Media Buzz Topic: Depression

Depression has a lot of media buzz right now, which is a great excuse to write about it. There isn’t anything exceptional about it, it’s a typical phenomena that usually works well enough for getting us to relax. No one would bat an eye if you told them you were experiencing anhedonia (loss of pleasure […]
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Black Seed #2

blackseed2

Black Seed is an anarchist paper in the tradition of Green Anarchy magazine (RIP) that presents through essays, images, stories, and poetry, green anarchist perspectives. Black Seed is a 32 page newspaper format biannual publication. This is the second issue.

Black Seed is a collectively-produced, print-only newspaper that is concerned with the larger questions of what green anarchy means as an idea, a conversation, and lived reality. We’re not interested in presenting a green anarchist ideology, but rather in creating a space to ask larger questions. This issue will expand the conversations begun in our first issue, while moving into new territory.

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Posted in anthropology, aragorn!, green anarchy, john zerzan, kevin tucker, Things | Comments closed

Anarchist Survival Guide for Understanding Gestapo Swine Interrogation Mind Games

anarchist_survival_guide2

Required reading for any anarchist who may have to deal with police. Real life experiences from Harold Thompson, long may he be remembered.

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Uncivilised: the Dark Mountain Manifesto

uncivilised.dark mountain

Dark Mountain is a not-anarchist English (mostly literature) project that is remarkably in synch with current green anarchist thinking on the environment and the options of humans (see Black Seed and Desert).

This is their manifesto.

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Writings of Anarchist and Bank Robber Gabriel Pombo da Silva

gabriel_pombo_da_silva

From the age of 15 Gabriel began to expropriate banks with his closest companions. For these illegal acts he was imprisoned in Spain where he became an anarchist. Gabriel has served more than 25 years in prison, 14 of which have been in isolation. He does not identify as a prisoner let alone as a social prisoner. He has spent so much time inside because of his general attitude of insubordination and his escape attempt with Xose Tarrio Gonzalez, who was his very close friend. In 2004 and after Gabriel had served 3/4 of his sentence, he managed to get permitted day leave. On one of these, he fled to Germany along with another prisoner (Jose Fernandez Delgado), looking for other rebels to organize an escape plot to free another comrade in Spain. At a typical border control in Germany, they, along with a Belgian anarchist and Gabriel’s sister, are stopped. A shoot-out eventually ensues and hostages are taken–which ultimately leads to their arrest. Although no one was injured, Gabriel was convicted of attempted murder and kidnapping.

 

Another of the texts that should be required reading for anyone who might end up in prison (aka anyone), along with Harold Thompson’s “Anarchist Survival Guide for Understanding Gestapo Swine Interrogation Techniques” for the lessons it teaches about the realities of prison, and for the example of people who are not broken or bowed in the institutions created to keep us all in line, whether outside or in.

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Posted in FIES, gabriel pomba de silva, huye hombre huye, illegalist, spain, Things | Comments closed

Here… at the Center of the World in Revolt

here_at_the_center_of_the_world

 

Here is the story of the composition of revolt broken into theory and practice. It is anarchist theory for the 21st century.
The opposition of individual and community is a false one, for every model of individual implies a community, and every community an individual. The Western individual is the building block of a community of commodities. The community of the homogeneous, disciplined revolutionists breaks down into well trained militants who will follow their leaders through any number of defeats. By abandoning blueprints as an artifact and rediscovering visions as an activity, we can reclaim the pancentric society that has room for all of us. Every single one of us is the center of society and therefore the master of our own activity, but because we understand ourselves not as separate individuals but as nodes of unending flows that only exist through our relationships, solidarity and mutual aid will be the most obvious organizing principles. Finally, the individualist and the communist can end their bitter war. The community will be regained through the complicity of all our individual alienations. We will destroy everything, but only so we can mend this fracture.
Pick up your weapons: it is time to heal!

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Posted in communism, individualism, praxis, struggle, Things | Comments closed

Huye Hombre Huye: Diary of a maximum security prisoner

huye hombre huye-01

 

Huye, Hombre, Huye (Run, Man, Run) is the autobiography of Xosé Tarrío González. His story travels from the boarding school to the reformatory and then to prison. Due to additional punishments, Xosé was never released from prison, and instead spent the rest of his life fighting desperately to escape by any means necessary. This is the first-hand account of one man’s refusal to accept the legitimacy of the privileged’s judgement of the less privileged, a story of collective struggle against an inhumane system, and of the limitless depths that those in power will sink to when challenged. It is the powerful story of an unbreakable spirit.

(This) is the life of a man who survives in subhuman conditions not far from us and who, in these circumstances, has been able to compose an honest and stark testimony about the reality of imprisonment today… I do not foresee a more human horizon, or a more respectful criminal or prison policy, simply because prison is  the  ultimate  container  for  a  quite  specific  political-economic project. In the context of a State that is abandoning many of its former tasks, of the privatization of important public services, the precarization of the labor market, and economic globalization, etc., I don’t think that there are many spaces left where we could discuss overcoming or even restricting the use of incarceration. This does not  mean  paralysis  or  doing  nothing,  but  the  other  way  around: from the highest skepticism a “culture of resistance” can begin, one that keeps critical thinking alive.

-From the Prologue by Iñaki Rivera Beiras

 

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Posted in AIDS, autobiography, FIES prison, gabriel pomba de silva, spain, Things, unbreakable spirit | Comments closed

Women of Plogoff

women_of_plogoff

In the 1970s and 80s France built a nuclear power infrastructure that would come to supply 80% of its electricity needs. During the years of planning and construction, people in France gradually became aware of the dangers and impacts of nuclear energy, and some fought development projects related to it.

The Women of Plogoff is the story of a direct action campaign waged in France against the building of a nuclear power plant in the town of Plogoff and the area of Point du Raz in Brittany in 1980. It is a story told mostly by way of interviews immediately after the six weeks of occupation by the French State (riot police and gendarmerie) when passions were still running high.

From the spreading of garbage and manure, to placing fake (though not exactly inert!) bombs, to holding rock-throwing Masses and building barricades… the people of this quiet town show their ability to get quite nasty.

– from the translator’s introduction

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Posted in anti-nuke, direct action, Things | Comments closed

Insurgencies: A Journal of Insurgent Strategy

Insurgencies

 

We are speaking of the need to avoid the tragedy of the Red Army Faction just as much as the tragedy of Occupy, the need to abandon symbolic terrains of engagement, in which we struggle against unspecific enemies on abstract political terrain through the elaboration of our passions.  We are speaking of the necessity of grounding our understanding of what we are doing, separate from that of why we aredoing it, in the space in which things actually occur, in the here and now, and to make the effort to base this engagement on concerns of strategy, of hostility toward the enemy in some specific sense, rather than some effort to make a point, “speak truth to power” or whatever might pass for action otherwise.

We are speaking of a posture toward the enemy in which we strike when we have the advantage, wait when we do not, and use the means that will accomplish our objectives, rather than the ones which will leave us unburdened by a bad  conscience.

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Posted in activism, attack, deep green resistance, insurgencies, isiw, Nihilism, security culture, strategy, tao, Things | Comments closed

What’s New with LBC – Fall 2014

Summer has come to a close. This summer was delayed for us as our Spring books took a little longer than we would have liked to be completed (here is looking at you Dictionary of Unhappiness) but otherwise was surprisingly busy. Usually summers are very slow for LBC but not this year. Is this a sign of interesting times ahead?

The fall book fair season is nearly upon us. The first bookfair of the Fall (for us) is Seattle. Seattle had an amazing number of workshops and presentations about the kind of material we publish including a presentation from Baeden, another from translators who worked on Disruptive Elements, Black Seed and the Green Anarchist Roundtable (the clumsiest band name ever), and even a presentation on nihilism by a stranger-to-us! Upcoming trips for us include a 10 day journey to the South East of the country (where we will present at the Carborro bookfair but also in Atlanta and Asheville) and the third annual East Bay Anarchist Book Fair in December.

We are Little Black Cart: Distribution, Editorial, and printshop.

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Recent LBC Titles

Huye Hombre Huye: diary of a maximum security prisoner

Huye, Hombre, Huye (Run, Man, Run) is the autobiography of Xosé Tarrío González. His story travels from the boarding school to the reformatory and then to prison. Due to additional punishments, Xosé was never released from prison, and instead spent the rest of his life fighting desperately to escape by any means necessary. This is the first-hand account of one man’s refusal to accept the legitimacy of the privileged’s judgement of the less privileged, a story of collective struggle against an inhumane system, and of the limitless depths that those in power will sink to when challenged. It is the powerful story of an unbreakable spirit.

(This) is the life of a man who survives in subhuman conditions not far from us and who, in these circumstances, has been able to compose an honest and stark testimony about the reality of imprisonment today… I do not foresee a more human horizon, or a more respectful criminal or prison policy, simply because prison is the ultimate container for a quite specific political-economic project. In the context of a State that is abandoning many of its former tasks, of the privatization of important public services, the precarization of the labor market, and economic globalization, etc., I don’t think that there are many spaces left where we could discuss overcoming or even restricting the use of incarceration. This does not mean paralysis or doing nothing, but the other way around: from the highest skepticism a “culture of resistance” can begin, one that keeps critical thinking alive.

-From the Prologue by Iñaki Rivera Beiras

Huye Hombre Huye

Here… at the Center of the World in Revolt

Here is the story of the composition of revolt broken into theory and practice. It is anarchist theory for the 21st century.

The opposition of individual and community is a false one, for every model of individual implies a community, and every community an individual. The Western individual is the building block of a community of commodities. The community of the homogeneous, disciplined revolutionists breaks down into well trained militants who will follow their leaders through any number of defeats. By abandoning blueprints as an artifact and rediscovering visions as an activity, we can reclaim the pancentric society that has room for all of us. Every single one of us is the center of society and therefore the master of our own activity, but because we understand ourselves not as separate individuals but as nodes of unending flows that only exist through our relationships, solidarity and mutual aid will be the most obvious organizing principles. Finally, the individualist and the communist can end their bitter war. The community will be regained through the complicity of all our individual alienations. We will destroy everything, but only so we can mend this fracture.

Pick up your weapons: it is time to heal!

Here… At the Center of the World in Revolt

Women of Plogoff

In the 1970s and 80s France built a nuclear power infrastructure that would come to supply 80% of its electricity needs. During the years of planning and construction, people in France gradually became aware of the dangers and impacts of nuclear energy, and some fought development projects related to it.

The Women of Plogoff is the story of a direct action campaign waged in France against the building of a nuclear power plant in the town of Plogoff and the area of Point du Raz in Brittany in 1980. It is a story told mostly by way of interviews immediately after the six weeks of occupation by the French State (riot police and gendarmerie) when passions were still running high.

Women of Plogoff

Dangerous Constellations

Part of the LBC Books series of journals for 2014, this is fiction for our times, sweet and horrible, funny and tragic. A journal to keep an eye on…

Welcome to the first edition of Dangerous Constellations, a vaguely anarchist literary journal of possibilities and the impossible, DC is submission-based and focuses on fiction and poetry in order to create constellations of work relevant to the lives we lead and wars we fight. DC is interested in lies, human connections, subculture, fantasy, and the critique of these and other related topics through creative writing. After all, half of what anarchists write is really fiction anyway…

–from the introduction

Dangerous Constellations

Insurgencies #1

We are speaking of the need to avoid the tragedy of the Red Army Faction just as much as the tragedy of Occupy, the need to abandon symbolic terrains of engagement, in which we struggle against unspecific enemies on abstract political terrain through the elaboration of our passions. We are speaking of the necessity of grounding our understanding of what we are doing, separate from that of why we are doing it, in the space in which things actually occur, in the here and now, and to make the effort to base this engagement on concerns of strategy, of hostility toward the enemy in some specific sense, rather than some effort to make a point, “speak truth to power” or whatever might pass for action otherwise. We are speaking of a posture toward the enemy in which we strike when we have the advantage, wait when we do not, and use the means that will accomplish our objectives, rather than the ones which will leave us unburdened by a bad conscience.

Insurgencies #1

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

  • Letters of InsurgentsThis is the brand new reprint of the Red and Black title of fame and infamy, and includes a new foreward by Aragorn!, one of the book’s many fans.
  • Liminal – New from Black and Green, here is a novella that grabs you by the heart and brings you down into that uncomfortable space between love, rewilding, and the suffocating despair of a civilization in decline.
  • Uncivilised, The Dark Mountain Manifesto – Dark Mountain is a not-anarchist English (mostly literature) project that is remarkably in synch with current green anarchist thinking on the environment and the options of humans (see Black Seed and Desert).This is their manifesto.
  • Modern Slavery #3 – The Stockholm Syndrome; Landstreicher on Graeber’s Debt (21 pages worth!); Simons respectful history of illegalism; Goaman on the Sits and May ’68…
  • Fifth Estate 392 – The Fall/Winter 2014 issue, of this almost 50-year-old magazine features pieces on art and anarchy as well as a review of the newly reprinted Letters of Insurgents, get your copy now for gawd’s sake!
  • Anarchist Survival Guide for Understanding Gestapo Swine Interrogation Mind Games – Required reading for any anarchist who may have to deal with police. Real life experiences from Harold Thompson, long may he be remembered.
  • Upcoming Titles

    • Black Seed 2 – Six months later issue #2 is ready. Green anarchist paper published by LBC
    • Anarcho-Pessimism – The Collected works of Laurance Labadie
    • How To Live Now or Never – The anxiously anticipated second book from Alejandro de Acosta
    • Hostis #1 – A Journal of Incivility. The first issue is on the theme of Political Cruelty
    • The 30th Anniversary Edition of the Aboltion of Work
    • Anarchist Spirituality and Spiritual Destinations Two new titles from Peter Lamborn Wilson
    • and so much more…

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    How to Support LBC – Become an Accomplice

    If you like what we do, you can help out by becoming an Accomplice! We invite you to join us in this adventure in publishing and grappling with ideas of anarchy!

    The Accomplices of LBC Books is the easiest way to participate in this project, and share in teh awesome.

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

Posted in huye hombre huye, Insurrection, journal, literary, Monthly updates, nuclear, strugglismo | Comments closed

Fifth Estate #392 Falll/Winter 2014

fifth_estate_fall-winter-2014

This issue of the almost 50-year-old magazine features pieces on art and anarchy, including one by David Solnit of Art and Revolution (they’re the big puppets) fame, Ron Sakolsky on Surrealism (forever!), Tom Nys on anarchist art in the gallery (“chic ornamentation, spectacularization of resistance, or a way to spread the ideas of anarchy?”), and an appreciation of the Yiddish play The Golem, and its anarchist author…

as well as a review of the newly reprinted Letters of Insurgents (get your copy now for gawd’s sake!), an update on Marius Mason (previously Marie), and a call for submissions for the next issue of FE, the theme of which will be contra-Marx. Wheee!

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More about the Conversation

The problem is Others’ minds…   Everything changes with your ideas. You give to time an arbitrary deadline. You give to places a historical meaning. You give to me the impossible task of communicating the meaning of my actions to you.  Without your ideas I have to myself the wind, the trees, the fog, the pain, […]
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Meaningless, Absurdity, Other People, Conversation

    (Albert Camus) Absurdism: In philosophy, “the Absurd” refers to the conflict between (a) the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life and (b) the human inability to find any. In this context absurd does not mean “logically impossible”, but rather “humanly impossible”.[1] The universe and the human mind do not […]
Posted in Explorations of the Eternal Wretch, personal, Ramblings | Comments closed

The Firewall

This has been a harder piece to write than I expected it to be, since the point I want to discuss is relatively simple. What isn’t simple is the supporting material: the bits around the central bit. There is this larger piece I’m in the middle of thinking about the next issue of Black Seed: What is Anarchist thinking? (Others may ask what is anarchist scholarship or epistomology or whatever.) This somehow merges in my mind into a question about how each of us embodies a story of ideas in motion. If we aren’t robots or ideologues we change our minds on central questions or, at the very least, approach them from different perspectives as we age. Our politics and the way we express them changes over time. Anarchist thinking should reflect that.

Rand1

Since I was a tike of 15 I’ve been obsessed with the question of how to live the ideas I was immersing myself in. What seems simple when you are a weirdo punk rebel youth becomes complicated as you try to keep a job or have a conversation with anyone who isn’t punk, a rebel, youth, or weird. We, or at least I, get confused about the signs that people put out there and what exactly they signify and eventually I figured out that it is in that gap (sign-signified) that lay all the interesting bits; about new friends, about ourselves, and that the simple logical people who A + B = C their entire lives aren’t the people for me. Figuring everything out turns out to be a great way to generate boring people.

To put this in a more argumentative way I want to make an initial presupposition that anarchist thinking should be destructive thinking: it should embody attack. It should never assume its context within existing models but recognize its hostility to those systems, especially in this world, and move from there into one of a knowing absence. I’ll try to develop this elsewhere but the point it brings up here is the positive inclination it maps onto things like confusion, inexperience, and not knowing exactly what is going on and acting anyway. Anarchist thinking may improve when there is more connective tissue but flexibility and pliability are core values. I would set this kind of mental flexibility next to imagination, hatred of authority, and a desire for collaboration and mutuality and call the list the anarchist value system, but obviously that’s getting way ahead of ourselves…

The challenge I’m concerned with today is the idea that anarchist practice should be seen as indistinguishable from anarchist ideas or, to put it another way, that means and ends should be indistinguishable. That, in lieu of a revolution and perhaps instead of a revolution, we should exhibit and inhabit the way we want to be in the world, full stop. Insofar as we desire a world free from coercion and authority we should not be coercive or authoritarian. It doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to see that this position has wide implications, not the least of which is an obsession with calling out behavior as coercive or authoritarian and by extension declaring individuals, by their incongruous actions, not-anarchists.

As an initial effort to nibble around the edges of this ethical position I’d like to introduce a counterexample to this inseparability of ends and means. I’ll go even further and use this case as a testament to a broader set of counterexamples. I am referring to what it is that we do for money. How do we live in this world?

I want to be as precise as possible here because while I may have an aesthetic preference for sloth, or at the very least for work avoidance, I am compelled to work for others for money. This compulsion is real and rather distinct from the projectual focus of my life generally. While I respect the fact that many people avoid this compulsion by hiding from the world of rent and responsibility (-to-others) I have found that by and large this is only a temporary or privileged position. Most people experience their lives as broken into at least two pieces, one being the set of things you are forced to do to live in this world, the other being the set of things you do because of desire, joy, or preference.

What seems to be the common ethical anarchist practice of reconciliation between these two spheres of life is to find work (ie compulsory labor) in a field resembling the social services. This could be directly as a social worker, or commonly as a nurse or health practitioner or teacher, or perhaps work in an NGO where policy changes can be interpreted as effort towards a common good.

My theory is that this reconciliation is impossible. Moreover, the attempt exemplifies the idea that politics can (and should) be practiced by participating in institutions that either by form or function reflect (although usually only partially and by an amount that degrades over time) your personal values. If your institution is healthy then the particular political position it represents is seen as waxing. In anarchist jargon this is the critique of representation: (here is a nice overview).

The other piece of this (function) is the question of whether good works can lead to the salvation of man we make the change we’d like to see in the world. This is most blatant in the context of, for example, health care, where you are in fact making life and quality of life decisions for and with other human beings. It’s hard to differentiate the human side of health care from the entirely disembodied aspects of doing care work for pay and in increasingly rational and rationalized ways. When you are in it your perspective changes… and that is exactly the (or a) problem!

This is not a declaration to stop doing things, or even to stop working jobs that improve yourselves (singular and plural) but a small declaration that thinking anarchisticaly should not reconcile this contradiction. For some this means that they want to live in the grief of doing care work while under the discipline of wage, rational systems, and assholes (both those being cared for and the bureaucracy above) but for others, for me, it means I keep the life I live in this world unreconciled with the life I live in our world.

I maintain a firewall between work (a jargon term that means obligatory labor in the marketplace) and the things I do (for pleasure). This has made me a shitty employee from the perspective of promotions and career advancement since I don’t appear to be willing to give myself up for my employer but a better anarchist, albeit by a new definition. An anarchist is not one whose means and ends are inseperable. An anarchist is one who devotes a great deal of energy understanding the difference between the world–of power, authority, and domination–and a world of our creation. An anarchist in this world has to understand boundaries and all the ways that power, care, and the violence of exchange conspire to turn us into our opposite.

Posted in hate, personal, society, work | Comments closed

10 years of Anarchist News

This is the date that is more-or-less 10 years after the first entry of a very early (think php-nuke) version of anarchistnews on the Wayback Machine. The original mission of anarchistnews was to improve on deficiencies of the active news wires of that time These deficiencies were

  1. being too broad (as to not be particularly anarchist)
  2. having a comment section dominated by the admin
  3. having a comment section onerously and arbitrarily moderated
  4. being one-dimensional

anews_awards

No good deed goes unpunished so as the years have ticked away the success of resolving these deficiencies has also exposed new, complicated problems. I’ll say that if the goal of anarchistnews was to #attack what had come before, to spurn #society, and create an atmosphere that reflected (although this was unbeknownst to me at the time) a younger and contemporary anarchist perspective… then I feel the past ten years has been an incredible success. If the goal was to create a community, demonstrate how digital life can bridge chasms, and defeat the new corporate technocracy at the communication game… not so much.

What we have done

We have created a place for in-depth conversation on topical stories, a safe space for trolls (of at least four different varieties), the go-to one-stop location for scene drama, and a place to advertise black-clad banner drops, window smashings, and glue lockings. As we are interested in each of these things in some weighted order each day (and that order changes) we consider it a success that most days anarchistnews delivers a different emphasis too.

To the extent that the Internet has a singular watercooler, not controlled by a corporation, for anarchist discussion in North America, anarchistnews has grown to fill that role. (Note that this singularity breeds contempt and that is to be expected, especially from a movement of malcontents and freaks.)

What I have learned

The list of lessons from a project like anarchistnews is long. I’ll start with a personal list and then a categorical one. I have learned that every time you compete with or act with hostility towards someone else you also allow them to enter your life. You think about, whether you realize it or not, the same problems that they do and in some substantial way reconcile yourself to why their approach to problem domain was appropriate. After doing anarchistnews for years I am far less judgmental about decisions that infoshop, libcom, or crimethinc have made with their web boards. Similarly I can understand their frustrations with decisions around anarchistnews. None of us have got it right (#society still stands) or have had anything beyond limited success. This empathy for other people’s projects might seem at odds with the playfully hostile tone that is a hallmark of anarchistnews but it’s where I’m at.

Here is the tl;dr on categories of lessons. Internationalization is very difficult to do while sitting in the US. Technology problems are a pain in the ass.

Anarchistnews obviously reflects a North American bias. It is in English, reports on actions, analysis, etc from NA first, but also attempts to highlight activity and thought in other parts of the world. It is impossible to fairly editorialize and distill all the different language (even if translated) action blogs and context for a NA audience, at least without more participation from other places. Context is a particular challenge in NA because we live in a place where nearly 350 million people speak the same language (compare this to 500 million people in the EU speaking 23 official languages); grow up watching the same television programs; know the same dozen or so politicians’ names; and enter anarchism through the same, very limited, entry points. If anarchistnews did better original reporting of international perspectives I believe it would go a long way towards building more international bridges, which would benefit both sides of each new connection. Even more than with Europe, the scarcity of translation and cross-cultural traffic between the US and Mexico is a dramatic failure for NA anarchism and anarchistnews in particular.

Software

Anarchistnews runs on the open source software Drupal. It has used Drupal (for better and for worse) for at least 8 years and the software has developed from something that a single person could hack into place into a large, sprawling, system that several years ago I lost the capacity to fully grok. The biggest consequence of this is that during the last major upgrade (I believe from 6 to 7) I got outside help… who committed to more than they were willing to do. As a result we are now missing about five years of anarchistnews backups. Realistically this will not be resolved until someone who both gives a fuck about the missing archives and has experience backloading data from drupal6 to drupal7 reaches out to me. This hasn’t happened but I want to extend the invitation. Additional tech drama has included (just in the past year) a very virulent and consistent mixture of federal probing (mostly by IP address in the Arlington VA zone) and international spammers hitting the anarchistnews server pool all the fucking time. I’ve tried many different solutions but haven’t hit the golden ratio (although I’ve had a bit more success lately) of banning IPs, memcache, mysql settings, and tolerance for the proficiency trolls have with TOR. Final note on technology, over the years I’ve tried to get technical help but the issue continues to be that finding people who are competent technologists (of whatever stripe) AND politically on board with anarchistnews (meaning not sectarian) may be possible but would require more time (in meetings, meeting new people, going outside) than it usually takes for me to hack a solution together myself. I have a slow-moving/appropriate mechanism in place that may resolve this issue but… slow.

Goals

Sectarian is another way to say clique-with-a-program. Anarchistnews has had limited success in its attempt to be non-sectarian in news coverage . Sectarian politics doesn’t, in fact, look like the war of all tendencies against each other. Mostly sectarian anarchist politics looks like different perspectives looking right past each other. In the context of social scenes this means you end up only hanging out with/being friends with people who share a general orientation but from the perspective of anarchistnews this means that perspectives that feel like they get mocked or a short shrift from the commentators on anarchistnews stop posting their news there. This is incredibly frustrating. For starters this means that for there to be balanced coverage on the site I have to go out and find perspectives that are under-represented (yuck) which always means they end up serving as chum to the trolls rather than balance, it also means that anarchistnews is often seen as a hive-mind where, as the only person that reads every comment, the opposite is true. We strongly believe that any time you rely on one person/perspective to provide balance you are doomed to failure.

Another content note. Uncontroversial (or generally approved of) actions and stories get far fewer comments than controversial things do. This doesn’t seem surprising once it’s stated out loud. But the inverse (which is as obvious) is remarked on all the time as a condemnation of not just anarchistnews, but the Internet in general, society, etc. This just seems myopic. Controversy is controversial. The Internet has created a culture of adrenaline-fueled controversy chasing. The fault of this is… anarchistnews moderation!?

What will change and not

Now that you are familiar with what we’ve learned you can probably guess what is going to change… not much! We were very close to pulling the trigger on some big changes (including removing/displacing comments) but have changed our minds. Over the past 2-3 years I’ve minimized the amount per day that it takes to run the site, I’ve grown inured to the slings and arrows of worker-obsessed trolls, and, upon reflection, feel that removing this venue for discussion wouldn’t have a clearly positive effect (just an arguable removal of negative effect). The momentum of anarchistnews is considerable.

Wishes for other projects

That said I believe there is a lot of room for other projects that fill the holes that anarchistnews leaves untouched. The most obvious would be an exciting, moderated, non-sectarian discussion forum. Somewhere between anarchistnews and the 101 level stuff of http://anarchy101.org and corporate anarchist discussions but with a crew of intelligent and patient moderators. A lot of work but it could be worth doing. Another gap could be a curated RSS feed that accomplishes a lot of what people claim they want in anarchistnews but with no comments. This isn’t so dissimilar to the Indymedia model that anarchistnews is a type of response to (and probably why it hasn’t happened yet) but all that it would require is the work of 2-3 motivated people to make something very usable and useful.

Criticisms

Among the general and vague criticisms that the site gets is the idea that I (the psuedonymous character known as worker) have designs on controlling anarchy which I accomplish by my choice of story and my haikus of hostility (aka the rollers). While I (in my not-worker mode) don’t claim to have no stake in certain arguments that happen on anarchistnews I am sincere when I say that I don’t participate in them. I do not make comments on the site unless as worker and usually then only in response to direct questions. Of course anarchistnews is a frame on topical anarchism but in the context of corporate-hosted conversations about the same topics it is arguable how tight the frame is. Additionally there are very few stories that get submitted to the site (by someone other than me) that do not get posted. Once people caught on that anarchist means uses the term anarchist or demonstrates explicit connection to anarchist ideas there are have been far fewer posts (and even fewer complaints) about what gets submitted. That said, I do not devote a great deal of time hunting down stories to post so if you feel as though your particular tendency isn’t being well represented on the site please use this link and add it.

Conclusion

I want to end this reflection on ten years of anarchistnews by pointing out a specific criticism. I don’t want to take this comment entirely in good faith but it is worth mentioning that comments like this still touch me. They don’t exactly hurt my feelings but they represent exactly the disconnect between critics (like 90% of the commentors on the site) and the people who write the reportbacks, analysis, call outs, and actual content of the site. The implication that anonymity has created a shitshow is a criticism that cuts to the bone and for that I appreciate it but the ahistoricalness of the comment gives me pause. Serious pause. If you have not moderated a site or run a project that people interact with anonymously (which is nearly every project nowadays) its hard to describe how complicated the issues around this are. It is simple to say is that no matter what one chooses around these kinds of issues you are going to be making the wrong choices for a subset of your audience, of your peers, your enemies, and your friends. Anarchistnews has always worked on the premise that anarchy, in its raw, unmediated form is worth the trouble. Trolls, cops, and frenemies haven’t convinced me that this isn’t true, but they are trying.

Posted in Anarchist News, criticism, report back, self-criticism | Comments closed

A Reportback from the Black Seed tour

This reportback will include some thoughts about the different locations I visited in my trip around the US, highlights from my presentation, and some thoughts about where current conversations are at regarding Green & anarchist ideas. The broad project of Black Seed is to grow the audience and definition of green anarchism beyond the constrains of windmills, wolves, and wildness into a broad category of non-instrumental approaches to living, struggling, and thinking. This means fighting the allure of jargon, counter-cultural shortcuts, and sectarianism. A green anarchism can (and should) be one that is pluralist with bruises rather than righteously exclusionary.

Ki8lsiq

Timing is Everything

The Black Seed tour was somewhat motivated by the desire to go to the Cleveland and NYC Anarchist bookfairs (for LBC) and wanting to make sure people who wouldn’t otherwise ask for a copy of Black Seed would still get one as easily as possible. With that in mind the tour was setup just a few weeks before it began and ended up including events in Milwaukee, Cleveland OH, Pittsburgh PA, Rochester NY, Buffalo NY, Philadelphia PA, Columbus OH, Bloomington IN, and Salt Lake City UT.

Given that (sadly) anarchism tends to be of interest to a primarily college-aged crowd if you want to speak to a larger-than-small crowd you should orient your trip around student participation. Traveling to a town a week or two after finals is therefore not recommended. Mostly, towns where there was not a standing anarchist population had nearly zero turnout.

Couple that with the perceived (or not-so-perceived) hostility between old-time red anarchists and anything not-red and I felt a little bummed in a couple towns. But turnouts that are really just become conversations rather than presentations and while I think I’m better at the latter (with strangers) than the former… context matters and acting like you are talking to an audience when three people are in the room is kind of silly.

The Presentation

Initially I was going to prepare a new presentation regarding some of my current thinking about the problem of indigeneity but the Black Seed editors reminded me of an important thing. I am not an editor of Black Seed, I am the publisher. This point, while subtle in an anarchist project where lines are often muddied and disrespected, is an important one as I am not nearly as equipped to represent the content of the paper as I am to present my own thoughts. If the stated goal was to bring Black Seed to towns… then doing that, describing the context that Black Seed came out of, reading the editorial, and calling for questions seemed to be the appropriate level of engagement. This is an especially important point given that the very small GA milieu seems particularly guilty of personalizing projects/ideas which is absolutely not the goal of Black Seed. Green Anarchism will whither on the vine again if it is about personalities (or singular projects).

Since I know this will be asked, I’ll answer it ahead of time. The difference between a publisher and editor of a project (or at least this one) is basically one of experience and money. A publisher pays for the printing and deals with the distribution. An editor collaborates with authors to make their writing as strong as possible, which can mean political, content, or copy editing work.

Here are a few bullets points from the presentation.

What is green anarchism

In one view of anarchism it is part of the divided revolutionary project in a dialectical relationship with Marxism and its branches. In that view Green Anarchism is a branch that only began to thrive as the ecological movement came into general consciousness after WWII (although it did have an earlier origin story). This isn’t my definition of GA.

For me there is one great story, one bible, of radical engagement to the world and that is Hegelianism. Those who reject this specific story, the idea that reality can be expressed by rational categories and that the goal is to reduce reality to a unity, may be green anarchists. This means that my orientation is more cautious & circumspect than declarative and valiant. It also means I don’t tend to buy “the end is nigh therefore…” arguments as I don’t think that human consciousness/will/capacity is all it’s cracked up to be. Put another way, not only am I not a humanist (by design), I don’t think humans are either. But that’s just me.

The context of Black Seed

We miss the magazine Green Anarchy. It died, to a greater or lesser extent, as a consequence of the Green Scare (aka the persecution of anarchist, earth, and animal liberations types on the West Coast). It wasn’t as simple as that, of course, but the feds set the fire and only lunatics and fools don’t run from fire.

Black Seed is the serotinous result of this fire.

The critique of anthropology

This is obviously the topic of a larger “meta” conversation but here are the stated concerns/issues/critiques of anthropology as stated in Black Seed. One, anthropology is an academic discipline that begs for a deeper analysis of why anti-authoritarians would engage in a field that uses knowledge to grow the power of the existent and not something that thrives outside of the academy. Two, anthropology traditionally “others” people in ways that can only be described as problematic (or genocidal depending on your perspective). Three, anthropology is a discipline of truth (with a capital T). If it were a form of story telling (where the aspects of truth are malleable and subjective) there would be little concern with it. Disciplines of truth are some of the arcane magicks that have summoned Leviathan.

The locations

Here are some brief notes on some of the stops on the tour.

NYC

NYC believes it is the center of the universe. It absolutely is not. Especially when it comes to anarchy. Even moreso when it comes to vibrant, exciting, searching for new ideas. NYC is where ideas and dreamers go to die.

I did get to see Jerry Koch and Daniel McGowan back from prison and back in the mix. That made my heart soar (no joke).

The Midwest

The First Annual Cleveland Anarchist Bookfair was a great first time effort by a very young crew. Bloomington always turns out an inquisitive crowd. Columbus was a really positive and engaged group of people at the new Sporeprint Infoshop. These three towns were the best attended events and most interested attendees on the tour.

The Between

The area between the West Coast and the Great Lakes is a huge wasteland of anarchist emptiness. The only exception (this trip) was Salt Lake City which was a strange mix (and included an event with me and scott crow…) that included a great group house, an utterly hostile town, and a group of people who seemed to have been passed by by time…

The conversation

Finally I’ll speak a bit to the condition of anarchy (especially green) based on my fractional view of NA@ on the Black Seed tour. First, I got the strong impression that there is an eager audience for a new/refreshed view of a green anarchist perspective that is not EF! style activism or ideological. People seem to feel that -something- green reflects their values but are really looking for an active conversation about it (rather than a fait accompli). Second, the history of even recent North American radical activity is woefully incomplete and under told. This is probably a direct result of the turn-26-and-youre-out nature of 21st century anarchism but I’ll also go ahead and blame wikipedia, the @ FAQ, and the vicious little scene that eats everyone alive who participates in it. Third, many anti-left positions no longer have to be defended. Everyone agrees on the basics and (in an all-too-american way) want to get down to brass tacks.

For future trips I would recommend an editor and an author or two to travel together with a wider variety of approaches (like skill + content, intro + experiential, etc) than my “one person show” was capable of. Plus, I’m getting to old to haul books, drive thousands of miles, and give a compelling presentation to a small crowd without getting demoralized. Which isn’t to say that I feel demoralized after the trip but that some days felt like I was only capable of reaching one or two people (rather than dozens, hundreds, or the millions necessary to shift our conversations beyond the arcane and irrelevant).

Final note. The last event I did on this tour was a public conversation with Scott Crow who, perhaps, would seem like someone from a different corner of the big tent of anarchy. The conversation was productive but only because we came into it already knowing each others jargon (ie the very different words we used to say the same things) and liking each other. I’ll say tentatively that our capacity to find common cause may indicate a possibility for many of the different clans to find ways to work together. Scott is a great contrast to the color coded sectarianism of the rest of the anarchist world and I think we can agree that a black flag is good enough.

Posted in black seed, lbc, reportback, scott crow, Tour | Comments closed

RE: The Politics of Denunciation

RE: The Politics of Denunciation The following are two statements in the piece that I can relate to: “Support for the survivor is equated with, and then replaced by, castigation of the perpetrator.” and “It is unsurprising, then, that our tendency is to push people out, rather than draw them in; but when we do […]
Posted in Anarchy, Ramblings, Social Analysis | Comments closed

Two Guys Meet At A Bar

[this is a short dialogue about socalled confidence and personality types]   Rick and James both hear about a hip local spot where they meet. James is sitting at the bar on his second drink about to order some food. Rick walks up to the bar to order his first. Rick is a large, strong […]
Posted in personal, Ramblings, Social Analysis | Comments closed

Winners of the 2013 Anarchist News Awards

Context

A lovely event space, or as lovely as a cold theater/warehouse space can be. Bright graffiti on the walls, people dressed up in a mixture of thrift store fabulous and job interview/funeral attire. An emcee who directed over a dozen different anarchist luminaries to present and present awards for the variety of “big awards” which received a statue and the “honorable mentions” who received or are going to receive a certificate of recognition.

anews_awards_statues

anews_awards

Food was served. It only had a few vegan options. There were no beverages (what’s up with that?!).

By the end of the evening the attitude of querulous hesitation was replaced by a strangely positive feeling of gezelligheid. Given that what had just transpired was the Anarchist News awards the expectation was probably of pure hostility to the anarchist project. Instead there was something else. Something complicated and positive. We then staggered into the night.

Transcript

Anarchist News is a few months shy of 10 years old and in Internet and anarchist (and Internet) years that is an eternity. The point of Anarchist News was to correct the excesses of moderation of the then dominant source of Anarchist News and discussion. What wasn’t known at that time was how, given enough time and popularity a site like anarchist news, or infoshop, or anarkismo reflects and refracts the audience that uses the site.

In the case of Anarchist News there is no doubt that posting anonymous communiques, theoretical essays, and activism-only-when-it-uses-the-word-anarchist have influenced North American anarchism over the past decade. During the peak of interest in anarchism the site was receiving between six and ten thousand unique visitors a day and MSM portrayals of anarchists, including a cameo in the movie The East, often included screen-shots of @news as a high bar.

Even at today’s low point of interest there continues to be a hard core of visitors and users who fill the site with their commentary and energy. The site percolates even when the world as a whole seems exhausted by the implications of what anarchism entails (or maybe that’s just me).

But this exhaustion does seem to be a fair term to describe our time. As anarchists are partisans of doing the unpopular even in the face of sure defeat, especially when success can’t even be contemplated, we come together tonight to celebrate anarchism and the anarchists who practice it. We are partisans of an impossible dream, which is that people can and will choose freedom. This freedom-choosing makes us do strange things, block google buses, excoriate others for our shared fate of not winning or having a winning strategy, and argue with each other online. This arguing doesn’t make us unique either on the Internet or in politics but, at least in the past few years, it has seemed to make us particularly demoralized…

This evening is going to be an attempt to use the positive aspect of being a meeting place for North American anarchism to highlight inspiring, funny, and true anarchist stories in 2013. We will be offering posters to people, places, and projects we have found interesting and exciting in 2013. We will offer statues to the six winners of the Anarchist News awards later this evening. These awards include:

  1. Most indomitable prisoner
  2. Best smashy event of 2013
  3. Best non-smashy event of 2013
  4. Best communiqué of 2013
  5. Best @news commentator

Finally will be the 2013 award for the best Anarchist News troll. This is not an individual who spends hours every day spraying thousands of words at all interlocutors, but one who, through spirit and action, has represented what anarchists do best. Troll the system, troll the world, and refuse to be broken by it!

Best Ally to Anarchists: non-anarchist

It’s hard to say what makes a good ally to anarchist. Perhaps for most of us it is someone who helps with bail, serves us a warm meal, or makes us laugh. But in general our allies are more contingent, like an academic who only acknowledges us as a history lesson, but at least accepts our analysis as within the scope of the possible, or a politician who uses our actions to present the extreme wing of their positions and then speaks as the “reasonable dealmakers” that they are, or a bureaucrat who condescends to us (which sometimes works to our benefit but at the cost of being managed by them).

These contingent allies are frequently journalists whose relationships to us, while never selfless, can be positive for us in a way that isn’t necessarily cloying and/or toxic. To highlight one journalist in particular is not difficult; The Stranger’s Brendan Kiley did consistently decent-to-good reporting on both anarchist motivation and thinking around actions in the Seattle area, and they did a fantastic job of activist journalism around grand juries in general and grand jury resistance in the Pacific Northwest in particular (around May Day 2012 specifically).
Here is an example of the low bar that mainstream media has to achieve in its reporting to be seen as our ally:

Either way, those few chaotic moments on May Day 2012 in Seattle probably achieved more than the window-smashers could’ve hoped for. The demonstrations kicked open a yearlong, citywide debate about protest and targeted property damage, anarchism, and the Occupy movement. They also instigated a series of early-morning raids on “known” anarchists (as described in sealed search warrants later obtained by The Stranger), some of whom were already under surveillance by the FBI. A few people who weren’t even in Seattle on May Day were jailed for months—including stints in solitary confinement—for refusing, Bartleby-like, to answer questions about other people’s political beliefs. (In Herman Melville’s story, Bartleby’s quiet refusal to comply—his infamous “I would prefer not to”—also lands him in prison.)
-From You Know a May Day Protest Was Successful When… The FBI Is Still Following People Around a Year Later

Katherine Olejnik and Matt Duran are the direct beneficiaries of Kiley’s reporting. His sympathetic story of their time in prison humanized them as individuals and accurately connected anarchists to the broader conversation about the role of grand juries.

Anarchists: RIP

Two prominent anarchists passed in 2013. Audrey Goodfriend who lived in Berkeley California and George Sossenko lived in Atlanta and was a veteran of the Spanish Civil War. Here is a little bit about Audrey from the obituary in the slingshot paper.

George Sossenko was a Russian-born American lecturer and activist. At age 17, he left his parent’s home in Paris, France, to join those fighting against Francisco Franco’s nationalist forces in the Spanish Civil War. He initially went to the offices of the French Communist Party, but was turned away, and then denied by the Socialists as well. They suggested he contact the anarchists, who sent him across the Spanish border in a caravan. He was sent to Barcelona, then received one week’s worth of military training before being sent to the front. During the Civil War, Sossenko changed his name to Georges Jorat to avoid being found by his parents, and fought as part of the Sébastien Faure Century, the French-speaking contingent of the Durruti Column. After the Civil War, Sossenko later fought in World War II with the Free French.

Audrey Goodfriend was an anarchist her entire life. Born to anarchist immigrants in New York, Audrey grew up speaking Yiddish at home and lived in the Sholem Aleichem House; a radical cooperative housing project in the Bronx. She was a girl when Sacco and Vanzetti were executed in Boston in 1927 and their letters were instrumental in shaping her anarchism, continuing to move her throughout her life.
As an adolescent and young adult, Audrey sent care packages to anarchist comrades fighting in Spain, read Living My Life against the express wishes of her parents who felt it was too sexually explicit, and traveled to Toronto with a friend to have tea with Emma Goldman. During World War II, she was part of the Why? Group, a publishing collective that printed an anti-war anarchist periodical at a time when many radicals were choosing to support the state in what they saw as a just war against fascism. Anti-zionist since before there ever was a state of Israel, Audrey and her comrades believed strongly that no state violence was ever justified.

In 1946, after the war, she went on a speaking tour with her partner David Koven and some friends from their circle to raise money for the anti-draft movement. They ended up in San Francisco and decided to stay. They knew Paul Goodman and Kenneth Rexroth and were part of a generation of anarchists who laid the groundwork for the cultural movements that defined San Francisco in the fifties and sixties. Audrey told me once that she was too busy raising children to pay much attention to the beat generation, but followed this by saying she had attended the event where Ginsberg read Howl for the first time. Raising her two daughters directed Audrey’s interests toward anarchist education and the Modern School movement, leading her to help found the Walden School in Berkeley in 1958.

Audrey always said she did not celebrate holidays; they were too tied up with god and the state for her taste. She did, however, love to celebrate birthdays and New Year’s Day because they were about people and life and making it through another year. I biked over to Audrey’s house a few weeks ago. She showed me some of her books and we talked about her life a lot. She did not seem to romanticize or regret any of it; she spoke of her own death without fear and was able to laugh, listen and be present with me as I spoke about myself. A week and a half later she went to the theater, came home raving about it, went to sleep, and passed away. She never stopped being an active part of our lives until she stopped altogether.

And she never voted and she never married and she never believed in the authority of god or country; and she was happy and present, well loved and a joy to know.

Best Anarchist Audio

Anarchists have a long way to go before we have what can truly be considered a multimedia approach to information transmission. Actually, we do well to write an essay, a zine, or maybe a booklet about our perspectives. And for those who do not consume information by reading it is very difficult to learn much about anarchists because, by and large, anarchists’ chosen format for communication is writing.
One of the few exceptions to this is John Zerzan, who has produced a radio show out of Eugene, Oregon consistently for over a decade. (Of course, his show emphasizes his own perspective and is necessarily constrained.)

But recently, out of Asheville, North Carolina has come the Final Straw radio show and podcast, which has done a fantastic, and consistent, job of transmitting to a broader audience, information about a wider variety of anarchist ideas.

Some of their shows emphasized people like Sean Swain, Luke O’Donovan, CC McDonald, Oscar Wilde, and issues like nihilism, radical parenting, anti-civilization, modern slavery, the ZAD, and groups like anarchists against the wall from Israel, and anarchists in Spain.

This certificate is to honor the work of Bursts o’ Goodness, the named person behind this project, and their work on the Final Straw radio show.

Best Anarchist News meme 2013

2013 was not a fantastic year for anarchist memes. In years past anarchistnews memes wove themselves through stories and around the comment section with cleverness. In 2013 many of our memes (including liberal, keating!, and google buses) were more or less one-word declarations of a complex set of more or less exhausted issues.

That said, Anarchist News would not be successful at its triple threat of topicality, discussion, and humor if not for the memes. During the past five years memes have been a demonstration of visual comedy in that it shows an intersection between mainstream culture (or least mainstream Internet culture), and how anarchists conceive of our own activity. We accept the humdrum activity that we often do, serving food or demonstrations, because we frame it within compelling mythology.

Emile is most prolific commenter. His multi-thousand word comments are testaments to either a machine-like typing capacity, a master copy and paste-er, or a victim of a serious obsessive-compulsive disorder. Probably all three.

The memetastic response to emile in the form of the multicharacter play emilebot, EMILE9000, Dr Pedersen and company is worth note because of how seriously it takes a subject matter and the commitment it brings to the joke. To put it differently, emile is nearly impossible to respond to because his wall-of-text commenting style is the opposite of dialogue. To engage in dialogue requires an escalation, in form and content, which is exactly what the emile9000 crew accomplish.

Best Anarchist Drama of 2013

We would like to honor and mention bookfair drama in 2013 (or perhaps we wouldn’t but here we are…)
It is a sad fact that the most exciting things that happened in the anarchist space in 2013 were also destructive to the anarchist space. There is perhaps a story to be told about the cycle of social movements. When the aging SF anarchist book fair moved locations last year, it was clear there would be unforeseen consequences to that move. When people discovered that the move was to the large warehouse space owned by Kink.com in the heart of the gentrifying mission district, it was obvious where the lines of conflict were going to be drawn.

Feminist, author, and fellow traveler Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz drew the first line in the sand declaring that, at least for radical feminists, the 2013 SF anarchist book fair was anathema. The Internet caught fire, names were called, and people acted like they cared about something that in fact nobody really cared about it all. Sidebar drama included an alternative book fair to the SF one, a strange plea to authority by Book Fair organizers against homes not jails, and the high-level of jocular security agents patrolling the typically tame SF bookfair.

The San Francisco drama is a notable for foreshadowing a similar one in NYC. Unlike in SF, where there was at least a veneer of political relevance, the New York drama was entirely about personalities. Perhaps that is not quite true. There were real live members of the self-identified NATA group who did show up at the event (and received a knuckle sandwich or two for their effort) but mostly the sound and fury was about the cluelessness of the book fair organizers on how to deal with the rhetorical hyperbole of the time. Especially with the amplification of the Internet (and Anarchist News is of course implicated here) disliked members of our community can quickly become pariahs and pariahs are often punished merely for not disappearing quickly enough.

There are of course problems with bookfair drama, but it is also undeniably a demonstration of life. The fact that people actually care enough about the political context of a commercial event says something interesting about the anarchist space. Perhaps it is that we had an abundance of caring and too few circumstances in which to apply it. Possibly our smooth political environment of failure requires striation and will get it one way or another. Or that the book fair form is no longer serving our need as anarchists for a place to meet with no possibility of getting arrested.

In honor of opening these discussions we celebrate the organizers of the San Francisco and New York city book fair.

Best Communique – honorable mention

The power in the communique is in the fact that it states a subterranean desire with a punctuation mark. It may not be the exclamation mark, or even a period, but even a comma writ large is more of a mark than we make as we wait for the morning train, during lunch waiting for packaged crap, or at night as are entertained and lulled back to sleep. Comma’s are not weapons but pauses. Perhaps a general way to reset our feet for the next attack. This communique stands out as a cry to generalize what seems impossible.

Now Is Always The Time: A Communique To All Youth With Rebellion In Their Hearts – by SFI
We are a group based in Porltand, Oregon. We are an inssurrectionary post-leftist group who believe that now is the time, we are writing this to inspire rebellion. We are a new group, and, given our name, we are also young. Unions are not the way to go for youth, nor is liberalism. We will talk about what we have done, and about what you can do. Don’t buy into false leadership of the left, and don’t let them tell you that now is not the time to attack. Now is always the time to attack! We have waged several attacks. From aramark the prison profiteers who provide our school lunches, to gentrifying apartment blocks that were set ablaze.
We refuse to buy into false unity. We only have affinity with those who want to destroy rather than control. If you are young and reading this hurry! Attack before the left tells you not to, attack before your parents ship you away to college. Use your youthful spirit of rebellion and leave flames behind you! “Hurry to play. Hurry to arm yourself.” -Alfredo M. Bonanno Take his words to heart as we have. Trust in yourself and your comrades. Let everyone know that you cannot be controlled. Let the left know that you are not a revolutionary, but a destroyer. Let the police know that you are their enemy. Let the politicians know that they are not our leaders, but our enemies. Most importantly, have faith within yourself.
Go now and grab some comrades, don the infamous black clothing and attack like we have. There are soooo many targets in portland. Be it aramark located at 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd Portland. Or even the Portland Public School Districts main building located at Ne Dixon street and N larrabee ave. Hold night time smashy smashy events and pass by these places! Hold illegal dance parties and have fun. Start a paper and agitate within schools. Don’t start a union, start a rebellion! The schools will not care about what you want, you must take what you want! Go go go!
Sincerely- SFI (students for insurection)

Best New City

Over the past decade, one of the more interesting phenomena has included watching the growth of small, sometimes ferocious anarchist spaces in towns where one would never expect them. This has been surprising enough when it’s in Midwest college towns, but it’s downright shocking when in towns deep in the South. Atlanta does have the advantage of being fairly close to North Carolina (and other towns with larger populations of anarchists) but what is great about watching Atlanta come into its own is the way that it has created its own mythology.

In their essay “DON’T DIE WONDERING: Atlanta against the police,” the introduction ends by speaking to this synthetic intentionality [what synthetic intentionality? Introduce what you mean by this] with all the beauty that is impossible in the established coastal US cities.

It’s important to avoid escalating too quickly to avoid marginalizing ourselves in a growing movement. But once things begin stagnating, much less shrinking, it can prove to be more strategic to just go all out, pushing the struggle to its absolute limit, rather than trying to preserve it forever, which is just a slow way of dying. This may end whatever momentum still exists and piss people off at the time, but if things are ending anyway, why not risk it all to set off a potential chain reaction that will either spin things in a new direction, or at least set the bar high for next time.

This was in reference to a series of anarchist-involved anti-police events that happened in parallel to the Occupy Movement events of the 2011/2012 period but other events worth mentioning from Atlanta over the past few years include the occupation of a University building at Emory, noise demos (Egypt, against rape, antifa, etc), and a vigorous and distinctive publishing project.

2013 started with a bang in Atlanta with the attack and self-defense of local partisan Luke O’Donovan. Against at least a half a dozen apparent homophobic fools, Luke defended himself by knife while also being stabbed, arrested, and eventually charged with the crime of defending himself.

In recognition of its fantastic spirit, of Luke O’Donovan, of participation in camover, demos, and for continuing to stoke the flames of anarchist passion in a time where many towns have barely embers… we honor Atlanta GA!

The main awards

These are the winners of the first annual Anarchist News awards as decided by the readers (and survey filler-outers) of Anarchist News. If you are unhappy with the results you only have yourselves to blame.

Best Communique of 2013

We live in a time when freedom of speech has become irrelevant. There are so many words, such an avalanche, that words themselves have to be called into question. We have to consider it possible that words are not enough. It is perhaps the highest sign of liberal democracy that words with no consequence have been raised to the level of a holy sacrament.

For anarchists a communiqué is a demonstration of the opposite. It says that our words have consequence, they may be mere, but they are not nothing. They cannot be entirely ignored.

On November 8th of 2011, biotechnologist Ernesto Méndez Salinas, who works in the Biotechnology Institute at UNAM in the city of Cuernavaca in Morelos, was assassinated by a shot to the head.
The Individualities Tending toward the Wild (ITW) have taken responsibility for this action along with an explosive attack on the Institute of Biotechnology of UNAM. As portions of this communiqué lay clear the ITS is not protesting, it is attacking the techno-industrial system and the scientists who build it.

All the texts that ITS has made public are not for society to “wake up and decide to attack the system,” they are not to forcibly change what the others think, nothing like this is intended; the lines we write are for the intelligent, strong individuals who decide to see reality in all its rawness, for those few who form, think and carry out the sensible critique of the highest expression of domination–the Techno-industrial System (a).
And so that our words, critiques, clarifications and statements are made known as they have been spread up to now, we have decided (until now) to take the next step, which has been to attack and try to kill the key persons who make the system improve itself.
This is the only viable way for radical critiques to emerge in the public light, making pressure so this discourse comes to the surface. We are extremists and we act as such, without compassion, without remorse, taking any means to reach our objectives
What’s said is said.


Complex technology is the problem that has afflicted us as a species since the expansion of Civilization. Here it is necessary to say that there are two kinds of technology–complex and simple technology; an example of the latter were (or are) the utensils and tools employed by primitive man during the paleolithic and part of the neolithic, which helped him survive and which some cultures undoubtedly still use to hunter, gather, shelter and defend themselves.
ITS have always positioned ourselves against modern Technology, complex technology, which drives the destruction of Wild (human) Nature.


Because if Technology does not stop, neither will ITS!

Many anarchists also position themselves against law and order. But, (again) are order and law always bad? ITS (again) thinks not.

In Wild Nature everything has an order, everything is self-regulated, there is a circle that repeats infinite times so that the natural equilibrium keeps its course and is not lost.

An example: The tree grows, the rain gives it strength, the moon makes it so there is humidity in the environment and new plants may germinate; the tree drops fruits that in turn are eaten by the herbivorous animals and their young so they grow in a future, these herbivorous animals are hunted by carnivorous and omnivorous (human) animals, the meat is for them and their young, the surplus is devoured by scavenging animals and brought to their young, the earth is nourished with what is finally left. A bird comes to the aforementioned tree and brings what it needs for its nest, while the bird flies, a seed falls where the earth is fertile and everything begins again.

From the beginning of time everything has been ruled by the natural order, until Civilization came and changed everything. Everything turned into disorder, chaos.
From this idea that everything in Wild Nature has an order, and because we say that we obey this order and these natural laws, those who disobey these natural statutes are confined to obeying the system (n) and denying their human nature (ñ).
ITS categorically rejects the chaos of Civilization and ferociously defends the order of Wild Nature.
We will not send out “greetings of support and solidarity” with people who are or are not related with our immediate circle of afines, whether they are incarcerated or have died, we do not see it as strategic in any way.
On the other hand, anarchists of the nihilist-insurrectionalist stripe have for some time called through the internet, written propaganda, etc, that they give “direct support” to their compañeros who have fallen into prison, wounded or even dead. This is how these anarchists’ network has become stronger year after year. Although this has repercussions for some anarchists who have prison records or who only disseminate their communiques on blogs (as happened in Italy), it seems they will not stop for anything. ITS thinks that in these anarchist cells there are sincere people who do not feel the need to construct a new society, but rather to destroy the existent, a mission that for us is not leftist. States really are worried by the rise of anarchist sabotages, which show that they have become a threat for the economic-political system of some countries, something that is worthy of recognition.
– To end with this topic and all the subtopics, we hope that it has been made clear that although ITS has a few agreements with the anarchists, we are different things.
We have said it before, we act without any compassion in the feral defense of Wild Nature. Did those who modify and destroy the Earth think their actions wouldn’t have repercussions? That they wouldn’t pay a price? If they thought so, they are mistaken.
For the moment we only claim these actions, the Mexican government along with the scientific community know very well what attacks we have not made public, and although they hide the information, there is always space to again read something about the people who oppose in action the progress of the Techno-industrial System (y).
For now, that is all there is to say…
Individualists Tending toward the Wild

Best Commentator on Anarchist News

The winner of the best commenter award is going to surprise many of you, or perhaps none of you.
By the percentages there is no doubt that the winner of the best commenter on Anarchist News is anonymous.

To put it differently, the aspect of Anarchist Newsthat is some say is universally reviled is also, at least for the 113 people who voted on this question, a favorite aspect of the site too.

In second place is a commenter who does would deserve mention regardless. This is someone who does not participate in every conversation but when they do they almost always increase the quality of it, usually at the expense of fools–which is perhaps why they chose their user name. They are, like anon, as reviled as they are respected.

If Anarchist News has taught us anything it is that our lack of homogeneity can cause us to squabble about everything. Anarchism is more like kudzu that it is an Amber field of grain or rows of majestic corn. The comments of Anarchist News offend, annoy, inspire, inform, and are the best worst things about anarchists.

The best named commenter of Anarchist Newsin 2013 is Mr. Grumpy.

Mr Grumpy Acceptance Speech

Thank you, Anarchist News community (and while some of you might hear some sarcasm in the term, I assure you that there are no ironic quotation marks there) for presenting me with this most prestigious award. I thought for sure Emile or maybe Emile9000 would have received more positive responses. And actually a little bird informed me that anon did in fact get more votes, but since she, he, they, whoever, suffers from multiple personality disorder, she, he, they, whoever, couldn’t show up without a psychiatric entourage, and we know how much those kind of people are welcome at an anarchist gathering. I also would have thought that the interminable attempts by our old friend Kevin Keating would have edged me out, if only for the fact of his consistent hostility – who can compete with that? Maybe his different pseudonyms just confuse people. Whatever the reason I was surprised that apparently he was overlooked, since his posts are a model of clarity and precision based on principled political discourse. No gratuitous insults, no ad hominems, ever.

I couldn’t have achieved this exalted status without worker and all the other folks who created and maintain and update Anarchist Newsdot org as a much-needed alternative to the other anarchist sites that allow comments. And without other commentators, what would I have to object to? I’m even glad that anon, with all her, his, their, whoever, quirks gets the opportunity to show off her, his, their, whoever’s skill at elevating internet anarchist discourse to new heights of coherence, grammatical precision, and intelligence. I could go on for almost as long as Emile…

Well anyway, it’s an honor for me to receive the first Anarchist News Award for Best Commenter. I look forward to more and more opportunities to post caustic, snarky, educational, ironic, sarcastic, clarifying, and insulting posts in the coming weeks and months. I’m sure my rival anon will do the same, but I’ll do my best to keep up with her, him, them, whoever, so I can stay in the running for next year’s award.

Thank you again, and enjoy the rest of the ceremony.

Best Non-smashy Event of 2013

For 15 years the Berkeley anarchist students theory and research & development have hosted a conference on anarchist theory. This conference has ranged the field from economics, spirituality, crime, space, identity, principles, and this year, social war. While being clearly a voice for a post-left perspective, it has been open to and encouraging of the participation of a wide array of anarchist tendencies.
As the most consistent and rigorous conference of its kind the BASTARD conference, which in 2013 was themed ethics and aesthetics, deserves the award the best non-smashy event of 2013.

Most Stalwart Anarchist Prisoner 2013

We are increasingly doing a good job at supporting self identified anarchist prisoners. Action in the street means bodies and jails and part of the reason why our energy is low after Occupy in 2011 is because of how many of our people either suffered at the tender mercies of the state or had to bail out others who were. But all of these were short timers.

A stalwart anarchist prisoner is one who continues the fight on the inside. This may not look Berkman’s prison journals or Daniel McGowan taking heat for having an opinion but it will probably look like being a big inconvenience to the bureaucracy of the establishment that you inhabit and looking good while doing it.

While we have an increasing number of long-term anarchist prisoners entering the system including the depressing a terrifying case in Cleveland Four who will probably remain inside for the rest of their natural lives there stay is just beginning. Sean Swain on the other hand, was the winner of our award for most stalwart prisoner and already been inside for 20 years. He is associated with the prison group the Army of the 12 monkeys and is running for governor of Ohio in 2014 as an anarchist.

Here is his platform

What is an anarchist engagement? I ask because I’m running for Ohio Governor in 2014 as a write in candidate from Ohio’s super-duper-uber-mega ultramax facility.

Yeah, I know.Your thinking, ‘Running for office is not anarchist-it’s reformist at best’ and thinking ‘A prisoner getting elected?’ And you likely conclude, this is all just further evidence-as if we need more-that Sean Swain is a wing nut. I would say that this is further proof that I’m brilliant and completely misunderstood- thats my story and I’m sticking to it.

I’ve been told that by running for Governor, I’m promoting the idea that reformist ballots are the answer-registering to vote, voting and all the hierarchical implications that that entails. I’ve been told that we need revolution, not diversions into electoral wheel-spinning,and that I’m doing a disservice promoting the idea that elections can be a solution.

Okay, now consider:

It’s not my goal to become Ohio Governor so that I can maintain the state. I’m openly and admittedly an anarchist and I’M running as an anarchist. I’m promising that, if elected I would tear down the state and establish the Ohio Autonomous Zone.

In fact, I have a program already planned out. It’s on my website. My first day in office, I would empty Ohio’s prisons. I would de-commission the National Guard and I would give the weapons to the Native American tribes I would be inviting back.

According to the Treaty of Greenville, they still own this territory. So it’s not exactly reparations for the genocide they experienced, but I’D give them the land back and a bunch of rifles and tanks and Apache attack helicopters in order to defend it.

With no budget signed-ever- no cops would get paid so there woulds be nobody standing between us chasing the banksters and crapitalists out of here with torches and pitchforks-like they have deserved for centuries.We could then export revolution from the Ohio Autonomous Zone.

Thats my plan. And to get elected, I propose that Anarchists and malcontents from all over the country converge on Ohio, squat here, establish residency, register to vote, and get me elected. By my math, if just a million people migrate to Ohio and vote for me, I’d win the election and implement my plan.
To me, that’s clearly an anarchist outcome-destruction of the State, elimination of the system of crapital self-rule. But fellow anarchists tell me this is not an anarchist engagement because the means of achieving the end (voting) are “reformist.”

So…it’s only revolutionary if you wear a ski mask while you do it? In other words, the revolutionary outcome is irrelevant; what matters is if you can look cool while doing it …and if you have to impersonate reformists in order to accomplish your goal, in order to infiltrate and topple the hierarchy, then it is better to instead sit around watching riot porn while the system grinds on and on? Does that sound right?

With what I propose, I’m not asking you to embrace electoral politics or recognize the legitimacy of the state. Elections and the State are bullshit. I’m asking you to recognize a glitch permanent joyride. I’m not asking you to install me in office. I’m asking you to load me into the chamber and fire me into the brain pan of the state.

Question: do the “ends” justify the “means,”does an engagement that leads to an anarchist outcome makes that engagement anarchist even if it would otherwise be seen as reformist? I say, Fuck,yes. And it’s a stupid question! If toppling the State required me to stand in toilet water firing Roman candles out of my ass and playing the Star Spangled Banner through a Kazoo, I would happily do it. If it means posing as a deluded hierarch and pulling a lever on an election machine I would do that too.

It’s not the tactics that make it anarchist. It’s the end result. I’m Sean Swain, anarchist prisoner and candidate for Ohio Governor in 2014 from Ohio supermax facility and I approve this message.

Best Smashy Event of 2013

There are two events that stand out in 2013 as note worthy. The first was a Seattle demonstration that would not be suppressed by the grand jury investigation into the events of May of the previous year. On May 2013 people turned out and took the streets without remorse and there was even a little bit of smashy.

However, the award for the best smashy event of 2013 goes to the Chuey Huerta event of November 2013 in Durham, North Carolina, an event in response to the death of Chuey at the hands of the police (or, if you believe what they say, at his own hands) in the back of a cop car.

The resulting demonstration included social antagonists, Chuey’s friends and family, and strangers who saw their own story in Huerta’s.

From time to time, social antagonists, insurgents, radicals, anarchists – or whoever else – open ourselves up to the struggles of others. We do this for a lot of reasons – to push toward insurrection, to beat back liberalism, to exploit openings, to show solidarity, because we feel guilt, whatever. We participate, we intervene, we mix.
Freed of the guidelines that direct the currents of existence into the routine of daily life, the streets can become the space of possibility for a new sort of encounter. Each time, we meet this possibility with dispositions that persist separately from our conscious intentions or articulated discourses: We are either more or less open, or more or less closed, to the affects — the unexplainable bodily stirrings that are felt, not thought — of others.

A more closed disposition leaves us relatively disempowered. We may feel ambivalent to the success or failure of a moment. when we step away from the uninhabitable discourses that proliferate among the different activist or militant sects, we become sensitive to the new ethical ties that link us to others: the bonds across time and space that connect the Kurdish militant occupying Northeastern Syria to the chapullers of Istanbul, the squatters of the ZAD to the drop-outs of the Albany Bulb; that connect the Brazilian favelas to the Warsaw ghettos, the Roma of Paris with the Underground Railroad.

Some endeavor to explain away these links. Others, more pathetically, have chosen to ignore these things completely. Instead, we might choose to follow this sensibility without backing down – to follow the line along which power grows. To build materially what already exists spiritually – the ties that link across our struggles to the struggles of others – could be the most important task ahead of us.

The First Annual Anarchist News Trollie Award

We set aside the final award for an unappreciated kind of anarchist. The idea that our awards are called trollies speaks to the split personality of anarchists. On the one hand we annoy (mostly each other but also power), and on the other hand we defend (bridges, each other, and probably the future for everyone).

For our final and most important award we honor someone who was so aggravating to power that they kicked the guy out of jail (although it was after eight months).

In his words:

I am holding strong. I do not know how much longer the State plans to keep me separated from my family and friends, but I will not bend.

Compared to the vast majority in this prison, I’m lucky. I’m not facing the very real possibility of spending the rest of my life in this place, as so many of the men in my unit are. I am really fortunate to have such strong support on the outside. The solidarity everyone has shown is helping me through this and constantly reaffirms my resolve.

The Federal Grand Jury that put me here is only the most recent facet of an assault on those who wish to be free of state surveillance and intimidation. This legal onslaught has already targeted and claimed the freedom of many anarchists, but we will keep fighting. I will keep fighting. My politics, principles, and ethics stand in direct opposition with this legal tool that is used to further enable the government in its assault on anarchists, and I will not lend it any legitimacy, nor will I comply in any way.

Thank you again to everyone for your truly beautiful acts of support. Your letters especially are helping me get through this, and I look forward to talking with many of you soon, on this side of the bars and beyond.

Last, please take the next few minutes to write someone who is locked up—believe me, it will make their day.

With love, with dignity, in solidarity, for anarchy, Jerry Koch

With much respect we give the Anarchist News trollie award to Grand Jury Resister Jerry Koch. May we all be as stalwart under the heel of the state and bear up as valiantly when it matters.

anews_awards_trollie

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Intellectuals

The notion of intellectuals is something that I’ve struggled with a long time. The concept grounds itself in a world peopled mostly by idiots and to whatever extent this is true, too often this implies that others’ stupidity is so severe that they’re fundamentally incapable of living a decent social life or even surviving without […]
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