Red & Anarchist Action Network
The "Red & Anarchist Action Network" or "RAAN" is a loose organization of autonomous individuals who subscribe to revolutionary anarchist and libertarian (that is, anti-state, anti-Leninist) communist ideals. The Network was initially formed in May 2002 by the joining of a communist and an anarchist website onto one internet forum, with the intention of creating a "Red & Anarchist News Network." Soon, participants in the online forum decided as opposed to having "another" leftist newsite out there, they wanted to be united in action. In late 2002, RAAN's founding document, "Principles & Direction", a cooperatively and openly written set of principles for the network, was released. Since then, the Red & Anarchist Action Network (RAAN) has been constructing an alternative model of revolutionary (dis)organization that has united anti-authoritarians from deep ecologists to anti-state Marxists in a horizontal network consisting entirely of autonomous affiliated action. [http://www.freemindmedia.org/?p=45]
"When necessary, the network has defined itself as an "organized contradiction", a term that functions as a justification for RAAN's existence by framing it as an organic process developing according to the needs and challenges presented within the given historical moment. This means that the various actions and initiatives undertaken by affiliates under the network's banner interlock to form a gestalt: practically, this means the sharing of resources and aid, experience, and credibility as well as the presentation of a unified force capable of acting within or outside of any given sphere." - Defining the Red & Anarchist Action Network
"It is rather common, in fact, for the methodology of the RAANista Tendency to be completely misunderstood, or perhaps even deemed to be nonsensical. Our several years of evolving practice lead us to express a differing opinion..RAANismo o muerte, fun or death!" -The Zen Lunacy of RAAN [http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=20070402114346676]
As RAAN is explicitly an "Action Network", and in an effort to continue to be so, the network shirks a conventional structure expected of leftist organizations. RAANismo only exists when actions are done in its name; it seeks not to direct the current of revolutionary action, but merely to unify it into a commonly shared expression. RAANismo is constantly evolving, experimenting with individual affiliate interpretations of praxis, sometimes creating network-wide interest, such as zines, graffiti and parkour. RAANismo is the child borne of anarchists and communists who come together to express their love and rage: it is the outbursts of self-valorization amongst the seemingly fragmented multitude. It is the act of coming together, of throwing free shows and sporadic dance parties, of occupying a rooftop, or of breaking a window. It is the summation of the RAANistas' attempts to de-alienate themselves: of rejecting the spectacle in favor of immediate living, and the struggle against capitalism and the state.
In an attempt to define themselves from the status quo of what is defined as anarchism and communism, RAANistas have written several position papers rejecting the normal channels many anarchists and communists attempt by default. Theories from
autonomism, the situationists, post-left anarchyand left communismhave played an influence on affiliate analysis of theory and action, with RAANistas adding their own original dialogue:
"Communism, due to its anti-authoritarian nature, means the destruction of the state. Even Marx, from whom Leninists and others claim to take their cue, knew this fact. Thus it is unnecessary to modify the word communism with such adjectives as anarchist, libertarian, anti- state, free, autonomist, etc. Communism includes all of these when understood in its true meaning. Unfortunately, we face a situation in which the deliberate obscuring of the term by the ruling-classes and their various states, based in the deviations perpetuated by Leninists and others, forces us to use these redundant words to emphasize what we stand for. Thus it is really important as part of theoretical and propaganda work to undermine the ruling-class/Leninist misuse of the word and re-appropriate 'communism' for its proper use. However, among us are people who identify as anarchist, libertarian Marxist, council communist, just communist, or none of these terms. But we are, and must be, united by (as far as we understand it at this point) truly communist (anti-)politics."- RAAN Principles and Direction [http://www.redanarchist.org/texts/p&d.html]
"RAAN does not recognize Leninists as being communists, or even Marxists; but the worst perverters of these tendencies. In attempting to create true red and black (that is, communist and anarchist) unity, it is necessary to clearly exclude sundry authoritarians who may otherwise pose a threat to the original direction of the organization." - RAAN Principles and Direction [http://www.redanarchist.org/texts/p&d.html]
This rejection of Leninism as a central tenet of RAANismo has manifested itself in a variety of ways, ranging from the creation of simple propaganda, such as the flyer entitled [http://redanarchist.org/propaganda/fucklenin.pdf Fuck Lenin] ; to the vandalization of the Maoist vanguard Revolutionary Communist Party's bookstores in New York City and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"Our message is not necessarily that the current activities of the Left are outdated and ineffective, but that many of them should not even be considered as activity at all! There exists a laziness in the heart of activism, a laziness in which real-world organizing and action, or even simple tasks like the creation of an informative newsletter or article, are now held up as immensely difficult projects that should be celebrated as rare triumphs instead of seen as what they should be - the day to day and entirely unexceptional activity of our movement. This reverence is based in our apologist and self-perpetuating faineancy, and as a result in many places we have been reduced to activist hobbyism; the throwing of potluck parties or the creation of a political zine has managed to somehow take the place of actual activity in our movement's search for fulfillment and results. This should come as no surprise, since it is "activists" who generally have the privilege of remaining inert while the majority of the "real work" is carried out by communities in struggle who often have no choice but to accomplish something." - The Functioning of a Network: A "No Bullshit" Policy VS. The Lethargy of Activism [http://www.redanarchist.org/texts/praxis/2/nobullshit.html]
"Any subculture - from graffiti artists to punks - that is produced from within the capitalist milieu, runs the risk of being bought out and turned into an alienating spectacle accessible to only a minority of the population. Hairstyles, clothes, and even something as apparently beneficial as the DIY ethic can be fetishized and turned into an object of worship or status. Too often, the alternative to direct cooption or "selling out" is the establishment of a largely unattainable ideal, a "cult of personality" peppered by seductive romanticizing that ironically is itself only another reflection of an authoritarian social relation. It is this that we see as being at the very root of sceneist development."
"An anti-capitalist group such as RAAN is not exempt from this effect simply as a result of having declared itself to be in opposition to the present system, and in fact it is we who bear the greatest responsibility to organize in ways that directly challenge and contradict the hierarchies found in all class societies. It is for this reason that we cannot base our movement in any sort of sub- or even "counter"-culture that continues to perpetuate capitalist values, but only in a revolutionary association of our own creation that will produce no bands to idolize, no clothing styles to mimic, and no social relationships comparable to those we maintain under capitalist domination." - Anarcho-Sceneism: What it is and how to fight it [http://www.redanarchist.org/texts/praxis/1/anarcho-sceneism.html]
"RAAN is committed to a fluidity of organizational forms. We want our groups to be not only flexible, but also open and inviting to a variety of potential comrades. The exclusive use of collectives, and especially those which operate off of Platformist principles, is alienating to entire sections of the anti-authoritarian movement. Likewise, an affinity may not be the most effective type of group when it comes to organizing a conference or other event. Ideally, a RAAN presence would be capable of shifting in and out of several organizational forms in order to meet different challenges and organize new involvement."- Building a RAAN Presence in Your Area [http://www.redanarchist.org/texts/praxis/1/principlesoforganization.html]
RAAN does not have any formal structure, but rather is an amalgamation of autonomous cells and individuals. There are many groups and individuals who choose to publicly affiliate themselves with RAAN, posting public email addresses and contact info for the purpose of above-ground work, such as organizing workshops, guerrilla gardening classes, homeless solidarity protests, and free concerts [http://www.redanarchist.org/history/index.html] . Many clandestine and often destructive actions claimed for the network, however, are in areas with little or no declared RAAN presence, such as the 2003 attack on NYC branch of Revolution Books, or the recent attack on an airforce recruitment center in Rockville, MD [http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=200707101257248] . Judging from RAAN actions reported both on their website and through various leftist internet news sources, RAAN embodies many
autonomistand horizontalist conceptions of decentralized autonomous action, linked together through a network of those who share similar principles.
Since 2002, RAAN has grown from its internet roots into a full fledged action network. RAAN affiliates have sometimes formed from breaking with previous groups due to principled differences or simply misunderstandings. Groups like the RAAN Fraction split from a previous group in Columbus, Ohio in July 2003, the Direct Action Anti-Authoritarians collective was expelled from the Modesto Peace Center in Modesto California in December 2003 and a RAAN chapter broke from the Socialist Party's "Direct Action Tendency" in Salisbury, Maryland in January 2007.
Graffiti and vandalism have been reported in RAAN's name since the beginning of the network, like a corporate development site reported vandalized outside of Los Angeles, CA in March 2003, "Revolution Books" in New York City vandalized in July 2003, "Revolution Books" in Cambridge, Massachusetts vandalized in August 2005, the "Tiitz Salon", a "men only" barbershop and club in Modesto, California in December 2006 and a US Air Force recruiting station in Rockville, Maryland in July 2007.
Outside of these actions, other clandestine activities have occurred, such as the egging of Ralph Nader in Washington D.C. in January 2005 and the gluing of over 150 parking meters in Lexington Kentucky in May 2007. However, the majority of activities claimed by RAAN affiliates tend to be aboveground and done with a festive spirit. Projects and activities include a variety of discussions, fundraisers, zines, workshops, music events, and street parties. Other projects include an emphasis on physical arts with Radical Anti-Authoritarian Defence giving workshops on gun safety in the later part of 2003, RAAN affiliates organizing multiple parkour workshops at the end of 2005 and throughout 2006 and RAAN affiliates organizing "Warrior Night" in March 2007 in Columbus, Ohio. This makes up a great deal of the mentionable activities of RAAN, though RAAN affiliates don't limit themselves to publicizing all actions in the network's name. [http://www.redanarchist.org/history/index.html]
* Anonymous [http://www.freemindmedia.org/?p=45 "Defining the Red & Anarchist Action Network"] , "Free Mind Media", September 9, 2005, retrieved October 17, 2006.
* [http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=20070402114346676 "The Zen Lunacy of RAAN"]
* [http://www.redanarchist.org/texts/p&d.html "Red and Anarchist Action Network Principles and Direction"]
* Revolution Books, Cambridge [http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/41124/index.php "Vandalism at Revolution Books"] , "Boston Independent Media Center", September 3, 2005, retrieved October 17, 2006.
* [http://www.redanarchist.org/texts/praxis/2/nobullshit.html "The Functioning of a Network: A "No Bullshit" Policy VS. The Lethargy of Activism"]
* [http://www.redanarchist.org/texts/praxis/1/anarcho-sceneism.html "Anarcho-Sceneism: What it is and how to fight it"]
* [http://www.redanarchist.org/texts/praxis/1/principlesoforganization.html "Building a RAAN Presence in Your Area"]
* [http://www.redanarchist.org/history/index.html "RAAN (Unofficial) Network History"]
* Anonymous [http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=200707101257248 "RAAN smashes Air Force recruiters in Rockville, MD"] "Infoshop.org", July 10, 2007
* [http://www.redanarchist.org/ Red & Anarchist Action Network Hub]
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