Power Against Hierarchy …incomplete.

Augmented Reality Annabelle woke up early to check outside her apartment door for the new AR, one-a-day lenses she had pre-ordered from Cornea-X. It wasn’t very long after their release was announced that she confirmed the order; but, since it was the day of the release there were always potential last-minute setbacks. They had arrived […]
Posted in Ramblings | Comments closed

A Little Pain

I usually keep these things to myself, as one is expected to do. Locking the heat in until the pressure cooker I become has cooled and no longer threatens to scald those nearby with steam. The cooling process is slow, but it can be timed. Time heals, sure. With enough of it, moments that offer […]
Posted in personal | Comments closed

Struggles of the Farmer Neighborhood in Tempe, AZ

For years I have been writing about subjectivity, long-term goals, cultural struggles, radical ghettos, liberating space, and resisting domination. Yet, I have failed in communication with comrades and friends alike to articulate the importance and originality of the Farmer neighborhood struggle; how it exemplifies an approach to rebellion that has won my approval, and the […]
Posted in Ramblings | Comments closed

Regarding “Decolonizing the Imagination”

Dear friend,

Thanks for asking about the oblique statement I made on Facebook to quote…

I am terrified by the politics behind the phrase “decolonize the imagination”

in regards to this link.

YoX3o3A

To begin with let me state unequivocally that I loved Octavia Butler as an author and respect that fact that a generation of new authors have found her writing to be inspiring and her personal story heartwrenching. There is probably no better way to honor her than to put together a collection of SF writings by POC authors. I also respect the fact that Walidah Imarisha is doing good PR work for her project and finding whatever media sources available to get out the word of the project. As someone who works in publishing, I recognize the work that she is doing as uncomfortable but necessary in this early stage of the digital publishing transformation. It’ll probably work at selling many copies of the book.

Again, as a publisher of books in the conceptual neighborhood of this one, and as a life-long lover of SF I can’t help but be envious of AK Press for being associated with this project EXCEPT for the content of the book (or at least the PR) itself. Now, I have not read it so I can’t speak to the actual content, but I can speak to the political suppositions made in the boingboing article which, I assume, reflects the tenor of the introduction (ie the framing) of the book. Here is a quote that seems to get to the heart of the politics of Octavia’s Brood:

“Visionary fiction encompasses all of the fantastic, with the arc always towards justice,” writes Imarisha. “We believe this space is vital for any process of decolonization, for the decolonization of the imagination is the most dangerous and subversive form there is, for it is where all other forms of decolonization are born. Once the imagination is unshackled, liberation is limitless.”

Here is where you see the difference between an Octavia Butler–who in her essay “A Few Rules for Predicting the Future” made it clear that the strong-throated assertions of politicians are to considered in the face of the unintended consequences of their solutions–and the topicality of Imarisha’s declarations around decolonization and justice. On the one hand you have an author who decries the simplicity of speaking in terms of solutions to frightful, terrifying problems and on the other hand we have a vague, programmatic. “Take this world, add decolonization to imagination, and the future is limitless.” As any lover of SF will tell you, if you assume imagination, full stop, the world is limitless. That’s the definition of the word!

The alternative, offered here, is an imagination that is colonized by some foreign, external force. If we accept Imarisha’s premise that our imagination is colonized then we are utterly without hope. Imagination, as far as I’m concerned, is the magic dust that makes every other thing possible whether it’s activism, the pursuit of knowledge, or the will to fight. To start the conversation, whether it’s about visionary fiction or changing the world, by shooting yourself in the leg vis a vis imagination is to end it pre-born, it’s a fight for voice rather than speaking with it, it’s a fight for the right to think rather than thinking.

This brings us to the topicality of the message of Octavia’s Brood. The primary coded term in use here is decolonization. It’s used three times in the quote up above and I’m left struggling to understand what it means. I understand its use in the sense of ejecting foreign occupation of one’s land. I also understand the Fanonian idea that foreign values have come to dominate here (eg North America). I do not, though, understand what the connection to those two uses of the term have to do something called decolonization and I think that this is an intentional mystification.

I think that the word decolonization, in this use and generally, is intended to evoke a militant attitude regarding existential and physical occupation without much thinking, or practicality, behind it. It seems to be used as a powerful way to say “good, but not in a white way” without, necessarily, specifically racializing the point. In the quote above the subtext is of a liberation movement that begins by an oppressed minority breaking the deep existential chains that bind without having to name that minority or the oppressor. It is, in other words, topical PR about a book, using for inspiration a woman who deserves something less crass and ham-handed than she is getting.

Posted in ak press, decolonization, personal, science fiction | Comments closed

Rebellion and Future

The themes of time, context, and rebellion has ran through a variety of anarchist events that I have attended lately. This has taken the form of discussions about lifestylism (with crimethinc often cited), leftist ideals of the Revolution, the notion of prefiguration, and ideologies. The conversations usually go something like this: - Leftist revolutionary movements […]
Posted in Anarchy, Ramblings | Comments closed

Magic

Occult philosophers and mystics have played an important role in my life and thinking. Although not often my primary focus, their theories, techniques, and stories have rode alongside my interests in psychology, Western philosophy, anarchism, and hyperspace. I’ve definitely done my dabbling, mostly with doubt and suspicion. However, I have consistently found some of it […]
Posted in Explorations of the Eternal Wretch, personal | Comments closed

NAASN 2015

10301935_835030849901717_9115970629213518289_n

I haven’t been blogging much lately. I’ve been feeling pretty low and unexcited about the anarchist space but didn’t want to devote much energy to complaining about it. I feel a bit better now. I participated in the 2015 NAASN gathering. I was motivated by Tom Nomad and his idea to discuss three perspectives on the role of anarchists in social movements. Tom, Doug and I gave presentations. I’ve attached the schedule and descriptions here.

NAASN2015-Preliminary-Program

Here is my presentation (more or less as a transcript). Enjoy!

Am I a pessimist?

so the first thing I want to say is that this panel (there are a couple others but very few this weekend) are sort of outside of the tradition of anarchist studies. to me, this is a good way to start thinking about what pessimism means.

I actually disagree with the premise (this is my habit, of course), I disagree with the premise of the question. So I’m here to represent the pessimistic, in this question, but I disagree with the premise. But to extend that a little, for me the pessimistic orientation, which I mostly do see as a modern, youth perspective… a pessimistic perspective sits on the outside as an observer, is disempowered, and sort of whines about how things are going, how shitty everything is, and how shitty everyone is. That’s the pessimistic position.

I would like to believe that I don’t do that at all. That my projects by and large (specifically Little Black Cart, but also certain web projects I do) has me absolutely engaged with the things that are happening around me and with this thing that I love, which I call anarchism.

I mention that because within the anarchist studies context, there is a quiet consensus that anarchism is a class-struggle perspective, and that anarchism is collegiate (because many of the people who are involved in anarchist studies together know that they will be seeing each other in sociology conferences, and what not, in the future; to some extent this is a wading pool for their bigger academic life, which—if they’re successful—they’ll actually have). so when you see the list of all the names, there’s a surprisingly small fraction of speakers who are outside of that tradition. One of the terms used to dismissively refer to these [outside-of-the-academic-tradition] people is “organic intellectuals;” and I guess i’m one of them.

I’m going to give a presentation from some notes that I wrote down, but I want to be cautious, because I know I’m liable to flights of fancy where people might not get the things I reference and could get confused. So I know that i’m somewhat notoriously incomprehensible. I apologize for that ahead of time and I’ll try to fill in a lot here, to make it clear what I’m trying to get at.

I’m here to represent the position with the absolute worst marketing in all of anarchism or even radical politics. I wish I could just blame bob black for this (which of course I can), but the amount of vitriol piled onto what is perceived to be my position is in absolute contrast to common sense. Whether you call it post left, anti left, anti organizational, anti civilization, or nihilist anarchy, it’s reviled from Bookchin to Zerzan. But at the end of the day, it is the anarchist position. It is an approach of utter hostility to the existing order, and or revulsion to most successful approaches to changing the world.

(That’s pretty clear.)

Where my position differs from my comrades here today is that I am not only opposed to successful approaches to changing the world–ie state communists, capitalists, technocrat– i’m also against failed approaches to changing the world. Every time I hear the word revolution, especially as it’s used by the class-struggle and struggle-struggle-all-the-time-strugglismos, what I perceive are plaintive wails of a failed secular crusade against the infidels.

Jesus

To put this in some context, I think I, like many of you, began being a radical in the shadow of what felt like a very structured arrangement. Like, “Spain is the high point of anarchist struggle,” “things have gotten better over time” (so, a progressive story about history), and over time when I stopped thinking of these accepted premises as true, and started to think about what they meant, what they assumed, I found that there were fewer and fewer answers the further I went down this rabbit hole. So not to simplify too much, but one of the history of ideas that I think is absolutely to think about in the context of anarchism (this is actually talked about a lot in a book called Anti-Nietzsche, by Bell—he’s a marxist scholar who attempts to revile Nietzsche from a Marxist perspective but makes an interesting point that may be valid), the first rebels were the rebels who contemplated the possibility that there might not be a God. Sorry, let me make the big clarification, the first rebels in the western tradition, the tradition that most of us in this room are locked into. So the first rebellion was even opening up the idea that God wasn’t this omnipotent, singular, reflection. So it was only later that sort of sub-Gods began to be of concern; so what we now say is that anarchism is against capitalism and the state. That’s a later formation. The original heresy in the western tradition is just to be against God. This is because the western tradition at its very core is a christian, religious, judeo-christian formation. The way we think about logic, history, the progress of history, the way we metaphysically place ourselves in the universe, has an entire christian pedagogical terrain. And I think it’s fair to say that anarchism does the same thing, in almost all its iterations.

Last night there was a very nice presentation about anarcho-pacifism that left out the Jesus… but there’s plenty of Jesus in anarcho-pacifism. To me the striking thing is that in all the beautiful flourishes that we all cheer along to, from the stories that we heard last night, almost all those stories begin and end with a narrative that looks like salvation by way of revolution.

So the reason that I question the premise that i’m a pessimist is because I question the premise that a revolution will save us, that the french revolution model of transforming society and social relationships—not only whether or not it’s valid but whether or not it’s… the toolset is incomplete. And that’s entirely putting aside the fact that the western model and the western gaze here doesn’t describe much more than 25% of the world. It just happens to be the winning 25%, at least as we understand it today.

So there’s the context.

Savages

As for the rest of us, the dirty savages of daily life… we labor in silence, fully aware that we are not the future managers of society. We are not necessary or considered in regards to how to feed and water the masses. We’re nto invited to the organizational meetings, or the fashionable equivalents in the 21st century, sex parties, how to set up a commune or whatever, we scrape and scrabble merely to survive. So let me restate my premise in reference to our current impasse (an impasse referred to in the original text, something of what tom was talking about). In days of yore, we believed in the spirits of rocks, trees, lakes around us. Our deities were human-sized, and we had personal relationships with them, as is normal when the frame of your reference is small and human-sized. Eventually our deities organized themselves and found heroes, stories, morality. This was a nightmare because it grew our frame of reference outside the band, into a gang, and bullies started to find themselves. The rest of us suffered. Finally these pantheons had it out with one another, and ended up in really large stories, universal stories that raged across continents, cutting people down like trees, and forcing many of us to fight for their flags and holy trinities.

Lucky for some, at some point someone came up with a better version of this story, that spun fire and brimstone into inside heating and iphones. This modern story is one that agrees on all levels with the universal monotheistic religion, but calls it something else, humanity let’s say. It convinces because it has better songs, FM radio, and shit, but perhaps has made some sort of back room deal with monotheism, because the two don’t seem to squabble at all in public at this point. But from the perspective of an anarchist, those who fight for one are identical in every way to those who fight for jesus and would hand infidels from the walls of the city (except for terminology and a decided lack of passion… growing less as times goes on).

So stop wasting your time, fellow anarchists, with a failed modernist strategy of a crusade against society in all its forms. There is no path from here to there. Anyone who tells you differently is selling you an ideology, full stop. The things we should be doing together and apart is to create anarchic moments of our own, not merely in the reflection of cops’ riot masks, but in the interstitial spaces of a totalizing world that aspires to fill more and more of the spaces between us. If one aspires to activism, it should in growing and developing those interstitial spaces rather than defending spaces that are long gone.

The point is no longer to fight against symbols of bad as a solution to a world gone bad, but to fight as a matter of affect, to create a loving hostility, that’s the only thing that anarchy can be today.

Posted in christian, naasn, Nihilism, personal, presentation | Comments closed

Protected: Notes after ASG (Family background and Social Cohesion)

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.
Posted in Ramblings | Comments closed

The Idealist-Criminal/Duped-Activist Trope

from a facebook post… Lately I’ve been watching the Blacklist on Netflix. One of its episodes shares a theme that I have a hard time thinking of a show I’ve watched the past couple of years that doesn’t. Those shows are somewhere in the genre-pool of mystery, detective, and sci-fi; and, there’s a lot of […]
Posted in Ramblings | Comments closed

The War of Reality

Introduction If an objective reality exists, it is not exactly what I am writing about when I write about reality. I don’t consider the reality I write of to be entirely subjective, either. Already I’ve used so many words that bother me: objective, reality, entirely, subjective. So to quickly move forward to what is and […]
Posted in Ramblings | Comments closed

Anarcho-Pessimism: The Lost Writings of Laurence Labadie

anarcho-pessimism

Son of Joseph Labadie (of the famed Labadie Collection in Ann Arbor), Laurence Labadie out-distanced  his  father as a thinker and a polemicist. Laurence had the good luck to have been in consistent contact with some of the best writing by the American  individualist  anarchist  tradition. Through  a  series  of  ingenious  counterpoints  and elaborations he managed to make of it something entirely  new and  much  more  threatening.  The  vanished  anarchism  of  this  deep-rooted  radical  tradition was the mutinous wellspring into which Labadie dipped endlessly throughout his life, but Labadie is set off from both his father and his other individualist predecessors (like Benjamin Tucker) by his confrontational  tone,  his  sureness  of  purpose,  and  his  un-matched disillusionment regarding the utter emptiness  of  all  human  endeavors.

LBC Product Page

Posted in individualism, laurence labadie, pessimism, Things | Comments closed

How to Live Now or Never

how to live

How to Live Now or Never collects exploratory and poetic works as a companion to The Impossible, Patience (Ardent Press), published earlier in the year. The two perform a dyadic acrobatic maneuver around the empty space where freedom, imagination, and possibility could exist in textual, temporal, and interpersonal relationships. Whereas The Impossible, Patience was serious play around nihilism and language, How to Live is a surreal anti-thesis “in the form of paradoxes, defending precisely the claims that seem most impossible or disagreeable to maintain.” This is a book with a stake in games—aesthetic, masque play, seductive.

I dream of summoning up an array of acts I denominate as seductive. They may be classed, by those who are so concerned, as non-coercive, in that arguably they seem to affect only the actor. These seductive acts are ultimately gentle demonstrations, modelizations of behavior that aim at a magnetic, passionate, attraction.

LBC Product Link

Posted in Alejandro de Acosta, games, imagination, masks, poetics, seduction, surrealism, Things | Comments closed

Spiritual Journeys of an Anarchist

spiritual journeysSpiritual Journeys is the story, by way of interview and narrative, of Wilson’s travels throughout the Middle East in the 1960s and 70s. This was a opium-fueled nomadic journey involving visits with Muslim heretics and other spiritual vagabonds through the possibility of Islam and a land we now only understand as reactive and terroristic (in the US-War-on-Terror sense of the word), therefore utterly mysterious and ideologically dangerous. While only forty years ago, Wilson’s journey could have been 400 years in the past. No Taliban, smart missiles, or drones, just drug-addled hippies and a no-longer-possible chance to travel the Overland Route with a fellow traveler.

Not only do we disdain tourism for its vulgarity and injustice, and wish to avoid any contamination (conscious or unconscious) from its viral influence, we also understand travel as an act of reciprocity rather than alienation. In other words, we don’t wish to merely avoid the negatives of tourism, but even more outrageously we desire positive travel, which we envision as a productive and mutually enhancing relationship between self and other, guest and host—a form of cross-cultural synergy in which the whole exceeds the sum of the parts.

LBC Product Link

Posted in middle-east, opium, peter lamborn wilson, spirituality, Things, tourism | Comments closed

Hostis 1: A Journal of Cruelty

hostis

Hostis is a negation. It emerges devoid of ethics, lacking any sense of democracy, and without a care for pre-figuring anything. Fed up with the search for a social solution to the present crisis, it aspires to be attacked wildly and painted as utterly black without a single virtue.

In thought, Hostis is the construction of incommensurability that figures politics in formal asymmetry to the powers that be.

In action, Hostis is an exercise in partisanship – speaking in a tongue made only for those that it wants to listen. This partisanship is neither the work of fascists, who  look  for  fights  to  give  their  limp  lives  temporary jolts of excitement, nor martyrs, who take hopeless stands to live the righteousness of loss. Hostis is the struggle to be dangerous in a time when antagonism is dissipated.

This is all because Hostis is the enemy.

The first 100 copies of this journal have been  printed with sandpaper covers (we couldn’t do more because it was chewing up our equipment!).

Table of contents

  • 1 A Short Introduction to the Politics of Cruelty
  • 33 Nice Shit for Everybody Global Shade
  • 37 An Enduring Passion for Criminality Tom Nomad and Gallus Stanig Mag
  • 57 ¿Ulrike?
  • 67 There Is a Third Thing taken from O Globo translated by Pepe Rojo
  • 73 Interlude III Cassandra Troyan

LBC Product Link

Posted in Things | Comments closed

What’s New with LBC – Winter 2015

It was an amazing fall and a fantastic year. In November we visited the Southeast (including the Carrboro Anarchist Bookfair) and participated in the third annual East Bay Book and Conversation event in the nearby town of Oakland, CA. Several of our titles are raising the kinds of heated conversation we are hoping to have (the rest haven’t been discovered by the right people yet). This project of publishing modern anarchist ideas with the hope of inspiring the current and next generation of rabble-rousers is rewarding in-and-of-itself AND appears to be netting results, although perhaps not the ones expected.

We can’t keep some of our titles in print, we can’t fill wholesale orders fast enough, and we can’t keep all of the balls in the air long enough to change the world but we have officially completed three years of publishing a book a month, putting back into print a few neglected classics (like Freedom: My Dream and The Black Bloc Papers), collecting great content from the Internet (like canenero and I Saw Fire), and taking a few risks (Dictionary of Unhappiness.

We are Little Black Cart: Distribution, Editorial, and print shop.

Catch our RSS feed here
Here is our dumb Twitter feed
Even worse… our Facebook account

New Titles

How to Live Now or Never by Alejandro de Acosta

How to Live Now or Never collects exploratory and poetic works as a companion to The Impossible, Patience (Ardent Press), published earlier in the year. The two perform a dyadic acrobatic maneuver around the empty space where freedom, imagination, and possibility could exist in textual, temporal, and interpersonal relationships. Whereas The Impossible, Patience was serious play around nihilism and language, How to Live is a surreal anti-thesis “in the form of paradoxes, defending precisely the claims that seem most impossible or disagreeable to maintain.”

This is a book with a stake in games—aesthetic, masque play, seductive.

I dream of summoning up an array of acts I denominate as seductive. They may be classed, by those who are so concerned, as non-coercive, in that arguably they seem to affect only the actor. These seductive acts are ultimately gentle demonstrations, modelizations of behavior that aim at a magnetic, passionate, attraction.

Check out How to Live Now or Never by Alejandro de Acosta

Spiritual Journeys by Peter Lamborn Wilson

Spiritual Journeys is the story, by way of interview and narrative, of Wilson’s travels throughout the Middle East in the 1960s and 70s. This was a opium-fueled nomadic journey involving visits with Muslim heretics and other spiritual vagabonds through the possibility of Islam and a land we now only understand as reactive and terroristic (in the US-War-on-Terror sense of the word), therefore utterly mysterious and ideologically dangerous. While only forty years ago, Wilson’s journey could have been 400 years in the past. No Taliban, smart missiles, or drones, just drug-addled hippies and a no-longer-possible chance to travel the Overland Route with a fellow traveler.

Not only do we disdain tourism for its vulgarity and injustice, and wish to avoid any contamination (conscious or unconscious) from its viral influence, we also understand travel as an act of reciprocity rather than alienation. In other words, we don’t wish to merely avoid the negatives of tourism, but even more outrageously we desire positive travel, which we envision as a productive and mutually enhancing relationship between self and other, guest and host—a form of cross-cultural synergy in which the whole exceeds the sum of the parts.

Check out Spiritual Journeys by Peter Lamborn Wilson

Anarcho-Pessimism – The Lost Writings of Laurence Labadie

Son of Joseph Labadie (of the famed Labadie Collection in Ann Arbor), Laurence Labadie was a thinker and a polemicist. Laurence had the good luck to have been in consistent contact with some of the best writing by the American individualist anarchist tradition. Through a series of ingenious counterpoints and elaborations he managed to make of it something entirely new and much more threatening. The vanished anarchism of this deep-rooted radical tradition was the mutinous wellspring into which Labadie dipped endlessly throughout his life, but Labadie is set off from both his father and his other individualist predecessors (like Benjamin Tucker) by his confrontational tone, his sureness of purpose, and his un-matched disillusionment regarding the utter emptiness of all human endeavors.

Laurence Labadie (1898-1975) did stormy battle with socialists, communist anarchists, single taxers, leftists, Gesellites (explained later), social creditors, minarchists, and a host of others… By the mid-1960s, he’d refined his literary and analytic technique into something impressively spine-chilling and acidic—and it is these trenchant, hopeless writings that we have made visible and again available for foraging.

Check out Anarcho-Pessimism: The Lost Writings of Laurence Labadie

Recent LBC Titles

  1. Huye Hombre Huye: diary of a maximum security prisoner – A dramatic story of a prisoner who would not submit.
  2. Here… At the Center of the World in Revolt – A book about anarchist strategy, given the last decade of attack.
  3. Women of Plogoff – The story of the successful direct action campaign against a nuclear power plant in 1980 in Brittany, France.
  4. Dictionary of Unhappiness – A post-situationist art book in the vein of Ambrose Pierce’s Devil’s Dictionary.
  5. The Impossible, Patience – Alejandro de Acosta’s gift to us regarding language and nihilism.
  6. Black Bloc Papers – Finally the book about the North American history of this infamous tactic has arrived!
  7. Disruptive Elements – Extreme individualist French anarchism–this tome will befuddle expectation.
  8. I Saw Fire – Doug Gilbert reflects on the past decade of street struggle around nazis, immigration, and Occupy.
  9. canenero – A collection from the Italian publication, critical, Insurrectionary, and featuring the writing of Alfredo M. Bonanno and Massimo Passamani.

Our Journals

In 2014 we put out 5 (review, bastard, dc, insurgencies, hostis) brand new journals (and a few newspapers).

Hostis

Hostis is a negation. It emerges devoid of ethics, lacking any sense of democracy, and without a care for pre-figuring anything. Fed up with the search for a social solution to the present crisis, it aspires to be attacked wildly and painted as utterly black without a single virtue. In thought, Hostis is the construction of incommensurability that figures politics in formal asymmetry to the powers that be. In action, Hostis is an exercise in partisanship – speaking in a tongue made only for those that it wants to listen. This partisanship is neither the work of fascists, who look for fights to give their limp lives temporary jolts of excitement, nor martyrs, who take hopeless stands to live the righteousness of loss. Hostis is the struggle to be dangerous in a time when antagonism is dissipated. This is all because Hostis is the enemy.

Hostis was what Rome called enemies of the state, though it also means stranger. The term is inspired by barbarians, who are not understood by Imperial powers because they do not speak a recognized language and break civic norms through uncontrolled acts of violence. For more, see Crisso and Odoteo’s “Barbarian: The Disordered Insurgence,” an amazing 2003 Italian insurrectionist critique of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s Empire, Michel Foucault’s Collège de France lecture “Society Must Be Defended” pages 194-208, and Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s two nomadology plateaus in A Thousand Plateaus.

Note: The first 100 copies of the journal Hostis will have a sandpaper cover. Party!

Check out Hostis #1: cruelty

Other Journals

Here are new items we are carrying that are worth taking a look at…

Upcoming Titles

  • The 2014 LBC Review:Tastes of some of our favorites from the year, as well as editorials on… What did we do? What did we do well? Why did we do it? All will be answered in this review of 2014…
  • The 30th Anniversary Edition of the Abolition of Work – with an introduction by Bruce Sterling. Bob’s contribution to our literary tradition and ideas around work republished for the first time in decades.
  • Spiritual Destinations the second of a pair of new/old titles from Peter Lamborn Wilson
  • Voyer, Post-Left Anarchist anthology, Art of the German autonomous movement, Communisation, and more, more, more!

How to Support LBC – Become an Accomplice

This quarter our accomplices are helping us finance a new cutter and consider a new national newspaper. If you like a vibrant and engaged anarchist press, please consider helping us by becoming an LBC Accomplice!

For $20 / month (domestic, $40 international) you get every new title we publish (over 50 since 2012), 20% off of every Little Black Cart distribution item, and we start you out with a free book or t-shirt of your choosing.

Here is how to learn more about becoming an LBC Accomplice

The rest

Want to help?

Are you in the Bay Area and would you like to help make LBC projects happen? Drop us a line.

Are you a writer?

Send manuscript proposals to us at info@lbc

Social Networking

Catch our RSS feed here
Here is our dumb Twitter feed
Stupid Facebook

Posted in Monthly updates | Comments closed

cutting out intellectual labor for myself

The interactions I want to explore in this piece are those which structure the relationships between individual-environment or self-world: relationships with the non-human landscape, technology and family structure (forms of collectivity), the desire for access to a reality beyond sense-perception and consensus-reality, religion and state (and science) as an affirmation of such a reality, the […]
Posted in Ramblings | Comments closed

Reportback on a trip to the South East

Ideally I would be updating this thing at least once a month. At least that often I have some poignant thing that I’m working through that I’d love to share in this context as at least a bookmark for further thinking but I find I’m rarely getting around to it. Why? Because between websites I run (and that self destruct), publishing a book a month, helping run a distro, trying to get & keep some paying work, publishing and writing for a newspaper, and just keeping up with the daily grind of keeping all of this in order… writing is a hard sell.

Oh yeah, and there is traveling. At least 2 major and 3-4 minor times a year I leave the Bay and go to some other part of anarchyland to discover what riches and dramas live there. It makes sense as a way to break my own head out of the drama of the Bay and to submerge myself in “somewhere else” which is a favored place to visit for sure. This November I traveled to the southeast part of the US and visited Atlanta, Asheville, and Chapel Hill/Carrboro. Here are my thoughts about this trip.

167585

Age

In the Bay we are starting to have a serious problem with the age gap between new residents to anarchyland and the old timers. I saw a shadow play version of the same issue in the SE where the young people seem to have generationally different concerns and interests than the late 20-something people who have distinctly different priorities than those in the next older age group. This could be talked about as a Gen X, Gen Y, and Millennials distinction but also breaks down as a pre-Seattle ‘99, post-Seattle 99, and post-RNC (or even post-Occupy) split in anarchyland.

Sure there isn’t really a disagreement between the three around a general orientation about how to live ones life (aka the lifestyle questions are in the range of more free time and less working for others, diet leaning towards veganism, affect towards stylish REI suburban america gear) but the projectuality was distinct. I was excited there was so much Gen X energy on this trip as most of the US doesn’t seem to have it at all or there just isn’t a large enough center of gravity to keep older people around and productive.

I guess this experience can be summed up by the conclusion that North American anarchyland is finally starting to have a generation gap. Enough people in enough age categories to reflect a changing and different anarchy for each. This portends something exciting as, arguably, a culture of resistance (or whatever) may only be truly possible when there is enough of a range of people to actually demonstrate anarchy-as-a-form-of-life from cradle to grave.

The cult

I’m not going to call out a specific group or set of ideas but I want to put the warning into peoples heads that, much like the RCP and other recruiting organizations of the past, there may be a group of dedicated and intelligent individuals using anarchyland to recruit for a cult. Again, I don’t want to overstate the case but somewhere in the combination of self-appointed charismatic spokespeople, a value system that seems innovative and exclusive, and a double set of ethics is something-like-a-cult.

Beware the wolf by first recognizing it.

Culture

There is a significant way in which I belong in the SE. It still hangs on to hardcore scene roots, which I grew up with, as a source of pride (or at least self-recognition) rather than “aw shucks I was never in to that” which I experience in most other places. This is a generational questions too as the Gen Y (aka post-Seattle) generation and younger is more likely to not have a background in the punk/hardcore scene… but in the SE it still feels on the tip of everyone’s tongue.

Proof? The first night of the Carrboro bookfair weekend there was an ad-hoc, put-together-in-four-hours, jump on each others sweaty bodies, use a megaphone as a microphone, break a window, put a foot into my nose, cover band of Minor Threat. It was awesome, trust me.

na

That said, I’m not into Hardcore like I used to be. The iconography is still meaningful to me but when I was booted from the mainline of HC I realized important things about myself that I count as the lessons of adulthood. HC was great for my adolescence but things changed. HC didn’t. (not to give any credit to Uppercut, I’m not talking about selling out but about what a music scene’s limitations are)

Ethics

At some point during my time in CH/C I said something about how ethical the place was… What I meant, what I experienced, was an approach to disagreement that is qualitatively different from how I experience it. If I disagree with someone or something disagreeable is referred to in a room I am in I will often make a joke at the disagreeable objects expense. Usually the joke is funny/not-funny and has, if I do it right, the multiple levels of agreement, disagreement, and ambivalence I feel towards the disagreeable subject are all implied by the joke. I’d like to say that I only don’t talk/joke about the things I absolutely despise, otherwise, games on.

What I realize, now that I’m gone, is that the South really has a thing about politeness that is more-or-less the opposite of my approach. Disagreeable subjects are almost never talked about as disagreeable or in a cruel or sloppy way. Instead the universe slows down and a series of precise statements that clarifies the exact terrain of the disagreement between the speaker and the subject are made. I confused this with ethics because I tend not to treat my (political) rivals with a great deal of respect (preferring to roll about in the mud with them, thank you very much) but it’s something else.

Another example that kind of muddies the water. There were many guests passing through CH/C while I was there including an American ex-pat who currently lives in Berlin. In a rare moment of joviality the kitchen table was making jokes around the challenges of call out culture. The specific example that was being cited was a very complicated situation that was only discussed obliquely but concerned trans identity and the line between trans-misogyny and something else lie. The ex-pat put an absolute chill into the room by saying (more-or-less) “where I am from we don’t make jokes about trans issues because they are very serious” which put the room into a shame spiral that lasted the next 20 minutes.

This attitude and the response is what confused me about the difference between ethical social behavior and a sort of cultural norm around hospitality and the like. Obviously I am ideological when it comes to my ideas around the value of humor, especially if it is painful and disrespectful, but I’m not going to defend this here. I’ll say instead that it’s nice to see that there are still local characteristics in different parts of the country.

Poverty (aesthetic)

In my imagination anarchyland could be a healthy, multi-generational, cauldron of persons, ideas, and projects. Among the limitations to this ever happening is the moralism around broke culture. I share a condemnation of work(ing for a living). I recognize how American culture pulls us towards a shallow materialism and crazy ideas like freedom = property ownership et al. I choose as one of my least desirable abstractions the one called Capitalism (I especially like this critique of it). I also see a hard contradiction between the ways that anarchyland forces people to choose a side around having money and being a true & real anarchist.

I lived in the Mission district prior to the first dot com bubble in the late 90s (I believe I moved to the East Bay around 97). During the 90s most of the people I knew worked no more than 20 hours a week and spent the rest of their energy doing creative interesting things. There was a balance between living (the things one enjoyed doing) and working (the things violently forced on us by this world). It was great and I was surrounded by sparks and fire.

I despise the violence of this world but scurrying about as if it doesn’t constrain our imagination and possibilities adds a second level of abstraction to a condition that is already difficult. Forcing our people to see themselves as good or bad depending on how much of their working life is criminal or black/gray market is… sad. It’s also IMO one of the sub-cultural aspects of anarchyland that I hate the most. It seems to drive people to doing Jobs They Believe in (TM) or leaving anarchyland altogether.

I believe we could be more creative about how we work rather than create ultimatums around it. Sure figuring out coops and collectives may be part of that but so too could shared jobs and other types of resource sharing. Most of us live in cities where the cost of living is outrageously high and our lack of trust in each other means we each face these obstacles alone.

Thanks to my hosts in ATL, Asheville, and Chapel Hill/Carrboro. Thanks for letting me into your home and lives.

Posted in aging, asheville, lbc, north carolina, society, travels | Comments closed

Escape?

God is dead… he wrote. The fundamental conundrum of contemporary man’s condition: nihilism. Nihilism becomes the inescapable spirit of the times. The Modern Man could merely respond to it, manage it, and perhaps with an active approach, create for himself a way of being in the world that could bid nihilism good riddance. The foundations […]
Posted in Ramblings | Comments closed

Absurdist Anarchy

The below is just the combination of 3 earlier pieces that all build on top of each other, but will eventually be the basis for a longer piece that works it all out more coherently and stylishly.   Absurdism: In philosophy, “the Absurd” refers to the conflict between (a) the human tendency to seek inherent […]
Posted in Anarchy, Explorations of the Eternal Wretch | Comments closed

An Individual’s Interests

Existence for a self-conscious individual may not offer any sort of rational basis for meaning and values, but it at least offers a biochemistry to help get the process going. Good and bad may not transcend the somewhat haphazard associations brains form which tie into emotional responses, but there are at least those immediate and […]
Posted in Ramblings, Social Analysis | Comments closed