Everything Is Just Dandy!

John A. Marmysz – A Prolegomena To Any Future Nihilistic Philosophy

The Anarchist Library
Author: John A. Marmysz
Title: A Prolegomena To Any Future Nihilistic Philosophy
Date: ~1995
Source: Retrieved 06/18/2022 from

Years ago, I got into an argument with a woman over the merits of an ethics based upon rational principles versus the merits of an ethics based upon personal preference. She was a Kantian; I was a nihilist. There didn’t seem to be any common ground for us to share. Being younger and much less aggressive in my technique of debate than she, I came away from the interaction feeling like I was the loser. My suggestions were dismissed by this woman with a condescending laugh. She would then reassert her own points like they were established facts, gesturing in the air as if to illustrate the “common sense” she spoke.

Well, years have passed and woe be it to that woman if our paths ever cross again. You see, my philosophic self confidence has strengthened over time and now, in retrospect, I recognize the flaws, errors and sophistries utilized by rationalists in general, but which were especially prominent in the arguments of the Kantian in question. Allow me then to draw the battle lines and replay the incident the way it would occur today, showing the full force of the nihilistic viewpoint and the weakness of the opposition. Far from committing the “straw man” error, I will simply show that the rationalists “Kant” provide satisfactory rebuttals to the nihilistic critique.

Kant placed a great deal of emphasis on morality’s rational properties. According to his view, anyone, by an exercise of reason, can deduce the principles and rules that govern correct moral action. Using a kind of naturalistic argument, he concluded that reason, like an organ, must exist for a purpose, and that purpose is to deduce moral imperatives. To live morally is to live in accordance with that imperative deducible by “pure” reason alone—namely the “Categorical Imperative”; the “Golden Rule” by a different name. For Kant, morality possessed a distinct form that could be “summarized” into an overarching principle and the basis for moral action lay in adherence to this principle.

Now, the alert nihilist will pull in the reigns. “Whoah, Kantian! Can we slow down and talk about ‘reason’ for a minute?” Kant and his overzealous advocates cavalierly assert that humans are essentially “rational beings”, as if “reason” is some sort of tangible thing that can be identified by pointing at it. But it is difficult to see the similarity between an organ and “reason”. Furthermore, there are some organs, like the appendix or tonsils, which serve no real purpose and which we can do quite fine without. My first mistake when arguing with “Ms. Kantian” was to indulge her and not challenge her exercise in the reification of “reason”.

But even if I did allow her this step, can’t many things—including incompatible conclusions—be reasoned? Take for example arguments for the existence of God. Suppose someone had the audacity to propose that since God is a perfect being, and since perfection implies existence, God must exist. This argument is perfectly “reasonable”. It moves quite logically from its premises to its conclusion. An equally “reasonable” competitor, however, might argue that if an all powerful and wholly “good” God existed, he wouldn’t allow “evil” in the world. There is evil in the world. Therefore an all powerful and wholly “good” God does not exist. Case closed…at least until the next “reasonable” argument from the other side is voiced. If there is a God, he certainly works in mysterious (not reasonable) ways.

Everyone’s got reasons, and everyone reasons, but the existence of a faculty called “reason” does not follow from any of this. Rather than a thing or a faculty, it may be more accurate to talk about the process of “reasoning”. When we speak about reason, it seems that what we are really talking about is the process of offering reasons in support of a belief, point of view, or conclusion. Reasoning involves the process of argumentation, and arguments can be convincing in two major ways: (1) they can appeal to rationality or (2) they can appeal to intuition. The arguments of a logician illustrate the rational end of the scale. His exercises in the formulae of allowable inference are nearly devoid of content, representing rational, formal relationships between variables. At the opposite end of the scale—the intuitive end—are the “arguments” of the TV telethon host. His ability to convince is based almost totally on formless content. He cries and puts his arms around crippled children, counting on the persuasive power of emotion, accessed by intuition, to trigger an empathic response in others. Somewhere in between these extremes paces the trial lawyer who mixes appeals to rational legalism with emotional appeals to justice and fair play.

The skilled formulation of convincing, rational arguments is learned by devoting much time, effort and many resources to academic studies. It is through this scholarly process of legitimation that one earns the privilege to be taken seriously in the activity of convincing others rationally. Because of the time, effort and resources involved in “earning degrees”, a minority of the individuals in a population will pursue this course. The obstacles emplaced are sufficient to deter most people from completing (or even attempting) a program of academic study. The result is that the skill of rational argument, and the privilege that accompanies it, will be concentrated in the hands of a relatively small number of individuals.

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Rail war! Belarusians face the death penalty, the blocked Trans-Sib, anarchists work around Moscow

Almost every day trains in Russia go off the rails – 78 wagons last month alone. Title photo, for example, is from the Lunevo-Porkhov stretch in the Pskov region, where 13 wagons reportedly carrying explosives were derailed on June 24 (the brake did not work at the right time). You are welcome to support the team of this rubric for restoration of their community in Kharkiv and humanitarian aid to civilian population still being under daily Russian missile strikes all this four bloody month. Please join this fundraising.


Submitted by Thunderbird on July 1, 2022

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At the beginning of the war, during the hostilities in the northern part of the country, the same things took place in Belarus. As of March 19, the railway communication between it and Ukraine had already been paralyzed by workers, and on April 8, the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs confirmed more than 80 acts of "terrorism and sabotage" on the republican railway infrastructure and that "all attacks had a similar handwriting".

Now in Belarus, three "rail partisans" accused of setting fire to a relay cabinet before the passage of the train with weapons on the night of February 28-March 1 can be sentenced to death. The Investigative Committee announced the completion of the investigation. They are charged with four articles: participation in an extremist formation; terrorist attack; high treason; intentionally dismantling of the means of communication, which entailed grave consequences. According to the Human Rights Center "Viasna", they are so-called "Svetlogorsk partisans" Dmitry Ravich, Denis Dikun and Oleg Molchanov. The defendants are 29, 33 and 51 years old. The men are now in custody, their property is arrested.

"They wanted to at least somehow help Ukraine, to stop this technique so that it would not pass further. 11 people are involved in the case of the “rail partisans”. Now the first three will be judged. For me, these people are heroes. They did not sit still, like "sofa troops." At least we tried to do something", Denis’ brother says.

Meanwhile, the supply of occupiers troops from the Far East is getting more and more difficult. Two days ago, 14 wagons of a freight train derailed on the Sgibeevo – Bolshaya Omutnaya section in the Amur region. Due to the incident, the dimensions of the adjacent track were violated and the contact network support was damaged. The movement on this section was stopped, passenger train Moscow-Vladivostok was delayed. Thus, the Trans-Siberian Railway – the largest railroad in the world and one of the most important transport routes between Russia and China – was temporarily stopped!

330 employees of the line and a lot of equipment, arrived from three other stations, were involved in the elimination of the consequences. This is the second incident on the Trans-Siberian Railway involving freight trains: on June 11, another 24 freight wagons overturned on the Krasnoyarsk section of the road, the cause of the incident was not stated.

Most of such cases throughout Russia, like both mentioned, are unclaimed. Anarcho-Communists Combat Organisation (BOAK) reported on June 28 in own Telegram channel about their second act of railway blocking to the military objects after such action a month ago near Sergiyev Posad:

"The BOAK-Vladimir cell takes responsibility for the sabotage on the railway line leading to military unit 55443 VD Barsovo (the 51st arsenal of the Main Rocket and Artillery Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of the RF) near Kirzhach.

Unlike the previous attack, where we took responsibility without waiting for the result (decided to publish the information to show all the guerrillas how accessible the target was), for subsequent actions we chose the strategy of waiting for the result, not publishing the report until either success was achieved or the facts that the sabotage was discovered will not be received.

Unfortunately, in this case, we received reliable information (a video in the offer from a subscriber, apparently, a driver who was driving along this branch) that the sabotage was discovered on the evening of June 25.

However, even in this form, the sabotage caused harm to the enemy, delaying the movement of trains with military equipment, and causing economic damage due to the need to restore the railway lines.

What has been done:

– 34 nuts (17 on each side) holding the rail are unscrewed

– 4 nuts connecting the joint are unscrewed

– The rail at the junction is raised, laid on the connecting plate (so as not to fall into place) and set aside.

– The rails were connected to each other with a wire, in case a signal current is transmitted along the rail, to detect an open (thanks to the advice from subscribers).

We call on everyone to join the rail war!

Each stopped train is a minus of shells and rockets that could fly into peaceful Ukrainian cities".

Of course, taking into account the state of the sleepers and other infrastructure, the Russian Railways JSC often can perfectly disable its trains too. But this is not enough. They need maximal help in this sacred cause.

By the way, see also recent story from Kharkov on how city officials’ destruction of tram line in favor of private cars mobilized the local public against them.

In addition, you may be interested in this material on East Ukrainian hot clashes in the winter of 1917-1918 along railways and about the role of anarchists in the revolutionary transformations.

Imperial war machine must be in a ditch!
Russia-Ukraine war

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Sean Patterson – “Death to All Those who Stand in the Way of Freedom for the Working People”

The Anarchist Library
Author: Sean Patterson
Title: “Death to All Those who Stand in the Way of Freedom for the Working People”
Subtitle: Anarchy’s False Flag
Date: June 30, 2022
Notes: Sean Patterson is a PhD candidate in History at the University of Alberta. He is currently researching the relationship between ideology and violence in Ukraine’s southern Zaporizhia region during the Ukrainian Civil War (1918–1921). Sean is the author of Makhno and Memory: Anarchist and Mennonite Narratives of Ukraine’s Civil War, 1917–1921 (University of Manitoba Press, 2020). He can be reached at (Patterson’s note): I want to acknowledge Malcolm Archibald and Yuriy Kravetz for their generous assistance in the research of this article.
Source: Retrieved on July 1st, 2022 from

In pursuing the recovery of the past, the near inevitability of error is a perpetual thorn in the side of historians. Ranging from small typos to translation errors to source manipulation, historical inaccuracies can be introduced into authoritative academic texts in a multiplicity of ways. Sometimes error is a matter of carelessness or the unintentional mis-reading of a text; in other cases, the introduction of error is linked to authorial biases, or even the intentional falsification by state authorities for political purposes. Many textual errors are mere nuisances that have little to no broader implications for their subject, while other errors can over time spawn historiographical consequences that outweigh their initial appearance. The subject of the Ukrainian Civil War’s peasant-anarchist Makhnovist movement provides numerous examples of historiographical myth production. In this article I investigate the case of one flag, which turns out to be a false flag, in order to illustrate how a seemingly minor historical error can create enduring ripples that far outweigh its initial transgression.

The Makhnovists were a popular peasant movement based in the southern Ukrainian province of Katerynoslav [modern-day Zaporizhia oblast] during the years of Revolution and Civil War (1917–1921). Their leader, Nestor Makhno, was an anarcho-communist from a poor peasant background, who as a youth was convicted for terrorist crimes and sentenced to life in prison. However, after the 1917 Revolution Makhno was released and he returned to his hometown, Huliaipole, where he organized a successful insurgent movement. His forces fought against virtually every competing power including the Imperial German Army, the White Army, the Ukrainian People’s Army, the Red Army, and various other local forces.

The movement’s ideological leadership sought to create a society of federated peasant communes and worker-controlled industries administered through freely elected councils outside of party-control. However, due to the contingencies of the Civil War their social experiments were consistently disrupted. Moreover, the leadership often struggled to control elements of its army which engaged in looting and atrocities.[1] Against this background, Makhno’s forces were frequently accused of anti-Semitism and carrying out ethnic pogroms – an accusation that Makhno and his supporters defended themselves from both during the Civil War and later in exile. It is in the context of the debate around these accusations that the flag in question first emerges.

Nestor Makhno, 1921

A key example of the myth-producing power of error and manipulation within Makhnovist historiography is the black flag that has become the movement’s central symbol, displaying the skull-and-crossbones and a slogan in white Ukrainian lettering that reads, “Death to all who stand in the way of freedom for the working people” [“Smertʹ vsim, khto na pereshkodi dobut’ia vilʹnosti trudovomu liudu”].[2] The flag is widely recognized both within Ukraine and internationally. It is especially ubiquitous in online anarchist communities, inspiring innumerable memes and entire lines of merchandise including T-shirts, stickers, cell phone cases and even pandemic masks. However, despite its near-universal reputation as the primary symbol of Ukrainian anarchism, the flag is not Makhnovist.

In academic and popular literature of various languages, the skull-and-bones flag has been consistently identified as Makhnovist since at least the 1970s.[3] In the digital era, Wikipedia has been especially important in tying the flag to Makhno in the broader public mind. Until very recently most related Wikipedia articles uncritically labelled the flag as Makhnovist. This has been corrected to some extent of late. For example, the entry “Flags of the Makhnovshchina” – created in June 2022 – correctly notes that the flag is not Makhnovist but incorrectly ascribes it to Symon Petliura’s Ukrainian People’s Army.[4] In other entries and in the Wikimedia Commons the flag is still described as Makhnovist or “allegedly” Makhnovist.[5] Given Wikipedia’s broad cultural reach, it is likely that the site acted as a significant vector in reinforcing the flag’s association with Makhno, particularly with online anarchist communities. As an open-source collaborative platform, Wikipedia is especially prone to such errors and the spreading of mythologies about under researched and highly politicized topics like the Makhnovist movement.

Ukranian street graffiti

Within Ukraine itself, the flag and its slogan is widely seen in street graffiti, artworks, historical films, and even official museum exhibits like the one in Nestor Makhno’s hometown of Huliaipole. The slogan, and variations thereof, are also seen on frontline Ukrainian soldiers’ patches and flags in the current war with Russia. Ukrainian and Russian anarchist organizations frequently evoke the flag and slogan in their propaganda. In the context of today’s war, the slogan is understood as a Ukrainian rallying cry for resistance against the Russian state’s invasion.

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(R)evolution in the 21st Century: The case for a syndicalist strategy

Anarcho-Syndicalist Review
Jon Bekken
“Those who work in the mills ought to own them, not have the status of machines ruled by private despots.” — The Mill Girls of Lowell, 1845 Syndicalism is a movement of labor unions that aims for a vision beyond … Continue reading →

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Map of Online Violent Extremist Rhetoric Can Inform Counter-Efforts

RAND: Featured Research
Heather J. Williams; Luke J. Matthews; Pauline Moore; Matthew A. DeNardo; James V. Marrone; Brian A. Jackson; William Marcellino; Todd C. Helmus
An analysis of White identity terrorism and racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism discourse on social media finds that this content is largely created and fueled by users in the United States. A national strategy to counter these threats is needed.

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Comparing the Organizational Cultures of the Department of Defense and Silicon Valley

RAND: Featured Research
Nathan Voss; James Ryseff
The U.S. Department of Defense seeks to work more effectively with Silicon Valley in order to better leverage artificial intelligence technology. What cultural differences might complicate DoD-Silicon Valley collaboration? And in what areas is there common ground?

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Probe Into Phoenix Police Already Costing City $1.9 Million

Phoenix New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Phoenix, Arizona, Phoenix New Times –
Katya Schwenk

It has been nearly a year since the U.S. Department of Justice announced it was launching a massive investigation into the Phoenix Police Department, probing the department’s use of force and whether it engages in discriminatory policing. Now we have a glimpse of just how massive that undertaking is.…

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How the Democrats Traded the New Deal for Neoliberalism

Justin H. Vassallo
The Democrats are in the midst of an existential crisis more profound than any since the Reagan Revolution. One explanation is that the party has failed to enhance working-class power as it did during the New Deal order. Since the 1990s especially, egalitarian redistribution and large-scale developmentalism have given way to the policy preferences of […]

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How the concept of existentialism and human mortality will change thanks to artificial intelligence.

Phenomenology and Existentialism
Anya Macdougall

The theory of existentialism cannot be clearly defined. In this article, I will mainly focus on the aspect of life after death, how…
Continue reading on Medium »

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‘Self-Actualization’ in a World of Exploitation

Eamon Martin
“The logic of worldly success rests on a fallacy: the strange error that our perfection depends on the thoughts and opinions and applause of [others]! A weird life it is, indeed, to be living always in somebody else’s imagination, as if that were the only place in which one could at last become real!” –Thomas More

The post ‘Self-Actualization’ in a World of Exploitation appeared first on

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Brenton Lengel Annihilates “Anarcho-Capitalism” and “Libertarianism”!!

Cyber Dandy
From Anarchy Tube by Cyber Dandy

Brenton Christopher Lengel is a screenwriter, playwright and Ringo Award-nominated comic creator who found his artistic voice along the windswept peaks of the northern Appalachians. Shortly thereafter cutting his literary teeth in the NYC underground. His body of work is broad-based and eclectic but he is best known for “North to Maine,” the first play ever written about the Appalachian trail, his Ringo Award-nominated comic series “Snow White Zombie Apocalypse,” and “Afterall,” his urban fantasy collaboration with Rogue, lead singer of the chart-topping goth/electropop band The Crüxshadows.

Today, we sit down to discuss the roots of American anarcho-capitalism in the free market fundamentalism that emerged after World War II. Among other things, we also discuss the constant threat of liberal recuperation of movements, the Left’s mythology of incompetence surrounding Occupy Wall Street, and cool comic book stuff!

00:00:00 – About Brenton

00:21:35 – Murray Rothbard, the F.B.I. and 1960’s Radicals

00:29:54 – Briefly on Samuel Edward Konkin III and Agorism

00:32:36 – The Foundation for Economic Education

00:34:36 – Murray Rothbard "Capturing" the Terminology of Libertarianism and Anarchism

00:48:45 – The Libertarian Partyists and their Racist Cohorts

00:50:15 – Right-wing Recuperation of Radical and Anarchist Figures, Slogans, and Symbols

00:53:27 – Ron Paul, Gross Media Tactics, Koch Brothers, the Libertarian to Alt-Right Pipeline, and Theories About Why This Was All Created

01:14:54 – The Social and Cultural Impacts of Libertarian Partyism and Anarcho-Capitalism and Some Reasons Why Capitalism Sucks

01:22:28 – Reviewing Some Bad Arguments for (Anarcho-)Capitalism

01:25:50 – Praxeology

01:32:48 – How the 2007-2008 Financial Crisis Motivated People to Reach for these Ideologies

01:35:02 – Use of the Gold/Black Flag, Yellow Unions, Assassination of Unionists

01:37:57 – Reviewing More Bad Arguments for (Anarcho-)Capitalism

01:41:15 – Occupy Wall Street

01:48:47 – A Message to Future Organizers!

Here are some links to Brenton’s stuff:

+ On YouTube:

+ On the Boomer Web:

+ Durruti: Shadow of the People:…

+ Snow White Zombie Apocalypse:…

Also, check out Brenton chud thumping on Modern Day Debate!:


Become a Patreon at

Tags: videoanarchy tubeCyber DandyBrenton Lengelanarcho-capitalism

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Fentanyl is a WMD Act would classify the synthetic opioid drug as a weapon of mass destruction

GovTrack Insider – Medium
The Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 2018 established a new office within the Department of Homeland Security dealing with WMD’s, a term which first gained popularity in the political vernacular beginning with the Iraq War in 2003.
Opponents counter that while fentanyl is certainly extremely bad, it’s not exactly a weapon of mass destruction, at least not as traditionally defined.

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Anarchists Under Attack on a Global Scale
From Mongoose Distro by Dan Baker

Hello friends,

I am writing today to raise awareness for friends all over the world who have been facing captivity due to human rights activism. At it’s core all anarchist activism is a struggle for human rights. Freedom of expression, bodily autonomy, freedom from captivity, freedom to live a life as one see fit, with access to healthcare, housing, transportation education and community- all of these are anarchist struggles. Often our work intersects with other movements who have similar goals for specific groups of marginalized people, and even compassion for animals and environmental activism. People who profit from the exploitation of people, plant and animals find the existence of motivated anarchists and intersectional class struggle to be a threat to their social structure of hierarchy and domination. We are often striving to exist within the nation state systems, at peace, solving our own problems in autonomous zones, if only so we can claim the moral high ground of non-aggression and let the overbearing authorities cast the first stone. But many of us sincerely wish to have happy, healthy lives of peaceful coexistence, living close to nature and each other, living honestly in the face of institutionalized lies, dogmatic stone age mysticisms and hypocrisies, living in a way that is separate from the profit driven economy which is doomed to endless cycles of class division, exploitation, collapse and violent ‘forever wars’.

Those who do act out in aggressive ways are often only struggling for survival again lionized police forces who outlaw their very existence- for example patriarchy religious structures like zealous adherents to Abrahamic mythologies; the Kurds struggling against genocide in many different nations; Black communities world wide, but especially in Amerikkka, where police and federal government are putting white supremacist ideologies into practice; the Jewish Diaspora worldwide; Palestinian communities; Indigenous communities who managed to survive colonialism; and the Irish, victims of the United Kingdom’s first colony.

Right now we are seeing anarchists under attack on a global scale, and it’s important that we know the names of those who are facing imprisonment so they are not forgotten. By raising awareness we protect their bodies with accountability. Police who work as prison guards are made aware that they are being watched by the entire world, just like Derek Chauvin. Please look into the conditions faced by Belarus political prisoners and European political prisoners. We should also look into the state of Chinese and Russian political prisoners, and Ukrainian anarchists. Here are the names of friends I am aware of. Please look up these people and reach out to them and their friends and family. They can also receive money for their prison commissary account. If you send me any money, please send me less money so you can also send some to these friends. Instead of sending me twenty dollars I would rather get one dollar and know that nineteen other friends are getting one dollar also. The Belarus friends are in particular need of help in relation to their stance on the Ukraine and Russian war. They can be helped by contacting this fundraiser:

Names of international anarchist friends who need help more than I do:

Mahmut Demir

Gabriel Bombo Da Silva

Claudio Lavazza

Monica Caballero

Francisco Solar

Giannis Michailidis

Juan Aliste Vega

Ihar Alinevich

Mikalai Dziadok

Mikita Jemialjanau

Jauhen Rubashka

Artsiom D. Salavej

Artsiom S. Salavej

Toby Shane

Eric King

Jessica Reznicek

Leonard Peletier

Mumia Abu Jamal

Dr. Mutulu Shakur

Please add names to this list and forward this message or write your own statement to friends and family and activists on a global scale. We will show the forces that attempt to dominate our ungovernable spirit of love and freedom that our solidarity is greater than their violence and oppression!

Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts and for all of your actual aid. My own family loves white Jesus and trump more than they love me, so the only help I get is from the activist community. I receive letters, money and books on a regular basis and this cuts through the depression and keeps me going. I can imagine how much more difficult in other places where conditions are much harsher, like Erik King’s situation. I would very much like to receive pictures of as many political prisoners as you can send me, either printed on paper or through a photo app like pelipost or freeprints. In prison one of the only tools available to me is my imagination, which I use in meditation to send all my love, strength and courage to other political prisoners, and I imagine them being happy, healthy and free, receiving resources like money, books and healthy food and nutrients. Please join me in this meditation. Another aspect of this meditation is to imagine all of the negative aspects of the political prisoner’s existence coming off of them like a black cloud of smoke, which we then inhale and in doing so we share their burden by taking on the negative karma that is making their life difficult. I like to call it “smoking our own thoughts”! Then we imagine clean air and beams of light energy going from us back to the political prisoners. Please remember that this exercise is just our imagination, and it is worthless without physical action and actual support in reality. It’s purpose is to motivate us to action and to help us through times when we cannot act, so that we remember to help when can act.

Thanks again for all of your love and support!

May all beings everywhere be happy and free!

Dan, aka Alishare

Dan Baker 25765-509

FCI Memphis

PO Box 34550

Memphis, TN 38184

Tags: anarchist prisonersanarchists in troublesolidarityattack

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Another World is Phony? The Case for a Syndicalist Vision

Anarcho-Syndicalist Review
Jon Bekken
“Most people live most of their lives within totalitarian institutions. It’s called having a job.” — Noam Chomsky Syndicalism is a movement of labor unions that aims for a vision beyond both capitalism and nation-states. But isn’t the nation-state the … Continue reading →

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The 19th-Century Secret Society Preserving the History of the West

Atlas Obscura: Articles
Shoshi Parks
The irreverent, all-male E Clampus Vitus commemorates overlooked people and events. On the northern edge of Virginia City, Nevada, where silver once honeycombed the rocky slopes like arteries beneath the skin, lies a historical plaque commemorating the burial site of Mary Jane Simpson. Like other miners of the mid-19th century, she lived her days in darkness, working the miles of treacherous tunnels beneath the town. But Simpson had a few things they didn’t, starting with four legs and a tail.

“Mary Jane Simpson was a mule in the mine in Virginia City,” says Virginia City resident and history buff Ken Moser. “This is an absolutely true story. She was incredibly intelligent, and she had a driver, but she didn’t really need him to know her way around. She understood all of it, she knew all the bell signals and lights.”

So when Simpson was killed in the boomtown’s Great Fire of 1875, the miners placed an inscription at her grave: “The within was only a mule, still she was nobody’s fule [sic]. Stranger tread lightly.” Over a hundred years later, in 1993, Simpson’s death was made official, with a permanent plaque installed by the not-so-secret fraternal organization E Clampus Vitus (ECV).

Mary Jane Simpson’s is just one of 1,641 obscure histories from Virginia City and the whole of the American West commemorated by E Clampus Vitus, stories that despite never appearing in official histories, nonetheless shaped not just those early days but everything that followed.

E Clampus Vitus was one of several brotherhoods that swept as many as 40 percent of American men into their fold during the “golden age of fraternalism” in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, societies that included the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Knights of Columbus, and the Loyal Order of Moose. Men joined for a number of reasons. Not only did fraternal organizations provide social opportunities, but they also offered insurance, financial aid, business connections and, above all, political clout. Women, unsurprisingly, were not permitted to participate.

E Clampus Vitus emerged from West Virginia mining country sometime in the 1840s or 1850s; by 1853, the organization was oozing like tar across Doddridge County, according to early twentieth-century journalist Boyd D. Stutler. Founder Emphraim Bee traced the origins of the order to a Chinese descendant of Confucius. But, writes Stutler, “it was burlesque”—a farce and parody—"pure and simple.” Everything about E Clampus Vitus, from its heritage to its rituals, was a caricature of the self-serious fraternal organizations of the day.

Weary miners, many of whom may have felt out of place in the prim Oddfellows and Freemasons of the day, flocked to E Clampus Vitus in search of a light-hearted escape and the additional security a brotherhood could provide in a dangerous industry. Initiates today still “swear to take care of the widows and orphans—especially the widows.”

"Members swear to take care of the widows and orphans — especially the widows."

When gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill, California, in 1849, miners descended like ravenous mosquitos on the rigid mountain spine separating California and Nevada. E Clampus Vitus descended with them. Like a backdraft, it swept over dusty, half-baked mining camps in far-flung outposts like Mokelumne Hill, Sonora, Mariposa, and Murphys.

Whiffs of their absurd traditions weaseled their way into newspapers across the state in the 1850s and ‘60s, some of which were collected in Lois Rather’s 1980 book Men Will Be Boys: The Story of E Clampus Vitus and Seth Slopes’ 1979 E Clampus Vitus: Now & Then.

Instead of elegant badges, they pinned themselves with tin can lids. Instead of waving a flag, they flew a hoop skirt. They drank liquor—a lot of it. Initiates, referred to as “poor blind candidates,” were subjected to a series of humiliating tasks like climbing greased poles and being dipped into a vat of water by rope from the top of a church steeple. One memorable 1861 E Clampus Vitus parade sent 54 members in black masks and gowns and white sashes through the muddy, rain-soaked streets of Downieville near the California-Nevada border. The Noble Grand Humbug—a leadership position that rotated among chapter members—wore pink.

“E Clampus Vitus actually had quite a bit of clout,” says Moser, an ex-Noble Grand Humbug in Virginia City. “In order for people to do business they’d have to become a member to be considered. At one point, the California legislature was closed for a few days so that its E Clampus Vitus members could travel to the big convention.”

Almost every mining town in California had an E Clampus Vitus lodge in the mid-nineteenth century, Rather writes, so when the largest silver deposit ever found in the United States, the Comstock Lode, was discovered in Virginia City in 1859, an ECV chapter shouldn’t have been far behind. No one knows why it never made it in those early days, but E Clampus Vitus didn’t skip over the boomtown altogether.

When he was hired at Virginia City’s newspaper in 1862, Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, had already gone through the rites of initiation in Angel’s Camp in California. It was there, at an ECV meeting, that he heard the tale he would turn into his 1865 short story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County—or so the legend goes.

E Clampus Vitus fell out of favor slowly around the turn of the twentieth century. By the 1920s the once-robust brotherhood was essentially defunct. It was the knowledge of Adam Lee Moore, the last Noble Grand Humbug of the Sierra City Balaam Lodge No. 107,304, that saved the group from obscurity. When it started anew in 1930, E Clampus Vitus was just as absurd as it once was, but there was a new objective afoot: to recognize the history of the West which, like ECV had itself, was fading fast.

As if making up for the brotherhood’s absence in the days of the Comstock Lode, Virginia City chapter, Julia C. Bulette #1864, was the first lodge to be reborn on the Nevada side of the Sierra. They’ve erected a historical plaque almost every year since, illustrating the minutiae unique to Virginia City through time. It’s the only historical fraternal order whose membership is growing, according to Moser. He’ll be attending the confirmation of two more chapters—one in Spokane, Washington, the other in Lovelock, Nevada—just this summer.

Miners no longer make up the majority of the membership of E Clampus Vitus. Today, the brotherhood is predominantly made up of working- and middle-class white history buffs—teachers, firefighters, construction workers, small business owners and the like. Some join because their father or uncle or grandfather was a member; others join for the shenanigans or the beer-swilling, boy’s club environment or just for the historical preservation activities.

“A lot of people really see their identity as being part of the Clampers as really important in life,” says Matthew “Metric” Ebert, Virginia City’s previous Noble Grand Humbug. “People want to feel like they’re part of something. We’re a history gang with monuments.”

The historical figures and events ECV chooses to recognize are selected annually by the Noble Grand Humbug and approved by the chapter as a whole. In Virginia City, a number of them are dedicated to the intense but short-lived mining madness that built, and rebuilt, the town.

“The one we put up last year is on the Yellowjacket Fire in Gold Hill during the mining days,” says history teacher and current Noble Grand Humbug Travis Stransky. “It killed a bunch of miners and that fire burnt down there for some time.” They placed the monument on the side of the 1862 Gold Hill Hotel; its saloon was once frequented by Clemens, and rusted out mining equipment and rotting wooden scaffolding still sit among the scrub brush on the property.

The monuments contrast sharply with towns in which “a lot of preserving history has been done by wealthy white men,” says Ebert. In town, where horses occasionally wander onto A Street in the lingering afternoon heat, ECV plaques dot the Western false-front architecture. Many plaques recognize the lives or work of those on the margins of society, including Chinese laborers and sex workers. Julia C. Bulette, for whom the Virginia City chapter is named, was among the latter: a sex worker, accomplished seamstress and honorary member of the fire company who was brutally murdered in 1867.

This year, the Virginia City Clampers will commemorate the filming of the 1961 western, The Misfits in the Odeon Hall in Dayton, Nevada. “I’m a huge fan of old school Hollywood and to this day there’s nothing in downtown that says anything about the filming,” says Stransky, who selected and researched the site for approval by the chapter. “I tracked down the owner of the building in which Marilyn [Monroe’s] famous paddle ball scene was filmed.” In July 2022, they’ll dedicate the plaque, another arcane piece of the past rescued by E Clampus Vitus.

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Mechanical Keyboards Guide [Infographic]

Best Infographics
Plenty of gamers have invested in high-end mechanical keyboards in the past. They are made with various types of switches, cases and PCBs. This infographic from Neutrone serves as a guide to mechanical keyboards:

The post Mechanical Keyboards Guide [Infographic] appeared first on Best Infographics.

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Nick Fuentes, white nationalist with GOP ties, says ‘Jews stood in the way’ of Roe v. Wade’s end

The Forward
(JTA) — In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist leader and influential figure among the rightmost flank of the Republican Party, told his followers that “Jews stood in the way” of Catholic Supreme Court Justices who “were put on the court to overturn” the 1973…

The post Nick Fuentes, white nationalist with GOP ties, says ‘Jews stood in the way’ of Roe v. Wade’s end appeared first on The Forward.

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Issue #53 June 2022

Epoché Magazine
Formalization is our only weapon against time, should we need one. The act of formalization is to fix certain elements, and create a static distribution. It works because movement needs its hinge, it fulcrum, and even though the hinge itself is alive with the movement of what hinges upon it, we can posit a point

The post Issue #53 June 2022 appeared first on Epoché Magazine.

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Bernard-Henri Lévy Is the Leading Intellectual of French Anti-Socialism

Jacob Collins
Bernard-Henri Lévy, or “BHL,” as he is known in France, is the closest thing there is to a rock star intellectual. While he is the author of many books and writes a weekly column in Le Point, one is far likelier to see Lévy — debonair and photogenic — than read him. On the nightly […]

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Michel Foucault and the Prisons Information Group – Attacking Prison Society

The Anarchist Library
Author: Michel Foucault and the Prisons Information Group
Title: Attacking Prison Society
Date: 1971
Notes: Translated by Perry Zurn and Erik Beranek Intolerable: Writings from Michel Foucault and the Prisons Information Group is now available from University of Minnesota Press.
Source: Retrieved on 2022-06-29 from

The following two texts are taken from the recently released anthology, Intolerable: Michel Foucault and the Prisons Information Group, which collects writings related to the group’s anti-carceral activity in the early 1970s.

“The Great Confinement” was first published in March 1972, at a time when Michel Foucault was steeped in activities on behalf of the Prisons Information Group (GIP). The interview appeared just two weeks after the completion of his Collège de France course Penal Theories and Institutions, which traced the constitution of a new system of repression defined by a state apparatus in the royal justice of seventeenth-century France. A marxisant moment marked Foucault’s intellectual and political contributions at the time. This moment is evident in his references to confinement as a response to the problems of unemployment and popular insurrections in nascent capitalism, in his treatment of the threat of incarceration as a way of putting downward pressure on wages, in his emphasis on the interiorization (up to a point) of bourgeois ideology in the nineteenth-century proletariat, and his affirmation of the necessity of changes in class relations as a condition for transformations in imprisonment. The same is no less true of the preface below to the very first report of the newly-formed GIP, “Investigation into Twenty Prisons.” Penned by Foucault, but published under the collective name of the GIP, the preface announced the reactivation of a form of militant investigation that had a long and rich history in Marxism.

When asked about the relationship between his philosophical work and his engagement in the GIP, Foucault responds evasively. “I would really like us,” he tells Niklaus Meienberg, “to establish no relationship between my theoretical work and my work in the GIP.” Note the careful wording: Foucault does not deny a relationship between his theoretical and political practices. He simply asks that his interviewer and readers not form any such relationship. Despite refusing, in this moment, to connect his intellectual work with his political activity, Foucault concedes “that there probably is a relationship.” Yet he muddies the waters further when he reproaches Meienberg later with the following comment: “It bothers me when you suggest that there is no relationship between History of Madness and my work in the GIP.” Does this complaint not contradict Foucault’s initial request to Meienberg to keep his theoretical and practical registers separate? The reproach is baffling for still another reason: although a recording or transcript of the interview may tell a different story, in the published version of the interview Meienberg does not even hint at disconnecting History of Madness and Foucault’s engagement with the GIP.

What is going on here? Why all this evasive maneuvering and back and forth, as if Foucault had lost sight of his starting point? He knew that there was a profound connection between his theory and practice, as indicated by his ultimate frustration with Meienberg for supposedly disconnecting these domains. Yet Foucault downplayed that connection out of a tacit anxiety about how it might be interpreted. To encourage a connection between his theoretical production and his political practices in a militant collective risked decentering prisoners and the collective practices of the GIP for the sake of spotlighting his own intellectual endeavors. Foucault also did not want to be seen as instrumentally using the GIP and, by extension, prisoners for his own narrow research purposes. He did not want to invite the charge of treating prisoners as mere objects of academic inquiry, as if his participation in the GIP amounted to nothing more than an opportunity to test out hypotheses. This charge would have inscribed Foucault’s activities within a division of labor between intellectuals and prisoners that privileged his theoretical production and shifted the focus away from the political goals of the GIP. It would have missed, as well, the intensity of Foucault’s adherence to the GIP’s political goal of giving the floor to prisoners so as to render the prison system intolerable. Foucault seems determined to preempt these problems when he declares — later in the same interview — that he prefers political activities over politically ineffective forms of academic inquiry. In his provocative words, “If I occupy myself with the GIP, it is only because I prefer effective work to university yakking and book scribbling.”

“The Great Confinement” would be far from Foucault’s final word on the relationship between his theory and practice but it stands out for disclosing the highly vexed manner in which he publicly connected his theoretical endeavors and political activities at the very peak of his political militancy in the early 1970s.

—Marcelo Hoffman, June 2022

Investigation into Twenty Prisons[1]
Courts, prisons, hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, occupational medicine, universities, press organizations, and information centers: through all these institutions and beneath different masks, an oppression is exercised that is, at its root, a political oppression.

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Facebook Labels Abortion Rights Vandals as Terrorists Following Roe Reversal

The Intercept
Sam Biddle
Any discussion of Jane’s Revenge, which is responsible for a series of vandalism attacks and threatening statements, is now subject to Facebook’s most stringent restrictions.

The post Facebook Labels Abortion Rights Vandals as Terrorists Following Roe Reversal appeared first on The Intercept.

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Part One: How The Southern Baptist Convention Was Taken Over By Republicans and Child Molesters

Behind the Bastards
Robert is joined by Katy Stoll and Cody Johnston to discuss The Southern Baptist Convention.
See for privacy information.

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The Ideals of the Jewish Labor Bund Have Outlived Nazi Genocide

David Rosenberg
I was in my late teens, reading about the Russian revolutionary movement, when I first stumbled across the Bund, a left-wing Jewish movement that emerged in Eastern Europe during the late nineteenth century. “Bund” means “union” in Yiddish. My first encounters were not promising: these were footnotes about the Bund arguing with Lenin at the […]

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Private Prisons Are a Socially Responsible Investment, According to Bizarre Wall Street Measures

The Intercept
Lee Fang
Defense contractors, fossil fuel companies, and pharmaceutical giants have also used superficial measures like diverse boards to earn inclusion in so-called socially conscious, ESG funds.

The post Private Prisons Are a Socially Responsible Investment, According to Bizarre Wall Street Measures appeared first on The Intercept.

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The Relationship Between Art and Politics Is Shifting

Ben Davis
Visual art produced during the neoliberal period has become increasingly alien to working-class and middle-class people, while its role as an investment opportunity and social club for the elite has ballooned. At the same time, a current of critical and explicitly political art has emerged and grown within and alongside the commercial art market. In […]

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TOTW: Consistency
Here we are again—you know the drill. Another regularly scheduled topic of the week. Another chance for these words to make their way into your head by way of your computer screen or, perhaps, through the silky smooth voice of Max Res. Another attempt to approach the same questions from new angles, hoping these trajectories lead to fresh insights and epiphanies.

While the consistency of a weekly topic discussion affords us this luxury of repetition, it can just as effectively usher in monotony, bad habits, schedules, deadlines, tired jokes, and even more tired people. I’m confident many here know that local organizer who’s still doing their dreadfully boring project after all these years, never missing a beat. Or, on the other hand, that brilliant person with a million interesting ideas who lacks the attention span to see any of them through. Of course, content matters: a boring project won’t become exciting through mere consistency, just as a good idea won’t come to life without setting a goal or two.

I find myself navigating the double-edged sword of consistency as one of diminishing returns: a structure of accountability early on can easily turn into a trap of obligation over time if left unchecked. With this in mind, I’ll abandon my first impulse to propose formulaic questions in bold text for this TOTW:

What does consistency mean for anarchists?

As anarchists, how do we do consistency?

Instead, indulge me in a musical metaphor to get us thinking about consistency:

A classical Western approach to music defines a collection of pitches and notes by measure and meter, among other properties. This structuring promotes cohesion, uniformity, and creates a shared vocabulary for easier reproducibility. Diverging from this scientific approach to music, I’m reminded of repetitions that are jarring on first listen. Odd time signatures or dramatic tempo changes serve as inconsistencies that confuse your internal rhythm. Then, as the section repeats, you begin to hear it more clearly as you adjust your expectations—you can bob your head in time. Repetition legitimizes. Once heard enough, you can’t recreate the confusion you felt initially. It, tragically, makes perfect sense and you can’t hear it any other way.

With this sentiment in mind, what is gained through consistency? What is lost?

Tags: totwtopic of the weekconsistencyrepetitionobligationmastery

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Bread and Freedom by Albert Camus

Speech given to the labour exchange in Saint-Etienne in May 1953.


Albert Camus

Submitted by Reddebrek on June 26, 2022

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If we add up the examples of breach of faith and extortion that have just been pointed out to us, we can foresee a time when, in a Europe of concentration camps, the only people at liberty will be prison guards who will then have to lock up one another. When only one remains, he will called the `supreme guard,` and that will be the ideal society in which problems of opposition, the headache of twentieth-century governments, will be settled once and for all.

Of course, this is but a prophecy and, although governments and police forces throughout the world are striving, with great good will, to achieve such a happy situation, we have not yet gone that far. Among us, for instance, in Western Europe, freedom is officially approved. But such freedom makes me think of the poor female cousin in certain middle-class families. She has become a widow; she has lost her natural protector. So she has been taken in, given a room on the top floor, and is welcome in the kitchen. She is occasionally paraded publicly on Sunday, to prove that one is virtuous and not a dirty dog. But for everything else, and especially on state occasions, she is requested to keep her mouth shut. And even if some policeman idly takes liberties with her in dark corners, one doesn’t make a fuss about it, for she has seen such things before, especially with the master of the house, and, after all, it’s not worth getting in bad with the legal authorities. In the East, it must be admitted, they are more forthright. They have settled the business of the female cousin once and for all by locking her up in a closet with two solid bolts on the door. It seems that she will be taken out fifty years from now, more or less, when the ideal society is definitively established. Then there will be celebrations in her honour. But, in my opinion, she may then be somewhat moth-eaten, and I am very much afraid that it may be impossible to make use of her. When we stop to think that these two conceptions of freedom, the one in the closet and the other in the kitchen, have decided to force themselves on each other and are obliged in all that hullabaloo to reduce still further the female cousin’s activity, it will be readily seen that our history is rather one of slavery than of freedom and that the world we live in is the one that has just been described, which leaps out at us from the newspaper every morning to make of our days and our weeks a single day of revolt and disgust.

The simplest, and hence most tempting, thing is to blame governments or some obscure powers for such naughty behaviour. Besides, it is indeed true that they are guilty and that their guilt is so solidly established that we have lost sight of its beginnings. But they are not the only ones responsible. After all, if freedom had always had to rely on governments to encourage her growth, she would probably still been in her infancy or else definitively buried with the inscription `another angel in heaven.`The society of money and exploitation has never been charged, so far as I know, with assuring the triumph of freedom and justice. Police states have never been suspected of opening schools of law in the cellars where they interrogate their subjects. So, when they oppress and exploit, they are merely doing their job, and whoever blindly entrusts them with the care of freedom has no right to be surprised when she is immediately dishonoured. If freedom is humiliated or in chains today, it is not because her enemies had recourse to treachery. It is simply because she has lost her natural protector. Yes, freedom is widowed, but it must be added because it is true: she is widowed of all of us.

Freedom is the concern of the oppressed, and her natural protectors have always come from the oppressed. In feudal Europe the communes maintained the ferments of freedom; those who assured her fleeting triumph in 1789 were the inhabitants of towns and cities; and since the nineteenth century the workers’ movements have assumed responsibility for the double honour of freedom and justice, without ever dreaming of saying that they were irreconcilable. Labourers, both manual and intellectual, are the ones who gave a body to freedom and helped her progress in the world until she has become the very basis of our thought, the air we cannot do without, that we breathe without even noticing it until the time comes when, deprived of it, we feel that we are dying. And if freedom is regressing today throughout such a large part of the world, this is probably because the devices for enslavement have never been so cynically chosen or so effective, but also because her real defenders, through fatigue, through despair, or through a false idea of strategy and efficiency, have turned away from her. Yes, the great event of the twentieth century was the forsaking of the values of freedom by the revolutionary movement, the progressive retreat of socialism based on freedom before the attacks of a Caesarian and military socialism. Since that moment a certain hope has disappeared from the world and a solitude has begun for each ad every free man.

When, after Marx, the rumour began to spread and gain strength that freedom was a bourgeois hoax, a single word was misplaced in that definition, and we are still paying for that mistake through the convulsions of our time. For it should have been said merely that bourgeois freedom was a hoax – and not all freedom. It should have been said simply that bourgeois freedom was not freedom or, in the best of cases, was not yet freedom. But that there were liberties to be won and never to be relinquished again. It is quite true that there is no possible freedom for the man tied to his lathe all day long who, when evening comes, crowds into a single room with his family. But this fact condemns a class, a society and the slavery it assumes, not freedom itself, without which the poorest among us cannot get along. For even if society were suddenly transformed and became decent and comfortable for all, it would still be a barbarous state unless freedom triumphed. And because bourgeois society talks about freedom without practising it, must the world of workers also give up practising it and boast merely of not talking about it? Yet the confusion took place and in the revolutionary movement freedom was gradually condemned because bourgeois society used it as a hoax. From a justifiable and healthy distrust of the way that bourgeois society prostituted freedom, people came to distrust freedom itself. At best, it was, postponed to the end of time, with the request that meanwhile it be not talked about. The contention was that we needed justice first and that we would come top freedom later on, as if slaves could ever hope to achieve justice. And forceful intellectuals announced to the worker that bread alone interested him rather than freedom, as if the worker didn’t know that his bread depends in part on his freedom. And, to be sure, in the face of the prolonged injustice of bourgeois society, the temptation to go to such extremes was great. After all, there is probably not one of us here who, either in deed or in thought, did not succumb. But history has progressed, and what we have seen must now make us think things over.

The revolution brought about by workers succeeded in 1917 and marked the dawn of real freedom and the greatest hope the world has known. But that revolution, surrounded from the outside, threatened within and without, provided itself with a police force. Inheriting a definition and a doctrine that pictured freedom as suspect, the revolution little by little became stronger, and the world’s greatest hope hardened into the world’s most efficient dictatorship. The false freedom of bourgeois society has not suffered meanwhile. What was killed in the Moscow trials and elsewhere, and in the revolutionary camps, what is assassinated when in Hungary a railway worker is shot for some professional mistake, is not bourgeois freedom but rather the freedom of 1917. Bourgeois freedom can meanwhile have recourse to all possible hoaxes. The trials and perversions of revolutionary society furnish it at one and the same time with a good conscience and with arguments against its enemies.

In conclusion, the characteristic of the world we live in is just that cynical dialectic which sets up injustice against enslavement while strengthening one by the other. When we admit to the palace of culture Franco, the friend of Goebbels and of Himmler- Franco, the real victor of the Second World War – to those who protest that the rights of man inscribed in the charter of UNESCO are turned to ridicule every day in Franco’s prisons we reply without smiling that Poland figure’s in UNESCO too and that, as far as public freedom is concerned, one is no better than the other. An idiotic argument, of course! If you were so unfortunate as to marry your elder daughter to a sergeant in a battalion of ex-convicts, this is no reason why you should marry off her younger sister to the most elegant detective on the society squad; one black sheep in the family is enough. And yet the idiotic argument works, as is proved to us every day. When anyone brings up the slave in the colonies and calls for justice, he is reminded of prisoners in Russian concentration camps, and vice versa. And if you protest against the assassination in Prague of an opposition historian like Kalandra, two or three American Negroes are thrown in your face. In such a disgusting attempt at outbidding, one thing only does not change – the victim, who is always the same. A single value is constantly outraged or prostituted – freedom – and then we notice that everywhere, together with freedom, justice is also profaned.

How then can this infernal circle be broken? Obviously, it can be done only by reviving at once, in ourselves and in others, the value of freedom – and by never again agreeing to its being sacrificed, even temporarily, or separated from our demand for justice. The current motto for all of us can only be this: without giving up anything on the plane of justice, yield nothing on the plane of freedom. In particular, the few democratic liberties we still enjoy are not unimportant illusions that we can allow to be taken from us without a protest. They represent exactly what remains to us of the great revolutionary conquests of the last two centuries. Hence they are not, as so many clever demagogues tell us, the negation of true freedom. There is no ideal freedom that will someday be given us all at once, as a pension comes at the end of one’s life. There are liberties to be won painfully, one by one, and those we still have are stages – most certainly inadequate, but stages nevertheless – on the way to total liberation. If we agree to suppress them, we do not progress nonetheless. On the contrary, we retreat, we go backward, and someday we shall have to retrace our steps along that road, but that new effort will once more be made in the sweat and blood of men.

No, choosing freedom today does not mean ceasing to be a profiteer of the Soviet regime and becoming a profiteer of the bourgeois regime. For that would amount, instead, to choosing slavery twice and, as a final condemnation, choosing it twice for others. Choosing freedom is not, as we are told, choosing against justice. On the other hand, freedom is chosen today in relation to those who are everywhere suffering and fighting, and this is the only freedom that counts. It is chosen at the same time as justice, and, to tell the truth, henceforth we cannot choose one without the other. If someone takes away your bread, he suppresses your freedom at the same time. But if someone takes away your freedom, you may be sure that your bread is threatened, for it depends no longer on you and your struggle but on the whim of a master. Poverty increases insofar as freedom retreats throughout the world, and vice versa. And if this cruel century has taught us anything at all, it has taught that the economic revolution must be free just as liberation must include the economic. The oppressed want to be liberated not only from their hunger but also from their masters. They are well aware that they will be effectively freed of hunger only when they hold their masters, all their masters, at bay.

I shall add in conclusion that separating freedom from justice is tantamount to separating culture and labour, which is the epitome of the social sin. The confusion of the workers’ movement in Europe springs in part from the fact that it has lost its real home, where it took comfort after all defeats, which was its faith in freedom. But, likewise, the confusion of European intellectuals springs from the fact that the double hoax, bourgeois and pseudo-revolutionary, separated them from their sole source of authenticity, the work and suffering of all, cutting them off from their sole natural allies, the workers. Insofar as I am concerned, I have recognised only two aristocracies, that of labour and that of the intelligence, and I know now that it is mad and criminal to try to make one dominate the other. I know that the two of them constitute but a single nobility, that their truth and, above all, their effectiveness lie in union; I know that if they are separated, they will allow themselves to be overcome gradually by the forces of tyranny and barbarousness, but that united, on the other hand, they will govern the world. This is why any undertaking that aims to loosen their ties and separate them is directed against man and his loftiest hopes. The first concern of any dictatorship is, consequently, to subjugate both labour and culture. In fact, both must be gagged or else, as tyrants are well aware, sooner or later one will speak up for the other. Thus, in my opinion, there are two ways for an intellectual to betray at present, and in both cases he betrays because he accepts a single thing – that separation between labour and culture. The first way is characteristic of bourgeois intellectuals who are willing that their privileges should be paid for by the enslavement of the workers. They often say that they are defending freedom, but they are defending first of all the privileges freedom gives to them, and to them alone1
. The second way is characteristic of intellectuals who think they are leftist and who, through distrust of freedom, are willing that culture, and the freedom it presupposes, should be directed, under the vain pretext of serving a future justice. In both cases the profiteers of injustice and the renegades of freedom ratify and sanction the separation of intellectual and manual labour which condemns both labour and culture to impotence. They deprecate at one and the same time both freedom and justice.

It is true that freedom, when it is made up principally of privileges, insults labour and separates it from culture. But freedom is not made up principally of privileges; it is made up especially of duties. And the moment each of us tries to give freedom’s duties precedence over its privileges, freedom joins together labour and culture and sets in motion the only force that can effectively serve justice. The rule of our action, the secret of our resistance can be easily stated: everything that humiliates labour also humiliates the intelligence, and vice versa. And the revolutionary struggle, the centuries-old straining toward liberation can be defined first of all as a double and constant rejection of humiliation.

To tell the truth, we have not yet cast off that humiliation. But the wheel turns, history changes, and a time is coming, I am sure, when we shall cease to be alone. For me, our gathering here today is in itself a sign. The fact that members of unions gather together and crowd around our freedoms to defend them is indeed reason enough for all to come here from all directions to illustrate their union and their hope. The way ahead of us is long. Yet if war does not come and mingle everything in its hideous confusion, we shall have time at last to give a form to the justice and freedom we need. But to achieve that we must henceforth categorically refuse, without anger but irrevocably, the lies with which we have been stuffed. No, freedom is not founded on concentration camps, or on the subjugated peoples of the colonies, or on the workers’ poverty! No, the doves of peace do not perch on gallows! No, the forces of freedom cannot mingle the sons of the victims with the executioners of Madrid and elsewhere! Of tat, at least, we shall henceforth be sure, as we shall be sure that freedom is not a gift received from a State or a leader but a possession to be won every day by the effort of each and union of all.

1And, besides, most of the time they do not even defend freedom the moment there is any risk in doing so.

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Upcoming titles on anarchism

From Freedom News UK

Arts and Culture, Jun 26th

Across the broader anarchist and left publishing industry there’s a number of books coming out over the next few months on the subject of anarchism which may be worth keeping an eye out for. Some titles, particularly from AK and PM, will be released in ebook format but may not initially by available as paperbacks, depending on shipping and launch schedules. Approx paperback prices are included as a general guide.

Overcoming Capitalism (ISBN 978-1849354707, 400pp, £16.78, AK) by Tom Wetzel attempts to rework the strategies of trade union movements for the 21st century. Rejecting the “peace” that has characterised decades of slow retreat, he instead looks to libertarian socialism and the empowerment of grassroots activists for inspiration.

Islam and Anarchism: Relationships and Resonances (ISBN 978-0745341927, 352 pages, £19.99, Pluto) by Mohamed Abdou makes an original attempt to draw on both Islamic and anarchist texts to argue for the possibilities of an anti-authoritarian and spiritual interpretation of its religion.

Disaster Anarchy: Mutual Aid and Radical Action (ISBN: 978-0745340456, 256pp, £19.99, Pluto) by Rhiannon Firth looks at anarchist responses to major disasters such as Hurricane Sandy and Covid-19. Governments have repeatedly been left wanting in crisis situations over recent years, with mutual aid and solidaristic solutions plugging the gaps to great effect, often surprising the mainstream.

War and Peace (ISBN 978-1849354684, 625pp, £21.61, AK) is one of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon’s best books but perhaps the least well known in the English-speaking world. This translation aims to open up both our understanding of Proudhon’s mature works as well as a window on mid-nineteenth century international relations and the history of international thought.

The Modern Crisis (ISBN 978-1849354462, 196pp, £12.20, AK) by Murray Bookchin reissues four key essays by the influential and forward thinking social ecologist dealing with an oncoming ecological and social disaster that has only gotten closer since his death.

Anarchic Agreements: A Field Guide to Collective Organizing (ISBN 978-1629639635, 128pp, £12.16, PM) is a collected work with Ruth Kinna, Alex Prichard, Thomas Swann, and Seeds for Change. Aiming to be “a quintessential field guide for the revolution” it focuses on everyday practical ideas around how leaderless groups operate, balance power and maintain themselves.

Images of Class: Operaismo, Autonomia and the Visual Arts, 1962-1988 (ISBN 978-1839765292, 448pp, £25, Verso) by Jacopo Galimberti examines the influence of Workerism and autonomia on visual artists such as the members of Archizoom, Gordon Matta-Clark and Gianfranco Baruchello. This book focuses on the aesthetic and cultural discourse developed by three generations of militants (including Mario Tronti, Antonio Negri, Bifo and Silvia Federici), and how it was appropriated by artists, architects, graphic designers and architectural historians such as Manfredo Tafuri.

Practical Anarchism: A Guide for Daily Life (ISBN: 978-0745344928, 160pp, £14.99, Pluto) by Scott Branson looks at large and small ways in which anarchists act and frame their lives. Branson offers a host of handy tips and suggestions for all ages.

No Pasaran! Antifascist Dispatches From a World in Crisis (ISBN 978-1849354820, £18.99, AK) by Shane Burley is being published as a joint project with the Institute for Anarchist Studies, and is set to be a sizeable tome with 30 chapters by a wide selection of writers including Talia Lavin, David Renton, Kim Kelly, Geo Maher and many more.

Abolition Revolution (ISBN: 978-0745346519, 192pp, £14.99, Pluto) by Aviah Sarah Day and Shanice Octavia McBean is a historical, theoretical and practical guide to revolutionary abolitionist politics in Britain. The authors trace the evolution of policing and criminalisation from their colonial roots to their contemporary expression, as found in Prevent and drug laws targeting Black communities. They also draw out a rich history of grassroots resistance.

The State Is the Enemy: Essays on Liberation and Racial Justice (978-1629639680, 192pp, £16, PM) by James Kelman comprises 16 essays laying bare government brutality against all who are deemed of “a lower order.” Drawing parallels between atrocities committed against Kurds by the Turkish State and racist police brutality, and government sanctioned murders in the UK, Kelman shatters the myth of Western exceptionalism.

Active Distro is also bringing out three new titles this year, with various details still tbc:

A Libertarian Reader by Iain McKay will be a set of four volumes aiming to show the real libertarian tradition by presenting texts from anti-state socialists, whether anarchist or not. The texts show the rich tradition associated with “libertarian” and why we should reclaim the word.
Smash The System is the first in an upcoming series on Anarchism and Punk.
And finally, Feminism in The Phillipines essentially does what it says on the tin!

This article first appeared in the Summer-Autumn edition of Freedom journal, available at our online shop for the cost of postage.

Tags: booksFreedom News UK

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Jane’s Revenge – Night of Rage Communique
The night of June 24 was the Night of Rage. We decided to attack a crisis pregnancy center in Glendale, California with spray paint. The phrases written were “Jane was here”, “abort the court” , and “If abortions aren’t safe neither are you”. All across the country people protested and revolted against this attack on bodily autonomy.

As we predicted almost a month ago, the United States Supreme Court stripped millions of people of bodily autonomy and access to abortion. This is only the beginning of the attacks on autonomy in store from the courts and fascists. Up next on the chopping block is access to contraception, the legality of everyday queer life, and gay marriage. But this is part of a broader pattern of fascism within the United States.

To all the conservatives, Fox News anchors, judges, cops, Christian extremists, or federal agents reading this:

This attack is nothing in compare to what is in store for you. Some spray paint will be the least of your worries. For decades you have bombed abortion clinics and murdered doctors. We fight not just for abortion rights, but for trans liberation, ecological harmony, decolonization, the destruction of white supremacy and capitalism, and the uprooting of the entire global civilization.

We will hunt you down and make your lives a living hell. You started this war but we will win it. So far its just been pregnancy crisis centers, but tomorrow it might be your cars, your homes, or even your lives. We support a diversity of tactics and we will not step down in this fight.

Expect us, Jane’s Revenge

Tags: abortionJane’s RevengeCaliforniaGraffiti

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Riot Police Attack As Tens of Thousands Take to the Streets and Block Freeways After Roe v Wade is Overturned

It’s Going Down
On Friday and Saturday, tens of thousands hit the streets across the so-called United States in angry protests, after six Supreme Court judges rolled back the right to an abortion, marking a milestone in American politics and further signaling the growing fascistic drive of minoritarian rule over the vast majority of the population which rejects… Read Full Article

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In El Salvador, Bitcoin and the Police State Have Gone Hand in Hand

Mario Gómez
On September 1, 2021, on the eve of the implementation of a law that would impose Bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador, the police arrested Mario Gómez, a thirty-six-year-old software developer and leading critic of the new legislation. Today, Bitcoin has lost over 50 percent of its value, martial law reigns in El Salvador, […]

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Spencer Beswick: “We’re Pro-Choice And We Riot!” – How Anarcha-Feminists Built Dual Power In Struggles For Reproductive Freedom

Jonathan Admin
It’s Going Down | May 19, 2022 A historical look at how anarchists in the 1990s mobilized against attacks on reproductive freedom and autonomy…

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There Is a Major Rift Dividing the White Working Class — And Democrats Are Clueless

Lisa R. Pruitt
Lisa R. Pruitt is Martin Luther King Jr. professor of law at the University of California, Davis. She is writing a book about what the experience of migrating from the working class to the chattering class can teach us about contemporary political divisions.

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The End of Federal Abortion Protections Isn’t the End of Abortion Access

Unicorn Riot
Washington, D.C. – For the first time in United States history, the Supreme Court has revoked an individual constitutional right— repealing Roe v. Wade and cutting off federal abortion protections. As Kristin Hady with Abortion Access Front put it, Roe is “just the first domino…

The post The End of Federal Abortion Protections Isn’t the End of Abortion Access appeared first on UNICORN RIOT.

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With the Corpse of Roe Still Warm, Far Right Plots Fascistic Anti-Abortion Enforcement

The Intercept
Natasha Lennard
With the end of Roe v. Wade achieved, the fascist right is setting its sights on shutting down all abortion solidarity and assistance.

The post With the Corpse of Roe Still Warm, Far Right Plots Fascistic Anti-Abortion Enforcement appeared first on The Intercept.

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New Study: Medicare for All Would Have Prevented 340,000 COVID Deaths in the US

Luke Thibault
What has long been speculated by the Left is now a quantifiable fact: the United States’ privatized and patchwork system of health insurance — which leaves millions uninsured or underinsured — has directly resulted in hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths during the pandemic. According to a new report, a shocking 338,000 of the United […]

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H.R. 4176: LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act

Major Legislative Activity – Tracked Events from
Passed House (Senate next): Last Action: On passage Passed by the Yeas and Nays: 220 – 201 (Roll no. 296).
Explanation: This bill passed in the House on June 23, 2022 and goes to the Senate next for consideration.

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Dancing with the devil: On the politics of Green Anarchist, again!

Black Flag defends class struggle anarchism against the nihilist-terrorism of Green Anarchist. From Black Flag #217 (1999)


Black Flag

Submitted by Fozzie on June 23, 2022

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In issue 215 of Black Flag we ran a critique of the politics of Green Anarchist, "Irrationalism – Steve Booth Against the Machine"1
, which attacked propositions by Steve Booth (in Green Anarchist 51) in favour of "acts of intense violence against the system with no obvious motives, no pattern". Booth stated that:

"The Oklahoma bombers had the right idea. The pity was that they did not blast any more government offices…The Tokyo sarin cult had the right idea. The pity was that in testing the gas a year prior to the attack they gave themselves away."

Our polemic argued that Booth’s Irrationalism is the logical end-point for the "primitivist" project; that [quote]"the primitivists have not been able to identify any positive agent for the ‘destruction of civilisation’ and so their politics becomes a counsel of despair…With no rational agent for primitivist change, GA are left with…making Aum and the Oklahoma fascists vehicles for ‘the absolute physical destruction of the machine.’"[quote]

In Green Anarchist 54-55,we get GA’s "response." Two Articles, "False Flag" and "The Return of the Irrationalists", take on the task of replying to the Black Flag critique. Or rather, they don’t. Black Flag is denounced as "opportunistic and power hungry" (the misrepresentations about the history and politics of the Black Flag Collective are dealt with elsewhere). GA also get excited about our question "would Booth endorse, say, the fascist bombing of Bologna railway station" (although their excitement is a bit misplaced, as they have a go at point scoring about how we appear to believe there were several Bologna bombings, when the article clearly employs the word "bombing", in the singular).

As to whether Booth would endorse such tactics, or whether primitivism has a concept of human agency in any positive sense, we’re told that Booth, and GA, reject "all ideology", and hence the question is meaningless. Which begs two questions. If the GA project is "non-ideological" then why publish a paper, set up a contacts list, or reply to our articles at all. More importantly, if "Irrationalists" reject "all ideology" isn’t it strange that Booth ‘s non-ideological examples of "resistance" were the Aum and the militias, not the IRA, ETA, the Angry Brigade, the Black Liberation Army, and so on? As we’ll illustrate, this isn’t just coincidence. The primitivist project rejects all notions of positive agency, of a human subject attempting to change the world, as "reifying" — alienative. Hence, any act of resistance which has a positive, "socialistic" goal (however poorly defined) has to be rejected, while groups which have purely negative or destructive goals are seen as "decivilising" and hence embraced. The logic of primitivism leads its proponents ultimately into the camp of those who would advocate "Long Live Death".

We are not suggesting that GA are fascists; what we do suggest is that the method of primitivism, and the notion of the "non-ideological" lead precisely to a situation where questions of means and ends are buried beneath the desire for "the destruction of civilisation." That they can dismiss the question of whether or not they would, as we raised, "endorse, say, the fascist bombings of Bologna railway station, or a far-right militia using poison gas on a black community in the US" as "ideological" suggests our concern, and anger, is justified. To argue that, as Booth’s article "rejects all ideology, it necessarily rejects fascist ideology" is bullshit. Booth says the Aum had the right idea and that "Joe and Edna Couch Potato…can either join in somewhere or fuck off and die". It seems that his rejection of "fascist ideology" implies only a belief that the ideology of an organisation is irrelevant, so long as it is engaged in acts of "intense violence against the system." Booth (and whoever wrote "False Flag") don’t reject fascism –they just deny that it matters whether an organisation is fascist or not.

Given this, we wonder if GA will conclude that the fascist bombers in London also had "the right idea."

Class an irrelevance?
We are told that Black Flag’s contention that any effective resistance has to be grounded in an understanding of class is an "irrelevant 80s dogma", a "crude workerism". GA, apparently, call "for our actions to be unmediated through the working class." Class-struggle anarchism is a "secular ‘religion of slaves.’"

Class, contra GA, whether fashionable in the 80s or irrelevant in the 90s, is the fundamental issue of our time — the relationship between those who own the means of production and those forced to sell their labour to the property-owning class underpins every aspect of our society. The New Labour government has taken office committed to the utilisation of the welfare state as a weapon of coercion to drive the unemployed off the dole and into the workplace, to drag down wages, in the interests of capital. New Labour’s attacks on working class living standards affect the majority of people in the UK. Irrelevant, though, according to GA. Environmental crisis has as its cause the industrial/technological practices of capitalism – either in the form of production techniques used or pollutants sold to the consumer in the pursuit of profit. Still, who cares, eh?

So why is class important? Because class analysis indicates who has revolutionary potential, the potential to transform society. Thus the working class is not a potential agent of revolutionary change because its members suffer a great deal. As far as suffering goes, there are many better candidates for revolutionary agency than the working class: vagrants, perhaps, or impoverished students or prisoners or senior citizens. Many of these individuals suffer more than your average worker. But none of them is even potentially an agent of social transformation, as the working class is. Unlike the latter, these groups are not so objectively located within the capitalist mode of production. This means that they do not have the power to transform the economic system into a non-exploitative and libertarian one ("only a productive class may be libertarian in nature, because it does not need to exploit" in the words of Albert Meltzer). And without taking over the means of life, you cannot stop capital accumulating, nor can workers abolish work.

It is undeniably true that trade unionism and social democratic reformism have, as GA assert, "emasculated authentically revolutionary currents." It is therefore, as Rudolf Rocker incited, the objective of "anarcho-syndicalism to prepare the toiling masses in the city and country for this great goal[social revolution] and to bind them together as a militant force." The class war has, too often, been mediated through reformism. It is part of Black Flag’s objective to explore ways and means of making the working class, for capitalism, "the modern Satan, the great rebel" (to use Bakunin’s phrase) again. In doing so, we do not intend to distance ourselves from questions of revolutionary violence, and our movement’s embrace at times of the propaganda of the deed. However, to equate such acts as the assassination of the Empress of Austria by Lucheni, President Carnot of France by Santo Caserio, or the assassination of Alexander II by the Russian nihilists with the Aum’s desire to murder a train full of Japanese commuters as GA does, is to reduce the propaganda of the deed to the pornography of the deed. As Emile Henry put it "we are involved in a merciless war; we mete out death and we must face it". The war, though, is "declared on the bourgeoisie" – not Joe and Edna Couch Potato, Steve Booth’s cynical dismissal of any ordinary person who’s not part of GA’s sorry little grouping.

Which helps explain why GA does not identify any agent for social change and instead relies on "irrationalist" acts. It is probable that the return to a "Hunter-Gatherer" style society would result in mass starvation in almost all countries as the social infrastructure collapses. Indeed, it is tempting to insist that the primitivists have ceded the right to be taken seriously until they come up with a consistent response to the key question asked by Brian Morris of John Zerzan in Morris’s article "Anthropology and Anarchism" (Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed #45):

"The future we are told is ‘primitive’. How this is to be achieved in a world that presently sustains almost six billion people (for evidence suggests that the hunter-gatherer lifestyle is only able to support 1 or 2 people per sq. mile)… Zerzan does not tell us."

Green Anarchist’s responses throw up too many issues, though, for us to embrace that luxury.

So, due to the inherent unattractiveness of GAs "Primitivist" ideas for most people ("Joe and Edna Couch Potato," in other words), it could never come about by libertarian means (i.e. by the free choice of individuals who create it by their own acts). Which partly explains their rejection of an agent for change as very few people would actually voluntarily embrace such a situation. This, we suggest, leads to GA developing a form of eco-vanguardism in order, to use Rousseau’s evil expression, to "force people to be free" (as can be seen from the articles published celebrating terrorist acts). As subjective choice is ruled out, there can only be objective pressures which force people, against their will, into "anarchy" (namely "irrationalist" acts which destroy civilisation). This explains their support for "irrationalism"– it is the only means by which a "primitivist" society could come about.

Maximalist Anarchism?
Printed alongside GA’s articles attacking the "self-appointed moralistic anarcho-vanguard" (anyone who presumes to question the authority of GA!!) is an article by John Moore "Maximalist Anarchism, Anarchist Maximalism", a celebration by the author of "those forms of anarchism which aim at the exponential exposure, challenging and abolition of power." Moore is also author of "The Primitivist Primer". His "Maximalist Anarchism" is helpful, because it locates for us the theoretical bankruptcy of the primitivist project, the philosophical crisis which underpins the disordered musings of Booth and co. It has always been part of the anarchist project to oppose the dominion of man over man. That dominion, though, has always been understood as historically grounded in the development of the State as the guarantor of man’s exploitation by man; the guarantor of property. Moore’s conception of power, though, is a-historical, and anti-materialist: "Power is not seen as located in any single institution such as patriarchy or the state, but as pervasive in everyday life."

Remember the film "The Usual Suspects"? At one point in the film there’s a voice over from Kevin Spacey along the lines of "The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world he didn’t exist." Moore’s view of power as "pervasive in everyday life" is "The Usual Suspects" as political theory. The greatest trick that capitalism could play is convincing those oppressed under it that their oppression is natural, inevitable. Power is everywhere and all-corrupting.

What does Moore mean? If Person A robs Person B and Person C intervenes to physically prevent him, is Person C’s action as oppressive as Person A’s? Is the state in seeking to murder Mumia Abu-Jamal no more or less oppressive than those who would seek to organise collectively to exercise the power to stop them? Moore conflates power, and hence agency, with oppression. Not all power is oppressive. The power to resist cannot be equated with the power to oppress.

In 1793 the French revolutionary Jacques Roux petitioned that "Liberty is but a phantom when one class of men can starve another with impunity." Moore would add that liberty is but a phantom when one class of men has the power to resist the fate delegated to it by the whim of another. Power, for Moore, becomes as one with our subjectivity, our power to act. What we are left with is bourgeois individualism dressed up as freedom. "Central to the emancipation of life from governance and control remains the exploration of desire and the free, joyful pursuit of individual lines of interest."

Bakunin argued that "man only becomes man and achieves consciousness only to the extent that he realises his humanity within society and then only through the collective endeavours of society as a whole." Moore’s "struggle against micro-fascism", the reduction of social struggle to the "anti-politics of everyday life", is a retreat from the collective struggle for a free society of Bakunin to the deconstructive agenda of post-modernism. As he concedes

"The arts, due to their capacity to bypass inhibitions and connect with or even liberate unconscious concerns and desires, thus remain far more appropriate than political discourse as a means of promoting and expressing the development of autonomy and anti-authoritarian rebellion."

This is not, then, a politics of resistance in the sense one might understand a politics of everyday life as embodying strategies of resistance to the encroachments of capital upon everyday life; resistance is substituted by play, artistic self-expression (why not shopping?). As Moore himself concedes; real issues of strategy and tactics in the battle to regain control of our lives are abandoned to "the very science fictional question of ‘what if…?’"

Zerzan and Reification
Moore is not the only primitivist to have a problem with the issue of agency. John Zerzan, by far the most engaged and stimulating of the primitivist thinkers, in an article "Reification: That Thing We Do" (Anarchy #45) starts with an examination of the use of the term "reification" as employed by the Marxist Georg Lukacs

"namely, a form of alienation issuing from the commodity fetishism of modern market relations. Social conditions and the plight of the individual have become mysterious and impenetrable as a function of what we now commonly refer to as consumerist capitalism. We are crushed and blinded by the reifying force of the stage of capital that began in the 20th century."

Lukac’s observations are based on Marx’s contention in Grundrisse that "Money…directly and simultaneously becomes the real community…Money dissolve(s) the community" His use of the term "reification" is historically specific. Zerzan argues

"however, that it may be useful to re-cast reification so as to establish a much deeper meaning and dynamic. The merely and directly human is in fact being drained away as surely as nature itself has been tamed into an object."

It would be reasonable here to anticipate an attack upon Enlightenment views of the human subject, the Descartean notion that we can "render ourselves the masters and possessors of nature." Zerzan goes much further. He argues that we are "exiled from immediacy" by our capacity for abstract thought, that "the reification aspect of thought is a further cognitive ‘fall from grace’”. It is the human subject acting as subject that leads to our alienation from ourselves. "objectification is the take off point for culture, in that it makes domestication possible. It reaches its full potential with the onset of division of labour; the exchange principle itself moves on the level of objectification."

Raymond Williams once argued that "communication is community", that man as social being is defined by interaction through language. Zerzan has it that "the reification act of language impoverishes existence by creating a universe of meaning sufficient unto itself." As Brian Morris describes it "All those products of the human creative imagination — farming, art, philosophy, technology, science, urban living, symbolic culture — are viewed negatively by Zerzan — in a monolithic sense."

Zerzan is a committed activist and capable of writings of both insight and beauty. His writings against our "ever more standardised, massified lost world" stand as powerful indictments of modern life. Yet a contradiction stands at the centre of his thought. If the "dreadfulness of our post-modernity" is constituted by the "denial of human choice and effective agency" how can we go forward, how can we change the world, except by our own hands and how can it be possible to so change the world if by acting we "render ourselves as objects"?

If what Cassirer called the process of creative destruction, of "man" as subject, "doubting and seeking, tearing down and building up" has led us to "these dark days" then there is no way forward. Power pervades everywhere, again. All that is left is to live quietly in the world, the "reverential listening" of Martin Heidegger, or "living-in-place" as the deep ecologists Berg and Dasmann put it. But living-in-place seems much like knowing your place, and not much of a recipe for change, and even Arne Naess acknowledges that "only look at" nature is extremely peculiar behaviour. Experiencing of an environment happens by doing something in it, by living in it, meditating and acting" (Ecology, Community and Lifestyle).

In practice, Zerzan draws back from embracing the notion of "living-in-place" in the here and now, faced with the rottenness of "place" as it stands. His best writings are full of celebrations of worker resistance to work life, luddism, the 1977 New York blackout lootings and riots. For Green Anarchism though, it is not so simple. The contradictions of primitivism — Zerzan’s theoretical abandonment of the revolutionary subject, Moore’s bourgeois individualism — lead practical, direct action politics down a blind alley. We can’t stand where we are — we can’t go forward because power is everywhere and human agency is ultimately reifying. The dead end of primitivism lies precisely in the fact that there can be no positive agency for the primitivist transformation. All that’s left then is what Booth and Colike to pretend is the "non-ideological".

When Zerzan talks about the un-mediated/un-ideologized he means, as Paul Simons put it in Anarchy #44

"the participants in riots and insurrections throughout history; luddites, Regulators, Whiskey Rebels, Rebecca and her Sisters, Captain Swing, King Mob,the Paris Commune of 187l, Makhnovists, the New York City boogie till you puke party and power outrage of 1977, the MLK assassination riots, May 68 in France and so forth."

In this, he stands as part of the best of our movement’s tradition, anarchism as the voice of the "swinish multitude."

Booth’s idea of "non-ideological", contra Zerzan, is not non-ideological at all. Both the Aum and the Oklahoma bombers had clear ideological ends. Booth wants to pretend their ends don’t count (so why not, then, the FN or the BNP?) As GA concede, (and in doing so concede their own irrelevance) "all Steve did was write." And it’s all he’s ever likely to do. There is an element of "The Irrationalists" which reeks of middle class posturing and vicarious rebellion (the comprehensive I went to school in had a few middle class twats who liked to pretend they were in the NF to wind up "the rougher elements", until they realised that there was a price to pay for posturing as fascists!).

Nevertheless, their politics have some resonance within the direct action environmental movement and they have to be taken seriously to that extent. Booth’s "Irrationalism" is the dead end of primitivism — the abandonment of any notion of positive human agency. Whether they like it or not, all that’s then left is the passive surrender of "living in place" or looking to the forces of reaction to bring about the death of civilisation; the barbarism Rosa Luxemburg warned against.


John Zerzan
Green Anarchist

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The Contraction of the West

Critical Legal Thinking
Boaventura de Sousa Santos
What Westerners call the West or Western civilization is a geopolitical space that emerged in the 16th century and expanded continuously until the 20th century. On the eve of World War I, about 90% of the globe was Western or Western-dominated: Europe, Russia, the Americas, Africa, Oceania and much of Asia (with the partial exceptions […]

The post The Contraction of the West appeared first on Critical Legal Thinking.

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Timothy Erik Ström: Capital and Cybernetics

New Left Review: current issue
Current debates on techno-capitalism often underplay the relative autonomy of the digital realm. Responding to Evgeny Morozov’s ‘Critique of Techno-Feudal Reason’ in NLR 133/4, Timothy Ström outlines the abstractionist and expansionist logic of a novel cybernetic-capitalist form, originating at the apex of the US imperial system.

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Class War’s guide to the Seventies – John Casey

An article on the politics, economics and culture of the UK in the 1970s. From The Heavy Stuff #3 (late 1980s / early 1990s).


John Casey

Submitted by Fozzie on June 22, 2022

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Places like China are not the only countries where history is rewritten. It happens every day here in Britain. What follows is one person’s account and impressions of the 1970’s, how does it match yours?

The main aim of this article is to stimulate Interest and curiosity about the recent history of the 70’s and history in general. The control, by the media, of history is crucial to the continued did dominance of the ruling class – It’s very important. So we should be more interested in the past and how it moulds the present, we owe it to ourselves and to our class.

This article is aimed at people who know little or nothing about the seventies, it does not aspire to be a detailed account of economics, politics, the Irish war, music or the machinations of the ruling class in plotting an armed coup or the downfall of a democratically elected government. These things have been recorded far better elsewhere. What it does try to do is give an idea of what it was like and to show the main themes that developed.

Background to the 70’s the post war period: 1945-1970
This period is often referred to as the post war boom. it certainly was a period of long and sustained growth in the developed world. After the second world war the world and its markets were carved up by the major powers, they then settled down to a long period of rebuilding and expanding their economies.

As usual, imperialism in economic and military terms was closely associated with this process. The second and third worlds got the shit-end-of-the-stick, commodity and crop prices stayed static or low, whole countries were reduced to servicing the developed world with materials and to providing mass markets for western manufactured goods. The price was (and is) high in human terms – disease, poverty, famine, war and military rule was the result as the major powers continued their competition for markets and influence throughout the world. More people have died in wars In the ‘underdeveloped’ world since 1945 than in the whole of World War Two, more than 50 million.

Here in the UK although the working class in general enjoyed a level of prosperity higher than ever before, it was unevenly spread and plenty of the working class continued to live in poverty. It was not quite the "you’ve never had it so good" days that it was made out to be.

But the British economy did boom to such an extent that there was a shortage of labour. The trade unions enjoyed a high degree of power and influence as part of the deal struck with them by the ruling class to rebuild the British economy after the war. In other words, the working class were in a position of advantage, and realised it, they used it to the full in strikes, work to rules etc… In some factories you literally could not walk through the door without joining a trade union. Unfortunately the unions converted this position of strength and confidence solely into demands for better wages.

Politics were kept out of the workplace – that was what the Labour Party were paid (literally) to do. Throughout this period though, the ruling class kept up a constant stream of propaganda aimed at the unions and working class, all of it negative. TV series such as "The Rag Trade." and "On The Buses." and films like "I’m All Right Jack," with Peter Sellers, portrayed the working class as stupid sentimental buffoons and militants as mindless trouble makers. This together with the Labour movements lack of politics was to have dire results at the end of the ’70’s when the Tories cashed in on their years of propaganda.

It’s worth remembering that during the boom people could put two fingers up to the boss one day and get another job the next, strikes were common: over the slightest thing – tea breaks, stroppy foremen etc… There was a whole series of jobs in the 70’s over something call "demarcation" – although you never hear of it now. This was the strict separation of jobs by the skills involved. This meant, for instance, that labourers could not change a light bulb because that was an electricians job!

This had many advantages for the working class and the unions, it meant more jobs were created, that those with skills kept a higher wage level, and that the unions kept their power base in particular skills and industries. This of course drove the bosses mad – they were pulling their hair out in rage!

Every attempt to introduce new machinery, or new methods of work, was met with a seamless wall of non-cooperation and apathy. New equipment was in mothballs for years before it could be used, if ever. The printers were one of the last examples of this era to be crushed by Thatcher. It’s worth reminding ourselves just what a strongly organised work, force can screw out of the bosses.

The printers were getting paid more than their managers, their conditions were good, new labour saving (i.e. labour cutting) technology was delayed by five to ten years and of course the practise of ‘ghosting’ (at least I think that was the right name) was common. In Fleet Street this meant that every issue of a paper printed at night had to have a set of casual workers taken on per night, the wage for these casuals or ghosts was very high untaxable, the signatures of these casuals included such classics as D. Duck and M. Mouse.

The unions were effectively holding the newspaper bosses to ransom every time they went to print. The Financial Times muttered darkly about these “Spanish Practices” in British Industry – I still don’t know what the fuck that means, perhaps it’s some sort of Masonic curse. Anyway the gist of my argument is that the working class were screwing the bosses, for everything they could get, which is lust fine by me.

But back to the 60s, the working class made advances in health care, housing, education and some joined the lower ranks of the middle class. And still the boom continued. Some Lefties thought this was going to go on forever and that the working class was disappearing because they were buying their own houses and even owning cars -shock horroor! The lesson to learn here is that as long as there is wage labour and capital there will be a working class – don’t expect us to roll around in shit and wear clogs.

But as time went on deep economic changes were happening and the ruling class were making plans. Sections of the underdeveloped world were developing into industrialised nations with money from the Western ruling class. Countries like Brazil, Korea, Hong Kong, South Africa, the Philippines and India had far cheaper labour costs and often governments that would brutally suppress demands for higher pay. By the end of the 60’s these countries were producing manufactured goods like steel and textiles that were set to demolish Britain’s traditional dominance in these fields. The Northern textile industry crashed early on as a result of this change and was practically wiped out by the early 70’s.

Of course the economies of West Germany and Japan were rebuilt from scratch with new plants and new labour methods. The seeds of the 70’s and 80’s recession in the British manufacturing economy can be seen in this earlier period.

Towards the end of the student unrest appeared as the new and growing middle class bit the hand that fed them. The ruling class’s values were being questioned and apparently rejected by those whose job it was to ensure that those values were obeyed – the middle class.

This also pissed off the ruling class but they felt out of control of the growing tide of the ‘permissive’ society which seemed to go hand in hand with the boom.

Throughout the whole of 1945-70, right wingers like Margaret Thatcher, Norman Tebbit, Keith Joseph, Airey Neave, David Stirling and Uncle Tom Cobbley an’all sat on the side-lines watching in horror unable to do anything. Their experiences then are the key to understanding their actions now. If you listen to Thatcher or Tebbit speak about the 60’s for instance you cannot help but be impressed with the venom of their emotions.

The Seventies – an overview
This section is based on one person’s views and memories during a conversation on a long motorway Journey.

The 70’s are important to us because they saw the definitive end of the post-war economic boom and with it the so-called period of ‘consensus’ politics, The 50’s and 80’s were a period when both Tories and Labour agreed on broadly the same political programme for the country, e.g. Nationalisation, public investment, broadening education and health care.

The 70’s are important to younger people because this period saw a dramatic growth in unemployment and an end of an era of full employment and high wages. It also saw the openly anti-working class policies of the last Labour government and present Tory government. In 1971 unemployment had gone up to 880,000 — the highest since the war. By 1972 it had risen to 1,000,000. Inflation was running away and firms were crashing In the city. 1972 saw the highest number of working days lost through industrial action since the general strike of 1926.

This change was a great shock to many people especially to those who had grown up through their teens in the 50’s and 60’s. They had been led to believe that the post war boom would go on forever. For many of these people being made redundant was a real personal crisis, which is hard for younger people to understand. For those who were not made redundant, they continued in a bubble of complacency, effectively isolated from those unemployed; a division which led to intense conflict between generations in working class families, which was encouraged by the media. Parents in their 40’s and 50s simply could not understand why their offspring were unemployed. They believed it was their children’s fault, an attitude that the state has encouraged, shifting the blame for unemployment from British Capitalism to the British working class individually.

The 70’s saw some quite remarkable events. Perhaps the most obvious of which, to younger people, was the arrival of Punk Rock, an understandable reaction to the vomit-inducing, ‘glamour’ rock and the middle of the road pap that was being dished up.

The early 70’s saw the rise of the Trendy Leftie who was into posturing and lifestyle, feminism, Ireland, Black Power and anything else that was going. The various left parties all grew like the Socialist Workers Party, The Workers Revolutionary Party, The Communist Party of Great Britain ad-nausea. But where are all those lefties now? Holed up in some cushy local authority job waiting for the "upturn” and passing the time by personal development and caring for the environment or just getting on with their careers after their revolutionary fling, sending their kids to some god-awful hippy public school like that of the Steiner Movement. Some now hold reactionary views and a few have kept their with their beliefs.

But other things also happened in the 70’s. In the early period we saw the bringing down of an elected government by trade union action, the 1974 miners’ strike. This was a very important event. What forced the Heath government to go for an election was the militancy of the working class at the time. Unlike the miners’ strike of 84/84, there was widespread support and backing by the rest of the working class. Action was taken by lorry drivers, railway workers and power workers, to name a few. The strike coincided with the Arabs cutting drastically the supply of oil to the west and this resulted in the introduction of the 3-day working week to ration out available fuel. The British ruling class, to say the least, were really pissed off. For them this was very nearly the last straw, many people believe they were on the verge of using the army to get their own way. As we have heard more recently in the media, bits and pieces of the story have been leaked out by disenchanted members of MI5 etc…

That the ruling class were rattled can be seen by the behaviour of the Financial Times Index for the London stock market. In January ’74 it stood at 500 points, by December of that year and two general elections later it had fallen to 150 points. This makes the recent stock Market crashes look like tea parties! In fact this was the biggest drop in share prices ever, beating that of the depression of the 1920’s and 1930’s. This was the year when right-wing private armies were being pushed by the media.

So what we have in the first hair of the 70’t is working class militancy bringing down a government. The election of a Labour government, as usual, tended to pacify the wave of militancy. But as time went on, and as conditions in the world economy worsened, Labour was unable to deliver better wages. In fact they had the problem of coping with the rapid contraction in the British economy. This was concentrated in the manufacturing industry that was the Labour Party’s electoral back yard. This change in the British economy is given the quaint name of "restructuring" by the economists. It still continues today and could be briefly described as the removal of manufacturing industry to parts of the world where labour is cheaper and the introduction of new industries like high tech engineering, finance and information that are part of the new global economy.

Nevertheless, the Labour Party proceeded to ignore the disintegrating British economy and attempted to spend their way out of a dead end. Spending was concentrated on the weak pound, effectively the government was subsidising the British ruling class’s gambling on the foreign exchange markets, by buying sterling at inflated prices.

The basic ideas that the Labour party were using were those of the economist Keynes. These were that public spending on things like roads, power stations and so on would stimulate the rest of the economy and so lead to a general economic recovery. It seemed to make sense because these were the ideas that post-war governments had found successful, but that had been at a time expansion and high demand. The situation in the early seventies could not have been more different.

The manufacturing side of the British economy went into a nose dive and was given a hefty boot In the goolies by the practice of asset stripping. It works like this:

Examine the value of a company in terms of land, buildings, plant, stock and subsidiary companies – sometimes called the break up value for reasons that will become clear later.
If this value is considerably more than the price of all the shares in that company (which it can often be) mount a takeover bid.
When the takeover bid Is complete, break up the company and sell it off piece by piece.
Pay off the merchant banks and other scumbags that lent you money in the first place and keep what is left as profit.
Of course, asset-stripping usually means that entire work forces and communities get wiped out. It was so bad in the early seventies that Edward Heath, the Tory Prime Minister, called it "the unacceptable face of Capitalism". Lord Hanson of ‘The Hanson Trust’ laid the foundations of his present empire by asset stripping in this period. The practice is now commonplace and is one of the markers of the change away from the post-war ‘consensus’ that the 70’s represent – in this case a change within the ruling class.

So as the economy declined rapidly, so did the amount of income from taxes and company profits and the Labour government quickly became involved in a serious debt crisis, having borrowed too much to try and spend its way out of decline.

This also pissed off the rung class. Not only had a Tory government (the ‘home team’ of the ruling class) been defeated by the force of successful industrial action, but the Labour administration was coming close to bankrupting the State – the very means of control itself. As if this was not enough from the ruling class’s point of view, there was more. The Labour government included left-wingers like Tony Benn and Eric Heifer who sat in the cabinet. They were into ideas like nationalising the banks and the building industry and controlling the movement of money into and out of the country, and of course higher taxes for the rich. This was reflected in the party nationally and was also aimed at pacifying a militant working class. The Labour party also wanted to force the capitalists to invest in this country rather than taking their profits abroad where there was a higher return on their investment, something that had been happening with increased regularity in the 60’s and 70’s which of course fuelled the economic decline.

These ideas were seriously on the agenda in the Labour party at the time. These people, the lefties, thought that all they had to do was pass a few laws and the ruling class would say "OK it’s a fair cop", and give up all their ill-gotten gains. Naive fools, maybe, but dangerous certainly.

Of course, the ruling class would not agree to these demands, but they would be faced with the problem of having to overthrow a government. Something which filled them with deep dread as this would probably have resulted in the already volatile British working class, suffering under inflation, going completely apeshit.

So, by around 1975 we can see that the British ruling class were deeply unhappy. in fact, we could say they were having a screaming head-fit. And it’s precisely at this time (74-76) that many people believe we came near to an armed coup by parts of the ruling class.

It is certain that armed intervention was planned, and there was a period of intense media activity geared towards this end. The need for strong government to counter the internal threat was touted widely by such unlikely figures as Hughie Green on "Opportunity Knocks" and David Frost. I remember sitting absolutely gob-struck watching a Frost "special" on TV where the topic of discussion was the coming civil war in Britain!

Another example of media and state activity interlocking at this time was the deployment of troops with tanks assisted by the police at Heathrow airport supposedly because of some middle-east terrorist threat, but the real purpose of the exercise was to get the British people used to the sight of armed troops patrolling the streets of mainland Britain.

The ruling class did not have to take the military option. Instead they chose to play the economic card. They were able to do so because of the immensely powerful position they occupy in the world economy. This power is based on their control of part of the international finance markets. They decided to subdue the rogue Labour administration by pulling the financial plugs out of the economy. In effect they accelerated the debt crisis that the Labour government had got itself into.

This resulted in the stock market and the pound plummeting, effectively the British government went bust. This was a much neater solution than bullets and forced the Wilson government to clean up the mess by screwing the working class with public spending cuts and a freeze on wage claims. All the time the ruling class knew if Labour fucked up on their task they could bring the army in at any time and even more justification – you can almost hear the media’s off-the-peg phrases like "national crisis", “the enemy within", "breakdown of law and order”, "left-wing agitators", "terrorists", "the survival of democracy" etc… The whole process of economic sabotage was neatly engineered through third parties like dealers in the currency markets.

"The further decline in the value of the pound has occurred despite the high level of interest rates… dealers said that selling pressure against the pound was not heavy or persistent, but there was an almost total lack of Interest amongst, buyers. The drop in the pound is extremely surprising in view of the unanimous opinion of bankers, politicians and officials that the currency is undervalued". The Times 27/5/76.

The situation got worse…

"By now the treasury has been spending $100 million day buying back its own money on the markets to support the pound.” The Times 10/6/78

The final act in this plot started with the arrival of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in London for discussions with the government about the ‘economic crisis’. This was something that only happened in “tin-pot banana republics” in South America. The situation facing the Labour government was simple and brutal. These two institutions, the IMF and the World Bank, control the flow of capital around the world that governments can use. Effectively they are the heavies of international capitalism. It was in their power to deliver the much needed cash to bail out the government, at this time the state administration was literally bankrupt, there were practically no reserves of foreign currency or gold bullion left in this country.

The IMF and the World Bank were in a position to demand whatever they liked of the Labour government. Knowing that the alternative was bullets, Labour had little choice anyway. The conditions of the load to Labour were:

The dropping of all this “nationalisation of banks” nonsense.
The climb down from control of capital out-flow from Britain.
Most importantly, the determining of the economic policy of the British state and therefore of course the political policy of the government was to be handed over.
The policy, under IMF control, was fairly simple. It was to reverse Labour’s attempts to lessen the effect of the economic decline on the British population by public spending.

Instead, the IMF dictated that the government had to cut its public spending because this was getting in the way of the British capitalist’s reorganisation of the economy, which is still underway today.

Put bluntly, this meant that the British working class were going to have to pay the price of capitalism’s fuck ups in the way of unemployment and wage cuts. In economic terms, profits were going down in the British economy, so the capitalist required a drop in the overall level of labour costs. Or in plain speak, the level of exploitation of the working class had to be increased. As The Economist magazine commented at the time, Britain was effectively being governed by the IMF.

Wilson’s successor, Callaghan, was so successful at implementing the IMF policies that The Economist dubbed him “the best Conservative prime minister the Tories ever had”. The success led to the “Winter of Discontent” where the unions and working class finally broke with the wages policy of Labour. The working class now saw that the Labour government, rightly, as the enemy.

This opened up an opportunity for the Tories – that they had prepared. With a well-researched and clever publicity campaign from Saatchi & Saatchi, the Tories swept to power with a promise to restore order and make Britain great again, in doing so they stole the ground from under the feet of the Fascists with their policies. Far from failing in the 70s, as the SWP claim, Fascism entered government. The rest, as they say, is history.

Hand in hand with the economic crisis that the ruling class engineered for the Labour government went a propaganda and smear campaign against members of the Labour government and the Liberal Party, whose support was becoming more and more crucial to Labour in Parliament. The campaign aimed at Wilson personally is the most notable and of which we still don’t know the full facts. But it almost certainly led to his resignation in March 1976. Wilson is on record at the time, complaining of persecution by MI5 etc… This was taken lightly by his colleagues in the Labour party who put it down to his personal tendency towards paranoia which had grown through years of back-stabbing in the party and in government.

It is almost certain Wilson was being blackmailed, amongst other things, by the security forces. His successor, James Callaghan, held a government enquiry into Wilson’s claims but its scope was restricted solely to whether No 10 Downing Street had been bugged or not. It Is upon this obviously fixed enquiry that all subsequent denials of misbehaviour of MI5 have been based. As we now know, this enquiry did not even mention the fact that Wilson’s private home, the home of his lawyer and a personal document store were burgled six times shortly before his resignation with various papers being removed.

The two people who have the most to gain by covering up the security forces activities during this period are Wilson’s successor (and perhaps MI5 candidate) James Callaghan, and his eventual successor (and certainly MI5 candidate!) Margaret Thatcher. Only this way of looking at things makes any sense of the Tory government’s recent and embarrassing attempt to suppress leaks from and ex-members of the security services (Clive Ponting, Cathy Massiter, Peter Wright, etc…)

What Thatcher is doing is twofold. First, she is trying to scare the shit out of those who are, or have been, In the security forces in order to stop them spilling the beans about the dirty tricks campaign in the 70’s against the last Labour government. Secondly and more worryingly she has served notice on the security forces that the old ways will not be tolerated, that discreet leaks and memoirs are out. Why should they require a tighter security force? The answer must be that they are doing, and expect to do, things that some people in MI5 are going to find it hard to accept.

Any account of this period cannot ignore the rapid rise of Fascism. As unemployment increased, Black and Asians came to be blamed and the solution was repatriation. The ground was fertile for Fascism as was shown when the London Dockers marched behind Enoch Powell demanding an end to immigration and for the start of repatriation. Ironically, Powell was involved with persuading people to come from the Caribbean, Asia and Ireland during the 1970s.

The National Front grew, polling hundreds and sometimes thousands of votes in local and national elections.

As the economic situation worsened in the 1970’s Fascists and the far right prospered. Upper class Fascists prepared plans for secret armies. As usual, when Capitalism is in trouble, the dogs of the far right are brought out of the kennel. Racist attacks grew with many people dying in fire-bomb attacks and stabbings, many of these attacks were denied as racist by the police and were not reported by the media at all.

In the mid-70’s when the economy was lurching around with Labour trying to control it, the Fascists seemed to be having a field day. As usual working class kids with no future were the fodder for the Fascists, in return for their support they gave them a sense of identity, a place to belong and of course fed them a load of shit ideas.

Into this situation came the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). They had the bright idea of forming a ‘front’ to combat the growing Fascist menace and of course to recruit members to their party at the same time. This front was called the Anti-Nazi League and this in turn spawned “Rock Against Racism”. With these as a focus, opposition to the right grew rapidly and it succeeded in weaning many working class kids away from the Fascists by giving them something better. Direct physical opposition to the Fascists was the foundation of this success and crucial in attracting working class support.

Incredibly, the SWP decided to shut down the ANL and RAR, their reasoning was that Fascism had been defeated. This was not true, the real reason was that the leadership of the SWP felt that they were losing control which was far more important to them as the self-appointed saviours of the working class. They expelled a group of people who wanted to continue the physical resistance to Fascism, this group became "Red Action" which still exists today.

Fascism is still alive and well in Britain, the Tories have absorbed much of its higher membership and policies. The white working class is still crippled by the racist attitudes fostered by the middle and upper classes. Racist abuse and attacks continue on both a casual and more organised way. The links with European Fascist movements are producing more “sophisticated" ideas and strategies, for instance we are coming across Fascists who think that the struggle of the Irish against British occupation in Northern Ireland is right and that the IRA are freedom fighters, others are trying to make links with Welsh Nationalists. We even find Fascists saying they would like to recruit from the environmental and animal rights movements. While these new developments do not apply to all Fascists, they show that they have not been letting the grass grow under their feet since their supposed ‘defeat’ at the hand of the SWP.

The reluctance of the British media to expose this state of affairs can be seen by recent attempts by Labour MPs to have an enquiry into the coup allegations of the 70’s – they practically have to force feed journalists details to get the slightest peep out of the media. The Mass media in Britain must be one of the most tightly self-controlled operations outside South Africa. It does not matter if a few Lefties or intellectuals know all about the ins and out of the dirty tricks campaign against the last Labour government or the links between Fascists and the security forces. As long the mass media does not ruin it, the ruling class are home and dry, it’s even useful for them to let the Lefties let off steam in obscure publications that nobody reads. Even "Private Eye", which has run articles on this subject and about the shoot to kill policy in Northern Ireland falls into this ‘obscure’ category as its readership is mostly composed of middle class cynics. No wonder the media Industry is regarded as the "Fourth Estate" of Capitalism.

The decade saw Britain up to its neck in dirty tricks and double dealings in Norther Ireland. Years of experience in putting down rebellion in former colonies were adapted for use in Northern Ireland and new techniques were developed. It’s a platitude in the left by now that Ireland is a training ground for what is going to happen in mainland Britain, it is nevertheless true.

The early seventies saw the Tory government having face to face talks with the Provisional IRA, with people like Gerry Adams and William Whitelaw sitting at the same table. They were playing for time, their problem was to get rid of the Catholic no-go areas that had been operating since 1969 as practically self-governing areas. They used 21,000 troops together with tanks to smash their way into the No-Go areas.

The discredited Stormont parliament with its built in Unionist majority was dissolved and direct rule was imposed form Westminster. A new form of government called "power sharing" was invented where Catholic politicians were guaranteed cabinet places, it was called the Northern Ireland Assembly and was aimed at removing support for the IRA and modernising the prehistoric attitudes of the Unionist MPs. This happened under a Tory government and seemed a very smart plan.

The Labour government of Wilson inherited the ‘smart plan’, but found it falling apart at the seams because the protestants would just not accept it. The UDA had other ideas too, they organised a strike against power-sharing that toppled the Assembly. The Labour government ordered the Army to break the strike by taking over essential services like sewerage and power stations. The army did not move. Worse was to come, at the end of that year (1974) another truce was agreed with the IRA that lasted on and off ’till July the following year. Throughout this period the British army largely ignored the truce. In fact, the army Officer Corps were in open mutiny against the elected government it’s as simple as that. If a squaddy had done what they did he would have been court-marshalled. The reasons for this are that after the fall of the Heath government and the civil unrest that preceded it, the ruling class was extremely distrustful of the Wilson government and the posturing of the Labour Left. So when it came to crushing a strike by Unionists (traditional supporters of the Ruling class) against a Labour government it was just not on.

The mutiny in Northern Ireland coincided with the period that the army, or parts of it, were preparing for a coup on the mainland. It was also around this time that there was an intense media campaign on the mainland about the imminent breakdown of law and order and the drift towards civil war and ‘anarchy’. It must have been a sobering experience for the Labour politicians to see just how little influence or power they were allowed to have when it came to the crunch.

The 1970’s should be seen as a pivotal time in recent British history. In many ways the present is a continuation of that period. The restructuring of the economy continues and the onslaught on the working class is intensifying as they are made to pay the price of Capitalism’s problems. The ruling class objective is a Right-wing society with lower wages and a working class crushed into submission. They cannot turn back, the stakes are too high. If anything, higher than in the 70’s because the money is not available as it was in the 50’s and 60’s to buy off the working class. The present government’s policies are a continuation of those of the Heath, Wilson and Callaghan governments. They must suppress the working class even further to succeed.

Some of the ‘liberal’ ruling class are choking on this diet of neat ‘Class War’ and are getting scared as they see the scale of the project that the right wing are involved in. Prince Charles, Ted Heath, The Church Of England and old style "one-nation" Tories are getting cold feet. A debate is starting in the ‘professional’ classes about the future of democracy, the need for a written constitution and a bill of rights for the citizens. The middle class are only starting to agitate because the right wing are treading on their toes and privileges. The media creeps, teachers, doctors, lecturers, social workers, civil servants etc. to do not like the way things are going and can see things getting ‘unpleasant’, Britain as the Chile of Europe? It’s not far-fetched. It’s possible to see the future outline of some ‘liberal’ coalition in this country in the way the debate about rights and democracy are going. Obviously the Labour party can be included under the liberal heading.

Our destination seems to be a dog-eat-dog parody of the USA where working class identity and values are blitzkrieged out of existence. Obviously organised control of the media is crucial here hence the organised screams of the journalists and the BBC etc. who after cooperating over the miners’ strike and Northern Ireland are being rewarded by having their noses rubbed in the shit.

The disturbing thing about this situation is that the ruling class have gone from just responding, to working class resistance and are now taking the initiative, planning ahead often in terms of years (the Ridley plan for instance, developed in the 70’s to crush the miners’ in the 80’s). Social engineering is as essential part of this, the encouraging of ‘enterprise culture’ , a ‘share owning democracy’ with ‘peoples Capitalism’, increased home ownership, easy credit, promotion of simple Authoritarian values and morals through increased control of the church and education, neighbourhood watch, the whipping up of Nationalism and the constant need for an enemy to unite the country behind them, whether it’s Argentina or the NUM. The Think-Tanks have been doing their homework well and have a better understanding of the working class than most Lefties.

The preparations for armed intervention have continued with joint police and army training, the arming of the police and the formation of a national police force – the third force, somewhere between the bobby on the beat and the soldier, is now an accomplished fact whatever the home office says. Training exercises continue with our NATO partners where a civil war in this country is the subject of the exercises. The use of soldiers in police uniform during the miners’ strike and the rumoured involvement of military intelligence to work with the Special Branch and MI5 also indicate the direction things are going in.

So, things look bad. But we should be prepared to look straight at our enemies and asses them, dreaming will get us nowhere. The Left in Britain do not look up to much when compared to the ruling class. The SWP cuddling up to the Labour Party, the Labour Party cuddling up to Capitalism, the Communist Party of "Marxism Today" saying the working class does not exist (so what are the ruling class worried about?), Militant – the tapeworm tendency still burrowing into the rotten carcass of the Labour Party, the RCP the most serious of the Left and most theoretically shoddy continue to ‘love bomb’ their way through the higher educational establishments of Britain and of course the Anarchists who with a few honourable exceptions are still coming to terms with the idea of class!

Looking on the bright side, for a change, we should note that under the glossy veneer of ruling class propaganda they are not having things all their own way. The majority of the working class are locked out of the Tory’s economic miracle, regional and national tensions are building up and breaking out within the UK, the working class has now a greater contempt for ‘law and order’ than at any time since the Second World War. The miners’ and printers’ strikes showed the working class recognising the need to organise away from the Labour Party and coming to terms with the role of violence, they also saw the beginnings of building up independent lines of communication within the working class.

As interest rates stay high to please the finance sector and inflation rises the working class are being clobbered financially leading to a resurgence of stroppiness in the workplace. The Poll Tax is going to shake a lot of people. Sections of the ruling class are moving to criticise and oppose the present ruling clique fearing that it is unwise to push the working class too far. They know better than anyone that revolution can break out just when it is least expected, we should remember that too.

Class War Federation
winter of discontent

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  Joan Weiner, Taking Frege at His Word, Oxford University Press 2020, xxvii + 317 pp. In 1936 Edmund Husserl wrote in a private letter to Heinrich Scholz, the collector of Frege’s writings, that he had never met Frege in person and that Frege was considered at the time “a sharply intelligent outsider who bore … Continue reading "Taking Frege Seriously"

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Propaganda by the Deed: A Zine in 3 Essays

From Mongoose Distro – by Comrade Candle

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The State is My Enemy

The Terror my deed has wrought

Shall forever stand on its own behalf

Through my cold disregard for morality

I have become a propagandist by the deed

I refuse to be ruled, by anyone or anything – fixed ideas. My own life is mine to create. So I will. My anarchism is not idealistic, unattainable – Anarchy is beautifully realistic. We must all dispose of our rulers.

Where to even begin, when all manners of coercion surround us? Government, religion, morals, and much more. All would hope to control me, you. I see my best avenue for overcoming what exists as personally usurping the constraints, physical and mental, imposed onto my person. You are free to follow, though what would I gain by demanding so? One must desire to lead their own life, lest they merely allow themselves to be re-enslaved.

I am at war with what-is, the State. It is a war I refuse to lose. My life, and this battle as well, are everchanging. I fight for my very survival, my continued existence, my individuality.

What do you live for? Do you dare to create? I will not be subservient to my humanity.

On Propaganda by the Deed

I have seen it grow common amongst so-called anarchists to disparage illegalist praxis as heinous, evil, overall damaging to “the anarchist cause”. I write to address what I have come to know as the attacks on Propaganda by the Deed, and further yet to elucidate the motivations for Propaganda by the Deed. I highlight my own deeds, known and unknown, as my rationale for this writing – I speak from lived experience.

“Candle, you have a 140 IQ – We need you in academia, not smashing ATMs and windows!” Well, I have formed my own opinions on academic institutions. Prior to my recent enrollment at the University of Oregon, I was a college dropout. I am certain I achieve more ‘good’, whatever that word means, from preventing use of a store or ATM – What works, works. Regardless of how sharp my pen, I will seldom ever convince a beneficiary of a capitalist institution to the anarchist’s plight.

Could you have ever convinced a king that we need a rulerless existence? I’d have burned down his church, his whole castle, or stabbed him on his throne. Should I have disdain for the acts of comrade Czolgosz, the Galleanists, or those whom took the lives of pigs during the Haymarket affair? Orestes, even? These acts were not unfathomable or off-limits due to legality or moralizing. Individuals have been defying authority for millennia, taking life into their own hands rather than some hope for an eventual revolution. The insurrection is now, comrade, and you will not rule me.

What is the anarchist cause? I want to know of no rulers, and could waste page-upon-page detailing all that exists to thwart this aim. I would not be the first to, either. Let us do merely with this ‘vibe’ so as to form a more concise argument.

As I see it, Propaganda by the Deed, in whatever manner said deed is born, is an individual’s own defiance of those who would seek to rule them – My actions will not be policed by morals nor Law. Born of this beautiful act of defiance is something that is to now stand upon its own two legs – Propaganda by the Deed. The deed’s undeniable reality speaks all on its own. I smashed an ATM and walked away – my deed.

When I choose to rob a store, my insurrection is created in my current moment. I create what I want to see, for myself and involving myself. I have long since forsworn hope.

One individual can damage a lot of property, prevent thousands upon thousands from utilizing key infrastructure in the capitalist mode of production or influence the lives of millions via viral media – how many have seen me smash open an ATM to not even take its contents? Smashing a window? We need to throw a brick, smash a window, or stick someone up sometimes. You should be the sole decider of your actions, not merely that what is permissible be controlled by means of morality and Law.

Am I merely a terrorist, an evil bad-actor whose sole-desire appears to be giving ‘the movement’ (a particular distinction from ‘our movement’ or ‘our cause’) a bad name? Anarchy is not moral policing. I will never brush shoulders with those whom becry the acts of an antifascist as terrorism, nor with those who uphold their morals as dogma, as absolute. Morals are relative, and if we are to entrench ourselves in them once more then let it be known my deeds are ‘good’ – value?

“You are violent, Candle, and I am happy you are in prison!” – So would be the common opinion to be had of my drape-burning self. Proudhon says ‘property is robbery’, Stirner that ‘property precedes theft’. As private property’s guarantee remains only through Law, one is threatened with violence at every waking moment for not respecting this right. Property is no right, it is violence – violence done unto any and every individual whom dare defy the will of Law.

Is your objection to my callous disregard for the moralism you tout as absolute, my willingness to do unto violence as is done unto myself, or for my utter rejection of what-is?

Regardless, I hardly see myself as violent – militancy. No one should be in prison, so I fail to see anything really worth addressing here.

It is no problem of mine if your dogmatic moralism is so terribly riddled with presuppositions a priori as to damn my beautiful creation. You wish to enslave your being forever to these spectres of self-alienation, so I will help you to it – “That window had a family!” or maybe “I would’ve taken the ATM’s money”?

I have taken control of my life.

As to the matter of the store clerk, the root of most left-wing critique of Candle as I perceive it, I will be blunt – a gun to the head is how one opens a cash register. There is no other means, the everyday capitalist slave will not ‘risk their livelihood’ to satisfy my egoistic desire. Rather, one would so choose to use their entire person to satisfy the egoistic desires of the capitalist, to prevent individuals from possessing property in an overt manner, to threaten the violence of Law unto any-and-all who choose to defy the sacred nature of property.

Most of the overall argumentation of this essay, my attack on morals, can be reiterated as to the matter of opening a cash register utilizing a loaded firearm. If I were to employ the Nietzschean moral relativism, then I could quite possibly see myself as evil… from the store owner’s perspective. As to myself, my act of Propaganda by the Deed was ‘good’ – “And we are entrenched in morals once more.”

The acts of a capitalist are evil. My anarchistic Propaganda by the Deed is noble, virtuous.

No one can deny the reality that I rid a store of its capital through armed robbery – what one is far more capable of is applying presuppositions and moral dogma to my deed, done so as to damn all ‘like me’ to infamy. This tradition, custom, of having an outright aversion to robbery, more deeply theft in its entirety, is laughable and I foresee I may need a separate essay to address these attacks. It is typically what gives rise to the idea I am doing The Cause a disservice, with many choosing to distance themselves from my deeds and person.

The purpose of my deed is that, in a multitude of ways and however it is viewed, my deed will serve as its own propaganda for my anarchist cause. Should that cause not be yours, then you are no anarchist, or comrade, to me. You would impose your will unto mine as right, as just and absolute. You would seek to be my ruler, so you may instead fuck off.

Propaganda by the Deed

I will see anarchy birthed from my insurrectionary flame. As I know it, I am its creator – No one is ever going to gift me with anarchism. Our world is icy, my being too. A moment in the cold is a worthwhile taste of the bitter harshness; How much of my life have I truly led? A moment.

The chills and thrills, gallant acts. I will never have power over how my history is recorded. So away with it! The moral pandering, the posturing – I’m the real deal, sweetie. I care only for myself, and you aught to as well. No one else will ever be you, you might find it to your own benefit to give life, as you alone experience, your full attention. Or not, I truthfully don’t care.

Label me what you will, a terrorist or a radical – I am an anarchist!

Beautiful terribleness

Brought to life by my own two hands, my grisly deed of terror. Suffering wrought, or has it always been? Not my beauty! My beloved! You might find me hideous, though will I ever truly care? I know of my own beauty, even as I am reduced to my grisly deed.

What is good to a lion’s prey will forever remain evil to the lion. What am I? My queenly deed? I am beautiful, lest you ever get it twisted – I have transgressed morals. It may remain terrible to some, the beauty then need not be lost; My beauty will not be lost on me.

I will never find your pious facade of Law, Order, Peace to be beautiful. It is gross, that you wish to rule me. The great reality I reside in is paltry. Ugly and just, upheld with all manner of force and violence – Your rule will never be more, despite your carefully chosen wordage.

Beauty remains subjective, so for what do you ultimately stand? I will know merely from how I am perceived, my defiance of the State’s will. Certainly you will be evermore governed by moralistic dogma. I choose to, instead, behold my own beauty.

I will meet your perspective, as mine will never be – My terror is terrible; for you.

That ATM, that store, that church – and a million more! My anarchy is beautiful, you terribly pious minister. As you will never be, I am always. Understand me right, filth – I have made no excuse for my terror. I will not be the only beautiful anarchist. Most of us are, if you ever manage to witness us through your shattered windows; anarchy is beautiful.

To bring about anarchy, I will do so beautifully; My deed will exist.

I know you desire that I succumb to the traditional narrative – I am to see myself as wrong, troubled, in need of change. I refuse to conform, to turn my Deed sour (I think of Gerlach and Meyerhoff). What I have made will not be taken from me and turned on its head. I am not a crazy, trouble youth – like you, I am a human robbed of my birthright through property, the State, Law. Oh, to be free. Defiance is brave, bold, daring. Of doing as you are commanded?

Morals impose restrictions upon what the militant may or may not do. Hard lines are drawn in the sand by morals, the ‘moral police’. Why? Do you feel guilt destroying an ATM to deny its exploitation? I can assure you it is indifferent to your ‘carnage’. The ATM won’t call you ugly, that task appears reserved for those who own property and their defenders. Ugly, terrible, without reason – No! Cold, rational, beautifully terrible.

There is a terrible beauty, a beautiful terribleness, to one’s deed; criminal. I will always see it. The beauty is tantalizing, almost – Are not all capable of their own deed?

Woe unto the store, the window, the ATM. Ha! They had far worse coming, for what meaning ‘worse’ has. The terror sown by property, endlessly, seems far too normalized to be called so – the earth was mine before ‘property’ defined this ownership as ‘theft’. Property – it is ugly.

What is terrible? Is my defiance, to my rulers, to not always be seen as so? “Death to the Anarchist who defies my rule, my Law!” – And I am to find your spineless bending-of-ones-knee to be beautiful? Not a chance. Criminals, of which anarchists are many, and their deeds remain beautiful.

Terrible is any who dare defy the State, who call in to question its rule or Law. I am terrible – terribly bored.

Perhaps you see my beauty, too.

My subjugation

I have always known of my own subjugation. The life I merely see, not live. Choice. Coercion. Violence. Order.

What is Order? Is it to always demand I be lesser, another to be greater? Is ‘Order’ to always mean ‘the many individuals are controlled’? Our ‘order’ we know of is no more than threats of violence. It is not in my interest to be threatened, to be placed beneath another; controlled. I want control over my own life. Instead, my life has been one ruled by the State. Instead, I am governed.

I have always known Law and its threatening grip on my being, or Property and what its definition prevents of me.

There has always been someone ruling over me.

My life has never truly been my own.

A desire to be free

I demand my own freedom, not merely ask. You will not ever find freedom from begging – I will take my desire into my own hands. I will be free.

My Deed

My deed will always be. It shall always exist. My deed will only ever be mine, and it stands to become far more than myself.

It is propaganda.


I am constantly creating during my brief wake, my lapse from the comfortable bliss of non-existence. I consume my very person, eternally, to do so. What will I create?

Anarchism – I will create anarchy.


What is being? Being is. Being as one’s present, as one has been or will be. Being is the forever present – it is.

Nothing is sacred, lest it rule me – Law. I will defy any who wish to impose their rule on me. My life is to be made by my own design, born from the creative nothing and coerced by no one or thing.

When will you take control of your own life?

My life began, my self-designed insurrection, with my defiance of Law. What is illegal? Law damns as illegal all that the State demands individuals not create – illegality, comprises a vast range of activities which the State has attempted to coerce individuals into not performing by threats of violence, activities such as squatting, theft, possession of particular plants, and disregarding national borders.

Illegal is noble.

What could amount to more virtuous than to defy the State’s will, tos challenge its icy wrath?

Illegal acts, freed from the presuppositions that denounce them as evil or heinous (and need I remind any of moral relativism), are merely acts. I can desire one be robbed, another not – the act of robbery itself need not forever be renounced by myself as reproachable. I will not have Law impose its moralism unto my mind, the very Law that would, with no question, imprison countless of my comrades.

Perhaps you ought analyze your conceptions of Law, Order, Just, Right – how often these spectres demand you subjugate the ‘criminal’, the ‘disorderly’, the ‘unjust’, the ‘wrong’! Your authority does not go unnoticed, moralist. Not yet a millennium has passed since the outright possession of human beings was upheld as ‘good’, a person’s freedom ‘bad’, and mind you there are strong arguments that our ‘justice system’ amounts to a reinvention of slavery – and I am to, with no question, subvert my own desires to your moral dogma, your code of Law?

I’d rather take your lunch money.

Write to Comrade Candle at:

Sofia Johnson 23976151


24499 SW Grahams Ferry Rd.

Wilsonville, OR 97070

Tags: PDFPODpropaganda of the deedzinesanarchists in troubleanarchist prisonerMongoose Distro

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Another Israeli government falls after mismanaging the Palestinian conflict

The Forward
TEL AVIV – As Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told the Israeli public Monday night that their government had finally reached its long-anticipated end, a touching moment broke the somber urgency. “I really love you,” Lapid told Bennett with genuine, almost blushing affection.  Lapid, who will become interim prime minister…

The post Another Israeli government falls after mismanaging the Palestinian conflict appeared first on The Forward.

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Birth Control Pills Are Safe and Simple: Why Do They Require a Prescription?

Scientific American Content
Mariana Lenharo
The risks associated with hormonal contraception are lower than the risk of pregnancy itself and comparable to those of other over-the-counter drugs

—

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Saul Newman – Gustav Landauer’s Anarcho-Mysticism and the Critique of Political Theology

The Anarchist Library
Author: Saul Newman
Title: Gustav Landauer’s Anarcho-Mysticism and the Critique of Political Theology
Date: 2020
Notes: Newman, Saul. 2020. Gustav Landauer’s anarcho-mysticism and the critique of political theology. Political Theology, 21(5), pp. 434-451. ISSN 1462-317X [Article].
Source: PDF retrieved on June 17, 2022 from

This paper explores the anarcho-mystical thought of Gustav Landauer as a critical response to sovereign-centric political theology. It is argued that Landauer’s political thought – central to which is a mystical withdrawal from existing state institutions and social relations – effects a radical displacement of the concept of state sovereignty through the emergence of new and autonomous forms of subjectivity, affinity and community. The paper starts with a discussion of Carl Schmitt’s critical response to anarchism which, I argue, is the register through which we must interpret his version of political theology. I then turn to Landauer’s original articulation of anarchism, defined through spiritual or micro-political self-transformation and the mystical experience, as a way of decentring sovereignty. Lastly, I develop some parallels between Landauer and recent interventions in Italian (im)political thought, in which the sovereign representative function of political theology is radically called into question. I conclude by suggesting that anarcho-mysticism, as a critical engagement with political theology, not only broadens out this category, but offers a way of interpreting new forms of political activism and protest in which sovereign representation is fundamentally delegitimised.

Recent interventions in political theology have sought to go beyond the parameters of a debate that has been largely dominated by thought of Carl Schmitt. According to Schmitt’s oft-cited definition, political theology refers to the way that modern political and juridical concepts, particularly the sovereign state, are founded upon a secularisation of theological categories. However, for Schmitt, the significance of political theology lies in more than simply a sociological interpretation of the political institutions, but consists in a new way of legitimising, through the state of exception, the idea of absolute sovereignty.

Alternatively, thinkers such as Giorgio Agamben, Roberto Esposito, Massimo Cacciari and others have tried to, as it were, de-throne political theology by, for instance, displacing it within the field of economic theology, or by gesturing towards alternative concepts of community and co-belonging that transcend the ‘immunitarian’ impulses of the biopolitical sovereign state. Yet, what is generally neglected in such approaches is anarchism, which constitutes the most radical rejection of state sovereignty. This was a tradition of thought and politics that Schmitt himself took seriously, recognising in it his genuine ideological enemy. Indeed, Schmitt’s engagement with key anarchist figures such as Bakunin and Proudhon points to an important, yet overlooked, aspect of the debate over political theology and its meaning and significance today.

In this paper I will explore the importance of anarchism as a critical response, not only to Schmitt’s political thought, but also to the seeming inescapability of sovereignty as the dominant category of our political experience. When the spectre of sovereignty has ‘returned’ to the centre of political debates today, when it becomes the rallying cry of authoritarian populisms, it is vitally important to find resources for a critical interrogation of this concept. The recent and growing interest in political theology speaks to the desire to understand this renewed demand for sovereignty that, as phantasmatic as the concept might be, has tangible effects in the form of intensified border controls, enhanced surveillance and security and heightened anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. At the same time, we witness new forms of political mobilization that combine a sort of millenarian and antinomian spirit with modes of organization and expression that can only be described as anarchistic, particularly in their rejection of formal channels of political representation. Here one could point to movements as diverse as the so-called Gilets-Jaunes in France and the global Extinction Rebellion, not to mention mass protests taking place in many other parts of the world. As amorphous as such movements are, they need to be understood as part of a new and emergent political paradigm in which the representative authority of the state is fundamentally called into question. And it is here that re-thinking political theology in relation to anarchism can be of some help in understanding what is at stake here.

It is in this context that I want to focus on the fin de siècle German anarchist theorist and militant, Gustav Landauer. I will argue that Landauer’s thinking, which I will describe as anarcho-mysticism,[1] represents the true critical counterpoint to Schmitt’s sovereign-centric political theology, more so even than the more familiar strains of revolutionary anarchism that Schmitt contended with. Instead, Landauer’s anarchism[2], inspired in large part by Christian mystical traditions, opposes the ‘spiritual’ to the theological or, rather, to the politico-theological and dissolves the concept of the unified sovereign state into new forms of voluntary association and community. Indeed, rather than simply opposing the sovereign state and calling for its revolutionary overthrow – and thus in a sense mirroring its absolutism – Landauer refuses to recognize the state as a transcendent entity, showing instead that it is composed of a series of individual relationships that can be transformed and spiritually redeemed. Moreover, as I shall argue, Landauer’s conception of autonomous, voluntary and self-organized community life based on affinity offers an alternative to Schmitt’s idea of a political community constituted through authority and enmity. My claim is that to find ways out of the bind of political theology and the politics of sovereignty, we must look to both mystical and anarchistic ways of thinking about politics.

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China: US Law Against Uyghur Forced Labor Takes Effect

Human Rights Watch News
Human Rights Watch
Click to expand Image
In this aerial photo, workers walk alongside a tractor during planting of a cotton field, amid a government-organized trip for foreign journalists, near Urumqi in northwestern China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, April 21, 2021.
© 2021 AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
(Washington, DC) – The United States government should vigorously enforce a new law that aims to prevent imports linked to forced labor by Uyghurs and other persecuted groups in China, Human Rights Watch said today. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), which goes into effect on June 21, 2022, gives US authorities increased powers to block the import of goods linked to forced labor in China.

Since 2017, Chinese authorities have committed crimes against humanity against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in the northwest Xinjiang region, detaining as many as one million people and subjecting detainees and others to forced labor inside and outside Xinjiang. The new law creates a presumption that goods made in whole or in part in Xinjiang, or produced by entities in China linked to forced labor, are not eligible to be imported into the United States.

“The new US law means it’s no longer business as usual for companies profiting from forced labor in China, and Xinjiang especially,” said Jim Wormington, senior researcher and advocate for corporate accountability at Human Rights Watch. “Companies should swiftly identify any supply chain links to Xinjiang and exit the region or risk violating US law and seeing their goods detained at the US border.”

On June 13, The US Customs and Border Protection Agency issued guidance to importers on the law’s implementation. The guidance states that importers are expected to map their supply chains down to the raw material level to identify whether their products are made wholly or in part in Xinjiang or by entities linked to forced labor. The guidance also clarifies that companies importing products from outside China should still investigate their full supply chain given the risk that goods were produced with forced labor in China before being transferred to third countries. Credible research has linked a wide range of products imported into the US to forced labor in China, and Xinjiang specifically, such as the cotton in major clothing brands and the polysilicon in solar panels.

If customs officials identify a product as produced in whole or in part in Xinjiang or from an entity listed as linked to forced labor, the law requires importers to provide “clear and convincing evidence” that goods are free from forced labor. The US government’s guidance lists the evidence that importers could rely on, including supply chain mapping indicating the factories or other facilities where the goods were produced; information on the workers at each facility, including on wage payments and recruitment practices; and audits to identify and remediate forced labor.

For companies sourcing from Xinjiang, however, providing “clear and convincing evidence” is a near impossible bar to clear. The extent of Chinese government surveillance and threats to workers and auditors currently prevents companies from meaningfully evaluating the use of forced labor at factories or other facilities in Xinjiang. Even elsewhere in China, the arrests of labor activists, a prohibition on independent trade unions, government surveillance, and the Chinese government’s anti-sanctions laws pose serious obstacles to identifying and remediating the risk of forced labor and other human rights abuses. Companies with operations, suppliers, or sub-suppliers in Xinjiang should instead relocate their facilities or supply chains elsewhere, Human Rights Watch said.

The federal Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force, a multiagency group, will issue additional guidance on implementing the law on June 21. US guidance should make clear that brands, retailers, industry organizations, and multi-stakeholder initiatives should stop conducting or commissioning audits and certifications in Xinjiang. On March 9, Human Rights Watch sent written comments to the task force underscoring the need for supply chain transparency and the difficulty of conducting effective human rights due diligence in China, especially in Xinjiang.

Effective enforcement of the forced labor law will require US customs officials to identify Xinjiang-linked products from among the vast number of goods imported into the United States, Human Rights Watch said. Customs officers should identify importers in sectors at risk of forced labor links and request information from those companies on their supply chains. If importers fail to provide adequate responses, customs officials should view this as possible evidence that the products include material from Xinjiang or from entities linked to forced labor.

To demonstrate that they are effectively enforcing the new law, customs officials should be transparent about their enforcement actions. Customs and Border Protection should release monthly data on its website describing the goods it holds, re-exports, excludes, or seizes, including information on the company importing the banned goods, the nature of the goods, their approximate value, and the reason for the enforcement action.

The US government should also enforce existing laws to impose financial penalties on companies for importing or attempting to import goods linked to forced labor in China, and use the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to prosecute corporations and company officials who engage in criminal conduct.

“Companies will be watching closely to see how robustly the US government enforces the new forced labor law,” Wormington said. “It’s vital for US Customs to send a message to businesses, China, and the American public that the US government will not ignore forced labor and crimes against humanity against the Uyghur people.” (Washington, DC, June 20, 2022) – The United States government should vigorously enforce a new law that aims to prevent imports linked to forced labor by Uyghurs and other persecuted groups in China, Human Rights Watch said today. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), which goes into effect on June 21, 2022, gives US authorities increased powers to block the import of goods linked to forced labor in China.

Since 2017, Chinese authorities have committed crimes against humanity against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in the northwest Xinjiang region, detaining as many as one million people and subjecting detainees and others to forced labor inside and outside Xinjiang. The new law creates a presumption that goods made in whole or in part in Xinjiang, or produced by entities in China linked to forced labor, are not eligible to be imported into the United States.

“The new US law means it’s no longer business as usual for companies profiting from forced labor in China, and Xinjiang especially,” said Jim Wormington, senior researcher and advocate for corporate accountability at Human Rights Watch. “Companies should swiftly identify any supply chain links to Xinjiang and exit the region or risk violating US law and seeing their goods detained at the US border.”

On June 13, The US Customs and Border Protection Agency issued guidance to importers on the law’s implementation. The guidance states that importers are expected to map their supply chains down to the raw material level to identify whether their products are made wholly or in part in Xinjiang or by entities linked to forced labor. The guidance also clarifies that companies importing products from outside China should still investigate their full supply chain given the risk that goods were produced with forced labor in China before being transferred to third countries. Credible research has linked a wide range of products imported into the US to forced labor in China, and Xinjiang specifically, such as the cotton in major clothing brands and the polysilicon in solar panels.

If customs officials identify a product as produced in whole or in part in Xinjiang or from an entity listed as linked to forced labor, the law requires importers to provide “clear and convincing evidence” that goods are free from forced labor. The US government’s guidance lists the evidence that importers could rely on, including supply chain mapping indicating the factories or other facilities where the goods were produced; information on the workers at each facility, including on wage payments and recruitment practices; and audits to identify and remediate forced labor.

For companies sourcing from Xinjiang, however, providing “clear and convincing evidence” is a near impossible bar to clear. The extent of Chinese government surveillance and threats to workers and auditors currently prevents companies from meaningfully evaluating the use of forced labor at factories or other facilities in Xinjiang. Even elsewhere in China, the arrests of labor activists, a prohibition on independent trade unions, government surveillance, and the Chinese government’s anti-sanctions laws pose serious obstacles to identifying and remediating the risk of forced labor and other human rights abuses. Companies with operations, suppliers, or sub-suppliers in Xinjiang should instead relocate their facilities or supply chains elsewhere, Human Rights Watch said.

The federal Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force, a multiagency group, will issue additional guidance on implementing the law on June 21. US guidance should make clear that brands, retailers, industry organizations, and multi-stakeholder initiatives should stop conducting or commissioning audits and certifications in Xinjiang. On March 9, Human Rights Watch sent written comments to the task force underscoring the need for supply chain transparency and the difficulty of conducting effective human rights due diligence in China, especially in Xinjiang.

Effective enforcement of the forced labor law will require US customs officials to identify Xinjiang-linked products from among the vast number of goods imported into the United States, Human Rights Watch said. Customs officers should identify importers in sectors at risk of forced labor links and request information from those companies on their supply chains. If importers fail to provide adequate responses, customs officials should view this as possible evidence that the products include material from Xinjiang or from entities linked to forced labor.

To demonstrate that they are effectively enforcing the new law, customs officials should be transparent about their enforcement actions. Customs and Border Protection should release monthly data on its website describing the goods it holds, re-exports, excludes, or seizes, including information on the company importing the banned goods, the nature of the goods, their approximate value, and the reason for the enforcement action.

The US government should also enforce existing laws to impose financial penalties on companies for importing or attempting to import goods linked to forced labor in China, and use the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to prosecute corporations and company officials who engage in criminal conduct.

“Companies will be watching closely to see how robustly the US government enforces the new forced labor law,” Wormington said. “It’s vital for US Customs to send a message to businesses, China, and the American public that the US government will not ignore forced labor and crimes against humanity against the Uyghur people.”

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Revolutions Look Different According to Authoritarian or Democratic Conditions

Ronald Grigor Suny
In the decade after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the history of Russian and Soviet labor and Social Democracy, once a subject of prodigious academic research, fell into a memory hole, as historians turned toward other topics. An engaged scholar and activist, Eric Blanc has not only revived exploration of a neglected subject but […]

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Episode 422: Mental Illness is Not a Lifestyle (ft. Freddie deBoer)

Diet Soap – a podcast
Douglas Lain
For this first episode of Social Justice Incorporated Ryan and Lavit talk to Freddie deBoer about his response to Daniel Bergner’s New York Times Magazine article "Doctors Gave Her Antipsychotics. She Decided to Live With Her Voices." Freddie describes his own experiences with mental illness as he rejects Bergner’s notion that psychosis is something that can be normalized and accepted rather than treated. 

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The Richest Town In Every US State [Infographic]

Best Infographics
It is no secret that not every city has the same level of wealth. Have you ever wondered which city in your state has the highest medium household income? This infographic from TitleMax takes a look:

The post The Richest Town In Every US State [Infographic] appeared first on Best Infographics.

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The Changing Face of Antisemitism

Philosophy Talk
Antisemitism is an old problem with roots that reach back to medieval Europe. While earlier forms focused more on religious bigotry, antisemitism in the modern period became increasingly racialized and politicized. So what is the connection between older ideas about Jews and Judaism, and contemporary antisemitic tropes and stereotypes? How are conspiratorial fears about Jewish invisibility and global control related to the emergence of finance capitalism? And what can history teach us about how to confront antisemitism today? Josh and Ray ask historian Francesca Trivellato from the…

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Why I am not a socialist

New Politics
Ted Trainer
The goal must be a society in which all the world’s people could live well on a very small fraction of the present rich world average per capita resource consumption and ecological impact. If present rates are far too high and technical advance is not going to cut them down sufficiently then there can be no other option.

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The post Why I am not a socialist appeared first on New Politics.

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The Privatized Internet Has Failed Us

Paris Marx
Several decades into our experiment with the internet, we appear to have reached a crossroads. The connection that it enables and the various forms of interaction that grow out of it have undoubtedly brought benefits. People can more easily communicate with the people they love, access knowledge to keep themselves informed or entertained, and find […]

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Attacking the Performance of Machine Learning Systems

Schneier on Security
Bruce Schneier
Interesting research: “Sponge Examples: Energy-Latency Attacks on Neural Networks“:

Abstract: The high energy costs of neural network training and inference led to the use of acceleration hardware such as GPUs and TPUs. While such devices enable us to train large-scale neural networks in datacenters and deploy them on edge devices, their designers’ focus so far is on average-case performance. In this work, we introduce a novel threat vector against neural networks whose energy consumption or decision latency are critical. We show how adversaries can exploit carefully-crafted sponge examples, which are inputs designed to maximise energy consumption and latency, to drive machine learning (ML) systems towards their worst-case performance. Sponge examples are, to our knowledge, the first denial-of-service attack against the ML components of such systems. We mount two variants of our sponge attack on a wide range of state-of-the-art neural network models, and find that language models are surprisingly vulnerable. Sponge examples frequently increase both latency and energy consumption of these models by a factor of 30×. Extensive experiments show that our new attack is effective across different hardware platforms (CPU, GPU and an ASIC simulator) on a wide range of different language tasks. On vision tasks, we show that sponge examples can be produced and a latency degradation observed, but the effect is less pronounced. To demonstrate the effectiveness of sponge examples in the real world, we mount an attack against Microsoft Azure’s translator and show an increase of response time from 1ms to 6s (6000×). We conclude by proposing a defense strategy: shifting the analysis of energy consumption in hardware from an average-case to a worst-case perspective…

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Luigi Fabbri – Review of “State and Revolution” by Vladimir Lenin

The Anarchist Library
A book by Lenin, written after the revolution, has recently been published by Avanti!, whose title promised an exhaustive treatment of the problem of the relations between revolution and state. But we confess that we have felt a strong disappointment….

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Simon Collister – Abstract Hacktivism as a Model for Postanarchist Organizing

The Anarchist Library
Author: Simon Collister
Title: Abstract Hacktivism as a Model for Postanarchist Organizing
Date: 2014

It has been claimed that historically, anarchism has adopted a ‘highly ambivalent’ relationship with technology, ‘oscillating between a bitter critique driven by the experiences of industrialism, and an almost naive optimism around scientific development’ (Gordon, 2008: 111–113). Early influential anarchists, including Malatesta, Goldman and Kropotkin, viewed technology as providing workers with an emancipatory potential from capitalism, while oppositional readings of technology from the likes of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, however, reinforced the pessimistic view that technology can only have ‘the needs of capital encoded into it from the start’ (ibid.: 129).

Within such a deterministic reading of technology what space is left for models of anarchist organizing in the twenty-first century? We currently live in a society where technology is ubiquitous and increasingly responsible for mediating most, if not all, aspects of our lives. What space is left for a contemporary, technology-enabled organization of society along anarchist principles, if any?

Rather than seeking answers within these binary positions, this note will suggest a more complex reading of technology through its inculcation with contemporary social practices. Such a view will aim to reveal how any earlier ambivalence between anarchism, organization and technology can be fruitfully explored and potentially resolved through the adoption of contemporary anarchist perspectives, such as postanarchism, as well as recent approaches to technology, such as abstract and critical hacktivism, which permit more open and complex readings of technology’s latent, socially progressive and radical potential.

Before we can address such issues, however, it is helpful to first offer a short commentary on some recent anarchist engagements with technology, such as Cybernetics, Web 2.0 and Network Theory. Such debates, while moving closer to more pragmatic accounts of the contemporary technology’s radical potential have also revealed deterministic limitations similar to those experienced by earlier anarchist thinkers.

Cybernetics, Web 2.0 and Self-Organization
One of the earliest anarchist interventions in the history of modern, computer-mediated technology can be seen with the emergence of cybernetics in the mid-twentieth century. Limited space in this note prevents a thorough exploration of cybernetics fascinating and diverse origins within the fields of biology, information sciences and organizational theory, but cybernetics first comes to the attention of anarchists through the work of neurologist, robotician and ‘anarchist fellow-traveller’, William Grey Walter, who published on the subject in the British anarchist Colin Ward’s journal, Anarchy, in 1963 (Duda, 2013: 55).

Cybernetics, understood as technologically-managed systems capable of supporting ‘evolving self-organizing’ networks within ‘complex, unpredictable environment[s]’ and characterized by a ‘changing structure, modifying itself under continual feedback from the environment’ (McEwan, 1963 cited in Ward, 2001: 51), offered anarchists, such as Walter and Ward, a fecund connection between a theoretical model for anarchist organization and its application at a social-scale.

Explaining how cybernetic technology can lead to practical, leaderless forms of social organization, Ward cites the work of management theorist Donald Schön who, he argues:

like the anarchists sees as an alternative [to the centre-periphery model of government], networks “of elements connecting through one another rather than to each other through a centre,” characterised “by their scope, complexity, stability, homogeneity and, flexibility” in which “nuclei of leadership emerge and shift” with “the infrastructure powerful enough for the system to hold itself together… without any central facilitator or supporter…” (Schön, 1971 cited in Ward, 2001: 51–52)

Beyond Ward’s bold vision, cybernetics was seen as offering a clear technological solution for the implementation of an ‘anarchist conception of complex self-organizing systems’ (ibid.: 50). For John McEwan, cybernetic systems were ‘not a metaphor to be used to think or imagine the political more clearly; on the contrary [McEwan] genuinely believe[d] in the effective applicability of models and experimental results from management science and computer-aided learning to the anarchist project’ (ibid: 64). Similarly, drawing on the cybernetic tradition American anarchist Sam Dolgoff asserted that with cybernetics, ‘[t]here are […] no insurmountable technical-scientific barriers to the introduction of anarchism’ (Dolgoff, 1979: 46).

Despite the initial zeal for cybernetics, subsequent critical examination has taken the edge off its potential. Duda (2013) observes that in approaching cybernetics and anarchist practice we must, unlike early proponents, be careful to ensure ‘we avoid reifying self-organization into something distinct from, above or behind, the actual immanent development of a self-organised social movement’ (Duda, 2013: 57).

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Jeff Shantz – On cyber syndicalism

The Anarchist Library
Author: Jeff Shantz
Title: On cyber syndicalism
Subtitle: From Hacktivism to Workers’ Control
Date: 2016
Source: Workers Control

Alternative globalization movements in the global North, from their high point in the Quebec City mobilizations against the Free Trade Area of the Americas in 2001 to the present, have been faced with the challenge of rebuilding and finding new ground on which to re-mobilize since the political reaction set in following the 9/11 attacks which derailed momentum and caused many mainstream elements (especially labor unions) to disengage and demobilize (where not playing to the forces of “law and order” reaction). One effect of the post-9/11 freeze (it has been more than a chill) has been the drift away from grounded community (it was never much involved in workplace organizing), outside of some important cases such as indigenous land struggles, as in Ontario and British Columbia, and some direct action anti-poverty movements (like the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty). Instead much organizing has followed certain lines of flight — crucial in the formation of alternative globalization movements from the Seattle protests against the World Trade Organization in 1999 — to online activism (in indymedia, hacking, social media, and so on).

In some ways radicalism has continued and developed more consistently, or even fully, online than it has offline in community organizing. Partly, this is an effect of the surveillance apparatus and protest policing that has aggressively targeted “on the ground” movements.

The cyber sphere has provided some spaces for maneuver not available in the streets or in the hood. On the one hand, movement commentators have noted the decline of movements in the period after 9/11 up to the moment of brief resurgence manifested in the Occupy encampments. On the other hand, the cyber disobedients have offered some inspiration and reason for hope. Indeed, the networks of the web have been perhaps uniquely important in allowing for some ongoing activity connecting social movement organizers during the period of decline and dissipation of struggles. Indeed, this is always an important task — maintaining movements through inevitable low periods of struggle and sustaining some capacity for collective re-emergence and revival as possibilities for an uptick of struggles open up. This was perhaps more difficult in periods prior to the development of the web when opportunities for communication, skill sharing, and resource circulation were more limited or localized and when demoralization within face-to-face circles could finish a movement.

The future potential of movements in struggle will rely in part on the growing convergence, even symbiosis, of the cyber disobedients and the direct actionists of the streets. Even more important will be the grounding of this action and organizing in specific workplaces and neighborhoods in ways that challenge fundamentally relations and structures of ownership, control, and exploitation.

Cyber anarchy represents a real form of counterpower as discussed by autonomist Marxist Antonio Negri. For Negri, a counterpower involves three distinguishable aspects. These are resistance (against the old power); insurrection; and what he calls potenza, or that which is constitutive of a new power (or constituent power).

Popular accounts of social struggle tend to focus on the insurrectionary aspects of cyber disobedience, or sometimes (rarely) give a sense that there is resistance being undertaken, but never on the potenza of this practice. Never, either, is it hinted at that there is, in fact, a counterpower in play. That is perhaps not too surprising given the hegemonic function of media and state discussions of online activism.

Where insurrection pushes resistance to innovation, potenza or constituent power expresses new projects of life. For Negri: “And, whereas the insurrection is a weapon that destroys the life-forms of the enemy, constituent power is the force that positively organizes new schemas of life and mass enjoyment of life” (2008, 140). This is not a replacement of existing power (in the sense of the Leninist workers’ state). It is not to take over the reins of the old power. Rather it is to develop new, alternative forms of organization and production — of the commons, of life.

Resistance to the dominant power must be built from the bottom if it is to contribute to the expression of a counterpower. As Negri suggests: “Resisting it from the bottom means extending and building into the resistance the ‘common’ networks of knowledge and action, against the privatization of command and wealth. It means breaking the hard of exploitation and exclusion. It means constructing common languages, in which the alternative of a free life and the struggle against death can emerge victorious.” (2008, 147)

The building of resistance from the ground up and the manifestation of potenza requires the development, maintenance, and extension of shared resources and organization. That is, it requires the construction of what Shantz (2010) has termed infrastructures of resistance. Infrastructures of resistance are those resources that sustain communities in struggle (through food, child care, education, shelter, and so on) while also allowing for the intensification of struggles. In previous periods, important infrastructures of resistance have included union halls, working class newspapers, mutual aid societies, anarchist free schools, and so on. In the present period many of the infrastructures of resistance in poor and working class communities have been destroyed or dissipated after decades of neoliberal assault and the professionalization and legalization of union structures and practices.

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Where Does Meaning Come From?

Alexander R. Galloway
Nobody knows, not really. I’ve said in the past that no one has yet patented a Meaning Machine. And when it comes to the digital and the analog I’m mostly in the dark about the question of meaning. My intuition is that meaning is not exclusively subsumed by either digital or analog phenomena. Meaning seems […]

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Part One: The Anarchist Revolution in the Spanish Civil War
From Cool People Who Did Cool Stuff

Margaret talks with comedian, writer and podcast host Jamie Loftus about the time that millions of anarchists and their allies collectivized in Spain while fighting off a fascist invasion.

Tags: margaret killjoyCool People Who Did Cool StuffSpanish Revolution & Civil Warpodcastaudio

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FBI looking into ‘The Mapping Project,’ pro-Palestinian site targeting ‘Zionist leaders’ in Boston

The Forward
The FBI is looking into a website called the Mapping Project, which published an interactive map of Boston that claims to show “local institutional support for the colonization of Palestine,” the Boston Herald reported. Joseph Bonavolonta, head of the FBI’s Boston office, told Jewish leaders during a Zoom briefing on Monday that his agents are “very…

The post FBI looking into ‘The Mapping Project,’ pro-Palestinian site targeting ‘Zionist leaders’ in Boston appeared first on The Forward.

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Gaza: Israel’s ‘Open-Air Prison’ at 15

Human Rights Watch News
Human Rights Watch
(Gaza) – Israel’s sweeping restrictions on leaving Gaza deprive its more than two million residents of opportunities to better their lives, Human Rights Watch said today on the fifteenth anniversary of the 2007 closure. The closure has devastated the economy in Gaza, contributed to fragmentation of the Palestinian people, and forms part of Israeli authorities’ crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution against millions of Palestinians.

Israel’s closure policy blocks most Gaza residents from going to the West Bank, preventing professionals, artists, athletes, students, and others from pursuing opportunities within Palestine and from traveling abroad via Israel, restricting their rights to work and an education. Restrictive Egyptian policies at its Rafah crossing with Gaza, including unnecessary delays and mistreatment of travelers, have exacerbated the closure’s harm to human rights.

“Israel, with Egypt’s help, has turned Gaza into an open-air prison,” said Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch. “As many people around the world are once again traveling two years after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Gaza’s more than two million Palestinians remain under what amounts to a 15-year-old lockdown.”

Israel should end its generalized ban on travel for Gaza residents and permit free movement of people to and from Gaza, subject to, at most, individual screening and physical searches for security purposes.

June 14, 2022
Interview: For Palestinians in Gaza, Freedom is Priceless
How Israel’s Travel Ban Crushes the Dreams of the Palestinians of Gaza

Between February 2021 and March 2022, Human Rights Watch interviewed 20 Palestinians who sought to travel out of Gaza via either the Israeli-run Erez crossing or the Egyptian-administered Rafah crossing. Human Rights Watch wrote to Israeli and Egyptian authorities to solicit their perspectives on its findings, and separately to seek information about an Egyptian travel company that operates at the Rafah crossing but had received no responses at this writing.

Since 2007, Israeli authorities have, with narrow exceptions, banned Palestinians from leaving through Erez, the passenger crossing from Gaza into Israel, through which they can reach the West Bank and travel abroad via Jordan. Israel also prevents Palestinian authorities from operating an airport or seaport in Gaza. Israeli authorities also sharply restrict the entry and exit of goods.

They often justify the closure, which came after Hamas seized political control over Gaza from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in June 2007, on security grounds. Israeli authorities have said they want to minimize travel between Gaza and the West Bank to prevent the export of “a human terrorist network” from Gaza to the West Bank, which has a porous border with Israel and where hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers live.

This policy has reduced travel to a fraction of what it was two decades ago, Human Rights Watch said. Israeli authorities have instituted a formal “policy of separation” between Gaza and the West Bank, despite international consensus that these two parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territory form a “single territorial unit.” Israel accepted that principle in the 1995 Oslo Accords, signed with the Palestine Liberation Organization. Israeli authorities restrict all travel between Gaza and the West Bank, even when the travel takes place via the circuitous route through Egypt and Jordan rather than through Israeli territory.

Due to these policies, Palestinian professionals, students, artists, and athletes living in Gaza have missed vital opportunities for advancement not available in Gaza. Human Rights Watch interviewed seven people who said that Israeli authorities did not respond to their requests for travel through Erez, and three others who said Israel rejected their permits, apparently for not fitting within Israeli’s narrow criteria.

Walaa Sada, 31, a filmmaker, said that she applied for permits to take part in film training in the West Bank in 2014 and 2018, after spending years convincing her family to allow her to travel alone, but Israeli authorities never responded to her applications. The hands-on nature of the training, requiring filming live scenes and working in studios, made remote participation impracticable and Sada ended up missing the sessions.

The “world narrowed” when she received these rejections, Sada said, making her feel “stuck in a small box.… For us in Gaza, the hands of the clock stopped. People all over the world can easily and quickly book flight and travel, while we … die waiting for our turn.”

The Egyptian authorities have exacerbated the closure’s impact by restricting movement out of Gaza and at times fully sealing its Rafah border crossing, Gaza’s only outlet aside from Erez to the outside world. Since May 2018, Egyptian authorities have been keeping Rafah open more regularly, making it, amid the sweeping Israeli restrictions, the primary outlet to the outside world for Gaza residents.

Palestinians, however, still face onerous obstacles traveling through Egypt, including having to wait weeks for permission to travel, unless they are willing to pay hundreds of dollars to travel companies with significant ties to Egyptian authorities to expedite their travel, denials of entry, and abuse by Egyptian authorities.

Sada said also received an opportunity to participate in a workshop on screenwriting in Tunisia in 2019, but that she could not afford the US$2000 it would cost her to pay for the service that would ensure that she could travel on time. Her turn to travel came up six weeks later, after the workshop had already been held.

As an occupying power that maintains significant control over many aspects of life in Gaza, Israel has obligations under international humanitarian law to ensure the welfare of the population there. Palestinians also have the right under international human rights law to freedom of movement, in particular within the occupied territory, a right that Israel can restrict under international law only in response to specific security threats.

Israel’s policy, though, presumptively denies free movement to people in Gaza, with narrow exceptions, irrespective of any individualized assessment of the security risk a person may pose. These restrictions on the right to freedom of movement do not meet the requirement of being strictly necessary and proportionate to achieve a lawful objective. Israel has had years and many opportunities to develop more narrowly tailored responses to security threats that minimize restrictions on rights.

Egypt’s legal obligations toward Gaza residents are more limited, as it is not an occupying power. However, as a state party to the Fourth Geneva Convention, it should ensure respect for the convention “in all circumstances,” including protections for civilians living under military occupation who are unable to travel due to unlawful restrictions imposed by the occupying power. The Egyptian authorities should also consider the impact of their border closure on the rights of Palestinians living in Gaza who are unable to travel in and out of Gaza through another route, including the right to leave a country.

Egyptian authorities should lift unreasonable obstacles that restrict Palestinians’ rights and allow transit via its territory, subject to security considerations, and ensure that their decisions are transparent and not arbitrary and take into consideration the human rights of those affected.

“The Gaza closure blocks talented, professional people, with much to give their society, from pursuing opportunities that people elsewhere take for granted,” Shakir said. “Barring Palestinians in Gaza from moving freely within their homeland stunts lives and underscores the cruel reality of apartheid and persecution for millions of Palestinians.”


Israel’s Obligations to Gaza under International Law

Israeli authorities claim “broad powers and discretion to decide who may enter its territory” and that “a foreigner has no legal right to enter the State’s sovereign territory, including for the purposes of transit into the [West Bank] or aboard.” While international human rights law gives wide latitude to governments with regard to entry of foreigners, Israel has heightened obligations toward Gaza residents. Because of the continuing controls Israel exercises over the lives and welfare of Gaza’s inhabitants, Israel remains an occupying power under international humanitarian law, despite withdrawing its military forces and settlements from the territory in 2005. Both the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross, the guardians of international humanitarian law, have reached this determination. As the occupying power, Israel remains bound to provide residents of Gaza the rights and protections afforded to them by the law of occupation. Israeli authorities continue to control Gaza’s territorial waters and airspace, and the movement of people and goods, except at Gaza’s border with Egypt. Israel also controls the Palestinian population registry and the infrastructure upon which Gaza relies.

Israel has an obligation to respect the human rights of Palestinians living in Gaza, including their right to freedom of movement throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory and abroad, which affects both the right to leave a country and the right to enter their own country. Israel is also obligated to respect Palestinians’ rights for which freedom of movement is a precondition, for example the rights to education, work, and health. The UN Human Rights Committee has said that while states can restrict freedom of movement for security reasons or to protect public health, public order, and the rights of others, any such restrictions must be proportional and “the restrictions must not impair the essence of the right; the relation between the right and restriction, between norm and exception, must not be reversed.”

While the law of occupation permits occupying powers to impose security restrictions on civilians, it also requires them to restore public life for the occupied population. That obligation increases in a prolonged occupation, in which the occupier has more time and opportunity to develop more narrowly tailored responses to security threats that minimize restrictions on rights. In addition, the needs of the occupied population increase over time. Suspending virtually all freedom of movement for a short period interrupts temporarily normal public life, but long-term, indefinite suspension in Gaza has had a much more debilitating impact, fragmentating populations, fraying familial and social ties, compounding discrimination against women, and blocking people from pursuing opportunities to improve their lives.

The impact is particularly damaging given the denial of freedom of movement to people who are confined to a sliver of the occupied territory, unable to interact in person with the majority of the occupied population that lives in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and its rich assortment of educational, cultural, religious, and commercial institutions.

After 55 years of occupation and 15 years of closure in Gaza with no end in sight, Israel should fully respect the human rights of Palestinians, using as a benchmark the rights it grants Israeli citizens. Israel should abandon an approach that bars movement absent exceptional individual humanitarian circumstances it defines, in favor of an approach that permits free movement absent exceptional individual security circumstances.

Israel’s Closure

Most Palestinians who grew up in Gaza under this closure have never left the 40-by-11 kilometer (25-by-7 mile) Gaza Strip. For the last 25 years, Israel has increasingly restricted the movement of Gaza residents. Since June 2007, when Hamas seized control over Gaza from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA), Gaza has been mostly closed.

Israeli authorities justify this closure on security grounds, in light of “Hamas’ rise to power in the Gaza Strip,” as they lay out in a December 2019 court filing. Authorities highlight in particular the risk that Hamas and armed Palestinian groups will recruit or coerce Gaza residents who have permits to travel via Erez “for the commission of terrorist acts and the transfer of operatives, knowledge, intelligence, funds or equipment for terrorist activists.” Their policy, though, amounts to a blanket denial with rare exceptions, rather than a generalized respect for the right of Palestinians to freedom of movement, to be denied only on the basis of individualized security reasons.  

The Israeli army has since 2007 limited travel through the Erez crossing except in what it deems “exceptional humanitarian circumstances,” mainly encompassing those needing vital medical treatment outside Gaza and their companions, although the authorities also make exceptions for hundreds of businesspeople and laborers and some others. Israel has restricted movement even for those seeking to travel under these narrow exceptions, affecting their rights to health and life, among others, as Human Rights Watch and other groups have documented. Most Gaza residents do not fit within these exemptions to travel through Erez, even if it is to reach the West Bank.

Between January 2015 and December 2019, before the onset of Covid-19 restrictions, an average of about 373 Palestinians left Gaza via Erez each day, less than 1.5 percent of the daily average of 26,000 in September 2000, before the closure, according to the Israeli rights group Gisha. Israeli authorities tightened the closure further during the Covid-19 pandemic – between March 2020 and December 2021, an average of about 143 Palestinians left Gaza via Erez each day, according to Gisha.

Israeli authorities announced in March 2022 that they would authorize 20,000 permits for Palestinians in Gaza to work in Israel in construction and agriculture, though Gisha reports that the actual number of valid permits in this category stood at 9,424, as of May 22.

Israeli authorities have also for more than two decades sharply restricted the use by Palestinians of Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters. They blocked the reopening of the airport that Israeli forces made inoperable in January 2002, and prevented the Palestinian authorities from building a seaport, leaving Palestinians dependent on leaving Gaza by land to travel abroad. The few Palestinians permitted to cross at Erez are generally barred from traveling abroad via Israel’s international airport and must instead travel abroad via Jordan. Palestinians wishing to leave Gaza via Erez, either to the West Bank or abroad, submit requests through the Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee in Gaza, which forwards applications to Israeli authorities who decide on whether to grant a permit.

Separation Between Gaza and the West Bank

As part of the closure, Israeli authorities have sought to “differentiate” between their policy approaches to Gaza and the West Bank, such as imposing more sweeping restrictions on the movement of people and goods from Gaza to the West Bank, and promote separation between these two parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The army’s “Procedure for Settlement in the Gaza Strip by Residents of Judea and Samaria,” published in 2018, states that “in 2006, a decision was made to introduce a policy of separation between the Judea and Samaria Area [the West Bank] and the Gaza Strip in light of Hamas’ rise to power in the Gaza Strip. The policy currently in effect is explicitly aimed at reducing travel between the areas.”

In each of the 11 cases Human Rights Watch reviewed of people seeking to reach the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, for professional and educational opportunities not available in Gaza, Israeli authorities did not respond to requests for permits or denied them, either for security reasons or because they did not conform to the closure policy. Human Rights Watch also reviewed permit applications on the website of the Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee, or screenshots of it, including the status of the permit applications, when they were sent on to the Israeli authorities and the response received, if any.

Raed Issa, a 42-year-old artist, said that the Israeli authorities did not respond to his application for a permit in early December 2015, to attend an exhibit of his art at a Ramallah art gallery between December 27 and January 16, 2016.

The “Beyond the Dream” exhibit sought to highlight the situation in Gaza after the 2014 war. Issa said that the Palestinian Civil Affairs committee continued to identify the status of his application as “sent and waiting for response” and he ended up having to attend the opening of the exhibit virtually. Issa felt that not being physically present hampered his ability to engage with audiences, and to network and promote his work, which he believes limited his reach and hurt sales of his artwork. He described feeling pained “that I am doing my own art exhibit in my homeland and not able to attend it, not able to move freely.”

Ashraf Sahweel, 47, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Gaza Center for Art and Culture, said that Gaza-based artists routinely do not hear back after applying for Israeli permits, forcing them to miss opportunities to attend exhibitions and other cultural events. A painter himself, he applied for seven permits between 2013 and 2022, but Israeli authorities either did not respond or denied each application, he said. Sahweel said that he has “given up hope on the possibility to travel via Erez.”

Palestinian athletes in Gaza face similar restrictions when seeking to compete with their counterparts in the West Bank, even though the Israeli army guidelines specifically identify “entry of sportspeople” as among the permissible exemptions to the closure. The guidelines, updated in February 2022, set out that “all Gaza Strip residents who are members of the national and local sports teams may enter Israel in transit to the Judea and Samaria area [West Bank] or abroad for official activities of the teams.”

Hilal al-Ghawash, 25, told Human Rights Watch that his football team, Khadamat Rafah, had a match in July 2019 with a rival West Bank team, the Balata Youth Center, in the finals of Palestine Club, with the winner entitled to represent Palestine in the Asian Cup. The Palestinian Football Federation applied for permits for the entire 22-person team and 13-person staff, but Israeli authorities, without explanation, granted permits to only 4 people, only one of whom was a player. The game was postponed as a result.

After Gisha appealed the decision in the Jerusalem District Court, Israeli authorities granted 11 people permits, including six players, saying the other 24 were denied on security grounds that were not specified. Al-Ghawash was among the players who did not receive a permit. The Jerusalem district court upheld the denials. With Khadamat Rafah prevented from reaching the West Bank, the Palestine Football Federation canceled the Palestine Cup finals match.

Al-Ghawash said that West Bank matches hold particular importance for Gaza football players, since they offer the opportunity to showcase their talents for West Bank clubs, which are widely considered superior to those in Gaza and pay better. Despite the cancellation, al-Ghawash said, the Balata Youth Center later that year offered him a contract to play for them. The Palestinian Football Federation again applied for a permit on al-Ghawash’s behalf, but he said he did not receive a response and was unable to join the team.

In 2021, al-Ghawash signed a contract with a different West Bank team, the Hilal al-Quds club. The Palestinian Football Federation again applied, but this time, the Israeli army denied the permit on unspecified security grounds. Al-Ghawash said he does not belong to any armed group or political movement and has no idea on what basis Israeli authorities denied him a permit.

Missing these opportunities has forced al-Ghawash to forgo not only higher pay, but also the chance to play for more competitive West Bank teams, which could have brought him closer to his goal of joining the Palestinian national team. “There’s a future in the West Bank, but, here in Gaza, there’s only a death sentence,” he said. “The closure devastates players’ future. Gaza is full of talented people, but it’s so difficult to leave.”

Palestinian students and professionals are frequently unable to obtain permits to study or train in the West Bank. In 2016, Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem agreed to have 10 physics students from Al-Azhar University in Gaza come to the hospital for a six-month training program. Israeli authorities denied five students permits without providing a rationale, two of the students said.

The five other students initially received permits valid for only 14 days, and then encountered difficulties receiving subsequent permits. None were able to complete the full program, the two students said. One, Mahmoud Dabour, 28, said that when he applied for a second permit, he received no response. Two months later, he applied again and managed to get a permit valid for one week. He received one other permit, valid for 10 days, but then, when he returned and applied for the fifth time, Israeli authorities rejected his permit request without providing a reason. As a result, he could not finish the training program, and, without the certification participants receive upon completion, he said, he cannot apply for jobs or attend conferences or workshops abroad in the field.

Dabour said that the training cannot be offered in Gaza, since the necessary radiation material required expires too quickly for it to be functional after passing through the time-consuming Israeli inspections of materials entering the Gaza Strip. There are no functioning devices of the kind that students need for the training in Gaza, Dabour said.

One of the students whose permit was denied said, “I feel I studied for five years for nothing, that my life has stopped.” The student asked that his name be withheld for his security.

Two employees of Zimam, a Ramallah-based organization focused on youth empowerment and conflict resolution, said that the Israeli authorities repeatedly denied them permits to attend organizational training and strategy meetings. Atta al-Masri, the 31-year-old Gaza regional director, said he has applied four times for permits, but never received one. Israeli authorities did not respond the first three times and, the last time in 2021, denied him a permit on the grounds that it was “not in conformity” with the permissible exemptions to the closure. He has worked for Zimam since 2009, but only met his colleagues in person for the first time in Egypt in March 2022.

Ahed Abdullah, 29, Zimam’s youth programs coordinator in Gaza, said she applied twice for permits in 2021, but Israeli authorities denied both applications on grounds of “nonconformity:”


This is supposed to be my right. My simplest right. Why did they reject me? My colleagues who are outside Palestine managed to make it, while I am inside Palestine, I wasn’t able to go to the other part of Palestine … it’s only 2-3 hours from Gaza to Ramallah, why should I get the training online? Why am I deprived of being with my colleagues and doing activities with them instead of doing them in dull breakout rooms on Zoom?

Human Rights Watch has previously documented that the closure has prevented specialists in the use of assistive devices for people with disabilities from opportunities for hands-on training on the latest methods of evaluation, device maintenance, and rehabilitation. Human Rights Watch also documented restrictions on the movement of human rights workers. Gisha, the Israeli human rights group, has reported that Israel has blocked health workers in Gaza from attending training in the West Bank on how to operate new equipment and hampered the work of civil society organizations operating in Gaza.

Israeli authorities have also made it effectively impossible for Palestinians from Gaza to relocate to the West Bank. Because of Israeli restrictions, thousands of Gaza residents who arrived on temporary permits and now live in the West Bank are unable to gain legal residency. Although Israel claims that these restrictions are related to maintaining security, evidence Human Rights Watch collected suggests the main motivation is to control Palestinian demography across the West Bank, whose land Israel seeks to retain, in contrast to the Gaza Strip.


With most Gaza residents unable to travel via Erez, the Egyptian-administered Rafah crossing has become Gaza’s primary outlet to the outside world, particularly in recent years. Egyptian authorities kept Rafah mostly closed for nearly five years following the July 2013 military coup in Egypt that toppled President Mohamed Morsy, whom the military accused of receiving support from Hamas. Egypt, though, eased restrictions in May 2018, amid the Great March of Return, the recurring Palestinian protests at the time near the fences separating Gaza and Israel.

Despite keeping Rafah open more regularly since May 2018, movement via Rafah is a fraction of what it was before the 2013 coup in Egypt. Whereas an average of 40,000 crossed monthly in both directions before the coup, the monthly average was 12,172 in 2019 and 15,077 in 2021, according to Gisha.

Human Rights Watch spoke with 16 Gaza residents who sought to travel via Rafah. Almost all said they opted for this route because of the near impossibility of receiving an Israeli permit to travel via Erez.

Gaza residents hoping to leave via Rafah are required to register in advance via a process the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has deemed “confusing” and “obscure.” Gaza residents can either register via the formal registration process administered by Gaza’s Interior Ministry or informally via what is known as tanseeq, or travel coordination with Egyptian authorities, paying travel companies or mediators for a place on a separate list coordinated by Egyptian authorities. Having two distinct lists of permitted travelers coordinated by different authorities has fueled “allegations of the payment of bribes in Gaza and in Egypt to ensure travel and a faster response,” according to OCHA.

The formal process often takes two to three months, except for those traveling for medical reasons, whose requests are processed faster, said Gaza residents who sought to leave Gaza via Rafah. Egyptian authorities have at times rejected those seeking to cross Rafah into Egypt on the grounds that they did not meet specific criteria for travel. The criteria lack transparency, but Gisha reported that they include having a referral for a medical appointment in Egypt or valid documents to enter a third country.

To avoid the wait and risk of denial, many choose instead the tanseeq route. Several interviewees said that they paid large sums of money to Palestinian brokers or Gaza-based travel companies that work directly with Egyptian authorities to expedite people’s movement via Rafah. On social media, some of these companies advertise that they can assure travel within days to those who provide payment and a copy of their passport. The cost of tanseeq has fluctuated from several hundred US dollars to several thousand dollars over the last decade, based in part on how frequently Rafah is open.

In recent years, travel companies have offered an additional “VIP” tanseeq, which expedites travel without delays in transit between Rafah and Cairo, offers flexibility on travel date, and ensures better treatment by authorities. The cost was $700, as of January 2022.

The Cairo-based company offering the VIP tanseeq services, Hala Consulting and Tourism Services, has strong links with Egypt’s security establishment and is staffed largely by former Egyptian military officers, a human rights activist and a journalist who have investigated these issues told Human Rights Watch. This allows the company to reduce processing times and delays at checkpoints during the journey between Rafah and Cairo. The activist and journalist both asked that their names be withheld for security reasons.  

The company is linked to prominent Egyptian businessman Ibrahim El-Argani, who has close ties with Egypt’s president, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi. Ergany heads the Union of Sinai Tribes, which works hand-in-hand with the Egyptian military and intelligence agencies against militants operating in North Sinai. Ergany, one of Egypt’s few businessmen able to export products to Gaza from Egypt, owns the Sinai Sons company, which has an exclusive contract to handle all contracts related to Gaza reconstruction efforts. Human Rights Watch wrote to El-Argani to solicit his perspectives on these issues, but had received no response at this writing.

A 34-year-old computer engineer and entrepreneur said that he sought to travel in 2019 to Saudi Arabia to meet an investor to discuss a potential project to sell car parts online. He chose not to apply to travel via Erez, as he had applied for permits eight times between 2016 and 2018 and had either been rejected or not heard back.

He initially registered via the formal Ministry of Interior process and received approval to travel after three months. However, on the day assigned for his exit via Rafah, an Egyptian officer there said he found his reason for travel not sufficiently “convincing” and denied him passage. A few months later, he tried to travel again for the same purpose, this time opting for tanseeq and paying $400, and, this time, he successfully reached Saudi Arabia within a week of seeking to travel.

He said that he would like to go on vacation with his wife, but worries that Egyptian authorities will not consider vacation a sufficiently compelling reason for travel and that his only option will be to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to do tanseeq.

A 73-year-old man sought to travel via Rafah in February 2021, with his 46-year-old daughter, to get knee replacement surgery in al-Sheikh Zayed hospital in Cairo. He said Gaza lacks the capacity to provide such an operation. The man and his daughter are relatives of a Human Rights Watch staff member. They applied via the Interior Ministry process and received approval in a little over a week.

After they waited for several hours in the Egyptian hall in Rafah on the day of travel, though, Egyptian authorities included the daughter’s name among the 70 names of people who were not allowed to cross that day, the daughter said. The father showed the border officials a doctor’s note indicating that he needed someone to travel with him given his medical situation, but the officer told him, “You either travel alone or go back with her to Gaza.” She said she returned to Gaza, alongside 70 other people, and her father later traveled on his own.

Five people who did manage to travel via Rafah said that they experienced poor conditions and poor treatment, including intrusive searches, by the Egyptian authorities, with several saying that they felt Egyptian authorities treated them like “criminals.” Several people said that Egyptian officers confiscated items from them during the journey, including an expensive camera and a mobile phone, without apparent reason.

Upon leaving Rafah, Palestinians are transported by bus to Cairo’s airport. The trip takes about seven hours, but several people said that the journey took up to three days between long periods of waiting on the bus, at checkpoints and amid other delays, often in extreme weather. Many of those who traveled via Rafah said that, during this journey, Egyptian authorities prevented passengers from using their phones.

The parents of a 7-year-old boy with autism and a rare brain disease said they sought to travel for medical treatment for him in August 2021, but Egyptian authorities only allowed the boy and his mother to enter. The mother said their journey back to Gaza took four days, mostly as a result of Rafah being closed. During this time, she said, they spent hours waiting at checkpoints, in extreme heat, with her son crying nonstop. She said she felt “humiliated” and treated like “an animal,” observing that she “would rather die than travel again through Rafah.”

A 33-year-old filmmaker, who traveled via Rafah to Morocco in late 2019 to attend a film screening, said the return from Cairo to Rafah took three days, much of it spent at checkpoints amid the cold winter in the Sinai desert.

A 34-year-old man said that he planned to travel in August 2019 via Rafah to the United Arab Emirates for a job interview as an Arabic teacher. He said, on his travel date, Egyptian authorities turned him back, saying they had met their quota of travelers. He crossed the next day, but said that, as it was a Thursday and with Rafah closed on Friday, Egyptian authorities made travelers spend two nights sleeping at Rafah, without providing food or access to a clean bathroom.

The journey to Cairo airport then took two days, during which he described going through checkpoints where officers made passengers “put their hands behind their backs while they searched their suitcases.” As a result of these delays totaling four days since his assigned travel date, he missed his job interview and found out that someone else was hired. He is currently unemployed in Gaza.

Given the uncertainty of crossing at Rafah, Gaza residents said that they often wait to book their flight out of Cairo until they arrive. Booking so late often means, beyond other obstacles, having to wait until they can find a reasonably priced and suitable flight, planning extra days for travel and spending extra money on changeable or last-minute tickets. Similar dynamics prevail with regard to travel abroad via Erez to Amman.

Human Rights Watch interviewed four men under the age of 40 with visas to third countries, whom Egyptian authorities allowed entry only for the purpose of transit. The authorities transported these men to Cairo airport and made them wait in what is referred to as the “deportation room” until their flight time. The men likened the room to a “prison cell,” with limited facilities and unsanitary conditions. All described a system in which bribes are required to be able to leave the room to book a plane ticket, get food, drinks, or a cigarette, and avoid abuse. One of the men described an officer taking him outside the room, asking him, “Won’t you give anything to Egypt?” and said that others in the room told him that he then proceeded to do the same with them.

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Part One: Harlon Carter: the Man Who Militarized the Cops and the NRA

Behind the Bastards
Robert is joined by Matt Lieb to discuss Harlon Carter and NRA. 
See for privacy information.

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Alfredo M. Bonanno – On Marx and Engels’ Non-Critique of Stirner

The Anarchist Library
Author: Alfredo M. Bonanno
Title: On Marx and Engels’ Non-Critique of Stirner
Notes: Translated by Wolfi Landstreicher [The following text is a translation of a brief passage from Alfredo Bonanno’s book, Max Stirner, published by Edizione Anarchismo. It is a rough translation that I still need to polish up. I hope to eventually translate the entire book with a critical introduction.]
Source: Retrieved 06/13/2022 from

If we stop to consider Stirner’s “egoism” according to the marxist interpretation, even trying to set aside implausible positions, there would be nothing left for us to do but end with a strange ambivalence: on the one hand, an obtuse bourgeois thematic; and on the other hand, a proletarian thematic: egoism as opposed to associationism, conservatism and the destruction of the old society. In fact, Stirner’s work can’t fit into these categories. It is clearly not the project of a conservative who wants to safeguard the privileges of the ruling class, since this is not his conception of egoism; nor is he elaborating a plan for proletarian struggle. He is the destroyer of idols of every kind. And this thankless task has always been one of the most useful, and therefore one of the most badly viewed.

The first duty toward Stirner: incomprehension. Stirner writes: “‘Money rules the world’ is the refrain of the bourgeois era. A destitute aristocrat and a destitute worker are both ‘dead from hunger’ and, therefore, insignificant in their political value: birth and labor count for nothing, but money gives value. The property-owner dominates, but the state raises up its ‘slaves’ from among the destitute, and it will give these slaves money (a wage) in conformity to their assignments in governing in its name.

“I receive everything from the state. Do I have anything without the authorization of the state? What I have without this, the state takes away as soon as it discovers that I lack ‘legal title.’ So, don’t I have everything by its grace, by its authorization?

“Only on this, on legal title, does the bourgeoisie rest. The bourgeois citizen is what he is by state protection, by the state’s grace. He would have to be afraid of losing everything if the power of the state is broken.

“But how do things stand for the one who has nothing to lose, for the proletarian? Since he has nothing to lose, he has no need of state protection for his ‘nothing.’ Indeed, he might gain if state protection were withdrawn from the protected.

“Therefore, the propertyless would see the state a protective power for property owners, which privileges them in every way while it simply—bleeds him dry. The state is one—the bourgeois state, it is the status of the bourgeoisie. It protects human beings, not according to their work, but according to their docility (‘faithfulness to the law’), i.e., to the extent that they enjoy and administer the rights granted to them by the state in conformity to the laws of the state.”[1] This shifts the basic appearance of Stirner’s discourse, i.e., the voluntaristic appearance and the consideration, which is not marginal, that workers are singular beings, individuals who, all together, form the proletarian class.

Finding the attack on the philosophical level difficult, the critique is launched on the level of the organization of concrete struggle, of the trade union type, of the difficulty of this type of organization (specifically in England between 1832 and 1842). The basic theme passes to the second level. Stirner wrote that workers were in a position to take power and manage it for themselves. This isn’t the metaphysics of history. It is a reflection on events, much more than the “real” philosophical reflections of a Hess[2]. That there is no mention of the concrete problems of organization is not surprising, considering Stirner’s situation, his personal lack of preparation and the specific context of The Unique and Its Own.

When Stirner speaks of the need not to fall into the involuntary snare of Feuerbach, he intends to say that from the morality of unconscious individualism, a morality just as harmful as that of pseudo-humanitarianism, one must not fall into a new morality of a sort that is only apparently free, but that, at bottom, is tied in some way to “phantoms of the spirit.” The sole prospect of liberation is the one that derives from the logic of the individual, i.e., from the concrete logic of the individual “event”, the basic, unique event. If we don’t want to make everything go up in smoke, and then be forced to hastily fall back once again on “religious” myth—whether it be Rodolfo’s humanitarianism, Laplace’s determinism, Marx’s historical materialism—we have to avoid starting from collective events that refer back, for their intrinsic composition, to earlier events. Marx started from class struggle and then had to account for the relationship with nature, forgetting, in this way, the real lesson of Hegel’s Phenomenology.

In conclusion, in their polemic against Stirner, Marx and Engels had no desire to understand their adversary, but only to better advance their own theses. The evidence for this is found in the fact that Marx and Engels considered The German Ideology a practice run and were not so dissatisfied, after all, to have left it to the “gnawing critique of mice.” This true essence of the marxist text should be kept in mind. If it is quite important for understanding the growth of Marx and Engels’ thought, as well as for an objective evaluation of their debts, its only importance in relation to Stirner is that it contributed to pulling his work out of oblivion, a work that opens paths never traveled, a work on which discredit is thrown with great ease and with the most absolute ignorance.

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Danny Boyle’s Pistol Sells Punk — and the Sex Pistols — Short

Eileen Jones
I gather from interviews that writer-director Danny Boyle really loves the Sex Pistols. “It sounds a bit pretentious, obviously, but I was sort of destined to do this,” he said in a recent interview. “I knew I would have to [make a punk film] at some point.” Given this sense of mission, I’m not quite […]

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Against Afro-Pessimism

José Sanchez
“Bassem was one of us,” said US Representative and Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) member Cori Bush, a Democrat from Missouri. Speaking on the House floor in May 2021 during Israel’s latest all-out assault on Palestinians, Bush honored the memory of Bassem Masri, who died in November 2018 at age thirty-one. Masri was a local […]

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After leaked draft of Roe v Wade repeal, Leaker Accountability Act would criminalize releasing…

GovTrack Insider – Medium
After leaked draft of Roe v Wade repeal, Leaker Accountability Act would criminalize releasing draft Supreme Court opinions
The Leaker Accountability Act would explicitly ban releasing a Supreme Court draft opinion to the public, punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment.

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Spencer Sunshine – Rebranding Fascism

The Anarchist Library
Author: Spencer Sunshine
Title: Rebranding Fascism
Subtitle: National-Anarchists
Date: January 28, 2008
Notes: Published in The Public Eye, Winter 2008.
Source: Retrieved on 9th June 2022 from

On September 8, 2007 in Sydney, Australia, the antiglobalization movement mobilized once again against neoliberal economic policies, this time to oppose the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit. Just as during the protests against the World Trade Organization in Seattle, Washington, in 1999, the streets were filled with an array of groups, such as environmentalists, socialists, and human rights advocates. And also just like in Seattle, there was a “Black Bloc”—a group of militant activists, usually left-wing anarchists, who wore masks and dressed all in black.

In Sydney, the Black Bloc assembled and hoisted banners proclaiming “Globalization is Genocide.” But when fellow demonstrators looked closely, they realized these Black Bloc marchers were “National-Anarchists”—local fascists dressed as anarchists who were infiltrating the demonstration. The police had to protect the interlopers from being expelled by irate activists.

Since then, the National-Anarchists have joined other marches in Australia and in the United States; in April 2008, they protested on behalf of Tibet against the Chinese government during the Olympic torch relay in both Canberra, Australia, and San Francisco. In September, U.S. National-Anarchists protested the Folsom Street Fair, an annual gay “leather” event held in San Francisco.

While these may seem like isolated incidents of quirky subterfuge, these quasi-anarchists are an international export of a new version of fascism that represent a significant shift in the trends and ideology of the movement. National-Anarchists have adherents in Australia, Great Britain, the United States, and throughout continental Europe, and in turn are part of a larger trend of fascists who appropriate elements of the radical Left. Like “Autonomous Nationalists” in Germany and the genteel intellectual fascism of the European New Right, the National-Anarchists appropriate leftist ideas and symbols, and use them to obscure their core fascist values. The National-Anarchists, for example, denounce the centralized state, capitalism, and globalization — but in its place they seek to establish a system of ethnically pure villages.

In 1990, Chip Berlet showed in Right Woos Left how the extreme Right in the United States has made numerous overtures to the Left. “The fascist Right has wooed the progressive Left primarily around opposition to such issues as the use of U.S. troops in foreign military interventions, support for Israel, the problems of CIA misconduct and covert action, domestic government repression, privacy rights, and civil liberties.”[1] More recently, the fascist Right has also tried to build alliances based on concern for the environment, hardline antizionism, and opposition to globalization.

Fascism has become increasingly international in the post World War II period, particularly with the rise of the internet. One of the most obvious results of this internationalization is the continual flow of European ideas to the United States; for example, the Nazi skinhead movement originated in Britain and quickly spread to the United States. In trade, Americans have exported the Ku Klux Klan to Europe and smuggled Holocaust denial and neo-Nazi literature into Germany.[2]

The National-Anarchist idea has spread around the world over the internet. The United States hosts only a few web sites, but the trend so far has been towards a steady increase. But it represents what many see as the potential new face of fascism. By adopting selected symbols, slogans and stances of the left-wing anarchist movement in particular, this new form of postwar fascism (like the European New Right) hopes to avoid the stigma of the older tradition, while injecting its core fascist values into the newer movement of antiglobalization activists and related decentralized political groups. Simultaneously, National-Anarchists hope to draw members (such as reactionary counter-culturalists and British National Party members) away from traditional White Nationalist groups to their own blend of what they claim is “neither left nor right.”[3]

Despite this claim, National-Anarchist ideology is centered directly on what scholar Roger Griffin defines as the core of fascism: “palingenetic populist ultranationalism.” “Palingenetic,” he says, is a “generic term for the vision of a radically new beginning which follows a period of destruction or perceived dissolution.” Palingenetic ultranationalism therefore is “one whose mobilizing vision is that of the national community rising phoenix like after a period of encroaching decadence which all but destroyed it.”[4]

For the National-Anarchists, this “ultranationalism” is also their main ideological innovation: a desire to create a stateless (and hence “anarchist”) system of ethnically pure villages. Troy Southgate, their leading ideologue, says “we just want to stress that National-Anarchism is an essential racialist phenomenon. That’s what makes it different.”[5]

Why should we pay attention to such new forms of fascism? There is no immediate threat of fascism taking power in the established western liberal democracies; the rise to power of Mussolini and Hitler in the 1920s and 1930s occurred in a different era and under different social conditions than those that exist today. Nonetheless, much is at stake.

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Envisioning a Utopian Anarchism
From by Ian Mayes

I’ve noticed a pattern that I have. Every few years I feel the need to publicly re-think and re-clarify what exactly it is that I personally believe regarding anarchism. This usually corresponds with me affixing a new anarchist label to my beliefs and presenting it as being a new and unioque anarchist school of thought. The very first time that I did this I was calling my kind of anarchism "communitarian anarchism" and some friends and I created a short-lived organization related to that, the the Anarchist Communitarian Network, to promote this perspective. Following that, there was compassionate anarchism, then Buddhist anarchism, and most recently humanistic anarchism. Now I am calling my approach "utopian anarchism", and while I have already spoken about this on YouTube as well as in a small informal workshop at the 2022 Online NVC Conference, this is my first time publicly writing about this.

The key thing that sets my current approach apart from my previous ones is that I now view it as being important to place the vision that one has for a radically different world front and center. I know that the world that we live in now is shit, many different anarchist writers have penned many different brilliant critiques of our current society, and the various systems and structures in it that brutalize us all have been analyzed by many anarchist thinkers much smarter than I am. However, I have come to believe that without keeping a vision in our heart of the kind of world that we want to see, that eventually the steady diet of only critique and denunciation eventually leads to things like burnout, cynicism, despair and even misanthropy. How can we create the kind of beautiful world that we would want to live in if the only thing that we can see is shit? How can we have hope and inspiration to move towards a better world if the horrors of our current world is all that we can bear? One needs to hold a vision for a better world and radical imagination is needed for this, as well as analysis and forethought. A breautiful ideal needs to be at the forefront of one’s anarchism in order to lead one to a place that one actually wants to go to.

The Four Perspectives on the Ideal Society

The broad outline for my vision of a new society is the same as always: a world without domination or top-down hierarchy where people voluntarily associate as equals, where cooperation, mutual aid and sharing are done without coercion, and where everyone who is affected by a group decision has a voice in the process and collective agreements are based on consent. This vision remains the same, but I now have four different perspectives that I use to look at it. Each perspective is vitally important to keep in mind for the understanding, realization and maintainence of such a society. These four perspectives are the individual, the relational, the structural and the physical.

1) The Individual Perspective

I start with this perspective here because each person goes through life experiencing things as an individual. And since a goal of anarchism is for everyone to be liberated and free, a basic question would then be "does everyone perceive their life as being liberated and free?" The door is opened here for a whole plethora tools and tactics from the areas of psychology, self-help and self-improvement to be utilized for each individual to find their own sense of personal choice and empowerment. People’s individual health, their own thinking processes, their relationship with their own emotions and the degree to which they are continually learning all fall within this realm. Ultimately, this area relies upon each individual to take responsibility for themselves and their own personal growth and development. Traditionally individualist anarchism and the Buddhist anarchism that I used to advocate for tends to concern itself almost exclusively with this area.

2) The Relational Perspective

The relational area is the point where individuals come into contact with each other and interact. It includes things such as communication styles, how people deal with conflict, how people make decisions together and nonverbal interactions. This area is often overlooked by the individualists who are looking mainly at their own lives and choices, or by the collectivists who are looking at groups in general or society as a whole, but this area in many ways is "where the rubber hits the road". It is in the relational area where people experience most of their joys or frustrations in a collective endeavor and the lack of sufficient attention to this area can lead to the difference between a project succeeeding or failing. Relationship anarchy and the compassionate anarchism that I used to advocate for tends to focus almost exclusively on this area.

3) The Structural Perspective

This area is focused on large groups of people, as well as groups of groups of people, and how they interact with each other. It is in this area that social insitutions and systems reside. Historically speaking, most of anarchism has focused on this perspective, concerning itself with corporations and capitalism, governments and statecraft, and white supremacy and patriarchy across societies. Within the anarchist milieu, this perspective comes into play when we examine alternative and counter-institutions, anarchist federations and networks, and the anarchist "movement". Anarcho-communism tends to focus primarily on this perspective, as was the "communitarian anarchism" that I used to advocate.

4) The Physical Perspective

And finally the physical perspective is about just what the name suggests – pure physical reality. This includes things such as people’s physical health, food, agriculture, architecture, water supply, transportation, clothing, urban planning, ecological matters and nonhuman life. In some sense this perspective is the most straightforward of them all, but any close examination of any particular aspect of physical reality reveals a myriad of complexities therein. The devil is in the details indeed. And since we are still dealing with people here, social structures, interpersonal relationships and people’s individual psyches does come into play here as well. Green anarchism tends to focus mainly on this perspective.

Each of the areas that I mentioned here, the individual, the relational, the structural and the physical, each one connects with and affects all of the others. None of them exist independent of the other, rather they work together as a kind of interdepedent system. If someone is having troubles with their individual life and psyche that then affects their interpersonal relationships, the social structures and the environment that they live within. Likewise, one’s physical environment affects one’s mental health, the way that people relate with other and the ways that social structures function. What I am trying to do here is to examine the whole gestalt of the human experience, and these four ways of looking at it can make clear certain aspects that could more easily be overlooked if one where to only be using just one or two perspectives.

The Four Influences on My Utopian Anarchism

Keeping in mind the radical anarchist ideal, the utopian vision for a new society that it points to, and the four different perspectives through which to look at it, I will move now to elaborating upon my own utopian anarchist vision. Everyone has their own vision for the kind of ideal society that they would like to see, but for me personally I realize that I have four distinct influences that originate from outside the anarchist scene that inform my approach to utopian anarchism. These four influences are: the work of Manfred Max-Neef and his concept of fundamental human needs and his related work with human scale development, Buckminster Fuller and his comprehensive anticipatory design science and design science revolution, utopian socialism and the various utopian communities that came about as a result of it, and Marshall Rosenberg and the framework for Nonviolent Communication that he created.

1) Manfred Max-Neef’s fundamental human needs

The basic premise behind this is that everything that human beings do is motivated by a desire to meet a basic human need that everybody has. Needs in this ceonception of them are finite and distinct from "satisfiers" which are the infinite ways that people act to meet needs. Needs can be physical, such as food, water and shelter, or they can be mental, emotional or social in nature as well. Manfred Max-Neef identified nine fundamental needs that people have: subsistence, protection, affection, understanding, participation, rest, creation, identity, and autonomy. I like looking at things from this point of view because it opens us up to the possibility of infinite different ways to meet people’s needs while still focusing on the key things that people need to have fulfilling lives.

Manfred Max-Neef then took this concept of fundamental human needs and applied this to communities of people living together with his work in community development that he called "human scale development". With this he used a process of bottom-up direct participatory democracy for people to identify their needs and how they are getting met or not within the context of their communities. This approach took the focus away from concepts like "standard of living" and "gross national product" and instead focused on what can be done within the community to help there be more happiness and fulfillment among the people there.

2) Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science (CADS)

This is a body of work that primarily operates on the "physical perspective" that I mentioned earlier. It uses very much a systems theory approach of looking at the various systems that influence any given thing, and in turn looks at how that thing influences the larger systems that it resides within. This approach anticipates the various challenges and opportunities that may arise from the various systems that are being utilized and responds by designing other systems that can address these by using a rigorous process grounded in science. This approach is very much a type of engineering mindset that strives to meet the material needs of everyone while avoiding the systemic oversights that lead to the kinds of pollution and ecological devastation that we see in the world today.

3) Utopian Socialism

"Utopian socialism" is an umbrella term that refers to the kinds of socialism that existed before Marxism and anarchism came about that were characterized not by an emphasis on class struggle and revolution but instead on proposing new forms of society based on radically different designs. Some of the proponents and enthusiasts for these radical designs for different kinds of societies came together to create new utopian communities that were based on these designs. The emphasis here was on focusing on what one wants instead of what one doesn’t want, articulating a design for that vision, finding like-minded people and then moving to the same place to live and work together to turn that vision into a reality. There is a quote from Buckminster Fuller that I think nicely encapsultes the underlying sentiment behind utopian socialism: "You never change things by fighting against the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete."

4) Nonviolent Communication (NVC)

NVC is something that I have written about recently as well as in the past, but to succinctly summarize what it I would say this: Nonviolent Communication is an approach to communication based on principles of nonviolence, evolved from person-centered therapy, that instrumentally uses Manfred Max-Neef’s concept of fundamental human needs that I mentioned above. NVC has been used to assist people in acheiving greater personal psychological self-understanding and self-discovery, it has been used to assist with people’s interpersonal relationships and it has been used as a guide for creating new kinds of social structures and institutions. The goal of NVC is to increase people’s capacity to acknowledge and value everyone’s needs and to meet those needs out of an authentic desire to contribute to everyone’s wellbeing.

Ten Principles for My Utopian Anarchism

Diving into the heart of what my approach to utopian anarchism is about, I would frame it with ten distinct principles:

1) Have an idealized positive image for the kind of society that is the end goal. This positive image does not need to be set in stone, nor is it something that I am wanting people to be uptight about or something that is used to judge people over. Rather, it is someething that I would like to be used as a kind of guiding light for all the actions taken towards the end goal. This idealized positive image is intended to be aspirational and inspirational, and not to be used as a kind of "spook" such as what is talked about in the philosophy of Max Stirner.

2) Have a comprehensive general understanding of the systems and structures that are operating behind the scenes that make such a society possible. Usually when people envision an anarchist society the picture is painted in very broad strokes, with little to no elaboration on what is actually happening to have this society function. I would like to take a very different approach than that, and instead I find it useful to continuously be asking "What’s going on here exactly?" "How does it work?" "How is it sustained?" "How does it survive the inevitable challenges and hardships that life brings?" Pursuing this line of rigorous inquiry can ultimately deepen one’s understanding of the end goal that one is pursuing and can serve to support one in "reverse engineering", so to speak, that vision to better discern action steps to get there.

3) The whole point of such a society is to have happy healthy harmonious humans. Sometimes one might wonder why the hell are we doing all this work and investing all this time in what I am calling "utopian anarchism". My response to that is what I call "Quadruple H" – happy healthy harmonious humans. That’s the whole point of it all. That’s the reason why.

4) Aims to eliminate all forms of domination and instead meet needs through voluntary cooperation and sharing. This in my view is the whole goal of anarchism in general and I believe that it is important to keep this reason succinctly stated and in the back of one’s mind at all times. Think of it as the "anarchist mission statement", if you will.

5) Focuses simultaneously on personal inner work, relationship work, larger group structures and the physical environment. This is a reference to the four perspectives that I talked about earlier. It is good to periodically re-examine how one’s collective endeavors are faring through using each one of these four perspectives in order to ensure that nothing important is being overlooked or neglected.

6) Incorporates all of the various different anarchist critiques but focuses primarily on the positive end goal. The majority of anarchist writing out there focuses primarily on critiques of the various aspects of the world we live in that dominate and oppress people. I appreciate these critiques, I find them to be useful in terms of pointing out various things that we need to avoid and keep an eye out for, but in the end these critiques do not tell us where we want to go or how to get there.

7) Open, honest, thoughtful and considerate conversation that includes awareness and expression of one’s own needs as well as those of others is the foundation for it all. This is the kind of thing that Nonviolent Communication talks about and advocates for and I believe that ultimately if the people involved in this utopian anarchist endeavor can succeed at practicing this then the project would stand a good chance at weathering the inevitable challenges that it will come across.

8) Recognizes, uses, creates and discards of social constructs and is not bound by them. Human societies everywhere create and abide by social constructs as a way to help the society function smoothly. I don’t see social constructs as necessarily being "good" or "bad" per se, but what I do see as being deleterious is belieiving that any particular social constructs are "inevitable" or "necessary". Instead I would like to cultivate a habit of recognizing social constructs for what they are, to not be attached to them and to instead be willing to replace them if a consensus is reached that doing so would be advantageous. I have previously written about the social construct of "ownership" here.

9) Acknowledges that uniformity of vision is not necessary for sufficient cooperation to be possible. I have lots of ideas on, lots of beliefs about and lots of desires for the world at large. And while I have a lot that I can say about my approach to utopian anarchism and the ideal society I envision, I do not want to convey a notion that everyone would need to abide by everything I say about the subject in order for it to be realized. People can cooperate in a variety of different ways, in a variety of different capacities, each for their own reasons. The last thing that I would want to see happen is have some kind of cult created in the name of some anarchist vision. Uniformity is unnecessary.

10) Voluntary associations that people choose to be in. Any involvement with the kinds of utopian anarchist societies/communities/projects that I am envisioning would need to be done voluntarily. I hold this vision dear to my heart, but I would not want anyone to ever be coerced into participating in it. Individual willingness is a key principle necessary for the whole thing to work. I have previously written about this here.

Ten Practices for My Utopian Anarchism

Moving from the abstract to the practical, there already exists a number of different practices that people can engage in now as well as in a future utopian anarchist society. All of these practices are grounded in some way in the principles that I elaborated upon above. A lot of what I mention below are more like groups or clusters of different practices, but nevertheless what I want to emphasize is that there are some real life things that people can do to begin practicing utopian anarchism.

1) Egalitarian income-sharing intentional communities. This is where people live together intentionally, share income and resources, and make decisions together in some kind of democratic way. In the United States the Federation of Egalitarian Communities is a good resource for such communities.

2) Vipassana Meditation practice. With regards to the first perspective that I mentioned in this piece, the individual/personal perspective, Vipassana Meditation practice is a great way for one to better understand oneself and to develop more personal insight, self-discipline and self-control. This website is a good starting place to go learn more about this practice.

3) Empathic listening exchanges. Empathy is an essential part of maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships, and the approach to empathy that I draw from the most comes from Nonviolent Communication. NVC teaches some specific ways to practice empathic listening, and there is one instruction guide for that online here.

4) Restorative / Transformative Justice for addressing harm. People often hurt other people, whether it is done intentionally or unintentionally it is a regular part of life. The approaches to addressing harm that I consider to be the most beneficial for individuals, relationships and communities is Restorative Justice and Transformative Justice. These approaches focus on healing those whom have been hurt, repairing relationships and changing the systemic conditions that have helped to create the situation where harm occured to begin with.

5) Convergent Facilitation for group decision-making. Based on Nonviolent Communication and created by the NVC trainer Miki Kashtan, Convergent Facilitation is a method for facilitating meetings of groups of people to find consensus while also addressing all of the different needs and concerns that the participants have.

6) Decentralized organizational structures. The field of organizational development has produced a lot of work over the years designing ways that people can structure decentralized directly democratic organizations that are efficient and effective at what they are trying to do. Some examples of this are Sociocracy, Holacracy and Frederic Laloux’s Reinventing Organizations. There are many practical and valuable insights contained within this work, but since it originates from the corporate world it has largely gone unnoticed by most anarchists.

7) Fundamental human needs assessments. This practice has first been developed by Manfred Max-Neef and the work he did with Human Scale Development in small-scale communities. I’m thinking that a similar practice could be developed for individuals where a person takes the time to sit down with a list of needs and carefully examines whether or to what extent each need is being met in their life and in what ways. This can be a guided process of self-reflection where one gains clarity about the relationship that they have with the various different needs that they have. I’m thinking that a kind of annual ritual could be created for this practice, possibly carried out each year on one’s birthday.

8) The Co-Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. Based on Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science and organized by the Buckminster Fuller Institute, this is an inventory of various practices that people can do to implement this way of thinking into real life situations. The website for this can be found here.

9) Group Size Based on Dunbar’s Number. The anthropologist Robin Dunbar has suggested a number of people which is the maximum size that a group can be where everyone who is a part of the group still has meaningful relationships with one another. Anything above that number results in relationships within the group becoming impersonal and abstract. I would like for there to be an agreed upon mechanism within utopian anarchist communities for the group to split into two new communities once that number has been reached. Think of it being like a process of cell division, but for groups of people.

10) Student-centered learning. A number of different educational theorists have discussed student-centered learning, and the one that I resonate with the most is that which was articulated in a book by Carl Rogers. I have also written about this subject previously myself in a blog post here. Briefly stated, the idea behind it is that in situations where learning is being facilitated, the emphasis is to be placed on the learner and wherever their interests and enthusiasm may be and to de-emphasize the importance of curricula, educational standards and schools in general.


So that about wraps it up for now. I realize that in some sense what I am talking about here is nothing new. Solarpunk is a relatively recent phenomenon that covers a lot of the same ground as utopian anarchism, albeit it is not a specifically anarchist project and is instead more of a generally radical ecologically-oriented one. Going back further in time, utopian socialism also has a number of similarties to utopian anarchism, but like solarpunk it is also not a specifically anarchist project. I would say that both solarpunk and utopian socialism are "siblings" of utopian anarchism, but not twins.

Regarding the "utopian anarchist" label specifically, there are only two people other than myself who have publicly associated themself with that term. There is the author Ruth Kinna who has written about the subject, co-edited a book about it, as well as given talks about it. And the other person is Elon Musk, who has publicly stated that he is a utopian anarchist, but has never elaborated on what that term means to him in any great detail.

For me, although I do appreciate the work that Ruth Kinna and Elon Musk have done, I prefer sticking to my own ideas for what an ideal anarchist society would look like and how it would work. And ultimately I think that this is how it will play out for everyone, each person will have their own ideas for what the ideal world would look like, and it is up to us all to find ways to work together to begin moving towards these ideals. My hope is that what I have written here has stirred up some thought to that end.

Tags: utopiaNVC

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Anarchism, nationalism, war, and peace

Some reflections on anarchism, nationalism, war, and peace, spurred by recent events.



Submitted by Craftwork on June 12, 2022

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1. “The true cause, the trigger, the author of this war, is therefore not any particular State, but all the States that pursue an imperialist policy and seek to expand their territories: Germany, England, France, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Belgium and Japan; each one separately and all of them together are its cause.” – Herman Gorter, ‘Imperialism, the World War and Social Democracy’ (1914).

Imperialism is not simply the “bad behaviour” of nation-states, like the US or Russia. It is the logic of a world divided into nation-states within the competitive logic of global capitalism. As competing zones of accumulation, nation-states are inexorably led into violent competition with one another, in the struggle for resources and power, regardless of whether they are led by hawks of doves.

2. Nationalism rests on the claim of a particular people, with a shared national identity, over a particular piece of territory: the nation-state claims sovereignty over the territory within its borders. The historical claim over the territory was often obtained through force, military conquest. The right of one group of people (citizens/nationals) to lay special claim to a territory is simultaneously the right to exclude ‘aliens’, foreigners, immigrants. Nationalism is thus an assertion of property rights. Nationalism gives credence to the idea that the working-class, on the basis of some shared identity, form a cross-class ‘community’ with elites, and shares interests with them.

“No people ever had its place on earth adjudicated by an extraterrestrial authority according to the stipulations of legal tenure. […] The right of national autonomy and state sovereignty is merely another name for the injustice of harassing, deporting, and expelling people on the grounds that they possess the wrong passport or birth certificate. And this injustice is not a corruption of the idea of the nation-state but rather its essence – admittedly rendered milder on occasion by the tolerance of reasonable people. [….] The legal claims of human beings, peoples, or nations to a piece of land is just another name for the right to expel others from the same piece of land. In every festive proclamation of a people’s right to exist lurks the threat of revoking another people’s right to exist.” – Wolfgang Pohrt, ‘On The Radical Left and National Liberation’ (1982).

3. In the name of “national liberation”, “nationalism of the oppressed” or “anti-imperialism”, the Left ends-up supporting imperialist war, it supports the organised and reciprocal slaughter of different nationalities of the working-class under “their” flags. The chimerical ideal of “national liberation” has historically resulted in little more than the emergence of corrupt, bureaucratic regimes, which eventually suppress labour once they are in control of the machinery of the capitalist state. In no way can the politics of nationalism challenge capital’s domination of the planet. At most nationalist struggles entails a reordering of power-relations among nation-states, a reshuffling of ranks.

“The working class should not talk about its rights but about its class interest. Talking about a right to national "self-determination" (as though a geographical grouping of antagonistic classes can be a "self"!) is like saying that workers have a "right" to be slaves if they want to, or a "right" to beat themselves over the head with a hammer if they want to. Anyone who supports the "right" to something anti-working class is actually helping to advocate it, whatever their mealy-mouthed language.” – Subversion #16, ‘The revolutionary alternative to left-wing politics’ (1995).

4. Can nationalism serve as a basis for class struggle? Consider Paul Mattick’s words: “Contrary to earlier expectations, nationalism could not be utilized to further socialist aims, nor was it a successful strategy to hasten the demise of capitalism. On the contrary, nationalism destroyed socialism by using it for nationalist ends.” – Paul Mattick, ‘Nationalism or Socialism’ (1959).

5. National oppression will exist as long as nation-states exist – the anarchist solution to the problem of national oppression is the social-revolutionary dissolution of nation-states, not the retrenchment of labour behind competing nationalisms. The anarchist revolutions in Ukraine and Spain demonstrated the historical possibility of denationalisation, and workers’ self-administration of territories.

6. "What will you do when America goes to war? […] Personally, I take neither pleasure nor interest in going into any war whatever; still, to declare oneself against war seems to me silly and useless. One has to set material forces against it, not mere attitudes, and anyone who fails to take part in shaping those forces is also not against war, however much he may protest that he is. The question itself suggests the idea that one is supposed to come out for peace and against war, but I am opposed to capitalist peace just as much as to capitalist war. Nor do I have any choice between the two situations; I can only contribute to putting an end to a system which has to assure its existence on the tendency to alternate between war and peace." – Paul Mattick, ‘What will you do when America goes to war?’ (1935)

Examples of practical activity that anarchists can undertake against war consist of combating pro-war propaganda, industrial action, sabotage, refugee support, mutual aid, and the struggle against the system of immigration controls that prevent people from leaving war-zones to settle wherever they please, instead forcing them to rely on human-traffickers. Anarchists are against war, but we are not for peace. The conditions of capitalist peace, with all the contradictions that they entail, are what lead to capitalist wars. We reject ‘militarism or peace’ as a false choice. Faced with the reality of war, our response is working to abolish the system that produces war. The global choice today, as a hundred years ago, is only socialism or barbarism.

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Anarchist, publisher, would-be assassin: exhibition documents life of Stuart Christie
From The Guardian by Vanessa Thorpe

Tribute to the revolutionary thinking of the Glaswegian writer jailed in Spain when a teenager for plotting to blow up Franco

To the British authorities of the 1970s the suspected terrorist Stuart Christie represented a dangerous menace, but to his admirers he was brave, principled and gifted.

Now the public will have the chance to judge for itself as a comprehensive Christie archive – a record of his life as a prominent anarchist, author, leftwing publisher and would-be political assassin – goes on show for the first time.

It will include unseen letters written by the incarcerated 18-year-old Christie, held in Spain for planning to kill the fascist dictator Francisco Franco, as well as a range of personal photographs never displayed before.

After a lengthy fundraising campaign, the Stuart Christie Memorial Archive will be launched on 22 June at the MayDay Rooms in Fleet Street, London. The images, book covers and personal documents the archive contains chronicle Christie’s creative career, his infamous brushes with the law and his impact on revolutionary thought in Britain, and it will also be available online.

Born in 1946 to a hairdresser and a Glaswegian trawlerman, Christie is now often associated with the Angry Brigade, the small group of leftwing terrorists and agitators who were tried for mounting a series of bomb attacks in London in the early 1970s.

Christie is also still celebrated by some for having attempted to blow up Franco in 1964, a crime for which he faced possible execution.

Instead the teenager was sentenced by a military court to 20 years in prison, while his Spanish accomplice, Fernando Carballo Blanco, got 30 years. Christie’s sentence prompted international protests, including from eminent philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Bertrand Russell, and he eventually served only three years in Madrid’s Carabanchel prison, using his time there to study and mix with anarchist prisoners.

Releasing Christie early, the Franco regime claimed it was responding to a plea from Christie’s mother.

In later life Christie lived in Hastings on the south coast of England and died two years ago at 74. In his obituary in the Guardian, the journalist Duncan Campbell gave details of the notorious failed assassination in Spain. Christie’s mission had been to deliver plastic explosives to Madrid so the dictator could be killed while he attended a football match. Christie, who Campbell described as “a man of great charm, warmth and wit”, had told his family he was going grape picking in France. Dressed in a kilt, he hitchhiked from Paris to Spain but was picked up due to infiltration of the Spanish conspirators in Madrid. Christie signed a confession after being forced to watch his accomplice being tortured.

His friend Ron McKay has recounted Christie’s own memories of the military trial, which he could not understand because it was conducted in Spanish by 11 army officers “heavy with medals”. “He said he felt he had been transported into the final act of some grand opera. ‘I was 18 years and six weeks old, a boy from working-class Glasgow, and I’d never been to the opera,’ he remembered,” McKay wrote.

But Christie has another legacy for those who read his fiction and prose. For these literary fans he was a talent whose reputation as a creative thinker has been hampered by associations with violent political campaigns.

The memorial archive, brought together by researcher Jessica Thorne, an expert on anarchist prisoners in Franco’s Spain, includes photographs, letters, personal objects and artwork as well as samples of the output of his publishing arms Cienfuegos Press, Christie Books and the Anarchist Film Archive.

It also covers Christie’s involvement in the Angry Brigade trial, at which he was acquitted of all charges. The brigade was responsible for small bomb attacks targeting banks, embassies, the homes of Conservative MPs and a BBC outside broadcast vehicle between 1970 and 1972. The bombings caused damage to property, and one person was injured. Eight people known as the Stoke Newington Eight stood trial and four were acquitted. The jury believed Christie’s claim that the police had planted two detonators in his car.

In 2014 a play about the incident, The Angry Brigade, written by James Graham, was produced, starring Patsy Ferran as Anna Mendelssohn, one of the accused, who later wrote poetry under the name Grace Lake.

New material in the memorial archive includes the text of Christie’s three-part autobiography as well as a novelised memoir, ¡Pistoleros! the Chronicles of Farquhar McHarg. His well-reviewed shorter memoir, Granny Made Me an Anarchist, was reprinted by Scribner in 2004. His grandmother, Agnes McCulloch Davis, really had been a formative influence. “She provided the star I followed,” he once said.

Christie joined Glasgow’s Anarchist Federation at the age of 16 and was also active in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, as well as the more militant Direct Action Committee and Committee of 100, and he took part in the confrontational CND demonstration at the Faslane naval base in 1963.

After his acquittal in the Angry Brigade trial, having served 18 months on remand, Christie continued with anarchist activism in Britain before moving to Orkney. From the island of Sanday he started Cienfuegos Press, which he had named after the Cuban revolutionary Camilo Cienfuegos, and he also edited and published a radical local newspaper, The Free-Winged Eagle. Copies now appear in the archive alongside previously unseen photographs from his childhood, some of them donated by Stuart’s daughter Branwen. Brenda, Christie’s wife, died in June 2019.

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Tags: Stuart ChristiearchivesMSM

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Patricia Piccinini’s Alternative Universe of Bio-Hacked Beings
Nikita Ephanov
Just a glance at Patricia Piccinini’s diverse breadth of humanoid creations imparts a disturbing, yet oddly empathetic experience. More than just sketches, detailed models or ponderings of a dystopian breed, Piccinini’s vision activates a deeply rooted human compassion.

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Peter Lamborn Wilson, Advocate of ‘Poetic Terrorism,’ Dies at 76
From New York Times By Penelope Green | June 11, 2022

His concept of a “temporary autonomous zone” became an inspiration for protests like Occupy Wall Street and for gatherings like Burning Man.

Peter Lamborn Wilson, a counterculture intellectual, anarchist, poet, musicologist and utopian who coined the term “temporary autonomous zone,” which became a cri de coeur for the organizers behind both Burning Man and Occupy Wall Street — as well as for ravers, cyberpunks and other late-20th-century antiestablishmentarians — died on May 23 at his home in Saugerties, N.Y. He was 76.

The cause was heart failure, said Jim Fleming, his publisher.

Mr. Wilson’s book “T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism,” was a slim volume first published by Autonomedia, Mr. Fleming’s company, in 1991. Mr. Wilson wrote it under a pseudonym, Hakim Bey. (He liked to pretend that his made-up alter ego was a real person.)

The book’s central premise was that one could create one’s own stateless society — the goal of anarchy — with simple and poetic acts like creating public art and communal exercises like dinner parties. It quickly acquired a cult following, particularly among those who frequented the aisles of alternative bookstores looking for inspiration on how to sidestep or disrupt the capitalist mainstream.

When, in the fall of 2011, a crowd of protesters decrying the country’s financial system built an encampment inside Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan and declared a movement they called Occupy Wall Street, “T.A.Z.” was in many of the organizers’ backpacks. And when the Occupiers opened their People’s Library there, which swelled to some 3,600 volumes, “T.A.Z.” was one of the first on its shelves. With sales of about 50,000 — a blockbuster for the genre — it remains one of Autonomedia’s best sellers.

Temporary autonomous zones have continued to flourish, and the term gained new currency in recent years: In June 2020, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, protesters in Seattle, and then in Portland, Ore., took over the streets and proclaimed their own autonomous zones.

Mr. Wilson’s book “made anarchism’s ideas accessible,” said Cara Hoffman, a novelist and one of the founders of The Anarchist Review of Books, a print journal. “It explained anarchism in such a way that people could understand that in everyday life most of us already practice some of its core principles.”

“T.A.Z.” seems to take its cues from the Situationist Manifesto and its prose style from Allen Ginsberg. A sample: “Weird dancing in all-night computer-banking lobbies. Unauthorized pyrotechnic displays. Land-art, earthworks as bizarre alien artifacts strewn in State Parks. Burglarize houses but instead of stealing, leave Poetic-Terrorist objects.”

Additional bullet points include exhortations to boycott products marked as Lite; hex the Muzak company; go on strike; dance all night; start a pirate radio station; put up posters; home-school your kids or teach them a craft; don’t vote; be a hobo.

Like the Italian Futurists, or Gordon Matta-Clark, Carol Goodden and the other artists who in 1971 opened the SoHo restaurant Food as an exercise in performance art and community, Mr. Wilson was particularly drawn to the regenerative and creative possibilities of the dinner party. He called it a “union of egoists,” quoting the philosopher Max Stirner, “in its simplest form.”

Mr. Wilson’s background, unsurprisingly, was eclectic. He was a classics major at Columbia University but dropped out. He helped start a psychedelic church, and he pondered, briefly, a career as an antiwar activist (an attempt to bomb a draft headquarters in red paint fizzled) before hitting the hippie hashish trail, as many of his peers did, traveling through the Middle East and South Asia.

He visited all the usual spots and had all the usual adventures before settling in Tehran to study Persian Sufism. With the ouster of the Shah of Iran in 1979, he returned to the United States and moved into an apartment on the Lower East Side.

He worked out his disillusionment with the failed promise of the 1960s — the revolution that never came — in provocative writing that appeared in avant-garde journals like Semiotext(e), where French intellectuals like Michel Foucault mingled with American Beats like Ginsberg and William Burroughs and radical feminists like Kate Millett and Kathy Acker, the postpunk novelist and performance artist.

By all accounts, Mr. Wilson was erudite about the recondite, a prolific author of some 60 books on topics ranging from angels to pirate utopias and all manner of renegade religions. He was for years an East Village fixture and the host of “The Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade,” a late-night program on WBAI, Manhattan’s countercultural radio station. On his show, he might declaim on higher mathematics, play a selection of esoteric music like Sufi chants or Greek rembetika, and review zines, the D.I.Y. journals that flourished in the late 1980s and ‘90s.

But because his writing often included erotic imagery of young teenage boys, he was controversial.

“I always had a fairly conflicted position about how to handle the issue,” Mr. Fleming said. “Whether to downplay it or try to defend it in some way. He identified as gay, but I never knew him to have a sexual partner, or an actual sex life. His sexual practices were what I call Whitmanesque, imaginal only.”

Peter Lamborn Wilson was born on Oct. 20, 1945, in Baltimore. The only child of Douglas Emory Wilson, a career Army officer and English professor, and Laura (Packwood) Wilson, a high school teacher, he grew in New Brunswick N.J.

No immediate family members survive.

As productive as Mr. Wilson was, his work was not exactly lucrative. He lived on a small stipend from his father, and on the money he made selling pot. He often described himself as independently poor and a “trustafarian,” Mr. Fleming said.

“He was a fascinating character,” said Lucy Sante, the cultural historian and author of books, like “Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York,” that tell stories of urban fringe dwellers. Ms. Sante often took Mr. Wilson to lunch — as many did; it was understood that you would pick up the tab — in Woodstock, N.Y., where Mr. Wilson was living for a time.

“He knew a lot about everything,” Ms. Sante said. “The thing we had in common was an interest in dropout culture, in all the ways of not participating in the charade of modern life. And he was encyclopedic in his knowledge of all that material. He was an eccentric, but also I think what he was doing was scattering bread crumbs for others to pick up.”

Tags: hakim beyPeter Lamborn WilsonMSMobituaryTAZ

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Eric Hobsbawm – Anarchists

Author: Eric Hobsbawm
Title: Anarchists
Date: 1973
Notes: From Volume II of Revolutionaries.
Source: Retrieved on 8th June 2022 from

Bolshevism and the Anarchists
The libertarian tradition of communism — anarchism — has been bitterly hostile to the marxist ever since Bakunin, or for that matter Proudhon. Marxism, and even more leninism, have been equally hostile to anarchism as theory and programme and contemptuous of it as a political movement. Yet if we investigate the history of the international communist movement in the period of the Russian revolution and the Communist International, we find a curious asymmetry. While the leading spokesmen of anarchism maintained their hostility to bolshevism with, at best, a momentary wavering during the actual revolution, or at the moment when the news of October reached them, the attitude of the bolsheviks, in and outside Russia, was for a time considerably more benevolent to the anarchists. This is the subject of the present paper.

The theoretical attitude with which bolshevism approached anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist movements after 1917, was quite clear. Marx, Engels and Lenin had all written on the subject, and in general there seemed to be no ambiguity or mutual inconsistency about their views, which may be summarized as follows:

There is no difference between the ultimate objects of marxists and anarchists, i.e. a libertarian communism in which exploitation, classes and the state will have ceased to exist.

Marxists believe that this ultimate stage will be separated from the overthrow of bourgeois power through proletarian revolution, by a more or less protracted interval characterized by the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ and other transitional arrangements, in which state power would play some part. There was room for some argument about the precise meaning of the classical marxist writings on these problems of transition, but no ambiguity at all about the marxist view that the proletarian revolution would not give rise immediately to communism, and that the state could not be abolished, but would ‘wither away’. On this point the conflict with anarchist doctrine was total and clearly defined.

In addition to the characteristic readiness of marxists to see the power of a revolutionary state used for revolutionary purposes, marxism was actively committed to a firm belief in the superiority of centralization to decentralization or federalism and (especially in the leninist version), to a belief in the indispensability of leadership, organization and discipline and the inadequacy of any movement based on mere ‘spontaneity’.

Where participation in the formal processes of politics was possible, marxists took it for granted that socialist and communist movements would engage in it as much as in any other activities which could contribute to advance the overthrow of capitalism.

While some marxists developed critiques of the actual or potential authoritarian and/or bureaucratic tendencies of parties based on the classical marxist tradition, none of these critics abandoned their characteristic lack of sympathy for anarchist movements, so long as they considered themselves to be marxists.

The record of the political relations between marxist movements and anarchist or anarcho-syndicalist ones, appeared equally unambiguous in 1917. In fact, these relations had been considerably more acrimonious in the lifetime of Marx, Engels and the Second International than they were to be in that of the Comintern. Marx himself had fought and criticized Proudhon and Bakunin, and the other way round. The major social democratic parties had done their best to exclude anarchists, or been obliged to do so. Unlike the First International, the Second no longer included them, at all events after the London Congress of 1896. Where marxist and anarchist movements coexisted, it was as rivals, if not as enemies. However, though the marxists were intensely exasperated by the anarchists in practice revolutionary marxists, who shared with them an increasing hostility to the reformism of the Second International, tended to regard them as revolutionaries, if misguided ones. This was in line with the theoretical view summarized in (a) above. At least anarchism and revolutionary syndicalism might be regarded as a comprehensible reaction against reformism and opportunism. Indeed, it might be — and was — argued that reformism and anarcho-syndicalism were part of the same phenomenon: without the one, the other would not have gained so much ground. It could further be argued that the collapse of reformism would also automatically weaken anarcho-syndicalism.

It is not clear how far these views of the ideologists and political leaders were shared by the rank-and-file militants and supporters of the marxist movements. We may suppose that the differences were often much less clearly felt at this level. It is a well-known fact that doctrinal, ideological and programmatic distinctions which are of major importance at one level, are of negligible importance at another- e.g. that as late as 1917 ‘social democratic’ workers in many Russian towns were barely if at all aware of the differences between bolsheviks and mensheviks. The historian of labour movements and their doctrines forgets such facts at his peril.

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‘I’m certainly open to criticism’: David Wengrow and the trouble with rewriting human history

Andrew Anthony
Wengrow and his late co-author David Graeber caused a sensation with their revisionist view of humankind’s development. But then came the attacks…
Last year a book called The Dawn of Everything announced that most of what we think we know about human history is wrong. Its co-authors, David Graeber and David Wengrow, took aim at the established story that has been repeated by brand writers such as Jared Diamond, Yuval Noah Harari and Steven Pinker – the one that says that for most of prehistory, we lived in small egalitarian bands of hunter-gatherers, and it was only with the agricultural revolution about 12,000 years ago that we adopted larger forms of social organisation leading to complex, hierarchical communities. All of that, they argue, is based on outdated information.
In their bestselling books Collapse, Sapiens and The Better Angels of Our Nature, those authors drew heavily on archaeological and anthropological findings, although none of them are archaeologists or anthropologists. By contrast Graeber, who died two years ago, was thought by many to be one of the leading anthropologists of his generation. And co-author Wengrow is a well-respected archaeologist.
Continue reading…

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“Enough is enough“: Thousands demand new gun safety laws

Associated Press
2022-06-11 04:19:22People participate in the second March for Our Lives rally in support of gun control in front of the Washington Monument, Saturday, June 11, 2022, in Washington. The rally is a successor to the 2018 march organized by student protestors after the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands of people rallied on the National Mall and across the United States on Saturday in a renewed push for gun control measures after recent deadly mass shootings from Uvalde, Texas, to Buffalo, New York, that activists say should compel Congress to act.
“Enough is enough,” District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser told the second March for Our Lives rally in her city. “I speak as a mayor, a mom, and I speak for millions of Americans and America’s mayors who are demanding that Congress do its job. And its job is to protect us, to protect our children from gun violence.”
Speaker after speaker in Washington called on senators, who are seen as a major impediment to legislation, to act or face being voted out of office, especially given the shock to the nation’s conscience after 19 children and two teachers were killed May 24 at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
“If our government can’t do anything to stop 19 kids from being killed and slaughtered in their own school, and decapitated, it’s time to change who is in government,” said David Hogg, a survivor of the 2018 shooting that killed 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
A co-founder of the March For Our Lives organization that was created after that shooting and held its first rally in Washington not long afterward, Hogg led the crowd in chants of “Vote them out.”
Another Parkland survivor and group co-founder, X Gonzalez, delivered an impassioned, profanity-laced plea to Congress for change. “We are being murdered," they screamed and implored Congress to “act your age, not your shoe size.”
Added Yolanda King, granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr.: “This time is different because this isn’t about politics. It’s about morality. Not right and left, but right and wrong, and that doesn’t just mean thoughts and prayers. That means courage and action.”
Manuel Oliver, whose son, Joaquin, was killed in the Parkland shooting, called on students "to avoid going back to school until our elected leaders stop avoiding the crisis of gun violence in America and start acting to save our lives.”
Hundreds gathered at an amphitheater in Parkland, where Debra Hixon, whose husband, high school athletic director Chris Hixon, died in the shooting, said it is “all too easy” for young men to walk into stores and buy weapons.
“Going home to an empty bed and an empty seat at the table is a constant reminder that he is gone,” said Hixon, who now serves as a school board member. “We weren’t done making memories, sharing dreams and living life together. Gun violence ripped that away from my family.”
In San Antonio, about 85 miles east of Uvalde, marchers chanted “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the NRA has got to go.” A man who said he helped to organize the rally, Frank Ruiz, called for gun reform laws similar to those enacted in Florida after the Parkland shooting that focused on raising the age for purchasing certain firearms and flagging those with mental health issues.
The U.S. House has passed bills to raise the age limit to buy semi-automatic weapons and establish federal “red flag” laws. A bipartisan group of senators had hoped to reach agreement this week on a framework for addressing the issue and held talks Friday, but no deal was announced.
President Joe Biden, who was in California when the Washington rally began, said his message to demonstrators was “keep marching” and added that he is “mildly optimistic” about legislative negotiations to address gun violence. Biden recently delivered an impassioned address to the nation in which he called for several steps, including raising the age limit for buying assault-style weapons.
In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams, who campaigned on reining in violence in the nation’s largest city, joined state Attorney General Letitia James, who is suing the National Rifle Association, in leading activists across the Brooklyn Bridge.
“Nothing happens in this country until young people stand up — not politicians,” James said.
Joining the call for change were hundreds of people who rallied in a park outside the courthouse in Portland, Maine, before they marched through the Old Port and gathered outside of City Hall. At one point, they chanted, “Hey, hey, hey, NRA. How many kids did you kill today.”
John Wuesthoff, a retired lawyer in Portland, said he was waving an American flag during the rally as a reminder that gun control is “not un-American.”
“It’s very American to have reasonable regulations to save the lives of our children,” he said.
Hundreds of protesters in Milwaukee marched from the county courthouse to the city’s Deer District, where last month 21 people were injured in shootings on the night of an NBA playoff game. Organizer Tatiana Washington, whose aunt was killed by gun violence in 2017, said this year’s march is particularly significant to Milwaukee residents.
“A lot of us are still very heavily thinking about the mass shooting that occurred after the Bucks game,” Washington said. “We shouldn’t be scared to go watch our team in the playoffs and live in fear that we’re going to be shot at.”
The passion that the issue stirs was clear in Washington when a young man jumped the barricade and tried to rush the stage before being intercepted by security. The incident caused a brief panic as people began to scatter.
Organizers hoped the second March for Our Lives rally would draw as many as 50,000 people to the Washington Monument, though the crowd seemed closer to 30,000. The 2018 event attracted more than 200,000 people, but the focus this time was on smaller marches at an estimated 300 locations.
The youth-led movement created after the Parkland shooting successfully pressured the Republican-dominated Florida state government to enact sweeping gun control changes. The group did not match that at the national level, but has persisted in advocating for gun restrictions since then, as well as participating in voter registration drives.
Survivors of mass shootings and other incidents of gun violence have lobbied legislators and testified on Capitol Hill this week. Among them was Miah Cerrillo, an 11-year-old girl who survived the shooting at Robb Elementary. She described for lawmakers how she covered herself with a dead classmate’s blood to avoid being shot.
Associated Press writers Jennifer Peltz in New York, David Sharp in Portland, Maine, and Chris Megerian in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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Laurance Labadie’s “Anarchy and Law”

Center For Stateless Society
Anarchy and Law Clarity, definiteness, and specificity are desired for the enhancement of understanding. But anarchism as a social philosophy suffers from the handicap of not being an affirmative theory about the activities of humans. It is rather a negative…

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Machinic Enslavement: Deleuze and Guattari’s ‘Apparatus of Capture’

Acid Horizon Patrons
On this episode, Craig, Adam, Matt, and Will recap and reflect on the reading group’s discussion of Deleuze and Guattari’s “Apparatus of Capture”. What does “capture” mean in the work of Deleuze and Guattari? How is the subject of capital captured? In what ways does the cybernetic present redefine the nature of our social subjection? How can we resist capture? This discussion ranges from pontifications about neoliberal theories of “human capital” to the function of Nielsen ratings at the advent of a society defined by its mechanisms of control. This episode tackles issues of interests to those dedicated to biopolitical critique, ontologies of flight and political resistance, philosophical anthropology, and the cybernetic hypothesis.
The Philosopher’s Tarot’ from Repeater Books

always other (musical project):

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Happy Hour at Hippel’s (Adam’s blog):
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Split Infinities (Craig’s Substack):

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Massachusetts Democrats, including Ayanna Pressley, condemn pro-Palestinian project mapping Boston Jewish groups

The Forward
(JTA) – At least four Democrats in Congress, including one vocal critic of Israel, have spoken out against a Boston pro-Palestinian activist group’s initiative mapping “local institutional support for the colonization of Palestine,” saying the map, which includes the names, addresses and staff members of many Jewish organizations, could incite violence against the Jewish community. Reps. Ayanna…

The post Massachusetts Democrats, including Ayanna Pressley, condemn pro-Palestinian project mapping Boston Jewish groups appeared first on The Forward.

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Newly Restored Documentary on IWW Released

Industrial Worker
James Sattva
Directed by filmmakers Deborah Shaffer and Steward Bird, The Wobblies was first released in 1979. Since then, it has come to be seen by members of the YouTube generation as a definitive introduction to the Industrial Workers of the World, the international labor union. Now,  film distributor Kino Lorber’s restoration of the documentary offers viewers … Continue reading "Newly Restored Documentary on IWW Released"

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Lost photos from Spanish civil war reveal daily life behind anti-fascist lines

Guy Lane
Rediscovered work by two Jewish women has gone on display in Madrid for first time
Photographs by two Jewish female photographers who worked behind anti-fascist lines during the Spanish civil war have gone on display in Madrid after 80 years. For decades the negatives and prints, many of which have never been published, were believed to be lost or destroyed. They are now on show in the capital for the first time.
As the Spanish civil war neared a conclusion in 1939, anarchists of the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo and Federación Anarquista Ibérica (CNT-FAI) fighting in Barcelona took steps to preserve records of their struggle and achievements. Apprehensive of the war’s outcome, they sealed documents and 2,300 photographs, 5,000 negatives and almost 300 photographic plates in 48 wooden crates, which they smuggled out of the city away from the fascist bombardment, destined for the safe haven of the International Institute of Social History (IISH) in Amsterdam.
Barcelona, 1936. Photograph: Margaret Michaelis / IISH / National Gallery of Australia
Continue reading…

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Waller R. Newell: Tyranny and Revolution: Rousseau to Heidegger, Cambridge University Press, 2022

Phenomenological Reviews
Phenomenological Reviews

Сообщение Waller R. Newell: Tyranny and Revolution: Rousseau to Heidegger, Cambridge University Press, 2022 появились сначала на Phenomenological Reviews.

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We are fully dependent on the internet—and that’s changing our brains (and everything else)

Phenomenology and Existentialism
Next Big Idea Club
Justin E. H. Smith is professor of history and philosophy of science at the University of Paris. His books include Irrationality: A History of the Dark Side of Reason; The Philosopher: A History in Six Types; and Divine Machines: Leibniz and the Sciences of Life.

Below, Smith shares five key insights from his new book, The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is: A History, a Philosophy, a Warning. Listen to the audio version—read by Smith himself—in the Next Big Idea App.

1. The internet is not what you think it is.
Of course, the internet is many things—we pay bills on it, we can look at distant galaxies through NASA telescopes—but that’s not the part I’m talking about. I’m talking about the part that we use in our daily lives, the part that has dopamine reward systems built into it that lead to addiction. I’m talking about social media networks, which are not truly the place we go to pursue greater understanding of issues, and to share arguments with our adversaries in good faith. The internet offers only a simulation of a deliberative neutral space for the pursuit of something like what the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas would call “deliberative democracy.”

In fact, you might say that Twitter is, to rational deliberation, very much like what Grand Theft Auto is to chasing stolen cars. It bears a thematic connection to the thing in question, but in both cases, it’s a video game simulation. Twitter is a deliberation-themed video game, and the same goes for other social media platforms. But as long as privately owned social media is the only game in town, we have no other venue to go to. We can publish pamphlets in our basement and distribute them on a street corner, but nobody is going to know as long as the one path to effective, meaningful exchange is the algorithmically driven, privately held, for-profit venue of social media. Effectively, democracy is under serious threat. And for this reason, one ought to be very wary.

2. Why do we take the internet to be a glue of civil society, even though it obviously is not?
The arc of the dream of a society in which peace and rational deliberation prevail is very long, much longer than we tend to think of it. I would say that it begins in the 1670s and it dies in the 2010s. It’s around 1678 that Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz develops a functional model of what he calls a “reckoning engine,” a mechanical device with gears and wheels and knobs that is suitable for any task of arithmetical calculation. You might think that’s a long way from being a computer, let alone a networked computer, but Leibniz recognizes that anything that can do arithmetic can also do binary—that is to say, it can crunch zeros and ones just as it can crunch all the natural numbers. So Leibniz understands that at least in principle, his reckoning engine does everything a computer can do, even though the proof of concept only comes along in the 1830s with the analytical engine of Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace. Moreover, Leibniz also recognizes that there’s no reason why two such machines that are at a great distance from one another could not be connected by some mechanism that would facilitate telecommunication. So even though the various genetic strands of the internet would take a few more centuries to come together, the idea was there.

Now, Leibniz was also a diplomat, and his true lifelong project was reconciling the two primary groups of Christians in Europe after the Protestant Reformation and the Wars of Religion. He had huge conciliatory goals in the political and ecclesiastic spheres, and he sincerely believed that someday soon, once the machines were configured correctly, we would be able to punch in the arguments of two parties in conflict—say, two empires or the two churches—and the machines would simply tell us who was right. And in this way, there would never be any enduring conflicts, and perpetual peace will reign. It was the ultimate expression of optimism in what the mechanization of reason might deliver to us.

And that dream is long. I remember the tail end of the dream from the 1990s and the aughts, when people were still talking about the figure of the “netizen,” someone who is able to engage in democratic participation much more effectively because of the mediation of the internet. And in 2011, in the very first hopeful moments of the Arab Spring, people were talking about Twitter as the great motor of democratic transformation in the Middle East.

But I see 2011 as the first clear moment of the disintegration of this centuries-old dream. When the various Arab Spring revolutions descended into blood baths, other important things were happening around the same time. It’s around that time that I first noticed that my newsfeed on Facebook was no longer showing me whatever news the people in my network happened to put up. Rather, certain posts were being given preference based on algorithms—which I was not allowed to know, because they were corporate secrets.

Soon enough, this already bad situation escalated into a steady flow of misinformation through algorithmic preference. The feed became cluttered with information from operations that were dedicated, above all, to virality—to, as we say today, “gaming the algos” rather than simply communicating in a neutral public space. By 2016, we have Brexit, we have an internet troll elected president of the most powerful country in the world, and we have many other moments that made it impossible to hold on to Leibnizian optimism.

3. The idea of the internet is much older than you think.
The internet comes into being as an idea in the 1670s. But in many ways, the full history of the internet is continuous with the hundreds of millions of years of evolution—of natural networks, such as the mycorrhizal networks connecting the roots of trees. Telecommunication networks in nature don’t only exist in tree roots; sperm whale clicks can be heard literally around the world, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. The pheromone signaling between species of moths is also telecommunicative. Telecommunication is something that has always existed as an aspiration and also, to some extent, as a reality for humans, through long-distance trade networks and so on.

The fact that these networks are later connected by wires, and then wirelessly, doesn’t make a significant or essential difference for thinking about the phenomenology or the cognitive and social dimension of long-distance information exchange. This connectedness is not exceptional in our species—it’s something that we see throughout nature. And whether we think of that connectedness as an analogy or as the literal truth is ultimately up to us. Personally, I think we can see it either way.

4. The Industrial and Information Revolutions (arguably) happened at the same time.
There’s an important development in 1808: the Jacquard loom. It’s for embroidering patterns such as flowers into silk, and it uses punch cards. Though it lacked memory, this was in many ways the first true computer, the first machine that provides the model for what Ada Lovelace’s analytical engine will soon be doing.

This means that, in effect, the Information Revolution and the Industrial Revolution are co-natal—they come at the same time, rather than the Industrial Revolution coming first and then the Information Revolution beginning in the 20th century. It’s also significant because Lovelace, like other of her contemporaries, is captivated by the analogy of weaving. She even says that the analytical engine is to algebra what the Jacquard loom is to silk. She also notices that a loom is effectively an interface between artifice and nature; it’s the point at which the stuff that comes from silkworms meets human artifice and turns into an industrial product.

For her to see that machine as the model of the computer, and to see the analogy between the artificial and the natural, is significant also for many contemporary debates about modeling and simulation. In the book I reject the currently fashionable argument that the entire natural world is a virtual reality simulation. I argue against that view as it’s formulated by Nick Bostrom and Dave Chalmers among others, and I try to show the reason why a bit more sophistication in the history and philosophy of science is needed to understand what’s really going on when people try to mobilize what are, in the end, analogies.

5. We are fully dependent on the internet—and that’s changing everything.
Wikipedia has fundamentally rewired my own cognitive apparatus. I feel like I have an immediate external prosthesis of my faculty of curiosity. Whenever I have the slightest fleeting question in my mind about some medieval Byzantine heresy or about what a quasar is, I immediately look it up, and within 10 or 15 seconds, I have some basic understanding of what hesychasts are, for example. Over time, this has fundamentally altered my relationship to knowledge, and also my understanding of what it means to “know” at all.

This is a revolution comparable to the arrival of the printing press. That moment was revolutionary in that it was cause of such things as the Protestant Reformation. But also, there was suddenly this possibility of having on hand all sorts of prosthetic devices that contain knowledge: books. And as a result, these wonderful, beautiful cognitive practices—such as Frances Yates’s “art of memory,” a complex medieval practice of learning elaborate mnemonics for the internalization of whole fields of knowledge—were simply lost.

Today, we are also in the course of losing something. I believe we are in the course of losing reading, even though things like book contests are trying to hold onto it. A revolution is underway, and it’s comparable to revolutions that have happened in the past. Old cognitive practices are being lost, new ones are on the horizon, and those of us who learned the old ones, like reading entire books from cover to cover, are feeling sad. So my book attempts to take honest personal stock of what is being lost and what is being gained with the internet.

This article originally appeared in Next Big Idea Club magazine and is reprinted with permission.

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Eviction Defense Successful Despite Aggressive Contractors

Unicorn Riot
Minneapolis, MN – On June 1, 2022, authorities unsuccessfully cleared an encampment of tents on an unused strip of land off Interstate 35. Eviction defenders thwarted the sweep by asking for documents, helping residents pack and move, and using their bodies and placing objects in…

The post Eviction Defense Successful Despite Aggressive Contractors appeared first on UNICORN RIOT.

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Abolish the Military-Entertainment Complex

David Sirota
The military quietly infiltrating a movie studio . . . the idea might seem like a fantastical plot from a film, but Top Gun: Maverick is a reminder that it’s all too real. The new blockbuster is the latest product of a shadowy Military-Entertainment Complex that few know about, but that shapes so much of […]

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Galaxian interview: “To me, the whole set-up is a mindfuck death-cult”

Juno Daily
We take a deep dive with maverick producer Galaxian as he unleashes the electro shock of his new LP ‘We Are Power’

The post Galaxian interview: “To me, the whole set-up is a mindfuck death-cult” first appeared on Juno Daily.

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Smartphones and Civilians in Wartime

Schneier on Security
Bruce Schneier
Interesting article about civilians using smartphones to assist their militaries in wartime, and how that blurs the important legal distinction between combatants and non-combatants:

The principle of distinction between the two roles is a critical cornerstone of international humanitarian law­—the law of armed conflict, codified by decades of customs and laws such as the Geneva Conventions. Those considered civilians and civilian targets are not to be attacked by military forces; as they are not combatants, they should be spared. At the same time, they also should not act as combatants—­if they do, they may lose this status…

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Judith Butler, What World is this? A Pandemic Psychology – Columbia University Press, November 2022

Phenomenology and Existentialism
Judith Butler, What World is this? A Pandemic Psychology – Columbia University Press, November 2022 The pandemic compels us to ask fundamental questions about our place in the world: the many ways humans rely on one another, how we vitally … Continue reading →

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How Steve Bannon Makes People Believe Total Bullshit

Phenomenology and Existentialism
Matt Lewis
Joel Saget/GettyIn politics, it’s tempting to elevate friends as brilliant and dismiss enemies as stupid.
The political left, in particular, has developed the lazy habit of caricaturing everyone on the right as stupid—forsaking the reality that there are some evil geniuses out there who should be taken seriously, if not always literally.
Steve Bannon should be at the top of that list.
Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Part 1 & 2: Russian Nihilists
From Cool People Who Did Cool Stuff

The Gender-bending Subculture that Blew Up the Tsar

Part 1:

Margaret talks with Io about the science hippies of the 1860s who wore sunglasses at night and invented modern terrorism.

Part 2:

In part two of this week’s episode, Margaret continues her conversation with Io about the science hippies of the 1860s who wore sunglasses at night and invented modern terrorism.

Tags: nihilismrussiabakuninCool People Who Did Cool Stuffmargaret killjoy

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Boston Jews say a pro-Palestinian group’s map of local ‘Zionist leaders and powerhouse NGOs’ is a guide to antisemitism

The Forward
(JTA) — A Jewish arts group. A Jewish high school. A Jewish newspaper. A synagogue network. A major Jewish philanthropy that directs funds to mental health, homelessness prevention and refugee resettlement initiatives. These are a few of the locations on a dense interactive map of “Zionist leaders and powerhouse NGOs” in Massachusetts created by an activist…

The post Boston Jews say a pro-Palestinian group’s map of local ‘Zionist leaders and powerhouse NGOs’ is a guide to antisemitism appeared first on The Forward.

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Armed California man arrested near Justice Kavanaugh’s house

Betsy Woodruff Swan and Josh Gerstein
Betsy Woodruff Swan is a national correspondent focused on federal law enforcement, including the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.

Previously, Betsy reported on the Justice Department, foreign election interference, and the 2016 election cycle for The Daily Beast. She has also reported for Slate, The Washington Examiner, and National Review.

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PIONEER Act would allow businesses to apply for regulatory “sandbox,” a waiver from federal…

GovTrack Insider – Medium
PIONEER Act would allow businesses to apply for regulatory “sandbox,” a waiver from federal regulations for up to 10 years
Recently, more states have implemented so-called “sandbox” programs, which allow businesses to apply for exemptions from many or most existing state regulations.

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Mexican megachurch leader faces more than 16 years in prison

Associated Press
2022-06-08 15:07:31FILE – Naasón Joaquín García leads a service at his church "La Luz del Mundo" in Guadalajara, Mexico on Aug. 9, 2018. García, the leader of the Mexican megachurch La Luz del Mundo, pleaded guilty Friday, June 3, 2022, to sexually abusing three girls, California state prosecutors said. (AP Photo/File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The leader of a Mexican megachurch faces more than 16 years in a California prison when sentenced Wednesday for sexually abusing three girls who were followers.
Naasón Joaquín García, 53, who is considered the “apostle” of Jesus Christ by his 5 million worldwide followers, had vigorously fought charges that included child rape, until abruptly accepting a plea deal on the eve of trial.
The La Luz del Mundo church leader pleaded guilty Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court to two counts of forcible oral copulation involving minors and one count of a lewd act upon a child who was 15.
Prosecutors said he used his spiritual influence to have sex with several female followers and was aided by others in the church who facilitated the abuse.
Church youth group leader Alondra Ocampo, who previously pleaded guilty to abusing the girls, was charged with directing teenage girls in skimpy outfits to perform “flirty” dances for García. She also conducted nude photo shoots for García in which the girls touched each other, according to the charges.
Ocampo told girls that if they rebuffed the wishes and desires of “the apostle,” they were going against God, according to the charges.
García told the girls after they danced for him that a king could have mistresses and that “an apostle of God can never be judged for his actions,” according to the charges against him.
Ocampo was prepared to testify against him, her attorney Fred Thiagarajah said.
“She actively recruited and groomed girls for him,” Thiagarajah said. “She would target girls and bring them into his inner fold. She was tasked with sexualizing these girls and facilitating their abuse.”
García had been scheduled to go on trial Monday on 19 counts that also included allegations of human trafficking to produce child pornography. A judge had thrown out four counts of extortion and sentencing enhancements for great bodily injury for lack of evidence.
Another female co-defendant who was a member of the church, Susana Medina Oaxaca, 27, pleaded guilty Friday to assault likely to cause great bodily injury, a misdemeanor.
Defense lawyers had said prosecutors were operating under a far-fetched legal theory that García used spiritual coercion for sexual pleasure.
“It is a fantasy seemingly invented out of whole cloth,” defense attorney Alan Jackson wrote in a court filing.
But prosecutors said the victims were essentially brainwashed by García and felt they would be ostracized by the insular church community if they didn’t submit to his desires. In denying a defense motion to dismiss the case, a judge said García used religion as “invisible handcuffs” to exploit his victims.
García’s grandfather founded the Guadalajara-based fundamentalist Christian church — known by its English name, The Light of the World — in 1926.
García took over as “apostle” after his father, Samuel Joaquín Flores, died in 2014.
Flores was also the subject of child sex abuse allegations in 1997, but authorities in Mexico never filed criminal charges.
The church has tried to cultivate a law-abiding, hard-working image in Mexico — where it counts about 1.8 million followers. Its male members favor suits and short hair, and female members wear veils that cover their hair and modest dresses. There are about 1 million U.S. members.

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Off-grid living beckons more than just hardy pioneer types

Associated Press
2022-06-08 14:53:37This image released by Acorn Art and Photography shows the Solterre Concept House in Nova Scotia, an off the grid home featured in the book "Downsize, Living Large In a Small House" by Sheri Koones. (Adam Cornick/Acorn Art and Photography via AP)
Living off-grid conjures images of survivalists in remote places and a rustic, “Little House on the Prairie” lifestyle with chores from morning to night. Yet only a tiny fraction of people living off-grid do it like that, and fewer still live more than an hour from any town.
“Living off-grid doesn’t mean you don’t buy your groceries at a store or take your waste to the local dump. It just means you are not connected to utility grids,” says Gary Collins, who has lived off-grid, or mostly off-grid, for a decade. He has published books on the subject, and leads online classes.
Although precise numbers of off-grid households are hard to come by, Collins estimates that only 1 percent of those living off-grid are in truly remote areas.
Overall, the off-grid movement remains small. But it got a boost after the COVID pandemic hit: City dwellers began to explore different ways of living, facilitated by improvements in alternative energy sources like solar power, and batteries for storing that power.
More frequent power outages and utility grids’ struggles to handle the severe weather events brought on by climate change have added to interest in disconnecting from the grid. So have utility bill hikes.
“There’s a lot more interest in living off the grid now because energy is costing so much and there are so many problems with grids,” says author Sheri Koones, whose books about sustainable houses include “Prefabulous and Almost Off the Grid” (Abrams, 2012).
There are also those who remain connected to the grid but try to power their homes independent of it. Koones cites the rise in “net metering,” when your property’s renewable energy source — usually solar — is producing more energy than you use, and your local utility pays you for the excess.
Today, off-grid living encompasses everything from “dry camping” in RVs (with no electrical or water hookups) to swank Santa Barbara estates, from modest dwellings tucked just outside of towns to — yes — remote rustic cabins.
“Everyone does it differently and everyone does it their own way, because it’s their own adventure,” says Collins.
For him, off-grid living is part of finding a simpler, less cluttered life more in sync with nature.
The Anacapa Architecture firm, in Santa Barbara, California, and Portland, Oregon, has built several upscale off-grid homes in recent years, and has several more off-grid projects in the works.
“There’s definitely an increase in traction for this kind of lifestyle, especially in the last two years. There’s a desire to get more in tune with nature,” says Jon Bang, marketing and PR coordinator for Anacapa Architecture.
The lifestyle that Anacapa homes aim for is one of modernist elegance, not roughing it. Bang says new technologies can ensure comfortable self-sufficiency.
One reason for the high cost of homes like this is that it’s expensive to haul equipment to a remote site. In addition, they might be outfitted with things like solar power, an onsite battery bank, a septic system that treats sewage onsite, a water well, and a dry well to treat and reuse water, not to mention a plumbing system designed to use as little water as possible.
Such homes also are carefully designed to take advantage of the site’s landscape features with an eye to sustainability. For example, one of the firm’s homes is built into a hillside and has a green roof (with plantings). Strategic landscaping can minimize the need for watering.
“For those with means, it opens up building sites that cannot be connected to local grids, and allows for a quieter kind of life, grounded in nature without neighbors nearby,” Bang says.
For those without the means to hire architects, there are numerous recent books, blogs, YouTube videos and more dedicated to the subject.
“A lot of people are interested in it now. They contact me after watching something on TV or on YouTube and I tell them, `If you learned everything you know on YouTube, you are never going to survive,’” says Collins.
Growing up poor in a rural area, he says, helped him succeed at off-grid living, first in Washington state and now in Arizona. He makes regular grocery runs, but also grows some of his own food and hunts wild game. He has his own septic system and well. While his previous home was entirely off-grid, with solar panels and a wind turbine for power, his current home is hooked up to an electrical grid, mainly, he says, because the bills are too low to warrant the cost of solar panels.
If you want to be totally self-sufficient, he says, it takes a lot of time and physical effort. You won’t have time to hold down a job. If you’re living in a remote location, you need to consider access to medical care, and whether you are mentally prepared for that much isolation.
“People confuse homesteading with off-grid living. You can be homesteading but still be connected to a grid. But if you live off-grid and do that, that’s your life,” says Collins. “Your wood won’t cut itself. You’ll have to haul water. The more successful people tend to be those who grew up on ranches, people who grew up doing demanding chores.”
He warns, “People die off-grid all the time, because of things like chainsaw accidents. You have to be very careful and think everything through. No EMS will get to you in time.”
Anyone interested in living off-grid should try dry camping in an RV or living in a remote area first to see if the lifestyle fits, he says.
And depending on how it’s done, he says, off-grid living is not necessarily environmentally sustainable — not if you’re driving a fuel-guzzling truck and relying on a gas-powered generator, for example.
Still, improved alternative energy sources and construction techniques are making off-grid living more thinkable for more people, including those who don’t want to haul buckets of water from a well or live by candlelight.

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Meet the trans, anarchist founder who just landed $25M to reform how crypto is stored

Anita Ramaswamy
Tux Pacific isn’t your average tech founder. They’re a self-taught cryptographer who dropped out of college, a proud member of and advocate for the transgender community, and a self-described anti-capitalist anarchist who believes in free-market principles deeply rooted in the early days of crypto, when Bitcoin reigned supreme and banks had no interest in the […]

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A Terrifying New Novel Imagines What Happens When Tech Lords Take Over the Government

Maddie Oatman
Vauhini Vara didn’t set out to write about tech lords. After spending several years as a Wall Street Journal reporter in the 2000s, she left journalism to do an MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and work on short stories instead. She didn’t expect her experiences trailing Larry Ellison and Mark Zuckerberg to inform her […]

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No, you“re not going crazy – package sizes are shrinking

Associated Press
2022-06-08 04:00:38Bottles of Gatorade are pictured, left, a 32 fluid ounce and 28 fluid ounce, in Glenside, Pa., Monday, June 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
It’s the inflation you’re not supposed to see.
From toilet paper to yogurt and coffee to corn chips, manufacturers are quietly shrinking package sizes without lowering prices. It’s dubbed “shrinkflation,” and it’s accelerating worldwide.
In the U.S., a small box of Kleenex now has 60 tissues; a few months ago, it had 65. Chobani Flips yogurts have shrunk from 5.3 ounces to 4.5 ounces. In the U.K., Nestle slimmed down its Nescafe Azera Americano coffee tins from 100 grams to 90 grams. In India, a bar of Vim dish soap has shrunk from 155 grams to 135 grams.
Shrinkflation isn’t new, experts say. But it proliferates in times of high inflation as companies grapple with rising costs for ingredients, packaging, labor and transportation. Global consumer price inflation was up an estimated 7% in May, a pace that will likely continue through September, according to S&P Global.
“It comes in waves. We happen to be in a tidal wave at the moment because of inflation,” said Edgar Dworsky, a consumer advocate and former assistant attorney general in Massachusetts who has documented shrinkflation on his Consumer World website for decades.
Dworsky began noticing smaller boxes in the cereal aisle last fall, and shrinkflation has ballooned from there. He can cite dozens of examples, from Cottonelle Ultra Clean Care toilet paper, which has shrunk from 340 sheets per roll to 312, to Folgers coffee, which downsized its 51-ounce container to 43.5 ounces but still says it will make up to 400 cups. (Folgers says it’s using a new technology that results in lighter-weight beans.)
Dworsky said shrinkflation appeals to manufacturers because they know customers will notice price increases but won’t keep track of net weights or small details, like the number of sheets on a roll of toilet paper. Companies can also employ tricks to draw attention away from downsizing, like marking smaller packages with bright new labels that draw shoppers’ eyes.
That’s what Fritos did. Bags of Fritos Scoops marked “Party Size” used to be 18 ounces; some are still on sale at a grocery chain in Texas. But almost every other big chain is now advertising “Party Size” Fritos Scoops that are 15.5 ounces — and more expensive.
PepsiCo didn’t respond when asked about Fritos. But it did acknowledge the shrinking of Gatorade bottles. The company recently began phasing out 32-ounce bottles in favor of 28-ounce ones, which are tapered in the middle to make it easier to hold them. The changeover has been in the works for years and isn’t related to the current economic climate, PepsiCo said. But it didn’t respond when asked why the 28-ounce version is more expensive.
Likewise, Kimberly-Clark — which makes both Cottonelle and Kleenex — didn’t respond to requests for comment on the reduced package sizes. Proctor & Gamble Co. didn’t respond when asked about Pantene Pro-V Curl Perfection conditioner, which downsized from 12 fluid ounces to 10.4 fluid ounces but still costs $3.99.
Earth’s Best Organic Sunny Day Snack Bars went from eight bars per box to seven, but the price listed at multiple stores remains $3.69. Hain Celestial Group, the brand’s owner, didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.
Some companies are straightforward about the changes. In Japan, snack maker Calbee Inc. announced 10% weight reductions — and 10% price increases — for many of its products in May, including veggie chips and crispy edamame. The company blamed a sharp rise in the cost of raw materials.
Domino’s Pizza announced in January it was shrinking the size of its 10-piece chicken wings to eight pieces for the same $7.99 carryout price. Domino’s cited the rising cost of chicken.
In India, “down-switching” — another term for shrinkflation — is mostly done in rural areas, where people are poorer and more price sensitive, said Byas Anand, head of corporate communications for Dabur India, a consumer care and food business. In cities, companies simply jack up prices.
“My company has been doing it openly for ages,” Anand said.
Some customers who have noticed the downsizing are sharing examples on social media. Others say shrinkflation is causing them to change their shopping habits.
Alex Aspacher does a lot of the grocery shopping and meal planning for his family of four in Haskins, Ohio. He noticed when the one-pound package of sliced Swiss cheese he used to buy shrank to 12 ounces but kept its $9.99 price tag. Now, he hunts for deals or buys a block of cheese and slices it himself.
Aspacher said he knew prices would rise when he started reading about higher wages for grocery workers. But the speed of the change — and the shrinking packages — have surprised him.
“I was prepared for it to a degree, but there hasn’t been a limit to it so far,” Aspacher said. “I hope we find that ceiling pretty soon.”
Sometimes the trend can reverse. As inflation eases, competition might force manufacturers to lower their prices or reintroduce larger packages. But Dworsky says once a product has gotten smaller, it often stays that way.
“Upsizing is kind of rare,” he said.
Hitendra Chaturvedi, a professor of supply chain management at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, said he has no doubt many companies are struggling with labor shortages and higher raw material costs.
But in some cases, companies’ profits — or sales minus the cost of doing business — are also increasing exponentially, and Chaturvedi finds that troubling.
He points to Mondelez International, which took some heat this spring for shrinking the size of its Cadbury Dairy Milk bar in the U.K. without lowering the price. The company’s operating income climbed 21% in 2021, but fell 15% in the first quarter as cost pressures grew. By comparison, PepsiCo’s operating profit climbed 11% in 2021 and 128% in the first quarter.
“I’m not saying they’re profiteering, but it smells like it,” Chaturvedi said. “Are we using supply constraints as a weapon to make more money?”
AP Writers Ashok Sharma in Delhi and Kelvin Chan in London contributed.

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Anarcho-capitalism and the TRUTH about Michael Malice
From ChillGoblin

This video answers the age old question, what the H is going on with this guy Michael Malice? Is he an anarchist? Why not? Also, could there be a largely unrelated Kropotkin- themed game show in the middle of the video please?

Thanks to everyone who helped me with this! Check out all these great channels:


Anansi’s Library as Michael Malice

Chill Goblin as Peter Kropotkin

Mica (Ponderful) as Ayn Rand

Radical Reviewer as Valley Girl Mikhail Bakunin

Eron (Re-Education) as Murray Rothbard

We’re in Hell as Noam Chomsky


If you have any questions about where I got specific information, leave me a question in the comments or DM me on twitter/discord, happy to help you out!


“The Anarchist Handbook,” organized by Michael Malice

“The Conquest of Bread” by Peter Kropotkin (all passages quoted from this book are also included in the Michael Malice book)

“Ego and Hubris: The Michael Malice Story” by Harvey Pekar


So many videos. I don’t recommend anyone watch these, ever. But if you’re morbidly curious, here’s a list of the videos I used

The Blair White Project: Michael Malice: Anarchism, Gay History, and North Korea | The Blaire White Project Ep. 1…

Chris Williamson: Michael Malice Explains Why He’s An Anarchist…

Fox Business: Will there ever be peace in the Middle East?…

The Glenn Beck Podcast: ‘Welcome to Anarchism, Glenn’ | Michael Malice | The Glenn Beck Podcast | Ep 121…

The Joe Rogan Experience: Anarchism Vs. Statism | Michael Malice & Joe Rogan…

Lex Fridman podcast: Are the DMT elves real? | Michael Malice and Yaron Brook and Lex Fridman…

Lex Fridman podcast: Communism vs Fascism: Which was more evil? | Michael Malice and Yaron Brook and Lex Fridman…

Lex Fridman podcast: Michael Malice: Totalitarianism and Anarchy | Lex Fridman Podcast #200…

Michael Knowles REACTS to ANARCHY and "The WHITE Pill" | Michael Malice

This one pissed me off because the subtitles are completely broken and I couldn’t search the transcript! Had to watch this bullshit like 4 times for three clips…

Michael Malice: Anarchist Audiobook Recording…

Timcast IRL: Michael Malice Explains His ‘Anarchist Handbook’ And The Meaning Of Anarchy, EVERYONE Misunderstands…

Triggernometry: Michael Malice – The Case for Anarchy…

Valuetainment: Is America About to Become an Anarchy? – Michael Malice…

What Bitcoin Did: The Anarchist Lens with Michael Malice…

What Bitcoin Did: Understanding Anarchism with Michael Malice…

Other stuff:

Karol Markowicz being triggered by US Democratic Socialists:………

This video was sponsored by Atlas VPN.

00:00 – Intro: Who is that masked man?

03:06 – Sponsored content by Atlas VPN

05:11 – Ego and Hubris: An American Splendor Story

10:00 – Anarchism and Anarcho-Capitalism: A Crash Course

20:14 – Michael Malice’s Anarcho- Strategy

22:05 – Michael’s Definiton of Anarchy

28:45 – Bakunin

32:46 – Emma Goldman

36:04 – Peter Kropotkin

39:14 – Unrelated Kropotkin game show segment

48:47 – Rothbard

54:03 – Abolish the Police

59:54 – The Reveal

1:09:07 – Credits

Tags: videoYouTubebreadtubeancapPeter KropotkinNoam Chomsky

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Moscow’s chief rabbi in exile after refusing to back Putin’s war on Ukraine, relative says

The Forward
(JTA) — As the head of a large European rabbinical group, Pinchas Goldschmidt regularly travels in and out of Moscow, where he has worked since 1993 as the city’s chief rabbi. But when he left most recently, two weeks after Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine, he did so without a firm plan to return. And now…

The post Moscow’s chief rabbi in exile after refusing to back Putin’s war on Ukraine, relative says appeared first on The Forward.

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Anarcho-capitalism and the TRUTH about Michael Malice | Chill Goblin

Chill Goblin
Chill Goblin
But if you’re morbidly curious, here’s a list of the videos I used The Blair White Project: Michael Malice: Anarchism, Gay History, and North Korea | The Blaire White Project Ep. 1 Chris Williamson: Michael Malice Explains Why He’s An Anarchist Fox Business: Will there ever be peace in the Middle East?
Patreon: Twitter: @chill_goblin Twitch: Discord: This video answers the age old question, what the H is going on with this guy Michael Malice?

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Is the Analog in the Real?

Alexander R. Galloway
I’ve been talking recently with Beatrice Fazi about a structuralist theory of the digital. In my experience, the majority of digital theory today is essentially empirical in that it tries to understand words like "digital" and "analog" by looking at the world and writing descriptions of what one sees there. At the same time there’s […]

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A new book explains Pope Pius XII’s silence during the Shoah — but does not excuse it

The Forward
One day in late October 1941, Pope Pius XII received chilling news. A bishop in Slovakia wrote to say that the country’s Jews “are simply being shot … systematically murdered, without distinction of sex or age.” We can get a sense of how Pius reacted to this report, the first credible account of Nazi mass…

The post A new book explains Pope Pius XII’s silence during the Shoah — but does not excuse it appeared first on The Forward.

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KrebsOnSecurity in New Netflix Series on Cybercrime

Krebs on Security
Netflix has a new documentary series airing next week — "Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies & the Internet" — in which Yours Truly apparently has a decent amount of screen time. The debut episode explores the far-too-common harassment tactic of "swatting" — wherein fake bomb threats or hostage situations are phoned in to police as part of a scheme to trick them into visiting potentially deadly force on a target’s address.

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Anarchist FAQ: How does the history of “anarcho”-capitalism show that it is not anarchist?

Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement (New Zealand)
Of course, “anarcho”-capitalism does have historic precedents and “anarcho”-capitalists spend considerable time trying to co-opt various individuals into their self-proclaimed tradition of “anti-statist” liberalism. That, in itself, should be enough to show that anarchism and “anarcho”-capitalism have little in common…

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State and Revolution

From Black Flag Syndney

State and Revolution is something of an odd work, a product of the circumstances in which it was written. The book, stridently polemical, is largely aimed at other Marxists. The Marxists explicitly criticised are largely those of the Second International, such as the “Orthodox” Kautsky and Plekhanov, as well as revisionists like Bernstein. In that sense, the book represents one of the origins of modern communism, out of the ashes of the old social-democracy.

Kautsky, Plekhanov, and Bernstein are the ones hammered explicitly, but implicitly targeted in the work are Lenin’s opponents within the Bolshevik faction itself. The organisation was riddled with internal power struggles, and the political line that would later lead the Bolsheviks to power was not one adhered to unanimously. State and Revolution, as well as the April Theses, were weapons in Lenin’s struggle against “moderates” in his own party – the ones that supported things like the Democratic Conference with Socialist-Revolutionaries, Mensheviks, and others. It was in response to this situation that Lenin would even go so far as to tender his resignation from the Bolshevik central committee, so as to be able to freely propagandise his views among the party’s rank-and-file.

Hence, State and Revolution is fixated on proving the Marxist bonafides of an insurrectionary position, one that would involve the forcible seizure of power by the communist party and the institution not of a democratic republic – the main intermediary goal of all previous social-democrats – but a full, unambiguous dictatorship of the proletariat. Lenin frames his presentation of Marx and Engels as a “recovery” of what are allegedly the true positions of the current, that had been buried by years of social-democratic opportunism.

This anti-state position, in a way, places Lenin in the company of the anarchists. Much of the time, he restates basic anarchist positions: the state as an inherently oppressive force, the product of class relations, universal suffrage as an instrument of bourgeois rule, the necessity of a violent revolution, and the democratic republic as the “best possible political shell” for capitalism. All standard anarchist positions! The last was a particular fixation of Bakunin, whose stress on opposing the democratic republic was one of the things that set him apart from Marx and Engels, who consistently stressed the political importance of universal suffrage for workers.

Lenin was acutely aware of all of this; it was commonplace for his Marxist critics to accuse him of a kind of Bakuninism or Blanquism. This explains the rather fragmented and off-handed nature of his scattered remarks on anarchism; it consists of fairly basic and easily refuted notions, like that of the anarchists wanting to abolish the state overnight. His intention in dealing with anarchist arguments is not to reply to us as a proper engagement, but as a means of disassociating himself from us, so he can position himself as being squarely in the tradition of Marx and Engels. This raises the obvious question: is he actually?

A full answer to this question is not the scope of this article, but the way the “Marxist theory of the stat