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No Solidarity with “anarchist” letter bombers

category italy / switzerland | anarchist movement | opinion / analysis author Thursday January 06, 2011 22:31author by Libertäre Aktion Winterthurauthor email law at arachnia dot ch Report this post to the editors

The question of violence has always been a hot topic in anarchist discourse. How can the oldest and rawest expression of power be combined with the teachings of an anti-authoritarian ideology? Can a revolutionary anarchist strategy contain violence?

[Note: This communiqué is consciously not written in response to the most recent attacks in Rome on 23rd December [2010]. We question any anarchist link to these incidents, because – just like with the series of attacks in 2003 - the ominous “Federazione Anarchica Informale“ (FAI) has claimed responsibility. It is an unlikely coincidence that this group shares the same acronym as the Federazione Anarchica Italiana who distanced themselves clearly from the events in 2003 and suggested the “FAI” could well be a fake organisation. There are several examples in recent Italian history of false flag operations. One of them was the bombing of the Piazza Fontana in Milan in 1969, which was commissioned by the state and blamed on the local anarchists. In the most recent “FAI” communiqué in relation to 23rd December, the final words - “Long live the FAI, long live anarchy!” - are rather atypical for a self-described “informal” organisation.]

The question of violence has always been a hot topic in anarchist discourse. How can the oldest and rawest expression of power be combined with the teachings of an anti-authoritarian ideology? Can a revolutionary anarchist strategy contain violence? We can assume that the libertarian way – which includes the expropriation of the current owners of the means of production and abolishing material privilege – will meet brutal resistance by those who see themselves robbed of commodities. Master-servant relations (inconspicuous or obvious) are always based on coercion. This always includes violence which we can only resist as a strong and revolutionary mass movement.

However, as conscious anarchists we shouldn't fall into the trap of letting the means become the ends. “Real anarchist violence is that which ceases when the necessity of defence and liberation ends. It is tempered by the awareness that individuals in isolation are hardly, if at all, responsible for the position they occupy through heredity and environment.” [1] These words by Italian anarchist Errico Malatesta haven't lost any validity since they were written almost 100 years ago. They prohibit us to injure or even kill functionaries within capitalism as part of a libertarian praxis simply for the role they play. We think this should be obvious to anybody with an anarchist understanding.

In recent months, events have taken place – also in relation to Switzerland – which have questioned this libertarian principle in the name of anarchism. We don't mean call-outs like “Schlag die Polizisten, wo ihr sie trefft” ('Hit the cops where you encounter them') that are plastered on walls and published on websites as acts of individual resistance. These texts might be rhetorically quite clever but the content is rather confused. Nor are we talking about the numerous solidarity actions for Billy, Costantino and Silvia, whose anti-civilisation ramblings we only find amusing. [2] However we can assume that people from these networks are supportive of actions, that go far beyond paintbomb attacks or slashing car tyres.

We are thinking about the letter bombs that have been sent to various institutions of the state, particularly to embassies, in recent months. Hoping to injure a high-ranking bureaucrat when opening the envelope, the bombs were meant as a form of revenge for the imprisonment of the three aforementioned activists. This kind of praxis doesn’t only demonstrate political stupidity, but also cowardice and inhumanity. In the best case because of naivety, or in the worst because of calculation, the senders were prepared to injure a simple clerk or a subordinate secretary. With these acts, the senders stand among ruthless criminals who, as servants of capital, have persecuted and killed members of the working class. These acts are not revolutionary but an expression of political reaction. Faced with the infamy of these actions, we can only conclude: No solidarity with the “anarchist” letter bombers – never! A few years ago left-radical groups had to be created by the state to convince the population of the need for more repression. It is tragic that things have become so easy for the European capitalist class.

It is difficult for all of us to react adequately to a political and social climate that is taking us, the exploited, to the brink of frustration. This shouldn’t, however, be an excuse to find sanctuary in the old illusion of the “Propaganda by Deed” and the desire to change society through indivudal acts of violence. The follow-on effects of such deeds will be repression, escapism and an even bigger hopelessness instead of an insurrection by the masses. It is also wrong for anarchists to use structurelessness as a modus operandi, as demanded by our “insurrectionary” comrades. If everybody is only responsible to themselves, individualist and unpredictable actions will be preferential, instread of creating a praxis of solidarity to constantly work towards the social revolution.

We can only resist the capitalist system together in an organised and goal-oriented class struggle. Theoretical unity and stringency in praxis, federalist structures and indivudal discipline are the qualities of anarchists who are fighting in the spirit of solidarity for the social revolution and not for total repression. The workplace and school, the neighbourhood and the community centre, the street and the refugee centre: these are the spaces of our libertarian agitation and the organisation of the struggle and not the columns of the bourgeois media, who are waiting to report about the most recent attack by people in revolt with sensationalist headlines.

End of December 2010
Libertäre Aktion Winterthur (Anarchist Action)

[1] From a text by Errico Malatesta. Full text available: [PDF 108kb]
[2] Billy, Costantino and Silvia were arrested in Switzerland in on 15th April 2010. It is alleged that they were attempting to bomb IBM in Zurich. They have been in jail since. More information:

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author by mpublication date Sun Feb 06, 2011 04:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

not all insurrectionists advocate a movement without organization

in fact i believe all that they are calling for is the discovery of the the most malleable form of organization...which seems to be the misunderstanding in my eyes

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