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Os Cangaceiros

Ryne Ziemba


“Cette rue est interdit aux flics” [This street is closed to cops]

A group of working class street thugs that came together to collectivize their resources and skills, Os Cangaceiros began in the 1970s in Nice and roved around France, Italy, Poland, Belgium & England coordinating autonomous actions against the police, politicians, and union bureaucrats. They identified areas where popular dissatisfaction was peaking, and contributed to those struggles in ways which didn’t manipulate the local participants or force onto them external political positions. They disagreed with the militarizing of resistance by Action Directs and the RAF. Os Cangaceiros felt these armed groups marginalized themselves, thus alienating them fram popular support and making them easier targets for repression.

Instead, they preferred anonymous sabotage and property destruction. In the late 80s, Os Cangaceries began to direct their efforts against the prison industrial complex. They carried out acts of sabotage against prison construction sites, stole and published the architectural plans for new prisons, beat up architects designing prisons, and drew attention to the brewing resistance inside France’s prison walls. During France’s country-wide prison riots in May 1985, they attacked targets ranging from rail lines to Tour de France cars in order to publicize the prisoner’s resistance.

“Let’s not give free reign to our jailers, strike the tiger’s heart every day, in every way, according to our differences against the sadness and solitude of our cells of confinement.”

This CPH poster printed at the worker-owned and union-run Community Printers, Santa Cruz, CA.

This is #188 in the Celebrate People’s History Poster Series.

In the tenth grade, a friend gave Ryne Ziemba a copy of The ABC of Anarchism, which changed his life. Through writing, visual art, music, and film, he brings a noncompromised political edge to pop culture.

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