ZINE || The Angle Grinder of Revolution: Against the Commuter and its World

Submission from the ZADdy received a while ago, idk.


The Angle Grinder of Revolution

Against the Commuter and its World
Zàddy, Autumn 2022

There is a specter haunting the Earth; it haunts the minds of movement managers, formalists, leftists, and those who otherwise find themselves aligned with — entrenched within, even — the existent. It waits for no orders from self-appointed leaders and pays no mind to the hand-wringing of moralists. In an indominable fury against the current totality, it seizes the opportunities that stand before it. Shrouded by the night, each u-lock is cut away from the bicycles secured by their grasp; beneath every automobile chassis, quick work is made to liberate the rare earth minerals trapped within the prison of catalytic converters.

There is a specter haunting the Earth, and it is the angle grinder of revolution — the glimmer of revolutionary horizons and the setting sun of the old regime. Without a glimmer of remorse and with an unflinching resolve, it speaks: Every commuter is a target.

From the university student peddling between gentrified neighborhoods, part-time jobs and classes, to the lowly prole whittling away the waking hours of their life in grid-lock traffic, every commuter creates the present nightmare. In every form it takes, the commuter is the primary, operative role within our present industrial civilization. Other social categories naturally cannot be ignored — the bourgeoisie, the proletariat and the precariat among them — but they are secondary to the commuter, for in order for all other identities defined by socio-economic position and relation to production to be realized, the individual must initiate the commute — the very activity that defines the commuter.

As they travel along this miserable Leviathan’s many economic arteries, colloquially known as “roads,” this disgusting way of life is animated and reproduced with the slow lurch of bare life headed towards annihilation pushed along evermore. For those of us who seek a different life than the hollow rituals of the commuter, there is a clear approach to cease the functioning of this miserable machine. With only a bit of courage, the angle grinder’s spite cuts away the regime of non-life. The commuter takes a multitude of forms, but within the context of the imperial core we write from, two forms constitute a significant plurality of commuter-identities above all others: the motorist and the cyclist. While there are nuances in the subversive methods against each respective commuter-identity, both are readily sabotaged by the angle-grinder.

The cyclist can be immobilized indefinitely once the false security provided by their precious u-lock falls away, the facade pierced with a single cut. From there, the repulsive contraption can be whisked away into the night. The cyclist who projects some false, pathetic propriety over this miserable commodity is left empty-handed. Without the material basis for the abstraction they’ve dissolved themself into — trading the fullness of life in exchange for the poverty of commuter-identity — they are left only with themself, naked and bare, alone in the night. Struck by the convulsive rage of the angle grinder’s insurrection, they are left no choice but to ponder, on foot, their uniqueness, their place in the world and the industrialized nightmare that plagues it. Certainly this constitutes robbery, but within that robbery there is an invitation, an opening for something else: a glimpse into a world beyond the commute.

The motorist and the multi-ton death trap they adore is a somewhat different prospect. Instead of targeting the locking mechanism that ensures the motorist‘s false propriety over their commodity-identity’s material basis, the target is instead the very functioning of this mechanized monstrosity. Beneath the chassis of the vehicle, an essential component is seated, exposed and readily accessible: the catalytic converter. Without it, the vehicle is useless. A skilled operator can identify, target, and extract the catalytic converter in a mere matter of minutes, disappearing again well before anyone would have noticed. In all likelihood, the sabotage would only be noticed during the following morning. The motorist, intending to step into their role as commuter via the commute as the necessary pre-condition to realize all other roles, would find the usual choke of an engine turn-over missing, instead replaced by a tremendous, startling roar. In the vacancy created by the catalytic converter’s absence, wild nature howls and the euphoric laughter of the fallen wild’s spirit fills the early morning air. The motorist is denied the ritual of the commuter‘s realization. All other identities that flow from the commuter are denied, too, aborted before coming to term in the commuter‘s absence. Like the cyclist before, in the robbery of the motorist, the gift of possibility is endowed: a life beyond economic exchange, an escape from the poverty of bare life into the freedom of self-creation.

Finally, with every subversion of commuter-identity — each stolen bike, every scrapped catalytic converter — a unique material reward is found.

The illegalists of generations past were able to fund their subversion with bank robberies and the burglary of bourgeois households; in our present condition of technological hyper-surveillance, these methods have become overwhelmingly more risky. Naturally, cybercrime remains a possible avenue in the face of this reality, but the foreclosure of this horizon, too, is well under way as repressive techniques catch up to subversive ones. In turn, subversive techniques are pushed further and further into the domain of technical specialization and the tools that follow, creating a terrain of engagement that is ever more difficult to penetrate. What we offer here, however, is a subversive technique that demands very little technical skill and is available to anyone that can obtain a commonplace tool: the battery-powered angle grinder.

Whether brought into possession through the legitimizing shroud of commodity exchange, the denial of such through shoplifting, or brought into temporary possession through a tool-lending library, very few circumstances would truly prohibit access. Once in hand, every bike and every catalytic converter that follows sustains our war against society with a trip to that ever-present ally to the criminal class, the scrapyard: cash in hand today.

We can anticipate the critics of our method, those who speak with corpses in their mouths in defense of the current miserable state of affairs. They will claim we are too extreme, that our approach is too indiscriminate, that it is alienating, ineffectual, and criminal. To them, we have nothing to say; in their moralistic anxieties, they have made their alignment clear. They have become lost within their respective commuter-identities and as such, wish to defend the commuter and the world it demands. Thus, they have positioned themselves as our enemies, despite whatever other supposed subversive affinities they declare. The commuter is the modality through which every other identity is shaped and borne within this techno-industrial prison. The negation of the commuter is the negation of civilization and the bare life it has enforced; the negation of the commuter is the affirmation of wildness, of freedom, of possibility.

We therefore affirm again, our hearts full with insurgent ferocity: every commuter is a target.

Every commuter will move through every day anxiously wondering when their time will come, peering through the blinds to check if today was their bicycle or their car’s last; every night will be spent restless and sleepless, wondering who might be lurking in their backyard or under their car, stealing away the material basis of their commuter-identity, delivering it to some faraway scrapyard. There can be no compromise with commuter society; for the possibilities of life to unfold before us in the realization of total liberation, every aspect of this world must be met with total negation, beginning with the commuter.

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