CrimethInc. - After so much technological progress, why do we have to work more than ever before? How is it that the harder we work, the poorer we end up compared to our bosses? When the economy crashes, why do people focus on protecting their jobs when no one likes working in the first place? Can capitalism survive another century of crises?
After so much technological progress, why do we have to work more than ever before? How is it that the harder we work, the poorer we end up compared to our bosses? When the economy crashes, why do people focus on protecting their jobs when no one likes working in the first place? Can capitalism survive another century of crises?
Our newest book, entitled Work, addresses these questions and a great many more. To answer them, we had to revisit our previous analysis of employment and develop a more nuanced understanding of the economy. We spent months studying obscure history and comparing notes about how we experience exploitation in our daily lives, slowly hammering out a grand unified theory of contemporary capitalism.
In addition to distilling our findings in this book, we’ve also prepared a poster to diagram the system it describes. The poster is based on the classic illustration of the pyramid of the capitalist system published in the Industrial Worker in 1911. With the assistance of Packard Jennings, we’ve created a new version, much more detailed than the original and updated to account for all the transformations of the past one hundred years.
In combination, the book and poster explore the positions we occupy within this pyramid and the mechanics that maintain it. From the industrial revolution to the internet, from the colonization of the Americas to the explosion of the service sector and the stock market, from the 2008 financial crisis to the upheavals taking place right now across the globe, Work offers an overview of how capitalism functions in the 21st century and what we can do to get beyond it.
Whence do Stockholm Syndrome and Broken Window Theory derive their names? What is the common root of aristocracy and democracy? Who gets diagnosed with Anarchia and Drapetomania? How did voting kill Edgar Allen Poe, and why is a crater on the dark side of the moon named for the man who blew up the Tsar? Alternately scathing and sublime, Contradictionary pulls back the curtain from the war within every word, revealing the conflict behind the façade of the commonplace.
In the tradition of The Devil’s Dictionary, our Contradictionary assembles a wide range of wit and whimsy. This is no mere miscellany, but a lighthearted work of serious literature, concentrating a wealth of ideas and history into aphorisms and anecdotes.
In Delhi, the poor must walk everywhere, pushing through the crowds that throng the sidewalks—and dwell on them. Here, one sees poverty close up: festering injuries, untreated illnesses, chronic malnourishment, despair and desperation. Those with a little money in their pockets can ride in a rickshaw or taxi, rendering the streets a less troubling blur. The truly wealthy move in limousines and private airplanes from one walled bubble to another (see Mediation), shielded from everything so they can speak unironically of investment opportunities while millions go hungry; as their vehicles belch exhaust into the outside world, they literally breathe different air than the unfortunates around them.Contrary to bourgeois mythology, the greater a person’s wealth and privilege, the less likely it is that he or she will be well informed. Privilege means insulation from the effects of one’s own actions as well as other inconveniences; often, those who contribute the most to suffering and devastation are the least aware of it. Who knows more about waste treatment facilities—the people who discuss them in boardrooms, or the ones who live in their shadow?
Expect Resistance is not one but three books, each of which may be read as a complete work unto itself. The first book, printed in standard black ink, continues the inquiry into modern life and its discontents begun in Days of War, Nights of Love. Just as that book included improved versions of texts originally published between 1996 and 1999, this book draws on CrimethInc. material from 2000 to 2004, painstakingly refined and augmented with a great deal of new content. The second book, in red ink, is a composite account, related by three narrators, of the adventures and tribulations that inevitably ensue when people pursuing their dreams enter into conflict with the world as it is.
Together these comprise a third book, an exploration of the complex relationship between ideals and reality. Expect Resistance is a field manual for a field on which all manuals are useless, a meditation on individual transformation and collective resistance in disastrous times, and a masterpiece that raises the bar for radical publishing
Stockholders! Police chiefs! Baristas! Zapatistas! ANARCHISTS!
Read and Reading Tremble
CrimethInc. Launches New Offensive
They called us bourgeois for urging people to abandon bourgeois culture.
with the Publication of Expect Resistance
They called us anti-worker for refusing complicity in exploitation.
They dismissed our advocacy of plagiarism as unoriginal.
They mocked us for producing paper bullets,
Then cried foul play when those projectiles hit their targets.
When we subsisted on crusts of bread, they insisted it was the upper crusts;
When we discovered cornucopias of abundance, they preferred their sour grapes.
We’ve been branded militants and dilettantes, black bloc and bête noire, primus inter pariahs.
We reply, as Marie Antoinette might have, that they can have their words and eat them too—like Samuel Clemens, we don’t care what our detractors say about us, so long as they don’t tell the truth.
Long ago, we embarked on the greatest adventure of our lives: the total rejection of hierarchy, submission, and tedium, of status and status quo. Seceding from an entirely colonized world, we cast ourselves as crash-test dummies in a life-or-death mission to smash through the walls of capitalism.
Contrary to all expectations, we’ve survived. To our surprise, we are now able to present Expect Resistance, a coded account of our adventures hitting those walls and a full report on our findings beyond them.
Printed in stunning black and red and bound in the skin of corporate executives, Expect Resistance is the perfect coffee table book for anyone who lives out of a backpack. Our writers have spent years experimenting with every possible extremity of existence; our editors have spent months hammering out imperfections and adding sickles to the periods to turn them into question marks; our designers, as everyone knows, are the best in the business, not to mention the best against it. A thousand sleeper cells across the planet prepare to swing into action as this announcement is typed.
Concerned citizens may object that some of the raw materials from which this book has been assembled have yet to enter the public domain; we ask them to think of Expect Resistance as a book ahead of its time.
To enjoy your very own copy of Expect Resistance, simply commit to a project as ambitious and absurd as our own, blunder obstinately forward for several years, then send a few dollars to CrimethInc. Far East to defray printing and shipping expenses. Better yet, save your money and request a copy at your local library.
Still in love with all of you and the amazing things we have yet to do–
–your faithful ex-workers
They will say we refused everything to make a beautiful but utopian negation—as if it were just a work of art we were out to create. They will say that, like generations of nihilists before us, we uttered our grandiose denial and then were driven by it into the wilds of oblivion. They will praise the product—product being their specialty—and deny the evidence. They will imply that we could not have lived—but we do live, we live!—and so we give you these fragments, this poorly charted record, to spit in their faces… or whisper in their ears as they sleep.
A Reviewer’s Guide to Expect Resistance
Some reviews eclipse the object of their study in eloquence, nuance, and insight. Others are reviews to the same extent that bayoneting is a medical operation. It is our hope, of course, that reviews of Expect Resistance will dramatically overshadow the book itself in terms of inventiveness and discernment. In that spirit, allow us to offer some starting points for potential reviewers:
The Website Review: In this hectic era, when people purchase books as a way of consoling themselves for lacking the time to read them, it is necessary that reviews be as short as possible—both to maximize sales, and to minimize attention spans. For example, scarcely ten years ago, a short review of Expect Resistance might have read:
This unusually formatted book is both a collection of essays, à la the CrimethInc. Collective’s now classic introductory tome Days of War, Nights of Love, and at the same time a novel—one might say the Unbearable Lightness of Being of the antiglobalization movement. It's arguably a more involved experiment than anything that has come out of the anarchist milieu in a generation, and a more mature statement than previous CrimethInc. projects. While it lacks the bumper-sticker-slogan urgency of Days of War in places, it makes up for that with more layers and depth, not to mention ambiguity. If it’s a field guide, the point must be that there can be no field guide to the most difficult aspects of sustained subversive activity; all the same, they offer enough points of departure to enrich any reader who wants to escape, as the saying goes, “anywhere out of this world.”–Cienfuegos Libertarian Review of Books, volume 2, issue 38
The Structural Analysis: For centuries, authors from Tolstoy to Kundera have refined the reflective digression until it has become a staple of the modern novel; one might brush it off as cheating to make this convention appear new by simply printing the digressions in a different color ink. The black texts—the digressions—maintain the format CrimethInc. stole for Days of War from Marshall McLuhan via the Readers and Writers “. . . for Beginners” series. The red texts interweave three narratives, which appear in no particular order but always include a hint from which the reader can deduce which character is speaking.
The Political Analysis: Comparing the text inside the front cover of Expect Resistance to the original version that circulated on a poster in 2001, it is clear that the publishers are taking their project more seriously today—one might even say more grimly. The revolution is no longer an alternate universe that “you can step into . . . any time you like”—now it is “waiting for you to switch sides.” Those who griped that Days of War painted an overly rosy picture of the prospects for would-be revolutionaries will find that Expect Resistance presents the other side of the coin: failure, depression, and repression are all explored in detail as probable, if potentially worthwhile, consequences of romantic idealism.
This is not to say they have given up on revolution—on the contrary. Expect Resistance finds them more focused on the social aspects of revolutionary struggle. While the chapter on capitalism formed the heart of Days of War, and the general program that book offered was refusing to sell oneself, the section on democracy occupies the center of Expect Resistance, and the stories within focus on the efforts of individuals to coexist and collaborate outside the competitive frameworks offered by hierarchical society.
The Philosophical Approach: CrimethInc. publications have long experimented with different approaches to history and the passing of time. Days of War rejected the valorization of the past over the present implied in the modern conception of history, proposing instead the eternal present of mythology. Hunter/Gatherer, by contrast, emphasized just how much of the past persists in the present, and how much the present shapes the past as well as the future.
At the heart of the narrative portion of Expect Resistance, one finds the notion that history is a repeating cycle, yet a cycle that may break off unexpectedly. Although the accounts are clearly based on events from 1996-2006, the credits page at the beginning proclaims “This is neither a true story nor a work of fiction. This is a chronicle of things that are going to happen.” The story is worth telling because it is going to happen again, though perhaps with a different outcome. As one character reflects, following a major setback: “After that, we didn’t deserve another chance. But history always doubles back on itself, trying the same experiments endlessly over until they produce different results.” The future is unwritten indeed.
The Historical Context: This is one of the first serious anarchist texts to attempt to engage with the effects of the September 11 attacks in the US. Through thinly-veiled allegory, it follows the jarring shift from the heady days of resurgent anticapitalism to the despair, malaise, and witch-hunts of the years that followed. Likewise, it hints at paths forward for anarchists today.
The Biblical Allegory: In his Divine Comedy, Dante suggested that the denizens of hell experience time backwards, remembering the future rather than the past. If we are to take the flap inside the front cover at face value, Expect Resistance is a backwards retelling of the creation myth from the book of Genesis, chronicling the overturning of divine judgment and the return of humanity to a state of grace. There are hints that this may be more than a red herring: for example, Cain appears on page 242 to reclaim his innocence, reinterpreting Jesus’ dictum that the last shall be first. If we draw this conceit out further, the apocalypse must precede the first pages of the book, occurring before its protagonists have woken up to the conflicts around and within them: that is to say, the story starts from the end of the world, which we are currently experiencing on endless repeat.
The Marxist Take: The authors seem to see hierarchy as ultimately grounded in psychological and cultural conditions rather than material economic conditions.
Totally Missing the Point: Thor Heyerdahl’s theories about early human migration have largely been discredited!
The Smear Campaign: Check each of these words off as you use it: preachy, repetitive, rehash, naïve, over-generalization, dumpster (double word score), self-aggrandizing, privilege, simplistic, bourgeois.
Judging the Book by its Cover: Turning it over, I was disappointed to find no scandalous quotations; Philadelphia’s Wooden Shoe bookstore will have to find some other pretext for not carrying this! Indeed, the cover design and text are positively opaque—they give the unfortunate who picks up Expect Resistance by chance nothing to go on at all.
The Incisive Denunciation: Perhaps most telling is what is not included. Where, for example, are the punk and do-it-yourself subcultures that have been so important to the genesis and development of CrimethInc.? To leave them out of this story is to present effect without cause—to pretend that activities and values that only make sense within that specific context are universal. Likewise, barring a sentence on page 72, where are the queer and trans people in this story? And, for that matter, the children? Similarly, though several of the protagonists’ mothers appear at some point, no reference is ever made to any of their fathers. Revolutionary anarchists are sometimes accused of making a lifelong project out of rebelling against authoritarian fathers, and one cannot help but wonder what a Freudian psychologist would say about this: the Absent Father returns as the All-Powerful State, perhaps?
The Scavenger Hunt: The CrimethInc. collective’s merry plagiarism recalls Walter Benjamin’s ambition to compose a work entirely comprised of quotations; the ex-workers might counter that every book is comprised entirely of quotations, and they are simply acknowledging this. According to their line of thinking, language itself is comprised of quotations and references—otherwise, it would not serve to communicate at all.
Be that as it may, the wealth of obscure references in this book is a veritable gold mine for those who would prove their erudition. Accordingly, we announce a contest—any reader who can locate at least half of the texts in Expect Resistance adapted from the following sources can name his or her price. Email answers to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Self-styled immediatist Hakim Bey
Irascible gadfly Bob Black
French intellectual Maurice Blanchot
Italian jailbird Alfredo Bonanno
Avowed Ultraist Jorge Borges
Gallery proprietor André Breton
Italian fabulist Italo Calvino
Mathematics lecturer Lewis Carroll
Unknown poet Maarten Das
Gleeful obfuscators Monsieur Dupont
College dropout Max Ernst
Pop musician Peter Gabriel
Tubercular immigrant Khalil Gibran
French Canadians Godspeed, You Black Emperor!
Conservative speechwriter Mark Helprin
German-Swiss writer Hermann Hesse
Hollywood movies Fight Club and The Whole Wide World
MC Immortal Technique
Dropout carpenter Jesus of Nazareth
Baptist minister Martin Luther King, Jr.
Author and filmmaker Laura Kipnis
Conceptual artist Barbara Kruger
Futurist blowhard Filippo Marinetti
Expatriate pornographer Henry Miller
Russian émigré Vladimir Nabokov
Sickly philologist Friedrich Nietzsche
Author and poet Marge Piercy
Hip hop pioneers Public Enemy
Professor emeritus Ron Sakolsky
Russian psychoanalyst Louise von Salomé
Novelist and critic Jean-Paul Sartre
War tax resister Henry David Thoreau
Literary scholar J.R.R. Tolkien
Hardcore punk band Tragedy
Pseudonymous Romanian Tristan Tzara
“Street gang with an analysis” Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers
Novelist Jeanette Winterson
Yugoslavia’s answer to Dada—THE ZENITHISTS!!!!!
In 1967, the year before riots and unrest brought France to the edge of revolution, Raoul Vaneigem, a key member of the Paris-based Situationist International, wrote: “People who talk about revolution and class struggle without referring explicitly to everyday life, without understanding what is subversive about love and what is positive in the refusal of constraints, such people have corpses in their mouths.”
Forty years later, no one can accuse the CrimethInc. Collective of having corpses in their mouths. Their latest book, Expect Resistance, is a passionate call for readers to see revolution as a daily event, rather than as an abstract idea that may never be realized.
Expect Resistance follows Recipes for Disaster: An Anarchist Cookbook and Days of Love, Nights of War in developing the CrimethInc. philosophy of liberated living and fiery opposition to capitalism and injustice. Like CrimethInc.’s others works, Expect Resistance is beautifully presented, illustrated with everything from drawings of a post-apocalyptic world, to fake New York Times covers to actual photographs of fence-smashing demonstrations. The self-described “decentralized anarchist collective” lists no author names on its publications to give credibility to the idea of collective action.
One half of Expect Resistance, printed in red ink, is a fictional narrative that follows Marshall, Pablo and Samia as they leave their conventional lives and jobs to pursue a life of radical activism. The three meet during an occupation of a university, protesting both sweatshop labor and the working conditions of low-paid university workers. They go on to fall in and out of love and confront capitalism and injustice head-on.
These fictional episodes alternate with chapters printed in black ink covering CrimethInc. theory. While critics may deride the CrimethInc. model as “lifestyle anarchism” (as opposed to the more politically rigorous “social anarchism”), these theoretical sections successfully bridge the gap between the personal and the political. Everything from different models of consensus- making to the ethics of adultery is covered here in engaging and provocative prose. What gives the book its particular force is the correlation between the fictional and theoretical sections. A chapter on “Crowd Dynamics and the Mass Psychology of Possibility” is followed by a description of a “Reclaim the Streets”-style protest where Pablo and other anti-sweatshop campaigners take over a busy road in the face of police opposition. By intertwining theory with fiction, radical political ideas become tools for immediate use.
Expect Resistance delves into the complexities, consequences and pitfalls of radical activism in a way that other celebratory books about the anti-capitalist movement (such as the otherwise excellent Globalize Liberation, edited by David Solnit) have shied away from. After the success and euphoria of the university occupation, the group of friends and allies that spawned it fall apart in an all too predictable mess of in-fighting and factionalism. In one of the book’s strongest theoretical sections, “Failure,” this recognition of imperfection is presented as a necessary and even inspiring step: “True failure, tragic and heartbreaking as it is, is proof that you’ve reached beyond yourself, that you are pushing at your own limits and the limits of the world.” Reaching for the impossible and failing becomes the perfect antidote to a culture that values the petty successes of money and careerism.
In the end, CrimethInc. tells us that it is possible to win. The “Afterward” section presents both a manifesto for Maximum Ultraism, where ultraists “wage a life-and-death war against consensus reality” (injustice that only exists with the consent of the majority) and a portrait of a post-capitalist world where grocery stores are replaced with gardens and cough syrup with licorice root. Even if none of this happens, the book declares, “we will have the adventure of our lives.” Expect Resistance presents an ideal reminder for jaded activists that a life of opposition does not have to be a life of frustration. And while not every reader will have the luxury or opportunity to become a full-time revolutionary like Pablo, Marshall and Samia, it also reminds us that the fight for meaningful change begins on the battlefield of everyday life. - Harry Thorne
Days of War, Nights of Love
At 292 heavily illustrated pages, our flagship book is the perfect size for any knapsack and the perfect reference manual for anyone seeking a life of passion and revolt. AK Press calls it "an underground bestseller," but as it says in the preface:
"This book isn't designed to be used in the way a 'normal' book is. Rather than reading it from one cover to the other, casting perfunctory votes of disapproval or agreement along the way, and then putting it on the shelf as another inert possession, we hope you will use this as a tool in your own efforts—not just to think about the world, but also to change it. This book is composed of ideas and images we've remorselessly stolen and adjusted to our purposes, and we hope you'll do exactly the same with its contents.
"As for the contents themselves: we've limited ourselves for the most part to criticism of the established order, because we trust you to do the rest. Heaven is a different place for everyone; hell, at least this particular one, we inhabit in common. This book is supposed to help you analyze and disassemble this world—what you build for yourself in it's place is in your hands, although we've offered some general ideas of where to start. Remember: the destructive impulse is also a creative one . . . happy smashing! "
Your ticket to a world free of charge.
“Less of a novel and more of an exploded manifesto, Days of War, Nights of Love might be just what we need. It is the type of book you'd thumb through in the store and actually want to buy (or steal). Avoiding the "thin gruel of narrative," the book instead gleefully mashed appropriated art pieces with personal testimony—reconfigured Frank Miller comic panels shout, "Face it, your politics are boring as fuck!" Whether you agree or not, there's a refreshing quality to a book that offers the same amount of information to both the serious reader and casual browser, because despite steady sales of The Revolution of Everday Life and Nation of Ulysses CDs, most of us are still living lives that are frustratingly incomplete.
“The past four centuries are all fodder for this new manifesto, everything—from the Unabomber to the Smiths, Henry Miller to the German J2M movement, Kalahari bushmen to Natural Born Killers—finds its way on the pages. Such voracious stealing from history and applying as needed becomes not just a practice, but a saving grace. By never labeling themselves punks or new Dadaists and instead stealing all manner of praxis and pranks, CrimethInc. remains elusive, avoiding pitfalls that toppled previous revolutionaries. Beloved nihilistic comic characters Milk & Cheese re-emerge as Soy Milk & Tofu to offer shoplifting as the true antidote to capitalism. the book is simultaneously tongue-in-cheek and as serious as getting up in the morning for work, yet avoids the inherent alienation of most historical and cultural texts (whose authors they dismiss as careerist historicizers").
“Topics range from anarchy to hierarchy, work to sex, alienation to liberation and technology, but every page burns with a passion for a freer life. Lies, exaggerations and blatant plagiarisms mix freely with passionate arguments. Nadia admits on page 171 that this may all "sound like anarcho-mystical academic nonsense (which it is of course—freedom cannot be understood except through mysticism!)," but the CrimethInc. workers do weave a good spell. Who disputes obvious, but unvoiced concerns like, "We pay rent before we live there a month. But we get paid 1-4 weeks after doing the work."? Other essays walk a precarious line between arrogant and inspiring: activists are taken to task for being dull and guilty; radicals and artists as excrement peddlers, forever squirreling moments away for their next product. Too Harsh? Or a necessary critique?
“The books vehement insistence that living is more important than art carries the argument beyond the typical debate. When you make it to the end, the personal testimonials about not working and the closing art pieces become an aria of voices urging you to close the book and live. Glorious, even for the most cynical reader. What more can we ask from a book? Whether or not you buy it probably depends on what you thought of the last Refused LP—revolutionary cannibals or well-dressed poseurs? Well-read former straight-edge kids or new messiahs? Don't think too hard about it—the book warns from page one, 'This book will not save your life; that my friend is up to you.'” - Clamor
Slug & Lettuce
Recipes for Disaster
Three years in the making, Recipes for Disaster is the long-awaited follow-up to the CrimethInc. collective’s notorious first book, Days of War, Nights of Love. This 400-page manual complements the romance and idealism of that earlier work with practical information and instruction. Over thirty collectives collaborated in testing, composing, and editing the book’s 62 sections, which range from Affinity Groups, Coalition Building, and Mental Health to Sabotage, Squatting, and Wheatpasting. These are illustrated with extensive technical diagrams and first-hand accounts, and prefaced with a thorough discussion of the diverse roles direct action can play in social transformation. If you’re looking for a tactical handbook for revolutionary action, look no further.
This second edition, released in Fall of 2012, is comprised of the same content as the first edition, and boasts a new larger 7" x 10" format; photos and diagrams that are 77% and 164% larger, respectively; twenty-one new photos and a new introduction; improved typography and readability; and a more durable layflat binding. Read a detailed blog post about the improvements and their history here.
Top Secret Anarchist Tactics
“Why give away our secrets?
For ten long years, our operatives have honed their skills, testing their wits and mettle against the global capitalist empire, the most formidable adversary in the history of life on earth. We have learned how to redecorate the walls of cities occupied by armies of riot police, to transform random groups of damaged, isolated individuals into loving communities capable of supporting one another through the most severe bouts of repression and depression, to shut down corporate summits and franchises armed with little more than plastic piping or eyedroppers of glue. Now, the notorious CrimethInc. ex-Workers’ Collective has compiled many of the techniques that made these feats possible into a 624-page manual entitled Recipes for Disaster.
Because if they stay secrets, we’re fucked.”
For those who have been bewildered by our earlier publications, wondering what purpose it could possibly serve for us to tantalize the beleaguered masses with utopian dreams of life unfettered by state, moral, or economic laws, it may come as a surprise that we’ve had a plan all along: offer visions of other possible worlds, then share concrete means for departing from this one. For those who gambled that CrimethInc. was nothing more than a joke, a fad or fantasy that could be shrugged off, we hope now it will turn out that it is a practical joke.
So what’s in this book, and how was the content selected? The sixty-two recipes run the gamut from Affinity Groups to Wheatpasting, stopping along the way at topics as disparate as Hitchhiking, Sabotage, and Supporting Survivors of Domestic Violence. Each recipe is illustrated as necessary with photographs, technical diagrams, and firsthand accounts—culled, of course, from anonymous sources—of times the particular method or tactic was applied.
Choosing and editing the content for such a work is a difficult challenge, and it took an assembly of more than thirty collectives nearly three years to complete Recipes for Disaster. Content was selected and perfected according to three basic criteria. First, for the sake of safety and precision, subject matter was limited to methods with which the authors had extensive experience. Second, submissions were given preference according to how much material was already available on the subject: Recipes for Disaster includes very little on herbal remedies, as extensive literature has already been published about them, but features a full thirty-five pages on organizing black blocs and similar forms of anonymous mass action, since little resource material exists for those who would apply this potentially dangerous yet often useful strategy. Finally, as much as possible, the recipes are presented from a nonpartisan angle, with an emphasis on sharing concrete skills rather than spreading any ideological agenda, so the book might be of use to the widest possible range of readers working towards liberation in all its forms.
Inevitably, as we’ve learned all too well from experience, those who take on ambitious, public projects are subjected to the twin scourges of fan worship and vindictive, unconstructive criticism. As before, we urge admirers to nurture in themselves whatever worthy qualities they mistake us for having, and critics to complement our efforts with efforts of their own rather than passive disparagement. No one work on the subject of direct action can possibly be complete, but this book might serve a useful purpose if others supplement it with the projects they think we should have undertaken. In publishing this incomplete, imperfect book, we hope to provoke others into undertaking more projects of their own, not freeze them into adulating or offended spectatorship of our activities.
One might ask of the publishers of this new anarchist cookbook, as Emmett Grogan demanded of Abbie Hoffman upon the publication of Steal This Book!, whether it has occurred to us that making all these secret methods public knowledge might hurry them into obsolescence. In limited cases, this might be true, though we’ve made an effort to slant the content towards long-term skills, such as stencil-making, that never go out of date. At any rate, our answer to this charge is that these skills and the struggle for which they are useful must both be extended to much broader circles, or else they are doomed to obsolescence anyway. The narrow, comparatively small explicitly anarchist community of today is a poor match for the assembled power of the global empire; for massive change to be possible, anarchist skills and approaches need to be generalized to a much broader social spectrum. In limited cases, yes, the powers that be will be able to use our book to prepare themselves for our efforts to contest their control, but we hope that this drawback will be outweighed by the ways in which this work can help equip new generations to strike blows for freedom from unexpected directions and in unpredictable ways.
In short, why give away our secrets? Because if they stay secrets, we’re fucked. If you associate yourself with the struggle for a better world, consider how you can do your part to get these tools into unlikely hands.
And lest we miss this chance to make a challenge of our own, we ask certain paragons of the anarchist community, so pleased with themselves for perfecting their abilities in rhetoric and disputation while others have been quietly working on actually changing the world, to come over to our side of the barricades. It matters little how insightful a critique is if it is not put into practice, and by the same token a critique not born of practice is not likely to contain much insight. Talk without action only sets a precedent for more of the same; actions themselves can be eloquent, on the other hand, in ways that words rarely can. Some anarchists seem to conceive of the process of anarchist organizing as consisting of a long phase of debate over what constitutes effective tactics, followed by agreement upon and application of one approach, but such loquacious deferral of action is pointless: one need only demonstrate an effective tactic, and share the skills it requires, for others to see its worth and adopt it for themselves. As a dadaist wrote long ago, one is only entitled to those ideas which one puts into practice. You don’t become wise by having a lot of ideas, but from trying them out.
Ultimately, as usual, the important question is how you can make use of an inert commodity like this in your own efforts to live with passion and dignity, and that is something none of us could help you with from this distance. Hopefully, however, the legions of aspiring adventurers who have written us over the past five years asking how they can join the CrimethInc. collective will finally have their answer, in the form of this book: if you want to be a part of this crazy undertaking, just pick a recipe, or come up with an idea of your own, and try it out. As the folk singer croons, to fight for something is to make it your own.
All the best in all the beautiful, dangerous ventures you’re involved in already, friends. May your every dream come true,
—CrimethInc. Agents Provocateurs, chilly December 2004
Interview with The Guardian, September 2004 :
What kind of relationship does this anarchist cookbook have with the original version released in the late 60s?
Essentially, the name is all they hold in common. A minimal amount of research will reveal that the original "Anarchist Cookbook" was not at all anarchist—not composed or released by anarchists, not derived from anarchist practice, not intended to promote freedom and autonomy or challenge repressive power--and was barely a cookbook, as the recipes in it are notoriously unreliable. At best, it was a fraud, a spoof; at worst, an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of anarchist practice, and cause readers to injure themselves. The recent movie by the same name is equally embarrassing, not so much to anarchists as to the industry that produced it.
Why is it being released?
All the history aside, the idea of an anarchist cookbook, if never before really realized, is a good one. In an increasingly repressive world, it's more important than ever than people share skills for reclaiming life and liberty.
What are the biggest changes in this latest edition?
This book will not feature recipes for food or for bombs; rather, it provides information such as how to form a cooperative bike maintenance collective, how to make use of creative media such as posters and spraypaint for free expression, and how to resist the attempts of police to break up demonstrations. I'd be happy to send you the table of contents.
Who is writing it?
Anarchists have written this anarchist cookbook, coming together in a loose, voluntary association of friends and acquaintances from around the world for the composing and editing process.
Is there going to be any event to launch the book that the Guardian could cover?
It looks like the book will not be finished quite in time for this year's UK Anarchist Bookfair. It's well over 600 pages, and the last of the detail work is taking a long time. However, it's entirely possible that once it comes out, there will be a myriad of post-release events the Guardian might cover, as readers develop new skills.
How is it being published? What kind of printers are eager to get involved in a project like this?
The publisher is the CrimethInc. Ex-Workers' Collective, an established mouthpiece of anarchist thought and poetry.
Some would say this isn't the best climate to release a book giving people instructions on how to commit acts of terrorism. What's your reply?
This book does not provide any information on how to commit acts of terrorism. It does not offer any advice on how to gun down civilians, nor how to blow them up with smart bombs; it includes no information about how to destroy the ozone layer or clearcut forests; it doesn't even give any insight into how one might brainwash children in schools, exploit blue collar workers, or bore white collar workers to death. It does, however, offer a humble starting place from which those acts of terrorism can be contested. I would say that this is exactly the climate in which such a book is needed.