is a bewitching month.
The grey of cold teases to explode
into something worthwhile, into a dream of
cold, a starlight shower you can taste, a cold that
– Joseph Coelho
“An ex-Mercedes car factory worker got delayed revenge over losing his job by destroying 69 brand-new vans with a stolen bulldozer this morning…The 38-year-old man worked at company’s plant in Vitoria in the Basque Country until he was sacked in 2017. He caused over €5 million of devastation and was arrested and charged unsurprisingly with a crime of causing damage. The man stole the bulldozer from a construction company at an industrial estate in Gojain…Once behind the wheel, he smashed through an entrance barrier and gate, as well as damaging other vehicles during his departure. He then embarked on a 21 kilometre journey and collided with road signs en route to a parking lot on a Jundiz industrial estate. The site is used to store new Mercedes-Benz electric mini-vans that had come off the production line in Vitoria. Each vehicle in park was said to have a market value of between €80,000 and €100,000. A security guard was left speechless as the bulldozer careered through a fence and headed towards the new vans. The vehicles were either totally destroyed or picked up and flung on top of each other. The guard brought the destruction to an end by firing a warning shot from his gun into the air. Police then arrived to arrest the bulldozer driver and to assess the damage.”
For a kind of explanation of these laws see this.
Israel, Jerusalem: 1000s of orthodox Jews block roads near main entrance to city to protest arrest of draft-dodger
“Police said an officer required medical care after being struck in the head by a bottle hurled toward cops at the Chords Bridge. Two other cops were injured in the clashes…Video from the protest showed demonstrators surrounding a car carrying IDF Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick, who could be seen pulling a pistol from a bag.”
“The Army and National Guard units fired warning shots yesterday afternoon. This was done to disperse the crowd of protesters who were trying to force their way into the headquarters of the Trans-Tunisian Gas Pipeline Company “Sergaz”. …these same protesters came from the region of Majel Belabbes, with the intention of invading the pumping station of the SERGAZ company, at the risk of closing the gas pipeline that carries Algerian gas to Europe. By this act, these young people intended to protest against the results deemed negative of a meeting they had with the local authorities. …angry protesters stoned and threw Molotov cocktails at Army and National Guard units. … the pumping station in question is located in a closed military zone and prohibited to civilians…the Kasserine region has been living in a state of high tension for several days. With road blockades, tire fires and the use of tear gas by law enforcement. This is due to the failure of negotiations between the sit-inners, in particular job seekers, who have been unemployed for a long time; and on the other hand the local authorities at the seat of the governorate. … the head of government, Hichem Mechichi, had ordered the Army and the police to intervene by force, if necessary, in order to unblock the roads and prevent at all costs the closure of production sites. … it is no secret that the Trans-Tunisian Sergaz pipeline is of capital importance for the Tunisian economy. In addition, it represents a sizeable regional issue, as the closing of the valve threatens Europe’s supply of natural gas from Algeria. The trans-Mediterranean gas pipeline, approximately 1,200 kilometers in length, passes through the three countries. That is 600 km in Algeria, 370 km in Tunisia, 155 km at sea and the rest in Italy, where it lands in Sicily. …three compression stations are located in Algeria and three others in Tunisia. The last is the most powerful because it must provide the necessary pressure for the underwater section. In return for the crossing of its territory and the maintenance it provides on its section, Tunisia receives 5.25% of the gas transported, which helps strengthen the State’s treasury in annual revenue of around 500 million dinars. As well as an annual fixed component of $ 11.5 million.“
Lebanon, Beirut: bottles thrown at cops, dumpsters torched, banks vandalised as students protest massive tuition hike
“Forced to stay at home since the pandemic, we have realized that we have no reference community, that we are more atomized than ever, each in his own bubble of incommunicability, virtual (social network) and not. Delegating parts of our lives to the State always brings misfortune, taking back piece by piece is the minimum desire. From this point of view, it becomes urgent not to allow the State to lock us up with DPCMs (Decrees of the President of the Council of Ministers): if we can work, if we can consume, then we can also protest, strike, organize; protecting ourselves, of course.”
Spain, Barcelona: stones thrown at police station and cop car, car burnt, street furniture trashed as electrical company cuts off electricity to several houses “fraudulently” connecting electricity for, supposedly, the growing of cannabis
Japan, Okinawa: dreadful arty recuperation through tame “re-enactment” of riot on 50th anniversary of this riot
“What is the efficacy of such a re-enactment? It is potentially reductive, falling into the trap of the digital era in which everything, even past civil unrest, is a commodifiable “experience”, an Instagrammable or tweetable photo opportunity. “
As the saying goes: in societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.
“A majority of the nearly 2,000 employees, who were exiting the facility after completing their night-shift, went on rampage destroying the company’s furniture, assembly units and even attempted to set fire to vehicles…the employee unrest was triggered by salary remittances made to them. Sources said the employees were angry that the company was not paying the amount that was promised to them at the time of joining.“While an engineering graduate was promised Rs 21,000 per month, his/her salary had reduced to Rs 16,000 and, subsequently, to Rs 12,000 in the recent months. Non-engineering graduates’ monthly salary had reduced to Rs 8,000. The salary amount being credited to our accounts have been reducing and it was frustrating to see this,” an employee alleged.On Friday night, the employees started discussing about their salaries on their floors and some alleged that they had received only low as as RS 500 in their bank accounts. The anger turned into violence by the time the shift ended, the employee added…workers say they have been underpaid for four months and that the riot began after a meeting with HR failed to resolve the dispute. Wistron made a rather implausible claim that the rioters were not employees, but did admit that iPhone assembly has been suspended due to the damage done.” More here: “Videos from within the factory show rioters starting a fire, damaging machinery, smashing windows, and even overturning cars in the parking lot. Militant workers destroyed the company’s furniture, assembly units and set fire to vehicles….Thousands of iPhones were expropriated during the riot. The uprising has caused Wistron to suspend production of iPhones for two weeks. Because the incident occurred before the peak Christmas season, Wistron’s losses could be larger than the preliminary estimate.”
Chile, Santiago: barricades, looting and clashes as protesters demand release of all those arrested during uprising
This is a sign of the enormous gap between consciousness and practice: just a few weeks after the vote for a reform of the constitution that merely put Chile back into a position on paper before Pinochet, when virtually no anarchist or anti-state libertarian group critiqued this worthless political reform, lots of people confronted the state which is now accepting this reform because it means nothing in practice. As if things were great under Allende (see this and this). It’s forgotten that it was Allende who appointed Pinochet as commander-in-chief of the army 19 days before his coup. The bourgeoisie, if threatened, care nothing for its pieces of paper – what matters is what they can get away with with the least cost to themselves and their system, what matters to them is money & power and the ability to manipulate people into submission. Strikes, occupations, riots, looting, connecting all these different things – ie social contestation in a variety of forms, and the ideas that arm such anger – are what worries them, not pointless pieces of paper like the constitution. When struggle becomes ritualised into just clashes with the cops, though they’re inevitable and necessary, they’re still most definitely not enough: both imagination and critique are repressed in favour of the familiar out of fear of the unknown. Yet looking at the history of struggles, of their limits, their successes and failures, their strengths and weaknesses, would show that such possibilities are only unknown to the present generation – it’s not at all some abstract will coming from waving a magic wand of inspiration separate from looking at historical examples, despite changed circumstances and an extremely narrowed vision of a potential future. Repeated clashes are as likely to get you arrested, sent to prison or have your skull cracked, as something innovative and original for this epoch, so they’re not even safer than trying something new. And trying something new (at least for this generation) is essential if struggles are not to go round and round in ever-shrinking circles, involving less and less people.
Albania, Tirana: Christmas tree in front of PM’s residence torched as thousands protest cop killing of man breaking Covid1984 curfew; Minister of Interior resigns More here
US, Los Angeles: minor clash on 13th day of protests hoping to prevent Biden selecting mayor with crap record on homelessness and transport (as if there’s a mayor that doesn’t…)
“Four officers attempted to make an arrest for the above violations, when the crowd moved in on the officers, punching and kicking them, which resulted in an ‘officer needs help’ call,” she said. “At that time, an unlawful assembly was declared.” The person with the bullhorn ran away and another person was arrested on suspicion of lynching, she said. California law defines “lynching” as the crime of removing someone from the lawful custody of a peace officer by means of a riot, according to California Penal Code 405a.”
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.” – Lewis Carroll, Through The Looking Glass
“… The demonstration against the Comprehensive Security Law and “for social rights and freedoms” degenerated into violent clashes between blackblock and the police. …Protesters, journalists and police were injured. …At 2.45 p.m., the first fireworks were thrown, paint and projectiles… thrown at gendarmes. An hour later, a homemade bomb was thrown at police officers. The clashes then intensified, mainly between the Saint-Fargeau metro and the intersection between rue Henri-Poincaré and avenue Gambetta, the scene of clashes. Cars burnt to the point that it is dark on the avenue, barricades, ransacked businesses: the list of destruction is long. The blackbloc demonstrators were able to act, sometimes without police pressure, or without the various charges of the security forces having any effect on their resolve or their ability to reorganize. Which prevailed over flaws in the organization of the security forces, who….retreated very quickly to Avenue Gambetta, which did not allow them to hold their ground…. responding to the throwing of numerous projectiles, law enforcement officials used tear gas and GM2L grenades. The latter replaced the GLI-F4, implicated in the mutilation of demonstrators during the Acts of the yellow vests. The G2ML, loaded with an explosive, are both tear gas and sound grenades…During these clashes, several people were injured, among demonstrators and journalists. According to three eyewitnesses… a protester had fingers torn off one hand. His evacuation was filmed by journalist Clément Lanot. Journalist Amar Taoualit was injured in the leg by a grenade. In France, according to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, 67 members of the security forces were injured, 48 of them in Paris alone. The police headquarters stressed that among the injured was a firefighter. At 8 p.m., there had been “42 arrests by the police on the sidelines of the Paris demonstration”.
The demos were far less than the previous week, partly because The League for the Rights Of Man, which had called the previous week’s demos, didn’t call for them this week, claiming the fact that Macron’s mere acknowledgement of unacceptable police violence and racially-motivated arrests, stop-and-search etc. (in the face of obvious video evidence) was in itself a “victory”. But the law has not been withdrawn. Interestingly, for those who don’t know them, the so-called “anarchist” UCL (Union of Libertarian Communists) voted – in Montpellier at least – not to participate (at least as an organisation) in the demo because The League for the Rights Of Man had been against demonstrating. No real surprise there, considering their collaboration with the CGT in the past.
Kenya, Voi: 100s of angry students clash with filth over overcrowding and dilapidated buildings that place them at risk of contracting Covid-1984 Video here