It’s an old story and a long one, that every community creates its own outlaws. Those individuals who, willingly or not, have not abided by the laws of the gods or the authorities have always been banished. The difference that was burnt at the stake by the Holy Inquisition is today constrained between the lines of traveling papers or an expulsion order, when not enclosed in an asylum or a prison. In contempt for those who would like to expel us or chain us up due to one of those descriptions (“armed band”, “criminal association”) on which unanimous preventative condemnation comes down, we will carry our difference everywhere as individuals determined to subvert the rules of the community.
Over the past several years, one movement in the so-called third world has been particularly successful in driving out western colonialism. This movement is made up of people indigenous to the region in which it is active and has gone a long way toward reestablishing local traditional values as it perceives them while almost completely eradicating western cultural influence. I am talking about the Taliban.
Of course, its perception of traditional Afghani cultural values arises out of a fanatical Islamic faith. On this basis, women are forced to submit to a most oppressive role that changes from day to day depending on the caprices of the Taliban interpretation of the Koran. One day, they may be allowed outside, completely veiled, to sell baked goods, as long as they take great care not to flash an ankle or talk to a man. The next day, they may be banned form selling, confined to the house and subject to punishment if they are seen through a window. But, indeed, these are the old ways. Do we keep our mouths shut at the whipping of women for flashing an ankle or appearing in their windows at the wrong time simply because women’s liberation is a “western” idea?
“It’s disgusting” were the words Dee Hjermstadt, governing board president of the Recreation Centers of Sun City West, Arizona, used to describe “public” sex at the centers. It is doubtful that those taking part in the acts share her feelings.
What is particularly interesting in this case is that Sun City West is not just any town. It is a planned community for people 55 years old and older. Maybe what bothers president Hjermstadt is the age of these lovers. Certainly they should know better; they should have outgrown such passions and desires; they should have burned them out through years of labor and tedious consumption. But instead these white-haired lovers pursue their desires, making love in the pools, in the spas, on park benches and in parking lots, women with men, men with men, women with women, as the desires flow.
Of course, Hjermstadt, the symbol of authority called in the cops to help suppress this disturbing outbreak of passion. Puritanism is the necessary adjunct to the use of sexual imagery to sell goods, an essential element of capitalism. But for some, the energy of sexual desire recognizes neither the laws against open sexual expression nor the social norms which dictate that such desire should disappear with age. In such energy lies the potential for revolt. And for those who grasp their desires as their own, life does not end till they die.
AND PAY HOMAGE TO THE WORKER
Among the many idols that have miserably fallen into the dust, there is one that seems to remain unassailable and unattacked. Work serves as the framework and armor of social organization, consolidates it, aids in the maintenance and reproduction of this society based on hierarchy and exploitation. To work means to produce commodities (not only material) and to contribute to the social peace. Our entire existence is stressed by work, by its rhythms and its needs: even our rest, even our pleasures, even our so-called free time. Our mind is programmed by work. Even those who are quick to declare themselves satisfied with the job they do, perhaps making themselves useful and virtuous as volunteers, pay for their privilege with domestication. Precisely thanks to its totalitarian character, work is presented to us as the only possibility we have of realizing ourselves, of having relationships; it is imposed on us as the sole condition of life. To accept the inevitability of work is the best way to perpetuate the state of survival and society. There is no liberated work, no alternative work, no reduced work, not even when we are fooled into carrying it out in a space that we have conquered. The chains that bind us must be broken, even if they have been lengthened, even if they have been lightened. Aware that indifference and detachment do not change conditions, it only remains for us to intervene directly:
LET’S DESTROY WORK!
A HERO OR A VICTIM
Carlo Giuliani is not a victim of police brutality.
He is another dead man in the fields of social war.
Carl Giuliani is not a hero.
He was a revolutionary who—with dignity—decided to resist violently against whatever was oppressing him.
We remind all those who will try to build political careers on the blood of our dead comrade, that he was one of those they call “provocateur” or “hooligan”.
Carlo Giuliani doesn’t fit into their funeral orations or their crocodile tears.
We don’t feel pity for Carlo. He died for something to which we have dedicated our lives. For freedom…
Carlo will always live in the hearts of revolutionaries.
The struggle continues…
anarchist group “Disobedience”
(Athens, Greece, July 27, 2001)
MOURNING FOR CARLO GIULIANI,
Last week, July 27, 2001 a demonstration was organized in Belo Horizonte, in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, in solidarity with the struggles in Genoa (G8 meeting), but it was especially called against the death of Carlo Giuliani at the hands of the Italian police during these events in Italy.
One thing that I see very clearly is that in our demonstration, we didn’t focus on Carlo Giuliani as a martyr as we see in a lot of places throughout the world. T-shirts, emotional slogans that portray Giuliani as a hero only separate him from us.
Calling Giuliani and calling ourselves demonstrators, activists, separates us from the world. We all need, and are, much more than that! We need the revolution day-by-day, and not with this separation. We must understand that when somebody dies in a demonstration, it is we who have died. We must see that when someone is killed or beaten by the police while going home after work only for being black, white or lilac, it is one of us who has been beaten or killed! When we put an end to this separation between demonstration and daily life (the space of revolution) we will really be struggling against capitalism, against the G8 (against all capitalist symbols) and against the already daily reformism with which a lot of groups that claim to be of “the base”, “grassroots” and “autonomous” are impregnated.
Without daily struggle/resistance and will for revolution we don’t have radicality. The struggle is made day by day, and mournfully.
Coletivo Acratico Proposta
All the newspapers of July 21 said: “The antiglobalization demonstrations have their first death,” but we say: we aren’t just against globalization, and, unhappily, we have deaths all of our days.
THE TECHNICIANS OF CERTAINTY
in the void, I myself a void.
I felt like I was suffocating,
considering and feeling
that everything is void,
The metaphor of “mental illness” dispossesses the individual of whatever is most unique and personal in her way of life, in his method of perceiving reality and herself in it; this is one of the most dangerous attacks against the singular, because through it the individual is always brought back to the social, the collective, the only “healthy” dimension in existence.
The behavioral norms that regulate the human mass become absolute, the “deviant” act that follows a different logic is tolerated only when stripped of its peculiar “meaning”, of the particular “rationality” that underlies it. Reasons connect only to collective acts, which can be brought back, if not to the codes of the dominant culture, to those of various ethnic, antagonist and criminal subcultures that exist. The sharing of meanings, symbols and interpretations of reality thus appears as the best antidote to madness.
Thus if one who suddenly kills his family is a lunatic, or better, a “monster”, one who sets fire to a refuge for foreigners appears as a xenophobe (at most, from the method, a bit hasty, but still within reason) and one who slaughters in the situation of a declared war is nothing but a “good soldier”.
Thus, according to the classifying generalization that makes them all alike, expropriating them of their lived singularity, lunatics are “ dangerous to society”. Truthfully, one can only agree with this, certainly not because of the supposed and pretextual aggressivity and violence attributed to those who suffer psychiatric diagnosis (the psychiatrists and educators of every sort are undoubtedly much more dangerous), but because they have violated, knowingly or not, the essentially quantitative codes that constitute normality. What is surprising is that after long years of domestication there is anybody who does not respond to cultural stimuli, if not quite automatically, at least in a highly predictable manner. Unpredictability is the source of the greatest anxiety for every society and its guardians, since it is often the quality of the individual; no motive, no value, no purpose that is socially comprehensible, only an individual logic, necessarily abnormal.
Defense from this danger is entrusted to the proclamations of science. In other words, the “unhealthy” gesture, the creator of which is not responsible, remains as a consequence of an external misfortune that could strike and give rise to thousands of people like him. The mechanism is therefore well contrived, a gesture deprived of meaning, of an underlying will, becomes innocuous, and it is easy to neutralize it, along with its creator, behind the alibi, which is “social” as well, of the cure.
The psychiatric diagnosis comes down on the individual like an axe, amputating her language, his meaning, her life paths; it claims to eliminate them as irrational, senseless; the psychiatrist behaves before them with the liquidating attitude of one who transforms the experiences of life into malfunctions of the psyche, the emotions into a malignant tumor to be removed.
Psychiatrists, as technicians of certainty, are the most efficient police of the social order. Reality, like the meaning of existence, has clear and unequivocal boundaries for these priests in white shirts; their mission: to “return” those who have gotten lost venturing onto the winding paths of nonsense “to their senses”.
If the police are limited, as is claimed, to beating you, the psychiatrist demands to hear you say, “Thank you, I am well now” as well.
The focal point in the discussion is not in the four walls and the bars of the asylum, nor in the electroshock and constraint beds, nor in bad as opposed to good psychiatry, but in “psychiatric thought” itself, in the form of thinking of anyone who addresses himself to different subjects with the clinical eye of diagnosis, always looking for the symptoms of a pathology in them, in order to annul the difference with a “therapy” that brings them back to being more like us.
If the real purpose of the “new places” of psychiatry was that of stimulating creativity, individual growth, liberating communication and developing the capacity for relations, they would not be “psychiatric” or “therapeutic/rehabilitative” places, but probably ideal places for everyone, places of freedom. The problem is that these places are nothing but ghettoes in which one does not find individuals interacting on the level of mutuality, but rather two “categories” of persons in asymmetrical positions: the professionals and the clients , the healthy and the diseased, those who help and those who are helped; in these places, the healthy try to persuade the diseased that what they did and thought up to that time was wrong, or rather “unhealthy”, and through the “joyful” method of the encounter group, of dance, theatre and music…lead them toward the binaries of normality.
The “autonomy” and “self-realization” about which these democratic operators flap their tongues are exclusively their own and, to them, it is necessary to conform in order to be able to leave the healing enclosure. Psychiatric medicine itself, as analgesic (anesthetic) for the mind, is the sign of the attempt to block every development, every pathway however painful at times, that an individual puts into action as a reaction to that which oppresses her. Without mystifying this process, this moment of “crisis”, that is not necessarily a pathway to liberation, the fact of the matter remains that the answer of power is generalized narcosis, collective stupefaction, that renders us static and tranquil, anchored to our placid misery.
The world is full of cowards
they want you to be cowardly
miserable modest well-behaved
spit in their faces
shit down their throats
world of the violated
lice of life
phantoms of the sanctuary
protected servants of the law
perverted by god
people bitter with repressed froth
your strength, your strength
sold in another’s interest
remember! that house is not yours!
They can always enter
lock the doors and shutters well
you might have committed a crime
look out look out for the police
are you sure you haven’t done wrong?
perhaps the taxes
or something else
you have not perhaps killed someone
Is that car
yours? Are you sure?
You are not committing a theft?
Is that woman yours
and won’t she be unfaithful to you?
And won’t you be unfaithful to her?
And is that child really yours
bred in the womb?
Watch out someone might denounce you
where have you put your license
and identification card booklet
and passport health card
work card, money, legal,
are they not perhaps counterfeit
forged from another
watch out boy
not allowing anything to shine through
remember that house
that house is not yours
he shudders attentive
to creaking sounds
cracks shadows murmurs
the police might enter
from one moment to the next
or we could do it ourselves,