Two new reviews of Jeff Luers' zine, Heartcheck
Review of Heartcheck by Jeff "Free" Luers and Rob 'Los Ricos' Thaxton
from Heartattack #47 August 2005 [written by Chris Duprey]
This is a very inspirational zine composed by political prisoners Jeff 'Free' Luers and Rob "Los Ricos" Thaxton, both of whom are doing time for what others talk about. In prison culture, a heartcheck is what one says to someone who keeps talking and/or complaining about somethin, but fails to take action. Heartcheck is like do something or shut the fuck up. They chose that as the title of the zine because for yearsm various elements in the anarchist/insurectionary movements in the US have been making empty threats and promises of revolution, smashing capitalism and the state and ending opression. This zine is part critique of the anarchist movement in the US and the apthy we can afford as cititzens of wealthy first world consumer nations, and part a call to action for those who believe in something to stand up and fight for what they believe in before its too late. Detailing tactics and ideas for activists to broaden the struggle with, this zine acts as a good kick in the ass to those sitting on the fence of 'safe' activism and boring protest actions. This zine is awesome, inspiring and down to earth, with practicak wisdom and unpretentious and inclusive liberation politics. And its also a benefit for Free's defense fund. So buy buy buy or die! I'll leave you with a quite from the back cover: "With millions of people dying, the environment being poisoned and destroyed by consumerism, there really are only three kinds of people: the victims, the problem, and the solution.
This zine is dedicated to the latter. The time for rhetoric is over. The time for action has arrived. We hope that the writings contained within will begin a much-needed discussion on real solutions and alternatives sorely lacking in radical circles. We hope these words will only be the beginning of something much larger."
This review was published in Heartattack magazine #47. Heartattack is available for 50 cents [!] from POB 848, Goleta, CA 93116 www.ebullition.com
Check It Out
a zine review by Brendan Story
A New Preface by the reviewer! . . . Hey. An earlier version of this review appeared in the September Indypendent and it was revised for freefreenow.org. I didn't write it with a wobbly audience in
mind. That said, I recommend heartcheck to wob—particularly Jeff "Free" Luers' contributions. Free advocates for the destruction of corporate property and the targeted disruption of the daily business of corporations and of global capitalist super-organizations. I know there are a handful of
wobblies who see workplace self-organization, collective bargaining, and concerted action (including strikes and take-overs of course) as the only appropriate praxis for today's anti-capitalists. I disagree. Luers calls for the resurrection of the alliance between radical organized
labor and militant social activism and this call certainly resonates with the history of the IWW. In other words, take one part democratic industrial unionism, one part community-building/corporation-destroying militarism, and shake it the hell up and we might just be able to threaten the future of capitalism, the state, and the war machine. OBU ---FW BS
New York Indypendent #75 August 31, 2005
by Brendan Storey
The phrase "heartcheck" is used [in prison slang—ed.] to call someone out when you grow weary of listening to him run his neck or talk out of his ass. For example, if a person is wronged by another and he talks endlessly about getting him back, but does nothing but talk and whine—"Heartcheck!" Do it or shut the fuck up. (Luers from the introduction to Heartcheck)
US freedom fighters and political prisoners Jeffrey "Free" Luers and Rob "los Ricos" Thaxton have written a heartcheck for those who identify with today's radical social movements. It's disorienting to read a militant call to action in 2005. Much of the rhetoric and analysis would be more at home in a publication from the early anti-capitalist-globalization days of 1996 or 2000. Note the scene of a masked figure aiming his slingshot at a line of riot cops that all shines out from within a smoking molotov cocktail. I confess that I rolled my eyes the first time I saw it.
In most of the radical circles I inhabit, militancy has simply fallen out of fashion. I think that many people grew increasingly discouraged from actions such as political vandalism, civil disobedience, and barricade combat because of the limitation of their influence and the frightening risks involved. Others became paralyzed by an increasing awareness of anti-oppression power dynamics. I know many anarchists and radicals who have put militancy on the shelf while working primarily within issue-based coalitions or on problems of the neighborhood, workplace, or international arena. I don't fault activists and organizers for seeking to broaden or ground their influence and organization or for sharpening their analysis of power. However, if Luers and los Ricos sound like voices from the past, it's only because we have abandoned the kind of militancy that will be crucial for the survival of any liberation struggle with serious intentions of moving forward. Whatever you're up to, odds are you'll react defensively to this publication's message as I did and then, if you're up for it, you'll question your commitment to revolutionary struggle and challenge yourself to walk the walk farther.
Luers highlights the SHAC7 as an example to all anti-capitalists in the sheer monetary damage they inflicted on one brutal corporation and his analysis practical and exciting. He suggests that the model be adopted not only to make profit difficult for egregiously inhumane corporations but also to disrupt the daily functions of international free-trade-enforcement organizations outside of their global summits. His call for a resurrection of the alliance between idealistic troublemakers and organized workers is so valid and so important that it needs to be repeated everywhere from the punk squats to the union halls. Similarly, los Ricos highlights the Kabylia Uprising in Algeria as an example of insurrectionary anarchist praxis today and the story was definitely news to me. Look into it if you haven't.
Is there a bit of prison-sharpened machismo in some of this writing? Yes. Is there also a sincere appeal to your deepest convictions? Absolutely. Read this zine and keep in mind where its authors are coming from. Imagine that you are a person who has given up everything to act on your convictions and as a result you spend every day in prison. You look out at the people and the social movements you had hoped to inspire but you don't see the kind of action that would really help you get through the day. Free Luers, los Ricos, and their message deserve our undivided attention—but more importantly, we need to hear it.
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