Episode editorial 7 – Cooperation

On our minds this week

This week in the politics of geopolitics and interesting division was exposed. As anarchists we should think on this division as it is of concern to us too. This divide is characterized as globalism (or neo-liberalism) or nationalist (aka protectionist). Many authoritarians land on the globalist/neo-liberal side of this split arguing that diversity, climate change, and free trade are somehow friendlier to a position hostile to the State than racism, hostility to scientific consensus, and trade sanctions.

This week we reflect on the fact that the divisions between statists are not our divisions. If a revolution against big power were to occur it would be safe to say we’d have a global perpective in our heads but our locality in our daily lives. We’d be deeply ambivalent about anything that looked like trade. And our diversity argument would look entirely different than they do today.

On mind this week is a pox on the house of the Nation and the house of the neo-liberal. We can safely stand on neither side of this stupid fight, we have stupid fights of our own.

 

Editorial – Cooperation

It used to be taht the anarchist space was small. It was possible to know everyone. It was possbile for one event to host most of the anarchists at once. The Battle of Seattle grew the number of anarchists exponentially, The War in Irag, and the Internet has done it a few times more. One of the confusions about this rapid growth is the assumption that just because we are thousands instead of hundreds that we are all on the same team.

That is not how teams work. Teams work because it feels special to be on one. One feels like a privelaged few and not a faceless horde. The reasons affinity groups plus is still a primary organizational technique for anarchists is because we know each other as special individuals and not abstractions. If you subscribe to the form of anarchism that says that we should remain anonymous in most situations your social circles, the people you work with, will be necessarily small.

Like many other topics, the Internet has changed this. Many anarchists now have a far larger vaguley social circle than they ever did before. Personal intimacy is laregely gone but there is a larger sense that you have fellow travelers. This has meant that rather than anarchism in north america being mostly red, mostly friendship circles, and most intimate it has become mostly positional (red, green, insurrectional, transhumanist, etc), mostly around allying around positions, and mostly impersonal. It is far easier to insult strangers who don’t share your positions today because you don’t need them for a future action or as a friend.

There has to be something positive about this change. Perhaps one of those things is we are now bigger than cliques. We are now bigger than one big mans personal agenda or personal problems. Perhaps it means we can start trying to do more than one thing at once. Perhaps being ninjas at every highly publicized event isn’t a requirement for entry in our secret club. Perhaps you don’t need to read every book written by bearded men in the 19th century. Perhaps we can begin a set of conversations about how each of us, how each type of personality and skillset can add to a complex social environment that shares a love of the Beautiful Idea and respects others who do the same. Perhaps that respect can mean something more than the Internet is capable of demonstrating. I know that for me, the projects of this large group of people, striving for the Beautiful Idea always interest me, even if I disagree with them.

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Episode editorial 6 – Associative Crimes

on our minds

On our minds this weekend is the shadow of a new horrorshow of violence and war cast by the US Administration over the country of Syria. Six years into a Civil War that finally seemed like it was winding down there is word of another Sarin gas attack by Assad and now a military intervention by the US Military.

As anarchists we unconditionally oppose war. We do not deny that it occurs and that in its footprints lay destruction and possibility. The Syrian Civil War, in particular, has opened the very real possibility of a anti-authoritarian socialism in the form of a liberated Kurdistan. But that is a footnote to the thousands of deaths caused by this Civil War.

Our hearts go out to these people and our fury is reserved to all the heads of state, and their minions, that wage war on human life for nothing other than political gamesmanship and a sick value system that believes that the only way to defend human life is to destroy human life.

 

editorial

Editorial – Associative Crimes

The past few weeks has brought an interesting conversation to the anarchist space. There are many ways this conversation has played out, as about specific individuals behavior, as to whether or not fascist entryism is occuring, or as a sectarian attack about, or considering, a particular political tendency being susceptible to manipulation. The details herein are extremely tedious and boring. The question is not. Here is how I read this question. Is it possible that a generational shift is occuring that escapes our capacity of understanding? Moreover is this change happening so fast that we as individuals, in the flux of this transition, are incapable of seeing, knowing, or controlling it as it occurs?

One of the challenges that anarchists face, when somone outside the milieu inquires, is that we both identify power in its excesses while having a vague attitude towards eliminating power. We desire an end to power but recognize that end would involve great horrors, in the form of the destruction of the state by way of its infrastructure and of violence towards human lives dependend on that same infra. We are expressing a anti/political position that entails a thousand unforseen consequences, most of which are probably authoritarianish and possibly horrible. The tension between political reality, as in how things work in the real world, and a dreamy desire for an anti-authoritarian world is real and any anarchist that denies it is either lying or hasn’t thought about it long enough.

In the old days (prior to the word anarchism-as-a-political-position) this topic fell under the auspices of the kind of sacrifices one had to make for the securities one received from the nation state. If one wanted health care, national security, and some care for the elderly and whatnot one had to accept, as part of a faustian deal, a type of contract usually called a social contract. Today we live on shifting sands. We cannot argue that there is any contract in place. We cannot count on health care or that we will be cared for as we grow old. We can only count on change. On flux.

Anarchism can be described as a simple position. It is a desire to live in, and work for, a world without the state or capitalistic exchange relations. But anarchists are not historical artifacts. We recognize that the world is changing and want to be part of that change. This means associating with what is here and now and not just a set of static first principles. Social media and the capacity to argue about everything, all the time, has meant that it is very easy for an author or an essay to associate things, taht are not otherwise similar, easily and to spread that false association broadly.

Name calling is confusing. On the one hand it is very useful to have conceptual tools (ie names) to understand people, positions, and our place therin. On the otherhand one has to have great trust in another person to trust that the way they use language, and names, is the same as yours. As an anarchist I want to trust other anarchists but also as an anarchist I have to realize that words and the gamesmanship around them is a kind of power relationship I want to be an active actor in and not just the subject to someones superior political savvy.

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Editorial episode 5 – A Failure to Communicate

on our minds

This weekend is April First. Obviously anarchist do not have a sense of humor and anyone who would say we do is a dirty liar but it sure would be nice if we did. We could see our project, the total transformation of daily life, as a hysterical absurdity. We could see our comrades as human (all too human) beings and not revolutionary robots set to kill, kill, kill. Like most things, the Internet has coopted and killed the devilish pranks of April Fools day but let’s hope our own little silly pranks are read in the spirit they were intended and not in the spirit of indignant poops.

 

editorial

A failure to communicate

We’ll talk about our friend Shawn Wilburs blog post about this topic later but suffice it to say that I agree broadly with his description of some anarchists willful failure to communicate but I perhaps am less interested in being as fair minded as Shawn is.

Anarchism has changed in the nearly thirty years I’ve been involved in it. And obviously by the time I became part of this tradition borne of the beautiful idea it had changed several times prior. By the time I took part in it anarchism was starting to grow beyond the anarchism of Crass and punk rock politics. It was starting to federate and look towards greener pastures than subculture and youthful zeal. Murray Bookchin was still alive and, unbeknownst to me at the time, was kind of a big deal.

I share most of the post-left criticisms of Murray and, in particular, on re-reading Social Anarchism vs Lifestyle anarchism find it to be a uniquely corrosive document in terms of attempting to communicate but I do think it is useful on this topic, both as a model of how not to do it, and as a template some have used ever since to win an unwinnable fight and to say a piece about some imagined Other.

And of course I will say the same things, maybe worse about the writing of Bob Black who has always used communication as a cudgel.

The point here is that we have chosen to balkanize anarchism. We, on occassion, have pretended we are all on the same team and write wide-eyed innocent essays misunderstanding how other factions could have ever come to the positions they have and how our faction wouldn’t do anything like that at all. I’ve mostly seen those who refer to internecine conflicts put on the defensive as if they have to explain why an underemployed social anarchist professor and a traveling antisocial anarchist rewilder could possibly ever disagree.

This pretending is also the source of our failure to communicate because it is in the interest of some to own the conversation. It is in the interest of some to emphasize the qualities of civil discourse while minimizing the passions of the shout. Some people get to speak at bookfairs, even though they have nothing to say, and are going to blame the republicans for our unique moment rather than clearly build something small that could grow with people we know. We’d rather pretend we were never in subculture, for fear to not be seen as a serious adult. We’d rather fail than be seen trying. We’d rather only communicate in cliques and to crowds we know already agree with us than communicate dangerous ideas that might not be popular.

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Episode editorial 4 – Projects

on our minds

On our minds this weekend: The possibility of bookfairs!

This weeks podcast is being recorded a little early because the time when I’d normally be recording I’ll be spending at the Orange County anarchist bookfair. This evening is holding down it’s third annual event and this year the guest speakers include Dana Ward of the Anarchy Archives, Alexander Reed Ross of the EF! Newswire, and Zoé Samudzi “On a Black Feminist Anarchism”

What is the possibility of bookfairs? Well, they aren’t going to be the cause of the revolution but they are places where people can meet with anarchists and talk about anarchist ideas without fear of being arrested. They often are events where anarchists dress to impress and do everything in their power to show off their good side. They are often places where you can eat cheaply, find inexpensive anarchist artifact, books, and t-shirts. They are often funny, and the more you know the funnier they are.

What is the possibility of bookfairs? Perhaps this is as far as we go. This is all we are capable of. smashing windows when we are grumpy and selling books to each other when we are calm. The bookfair has become yet another aspect of north american anarchism to fight over. Some claim that anarchists that devote energy to bookfairs, like your esteemed commentator, are somehow less hardcore than those on the street. And it is easy to see anarchists as an anachronism, dedicating energy to books, arguably an anachronistic way to transmit information in a time when images tell a thousand words and I don’t even have enough time in my day to check my instagram feed.

What is the possibility of bookfairs? It is best stated as the opportunity to meet strangers in a conflict free area. To glare at anarcho-liberals under the Southern Ca sky. and to introduce new, up and coming, anarchists to the depth of material they will need to be proficient at quoting from. I love talking about anarchism with people who dont have ideological preconceptions about which is why I still go.

editorial

Anarchist projects

There are several different types of anarchists and it can be challenging to keep them straight. The kind of anarchists that anarchist news tends to devote energy towards are anarchists that work on projects. This is a different type than one that works on organizations or one that just hangs out in a scene. A projectual anarchist organizes their time in terms of bite-sized projects that may be oriented around a bigger project but just as often have value for their own sake.

Often time our anarchist news is a series of different people advertising their new project, be it a new literature distrobution, or a new video project, and inviting others, perhaps strangers or close comrades to join. There is no central committee driving these different projects and often times is can seem like they are temporary, emphasize outreach more than practical or revolutionary goals, and a little embarassing. But that embarrment is important. My first zine was a embarassing. It was called kill your parents and told a story against the existent order, represented by parents, from the perspective of a child. Showing it to people taught be the value of expressing an opinion, especially a hostile and silly one. It gave me a lot of the feedback I needed to do future projects, ones that were decidedly less silly.

Feeling out the texture of doing projects anon vs under your nom de plume or your actual name is another aspect central to how to practice an anarchist politics. There is a strong anarchist current that says that the only anarchist activity has no name, no identity, and may even have to speak for itself. This is a hard line in an environement like we have in teh US that is so saturated with social media and where self-representation is considered a hobby for most young people. Another position is on the opposite side of the spectrum. The only ethical behavior is stating your position with an open face and by your name. Thereby you can be held accountable for what you say and can develop relationships with others who feel the way you do. Short term and discrete anarchist projects are a great way to test out these different ideas about how to do identity, responsibility, and anarchist practice.

This week i was struck by how our anarchist news cycle could be a copy of one a few years or even a decade ago. New media projects, calls for support to distant lands and people, attacks on the existing order, and debates about tactics. Many people might see this as a bad thing. I do not. I see new friends testing out their strength, old timers experimenting with their mediums, and getting better, and the width and breadth of anarchist imagination. These are the things I want my life to be full of, attack, communication, disagreement, and solidarity.

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Editorial episode 3 – Waves of anarchy

on our minds

On our minds this weekend: The possibility of infoshops!

In the 1990s the US attempted to emulate the infoshop movement of Europe. Over the next decade dozens of places to read, discuss, and meet opened and closed. The logistics of keeping radical space open in big and small cities, the exhaustion of being unpaid providers of socials services, and the internet have changed what it means to have space and meet face to face. Our infoshops today have to answer different questions than before.

The Base in Brooklyn NY has quite a few listing for direct action training including first aid, several different kinds of fighting (both self-defense, gender determined, and others). This evolution of the traditional infoshop towards a more specifically direct action training center is greatly encouraging and appreciated.

editorial

One of the stories I like to tell is about the first and second wave of anarchism. The first is the glorious story about a Beautiful Idea that involved the conscious acts of the working class striving together towards a better world that died on teh fields of Catalon in 1937. The second wave was an attempt to be realistic by demanding the impossible and was seen on the streets of Paris & Chicago in 68 and in Northern Italy in the following years.

If one were to quantify these two stories as I am now one could say that the first wave of anarchism envisioned a revolution that could save the human race. The second wave aspired to something akin to an insurrection, still a grand re-evaluation of the way we lived, but perhaps the scale of a city or town and not the whole of society.

This week these two anarchisms were confronted with a new vision of anarchism. One we’ve seen glimpses of in both of the first but that I’d like to evaluate on its own terms. In some ways this new kind of anarchist practice is a return to DIY or do-it-yourself politics with an anarchistic gloss. In some ways it exemplifies the kind of prefigurative politics associated with Bookchin and his contemporaries. Finally it represents a fascinating threat against internet shit talkers and do-nothingists…

I present you the Portland Anarchist Road Care group

The concept is simple. Portland Oregon has shitty roads and the state is, at the very least, slow to do anything about it. Direct Action means do the things that directly impact your life regardless of their legality or whether specialists dominate the terrain. Quikrete is inexpensive (about $15) commercial grade black top repair (also called asphalt cold patch). From the pictures on their facebook group they used little more than a jackhammer with an attachment to tamp down the asphalt. They dressed in bloc, took some pictures of themselves, and wrote their communique.

“Successful preliminary action today. We patched 5 potholes on SE Salmon, between 37th and 39th. We will observe them over the following days and weeks to see how lasting our patches are.”

Beyond the social media storm about this action is a host of interesting anarchist conversations. Before getting to them it is worth saying that this is the perfect anarchist moment. Soon there will be interviews, exposes, and more details about PARC but for now we only have their simplist of statements about themselves.

“Because we believe in building community solutions to the issues we face, outside of the state. Because society portrays anarchists as only breaking windows and blocking roads. Because when faced with anarchism as a political theory, statest often ask “But who will fix the roads.” Because the city of Portland refuses to adequately repair roads in a timely manner.

We are Portland Anarchist Road Care. We believe in community oriented direct action. We believe the state cares more about funding a militarized police force to suppress free speech than caring for and repairing the roads.

The city of Portland has shown gross negligence in its inadequate preventative care through this winter’s storms, and through its slow repair of potholes as weather has improved. Daily, this negligence is an active danger to cyclists and causes damage to people’s automobiles, and an increased risk of collision and bodily injury.

Portland Anarchist Road Care aims to mobilize crews throughout our city, in our neighborhoods, to patch our streets, build community, and continue to find solutions to community problems outside of the state.”

For whatever other criticm I, or anyone else, makes of their action they have made the anarchist case simply and clearly here. More importantly they have demonstrated a nearly perfect insurrectionary action. They could never repair another pothole again and this project could be considered a success because they demonstrated how easy it is for nearly anyone to fix their own potholes.

Up to now I’ve been quite reticent to consider that the second wave of anarchism, what could be called the post-revolutionary wave, or even the insurrectionary wave, may be receeding. I’m still not quite there but the idea of anarchists using insurrectionary methods to create a group that does community repaired potholes seems like a first step towards something new. Clearly I don’t care two bits for the PARC project on its face but anarchists that no longer think and talk big and instead put on some boots and do something that mostly isn’t for their own benefit but is. I don’t know what to think about that.

Sure this is a small and furtive effort but, among other things, this action challenges our preconceptions about whether our project should be entirely negative. Even if they did a shitty job in repairing their local road they made as good as an effort as food not bombs makes at feeding people, the black bloc does at being heard by the body politic, or anarchist theorists do at being heard telling people to demand freedom. What is creative about PARC isn’t their answer to the age old question about who will fix the roads but the fact that they took the punchline and made it theirs. Filling five potholes is a more serious intervention into the question of contemporary anarchist practice than 1000 comments on anarchist news.

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Editorial episode 2 – Radical Notions

On our minds

On our minds this weekend: http://nativenationsrise.org/ Native Nations March in WDC

Because the hardest lessons have to be learned over and over again yesterday the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and grassroots Indigenous leaders marched in prayer and action on WDC from the Army Corp of Engineers to Layafette Square

The Native Nations Rise march was organized by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Native Organizers Alliance and Indigenous Environmental Network to support the Standing Rock fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline and raise awareness to other indigenous issues. Thanks to the participation of protesters the march generated headlines and raised the spirits of Native activists and their allies. “Water is life, and we’re going to fight for what’s rightfully ours,” said Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Chairman Aaron Payment. “We’re going to keep bringing information so that they’re going to have to do something. We’re going to remind them of their trust responsibilities, and our treaty rights to protect our natural resources, and sacred sites.

https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/

editorial

A central question to having a radical notion about the world and the world you would prefer to live in is who are you in that world and in that notion. This is especially true because this world, the world, doesn’t allow you a lot of flexibility in who you get to be and you capacity to have notions of your own.

The internet has been an interesting intervention in this question because, while in some ways it doesn’t mean a thing, for most people the internet has been taken at face value. Here is a place where you get to define yourself from a blank slate. Are you a black masked rioter? Are you a person with an integrated plan about every aspect of how society should be organized? Are your ideas more important than how they get put into practice?

There are several different anarchist approaches to this question about how to put radical notions into practice as many as there are different ideas about how to test those ideas first. The part of this I’d like to focus on this week is whether these different perspectives have different amounts of merit based on whose mouth they come out of, rather than the ideas themselves.

Last week we discussed a critique of the Black Bloc that attempted to place it within the measure of privilege politics. While clearly the author had the liberal bias of statist politics their question of whether it is possible to show support for a community while anonymous is interesting. Their extra dig that white bodies will take measure to prevent their own arrest, while possibly leaving colored bodies to be arrested, is also interesting. What does solidarity look like if you aren’t interested in, and are in fact hostile to, the state that does the measuring?

I don’t want these editorials to just ask probing questions so I’ll answer mine from the last paragraph. I don’t think it is possible for the Black Bloc (full well knowing it isn’t a singular thing) to show solidairty for a group while remaining separate from that group. I don’t think that is usually the goal of the individual members of the BB either. I think they, in the hypothetical scenario the original critic is implying, are showing the limited solidarity that outsiders are capable of showing when something terrible happens to people you feel empathy towards but nothing more substantial than that. I also don’t think the criticism that outsiders can only show outsider levels of support is particularly fair or interesting. There are many other flavors of people, who are perhaps not as performative as BB, that are also outsiders showing empathy but little else. I rarely hear BB express a moralistic superiority over those other empathy-showers. I hear plenty of moralism against those who do not perform empathy at empathy-events but that is a topic for antoher time.

The rule of thumb that I think is missing from the liberal state apologist critic is that one should not judge others by ones own criteria. If one thinks that solidarity should look like getting arrested and judges those who do not get arrested one has drawn a clear line around the type of solidarity they are interested in. The critic is correct that “those with privilege” are not going to magically shed it becasue of /their/ criteria but there are plenty of examples of privilege being shed. Those stories are interesting but are, mostly, not because of politics as much as the individual stories of how politics get translating into lived human experiences. Usually that is not by judgment, shame, or acrimony.

For my own part the part of the critic’s attitude that I agree with to be the same as the central question of radical notions. The world does not allow one a lot of flexibility in participating in it. This means we have to create our own ways of being radical, and of having notions of acting in the world. Sometimes that looks like finding people who we find attractive and doing what they do. Sometimes it looks like something else entirely.

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Editorial episode 1 – anarchyland

The anews podcast

I recently started a podcast for anarchistnews.org. I felt as though anarchism was getting a short shrift from the current podcasts. It needed something that wasn’t so microscopically focused. Each week this podcast reads from anarchist activity from around the globe and editorialize on topical anarchist themes. On my podcast I’m sharing those editorial musings. Enjoy.

On our minds

On our minds this weekend – This podcast is based in the East Bay of the Broader Bay Area which means we have a broad and energetic anarchist scene that mostly despises one another. This weekend our thoughts are with the anarchist people who are going to confront the March for Trump and so-called Proud Boys demo that is happening in Berkeley. Many people are comparing this event to the Milo event that happened at UC Berkeley in the beginning of Feb. We hope everyone stays safe and free.

editorial

I just came back from seeing movie LaLaLand and it reminded me of a number of things that are worth repeating. The musical is the most approachable of movie forms because it involves music as a central character and usually tells the universal story of love.

The movie spoke to me, as it probably would speak to most of you, as the story that love feels pretty damn good. Especially in the beginning when love is full of hope and potential, versus a love ten years later which, while fine, is not so general. Its not for everyone. It is something specific between the two of you. Love ten years in is more about whether you are in fact happy with the things you have built. Are you happy with kids, mortgages, and the 30 more years ahead of what you than what you have behind.

This pertains to anarchy and anarchism because this world, of music, love, and barely recognizable unreality, is the same as the world of the movie musical. Anarchy is the beautiful idea because it does not necessarily concern itself with the mundane facts of a future economic order. It doesn’t have to concern oneself with traffic jams and the price of milk because it does concern itself with a world, that we have to create to experience. It is autonomous which means that terms like ought, supposed to, and “you need to” do not exist. Anarchism is about conceiving of exactly those thing you and your people want to concern themselves with and nothing else.

Speaking for this podcast we concern ourselves with anarchyland, a world where what we and our friends do matter. Where imagination counts for more than politics, history, or guilt. A world where we engage in this world, of capitalism, the state, and white supremacy with hostility or not at all. And because we care for each other we tend to prefer less engagement with the things we hate rather than more. The content of the podcast will reflect these biases.

Onward to this week in anarchist news.

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The 2016 Presidential Election

The 2016 presidential electoral process has inspired many writers to examine the social-psychological factors of the US population’s candidate affinities. To this day, some of the best analysis has taken up the challenge of comprehending the appeal of Donald Trump. Unfortunately, even the best analysis is performed within the parameters of popular social-psychology. That is […]
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Fascism

This text finds itself more relevant to my life this week than it has in years. From Foucault’s introduction to Anti-Oedipus.

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Whence the three adversaries confronted by Anti-Oedipus. Three adversaries who do not have the same strength, who represent varying degrees of danger, and whom the book combats in different ways:

  1. The political ascetics, the sad militant, the terrorists of theory, those who would preserve the pure order of politics and political discourse. Bureaucrats of the revolution and civil servants of Truth.
  2. The poor technicians of desire — psychoanalysts and semiologists of every sign and symptom — who would subjugate the multiplicity of desire to the twofold law of structure and lack.
  3. Last but not least, the major enemy, the strategic adversary is fascism (whereas Anti-Oedipus’ opposition to the others is more of a tactical engagement). And not only historical fascism, the fascism of Hitler and Mussolini — which was able to mobilize and use the desire of the masses so effectively — but also the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us.

I would say that Anti-Oedipus (may its authors forgive me) is a book of ethics, the first book of ethics to be written in France in quite a long time (perhaps that explains why its success was not limited to a particular “readership”: being anti-oedipal has become a life style, a way of thinking and living). How does one keep from being fascist, even (especially) when one believes oneself to be a revolutionary militant? How do we rid our speech and our acts, our hearts and our pleasures, of fascism? How do we ferret out the fascism that is ingrained in our behavior? The Christian moralists sought out the traces of the flesh lodged deep within the soul. Deleuze and Guattari, for their part, pursue the slightest traces of fascism in the body.

Paying a modest tribute to Saint Francis de Sales, one might say that Anti-Oedipus is an Introduction to the Non-Fascist Life.

This art of living counter to all forms of fascism, whether already present or impending, carries with it a certain number of essential principles which I would summarize as follows if I were to make this great book into a manual or guide for everyday life:

  • Free political action from all unitary and totalizing paranoia.
  • Develop action, thought, and desires by proliferation, juxtaposition, and disjunction, and not by subdivision and pyramidal hierarchization.
  • Withdraw allegiance from the old categories of the Negative (law, limit, castration, lack, lacuna), which Western thought has so long held sacred as a form of power and an access to reality. Prefer what is positive and multiple, difference over uniformity, flows over unities, mobile arrangements over systems. Believe that what is productive is not sedentary but nomadic.
  • Do not think that one has to be sad in order to be militant, even though the thing one is fighting is abominable. It is the connection of desire to reality (and not its retreat into the forms of representation) that possesses revolutionary force.
  • Do not use thought to ground a political practice in Truth; nor political action to discredit, as mere speculation, a line of thought. Use political practice as an intensifier of thought, and analysis as a multiplier of the forms and domains for the intervention of political action.
  • Do not demand of politics that it restore the “rights” of the individual, as philosophy has defined them. The individual is the product of power. What is needed is to “de-individualize” by means of multiplication and displacement, diverse combinations. The group must not be the organic bond uniting hierarchized individuals, but a constant generator of de-individualization.
  • Do not become enamored of power.

It could even be said that Deleuze and Guattari care so little for power that they have tried to neutralize the effects of power linked to their own discourse. Hence the games and snares scattered throughout the book, rendering its translation a feat of real prowess. But thse are not the familiar traps of rhetoric; the latter work to sway the reader without his being aware of the manipulation, and ultimately win him over against his will. The traps of Anti-Oedipus are those of humor: so many invitations to let oneself be put out, to take one’s leave of the text and slam the door shut. The book often leads one to believe it is all fun and games, when something essential is taking place, something of extreme seriousness: the tracking down of all varieties of fascism, from the enormous ones that surround and crush us to the petty ones that constitute the tyrannical bitterness of our everday lives.

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What I hate about the Internet and what it means for the future of Anarchism

In another life I work with technology for a living. This means I keep up to date on Internet technologies and the theories that inform them. I just scanned a solid article from new TOR board member and security researcher Bruce Schneier and the power struggle between the feudal internet and those of us who are working for distributed power (by many other names). While Bruce’s goal isn’t necessarily mine, I do think that considering the modern anarchist project one of deliberately distributing power (and working for this distribution) isn’t far off the mark.

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What I hate about the Internet, of course, is that it has quickly moved from a decentralized cacophony of voices, perspectives, and mediums for transmitting different ideas, into a channeled, mediated, controlled, and censored medium replicating most of the media flaws that lead to the popularization of the Internet in the first place. In the context of the anarchist internet this means that the first wave of anarchist controlled internet1 have almost entirely disappeared. Anarchist Internet discussion has almost entirely moved to Facebook and/or the ephemeral snapchat, instragram, and twitter contexts2.

Real life has politically split with the Internet to limited affect. In the activist version of real life (that in my past life as a post-situationist I would call the double abstracted life of the spectacular present) this means issuing communiques on the Internet (with the most secure https and the most blurred of faces) but never discussing strategy or criticism (outside the clique). In the diy version of real life this means rooms with fewer and fewer people talking from the basis of less and less knowledge. Abandoning the internet, as smart as it is from one set of assumptions, has as its major downside a lack of interconnectedness. This fabric of relationships is the one thing I would point to as the most necessary thing to any vision of a future world that isn’t dictated by the feudal concerns of state, capital, and centralized power.

In a different context I am entirely on the side of real life. The meaningful relationships I want to build with individuals lives there. I live there. But that is only one part of what I do with my time. Another part, that of a publisher, propagandist, and curious monkey, lives on the internet. To the extent to which I continue to want to entertain and be entertained I think the feudal internet has to be fought but this seems like such a desperate and lonely fight. Returning to Schneier’s essay here is a nice way to think about the problem.

The truth is that technology magnifies power in general, but the rates of adoption are different. The unorganized, the distributed, the marginal, the dissidents, the powerless, the criminal: they can make use of new technologies faster. And when those groups discovered the Internet, suddenly they had power. But when the already powerful big institutions finally figured out how to harness the Internet for their needs, they had more power to magnify. That’s the difference: the distributed were more nimble and were quicker to make use of their new power, while the institutional were slower but were able to use their power more effectively. So while the Syrian dissidents used Facebook to organize, the Syrian government used Facebook to identify dissidents.

Now I’m not exactly sure I agree that we (the unorganized, marginal, and dissidents) should race to get ahead on tech like quantum computing or VR or whatever. But I am quite sure that whatever innovation happens here (by the unorganized, marginal, and dissident) has to do what it is going to do quickly (and probably in such an uncompromising and vicious of a way as to be entirely disagreeable to most of the unorganized, marginal, and dissident) so as to not lose to the logic of big institutions. The internet wasn’t destroyed the day amazon went live but it took years for us to realize how big of an impact that day was and some of us haven’t learned it yet.

1 spunk, radio4all, indymedia, infoshop, etc
2 Astute readers (and trolls) will notice that I am not mentioning my own sites/work here. Love or hate my projects but you have to admit they are self-organized and not financed or profitable.

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Entry 6 – End of Trip. Lessons

Montreal should get its own entry but now that I’ve been home for two weeks the time to review the end of May seems to have passed. Suffice it to say that Montreal, Chicago (!!!), and Phoenix were all fantastic stops and had great turn outs for what I and LBC have to share. I’m excited to visit these places again. There were nice aspects to Columbus, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis too but for different reasons than pushing forward for projects. For now I’m trying to finish the Q2 titles, figure out GPG (which a serious annoyance) for the fifth or sixth time, and proceed gently into writing more. In that vein I’ll summarize my trip rather than dig into the details.

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Middle Age, no way!

This trip did confirm what I suspected, middle age is a state of mind and not a real thing at all. When what I mostly do with my time is sit in front of a computer trying to make the world move then it’s no surprise I feel middle age. When I’m riding a motorcycle, taking in the glories of the world, meeting new & interesting people it is again no surprise that I feel young. I guess the most middle aged thing about this trip is that I now see the place for both. That and the injuries (persistent and minor). But I now realize that if sitting here typing away is getting me down, then I just need to get back into the world, into living in real time and not this (primarily) sublimated existence as a keyboard warrior. I do feel sorry for young people who know no life outside of this though. Depressing

A few people commented that my trip had some hallmarks of the “mid life crisis,” which in fact it was not. At the end of the trip I pulled back up to the physical location I left from and picked up exactly where I left off. As a matter of fact we will be publishing a full quarters worth of books in the next week or so.

Cognitive breaks

I am a lover of critiques. I have foundthe critique of specialization to be one of the most useful and inspiring for me. On the other hand I have made some effort to make things, physical things, for other people. One of the lessons of this effort is that people demand quality, especially with regard to graphic design, which I’m not qualified to even have an opinion on. The tension between despising specialization and living in a world that demands it is one of about a dozen irreconcilable contradictions I’m faced with holding together on any given week. It’s exhausting.

One of the only ways I know how to continue to do this glue work and still keep a smile on my face is to walk away on occasion. Like fucking Caine. Walk. Get your mind empty. Have an adventure. Come home and do it again with a fresh outlook.

North American Anarchism

I absolutely understand the critique of the milieu. The self-righteous belief that a social scene is the same thing as a movement of the destruction of this world (or any of the other dozen other ways you could say it). I also am no longer a particular beneficiary, I’m too old, unhip, and established to take advantage of the “find each other” aspect of social scenes. But I think that the reasons that the milieu came into existence after the Vietnam era is still valid and is absolutely not replaceable by the nothingness (which really means splinter groups with no fixed identity) that has replaced it. I think the milieu, as crappy as it is, as incomplete as it is, as much of a work in progress as it is, is what we are capable of. It is the DIY shelter we (and by we I mean the freaks I am in the lineage of over the past 50 years) are capable of creating. It is absolutely still what every new radical needs in their transition from straight society and a new one.

I have learned to hate the Internet on this count. I realize it is no longer even possible to make this criticism but learning outside of a social context isn’t a deep type of learning, it’s something else. Not quite sure what to call it but I’ve seen a great deal of it over the past decade or so. Yes, it’s a type of knowledge but without a body. It is the opposite of the sacred conjuration.

North American anarchism has been decimated by the Internet in other ways as well. Where once we had to find each other in some sort of physical place (for me it was downtown at the Amphitheater, a short lived youth TAZ in the town I grew up in, but was replicated in many of my friends towns as well), now many people find themselves satisfied in a forum or two. It means that traveling around to meet people is a real challenge. Any city where I could get 20 people out of their bedrooms and into face-to-face seemed like a place that still remembered that meat space, that people in the flesh, is still incredibly important. It is still where the chemistry happens.

I asked the question in many of the towns I went to. Why has anarchism attracted so few people since Occupy? In some towns I was stared at as if a fool. In a few towns there has been a flock of new people who bring hope and future disappointment. Those towns were the exception though. In most places, especially bigger cities, there were no new people. The average age of the anarchist population was closer to, if not over, thirty. The lack of young people wasn’t seen as a crisis but as some sort of sign that punk rock, or counter-culture in general, wasn’t funneling people towards radical politics, as understood by the anarchist milieu, and that was something. Unclear what that something was but it wasn’t necessarily seen as bad.

I build this question on the ruins of Occupy because anarchists were such a part of the theory that created Occupy and because of the potential it had to because something that it didn’t. The most common response is that what has evolved out of the past five years is a less partisan political force, in short Struggle not Politics. This tension, between politics (in this sense just the use of descriptive and aspirational words like anarchism) and activity (or direct intervention in social struggle) is the problem of this particular moment. I saw this all over the country and most anarchists seemed to be coupling the lesson of “the critique of the milieu” to a new (and fresher?) definition of anarchism that defined it as struggle, period. I’d probably have less of a problem with this new formation if it wasn’t so self-satisfied without accompanying successes but I guess both terms are highly subjective so a wait and see approach is probably healthier.

Thanks

I want to wrap this up but of course this is only about a quarter of what has been on my mind since the trip. I have nearly a hundred different people across the continent that I need to personally thank (and I’ll get to that). It is because of the generosity of my hosts and the hundreds of people who came to see me and talk, who threw some gas money into my tanks (btw I went 11,700 miles at about 43.7 mpg paying on average about $2.75 per gallon because my bike required premium for a rough estimate of about $800 on gas which seems surprisingly low), who took me out for a meal, who let me crash on their couch or extra bed that made this epic trip possible. I look forward to paying back a lot of people by returning the favor.

Seen from this perspective this trip was an amazing success. The number of people who shared their life with me during the past three months has been incredible. I wish I could move all of these people to a place where my daily life could look a lot more like what these trips look like. A challenging activity (mostly physical) in the morning (like riding a motorcycle a couple hundred miles), an afternoon decompression (a nap or sitting around on a porch chit chatting), and an evening of entertainment and sometimes intense debate. Then gone early the next day.

If I have a future as a type of minstrel (which I probably don’t all things considered) I have a lot of work to do. Politics is not interesting or sexy in this world. I’d like to try to make it more so, within reason since I am not necessarily either. I have an idea and that is what I’ll be working on for the next year or two before I hit the road again.

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Entry 5 – Ontario & the East Coast

Detroit

Did you know there are still active projects in MI? Indeed, Fifth Estate is a currently active project that still puts out three issues of an anarchistish content periodical every year. While I was in Detroit this project loomed large as I was staying with its managing editor. We went to visit its memorialization. I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with one of my projects being locked away in a museum but likely don’t have anything to worry about. We discussed devotion to singular projects. We went to Heidelburg and even got to spend some time with Tyree. We ate pizza delivered by the hands of our hosts and had a lovely breakfast where we followed up on all the threads and tied them in a bow.

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Ontario

I’m tempted to oversimplify when I write about Ontario but it wouldn’t be fair. I visited three different towns there and had three very different experiences. Hamilton is a successful anarchist scene there. They have a strong active infoshop. They also have something that looks and feels like the kind of community most towns aspire to (constituent ingredients include consistency, some old timers, and some wingnuts that add color). I was there to visit friends and to help launch the new LBC title Blessed is the Flame. The book launch was quite intense with family members, out of town radicals, and a multi-media presentation that was quite impressive.

Toronto was a challenge. Any big town trip is stressful because having a motorcycle out on the street with most of my luggage is stressful. I just had my camera stolen out of my tank bag (sorry J) which reminded me of what I already know, most of the time things are fine, and then they aren’t. The event was hosted at a campus restaurant by a consistent local anarchist reading group.

Kingston was really nice. The event wasn’t so interesting but the space it was held in (motorcycle shop) was adorable and appropriate given the nature of my trip. I came back a couple of thousand miles later to have my tires changed. The scene there is small and older but frankly, this was much appreciated as my point of contact seemed totally dialed in on most of the topics I like to talk about.

East Coast

Rochester was totally forgettable except for the sincerity and generosity of my host. I could use this opportunity to make fun of the Black Rose Federation members there but frankly the less ink any of us spill over them the faster they may disappear from the planet. Insert clever quote about anarchists needing a federation like a fish needs a bicycle.

Woodstock was lovely as it involved some conversations about topics I need to research later. Added to my reading list: Artaud, On the art of the nō drama: the major treatises of Zeami, The Empty Space, and The Theater & it’s Double.

Providence RI was a pleasant surprise. My host did not have much experience and the event wasn’t that well attended (no surprise given how well I/LBC plays in the East Coast generally) but the people who did attend were interesting, interested, and found each other! I can count on one hand how many times my mere existence was a catalyst to new interactions. I hope they go well.

Boston has one of the most stable anarchist bookstores in North America, the Lucy Parsons Center. The history doesn’t mention why so I guess I’ll leave it unsaid but my time there was notable for getting to watch Boston street culture close up, an engaged conversation about The Blast and the question of anarchist aging. I did attend a birthday party of a stranger while I was there that was strange. The people were very nice and friendly to me but the crowd was either of the “family don’t care about stranger” variety, the “I’m just here to drink beer” or the “I’m a member of Black Rose Federation and have no curiosity about you whatsoever”. I do find curiosity (and the lack thereof) to be one of the hallmarks of red anarchism.

Central Vermont is lovely and I can only imagine the leaf peeping there. 😉

Next up… Quebec & the trip home

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Entry 4 – From BC to MI

On the essay denouncement

The author of one of the three recent denouncements of nihilism that I am at least partially culpable in lives in the city of Vancouver (or so they say in the essay). My presentation there was pregnant with the possibility of a public face-to-face with this critic. Sadly, though not surprisingly, they did not make themselves known to me and I had to make my remarks about the bad faithedness and religiousity of their essay in front of an audience that didn’t seem exactly dialed into the details.

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Using an essay to work through issues, rather than meat space or a letter or even an email, is an interesting proposition to me. On the one hand I totally get it. Interpersonal shit can get gnarly quickly. Trying to engage with ideas without necessarily making them personal is hard and worthwhile work. And it’s a lot easier to work over the perception you have of other people’s perspective than their actual perspective. Bad things are bad after all, it’s all we know about them!

But it seems like a pretty rotten thing about the anarchist space to normalize this behavior.

Big travel

Vancouver was nice but I do stress a bit about leaving my bike, laden with bags, out in the public in big cities. In two short days I was able to hang out with an old friend, do a presentation, hang out with a new friend, and meet up for an interview. Finally I left V and headed back south to have someone look at my motorcycle who was smarter than me.

The next leg of my tour (after the social BC leg) was a solo leg. I first traveled to Yellowstone (originally I was going to Glacier AND Yellowstone) without realizing that at the end of April it was still fucking cold there. As in, snow line at about the level of altitude where I was camping cold and say what you will about riding but even I will not ride in the snow! This meant my two days of adventure in Yellowstone got cut short to one day before I bailed but here is what I saw in that brief time.

– A running battle between a bison and an RV
– about 30 feet of empty space between me and a pissed off bison after the RV got away
– Yellowstone annual staff act like they were about to have a kick-ass summer
– Cold canned food
– Mud pots
– Scary motorcycle parking

The next day I woke up and decided to hit the road. I’m thankful I did because otherwise I would have had to do a lot more miles in a single day than I would have liked (I’ve been trying to keep it to about six hours max) and I ended that day staring at this.

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After a slow ride through SD I landed in Minneapolis and the kind of loving embrace of my people there. Then an excellent ride through the UP of MI and a short trip through my childhood.

Nostalgia is a hell of a drug

I’m at about the half way point of the trip from the perspective of miles. I’m about to enter Canada for the last time on this trip. I am struck by endings. Some, if not many, of the people I have visited are from my past. Our time together was when we were both looking towards a future. Today, as I sat with an old (20+ years) friend they said to me that I have not changed much in the past five years. I’m working on a project that excites me. I’m with the same people as I was five years ago. I’m fully adulting, even if that doesn’t look all that adult. I don’t dwell all that much on the past.

As I head into the next context I am reflecting on that. Is it possible to be fair to new people you meet, who enter your life, while also respecting the memory of the relationships that come before. Don’t most of us choose one or the other? When framed that way I’d like to think that I choose neither. That I don’t live in a headspace dominated by the past or the present but with a type of simulflow.

A few days ago I was sitting with someone and talking about a personality trait I have that involves unconscious cruelty. I emphasized how my meanness isn’t usually intentional and they emphasized how many people despise me for it. One of my lessons from this trip is that both ways I pay a price. When I am intentionally nice I feel a falseness and like the resultant isn’t true. When I am honest I feel unliked. It’s easy to be pat about either approach but the lesson is that neither satisfies. There isn’t a right way to do this and the fact that I don’t get to be friends with everyone shouldn’t bother me half as much as it does.

Next up: Ontario, New York, Boston

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Entry 3 – British Columbia

I haven’t been away from my home keyboard setup for this long in a few years. The reason I know is because I haven’t read hundreds of @news comments. I have stopped caring about all of the updates of my “friends.” And I’m ambivalent about catching all of you up with my trip.

That’s not totally true of course. With my phone I have been updating snarky little bits about the daily life of my trip but that isn’t real. It’s just for a laugh. The real take away from this trip is a running series of thoughts about the people I’ve met, the incredible things I’ve seen, and how fast life goes when you’re actually living it. All that computer time, all those projects, as valuable, blah blah, just feels like something else. Something dumb.

British Columbia is lovely. It’s the place we’ll all run to when the world collapses. Denman Island both is and isn’t an idyllic environment to stage a revolution or to spin a nice interpretation of the bowl form. Not much else to say about there.

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The ostensible reason I was on Vancouver Island was to go to a conference on Nihilism. Academic conferences are a trip. I guess I should try to go to them more often but they demonstrate so many strange things at the same time it’s hard to pin down just one to discuss. Here is a start. Thousands of dollars are spent to host an event that no more than 50 people passed through the entire weekend. It was mostly no more than half this number. It was mostly no more than a dozen who were not also presenters. Moreover the number of presentations that actually dealt with nihilist concepts, that attempted to tackle what it means to live without meaning (meta-narrative) or power were few. Like one hand few.

Doesn’t mean there weren’t quite a few interesting presentations. The most were the ones that conflated pessimism for nihilism (the few on David Foster Wallace were OK). The political presentations were mostly not good but there were some sparks. Maybe in five years these could be fanned into flames but the context is probably a wet blanket. It is probably not possible to suss out much in the way of detail about how to act in an age of political, social powerlessness. The professors hold the conversations hostage and the grad students do not dare offend them. The number of social actors was nearly zero. The conversations were only held between sessions and then mostly about popular theoreticians and brands.

It’s nice to be fed and given gas money but I hope for little but access to the next generation of para-academics at events like this. These are the people who I hope to collaborate with in the future.

The event at Camas that Sunday evening was of a different caliber. I’m not saying the difference was me but I could see at least three different levels of engagement in my presentation (at least two somewhat hostile) and there was at least some hope that I incensed a few people to further, future activity. That’s always the hope of course. Further engagement and interrogation along the lines of a fresh and painful view on the same old assumptions. I also appreciate the Camas model. They have figured out how to maintain a long term anarchist project and stayed humble in the face of it. It no longer looks like a subcultural anarchist project and I think that’s great.

Anyway I’m like 10 days past this on the trip so I’m going to post this and get started on entry 4 (From BC to MI).

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Mom’s Basement and MAFWUCKERS.net

To follow up what I just posted about Free Radical Radio, I have been working on some new projects since moving back to Tempe. I will be elaborating on them more later, but for now I’ll give the following work-safe description(s). The main project is called Mom’s Basement (or, MAFW Mom’s Basement) and it is: […]
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Free Radical Radio

I didn’t realize I had been building up some anticipation about my participation in Free Radical Radio; so, I won’t continue to. I am no longer working on the project because I moved back to Tempe, AZ. The story isn’t very interesting: I shattered my heel bone in September of ’15, lost my ability to […]
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Practical and Aesthetic Applications of the Principle of Ungovernableness

Forward Over the past several years, I’ve tried to concern myself with the applications of anarchist theory to everyday life. In my writing, I continued to scale up to higher levels of abstraction for the sake of communicating insights that were more generally applicable. That is what abstraction is good for. However, as I have […]
Posted in Anarchy, Art, Explorations of the Eternal Wretch, personal | Comments closed

Entry 2. To mile 1000.

Portland

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

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

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

Motorycle

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

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

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

Seattle

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

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

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Entry 1 – #lbcasual tour

About 450 miles from Berkeley, CA to Southern Oregon

First stops

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

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

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

Presentations

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

This thread has made it harder.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beds and dogs

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

On to Seattle.

Posted in lbcasual, Portland, reportback, strugglismo, Tour Reportback | Comments closed

My Problems …elections, christians, etc.

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