating CWC’s 10 year success or lack thereof, you spew sour grapes of a “fooled generation”. From the U.S.’s perspective, the last 10 years have been pretty good as far as any resident even knowing what the hell anarchy means. Cut on their glossy presentation (unfortunately needed for American “audiences”) or supposed exclusion all you want, CWC got shit out there. There’s only about 300 million others who didn’t do shit for anarchist thought and theory in America. Critique it – fine. But more importantly, why not build on this motherfucker?!

For me personally, CWC never existed to spell out capitalism or class struggle or IWW shit – there are plenty of books for all of that. CWC says upfront that they look to battle the mindset (of so many apathetic “first” world losers). They’re not going to tell you how to have a revolution or even more ridiculous, what should take place afterwards as you suggest. Crimethinc is a mentality with freedoms to individuals as well as groups to decide how to move forward. Your options are “revolution or death” – well there ain’t no revolution in America bro. So we either kill ourselves or try to think of a few more possible options.

author by confused crimethincerpublication date Fri Sep 26, 2008 03:52author email nate6509 at hotmail dot comReport this post to the editors

I have only just recently learned about crimethinc. and I feel like I was exactly the target CWC is aiming for. I am a middle-class white boy, looking for something to rebel against. but shit. I did read a lot of the crimethinc books, and really got into them, but it did always seem like they were way to vague. something was never really right. nothing was ever really happening.

but what else is there? I am still very new anarchist concepts and life. but I can't seem to find anything else with anymore substance then CWC. somebody point me in the right direction?

author by Jon - ZACF (personal capacity)publication date Fri Sep 26, 2008 15:45Report this post to the editors

Where do you live Confused Crimethincer? There's a chance there's an organised anarchist group in your area. The tendency this website represents (anarchist communism) has, I would say, a lot more substance than Crimethinc (unless you think lifestyle alone can contribute anything of substance to anarchism). Spend a bit of time on this website going through the articles that interest you on the main newswire , follow the links to the organisations of the authors who wrote them, and there I think you'll find substance. Once you do, enter into contact with them and see if you can arrange a meeting. Perhaps try these for starters:

author by Chanda - nonepublication date Tue Sep 30, 2008 07:40Report this post to the editors

"and useless activist/punk sub-cultural activity like food not bombs"

You make quite a few valid points. This was not one of them. I don't care what people are calling themselves when they do it, if they are feeding hungry people, call what it is. Good.

author by Matadorpublication date Mon Oct 20, 2008 03:36author email orycle at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

Are you fucking kidding me?! You the sad excuse for all the punk rock posers that are now out there, no thanks to people like you, you hypocritical fiend! I was outraged at the CrimethInc. Review! Comments such as, “ has a few addresses, a number of books in print,” and I suppose you’ve got a far higher sense of vastness in your resources. Within the entire first paragraph, a seemingly numerous collective of attempts to honestly inform his reader about what Anarchy truly is. It’s quoted,

“It is a loose organization which represents a variety of political views a mish-mash of post-leftism, situationism, primitivism and all those "introducing.." philosophy books you don't tell people you read. Anyone can publish under the name or create content using their logo and each "agent" or group operates individually. There is no formal structure, membership or decision making process. One has to wonder whether it's as decentralised as they claim to be, while the hundreds of kids who post on the forum have as much legitimate claim to call themselves part of crimethinc there are really only a vanguard of 20 people maybe less who have had the pleasure of being published under the CWC title and who run the entire show.”

With out the necessity of further persuasion that “W.” is a fucking idiot, I would love to continue analyzing what he’s said. “It’s a loose organization which represents a variety of political views.” There’s a tear in the side of my eye right now. Whether Anarchist or Libertarian, or no matter the Cree, “ organization which represents a variety of political views...”; sounds pretty good to me! What would you have against that?! You’re the fucking post leftist! “W.” decrees CrimethInc. Is nothing more than, “...a mish-mash of post-leftism, situationism, primitivism.” Now we, as freethinkers of this world, have decreed you unfit to represent and have a voice. That’s what I would have said, that is to say, I had been you. They speak out in their own way, and you want them silenced for trying. I think you might be a government fuck! In the same text “W.” stated, “There is no formal structure, membership, or decision making process.” Are you fucking kidding me again?! I am just entirely exhausted of your falsities, you fake! Go work at Burger King, you damn free spirited Hippies! Get your-fucking-self a haircut, a job, and a more integrated, adamant, authority based click! That’s also indeed, what I would have said, if I was “W.” Accusations related to content, “W.” again, makes a goddamn fool of himself, saying, “ The problem is that once you analyse them critically you quickly realise they're barely saying anything at all.” Whoop-dee-fucking-doo! “They say all that needs to be said. Not everything meant to interpret has to be translating mother fucking, Dante’s Inferno, from mother fucking Latin to English, and discerning each and every fucking metaphor beneath the books cover!”~Matador~ Yeah, I quoted my fucking self this time, bitch! Excuse the harshities(...yeah, I know, the word has shit in it, you’ll probably find that funny “W.”...), but all I am trying to say is, step down as a voice if you’re only here to speak counterfactual semantics(...You getting a kick out of that word too, “W.”?). When you address the people, conseider them the people. You advocate you’re rights as a person when you speak up. Then you become their servant. Revolutions happen with dedication, nothing more or less. If you speak for them, idolize everyone who has a different idea mother fucker!

To conclude, let me just say, no, “You’re politics are bourgeoisie as fuck! When you’re finally ready to think for yourself, let me know. ~Matador~

Related Link:
author by Bagel Caperpublication date Mon Oct 20, 2008 15:02Report this post to the editors

I'm not so sure crimethinc is useless... it teaches many people who previously lived consumerist lifestyles how little you really need to get by. They learn to reuse and reduce waste and not buy buy buy. These are things we all need to learn.

Try to be more accepting of various angles here. You may not think it's the best angle, I might not think it's the best angle, but it still is arguably one with considerable potential for good things, and being the ones to torpedo it is foolish. Let them go on.

author by isla - CWCpublication date Sat Nov 22, 2008 08:29author email laurenkay at zenbe dot comReport this post to the editors

Reducing the CWC to a bunk of punk kids who dumpster dive seems to be a way to place them/us below you. I did not get that CrimethInc wants us all to be freezing, starving, and homeless... CrimethInc. is an organisation of hedonism - doing what we want, when we want, how we want. This requires shiz to do it with. CrimethInc. endorses the not yet realized 'gift' economy. Where we give each other the gifts of the Earth as it gives them to us. CrimethInc. is not about dropping out. It's about getting inside people's minds.

What is it about CrimethInc. that you fear so much? Is it the lack of organization? This vague spread out movement that can't be pinned down? Or is it the organization? The websites and published material that is perhaps the most relalatable form of anarchism out there. Does CrimthInc. give too much instruction? With their recipes of small rebellion? Does it give not enough? Only placating the wannabe punk white middle aged kids so they'll sit and dream about la revolucion? CrimethInc. is clear that it's not answer in itself. It's simply a catalyst among many others. Who's revolution is this anyway?

Anarchism is not only the abolishment of government, it is the abolishment of people telling each other what to do.
And you, my friend, are venturing into control freak territory.

author by Roguepublication date Sun Nov 23, 2008 11:00Report this post to the editors

Isla, perhaps you can explain why it is so hard for CrimethInc kids to tolerate criticism? So many CrimethIncers and other individualists have no qualms about criticizing or denouncing "old-fashioned" anarchists, but when criticisms are leveled against them, it is somehow "authoritarian." Is your political philosophy really so tenuous that you cannot handle a little criticism, much less respond to it in any real way?

author by Luxemburgist-Autonomistpublication date Wed Dec 03, 2008 11:18Report this post to the editors

Well, one of my best freinds is a Crimethinker, and I am startig to become infatuated with it myself...

CrimethInc is "the cure to the cancers that are the cure to cancer" to misquote : ]!

The methods they put out are by no means a total revolutionary theory, nor do any of the Crimethinkers I know talk about it that way...

It is several things: it is an attemt to be free from orthodoxy, which can criple the movement, and has and does. We DO chain ourselves to armchairs, or computer desks.... and it is true, drearyness cannot be dispelled by dreariness...

Also, it is freeing yourself from alienation - self alienation. We must not forget we are people... And LIVE as opposed to merely SURVIVING.

Take what is good, and leave what is useless.

author by w.publication date Mon Jan 05, 2009 00:16Report this post to the editors

"Anarchism is not only the abolishment of government, it is the abolishment of people telling each other what to do."

Haha, I think your anarchism is the rebellion against your parents obsessed with authority type. Anarchism is, or ought to be were it not so full of deranged kids projecting their personal grudges, about creating a communist society. I think you will find there will be a lot of telling each other what to do - we will have a society to run.

For communism.

author by SERIOUS!11111!!11!!!!!!111!!!!publication date Fri Jan 16, 2009 04:09Report this post to the editors

"W's critique is that crimethinc pushes people getting involved in the movement into dead end individualist drop out culture and away from the sort of politics that might make a difference in the longer term."

" He writes this as an ex-crimethincer"


Get over it people. Crimethinc gets young people involved in radical politics. They either stay a crimethincer, abandon radical poliitics for some new trend, or they move on to more serious revolutionary struggle. Its that simple.

author by starratz soulbucketpublication date Wed Jan 28, 2009 07:22author email eldiablo_666_smile at hotmail dot comReport this post to the editors

this criticism of crimethinc seems pretty apt although a bit harsh. i think the theory of it is monkey see monkey do. and that by being an individualist and acting freely of yourself you open the door for others without trying to push them. hence most of the ideas that crimething puts forward are working by those means. things like graffiti, wheatpaste and banner drops spread a message while at the same time opening the door of possibility to itself for others.

and while i will admit that crimethinc doesnt really play up on the replacement of means in the wake of the downfall of the system. such as how to for squatted social centers. or a dyi guide for building a greenhouse. or an indentification of common wild foods. but i do recall, i think, a guerilla gardening guide for reclaiming space and using it for food.

and granted dumpster diving is an intermidiary to many of these things. and groups like food not bombs get people cooking and fed. it involves the learning of a skill that is quite essnetial to life and is then one part working towards a more stable future after the revolution while feeding the hungry in the present in a situationist style.

of course shoplifting from major corporations is a kind of economic warfare but its just stealing products from capitalist theives who stole them from underpaid and exploited workers. this amounts to basically a double blow to the workers as the more we steal the more they need to exploit them in order to turn a profit.

obviously we need a mixed approach of individualist situationism and class warfare coupled with the community based restructuring of the means of survival.

author by WorkersMovementpublication date Tue Feb 03, 2009 22:40Report this post to the editors

I agree with the sentiment that crimethinc is COINTELPRO. If they aren't they are sure doing a good job of sowing sectarian discord, discrediting the real left and siphoning much needed energy from real movements.

author by false prophecypublication date Wed Feb 04, 2009 07:08Report this post to the editors

I agree that crimethinc is in no way revolutionary and a lot of people "dropping out" are spoiled middle class kids why is violent revolution the only way. And no i don't agree with reform politically. I know you condemn this but I think dropping out is the way. I think dumpster diving and squatting should you used if you have no other options, not a way to reform. I also think black blocs are the dumbest shit because all they do is further demonize us and the complete point of the protest is lost because its nothing more than a melee thats not making anyone aware of anything, also I heard many stupid people call it violent revolt well it is if you think a revelution was ever won with rocks and molotov cocktails your right what we need is more co-ops and anarchist communities and our own factories and schools. I say all we need to do is quit capitalism and start building our new world. I say this because I fear like many revolutions in the past a military leader will take control and with the large gap between the modern states military and intel technology superiority to anything we could get a hold of we could not win.

author by bastard grandson of frank littlepublication date Thu Feb 19, 2009 05:08Report this post to the editors

..from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I live in Missoula MT, and crimethinc is very in vogue with the so-called 'anarchist' tendency here (as an example- the main "squat" is rented). I see their propaganda everywhere, and am endlessly annoyed by their proponent's general and inarticulate form of "anarchism". Anybody has a right to do with their lives as they wish (including 'dropping out' for a few years), but as far as I'm concerned, the hardcore crimethinc'ers are class war draft dodgers.
I'm homeless and unemployed right now, fallen back on the good will and charity of friends. To think that my current state is somehow desirable, much less a way to challenge the system, would be laugh if it wasn't so insulting.
Once again, good article, and a hundred thousand thanks.

author by Boots - 1 of Anarkismo Editorial Grouppublication date Thu Feb 19, 2009 14:56author email boots at nefac dot netReport this post to the editors

"I also think black blocs are the dumbest shit because all they do is further demonize us and the complete point of the protest is lost because its nothing more than a melee thats not making anyone aware of anything, also I heard many stupid people call it violent revolt well it is if you think a revelution was ever won with rocks and molotov cocktails your right what we need is more co-ops and anarchist communities and our own factories and schools. I say all we need to do is quit capitalism and start building our new world. "

I must disagree with some points. I don't mean to pick, because I understand where your frustration lies, but I think there are some flaws in thinking that are fairly common in the movement.

First of all, we need to remember and point out to others that the black bloc is a tactic. There is a tendency in at least the North American movement for Anarchists to regard a black bloc as an end in and of itself. That being said, we must be careful not to let our desire for legitimate political action lead us into complacency. I believe that a revolution will be complex but will certainly involve violence. There are certainly criticisms that can be made of some black blocs of the past, but throwing molotovs and rocks is not divorced from the idea of revolution. In fact the tendency for people to get fed up and fight back is very understandable.

As far as the use of the black bloc tactic by Anarchists, it needs consideration. But I believe that the uses are there, to protect people from arrest and attack, to perform specific tasks (such as the destruction of an office or ARA actions) but this must be paired with planning and firm will. It is not enough to show up in some mismatched black clothes and expect to be effective. If you do this without sustained community organizing or at lest an awareness of the area you are operating in you can also expect problems. A good example of this being worked out is work done by ARA groups to talk to communities before a Nazi arrives in town, when the event goes down the community knows what is going on.

In regards to co-ops, our 'own' factories and schools I have to disagree. It is the same as other forms of counter culture. They are not bad in and of themselves, I don't care if people engage in them, but they are not revolutionary. They pander to a small group of Anarchists. They power and influence they have is an illusion at best. The State will generally tolerate drop outs, co-ops and a few leftie shops if the larger relationship between worker and the ruling class is left unharmed.

author by Tspublication date Sat Feb 21, 2009 05:21Report this post to the editors

why are you bothering criticizing them? Although they may be oversimplifying anarchism, they're still spreading the message to a wide audience, anarchists are too few and far apart to start condescending other groups, we should be unified if we ever want to get anywhere.

author by Boots - 1 of Anarkismo Editorial Grouppublication date Sat Feb 21, 2009 22:09author email boots at nefac dot netReport this post to the editors

The reason I think that we should spend some time and energy on criticisms like this is because groups like Crimthinc and Green Anarchists/Primitivists are in fact not representing what we are struggling for. We are part of a movement that while not vangaurdist, still wishes to have our ideas become the dominant ones in the working class someday. So we have to both argue our positions and counter those of our political opponents.

There is the question of tactics however. I agree we should not give too much space to countering crimethinc as it will appear childish to many people if not done right. However an article like this on Anarkismo seems very appropriate to me. In other areas of our work we counter lifestylism and primitivist thinking simply by operating as class struggle Anarchists. If we are part of synthesis groups however, we should be willing to offer our positions and not give into the "every type of Anarchism is equally valid" mindset that is in my opinion common in the broad Anarchist movement. This should be done with respect, but we have every right to assert the historical reality of Anarchism over new incarnations that have more to do with nature mysticism, individual adventuring and acts of unfocused insurrection than taking power for workers in our neighberhoods and workplaces.

I will self identify as one who has often not taken this high road, and become bogged down in basically trash talking crimethinc. In fact I am very guilty of this. And that is the behavior that makes our arguments difficult to hear, breaks down unity etc. So it's good to consider.

As a last point, if you do talk to those interested in Crimethinc I think it is important to point out what our criticism really is. I am not against squatting, train hopping, stealing from Capitalists, or acts of sabotage. These things have all been part of Anarchism in the past and present. It's not as if crimethinc invented the notion of poor people stealing food! We simply have to emphasize the need for real power to come to working people. As for the more radical green notions of anti-civ they are pretty nonsensical and there is not much need to argue them. However we can certainly discuss the options that we have to improve environmental well-being for our needs.

author by Summerspeakerpublication date Wed Feb 25, 2009 06:07author email at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

I find it absurd to bitterly attack folks who wish to carve out a haven for themselves and live as freely as possible under the current circumstances. We all live in a relentlessly oppressive and hierarchical world. The system looms above us, an ancient and enduring colossus. Regardless of delusions to the contrary, we're small beings part of a small movement. I fail to see the innate superiority of attempting to change everything rather than struggling for self, comrades, and local community. I support both strategies. I don't consider them mutually exclusive. I wouldn't even consider fighting capitalism if I didn't participate in and draw encouragement from activist subculture. Perhaps y'all have the fortitude to go it alone or organize solely with folks who hold different values. I do not.

I'm particularly amused by the author's offhand indictment of Food Not Bombs. Yes, spitting text against fellow radicals clearly trumps working to satisfy people's physical needs. The system's victims on the street would much rather read an ideological argument than eat a bowl of vegetable soup. Are y'all serious? Again, why elevate the amorphous notion of global struggle over daily and personal realities? Who does that serve? Of course diving dumpsters and giving out free food doesn't bring the planet significantly closer to anarchist revolution. I'm not convinced the traditional tactics of organizing do much better. Keep in mind the magnitude of our goal.

That said, I agree with many of the complaints. I didn't realize Crimethinc propaganda could sound so privileged and condescending. (For the record, I'm mighty white and blessed myself.) I echo the author's disdain with primitivism's ends; I'm a raging technophile. Despite this, I see validity in the primitivist critique of society and technology. We've managed to create a society unpleasant and alienating even to wealthy kids. (How much more for everyone else!) As bosses control the machines, I understand why green anarchists want to smash them with a rock.

Best wishes to y'all, to Crimethinc punks, and to anyone struggling against hierarchy anywhere. I hope we can figure out a way to work together without perpetuating oppression or ignoring individual humanity. ¡Viva la revolución social y libertaria!

author by Anonymouspublication date Mon Mar 30, 2009 23:52Report this post to the editors

Reading this article seems to be exactly what i needed. I was and suppose still am an avid reader or Crimethinc and its publications. It is true that it is little more than a parasitic relationship with capitalistic society. That's what got me. It also seems to me that anarchy at my local Food not Bombs is exclusive to a clique that i don't seem to fit into which really really makes me question the punk/crust kids that participate. It honestly feels like I don't listen to the music, so I don't belong in their group.

author by Sekepublication date Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:29Report this post to the editors

I agree fully that class struggle is important, but I would believe it is safe to say that most of you have never meet a "Crimethincer" They are nice enough, and willing to fight, and if they wanna drop out and fight that way, what's wrong with that? Sorry to say it, but not so many people find regular class struggle union organizing interesting, which is bad, I like unions, but to be truthful, they aren't getting much done in the way of revolution either. Don't mean to offend, and If i am wrong, please explain it without being cocky, that accomplishes nothing. I might agree with you and change my mind if I hear something valid other than insults.

author by stanleypublication date Mon May 18, 2009 18:27Report this post to the editors

this is my first time contributing here. I am new to anarchism, though I'm rather a late starter... as are a few people that I know and organize with. I've read all the comments. the main article and some comments were out of line, but in general it has been a good discussion. Thank you to everyone who contributed honestly, thoughtfully, and with a minimum of vitriol.

One person's comment did link to a quick reference about Crimethink actually advocating the use of magic as a tactic, which I found interestingly disturbing yet unnoticed by everyone else.

It's all complex and tricky, but basically I hope that crimethink reforms, not disappears.

author by billie rainpublication date Fri Oct 16, 2009 06:42Report this post to the editors


my name is billie and i just stumbled across your article, which i couldn't even finish reading the article because it just made me feel so damn bad! let me be clear: i have absolutely nothing to do with crimethinc. but i am concerned about this article's conflation of crimethinc and some really valuable cancepts and activities.

a little about me:
i am a 36 year old disabled working-class anarchist with no affiliation to any group. anarchism is simply what i believe in. this weekend i'm speaking on a panel about disability and aging at the seattle anarchist bookfair called "don't leave us behind at the end of the march." one of the reasons i'm taking the little energy i have to do this is because, over the last 13 years as my health has deteriorated, i have been systematically excluded from almost every single outlet to join others in organizing around our shared beliefs, and have had to create my own little accessible anarchist corner of the world, currently located in seattle.

that said, it saddened me when i read in your article because the language and tone were so combative and dismissive. you associate food not bombs and dumpster diving with the "condescending, privileged, middle class crap" that crimethinc espouses, yet food not bombs has been around for years, and it has been a transformative and barrier-breaking example of the practical use of dual power. while many chapters of food not bombs have been extremely problematic, there have been many chapters over the years that have been founded and driven by working class and nonwhite folks, and furthermore fostered real community between food not bombers and those looking for a noninvasive, healthy meal.

another story. i am in a community that is mostly disabled folks. we experience, like disabled folks across the world, disproportionate poverty and unemployment. there was a time when that fact hit my community real hard. my partner, who is able bodied (but not nondisabled, don't get it twisted), would go around every week to the best dumpsters, assemble care packages for all the down-and-out cripples we knew (including us), and deliver them. it was awesome.

awesome! it warmed our hearts!

i emphasize that because another concept that is associated with crimethinc and dismissed. that our communities should foster joy and happiness. i personally have lived in poverty most of my life through no choice of my own, and yet i have to agree with the sentiment that if i'm not having fun, i'm not doing it right. the cultivation of joy and a love ethic is a *huge* aspect of the active resistance of my community. i won't go into the sordid details for my hard knock like and my health conditions, but i can assure you that being happy, for me, is a huge "fuck you" to my oppressors and is actually necessary for my physical well-being.

i lay in agreement (i really can't stand for very long) with crimethinc, thich nhat hahn, and alice walker that we must transform our inner lives in order to effectively transform society. sadly, i don't think that crimethinc has enough of an analysis to actually be in solidarity with me or these folks, yet it heartens me that they understand how important it is to try and create joy within the shell of the oppressive society.

this is what i have to say. i hope you will take it to heart. and if any seattle folks are reading this, come to the panel on saturday at 1pm.

take care.

love billie

ps: if for some reason you'd like to know more about me, my illness, and being happy, there is a short documentary called "bed: a place called home" that you can check out:

Related Link:
author by Nate..publication date Thu Dec 03, 2009 16:38Report this post to the editors

Do we feel so compelled to alienate each other.. I feel as if most are arguing like democrats and republicans upon which ideology is right. Were all comrades.. it felt like the article i read here was elitist when they were criticizing crimethinc. Why are we alienating each other whether white middle class or impoverished. The feel of this article seemed oddly anti-solidarity which is what atleast i feel like i crave most in life... Whether drop out or working anarchist we all are doing what we think is best for us... To quote a song

" We aren't revolutionaries, but we are the revolution.
And sometimes I think that the whole movement is just me and you
And maybe we'd all be better off if that was true

Cuz then we'd at least know where we stand
And we could tell our comrades apart from the man
cuz if the world isn't that simple
Maybe this town is at least

And if I'm not marching with them for war I'm sure not marching with you for peace

Class traitor? What fucking ever!
I'm just another middle class kid, too.
But if I'm not good at changing, I'm good at self loathing
So I'll class hate myself with you."

My comment maybe simplistic but to sum it up...
Why do we alienate our comrades? No matter what form they come in they are still comrades...
There is no formula for revolution let people do what feels best for them and do what feels best for you isn't that what everyone is fighting for?

One very lonely anarchists wondering why i feel like i am reading a presidential debate

author by ashleypublication date Sat Dec 26, 2009 06:39Report this post to the editors

Does anyone else think it is interesting that crimethinc. isn't translated into any other languages but those spoken by white people in countries all over the world?
Also, it is important to note that dumpster diving, squatting and "living free" (whatever that is supposed to mean) is COMPLETELY dependent on capitalism. Crimethinc. and its followers need the excess of capitalism to sustain their "lifestyle". Additionally, I am curious to know who Crimethinc. expects to maintain their daily faculties such as taking out the trash, plumbing and construction if everybody is supposed to be an ex-worker...

author by Personpublication date Tue Jan 05, 2010 15:20Report this post to the editors

"Does anyone else think it is interesting that crimethinc. isn't translated into any other languages but those spoken by white people in countries all over the world?
Also, it is important to note that dumpster diving, squatting and "living free" (whatever that is supposed to mean) is COMPLETELY dependent on capitalism. Crimethinc. and its followers need the excess of capitalism to sustain their "lifestyle". Additionally, I am curious to know who Crimethinc. expects to maintain their daily faculties such as taking out the trash, plumbing and construction if everybody is supposed to be an ex-worker...
Number of comments per page"

I don't think there are enough crime followers who are willing to translate.. additionally working for the system is just as relevant as being a parasite in your argument? I am agree crimethinc is rather lopsided towards the more anarcho-punk movement but they are doing something. They opened my eyes towards many things in which i expanded on now. i am not middle classed white skinned which many think they are dependent on for a following. i am actually rather lower class mixed race and it helped me! so please stop with that jargon it is rather insulting. now again they could use some changing or reforming if you so please but atleast they try which many anarchist i know don't so hold your criticism to polite criticism cause they are at least making some difference to me at least and isn't that what helps us overall rather than being seperatedinto which anarchist is right?

author by mikeypublication date Sat Jan 23, 2010 08:50author email mblane7 at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

this article hurt my feelings. i am very into a lot of the crimethinc. books and have learned a lot about myself and the world from them. i agree with a LOT of what they say, but not ALL they have to say, just like any other thing (political parties etc) you can't choose something that is exactly right for you except for your own morals. in crimethinc i have found a large mass of things i agree with all together; why would i ignore it, then? You are getting nothing done by writing this, and neither am i

author by alwaysastudentneveramasterpublication date Sat Feb 13, 2010 03:55Report this post to the editors

My adoption of anarchism is recent and I began reading crimethInc's material in hopes of finding my way out a a theoretical quagmire. What I found were arrogant elitist living on the scraps of capitalist excess. No thoughts of a post-capitalist society; just self-indulgence in the here and now. I agree with your comment about the spokespeople for the group appearing to have no interest in a revolution to destroy capitalist society. They fancy themselves rebels living on the edge and they want to maintain that appearance, and that requires the continuation of the capitalist system

author by Las Vegas kid - anarchypublication date Sat Feb 27, 2010 03:21Report this post to the editors

After reading some of the critics i thought that many of you are forgetting what the real problem is. Let us not forget that were all on the same team. Criticizing each other doesnt help. Im only 18 and i may not know that much but what i do know is that you cant recycle wasted time. I see fucked up things everyday and i dont see anyone doing anything about them. i stand alone against the ignorant culture that we live in. its hard to find rational thinking people so my point is, The last thing we need is friendly fire.

author by Jaypublication date Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:00Report this post to the editors

Class struggle anarchism ignores the role of critical self-reflection in creating revolutionary movements. A critique of morality, capitalist culture and authoritarianism is something I found in crimethinc that wasn't present in other anarchist literature. Or, if nothing else, it was written in a more accessible style. Writing political economy has advantages to crimethinc's poetic sytle, but it would be dumb to ignore the importance of using non-marxist, revolutionary vocabulary in promoting anarchist ideas. Not everyone wants to read details of theory. Crimethinc presents some ideas in ways that ring true for people like political economy never could. Crimethinc should be praised for creating anti-authoritarian/capitalist sentiments in the children of the bourgeoisie.

The critique of parasitism is valid. Crimthinc has many other ideas that don't have constructive value for a future anarchist society. But do class struggle anarchists? Yea, but the ideas are so varied and hard to find and unclear and vague that it seems strange to condemn crimethinc for an alternate vision, especially considering go the "anarchism without adjectives" route. Maybe they don't satisfy mutualists, syndicalists, or whatever other faction other anarchists belong to, but to translate this dissatisfaction into a problem with their theory is no good. Their main point is that class struggle anarchism's factionalism is as alienating as party politics. In trying to move past it, they make some points I disagree with. But this dosen't mean their whole project sucks, which what most people seem to be implying.

Also, class struggle anarchists frequently do the whole marxist economic reduction thing. This pisses me off. We need to talk about socialism as qualitative change, not just economic and political reorganization. Otherwise, no one is ever going to get energized enough to tear down the seemingly invincible institutions theoretical anarchism has so brilliantly critiqued.

I don't know, for class struggle anarchists, what is your practice? I get your theory, but at least crimethinc kids are liberating themselves from internalized domination, what are you guys doing, organizing revolutionary worker's cells? The workers dont give a fuck about our movement because theyre in the grips of advanced capitalism and its amazing incentive systems. The whole working class thinks theyre the middle class. I'm just saying, crimethinc bridges the theory/practice divide. Class struggle anarchists, except maybe that of that rare minority who is working class, are still the privileged intellectual masturbaters crimethinc accuses them of being.

We should mix and match the two, each of us, and stop bitching about systems of thought. Lets do some shit we wanna do, for oursevles, and some shit we see as helping revolutionary movements.

author by anonymouspublication date Fri Jul 09, 2010 15:17Report this post to the editors

im not saying that crimethinc is right in any of their doings, but who are you to criticize them? isn't the most basic principal of anarchy freedom to do as you want? if some teenagers want to drop out of society, hop trains and eat out of dumpsters, i don't think you're in any authoritative position to tell them not to. and ultimately, if you're both working towards the same goal (revolution) wouldn't it be more effective to put your differences aside instead of insulting them constantly?

author by Dane - Motuvpublication date Sun Aug 29, 2010 07:42author email dreamdofollowthrough at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

Nearly ten years ago I remember coming across Crimethink and the various cells of more academic and "direct action" oriented anarchist factions. I find it pretty hilarious that one of the comments hit it right on the head- this whole debate is just like every other political debate and the reason I left politics. You spend 85% of your time talking about sub groups and bitching about the way the dot on the i looks instead of taking a step back and realizing that the i was written by someone else and you are wasting valuable and short lived time when you could be putting POSITIVE RIGHT ACTION into the world. Who fucking cares if Crimethink preaches abandon of the workforce- what? Are you shaking in your boots because you think every disgruntled kid in any country who stumbles onto this methodology is going to run off and live like a parasite sucking the off the teet of capitolist excess? No those that choose sloth and call it revolution are individuals not a whole, just like those that choos elitism and call it proper "revolution" are individuals. Do you not realize that the division between methodologies is the downfall of any anti-authoritarian trend? You spend so much time complaining or picketing what you think is wrong, instead of just comitting to doing things that are right and positive and letting the infection of personal accountability and passion for truth and justice spread like wildfire. You aren't going to change the world from this chat room, not with your zines or your books or your academic book club rantings, you will do it by taking the trash out and strikig up conversation with your neighbor, or god forbid by finding some trash reclaiming it and passing it on as raw material for new and innnovative uses.

When will you people wake the fuck up and realize that pointing fingers is useless, you want to open your mouth? Then let the joy, grace and appreciation for nothing more than the GIFT of your next breath shine through it and the action that will most hopefully follow. it. Poverty is not a joke so work to change it don't belittle those who choose to expore it maybe they understand it from a new angle, maybe they don't who the hell are you to say otherwise? Each expierence, each challenge, hurdle, venture and exploration is different and specific to the individual which just rings the point home- think as an individual then act as a community. There's a whole lot of people out there let Crimethink have it's fun you want to do things different? Fine stop chatting and go fucking do them.

author by mos jef - micheal jackson brigadepublication date Mon Dec 13, 2010 06:36author email mosjef at riseup dot netReport this post to the editors

im a native american born in to lower working class status...your wrong about how those in crime thinc are spoiled middle class children

crimethinc is into destroying our old lives of monotony and wage slavery...even if you work make your hobbies your vocation..not flipping burgers...

also individualism and egoist anarchism have held a postition in anarchism for quite some time includes your hallowed gods of anarchy kropotkin amongst others

anyways your arguements are just boring...

author by Wolf - Anarchist Communitypublication date Fri Dec 31, 2010 06:12Report this post to the editors

i will say to anyone who thinks being middle class is a privilege, and to bring it even farther to create a bigger race war upon your own comrades, get the FUCK out of the way, you are holding us back, you may not like crimethincs imagination, but you fools but realize thats what they use as their inspiration, is imagination, if you ever picked up a pen in your life you might understand this. I want no solidarity with people like you, and you deserve to rot, because if you think I'm privileged because i was born a certain color or because im no longer sleeping in a rotting trailer, well, you can go to hell.

The only "privilege" you get from being middle class, is having more stuff to worry about not being able to afford, this hatred against middle class is a fools trade, not everyone sits in a corporate office to make ends meet and its horrid anyone believes thats the case. Also, I find it sad how impressionable everyone is, to where you can read an article like this and all of a sudden change your mind set, and you speak of crimethinc being the children? Ha!

What disgusts me even more is this focus on color or place of living, these are your moral codes? despise all who is white lives in the west and is middle class? You are far from a comrade, and you should be able to see this is not a movement soul based on class and race. The sooner you realize this, perhaps something may actually happen. Oh and food not bombs is a waste of time? Well then, what a wonderful way of thinking, fools, what would you do after a revolution, who would you have left to hate? How would you even eat if you already despise those who hand out food, what about the ones who cant fend for themselves, let them die right? Ha... You are not ready for a revolution, maybe that's why there isn't one.

author by Ananomuspublication date Mon Jan 31, 2011 09:23Report this post to the editors

It sounds like the author is out of touch with the younger generation. Not everyone likes to play political scientist, and toss around terms like 'post-contrarian neoliberal anarchism'. The youth are picking and choosing, forming a grand unified theory, so to speak. We have our own ideas, our own brains, we were brought up in a different world, and we want different things. I feel the author is not angered by Crimethinc per se, but angered by the sentiments, motivations, and desires of the youth. Actually, this is verified by the claim that Crimethinc is composed almost entirely of 'kids'. If you have a problem with Crimethinc, then you must have a problem with the youth. Yes, we seem exotic and bizarre, and our ideas might not make sense to you (and most likely seem stupid or impractical). But the reality is that in ten or fifteen years some of us will have started to implement these ideas, as the human spirit for creativity is both dynamic and unstoppable. It's dangerous and offensive to marginalize people people for their socially constructed backgrounds , labels, and external environment at the expense of their very real and true internal selves. Don't forget to always remember that you don't understand anyone but yourself.

author by Miss maydaypublication date Mon Feb 07, 2011 22:43Report this post to the editors

I think crimethinc is the creative funside of anarchy without being preachy mundane and know it allish

The writing and art of anarchy for people who like well written inspiring words and pictures.

While some complain its childish i think its beautiful in its simplistic form.

It uses slick graphic design text editing and formatting to deliver an impression of ideas that r easily digestible to the masses.

It is not telling u how to think or what to do. Its an impression of ideas that if u want to delve deeper into they point you in some interesting directions.

I like that their ideas r vague and broad. They inspire and make u think creatively for urself and do not force any real ideology or thought process on you. You r better than anyone else to decide what is right for you. You are the authority. That is a huge concept and one that crimethinc really stresses

So u can write well written essays about how little they do or the childish actions they discuss, imo they would agree with u. Cuz ur the authority :)

They tell u they dont have all the answers. They dont flesh everything out and make everything tedious and burdensome.

To say they r parasitic because they encourage living off of a consumer driven society i dont agree with that. Or maybe even growing your own food is parasitic in a way because you me everyone is living off what the planet provides. Consumer culture or not we are all parasites.

author by Pink0™ - Metapolitikpublication date Fri Aug 26, 2011 07:01Report this post to the editors

Sorry in advance for the length of this, but... It hit a nerve.
I really did try to read all of the comments here, but I only made it through the first half.

That stated, I will throw in my two cents.
If someone said this already, well... It's not like anyone will make it this far so...

Also - with all due respect and consideration to the rules or guidelines of this site (which I assume recall correctly include something about 'flaming' or making incindiary comments) - I am about to do some mild flaming on a previous commenter and on CrimethInc™ in-general. This won't be pretty, but it will be cathartic for me, so here goes...

I knew CrimethInc™ was a load of BS the first time I laid eyes on their publications. I was living in an old warehouse with a several room-mates, one of whom was a sociology student, a self-described "radical anarchist" - and he had just returned from the post office (in the car that his mother purchased for him) with a big cardboard box. "What's that?" I asked. "It's some radical anarchist literature, you should read it." was his response. Fully expecting a stack of the photocopied zines that I remembered from my earlier adventures, I was surprised when he opened the box to reveal some of the slickest, most well produced paperback book-covers I had seen since the last time I had wandered into a Barnes and Nobles. "These look really expensive" I said. "Not really, I only paid about $250 for the whole collection" (?!!) ... Only?! ...Whatever, who am I to judge... Right? Well, after taking the time to peruse all $250 worth of material, I quickly came to several conclusions:

1) CrimethInc™ is 80% or more recycled writing

2) CrimethInc™ has some of the most meticulously produced book-covers (adorned with comic-book punks) outside of Fantagraphics

3) It cost A LOT to have those printed (I've worked in publishing, I know what printers charge)

4) CrimethInc™ is operating as a for-profit BUSINESS (as-in: a Capitalist™ enterprise)

5) CrimethInc™ is duping these kids by deliberately diluting the Anarchist message via self-indulgent, counter-revolutionary, ideas

6) CrimethInc™ is quite possibly (if not certainly) a front for an ongoing COINTELPRO / PSYCOP operation


7) It all (#6-above) works very well

8) It all seems so horribly obvious

9) The Kids eat this stuff up

Nine... I think that just happens to be how many books there were too.


W. nailed it when he observed accurately: "They carry on the legacy of prize-idiot Abbie Hoffman, printing books and zines which fetishises scams, petty crime and useless activist/punk sub-cultural activity like food not bombs, squatting, etc."

My only response to this is: ...'You forgot to mention Hoffman's legacy of printing books and zines which openly flaunt those scams and sub-cultural activities - thereby making them readily accessible to law-enforcement, the feds, et al.' Hell, If it hadn't been for 'Steal this Book', I could probably still get free phone calls from payphones. But of course, once that information is 'out there', it becomes a quick-fix for the establishment to close those loopholes, make arrests, etc...

But what really bugs-the-fuck out of me, is that CrimethInc™ is so OBVIOUSLY a thriving Capitalist™ enterprise, deliberately masquerading as a legitimate opposition to Capitalism™. They say that they are not, but all of the evidence points to the contrary.


- No transparency
- Charging for materials
- High prices for materials
- Corporate production values
- More attention devoted to presentation than to content
- The very name 'CrimethInc™' (sounds downright crypto-fascist to me)

But like I said: "Who was I to judge?" Maybe these kids had the right idea. Maybe I was just being to stuffy in my reactionary... er, reaction. I would withhold judgement and take a wait-and-see approach. "Who knows?" I told myself "Maybe I'll even learn something".

Or maybe not.

After spending the better part of a year with this guy and his posse of friends, what I learned was that any budding revolutionary who's politics have been suckled on the insidious mind-viruses put-forth in the CrimethInc™ catalog, isn't going to give a rat's ass about the struggle of actual workers, what it means to earn a living, what it means to actually be hungry, or anything else outside of his or her own little sphere of teen-anarchist fashion clique. I learned that the stereotype of white, middle-class, suburban kids who like to play at revolution on mommy-and-daddy's dime is very much a reality in the US. I learned that every last one of them had a cellphone that their upper-middle-class parents had bought for them and I learned that the possibility (likelihood?) of embedded wireless surveillance-systems never even occurred to most of them. Or if it did, they knew about it and did not care.

In short, I learned that the average consumer of CrimethInc™ material is (at best) not inclined to think through their positions in any logical or coherent manner, or (at worst) not very bright. Examples of this include the idea that humans can (and should) somehow return to living a hunter-gatherer based lifestyle (sure, I'll get right on ripping up the millions of miles of concrete and replacing all of the species we've killed with the spare back-ups on my ark), that honey is exploitative to bees and that body lice "have rights too". Don't even let me get me started on our visit from John Zerzan with all of his primitivist / anti-civilization nonsense. I honestly cannot recall a more masturbatory exchange than the discussion I had with this man (who writes books) about his theory that we need to get rid of language and all codified forms of communication.

I am reminded of William S. Burroughs and his description of the 'Nova Mob' hijacking the 'Reality Studio'. For those unfamiliar with Burroughs work, he basically describes a 'group' (The Nova Mob) who deliberately use 'cut ups' and 'negative feedback' to channel subverted subversion back to the subversives. Thereby distorting, usurping and undermining their initial message. We can see this happening all around us in day-today life: Say, whenever a TV anchor subtextualy infers their own tacit disapproval at someone's actions or quotes someone out-of-context in-order to distort their original statement. These are the most obvious, in-your-face examples. But how much easier is it to accomplish this sort of thing when you have no media spotlight shining on you? When you're say, an independent book publisher. Indeed, the establishment is well-versed in counter-intelligence methods and have used these techniques for decades -- if-not centuries -- to accomplish their aims. I believe CrimethInc™ is a perfect example of this.

What's that you say? You recognize the phrase 'cut-ups' from your CrimethInc™ reading? No surprises. As Ramor Ryan observes:

"Text, ideas, and graphics are borrowed and pilfered from the Stoke-Newington fanzine Vague, British graphic artist Clifford Harper, French situationist Raoul Vaneigem and indeed, the whole of the Situationist pantheon. They sack the archives of radical sub-culture to compound a falsehood, the basic premise of this book, that it is an instrument for “total liberation.”

Thus, CrimethInc™ has emasculated Burrough's and Gyson's entire theory and critique of 'cut-ups' and replaced it with their own watered-down 'how-to' version. They almost could have photocopied pages from 'The Ticket that Exploded' and had the same net effect. But missing from the literature is a critique of the signal-to-noise ratio found in post-industrial mediated society, rather here it is replaced by 'recipes' for pranks and other hijinx. Some would argue, (CrimethInc consumers) that this is actually teaching anarchists how to use and exploit the same crypto-fascist mind-control techniques (via language manipulation and non-verbal communication) so that they can be turmed against the system through 'radical' propaganda. More like teaches them how to use these techniques on each other -- thereby maintaining status-quo within the group -- yet simultaneously patronizing the reader by offering it up as a radical mini-action that one take against people perceived or labeled 'oppressive'.

As 'T' observes:

"Its really all about confusing the signal. The more sites and forums that are misleading and confusion about what Anarchism is about, then the more its will be diluted. What it effectively seems to do is to scoop up all those people who have some inkling there is something wrong with the system but who have never being exposed to any analysis of the system. This CrimethInc™ site then has lots of "radical" ideas with plenty of buzzwords and so in their eyes seems to be the place where its happening. It obviously appeals to an US audience seeing that the average person there grows up with their corporate media and will never get exposed to any sort of real analysis about anything during the entire life. When they see this stuff on CrimethInc™, it passes for analysis and so the whole operation works perfectly and serves to cut these people off at the pass as it were and hence they never move on nor discover what anarchism is really about. Not only that, once they have read a few bits and pieces on CrimethInc™, then it is likely that they will claim to know it all and have no need to listen or read any further. This outgoing wave of people then serve to spread the disinformation further."

...Unfortunately, the average CrimethInc™ consumer (and consumers they are) is too callow, immature, or self-involved to see through this obvious deception. What's worse, they exhibit the very same kind of classist elitism that they claim to abhor - rejecting from their cliques anyone who does not hold their 'party line' of dropping-out, dumpster diving and generally doing nothing to further the politics that they claim to embrace. Oh right, my politics are boring. That is the single stupidest statement I've heard in a very long time. Critiquing the relative entertainment value of one's socio-political leanings is like saying that Lindsay Lohan would make a lousy head of state (or whoever Babylon is propping up as this week 'whore goddess'). Politics are always boring, just as entertainers never make for good politicians (unless you're a plutocrat, in which-case Ronald Reagan was the shiznit).

Or maybe they are all just stuck in high school.

And to the ...person, ahem... in the gated community who admittedly steals from vacationers... Where to even begin? How about with the fact that my working-class, politically unaware mother scrimped and saved and worked her little fingers to the bone, just so she could save up enough money to take me to Epcot Center as a kid and if someone had flim-flammed her out of a twenty on our vacation, it likely would have meant the difference between us eating a decent vacation-worthy meal that evening or sitting in the car munching saltines and tuna-fish. And while some high-minded idealists will inevitably respond to the last sentence with some stupid comment about the romantic plight and inherent beauty of that tuna and saltine dinner, the reality is that no 10 year old on vacation wants to hear that shit and neither do his parents. Give me time to establish my sociolo-political viewpoint before you go ripping of my mom in public, please.

Also, I don't know which is worse: that you live in a gated community, that you admit to it, or that you (by your own account) did so of your own accord. This is either stupidity or dishonesty (not sure which) on so many levels. That you are 18 and did this with no help from your parents, I find difficult (if not impossible) to believe, especially in-light of the fact that you need a police report, a credit report and a background check just to get into a shitty apartment complex these days. If your so bloody self-actualized, why are you stealing from working people on vacation. Or is that how you were able to afford your new digs?

The kids who follow CrimethInc™ are not Anarchist, they are not radicals. They are insular in their self-imposed alienation, arrogant beyond belief and completely devoid of any actual thought - preferring instead to bury their collective emotional heads in the sand and to base all of their views on what 'feels good'. Worse, they perpetuate and embrace the very social structures that they claim to reject and to actively work against. They are -- in essence -- the very picture of the stereotypical spoiled, lazy, over-privileged and ultimately ignorant offspring of Capitalists™. Since few of them have ever had a job of any kind - or for that matter, ever really had to work - their views on labor, equality and class are skewed and unrealistic.

And as Joe Black observed, this: "might make sense if CrimethInc were simply a self-help group or a cultural group with nothing much to say about anarchist organist. They are not - they are extremely hostile to concepts of mass organization. So while they might act as a positive in attracting peoples attention they act as a rather strong negative in directing them down a particular ideological path." ...And what good to anarchism is a group that is extremely hostile to concepts of mass organization?

And unfortunately for the Anarchist movement, what organized activity these kids do accomplish typically revolves around coordinating a lifestyle of homemade beer (how fucking bourguese is THAT?!), urban gardens, home-made tampons and dumpster diving and zombie protests (whatever that shit's all about)... MUCH OF WHICH IS COOL, don't get me wrong. But radical anarchism it ain't and never will be. Some of it is a downright mockery.

I didn't choose anarchism or communism... They chose me. When you grow up a poor, white, moderately intelligent kid in the slums and you see repeated economic disaster take place all around you, all the time... A leftist perspective is the only logical conclusion.

I have worked my ass off. I have been a dishwasher, a telemarketer, a hot-dog vendor, a frycook, a line cook, a bartender, a janitor, a bussboy, a waiter, a house-painter, an office manager, a file clerk, an assistant architect... You name it. I have worked my ass off to see diminishing wages that were too small to begin with, to see no health insurance, no dental, no medical, no 401k, no nothin'. Except maybe a 'shift meal' and the occasional extra $20 in my paycheck for a job well done. Sure, I could have gotten a college degree and a job as a 'professional', but of course that would mean I'd still be paying off my student loans well into my thirties and still wouldn't have any guarantee of ever finding work. Have you looked at the help wanted listings in the last 15 years or so? They're paying $10/hr to commute 45 minutes to a job that requires a bachelor's degree. I can make twice that painting houses and still not have enough left over for all of the bills that modern society throws at us these days. And as we 'progress' further down the path of Capitalism, expect more of these bills (until the ecosystem collapses of course). Used to be if you didn't have a car and a place to stay, you were a third-class citizen. Then you had to have a phone and electricity. Now you need a car, a computer, a high-speed internet connection, a cellphone with high-speed data, a Facebook account, a Twitter account, a blog and 200+ "friends" just to show the world that you're not a complete loser. And while CrimethInc™ celebrates the poetry of poverty, every 18 -26 y.o. self-proclaimed anarchist that I've met in the last 10 years almost invariably has a cellphone, a car, a computer, a high-speed internet connection, Facebook accounts, Twitter accounts, et al. But it's okay, cause mommy and daddy pay the bills and hey, "politics are boring" anyway. And while much of this is just being typical high-school and college-age kids, the 'typicals' don't refer to themselves as 'radicals' or claim to support anarchy. Furthermore, much - if not all - of these self-style 'radicals' choices in identity politics seem fueled and fostered by the consumption of faux-anarchist materials from groups like CrimethInc™.

What's worse, anyone over the age of 30 who actually reads any of this material is immediately confronted with what at first appears to be complete gibberish, but upon further inspection reveals itself to be the deliberately impenetrable writings of an adolescent mind that really hasn't yet learned how to think their own ideas through, but feels passionately enough about them to use a thesaurus. I am reminded of the liner-notes of a "punk" band from the early-nineties called 'Operation Ivy' (yet more cryptofascist naming conventions of the Nova Mob or just a typically oblique reference to something quasi-political that they happen to know about?). I will quote it in-full:

"Music is an indirect force for change, because it provides an anchor against human tragedy. In this sense, it works towards a reconciled world. It can also be the direct experience of change. At certain points during some shows, the reconciled world is already here, at least in that second, at that place. Operation Ivy was very lucky to have experienced this. Those seconds reveal that the momentum that drives a subculture is more important then any particular band. The momentum is made of all the people who stay interested, and keep their sense of urgency and hope."

That's all very uplifting, but it does nothing to clarify what a "reconciled world" consists of. Presumably, it consists of a bunch of dirty white kids with guitars drinking beer in someone's basement. Having lived in that scene for almost a decade, I can honestly say that it is the most nihilistic, counter-revolutionary force I can think of outside of college fraternities and gangster rap.

They've simply taken the culural elitism and snobbery that they rejected in their former 'mainstream' lives and applied it to being "punks" or "anarchists" or... Whatever. They still buy corporate beer, still put corporate gas in their corporate cars, still print their zines on corporate paper at the local corporate Kinkos, while mommy and daddy still work corporate jobs so that their kids can still afford all of this anarchist revelry without ever having to think about doing actual work for the actual corporations that they will inevitably succumb-to. This is of course, is not without it's historical precedent. It's what their parents did.

Why does it piss me off so bad? Why do I care if these kids spend their not-earned cash on crap like faux-post-anarchist-lit? Maybe because when I was a kid, I was kind of the same way about crap like Skinny Puppy and Ministry. There was enough social commentary in those lyrics to make us all think (at least subconsciously) that there were more of us out there who saw through the illusions, to the contradictory core of Capitalist Society. And there were more of us... Problem is, collectively we were hopelessly disorganized and never got past the 'culture' phase of our respective 'movements'. On the contrary, it seems like anymore, 'counter-cultures' only serves as a mechanism for leading the young free-thinkers away and sending them down ever more self-destructive paths (How many hardcore alchohlics and junkies has the Punk Rock movement spawned?).

CrimethInc™ is no exception. I'm sure it's run by a bunch of douchebag ex punk-rockers about my age with some backing from Madison Ave., a 'DBA' (doing business as) to make sure the actual corporation's name separate from that of the 'brand', and there ya go! Instant underground commercial success. Don't even need to bother with copyrights, just tell everyone that 'they' are CrimethInk too. Free viral advertising. Anonymous anyone?

And I like how all of the arguments to the contrary on here urge anyone who disagrees to go out and read 'Rolling Thunder'.
Way to spread the virus!

A final note: In defense of CrimethInc™. (Because no one completely sucks) - As previous commenter Harrison Bergeron so eloquently pointed out: "A rose by any other name... publish a book and call it whatever you want. Start a sustainable farm for you and you friends to run projects out of and call it Anarchy World or a CrimethInc. compound. Who cares? If it's starting fires in the hearts and minds of apathetic kids, more power to it. Sometime we all need to drop the pride and stop and ask for directions..."

And he's right. There are some important things that they do: Most notably, they explore ways in which -- while fighting the good fight -- we might temporarily extricate ourselves from this corrupt system. And they give us some options to explore, 'come the revolution'. They show us that this world is not all freeways and monopolies and unpaid bills, even though sometimes it is. And they show us that there's still a lot of fun to be had. Problem is, now you gotta hit the dumpsters before the suburban kids get there - otherwise, it's tuna and saltines again. But hey, dem anarchists, they fed me good. I never had so many dumpstered chevre and parmesian sandwiches. The joys of not being vegan. And while food not bombs is very worthwhile, it seems that often the homeless people they try to feed are more interested in the white-bread bologna sandwiches and tomato soup they're serving down at the soup kitchen than they are in vegan lentil stew. But I digress.

I think the most important thing that CrimethInc has taught us, is that by cleverly mining the public-domain of the past, we can make money in the future! (I kid) By selling our rebellion back to us! Just like the Sex Pistols (the band of 'rebels' that was shamelessly 'manufactured' by Malcolm McLaren in order to sell chains and Circle-A-shirts to kids), just like Jimi and Jimmy (pick one). Just like... Well, you get the idea.

I guess part of why it pissed me off because I can never really talk to any of them without (intentionally or otherwise) bursting their bubble (which of course, will get you labeled as "oppressive"). It's like talking to my younger self. My stupider, more stubborn, dreamier, more artistic, more passionate and ultimately more idealistic self. So really, it pisses me off because I envy their innocence and yet cannot help but begrudge them that innocence when it is by it's very nature accompanied by so much useless nonsense... Nonsense that probably came out of my own mouth 20 years ago... Damnit!

(There... How's that for looking in the mirror)

...Also, I am pissed off we didn't have CrimethInc. when I was a kid.

We all gotta dream.

And that is really what CrimethInc does well. The same thing Op Ivy and others like them did 20, 30, 40 years ago. Provide hope and inspire the newcomers. Offer an exquisite tapestry of glossolalia - a pastiche - echoes of radical pasts - with which the aspirants may adorn the skeletons of their ideas. Nothing more, nothing less. It is up to the initiate to decide whether it will be a first-step on a larger journey or just another dead-end in a society that is already fraught with `em.

And then there's this chillingly humorous thought:

What if the very idea of Anarchism ITSELF is a crypto-fascist ploy to get us to all drop out of the system so that there will be even more of our money for THEM to share amongst themselves?! Or maybe Gutenberg secretly invented it to sell books!


Related Link:
author by Jimboupublication date Mon Apr 09, 2012 03:45Report this post to the editors

Well your critical review of the CrimethInc work it's the basis of something that could be better, but sadly is filled with the same things you're attacking: Saying something is bad without an argument, making a lot of fallacies, taking random forum posts and then making a critique of the whole collective by that.

And worse is trying to write such a shallow philosophical argument about their background and why they do that. You attack them cause they're from a supposed middle class, or suburban, or teenagers, or consumerists, and that's your only argument. In my opinion this is way way way more complex, it's the longue-duree consequence of the combined failures of all the social redention movements, anarchism proved to be powerless even with a platform and marxism, welp, we all know how terrible was that fiasco, people are afraid now of structures, of ideologies, it's the posmodernism at it's best and like it or not is becoming quite popular.

author by Juanapublication date Mon Apr 09, 2012 08:26Report this post to the editors

The basis of Crimethinc is enterely neo-liberal, because pos-modernism is that, the name for the hegemony of the capitalist ideology and values inside the opposition movement too. The individualism, the structurelessness, the desafection with politics, that are all signs of the cultural hegemony of the right-wing ideas. The fact that they eventually take the mane of "anarchist" don´t make them more desirable.

Socialism has not failed. It has been defeated by a combination of militar and economical pressure (in the most of the coutries, like in mine, a Latin American one, by the force of the guns).

Socialism is the only alternative for the opressed and exploited, and the libertarian communism is the highest expression of that goal.

author by eddyppublication date Sun Jul 08, 2012 20:02Report this post to the editors

i read Work by Crimethinc and thought it a well presented analysis for a 'beginner'. It makes some good points. I think anyone interested in political movements should always try and find some other points of view which has lead me here. I shall delve further into this site. So crimethinc gave me something to start with.

39 year old, non-dumspter diving, recently emancipated from corporate IT, worried about employment and the future.

author by tomaspublication date Mon Jul 14, 2014 16:09Report this post to the editors

Why is this poorly written straw man article from 8 years ago even available on this site? It's demeaning to the worthwhile material one can find on anarkismo. If this is our best critique of crimethinc, people will think that we really haven't a leg to stand on. It's downright embarrassing. Go to their site today and see if any of the above aspersions relate to anything they are doing.

author by Dismayedpublication date Sat Aug 15, 2015 14:48Report this post to the editors

If Anarkismo had a shred of credibility, they would take this dishonest hit piece down. It only detracts from the rest of this site that it remains up. Nothing about it has any basis in reality.

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