B U R E A U O F P U B L I C S E C R E T S
Still Out of Order
Open Letter to Good Times
Issued July 1971 by the groups Contradiction and Point-Blank (the latter of which had just previously put out a comic called Out of Order). 1000 copies were distributed to telephone workers during their brief national wildcat strike.
The text, which is too small to reproduce well online, reads:
Shit! First a wildcat, then sabotage, now another wildcat and workers refusing to go back to work. Where does that leave the CWA [Communication Workers of America]?
Comrades! The telephone workers have extended their game lets extend ours and up the ante!
All they lack is the consciousness of what theyve already done!
Despite all the crap in the papers about union demands, weve made apparent what was already obvious that everybody is bored shitless with work and will seize any chance to show it!
Joe Beirne and all those other union bureaucrats dont fool us.
The battle against capitalism and the battle against the union are one and the same: anyone who tries to represent us is our enemy.
Itd be easy to take advantage of our strategic location within the system to destroy unilateral communication and open a real dialogue with our fellow workers who went back to work.
In a wildcat the creativity of isolated sabotage which goes on daily with little effect can be organized collectively.
We can open up the lines for free calls while cutting off business and government calls. We must communicate directly with Philadelphia, Tucson and New York to coordinate and spread our actions.
And to workers in other industries as well!
The Spanish revolution of 1936 was the most advanced foreshadowing of proletarian power. The armed workers of Barcelona occupied their factories including the telephone exchange defending their revolution against the Stalinists as well as fascists.
Our goal is nothing short of the suppression of wage-labor and the commodity-economy through the international power of workers councils democratic assemblies of the base who elect immediately revocable, strictly mandated delegates.
A wildcat is the first step on the road of excess, the game of discovering the organization of the new world in the pleasures of destroying the old.
As usual, PL, the Spartacists, International Socialists and other recuperators of the bureaucratic New Left seek to replace the union bureaucracy with a revolutionary one under the guise of support for the wildcat.
Humanity wont be happy until the last bureaucrat is hung with the guts of the last capitalist.
Faced with the long overdue collapse of the so-called Movement, the underground press is beginning a desperate search for new copy to cover up the discrediting of all the rotten ideologies it pushes and to stave off its decline in readership. Thus, on the one hand, we see the widespread dissemination of apparent total critiques such as the Anti-Mass Methods of Organization for Collectives, that pseudo-critique of the Movement which is actually an attempt to salvage it by grafting on a dosage of situationism. (See our critique of the Anti-Mass pamphlet, available from us.) On the other hand, the underground attempts to integrate into its eclectic show carefully fragmented scraps of real theoretical and agitational practice. However, even this falsification of revolutionary critique is not without danger to the bureaucrats of the underground press, since any truly revolutionary critique carries within itself an explicit critique of the spectacle, which (in both its straight and underground sectors) monopolizes communication between people around their unilateral reception of images of their alienated activity.
The July 23rd issue of Good Times reprinted two frames from our comic Out of Order as illustrations for an article on the telephone strike. In doing this, you removed the two frames from the context of our two groups agitational practice during the strike. Worst of all, you placed these frames in the midst of a banal interview with two telephone workers. Our leaflet, which explicitly attacks all unions as such, was turned into graphics for complaints that the union is often not there when you need it.
We therefore demand that our revised leaflet, Still Out of Order, be reprinted in its entirety (including our addresses) with this letter.
POINT-BLANK, P.O. Box 446, Palo Alto, CA 94302
CONTRADICTION, P.O. Box 1044, Berkeley, CA 94701
Printed in the San Francisco Good Times (6 August 1971).
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