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(en) Re: [Infoshop News] Ann Hansen Infantile Caricature of Anarchism

From David <otter@tao.ca>
Date Sat, 2 Nov 2002 04:13:27 -0500 (EST)


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[What does David protest exactly ? Ed.]
There are blatant and outrageous slanderous statements in this "article."
Do I need to list them all out for you? What is your process for
considering making a public retraction of an "article" you personally
distribute over your newswire? If I were a corporate scum I'd threaten you
with a lawsuit and you would be forced to comply because this case is very
clearly slander. But I'm not, I'm an anarchist and an activist and have
been struggling beside comrades in many different movements and causes. So
all I can do is persuade you to make a public retraction and apology for
disseminating information which is not only mean-spirited and is spreading
lies, but it also serves the state in it's vitriol and attacks against a
wide group of activists.

I look forward to hearing from you.

David Barbarash



On Tue, 29 Oct 2002, Chuck0 wrote:

>
> From: eugene@tao.ca
>
> An Infantile Caricature of Anarchism
>
> Ann Hansen author of Direct Action: Memoirs of an Urban Guerrilla
>
> By Eugene Plawiuk
>
> Ann Hansen was a member of the Squamish 5 AKA the Direct Action 5 from
> Vancouver. In the 1980's they engaged in robberies, bombings, firebombing and
> other acts of violence against property. In one action a bombing of a Litton
> plant in Ontario ten workers were seriously injured. The group was eventually
> arrested and imprisoned. Ann has recently published a book defending their
> actions Direct Action: Memoirs of an Urban Guerrilla, Between the Lines
> Press, 2001. She is currently on tour across Canada promoting her book and
> her ideas around armed struggle and urban guerrilla warfare to
> anti-capitalist and anti-globalization activists.
>
> "I am certainly not opposed to peaceful protest. Yet, I also believe that to
> make real social change people and movements must be prepared to go beyond.
> In some cases that means so-called political violence. We didn't see
> ourselves as terrorists. I prefer the term sabotage because that implies a
> strategic action, with references to economic issues, and not simply a
> violent reaction or lashing out in frustration. I don't agree with terrorism
> as a political tactic because it is morally wrong to punish the innocent for
> the crimes of their leaders. And it's not politically effective because fear
> does not enlighten people, but instead will often drive them to support even
> more reactionary actions by their leaders."
>
> Ann Hansen, author of Direct Action: Memoirs of an Urban Guerrilla, in
> conversation with Peter Steven, 2001
>
> Ann Hansen and the Direct Action / Squamish 5 group out of Vancouver never
> were anarchists. They are and were armed struggle advocates, influenced by
> Maoism and third worldism more than by the philosophy of socialist anarchism.
>
> Their infantile actions, during the mass movement against the cruise missile,
> resulted in the bombing of the Litton factory and the death of a waged
> worker. Litton had been the focus of the anti-nuke/anti-cruise movement
> because they produced cruise missile guidance systems, systems that had been
> developed at Simon Fraser University by a resident professor. The cruise
> guidance systems were developed in Canada and tested here because our
> geography and terrain is similar to Northern Russia.
>
> The idiocy of the Squamish Five, also known as the Direct Action 5, was their
> complete isolation from the mass movements, which they impacted on with their
> bombings.
>
> Its as if the lessons we learned over a century ago that the Politics of
> Dynamite(1)  were a failure. The Haymarket riot, the French Anarchist
> bombings and robberies in the 19th Century, and of course the ill fated
> stupidity of, Alexander Berkmans attempt to assassinate Frick, came back to
> haunt our movement in the form of this little band of adventurers.
>
> They and their ilk have mistaken direct action for attacks on property. They
> are divorced from the struggle for building mass movements. This same
> mistaken ideology, that anarchism equates with violent actions like street
> fighting, sabotage, bombings, window breaking, looting, is reflected in the
> misanthropic politics of some Animal Rights Activists and the Black Bloc.
>
> In Edmonton in the 1990's the self styled anarchist/direct action Animal
> Liberation Front managed to firebomb a truck load of Lobsters at Billingsgate
> Foods, in an effort to liberate these poor souls from their ultimate demise
> on a dinner plate. Instead they cooked these victims of speciest oppression.
> Other acts of violence against property the ALF in Edmonton took were equally
> stupid and resulted in an increase of police repression against the movements
> they were involved in and their ultimate capture and imprisonment.
>
> Having not learned their lesson several members of the Edmonton ALF were
> released from jail only to get busted for sending mail bombs to neo-fascist
> Ernest Zundel as well as BC Bear Hunters and their hunting associations.
> Sheesh some people never learn; you can't just blow up a social
> relationship....you need mass mobilization of people to change the structure
> of society.
>
> Young liberals, who mistakenly believe they are anarchists, embrace the
> actions of Ann Hansen and her pals. In reality they are infantile leftists,
> literally as well as figuratively. This infantilist form of liberalism,
> mistakenly equated with anarchism, was reflected in the politics of Love and
> Rage group, as well as the Black Block and CLAC.
>
> The members of the Squamish 5 were the product not of classical anarchism but
> of the New Left the theories of the Weathermen, Maoism, the idea of
> vanguardism reeked through their thought and actions. Not believing workers
> and the masses are intelligent enough to resist capitalism they sought to
> replace mass action with their "direct" actions of firebombing, and blowing
> up hydro lines. With little care for how this impacted on the struggles that
> they embraced.
>
> "That we believed we could create a revolution ourselves. On the contrary,
> our aims were always more modest--to jolt activists into seeing the
> seriousness of the issues, and to hope that our radical actions might spark a
> new militancy. During our trial and afterwards we were looked at with a
> magnifying glass, but there was no serious discussion about the need for, and
> effectiveness of, our strategies."
>
> Ann Hansen, author of Direct Action: Memoirs of an Urban Guerrilla, in
> conversation with Peter Steven, 2001
>
> Class War is the continuous struggle of waged and unwaged proletarians
> struggling against capitalism and its state, it is not an armed struggle of
> small bands of individuals. The fetish for so called "direct action" bombing,
> smashing property, fighting with the cops, etc. is closer to the actions of
> fascist movements, and in fact there is no difference between the direct
> action of liberals when they engage in bombing from the actions of
> fascists(2)  who do the same thing.
>
> Whether blowing up or smashing property is done by misdirected liberals or by
> fascists it always leads to police and state repression of mass movements and
> activists. The underlying ideology developed in the sixties and seventies was
> that such repression was good (sic) as it would force the working class to
> wake up and embrace the struggle. Such cynicism in those so young. Such
> worldly knowledge divorced from reality, such disdain for the dull monotonous
> day to day struggles working class folks have to face.
>
> Of course such disdain comes easily when you live in a dope smoking,
> lifestylist commune. Building the new society within the shell of the old....
> divorced from the reality of the single mother working to feed her kids,
> divorced from the reality of the hydro worker, or even the Litton workers you
> injured. And let's understand that Ann and her pals for all their
> apologetics, are thugs. Litton did not stop production of cruise missile
> parts, all that happened was that workers, those oppressed and exploited by
> capitalism, were injured by their self appointed revolutionary saviors.
>
> "I'm sorry about some things that happened, but not everything. An
> underground group was probably not necessary--we should not have been so
> isolated from the social movements. The bomb we used at the Litton building
> was too big and we didn't properly assess the police response. We thought
> that they would take our warning seriously and clear the building. I am very
> sorry that people were hurt. And yet, there was, and is, huge damage being
> done by our governments--look at the legacy of the Cruise missile, in the
> Gulf War, for instance."
>
> Ann Hansen, author of Direct Action: Memoirs of an Urban Guerrilla, in
> conversation with Peter Steven, 2001
>
> To blame the cops, as Ann has in interviews, for not warning Litton, is to
> absolve oneself of responsibility for ones actions, a truly liberal trait not
> one of anarchism. Instead of admitting she and her pals in the Squamish 5
> fucked up, it's the cops fault.
>
> Well the cops didn't plant the bomb. And if the Squamish 5 hadn't wanted to
> blow something up they wouldn't have armed it. Which they did. And 10 workers
> were injured. They didn't care. Anyone, who works for the Man is as guilty as
> the Man, is the logic here.
>
> The adventurism of armed struggle was embraced by many who called themselves
> anarchists. Anarchism was a convenient label, nothing more. It was convenient
> for Ann and her comrades as it was for the Unabomber. It was and still is an
> inappropriate one. The politics of the Squamish 5 and other such groups that
> support armed struggle, like Arm the Spirit, are being promoted as belonging
> to the milieu of the broad left anti-capitalist movement. Ann is currently
> peddling her book to this milieu as if she has anything to teach us. In
> reality they are vanguardists no less than the Leninists they decry. In fact
> the armed struggle ideology of these vanguardists is by its very nature,
> secretive and isolated from the real movement, making it more akin to
> fascism+ than any form of left wing politics.
>
> "We suffered from all those mistakes, and we also didn't fully think through
> the consequences. But the most important error was in not realizing that
> without a revolutionary social movement in place urban guerrilla tactics
> won't work--there is no continuity. These links between social movements and
> radical actions are strategic political questions that must be addressed."
>
> Ann Hansen, author of Direct Action: Memoirs of an Urban Guerrilla, in
> conversation with Peter Steven, 2001
>
> Ann now says she has learned her lesson. That armed struggle must occur as
> part of a mass movement. Oh joy. Again the vanguardist ideology, that these
> real revolutionaries will lead us dumb masses by their actions, is still
> underlying her philosophy. Even a superficial reading of Lenin and Trotsky
> would illuminate these junior Che Guevera's. An armed insurrection of the
> working class, is not the same as armed struggle of little bands of
> vanguardists. It is part of a mass rebellion and overthrow of the state
> during a revolution.  This is the difference between the Russian and Spanish
> Revolutions, where the masses armed themselves and the failure of Che in Bolivia.
>
> What lessons can we learn from Ann and her friends? Nothing. They have
> nothing to say or teach us. They are not people we should be emulating,
> unfortunately some self styled anti-authoritarian liberals (interesting they
> call themselves anti-authoritarian instead of anarchist) still embrace this
> vanguardist armed struggle philosophy. Ironic because it is an authoritarian
> vanguardist ideology, that dismisses real class struggle, and real work of
> building a mass movement, for the instant gratification of making the news.
>
> It is the philosophy of the street fighter and juvenile delinquent. It would
> be hoped it would be a phase one grew out of, sort of like being a greaser.
> Yet this form of infantile direct action, repeats itself over and over again
> in the anarchist milieu. Now we have the Black Bloc advocating the same
> stupidity as Ann has.
>
> The Squamish 5 should never be confused with Haymarket martyrs. They were not
> class war political prisoners, since they attempted to replace class struggle
> with armed struggle.
>
> Unfortunately, history has shown that the politics of street fighting ends up
> creating just as many Horst Wessels(3) as it does Ann Hansens. There is no
> difference between them regardless of Ann's protestations to the contrary.
>
> Endnotes
>
>
> (1)  "propaganda by deed": that is, the use of violence as a political weapon
> and a form of political expression
>
> (2) Benito Mussolini was educated as a socialist and anarchist. He embraced
> the direct action of street fighting and the use of revolutionary violence;
> the politics of the deed. Deserting the socialist cause, he applied the
> ideology of "politics of the deed" to creating the fascist movement in Italy.
>
> (3)  Nazi Youth Leader in Berlin's working class Ghetto who led street
> fighters against Communists. He was killed early on and became the first
> Martyr for the Nazis, who created Horst Wessel Marching song in his memory.
>
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