Amsterdam: Thinking about violence

Thinking about violence – A critical view on the Amsterdam street-fight in 1st of October

In advance I want to clarify that I’m totally not a (political) pacifist. I believe in armed struggle and counter-violence against all parts of the repressive system we are living in.
So coming from the Netherlands I was positive surprised by seeing such a lot of people acting offensive against the police brutality. Even If we couldn’t help the people in the house we made clear that repression against us will be answered.

But for me acting militant is not only to use violence as one part of a diversity of tactics, it’s also about reflecting it. Because of this I want to speak about a few aspects of the actions on friday (oct. 1st).

So I don’t want to be arrogant and this is only a subjective point of view. I don’t want to seem like teaching anyone an “one and only truth”. Other people will have a different point of view and so this is just a first input for further going discussions.

I. Militancy as a tactic in the fight for another society


First it is necessary to speak about what we want to reach acting militant. Militancy is a tactic used in the fight for another society. IT IS NOT a kind of event, IT IS NOT a free time sport.


Even if a militant actor can enjoy it sometimes, (s)he should keep self-controlled.
Acting violent, trying to hurt people, smashing stuff IS NOT JUST FOR FUN.
The militant actor wants to change society, not just having a few hours of action.


But society is not an abstract thing, society are the people around you. Are your neighbors, are the people in the streets.


So how you think you influenced the people, who own the (fucking low-class) car, that some idiots throw over? (Especially they not even wanted to build a strong barricade and hold it…)
So how you think you influenced the dozens of bike-owners?
I know it’s hard, but even in a high-tense situation it is possible to build a barricade out of bikes without smashing them. AND WHY THE HELL YOU THROW BIKES ON THE POLICE IF THERE ARE SHIT LOTS OF STONES LYING AROUND?
So how you think you influenced the people from the restaurant, to whom you tried to set the stuff on fire, when there was no reason for a burning barricade on this place?
This problem will you face quite often in street-fights, that there will be need for a barricade. But be aware that you take stuff from other people…you will not pay the next day…they will. So be sure that it is really necessary to use the stuff.
It is really frustrating to face the police and resist against them, and to excuse to the neighbors about the idiots on the same time. So how you think you influenced the people in the cafe spitting against the windows without any reasons? This all is just fucking Adrenalin-Machismo and has nothing to do with a revolutionary struggle.
Even if all this people where thinking positive about SQUATing before, how they will think today about it?
And by the way, what do you think the people in the new SQUAT will have for a start in the neigbourhod now?


Just an idea, but during a 1st of May riot in Berlin some idiots smashed a little shop. The day after a few people from the autonomous scene appeared there explaining and excusing the situation to the shop-owner. They helped him to clean up the mess. I’m not quite sure but I guess that they even did a benefit party for his new window. You can’t exclude mistakes on a riot, but you can try to stand up for this.


Of course not everyone acted like this among the fight and I’m still happy about all the people acting yesterday.
But I think there is a need for a discussion about, if you don’t want to be known as the people who just make chaos.


If you are acting violent be aware about what, how and for which reasons you are doing it. Even in stress-situations.
If you just want have sporty fun, go on the hunt for fascists… and piss off from radical demonstrations. Make clear for yourself who you want to attack, what the goal of your action is.



You are not in a cool movie, you live in real life (even if this is sometimes really cool) and after the adrenaline of the night, there will come the next morning in struggling for a free society.


II. Tactical aspects


Beside the stuff above there have been a few tactical decisions which I think are important to discuss.


At first – HOW FUCKING STUPID you have to be to throw a chair from a ten meters distance to the police line, if there are PEOPLE FROM US standing at the front? I just hope the poor guy is not really hurt badly.
I just repeat it – self-control, don’t get in panic and let the adrenaline overtake you.

Another point – When the police pushed us in the little street next to the new SQUAT, really small people stuck in the crowd totally in panic because of the crazy police-bastards, but couldn´t leave to safe ground because people from behind pushed us all the time forward. Take care for your comrades, be aware that not everyone is high-experienced or has the stand to directly face an armed police officer.


Then the point about the first barricades:


Why do you build up barricades if you don’t want to defend it? The barricade in the small street was just dangerous for our people because a few where still in front, when it was closed, so they got a lot of more hits from the police. And because no one defended the barricade, it was taken by the police after not even one minute…


After all this I experienced a big lag of organizing… of course it’s hard to organize in an unexpected situation. But you have to try it. Even in a street-fight there are safe moments, so use them to get connected with the people around you. If you have it like friday night, that just everyone is standing around a few people are screaming like “this way” and other ones “that way” you are not getting to a really strong action.


III. Alcohol on demonstrations


In my country alcohol on radical demonstrations is forbidden by ourselves. Experiencing how many people have been drunken on the demonstration I think it will be important to think about this kind of demo-culture. Alcohol on demonstrations is fucking dangerous, so just drink after. A political demonstration is not some kind of party event (even if it’s a happy one), so don’t abuse it.


Militant Mirror (october 2nd, 2010)