2017 has been a banner year for both tyranny and resistance. All around the world, autocrats like Donald Trump are attempting to escalate to even more repressive strategies of state governance. In response, people have mobilized to confront police and fascists—to blockade railroads, highways, and airports—and to support migrants, defendants, and others targeted by the state. Although popular movements have been forced to react to one assault after another, there has also been a significant influx of new participants into anarchist organizing. If we spend 2018 putting down roots and spreading systemic critiques of capitalism, democracy, and the state—so those who currently oppose Trump will not withdraw into merely electoral reformism—we will consolidate a much stronger position.
What We’ve Been Doing
Our collective has also expanded our activities, eager to contribute our small part. Since we overhauled our site at the beginning of 2017, we’ve published several articles a week. We’ve released two new books, along with new posters and stickers. We launched the Hotwire, a weekly show on the Ex-Worker Podcast. We updated our downloads library, bringing the total to 68 zines and 71 posters. Skip to the appendix below to print out zines to distribute and posters to wheatpaste!
We accomplished all this by 100% volunteer labor with practically no funding: we sell our books and posters at roughly the cost of production and offer everything else for free. Besides the kickstarter campaign to print the books, we haven’t even solicited donations. We do this because our hearts are in it—because we want to do our part to create a better world—because the adventure of living in defiance of tyranny is its own reward.
Below, we review a few of the highlights of our coverage from an inspiring year of resistance. As 2018 gets underway, it is more important than ever to support the J20 defendants arrested a year ago. Consider participating in the week of solidarity actions coming up around January 20, 2018.
Becoming Ungovernable: A Few Highlights
In January, the year opened with a massive showdown at Trump’s inauguration, pitting thousands of demonstrators against over 28,000 security personnel on what came to be known as J20. We reported live throughout the day, providing some of the first news about the blockades, the anti-fascist/anti-capitalist march, the punching of Richard Spencer, police repression, and above all why anarchists and other rebels were risking their freedom to confront the new administration.
Two weeks later, Trump signed legislation banning people from seven countries; in response, thousands mobilized to shut down airports around the country. Once again, we reported live on the blockades around the country. In retrospect, this was the high point of mobilization against the Trump regime to date.
Meanwhile, as fascists attempted to use Trump’s victory to create a grassroots fascist movement, we debunked the “free speech” rhetoric that they were using to secure space in which to organize.
In February, we reported on why anarchists shut down far-right troll Milo Yiannopoulos in Berkeley, ultimately helping to bring an end to his career.
We also began a series of introductions to anarchist practices with a guide to organizing in affinity groups.
In March, we continued this series with an introduction to direct action. We also refuted the false promise of police reform represented by body cams and analyzed the implications of right-wing narratives about “fake news.”
In April, in addition to celebrating our annual holiday Steal Something from Work Day, we presented an exhaustive account of two years of upheaval in France as the French elections loomed. We also published a rare interview with anarchist guerrillas in Rojava, exploring the issues of armed struggle in critical depth.
In May, we offered a detailed history of May Day covering a century and a half of labor struggle. We also reported immediately from the streets to show readers how they, too, might construct giant papier mâché spiders like those seen in Portland, Oregon.
In June, we traced the history of June 11 as a day of solidarity with long-term anarchist prisoners. We published an exhaustive analysis of three years of struggle in Brazil, tracing social movements from the protest movements of 2013 through the World Cup and the reactionary crackdowns that followed. As fascists stepped up their organizing efforts in the US, we reported on a showdown at a rally in Portland and offered a poster identifying how police and fascists work in tandem.
In July, the G20 summit took place in Hamburg, Germany. For context, we published retrospectives on previous summits in 2005 and 2007, then offered a week of continuous reporting throughout the G20 and its aftermath.
Back in the US, when Trump announced that trans people would be banned from the military, we immediately responded with two articles from trans authors presenting the case against reformist assimilation politics and the military itself.
In August, we published our full narrative of the G20 and the battle of Hamburg.
On August 12, fascists mobilized in Charlottesville, Virginia for the “Unite the Right” rally, the apex of their efforts to normalize murderous white supremacy as an acceptable part of the political landscape. We responded immediately with a series of articles published while the clashes were still unfolding. After fascists murdered Heather Heyer, we helped publicize over 100 solidarity actions that took place in response.
In episode #56 of the Ex-Worker podcast, “Triumph & Tragedy in the Struggle Against Fascism,” we published interviews with participants in the clashes in Charlottesville, recorded just a few hours afterwards. Over the following weeks, we offered more reflection on the confrontations and on anti-fascist strategy in general.
At the close of the month, we also offered examples to students hoping to organize anarchist groups at their schools.
In September, while tabling at book fairs on all three coasts of the US, we offered more context for student movements around the world with an article focusing on Chilean student resistance from the dictatorship through democracy.
In October, we offered extensive reporting and commentary from anarchists on the conflict between Catalan separatists and the Spanish state.
We published two controversial texts in October, “The Femme’s Guide to Riot Fashion,” a cheerful primer on how to dress safely for public order situations that is not aimed at the masculine audience presumed by most such guides, and “Restless Specters of the Anarchist Dead,” selections from the voices of anarchists who were murdered by the Bolsheviks in the course of the Russian Revolution so Lenin and Stalin could reestablish an authoritarian state.
In November, on the actual anniversary of the October Revolution, we followed this up with another article detailing all the steps that the Bolsheviks took to destroy social movements and clamp down on those who had helped to make the revolution in Russia. We also published articles about anarchism in Korean cinema, grassroots resistance in Algeria, and anti-fascism in Russia, illustrating our international focus and ties.
In December, we were pleased to close the year with good news from the first round of the J20 trials. Yet the innocent verdicts just underscore that the police, the prosecutor, the judge, and the state are all guilty of using these baseless blanket charges to terrorize protesters. We are more determined than ever to make it impossible for them to threaten or harm anyone, ever again.
Appendix I: Report from the Hotwire
Soon after returning from its long hiatus in August, The Ex-Worker spawned its first spin-off show, The Hotwire, offering news, interviews, and a review of upcoming actions and events. In our first sixteen-episode season, we…
Honored and Remembered Our Dead
- including Scout Schultz, Nathan Hose, Heather Heyer, and Santiago Maldonado.
Offered Anarchist Perspectives on Mainstream News
the #TakeAKnee NFL protests,
the independence referendum in Catalunya,
the ongoing turmoil in Syria, Iraq, and Kurdistan,
and the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Covered Little-Reported Stories
the victory of wildcat strikes from rural Virginia to New York City;
the Juggalo March on Washington, DC,
round-ups of actions against confederate monuments in the wake of Charlottesville, and actions against settler monuments on Columbus Day and Thanksgiving;
student walkouts in middle schools and high schools;
animal sabotage of the capitalist system;
the ongoing anarchist struggle to abolish standardized time;
and plenty of prison uprisings, anti-extraction camps, and anti-fascist actions.
anarchists organizing mutual aid recovery efforts after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria;
an anarchist DACA recipient about undocumented immigrant resistance under Trump;
anti-police rebels in St. Louis about the weeks-long resistance after the Stockley Verdict;
anti-fascists on the ground in Berkeley, Gainesville, and Murfreesboro;
Defend J20 Resistance as the first J20 defendants were on trial;
anarchists in Catalunya, Brazil, and Poland about responses to electoralism, repression, and reaction abroad;
and student rebels in North Carolina, squatters in Chicago, and anti-fracking communards in Olympia about opening up occupied spaces for resistance and liberatory relations.
We are looking forward to bringing The Hotwire back for its second season in February 2018. Every episode is radio-ready, and we already had three radio stations carrying our show weekly in 2017. Feel free to simply download the episodes and put them on your local airwaves. Also, we’re always looking for contributions, correspondents, and people to interview from ongoing struggles. Our goal is to bring rebels across North America relevant and timely news so that our movements can be better informed and cut through any static that holds us back from acting. Get in touch with us at email@example.com to contribute or offer feedback on how The Hotwire can better serve anarchist efforts near you. Stay rebel.
Appendix II: New Zines and Posters
For your printing convenience, a review of the new zines and posters we produced this year.
Surviving a Grand Jury
Fighting for Our Lives
Don’t Try to Break Us: The G20 and the Battle of Hamburg
We also published the G20 zine in German.