Some Recent Actions Of The Imaginary Party

Some Recent Actions Of The Imaginary Party

All quotations are from the Theses On The Imaginary Party (1999) by Tiqqun.

“The Imaginary Party is the party that tends to become real, incessantly.”

On January 29th, 2009, someone shot a laser beam at an airplane. It happened in a town called Burien, just north of the Sea-Tac International Airport. Twelve planes reported being hit with a focused beam of green light during their takeoff and landings. The police immediately began to look for the perpetrators but were unable to find any suspects.

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After the initial burst of activity, there was a brief pause. But it continued to happen at random over the next month. In March of 2009, the police arrested Christopher C. Saunders for allegedly shining a green laser at a plane. The owners of a horse that Saunders had been shining a laser at during a party called and informed the police about his behavior. After being arrested, his bail was set at 100,000 dollars. He was charged and held on suspicion of unlawful discharge of a laser. When questioned by the police, Saunders told them he was at a party and was shining a green laser in multiple directions, including the neighbor's horse. He told them there was a chance he may have 'lasered' an airplane on accident. Before being arrested, he handed over the green pen-laser he had been carrying the night of the party. After holding him for 3 days, the police released Saunders due to lack of concrete evidence. Christopher Saunders was 24 at the time of his arrest.

 

It is very easy to imagine the party in question. Everyone is 19-26 years of age and very drunk. Most of the people in the suburban house have jobs or are actively looking for one. None of them owns a house. They drink on into the night as the planes constantly fly overhead. Suddenly, one of partiers takes out a laser-pen and starts shining it haphazardly in all directions. Everyone laughs as a green light begins to hit random people in the face. Perhaps the laser is accidentally cast upwards at the landing airplanes. Or maybe intentionally. It is irrelevant to the purposes of this article. What matters is the one moment at the party, filled with laughter. Everyone surrounding Christoper C. Saunders watches him as he fires his laser. None of them know that in that moment, with green light leaping up from the ground, Christopher became a member of the unseen, invisible and imaginary enemy of every system: the Imaginary Party.

“The adversary no longer carries the name of enemy, but in revenge they are placed outside the law and outside of humanity for having broken and disturbed the peace.”

Despite the arrest and release of Saunders, the lasers continued to hit airplanes. For a brief moment, the system thought it had found the culprit. The media began to construct a story about a petty criminal who had been in jail twice before the age of 20. It appeared that the unseen enemy was taking on form. Christoper C. Saunders. Resident of Burien. Age 24. The system was ready to turn him into an example of what would happen to others. But when Saunders was exonerated, the system was once again left with nothing but an invisible enemy shooting lasers into the sky. To this day, no one has been arrested and no planes have crashed.

During the initial period of hysteria surrounding the laser discharging, the authorities stated to the public that anyone caught shooting a laser at a plane would be charged as a terrorist. It is unclear whether or not the people involved in giving these warnings actually believed the perpetrators to be bona fide terrorists. Nevertheless, if anyone were to be caught, it would be up to them to prove that they were not terrorists.

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The neighborhoods around Sea-Tac International Airport are vast expanses of boredom. The houses all have decently large yards, the blocks are all identical rectangles, the strip malls are sometimes within walking distance but always reachable by car. Metro Transit buses will get you to downtown Seattle in over an hour. There is very little to do besides go from house to job, job to store, store to house, house to bar, bar to house. A 16 year old boy and girl consumed with boredom and possessing a laser-pen might look up from these lamp-lit neighborhood streets and see the familiar airplanes flying above. It would only be a matter of time before they decided to use their lasers, especially on the planes which never stop arriving and never stop departing. To the teenagers, this is a playful act. To the system, it is an act of war. The war we see everyday is a war between two forces. One is real, with its own police and media and army. The other is imaginary and nonexistent, composed entirely of individuals who do not know they are a part of it. The Imaginary Party does not exist. And yet it continues to act.

“Those who do not understand war do not understand their own times.”

20 miles north of Sea-Tac International Airport is the city of Seattle. A sprawling metropolis, Seattle encompasses many separate towns into its body. All are connected by vast boulevards that stretch endlessly into the distance. In the core of this metropolis, nestled on a slope overlooking the water of Eliot Bay, are the skyscrapers of Downtown. The black Bank Of America stands the tallest of them all, casting its shadow over the chilly canyons of concrete and glass.

On February 4th, 2009, less than a week after the first lasering of an airplane, a man walked into a bank. It was a Washington Mutual bank at the time. It has since been bought out by Chase. The bank was in the heart of Downtown. At 3:30 pm, a nicely dressed man walked up to a teller and placed a bag on the counter. He informed the teller that he had a bomb and demanded an unknown amount of money. Once he had been given the money, he told the teller that he could activate the bomb with his cell phone and instructed the teller to wait a certain amount of time before calling the police. The nicely dressed man then fled on foot, disappearing into the metropolis. When the police arrived they cordoned off that part of Downtown, paralyzing it for what remained of the day. Two robots were sent in to handle the bag. When the bag was inspected, the police discovered that there was no bomb inside. The nicely dressed man was not captured. The robbery faded into the collective memory of those who work and frequent Downtown Seattle.

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“Here, the protagonists move on such perfectly strange planes, one from the other, that they do not meet except at very rare points of intersection, and everything accounted for, by the whim of a certain chance.”

Much like Downtown Seattle, Downtown Tacoma is perched atop a hill overlooking the water. Its skyscrapers hang over the Port Of Tacoma and the Northwest Detention Center for illegal immigrants. On the weekdays, during the lunch hour and after 5 pm, the Downtown is bustling with activity. People taking a break from school at UW Tacoma, people catching the bus home from a day working in a bank, people waiting to bum a cigarette. But in the late hours and on the weekends, there is hardly any activity in Downtown Tacoma. The streets are lifeless and dead, save for the crowds exiting and leaving the few bars. When no one is working, the skyscrapers hang pointlessly over a deserted kingdom.

On October 8th, 2009, a man walked into the Bank Of America on the corner of 9th and A in Downtown Tacoma. He carried a concealed pistol and a bag. He approached the teller and informed them that he had a bomb which could be detonated by his partner outside. He gave the teller 10 minutes to fill a bag with cash. While the bag was being filled, another Bank Of America employee called 911. When the man left with 73,000 dollars, he found himself surrounded by police officers, all pointing their guns at him.

After being disarmed and arrested, the police found harmless blasting caps in the bag he brought into the bank. The man did not give his name to authorities. When they tried to fingerprint him, the authorities found he had super-glued his fingertips. While robbing the bank, he had worn a false goatee. The man eventually told the police he was Patrick Henry, the name of the man who originally coined the phrase “Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death.” It took several days for the authorities to determine his true identity.

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His name is Michael Fenter. He is 40 years old. The father of 3 children, he lived near Port Townsend at the Compass Rose Farm with his wife Kateen Fenter and her mother Bev. He graduated from the Northwest School Of Wooden Boatbuilding and worked at the Sea Marine in Port Townsend. His wife says he is not much of a farmer, but his carpentry skills were put to use at the farm and the income from his job at Sea Marine kept the Compass Rose going.

In January of 2009, Fenter quit his job at Sea Marine and began working for someone in Oregon. After the arrest of her husband, Kateen called her husband's boss and confirmed that he had been coming in to work. When Michael was arrested, he was supposed to have been out of town, working at his job. Kateen first learned of his arrest when an FBI agent called her and said her husband had been arrested for bank robbery.

The FBI are now saying that Michael Fenter is accused of robbing the Seattle Washington Mutual in February, a San Francisco Bank Of America in April and a Sacramento Wells Fargo in August. He is currently being held in the Sea-Tac Federal Detention Center. Kateen and her mother Bev have since closed the gates of the Compass Rose farm to the media. They have yelled at camera crews, telling them to “Get the hell out of here!” The Fenter family have appealed to their community to help them through Michael's indefinite absence.

“Each day makes a little more clear, in spite of the growing obscurity, the mournful profile of civil war where no one knows who does and does not fight, where confusion is limited by death alone; where nothing is assured, in the end, but worse to come.”

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Port Townsend is a small Victorian town perched at the end of the Quimper Pennisnsula. The town has a population of 9,000. The number is perhaps smaller. It is surrounded by the waters of the Juan de Fuca strait and the Olympic Mountains. There is a food co-op in Port Townsend that has sold produce grown on the Compass Rose farm. The co-op serves as a central hub for many people in a town that is very small and perched at the end of the world.

On the nearby cliffs are the bunkers left over from WWII. In fear of a potential Imperial Japanese invasion, the military poured concrete along the edges of the cliffs and pointed artillery at the water. Now, the bunkers are empty shells filled with shadows, graffiti and water. To the south of Port Townsend is the Bangor Trident Base. The Trident submarines which dock here carry nuclear weapons inside their dark husks. They are guarded night and day. There are enough warheads in one submarine to obliterate the entire Olympic Peninsula twice over.

 

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South of the Trident Base is the city of Bremerton. The city is built wholly around the Naval Station and many people from Bremerton have spent their lives working at the shipyard. At one point, the local government tried to market Bremerton as a convenient place for Seattle commuters to live. The metropolis of Seattle is only a short ferry ride away, and it was hoped that money would begin to pour into the traditionally working class city. But the craze never caught on and the gentrifiers largely remained where they were, across the water in Seattle.

40 miles south of Seattle is Fort Lewis, the largest army base in the area. There is not a town in the entire region which does not have a soldier living in it. On the bus there is someone just returned from Iraq, gazing intently at an Ipod screen they do not want to look up from. Signs discouraging soldiers from committing suicide can be seen on every bus. For years now, people have been returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, telling stories, dying, killing each other, surviving. The person behind the cash register killed seven people in Iraq. The girl driving a Mazda down the street knows how to fly a helicopter. Everyone in the bar knows how to assemble and disassemble an M-16 rifle. There are military daughters who have lost fathers. There are military husbands who have killed their wives. Fort Lewis has employed much of the local population. Its lands stretch out underneath Mount Ranier, standing 14,411 feet over the the area. Within the expanses of second growth trees, soldiers learn to endure physical and psychic stress. They learn to kill while crouching in the ferns and to die while running through the grass.

The military blots the landscape like a cancer.

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“There are moments where one already lives as if this world no longer existed. During these times, and as a confirmation of this bad omen, we see the despairing tensing and contractions of a world that knows it is to die.”

On October 22nd, 2009, a man walked through a parking lot near the city auto yards in Seattle. Some workers at the yards, alarmed by his presence, decided to approach him. As they began to speak, an explosion happened nearby. As the flames erupted, the man sprinted away. Shortly after this, there were more explosions. Later in their investigation, the authorities were to find an American flag at the scene of the crime, along with a note condemning the police and eluding to future attacks. This act took place on the national day against police brutality. There were no developments in the pursuit of the bomber. The Seattle Police Department kept the warning of future attacks a secret, even from its own officers.

On October 31st, Halloween Night, a white car drifted up and down the streets of the Central District in Seattle. The car drove aimlessly, the driver looking for something. Up ahead, the driver spotted a police cruiser that was pulled over along the side of the road, its light flashing. As if it was the future, three minutes too early, the car pulled up alongside the cruiser. A muzzle flash lit up the white car. The second cop suddenly found their partner dead and the white car speeding away, leaving behind an American flag which fluttered to the ground.

The police and mainstream-media immediately classified the murder as an assassination. What information was available was televised across the entire region. Slowly, details emerged about the note left at the scene of the car arson. It was only ever made public after the cop was killed. A manhunt began for the assassin. The description of a white car was made public and the mainstream-media filled their pages and broadcasts with lamentations over the dead 'hero.'

A memorial for the assassinated cop was held on November 7th. Hundreds of cops from as far as Olympia traveled to the city to be part of the grand procession down the streets of Seattle. A long line of cruisers flowed down the street, ending their spectacle at the Key Arena. The mainstream-media heavily covered this event, reminding everyone that this was a loss for the 'community,' that everyone was meant to grieve for the fallen cop, that his death was an attack on 'society.'

“It is a constant temptation, in effect, to conceive the positive existence of the Imaginary Party under the familiar species of the guerrilla, of civil war, of partisan warfare, of a conflict without a precise front or a declaration of hostilities, without armistice or peace treaty.”

On the same day, in the city of Tukwila just south of Seattle, three cops approached an apartment complex. They were responding to a tip that a white Datsun had been parked in front of the complex and had recently been covered in a tarp. The tip also revealed that the owner of the car had been acting strangely.

The cops waited to ambush the owner of the car. When he appeared, they left their cruisers and approached him. He immediately fled, stopped and pointed a handgun at them. When he pulled the trigger, there was no discharge. The man continued running and was soon shot, one of the bullets passing through his mouth.

He did not die, but is now paralyzed from the waist down. His name is Christopher Monfort. He is 41 years old. He most recently worked as a security guard. Before that he had a job driving trucks but was laid off. His boss said that he had been a diligent, hard worker. Christopher had attended the Highline Community College in De Moines, just south of the Sea-Tac airport. When he began, he had aspirations of being a police officer. He enrolled in the schools Administration of Justice program and later went on to get his BA at the University of Washington in March, 2008. While there, he began working on a program to encourage jurors to find black dependents not guilty for any non-violent crimes. He later worked with incarcerated youth at the juvenile hall, teaching them about the criminal justice system and encouraging them to remain outside of it. Every who knew Christopher described him as affable, outgoing and deeply concerned with the erosion of citizen's liberties.

After he was taken to a hospital in critical condition, the police searched his Tukwila apartment. They found the walls surrounding his front window lined with stacks of car tires, as if he had been expecting a shootout. Two rifles and several bombs made from gas cans were also inside, leading the authorities to believe that, had Christopher not been discovered, he would have struck more targets.

When the full text of the note he left at the scene of the car bombings was released, the public discovered that Christopher began his actions in response to the beating of a 14 year-old girl. She had been beaten by a King County Sheriff named Pail Schene while in the Sea-Tac jail. One sheriff beat her while Travis Bruner watched, doing nothing to stop his partner. The beating had been caught on security camera and then released to the public several months after the fact. The sheriff who beat her was fired, the other was punished but remained with the King County Sheriff. The note that Monfort left near the bombed vehicles reads:

"These Deaths are dedicated to Deputy Travis Bruner, he stood by and did nothing, as Deputy Paul Schene Brutally beat an Unarmed 14 year old Girl in their care. You Swear a Solemn Oath to Protect US from All Harm, That includes You! Start policing each other or get ready to attend a lot of police funerals. We Pay your bills. You work for US."

Monfort timed his bombs to go off at intervals. The first explosion was meant to lure police to the scene. The following explosions were meant to kill whoever was in the area. The only reason this did not happen was because Christopher had been spotted and the people who had seen him warned everyone in the area that someone had intentionally bombed the vehicles. He had meant to kill as many cops as he could.

 

“It is of this and exclusively of this that one speaks of without stop, because it is that which each day makes a little more visible the failures of the proper functioning of society. But one keeps from pronouncing its name...as one fears to invoke the devil.”

A mile south of Tacoma, near the northern edge of Fort Lewis, is the McChord Air Force Base. Every day, military planes take off and arrive in an endless circle. Across the street from the northeastern corner of the base is the Forza coffee shop. The coffee shop is a regular haunt of cops from Tacoma and Lakewood. They arrive in groups, order coffee and browse the web during their breaks.

On November 29th, 2009, four Lakewood police officers entered the Forza and ordered coffee. They sat down at a table together and began working on their laptops. A man in jeans and a black jacket walked into the Forza. He walked past the cops and waited in line for coffee. When he reached the register, he opened his jacket, revealing a gun. The baristas ran away from the man as he turned around and opened fire.

He killed two of the cops immediately. The two remaining cops stood up. He shot one of them while the other drew their weapon. The assassin and the last remaining cop struggled, pushing and wrestling each other until they were outside the coffee shop. In the midst of the struggle, the assassin broke free from the cops grip. The cop shot the assassin, the assassin shot the cop. The cop died. The assassin fled to the south with a bullet wound below his navel.

The first day passed without the assassin being captured. The area around the coffee shop was closed off and K-9 units arrived to search the area. Once again, the police and mainstream-media classified the murders as assassinations. Later in the day, the police released the name and picture of a person of interest in the manhunt. The mainstream-media put his face on their websites and broadcasts. He was a 37 year old black male from Tacoma, just released from prison after being jailed for sexual assault on minor. He believed that he was Jesus, according to the media.

While the manhunt began for this self-proclaimed messiah, a procession for the assassinated cops was immediately organized. Whereas the procession for the cop assassinated in Seattle took a place a week after the fact, this procession took place the night of the incident. Hundreds of cruisers lined the streets of Lakewood, one of the most crime-ridden cities in the south Puget Sound region. Deathly afraid of anyone applauding the assassinations in an area generally hostile to the police, the procession imposed itself on the streets, shutting down traffic, forcing everyone to watch it. The pictures of the four cops were displayed on broadcasts and websites, immediately referred to as heroes.

Immediately after the murders, people began to call 911 and report false information. The cops were pulled one way by a bogus tip, bringing their sniper rifles and armored vehicles, only to be pulled another way. By the end of the night, after the procession of the corpses to the morgue, it was clear that the man was being hidden. Hundreds of tips continued to pour into the ears of the police. One of those tips lead them to a house in the Leschi nieghborhood, several blocks away from where the Halloween assassination took place.

The neighborhood was sealed off as the police besieged the house. For the entire evening and into the morning of November 30th, the state of exception ruled in Leschi. No one could move and everyone was told to stay inside as the police began gassing the house. Exasperated cops issued warnings, advice and commands through their megaphones, only to be met with silence. Eventually, the front door was blown open and a surveillance robot sent inside.

When Seattle awoke the next morning, newsreaders learned that the house had been empty the whole time. After stating that the man inside had probably bleed to death for his injury, the police had to admit they spent the evening locking down Leschi in order to attack a phantom. In their desperation, they followed another tip to the University Of Washington, leading them to detain and search a black male in a classroom. More false tips continued to come in. The police began to pull over city buses and draw their guns on the passengers. Rumors began to circulate. He was in Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma. He was everywhere on November 30th.

On November 31st, a cop cruising through the Ranier Valley district of Seattle came upon a silver Acura on the side of the road with the hood open. The license plates matched those of an Acura that was reported as stolen only an hour earlier. The cop began filling out his paperwork on the stolen vehicle when he saw a man walking down the street towards the car. The cop got out of his car and told the man to stop walking. The man did not stop. Soon, he was dead.

On November 31st, a cop cruising through the Ranier Valley district of Seattle came upon a silver Acura on the side of the road with the hood open. The license plates matched those of an Acura that was reported as stolen only an hour earlier. The cop began filling out his paperwork on the stolen vehicle when he saw a man walking down the street towards the car. The cop got out of his car and told the man to stop walking. The man did not stop. Soon, he was dead.

His name was Maurice Clemmons. His youth was spent in prison. At one point he ran a landscaping business in Tacoma. His house was covered in security cameras and he was known for his spectacular Christmas displays. Six days before he killed the four cops, Maurice had been bailed out of jail. He was charged with raping a minor. After his release from jail, he told a small circle of friends that he was going to kill cops and that they should watch the TV.

 

After running from the Forza coffee shop with a bullet wound below the navel, Maurice was taken to safety by a small network of people. His sister bandaged his wound, his friends gave him keys to cars and cellphones. Maurice was transported to a house in Seattle. After getting word that the police were coming, he slipped out just before the siege in Leschi began. Maurice stayed ahead of the police until he was forced to steal a car. For two days he carried himself with a gunshot wound but remained determined to live. In that stolen Acura, he pulled over to vomit or piss or fix a problem with car. No one can say what he was doing, or where he was going to go next. Maurice died with a gun he had stolen from one of the cops he assassinated. The cop who killed him is now being lauded as a hero.

“Their form is that of an hostility with no specific object, of a fundamental hatred that wells up, without respect for any obstacle, from a most unreachable interiority, from unaltered depths where humans maintain a veritable contact with themselves. That is why there emanates from them a force that all the chatter of the Spectacle cannot manage to hold back.”

There is nothing connecting these incidents together. They are isolated not only because the media and the authorities have insured their isolation, but because they did not know each other. No one will be able to discover a secret code being passed between the actors in these incidents. There are no secret communiques or instructions from a central committee. But taken together, these incidents reveal how only a select few actors are necessary to throw authority into a blind, helpless spasm.

What is held in common between the actors described above is a potent disregard for everything. Shooting a laser at a plane meant nothing to the actors, nor did blowing up police cruisers or shooting cops in the head. What once mattered stopped mattering to them. And in their acts of negation they rose to a common disregard, their acts suddenly becoming positive. They robbed for their family and their farm. They ran to stay alive. They killed to avenge a 14 year old girl. They shot lasers at planes just for fun. In their disregard, they joined the Imaginary Party.

The Imaginary Party cannot be attacked by the police because it does not exist. It is made up of every actor who, intentionally or not, undermines authority at every level. When they are caught, actors in the Imaginary Party are made into isolated individuals, insane deviants who are to be quickly disposed of. Authority cannot admit the existence of the Imaginary Party for one reason: the Imaginary Party is just another word for the population. And the population is never allowed to be against authority.

The media will only acknowledge the absolute positivity of authority, never the silent negativity of the population. Screens are filled with images of candlelight vigils and pictures of patriots saluting hearses. The countless, unseen people who die amongst the population do not have front page funerals. Only that which is sanctified and approved by authority is given the title of 'hero' and remembered as such. Everything else is left to obscurity and isolation.

There has always been a constant level of activity from the Imaginary Party, but recent events indicate that something has altered. The level of disregard in the actors is increasing, just as the fear in the guardians of order is increasing. Everything is proving to be fragile and easily thrown into disorder. This fragility is televised on the nightly news and printed on the front page of the newspaper. With each new incident, power reveals its desperation, weakness and fear. It knows that its worst enemy, the Imaginary Party, lives in its own body, growing like a translucent cancer.

-Olympia, December 4, 2009

http://zinelibrary.info/theses-imaginary-party