Practical and Aesthetic Applications of the Principle of Ungovernableness

Forward Over the past several years, I’ve tried to concern myself with the applications of anarchist theory to everyday life. In my writing, I continued to scale up to higher levels of abstraction for the sake of communicating insights that were more generally applicable. That is what abstraction is good for. However, as I have […]
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Entry 2. To mile 1000.

Portland

One expects the worst from Portland. From “we will not be silenced,” to Portlandia, to the fact that Portland doesn’t even seem to be trying any more I had low expectations. The fact that the only person I knew from the Annares collective wasn’t there and my fear started to rise. I was totally wrong.

The crowd that Annares reached was mostly young, very interested, and my presentation went well (outside of my own repetition and over reliance on certain turns of phrase). I doubt this will rise to the level of being meaningful more broadly for the Portland scene generally but I was greeted by 30-40 people who seemed absolutely interested in ideas of fighting leftist framing, attacking conceptual regimes, and not being complacent about anti-civ ideas.

The question and answer section was particularly delightful with a nice combination of easy (or newbie) and hard (experienced) questions. A couple of friends (and others) stepped in to answer better than I could and I leave the experience feeling quite satisfied and even hopeful that future collaborations may exist in Portland. Time will tell.

Motorycle

And the plus side:… I can pick up my motorcycle on my own (it is over 700 lbs with gear).
On the minus side: I had to.

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A combination of being tired and on the down side of an incline means that I dropped the bike for the second time. This time it was crawling to the pay office for the Denman ferry but hopefully I now have the tools to not make this mistake again. The Vancouver Island ride was nice but a little more intense that I was ready for. As you likely know motorcycle culture is pretty clannish. I met a dude on a GS1200 on the ferry who adopted me. This meant keeping up with him on unfamiliar roads. Not my favorite. But once he turned off and I figured the right road I had a lovely ride that only slowed down as the bugs began a kamikaze cascade into my face.

I have two more ferry rides and then I’m on to solid ground. I am fearing and excited about the 49th parallel ride I’ll be doing north of the line and then the ride through Glacier Highway to the Sky and down to Yellowstone. After that the rides will be simple.

Seattle

The Seattle event was an introduction to this new project that hasn’t been entirely finalized yet… and so in this way I’m quite excited because some of the needs for the project came cascading out of me during the presentation. The need is for a real world (not internet) networking project that can serve as an introduction to anarchist ideas (rather than sectarian punch up) and an excuse to meet f2f. It’s called The Blast and you can learn more from the broken website (that I’ll probably not fix until June) http://theblast.info.

Left Bank is an interesting venue. Totally not made for the purpose of meetings but the crowd was really useful in getting to think about what to talk to the rest of the blast people about when I get back. I’ll be presenting about three more times on the new paper.

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Entry 1 – #lbcasual tour

About 450 miles from Berkeley, CA to Southern Oregon

First stops

I’m going to journal my trip a little bit, not so personal but perhaps over personal along the lines of what a long motorcycle trip looks like for a middle aged person. What travails and pleasantries I encounter and how I somehow relate all of the things I do to an anarchist life, one full of adventure, quietude, and, at least for the next couple months, the road.

I have decided to start my trips pretty early in the morning. I prefer to wake up with the sun and if I lived in such a way I would wake with her every morning. I left home about six in the morning and didn’t feel a need to take a break until my first fill up about 100 miles in. A motorcycle is better than coffee (although does not eliminate the need for it) and even though I did evade the worst of the morning traffic I did see it in droves heading the opposite direction.

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The morning never warmed up. I have a pretty good layer system with a synth base, cotton big shirt, and finally a down vest beneath my big motorcycle jacket. It’s hard to underestimate how great the jacket it. Pockets are in exactly the right places (although a larger inside pocket for valuables would be nice). I did alright until the rain started. Off an on, bit by bit, my feet and gloves were soaked through. By the time my day ended the teeth were chattering and I was fried. That said I was very worried about all the miles on my body but with the assistance of my cheater (helps my right hand grip by not forcing me to pull the full throttle all the time) I didn’t feel injured by the end of the day. Just tired.

Presentations

I imagine I’ll post this after I give my first “away” presentation (I give the first at the Berkeley Anarchist Study Group) but I’ve been thinking a lot about the themes I’ll be covering and how to position them in such a way as to make sure that we have interesting conversations and not stupid ones. Hard stuff.

This thread has made it harder.

What is funny to me is that insurrectionary anarchism was always built on the basis of a critique of activism, and wanting to get away from simply being a subculture. Now, it seems that the American Nihilists want to now build a strawman that says that anything that isn’t “doing what they’re doing” (who knows what the fuck that is, because they spend more time talking about it than doing it) is strugglismo, aka, activism. Listen to any of the Brillant podcasts and you’ll get the general gist of it.

I agree with the above paragraph and this is why the term strugglismo came into being. I@ was a critique of boring, stale, ineffective, ritualized activity and, recently, has given birth to a bunch of stale, boring, sanctimonious projects. The term (Insurrectionary anarchists) has lost its meaning as an a priori hostility against activism. The point isn’t much beyond that but the term was an attempt to put in a way that I thought was funny, not a critique against the totality of some peoples activity.

I also have a hard time agreeing with any critique that begins and ends with “they are not doing anything.” What the hell does that even mean? They are not winning? Isn’t anything that is not entirely in ones head something? Does “doing something” really only means X (and X is defined as ABC work, IWW, and antifa) and not Y (media projects, writing, and discussion)?

Last night (at my event in Portland) I found myself referring to my projects in excruciating detail. And this is because I, and others I know are doing interesting work have a very hard time talking about it. We (and in this case I mean everyone involved in these disputes) aren’t doing a great job of making the compelling cases as to why our work/projects are compelling. As a result they are not.

I apologize for the term but I do think it describes a certain kind of sanctimonious behavior. I try to not mirror that behavior. I try to point out what I really like about the hard work that anti-prison and prison support people do. I don’t think pointing out that many of our friends are doing the same thing over again (harder) is sanctimonious, I just think it’s a waste of time.

But whatever, it’s not my time to waste and I’ll try to stop tearing other people down on their hobbies (especially if they do the same).

Beds and dogs

I pushed myself to make it to the next town after Portland and was greeted by hilarous dogs (who remembered me!) and a bed. I know that later in this tour I’ll be camping so I don’t feel guilty about taking offers of beds here at the early part. Dogs are great though. I recommend them highly.

On to Seattle.

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My Problems …elections, christians, etc.

It’s election time. I’m watching mostly one side of a national debate post article after article in support of their candidate; or, against their candidate’s opponent. I have already seen enough tears, disappointment, frustration, and encouragement for the next year of my life. Personally, I can’t relate. In a way that is very similar to […]
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The Capitalist Concept of Self-Interest

The philosophical debate is not about the extent to which any wage-worker can decide what jobs to apply for, nor their potential to become business owners instead. At the heart of liberal philosophy is the tendency to conceptualize matters a-historically and with a focus on the solitary activity of individuals. Self-interest loses its meaning the […]
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The Casual LBC Tour

I am about to head out to the 49th parallel for a two month motorcycle tour. That could be fun.

  1. April 17th – Portland OR: Anarres Infoshop
  2. April 18th – Seattle WA: Left Bank Books
  3. April 24th – Victoria BC: Camas books
  4. April 25th – Vancouver BC: 38 Blood Alley
  5. May 2-3rd – Minneapolis MN
  6. May 6th-10th – Western Michigan
  7. May 12thish – SE Michigan
  8. May 16thish – Toronto
  9. May 18th – Rochester NY
  10. May 21st – Boston MA
  11. May 28th – Montreal QC
  12. June 2nd-4th – Ohio
  13. June 5th – Bloomington
  14. June 6th-8th – Chicago
  15. June 11th – Tulsa (Oklahoma bookfair)
  16. June 9th-on – Somewhere West of Chicago near the I80

famOtyar

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Self-Interview – The Status of the Internet

Q: So, why do you want to write about cyberspace? A: I think we’re at a point now – the 21st Century – where the ubiquity of networked communications, media, and culture is becoming vital to the structure of society …no longer a side-show, a field, a hobby, a trade …rather, a fundamental aspect of […]
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The Cumming Hipsterection

Opening lines are for assholes, so I always try to plow through them. Let’s just get straight to the point: the Hipster is everywhere, and it’s staying. Now that I’ve prematurely stated the conclusion, I’ll try to unpack it so that eventually, I’ll have communicated something meaningful… I assume that the term “hipster” is defined […]
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Motorcycles >= Anarchy

I haven’t been writing much lately. I was working too much over the last year (with less to show for it than I planned) and that, along with drama, made it so I really haven’t felt like I didn’t have much to say. My experiences have stored up and I hope over the next few months and years I’ll get to share what I’ve discovered.

This past weekend I traveled to Los Angeles for the “Nah” event in response to the LA Art bookfair. It was a fine event. A bookfair, which I think is a fine activity for anarch* friends to involve themselves in, plus my project did alright. But in this case it’s the how that I want to discuss more than the what. Trigger alert: the rest of this post is mostly going to be about motorcycles and aging.

The day before I got shitcanned from my last full time gig I purchased a very nice and very new motorcycle. I don’t talk about it a ton because I’ve never experienced motorcycling as a social activity but I’ve been a rider for most of the past 26 years. I started with a Vespa (‘68 super sport 180cc) and went for 10 years riding piece-of-shit motorcycles that were dirt cheap. Since then I’ve been riding standards (a category of motorcycle distinct from cruisers, twins, and sport bikes) from the Kawasaki corporation of Japan. My latest bike was a 2009 Versys that was an excellent commuter but a little small for me at 650cc.

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For some months I’ve been daydreaming about a big trip. I took one in my early 20s (from San Diego to MI with scattered stops between) and have wanted something similar for some time. But the differences are real. Last go-round I slept on dirty couches, porches, and whatever I could find. This go-round my body is 20+ years older and I wont be staying at or near crushes. In fact I plan on bringing a tent (and air mattress) which will shrink my world to a pinprick (and expand it to some of the grand National Parks that I’ve never seen).

Anyway, as a test run for my new motorcycle I loaded it down with books and headed to Los Angeles. Muscling an extra 150lbs or so has taught me some important lessons about what I am capable of, what I like (and hate) about motorcycling, and has made me long for the road to an extent I wouldn’t have imagined as I limped into LA tired and sore.

The Wind

The Grapevine was the worst of it but when you go faster than about 65 MPH (100KM/H) the wind becomes a great hand. It pushes you nearly randomly from side to side and front to back. The ‘Vine was, in fact, terrifying as it both forced me to slow down about 15 MPH and to change a lane or two. I visualize wind as a series of flows and vectors rolling off the gentle mountains but experience it as wanting nothing more than to fling me off the side of a cliff. Kind of like the milieu I guess.

What’s fascinating about this as a ride is how utterly ambivalent the drivers of cars (and especially the 90 MPH SUVs that screamed by) are to the physical exertion and real life danger I was experiencing as they sat in climate-controlled gas-guzzling bliss. Kind of like the milieu I guess.

My Arms

My new motorcycle (name forthcoming) is as hard as diamond. It is a machine designed to gobble up whatever road I throw at it. It would happily start every ride by throwing up its front wheel, it hits 90 MPH before I even notice the speedometer, it is 10,000 miles away from caring about anything other than an oil change. I, on the other hand, have the body of an office worker. I am soft and weak. My heart may soar but my wings have been brutalized by all the peck, peck, pecking and giving two fucks about what people say on the Internet. I am going to slow us down.

During my trip to LA I felt the need to stop every 40-60 minutes just because my wrists and forearms couldn’t handle it. My main criticism of the bike so far is that it forces me to sit differently than I prefer. Standard motorcycles force you to sit up straight. I like that. This bike kind of forces you to lean on the gas tank in “sports bike” pose. I put a tank bag on for the trip but didn’t like the way this kind of riding made my back feel. Perhaps because of the pose, or the inflexibility of my body, there were times when I’d come off the freeway where I couldn’t move my right leg (which only operates the back brake) as it had frozen in place. This did not happen to me at 24.

I used what is called a cheater (brand name Throttle Rocker) to ameliorate arm pain on the throttle side. This didn’t work that well for a couple reasons. The concept is to afix a piece of hard plastic to the accelerator so that instead of having to hang on and hold you can just rest your palm on the plastic to maintain acceleration. You can only safely maneuver the plastic when you aren’t moving and pretty much anywhere you put it isn’t exactly the right spot. Because it modifies how you accelerate, it is quite unsafe until you are at real speed. This much I knew from trying to use the Rocker in the past. This go-round I learned that my RSI is bad enough to be triggered by the plastic pressing against my palm. Tingle ahoy!

The only real solution I have come up with to all these issues is to slow the fuck down. This isn’t easy for me because my personality has always been hostile to slowing down and smelling the roses but if the only way I can travel in the world (whether by motorcycle or whatever) is to do it slow, then that’s what it’ll have to be. I’ve kind of suspected this “slow down” thing has to be the way for some time as I find that after I take big trips (like LBC bookfair trips where I blast through by going, tabling, returning) I always need 1-3 days to recover when I get home. This coming trip I’ll have to build in recovery time while traveling.

Los Angeles

I despise Los Angeles. Perhaps I’ve just fallen into the trap of norcal v socal and just picked my team but, much like NYC, I just find the city itself to be an intolerable mess. The past few times I’ve traveled to the area for the anarchies I haven’t even spent the night. It is fucking hot. The traffic is brutal and terrifying (doubly so on a motorcycle because the car drivers do not seem to give a fuck that a fenderbender with me equals death). The attitude of the political scene is extremely fragmented (which makes sense given how enormous the city is) from very young and naive to older and jaded-as-hell. It is a town that is sophisticated except where it is not, both diverse and lily-white. A huge mess that you can’t possibly understand in a weekend.

This event was unusual for a couple of reasons. It was politically sophisticated (and obscure as it wasn’t necessarily political at all. It was a type of response to the LA Art bookfair) by a crowd I’m ostensibly in a type of agreement with (the ASC/post-situ crowd) but if I were to just walk in I’d mostly have experienced a group of ethnically diverse friends drinking together alongside a serious hodge-podge of tablers. Spiked belts, ancient surrealist books, some remnant of “the Oakland scene,” and LBC.

The real charm of the event was the after-party. Next door to LA Skidrow (I did not realize how Blade Runneresque the LA Skidrow is) we spent the evening in total bliss. Chilly, a fantastic roof view, while a total mix of people shot the shit in as unpretentious of a scene as I’ve ever experienced in a big city. Take note of the new website project that has come out of the group that put on the bookfair. http://www.onda.la/

I scurried away as early as I could to avoid the LA marathon that morning. The ride home was fast. I had less weight on the bike and always find return trips to be faster than away trips. Next up, the Northwest and big National Parks.

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Columbus Anarchy

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Real Positioning

I’ve been thinking about my real positioning. Typically I don’t like hard positioning as I prefer to learn and be flexible, though I do come off as having hard, real positioning when others that aren’t “my” kind of anarchist come around. I like testing the waters, sometimes taking deliberately bad steps forward down the wrong […]
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Federalism

Among people, I am an inclusive federalist. Recently I was reading Lawrence Jarach’s
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More Thoughts On the Work Abolitionist League

So this is a response to my post on the Work Abolitionist League. At the time I was trying to think of another approach that would still be work abolitionist but from a direction that is not so sided with illegalist approaches, which is where I come at anarchy from. I already was trying to […]
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Moving Forward

Moving forward is something I’m accustomed to doing. Anarchist Aging and Burn Out was the topic of the week for Anarchist News and I’m not really burnt out anymore, at least I’m not burnt out with anarchy. I’ve for a long time rejected the anarchist scene and for plenty of reasons I still feel pretty […]
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Where I Stand

I am for work abolition and consider myself to be a work abolitionist. I am for flexible tactics, but this also means talking about and criticizing tactics in the times they are occurring and if they are producing the kinds of results I am looking for. I am against production.
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Starting Thoughts on Maniac Gangs

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Pulling Together Ideas

Lately I’ve been considering who I am. Not so much based on confusion or nihilism, but more based on pulling together a large array of possibilities to create a presentation of thought. I’ve come closer to calling myself an anarchist theorist, while at the same time feeling more like an anarcho-primitivist. I suppose I could […]
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Anarcho-Primitivism

As some people know, I’ve lately come to refer to myself as an anarcho-primitivist. This is to note a participation in the milieu and a desire to connect with other anarcho-primitivists. But also, more importantly, this is to show a desire to participate in the discourses of anarcho-primitivism as well as its practices. Since anarcho-primitivism […]
Posted in 2016 | Comments closed

Communist Anarchy

So I’ve lately been thinking about communism again. As many know, I identify as many things, though most strongly identify as a nihilist anarchist as far as which team I’m on. I’d prefer “anarchist theorist” more than anything since that is the most accurate, but that is less what I am and more what I […]
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Squee’s Guide to the Sensual Evening

Before you play the video above, make sure you have some Häagen-Dazs  Dulce de Leche Ice Cream This is important, it’s the flavor of the video… well one of them. Hopefully you are watching this two hours after sunset, in your underwear or naked, before you go out for the evening… You need time afterwards […]
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