ATUBES October 2017
Digest of the Anarchist Tubes
(on totw colonialism)
I don't think a DESIRE for a homogenous definition of @ colonizes shit. In fact, "colonizes" is a frustrating word choice - a further stretch to an overused, margarine-word metaphor. And I suppose I could say some shit about "slavery" too, but I'll leave it.
Anarchy is not a home, it's a word. This totw essay plays at the emotions people have about history and what it means - arguably, following Perlman, already a dangerous activity, to be discouraged - and tries to elide this into a problem of political disagreement among people who associate positively with this word. It is a moral argument without ethical content, just a desired destination and an emotional strategy in play to convince a person like me to get there.
Obviously I'm being a hater. I think there is a problem with invisible dictatorship, and generally want to people liberal about what people do with their time. Go ahead, indulge in... Adam Lanza fandom? (Srsly the worst article in Black Seed #5.) But hmm, depending on what it us, I think it is entirely appropriate to say, Maybe go somewhere else with that shit? Like a scat play party taking place in the living room of a collective house, so too do people feel about Atassa at bookfairs. Perhaps they are just PRUDES though, lol.
There are some people who want to be real rude aboyt the definition of anarchy, also, to exclude (explicitly or not) anything they're not into, basically a "no true Scotsman" thing. But then there's also people striving to be accurate. It is a widespread fallacy to think words' semantic contents have fixed borders, but working within this fallacy, this is hardly morally objectionable. Personally speaking, it is very rare for me to say "you are not an anarchist", but I definitely raise my eyebrows when some people use that word for themselves, given what they're into (and this includes some crypto-Leninists fwiw, not just post-left types). It's like, you seem to be using that word because you want to recruit or you want to belong. Understandable, but why the fuck should I feel duty-bound to accommodate you?
(on totw colonialism)
The answer to leadership
by @critic (not verified)
The answer to leadership based on technical specialisms is skill-sharing.
The answer to covert intellectual leadership is for everyone to develop the ability to think critically and formulate their own ideas.
I'd advise people trying to theorise anarchist thought to look at Freire on cultural submersion, and the last part of Gramsci's Selections from the Prison Notebooks on this kind of thing. Also "Critical Thinking as an Anarchist Weapon", "Strip the Experts", and "Revolutionary Pleasure of Thinking for Yourself". And if you can manage it, Deleuze/Guattari on problem-fields, concepts, and nomad/royal sciences, and Korzybski or Postman/Weingartner on the difference between what people perceive and what people think. Read Hakim Bey on the source of values in chaos, in desire, and in altered consciousness. Add in Bonanno on propulsive desire and Stirner on wheels in the head, and maybe Barthes on myths, Boal's cops in the head, Vaneigem, and you've pretty much got an anarchist theory of critical thought.
Quick summary: if you aren't thinking for yourself, you're probably being manipulated by someone else who is. Everyday common sense is confused, contradictory, responds to right-wing dog-whistles, and is easily channelled by the media and politicians. Your average right-wing press reader thinks they're thinking for themselves but they're just jumping to conclusions they've been primed to reach. Autonomy is useless if we don't have our own projects and an ability to reconceptualise the outer world through them.
Every anarchist needs to be able to spot a moral panic, a wheel in the head, an order not to think, or a standard COIN media strategy, as easily as they can spot a police line forming, an undercover infiltrator, an alt-right troll, or a political takeover attempt.
Every anarchist needs to be able to suspend judgement and consider whether the facts fit several possible narratives.
Every anarchist needs the Geertzian skill to interpret and understand other points of view on a deep level - even when one rejects them.
Every anarchist needs to be able to conceptualise and process sensory information from multiple points of view at once.
Every anarchist needs the ability to process, and change their mind based on, empirical evidence, without uncritically worshipping science. This means being able to tell the extent to which a particular belief is an effect of sensory evidence and the extent to which prior schemas, fantasy-frames, axioms shape the ways the evidence is selected, generated, or interpreted (every item of knowledge is both to some extent). It does not help us to say "it's science so it's true", or to say "all mainstream knowledge is statist, racist, authoritarian, patriarchal, and therefore useless". Either leaves us trapped in common sense.
Every anarchist needs to perfect the art of thinking structurally - instead of morally - about social problems and their causes (e.g. radical criminology).
Every anarchist needs to be able to tell the difference between a latent common sense belief they haven't questioned, and an idpol or other politician telling them what their "real motives" or "real significance" is. (People from oppressed backgrounds have naive common sense assumptions as much as, if not more than, people from so-called privileged backgrounds).
If people have these abilities - it doesn't matter if there's an intellectual hierarchy, because they won't have any power. If people don't have these abilities - they're probably being manipulated.
Anarchism is (tendentially at least) a "conception of the world" in Gramsci's sense. It's an entire other way of seeing, a different problem-field from the mainstream (and also from Marxism and idpol). Anarchism starts from desire, or will, or autonomous subjectivity as the driving force of its conception of the world. This requires relating to one another horizontally, as rhizomes. Once someone's thinking (and reacting unconsciously) in terms of desire and rhizomes, responses to particular issues come pretty naturally. It becomes possible to feel micro-fascism as and when it appears, to feel autonomy and act towards it. It doesn't need a lot of theory - just a consistent sense of the point of focus and the forces arrayed against it. To be absolutely outside, or to move absolutely outside, what and how the system wants us to think.
Generally, people become anarchists because an intense, powerful experience - of a riot, say, or a festival or party, or a particularly inspiring piece of direct action - overrides the attachments which tie them to the status quo and its ways of generating meaning. Alternatively, people who have no existing attachments, who can't plug into the mainstream, are drawn to the rhizomes of anarchism. This is the first step. People already begin to process things through this new source of meaning - not through the system's meanings. But it's hard to move beyond the processes of statist thought which are present in so much of social life. It isn't some sad, traumatic "learning through discomfort" like idpols propose - it's more a matter of following through one's own desires and beliefs more consistently. Clearing out cops in the head. Anarchism is a type of inner desire which disperses power, which breaks the hold of the state, capital, "society" on the individual, the unique one, or on the flow of desire. But thought needs to follow from this desire. Too often, the internal managers and survival parts of the unconscious kick back into superego, statist, moral reactions even after the break is made. And the entire apparatus of repression and recuperation is designed to encourage this process.
Anarchist thought is thought which disperses power. It is dispersed thought. It is not the imposition of a blueprint, a different concentrated power (as most radical politics is). And it is not self-disempowerment (as Buddhism and postmodernism often are). It is thought - and desire, feeling, fantasy - which disperses, diffuses, decentralises power - which infrapolitically, micropolitically balances against any concentration of power, sabotages, subverts, exoduses, rages against it - which in its very structure as well as its content, saps power from centralising signifiers and places power in the zone of desire itself.
Anarchist thought starts from desire, the ego, the will, and favours diffuse or dispersed power for this reason. Thinking in terms of general social and moral categories is not thinking from desire. If one hears a story about a fugitive, and one's first thought is "what an awful thing he did", one is thinking from a state point of view. If one is first thinking about the state's technologies of capture and the will to escape, one is thinking from an anarchist point of view. If there's a spectacular mediatised terror event, and your first thought is about bad guys and victims, you're thinking like a state. If your first thought is about civil liberties and the global context of civil war and how to fight back against lockdowns, you're thinking like an anarchist. If there's a noisy party in your neighbourhood, and your first thought is "fucking cunts, how inconsiderate", you're thinking like a state. If your thought is, "different people have different desires, and the system makes them so hard to reconcile", you're thinking like an anarchist. If a state plans a ban on far-right protests, and your first reaction is "good, racism disgusts me", you're thinking like a state. If your first reaction is, "this is dangerous, it will be used against us next", you're thinking like an anarchist.
I know people with no theoretical training whatsoever, who seem to naturally think like anarchists - often because they're traumatised by authority, or they've lived in autonomous zones for a lot of their life. There are indigenous groups who are not anarchists, do not call themselves anarchists, yet in many ways think like an anarchist. There are people who are not anarchist, who are anti-anarchist, who think like anarchists to the extent that their own communities or networks or movements are pitted against the state. And there are people who claim to be anarchists, who are anarchists in most of their macro-politics, who do not think like anarchists, but rather, think like the mainstream. These people are incapable of revolution because of the cops and wheels in their heads. Ultimately a clever media strategy or a social crisis rigged the right way would be enough to get them acting like just another curtain-twitching Fox-viewer. I'd count most left-anarchists and idpols in this category. They could have a revolution, create no-go zones, and all the state would have to do is encourage some drug dealing or petty crime and they'd start acting like pigs. Because they care about spooks and morality, in-group and out-group, more than they care about dispersing power.
(on brrn txt from 2013)
by Suomynona (not verified)
1st paragraph: A lot of platitudes and some empty phrases. Ends up in the nonsensical conclusion: "Ultimately our demands will be too threatening to the elite classes for them to bear; and their resistance to our drive for freedom will be too much for us to tolerate any longer." Except that has never happened, it is not what is happening, and honestly it is not very likely to occur like that.
2. paragraph: Well, okay then. How you not gonna avoid ending up with nothing else than reform when you don't address the systemic problems other than a reiteration of marxist garbage (power and the allocation of it)?
3. paragraph: More platitudes. Capitalism is only a part of larger whole. To suggest, as Kropotkin did, that we basically can just replace the economical incentives of the present system might have made sense a 100 years ago. These days, not so much. And slavery and exploitation were and are not only a "factor", it is fucking it. So how you gonna run a system based on resource colonialism, slavery, exploitation, war, coercion? Just make sure it is worker managed?
4. paragraph: Well, yeah, it would be like celebrating pain to suggest otherwise? But then again, what is the function of reform? What is the power relation? Reform is also an effective way to recuperate and maintain the present system (look at the history of social democracy). It is an effective way to pacify and solidify the hegemony of the state and capital. As long as the state and capital are seen as the only logical solution to our material needs, then accordingly reform (and the support of) would mean that your notion that "our demands will be too threatening to the elite classes for them to bear" would not come to pass. Contrary to what you seem to think, being clear on the fact that I don't support reform does not mean "all or nothing", it just means that it is illogical and against my interests to support it.
5. paragraph: Good luck mate. Whatcha think, that the proles just need to read the fucking bread book? Perhaps it is cause they are clever enough to see through your little pantomime? Perhaps they have a point and instead of supposing that you need to raise their consciousness (that is some patronizing shit right there), perhaps they have something to teach you? Perhaps there is a reason as to why they act against their supposed self interest? Perhaps they don't want your revolution?
And now I actually can't be bothered anymore. Why don't you rather just go and do some shit instead of this paternal crap? Why argue for the right to self organize a corpse? I don't fucking know. If you actually speak to people, you'd perhaps be surprised to find out that they actually get that capitalism is a shit deal. And instead of this social insertion, and supposing that since you've read Kropotkin you can go and get them to organize better, be better and all such shit. Why don't you actually figure out what it is these people themselves want? And insofar as your interests meets theirs, then this would be where you organized?
(on brrn txt from 2013)
As all the responses to this…
by El Errante (pzs) (not verified)
piece of shit article haven't engaged, at all, with its content; and as I can't fucking sleep, here goes. First, the idea that there is some fundamental real-world difference between advocating reform because it could build working class power and hence produce a social revolution sometime in the next 500 years or advocating reforms because one believes in the dominant system is bullshit. If you advocate reform, you are a reformist, period. And what if one should be so lucky as to actually effect reform, what then? Well you've painted a smiley face over the savage visage of a society based in exploitation, suffering, war and death. Good job, that really helped. Next is the simple empirical question of history...can anyone point to a single reform movement that has spawned anything even remotely resembling a revolutionary organization or even better...a social revolution? Marx, of all people, got this right in his disdain for the Chartists, realizing that the more people were enfranchised to vote, the greater their reliance on and faith in the bourgeois state and by extension, Capital.
As Wilde in his scathing individualist anarchist essay, The Soul of Man Under Socialism says," The majority of people spoil their lives by an unhealthy and exaggerated altruism... They find themselves surrounded by hideous poverty, by hideous ugliness, by hideous starvation. It is inevitable that they should be strongly moved by all this. The emotions of man are stirred more quickly than man’s intelligence; and, as I pointed out some time ago in an article on the function of criticism, it is much more easy to have sympathy with suffering than it is to have sympathy with thought. Accordingly, with admirable, though misdirected intentions, they very seriously and very sentimentally set themselves to the task of remedying the evils that they see. But their remedies do not cure the disease: they merely prolong it. Indeed, their remedies are part of the disease."
Is there then a black anarchist/post-left response to the post-Christian ethics of our red comrades? Yes-- sabotage, circumvent, nihilate, avoid and destroy those institutions and practices that one finds most egregious. Will this build power revolutionary consciousness for the working classes? Who cares. All I know is that individuals acting as agents of destruction are far more likely to realize an insurrectionary moment, and I would trust them for just that reason, as opposed to a gaggle of anti-reformism reformists whose skill set is limited to soliciting signatures for a petition or buttonholing elected officials.
(on totw: what is anarchism in2017)
From a strictly personal POV …
by ⒶF (not verified)
... based in Norway, The Old World, I can only add to this wonderful mess that anarchism in 2017 is of course still what it always was. Go figure. If you don't know what it is by now, I guess it's wasted time to try to explain, but you'll probably find out for yourselves sooner or later anyway. Nothing beats home grown conclusions.
So stop asking for my advice, take what you need but be fair, share with those of your kind and mind your own dirty business, right?
And as if that wasn't a nice enough hint, I'll throw in another one for good measure, just to show what a generous sharer of ideas I actually am:
"Freedom" and "Responsibility" are one and the same. Not a duality, or a conceptual pair of terms, or mutually conditioned phenomena, or anything else that is less than 100% synonymous, but the exact same goddamned thing. Same thing, just considered from two different angles. The very moment you declare yourself a 100% free, autonomous entity, you are and will be held 100% responsible for your actions as well. He who is not free to chose cannot be held responsible for the outcome in any given case, and only he who takes responsibility upon himself has (confirmed) his freedom. Freedom is a word that says responsibility on the flip side and vica versa.
Now, get a wrench and go subvert some authoritarian pig system, will you?! Jeez. ;)
yes, it was a good thing that
yes, it was a good thing that the security folks were able to keep these asshats from invading the venue and so had to be satisfied with stomping around outside until they got bored and left. yes, it was a good thing that anarchist commerce went along smoothly so that the youngsters could get this year's t-shirts and patches ("oh, there were BOOKS with IDEAS in them? whatever..."). yes, it was a good thing that nobody on "our" side got hurt. but really, this report (like the others that immediately followed the event) is a sad continuation of alarmist antifascism. i say "alarmist" because ARR, like other professional antifas, exaggerates the danger posed by fascists and their enablers in the mainstream, and those anarchists (those who question the strategy of working with marxists and those who question the automatic requirement of being antifa) whose politics ARR doesn't like.
as is the case with many
as is the case with many discussions centered on anti-politics, my assumptions have a lot to do with scale and the differences between big ideas and the smaller face -to-face interactions. antifascists like ARR and Bray constantly take the macro view, positing an existential crisis for what they call "the radical left" if its partisans ignore the looming threat of fascism, cryptofascism, and anarchists (and other "radical leftists"?) who don't subscribe to their alarmist pronouncements. the threat those guys and their fans are worried about are large, connected to social institutions and the mainstream -- hence their focus on "attempting to counter the misinformation" about antifa. my worries have to do with the more personal level of threats, like the ones implicit in the attempt of those asshats to invade the Houston Anarchist Book Fair. my antifascism is gut-based; i know quite well the threat those asshats pose to me and my friends, and it is on that level where i choose to respond (or not). that level of threat is real, and the threshold is mine; the threat ARR and Bray perceive is wider -- and that's where they lose me. essentially what they (and other professional antifascists) are calling for is a broad Popular Front-type organizational coalition to combat all levels of fascism, regardless of the actual or perceived threats among specific individuals who may or may not be specifically targeted by the fash. their calls are for "the radical left" to set aside doctrinal -- and even strategic -- differences in the face of some "greater threat." that's alarmist bullshit, and brief surveys of radical history will show the self-defeating aspects of this kind of agree-to-disagree politeness. i'll never work with leftists, "radical" or not; they are not my allies in the long-term, so why would i expect them to decide to be allies in the short-term?
tl;dr version: alarmism requires that people dispense with their principles, leading to suicidal coalitions with anti-anarchists. no thanks.
if the only strategic value
if the only strategic value in what Bray were doing is countering mainstream information, that'd be fine; mainstream loathing of any kind of radical direct action is a no-brainer and there needs to be someone out there who can stand toe to toe with scumbags like Hedges and all those DSA clowns. but there's more to Bray's and ARR's project than that. if you can't see the strategic suicide in that, it may be a failure of understanding on your part. they are quite explicitly trying to engage "organizers" (Bray uses the term quite unselfconsciously, as if there hasn't been decades of discussion about anarchists and the organizational question) -- that is, people who organize others, or who have a specific kind of organization on the agenda. you know, specialists in other people's struggles...
that's where my hackles go up. that's why i don't call myself "antifascist" the same way i don't call myself "anti-imperialist": each term comes with a lot of historical baggage from leftist organizations, and they are not just analytical positions. when people call themselves antifascists, or anti-imperialists, or antiracists, they are also telling you the right way to organize to combat those things they're against. that's called ideology.
but you're right that it's not an either/or situation. i just don't have much patience for self-described anarchists who promote coalitions with tankies and other marxists (and don't get me started on the ones who promote electoralism or other aspects of liberalism)
(on KT interview)
by Sogna (not verified)
I find it interesting that despite critiques of science from AP and green anarchist thinking that people such as KT are still down to idealize anthropology and treat it as some sacred field of academic research which is laying waste to all the bad in the world. Sure, a few bad apples like Chagnon but the good guys like Ferguson will always prevail. This whole interview was based upon dropping timelines and science rather than anything to really sink my teeth into that can get me feeling like there is some relevancy to what you're saying. You criticize egoism, but at least I don't have to have an egoistic critique of civilization rooted in anybodys perspective but my own. Stick to the zanie rewilding stuff, at least I can agree with being in the woods feeling good and have a laugh at the more nonsensical stuff.
(on crimethinc. txt)
This is a classical example
by disorder (not verified)
This is a classical example of Crtimethinc. ambiguity that is especially manifest in their "international" reports.
There's one thing that runs through the whole article, though, which is rather specific to Catalan anarchism: the appreciation of all that is local ("our neighbourhoods", "local assemblies", etc) as opposed to big and evil State forces (ie. the Catalan proto-State). And that is even when the famous local assemblies struggle rather explicitly for the creation of a new State. I need not remind you that assemblies do not have to be "run" by anarchists to work on anti-authoritarian principles and have anti-authoritarian goals (contrary as to what is thought by Bonanno who would like to silently guide the masses). It is not a question of the assemblies being explicitly anarchists -- an assembly waving a CNT flag and fighting for the creation of a new State is still an assembly that is fighting for the creation of a new State. Defending any manifestation of local initiative as contrary to the State (ie. beaten voters vs. evil Guardia Civil, which soon becomes Catalan cops vs. Spanish cops) is failing to understand how democracy has been functionning for the last thirty years -- by encouraging active participation, formal or informal, in the institutional life.
Another thing that is rather troublesome in this article is the insult of "orthodoxy" and "dogmatism" thrown at those anarchists who are criticizing the pro-independantists. It suffices to look at any newly built State to see that the argument saying that the Catalan State is "smaller" (but how can a State be "small" in the times of global capital?) and thus easier to fight, is outright ridiculous. The sentiment of national cohesion which is exploding at this very moment of the referendum, is not something that is temporary for the next few months. Whoever will be willing to battle the newly formed social order in Catalonia will have to face the widespread sentiment of national belonging, which is always, with no exception, on the side of authorities. And it persists for decades. It is the same sentiment that is mobilized to promulgate faith in State institutions and, as a consequence, justify their repressive force.
It is extremely tiresome to constantly run into this stupid accusation of orthodoxy and dogmatism. It is not because one is "more" anarchist than another that nationalism is never on the side of those who don't want to be ruled neither rule. It is because nationalism is to be condemned on its own grounds -- the "for" or "against" of some anarchists is of little importance.
May I remind you that just like we refuse to chose between the rope and guillotine, we also refuse to chose between one State and another -- at war as at peace. This refusal is the only theoretical and practical position worthy of being developped on this question. The desire of some anarchists to join the ranks is no excuse.