We decided to mark June 11 by calling our little ‘manif sauvage’, with two targets: HMP Pentonville and the forthcoming Google London HQ. The point of this is twofold. Firstly, to start again a trajectory which has ebbed during lockdown – that of constant antagonism at the houses of confinement. In a sense, this seems to us to be an affirmation of the sense of the day of June 11th: to clarify that any repressive installations are a part of the global self-sustaining matrix of social control and exploitation. As such, we have seen no contradiction whatsoever in offering a brief disruption to the grotesque regime of control in an English prison, and agitating, speaking in the language and reality of, the international anarchist tension.
But, unsatisfied with simply repeating a well-trod ritual, we also decided afterwards, to move to the Google ‘Campus’, still under construction only a short while away, overlooking the central metropolitan artery of Kings Cross station. There are material reasons for this: Lendlease the construction company is a main contractor for the UK prison industry, responsible for building the new megaprison in South Wales (a recent spontaneous insurrection in that territory should tell us something as to why authority has granted these contracts at great expense). On top of being responsible for a hideous ‘luxury housing development’ on the site of the former Heygate housing estate, they are now constructing Google’s London HQ: this repulsive worm, which will be as long as the ‘Shard’ skyscraper is tall, when completed. This is a monument to the power of social planners and technology multinationals to run the new crisis-ridden economy and categorise, collect and control all the minutia of our lives.
But there are also other reasons. The states of the world have thrown anarchist fighters into the dungeons of their ‘democracies’, in the hope that the possibility these comrades have conferred on the world, of unmediated struggle against the existent, will be forgotten. Therefore, it made sense for us that we would make a connection to the totality of prison society, which their hostage-taking is an attempt to defend, rather than only its most obvious symptoms. We wanted to offer a challenge to ourselves, immersed as we are in a technologically enhanced passivity. The challenge is: how to break out of insipid activism, routine, compartmentalised struggle – and begin to advance something uncompromising, incendiary, in a word; anarchist.
So here we decided to step into the unknown, to attempt to actualise something different within the forms we have around us. If we are still trapped by the outlines of our routines at least we are beginning to push against them.
Those who came out did so from very different situations – but why have they come? Finally (at last!) not to ‘protest’, not to ‘meet a deadline’, but to denounce the miserable conditions of our existence, to identify the enemies responsible and to make a vow to the night, together, to engage with our reduced and pacified context, to act and make our ideas live.
Whatever else, this night was ours. Stepping decisively away from being a ‘bloc’ on someone else’s demo, from single ‘issues’ and compromises, from ‘optics’ and publicity, recruitment and reform, we strode towards our ideas, our comrades, our power. Both in the gentrified avenues of the securitised Smart City and, hopefully, inside the 24hr lockdown of the disgusting prison regime, our hope is that the wild chants, the smoke signals and incendiary words, the pounding of pyrotechnics and hearts, may have opened a rift into which we are determined to advance further.
Nothing is over, everything continues!
Against oblivion! Against their prison society!
Long live anarchy!
london committee for the propagation of a long hot summer x