Solidarity means marching in the rain

Jun 24th, 2011 by aragorn in personal

for a stranger, with strangers, in a strange town, and with a cop named Hans

I am traveling around Europe this summer which means breaking out of routinues, judgements, and pre-conceived notions about people & their practices. This is a refreshing break for me and I hope this fuels my next set of projects and collaborations. It is also quite difficult as I am feeling quite lonely and isolated. Perhaps I should sing a song?

Under the Prison dark and tall
The Anarchist has come into his hall!
The foe is dying, the State of Dread,
And ever so our foes shall fall.

This is particularly striking in Stockholm. The bookfair was a painful affair for me. Obviously I don’t expect people from around the globe to know about Little Black Cart or even to necessarily be interested in Enemies of Society but the crowd was so actively disinterested in me, my table, and conversation that I believe that a conspiratorial minded person would have suspected the Illuminati or the like. That would be a good verse to the song.

The sword is sharp, the spear is long,
The arrow swift, the Scene is strong;
The heart is bold that looks on society;
The workers no more shall suffer wrong.

The truth is that Stockholm probably has the largest active syndicalist (not necessarily anarcho-syndicalist mind you) scene in the world. Their Central Organization of the Workers of Sweden (aka SAC) is an actually politically relevant force here, organizing public sector workers and “the paperless” ( a fact I was informed about at least 10 times over the weekend). I’ll leave my editorializing about syndicalism for another time (although it’s not hard my feelings on a socialist workers movement) but it was clear that syndicalists were of one mind regarding me. Basically they didn’t even approach the table. They gave me the “solidarity cold shoulder” and didn’t even look at me. This will go in for sure.

The workers of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

The next day was much better. I stayed at a lovely house along with many other people. A solidarity action had been planned the day before but really kicked off once this entire household of freeloaders headed into action. Or should I say sprung into a nearly endless series of waitings. The goal for the day was to express solidarity to one of the Fittja 2 who had been captured just that week. This entailed (as we were to learn) quite a bit of a journey because Stockholm is a town spread out much further than its population would lead one to believe.

On silver carriages they were strung
The light of stars, onward they sung
The dragon-fire, from twisted wire
The melody of harps they wrung.

To be specific to get to the prison where our comrade was held we took a bus, then the metro, then transferred to another line, then landed on a train (and an hour ride), another bus ride (thirty minutes) and finally trekked around 5 kilometers to the prison. This entire comedy was accomplished by 30+ anarchists… in the rain!

The spirit of ours once more is freed!
O! wandering folk, the summons heed!
Come haste! Come haste! Across the waste!
Our lost friend and kin has need.

As with most journeys ours was mostly in the travel rather than the goal but the event itself was some fun. We walked around the prison with 5 meter tall walls and not a window or seam to be found making as much noise as we could manage. After our second go around the police finally appeared (clearly prompted to action from our banging on the front gates as there was no sign of life from the prison itself the entire time we were there). They chased us around the prison another time before their official spokesman appeared, approaching half a dozen of us with the cry “My name is Hans, would you like to talk to me?” But no body did. And once Hans had enough of a posse of what could easily have been the extras of The Will to Power in tow we were herded back to the parking lot and the hike back to the bus.

Now call we over prisons cold,
‘Come back unto the caverns old!’
Here at the walls the anarchist awaits,
Her hands are rich with dreams of old.

A few last notes on this small event of solidarity. One, you can find our more information about the prisoner we were expressing our solidarity with here. Two, after we dragged our cold shivering carcasses back to Stockholm proper we were fed by the awesome workers of Kafe 44. I would not be exaggerating to say that this place was (by far) the best thing about Stockholm. Three, I was reminded during this event that it is the act of solidarity with each other (the 30 on the outside) that was the powerful “take away” of the experience for me. The cops harassed the one car that left the parking lot, taking registration information and making it clear they wanted to hold the people within until the crowd of us surrounded them and made them uncomfortable enough that they freed the vehicle.

Under the Prison dark and tall
The Anarchist has come into his hall!
The foe is dying, the State of Dread,
And ever so our foes shall fall.

ps bonus points if you know what song I stole from. extra bonus points if you don’t use a search engine to find it.

1 Comment

  • Bookfairs may be painful for you, but the general Swedish dysphoria may equate to the tendency there to have one of the highest suicide rates in Europe. So don’t assume any disinterest in your worthy offerings as being grounds for your self debasement and subsequent sadness. Let the most regulated society in the history of the world wallow in its self-induced bureaucratic depressing mindset, and hold your chin up, and chest out in the face of there dull subservient presence.
    As for prisons, hmmm, the world is a prison. Have you ever walked INSIDE a prison, backwards and forwards, for years and years, dreaming of the outside, and then on being released and walking outside, realized that it was no different? At this point my friend you realize that the totality has no walls, only ideological continuity. This level of consciousness may be elusive to those strangers to confinement, they are voyeurs watching beasts in cages, romanticizing about the imprisoned nobles, hoping for the release of sociopathic rapists. The song is by Metallica, or else Abba on acid.