Against the maxi-prison and the world that needs it


Fire to the maxi-prison! [July 2015]

Filed under: English — lacavale @ 12:47

It has been a while now since the first and last contribution to Avalanche from comrades in Brussels about the struggle against the construction of a maxi-prison. The idea of this second contribution is not to repeat the same basic analytical elements and so on you can easily find back in Avalanche issue 1, but it is an attempt to go a bit deeper into some problematics concerning this struggle in particular and insurrectionist specific struggle in general.
Today we have arrived at a moment on which a path of two years and a half of struggle against this morbid project of the state lays behind us. Old complicities got lost, new ones have been forged. Some illusions were broken, enabling us to get a clearer look upon what needs to be done, giving us an opportunity to sharpen our ideas and practices. Only by putting one’s ideas into practice one can search for proper ways to overcome certain obstacles, a true confrontation between the fantasy and the reality is what brings us closer to a better understanding of where we need to light the fuse and lighten up the meaning of our ideas.

Some changes in the social context

During the last year, some elements have changed in the social context we are acting in, elements considered important to highlight.
First of all, since last winter the army has reappeared in the streets in Belgium, permanently protecting symbols of possible islamist attacks. After the assassination of two presumed islamists during a house raid in Verviers, terror alert against cops and cop stations rose to the maximum level, causing Brussels cops for several weeks not to patrol alone, but always with two cars, as well as upto today cops wearing machine guns standing outside of the cop station, cops controlling every entry in the palace of justice, cops wearing machine guns while patrolling in the streets.
Next to these advancements of repression (in the anti-terror climate many more of tehse “advancements” were made), we would like to draw some attention to two movements of social unrest. Firstly there is some protest against austerity measures, generally firmly controlled by the reformist ass-licking trade unions, but getting wild in November last years. Thousands of people from different horizons in a battle against the cops for several hours on what is generally considered to be an ultra boring head counting walk of the unions. This event at the borderline between several neighbourhoods where we are agitating can be considered as a blow of fresh air in the repressively pacified context of Brussels. A cop motorbike on fire as a reaction against cop brutality which triggered the whole thing, 112 cops to the hospital, some burning cars serving as barricades, some vandalism. If this moment of joy has been heavily condemned by all unions (some of them even collaborating with the pigs), it has equally shown to many that anger and the will to revolt are burning underneath the unions pacifying project.
Secondly, during the last year a movement of coordination between people without papers has been growing, creating a road of demo’s (it should be mentioned that there has been a wild demo after an arrest, something very unusual), occupations, protests and so on. Next to the demand for a general regularisation, there is as well a critique of the borders present, attention given to the mass grave in the Mediterranean, and a will to close the deportation camps and stop all deportations. Both signs of social unrest mentioned here are considered relevant to our struggle, building bridges between our struggle and the agitation around us. We are not looking to educate anyone, but the more trouble on the streets the better, as well as we imagine interventions of extending the conflict, trying to open ip the horizon for a more explosive situation.
A last new element to take into account is the Zadist occupation of the terrain of the future prison, a coalition between civic neighbours, ecological activists, zadists from all over and some rare individuals with whom we have more to share as well as few comrades, but this story is such a mess that we will not deepen it out but will come back to it later on when talking about desolidarisation.

A solid ground

What can be said is that two years and a half of agitation (with different means) in certain neighbourhoods has created a firm base on which much can be imagined. Silence around this project of the state has definitely been broken through our proper means (although there are still always people to meet who didn’t hear of the maxi prison yet, we can say that the word maxi prison has become common language in certain parts of Brussels, indicating the importance of what a small group of comrades can do, since maxi prison is an invented word that will mark the prison with a taste of struggle even when build), and the proposal of self organisation and direct action against this prison and the ones responsible is circulating. The distribution of the monthly newspaper “Ricochets” gets its recognition.
After some moments of reference in the struggle (the occupation which took place in 2013, an attempted demo and police occupation of the neighbourhood in 2014), some comrades decided to open a point of reference in the popular neighbourhood Kureghem (Anderlecht). In “the passage” permanences, debates, dinners and other activities around the subject of the maxi prison and imprisonment in general are taking place, creating occasions for people from different horizons to meet up and give some direction to their refusal of the repressive offensive and state logic in general.
If one wants to make a quantitative evaluation of the project, counting the heads of people passing by at every opening time, one has not understood the qualitative meaning of this space. If we are not talking about masses, we are referring to interesting encounters between rebels, critical thinkers, unsatisfied people and anarchists discussing the means of refusal of this world. When people who would never have met meet each other in the context of a struggle, something interesting happens. And here we are not talking about meetings between representatives of political groups but of individuals who understand the need of opposing to this project and the state in a direct way. Off course, the struggle doesn’t take place in between the four walls of a room and the interest of such a place to meet and coordinate depends on the quality of the fight in the street.
So news of the struggle is crossing the streets of some neighbourhoods, be it by posters or by mouth to mouth communications (sometimes leading to very exaggerated stories, for example turning a small confrontation with the cops into a riot or the breaking of the windows of a collaborating engineering office during a wild demo into a shooting drive by) as well as news about things happening that never reach the media (e.g. confrontations with cops) comes to our ears through this space. Taking part in some of the dynamics of these neighbourhoods opens up perspectives of mutual understanding and solidarity.

The silence of the mass media

The police on its side off course doesn’t appreciate anarchist’s attempts at social unrest and insurrection and doesn’t want to make propaganda for the proposal of self organisation and sabotage against this maxi prison. Nevertheless, media silence has recently been broken for some moments. (let aside the tiring attempts of the civic neighbourhood committee of Haren -where they want to build the prison- trying its very very best to attract media attention towards their political program against the what they continue to call “mega prison”) In the advent of the last meetings between important people to arrange the last official documents to get the last permissions needed to start the construction, the main architect of the maxi prison starts shedding his tears in all media who are willing to listen about a fire bomb (inflammable liquid + gas) put at his house last winter (so some months before the news reaches the media!). Whereas in the first interview the bastard denies all responsibility, afterwards he changes tactics and states that he doesn’t understand what can be so bad about the construction of prisons. This news triggers the sensational appetite of the vultures of the media, for the first time starting to talk about direct actions that took place against the ones making profit with this project, pointing the inculpating finger towards anarchists that are called terrorists. The infamous architect states that all companies involved have had to deal with troubles so far.
In the middle of this hysteria (journalists discovering the existence of combative anarchism as well as a struggle of two and a halve years against the state and its repressive program for Brussels), the houses of some of the people in the commission that decides to give the permission to build or not get tagged. Panic hits the responsible assholes and at least one of them publicly claims to resign her job. The public meeting of the commission itself gets massively surrounded by cops and can only be attended after an identity control and control of your bags. Half of the member of the commission are sitting in the dark so that the media cannot take images of their faces. Lastly, in the middle of the mediatic spectacle, a group of 15 to 20 people (according to the media) enters the federal buildings agency and destroys the model of the future prison once and for all! Maybe our good friend and architect de Wachtelaere has thereby understood that he should not have been crying in front of the video cameras, since the echo of action inspires more action. In the aftermath of this episode, the decision of the commission was delayed several times with some politicians publicly declaring that actually they as well are against the project (yeah right!), until the day of anti terrorist house raids in 4 houses of comrades and in “the passage”.
Before we get to this point, we want to clarify that even if the mass media have off course a very wide reach (until the cells of the prisoners), the spectacle is consuming everything it touches and that it is the autonomous practice of news and ideas diffused by comrades as well as discussions between individuals (comrades or not) that give true meaning to the struggle and not the mediatic echo spread by vultures horny for excitement in their boring life. To end this chapter on mass media we would like to point out that at least three citizens of Haren have publicly dissociated themselves from all vandalizing activities, and this in the name of the inhabitants of all of the village (well, we do not have to doubt about their willingness to be politicians themselves), as well as two “occupiers” of the Zad have done in the name of their Zad (yep). For everyone who is convinced of the use of direct action, it seems wise to stay far away from these politicians who prefer to talk to magistrates (who by the way started to oppose against this project as well, what a mess!) than to the people destined to be thrown inside of this future atrocity. This kind of people are a danger to everyone willing to throw a stone and should be identified as such. The state discourse of “the good and the bad” is being repeated by these scum bags.


A few words then about the house raids that took place under the pretext of “incitement to terrorist acts” and “membership of terrorist group”. The police raided four houses of comrades and the passage, emptying all places from any agitation material: stickers, posters, leaflets, booklets, banners, newspapers and what more. This act of sabotage is a sign of the state declaring repression towards our insurrectionary project. They want to cut off our legs and frighten the people who are in one way or another standing against the state’s dream of prisons everywhere. They want to scare away people from the passage, they want to make people afraid to say what they think, they want to impeach the conversation about attack against the bastards of this world, they want to eradicate the thoughts about revolt. Against this terrorism of the state we can have only one answer ready: let’s continue to disturb them with all of our heart. Now that we are still outside we must do anything we can to break the social peace in this rotten heart of darkness, in Europe’s capital where we see the contradictions of this system of oppression and poverty, of wealth and power in front of our nose everywhere we go.
As a reaction towards the house raids, comrades got together into an inspiring dynamic and prepared a gathering for a few days later. The police once again occupied the territory to intimidate and scare away people. It must be said that the police is a pain in the ass, but let’s not forget the encouraging words of a man met during a distribution of the call for the gathering, encouraging words amongst many others: “I take off my head for you people. You still have the courage. There is a lot of defeatism over here, and people are even afraid to say what they think.”

And so…

This struggle has never been evident, nor easy and in the future it will certainly not become more easy. It is a struggle that was build upon many years of agitation activity done by comrades concerning the topics of prison, deportation camps and others. The state will do its best to not only put some people into prison, but to destroy everything what has been built with many effort, to erase the history of insurrectionary and combative anarchism. Adding to that, we don’t always notice the signs of social unrest because they are hidden, be it silenced by the cops or unnoticed because of social isolation which is a condition of the modern times.
But even if we are not always aware of the consequences of our acting, get discouraged by an ambiance of seemingly overall resignation, get scared by the pigs,… Brussels is boiling of anger and we must be prepared. The social context of this small country we are living in is heading towards a disaster (if we are not already living it) and we can be sure of a future explosion. The maxi prison is only one element in the global picture but the attack against the one’s responsible is a clear indication for everyone in conflict with the state and its insulting daily practice. This struggle can be a reference of self organisation aiming at the attack of the miserable conditions and the institutions suffocating life, and exist in the imagination and memory of people. It can give courage to others eager to fight without politicians nor compromise, people tired and sick of this world and letting the anger come out. This is what the state wants to crush, this is what we are putting ourselves at stake for. There is a potential in this struggle, a social dimension which can make things uncontrollable. There are so many people who have read the pamphlets, have seen the posters, have heard and discussed about the fight against this prison, creating a swamp in which it becomes difficult for the cops to understand what is going on, as well as growing seeds of ideas in the heads of many.
For let us be clear: the struggle against the maxi prison is not a struggle of anarchists against the state, it is the struggle of a social refusal of the daily attacks by the state, of a life between the four walls of a prison city. This social refusal can turn into a claw at any time, scaring the cops away, making the politicians pee in their pants as was seen before in England, in Syria, in Turkey, in the USA and in so many other places. If during these strong moments of massive self organization some clear ideas upon how and where to hit the enemy are present, the state is in serious trouble. This is why we should not give in to the police pressure and start hiding our ideas. Because our ideas are stronger than dynamite, are seeds that can help things to seriously go out of control. The social spreading of self organization and direct action is the worst nightmare of the state and everyone willing to control the protest.

[Published in Avalanche n°5, July 2015]

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