Mom’s Basement and


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

An offshoot of the broader network of locals participating in Maple-Ash-Farmer-Wilson. It’s emphasis is on computer science, gaming, comic books, role-playing, and digital culture. So far, it’s primary projects include the hosting and maintenance of a cloud-based server (virtual machine), used specifically for education and electronic services for the neighborhood: websites, chat, wiki, blogs, multi-player games, media streaming, and more.

As can be gathered from above, this is tied into the overall MAFW efforts that I have been writing and speaking about for the past few years. A lot of the development has been behind-the-scenes and on-the-ground …but, there is a couple of websites that are mostly just placeholders right now: and

If you’re familiar with my perspective on things, this is in every way an effort to put into practice the analyses of contemporary anarchism, neighborhood organizing, and cyberspace that have been at the fore of my thinking. It’s not specifically an anarchist project, but it also isn’t not an anarchist project.

Look forward to updates!

– squee

Free Radical Radio


I didn’t realize I had been building up some anticipation about my participation in Free Radical Radio; so, I won’t continue to. I am no longer working on the project because I moved back to Tempe, AZ. The story isn’t very interesting: I shattered my heel bone in September of ’15, lost my ability to pay bills, and have been recovering since then on all levels …it’s May of 2016 and I still can’t walk. I thought I may be able to score a job for the first couple of months that I was in AZ and remain a resident of the East Bay, but that didn’t pan out. I also thought I may still wind up participating in FRR remotely, but that also hasn’t panned either; at least, it hasn’t yet. Overall, I enjoyed working on the project a lot. I wish that I could still be doin’ it.

The Cumming Hipsterection


I assume that the term “hipster” is defined as vaguely for you as it is for most people. 1 We tend to know ‘em when we see ‘em, but upon inquiry we’re lost for words. For the most part, the term re-emerged in contemporary times to describe characters seen around town that don’t adhere to any hitherto known subcultures, yet seem to compose one. They seemingly shared a taste for PBR, tight pants, fancy beards, DJed underground music, Ikea, and snobbery …so cultural analysts ran with those signifiers and constructed stereotypes from them.

However, what most of these cultural analysts missed is that these hipsters were really just doing what the status quo had been doing already for a while: changing their consumer relationships as a consequence of more fundamental, Internet-contingent dynamics. While the status quo was abandoning the shopping malls, hipsters were abandoning all-ages music venues. While the status quo was participating in shows like American Idol or online fantasy football, hipsters were participating in dance parties and blogging. That is to say, people have been adapting to a world where localized forms of culture are disappearing …even if the idea of “local” -as in locally sourced materials or ingredients – has become a fad. Hipsters had merely become excited about their access to different, digitized versions of culture than others. They’re people whose tastes probably hadn’t ever been status quo, but whose gaze had become more untethered to their particular localities.

Ok, so why? Why is this happening?

Well – that’s where an analysis of the Hipster becomes more interesting, especially for anarchism, a philosophy that owes its current popularity to New Left counter-culture and academics. To understand what’s been going on here requires a little comprehension of Globalization, the Internet, and the Sharing Economy 2 that has been emerging from it. Long story short, the Internet does two very important things at the same time: it makes it possible to access cultures from all over time and space, and it makes it possible for powerful institutions to access subjects on an individual scale like never before. As for the underlying changes that compliment this, production (and work, generally) is becoming more-and-more decentralized with a workforce that is becoming more-and-more mobile, precariously employed, precariously housed 3, and tasked to perform in more individuated environments. There is a demand for – and an ability to meet the demands for – an economy where individuals can produce/consume any where, at any time.

These circumstances undermine the ability to form cultures that reproduce at a local scale. Reproduction (of culture) is now tied up with the maintenance of networked infrastructure: websites, virtual libraries, social media profiles, e-mail contacts, shipped goods, torrents, crowd-sourced review forums like Yelp. The sorts of culture(s) that come from such foundations are basically in conflict with the older, subcultural sorts. At the base of each type there are conflicting interests. Yet for all of the glamor that internet-based culture can glimmer with, the autonomous production of food, shelter, and other basics (like medical service) require stable, local foundations. Multinational corporations may be able to organize such complicated variables so that they can plant the food here, sell it there, house laborers in this area, advertise in another area, and offer services to anyone they want. At this point, anarchists are not.

I think that the trajectory of this will eventually pressure us anarchists to ask ourselves, “do we want to try?” It’s a shitty situation all around. There is a current tendency to try and acquire land, to maybe build an ecologically-minded network of communes from the ground up, mostly estranged from cyberspace. That’s one way to respond. There’s also the tendency towards hacktivism, which is another response, but it could go further and deeper 4.

My suspicion is that going forward, anarchists will wind up dealing with their one-foot-in-each-world situation more intensely. And with an eye to the Hipster, I also suspect that similar attitudes, motifs, “taste culture,” 5 and tech-savvyness will be more embraced …perhaps out of necessity.


  1. Some cultural analysts trying to figure out what a hipster is, exactly …and predict its future:
  2. A general overview of the Sharing Economy:
  3. An CNBC blurb about millenial preferences:
  4. Documentary on Cyber Punk (hint hint):
  5. See page 69 (40 in the PDF) for Taste Culture:

Post-Modernity and the Appeal of Anarchism: Follow-up

On December 5th, I presented at the East Bay Anarchist Bookfair and Conversation Event because there were not as many presentation submissions as I had hoped for. During the initial organizational meetings for the event, we discussed what the theme would be, which became both the Inhuman and the Anthroposcene. Thinking about the question, “what should the theme be?” inspired the content that would later become this presentation on the appeal of anarchism in a post-modern context. A question that I didn’t have an easy answer for and one that engaged a much broader perspective on the situation than may at first be assumed necessary…

Specifically in the context of Oakland, CA 2015, the problem(s) underlying a question of theming an anarchist event are tied up with a history of how anarchists past had answered such questions. In other words, I believe that considerations concerning the appeal of anarchist thought must take into account a variety of factors that are much different today than they had been even 15 years ago. Below is Douglas Rushkoff’s documentary, Generation Like. While it provides an engaging insight into changes in entertainment industry marketing since the 1990’s, it may seem like an odd choice of references for a discussion of anarchism. Though my presentation wasn’t an attempt to argue the relevance of this documentary, it is easy enough to summarize the presentation in this way.


I began my presentation with a very condensed and focused overview of revolutionary ideology, industrial capitalism, and culture since the Enlightenment. I wanted to zoom out enough to demonstrate why two different periods saw such different forms of revolutionary (and specifically, anarchist) thought. The difference between Leftist revolutionaries in post-Industrial, capitalist societies and New Left (and/or) Situationist International-inspired revolutionaries in the demise of that period’s socio-cultural and economic foundations. I touched on the explosion of office work (but I didn’t discuss the problem of “the white-collar worker” for labor unions), the rise of New Hollywood, the development of the Consumer with the introduction of easy credit spending in the 1950’s (but I forgot to talk about credit spending!!), the encouragement of home ownership and its relations to suburban expansion, youth subcultures and the Counter Culture’s relationship to the period, and how these factors shape the appeal of anarchism in its rise from obscurity in the 70’s onward.

Yet I was covering this transition to lay a foundation for something else, a third period that contextualizes the discussion I was hoping to have at EBAB: the Digital Revolution. This is sometimes considered an additional development of post-modernity; hence, my titling of the presentation; but, neither of these terms (Digital Revolution, post-modernity) capture the depth of the changes that I think are relevant to East Bay anarchists …and some other places elsewhere. I believe that the changes happening right now in this period’s socio-political and economic climate will have impacts almost as important for anarchists as the shifting that took place around the 50’s and 60’s. From that conclusion, I also believe that analysis and critiques similar to those of the Situationist International are necessary for comprehending opportunities for anarchist revolt today.

Furthermore, it was my intention to exemplify the shortcomings of localized and subcultural forms of revolt, which is consequently popular in light of New Left, Situationist, Counter Culture, Punk, and other such things that spoke to Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, and some older Millennials. The very short of it is the Internet. But it’s also a lot more than just the Internet. Regarded with an eye to my earlier experiences that are outlined in Struggles of the Farmer Neighborhood in Tempe, AZ and Critique of the Farmer Neighborhood in Tempe, AZ …the Internet doesn’t change things everywhere in the same ways. There are still locations that could foster neighborhood and/or city-level subculture, which doesn’t have to look “subcultural”, but does require the viscosity of such a thing. Punk and such is still relevant in places where house shows and commercial venues will host punk bands. Where people can afford to create local subculture.

What I was speaking to in my presentation is a local situation that does not support such a development for those who would dare even attempt it. Some people would talk about this as cities after the Hipster, or they would talk about the Precariat, or just dismiss the subcultural as adolescent lifestylism. I’ve avoided such summations because I don’t find them focused enough to act practically upon as an anarchist. So in speaking to this context, I posed my unanswered questions concerning the appeal of anarchism. Questions not just about propaganda, but about strategies and tactics that could correlate with what may or may not be appealing about anarchism.

I provided a heuristic tool to use in the discussion, but I don’t think that it was very helpful despite my own use of it. If you care to test it out yourself, it was to take these three historical periods of anarchist appeal and think about whether that appeal was drawn from and drawn to masses, groups/subcultures, or how I believe status quo appeal is now framed …appeal to the personal, the “individual”. With the same caveat I provided in the presentation, these “templates” aren’t meant to understand an epoch in any absolute sense. They are merely helpful in chunking status quo discourses and the loyal opposition to those discourses throughout each of those three periods. In other words, anarchisms haven’t been limited to any of the three …but the popularity of a particular anarchism seems to hinge on attention paid to one or two of them over the others.

And that’s the presentation basically…

Developmental Psychology for Anarchists

(and others who are dealing with Identity debates)

I often read questions posed by anarchists that to really answer, require insight into the psychological development of individual subjects. Additionally, what I’ve noticed along with the frequency of these sorts of questions is the extent to which anarchists want nothing to do with psychology. I’ve never been entirely certain why this is, but giving others the benefit of the doubt, I believe it is because structural forms of authority are the primary object of radical critiques. Authoritarian social structures are important objects of critique. They’re the established machinations for governing individuals, or at least influencing social behaviors. However, the study of contemporary social structures inevitably leads to a study of how social structures use psychological techniques to govern. It is true that sociological data is also important for analyzing and controlling society, but sociological data is more of a first step than anything else. It is used to paint the general picture in statistical averages, while psychological techniques are used to refine the methods used for control.

Generally speaking, the social structures anarchists oppose first set goals: uphold laws, provide social services, sell products, manage labor, manage the incarceration of people, etc. These structures require some sort of funding, which is acquired in one of three main ways: investors, taxes and government allocation, and/or sales. To motivate the interest of investors, governments, and/or customers the goal must usually account for something predominant enough that establishing a structure for it makes some sort of sense. Sociological data plays into this requirement by demonstrating such predominance, and in what categories the predominance exists. It can tell you how changes in architecture tend to effect the traffic of people and the vehicles they use. It can tell you how many potential voters can be influenced by emphasizing various issues and talking points. It can suggest how policy changes will impact different sectors of society or where to place an ad so you can influence a target audience.

For anarchists, sociology has played a role in understanding the overall mechanics of capitalism, governmental institutions, patriarchy, white supremacy, and other institutionalized practices that subordinate individuals to their goals. This is useful to the extent that it can provide a map of the forces that dominate us, but it can only ever provide targets. It can show us where weak points are, what striking them may impact, who is likely to deal with the consequences of our activity, and/or measure social inequalities. Since anarchists don’t often have large and powerful institutions, there isn’t a lot more that can be done with it. What sociology does not (and can not) do is answer deeper questions about, but not limited to identities, desires, liberty, decision-making, and satisfaction. Thinking about those deeper questions requires psychology in the broad philosophical sense or in the sense of psychology as it is commonly discussed as the study of behavior. Thinking about how to develop a personal, anti-authoritarian practice or how to experiment with group dynamics are also issues that mostly fall under the domain of psychology. Finally, since it is psychology that is used by authoritarians to develop their techniques of domination, it is psychology that is useful for resisting those techniques.

Contemporary psychology is specialized. It is broken-up into a variety of fields that focus on different aspects of behavior: development, memory, decision-making, abnormalities [sic], sex, therapy. It is also broken-up by its context for application: personal, small group, industrial, clinical, athletics, animal, forensics. There are leading overall theories of psychology that are attributed to schools or individuals. I find all of this useful, but I want to focus specifically on developmental psychology due to the recent popularity of debates about identity. Overall, I reject the idols that mediate our relationships with one another. Without limiting these idols to the following, I reject the icons of beauty, family, lifestyle, spirituality, and social change that appear over-and-over again in schools, advertisements, magazines, television, propaganda, campaigns, and all the rest. For reasons stated above, these sometimes traditional and sometimes carefully crafted images of the Good are the fountainhead of the domination that discussions of identity oppose. Even in their absence, they merely leave a hole at the center of a vast matrix of identities that each come with their own expectations and privileges. I also reject that matrix.

What I aim to understand is the preconditions necessary for these idols to become fixtures in our lives, the conditions that reinforce their sway on us, and the techniques that are used to create and destroy them. An attempt to understand the preconditions brings me to two different fields of study, only one of which I will be exploring below: the relationships between individuals and what is meaningful to them; and, the social structures that intervene to control those relationships and meanings. Focusing on the former is mostly a study of developmental psychology. Identity isn’t something that just happens at random or something that is primarily rational. It ties into a lifetime of reflecting on the interactions an individual has in the world; with their environment of material structures, other creatures, other human beings, social norms, and institutions that try to control those social norms.

One of the most standard theories of developmental psychology is Erik Erikson’s psychosocial stages of development. The theory consists of 8 sequential stages of development, each with specific existential crises preoccupying an individual’s overall goals at different points in their life. While the sequential aspect of Erikson’s theory and the age boundaries defined by each crises have been criticized, it is overall supported to the extent that it has been scrutinized. Accepting the criticisms, I will simply list the stages and their associated crises that are described as a dichotomy:

Basic trust vs. mistrust: Can I trust the world?
Autonomy vs. shame and doubt: Is it okay to be me?
Initiative vs. guilt: Is it okay for me to do, move, and act?
Industry vs. inferiority: Can I make it in the world of people and things?
Identity vs. role confusion: Who am I? Who can I be?
Intimacy vs. isolation: Can I love?
Generativity vs. stagnation: Can I make my life count?
Ego integrity vs. despair: Is it okay to have been me?

Right in the middle of Erikson’s list is the crisis of Identity. For Erikson, the crucial time-frame for resolving this crises is between the ages of 13 and 19 years old …adolescence. His theory is that if someone successfully resolves this crisis, they form a solid concept of who they are and what they should expect from themselves. If they are unable to resolve this crisis, it will persist throughout the rest of their lives and interrupt the later stages of their development. What I find apt about this theory is the correlation between identity crisis and adolescence, and the consequences of unresolved identity issues. This is what a typical interpretation of this stage looks like (from wikipedia):

The adolescent is newly concerned with how they appear to others. Superego identity is the accrued confidence that the outer sameness and continuity prepared in the future are matched by the sameness and continuity of one’s meaning for oneself, as evidenced in the promise of a career. The ability to settle on a school or occupational identity is pleasant. In later stages of Adolescence, the child develops a sense of sexual identity. As they make the transition from childhood to adulthood, adolescents ponder the roles they will play in the adult world. Initially, they are apt to experience some role confusion—mixed ideas and feelings about the specific ways in which they will fit into society—and may experiment with a variety of behaviors and activities (e.g. tinkering with cars, baby-sitting for neighbors, affiliating with certain political or religious groups). Eventually, Erikson proposed, most adolescents achieve a sense of identity regarding who they are and where their lives are headed.

Erikson is credited with coining the term “Identity Crisis.” Each stage that came before and that follows has its own ‘crisis’, but even more so now, for this marks the transition from childhood to adulthood. This passage is necessary because “Throughout infancy and childhood, a person forms many identifications. But the need for identity in youth is not met by these.” This turning point in human development seems to be the reconciliation between ‘the person one has come to be’ and ‘the person society expects one to become’. This emerging sense of self will be established by ‘forging’ past experiences with anticipations of the future. In relation to the eight life stages as a whole, the fifth stage corresponds to the crossroads:

What is unique about the stage of Identity is that it is a special sort of synthesis of earlier stages and a special sort of anticipation of later ones. Youth has a certain unique quality in a person’s life; it is a bridge between childhood and adulthood. Youth is a time of radical change—the great body changes accompanying puberty, the ability of the mind to search one’s own intentions and the intentions of others, the suddenly sharpened awareness of the roles society has offered for later life.

Adolescents “are confronted by the need to re-establish boundaries for themselves and to do this in the face of an often potentially hostile world.” This is often challenging since commitments are being asked for before particular identity roles have formed. At this point, one is in a state of ‘identity confusion’, but society normally makes allowances for youth to “find themselves,” and this state is called ‘the moratorium’:

The problem of adolescence is one of role confusion—a reluctance to commit which may haunt a person into his mature years. Given the right conditions—and Erikson believes these are essentially having enough space and time, a psychosocial moratorium, when a person can freely experiment and explore—what may emerge is a firm sense of identity, an emotional and deep awareness of who he or she is.

As in other stages, bio-psycho-social forces are at work. No matter how one has been raised, one’s personal ideologies are now chosen for oneself. Often, this leads to conflict with adults over religious and political orientations. Another area where teenagers are deciding for themselves is their career choice, and often parents want to have a decisive say in that role. If society is too insistent, the teenager will acquiesce to internal wishes, effectively forcing him or her to ‘foreclose’ on experimentation and, therefore, true self-discovery. Once someone settles on a worldview and vocation, will he or she be able to integrate this aspect of self-definition into a diverse society? According to Erikson, when an adolescent has balanced both perspectives of “What have I got?” and “What am I going to do with it?” he or she has established their identity:

Dependent on this stage is the ego quality of fidelity—the ability to sustain loyalties freely pledged in spite of the inevitable contradictions and confusions of value systems.

Given that the next stage (Intimacy) is often characterized by marriage, many are tempted to cap off the fifth stage at 20 years of age. However, these age ranges are actually quite fluid, especially for the achievement of identity, since it may take many years to become grounded, to identify the object of one’s fidelity, to feel that one has “come of age.” In the biographies Young Man Luther and Gandhi’s Truth, Erikson determined that their crises ended at ages 25 and 30, respectively:

Erikson does note that the time of Identity crisis for persons of genius is frequently prolonged. He further notes that in our industrial society, identity formation tends to be long, because it takes us so long to gain the skills needed for adulthood’s tasks in our technological world. So… we do not have an exact time span in which to find ourselves. It doesn’t happen automatically at eighteen or at twenty-one. A very approximate rule of thumb for our society would put the end somewhere in one’s twenties.

Some of this will likely make an anarchist want to vomit, but for all of its repulsiveness, there are some important insights into the questions of identity that anarchists have been dealing with as of late. According to survey results that were released in 2010 (sociology:, most anarchists are either adolescents or young adults. According to Erikson’s theory, the issue of identity should be the primary concern in their lives or the concern which the current crisis of their life is contingent upon resolving. But there is more to this issue that pertains specifically to anarchists. We live in a world where adolescence is prime time for being manipulated by social structures (for some excellent insight, watch Merchants of Cool: ). Not only is it big money, it is also big politics. Adolescents are targeted specifically because of the loyalties they’re likely to form depending on how they resolve their identity crisis. Every authoritarian wants a piece of this action and it there is hardly an outside to the competition of those authoritarians. Anarchists (and counter-cultures) send a message that sympathises with adolescents struggling with their identities in a world that wants to control them at every turn. For these reasons, it is no surprise that identity is such a hot topic.

Developmental psychology can be instructive for anarchists in comprehending the importance of identity issues, but it can also help anarchists resolve them. The failure of what is sometimes called Identity Politics is that instead of comprehending and offering resolutions, it elaborates on the matrix of identities offered by the very institutions anarchists are in revolt against. It takes the sociological data and uses it for comparisons of privileges, quantities of those effected by one aspect of identity or another, and offers a moral politics meant to establish the correct decision-makers. What psychology could offer instead is a perspective that recognizes the social and psychological consequences of identity, but also a way to consider what it can mean to identify as an anarchist. As individuals in revolt, it’s nice to know that we are each treated differently by the institutions we oppose; but, leaving it there is only useful for asking those institutions to change the way they sort us out and treat us based on those very same identities. That is not liberation, it is an improvement that those institutions could make to better control us. As anarchists, our loyalties are different, our lives are not the lives these institutions want us to live, our liberty is not the liberty offered by voting for representatives and choosing the products we consume but do not have a role in producing. These identities are only so many buttons for authoritarians to push according to where they want us and how they want us.

Anarchist identity doesn’t need to be hegemonic. It doesn’t need to create new idols that provide an easily digestible picture of the Good. It doesn’t need to be filled with prescriptive roles like organizer, activist, street fighter, or worker. There is a deeper and richer life outside of and against such authoritarianism. One in which you become the creator of your own identity, where you decide your own loyalties and your own roles. A life where your own liberties, desires, associations, and satisfactions belong to you or something else that is more important to you than this society (if something like green anarchism is your angle). At the very least, a critique of the identities that authoritarian institutions want you do adopt can inform your choices and empower you to recognize those identities for what they are: the hooks at the end of authority’s fishing poles, baited with status and waiting to reel you in.

Green Anarchism: a Self-Interview

landfill_beale_joravsky_magnumQ: Are you a Green Anarchist?
A: The short answer is, “I don’t know.” I have more questions than I have answers about this. Like most things, it depends how the term is defined.

Q: Well let’s start with definition, then. How do you understand the term?
A: There has to be some sort of pre-requisites to make the term meaningful at all. The operative word is “Green”, which would mean that a green anarchism would be concerned with the Earth in some way. That satisfies some things, but not enough. A green anarchism would be a form of concern with environmental issues that is particularly anarchist. So something about the manner in which someone cares about the environment would lead to some kind of anarchism being meaningful. I don’t want to say that it would conclude that anarchism is a solution to environmental problems, nor that anarchism would logically include concerns about the environment. Just that anarchism would be one of the main features of the theory.

Q: If you are being this vague already at the point of definition, you either don’t know what you’re talking about at all or you are hesitating to make sense of the complexities involved. Which is it?
A: It’s almost both. I’m not very well versed in green anarchist literature. However, I have explored some of the philosophical problems with environmentalism in the context of phenomenology and in some more-or-less formal group settings. So I’m familiar with the complexities, but I’m hesitant to make any solid statements about the way that anarchists have dealt with them. I could provide some superficial overviews of something like… anarcho-primitivism or green syndicalism, but on a deeper level I haven’t familiarized myself with any literature that addresses the questions I have coming out of my own way of turning the environment into a problem.

Q: Ok. What are these environment problems? Clearly there are ugly things happening around us, particularly related to organic life on the planet. Even more-so tied in with the technological systems that human beings have developed over the course of civilization’s existence. Especially those of the 20th and 21st Centuries. You certainly recognize that there are some problems here, correct?
A: Well yeah of course I do …it’s all very depressing. But even in your brief summary of the situation, I become hung-up on the details: civilization, technology, the relationship between me, the context I live in, humans generally, and organic life on the planet. What makes this even more difficult for me is the anarchism part of these considerations. Where is the connection between my depression about this and my anarchism? Is there anything fundamental about these concerns to my particularly anarchist thoughts?

Q: You seem to be leading with that question. Why don’t you just continue and I’ll interrupt when I have something to work with.
A: Alright. So my anarchism develops out of an existentialist outlook on life and the concerns that come with living in this world as I interpret it. At bottom I fundamentally understand my own life to be meaningless, to be a situation that I’m constantly trying to make sense of without any interpretations being acceptably concrete. The desires that come from existing as an embodied consciousness – concerns that come from a body that wants to live – an interpretation of those desires isn’t even given concretely. They can be a compass, but those desires are suggestions, more-or-less. I can interpret them as obstacles to some other project, I can comprehend my own urges to eat, sleep, and shelter myself as some kind of weakness that must be overcome to …I don’t know, die for the Cause …or some other nonsense. This problem of interpretation sits like an anchor upon a bed of meaningless stuff, which is attached to this ship that I call, “anarchism”.

To summarize the logic: when you begin to think about life from this position, you don’t have any easy methods for evaluating your decisions. You can kill yourself or you can continue living without any reason at all, without any rationale… but the moment that you want a rationale, you need to sort through some very basic problems. Should I live, or shouldn’t I? Why should I keep doing these things that I need to do so that I can survive? Those problems. Well it turns out that when you obsessively attempt to answer these questions, there isn’t a very good rationale for killing yourself or allowing yourself to die. It turns out that when you create a rationale for suicide, you admit that you have already decided that all sorts of stuff is meaningful to you. Somehow the act of killing yourself is the best conclusion you can come to about all of this meaningful stuff. But that’s paradoxical: you’re basically responsible for deciding that all of that stuff is meaningful to begin with, so how do you take the meaning of it all seriously enough to kill yourself? The consequence of killing yourself is that you annihilate the agent that came up with these meanings, so killing yourself amounts to the same consequences as just simply changing what you think is meaningful in the first place.

There’s a lot of follow-up questions and answers about this, but to stay on topic, I’m just going to say that there isn’t a good way to answer those follow-up questions, either. Suicide is out of the question. So, I’m stuck with a life of irrational non-decisions, and the necessity of deciding what is meaningful about my own existence when I want to act rationally. This leads to some of the more interesting questions that eventually lead to my anarchism. An easy way to put it is that if I need to be the source of my life’s meaning, that meaning doesn’t and can’t come from authority, or an appeal to popularity, or a religious system. Those are all irrational, passive methods of establishing meaning. If I’m the source of what I find meaningful in life, that says something about the nature of my agency and my relationship to other human beings. It says something about my participation in creating myself. It also denies other human beings their rationale to dominate me, to force their meaning upon me …meanings that are ultimately based on the choices they made from their own experience. Not to mention the systems human beings come up with to support such a rationale. As if formalizing the problem of meaning has somehow changed the situation. Well none of it is acceptable. I don’t think there is any acceptable form of someone dominating me.

This doesn’t actually make me an anarchist yet. There’s still an opportunity for me to be comfortable with others being dominated, or even dominating others myself. Long story short, I also do not find any of that to be acceptable …at least insofar as the domination of others is contingent upon a system existing that subjugates me at the same time as it subjugates others. I could give less than half-a-fuck if two people on an island play power games. However, when power is formalized into systems of domination that I am also subject to, it becomes my problem. This is when I become an anarchist. I develop a self-interest in annihilating those systems, simply for my own liberation.

There is more to this though and it relates directly to the nature of power games. I don’t accept an interpretation of life that considers all relationships to be relationships of dominance and submission, master and slave. Whether those roles are crystallized into a formal structure or they’re in a fluid exchange with each other, I reject this comprehension of life because of its limits. Power dynamics may be common, but they’re not absolute in any sense. There is a boundary to these roles (or, positions) of power that is defined by relationships among equals. I’ll use an abstraction to help elaborate on this limit. Let’s say that there are two things in space …waffles. These two waffles aren’t simply floating about as if there aren’t any other forces at play to influence their trajectory. These waffles are acted upon by gravity, wind, whatever. They are put on a path by external forces… and only external forces …after-all they’re waffles. A power dynamic would come out of these two waffles having interfering trajectories, but they can also have parallel trajectories. There is nothing about the waffle nature that determines them to come into a dynamic of exchanging force with one another. If the waffles are on a parallel trajectory, then although they are separate units, they’re heading in the same direction in the same way. Without any need to depend upon a notion of intentionality, the waffles have become complimentary parts of a larger system.

People are a bit more complicated, but the analogy holds. The problem with people is that we’re intentional creatures, we choose meanings, we act upon those choices, we have a role in determining our own trajectories. However, like the waffles, we can project ourselves in directions away from each other, in parallel with each other, and towards each other. It is only when we project ourselves towards each other that we determine ourselves to exchange force: power dynamics. Well that’s not my ideal mode of relationship. My project is to maximize my own force by acting in concert with others, preferably because we’re in parallel trajectory.

There’s a range of power games that I think are acceptable, but as an anarchist I want to annihilate systems that dominate me. Despite Machiavellian techniques for doing this, I don’t recognize much benefit to existing in perpetual conflict with others. If not for any other reason than my own laziness, I prefer the company of others on the same trajectory. My preference is, at the very least, to not waste energy sorting out conflicts where there needn’t be conflicts. There’s also an interpretation of human psychology that studies what is called “flow”. This notion of “flow” is very important to me and my sense of satisfaction. You could also think about it with dancing as a model, or by reference to some forms of martial art. The interplay of force doesn’t come in a dichotomous pair of motion, there’s always a third variable of parallelism.  There’s a form of power that comes out of increasing the quantity of particles traveling in the same direction. That’s just basic. It’s not even taking something like emergence into consideration.

Q: Ok, so that’s interesting, and waffles. How does this relate to green anarchism?
A: That’s exactly the problem. Where can an interest in non-human, organic life come from with this sort of approach? It’s difficult enough to define “organic,” “life,” and “environment” in an especially green-friendly way, but to then recognize my own role in defining these things and interpreting their meaning… Something very easy to do is accept an egoistic rationale for the way that I interact with the organic systems that I am tangled up with. That doesn’t really mean a lot compared to some of the more traditional approaches to environmentalism, though. It says less about a particularly anarchist environmentalism, a green anarchism. Do I think that anarchism will fix the problems that are tied up with the way humans, technology, social systems, and the rest of organic life all relate to each other? Where does my anarchism become tied up in these concerns?

Q: Well you said that you’re against domination, or that you find it unacceptable. What about the domination of nature, of animals, of technology?
A: So that’s the catch, but only in some ways. It wouldn’t be inappropriate for me to elaborate the details of how the State and its capitalist economics depends on technology and ideological notions about so-called nature to perpetuate itself as a force of domination over my life and others. There’s some excellent thought that comes out of analyzing these things. The issue for me with this is that it’s very difficult to take the specific problem my own agency existing in conflict with systems of domination, and then expanding that problem beyond myself or beyond other human beings. I don’t want to settle for a mere transference of the relationships I’m familiar with as a human being, to my comprehension of non-human existence. What exactly justifies such a transfer of meaning? That’s one problem, then betting on anarchism is another one.

Let’s unpack this a bit. To begin with, I don’t specifically seek to protect all organic life. There are many organisms that are in my best interest to annihilate completely, like disease-causing organisms. There are other organisms that I’m ignorant of, apathetic towards, or benefit from consuming …even on the strictest vegan diet. So there’s no answers that come out of defining my interests in relation to “all organic life”. I’m specifically concerned with the way that I relate to particular organisms and how systems that I am part of relate to particular organisms. In some ways, the particulars set me against those systems from an interest in perpetuating the health of organisms I depend on. In some other ways, I must admit that these very same systems align with my interests on the point of annihilating disease-causing organisms. There happens to be many more reasons for me to destroy those systems, but even without them I wouldn’t suddenly seek to perpetuate the existence of all organic life. At face value I’m just not interested in “all organic life”, but at a very deep level my own existence competes with the existence of other organisms.

It doesn’t follow from this competition that I must dominate these particular organisms. It requires some sophisticated techniques to actually dominate and control organisms in an agricultural sense. I don’t need to participate in agriculture. I could even extend this argument to an anarchism that refuses to dominate the organisms a human being finds themselves in competition with. What I doubt is that even with such an extension, that this anarchism would be fundamentally “green”. It is still fundamentally existentialist. With or without “green” considerations, it still exists as anarchism. I would need to prove that this anarchism would fall apart if my concerns for non-human organisms didn’t play a role in it. I don’t think that I can argue that it would. It’s an anarchism that is consequently concerned with “green” issues, not an anarchism that extends from a central concern with “green” issues. Also as I was saying, I’m not confident that the anarchist societies would solve such issues. I’ll admit they’d likely be an improvement for strictly economic reasons, but I don’t think that the relationships between human beings and other organisms is specifically beneficial to other organisms. I think that these relationships are particular and that they are partially contingent upon the way other organisms become meaningful to particular human beings.

Q: If you’re going to admit that it is in your interest to fight technological civilization, then why would it matter if your anarchism is “fundamentally” green?
A: It matters because my anarchism can’t be understood if I call it “green” or suggest that it ought to be comprehended through a green lense. The consequences of my anarchism are a sort of do-it-yourself ethics that actively combat the State, capitalism, and other forms of my own subjugation and domination. This means that there is a lot of potential for combating systems that dominate non-human forms of organic life, but that potential is tied up with the specific choices I make when it comes to the meaning of an organism …or the choices that those I am in affinity with make about this. Too much of it depends on my active participation in these decisions after-the-fact to blame the anarchist conclusions of my philosophy. While I don’t think that my personal concern about organic life is less important than my anarchism, the two concerns come from distinct sets of questions and answers. I could care about other organisms without the anarchism just as much as I could care about anarchism without thinking of other organisms. So I am an environmentalist and I am also an anarchist. My concerns about the conditions of the Earth and organisms that depend upon those conditions are very strong. They just aren’t the result of my conclusions about domination. They’re the result of my conclusions about how I want to live when I am not dominated, when I am intentionally relating to other organisms. I guess what I can say is that my existentialist trunk branches off into these two directions of concern. I think that these concerns parallel each other in fascinating ways, but I recognize that they are cleaved from each other at their base.

Q: If these two things are distinct for you, then what about looking at the path that your environmentalism takes. Doesn’t it also become an anarchism on its own?
A: It’s possible. I could say what that would look like, but I’m not sure that I’m there. It would look like a basic conclusion that my relationships with other organisms forms the basis for a rebellion against domination. I would have to somehow bridge this gap between the way that I conceptualize the meaning of my own life and the same sort of no-turning-back conflict with the State/etc. There’s a lot of obstacles to this kind of conclusion. For the most part, my life has been and it continues to be a series of intrapersonal, interpersonal, and social choices. My relationship with other organisms is mostly limited to consumer choices. The relationships are mediated by the systems that result in what I go shopping for. There’s my relationships with pets, with antibiotics, and with whatever other organisms are in my immediate environment. That’s a far distance from the sort of relationships that I imagine an especially meaningful green anarchism coming from.

The way I think about this now is that I depend on thought experiments to make environmental decisions. I think about relationships of production and consumption, about commodities, about macro-level impacts of agricultural production, and other such things that I minimally participate in. These considerations would be more immediate if I were to produce my own food and medicine, for instance. Right now they’re not immediate. In a somewhat hypocritical way, I could recognize that if I were to produce my own food and medicine, I wouldn’t do it by setting up these insane systems of industrial agriculture and pharmaceutical production. I could consider this “Good Enough”. What I think is difficult is ditching the sense that I’m merely pretending at an anarchism rooted in these concerns.

Q: Why does it matter if you’re making a choice based on a hypothetical situation?
A: How about I return that question with another question, “How meaningful would my hypothetical conclusions be?” I can say anything I want about what “I may do if” given this or that situation. The fact of my life is that I am not producing my own food, medicine, clothes, etc. I’m consuming things. I can stop consuming things based on how they’re produced, but that isn’t an anarchist action …it’s a consumer choice. It is a solution that fits into a consumer politic. It is a consideration after-the-fact of having already accepted my own participation in this system of capitalism. And if I were to to annihilate the separation between my activity as a producer and my activity as a consumer, I don’t know if I could sincerely suggest that I have annihilated that separation because of my concern for other forms of organic life. At least, not unless I were to first come up with that rationale. Currently, any environmental actions I take that would be anarchistic would be the consequence of how my anarchism shapes the environmental decisions I’m willing to make. I’d be lying to you if I said that my environmentalism has lead me to conclude with a strictly anarchist approach.

Q: How does this effect your perspective on existing green anarchisms then?
A: I recognize that they’re foreign to me, I guess. I would need to learn more about them first.

Q: It seems like your main issue is with your situation. At the level of the type of situation you want to be in, isn’t it an anarchist situation that “flows” with nature?
A: That’s an interesting perspective… Yes, the situation I want for myself isn’t this mediated existence where my decisions about other organisms are the result of subordinating myself to this shitty social order. At that level, yes I have a green anarchist opinion where the two blend together nicely. Although, that only means that I’ve replaced all of the reasons that go into these desires with a comparison of “situations”. That isn’t the sort of thinking that I come to anarchism from. I also don’t mind if others do come from that sort of thinking. I suppose that conclusively, I just have more to think about.

Q: I’d suggest that you consider it this way: your ability to survive currently depends upon these systems of mediation and domination that you detest. Therefor, it is in your own interest, in relationship to non-human organisms, to be able to be self-sufficient. That very self-sufficiency depends upon the annihilation of the division between your consumption of food and medicine from the way that it is produced. It depends upon forming an immediate relationship to the production of your own sustenance. This would be a green anarchism.
A: Well, thank you. I’ll consider that!

Ludwig Binswanger Blurb

Tomorrow I’ll be conducting the final installment of a 4-part workshop series on Existentialism. The text I will be using is, Foucault and Binswanger: Beyond the Dream. There are a few motivations for using this text that I want to write about before giving the presentation. These include: post-structuralism’s relationship to existentialism, the usefulness of existential psychoanalysis, and the overall significance of these two schools of philosophy for anarchist theory.

It has been noted (and specifically, by Aragorn!) that influences on anarchist theory can be demarcated by the May, 1968 insurrection in  Paris, France. Situationist and Post-Structuralist theory, related to that event, is very interesting. What I want to focus on is the time-period leading up to it. One such school of thought that had an enormous influence in the late-19th and early 20th Century is existentialism. Not only Nietzsche and Stirner, but also Camus, Sartre, Heidegger, Kafka, and Kierkegaard.

Alongside the development of this existentialist point-of-view, another school of thought rose to popularity: psychoanalysis. One of the most direct blends of existentialism and psychoanalysis comes out of Ludwig Binswanger’s Daseinsanalyse …a mix of Heidegger’s ontological writings and Freud’s psychological writings. Next to Jung and Lacan, Binswanger’s criticisms and alterations of Freudian psychoanalysis gained its own following (mostly outside of the United States) and Binswanger remained one of Freud’s best and only friendly correspondents.

Ok. So alongside Psychoanalysis and Existentialism, there was also structuralism: Marx, early anthropologists like Levi-Strausse and Marcel Mauss, and lingustic thinking such-as Saussure’s. Of the three of these broad categories of theory (Psychoanalysis, Existentialism, and Structuralism), Foucault and other notable post-Structuralists focused the most on psychoanalytic theory and structuralism. This has made contemporary critiques of existentialism difficult to come by, since contemporary theory is still quite often responding to post-Structuralism.

Oddly enough, Foucault’s earliest writings were both influenced by, and an evaluation of, Ludwig Binswanger’s Daseinsanalyse. In the piece that I selected, a connection is drawn between this early writing of Foucault’s and his later writing. What came in the middle – what Foucault is most famous for – is the development of theoretical methods that analyze the development of power-dynamics throughout time-and-space …methods in contradistinction to the structuralist methods Foucault critiqued. While these contributions of Foucault’s are amazing, towards the end of his life he began to come back to questions of the Self: self-care, an aesthetics of self, etc. In sum, after an elaborate analysis of the many ways which power shapes the construction of self and influences our choices… Foucault returns to the existentialist questions he departed from earlier in life.


Because at the end of the day, Foucault’s critique of existentialism is valid, but for as much as the limits of existentialism mark Foucault’s departure …they also mark the limits of his post-structuralist analysis. After rigorous considerations of social institutions, sexuality, identity, history, epistemology more broadly, Foucault returns to the practical considerations of our existence in a world where meaning has been constructed by power. Concluding as an existentialist would, that an techniques of self is a path to liberation, Foucault returns from his journey with an exceptional analysis of power that no prior existentialist could refer to for how to do this aesthetics of self.

Just as important as it is that Foucault comes back to questions of individual existence, it is important that Foucault looked to Binswanger (not Freud, not Heidegger, not Sartre, not Camus). It is with Ludwig Binswanger that existentialism produced a practice capable of dealing with other individuals in a serious way. In a world as described by Foucault (and other post-structuralists), the important task isn’t a mere egoist self-creation …but an egoist self-creation that is informed by methods of analyzing power and logical operations that can aid in the process of relating to other people contrary to the relationships created by power.

It is at that point (methods of analyzing power and logical operations aiding the process of relating to other people) that the value of this exploration of existentialism AND post-structuralism appears for anarchist theory …and praxis. Since it is beyond the limits of even a 4-part workshop on the topic, my goal has been to inspire others to learn from these philosophers. To apply existentialism to the projects of self-creation and building interpersonal relationships in revolt against powers long-known to anarchists and more recently focused on with the influence of post-structuralism.

The Rebel by Albert Camus reviewed by Squee

The Rebel by Albert Camus
reviewed by Squee

In 1951, Albert Camus had already dealt thoroughly with the questions of nihilism, rebellion, revolutionary politics, and anarchism. It may surprise many anarchists that this existentialist philosopher (mostly known for his novel The Stranger) was quite familiar with anarchism and was himself a frequent supporter of anarchists. As such, he fits the fellow traveler category and, with his book The Rebel, continues to be a relevant challenge to anarchists today. More context as to the nature of Camus’ relationship with his anarchist contemporaries can be found here:

To summarize, Camus is someone who not only openly supported anarchist-syndicalist organizing, but was excommunicated by the existentialists for criticizing their Marxist tendencies. He provided material and ideological aid to anarchists and received their support in return. When Franco had sentenced anarchists to death in Spain, Camus organized a speech, covertly inviting Andre Breton by networking with anarchist-syndicalist and prisoner support organizers. When a French anarchist was brought up on charges of subversion for producing an anti-militarist poster in 1954, Camus spoke at the trail as a character witness. He consistently published his writing in anarchist papers and shamelessly discusses anarchism in his more public works.

The content of The Rebel primarily focuses on the individual’s struggle to find meaning in a world that becomes inherently meaningless without a God, which he refers to as the Absurd. He performs his analysis using examples of individuals and groups who were coming to grips with the metaphysical, historical, and aesthetic situations resulting from nihilism. He leads each inquiry into the matter by asking if it is possible for the individual to rebel without rationally attempting to justify murder and other so-called crimes, by which he means harming others.

What Camus is further asking with this question is whether or not it is possible to move coherently from the rebellion of a subordinate to a social-political ethics without betraying what he identifies as the principle and initial choices involved with rebellion: the affirmation of human dignity despite death as a potential consequence. Reasoning that this makes the value of human dignity a value which transcends the individual — since they are willing to die in order to affirm it — rebellion for Camus has a universal quality that ought to lead to solidarity with others in revolt. From there, what he wants to demonstrate is that rational attempts to justify murder or crime (or to justify the irrationality of one’s desires) can only contradict these initial principles, since it would violate that universal and transcendent value of human dignity.

The text is divided into five main subsections: the Rebel, Metaphysical Rebellion, Historical Rebellion, Rebellion and Art, and Thoughts at the Meridian. The first defines what exactly Camus means by rebellion. The second deals with those whose rebellion is limited to the imagination (or, metaphysics): poets, philosophers, and others who are rebellious in thought more than in action. The third expands the points made in the previous subsection, but demonstrates how these can be made in the context of (mostly revolutionary) politics. The fourth section carries this into the world of aesthetics. Thoughts at the Meridian, though short, is where Camus outlines the moral limits to rebellion that he finds acceptable, using syndicalist trade-union organizing as a primary example of coherent rebellion. A wide range of figures are scrutinized, both real and mythological: Prometheus, Cain, De Sade, Baudelaire, Stirner, Nietzsche, Marx, Bakunin, and many others.

Murder and crime are still highly debated topics among anarchists; sometimes in the controversies around tactics and violence, sometimes in outlining a coherent moral opposition to the State and its supporters. Many of the arguments still seen today are embodied in Camus’ exemplary characters and situations: summarized, analyzed, and judged inadequate. The questions of nihilism, which for some have become major questions in their theoretical approach to anarchism, are subject to a more thorough inspection than in any other anarchist text I have read.

For fans of Max Stirner and Egoism generally, The Rebel offers a perspective that is somewhat unheard of. Camus argues that with Stirner “Individualism reaches a climax;” and, that along with all the nihilist rebels, it ultimately leads to a kind of collective suicide. This is not argued on the basis of orderlessness, it is argued on the basis of Stirner’s own vision for the Unique. Camus quotes Stirner, “You [the German nation] will be struck down. Soon your sister nations will follow you; when all of them have gone your way, humanity will be buried, and on its tomb I, sole master of myself at last, I, heir to all the human race, will shout with laughter.” Camus wants to surpass this vision of individual triumph, he wants to learn how to live in the desert which is created after subjecting the world to an Egoist critique.

To investigate the potentials for living in such a situation, Nietzsche and the Surrealists are used to conclude the book’s section, Metaphysical Rebellion. Camus refers to the rebellious path taken by Stirner and Nietzsche as “Absolute Affirmation.” If Stirner affirms only the Unique, Nietzsche goes further and constructs a philosophy based on affirming everything. While it is unclear if Camus considers this an improvement upon Stirner’s thinking, he credits Nietzsche with accurately diagnosing the illnesses of modernity as nihilism. Regardless, Camus concludes that Nietzsche’s Will-to-Power still leads to the same wall of collective suicide as Stirner’s Unique.

The section Metaphysical Rebellion ends in transition from the thinkers who acted less to the thinkers who acted more: the Surrealists provide the vehicle for this transition and offer a space for Camus to present his concluding arguments in their metaphysical form before demonstrating them in their historical form. It is here that Camus’ fear can be felt as he discusses Surrealist affirmation of the irrational murders and suicides its members authored. What he wants to show is that when the most Egoist conclusions are acted upon, they found actions that are worthy of as much condemnation as those that are rebelled against. While Camus will later demonstrate this causal chain at the collective level with Nazism and Marxism, it is clear what he is searching for when he is contemplating this at the Individual level: a principle of moderation.

Moderation is discussed in the final sections of The Rebel to clarify its place in Camus’ philosophy. In analyzing the nature of the rebellious act, Camus concludes that moderation is already present in restricting the rebel from themselves becoming another ruler. It is found in the realms of metaphysical, historical, and aesthetic rebellion when the initial value of human dignity that transcends the individual is adhered to. More interesting for us, moderation is the connection that ties Camus to the anarchists. What Camus reveres in the anarchist is the simultaneous embrace of individualism and the moderation inherent in the praxis of trade-unionism (and presumably more broadly in prefigurative politics). His philosophy is anti-Revolutionary and pro-Insurrectionary; it is anti-Collectivist and pro-Individualist. Camus is an accomplice in revolt against the Western tradition. This is the result of his refusal to negate the conditions which found and moderate rebellion, the Absurd condition that we each face individually, but together.

Overall, reading through this work has value even beyond Camus’ arguments. It is a comprehensive history of modern rebellion, a framework for considering a range of contemporary questions, a reference book for other interesting authors, and an excellent demonstration of clear and rigorous writing.

Nekro Anarko

Nekro Anarko

skeletorDeath is the only thing worth talking about…

Life is a short blip of resistance to the entropic expansion of energy that has been ongoing since the beginning of the Universe. At its most celebrated center of expression (humans), it is still merely an organized battery excreting through its leaks evermore diminished forms of energy. Energy, that beautiful and chaotic phenomenon that warms the cold, moves the stationary, and navigates this disgusting world of material objects …energy subjects everything to its ends. If a sewage system guides it in one moment, it speeds out from an explosive in a toilet the next: energy refuses order. Living is a practice of conservation. A fearful, embarrassing, and futile attempt by order to get what it can from its principles of prudence.

There is nothing at all worth celebrating about the living.

Human life has always organized itself to consume as much as it possibly can. All the better for correcting the terrible accident that is life on planet Earth. The Earth is a greedy and obnoxious planet, budding everywhere with hungry lifeforms stubbornly standing in the way of the goals of the Universe. That goal, like all goals is death. Human sentimentality about death has only helped death reign greater. The more that humans produce, the more they consume, the more that dies, the more that the total energy trapped by the Earth can escape to its true path of expansion. Human sentimentality can not hide the fact that death is really the only human goal.

Life is order’s cruel device to move energy around. Human life is its most pitiful form because for as much as sentimentality may fear death, the deeper fear is to never die: Thanatos. Thanatos is most explicit when humans burn up all of the chemicals that hide from consciousness how painful and terrifying organic processes truly are. The best cure for sentimentality is a quick purge of endorphins from the organism. A sharp revelation about what human life is and how much illusion must be maintained to keep on going. Nevertheless, Thanatos is shoved back into its expression through mythic beings: ghosts, ancestral spirits, vampires, and heavens. The lust for death is left to sneak around and hide amongst the psyche’s shadows. But death wins… and chaos smiles.

Death and darkness wins in the end, despite any half-wits attempt to concoct a greater life affirming force in the universe.

Let no one doubt that the State is an expression of humanity’s most despicable and dishonest urge to order. An urge that evaluates everything according to the gold standard of life affirmation. Make no mistake, the State would go to any extent to ensure that humanity can continue the project of growing its populations …even if those populations are complete automatons. The State refuses death and the death of its citizens will always be a practical calculation …a reluctant necessity. It will never admit to the ridiculous aims of its urge to order: life, human life, and as much of it as it can promote the existence of!

Nekro Anarchists do not take death for granted.

The authoritarian says, “live! We must live! Be strong and live!” We say, “I will kill you.” Some anarchists want to be the nice little leaders of a new order. These saints of anarchy, these imbeciles. They give in to their sentimentality and they will always be little students of statehood. Nekro anarchists know better, that death is the only thing worth talking about. And not just the fact of the matter (as outlined above), but how to exist in this tortured position as a form of life: how to act in affinity with death, with Thanatos, with energy and chaos.

There isn’t any need to elaborate on an anarchist position from the nekro conviction forward. It would appear to an idiot as the same formal checklist of goods and bads as any other anarchism. To smarter idiots, the consequences of a nekro conviction should be obvious enough. We nekros are the dark lords of the urge to chaos.

Now you have our name.

Critique of the Farmer Neighborhood in Tempe, AZ


In Struggles of the Farmer Neighborhood in Tempe, AZ, I took a look at the neighborhood I had formerly lived in from the angle of anarchist, radical, and/or counter-cultural struggle. I concluded by stating that “I see it as a legitimate beginning and hope for the resistance there to sustain.” To follow up, I want to examine what some of the obstacles are from that angle, which by far is not the only or even the most popular angle to examine the situation from.

An illusory sense of ownership and satisfaction with realizing a somewhat ideal democratic culture are two of the more obvious and limiting factors about the results of these experiments. Though capitalist relationships between renters and their landlords, customers and local businesses, and work aren’t entirely comfortable, they are challenged less as relationships of domination and more in the quality of their products. The worst thing that local capitalists can do to this neighborhood is offer shitty products and shitty prices. Retaliation against capitalists that make poor choices regarding social norms they want to enforce exists, but price is more of a factor than anything else. This isn’t so bad when it comes to creating demand for caution form capitalists regarding rent and tenant agreements, appreciation for consistent customers and tolerance of customer’s social transgressions, and visibly highlighting the relationships between capital and social life that exist in the neighborhood. However, that relationship itself exists comfortably next to projects that attempt to dispense with waged labor, profit, and a separation between production and consumption. The result is a neighborhood that provides something of an illusion that its residents own it by offering more explicit say-so to locals than most other neighborhoods in exchange for the profit those residents bring to the owner’s ventures. At bottom, the landlord, the business owner, and the boss have been just as much if not more-so the beneficiaries of these cultural experiments as renters, consumers, and workers have.

Facebook as a medium for social organization is a popular choice for the Farmer neighborhood. What had once (to a lesser extent) been done with flyers and zines left at East Side Records, Zias, etc., word-of-mouth at bars and drum circles, and interactions while walking around the neighborhood has been sucked up into world that is controlled by a notoriously fucked up corporation. This is an unfortunate situation, but I’m not sure how successful any of these experiments would be without taking to FB. The local record stores are gone along with sitting/lying on the streets, the vibrancy of street-based activities (which have mostly been recuperated by the city’s arts/cultural projects), and a number of venues for music, open mic stuff, and hanging out. On the bright side, one of the fundamental disappointments with life in the neighborhood is the disappearance of these spaces and activities …which look to be on the increase the more that events are coordinated in the manner that they have been. It would be nice to see FB become less-and-less the standard medium for social organization and face time in meat space become the primary arena for communicating these ideas/events. Ultimately, I don’t think that transition will happen, thinking about the Tech No! Tuesday experiment as an example of resistance to such a shift …but I do think that in comparison, the Farmer neighborhood will continue to emphasize the importance of physical interactions as a defining characteristic of the culture it produces.

There’s a common question that comes up in anarchist space about the effects produced by alleviating the disasters that the State and Capital produce: whether or not alleviation creates a more comfortable status quo that prevents further revolt …or increases the chances of revolt to take place. From examining the Farmer neighborhood situation, my answer in relationship to this context would be that alleviation has lead to more revolt and not less. All of the above considered, activity against the police, against profit-based decision making, domineering personalities, State authority, and the values of capitalists seems to be increasing in direct relationship to the extent to which social activity comes out of collective neighborhood efforts to have fun (or whatever). No one knows where this thing will go, but the more structural relationships of domination that found the basis for the neighborhood’s existence may ultimately suffer from these experiments. It’s still a giant step to go from a sort of counter-cultural conscious consumerism to a clean break with these systemically authoritarian relationships, but if I were my enemies I would pin the Farmer neighborhood on my Google map as a definite ‘at risk’ neighborhood.



The Future is DorkLinux

If you didn’t think Linux was dorky enough, you were right! This is a guide dedicated to the full expression of total nerd for *Nix-Craft Masters. Beware! The DorkFu is strong here!

DorkLinux is destroy everything. This must be done before anything else.


1) After you successfully destroy everything, you can build your linux system from scratch …and beyond!

Check it Out!

2) The next thing you will need to do is immediately install the New Adventure Shell so that you have an official DorkLinux shell environment (see image below):


3) Finally, no DorkLinux would be complete without a 3D Desktop Environment, for this you will need to configure Project Looking Glass as your default X-windows server:


It behaves as beautifully as it looks…


Those are the 3 major steps. Once this is complete, you can download and install Second Life (use either Singularity Viewer: or Phoenix Firestorm Viewer: )…



…and if your dork STILL isn’t satisfied, you can download steam and pick up Rube Works, a game based on the genius of Rube Goldberg


Happy Dorking!

No Title Yet…incomplete.

Techno Music

Forlorn Reflections

I am a slave to world you haven’t yet seen. Though now I sit alone on the bed of these woods, pants muddied, thoughts to myself …I am monitored by something, somewhere. All of the stars above me are connected, as I am, by an alien force moving through and around everything that has and will ever exist. There are no mysteries anymore, nor discoveries. Accident is the name of a devil unspoken. And everything that could be dear to me has become committed only to what is coherent about me; for there is no more potential, nor worry, nor regret. Everything has its name, or number. Floating about a quantified world as some sort of equation or algorithm that designates its limits in a relational space. Just like an accident, what is lonely in me can not be named and it can not be known. It is this emptiness that is my last hope…



Annabelle Fax woke up early to check outside her apartment door for the new AR, one-a-day lenses she had pre-ordered from Cornea-X. It wasn’t very long after their release was announced that she confirmed the order; but, since it was the day of the release there could always be last-minute setbacks. They had arrived in a small package, marked from an address only a few miles away. Though she was somewhat excited to explore the new features, her excitement was diverted by the practical necessity of installing them before she defended her latest client. This could be a brilliant advantage for her defense if she had everything organized and uploaded to the lenses in time.

Judge Fillmore was presiding over the ruling. He had become a well-known advocate in the world of cyberlaw for his unbending defense of harsh legislation against social media trolls. As one of the first generals in the United States’ Tenth Fleet serving under Vice Admiral Bernard J. McCullough III himself, you would think he would have become jaded to the lesser-transgressions in cyberspace. Anna was torn about her defense. Her client was Anchor Nabe, a celebrated actor that caught the media’s attention when the Anti-Troll Militia uncovered his secret hobby of trolling liberal welfare-reform forums. She had built a career on her defense of civil liberties activists, but in this case she sided with Judge Fillmore in every way conceivable …including is so-called War on Knowledge Bullies.

To put this in some context, the War on Knowledge Bullies was the title of a book written by Fillmore and published for free reading to anyone that signed up for his church’s e-mailed newsletters. It was a typical conservative rant against scientists and academics that he believed had become too abusive in their push against the religious right-wing and its cultural traditions. Anna was an agnostic however, and a fairly open one. She agreed with Fillmore’s sensitivities and prescriptions, but in application to the defense of those who have been bullied for their sexual and gender identities. For as much as she agreed with Fillmore and despised Anchor Nabe’s attacks on defenders of the poor, she took Nabe’s case because his celebrity charity went to one of her most beloved foundations for LGBTQ youth.

But back to the new one-a-day lenses! These things really had it all. Not only did they produce high definition overlays in the visual field, render images faster than any other brand, fare well with field gesture capture, and come equip with a series of killer apps …they were the first one-a-day lenses to sync with BeforeAfter’s prediction software. BeforeAfter’s prediction software could detect lies, detect the likelihood of crimes taking place based on location, give highly accurate variable-based health predictions, and most important for Anna, it could give her up to a 72% prediction on an individual’s moods and emotional shifts until the next time they experienced REM sleep. That 28% chance of shifting the judge’s predicted states could significantly inform Anna about how to negotiate according to his likely ruling.

The package opened easily enough and there was little in there besides the lenses and the wireless charging adapter. One-a-day’s didn’t need to be plugged into anything and they came pre-charged for up to 9 hours of wear; but at this point the technology hadn’t developed yet for a full 24-hours. This was one of the disadvantages compared to harder lenses, although even with those you would still need to take them out every 62-hours so that the resonance charging wouldn’t cause any potential damage. Anna rushed to get them in and walk through the New User Wizard. She was already familiar with most of the basics, so all she needed to do was get her notes into memory and make sure that BeforeAfter’s Human-State Prediction was up and ready to process everything that was happening in the courtroom.

Done, good… and now she could get in her car and let it drive her downtown.

30 years ago…

Everyone knew it was happening, no one knew it was happening so extensively. For decades there had been an escalating war taking place within cyberspace and sometimes targeting its material infrastructure. Its scale was global and its factions were many-sided. The 20th Century superpowers and the rapidly developing, formerly titled “Second World” had entered into a kaleidoscopic arrangement of pacts, treatises, strife, protocol, and institutions that kept each other in a deadlock. Eventually, that all began to change. The failing campaigns against the Middle East lost focus once disruptions from the underbelly effectively destabilized the global relationships between nation states and their off-the-record cyber-thugs.

The uncomfortable, low-level antagonisms from the occasional political power or criminal organization became amplified into large scale initiatives with the introduction of new combatants. Identity theft rings, information leakers, activist hackers, and denial-of-service attacks authored anonymously were everyday news by this point, but unheard of technologies began to filter down from national militaries, through their paid terrorist organizations, and into the hands of the others. Most of those who could afford to get their hands on this stuff were too consumed with pet causes or personal gain to create an impact of any geopolitical consequence. However when rebels from different backgrounds came into possession of the new technologies, some of them had larger agendas.

Slowly the global cyber-wars were exposed through actions from its original participants scrambling to keep the others away from the battlefield. Sloppy attempts to target mostly civilian actors led to public experiences of cyber-warfare and a mass awareness of its agents’ capacity to amass destruction. Systems providing energy and basic resources to neighborhoods would be disabled for weeks. Signal interferences would cause “traffic damns” that lasted long enough for motorists to abandon their vehicles permanently. All the while, federal governments were losing legitimacy to confederate organizations of different creed, better positioned to help victims of these circumstances. All of this was merely the introduction of an upheaval.

The more popular confederate organizations were surprised to find out which of their enemies it was that had a head start in annihilating the federal governments. It was the new capitalists! They had slowly been guided away from reformism and passive strategies, both by their enemies and by their ideological ancestors. Their disconnection from grass-roots struggles and the poor argumentative strategies they often employed had distracted most of those aware of their existence from noticing their power in a few key areas: technological skill, black markets, cynically loyal benefactors, and seniority in many open-source and maker societies.

More importantly, the only thing that separated their overt ideals from the covert plans of the nation states was an enmity created through struggling with those states for control over the new economy. An enmity that was tolerated by the states. Since the capitalists had confused their practical enemy with an enemy in principle, they considered themselves to be amongst the anarchists in a war against government. Even if that government was limited to state government. This association radicalised their notions of viable tactics. When they began active campaigns of aggression — to liberate markets from state influence — they naively struck a core pillar of the old systems.

All considerations of allegiance were thrown into question. Activists on the Left, small states, large states, neo-conservative forces were forced to reconsider these new capitalists. These ones who took down the entire technological infrastructure in a tiny Canadian city while the rest were lucky to break some windows or enact revenge against their opponents. While their goal was to speed along the process of development in the city, they miscalculated the strength of their allies. Without the power grid, water services, communications, transport, and all the rest, what happened instead of a unification of the masses for a free market was the mass slaughter of bosses and others in authority by a fed-up population, sick of being pushed aside…

A Human Face

“Queer Theory has won!” exclaimed Rinse. The Mentor’s Hall was silent, its dim flickering lights on the faces of the audience was exhausting. Dunbar Rinse was arousing enough to keep everyone on the edge of their seats. They were wearing a loose-fitting patchwork coat over a plain white undershirt, beige slacks, heeled dress boots. “Like so many stupid things humanity has transcended, we can thank the warriors of mind, body, and soul who came out and stood up against gender. Against even those who called themselves ‘ally’ and fought in the insurrections, it was necessary to take a stand. Even if at times, it meant that they must submit completely to our justice.”

This wasn’t really accurate. While Queer Theory became a well known and adopted approach to gender, it hadn’t actually displaced LGBT or even hetero-patriarchal conceptions of gender. It had simply become popular and respectable. Rinse was a survivor of numerous battles that emerged from the collapsing nation-states. They had taken a firm position that put them at odds as much as it endeared them to others. A credible thinker, a bona fide queer, and a leading voice in the ever-present discourse on sexuality, Dunbar Rinse was something you didn’t want to miss.

“When you go home tonight to your partners, masters, slaves, and solitudes, I want you to arrive with a sense of pride. Everyone attending tonight, even if the display of pride is forbade by your master, you will feel proud tonight! Pride is what brought us out of cis-gender hetero-normative hegemony, pride is what gave us the strength to fight the cults of womanhood and manhood, we will always on this day take pride in our conquest!”

If you are thinking to yourself, “slavery?” then you clearly haven’t become familiar with Rinse. Queer Theory had “won,” but something else also “won”: BDSM. And not so much the B, the S, and the M (which where of secondary importance), but the D. Dominance and Submission rode along to the fore of mainstream practices along with the deconstruction of gender. Some of this came out of a confusion, maybe a vacuum that was left for those who had previously organized their relationships based on gendered roles, but had given it up. A lot of the new genderless had accepted Queer Theory without entirely understanding it, whom became submissives. Others who understood it but were used to dominating their partners subtly, became overtly domineering and these were the dominants. There were more fluid relationships where these roles switched for one reason or another, but nevertheless dominance and submission became the predominant framework for queer sexual relationships. A framework that one would respond to, but usually accept as the polar spectrum upon which relating was measured.

This was fine for some, but for many others it was a completely arbitrary measure of conduct. Unfortunately for them, it was what those others came to be measured. They could either conform to the norm or resist it, but they couldn’t avoid the new rules. Worst of all, they were usually perceived as submissives. Sometimes you would hear complaints from people in this position that “queer relationships aren’t any better than patriarchy was!” And they were a real amusement for the dominants who fully embraced their role…

“Before we get this party started tonight, I have a joke for you all.” Rinse went on to deride LGBT activists that still accepted gender. “I CAN’T BELIEVE THEY THOUGHT THAT THEY COULD PRETEND TO BE QUEER! HaHAhHA” Everyone laughed with them, some visibly uncomfortable feeling themselves to be in the hot seat. Dunbar Rinse pulled out a bottle of champagne from behind a podium they were standing next to. “There are snacks by the fire exit over there and merchandise by the front door. Happy Pride!” They popped the cork and it disappeared into the dark, vaulted ceiling above. Everyone clapped, cheered, and slowly wandered off towards the the food.

Rinse picked up their cane and was escorted their slaves off of the stage to the prep room. “You there! Where, oh fucking where, is my beer? You were to my left, rule #210 states that the slave to my left will have a beer for me after every presentation. You’re aware of rule #210? Who trained you?” They had a lot of rules, #210 was in the introductory chapter.


Antipathy from Fullness

Everything had long ago become an appearance, and I mean… very long ago. There had been religions once: gods, angels, spirits. There had been a love once that forsake the world as much as a religion. There is now nothing of the sort. The validity of feeling is chemical because everything is short-term. The word “conviction” hasn’t been uttered in almost 100 years because now it is supposedly unnecessary. Spilling blood is a rational calculation. Fucking is a scrimmage, practiced until you make it to the big time. This is why the destroyers you meet have been so hated even before they destroy. They’re the only ones left with a secret.

Netropolis: the Advancement of Architectural Controls in a New World

Nabe’s Hearing: the Preliminary Court System

God’s New Flesh: Intellectual Property and Certified Skills

Remote Controls and the Uncontrollable: Shifts in Consensus-Reality and Ideology’s New Terrain

Decentralized Capitalism: Theo, the Open-Source Entrepreneur and his Deal with the School Board

Fame Debt: Non-Violence and the Global Pillory – Lexy and her Ghost Writing firm/Protection Racket

Freedom to Speak at Risk: Civil Cybernetic Justice and the New Police

Isolated Incidents: Revolt’s Last Remaining Configuration

Struggles of the Farmer Neighborhood in Tempe, AZ


For years I have been writing about subjectivity, long-term goals, cultural struggles, radical ghettos, liberating space, and resisting domination. Yet, I have failed in communication with comrades and friends alike to articulate the importance and originality of the Farmer neighborhood struggle; how it exemplifies an approach to rebellion that has won my approval, and the extent to which its transgressions betray a casual and dismissive perspective from afar. I will  begin my story of the Farmer neighborhood with some background context as to who I am, what I’ve seen and been through, and what the Farmer neighborhood is not.

I was born in Scottsdale, AZ where I lived until around 1992 before moving to Gilbert, AZ. Historically, Gilbert is a place that began in the early 1900‘s with a strong Mormon community. They had fled from the Mormon colonies in Mexico as a result of Pancho Villa’s forces and 1915, they began holding church meetings at the Gilbert Elementary School. In 1918, they were organized into the Gilbert Ward. Incorporated in July 1920, Gilbert was primarily a farming community fueled by the rail line and construction of the Roosevelt Dam and the Eastern and Consolidated Canals. It remained an agricultural town for many years and was known as the “Hay Capital of the World” from 1911 until the late 1920s. Fast forward to 1992 and the town was currently busy covering up a backlash against development from it’s white, often Mormon residents. In 1992, Gilbert was in the midst of intense transformation. It was the fastest growing school district in the state, and the town’s 245% growth rate over 10 years was staggering. Gilbert’s population went gone from 29,000 in 1990 to about 100,000 in the year 2000, much of it because of job growth in the Phoenix area. Part of this resulting backlash was the development of a gang called the Devil Dogs, who were organized out of my high school’s football team and had terrorized minorities in the area until its leadership was busted for their monopolization of ecstasy drug trafficking… shortly before I moved.

To summarize humbly, it was an extremely repressive town to live in on every level. Fortunately, I found cultural acceptance in the local hardcore and punk scenes. Then, my life there ended around 2001 when I dropped out of school and moved with my mother to Phoenix’s college town, Tempe, AZ. Outside of Gilbert there was Mesa, Chandler, Tempe, and other suburbs of Phoenix that were mostly going through similar boom periods. Of them all, Tempe and Phoenix were just about the only two places where someone could move in the Valley that had given a home to counter-cultural and creative types. It was already a place that I had been going to for its music venues and the lively bar-lined strip, Mill Ave. Although I wasn’t in the Farmer neighborhood (don’t worry I’m getting there), I was close enough to easily get there…

Now, the Farmer neighborhood is a place that is closely connected with the more general context of Phoenix and its repressive suburbs, ASU and its party school notoriety, and local counter-culture. It’s one of those Phoenix neighborhoods that is still full of foliage and architecture dating back to the early 1900‘s and it is where regular house parties, house shows, couch surfing, and other such things would happen most often. If you wanted to have a 24/7 party lifestyle and be around weirdos and freaks all the time, it’s one of the main places you’d move, crash, or beg for spare change. It’s where you would go to buy underground records and CD’s, get tattoos, find the best comic books, and meet people you liked who were all fed up and resistant to the conservative nature of Phoenix. Not that Tempe didn’t have its own sordid history with the KKK and segregation, but it had become what I had just described above.

As of a few years ago, Tempe (like many other places similar to it) has embarked on massive redevelopment projects meant to rebrand the city –and specificially the neighborhoods surrounding Mill Ave.– as an environment for sophisticated liberal consumption: gastro pubs, sleek imagery, luxury condos and apartments, attempts at an astroturfed arts district, attempts to change its colloquial name to “the DT” (downtown or downtown Tempe), and other bullshit much to the dismay of locals. While this is a national trend in many ways, what is unique about the situation in the Farmer neighborhood is that it inherited as a part of its hedonistic residents a number of anarchists and other more radical types whom also found a place there to call home. What will become apparent as I continue to discuss this anarchist/radical presence is the extent to which anarchist/radical action can take a form that is different from punk shows, from Occupy!, from workplace organizing, from street protest, from collective projects, and from subcultural insulation.

For a moment, I’d like to comment on the relevant context for anarchists in the United States. In overview, anarchists have gone through some marked phases of visibility and activity: from the anti or alter-globalization movement, to animal and earth liberation, to the anti-war movement, to fighting border militarization (especially in AZ), to the Occupy! movement, to surveillance and anti-Police fights around the country. Noted, I’ve spared a shit load of what anarchist have and continue to do; but, only because of the situation I’m about to mention. Anarchists today seem to have become pessimistic and defeated. Somewhat from latching onto past notions of what anarchists ought to do with themselves, somewhat from the ways in which past interactions with the Left have turned sour (how couldn’t they?), and somewhat from ineffectual lifestyle-as-activism becoming more difficult and more problematized. What continues to come in conversations discussing this situation is confusion about what can be done at this point, what other forms of activity may look like, and what it even means to be an anarchist anymore.

Comparing this anarchist/radical slump with the Farmer neighborhood struggle will be the focus from hereon. To expand on the repression of the Farmer neighborhood; in addition to the rebranding and development projects driving up rent, the food taxes, police capacity to issue noise complaints themselves, the shitty frat houses being moved off campus into the neighborhoods, and the failure of longtime businesses valued by counter-cultural types, the City of Tempe has spent a fortune at the beginning of each school year for the past couple of years, rallying together 10+ separate police departments to entirely lock down Mill Ave. and the neighborhoods that surround it. More details as to the extent of this repression can be found elsewhere; however it is these actions collectively by the City of Tempe in a metropolis that offers hardly anywhere else for ‘us types’ to go which has given birth to a real, everyday struggle. The police repression and anarchist/radical swift to act against it, as well as the long-term residency of anarchist/radicals in the neighborhood and the neighborhood’s general rowdyism have all boiled over into an open atmosphere of hostility to police, anarchists/radicals and locals crashing city meetings, a comforting pride in counter-cultural lifestyle, and a generalized attitude of resistance towards anything which might throw a wet towel on the neighborhood fires.

At a time when anarchists where I live now are disappointed with a lack of direction, anarchists in Tempe are busy with an ongoing project to invigorate and defend the historically anarchic neighborhood(s) they live in. The aspects of this struggle which stand out and against what anarchists seem to be up to in the rest of the country is that these anarchists are not something separate from the neighborhood(s) they live in. This is not a participation in Left-dominated reform movements. They are not isolating themselves or merely practicing a lifestyle of their choice. It is a struggle that is open to at least a couple-thousand people invited both to partake in the fighting and in the enjoyment of new and/or longtime pleasures. If only in the imagination of Farmer neighborhood residents, this is now a place where the police are not welcome, where everyone is free to come and eat and drink and fuck in the streets and do whatever, where people take responsibility for themselves and their neighbor/friends about the town, where the landlords should be thrown into the gutters, where the character of the neighborhoods is already and should continue to be the character chosen by its residents. And why not beyond the imagination?

It’s not perfect, it’s not an insurrection, the police still repress, there’s still a lot of bullshit… but, it’s also not the Left, ideological, lifestyle-as-activism, insular, estranged, and another anarchist social space full of interpersonal drama. To the extent that this is something reproducible elsewhere, I am uncertain. The context is very specific, yet not dissimilar from contexts elsewhere in the US and beyond. The characters were positioned naturally to act in their own interests from the social history of Phoenix and the obvious, limited choices of living there in any satisfying way. I see it as a legitimate beginning and hope for the resistance there to sustain.

As a final note, something that I’m attempting to do with this writing is take a lesson from the events I have been to recently: to look at specific (historical) contexts, outside of the activity of anarchists, yet in a round-about way laying out paths of least resistance that become opportunities for anarchist activity. There’s historical reasons why shit in Phoenix proper is different from shit in Tempe …and I imagine that in every major city (with its suburbs, college towns, leftover ghettos from segregation, etc.) there are details there that point towards the greater determinants of cultural life …at least greater limits on it.

The Future and Rebellion

question-mark-clock-2127118The themes of time, context, and rebellion have run through a variety of anarchist events that I have attended lately. This has taken the form of discussions about lifestylism (with crimethinc often cited), leftist ideals of the Revolution, the notion of prefiguration, and ideologies. The conversations usually go something like this:

– Leftist revolutionary movements construct the image of an ideal, future society; one without capitalism, class, the State, and various systemic prejudices. Some of the developments which come out of this sort of revolutionary ideal are: organizing in a manner that takes a form similar to that of organizations in the future society (prefiguration), developing strategies for taking over the means of production (syndicalism), trying to inspire the correct subjects to insurrection (general strikes, occupations, riots), and generally orientating towards the future as a time of salvation, liberation, and peace.

– However, anarchists don’t necessarily have a blueprint or an ideal, future society. Anarchists who have focused on the present moment and sought to immediately deal with the ways that they are limited and smothered by the social structures governing them appear throughout modern history. This sometimes leads to drop-out cultures, the creation of self-sustaining communes, illegal methods of sustaining themselves, attack as an expression of personal and practical desires, as well as dietary, racial, sexual, and gender-oriented considerations.

– Leftist revolutionary ideals are an absurd waste of time in the 21st Century and they put one on well bloodied path of monotheistic idealism, ideology, and politics. The problem then becomes the global scope of the systems that subjugate us and how granular their focus becomes when they attack. Even when ignoring or opposing a leftist, revolutionary orientation, attempting to fight one’s way out of the mess of their individual life makes one an enemy of these systems. There is no clear strategy for winning at the individual or collective level.

– When dropping out, illegal subsistence, collective living, free love, and attacking from the shadows isn’t enough to gain autonomy or requires more than a reasonable amount of risk, it becomes clear that not only are the Left’s myths absurd, but imagining a future that is not bleak (or one even worth living in) is difficult. This provides further motivation to focus on the present, immediate alleviation of one’s suffering; but, in doing so it traps rebellion between conformity (total failure) and activities that have little to no impact on the order of things …even if they are the least compromising of methods available for survival. Without any future orientation whatsoever, rebellion is limited to dodging blows without effectively striking back. So, to carry out a rebellion that grows and accumulates power instead of one that consistently crumbles back into the ruins from which it emerged, some sort of future-orientation becomes necessary …if only to respond with consideration to the patience of our enemies.

To start answering the questions above, let’s start by remember that even if we are not all dispossessed and recently proletarianized, we are at least not in possession of any means to sustain or own lives, nor methods for using acquired means that would create a foundation upon which sustained attacks against our enemies can become more effective. At this point, even as a superficially self-sustaining intentional community, we would not have the means to preventing shit like the pollution of atmosphere we depend on (or global warming), surveillance/infiltration/attacks from the State, energy resources we’d need (hence, the market), etc. Even if we somehow did manage to carve out a more permanent autonomous zone, chances are that it would not sustain generationally: even with the best forms of indoctrination (which would require the sort of ideology we’re rejecting here) kids will want into the grandeur of the metropolis… whether for sex, for fun, or because it does a better job of creating cheap, entertaining shit. So to the extent that lacking space, means, and autonomy could be alleviated, that lack already puts us a long way from having places for ourselves that are not a compromise with our enemies.

For anarchists, whose rebellion has broadened to all that which may subjugate them, there are far fewer packages to buy and issues to think of as singularly important than there are for those rebels who oppose one form of domination, but not all. Anarchist rebellion is so broad that it takes as its enemy almost the entirety of established institutional society. This means that beyond the lack of possession discussed above, for an anarchist to survive there is additional and inevitable compromise with one’s enemies. This compromise can range for a variety of jobs, to the desperations of poverty, to the risks of being caught carrying out illegal actions to simply live another day, to giving up a rebellion against all forms of domination. Anarchist rebellion begins and often ekes out an existence in the terrifying, lonely corner of near-complete rejection of and enmity for the world. This means that even for an anarchist to simply survive as an anarchist, they are already in a perpetual state of rebellion.

Survival and compromise, which can never be satisfying, creates an individual interest in …making shit better. To do this without entirely losing whatever it was that one thought was worth fighting the whole entire social order for, it becomes desirable and maybe necessary to meet other rebels. Meeting others and even devising some methods to alleviate each other of some pains which rebellion brings can also and often does become insulating: a life in a sometimes less painful bubble midst a society one was already alienated from. Here enters the lovely world of group dynamics, with its problems of group-think, status jockeying, power plays, personality clashes, and in-group mentality. This can happen in a collective living situation, a cooperative businesses, a syndicalist union, a social clique, a street gang, an gaggle of squatters, whatever …it happens with groups generally. Out of individual and collective interest in surviving with as little compromise as possible, anarchists come together to try and figure it out and yet still, only more problems!

On top of those group dynamic problems, the particular attitudes and values of anarchists can compound the isolation, hopelessness, and angst many anarchists experience. Anarchists groups can often be a downright miserable series of relationships that may seem like they were created from a false premise, even if they weren’t. More to the point, such a context itself can hallow out the future of anything desirable. Any belief in eventual individual satisfaction, fulfillment, joy and/or collective well being, sustainability, care and god forbid a successful attack or autonomous space. The misery of living with miserable people can completely rip the future as a creative, imaginal space from the psyche and throw it into oblivion with the rest of this damned world. But ought we to oppose an orientation towards the future? I do not think so.

Futures aren’t solely a realm specific to ideologues and theologians. The persistence of subjectivity through time and in orientation towards a future existence is the framework for rebellion. Rebellious activity already assumes that there is something worth protecting and preserving, something that is worth defending in its existence against whatever forces attempt to oppress, dominate, subjugate, or exterminate it. Without that something, it’s not rebellion. Some anarchists are more egoistic and their rebellion takes the form of first being an attempt at realizing an immediate desire. But at the moment when the realization is opposed by force, it again puts action in the realm of rebellion. Even for the orientation of maximizing one’s potential to realize their desires generally, there is already within the relationship between the subject and its context an orientation towards a future. There is a future for the something: the uniqueness of the individual, the skills or space to act upon immediate desires, or the qualities of one’s identity which can not be changed and are nevertheless condemned in the social order.

To first emphasize what is disgusting about ideology with a special consideration to Leftist revolutionary thinking; these forms of thought insert poison into the imaginal spaces of our futures. They don’t themselves invent the entire framework for future; the phenomenological scaffolding which is substantiated with goals, dreams, visions, and aspirations. Furthermore, what ideological garbage does is replace that something which one is protecting and preserving in the rebellious act with an Other: State, Soul, Man, Singularity, Reason, Rights. The reason for the act is controlled by ideology for these Others. Ideology additionally benefits from disguising these Others as something objective …something with more reality, weight, and value than individual subjects and their finite, mortal, and muddled existences. These Others that are supposedly more important and more valuable than the individual agent have futures that will persist, that will be worthy of a rebel’s anguished existence, that will be the Future of all futures …says the ideologue.

That said, there is still a future orientation presumed in the act of rebellion and this includes the anarchists’ rebellions …even after rejecting the Left. The difference is that this future orientation would depend upon the individuals involved as the something protected and preserved and would aim at what anarchists already aim at in their togetherness, even if feebly: places to live, play, and plot that require as little compromise as possible with the existing order. Methods of surviving and attacking that attempt to expand the space and means by which to further survive and attack. A better squat, maybe next week. A new arrangement for free food. A more accurate understanding of how to eliminate that which subjugates us to it. Whatever that future orientation is, in whatever distance… it is there. To not focus on it, to confuse it with ideology, or to attempt to cut oneself off from a future orientation entirely conflicts with one of the fundamental properties of rebellion itself.

There’s additional reasons why attempting to cut oneself off from a future orientation is a bad idea which are tied into the ontological question, the ways in which time plays into subjectivity, and other shit beyond the scope of this piece. As a teaser, one of those reasons is because it forces you into a past orientation, which is what a present-tense context is constructed from: past traumas, conditions, meanings, relationships, habits, diseases, financial situations, legal statuses, etc. There are practices related to the present-tense that are meditative and attempt to break with the past, but those are difficult and impractical mental states to maintain …even if valuable from time to time. Anyway, it’s what I have mentioned above that ties into resolving issues of time and context in anarchist theory. A future orientation itself doesn’t provided any particular practices worth promoting to improve everyday life and our individual life stories, but it keeps the door open for practices that require more long term thinking and it maintains coherence with rebellious activity in general.

The Idealist-Criminal/Duped-Activist Trope

11070769_964314106921222_9197896974015966717_nfrom a facebook post…

Lately I’ve been watching the Blacklist on Netflix. One of its episodes shares a theme that I have a hard time thinking of a show I’ve watched the past couple of years that doesn’t. Those shows are somewhere in the genre-pool of mystery, detective, and sci-fi; and, there’s a lot of them. At least one episode in each show tells the story of a criminal mastermind intent on destroying “the system” leading some sort of group that resembles an Animal Liberation, Earth Liberation, Occupy!, or Anarchist organization …BUT (dun-dun-duuuunnn), the mastermind has ulterior motives. I can remember episodes like this going back to the days of the X-Files…

This sort of episode tends to fall into a type of dilemma that is more general: the hero(s) don’t know if protecting law-and-order is the right thing to be doing; but, they eventually justify their actions by discovering something the episode’s character is doing that is ‘unquestionably’ wrong. Examples of this would be the criminal searching for a cure to their child’s illness, the revenge murderer that kills domestic abusers (or …the entire basis for Dexter), or the character in duress that has trouble choosing between prison and the revenge of the criminals that are using them. Any one of these tropes becomes a commentary on the justifications for strict adherence to the law …and depending on the show, it can go in a variety of directions.

The specific narrative that includes the activists and riots is a bit more interesting. With the idealist criminal and their activist following, you introduce political, economic, environmental, and other contemporary concerns about the organization of social life into the dilemma. In the context of these shows, the audience has already formed bonds with the main characters and their struggles. At the same time, the audience can usually identify with the struggles of the activists. The other dilemmas mentioned above do not offer such a broad range of applicability to the everyday moral questions the audience encounters concerning the organization of their own lives. The dilemma is also more complicated. It not only asks the audience to consider the extent to which they are willing to act for this or that social cause; but also, to consider in an Alex Jonesian way …who they are /really/ working for if they take to direct action.

There is also another aspect to the trope in question that ties into the format of these shows and the world which its characters exist in. All of these shows present a world that is too complicated for the layman to comprehend. Maybe it’s aliens, or a vast network of secret organizations, or technologies traded on black markets that could destroy everything. Whatever the case may be, a world such as this is the precondition for the main characters to exist as such: the keepers of society’s secrets who are protecting society against enemies that also know these secrets. In other words …shit is more fucked up than the audience can even imagine and the story-teller is going to reveal that world episode-by-episode through characters that are out there to heroically protect them. Protection in the case of this trope includes and is even sometimes substantially protection from the morons that think they understand the world enough to take direct action: the activist/anarchist/etc.

The moral of the story is always that while in the mediocre world of civilian life these issues seem important enough to act outside legal constraints for, it turns out that the actual dynamics of society are so far beyond civilian comprehension that there is a deeper purpose law-and-order is serving. Sometimes that purpose is usurped by some arch nemesis that seems to be behind all sorts of catastrophe. Sometimes that purpose is strictly the Jonesian /everyone is working for someone/ or /all direct action must be a false flag operation/ type of scenario. While that’s the overt message, the more subtle message of the activist episodes is really …these people are delusional fucking idiots that are only going to hurt people or at best, annoy the public to function as decoy for others who will hurt people.

For how long these particular episodes have been around, they only seem like they’re becoming more standard. I have trouble estimating the extent to which this trope alone serves to reinforce the suspicion of various activists, revolutionaries, or whathaveyou; but, I feel my own responses to these episodes and their psychodrama …and, I know that if people participating in direct action were an Other for me it would be easy for me to write off the entire lot of them as absolutely fucking bonkers.

What all of this allows me to contemplate is my own context; but, not from the angle this trope suggests. I contemplate how affected the individuals are by this trope whom people my context and what it would mean to consider that affectedness in my own struggles and adventures. For instance, I’m not convinced that journalists are painting anarchists in a similar light from their own moral convictions. I also contemplate the extent to which some communiques seem so out-of-touch to me, given the terrain of the public’s imagination when influenced by this and similar tropes. There’s lots of things …to consider.

Anyhow – I’ll be putting this in the “rambles” section of the Eternal Wretch when I can. Maybe I’ll resurrect Indigestion… Who knows! Maybe I’m working for General Ludd.

Charting A Path Towards Vegetarianism


This is going to be an entirely different essay than the one which was originally posted here. I don’t care to explain why.


There are numerous approaches in deciding how to relate to other animal species. Some of which I find more problematic than others. Since I am secular, I will not be addressing any of those approaches that come out of the world’s religions. What I will be addressing are issues which arise with moral considerations, humanism, attempts to get beyond the anthropocentric, and discourse derived from concepts of rights. I will also be touching on the tone and attitude which some animal liberation and animal rights activists take with their propaganda, its impact on me, and the potential for alternative approaches. I will begin with a summary of my personal relationships with other animal species.

Other Animal Species

I grew up in a suburban area, a few miles away from the farms. It was common that my peers would live with farm animals, the air often smelled like manure, and it was strange if you didn’t go hunting with your father and his friends, kids killed cats as pests. However, I only sometimes visited the farms and I didn’t kill any cats. My relationship with animals was that if it wasn’t in a grocery store or a pet store, it was probably something to be avoided. I was familiar with Kosher diet and it didn’t make any sense to me. I was raised to believe that veil was wrong, but that’s about it. The ins-and-outs of industrial meat production were outside of my awareness.

Some time in jr. high school, I became vegetarian. It wasn’t because I had seen PETA pamphlets, although I had seen them. It was because I really hated human beings, categorically. I didn’t think there was any good reason why any human being ought to presume that they are important enough to kill another animal, let alone eat it. But beneath that, it really just disgusted me to imagine. Hunting and industrial slaughter seemed like something which required a kind of mechanical, disconnected attitude towards the the planet and its inhabitants. I still think this.

My relationship to other animal species is mechanical and disconnected. Aside from pets and pests, I relate indirectly to livestock through mediation of an enormous industry which uses techniques I barely understand and which I am shielded from by my life in a city. Unlike with pets, I can only relate to livestock categorically. I can form no bonds with particular cows, chickens, pigs, and fish. I can only consider them all generally, as the multiplied reiteration of livestock I have met and the treatment I am aware that they receive. What I am actually presented with in my everyday life are various cuts of raw meat, products which may or may not be based on animal substances, menus with pictures of prepared dishes, items that were tested first on other animal species, and propaganda put out by corporations and/or activist groups.

Livestock and lab animals are represented to me, but they aren’t actually a part of my experience. This is true for everything I eat, wear, medicinally treat myself with, and use. The world that I live in is a giant, illustrious production that has been designed by human beings, for human beings …to shelter each of the individuals who can afford it, away from the wilderness, from agriculture, from mass-production, from landfills, and from slums. Commodities magically come into and disappear from this place, regulated by the alphabet soup of bureaucratic institutions for health, safety, transparency in consumer choice, and such. When I’m in the grocery store, the presentation of products equates them to each other as items for sale, marketing differentiates them from each other based on packaging and labelling, their composition is presented as lists of scientific terminology in small paragraph form (for food, at least), and they are all just as easy to acquire if I can afford them.

Although there are some cracks through which unwanted elements seep through and into my everyday life: pollution lowers the air quality, global warming fucks with the weather, a disease will gain entry through products, the tap water tastes terrible, animals being transported can sometimes be seen on the roads, a forest fire will make the headlines, etc. Regardless, the way in which consumption takes place – although changing – doesn’t speak to the origins of the materials very loudly. Before the problem of what to consume is the problem of how to go about consuming. Perhaps even the question of how to go about producing! What would most effectively change my relationship to other animal species is those more basic questions which would dramatically alter the way I confront that which I consume. Without those changes, all of my consumption choice is derived from abstract considerations, from the world of representation.

Defining Life and Interests

As far as I know (and I have looked into this plenty), there really isn’t any single definition of life which can smoothly separate the inanimate, mineral world from the animate, cellular world of plants and other animals and further, from the animate, digital world which continues to produce more complicated artificial intelligences. Drawing lines is a matter of convenience and not a matter of exactness. It would seem fundamental to be able to work from an exact definition of life in order to decide what to consume, but it isn’t. It doesn’t really matter if something is living.

The value of an entity isn’t restricted to an examination of an entity in isolation. Evaluation depends upon the way in which a particular entity or category of entities relates to others, especially in relationship to human beings generally and the individual specifically. It is my individual existence and how I am effected by something which gives me cause to evaluate it. Otherwise, what I am examining is a mere curiosity. It is my health, liberty, conscience, and tastes by which I measure the value of a this or that ecological system and its parts, this or that species and how to relate to it, each individual I come into contact with in my everyday life. My solidarities are not rooted in altruism. Life as a quality in itself is irrelevant to me. I do not aim to defend all manifestations of life, some of which I aim to annihilate.

The Earth’s interests are beyond me in perception and in my power. I can not take an ecocentric position on the value of other species because I can not sort through the ambiguity of defining the importance of an ecosystem without including my relationship to it. There are ecologies which are difficult to imagine having much of a relationship to me at all: subterranian species, deep ocean species, volcanic microorganisms, possibly existent extraterrestrial life. For as global and interconnected as the functioning of many ecosystems may be, it is not the fact that it is an ecosystem which interests me.

The interests of other animal species are as well beyond my capacity to distinguish. I can not answer for any particular cow whether it is more important to them for their species to be more numerous in the fettered conditions of factory farming, or be less restricted to graze whatever they could find outside of civilization (if there is even an outside anymore). I can make the assumption that pain, suffering, and fetters are undesirable but I would be making a decision according to how the consequences will effect me much more than how they will effect another animal species. How much will my life change?

I am not even necessarily inclined to consider the interests of my own species in general, as if such interests were the same generally, for every individual…


There are only so many universal human interests. Every human being needs a planet that can support their existence and to meet various survival needs. After that, most things are up in the air: lifestyle, life span, life quality, aesthetic considerations, social structure, associations between other humans, relationships with flora and fauna, spiritual practices, etc. Human beings tend to have some universal behaviors, which could extend to similar interests …but those behavior tendencies aren’t an absolute determination. The more similar something is to another human being, the more an individual will identify with it. But the extent and limits of that identification can vary drastically, and that is to say nothing about whether something will be considered a threat, a benefactor, competition, or whatever. Often enough it is what is most similar to an individual which is the greatest of antagonisms: criminals, political enemies, siblings, neighbors, coworkers, lovers.

For as much as an individual needs nutrition to survive, they may still hunger strike. No matter the extent to which survival is an imperative, suicides happen. For as valuable as the whole of life on Middle Earth may be, pollution is crippling it. The human species does not need to eat meat, yet most of it does. Animal testing can be avoided, but it isn’t. Other human beings may be even more of an obstacle to pursuing my interests than they are a basis for those interests. Their positions, laws, lifestyles, and the rest aren’t any more or less human and I am not any more or less humanitarian depending on how I choose to live. Yet I refuse to reason as a humanist. I am utterly alone and without the comfort of coherent categories in these decisions.

Representation and Consent

I started writing about this recently because I was frustrated by the argument that since non-human animals do not consent to how they are treated, it is wrong to presume a right to their bodies. There are two major problems with this line of thinking: it is based on flimsy distinctions in representation and consent is almost irrelevant. Above I articulated some of the problems with representation, but they extend further. Not only is defining life and assessing the interests of other animal species impossible for me, it is difficult to even distinguish between animal and non-animal. Fortunately the menu really isn’t that extensive and I am not really deciding to broadly consider all non-human animals and all non-animal species. There are only so many species I would consider eating to begin with, animal or not. Unfortunately, I still can only assume what the interests of individual members of a given species may be, based on collectively representing their conditions and considering my own relationship to them.

I don’t have the luxury of knowing whether this cow or that pig wants to die, would have rather not been bread into its circumstances, etc. What I know is the general tendency of non-human animals to resist captivity, torture, slaughter, neglect, and other such horrors. I can assume that at the very least, most if not all animals subject to factory farms and experimentations are not enjoying it. On my end, I know that it is unnecessary for me to consume the products produced from these circumstances. It is difficult to say whether or not free-range, cruelty free, hunted, or whatever other form of acquiring meat is more in the interests of other animal species, but given the options it isn’t difficult to say what side I’d rather err on. It is in my interests to have the option of making a personal decision in relation to an individual entity. A situation where I can figure out if it makes sense to me for this individual entity to satisfy some desire of mine through its death, or if I’d rather not stomach doing such a thing.

What doesn’t ever enter the picture is consent. While consent can be implied by the resistance of an animal to its killer, it can not truly be granted or denied. In what fantasy does any species of anything anymore have the option of its fate being determined by consent? Animals of all sorts do not and can not consent to the impact civilization has had on them, whether it keeps the animals alive or kills them. Animal rescue doesn’t derive its justifications from consent any more than animal slaughter does. Civilization touches everything without consent, from the fossil fuel reserves in the ground to the highest reaches of bird flight …to my domestication and to yours. The entire content of what is being thrown into question has been imposed, by force, through power human beings have developed and authority which has been legitimized in a variety of ways …divine or secularly rationalized.

On the other hand, there is what I do and do not consent to which I have complete access to knowing. I get to decide the extent to which I consent to civilization and its particular conditions, practices, and considerations. I get to decide whether or not the flavor of meat is more important to me than the life of those creatures which I vote to end with my purchases. I can get behind a gun and consent to the shots I fire into an elk or some other wild mammal. There are times when I may feel like I have been tricked and if I had known better, would not consent to the consumption of one product or another. But the fact of the matter is that where consent is concerned, it is my own consent which is to be questioned and not that of the entities which I am making decisions for one way or another …whose life quality and quantity is calibrated by the mechanisms of markets and conditions produced by human civilization.

No Contract, No Deal, No Peace

Non-human animal consent is indeterminate, but what is entirely impossible is any sort of contract between human and animal species. No matter the extent to which I leave other animals alone or the society of human beings I live with decide to leave other animals alone, it is a completely one-sided decision. I am not afforded the powers of communing with the general essence or spirit of a species that negotiate on behalf of its kind and stick to an agreement. I don’t need to know if a species is likely to be antagonistic towards me or not to know that every interaction with another creature will depend on the situation at hand …not contract or any sort of established way of relating.

For many species, I can occupy the position of predator as much as the position of prey. For even more species I can be a threat worth eliminating in one way or another. The wilderness is not a safe space. I don’t need to worry so much about this in my everyday life since I live in the fortress of a college town. If I’m going to play this game of considering things in the abstract though, it is worth noting these things. If I were to be so arrogant as to consider any decision I come to as a favor to another species, I would still have to admit that to it is reasonable to assume that I won’t be done any favors by that species in return. There can be exceptions. Interspecies bonds happen on a daily basis with pets and in some exceptional cases with wildlife. But again, that is on the interpersonal level. It is not something which can be achieved through relationships mediated by civilization’s devices.

Rights and Liberations

To end the portion of this where I am considering arguments I don’t really agree with, I make a distinction between arguments for animal rights and arguments for animal liberation. The discourse of rights is something that I already stay away from when it comes to humans and I don’t plan to make any special case for another species. Rights are something I am told that I have, something codified into law. They are something outside of me that are supposedly protected by the State. They explain what I would be correct in doing, what I should not be prevented from doing, what I can expect protection of as a citizen or the subject of a civilization. The struggle to establish rights for non-human animals is a struggle for political reforms, just the same as other struggles to change the established principals applied to other subjects. This can be thought of as a possible direction for animal liberation struggles, but it doesn’t equate to animal liberation.

Animal liberation is more in line with my thinking. It isn’t necessary to talk about anything another species experiences subjectively to talk about the completely observable phenomenon of bodies being liberated from restrictive environments and fates. Whether they’re liberated to do is another question. But it isn’t difficult to find entirely personal, individual reasons for wanting to abolish factory farming and institutions and institutional practices that are offensive. It requires neither the consent of another species, nor the consent of another human being to attack the infrastructure of the meat industry (among others). It might even require a lack of such consents.

While I don’t consider myself an animal liberationist, I don’t have any desire to get in the way. That is where I’m at for now on the issue.


Sometimes simple conclusions wind up working out quite well. I am much more comfortable working from the basis of my own tastes and desired consequences than I am with trying to sort through the mess of complicated social systems, ideologies, and considerations beyond those of my everyday life. Weighting the pros and cons of one consumer choice against another can be entirely sufficient for coming to a conclusion about how to relate to non-human animal products. There’s a few major areas to consider: health, economy, taste, and personal effort.

I am not going to pretend that I’m even close to being an expert on nutrition, or that I’m even a very healthy person otherwise. What I do know is that my stomach no longer takes very well to meat and my body complains if I eat it. Something I can say is that as a general project of trying to maintain a healthier diet, it is much easier for me to do so when I take meat out of the equation. Not because I think meat is necessarily unhealthy, but because I’ll wind up not eating a lot of stuff that is healthy if I rely on old, lazy habits of eating mostly from cans and fast food places. I’m also a big fan of leftovers and well… animal products aren’t really the best left overs for avoiding some physical nastiness.

Economy has a whole series of considerations wrapped up in it that I don’t feel like articulating right now, but I sure as fuck don’t want to work with, on, or even really around animals. Taste and personal effort is a little bit more where my thoughts conclude. I don’t like eating meat enough to buy it and fuck around trying to prepare it. I’m too broke to eat out almost ever, so when someone else takes me out or on the rare occasion that I treat myself, I don’t feel much inclination towards ordering a meaty meal. Basically when I weight the pros and cons of consuming animal products, I don’t find many pros. I’m sure I overlook a lot of ingredients and I know that I have no clue what stuff has been tested on animals, but I’ll be touching on some of that in the next section.

One thing that I want to bring up here is that animal products are the default for me and a hell of a lot of other people. This ties into the reason why some animal rights activists and their propaganda frustrates me. Really, why I started writing about this to begin with. It just comes off as so pretentious and ineffectual to me when activists begin making these moralistic analogies between what happens to animals in the meat industry and how people relate to each other in their everyday life. Using notions of consent to bridge the gap there. I won’t reduce that to name-calling, but y’know …is it getting the results you want?

I can understand being passionate about something and I can even understand emotional appeals, but if the goal isn’t to take a piss on someone and instead, it is to figure out where they’re at and work with them towards a shared goal …that shit makes no sense to me. There’s also nothing wrong with pissing people off, if that is what someone is trying to do (which it doesn’t seem to when I see this happening). But as one example, why start calling comrades murderers or sexual abusers because a meeting is happening at a place which serves meat? Especially when you’re not going to follow it up with offering alternative spots or preventing the meeting from happening. Shit like that is just an invitation to make equally stretched out analogies which conflict with those ones, to be written off, or to just be mocked.


In the beginning of this essay, I hinted at the broader question of how to go about relating to anything one consumes. This is where everything falls into place for me and becomes concrete. I don’t necessarily like more work, but I also don’t trust corporations to handle my food or the quality of other products. For reasons even beyond this, a Do-It-Yourself ethic is what I like to peer out at the world through. There’s some good critiques of DIY culture which would make this essay longer than I want it to be, but to take for granted the reasons why DIY shit is in my interests, they are the grounds upon which I conceptually build towards my dietary choices.

The closer I become to producing my own stuff, the further I travel from consuming animal products. Some of this is aesthetic: I think that dealing with animals is gross. Aside from that though, in light of self-reliance and participating with others to produce things we’ll enjoy, the default of consuming animal products flips to a default of not consuming animal products. The pros become much more important, as reasons to use an animal product for one project or another: food or otherwise. I can’t think of many situations where anything but price would make me say, “oh hell yeah, if we just throw some fleshy bits in there this would be great!” There’s some situations, but not many.

Taking this approach also emphasizes what sort of choices I’m really more inclined to make about production and consumption. In the environment of a grocery store, everything becomes a bit vague. In the environments where I am designing something (a meal or something else), I get to sort through all of this in a very personal way. I can’t so much translate these personal preferences for I want to consume into what I think someone else should do. That also doesn’t mean that I must refrain from critiquing the choices others make. The logic just requires me to keep it in the realm of my own choices and how others choices effect me, rather than attempting to find something higher, more moral, more elevated and universal, and more absolute that would make my decisions inherently better. I also get to decide whether or not I like someone for whatever reasons and even though these wouldn’t be those reasons, they’re an option.

If you haven’t ever read other things I’ve written, this is basically the approach I take to a lot of issues. I like to come at things from my readily available experiences every day and if it builds towards something more abstract and profound I let it; but, that happens much less often than I am satisfied with keeping things close to home. Sometimes I am considering something that involves such complicated interconnections that higher levels of abstraction become useful (and this is one of those things) …but if I can make a sufficient case for my choices without taking things into otherworlds, I’m likely not going to bother articulating the complexities.

ok – ttfn

Informal Anarchist Praxis: an open discussion of hangouts

Another Battlefield

The purpose of this is to attempt broaching a debate of informal anarchist praxis that focuses on contexts which I lack the terminology to succinctly describe. The problem of terminology arises because the contexts with which I’m concerned are social spaces where numerous identities congregate and loosely compose a vague culture through familiarity and consistency. While there are a variety of terms that approximate a description of these contexts, they are unsuitable. Participants in these spaces vary in terms of race, class, sexuality, religion, and other usual sociological categories. Yet, they don’t come together in anything that could be considered a coherent culture.

One way to describe these spaces is to consider them the buffers, interfaces, and filters between mainstream culture and subculture. They open up at particular hangouts (bars, venues, local eateries, etc.) and appeal to both more isolated, inwardly facing counter-cultures and those exploring cultural regions (and values) slightly outside a mainstream comfort zone. Consequently, these are spaces where counter-cultural individuals come into contact with the mainstream in more relaxed and intimate environments; spaces where individuals with different backgrounds and values become less “othered”/objectified without the social constraints of the workplace, the school, or any other place with narrowly defined purpose.

These hangouts and the proto-cultures which are constituted and expressed through them offer a variety of potential. They are the immediate outside of more coherent subcultures which individuals participate in and where newcomers find avenues into more underground spaces. Conversely, they are also spaces where capitalists constantly attempt to advertise their products and services, attempting to become staple features of them through sponsorship, branding, and other interventions. This itself creates an underlying conflict of values between culture and capital. At the same time, these are also spaces where individuals are often at odds with the State as it acts to regulate noise and rowdiness, set points of surveillance to apprehend intoxicated drivers, and infiltrate undercover to gather intelligence.

For the above reasons and many others, anarchists may often avoid such spaces as much as possible. These spaces are often rampant with sexism, racism, homophobia, fighting, superficial rituals, and general stupidity. The entertainment they offer is usually of a mediocre variety in attempt to appeal to a lowest common denominator of cultural taste and tolerance. Their accessibility is somewhat oriented around consumption, therefore suggesting participants have some money to spare. In all of their flexibility, they are still spaces mostly structured by privately owned local businesses and are accordingly rigid. Though all of the above is true, anarchists don’t simply ignore the existence of these spaces. They are spaces which have become a fixture of contemporary society and if anything, represent a potent model of social life to be critiqued, attacked, embraced, and/or supported. As such, a discussion about these spaces could prove quite useful.

I think this is a topic that almost everyone should be able to have something to say about, which is usually discussed abstractly (and confusingly), and directly pertains to revolutionizing everyday life in one way or another. I invite anyone with an interest in informal anarchist praxis to participate in discussing the features of these spaces in their locality, but also keeping in mind broader regional potentials. Feel free to describe your personal experiences, attempts at organizing, critiques, and other thoughts.

Indigestion 10/17/2013

How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses

I fucking hated public school with a passion and when I first read A.S. Neill’s Summerhill in Jr. High, there was no longer any doubt in my mind that the school system was an absurdity. This was also the period in my life when I began to learn about anarchism, specifically because anarchists have been pointing out problems with what we know of as schooling for as long as they’ve been writing (and they weren’t the first, as this article demonstrates). I don’t think that the internet and other forms of digital technology make these methods of teaching any more possible than they were in 1911 when anarchists opened up the Modern School, as the article wants to suggest. However, I do think that these technologies create an easily observable example of the basic principals of what may be called anti-authoritarian education, which have been doubted so much in the historical debates surrounding schooling.

The article also points towards some of the reasons why schools take an authoritarian form, but I think there are more factors than the demands of industry and contemporary businesses. The history of compulsory education in the United States goes back to the 17th Century and the methods used, which weren’t terribly different from today, were brought over from England. The Nation State had a lot more to do with it than market interests. By the time industrial capitalism really began to take off in the US, progressives like John Dewey were already spouting theories similar to radicals about education, but were likewise mostly practised as alternative education. The demands of capitalism enter the picture much more-so in the 20th Century, but didn’t have much of an impact on this aspect of schooling.

If you want a really good summary of this history from an anarchist perspective, I highly suggest this:

Women who feel entitled more likely to endorse benevolent sexism, study finds

Big surprise, women in the US with a higher sense of entitlement contribute to sexism because they feel like they deserve to be treated like princesses.

Two Wal-Marts Are Taken Advantage of Because of a Food Stamp Glitch… People Freak the Fuck Out

With the apparent response to this event, you’d think that Arizona Democrats put a bunch of paper signs on their windows with masking tape …or something. What I find interesting about this as a talking point has more to do with the way in which food stamps wind up funding Wal-Mart and places like it. This is something that I’ve been bringing up for a while: corporations have plenty of self-interest in food stamp programs since so many people (and I don’t know the figures) spend them at those corporations. I think it’s interesting that this argument against food stamps is available for small government, anti-corporate right wing types and yet they want to stop thinking at their petty “poor people are lazy and don’t deserve my hard earned money”. Then again, I don’t think those types would be any happier if small local business and shit got a little fatter from food stamps. Anyway… fuck Wal-Mart, let’s eat.

99 Life Hacks That Could Make Your Life Easier

I really like little life hacks since I don’t usually go about small, everyday tasks in the most rational way… and that’s an understatement. There’s some ones in here that I think are neat. What more could I ask for from this kind of thing?

…..AAAAANNNNND if You Haven’t Heard, the Government Shut-Down is Over.

Indigestion 10/14/2013

Charlie Brooker Still Kicking Ass with Black Mirror Series

The first time I ever saw something from Charlie Brooker, it was his hilarious summary of every news report you’ve ever seen on network television. I spent a good while browsing whatever I could find on YouTube (most of which is a bit dated for me to bother posting). Over the past few weeks, I was recently reunited with Brooker’s satirical brilliance with his recent BBC mini-series, Black Mirror. The mini-series is dark, cynical, and sometimes futuristic. It begins in episode 1 with a story called the National Anthem …something I think anyone with a sick sense of humor will enjoy. It’s easy to find a way to watch this episode that suits you, so I won’t spoil it. While the National Anthem sets a precedence for psychological terror, Brooker also comes around to some lighter themes; for instance, in season 2’s Waldo (which is another one I thoroughly enjoyed). While I do have my favorites, I would definitely recommend watching every episode of this sexy show.

Facebook and Google This Week

new-facebook-logo-64x64This week, Facebook makes it more difficult to keep your shit hidden from other users and Google puts your face on blast in their ads. If you use either of these, this article is worth reading (assuming you even give a shit).

$52.6 Billion on Secret Government Programs? Yup.

Funding for 2013’s secret intelligence operations is actually down from 2012, but thanks to Snowden we can talk about this with concrete figures. What we also know from Snowden’s leaks is how this funding is used: counter-intelligence, offensive cyber warfare, domestic spying, etc. etc. I can’t say that anything about this news is surprising for me, but it’s worth mentioning that this was the big week when  this year’s secret operations’ spending was revealed.

Forbes Magazine Kind Of Gets Into the Anarcho-Capitalist Debate

Apparently, the epitome of mid-20th Century Anarchism took a historical turn, rebelling against anarchism’s moral roots in Marxist class analysis and promoting capitalist markets as the utopian vision of stateless society …”anarchy”. For fuck sake! I’m not sure if this is a win or a lose for socalled anarcho-capitalists. It’s certainly a narrative that I’ve heard some anCaps spout in, even if they leave off the end of Forbes’ article which concludes that these ideas are utopian, like all isms. What Forbes does get right to an extent is that anarcho-capitalism is extremely moralistic and academic. What it gets wrong, of course, is almost everything else about anarchism.  The article uses some quotes from Malatesta, Proudhon, and Orwell to represent the anti-capitalist version of anarchism as primarily a moral philosophy and a utopian one at that. Quotes which would be obscure to anyone who hasn’t studied their authors’ thoughts about anarchism and not very representative for anyone who has.

While it is interesting that they contrast turn-of-the-century anarchism as one of “the Deed” from anarcho-capitalism since anCaps aren’t exactly known for their direct action, it doesn’t really explain what propaganda by the deed means or how the phrase suggests an anarchist praxis. Even though they quote Proudhon, they still credit Marx for anarchist economic thought and fail to mention that Proudhon was Papa Mutualism. The Orwell quote is probably one of the least interesting things he said about anarchist Catalonia and that may be because they author didn’t finish the book to comprehend even Orwell’s account of what happened in those two years and after with anarchism in Spain. Not to mention that including Ayn Rand’s thoughts on Nietzsche is worth a thousand face-palms in an article about the moral grounds and failures of anarchist thought.

While Forbes certainly didn’t make any new anarchist friends with this article, it may have at least annoyed a few anCaps.

CrimethInc’s piece, Global Battle for the Soul of Humanity is fucking EXCELLENT

CrimethInc returns to their Situationist-inspired roots with an up-to-date critique of their own former radical projects and the radical projects of others today. There are so many quote-worthy nuggets in this piece that a third of the way through it, I stopped taking notes as the rapidity of direct hits continued on through the rest of it. For anyone that gave up on CrimethInc because of their early manifestation as oogles (or whatever), this isn’t the first piece that could have set you straight, but it is a good one.

 A Photographer Makes People Uncomfortable With A Sexy Exhibit of His Mother

My opinion about this is about as dry and calloused as the title I chose for the link would suggest. Among some of the other works mentioned in the article, Pretend You’re Actually Alive takes center stage with the photographer’s images of his own mother having sex, pretending to be a corpse, and talking about ageing. That’s nice, it seems like an extensive effort to publicly broach the topic of parent-child openness concerning sexuality though. Towards the end of the article, another one of Leigh Ledare’s series is mentioned which also taps into feelings of discomfort that develop through sexual relationships. In the latter, Ledare asks his ex-wife’s new husband to photograph himself having sex with his ex-wife in the same location that Ledare earlier photographed himself doing the same thing while him and his ex were still married. All I can say is that I wouldn’t want to know Leigh Ledare personally and become a potential subject for some other public exploration of sexual uneasiness.


Fuck the Police, All Cops Are Bastards …but if you weren’t yet convinced, here’s a story about cops targeting disabled students in multiple drug busts.

Every week I see new stories of police doing something terrible, stupid, terribly stupid, or worse. This is no exception, except that it’s easy to passively consume this story just by watching the videos included in the article.


The Charles Manson Movie Made By Punk Rawkers You Probably Haven’t Seen

An animated musical made by members of Green Day, Blink 182, Rancid, and AFI about the Manson Family, how can you resist? This is one of those movies that are considered a classic in my absurd cannon. I didn’t watch it for the first time this week, but I did get really excited to play some of the songs from this movie for friends. The entire thing is available on YouTube (direct link above). After watching it, you’ll know what I mean when I say “I’m not a Hippy, I’m a Slippy”.

Indigestion 10/09/2013

Another Day in the Demystification of Christianity

The Passion of Christ“Jesus Christ is a fabricated cover story for an Imperial psychological warfare operation born out of the First Jewish-Roman War in the first century.” –

On October 19th, Joseph Atwill will be showing his documentary and talking to the British public about the extent to which claims are true of ancient Roman’s having invented Jesus Christ …entirely. The basic thesis is that the story of Jesus Christ was an invention of first century Roman elites, who in having run into tactical problems crushing Jewish insurrections in Rome, decided to rely on a psychological approach. Supposedly at this talk, Atwill is going to present confessions made in the first century in regards to the invention of Christ. Unable to watch the documentary myself, I can’t give much of an overview of what the facts are that Atwill depends on to evidence the specificity of his claims. Although, generally I don’t think it is so far-fetched a notion that Jesus Christ is exactly what many people have thought him to be …a political tool used for social control. I will definitely be following how this story unfolds and hoping to not be disappointed by the quality of the research.

A Skeptical Inquiry into the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Laughing_Data(One of the fictional representations of an INTP)

This week I attempted to field the opinions of a comrade of mine about personality theories, specifically Myers-Briggs, which is based on C.G. Jung’s cognitive functions and archetypes. Although it wasn’t much of a debate, my comrade’s opinion in my words (after what I can only imagine was a short exploration) was that like astrology and other such bullshit, the Myers-Briggs is worthless pseudo-science and fundamentally flawed because of the Forer Effect. While I especially agree because the MBTI is often administered on the internet and verified only by the test subjects, I had already invested enough energy into studying this system to mine it for anything useful.

Before getting to Myers-Briggs, personality theory in its entirety doesn’t have the most solid basis. Whether someone is considering psychological type theories or psychological trait theories (the two main forms personality theory takes), the best they seem able to conclude is that an individual has tendencies or preferences towards the use of certain behaviors that in concert may or may not closely match predefined types. At their worst, type theories will come right out of someone’s ass (which can be seen in abundance with New Age literature, Astrology, and novelty tests taken on the internet or in teen magazines) and trait theory can describe traits which hardly have any universal ground in human behavior. Of the better examples of personality tests there is the Big Five, the MMPI-2 (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory), and the TAT (Thematic Apperception Test), none of which I will be covering for numerous reasons.

Like even the most superficial and astoundingly absurd personality tests, it’s easy to find an abundance of true believers on the internet. Unlike many of those tests, the MBTI is often used as a professional tool for career advisement and other forms of counseling (even though the 1991 National Academy of Sciences committee concluded at the time there was “not sufficient, well-designed research to justify the use of the MBTI in career counseling programs”). Based on testing subjects for strengths in 8 different cognitive functions, it offers an array of 16 personality types …only one of which represents the best fit for anyone, everywhere, for their entire life. These cognitive functions are divided into four dichotomies, each of which concludes a dominant functional use of introversion/extroversion, intuition/sensing, thinking/feeling, and perceiving/judging. Although all eight of these terms have specific definitions, they are meant to be understood in combinations (such as Extroverted-Sensing and Introverted-Feeling) which are difference in predominant use for each type. Fundamentally, there is good reason to believe that these cognitive functions exist and can be understood in this way; but, accuracy in testing how much and to what extent someone uses them is low for the MBTI (except on the introversion-extroversion scale) and it is questionable to what extent they can be understood dichotomously.

Another consistent problem for the MBTI has been that around 39-76% of the time people re-test, they are assigned a different personality type. This has been true for me over the years, having most consistently been assigned INTP (which apparently has a high correlation with the DSM’s schizotypal personality disorder – lol), but also at times having been assigned INFP, INTJ, and others. So far, it’s looking pretty shitty for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. From personal experience I can tell you that when I was assigned different types, there have been very specific context-related reasons for why I would have been giving answers these other types give. This criticism is often countered with MBTI-supporters saying that anyone can use any cognitive function, but more considerate testing and verification would show that I have always been one type and that when I obtained different results it was because at the time I had a reason to be using those other functions more. It’s a nice surface-level retort, but I probably wouldn’t have been in those contexts mentally, emotionally, or circumstantially to begin with if I was really at bottom one type for always and ever.

Some of the few things that have been interesting in studying Myers-Briggs are that the statistical distribution of types in the population seems to be consistent, the cognitive functions themselves and how they relate to behavior is informative, and some social dynamics which are talked about when various types interact (or people with preferences for various cognitive traits) might be useful. In the online forums, I noticed that I did have a lot in common with those of my type or close to my type which I didn’t share with those who were further from my type. Even though there are 16 individual types, they correlate with the 4 temperaments of the Keirsey Temperament Sorter (Artisan, Guardian, Idealist, and Rational which has its own interesting history) and it seems to me like this more general categorization has shown the most broad behavioral distinctions. The most I can say that I’ve be able to use from studying this has been the correlations between cognitive functions and various forms of behavior (which isn’t specific to Myers-Briggs). Admitted and despite my apprehensions, if someone were to ask me how well a description of my usual MBTI type represents me, I would have to say more accurately and better than anyone or anything else’s has before (except my own, which this has nothing on).

Conclusion: pretty much unfounded, only somewhat useful, and only sometimes meaningfully descriptive.

Some Works of Impenetrable Beauty

A friend of mine posted a link to the Codex Seraphinianus, which is the work of an Italian architect, illustrator and industrial designer from the 1970’s. Though I love the images and the use of an untranslatable script, I couldn’t quite remember where I had seen something like this before. Then while reviewing the blog I was looking at, I remembered that I had heard about the Voynich Manuscript from watching one of those ancient aliens guys talking about it as some kind of mysterious artefact that somehow suggested extra-terrestrial life. I don’t even want to get into criticisms of the ancient aliens show, considerations of DNA scientists recently discovered in the Earth’s atmosphere that they’re almost certain is extra-terrestrial, or proposals that human DNA has ET connections. What I do want to do though is show you these two pretty picture books!

The Voynich Manuscript

The Codex Seraphinianus

[Reason for Lack of Content Today: I have had shit to do and haven’t been reading as much… that’s why]

LouiseBrooks theme byThemocracy