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RAAN (Unofficial) Network History

The maintainers of redanarchist.org are working to create a functioning timeline of the Red & Anarchist Action Network's various activities since its founding in 2002. This project serves two purposes - first, as an informal, ongoing newswire of affiliated action. More importantly for the overall mission of this website, the documentation of RAAN's history can play an important role in helping to understand a tendency that supposedly exists "only in action".

This timeline is a work in progress and utilizes information pulled together from all available sources. It should in no way be considered the definitive history of RAAN, as participation in many things such as street protests, union pickets, and recurring weekly or monthly events have been excluded for the sake of space. The creation of network propaganda and literature has also been omitted from documentation except in cases where it has accompanied or led to significant developments in the tendency's experience. To make suggestions, additions, corrections, or report broken links, contact our librarian at this e-mail address. All external links will open in a new window.

RAANista confronting a police officer at Wayne State University

March 3rd, 2011 - Members of RAAN are involved in minor scuffles with police after the Wayne State University campus bookstore is briefly occupied during anti-austerity protests in Detroit, Michigan. The day before, several streets in the city center had been shut down by unpermitted protests in response to proposed state budget cuts to education.

March 2nd, 2011 - A crew identifying itself as "Derby City RAAN" smashes out windows at a CHASE Bank branch in Louisville, Kentucky, explaining in a communiqué that the bank was attacked for its funding of the I-69 NAFTA Superhighway project as well as mountaintop removal mining in Eastern Kentucky. Expressing solidarity with a similar attack by RAANistas in the city of Lexington less than a month earlier, this previously-unknown cell explains that, "Our actions may be small and nothing but a symbolic gesture, nonetheless we act against all that oppresses us in this world."

February 14th, 2011 - Affiliates of the network attack and vandalize an office of the Republican Party, again in central Kentucky. Their communiqué draws a direct parallel between this action and a similar attack against the Democratic Party in California several months earlier. The Kentucky RAANistas also make a point to criticize "postmodern insurrectionaries" who only advocate liberation in terms of "empty platitudes" and "meaningless rhetoric". The text concludes: "Merely supporting us is not enough. You cannot join RAAN, but you can become it."

February 4th, 2011 - RAANistas acting under cover of night use pieces of porcelain to smash out windows and doors at a CHASE Bank location in Lexington, Kentucky. A communiqué issued after the event singles out CHASE for its financing of mountaintop removal coal mining in the Appalachian region, as well as the "unpardonable atrocity" of reproducing the global economy on a daily basis. The claim of responsibility continues, "Nothing has been achieved by what we did other than an immediate yet temporary catharsis of our clenched desires. Even so, we dedicate this moment of rupture to the RAANista Tendency."

November 14th, 2010 - About a dozen people attend a RAAN-organized Permaculture workshop at an undisclosed location in central Kentucky. Included was a detailed lecture on the design process of creating "edible forest gardens" in urban backyards as well as a hands-on segment in which participants worked together to cover a conventional lawn with sheet mulching; a technique that aims to recreate the soil conditions of a developed forest floor. A major focus during the event was on the need to draw out the implications of Permaculture into human relationships and the design of egalitarian communities while preventing its co-option by "green" capitalist ideology.

November 13th, 2010 - RAAN in San Francisco, California organizes a six-hour gardening workshop and skillshare centered around a guided tour of five different community gardens in the urban area. As well as covering various practical aspects of gardening such as the necessity of crop variety and composting, discussions were had on the need for radical groups to use gardens in building connections with the surrounding neighborhoods and providing material services to the movement. Also dealt with were the stumbling blocks to community organizing presented by "yuppie" gardening groups who use over-funded non-profits to erect solar-powered cell phone charging stations and other liberal gimmicks divorced from the majority of people's everyday lives.

November 4th, 2010 - A Canadian supporter of RAAN in Fredericton, New Brunswick overhears a man in a coffee shop discussing his career as an employee for "anti-terrorism" agencies and an intent by CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) to investigate and infiltrate the Red & Anarchist Action Network in Canada. The man is followed, photographed, and eventually questioned regarding his role as a government spy. The brief interview is captured on video, and is generally regarded as exemplifying the kind of general lack of knowledge that repressive bodies have of anti-capitalist networks.

Members of the Democratic Party sweep broken glass outside their campaign headquarters

October 3rd, 2010 - Five windows at the campaign headquarters of the Democratic Party in Modesto, California are smashed out with rocks and the acronym "RAAN" left on the building with spray paint, forcing it to temporarily shut down. A short communiqué quotes lyrics from the 1984 pop song "Keep On Keepin' On!" by The Redskins and explains, "We did this 'cause, like, FUCK liberals."

Early September, 2010 - RAAN posters and graffiti are found at the University of New Brunswick and Saint Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick (Canada). Specifically targeted for defacement are the election posters of the campus activist organization "STRAX". An account of the vandalism posted to anarchist news sites claims the actions in the context of ECC-RAAN's Campaign #2 and explains, "The message these comrades have sent us can not be any more clear: those of you who still cling to the dead weight of the past – the activist scenes, the cliques, the authoritarian Left – have an important choice to make: abandon ship, die with the ship, or else swim to our island of refuge. As a network and tendency, our time is finally being realized..."

September 15th, 2009 - More than a dozen people at an undisclosed location in Eastern Canada attend the first ever meeting of the East Coast Canada Red & Anarchist Action Network (ECC-RAAN) and draft a statement describing the intentions of their group. Although there have been few public indications of the ECC-RAAN's activity since, it would appear that they have been active in at least a handful of cities, primarily in making efforts to draw Canadian anarchists away from participation in official groups of the political Left, as well as the disruption said groups.

August, 2009 - The RAAN archives at redanarchist.org return, though it is still over a year before discussion forums are set up and various technical problems with the website itself are resolved.

RAAN banner in Sonora, California supporting the Greek riots of December 2008

July 31st, 2008 - RAANistas in Lexington, Kentucky firebomb a parked police cruiser in the middle of the night and release a communiqué describing the action as "one of the most satisfying moments of my life", after the commission of which a "victory joint" was smoked.

April 25th, 2008 - Sonora RAAN in Sonora, California organizes a benefit concert for community organizations in Oaxaca, Mexico, a town which had seen a seven-month popular uprising in 2006. The event is held at the Mt. Zion church and features two punk bands, a rock band, a metal band, and a folk act.

Late 2007 - The RAAN "hub" site at redanarchist.org goes completely offline as the hosting server is lost. For the next two years there is no centralized communication between network affiliates or any kind of public presence on the web apart from a handful of out-of-date websites created by regional groups.

July 10th, 2007 - Individuals describing themselves as a RAAN cell smash out several windows of a US Air Force recruiting station in Rockville, Maryland. A communiqué claiming responsibility for the action singles out for criticism the "haters" who oppose RAAN, and quotes what is apparently the 1985 Pat Benatar song, "Invincible".

May 25th, 2007 - Celebrating five years since the declared founding of the Red & Anarchist Action Network, a "bluegrass cell of RAAN" proceeds to pour industrial glue into an estimated 150+ parking meters in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, effectively preventing them from functioning for several days before they were repaired by city workers. Although there had been various public calls in the preceding months for actions around the anniversary, this is apparently the only one that took place. The RAANistas explain in their communiqué, "We wished only to demonstrate how easily and instantaneously the militance and ingenuity of those who struggle can alter those same oppressive situations we take for granted day after day." In its May 31st edition, the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper runs an updated story about the vandalism on its front page, quoting both the communiqué and city officials. A few days earlier the Herald-Leader had erroneously described the vandals as "Leninist-anarchists" on its website, only to quickly retract that statement.

March 19th, 2007 - The Windsor Guerrilla Gardening Collective (WGGC) hosts a workshop during which participants trespass onto various private properties in the city and prepare garden beds to be used clandestinely over the coming year. It is the first action claimed by RAAN in Canada (see below).

Early February, 2007 - Collectives and individuals in the cities of London, Windsor, and Ottowa in the Canadian state of Ontario "absorb" themselves into the RAAN tendency. The collectives had earlier been involved in a project known as the Revolutionary Ontario Anarchist Development (ROAD) Network. Unfortunately the affiliation was poorly defined, and based only on correspondence which did not seem to include or be representative of other ROAD collectives. As a result very little practical work is done, and by the end of the year ROAD had once again evolved into a separate regional entity, with little to no ongoing communication between the two networks. It is believed that ROAD itself dissolved shortly thereafter.

Mid January, 2007 - A group of radicals who broke off from the Socialist Party's lifeless "Direct Action Tendency (DAT)" decide to reconstitute as a RAAN chapter in Salisbury, Maryland.

December 14th, 2006 - The Tiitz Salon, a "men only" barbershop and club in Modesto, California has its windows smashed out in the middle of the night. A communiqué sent out afterwards explains the action in a feminist context and claims it for the previously-inactive splinter group Falce Proletaria, or RAAN-FP.

December 10th, 2006 - Laughing Horse Books in Portland, Oregon hosts a discussion on the network's project, focusing primarily on the ideas of conserving momentum in revolutionary movements and building credibility through both above ground and clandestine action. Among those present at the event is the editor of the Situationist-inspired journal Against Sleep and Nightmare.

December 8th, 2006 - Amor y Revolucion, a day-long event of speakers, poets, music, and films put on by the Latino Student Union at Reed College in Portland, Oregon is opened with a RAAN presentation on the developing situation in Venezuela. Portions of the film Nuestro Petróleo y Otros Cuentos are also shown, probably for the first time in that state.

Early December, 2006 - Following a discussion of topics raised in the fourth issue of the RAAN zine Emotional Poverty, Modesto's DAAA Collective dissolves into several autonomous projects across the California Central Valley.

Sickle-A flag and RAANista banner at Fresno City Hall

October 21st, 2006 - A diverse coalition of community groups including Modesto's Direct Action Anti-Authoritarians (DAAA), the local Collective for Arts, Freedom & Ecology (CAFE), and Food Not Bombs descend on the City Hall building in Fresno, California to protest recent police harassment of the homeless population. The anti-authoritarian groups served free hot vegan meals to all in attendance, and about 50 people spent the night camped out on the building's steps in a show of solidarity. At some point, an undetermined number of unidentified individuals dropped several banners from the front of City Hall, including a DAAA-RAAN one reading "Arm the Homeless". More information on this event as well as a report from it can be found here.

Early October, 2006 - The newly formed Direct Action Collective (DAC) in South Brisbane, Australia decides to affiliate itself with the Red & Anarchist Action Network, opening up a new page in the tendency's history by expanding it for the first time into a tri-continental formation.

September 11th, 2006 - In a bizarre case of irony The Bastallion, a RAANista squat in Modesto that for two months had served as a base of operations in northern California, is demolished on the same morning as the five-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

September 7-10th, 2006 - RAANistas embark on a successful mini-tour of the San Francisco Bay Area, holding five events in four days at both the AK Press warehouse in Oakland and the Free Mind Media Collective in Santa Rosa. The dates included two workshops on the nature of RAAN as well as talks and film showings about the situation in Venezuela, resulting in over $100 being raised for sister groups in that country. There was also a small Parkour training held in Santa Rosa, again with much positive response.

August 12th, 2006 - About thirty radicals turn out for a Parkour training workshop in Berkley, California - making it by far the largest PK event in the network's (and probably anarchism's) history. That night, a similar number of people attend a "defining RAAN" discussion at the Long Haul Infoshop; an event marked by generally constructive and sometimes intense debate between RAANistas and self-identified post-leftists/anarcho-nihilists drawn primarily from the Long Haul's Anarchy reading group. These events mark both a growing committment to West-coast organizing on RAAN's part, and some of the first ever positive contacts with ideological tendencies that had been stereotypically seen as opposed to the network's project.

Early August, 2006 - RAANista label Poisoned Candy Records moves from its home in Montana to Portland, Oregon.

July 7th, 2006 - The Philly RAAN crew puts together a large music event dubbed the "Free & Conscious Concert", showcasing radical artists from a variety of genres. The event was a tremendous success, and apparently the first of its kind organized exclusively by network affiliates. Performers included Philadelphia locals Stiff Middle Finger (Oi!), The Cutbacks (Blues Rock), and Ryan Elias and the Skywalkers (Folk) as well as visiting acts Son of Nun and Cypher:Dissident (both Hip-hop/Rap).

May 26, 2006 - Network affiliates in the DAAA collective organize a CopWatch benefit and screening of Nuestro Petróleo y Otros Cuentos at the AK Press warehouse in Oakland California, in the process getting the famed publishers interested in distributing the film. Overall, RAAN affiliates were able to organize showings of Nuestro Petróleo in over ten cities.

April 14-15, 2006 - A Philadelphia, Pennsylvania group known as the Revolutionary Marxist Collective (RMC) - which had recently undergone a split within its ranks over the question of Leninism - hosts RAANfest, a series of discussions and three workshops on various topics presented by the network. RAAN organizers moderate a public forum on the Venezuelan revolution and the film Nuestro Petróleo y Otros Cuentos is shown for what is believed to be the first time in North America. The next day RAAN presents an extensive training session in the art of Parkour, followed by an open forum that was titled, "Defining the Red & Anarchist Action Network"; an exploration of the nature of RAAN and what forms it could conceivably take in Philadelphia. As a result of these events, the RMC disbands and comes back together as a non-organizationally descript Philly RAAN crew.

RAAN and Artisan encampment in Caracas, Venezuela

March 11, 2006 - A workshop in the art of Parkour is jointly hosted by RAAN and the CA3 (Autonomous Collective for an Anarchist Tomorrow) in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. This event was a major success and further consolidated the use of PK as a tactic within the Venezuelan movement, as well as the network's contacts within it.

March 1, 2006 - A group of revolutionaries in the Venezuelan city of Valencia decide to organize themselves as a RAAN presence, marking the first ever instance of the network's physical expansion outside of the United States. The Venezuelan RAANistas focus on providing Parkour training to their communities, and in this respect quickly become one of the most active chapters.

January-March, 2006 - Network organizer Nachie travels to Venezuela in order to study the revolutionary situation unfolding in the country and develop proposals for RAAN's involvement on the issue. His report, The Civil War in Venezuela: Socialism to the Highest Bidder is potentially the most comprehensive anti-state analysis of the Venezuelan process in the English language. In it, he details his experiences with various revolutionary groups inside the country and describes some projects that the network has organized around the issue.

December 10, 2005 - RAAN affiliates in Boston, Massachusetts host the first ever public workshop for the promotion of anarchy in the art of Parkour. Moves are made to organize PK training sessions on a weekly basis.

November, 2005 - Longtime DIY punk and hardcore label Poisoned Candy Records in Missoula, Montana begins mailorder distribution of patches, zines, t-shirts, and other materials produced by the network, making them available for the first time to a large number of people. The label also spearheads an attempt at better organizing the network in the state.

September 27, 2005 - A RAAN cell of traceurs (participants in the art of Parkour) produces the pamphlet Parkour For Commies. It is believed that this marked the first ever attempt to connect the possibilities of the sport with radical (anti)politics.

September 14, 2005 - RAAN affiliates prepare a statement regarding the devastation of the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina and the state's murderous institutionalization of "relief", as well as raising several hundred dollars towards supporting radical housing organization MayDay DC's mutual aid project in New Orleans, Louisiana. RAAN's analysis is specific in pointing out that the power vacuum left in the hurricane's wake presents an extremely important opportunity for the creation of anarchist infrastructure. Towards the end of the month a network organizer from Cincinnati, Ohio would travel to New Orleans to volunteer in these efforts, in the process authoring a report on the situation for the fifth issue of RAAN Network News.

August 31, 2005 - "Revolution Books", the propaganda outlet of Bob Avakian's Maoist cult the "Revolutionary Communist [sic] Party" in Cambridge, Massachusetts is vandalized and "Maoism Kills Millions" spraypainted with the RAAN acronym across the store's front doors. A story on Boston IMC relating to the vandalism appears to have illicited several comments in support of the action. It was the second time that an RCP bookstore is attacked by the network.

June 9, 2005 - Amid a certain amount of debate, network co-founder Nachie authors the Bolivanarchism essay calling for increased anti-authoritarian education, critique, and involvement in campaigns relating to the developing political situation in Venezuela under the government of Hugo Chávez. The text provokes a vivid discussion, including a comradely Spanish-language critique by Giuliano Roma of the Argentine journal La Anarquia. As a result of this essay RAAN also makes contacts with several Venezuelan anarchist projects for the first time, laying the groundwork for solidarity efforts in the future.

January 12, 2005 - A network cell sarcastically identifying itself as The People's Glorious Beatdown pelts ex-presidential candidate Ralph Nader with eggs while he gives a speech about his failed campaign(s) at a community living room known as the Electric Maid, located in the Takoma Park neighborhood of Washington, DC. The RAAN activists scuffle with security before escaping, leaving behind a communiqué claiming that "[by] hosting someone who has run for president and now hawks his books for a mere $75 in campaign contributions, the Maid is paralleling the broader notion of the validity of electoral politics by taking its focus out of the immediate community and in essence relieving us of the ability to defend our own interests by suggesting that we place them in the hands of just another politician." The PGB had been providing security at Electric Maid concerts for several months, and other RAAN affiliates are believed to have been involved with construction/volunteer work for the space over the previous two years.

September, 2004 - RAAN activists in Washington, DC assist the DC Prisoners' Legal Services Project in raising a large sum of money towards making an abortion available to an imprisoned rape survivor. The urgency and success of the cause led the DC-PLSP to establish the "Marie Fund" for the purpose of ensuring prisoners' access to the relevant resources in the future.

Early 2004 - There does not appear to be a significant amount of information regarding RAAN's activities in the year 2004; it is believed that the network was largely "dormant" during this time, though day-to-day organizing (primarily around homeless issues) by collectives in California and elsewhere continued. It is reported that what had been known as the "RAAN Fraction" of the Arawak City Brain Trust in Columbus, Ohio also dissolved around this time.

December, 2003 - The Direct Action Anti-Authoritarians collective is expelled from the Modesto Peace Center in Modesto, California as a result of their affiliation with the Red & Anarchist Action Network. In their case against the collective, the strictly pacifist directors of the Peace Center presented blown-up graphics taken from RAAN's Principles & Direction pamphlet, including pictures of rifles and a brick going through a window. DAAA members assured them that it was only a block of Tofu.

Fall, 2003 - A small group of activists in Western Montana form a network-affiliated "militia" known as the Radical Anti-Authoritarian Defense, or "RAAN's RAAD". Taking advantage of the strong gun culture in their region, RAAD as an organized crew sought to further their own knowledge of both armed and unarmed self-defense as well as educate others on these and related topics. Nevertheless the firearms club was a temporary formation never intended for regimentation or "combat", and dispersed after several successful workshops.

RAAN Infoshop in Rochester, NY

Fall & Winter, 2003 - A RAAN cell in Rochester, New York organizes the first ever network infoshop (anarchist lending library and social center) in the living room of a local punk house. The 'shop specialized in autonomist literature and served as a community space during the various music shows held in the basement, but the house itself broke up before the end of the year. During this time, the two issues of the network's first independent zine, Herbin' Guerrilla, were produced. The geographic dispersal of Rochester's RAAN affiliates coincided with other developments in the city, including the breakup of the anti-war Rochester Campus Action Network (RCAN), the replacement of Food Not Bombs with a depoliticized liberal nonprofit known as Friends Helping Friends, and a break in the organizing efforts of homeless union Poor People United (PPU), which was agitating for the creation of an emergency hypothermia shelter in the city and had led the publicized occupation of a vacant building to draw attention to this need.

Fall, 2003 - The publication of RAAN's Principles of Action in the second issue of Praxis Journal leads to a reformulation of the network's concept, including a rearticulated guarantee of complete decentralization in activity and organization.

August 17, 2003 - Building on the successes of July 4th, the Red & Anarchist Action Network puts together a radical union known as the Kazm Collective (RAAN) in Rockville, Maryland. It is believed to be the only anarchist group in recent memory (or ever) to organize in that city. The group focuses on subversion of the suburban landscape and isolated youth culture through workshops in dumpster-diving, wheatpaste campaigns, and Critical Mass bicycle actions - believed to have been the first in Rockville's history. Due primarily to the traveling of some founding members, the collective dissolved in either late November or December. It had been among the first attempts at forming a semi-permanent network structure according to the adopted Principles of Organization.

July 27 to August 2, 2003 - The network declares "RAAN Book Liberation Week" as affiliates shoplift over a hundred books from corporate chainstores (primarily in California), scan them onto the Internet, and donate them to anarchist libraries and prisoner support groups such as Books Through Bars.

July, 2003 - A (apparently) large group of radicals in Columbus, Ohio break from the platformist Federation of Revolutionary Anarchist Collectives (FRAC) and form what came to be known as the "RAAN Fraction" of the Arawak City Brain Trust, effectively eliminating the federation's presence in Columbus. FRAC itself would disband in July of 2005 after the dissolution of other collectives.

July 25, 2003 - Ernesto Aguilar, one of the organizers for the historic Anarchist People of Color (APOC) conference that was to be held in October, accuses "reportedly Filipino" RAAN affiliate RedLibertad of making "threats of violence" and bans him from attending after Red jokes on his personal website that he is planning on inviting (white rapper) Eminem to the conference, and will feel like he "failed" unless his planned workshop angers attendees and makes them "want to box". RedLibertad had intended to put on a RAAN workshop at the conference about destructuring the quasi-Maoist "POC-Nationalism" allegedly being advocated by some (such as Ernesto himself) but not all (such as Lorenzo Komboa Ervin) of the event's organizers.

July 13, 2003 - The New York City branch of "Revolution Books" - propaganda outlet of Bob Avakian's Maoist cult the Revolutionary Communist [sic] Party - is vandalized with the words "Dear Leninist Scum, Bolshevism is not communism." The RAAN acronym is also scrawled at the scene. The action is described in further detail in the second issue of RAAN-NN.

July 4, 2003 - A sizeable anti-capitalist bloc called for by local RAAN affiliates converges on "The (No Government Can Give You Your) Independence Day" reclaim the streets party in Rockville, Maryland. Network affiliates distribute free birth control and red and black flags at the event. The RTS party had been chiefly organized by an anti-authoritarian tendency within a then-active high school anti-war network known as Students for Peace & Justice. RAAN's involvement with SPJ is covered in the essay, Spineless Fucking Liberals. Indymedia reports on the event and RAAN's participation are available online here.

Spring, 2003 - Proposals for RAAN affiliation in nonspecific actions are rejected by Anti-Racist Action (ARA) and Columbus Anti-Authoritarian Media (CAAM) in Columbus, Ohio. This was apparently due to a suspicion against perceived "organizationalist" tendencies.

March, 2003 - It is reported that a corporate development site outside of Los Angeles, California was vandalized and robbed of computer equipment; graffiti at the scene claims network involvement.

Pre-RAANistas Venal IV

Late 2002 - Early 2003 - At some point in late 2002 or early the next year, finishing touches are put on the network's founding document, the Principles & Direction, for the first time providing a benchmark by which to explain and build the existence of RAAN. One of the major developments embodied by the P&D was the militant rejection of Leninism in any future attempts at creating alliances between communists and anarchists.

August 24, 2002 - Two members of the Red & Anarchist Action Network identifying themselves only as Derek Zoolander and Hansel throw a spontaneous dance party in the streets of Bethesda, Maryland in order to raise funds for the then-struggling anarchist website Infoshop.org in what is commonly recognized as the first ever RAAN "action". A report of the event is archived at Infoshop here.

June, 2002 - Still undeveloped in its infancy, RAAN raises money for the legal support of Wild Rockies Earth First! activists imprisoned after using nonviolent direct action to halt a logging truck in Montana. Red & Anarchist Action Network co-founder Matt Brehe had been documenting the group's activity as a media volunteer. The solidarity campaign was the first coordinated RAAN initiative and stands out for its simple embodiment of the network's mutual aid philosophy: in this case, getting urban anti-authoritarians to support green anarchists involved in eco-defense actions.

May 25, 2002 - RAAN as a concept is formed through an Internet community, bringing together anarchists and communists of almost all self-definitions in a massive discussion on how to best organize resistance to capitalism and other structures of oppression. The idea of an "Action Network" was originally inspired by the proposed creation of a "Red & Anarchist News Network" over the web.

Boy Howdy

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