Saturday, April 6, 2013

On Hiatus, A Personal Note from an Editor


We realize our last post was kind of along the lines of, damn, we got this. But...

Due to a variety of contributing factors, but mostly the boring kind: work, jobs, and even more work, we're going to have to throw up our hands and declare that this blog will be on a hiatus for the foreseeable future. While hits to this site stay strong, (and for some reasons every freako spam-bot with a crappy website keeps posting on here), at the same time we are not going to have the time and energy at this point to keep this project going. Also, we sadly, (who-boo-boo-boo), lost our organizing space, Firehouse 51. Well, we didn't lose it. Like we dropped it or something and now we can't find it, naw, that shit got 'lost' cause of a landlord. Goddamn.  Some people are only alive because the state exists to uphold class society by an huge monopoly on violence, military, and the cops in the first place, am I right?! Moving on.

In the future, and not like the in 'The Jettsons' future where we all have lasers coming out our butts or something, but like in the foreseeable future, but still long enough in the future so that if the person writing this doesn't do it, they can still go back and say, "In the future" as to justify it not happening, we will post up some analysis or highlights, perhaps montage, or even a power point presentation - nay, a sock puppet slide-show complete with full musical accompaniment, that details our glorious self-activity and points out our internal contradictions and low points so that future generations of proletarians can do it harder and better (and alright damn it, faster, stronger). Also, in the future, or perhaps I should say, starting right now, we will attempt to cut down on such run on sentences. Ahem.   

MA was something special. It impacted the broader anarchist movement, but at the same time it was at it's best when it was based around the practical day to day struggles of those that made up it's 'membership' and those that it sought to connect with and engage. As a project, it impacted and ended up bringing together and created connections between people that often don't talk and meet each other. It was an organized group that didn't seek to be an organization in the classical sense. It sought to diffuse tactics, modes of action, and ideas across the broader social terrain. It was made up of people from a variety of backgrounds, and went onto inspire a variety of projects.

Now to get all serious and stuff with a variety of things that happened a while ago.  

Once a factory worker emailed us and told us that the bosses had put out memos telling workers not to read "terrorist propaganda" because they had been distributing the magazine there.

A high school student told us that they struck up a conversation with their teacher and it turned out they had all the same issues of Modesto Anarcho that they did.

A former prisoner who received the magazine in prison started coming out to our meetings and brought his friend (and did even did an interview with us once we got out!)

Police in Turlock getting ready for protests at a fundraiser with Sarah Palin announced to a crowded meeting that they were monitoring this website for any "possible threats." Members of Modesto Anarcho announced that they were monitoring the Turlock PD's website for "complete douche-bags."

A friend messaged us to tell them that a union official once called them and asked who were these "Modesto anarchists" were after a riot broke out in Sacramento against Neo-Nazis.

Someone that went on to form the Revolutionary Hip-Hop Report famously picked up a copy of Modesto Anarcho at a local taco truck, spurring them to contact us - foraging a lifelong bond of comradeship and groovy times. Sadly, soon after eating the burrito a raging fit of diarrhea forced them to use the magazine as toilet paper in a nearby cornfield. 

The magazine was used as evidence against a volunteer for the local needle exchange group that they were an anarchist, and thus GUILTY!  (But they got some dollars and they fought the case, and screamed, "Not guilty, y'all got to feel me! Middle-finger to the law, grippin' my balls!" Alright, that didn't happen, but all the charges against the two needle exchange defendants were dropped).

A website popped up accusing Modesto Anarcho of stealing pets, declaring we were responsible for every crappy tag on the street, and also that we were paying homeless people to scare kids, all in the La Loma neighborhood. The evidence? An article that we wrote on the La Loma Association, a group of homeowners that worked with the police to pass a series of anti-homeless measures. Seriously, we can't make this crap up folks. Excuse me, I have to go feed my 37 dogs. 

Joe Muratore, Harvard grad turned Modesto City Council member, once came by the Firehouse looking for "Modesto Anarcho." He stated, "I've been seeing graffiti in the neighborhood with my name in it. I wanted to come by and tell you I'm not that bad of a guy." Due to the awkward timing of morning wood, the person had to kindly tell him to fuck off from behind the door.  

We once went to a BBQ put on by a local family organizing against the police after one of their family members was killed in by the cops in cold-blood. Upon arriving at the event, we saw that their bulletin board was full of re-prints from our website! To our dismay, children were given highlighters in a game involving finding all of our spelling errors.

We worked with an inmate to produce an article based on their experiences around racism in prison and help them distribute hundreds of copies of it throughout the jail that were locked up in. Another inmate we helped to copy their own small magazine and send it back into prison for them to give out. Another inmate who helped popularize our magazine in jails and prisons throughout California posted up our "Everyone hates a snitch" posters throughout the jail they were in. Being the head cook, he had his own office that he covered in our posters. He wrote that the guards once told him, "Every time we come back to work, we half expect to see that you've burned the place down."

DAMN. That, just, happened.

Modesto Anarcho as a magazine covered social struggles and events from a revolutionary working-class anarchist perspective from 2006 until 2013, both in print form and through this website. We have produced thousands of copies of our magazines, sending hundreds into prisons, receiving hundreds of letters from incarcerated folks, many from the Central Valley.

We have been on the front lines of riots, occupations, and labor struggles throughout our area and in the wider Northern California region. Locally, we helped occupy foreclosed homes and stopped illegal lockouts of tenants. We organized militant confrontations with Christian fascists, murderous police, and racist skinheads. We worked with others to put on community BBQ's, hip-hop events, a festival bringing together former members of Chicano gangs to call for an end barrio violence, and graffiti festivals that were attended by hundreds. We helped organize walkouts at schools and campuses against budget cuts and faculty lay-offs. We produced videos of local struggles that were used in various campaigns. Long before the Occupy or Student Occupation movement, we stood with Native warriors who were occupying DQ-University in Davis, California. We worked in solidarity with a variety of families who's family members had been killed by the police, shutting down streets and keeping the memory of those dead alive by fighting for the living.

We also run a social space, Firehouse 51. It was many things. A social center. A place to hold birthday parties. A temporary shelter for those in a precarious situation. An event center. A library. A workspace. A place to workout in. And much more. We held a variety of events. Speakers included former Black Panthers and Native elders. From the CrimethInc. collective to supporters of political prisoner Eric McDavid. We put on a variety of family friendly events, from a Halloween night for kids to workshops on bike repair and cheap herbal medicine. The space featured premier work from local and regional graffiti artists as well as a continuous collection of well stocked radical literature.

We also made mistakes. We lost struggles. We dropped the ball. We pissed people off and alienated many who we didn't mean to. We also at times cared more what the broader anarchist scene (which we set off to leave behind and destroy) thought of us at times than making real relationships with those around us. We lost ourselves in the image of the "crew" while forgetting that when we took the slogan, "all friendship is political" to heart, we meant it in the best way possible. We were not a gang, nor did we want to be. We were friends and comrades.  Our association was not based on fear and violence between ourselves, but instead a love for each other, the land, and the communities that we wanted to liberate from capitalism and the government that protects it.

If the end of this project brings you sadness, we ask that you not forget the times in which you felt most alive with us. Perhaps it was at DQ-University sitting around the fire at a huge occupied university. Perhaps it was at the Miwok foreclosed house from behind a welded gate waiting for the cops to evict us, and then winning. With hundreds of others marching out of MJC as the police tried to force us out of the streets. Maybe it was downtown at a cafe event or doing Copwatch. Maybe it was at the Firehouse during an event or just hanging out. Perhaps it was at a festival eating a hot dog and painting on a graffiti board.

If anything, we hope that we created a memory of revolt, of possibility of what this town could be. We are not simply the sum of our histories; our pasts. We are not only the sons of milk-truck drivers, the daughters of inmates, nor are we simply victims riding our bikes homes afraid to be attacked for being queer, or helplessly waiting to be beaten by the police. We are capable of organizing ourselves and with others; we have teeth, we can draw blood.

We helped create situations in which regular people demonstrated that they could stand up to power. We offered gestures of solidarity against enemies and systems of domination and control, showing that people were not alone in their struggles. If human beings can act differently, if we can refuse the roles of worker and citizen, to instead to take control over our lives and begin to attack this society which exploits and makes us miserable, then we have begun the process with will create a new world. In acting together, in taking space and sharing ideas and engaging in struggle, we help create the associations and begin to organize ourselves for the clashes, for the insurrection, that is ongoing and is coming.

Things are not getting better. The government continues to become more repressive. The environment more degraded. The rich continue to attack the poor and those that are able to still work more and more. We hope that we have helped to show that there is nothing to be gained by working within the system. Our way out lies in each other. Capital and the governments they serve must be destroyed. But they will not come down without a fight. We must return to the land; to freedom.

See you on the front lines.       

18 comments:

  1. The most important thing is that we will forever be friends and comrades.

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  3. love you guys and will never forget everything you have done for us!!

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  4. :) Reading this made me smile, I feel that the experiences I shared with others at Firehouse 51 have shaped me in ways I'm still not fully aware of... to new projects and struggles

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  16. Time to be grown ups I see..
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  17. I'm 63 years old, a lifelong Republican and still an anarchist at heart. Sound contradictory? You haven't lived through what I have. Two years ago I moved to Modesto. There is a groundswell and basic awareness of what's needed to move our culture in the right direction. There are people here with true insight. There just isn't a venue for it all to come together. Where are the activists - and I don't mean the political liberals?

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