Dan Baker 25765-509
PO Box 34550
Memphis, TN 38184
Who are these revolutionary women?
One is Ivana Hoffman. She was born in Germany in 1995. Her mother was German and her father was from the Afrikan nation of Togo. Ivana was successful in school, popular and played soccer. At 14 she joined protests against neo-nazis in Duisburg and was a friend of Turkish Kurds. She was known for being social and funny. At 16 she joined a revolutionary group called “Young Struggle” that was part of the Turkish community. She became a militant activist, organized events and rallies, was the media spokeswoman and edited the group’s magazine. She joined a huge hunger strike to force Turkey to free political prisoners. She travelled to Turkey and met other revolutionaries. A quote about her says this: “Of the many causes that excited Ivana, the liberation of women always came first. She was a co-founder of the Young Struggle’s women’s work and her lesbian sexuality played no small part in her love and appreciation of women.” During this time the Rojava Revolution was raging against the so called Islamic state. I have already describes the crimes against humanity committed by daesh (the so called Islamic state). The group Ivana belonged to was outlawed in Germany and Turkey because they gave material support to Kurds who fight for survival in Rojava. Ivan travelled to Kurdistan, joined the YPG and fought side by side with her sister revolutionaries for their lives and for freedom. She was Afro-German but considered the Kurdish women her true sisters. She said this in a letter: “I want to be part of the Revolution in Rojava, I want to develop myself. In these 6 months I want to get to know the fight, which unites all the oppressed people and of course the Rojava Revolution, which I will defend with my life. I know what I am going for and important this fight is. I will face adversity and come to realize what capitalist instincts I have in me, but I will fight these. I will experience what it feels like to have a weapon in my hand and to fight for the Rojava Revolution, against imperialism. I will experience life in a different way, more intense and more organized. Maybe I will reach my limits and fall behind, but I will never give up my fighting spirit. I will carry on. Rojava is the beginning. Rojava is hope.” Ivana was in constant battles in Rojava for 6 months. On March 7th she and other YPG fighters were defending the village of Tel Tamer when daesh attacked in the middle of the night, to the 8th, International Women’s day, Ivana fought heroically and killed dozens of daesh terrorists, but was killed when she ran out of ammunition, surrounded by the bodies of her dead enemies. She was 19 years old, the first international YPG volunteer to die in the Rojava Revolution. Ivana was committed to her revolutionary convictions and her lesbianism. She was an admirable internationalist and she did not hesitate when she heard about the crimes against humanity and women committed by daesh. She immediately joined the armed women’s resistance and put herself in danger for a cause she believed in. We all have a lot to learn from her example. When her body was returned to Germany the government tried to take it, claiming she was a “terrorist”. In Turkey women mourned her death in the streets and were arrested and abused by the Turkish military. But when her comrades finally got her body the funeral in Germany was attended by over 4 thousand people. She is still honored and remembered in Rojava, Germany and worldwide, and men and women hang up her picture. Long live revolutionary guerilla women!
Another lesbian guerilla I admire is Anna Campbell. A British woman who went to Rojava to support the Women’s Revolution and to defend Rojava from the so called Islamic state and their sponsor, Turkey, Anna was an activist for years in her home and protested against injustice. She was killed by a Turkish air strike while fighting against daesh, evacuating civilians out of Afrin. The Turkish air strike was conducted with U$ jets and missiles sold to Turkey by Trump in exchange for the building of Trump Towers in Istanbul and other favors, like the withdrawal of U$ troops who were supporting the Kurds in their fight against daesh, which resulted in a massacre by Turkish troops against Kurds, allowing daesh to escape and regroup. Anna Campbell took the war name Helin Qerecox, which is pronounced Kerechok. Helin said something I repeat often, that “We cannot wait and expect others to do what we are too lazy and too afraid to do,” and that “we share a rich heritage with the Paris Commune” and the feminists of times past, the descendants of witches the inquisition could not kill. While in Rojava Helin’s father came to look for her body, but there was no body to recover, because it was destroyed by the Turkish air strike. I was honored to speak to him at her funeral ceremony where the YPG and YPJ martyrs are buried and memorialized. Tens of thousands of locals came, along with massive formation of YPG and YPJ revolutionaries. I told Mr. Campbell that Anna’s words inspired me to go to Rojava to help build the community, not just to fight against daesh, which was my original motivation. Because of the messages Helin posted online I was inspired to plant seeds, and protect and water them, help build structures and participate and invest in the community there. If not for her influence I would have gone there as only an arrogant militant personality, without social intelligence, a mind for the community and the political and ideological motivation of the women there. Mr. Campbell was confused at first and kept asking why his daughter, a young woman, was allowed to go fight in combat. We explained to him that she was a strong person who demanded to be treated the same as every other revolutionary, that she would not be treated as a propaganda queen, protected from the reality that her sisters faced on the front lines. She dyed her blond hair to disguise her well known appearance and went to the front because she insisted on it. Lee Brickly wrote a song about her that moves me deeply, “Anna’s Song”. She knew what she was fighting for. Her father viewed her as the little girl he raised but she was a strong lesbian revolutionary guerilla. Her pictures are on the wall in my cell here in prison, as well as the walls of girls, women, men and transgender revolutionaries all around the world. Her birthday is celebrated and marches memorialize her bravery and sacrifice. It is worth noting that political enemies slander her because her death inspired so many to take action, and they fear the power of her contribution to the Women’s Resolution. Turkey has since attacked the Kerechok mountain again, killing dozens with their airstrikes. Long live revolutionary guerilla women!
Looking back in time in the U$ we find another example of lesbian revolutionary guerillas, Patricia Soltysik, Camilla Hall, also called Gabi, and Nancy Ling Perry of the Symbionese Liberation Army. Camilla lived, worked and died for the revolution heroically. She was born 3/24/45 in Minnesota. Her parents were professors and her dad was a Lutheran minister. The family suffered many tragedies, as all of Camilla’s 3 younger brothers and sisters died young. The family spent time in Tanzania where her parents worked for the church. Camilla was very mart and did great in school. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1967 with a degree in humanities. She decided to be a social worker and help poor people in a time when social services were very limited and ineffective. The system was racist, sexist and patriarchal. Camilla directly helped the poor but was frustrated by all the rules and regulations. Her friends at work described her as ingenious, kind, and compassionate. Camilla protested against the war in Vietnam, was horrified by the living conditions of the youth in the U$ and all over the world, and the violence in Chicago. She got into politics but witnessed the corruption and joined the protestors. Becoming disillusioned she moved to California and worked as an artist. In 1971 she moved to Berkeley. She participated in various revolutionary organizations and met Patricia Soltysik and they fell in love. There were many revolutionary groups in California but they joined what would become one of the most notorious revolutionary groups of the 1970’s, the Symbionese Liberation Army. In 1974 the SLA kidnapped Patricia Hearst, daughter of Randolph Hearst, a famous owner of news publications in California. The SLA demanded that Mr. Hearst establish a program for helping the poor in San Francisco. He complied and more than $4 million in aid was distributed to the poor for free, especially the women and children of color. Patty Hearst was so impressed by the SLA that she joined them. The FBI launched a manhunt for the members of the SLA for robbing a bank in the heart of San Francisco. The SLA was like Robin Hood, taking from the rich to help the poor. Gabi was one of the women who robbed the bank. Wanted posters with pictures of her, Soltysik and Nancy were posted everywhere. After robbing the bank the SLA moved to southern California, but their safe house was discovered and surrounded by more than 500 cops and FBI agents with orders from Washington DC to kill all of the guerillas. The cops used incendiary grenades on the house and started a huge fire. They knew they were going to die so they decided to die fighting. Gabi and others burst out of the inferno with pistols in hand, guns blazing. Others were trapped in the house like Patricia Soltysik. Gabi was radicalized by the violence of the white supremacist system, the war crimes in Vietnam (like the Mai Lai massacre), the Kent State massacre in 1970 when National Guard soldiers shot and killed unarmed student protestors, the assassination of Fred Hampton, Jonathan Jackson and his brother George, the Attica massacre of 1971 and violence against the poor in the ghettos. It’s important to remember Gabi, Patricia and Nancy and women like Helin and Ivana. We honor their memory, learn from their lives and share their stories.
Patricia Soltysik was called Mizmoon by her lover. A woman inspired by her life took the name Mizsun and wrote this for her: “Mizmoon, a Sister who loves you is speaking. You and I lived in Berkeley, lives so much alike that I often ask myself “what kept me here? What pulled you where you are?” I’m who you’ve been and where you came from, living in the neighborhood, taking care of kids, working for a living, 5 political meetings a week, some studying, some demonstrations and some good times with the women and men I love. Once you loaned me a book, you probably don’t remember, and since then your gifts to me have been many. I have a memory of you that sticks in my mind: a year ago at a meeting someone ask you “Why the name Mizmoon?” You said “my lover was speaking poetry to me and called me Mizmoon. It seemed perfect for my name.” I really like the way you said that, the way you chose your new self, the way we each will, a bold transformation, defying definition, letting yourself be named by a woman, a woman who loves you. Mizmoon listen! Don’t believe those who say you’re separate from the people because you came right out of our lives. Mizmoon listen! Don’t deny your past because it’s our present. There was good in everything we ever were. There had to be, for you created yourself out of our common past. Bring us along with you and remember everything you’ve ever learned. You are my future, show me what I can do, but remember what I’m doing now. And Mizmoon listen! Even though it seems like there are only a few of us who are armed remember that there are hardly any noncombatants left now; most of the people are fighting back in some small way every day. And Mizmoon, thank you! you’ve begun to claim what is ours. The robber barons have stolen from us, wealth, food, work, sex, land and life. You’ve taken back a little food for empty bellies and a little cash for the survival of our part of our Army. For this beginning, thanks Mizmoon. Mizmoon! A sister who loves you is speaking! What I want to give you is the unconditional love of one revolutionary for another. Its unconditional love that Amerika can never give its children and its unconditional love that we need and must give to each other. No matter what happens, I love you. If you survive and fight for years until victory, I love you. If you are captured, wounded, imprisoned, tortured, I love you. If you are duped and tricked, infiltrated and led to defeat, I love you. If you die a violent death under the guns of the enemy, I love you. If you make more bad mistakes, fail and do us all harm, I’ll know that you’ve tried and lost like many others, not yet wise enough, not yet loving enough. I’ll struggle with you, I’ll criticize you, but I’ll never deny you, for you are of me and I am of you: Women. In Struggle.”
Long live revolutionary guerilla women!
In my last essays I ranted about lesbian revolutionary women. This is obviously not the only option for women who feel strongly about the current state of the war against women. Women can obviously do whatever they want, choose partners from any gender, choose to be sexually active or not, reproduce or not, and men have no real say in these decisions. This essay is mostly to educate other men, and to help me internalize these ideas as I read about them. This work is now drawing on Seculo Nuovo by Fulvia Ferrari, Night Owl #3, Mind Training Like Rays of the Sun by Thubten Chodron, and Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand. I bring up these last few because I have been corresponding with a Buddhist nun who studies under Venerable Thubten Chodron and she influences my thoughts, words and actions on a daily basis. Becoming a nun, Buddhist or otherwise, is another option for women women who choose to live a life of activism and renunciation as a form of protest against the patriarchy and these hierarchical power structures that cause suffering, especially against women in the traditional family structure. Nuns of many religions are often women who are dissatisfied with the prevailing culture that does not support their best interests. I have great respect and admiration for Buddhist nuns and monks who have renounced to work full time on helping others. That being said I also offer criticisms that Tibetan Buddhism has some outdated ideas and standards which do not agree with modern standards of compassion and accommodation for all people in need, specifically people in debt, trans and disabled people. But I believe that they are working to overcome that. One issue facing Buddhist nuns, especially in the Tibetan tradition, is that there is no process for them to become ordained in the Tibetan tradition and so they have to seek ordination from Chinese and Vietnamese Buddhist leaders. There is also very little support for Buddhist nuns in general, especially western Buddhist nuns. This is due to a traditional and patriarchal mindset and attitude of sexism prevalent in the Asian cultures which do the most fundraising for support of Buddhist monastics. Please consider reaching out to Sravasti Abbey to support the nuns there in the excellent work they are doing to bring peace to this world, and the happiness, guidance and hope they give to prisoners. The Buddha took great pains to make sure women had an equal place in the community and the monastery, a refuge to seek shelter from the cruelty of the patriarchy. This should be supported and continued. I am currently being guided through a 3 month meditation retreat from afar by the nun here who I correspond with. I find this meditation on the Buddha is an excellent exercise which agrees with my personal convictions and sense of ethics and freedom as an anarchist. I am engaging in this process sincerely and with great effort and consistency, keeping the vows and practicing the meditations in sitting sessions and in my daily life, which is not easy in prison. If not for this nun who guides me I would have made many mistakes by now. I’ll share a short quote by the Venerable Thubten Chodron before I continue. After that, aside from direct quotes, these words of mine do not reflect the views of the Buddhist nuns at Sravasti Abbey, the nun I correspond with, or Venerable Thubten Chodron. It’s possible that I am making offences. I’d also remind the reader that Abdulla Ocalan endorses Buddhism as one of the most revolutionary metaphysical traditions which can provide us with an ethical framework without reinforcing hierarchy or patriarchy.
“We visualize the Buddhas and bodhisattvas, we imagine them with bodies made of light and that they’re looking at us with much delight and complete acceptance. I think that’s important because some of us have a hard time imagining people looking at us with one hundred percent acceptance. Anybody have that problem? You think of the Buddha like, “Oh he’s an authority figure. He’s not going to look at me with compassion. He’s going to look at me ferociously- ‘ARE YOU BEING GOOD?’ ” No, Buddha’s not going to look at us that way. So, we shouldn’t look at ourselves that way either. We imagine the Buddha with his body of light, looking at us really delighted because we’re doing something virtuous and something meaningful.
We visualize not only the Buddhas and bodhisattvas in front of us, but we imagine that we’re surrounded by all sentient beings. This has great meaning, because lots of times when we think of doing our spiritual practice, we think that we’re going to go to a cave and be all alone, far away from those obnoxious sentient beings. But it’s not like that; they’re all with us, sitting in front of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas.
Additionally, the people you don’t like, you imagine sitting in front of you. So, to see the Buddhas and bodhisattvas, you have to see the people that you don’t like- enemies. This means that we must find some way to make peace with those people in our own minds. Because what are you going to do? You’re going to say to the Buddha, “May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes” and then who is sitting in front of you? Your enemy. And you’re thinking, “May they all have happiness and its causes, but that one- never!” That’s not going to work.
So, we must include everybody in our spiritual practice. It’s not about escaping from anybody or anything. Because anyway, where will you go where you are not in a relationship to other living beings? Wherever we are in the universe, there are sentient beings around us in that universe, we cannot get away. So it’s really emphasizing to us that in our spiritual practice we’re trying to work to open up our hearts towards sentient beings and, at the same time, generate wisdom that will enable us to be of great benefit to them.
So, that’s why we always talk about wisdom and compassion- those two sides that we’re trying to cultivate. So, when we’re doing the recitation verses, we’re thinking that we’re leading all these people around us in generating those thoughts and in saying the recitations with us. I find this very helpful, especially to include the people I don’t like and imagine that they’re cultivating positive mental attitudes by reciting these prayers.
At the abbey, there’s one practice we do with lots of prostrations, and when we do that I often imagine the whole U.S. Congress and all the U.N. leaders around me. Because, often, I don’t know about you, but I don’t always like the politicians in my country and so it’s very helpful to me to imagine them also bowing to the Buddha and chanting. But I think if anybody told Donald Trump that I was imagining him bowing to the Buddha he would probably have a fit. But he really needs to bow to the Buddha.”
If you don’t like Trump, and you do side with women in the war against women, then you should support the nuns at Sravasti Abbey.
Siddhartha Gautama was a sheltered prince who rejected his privilege after seeing the suffering of animals, poverty, the sick, elderly, dying and dead. This helped motivate him to achieve liberation to become Shakyamuni Buddha in order to liberate all beings. Buddha gives us an example of embodied passive resistance to oppressive power structures whose greed causes poverty, crime and war. Buddhas and Buddhists reject the importance of material possessions and the practice of hoarding resources at other’s expense. Instead, we practice compassion in action, wisdom, joy, skillful means, love and equanimity for all beings. We dismantle evil, violent power structures by rejecting them and organizing to meet everyone’s needs. Buddhists meet to discus and vote on issues, giving all genders an equal voice, actively decentralizing power. The goal of Buddhism is the liberation of all beings and the individual in this life time through training the body, speech and mind, and direct action in the community. Buddha left home and became a homeless monk, renounced his wealth and royal position and devoted his life to helping others. This inspired me to be prepared to die as a beggar if necessary in order to help others, and I have always been taken care of and had my needs met. Buddhas work for the sake of all beings, nursing the sick, even bathing sick monks who are incontinent and those who are outcasts among beggars.
Shakyamuni Buddha is the source of this mind training. One exercise is to imagine that all beings achieve wholesome happiness, and plan and act out steps to make that a reality. This is encouraged by imagining ourselves as Shakyamuni Buddha, radiating rays of light that relieve all beings of suffering. Then we visualize all beings as Shakyamuni Buddha and meditate on joy. The lotus Shakyamuni Buddha sits on represents compassion, wisdom and renunciation from all the killing, stealing, lying and oppression of profit driven systems and power structures.
For every mass shooter and suicide bomber there are countless people who rush into danger in order to rescue others at great danger to themselves. It is not easy to run towards explosions, gunfire, smoke, shockwaves, bullets, shrapnel, screams and violent enemies. So all the thinking has to be done beforehand, and one must make a solemn commitment to put other’s lives before one’s own. It is even harder to do this outside of the imaginary “safety net” of government structures. Referring to the Paris Commune of 1871 one historian wrote “The government evaporated like a pond of stagnant water in a springtime breeze, and on March 19th the great city of Paris found herself free of the impurity which had defiled her, with the loss of scarcely a drop of her children’s blood.” The army of Napoleon III, funded by wealthy bankers, attacked the commune, slaughtering thousands. Elisee Recluse, an anarchist geographer and member of “The International”, said “Everything miserable and horrible that we have seen nonetheless contains the germ of something great.” 10,000 women demanded to join the fight against corrupt rulers, and their example inspired 250,000 people to join them. The women formed the Union Des Femmes on April 11, 1871, organizing the women of Paris into a militant force capable of fighting with rifles and kerosene. They said, “The Women of Paris will prove to France and the world that they too, at the moment of supreme danger- at the barricades and at the ramparts of Paris, if the reactionary powers should force her gates- they too know how, like their brothers, to give their blood and their life for the defense and triumph of the commune. Louise Michel formed all-Women ambulance companies with access to the front lines, where they shot at government troops while rescuing the wounded communards. They said they “don’t belong to any society whatsoever. They live only for the revolution; their duty is to tend, on the very field of battle, the wounds made by the poisonous bullets of Versailles, and when the hour demands to take up their rifles like everyone else.” They would move from one front line to another with belts of ammo strapped to their chests, dodging bullets, cheating death and spiriting right in front of enemy troops. The government threatened to execute Louise Michel’s mother, so she surrendered and was deported to New Caledonia where she educated indigenous girls. She died in 1905, 30 years later, and 50,000 people attended her funeral.
While building the commune the Women would ask men one question: was he on the side of Women, or on the side of men? Men who pledged loyalty to the leading Women were often inspired by Mikhail Bakunin and his revolutionary brotherhood. Bakunin was a feminist anarchist who challenged his bitter enemy, Karl Marx, who was an authoritarian communist hypocrite. Bakunin refuted the false mythology of Lucifer, saying “Satan, the eternal rebel, the first free thinker and emancipator of worlds, who fought to recover from heaven the goods which it has stolen and return them to the earth.” Modern Christianity has demonized all alternatives to metaphysical inspiration for goods deeds. Instead they seek to monopolize religion for the sake of brainwashing and enslaving people for nation states. Bakunin said that as we evolved from apes and escaped slavery and animalistic brutality we have gradually become humanized and enlightened only by socializing, only by “the collective effort of all the members, past and present, of society, which is the source, the natural beginning” of humanity. We realize freedom, in thought, speech and deeds only through interacting with individuals around us thanks to the collective labor of society, and we become conscious of our sentience. But church and state are not society, they make up lies to demand total, unquestioning obedience. Bakunin said “The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of god. As long as we have a master in heaven we will be slaves on earth.”
Bakunin called for the abolition of god because humanity’s moral conscience comes from varying and transient social practices, not mythology. He also said he had faith- in humanity and science. Religion is the propaganda of the patriarchy. Bakunin rescued bible stories from the kings who rewrote them for their own purposes. Eve ate the apple as an act of rebellion in order to escape slavery in “Eden”, and was punished by Adam for seeking knowledge that would liberate her. This is also where Lilith was erased from the bible- the real first woman who refused to submit to Adam and went on to give birth to all modern witches and powerful, rebellious women. These fictional mythologies represent the struggles of real Women and men and the fall of the matriarchy as the patriarchy began to ruin the earth for selfish dictator’s profits. Bakunin wrote that “Marxists claim that only a dictatorship (theirs of course) can create popular freedom. We reply that no dictatorship can have any other object than to perpetuate itself, an that it can engender and nurture only slavery in the people who endure it.” To Russian women he said “If you dare break the chains that bind you to your husband and love another man you will be punished by civil authorities, excommunicated by the church, spat upon and pilloried by society.”
There is an ancient tradition of free women, witches who became followers of Lilith and Mary Magdalene, the prostitute who became Jesus’ lover and gave birth to their children. These are the ancestors and leaders of the medicine women, midwives and original apothecaries. They fought against Rome and patriarchal rulers all through herstory. They are the mothers of all liberation struggles, geniuses, revolutionaries and gatherings to plot subversion. Women like Marisol De La Costa, who killed them man who tried to rape her when she was 9 years old, stabbing him and enlisting her mother Rosita to dump the body in the San Francisco bay. Dozens of pimps, rapists and racists shared his fate. At 14 years old Marisol wore a black veil and thick white makeup to make her face like a skull when she cut the throat of a notorious pimp in the middle of Montgomery street for all to see. She devoted all her time to protecting prostitutes from pimps and the police. Her mother Rosita hit the road, dynamiting railroads and robbing the rich to feed the poor. Their sisters and ancestors gave birth to generations of subversive artists all over Europe, and Paris was and still is a center of resistance. This subversive art inspired workers to strike for better conditions, to renounce, even temporarily, like the Buddha. Police and soldiers attacked them, forcing a struggle for survival and solidarity worldwide that continues today. They spread the message: “NONE ARE FREE UNTIL ALL ARE FREE.”
As cops killed workers, anarchists made bombs, and violence spiraled out of control. They said “They killed our friends so we kill their friends,” a vicious cycle that never ends. Until, eventually, workers gained slightly better wages and working conditions, after many politicians, cops, traitors and even U$ and French presidents were assassinated. Even today nurses worldwide are going on strike, and so are amazon workers, starkbucks workers and railroad workers.
In the time of the Paris Commune Errico Malatesta formed an anarchist bakers union in Bueno Aires. This was called Sociedad Cosmopolita de Resistencia y Colocacion de Obreros Panaderos, which shared profits equally and gave subversive names to each pastry, like “bolas de fraile” or balls of the priests, and “vigilante” a bread stick shaped like a police baton. Errico Malatesta then fought against fascists in Europe. He said that propaganda of the deed was more effective than propaganda of words. Suffragettes agrees, calling for “deeds, not words” in working for Women’s rights.
Around this time the bombings in Haymarket and Paris were going on. A bomb was left at the Hotel de Trevise and lit with a cigar by an anarchist dressed as a woman for the occasion, in his mother’s dress. In Clichy there was a pistol battle between cops and striking anarchist workers. A judge gave 2 of those arrested harsh sentances.In revenge a street musician who played the accordion, named Ravachol, set off 3 bombs in 1892, at the homes of the judge, the prosecutor, and at the army barracks. He was spotted by a waiter at Restaurant Very who called his boss who called the cops. The day before Ravachol’s trial a bomb was detonated under a table at Restaurant Very while a police spy was meeting with the restaurant owner. On July 11, 1892 Ravachol was beheaded at 33 years old. Emile Henry carried on his work. Emile was a thief who fed the poor, especially starving mothers and his activist comrades, even becoming a locksmith to rob the rich. He came from a family of coal miners and his mother struggled with poverty after his father died. After French troops beat up striking coal miners Emile made a bomb and left it outside the office of the owners of the mine. Police discovered it and took it back to their HQ where it exploded and killed 5 cops. On December 3, 1893 August Vaillant threw a bomb into French Parliament, He was beheaded 2 months later. His last words were “Death to bourgeois! Long live anarchy!” Emile Henry was also beheaded, and his last words were “Courage comrades! Long live anarchy!” Anarchist traitor Laurent Tailhade was targeted at Cafe Foyot, an upper class establishment where politicians dined. Tailhade had publicly criticized Emile and revealed the gender of Gisele D’Estoc, who lived as a man. Tailhade lost an eye to the bomb and refrained from criticizing the bombers.
Many of these anarchists hurt innocent bystanders and got caught, in revenge and by the state. As we grow as a movement we need to be more careful. There are always consequences and people who take direct actions have to accept that and take steps to protect innocent people. A knife usually can’t hurt innocent onlookers. In July 24, 1894 a young anarchist named Sante Geronimo Caserio rushed French president Sadi Carnot and stabbed him in the heart. Caserio’s last words at the guillotine were “Courage cousins! Long live anarchy!” In 1900 King Umberto I of Italy was shot and killed by Geatano Bresci. Soon after that U$ president McKinley was shot and killed by Polish Anarchist Leon Czoglosz.
All of this has departed from the Buddha’s ideal of embodying passive resistance, which was shared by followers of Mary Magdelene. In Buddha’s time the world powers forced Hinduism on all the people under their kingdom’s control. Vegetarianism was preached but priests began to “sacrifice” animals to they could eat them and the whole religion and political and social structure became corrupt. The poor were sincerely devout and the rich were hypocritical and cruel, which made the poor bitter and angry. Buddha’s rejection of hypocrisy inspired many people, inspired a religious revolution and undermined the corrupt power structure that was based on hierarchy and patriarchal lies. This relates to modern anarchists as we reclaim the philosophy of morality and social conscience by redefining religious myths in relation to current standards of ethics and compassion. Then and now people said that practical application of women’s emotional intelligence was crazy and impractical. But by making compassion the basis of society we create the practical conditions to liberate all beings.
On March 15, 1896 Pietro Gori said “Let others call anarchy folly and madness. Heed them not, but remember that in past ages the greatest scientists were called crazy. We are few, but we can band together for the happiness of the world and the well being of humanity.” Around this time newspapers were banned for featuring a poem by Walt Whitman called “A Woman Waits For Me” in which he described women who “know how to swim, row, ride, wrestle, shoot, run, strike, retreat, advance, resist, defend themselves. They are ultimate in their won right- they are calm, clear, well possess’d of themselves.” Publishers who printed these words were thrown in jail.
In 1892 Emma Goldman suddenly had an audience when her lover attempted to assassinate a steel magnate (a robber baron like Trump). She said “Truth is a dangerous weapon in the hands of working men and women. Your enemy is not in Spain, but in Washington; not in Madrid but here in San Francisco, in New York, in Chicago. I believe in holding up a looking glass before you, so that you can see and know yourselves. When you are educated, when you realize your power, you’ll need no bombs, and no dynamite or militia will hold you.” In Oakland she said “Let us try to become useful men and women and give what we have of ability and talent to educate and help others. It is only through this that we will realize the true aim of life.”
In the late 1800’s black soldiers were defecting to become highly skilled guerilla revolutionaries who harassed and evaded large conventional American military units. One of these men was David Fagen, and he was a modern incarnation of black conscripts who betrayed and fought against the Roman empire. These men joined forces with witches worldwide.
So on one side we have Women, Buddhists, indigenous people, Zoroastrians, feminists, anarchists, witches and rebels, and so on, and on the other the rich ruling class, priests and their armies and cops. In “The Theory of the Leisure Class” it says “There is reason to believe that the institution of ownership begins with the ownership of persons, primarily women. Being not their own masters, obvious expenditures and leisure on their part would redound to the credit of their master rather than to their own credit, and therefore the more expensive and the more obviously unproductive the women of the household are, the more creditable and more effective for the purpose of respectability of the household or its head their life will be. Women’s sphere is within the household, which she should ‘beautify’ and of which she should be the ‘chief ornament’ .” This is the sexist ideology of the wealthy.
This is an old struggle. The oldest recordings of this are the Egyptian hieroglyphics on the pyramids of Saqqarah, in which Nephthys and Isis, 2 women, work to undermine the evil ‘god-king’ Set. The 2nd oldest document are the Sumerian tablets that tell the story of the tyrant Gilgamesh. He was abusing the women of his city so the gods sent a wild man to wrestle with Gilgamesh. This was Enkidu who protected animals from hunters in the wilderness. A priestess went out to find Gilgamesh and slept with him, taught him about bread, cooked food and wine, and brought him to the city. The two strong men were a match and could not defeat each other so they became friends. Gilgamesh was in constant conflict with the priestesses and the goddess Ishtar. She sent a divine bull to kill him but the two men defeated the bull, enraging Ishtar. Gilgamesh wanted to continue to conquer and satisfy his pride so he took Enkidu to a sacred forest to kill the forest’s protector, a dragon-like monster. Enkidu tried to convince Gilgamesh not to do this, but he did anyway. Enkidu was fatally wounded and Gilgamesh was deeply shaken by the death of his strong friend, because this meant that he was alone, hated and also susceptible to inevitable death. He went on a journey to find a way to defeat death, but due to his pride he failed and returned back to his city humbled. Until 10,000 years ago a massive matriarchy sustainably managed the earth, and when that was overthrown by evil men the great flood nearly killed us all. We are now facing climate change as a result of the patriarchal abuse of nature once again.
I often struggle with the need to take direct action and the misconception that Buddhists don’t break unjust laws. This kind of confusion is the result of evil men spreading misinformation so they can profit from the suffering of others. In reality it is the people with sensitive consciences who defy corruption and bring about lasting change. Enlightenment will only be possible when all beings are free.
This has been a long rant lamenting the lengths to which activists have had to resort to in order to effectively resist oppression. I listed ancient myths that convey true stories of real people in political and militant struggles for the hearts and minds of the world, with women on one side championing compassion, wisdom and equality, and cruel men on the other, who ambitiously use hatred, racism and domination to profit from others suffering. I also gave examples of how that evil infects activists who take extreme measures, fighting fire with fire. I’ll share a quote from Ernesto Che Guevara, a young doctor who served the poor all over South America and joined the revolutionary struggle, treating guerilla fighters until he was killed by U$ mercenaries while he worked to overthrow yet another dictator.
“Almost everyone knows that I started my career as a doctor a number of years ago. When I started out as a doctor, when I began to study medicine, the majority of concepts I hold today as a revolutionary were absent from my storehouse of ideals… In the way I traveled, first as a student, and afterward as a doctor, I began to come into close contact with poverty, with hunger, with disease, with the inability to cure a child because of a lack of resources, with the numbness that hunger and continued punishment cause until a point is reached where a parent losing a child is an unimportant incident, as often happens among the hard hit classes of our Latin American homeland… We already have the right and even the obligation to be, before anything else, a revolutionary doctor, that is, a person who put the technical knowledge of their profession at the service of the revolution and of the people… How does one work for social welfare effectively? How does one reconcile individual effort with the needs of society? … All that has a lot to do with the topic of our talk today: the integration of the doctor and other medical workers into the revolutionary movement. Because the revolution’s task- the task of training and nourishing the children, the task of educating the army, the task of distributing the lands of the old absentee landlords among those who sweat every day on that same land without reaping its fruit- is the greatest work of social medicine that has been done…
The battle against disease should be based on the principle of creating a robust body- not through a doctor’s “artistic work” on a “weak organism”- but by creating a robust body through the work of the whole collectivity, especially the whole social collectivity.
One day medicine will have to become a science that serves to prevent diseases, to orient the entire public toward their medical obligations, and which only has to intervene in cases of extreme urgency to perform some surgical operation or to deal with something unusual in that new society we are creating… For that organizational task, as for all revolutionary tasks, what is required, fundamentally, is the individual. The revolution is not, as some claim, a standardizer of collective will, of collective initiative. To the contrary, it is a liberator of human being’s individual capacities.
What the revolution does do, however, is to direct that capacity. Our task today is to orient the creative talent of all the medical professionals towards the task of social medicine…
One way of learning about this revolution, of getting to know the forces that have been dormant for so long, is to visit the cooperatives and all the work places being created. And one way of getting to the heart of the medical question is not only knowing, not only visiting these places, but also getting to know the people who make up those cooperatives and work centers. Go there and find out what diseases they have, what their ailments are, what extreme poverty they have experienced over the years, inherited from centuries of repression and total submission. The doctor, the medical worker, should then go to the heart of their new work, which is as a person among the masses, a person within the community.
By always being close to the patient, by knowing his or her psychology so deeply, by being the representative of those who come near pain and relieve it, the doctor always has a very important job, a job of great responsibility in social life.
A group of students, recently qualified as doctor, did not want to go to the countryside and were demanding extra payment for going.
But what would happen if it were NOT those individuals- the majority of whose families COULD pay for their several years of study- who completed their courses and are now beginning to practice their profession? What if instead it was 200 or 300 PEASANTS who had emerged, lets say by magic, from the university lecture halls?
What would have happened, simply, is that those peasants would have RUN immediately, and with great enthusiasm, to attend to their brothers and sisters. They would have requested the posts with the most responsibility and the most work, in order to show that the years of study given them were not in vain. What would have happened is what will happen within 6 or 7 years, when the new students, children of the working class and the peasantry, receive their professional degrees of whatever type.
But we should not view the future with fatalism and divide human beings into children of the working class or the peasantry, and counterrevolutionaries. That is simplistic, it is not true, and there is nothing that educates and honorable person more than living within a revolution.
None of us had a past a worker or peasant. Naturally, there were those who had to work, who had known certain wants in their childhood. But hunger, true hunger, none of us had known, and we began to know it, temporarily, during the 2 long years in the Sierra Maestra, and then many things became very clear. WE LEARNED PERFECTLY THAT THE LIFE OF A SINGLE HUMAN BEING IS WORTH MILLIONS OF TIMES MORE THAN ALL THE PROPERTY OF THE RICHEST MAN ON EARTH. We learned it there, we who were not children of the working class or the peasantry. So why should we now shout to the 4 winds that we are the privileged ones and that the rest of the people cannot learn too? Yes, they can learn. In fact, the revolution today demands that they learn, demands that they understand well that the pride of serving our fellow man is much more important than a good income; that the people’s gratitude is much more permeant, much more lasting than all the gold one can accumulate. Each doctor, in the sphere of their activity, can and should accumulate that prized treasure, the people’s gratitude.
We must then begin to erase our old concepts and come ever closer and ever more critically to the people. Not in the way we got closer before, because all of you will say: “No, I AM a friend of the people. I enjoy talking with workers and peasants and on Sundays I go to such and such a place to see such and such a thing.” Everybody has done that. But they have done it practicing charity, and what we have to practice today is solidarity. We should NOT draw closer to the people to say: “Here we are. We come to give you the charity of our presence, to teach you with our science, to demonstrate your errors, your lack of refinement, your lack of elementary knowledge.” We SHOULD go with an investigative zeal and with a humble spirit, to learn from the great source of wisdom that is the people.”
We can see that Che Guevara was like the Buddha in a way. Both came from privilege and, after exploring the world they live in, beyond their sheltered upbringing, renounced material luxury and comforts in order to come close to the people to directly help them in their poverty to find happiness, health, freedom and peace. They also learned from the people they met, not assuming an attitude of superiority.
Recently I received news that brave and admirable activists have been liberating mink from fur farms all over the U$. The Animal Liberation Front has rescued 15,800 mink from certain death, destroyed fossil fuel vehicles and machinery and caused the closure of Lion Farms, the largest mink slaughterhouse in the U$. They ended their statement on the actions with “Free all prisoners and give the land back.” Non-human animals exploitation is directly related to human exploitation and the same practices are used in the slaughterhouse plantation as the prison and military industrial complexes.
Related to these meritorious deeds is the decentralized movement to defend the Atlanta Forest. These brave forest sages are individually taking direct action against cop city. The racist police in the south have long been transitioning from slave catching to hunting and killing people. Cop city is meant to be sprawling live fire shoot houses. This is a reinforced town of thick buildings in which cops would train to kill people with live ammunition. I trained in places like this at Ft. Bragg, NC. when I was a misguided U$ army airborne infantry paratrooper. This is training for soldiers to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. At Ft. Bragg it was called MOUT city, for “Military Operations in Urban Terrain”. There are programs for soldiers to become cops as soon as they are discharged from the military, especially focused on recruiting infantry, and they go on to treat their neighbors the same way they treated “foreign” civilians: imposing violence with extreme prejudice and subjecting them to rape culture, pillage and murder, which they practice on each other in the barracks and cities around their bases. Just google it. Women in the military are almost guaranteed to be raped by another soldier at some point in their career, especially at Ft. Bragg and other infantry and Marine bases. Fayetteville, NC, where Ft. Brag is located, is often called “Fayetnam”. The presence of military bases corrupts these cities.
Rather than oppose direct actions, like those I will share below, Buddhism encourages the cultivation of compassion that leaves one no choice but to act in defense of the people, plants and non-human animal peoples who face oppression, exploitation and the worst forms of abuses. It was the combination of the influences of the example of the Buddha, anarchists like John Zerzan, and friends from high school who spoke plainly to me about their disappointment in my choice to join the military, that influenced me to go AWOL, absent without leave, when my unit deployed. That unit, the 504th in the 82nd airborne, went to Iraq without me and committed the Mahmoodia gang rape massacre. If all U$ soldiers were to hear their friend’s honest criticism, and maybe take a strong dose of mushrooms or molly, they would realize that we are all one, our motivations all seem vindicated from our perspective, and most of the people killed by the U$ military are either civilians or just defending their homes. Perhaps the only exception in recent times is the so called Islamic state, because they are international terrorists that even the Taliban don’t like.
Karma is a fact of life. Do good things and good things happen, do bad and bad happens. At the time of death, and we all inevitably die, we all face the weight of our good and bad deeds. The greatest relief at this time is the merit of our good deeds that are motivated by compassion. This is a habit cultivated by practice. Whatever we practice most is what we will revert to win times of stress. Activists who train their minds, hearts, speech and bodies in compassion are more enlightened than those who eat meat and pray. In “Praise to the Praiseworthy” it says “You proclaimed ‘I am friend to you who are without protection.’ Your great compassion embraces all beings. Teacher, you have great compassion. You have love; you act by your love. You are diligent, you are not lazy. You are the protector of all sentient beings; you are a kind relative to all.” This is not a prayer for help but an example to follow.
Buddhists are skilled in the means to protect others from danger. While not all activists are Buddhists their actions reflect this ideal, as do the work of emergency medical rescue workers, doctors and nurses. These people PRACTICE altruism, which is love and compassion IN ACTION. They practice altruism with equanimity, towards all beings, be they loved ones, strangers, friends or enemies. Some medical workers don’t have equanimity and this is a shame.
This kind of love, which puts others before oneself, is greater than self love and the survival instinct. This love is not temporary like the emotional wave we feel when we see beings suffering, or attachment based on conducive circumstances, which disappear when we are comfortably out of sight of suffering. All beings suffer, so the highest compassion is constant. This requires practice and training, like anything else. Until all beings are free from cages and suffering we will work to free them with love in our hearts.
It’s not effective to sit around thinking and feeling lofty things if we don’t act on them. This is not easy and it takes effort and skill acquired by practicing techniques. You can easily feel for those who suffer in ways you have experienced- when you feel this inspiration consider it to be like a breath of oxygen and use that energy to run towards those in pain and help them. Practice looking into problems in your community and worldwide, and research effective ways to help, then act.
Decent people realize that even those who are unpleasant are that way due to suffering, that all beings want to be happy. I love a scene in “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind” Nausicaa is bit by a small animal and instead of getting mad she says “Oh! It’s ok, you’re scared.” It lets go and they become friends.
When we meet difficult people we can practice imagining that they are our mothers from past lives. If reincarnation is real then all beings have been our mothers many times, so we can repay their kindness for protecting and raising us. If your family was not perfect you can imagine difficult people as someone else you admire from a past life. This way we can even work for the sake of people who have wronged us, within reason and with healthy boundaries. Following the example of women who have taught me I have treated the life threatening wounds of people who have shot at me and my friends. Shantideva said “Homage to those who have developed this holy, precious mind. No matter what ills befall them, our lot is always happiness. I take this source of happiness as my refuge.” We should not be passive in the face of abuse and attack, but once the attacker is subdued we can have compassion, with wisdom, to prevent further abuse. If you lack altruism in action and spent your life meditating in the wilderness it would be a waste of time.
Rich kids and the comfortably wealthy have a difficult time cultivating compassion in action. They can be selfish and obsessed with their own pleasure, fortune and ambition. They are like a bowl of spoiled fruit. The best thing for them to do is to give away everything they don’t need to the poor and spend their lives helping the poor. But instead they hire maids and pay them less than a living wage in order to keep them working for them a long time. If they pay them too much they would be able to afford an education to get a better job. Everyone should wash their own laundry and clean their own homes. There are a few wealthy people who realize the truth of what they’re doing to the poor and take action to make change in individual lives and society, rescuing people and themselves from the problems of privilege.
If you have love in your heart while feeding a non-human animal this will be a cause for you to gain full enlightenment. This can also happen during every day chores and activities, if done with love and compassion and mindfulness. Cultivating compassion in action should be a daily exercise that motivates all activity. There are many doctors who don’t care about anyone but themselves and just want to make money. This is shameful and they should not be doctors. I am not claiming to be enlightened or always work with the right motivation, I am just a beggar, a homeless veteran, still trying to train my body, speech and mind. I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to help a few people, and for all the help I’ve received, so I work to repay that kindness.
It takes decades to master cultivating altruism. To fully learn anything, to develop skill, takes at least 10,000 hours. If we meditate on compassion for 30 minutes a day this will take a very long time. So we should meditate daily, not too much so we get sick of it, but consistently, and then go out and make altruistic direct action part of our daily routine, both as specific activities and in the course of our daily work and chores.
“Engaging in the Deeds of the Bodhisattvas” says “Whoever takes this vow to completely liberate infinite hoards of sentient beings, with their infinite tendencies, will not relapse, because of their bodhicitta. They have purely adopted bodhicitta. Thereafter, even in their unguarded moments, their merit will have power. Much merit comes to them continually and will become as enormous as space itself.” This refers to when compassion becomes instinctive after 20,000 hours of practice. This takes 10-20 years of daily application. Its also important that we take this practice to the stars as we go beyond earth.
There is good merit even in helping others to relieve a headache. “Engaging in the Deeds of the Bodhisattvas” says “If the thought to free beings of only their headaches is such a beneficial thought that one will come to have boundless merit, then need I speak of the wish to free every being of all their boundless miseries and wanting each of them to develop every good quality? Give food to a few beings and that act of generosity with food lasts but a moment. Yet the person who perfunctorily fills bellies for half a day is praised as a person of virtue. What then could you say of someone who over a long time has forever tried to satisfy all wishes of infinite number of beings?” Even one moment of compassionate action will redeem us from all kinds of baggage. All you needs will be met if you live a life of compassion and helping others. People and animals will trust and protect us. This is how we make ourselves and others happy.
We develop compassion by seeing all beings as our children, so that we can’t bear to see them suffer. These are stages in a lifetime of training. Even if you don’t believe in reincarnation you can consider it a mental exercise like physical pushups- we don’t stay in the pushup position all day, just every few minutes for 30-90 minutes a day, 6 days a week when we exercise. So meditation on emptiness, or all beings as our mothers or children, are like this physical exercise. We come to realize that we are all one, so to help others is the same as helping yourself. Obviously there is a paradox here and we have to engage with harsh realities and self care. But everyone is inspired when they hear of a selfless person who gave their life for others. Luckily we don’t have to do that in order to make progress.
The next stage is equanimity, seeing all as equally needing liberation and happiness. This goes for friends, family, strangers, enemies, animals and even plants. Again, in the case of predatory people and carnivorous animals we should have healthy boundaries. Otherwise you will end up a martyred saint or a victim.
Next, we remember the kindness people have shown us, or at least what we would have liked for people to have done for us when in need, and how we can do that for others. If you had a good family think about how your mother changed your diapers, fed you and took care of you when you were sick. Many mothers do whatever it takes to provide for their children, even if it ruins their reputation. Mother animals protect their babies at the cost of their own lives, going without food to feed the babies. Buddhist texts tell of a bandit who stabbed a mare during a robbery. The mare was pregnant and gave birth in a hurry, licking the foal to show her love as a final act before she died. This sight reformed the robber. We can see all beings as our children caught in a rip current in the ocean, in need of rescue. In the case of homeless drug addicts we think “Is there some way to repay those who loved me, respected me or helped me in past lives, that would not later bring them suffering?” These people need housing, food, water, electricity and healthcare, in addition to money, in order to reform. They also need an ideological framework to define their struggle and give meaning to their pain. This way they will have the motivation to take good care of themselves and pay that kindness forward by helping others one day. A few people gave me lots of love, attention and resources when I was homeless, helping me to get off the street despite setbacks and exhaustion. This kind of help is difficult in prison because the guards flood the prisons with drugs so people can’t reform. The Buddhists say to imagine others as your mother- if she were having a mental health crisis, carrying a knife and trying to kill you, you would be alarmed but not necessarily angry at her, understanding her disability. You would try to help her. But first try not to get stabbed.
You can also meditate on a sheep being slaughtered by a butcher to quickly develop compassion. Consider the methods used to kill the sheep and its state of mind and emotions. It knows it’s in danger but is helpless, cannot escape, and no one is coming to rescue them. They look into the butcher’s face with tears in their own eyes. This can be imagined for any farm animal.
We should also cultivate compassion for our enemies and for strangers. One reason I admire the ALF is their devotion to action without killing. They make clever actions with skillful means to liberate animals facing certain death. Below are recent examples. The direct actions described below employ tactics that are anti-colonial, empowering to human and non-human peoples, self organized, non-hierarchical and “cultivate communities of collective resistance and joyful militancy.” This info comes from Night Owls #3- please share this as broadly as possible.
9/25/22 Mountain Brook, Alabama- Chairman and CEO of Brasfield & Gorrie, the general contractor behind Atlanta’s cop city, was visited at night by “fey (un)painter’s union”. The cars in his driveway were splashed with lacquer thinner, the windows etched and the house painted pink.
9/28 Pittsburgh, PA- 3 police cruisers were burned outside of a police training facility.
10/5 Northern Michigan (occupied Anishinabewaki and Odawa territory)- Machinery torched in an Enbridge facility, signed “the first of many”.
10/6 Atlanta, GA- Stake Center and City of Atlanta workers were ambushed while doing survey work near the Atlanta forest, resulting in broken windows and slashed tires and the quote; “If you come to the woods to do something other than defend the forest expect to have car problems.”
10/12 Philadelphia, PA0- Colonizer statue vandalized on Columbus Day. “Fighting colonization is a way to nurture a less hierarchical relation with the land and those that live on it.”
10/12 Longmeadow, MA- An individual unleashed a hive full of bees on sheriff’s deputies as they tried to serve an eviction notice.
10/18 Atlanta, GA – Unknown assailants broke into the massive Shadowbox Studios movie complex, which is involved in the destruction of the Atlanta forest, and set it on fire. They left a statement: “We don’t like movies. We don’t like screens. We are in the real world: unseen to the hypno-dystopic civilization around us, somewhere among shadows and trees.”
10/18 Michigan- “Stop camp grayling” and “stop all cop cities” were graffitied on 3 police cars.
11/5 Atlanta, GA- Surveillance camera at the old prison farm cut down.
11/5 Thurston County, WA- Trees spikes in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en on a day of action to discourage logging.
11/5 Philadelphia, PA- on the Wet’suwet’en day of action “A small group of anti-colonial anarchist settlers in Lenahoping blockaded a chokepoint of a high frequency railway.”
11/8 Massillon, OH- ALF liberated 1,000 mink in memory of Barry Horne. This statement was made: “Check out finalnail.wordpress.com to find a list of animal torture and murder facilities.”
11/8 Atlanta, GA – Another tow truck burned near the Atlanta forest as it tried to clear the charred remains of a tow truck burned back in July.
11/9 Michigan – ALF freed 800 more mink from Pipkorn Farm.
11/11 Atlanta, GA – An excavator belonging to Norfolk Southern near Weelaunee Forest was “decommissioned by fire”. Norfolk Southern supports cop city.
11/15 Hoaglin Township, OH – 10,000 mink released from Lion Farms, Graffiti left saying “(A)LF” and “We’ll be back.”
11/19 Atlanta, Ga – Atlanta police department shooting range in the Weelaunee Forest attacked on several fronts: trees cut down to block the road, one of which destroyed power lines; cameras destroyed with fire and hammers. A statement left said: “We took this action for the dead- for Rayshard Brooks and every person killed by the Atlanta police, for every murdered revolutionary, for the Muskogee who were forced from this land, for every enslaved person who lived and died on the plantation here, for every prisoner killed by guards at the old prison farm and buried in unmarked graves in the forest. This forest is theirs and we will not allow the police to desecrate it with their presence.”
(While writing this Keenan Anderson was electrocuted to death by cops while he cried for help.)
11/20 Portland, OR – The Adidas North American HQ was smashed to protest the deaths of enslaved people who built Qatar’s world cup facilities. Activists said “We shattered windows, broke doors and covered walls with paint across the corporate campus, including office buildings, the gym and cafe. Adidas is one of FIFA’s primary long term partners and a main sponsor of the world cup in Qatar this year. The history of the world cup is one of death and displacement.”
11/21 Milwaukee, OR – A Kone service truck was burned in solidarity with Alfredo Cospito, an anarchist prisoner in Italy on indefinite hunger strike against his transfer to the 42 bis regime. A statement said “The multinational corporation Kone, a manufacturer of escalators, elevators and door systems, has contracts with prisons and military facilities worldwide, including the Aviano NATO Air Base in north eastern Italy, through their subsidiary Kone SPA.”
This list continues in the next installment of this essay.
11/22 Asheboro, NC – Confederate monument outside Randolph country courthouse was vandalized with “derogatory words about the United $tates”
11/24 Portland, OR – On “thanksgiving” anarchists vandalized a colonial statue, broke off chunks, doused it with red paint, and ripped off the plaque, which was thrown in the river. It was redecorated with “land back” and other slogans.
11/27 Plainwell, Michigan – Vandals caused over $75,000 in damage to Michigan Gold Golf course. The club’s head said “You’re better off putting out of a ditch on the side of the road than you are being able to putt on our greens right now.”
11/30 Atlanta, GA – Surveillance camera destroyed by “some forest creatures” near the Welaunee forest in solidarity with opposing the expansion of Camp Grayling, a national guard training facility. Flock security cameras is an investor in both Camp Grayling and cop city in Atlanta.
12/11 Wayland, Michigan – 4,000 mink liberated from Scholten Farms using four ramps built with the farm’s materials. The mink killing machine, PVC water pipes and all 10 vehicles on the property were sabotaged using bleach, water and sand in their gas tanks and oil reservoirs.
12/13 New York, NY – A massive fire broke out at an NYPD evidence warehouse in Brooklyn, likely destroying mountains of evidence stretching back decades.
12/13 Atlanta, GA – Noise demo held at Dekalb County jail in solidarity with 5 people arrested on the same day during a raid of the Atlanta forest. “15 minutes in, one rowdy prisoner was spotted lighting a fire outside their cell window, which appeared to have been smashed out for the occasion. Peering through binoculars one noise maker noticed an arm waving a sheet out of a 3rd story window that was also smashed.”
12/16 San Francisco, CA – 5 windows and an atm were smashed at a Wells Fargo in retaliation for the arrest of 5 Atlanta forest defenders on “domestic terrorism” charges. They made this statement: “Mitch Graul, a lead business execution consultant at Wells Fargo, sits on the board of trustees of the Atlanta police foundation.”
12/16 Oakland, CA – The offices of CEL, owned by Atlas Technical Consultants and involved in cop city in Atlanta, had their windows broken and locks glued “As part of a battle over what’s left of the living world… to those on our side of the barricade: beware of the politicians in our midst, not just those concerned with electoral victory, but also those who want to use you as pawns in THEIR revolution. Understand your values and why you choose to take action. Political strategy is not a substitute for genuine connection to yourself, each other and what’s left of the living world. Against the pig world and its dead future of machines, surveillance and alienation! Against Politics! In solidarity with all those arrested! For all the forests and our friends: Long live anarchy!”
12/17 Novi, Michigan- An Atlas office lost its windows in solidarity with forest defenders in Atlanta, and paint was poured at the doorstep.
12/18 Crawford county Michigan – Over 100 trees spikes around the proposed Camp Grayling expansion area.
12/21 Manhattan, NY – Apartment building where a vice president of Alta Vista, a part of Atlas technical consultants, was redecorated in solidarity with the 6 arrested Welaunee Forest Defenders. They left this statement: “We reject this world order of prisons and pigs and dead forests, we reject their false peace. we reject the state in its entirety!”
Its important to note that these actions are aimed at stopping those who kill people and animals and destroy plants and the land beyond their ability to heal and recover. These activists are not trying to negotiate with killers, they work to effectively stop them. A code of ethics is followed- no killing, no snitching and no boasting or taking individual credit. At the same time no individual answers to a higher authority. People just do what they feel is right.
We do what we feel is right in order to accumulate merit and to accomplish the goal: no one is free until all are free. One way to create motivation to accomplish this difficult task, and to accumulate merit to redeem any baggage holding us back, is to rejoice in meritorious deeds of others and ourselves. This includes meritorious deeds in the past, present and future. In this way we are creating the causes for success, ideologically, practically in everyday life and success in liberating all beings.
Rejoice over meritorious actions you have taken in the past- times you have helped others, rescued animals, taken good care of companions, protected others, helped protect conservation areas, been generous and practiced meditation or other positive metaphysical exercises, picked up trash to clean the environment, fed the hungry and helped the poor. Even education and exercise is meritorious when done with altruistic intention. Rejoice over your present merits, how you are striving today for the liberation of all beings. Readings works like this is part of the process. Even if you don’t agree with me and those who inspire me you are being influenced by these ideas, because they are true and good, and even just because you are reading them (including the government employees reading this- your supervisor should probably be regularly screening you for the shift in thinking and loyalty that are the inevitable result of reading this stuff, and will eventually lead to action- I used to be a patriotic soldier ‘just following orders’ too, before my conscience overcame my habit of obedience). Rejoice in the future meritorious actions you will take to help people, plants and animals and to create healthy environments. Rejoice that success in inevitable and you are involved in that victory because so many people are on this path, and we have all committed to working for the liberation of all beings for all of eternity, as long as it takes, and we will not stop until everyone is free. In this 10-15 minute session of rejoicing repeat this exercise over and over. Fill your capacity for joy!
Rejoice over the merits of all sentient beings. You can watch videos of dogs rescuing people from drowning all over the world, along with other animals who come to human’s aid, and people who rescue animals. Get specific and practice rejoicing in the merits of people to your immediate north, south, east and west- look up these areas and find good news and take great joy and motivation from their example. Feed your heart and mind with good news. Right around you, right now, look forward, backwards, left, right , up and down and think about the merits of all sentient beings surrounding you, even if its just beings caring for their young or watering a garden. Think about the merits of people in regions that inspire you for particular reasons. I like to look into the outstanding deeds of revolutionaries in liberated spaces, like Rojava, and read about the lives of spiritual leaders who championed human rights. We can look into India, Tibet, Nepal, Vietnam, and so on, where there are large populations of vegetarians and vegans and Buddhists, and other spiritual traditions whose practitioners practice good deeds, like the Sikhs. Think about the Zapatistas and the activists in Seattle, Portland, New York City and so on. Now think about and rejoice in the merits of past, present, and future of all sentient beings. That is so many good deeds! The every day good deeds of every day people far outweighs the evil deeds of selfish, ambitious men. It always will and this sustains the world. So focus on and encourage that.
Finally, rejoice in the merits of the great examples through herstory- the women, men and every other gendered person who you admire, love and respect. Maybe you have outstanding ancestors and neighbors, teachers and leaders. There is a saying “no more heroes” and it means that we can all become the heroes of our own life story. Anything anyone has done, we can do, and often better. We all have faults but by rejoicing in the merits of outstanding examples we can imitate and surpass them, which is what they want us to do. Then think about the past, present and future good deeds and actions of these people, and how they live on in our actions.
Here is another list of meritorious actions from the past that we can take joy in:
1/1/1804 – Haiti officially independent from slavery
1/1/1959 – Cuban revolution succeeds
1/1/1994 – Zapatista uprising
2/1/1960 – Greensboro, NC – Sit-in against racial segregation
3/8/1971 – “Citizen’s Commission to Investigate the FBI” exposes COINTELPRO documents
3/13/1988 – 500 Palestinian police resign in protest of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians
3/16/1792 – Denmark becomes the 1st western country to ban slavery
4/1/2018 – #nodapl Sacred Stone Camp founded at Standing Rock
4/8/1999 – 3000 unarmed Zapatistas retake San Andres from Mexican army
4/17/1965 – SDS marched against Vietnam war
4/29/1899 – 1000 miners dynamite their mine protest deadly working conditions
4/30/1975 – Vietnam united
May 1st, forever – May Day, worker’s rights day worldwide
5/17/1954 – U$ Supreme Court declared school segregation illegal
5/8/2020 – George Floyd uprising worldwide
6/2/1863 – Harriet Tubman’s action at Combahee River
6/27/1905 – Stonewall resistance action
7/13/2019 – Willen Van Spronsen action to free prisoners
8/12/2017 – Charlottesville resistance against fascists
10/14/1979 – 1st gay rights march in DC
8/21/1831 – Nat Turner slave uprising
10/14/1968 – Military prisoners strike to protest Vietnam war
10/15/1966 – Black Panther Party founded
10/15/1968 – U$ federal court prohibits use of whips on prisoners
10/16/1859 – John Brown action against slavery
November 1994 – Anarchist Black Cross Federation starts warchest to support political prisoners
11/17/1983 – Zapatista National Liberation Army was born
11/18/1803 – Haitians liberated themselves from slavery
12/1/1955 – Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for racists
The fundamental attitude of Buddhism is very practical and anti-authoritarian. Siddhartha Gautama, who became Shakyamuni Buddha, was an extremely unorthodox person and a true anti-traditionalist. He did not offer his teachings as a set of dogmatic rules, but rather as recommendation for each individual to investigate for themselves. His invitation to all was “Come and see.” One thing he said to his followers was “Place no head above your own,” meaning to think for yourself, apply compassion in action and do what works to accomplish the goal: the liberation of all being everywhere.
As this essay continues I will next explore the Zapatista women who continue to fight for women’s liberation in South America. Then I will come to more current events, both in recent herstory and as they unfold in the present. I am grateful to everyone who takes the time to read this amature work. I give all credit to the original authors of the sources I draw from, which have been previously listed and will be referenced as I go forward. There is so much material on this subject and I am still just scratching the surface. This is largely due to this information being kept from the public and women being written out of men’s versions of history. On top of that we are all struggling to survive late stage capitalism while being forced into wage slavery in late stage republics. So there is very little time to read. I encourage those who do care about themselves, the people, plants and animals in their lives, and the world, to read the sources for this essay and apply what they learn. I am grateful to those who send me books on these subjects while I am a political prisoner. The irony is that before I went to prison I was not well read on these subjects and the very government that attempts to silence my voice, and yours, has inadvertently given me the time to read and refine my ideology, to strengthen my heart and mind and to encourage others to do the same. There are so many seconds in each day and the ruling elites want to own your body and your time so they can profit from your labor. Take that time back every day and use it to dismantle their system and build wholesome communities where we have bodily autonomy, our time belongs to us and our lives have meaning.
The following is drawn from “Our Word is our Weapon” by Subcomandante Marcos, and “A Poetics of Resistance”.
On 1/1/94 a woman wearing a ski mask looked around intently while she stalked forward with her M1 carbine rifle raised. There was a pistol holstered on her hip and the rank of infantry major over her heart. On this cold dawn she led a rebel column of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, the EZLN, to take the former capital of the south-eastern Mexican state of Chiapas, San Cristobal De Las Casas. Indigenous men and women in her column watched her take the national flag down and give it to the Indigenous Clandestine Revolutionary Committee. At 2am the major announced over the radio “We have recovered the flag.”
While everyone else celebrated the new year this indigenous woman enjoyed the fruits of 10 years of training, labor and struggle. She arrived in the Lancandon jungle in December of 84, a brown indigenous teenage woman bearing the scars of abuse, whispering to herself, “Enough is enough!” Ten years later thousands of indigenous women and men yell “Enough is enough!” and the whole world hears their voices.
Outside San Cristobal another rebel column took the police HQ, freeing indigenous prisoners from the debtors prison. Capitan Insurgente Eugenio Asparuk, an indigenous Tzeltal, led the search and occupation of the police HQ. When the female indigenous infantry Major’s message came over the radio an indigenous Chol rebel named Capitan Insurgente Pedro had already taken the federal highway police HQ and secured the road that connected Tuxtla Gutierrez to San Cristobal. Another indigenous rebel Tzeltal, Capital Insurgente Ubilio, took the north entrances to the city and the National Indigenous Institute, where the government offered meager charity for the land and lives they took from the indigenous people when they were slaughtered and colonized. Another indigenous rebel Chol, Capitan Insurgente Guillermo, occupied the highest point in the city. Two more rebel Tzotzil and Tzeltal insurgents, Capitans Gilberto and Noe, took and burned the state judicial police HQ then marched across the city towards the barracks of the 31st military zone in Rancho Nuevo. This is all announced to the rebellious, indigenous women and men over the radio. They listen to the words of a rebellious, indigenous woman who leads them, an armed woman, the Major, who secured positions at the Municipal Palace. The city was under the control of indigenous rebels led by a woman.
Among them was Comandante Ramona, a tiny woman, smaller than the other small people. She had a few hairs sticking out from the forehead of her ski mask and she wore the traditional dress of San Andres women, with a sawed off 12 gauge shotgun in her hands. She stood with Susana and other indigenous people from the Indigenous Clandestine Revolutionary Committee which commands the Zapatista National Liberation Army. The international press that later gathered was shocked by her size and energy when she pulled the captured flag out of her backpack. She didn’t know this at the time but she was already dying from a disease. Before she knew about the illness she laughed at everything, and after she found out about the disease she continued to laugh at everything.
The major, an armed indigenous woman, watched the sun rise over the city full of indigenous people she now protected from the corrupt, racist government. Hundreds of armed indigenous rebels defended the city and she commanded them.
A few minutes later rebels took the city of Las Margaritas, Ocosingo, Altamirano and Chanal. The government troops surrendered. Another rebel column took Huixtan and Oxchuc. The rebels held 7 cities at this point.
Before this time these women were invisible to the world, being indigenous, being women and being poor. Now the whole world saw them and heard their words.
Capitan Insurgente Irma, a Chol woman, led a guerilla column and attacked the Municipal Palace until the garrison inside surrendered. Then she undid her braid, let her hair down and announced “Here I am, free and new!” Her hair shined even in the dark after the sun set on the city controlled by rebellious indigenous women.
Capitan Insurgente Laura, a Tzotzel woman, commanded a unit of novice men, showing them by example how to be fierce in battle and committed in peace. She patiently taught and led the men from the front- no once carried as much or walked as far as she did. She said little and carried a carbine she took from a policeman who stared at her like he was raping her with his eyes and thoughts. After he surrendered and ran away in his shorts he realized that women didn’t only exist to be pregnant or in the kitchen.
Capitan Insurgente Elisa still has shrapnel in her body from the mortars. She considers them medals and trophies. She took command of her column when the rebel line was broken and the Ocosingo Market was filled with blood. When Capitan Benito was injured and lost an eye he said “I’ve had it, Capitan Elisa is in command…” then passed out. Even though she was also wounded she rescued the rebels from the bloody marketplace. She is a Tzeltal woman, and women are used to working while losing blood. She speaks softly and everyone listens.
Capitan Insurgente Silvia was trapped in the city for 10 days when federal soldiers retaliated with tanks and cannons. She slipped through a checkpoint when the federal soldiers said “It isn’t possible such a young and fragile woman could be a rebel.” She rejoined her unit in the mountains, sad because she left behind her backpack full of music cassettes she had collected. In war we all lose what we most love.
Capitan Insurgente Maribel took over the radio station in Las Margaritas on 1/1/94. She trained for 9 years in the jungle so she could say over the radio “We are the product of 500 years of struggle; first we fought against slavery…” Days later she guarded a prisoner, general Absalon Castellanos Domingues. Maribel is Tzeltal and joined as a teen, climbing the “Hill From Hell” in training to get strong. When she released the general to commissioner Manuel Camacho Solis he asked her how old she was. She said “502, as old as the Rebellion.”
Capitan Isodora spent hours rescuing the 40 wounded men in Ocosingo and left with shrapnel in her arms and legs. When she got to the medics and handed over the wounded she drank some water and got up to leave. Her face and uniform were covered in blood, much of it hers. The medics treating her wounds asked “Where are you going?” She reloaded her weapon and said “To get the others.” They couldn’t stop her at first but they restrained her. She was later promoted for her bravery and given a medal, a star. She ask why, when she couldn’t get the rest of the wounded. That is the kind of person she is.
1st Lt. Amalia in the hospital unit was always full of joyful laughter. She found Capitan Benito unconscious in a pool of blood and dragged him to safety. She then carried him on her back past the bloody market. Amalia is an indigenous Chol, so when someone suggested surrendering she got mad and began to yell over the roar of the explosions and gunfire. Everyone listened to her and no one surrendered.
Lt. Elena worked in the hospital unit. She was illiterate when she joined to Zapatista so they taught her to read, write, give medicine, treat dysentery, give vaccines and care for the wounded. The small hospital was also a home, a warehouse and a pharmacy. She pulled shrapnel from Zapatista’s bodies and said “Some I can take out, some I can’t.” She is also an indigenous Chol.
It was a rebellious indigenous woman who commanded the operation to take San Cristobal. The same woman organized the return to the mountains the next day. 50 days later she guarded the delegates of the Zapatistas to the dialogues for peace. She is Major Insurgente Ana Maria. After this peace talk she disappeared for a year.
In December of ’95, 10 years after becoming a revolutionary, Ana Maria led the action to break out of the military blockade established by the government around the Lancandon jungle. Zapatistas mobilized in 38 municipalities. There were 12 women leaders with Ana Maria: Monica, Isabela, Yuri, Patricia, Juana, Ofelia, Celina, Maria, Gabriela, Alicia, Zenaida and Maria Luisa. The Zapatistas, led again by women, broke the blockade and took various municipalities.
In cities, at the blockades, in the wilderness, at the tree line of construction and deforestation, a column of women forms. They have no rank, no uniform, no weapons. They know that they are like Zapatistas, with no face and no name. They struggle for democracy, freedom, justice and equality just like Zapatistas. These women are the heart of our society, those who don’t like any political party, don’t agree with politicians and wealthy rulers. These are the women who say “Enough is enough!” They are the fluid masses of the people, always adapting.
The first time these women roar in protest the strength of their collective voice surprises them. But with the accumulated strength of repetition and by practicing what they preach they stop fearing their own power and trust themselves and each other to wield that power with emotional and social intelligence. Their battle cry brings down the walls like that of Jericho. They are like Zapatistas, some of them are Zapatistas, and they share a common heritage and destiny, a matriarchal lineage in the fight against the brutal powers of analytical intelligence and corrupt politics. They fight their husbands, lovers, boyfriends, children, friends, brothers, fathers, grandfathers. They all call her crazy. She leaves the past behind where regressive patriarchs tell her to forget the Zapatistas, tell her to be quiet, sit down in comfortable indifference to the suffering in the world, to only worry about herself. She leaves all the naysayers behind without an explanation and imitates the brave Zapatista women, every day, year after year. These women smile and wield their sharpened bliss with militant joy. They used to admire the Zapatistas, but now they are Zapatistas and YPJ. Thousands upon thousands join them, rising up from the silent fog, at the barricades in the cities, at the tree line in the wilderness, on the horizon all around the world. Together they raise one voice and walls tremble and fall. They dignity is contagious and billions of women are infected by this viral sound. Armed and unarmed they fight for what is left of the living world.
How do we destroy 10,000 years of regressive patriarchy and captivity? Many women at the bottom of the social ladder face illiteracy, poor living conditions, low salaries, marginalization, and many horrors that the patriarchy pretends to ignore. But in fact they weaponize gender exploitation to demand unpaid domestic labor. We are busy to the point of exhaustion earning a living wage, raising kids, getting clean drinking water, cooking and growing food, and, among revolutionary cadres and partisans, transforming society on top of all those daily chores. Every day we push ourselves for the sake of future generations and the slightest moment of letting up the pressure results in the loss of hard won progress.
The Zapatista prioritize women’s leadership, voices and social intelligence. They confront Mexico’s patriarchy, from indigenous communities to the cities. Instead of machismo they have Zapatismo to separate them from previous Latin American guerilla struggles. This is written into Zapatista law in the Zapatista Revolutionary Women’s Law:
- Women, regardless of their race, creed, color or political affiliation, have the right to participate in the revolutionary struggle in a way determined by desire and capacity.
- Women have the right to work and receive a just salary.
- Women have the right to decide the number of children they have and care for.
- Women have the right to participate in community affairs and to hold office if they are freely and democratically elected.
- Women and children have the right to primary consideration in their health and nutrition.
- Women have the right to education.
- Women the right to select their partner and not be forced to marry.
- No woman shall be beaten or physically mistreated by her family members or strangers. The crimes of rape and attempted rape will be severely punished.
- Women can occupy leadership positions and hold military ranks in the revolutionary armed forces.
- Women will have all the rights and obligations stated in the revolutionary laws and regulations.
The Zapatistas show us alternative ways to rebel. Their women’s law surprised capitalist patriarchies and inspires feminist allies like the YPJ. It empowers indigenous women of Chiapas and all over the planet. They practice this law, as seen by the examples of the legendary women previously mentioned. Even the U$ is no longer this progressive.