From The Transmetropolitan Review by Barabule Cuterescu
“Everyone [at the Cannes film festival] stuffing themselves with caviar, snorting coke, and congratulating themselves on giving a prize to a Romanian film. Lefty intellectuals love Eastern European immigrants because they get to see them suffer without having to actually listen to them talk. Perfect victims. But the day one of them actually says something, the left-wing intellectuals will find some other silent victims. Bunch of poseurs.”
-Virginie Despentes, Vernon Subutex 1, 2015
I didn’t plan on writing another article in English, but the universe had different plans for me, Barabule Cutarescu, the Moldovan potato, your peasant narrator. It’s too weird of a story not to tell, so I don’t care who I piss off, especially now that I’m chilling in some village outside of Iași. I’m serious, I’m literally fucking freezing right now, but whatever, go enjoy your California sunlight. Us poor, miserable Moldovans will keep sliding down the frozen-ass roads on our way to the magazin general. Yeah, that’s right, Romanian sounds a little French, doesn’t it? So if you’re just a another dumb loser from the US who doesn’t know magasin général means general store in French, now’s the time to catch up and realize people in your country don’t know shit. It’s a serious problem.
Also, before I begin, the editors have asked that I no longer use the word Americans to describe the greedy, selfish, and depraved pieces of shit known as US citizens. The editors think its unfair to populations in both North and South America who are, by definition, also Americans. Ignore the fact that some Italian asshole from Firenze named Amerigo Vespucci is responsible for those two continents being named America. He’s the genius who realized white people hadn’t reached India but had found a mostly anarchist paradise which they proceeded to exploit and butcher. Thanks to this Amerigo loser, we now have the entire continents of North and South America, not North and South Columbia. I’ll think long and hard about this next time I’m in the magazin and hear peasants cursing at the fucking American pig-dogs, knowing full-well I lived in the US for a decade. Your country really does ruin everything.
I started writing under my true name on a whim, having obtained the first issue of Commune magazine from a friend in the UK. I thought it would be funny to write some bullshit for them about communism, so I typed an article called The Vampires of Romania and asked if they wanted to read it. I never got a responce, so either I was too crude for those Verso hipsters, or they’re still pissed about the books at their NYC loft party getting jacked that one time, not really sure. Either way, I had this stupid article written in English and no clue what to do with it, so my first thought was to sludge through the almost irredeemable misery of US internet culture and see who would publish something from an early 40s anarchist living in Romania. My options were seeming pretty slim until I clicked on a Twitter account named Salish Sea Black Autonomists, followed the link to their website, and realized my article wasn’t exactly what they were looking for.
In near total despair, I looked at their list of comrades and clicked on the link to this piece of shit blog called The Transmetropolitan Review. They claim to be a newspaper, but as far as I can tell, they’ve only published pamphlets for the past year and a half. I would have probably ignored these rejects if their latest pamphlet hadn’t revolved around the city of Chișinău, the capital of Moldova. My first thought was, Really? Who the fuck cares about Moldova? I’d just had a spliff, so a tiny bit of paranoia crept into my thoughts. Was I being fucked with by someone on the internet? Was I being set up? Chișinău is less than a two hours drive from the village where I live, and the odds of finding the only US anarchists who’d even thought of this region was slim to none. I guess I must have been pretty high that night, because I just went ahead and sent off my article to the American pig-dogs who run this shitty blog.
I was in my kitchen a week later, just having my morning coffee, not quite freezing outside yet, but getting close. There was a nice fire going in our teracotă stove, a big tiled box with a metal plate for cooking meals and boiling bath water. We’ve got three of these in our house, absolutely necessary for the fucking brutal winter out here in the Moldovan hinterlands of Romania. The one in the kitchen has pretty tiles, or cahle, leftover from when this place was built about ninety years ago, give or take. I like to stare at these ornate tiles, filled with four dozen colorful stories all laid into the stove by some forgotten craftsperson, their imagination way more precise and committed than the one I’ve got slothing around my skull. It’s not everyone who can say they get inspiration from their wood-stove, but I can. The artist who made this glorious thing that keeps me from freezing to death is constantly reminding me to take my fucking time, to create something worth remembering, and not be a total moron. Art should have a purpose, otherwise it’s almost nothing, or next to nothing. Anyway, that’s about where I was when I suddenly remembered sending an article off to some dipshit Americans who ran a straight-up WordPress blog rather than a NoBlogs. To be fair, most of NoBlogs is Italian weirdness and barely turns up in Google Search, probably because it fucking rocks.
I put on my thick-ass jacket, walked all the way across the dead fields to my partner’s house, grabbed my shitty laptop, smoked a spliff, walked all the way back through the cold, then sat back down next to the stove, where I belong. I turned on the computer, plugged it into the Huawei router, connected to the Deutsch Telecom fiber-optic cables strung across the village, and appeared as some fucking random IP address to the Romanian secret police, so fuck you! I then poured a shot of illegal moonshine down my throat, laboriously signed into a ProtonMail account (anonymously), and found a bizzare series of emails from an editor at The Transmetropolitan Review.
The first one was just a link to my article and a brief thank you. Pretty terse, if you ask me. The next one was a bit weirder, with a few more words. The same editor claimed my article had caused their internet traffic to spike, bringing in thousands and thousands of views, more with each day that passed. They sent me screenshots of the data off their WordPress website (provided free by Google Analytics), and it was immediately clear that my article was not only being read by thousands of people in Romania, it was also being circulated by the Romanian diaspora, of which I’m a former member. That’s when I started screaming in joy, because what the fuck, you know?
Over the next days, I followed the discussions of my article and quickly realized the reactions were polarized. One half of the responses were basically suck a dick and die faggot. The others were along the lines of this is 100% accurate and funny. Obviously I was accused, often vaguely, of being a Russian spy. I mean, come on, Putin just loves some faggots, doesn’t he, especially the kind that are satanic anarchist terrorists like me.?The Orthodox Church really loves that shit, too, so I must be a Russian spy aiming to turn Moldova into the next Crimea. Did I actually just type that? Shit, well, if it’s true, our little anarchist commune might run into some setbacks with a bunch of little green men running around our fields, armed with tanks and assault rifles and jets. Not what I would prefer.
Of course, this summer, when I was having a beer down at the magazin, I definitely in no way heard Moldovan peasants saying they wished Putin would invade Romania. That’s about as crazy as telling you the neo-liberal hipsters in Iași constantly evoke Putin as some evil Golem poised to invade our virgin land, just like Ukraine, and that’s why we need Amazon and US missiles. Were I to ever meet cretins such as these, I’d say we don’t need the EU, the US, Russia, China, or any other nation-state to come in and make us any dumber that we already are. I’d say we’ve had a horrible century. I’d say we need to leave the entire capitalist economy behind, make each village more than self-sufficient, trade with each other, never reinstate currency, and then tell Iași to kick out Amazon or else they’re never getting any corn for their mămăligă, if they still eat that peasant shit. Once all the KFC and McDonalds run out, once we paralyze all the roads into the big cities, once I convince all the peasants to stop being racist assholes, we’ll basically have an anarchist utopia until the first scumbag comes to destroy us, most likely Putin. Then we’d have to defend it. Were I ever to say these things, either to a Moldovan peasant or a neo-liberal hipster in Iași, both of them would stare back at me with eyes totally blank. This is the incomprehensible Romanian anarchist position.
Alright, well, now that I’ve justified the title of this stupid article, I guess it’s time to get to the point before Facebook notifies you that someone you don’t know liked a throw-away comment you made while drunk two nights ago, or some highly-meaningful bullshit like that. What’s the point of this article? I’m not sure yet. The editors of this crummy website wrote me an email asking for another article, given how widely the last one spread across the internet, and I was inclined to agree with them. Nothing could thrill me more than the diaspora reading my highly-relatable garbage. However, I demanded some proof of loyalty from these American losers, so I made a typically Romanian set of conditions for further collaboration. I asked for a physical address to which I could physically mail a poster which they would then have to physically paste up somewhere highly visible. Only then would I write the article. Surprisingly, within a day, I received a mailing address for the food stamp office in East Oakland, along with someone’s full legal name. That’s when the paranoia hit me again? Was I being fucked with?
From what I could tell, The Transmetropolitan Review was based in Seattle. Why was I going to mail something to the East Oakland food stamp office? I’d lived in Oakland for ten long years and sat in that same foodstamp office with my friends for hours, vicariously living my true Romanian existence through these unemployed, thieving, welfare-leeching Americans. I messaged a few people from my past but they promised it wasn’t them playing some elaborate game with me. I should have figured. Americans aren’t smart enough to pull off anything this elaborate. Having nothing better to do, I messaged my friend in Bristol and told her to mail some old Romanian posters to these low-lifes in Oakland. She agreed to my ridiculous demand but before I shut off the laptop, I went back to this shitty website and stared at the main image.
Beneath the words The Transmetropolitan Review was the image of a woman’s face that I’d somehow failed to register. I only wear my glasses when I type or read for long periods of time because I’m a vain-ass bitch, so maybe I just missed it, but when I finally put glasses on, I saw the main image for this low-rent website is a famous piece of street art from Iași: a woman wearing a black collar with eyes that appear to see you. It’s basically the only famous street art from Iași, but it’s also extremely popular in Firenze, or Florence, Italy, as the American pig-dogs call it. To cap it all off, the posters my friend sent to East Oakland were made in collaboration with the same Romanian street artist who made the image now on the front page of The Transmetropolitan Review. So what the fuck, right? I told you this was a weird story, but it gets even weirder.
Long story short, my friend in Bristol sent the Americans a giant poster of Nicolae Ceaușescu, the communist dictator killed in 1989. I’d gotten a hold of this poster at some random party in Iași, though I honestly don’t remember where. I have the vague memory of using someones press without asking, but that’s it. I woke up the next morning with my bag stuffed full of posters, most of them printed on super-thin packing paper, so thin they basically melt into the wall with a little paste. In this pile was a stack of the Ceaușescu posters, along with the famous #câtmaireziști? poster of a woman’s face gazing at the viewer with one eyebrow slightly raised. Iași is still covered in this image with its cryptic question printed beneath the woman’s high black collar.
Since you’re most likely an ignorant American pig-dog, I’ll tell you that cât mai reziști? means how long do you resist? It really could mean a lot of things, especially when #rezișt became popular on Twitter after the police attacked mostly pro-EU, neo-liberal, anti-corruption protesters in 2018. In fact, #câtmaireziști is so vague the city government of Iași used it to promote local culture. This same image of the woman’s face is also pasted across Firenze, birthplace of the Renaissance, and the artist has been interviewed multiple times for the local Italian-language arts and culture magazines. Truth be told, it’s the greatest cultural export Iași has produced in decades, although unlike the Iași version, the Firenze poster doesn’t ask questions, the woman just stares. There was another semi-famous poster in my bag that morning, the image of two people kissing under the phrase 1+1=1, and this one became a minor hit in Firenze, though not to the same extent. Nevertheless, the most political poster in my bag was the one of Nicolae Ceaușescu. There were no words on it. It didn’t need any.
I ended up with close to a hundred of these bad boys and managed to put one up in Iași without being seen. I did this as a social experiment, mostly because I couldn’t believe some art-hipster had actually put the time and energy into making this ridiculous shock-tactic poster. It was gone the next morning, wiped clean by a very efficient scraper. All the other posters were still up, but not Ceaușescu, no way. If someone had seen me pasting it, I probably would’ve been viciously attacked, but who knows? Maybe not. Either way, I have absolutely no love for Ceaușescu and eventually mailed the whole bundle of street art to Bristol where my friend lived, another member of our Romanian diaspora.
She put some of them up in London near Tube stations and a dozen more in Bristol, all places she knew Romanians would walk past. Same shit happened as in Iași, all the posters were destroyed, but to be perfectly frank, that Ceaușescu image can cause a moment of total bewilderment in a Romanian’s mind, followed by extreme emotions either nostalgic or rageful in nature. I think it’s the art-hipster’s greatest work, proof that the Da Da spirit of Tristan Tzara still lives in the hills of Moldova, even though Tzara was Jewish and got the fuck out of there, just like the art-hipster who fled to Firenze and covered its ancient streets in some random woman’s face.
Anyway, I maybe told you the long version on accident, but I’ll try and get back to the short one. My friend in Bristol mailed off a copy of the Ceaușescu poster and the 1+1=1 poster to those bizzare pig-dogs in Oakland, along with a reminder that Ceaușescu needed to be pasted in a highly visible area. I think I forgot about this for a week, having better things to do like cuddle with my partner, keep the house warm, drink moonshine, and cook giant pots of borș. Fuck. Okay. So you see this letter: ș? It makes the sh sound that most American pig-dogs are familiar with. Now take the city name Iași. I know you’ve probably been reading this article thinking it was pronounced ya-see, but that’s only because you’re an ignorant moron. It’s pronounced yash. So now let’s get back to those big pots of borș I mentioned. How do you pronounce it then? That’s right, borsh. Almost sounds Russian, doesn’t it? Might even remind you of borchst, maybe? Well, it’s not, not at all, and it’s really important you pig-dogs understand this for once.
Try to imagine some fucking Moldovan peasant during the Roman occupation. Moldova was outside the Empire, mostly, and the indigenous Dacians never stopped attacking until those Latin pig-dogs went back to Italy. That’s right boys and girls, there used to be fucking indigenous people in Europe. In fact, some of them still exist, but that’s an entirely different subject. Anyway, imagine there’s this indigenous Moldovan peasant during the Roman occupation, eating rocks and soil, when suddenly they realize they feel terrible, not having enough vitamin C. Somehow, by some insane fucking miracle, that poor Moldovan peasant realized if they threw a cherry branch in a pot of water and wheat, it would ferment into sour juice infused with vitamin C. After that, they were happy and strong and able to slaughter ten Romans with their bare hands. Since that fateful day, we’ve been fermenting this stuff and chugging it down to stay healthy. You want proof, go look and see how old everyone is in the village. They live to be 104. And the name of this magical potion? You guessed it. Borș! It’s not just a soup, it’s also the soup’s base, available in every Romanian supermarket. Just today, when I was down at the magazin general, there were a few bottles of it for sale, though I don’t know why. Most everyone still makes their own borș in our village, but we use corn instead of wheat. Thanks, North America!
Unlike the borchst in Russia and Ukraine, our borș soup is thin and sour and mostly brown or yellow, not purple. My friends and I make big pots that last weeks, preserved with our natural refrigerator outside. I was eating a nice bowl of this stuff when I suddenly remembered my bizzare request of those Oakland low-lifes. When I finally checked my email, I saw my new friends had gone beyond what I’d asked. Not only had they posted Ceaușescu’s face near a major freeway onramp, they posted the cutesy and vague 1+1=1 right next to it, which made me finally start liking these people. The final straw in my affection came when I clicked on a link they sent, directing me to a post on the r/Romania sub-Reddit titled Ceaușescu în Oakland, CA (2019). Beneath a photo of the poster was a lively comment thread where Romanian neo-liberal capitalists and their opponents argued over the meaning of communism, capitalism, the diaspora, and the liberal degeneracy of California.
It was an amazing read and thrilled me to the bone. By that point, I was happy to write the trash you’re reading now, but I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. I clicked on the final link they sent and was taken to a Photobucket account where I saw dozens and dozens of the #câtmaireziști posters posted up in various urban settings. As I scrolled through these images, I realized these posters were in either San Francisco or Oakland. Not only had #câtmaireziști been replaced with the phrase She’s Watching You, there was now a circle-A emblazoned on the woman’s high black collar. I leaned back in my chair, my borș now cold, and I asked myself, what the fuck is going on? These fucking assholes provided no explanation, just a link and nothing else. I sent back a stupid email, something like, Hey, those posters of the woman are all over Iași. How’d they get to Oakland? I didn’t do that. When they responded a few days later, the explanation was simple. One of their imbecilic editors had been to Iași and Firenze and fell in love with the art-hipster’s poster.
They claimed the woman was the spirit-image of a French-Swiss anarchist born in 1850, even down to the clothing, and this anarchist supposedly lived in San Francisco from 1873 to 1945. Crazy, I know, but who am I to judge, given I asked them to post up an image of Ceaușescu-the-state-communist and they straight-up did it without asking questions. We were on to something big, these convergences were too uncanny, so I thanked the editors for indulging me and promised to send an article about natural gas, Russian oligarchs, and the EU. So far I’ve written about almost none of that, but I guess it makes sense to start with gas.
We try to use only wood during the cold months but eventually it gets too hot to be cooking with fire. Right now, as I type away, I can see our tank of natural gas sitting below a simple twin-burner stove. This is what we use in the hot months to cook our borș. We’re no different than the other villagers. We haul our tank up to the road, talk to people walking by, and wait for the gas truck to replace our empty with a full. We hand over our money, we make a joke, and then we haul the gas tank back to the kitchen and cook more borș.
We spent probably a month of the year gathering enough wood for winter. It takes forever because we only harvest trees that have fallen naturally. It’s pretty sketchy, hippy-dippy as it might sound. When we’re out in the woods with our truck, chopping up fallen trees with chainsaws, we have to constantly be on the lookout for rangers and mafia-loggers. The rangers are mostly there to stop the mafia, but if the mafia found us they’d probably start shooting, just like they shoot at rangers. To be real, I feel for the rangers. Aside from us anarcho-tree-huggers, the rangers are the only ones who seem to give a shit about nature, it’s even their job to protect it. They might even be the only law-enforcement officials on the whole fucking planet that I actually have an ounce of sympathy with, given how hopeless their job is. I’m serious, these guys get straight-up assassinated by the mafia, and no one supports them. Why? Because people buy firewood from the mafia. Trust me, I’d rather there be some green-anarchist militia patrolling the woods and protecting the trees, almost like they have in Mexico, but we’re not anywhere close to that in backwoods-ass Moldova.
We’ll never buy firewood from the mafia, ever, but at some point we’ll end up buying natural gas from some Russian oligarch, if we haven’t already. The fucking Russian bastards make our little Romanian firewood mafia look like dog-shit, by the way. I don’t want to write about anything oligarch-related, given how much the American pig-dog media has covered these fucking assholes, but I still want to write about natural gas. When the price of gas goes up, more trees come down. When the gas copanies are squeezing peasants, the Romanian mafia comes in and turns our forests into firewood. It’s a horrible fucking machine, and when gas prices go down, more trees survive. It wasn’t always this way. Under communism, the gas company was controlled by the state. Under capitalism, Romania’s natural gas was sold off to whoever wanted it, jacking up prices for peasants across the country. To be fair, Romania has the cheapest gas in Europe and is almost autonomous from Russia with its natural reserves. The biggest problem is that further integration into the EU will no-doubt jack prices up even higher for no other reason than Christine Lagarde’s need to look brown at her cocktail party. Just look at what her IMF did to Ukraine. It’s disgusting.
In 2016, two years after their civil war began, the western backed Ukrainian government had nearly tripled the natural gas prices for its citizens under pressure from the IMF, a condition for receiving billions of dollars in loans. In late 2018, after convincing western Ukraine to remain on the side of the EU and the US, the benevolent IMF granted the Ukrainian government another 4 billion dollar loan to stabilize their economy. To reward the poor Ukrainian peasants for remaining on the right side of history, the IMF demanded natural gas prices be raised a further 25% as the condition for recieving this next loan. If that’s too complicated, I’ll make it simple. Before the Ukrainian Civil War broke out in 2014, when the evil pro-Russian government was still in power, the Ukrainian peasants were paying about ₴725 for 2500 cubic meters of natural gas. In 2016, after the war had broken out and democracy triumphed in the western half of the county, the shivering Ukrainian peasants were now paying over ₴7000.
Put simply, the west fucked Ukraine real good, and rather than pay these insane prices, the peasants did what they usually do: they cut down their forests. Aside from eating their barbaric purple borchst and speaking a Slavic language, those Ukrainian peasants are just like us, no matter how much we deny this. In fact, conditions are the same all the way deep into Russia, at least outside the cities in peasant-land. Karl Marx, that pig-headed monster, talked massive shit on the Slavic peasants of his day and it took a nihilist named Vera Zasulich to convince him he was wrong, that peasants were in fact the prime agents of history, the revolutionary power capable of toppling the Czar. Marx died right after that grand epiphany and just like wise Vera predicted, these peasants rose up from Romania to Russia, heralding the great revolution of 1917. Guess what happened next? The fucking dictatorship of the proletariat decided the peasants were counter-revolutionary and proceeded to slaughter them wholesale over the next three decades. Now they’re back. They still live in the fucking snow. They still need to keep warm. With natural gas now too expensive, these peasants still cut down trees. What a nightmare, and it gets even worse. Trust me.
Despite all the bullets and blood and bombs of the civil war, Russia and Ukraine recently settled a deal which allowed Russian natural gas to flow freely into Europe. Despite the endless bloodbath in eastern Ukraine, the EU is heavily dependent on cheap Russian natural gas and will do just about anything to keep it flowing westward. In 2015, the Ukrainian government stopped purchasing natural gas directly from Russia and instead opted to buy Russian natural gas second-hand from its EU partners, an insane arrangement that caused Ukrainian gas prices to spike. All of this now stands to change with the recent deal between Putin and Zelensky. Not only will Ukraine receive nearly 7 billion dollars from this new gas-transit deal, it paves the way for Ukraine to resume direct purchases from Russia. Gas prices fell immediately after this deal was announced and, like I said, it’s not long before this cheap Russian gas is being delivered by truck to our little village. Why? Because a bunch of dumbshit Romanian politicians want to liberalize our gas market.
Honestly, it’s probably thanks to Ceaușescu that Romania ended up being so energy independent, but it’s also thanks to him that Romania began recieving imported gas from Mother Russia. Right now, as I write these words, around 25% of the natural gas consumed in Romania comes directly from Russia through its Gazprom company. If you hadn’t guessed, Gazprom is controlled by those Russian oligarchs I mentioned earlier, and it’s entirely possible we’ve already purchased some of their gas out here in our Moldovan commune. In 2018, the socialist PSD government capped the price of domestic gas for residential buyers. Since then, Romanian gas prices have risen over 30% for industrial buyers. With the neo-liberal PNL now in power, those residential price caps are set to come off this spring, once the snow starts to melt, and we’ll have what they call a liberalized gas market where the PSDs restrictions on exports no longer apply. Convenient, huh? Since the fall of communism, the poor Romanian peasants have gone from having access to cheap gas to now being made dependent on this neo-liberal free market that forces them to buy mafia firewood rather than freeze. Romanian gas prices will continue to rise, I’m sure, until Gazprom gobbles up more of the Romanian market and floods it with their cheaper product.
Speaking of cheaper product, you know what Romania exports way more than natural gas? Ourselves. We export our living, breathing, human bodies to be used up by western capitalists. We’re talking about millions of Romanians here, a huge diaspora scattered in a giant fan across the world. The west is eager to access our newly-liberalized gas, but when it comes to actual living Romanians, the west still has some serious issues. Last winter, in the British Midlands, a gang of stupid white people attacked a 34 year-old Romanian mother because they thought she was Polish. Yeah, that’s how dumb these UK fascists are, and they viciously beat this woman until she managed to take shelter at a neighbors place. The shit-rag Daily Mail refrained from its usual anti-Romanian sentiment when it reported on this attack, but later that fall they went hog-wild reporting on a Romanian crime-ring that stole jewelry in the British Midlands and then fenced it back in beachside Constanța. This is the crazy, schizo paradigm us Romanians are stuck in, at least in Western Europe. On the one hand, we’re good workers, good parents, good immigrants, but we’re also portrayed as diabolical thieves who can’t help but steal from everyone we meet, including you.
There’s a French author who seems to understand this paradigm, a blonde white woman named Virginie Despentes, and she embeds it into her uber-hit novel Vernon Subutex 1. Since you’re an ignorant American pig-dog, you’ve probably never heard of these books, but they’re really popular out here in Europe. Earlier last year, Canal+ began streaming the first season of its Vernon Subutex series, a pretty basic adaption that leaves out all the subtle mentions of Romania that Despentes inentionally placed in the first volume. One character is taking a taxi through Paris when she sees three little immigrant girls walking side by side. Three Romanian girls. She sees one of them slip a hand into the backpack of a Japanese girl. In another scene, the main character, Vernon Subutex, is homeless on the streets of Paris when he’s confronted by three Génération identitaire fascists. They tell Vernon, if you were a Romanian migrant you’d have somewhere to sleep and they claim to be super sad that he’s not a Romanian refugee, because if he was he wouldn’t be reduced to freezing his ass off on the sidewalk. In truth, these fascists are only sad he isn’t Romanian because, if he was, they could savagely beat him.Meanwhile, another character thinks Romanians are the French-Left’s perfect victims who’ve helped thwart his career as a French screen-writer. The violent and perfect conclusion of Vernon Subutex 1 comes when this nascent alt-right screen-writer is viciously beaten by these same Génération identitaire fascists.
Virginie Despentes is a household name among Euro-Gen-X scumfucks like me. When her movie Baise-Moi came out in 2000, my friends and I all crammed into the one theater playing this hard-core porn crime-saga. It’s way better than Natural Born Killers, by far, it was even banned in France, and after I watched those two porn-actresses murder their way across the Republic, I emerged from the theater charged with elation. As we walked our way towards Montmartre that night, my partner kept ranting on and on about how Virginie Despentes had channeled the spirit of the pétroleuses, the divine feminine rage of the Paris Commune, and given it a contemporary cinematic form in Baise-Moi. We all carried that fire with us across Europe to the 2000 IMF and World Bank protests in Prague where we experienced one of the wildest demos of our lives. Maybe my partner was telling the truth about that divine rage, who knows, but either way it’s safe to say I’m a critical fan-girl of Virginie Despentes.
In the fall of 2015, I left my adopted home of Oakland and flew with my friends all the way to Paris for the upcoming protests against the COP 21 climate conference. We got there weeks early to avoid any suspicion, given it was going to be a massive demo against the earth-destroyers and promised to bring some of the most intense riots Paris had seen in decades. Despite my excitement, I had other concerns once I made it into France. After we we’re settled in our friends cozy apartment, I went to the nearest bookstore and bought my first copy of Vernon Subutex 1. I was about halfway through this fucking book, soaking in my friend’s nice bathtub, when I suddenly heard a long burst of machine-gun fire down on the street, followed by the sound of people screaming in panic.
That’s right, you assholes, I was in Paris when those fucking daesh monsters started gunning down everyone they could see. I wasn’t just there, I was right there, and if it wasn’t for that terrorist attack, I might have finished Vernon Subutex 1 in peace. Once the blood was washed away, I found myself filled with that same divine rage, not just towards daesh, but towards the fucking French state who declared a state of emergency and forbid the upcoming protests against the COP 21. All of it seemed connected, but Romanians are hopelessly paranoid, so I’ll spare you my conspiracy theories. Just let it be said that I was determined to riot on the streets of Paris, a desire I shared with hundreds of others, and when the fateful day arrived, we were the only ones to defy the state of emergency and fight the police. While all the liberals stayed home or placed symbolic shoes on the ground, us maniacs brought the chaos to the City of Light and made sure those pigs knew they hadn’t won. I screamed and yelled and threw stones and sprayed paint and kicked back teargas and unleashed all the divine rage I had left in my 35 year-old body. I wasn’t alone, and together we showed the world that it’s always possible to resist, even against impossible odds. I still can’t believe that was almost five years ago, but it was. Now look at me.
I’ve officially gone over the allotted word count of 5000 set by the stinky American pig-dogs at The Transmetropolitan Review, so now that we’re close to the end, I should probably tell you about the Romanian anarchist movement. There isn’t one. Just kidding, there is, but it’s really small and really fragmented compared to our Bulgarian comrades who’ve been rocking it for over a century. There’s some squats in Cluj, the Silicon Valley of Transylvania, and I was shivering with ecstacy when I saw Bucharest’s only queer anarchist social center, the Macaz Autonom Coop, featured on the 325 website. They’re up against a lot of bullshit over in the capitol, let me tell you. Last time I was there, all the walls around the center were covered in fascist graffiti. I even saw one that said anti-antifa, a favorite of the American pig-dog fascists. Compared to Bucharest, little Iași seems straight-up antifascist, especially since the fucking Iron Guard was born there. During my nighttime rambles in Iași this summer, I saw way more circle-As and ACABs and 1312s than fascist shit, though most of it’s from the hooligans, just to be real. There’s anarchists in Iași, for sure, obviously, but we’re just a bunch of individuals. Capitalism really did a number on us, which is sad, because no one really knows about how radical and brilliant Moldova used to be.
Iași was once a center for the original Anarchist International, the Black International of 1872, the old International that still exists across the entire fucking world. Iași has always been a university town, in fact, it’s got the oldest university in all of Romania, and some of those students got sucked into the great nihilist wave that spread out from Russia in the 1870s. These anarchists and socialists and nihilists agitated across the whole of Moldova until their efforts culminated in the fateful Peasant’s Revolt of 1907. It broke out in a village called Flămânzi, not far from where I live, and the revolt spread across Moldova for a few violent months. Jewish landlords were killed, Moldovan landlords were killed, all that kind of stuff happened, it was an open insurrection. That’s why over 100,000 soldiers were called in to slaughter these peasants who’d done away with private property. No one really knows how many people died in April 1907, but we all know the name of the party that ordered this bloodbath. It’s the same party that’s currently ruling Romania. They’re called the PNL, the National Liberal Party. After the fall of communism, they thought everyone would forget their history, but not these peasants.
Yesterday I walked down to the magasin général with my partner. Both of us are the same gender, but at the magasin we always play the spouses running errands. We stayed and had a few glasses of beer with the peasants, we talked about freezing our asses off, and made plans with our neighbor to give his family some of our unchopped wood. They all think we’re city kids tired of the hustle, trying to start over, reconnect with our roots, something like that. They know we hate politics, that we support no party, that we charge basically nothing to mill their wheat. They don’t know that we’re gay or that we’re anarchists but none of them seem suspicious. We go to church sometimes, mostly in the winter, and in the warm months we have the excuse of work. As long as these Moldovan peasants see us working and not having those satanic orgies, we don’t have to always be in church every Sunday. We’re doing God’s work, clearly. My parents and grandmother live pretty close by, just like the families of my friends, and my partner is the only city-slicker of our commune. Also, my partner and I are both legally married to different people on our commune. Marriage is obviously a joke, but whatever, you do what you have to do. I’m definitely a gnostic when it comes to fomenting anarchist rebellion.
My favorite way of fighting racism out here in the village is by claiming Romanians and Roma have been pitted against each other by outside forces. If they only united, their combined brilliance would overwhelm the continent and bring about a better world. I say this as a joke, but it never gets old, at least not in the magazin general. When it comes to the five miserable gay teenagers in the village, we’ll just give them a few of our computer lessons and soon enough they’ll be anarcho-queer hacker kids laughing at the two dozens fag-memes written in Romanian. I really do hate the fucking internet, but since the benevolent west handed us this weapon, it only makes sense that we use it, safely. So here we are! The offical word-count is 6666. My job here is finished for now. Ciao amore!