Early Spring for the Badger

Early Spring for the Badger is a collection of anonymously written notes on the Wisconsin February – March 2011 Struggle against Austerity Measures. Contained is a collection of communiques and actions, reflections on the struggle, critique concerning the themes of democracy, race, policing, madness, and violence, and propositions for a revolutionary strategy within the global anti-austerity struggle.

Early Spring for the Badger is a collection of anonymously written notes on the Wisconsin February – March 2011 Struggle against Austerity Measures. Contained is a collection of communiques and actions, reflections on the struggle, critique concerning the themes of democracy, race, policing, madness, and violence, and propositions for a revolutionary strategy within the global anti-austerity struggle.

The first 100 print-run of Early Spring for the Badger was distributed at the Look to Wisconsin Conference in Milwaukee May 20 2011.

The demonstrations against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was only the first spectacle of what will become the US struggle against Austerity, and the consequences of global economic turmoil. This pamphlet hopes to sharpen the anarchist and communist critique and point towards a trajectory from which a meaningful counter attack can be realized.

Teaser Excerpts:


MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES
p17

In Wisconsin, public sector workers, students, and others more generally occupied the Capitol building to stop it from functioning. They prevented the legislative process, the transition from paper, to voting quorum, to the laws taking effect, and thus manifested a force against democracy. That this was done in the name of democracy illuminates a crisis of subjectivity within the democratic citizen. Acting as a negative force, they could not merely supersede democracy but also make their own power possible. However, something resembling a politics, a position for itself, can only come about through reappropriating violence, acting against an imposed consensus.

THE SHAPE OF NOISE TO COME p23
from The Meaning of Wisconsin section

Social movements act today as limitations that struggles must outmaneuver or overcome. In Wisconsin, contesting the management of the social worked to neutralize a latent ferocity and render the struggle an accomplice to its own racially coded anxieties. Arguably, the only political act in Wisconsin was recuperation. The Wisconsin struggle, in staking a claim in the social, self-regulated the exclusion and discipline of autonomous content and forms, thereby cutting the sinews of its greatest strength. This process functioned simultaneously to administer racial codes and barriers that all took place in the work of government. A different politico-historical conception of race and a corresponding strategy will arm us against these measures and prepare us for the crises ahead.

THOUGHTS ON THE APPARATUS OF VIOLENCE, AND SOME MISUSES OF FOUCAULT p41

One could engage wholeheartedly in the semantical battle between violence and non-violence, using rational and historical facts to create an argument for “either side”, and never discover that their efforts are being swept along in a cyclone of empty language. Tempting as it may be to describe the ways in which the arena of violence is divided along the lines of power, this observation does nothing to dissolve the toxic affect of a generalized discourse grounded in such an ambiguous entity. When a conceptual specter such as violence, or its supposed antithesis, is given the illusion of life—through both language and practice—it is then capable of absorbing all hints of spirit from the lips of those who utter its name upon sight of an escalating situation.

DECENTER THE STRIKE p51

Politicians, activists and sensational journalists will continually act to draw all attention to the symbolic center of political activity. All eyes will be on the capitol. While the space of the capitol building itself creates an interesting zone of inoperativity—a space for play and experimentation—the space itself functions as the primary limit to the elaboration of such play. Certain enthusiastic radicals will point to the exciting ways in which people act to create new relationships within the space. Such optimism misses the multifold way in which the constraint of such activity to the space severs such activity from any potential. Firstly, the presence of workers and student in the capitol building marks their absence from buildings and channels that comprise the material basis and flows of capital. Put another way, if this “making of new relationships” remains separate from our daily lives (both in space and time) it ensures the absolute impossibility of changing the activity and relationships that haunt the corridors of our lived misery: our classrooms, workplaces, streets and homes. Secondly, this centralization of inoperativity within a specific geography allows for the efficient and concentrated efforts of those who take it as their task to manage and re-orient any energy within the space. From the tone of one’s message, to the degree of adhesiveness of one’s tape, each element within the occupied capitol was subject to an absurd level of micro-management, by the up-and-coming class of activist-managers. Lastly, and perhaps most sinister, is the subjective limitation intrinsic to the participants in the capitol occupation. In viewing the building as “our capitol” and in expressing “this is what democracy looks like,” those captured by the political-symbolic cathexis of the geography of Madison internalized the very structure and limit of the building itself. To physically damage the building, to act out, or to take any material communizing measures would be to do immense damage to the fantasy of democratic legitimacy that animates all activity within the space. The meaning of the building—its mythology of democracy, progress and people-power—attaches itself like a parasite to those who act within it. The Madison line, came to name the most passive and impotent way of acting.

AttachmentSize
Readble PDF18.22 MB
8.5x11 Imposed for Print PDF5.78 MB

Comments

Tojiah
May 31 2011 03:55

An actual link to the pamphlet is missing.

Juan Conatz
May 31 2011 05:05

They forgot to check the 'List' box.

To whoever posted this, any way you could put it up in text or send me a text file of it so that I can easily put it up. If not, I could do it off the PDF, but that takes a long time.

liam sionnach
May 31 2011 14:03

Yeah, I'll post the links in comments after work. If anyone else if anyone esle has the opportunity, they're visible on the blog post at www.politicsisnotabanana.com. I thought I edited the post so they show, but I guess not. Sadface.
Kisses,
Liam

Juan Conatz
Jun 1 2011 01:00

Just printed this out and am starting to read. The one thing that is really annoying is that it is written anonymously. I don't see the need for this at all and it makes things confusing as to whether those who wrote it were actually in Madison. I don't think those that weren't or only came for a weekend can't write anything, but there are a couple things in here that are controversial (such as anarchists singing songs praising the police) that I never witnessed and I seriously doubt happened, although 'anarchism' is a useless word that describes a lot of nonsense, so it wouldn't surprise me.

liam sionnach
Jun 1 2011 02:57

Juan, i think the decision for anonymous writing is an ethical one, which reflects a certain taste regarding the broader picture (how to fight austerity measures, how to build a revolutionary movement), rather than objective specific to the zine-project. I think that the "truths" being examined by these texts are closer to reflections on gossip and common feelings or moods that were generated by the event rather than specific journalistic citation. The communiques all come from within, and a few of the writers were definitely present in Madison, and Milwaukee. However, a few were not. I think the "anarchists singing songs praising the police" is hyperbole based on the real "cops and labor!" enthusiasts, and specifically Ryan Harvey's short article.

Bummer about "anarchism." It had a good second run.

Juan Conatz
Jun 22 2011 01:02

This is all put up in text form, too, now.

Steven.
Jun 22 2011 18:25
Juan Conatz wrote:
This is all put up in text form, too, now.

you're a legend!