The Ecopsychology Issue

The Coming Insurrection

The last-ditch efforts of the dispossessed.
Photo by John Kolesidis / Reuters
Photo by John Kolesidis / Reuters

By night Berlin has become a battlefield. Each morning reveals new casualties: burned out cars. There have been over 500 in the past three years. These nocturnal arson attacks are part of a protracted campaign of resistance to the city’s increasing gentrification, retaliatory strikes against the loss of areas of the city that have long fostered alternative culture and anticapitalist activity. As more and more residents are priced out of their own neighborhoods, such acts of sabotage have become the last-ditch efforts of the dispossessed.

These are certainly desperate measures, but we live in desperate times. We might ask whether cars are legitimate targets. Is there not something uncomfortable in the ethics of destroying the property of individuals, especially in such an environmentally careless manner? Would such violence be more productively focused on state or corporate targets? Perhaps, but this campaign has abandoned the unwinnable battle for public approval. An anonymous website, Brennende-autos.de, mockingly offers epitaphs for the sacrificed vehicles: “05.03.2010 – Fließstraße – Mercedes.” And there remains a powerful symbolic value to the burning car. We can sense that something is being said beyond the immediate context, beyond the localized struggle. So, what do these fires really illuminate?

We might first try to imagine the perpetrators, the arsonists, as they retreat into the night. Individuals have been arrested but the campaign has continued unabated, demonstrating that the arsonists are legion … they are many. Emerging from the city’s prominent autonomist movement, they form what we might call an invisible community: a network of loosely affiliated individuals who have refused both communication and accountability with the state. To comprehend their actions, we might think back to the lesson of The Coming Insurrection: We are right to be angry, we are even right to act upon that anger, but the important thing is to organize our anger. As the Invisible Committee put it, “People can burn cars because they are pissed off, but to keep the riots going for a month, while keeping the police in check – to do that you have to know how to organize, you have to establish complicities, you have to know the terrain perfectly and share a common language and a common enemy.” In the arson campaign’s dogged persistence, in its wildcat spread and in its unapologetic assault on liberal values, we can recognize a well-formulated and well-organized transformation of spontaneous rejection into tactical resistance. We see, in short, the work of a community.

Yet we must be clear that this is a community in and of revolt and that this revolt is not limited to the situation in Berlin. These fires are fueled by broader social conditions, the same conditions that have also recently catalyzed unrest in Paris and Greece. The Situationists made the same observation in their analysis of the Watts Riots of 1965, The Decline and Fall of the Spectacle-Commodity Economy. The Situationists argued that those riots were not just race riots or class riots but that they represented a revolt against the commodity itself. “Comfort will never be comfortable enough for those who seek what is not on the market.” Then in Watts and now in Berlin, looters and vandals engage in an unfettered festival of destruction. This violent rejection of everything we are sold is a phenomenon that recurs whenever the veil of consumer capitalism slips.

In the burning cars of Berlin we see the anguish and the anger of a community whose only presence is fire. But just as there is no smoke without fire, there is no fire without fuel. Instead of shielding our eyes from the glaring violence, we should anticipate the moment when this destructive impulse becomes a constructive principle and what has been invisible becomes manifest.

Meanwhile in Greece, violence on the streets only escalates. Protests that were once directed against police brutality now direct themselves against the state itself. Instead of retreating from the violence witnessed over the past year, increasing numbers of workers are joining demonstrations that contest the actions of their government and specifically the introduction of austerity measures intended to contain the national debt. The protesters rightly oppose that those most vulnerable should have to suffer further just to maintain the system that made them vulnerable in the first place. Capitalism is broken: It needs to be replaced rather than simply patched up. Britain and America have already bailed out their bankers, but the Greeks are refusing to forgive and forget.


Sam Cooper is working toward a PhD at the University of Sussex. His research focuses on the adoption of Situationist theory in Britain.

72 comments on the article “The Coming Insurrection”

Displaying 51 - 60 of 72

Page 6 of 8

Don

I must say, although I certainly do not support it, to say you have not heard of "The Coming Insurection" you must read it. It is flat out scary. This is a global movement that is now even starting to be covered by global news organizations. In New York City groups of people supporting the insurrection have already had to be broken up by police 4 times int he last month. In Japan supporters of the movement have grown in size to over 25K members. One person with an automatic weapon can take out over 40, these people are calling for a "Violent call to arms" and their numbers are supposedly growing by about 1000 people per month. People are rioting and speaking of revolution in ways that have never been done in the US to my knowledge since our conception. Major political figures are starting to worry about this. These publications they release describe in great detail the ways to wage violent revolution from your home. Capitolism has greatly failed the people as a whole and their is more worldwide dessent against capitolism and democracy than there has ever been. These revolutionaries are becoming loudly vocal and are gaining followers by "soapboxing" if you know anything about the global history of soapboxing than you know these types of grass roots movements can end up being "wildly" succesful. People are learing to shoot who have never held a gun, people are learing basic survival and was to make short wave radios from home. Check into the history of Nazi Germany, this is verbatim how that problem started. It is coming again, there may be no way to stop it and ignoring it will certainly make this worse not better. To think that our government can stop it with anything short of true Gestapo tactics is foolish. ten people with automatic weapons and just a few small explosives can take out most law enforcement and resistance with not much problem. Less than 3 months ago a small group in the northern part of the US almost did just that, only 12 men figured out a solid way to eleminate over 25% of the entire police force of an entire state. Fortunantly for residents there was a snitch in their midst. They were caught and arrested the same day of the planned attack with weapons in hand, had the police forces intellegence been 2 HOURS later, there would have been over 500 dead police officers in a single day. That is scary, that was here in the US. Please for those saying this cannot happen, do better research, this movement is disgusting littering the internet. Glen Beck, a well known political journalist and right winger (peaceful republican) has even stated he believes this is coming a lot sooner than people think. People are unhappy, very unhappy (I am too but not willing to revolt over it) with government and capitolism (capitolism is brass tax greed nothing more, even the Bible speaks against this). For the first time in my living history I fear large scale revolution in our own country. Do your research before you discount extremists. Do not forget that 9/11 happened in large part to the fact that we did not listen to those who warned us it was coming, nothing like that had ever happened before, it could never happen to us right??? That way of thinking is folly and will ultimatly get more and more people killed. Let us not forget that there were those who really did warn us of 9/11 even with details of when and where the terrorist attacks would happen. Intellegence officials recieved an "official" report from members of the intellegence community on several occasions before the attck, this is well documented. This crazy movment started over 5 years ago, indeed the book was written in 04' before the global crash of the economy, now more and more people are turning to the belief that the only way to change things is to "really" change them, violently. Be Warned, I fear this and I belive it is coming take the lessons from our own history books to be our guide, use common sense when listening to anything...the media tells half truths to us every day and as stupid Americans will, we just believe them and ignore the corrections that come on website and in newspapers every day. The media reports what it sees as quickly as possible, even if the research is bad. Do your own research and stop letting america be fooled, we are in serious trouble from so many sides we could be looking at the fall of capitolism as we know it (don't be folled into think we live in a democracy, our government has proven to us time and time again that it really doesn't care what we think or say, it does not fully care how we vote or what we hope to see come from leaders. Our politicians are some of the Wealthiest people in our nation, many of them with over 10MM a year in income, funny when less than half of that is salary for their government jobs.......where does the rest of this money come from? Lets take a lesson from the Clintons who refused to release financial statements until after the election want to know why? It turns out it was very simple over 75% of their collective income came from foreign investments over 75%!!!!! We nearly elected a family that doesnt even believe in investing in domestic business. My God, what has happened to us? I am very proud to be an american, but I am flat out Ashamed of my countrymen.

Don

I must say, although I certainly do not support it, to say you have not heard of "The Coming Insurection" you must read it. It is flat out scary. This is a global movement that is now even starting to be covered by global news organizations. In New York City groups of people supporting the insurrection have already had to be broken up by police 4 times int he last month. In Japan supporters of the movement have grown in size to over 25K members. One person with an automatic weapon can take out over 40, these people are calling for a "Violent call to arms" and their numbers are supposedly growing by about 1000 people per month. People are rioting and speaking of revolution in ways that have never been done in the US to my knowledge since our conception. Major political figures are starting to worry about this. These publications they release describe in great detail the ways to wage violent revolution from your home. Capitolism has greatly failed the people as a whole and their is more worldwide dessent against capitolism and democracy than there has ever been. These revolutionaries are becoming loudly vocal and are gaining followers by "soapboxing" if you know anything about the global history of soapboxing than you know these types of grass roots movements can end up being "wildly" succesful. People are learing to shoot who have never held a gun, people are learing basic survival and was to make short wave radios from home. Check into the history of Nazi Germany, this is verbatim how that problem started. It is coming again, there may be no way to stop it and ignoring it will certainly make this worse not better. To think that our government can stop it with anything short of true Gestapo tactics is foolish. ten people with automatic weapons and just a few small explosives can take out most law enforcement and resistance with not much problem. Less than 3 months ago a small group in the northern part of the US almost did just that, only 12 men figured out a solid way to eleminate over 25% of the entire police force of an entire state. Fortunantly for residents there was a snitch in their midst. They were caught and arrested the same day of the planned attack with weapons in hand, had the police forces intellegence been 2 HOURS later, there would have been over 500 dead police officers in a single day. That is scary, that was here in the US. Please for those saying this cannot happen, do better research, this movement is disgusting littering the internet. Glen Beck, a well known political journalist and right winger (peaceful republican) has even stated he believes this is coming a lot sooner than people think. People are unhappy, very unhappy (I am too but not willing to revolt over it) with government and capitolism (capitolism is brass tax greed nothing more, even the Bible speaks against this). For the first time in my living history I fear large scale revolution in our own country. Do your research before you discount extremists. Do not forget that 9/11 happened in large part to the fact that we did not listen to those who warned us it was coming, nothing like that had ever happened before, it could never happen to us right??? That way of thinking is folly and will ultimatly get more and more people killed. Let us not forget that there were those who really did warn us of 9/11 even with details of when and where the terrorist attacks would happen. Intellegence officials recieved an "official" report from members of the intellegence community on several occasions before the attck, this is well documented. This crazy movment started over 5 years ago, indeed the book was written in 04' before the global crash of the economy, now more and more people are turning to the belief that the only way to change things is to "really" change them, violently. Be Warned, I fear this and I belive it is coming take the lessons from our own history books to be our guide, use common sense when listening to anything...the media tells half truths to us every day and as stupid Americans will, we just believe them and ignore the corrections that come on website and in newspapers every day. The media reports what it sees as quickly as possible, even if the research is bad. Do your own research and stop letting america be fooled, we are in serious trouble from so many sides we could be looking at the fall of capitolism as we know it (don't be folled into think we live in a democracy, our government has proven to us time and time again that it really doesn't care what we think or say, it does not fully care how we vote or what we hope to see come from leaders. Our politicians are some of the Wealthiest people in our nation, many of them with over 10MM a year in income, funny when less than half of that is salary for their government jobs.......where does the rest of this money come from? Lets take a lesson from the Clintons who refused to release financial statements until after the election want to know why? It turns out it was very simple over 75% of their collective income came from foreign investments over 75%!!!!! We nearly elected a family that doesnt even believe in investing in domestic business. My God, what has happened to us? I am very proud to be an american, but I am flat out Ashamed of my countrymen.

Henrik Aeshna, ...

Adbusters deleted my posts....

is Adbusters trying to create kind of a "new order" of global network, such as new tools & models of worldwide activism by censoring & filtering different ways of perception & humour, and just Stalinizing Interzone? -- I'm afraid this is nothing but a Big Bluff and deep down the other face of the Tyranosaurus rex called SYSTEM...one more cliché!! I would never ever wear any fckn boots & shoes of new pragmas of pseudo-revolution...
-- *Henrik Aeshna, Global Damned Maudit -- misfit of the "misfits" - ha! ( CUT THIS OFF IF YOU WANT TO HIDE MY OPINION FROM YR SECTARIANS )

by the way, before you start burning flags on the streets & throw molotovs & all that, I wonder if you know yr own lives & hearts, if you know what real life is, if you know what radical living means... -- i bet most of you in some years will become sleazy decadents farting in couches discussing micro-macro-politics & all that chickenshit: I KNOW most of you, since the time I was haunted & bullyied in my adolescence by the fact I read Artaud & danced butoh instead of Marx

Henrik Aeshna, ...

Adbusters deleted my posts....

is Adbusters trying to create kind of a "new order" of global network, such as new tools & models of worldwide activism by censoring & filtering different ways of perception & humour, and just Stalinizing Interzone? -- I'm afraid this is nothing but a Big Bluff and deep down the other face of the Tyranosaurus rex called SYSTEM...one more cliché!! I would never ever wear any fckn boots & shoes of new pragmas of pseudo-revolution...
-- *Henrik Aeshna, Global Damned Maudit -- misfit of the "misfits" - ha! ( CUT THIS OFF IF YOU WANT TO HIDE MY OPINION FROM YR SECTARIANS )

by the way, before you start burning flags on the streets & throw molotovs & all that, I wonder if you know yr own lives & hearts, if you know what real life is, if you know what radical living means... -- i bet most of you in some years will become sleazy decadents farting in couches discussing micro-macro-politics & all that chickenshit: I KNOW most of you, since the time I was haunted & bullyied in my adolescence by the fact I read Artaud & danced butoh instead of Marx

Thatguyyouwalkb...

Hang on to that thought, but remember that we are all friends here. We are all looking for alternatives in ways that befit our own communities/ideologies but we are all working to exorcise the same demon. Criticizing others for their particular ways of resisting the fascist capitalism that every single person in the world lives in, and has yet to (by and large) confront, is both SECTARIAN and unproductive. I've no intention of sounding like a jerk, but would much rather that we all consider the theory that the schisms formed by strict ideological adherence are the very reason why the "left" has been unable to form a coherent response to the "right". Working together in spite of the incongruencies that leftist schools of thought often have between one another is of the utmost importance right now. Personally, I feel your pain, disgust, and anger, but know that we are capable of better than bickering and finger pointing. Let us work as one to sweep away the failed husk of capitalism and build a future we are not ashamed of.

Cheers,
Stu

Thatguyyouwalkb...

Hang on to that thought, but remember that we are all friends here. We are all looking for alternatives in ways that befit our own communities/ideologies but we are all working to exorcise the same demon. Criticizing others for their particular ways of resisting the fascist capitalism that every single person in the world lives in, and has yet to (by and large) confront, is both SECTARIAN and unproductive. I've no intention of sounding like a jerk, but would much rather that we all consider the theory that the schisms formed by strict ideological adherence are the very reason why the "left" has been unable to form a coherent response to the "right". Working together in spite of the incongruencies that leftist schools of thought often have between one another is of the utmost importance right now. Personally, I feel your pain, disgust, and anger, but know that we are capable of better than bickering and finger pointing. Let us work as one to sweep away the failed husk of capitalism and build a future we are not ashamed of.

Cheers,
Stu

Anonymous in Athens

Being a Greek who lives in Athens, I can say with certainty that the riots of December 2008 have got nothing to do with the current protests against the measures that our government has taken in order to “tackle” our deficit problem. Today’s protestors are the generation that created the problem they are the numerous public sector employees protesting for overpaid wages in an unproductive public sector. It should be the exploited workers of the private sector out there, but they are too afraid to protest since they don’t have the benefits (like job security for instance) of the public sector’s elite that has been running this country for the last 35 years. The wealth in our country has already been distributed, however not evenly, it was used up and we have been borrowing money to maintain a caste of nouveau riche employees (some of them very corrupt) getting richer on costs of this country’s prosperity and future. Please don’t support them, get to the core of the problem. Why don’t you research the fact that the two political parties that have been running this country for the last 35 years have got the support of 80% of the Greek voters, you could research how politics, media and the public sector are all connected. You could research the reasons why the Greek public sector buys its supplies (medicine, equipment etc) at prices three times higher than what the same things would sell in the free market. You could research why our forests burn to ashes every summer because our politicians prefer satisfied voters (or financers) who will build their villas where the forests used to be, instead of us Athenians having oxygen to breath.

Anonymous in Athens

Being a Greek who lives in Athens, I can say with certainty that the riots of December 2008 have got nothing to do with the current protests against the measures that our government has taken in order to “tackle” our deficit problem. Today’s protestors are the generation that created the problem they are the numerous public sector employees protesting for overpaid wages in an unproductive public sector. It should be the exploited workers of the private sector out there, but they are too afraid to protest since they don’t have the benefits (like job security for instance) of the public sector’s elite that has been running this country for the last 35 years. The wealth in our country has already been distributed, however not evenly, it was used up and we have been borrowing money to maintain a caste of nouveau riche employees (some of them very corrupt) getting richer on costs of this country’s prosperity and future. Please don’t support them, get to the core of the problem. Why don’t you research the fact that the two political parties that have been running this country for the last 35 years have got the support of 80% of the Greek voters, you could research how politics, media and the public sector are all connected. You could research the reasons why the Greek public sector buys its supplies (medicine, equipment etc) at prices three times higher than what the same things would sell in the free market. You could research why our forests burn to ashes every summer because our politicians prefer satisfied voters (or financers) who will build their villas where the forests used to be, instead of us Athenians having oxygen to breath.

Anonup

Hey! ( ; Premise this w a crazy smile...

What if burning cars meant something entirely symobloic on a different plane lol - in a twilight dimension gloaming, if you will. Aristotle friends, Socrates thinkers therefore I, we is or ever was. What if this was all for not here - and so much more to hear, somewhere else aside from our premised sense of intellect and knowing? Blah. Blah. Blah.

We're letting the world go to fuck, we're apparently evening in our sixth extinction - maybe this is all a dandy, fine blueprint for another reality. World trade on another level. Nice! Fast food for thought, maybe. Get it?

What do burning cars really mean aside from protest, crude injustice unacquitted, anger toward capitalism, technological retaliation ream and highly volatile volocity? I know I spelled all that wrong. Sigh.

I am not a religious woman, but I do think something happens after we close our eyes forever. What of all that dreamatic training in between? This is not the forum, perhaps, but of everything I have read 'hear, and the regard you all seem to meet with so called 'ideological' resistance...words, words..yo, yo - word.

Uhhh - what if it's just signs to a later greater? Minimizes all the conjecture and detail doesn't it? Take it in stride, friends. Until your honey has to fork out 5hun to replace slashed tires, what's it to you? Keep it real. Ah. Converse. Satiation. You can't simply be relying on northeastsouth&west feed. Chicken are ugly, maybe you should eat em. ( :

Remember, you can't walk a mile in that other arsonist's boots, especially over where he is kinda disposed, and usually carrying two guns. Let 'em pyre. Think of a pointed sister song, over hear. Take care of your own backyard and let us understand the weeds are pretty and natural.

Whatever. We live in the northern hemisphere. Captivated by our own appreciation for appreciation. Here, a dude sets your car on fire, and you get a reasonable deductible claim on insurance - but there, in this editorial example, it's dispositon and poitical anarachy against protocol, another enhanced view of something in between scapegoat and reality, front page and sent her there to cover with a digital camera. Don't gettame wrong I love this mag and it's invoking images, evoke and equivocate.

We can't possibly speculate. Kept quite simply. I dunno. That might be one for the guestation of Buddah, or Mohammad if he wasn't So-damn racy...and dead.

lmfao.

Anonup

Hey! ( ; Premise this w a crazy smile...

What if burning cars meant something entirely symobloic on a different plane lol - in a twilight dimension gloaming, if you will. Aristotle friends, Socrates thinkers therefore I, we is or ever was. What if this was all for not here - and so much more to hear, somewhere else aside from our premised sense of intellect and knowing? Blah. Blah. Blah.

We're letting the world go to fuck, we're apparently evening in our sixth extinction - maybe this is all a dandy, fine blueprint for another reality. World trade on another level. Nice! Fast food for thought, maybe. Get it?

What do burning cars really mean aside from protest, crude injustice unacquitted, anger toward capitalism, technological retaliation ream and highly volatile volocity? I know I spelled all that wrong. Sigh.

I am not a religious woman, but I do think something happens after we close our eyes forever. What of all that dreamatic training in between? This is not the forum, perhaps, but of everything I have read 'hear, and the regard you all seem to meet with so called 'ideological' resistance...words, words..yo, yo - word.

Uhhh - what if it's just signs to a later greater? Minimizes all the conjecture and detail doesn't it? Take it in stride, friends. Until your honey has to fork out 5hun to replace slashed tires, what's it to you? Keep it real. Ah. Converse. Satiation. You can't simply be relying on northeastsouth&west feed. Chicken are ugly, maybe you should eat em. ( :

Remember, you can't walk a mile in that other arsonist's boots, especially over where he is kinda disposed, and usually carrying two guns. Let 'em pyre. Think of a pointed sister song, over hear. Take care of your own backyard and let us understand the weeds are pretty and natural.

Whatever. We live in the northern hemisphere. Captivated by our own appreciation for appreciation. Here, a dude sets your car on fire, and you get a reasonable deductible claim on insurance - but there, in this editorial example, it's dispositon and poitical anarachy against protocol, another enhanced view of something in between scapegoat and reality, front page and sent her there to cover with a digital camera. Don't gettame wrong I love this mag and it's invoking images, evoke and equivocate.

We can't possibly speculate. Kept quite simply. I dunno. That might be one for the guestation of Buddah, or Mohammad if he wasn't So-damn racy...and dead.

lmfao.

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