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What is an anarchist response to State deemed Terrorism?

+3 votes
For example in many countries right now. Like Greece (Revolutionary Struggle, Conspiracy Cells of Fire and Sects of Revolutionaries), Chile (the round up during Sept 11th) and Italy (FAI) anarchists have been deemed or defined as Terrorists or that what they are enacting upon is Terrorism. This has been used many times in the United States with ELF/ALF prisoners, Green Scare prisoners, AETA4 case and more recently some anarchists in different parts of the US. How could this definition of terrorism/terrorists by the state be something anarchists are critical of responding to, while at the same time trying not to back step from anarchists desire to take action on an individual/collective level?
asked Jan 8, 2011 by bruno-larrea (550 points)
edited Jan 10, 2011 by bruno-larrea
your question is confusingly worded.
does your last sentence mean that you want people not to second-guess anarchist actions? and what does that have to do with anarchists being called terrorists? (ie, part of your question seems to be about outsiders' assessment of anarchist actions, and then the last part seems to be about insiders' assessment). is that correct?
I re-worded the last portion of the question... it was about four in the morning when i wrote that.
to be a bit more specific i feel that, yes, it is about the complex way in which the State acts (by calling a group of people Terrorists) when it is put in a threatening situation, generally how it responds. yet is also about how anarchist presently (because that space has yet to be seen) feel a certain response can come about from other individuals or groups actions as well as a way of creating the space and critique of Terror/Terrorism/Terrorist.
Does that clarify a bit more?
The critique of formal organizations may be relevant to this topic, no?

2 Answers

+4 votes

I agree that (and think it's really important to recognize that) the "terrorist" label comes from a real place of terror--that is when the state is threatened. It simply comes from a word meaning fear; I suggest we take it at its literal meaning.

It's incredibly hard for people to know how to act in such a situation because no one is used to the idea that the state might actually experience fear. But if one takes oneself seriously as an enemy of the state, then one has to recognize sooner or later that this label and all of the attendant consequences are a significant possibility.

Some normal responses by anarchists have been:

  • reversing the discourse to say that the state is the real perpetrator of terrorism (often with the implication that "we" are all terrified to death of the all-powerful and repressive state and "we" are infinitely pitiful and weak and not real even fighting against anything for real anyway so why don't you leave us alone).
  • living in fear.
  • giving up.


My advice:

  • on preparation, take yourself as seriously as your enemies take you.
  • on discourse, don't let your enemy's words rule your thoughts or your fears or your life, but don't try to change social discourse either. Take it as an expression of fear on their part.
  • on state repression, total solidarity always. Never let your friends down.

[edited for bullets]

answered Feb 26, 2011 by anok (21,030 points)
edited May 11, 2015 by anok
+3 votes
can i accurately reword your question as "what is an appropriate anarchist response to being called terrorists?"?
if so, then i would say that my type of anarchist doesn't worry about what they're called by the state. my kind of anarchist expects that the state is going to do what is most convenient for it, and will lump us in with whoever it doesn't like at the moment,  in whatever way seems most tactical for it (whether that means to ignore that anarchists even exist, or to lump us in with communists, or to call us drug dealers, or to call us terrorists, etc).

for those who are more concerned with making anarchists more popular to normal people, then there are multiple tactics - informing people about the violence of the state (who is the real terrorist), or about the popular things that anarchists have done (significant parts of popular changes like 8 hour work days, etc), or about how anarchists want and believe things that most normal people want and believe too (a la crimethinc)...

but perhaps i still didn't understand the question?
answered May 7, 2011 by dot (57,810 points)
All statism is terrorism.
...