In Counter Info 50 we published an article urging support for the 3 people jailed for their assocciation with Green Anarchist (GA). Since then we have read an article, The Irrationalists, in GA 51, signed by one of the defendants, Steve Booth, with which we have profound disagreements.
THE IRRATIONALISTS article supports the Oklahoma bombers and the Aum cult's gas attack on the Tokyo underground. We quote here the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs of this article :
"The Oklahoma bombers had the right idea. The pity was that they did not blast any more government offices. Even so, they did all they could and now there are at least 200 government automatons that are no longer capable of oppression.
The Tokyo sarin cult had the right idea. The pity was that in testing the gas a year prior to the attack, they gave themselves away. They were not secretive enough. They had the technology to produce the gas but the method of delivery was ineffective. One day the groups will be totally secretive and their methods of fumigation will be competely effective." GA51 p.11
This article justifies such actions on the grounds that "the crowd " are dupes of the system (they vote for politicians, eat at MacDonalds, buy the Sun, buy lottery tickets, etc).
In GA 52 there appeared an article, entitled "NO MORE SINGLE ISSUES Steve Booth on Irrationalism and beyond" ( p.12) In this article Steve Booth changes the emphsasis of his views. (This may be partly due to criticism of The Irrationalists article from within "the movement".) He states that
"The revolution can go one of 3 ways:
1) Alternative One is that we have a large scale, mass revolt with the majority of people getting involved.............
2) Alternative Two is much more likely. We might get a fair percentage of people getting involved over a longer period of time. We will get a range of activities from petitions and protests through to violence, shootings and bombings.........
3) Alternative Three is that we get a few people fighting for the revolution. The fewer the activists, the less visible the revolution, the greater the despair. We will get alienation-driven Irrationalist type groups like the Aum cult putting poison gas down the Underground. Their successors will use microlights to spray botulin toxin, anthrax spores or Ebola virus over cities.....
Alternative Three is bloody. So let's work together and push for Alternative Two. Let's see if we can push Alternative Two up to Alternative One"
(........indicates sections missed out here for space reasons : however we have tried to represent the argument fairly.
We feel Steve Booth's support for the Oklahoma bombings and the sarin gas attack to be so self evidently disgusting that it is not necessary for us to write a lot. Both these attacks killed working class people who in no way can be considered "the enemy". The underground attack was completely random - except that top bosses and politicians are not likely to be using such public transport and thus would be safe. The majority of the people inside the bombed government building in Oklahoma would, we would think, be office and clerical workers, plus there were children in the building's creche.
While the article in GA 52 is more sophisticated, and appears to indicate a lessening in enthusiasm for such actions, we fundamentally disagree with SB's view that such actions can in any way be part of any possible revolutionary strategey. In addition to the fact that the actions were in fact carried out by right wing authoritarians, such kinds of actions would be equally anti revolutionary no matter the professed politics of the perpetrators.
This is not because we support pacifism. We support collective resistance that physically defies the police, state and ruling class. We supported the uprisings of 1985 in Tottenhham and Brixton for example. When we oppose the violence of the Oklahoma bombing or the Aum cult gas attack we are not opposing violence against the system, we are opposing violent attacks on our own class.
SB dismisses those inside the Oklahoma government building as "200 government automatons that are no longer capable of oppression." In contrast we believe that to be successful a revolution will ultimately need the conscious involvement of the majority of people. Workers employed by the state and by multinationals are not enemies but an essential element of any successful revolution. We need to encourage and participate in the class struggle that these and other workers and claimants engage in.
Our differences here are based on the fact that CI sees class struggle as a vital process leading to revolutionary change, while GA has denounced class struggle.
Until GA publicly declares that it now condemns the Oklahoma bombing, the Aum gas attack and indiscriminate violence against working class people, we have to consider that GA is not part of the revolutionary movement. In fact by passing off support for such inhuman and anti working class actions as "green anarchism", GA is, to the limited extent that it is read by people not already active and involved, sowing confusion and having a negative affect.
Of course we opposed the state's actions against Green Anarchist and welcome the success of the Gandalf defendants appeal ; we recognise the danger of the state succeeding in stopping the reporting of liberatory direct action.