submitted anonymously –
For those who are interested, this essay exists as a zine that can be found here.
The western world finds itself in shock at a colonial superpower being caught off guard by a spectacular attack – settlers and western spectators fanatically call for blood because of the implicit threat, we could be next. In response to their world class embarrassment, the colonial state seeks a hundred eyes for an eye, thousands of teeth for a tooth and wages an open campaign of extermination against the Palestinian population they hold captive.
Before our eyes this genocide plays out. The ideologues of the colonial world rush to weigh one dead Israeli against hundreds of dead Palestinians, one captive against the thousands they hold in their prisons, the violence of small arms and patch work rockets against 70 years of ethnic cleansing, 16 years of a total military blockade on Gaza, and the constant airstrikes and military operations of a nuclear super power.
Some anarchists, still filled to the brim with enlightenment humanism, may rush to shout that we must not support this, we must condemn Hamas and the atrocities they commit! But who is this condemnation for? The people of Gaza cannot hear us through the blockade, over the rumbling of their empty stomachs, over the constant airstrikes, over the wails of now childless parents and now parentless children. And if they could hear us? They would not care because we have neither shipments of weapons, nor food and clean water, nor medicine and doctors for them.
It is true that colonialism produces monsters but first and foremost it is colonialism that produces them and they are made in the image of the colonial project. If we want to condemn monsters and atrocities we should start with that of the colonizer.
But we cannot simply condemn. When bombs drop, words mean nothing. We must think, we must act. It is through action that new connections can be made, it is through action that solidarity becomes tangible. It is through action that we may have tangible impact on the occupation and open a meaningful, anti-authoritarian pole of opposition.
I humbly offer these words for anarchists in the region to chew on, think about, critique, adapt, and act on to expand the struggle for the liberation of the Palestinian people and to take steps towards the more long term, more meaningful, more dangerous solidarity.
Educate, Agitate, Attack – Expanding the Terrain of Struggle
The war isn’t as far away as we think it is. Israel is the forerunner in the development of counter-insurgency and policing techniques that get exported to the rest of the world. What they do to Palestine, US police and National Guard will do to us. But this isn’t a one sided exchange. On one hand, large US corporations are supplying physical infrastructure for apartheid and genocide while on the other hand our taxes – compelled as they are – are funding the terror in such a direct way that makes us worse than accomplices, we are actively pulling the trigger.
If we wish to take seriously the proposition of solidarity we must move from a position of passive supporter to making their fight our fight and going all in with the risk it entails. From our region I would like to propose a model of analysis and action. It’s a tool – take what’s useful and burn the rest. My proposal is a three-pronged strategy of Educate, Agitate and Attack. They are not necessarily separate things though: the best education can be disruptive and agitative, you can agitate through attack, just as you can educate through attack. With a little creativity you can pull these three apart and reconfigure them in many exciting ways.
It’s important to note that these are not discrete steps to a strategy, these are individual tools that work well together, are not necessarily separate and should all be done at the same time. Don’t wait to attack, and don’t get stuck in education by deluding yourself into thinking a critical mass of some abstract consciousness is needed to act further.
Education and Counter-Information
I think many anarchists take for granted how plugged into news of the world we are and assume everyone has the same access to information we do. Not only is this plainly wrong but its also forgetting that most the information people readily have access to is beholden to private ideological interests (in this region that is largely Sinclair Broadcast Group and The McClatchy Company), state ideological interests, or more frequently a deluge of false information for profit via social media. If there is one thing that anarchists are about 20 years behind on, it’s that information warfare is a key aspect of revolutionary struggle.
Every day the enemy’s news is churning out bullshit, internet ideologues are writing their silly little blogs and tweets, and state militaries and intelligence agencies run bot armies to churn out nonsense to pollute the information ecosystem. The knee jerk response would be to say we simply need to do what they do, but better! But for anarchists this is a dead end. We are not here to produce an endless stream of content for passive audiences, nor do we have large funders to pay for the infrastructure of a national 24-hour news network nor bot armies (though for the technically inclined, bot armies may not be that out of reach but that requires analysis of its own.) No, we must be more creative and prioritize educational interventions in physical space.
Some examples are of course the classics, graffiti and wheatpasting consistently (consistently as in maybe once every other day to keep areas plastered, not once every few weeks.) There’s also setting up a table on a corner, in a park, in random areas with zines; handbills about what’s going on; handbills about upcoming events; and trying to talk to passersby. But we can get a little more exciting and, if you will, a little more cringe. If you’re wheatpasting, why not do it in the middle of the day in outrageous costumes or in black bloc to specifically draw attention to it? Why not take some friends and a loud speaker and go set up in a busy area (ideally blocking a road or doing something disruptive like shooting fireworks) and talk about what’s going on? Handbills with more information to give out to people – or to just throw in the air by the hundreds – help a lot too. What about street theater? Again, ideally being as disruptive as possible with it. Just generally things were you can get people to stop and look and engage.
Then we can also get a little more daring with it. Maybe it’s time for pirate radio to make a comeback. You can broadcast over other stations during rush hour about what’s going on and how people can find out more. If there’s a mass demonstration, why not do a break away march to a radio or TV station, get inside and force your way on air? This may seem risky and far fetched, but there’s a genocide going on, what are you waiting for?
Ultimately education and counter-information only goes so far. Ideally we want to have face to face conversations with people, we ideally want to have an upcoming event or meeting to invite them to so they have a tangible next step. Having handbills with more information and with links to where they can learn more about what’s going on and learn more about upcoming events is key.
To boil it down: Share information and offer people a tangible next step.
Agitation and Disruption
To educate is not enough. We aren’t going to learn our way to freedom, information alone will not stop a genocide. Neither, in most cases, will agitation and disruption but it is a start. When I talk of agitation I am talking of moving people to action – hype people up and give them a tangible list of targets and possible actions. When I am talking of disruption, I specifically mean the disruption of normal economic life. This is key both for general anarchist struggle and because of how deeply entwined daily life in the US is with the funding and logistical support of the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people.
When we think about disruption we need to be thinking about blocking commerce – stop transactions at stores and banks, disrupt the daily functioning of businesses and institutions that support or profit from the apartheid and genocide, block the transportation of people and freight. We also need to be thinking about breaking the spell of normality, the sense that everything is fine. An economic impact and a psychological impact. Every disruption is a chance to communicate and to educate. Well-worded banners and handbills, good chants and songs. Sometimes a speech can be useful to fire people up, but be careful because a speech makes a passive audience. Think big – how can we get people to act? Spreading and generalizing the conflict is key.
There are some long held disruptive tactics – protests that block traffic and intersections, though even better is taking those protests into businesses and institutions and getting them shut down for the day. Pickets at businesses and institutions that support and profit from the genocide. Highway or major thoroughfare blockades are great, but even better if you set up a hard barricade with banners and one open lane and have a handbill to give every car that passes. Blockading railways, with either shunts, sabotaging the tracks or physical blockades on the tracks are great to block commerce.
These require much more coordination and effort but boycotts and blockades are effective. There is a long term boycott campaign – Boycott Divest Sanction (BDS) – that can be plugged into and has a lot of information. If that’s a little out of reach, the places to be boycotted can be continually disrupted and shut down, or their merchandise in stores can be stolen – ideally brazenly en mass – or otherwise sabotaged.
The idea is to bring the struggle from some far away place home and face to face to people so they cannot look away and pretend everything is fine and that it has nothing to do with them. And we have to think long and hard about how we approach this so that our actions and our messaging encourages people to act without waiting for a call to act or a single day of protest, we need to constantly push the idea that we are all protagonists in struggle, that we cannot wait for others to do what we can and that there are targets within our reach and a whole range of ways to engage.
Fundamentally, solidarity means attack. To physically destroy the infrastructure of oppression and genocide. This is what’s going to do the most damage, is most likely to hamper the abilities of the genocidal structure to function, but this is also the most risky. There are two – complementary – ways to approach this. First as small crews and second as large crowds. One needn’t look far to see what small groups do as anarchists regularly carry out small group actions. From broken windows to arson to breaking into labs and slaughterhouses and releasing captive creatures. All of these tactics can successfully be applied to the struggle for the liberation of the Palestinian people.
But we should think long and hard about our goals. Sure, a small group of us could go burn down some Amazon or Boeing infrastructure, but how much more powerful would it be if we got 1000 other people to storm and ransack the place with us? At any point we can and should undertake small group action but if we are trying to expand the terrain of struggle it is so a fuck-ton of people will engage in brazen, combative action and this takes a lot of time, building relationships, bold action and communication on our part, and careful planning.
In some instances this could be planning a combative breakaway march for the next mass demonstration, in other instances this could be taking the risk and putting in the effort of calling for our own mass combative action. But whether small group or mass action this entails risk and requires immense effort but this is fundamentally what it will take to open up another front in anti-colonial struggle to spread thin the colonizers.
It’s crucial to dispense with the long held idea that we cannot be the cause of major upsurge and revolt, that we can only take a role of support and intervention. What is possible for us to do is largely determined by how much effort and consistency we are willing to put into a given line of struggle over a long period of time. We are usually bad at this, but it doesn’t have to stay this way and to truly live up to the immense task laid before us in the imperial core it cannot stay this way.
What follows is a small and non-exhaustive list of targets that support, prop up and/or profit off the ongoing apartheid and genocide in the Salish Sea region.
First and foremost, every town and city will contain any number of people in power, businesses, non-profits, institutions, etc, that support Israel and push their propaganda. With some research these can be found and become prime targets. If nothing else we should make the territories we are in socially, and ideally physically, hostile to zionists. They’re certainly doing this to people who support Palestinian liberation with people losing jobs and being black-listed from various industries and institutions.
Secondly, since Israel’s founding in 1948 the US has sent over $130 billion in aid. Between 2018 and 2022 the US has sent $5.7 billion in military equipment via the Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) process, and since 1992 the US has given an additional $6.6 billion worth of military equipment through the Excess Defense Articles program. U.S. European Command also maintains in Israel the U.S. War Reserve Stockpile, which can be used to boost Israeli defenses in the case of a significant military emergency. All of this information comes from the Department of State.
All of this money comes out of our taxes. When we pay rent and our landlords use that to pay property tax, a portion of that funds the Israeli war machine. When we make profit for our bosses and they use some of that to pay property tax, or pay to their landlord so they can pay property tax, we made money for the Israeli war machine. When we get paid and a chunk of that is taken for income tax, that goes to the Israeli war machine. The things we are compelled to do by the occupying military at home fund the occupying war machine both here and there. It is critical that we find ways to engage in long term rent and labor refusal.
Third, 2,200 soldiers from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit along with the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group and the USS Gerald R Ford Carrier Strike Group are in the region with orders to be ready to deploy. The military has also moved multiple military advisers to Israel to advise their ground invasion of Gaza. While today storming JBLM would be just a dream, what we can do are disruptions of and attacks on military recruiting centers as well as pushes to remove military recruiters from schools and universities. We can also take lessons from the Port Military Resistance should the need and opportunity to physically block the shipment of soldiers and military equipment arise. We should as well remember from PMR when the US military sent intelligence officer John Towry from JBLM to physically infiltrate activist and anarchist spaces.
Fourth, multiple tech companies which provide digital infrastructure for the apartheid and genocide have major infrastructure here in Washington. This includes Google with offices in Seattle and Kirkland, Microsoft with offices in Seattle and Redmond, and Amazon with offices in Seattle. Amazon also has Amazon Stores in Seattle and Whole Foods – which they also own – all over the region. There are also Amazon Distribution Centers in DuPont, Sumner, Seattle, Lacey, as well as one up north in Delta, British Columbia.
Fifth, Boeing which has major infrastructure in the region, has sent bombs to Israel. They have offices and a manufacturing area in Everett as well as offices in Seattle and Auburn.
Sixth, Starbucks which is all over the region and headquartered in Seattle is suing the Starbucks Union over a statement in support of Palestine.
Seventh, various police forces and agencies train with the IDF and bring the tactics and strategies they use against the Palestinian people back here to use on us. Seattle opposed a resolution to bar SPD from being trained by the IDF, police in Georgia train with the IDF through the GILEE program which puts local Cop City targets on the table (for more info, see Stop Cop City Solidarity), and ICE/Border Patrol who maintain a heavy presence in the region along with the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma train with the IDF.
Seventh, the BDS movement maintains a large list of corporations and institutions supporting apartheid. The major corporations which they identify and many of which are to some degree or another in the region or contracted with another corporation, business or institution in the region are: Elbit Systems, Google, Amazon, HP and HPF, CAT, JCB, Volvo, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Chevron, Siemens, CAF. G4S/Allied Universal, AXA, PUMA, Carrefour, Booking.com, Airbnb, Sabra, Barclays, and Expedia.
This is a pretty surface level list of targets. More research is needed to get specific addresses, names and addresses of individuals involved, contractors and subcontractors etc.
Solidarity in the Long Haul
What I have written here is for the short and medium term, but solidarity is a long term affair and unfortunately anarchists don’t have the best track record with long term struggle. This can and must change. We must continue to be in the fight once the news moves to the next catastrophe. A year from now, ten years from now, until the day Israel falls and the Palestinian people are free.
Solidarity implies risk and danger, that part of making their fight our fight is also putting our bodies on the line. Do we go where the bombs are dropping to build personal connections with insurgent communities? Here the liberals have us beat and we can look to the example of Rachel Corrie who went to the occupied territories and was murdered by the IDF when she put her body between an armored bulldozer and the house of a Palestinian family that was to be demolished. She should be alive though and the struggle doesn’t need more martyrs.
But for us to show up in a strange context with no connections will likely get us killed. We must build connections with individuals, crews and organizations active in struggle. The first step of this is learning the language which I see as the primary first step of international solidarity. From here we make connections, sometimes this can be facilitated by friends, by networks, by organizations or by the internet. Then we need structures – formal or informal matters not – to facilitate and sponsor bringing comrades from other places here to talk about their struggles, and to send us to their territories to see for ourselves, to make more connections, and to fight with them and face the same dangers they face.
From this basis of connection and affinity we can begin to approach more sophisticated aspects – how do we forge documents? How do we smuggle money, people, supplies, information, food, and weapons across borders? These things may seem far off and fantastical to us but this was the bread and butter of our forebears and what internationalism necessitates. In the past revolutionary and anti-colonial movements could rely on a super power bloc to help them with these things – with strings attached. We never could rely on such a thing, nor is there even such a thing to rely on anyway. What we do in our region and what others do in theirs – how we fight, how we make connections, how we communicate – must be the seeds of a black international that can position anarchy as a global force of opposition that can provide material aid to liberatory struggles so people are not forced to choose between two or three different tyrants.
This is a long term project, we’re talking 5 years, 10 years, 20 years. But this is what true solidarity necessitates, this is what an anti-nationalist internationalism necessitates. The task laid before us is enormous in scope and we will either rise to the challenge or once again fall obscure into the dustbin of history. The choice is ours.
Here are some further resources to help facilitate taking action.
Puget Sound Anarchists – Regional clearing house for anarchist news and analysis. Send your events and calls to action, your communiques and reportbacks, your critique and analysis. This is a tool for talking to each other, use it.
Unravel – A national clearing house of anarchist and combative action, for keeping up on the national struggle.
No Trace Project – A collection of tools to help anarchists and other rebels understand the capabilities of their enemies, undermine surveillance efforts, and ultimately act without getting caught.
Empire Logistics – Interactive logistics infrastructure maps.
Deadly Exchange – Information on US police training with the IDF.
No Tech for Apartheid – Information on the tech sector support of the Israeli apartheid regime and resistance to it.
BDS Movement – Information on the Boycott, Divest, Sanction campaign, with lots of information on various businesses and institutions supporting the ongoing genocide.
Decolonize Palestine – Introductory information on the struggle for Palestinian liberation.
Fauda – Telegram channel for the anarchist group Fauda. In Arabic so use DeepL translate. Lots of information on the situation in Gaza and the West Bank.
Palestine Resist – Telegram channel for the Resistance News Network, lots of information from Gaza and the West Bank on the situation and resistance to the invaders.