We decided to publish an English translation of an article written by Lukas in October 2015. Lukas described why went underground and his opinion about solidarity and legal vs illegal actions. For sure Lukas would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, so feel free to send him a letter with your opinion. Just try to choose simple terms, because he just started to learn English.
Defense of the anarchist perspective
I have already described my suspicions about police chasing me. To avoid it I live out of their reach but conscious that anyways I can end up in prison soon. I wish this text would be spread with all the info channels of the anarchist movement already. I want to take any chance to publish without a censorship receive the reactions and to answer them.
To aim anger the right direction
When the police imprison some anarchists or search for those who are hiding, it takes usually long time to find out what they actually want to publish about them, their actions or opinions. I’ve been active in the anarchistic movement quite a long time so most of the people know. Even though I’d like to point out few things so there wouldn’t be any misunderstanding in case the police would imprison me for real.
In the first place if the police will want to or will imprison me it won’t be any other aim than to silent a critical voice and to eliminate an anticapitalist struggle connected with it. If they want to accuse me for whatever they want, I won’t be ever blaming other anarchists. The persecution of anarchists is always carried out by the state and its executive authorities. My anger will aim always towards those but not any other anarchists who are involved in the illegal direct actions.
I often heard the zany opinion that the repressions are the outcome of the irresponsible actions of some anarchists. This attitude grows conviction that we can protect ourselves from the repressions if we remain aloof from their militant tactics and won’t be sharing the informations about them. Unfortunately, this illusion is typical for a big part of the anarchistic movement in Czech. I don’t follow this. The events of the past months assured me that the repression is affecting also those who are trying to remain aloof from the militant and illegal activities in the movement.
The repression is an integral part of a state and it is threatening every anarchist because of the simple fact that every anarchist is against all states. The repressive apparatus doesn’t need anything else for persecution. This one is good enough – the anarchists aim to abolish state so the state wants to eliminate them. Every anarchist is then potentially a target for repression. Constantly.
I am convinced that the question about who is going to be the target of repressions is not crucial if the one is taking part in militant groups or is not. If he is defending or criticizing them. If he is sharing the informations about illegal tactics or not. If it is strategic for the state, it will attack anyone just to defend itself or to push some forms of government. Even if there wouldn’t be any groups like SRB (Network of revolutionary cells), EA, FAI, CCF or ALF and there wouldn’t be any groups willing to share their communiqués, there would still be a permanent threat of repressions towards every anarchist.
No doubt the repressive apparatus can very skillfully exploited the existence of support of the militant groups to intensify repressions towards all the movement. Including its non militant fractions. It is clear the repressions can show up even during time when no militants in particular country exists. In some countries there are people imprisoned for membership in projects very similar to NGO’s as we know it. In others also for journalism witch is not far from the Czech mainstream medias. Let’s remember also Pussy Riot who were imprisoned for a music show. The state didn’t need any militant organizations to increase the repressions. It anyways found its reasons. Also the Czech state did that in past. Let’s remember the raid in music club Propast or a pursuit of anarchist Petr Wolhmut for made-up story about his participation in the assassination. Let’s also remember a pursuit of Michal Patera, who defend himself by a legally owned weapon from an attack of a neo-nazists. And also let’s remember the intensive police brutality during many antifascist demonstrations and at the protests against IMF and WB in Prague. Also it is good to recall the case of Roman Smetana who was imprisoned for the symbolic protest against the party politics. Let’s not forget that all these repressions went on while no such groups as SRB haven’t operated in Czech yet. Who’s fault in these cases is it then? The provider’s of the club? The organizations’s who are publishing texts about assassination of Heydrich? The antifascists’s who are fighting back the neo-nazis? Protesters’s who was trying to disrupt the meeting of the IMF and WB? it would all be absurd as well as to blame SRB from starting the repressions.
Shortly, it is police who are doing the repressive steps not fighting anarchists. If it fits to police strategy it always finds the reason for the repressions. Once they use the existing insurrectionary groups, next time they will make up some where none exists. They can find any other excuse as it is obvious from the examples I gave. But even if the excuses are made from gold it shouldn’t lead us to a conclusion that to distance from the militant actions will save us from the repressive actions of the state. As the last months are showing us, the police can come any time for anyone from any reasons. For a militant as for a pacifist. For a revolutionary anarchist as for an autonom. For an anarchosyndicalist as for a squatter. For a sympathizer or a critique of SRB. Shortly for everyone who wish for the end of capitalism. To distance himself from SRB maybe makes one feel save but it is one big self-deceit. The repressions can easily also affect him. Not because of SRB though but because the state does what is its historical role. It protects the capitalist order from the intruders. From the anarchists and other rebels.
The repressions are always fitting to the state strategy and it can show up in many ways according to the circumstances. If the anarchist movement has a meaningless power, the repressions are usually milder. It is the same if it is temporarily disadvantageous for the state to show its aggressive nature. For example before the elections when the critique of the authoritarian regime usually grows. If the power of anarchistic movement grows, also the police repressions grows as well so it could stop the movement. The same can happen if the mood in the society is open to more authoritarian forms of government and the ruling class is trying populistically proof it is able to use such government. But the repressions can also grow or decline from other strategic reasons.
The repression and its intensity
There were times when the anti anarchist repressions in Czech comparing to other countries had very low intensity. The anarchist movement was marginal and didn’t mean a decent danger for the state so there was no reason for persecution. No one wants to be a target of state repressions but I suppose as anarchist we don’t want to stay in this marginal position neither. If we want to mean a danger for the state – to be a fighting anarchists, there is no other choice than reconcile with the option of a strong repressions. To fight against the state and think it will not fight back strongly is a very naive position. I don’t follow this. Also what I don’t follow is the idea that the responsibility for the recent repressions in Czech holds The SRB. To distance from SRB with a statement that it brings the repression towards those who don’t support SRB is really a perverse opinion. As far off as to criticize the initiators of a sit-down strike for bringing repressions of the bosses up to other workers or even the consumers who are not involved in the strike. These opinions I see as absolute misunderstanding of what state stands for and why are all anarchists and other proletarians always victims of its repressive strategies. In whatever times and at whatever place. With SRB and without it.
The reaction to the fight against the state is fighting back. This should not surprise us. Nor it shouldn’t lead to judge the anarchists fight instead of its expansion. If there is no repression it only means there is no movement to stand as the opposition. Honestly, I’d rather reconcile with the need to deal with a strong state repressions than with a fact that we are such insignificant strength which is not worth to keep down.
The legal and illegal fights
If the anarchistic movement wants to be a social strength which is able to stand against the state it has to inevitable solve the questions of legal and illegal. I will try to show how I see these.
In the first place I think it is crucial for the anarchistic movement to go beyond the frame of moral anticapitalism, which is outraged by capitalism but its structures and relations leaves without a change. We have to go beyond the experience which criticize capitalism and the state but in its fight is primarily rely on the institutions made by the state to defend itself – to the legal institutional tools. The courts, legislation, police, The “independent” commissions and offices, referendum, petitions and other democratic procedures or institutions. It is all part of the capitalistic infrastructure. Of course, I am not saying these can’t sometimes make a situation easier or softer. I’m saying that to rely on these means – consciously or unconsciously – to fortifying construction which we anarchists want to destroy.
Change of a law or a forgiving sentence of a judge it both can bring a big relief. Yes, even to an anarchist who is accused in front of a court or to a squatter who will get a permission to use a house illegally squatted before. We cannot forget the essentials. Every “helpful” or “indulgent” step of the state institutions is a part of a pacifying and integration strategy. The state is not giving us anything just for our sake. It always makes deals. And what we pay for its “services” is incomparably more valuable than what we are getting. If the state makes us pacified and controllable, if it makes us turn away from our radicalism and militancy, if the militant fight is transformed into a moderate civil activism, then the state is willing to sacrifice a lot for us. It will guarantee the free speech and gathering, some of the changing the laws, softer penalties, less brutal police force and even lowering the intensity of the repressions. It is serving us illusions of democratic right and freedom so it assure its duration. To justify supremacy and keep away those below from rebellion. Tolerance and indulgence which state show us from time to time is a part of the plan how to neutralize opposition. Those who eat the bait will lower their impact toward the state.
I believe though that as anarchists we shouldn’t hope for world of fair courts, good laws and police serving ordinary people. We should wish for the world without these. For the world without prison and not just the ones from concrete, steel and barbed wire. There is other prisons than that. Those where the bars in the windows are replaced by stifling social conventions. Prison where instead of prison guards there are morality laced by thread of the bourgeois ideology.
The capitalist society is a specific kind of a worldwide prison. Whether we stand in front of the bars or we are forced to spend some time of our lives behind those, it is not possible to escape this prison reality. We are part of it by force. Then we have just two options. We succumb, become compliant and passively accept the status of a prisoner. Or we can accept the status of uncontrollable subversive elements who are attacking the jailers and the whole power apparatus. I choose the second one. Whether I stand in front or behind the bars, I am prepared to face the mentality of the jailers and the imprisoned ones. That definitely means to go far behind the limits of legality.
I am sure you can be an anarchist and at the same time stay at the legal position which is not pursuitable by the state power. Whether you act only on the legal level and then you are no threat to capitalism or you decide to have the subversive position towards the capitalism. That usually means to bypass the capitalistic rules, conventions and laws. To go beyond the legality is necessary premise for expansion of the anarchistic practice. I openly say I act according to this.
Only a very naive creature can think that the capitalism will fall down without going beyond the law by those who confront it. All the fights against slavery, nazism or stalinism could be successful at some point only because the people standing against went on despite the systems were labeling them as criminals and according to this also treated them.
But I’m not saying the illegal methods are the only part of the anarchistic fight. Those who know me well know that besides my defense of the illegalism I am involved in many legal activities. I never put those two sides in opposition but tried to build up a bridge to connect them. I always emphasize the need of interpenetration of legal and illegal. Legal picket can be as legitimate as a sabotage. If we combine the fights well they can help to amplify the struggle. In its quantity and also quality.
I don’t see the real contrast between legal and illegal but between direct and indirect actions, between the activity with a subversion potential and the reformist ravings. I’m trying to point out that the legal direct actions are very important but in a loneliness it is totally not enough. Basically it creates just one important part of the revolutionary movement.
I think that targeted separation of the legal and illegal struggles is leading to destabilize the whole movement. The illegal ones without the support of the legal ones are pushed to the edge and to isolation. The legal struggles without the illegal ones on the other hand just degenerate into a radical democratism which is just a harmless and tolerated phenomenon for capitalism. Then what I say is that the only condition under we can succeed is to combine all the important legal and illegal activities. If we don’t accept this and don’t act in order of this is one big failure itself.
I would like to bring back that one of the reason s to write this text is my effort to write down some of my thoughts in advance in case of ending up in hands of the state which would put me in jail. The reality is usually the pigs trying hard to stop the circulation of all the important thoughts, texts and calls. By this I try to not make easier their dirty jobs.
There may be many excuses for my arrest. It can be build on real and unreal grounding. But it can also be a mixture of absurd constructs and provocations, similar to those they used in Fenix operation. No matter what they will want to accuse me from, I want one thing to be clear. I never regret anything what i did in frames of my anarchistic struggle in my past. I always chose the methods I considered adequate to the situation and context. I did use also some illegal ones. And I take my political and private responsibility for that. I don’t doubt their rightness and acquisition for the anticapitalist struggle. Of course I won’t make it any easier to our enemies to show what and when I did use the illegal methods.
Anyways the police can use my defense of the illegal actions or my illegal activities as an excuse to imprison me. If that happens maybe someone will doubt what kind of solidarity actions would be (un)suitable. I think an important solidarity action (and not just towards me) is the one which is not tight up by a dilemma if to act legally or illegally, violently or peacefully. Please fight by words and power. With a pen or weapons. Don’t take the moralistic judgements of your enemies. They will call us extremists, vandals, terrorists, dangerous elements or crazy adventurers. Do
n’t let them to digest or immobilize us. The revolutionary solidarity means that we continue in our anti capitalistic fights and continue being parts of it. No matter which side of the bars we stand. No matter if we live legally unhidden or if the repressive force are making us to live in clandestinity.
I am sure you will be able to choose places, time and means for the solidarity actions. Please, act by all means which can contribute to the anarchistic communism. I am trying to do so now and I will do it even if they will put me in jail.
Lukáš Borl, october 2015