I seem to do well for myself. Though I do accept that perhaps I don’t test myself, what life has handed me isn’t that bad. I enjoy my job, the friends I have, the stuff I do. I don’t feel like I struggle to take care of bills, rather I struggle to find interesting things to spend my money on.
However, this greatness I have taken from life is very precarious. I avoid taking on regular bills. I don’t own a smartphone, just a pay-for cell phone. I don’t own a car. I don’t own a house. I quit smoking cigarettes. I reduced my drinking. I smoke pot less often.
I saw my life somewhat change after I was put on suspension at work and then attempted to go through drug therapy. While going through it, the encouragement to take bold steps and fundamentally change how your life is created is strong. Once away from therapy, old relationships become important again. Ways of interacting with others through drug or alcohol use seem more interesting and fulfilling as that is the company I prefer that has come into my life.
However, what I did take from my therapy experience is a desire to live life more. While I was already doing so since I had shifted my life in 2005, I added just enough alteration leading me back towards enjoying theater, comedy shows, acting and performance arts in general. New friends gained that are also in search of something more interesting than what they are currently surrounded by has mixed this enjoyment with my love of the outdoors. My new friends want to not just go to a show with me, but also camping, canoeing, walks and so on.
While they may not share my thoughts on anarchy nor play games, as has been my typical fallback interests, I am pleased that my life has produced friends whenever I felt in need to change the mix of things. This would not be the first time that I’ve added associations when older relationships are waning in one way or another.
I think one of the reasons things go well for me is because I attempt to find enjoyment in what others dread. Having a positive attitude is attractive and makes others feel they can trust and rely on me.
Recently, there has been this theme surrounding cruel humor. What is my style of humor IRL vs. my Internet humor? My IRL humor is pun’erific and often observational. But also in my real social life, I don’t have dickheads trying to ego banter with me. The Internet is how I behave when I’m by myself in a crowd of unhelpful people that not only don’t want to respect me as an individual, but want to find some way to knock me down a few notches just about whenever I express myself.
I’ll tease friends that tease me, but that is done within a certain safety where a relationship has been established. On the Internet where niceness is being mute, standing out requires a certain about of thick skin that can go back and forth with others that want to not just prove I am wrong, but also prove that I lack appropriate intelligence for the conversations we are engaging in.
While I do love dark and blue comedy and will at times find myself speaking in such a way, most times I tend to be more reserved. I make the friends I have by being actually helpful in their lives, both as an outlet for recreation and as a person that can help with the small stuff. I can at times make plenty of jokes, but that isn’t who I am. I am not a comedian performing in real life.
On the Internet, perhaps I am a performer. I do tend towards a type of humor because I feel it is funny not just for me, but perhaps funny to others. Sometimes my sides are splitting when I write stuff. Perhaps friends matter less with the Internet. Perhaps what I’m wanting are readers and participants rather than friends on the Internet? I guess it is all part of being awesome.
I recently saw another “anonymous” comment disappear of mine that fed into two memes. One equates any time an anarchist or radical mentions or does something against yuppies with Kevin Keating, the creator of Mission: Yuppie Eradication and other fine projects. The other was “RAAN like a motherfucker” which is a meme of lovable derision that mockingly applauds acts of small vandalism by comparing the action to something done by the “Red and Anarchist Action Network”. The comment was simply “Keating like a motherfucker”.
I don’t know Keating like some do. What I do know is he had some good stuff going and it would’ve been nice if he had opted to keep going with it. He wanted to be the voice of a new left communism, expose a path of short term strategy that aimed to heighten the potential of situations of unrest. Keating’s two major projects, the mentioned MYEP and the Muni Social Strike. His opponents accuse him of egotism and over-inflating his role in these situations, but because I so rarely see others attempting anything like he has and one must admit his postering for mass participation and vandalism strategy does have an appeal that other forms of left communist propaganda fail to compare to.
I’d of loved it if some anarchists I know would of figured out a way to mend fences with Keating, but at the same time, Keating might of decided staying enemies was better than getting along and I don’t know him personally enough to be able to speak of the rightness or wrongness of this. I do know that I’m more friendly with others that don’t care for him and I also know that I admire Keating’s promotion of his major efforts. Some day, I’d also love to see anarchists, communist or other radicals take a page from Keating or try to find a way to out do his efforts, as that would break from the norms we typically expect propaganda projects to embrace.
Also, Anarchist News moderator, your selective moderation is still weak. Right now, I can say without feeling bad that Anarchist News is moving away from troll silliness which makes it fun and towards what we can typically expect from other anarchist news sources. Dead comment threads and people talking about articles on Facebook instead of on the site. Gone are the days of substantial comment posting, with interesting comments going few and far between.
The Anarchist News moderator has a poor sense of humor and now that they are explicitly moderating based off of taste, they want to control how anarchists express their sense of humor on its website. Comments should be filled with typical snark and be appealing to a post-left anarchist crowd that still shares a moral compass and sense of humor with radical leftism. This is unfortunate, as comedy and humor are a valuable tool in the creation of anarchist media and what anarchists have typically been better at than other radicals is remaining edgy and relevant.
By Anarchist News removing comments based on taste, there is a discouragement they want to present, a ruleset and ultimately they want to act as the editor in chief of comments as if we were publishing articles by making comments. It isn’t a fun game regular users can participate in, it is part of how Anarchist News wants to control its voice and yes, that means it is a censoring force that goes beyond spam and blocking enemy content from its site.
It makes sense to keep explicit enemies, like liberals, pro-capitalist libertarians, fascists and Leninists, from using the site as a stomping ground to promote their points of view, but when it attempts to control anarchists who have been friendly with the site for his history of loose moderation and often frank pro-trolling stances, this back peddling into being “relevant” will eventually kill interest in independent anarchist news websites. People can turn to corporate blog spaces, corporate owned news feeds, facebook friendly news sites and independent anarchist media can return from where it came from. The dustbin of history.
One can see, in comparison, that these actions by the Anarchist News moderation team are hostile to the inhabitants that have lived in its comments area for years. They want to raise the value of comments and force out old users. The Anarchist News moderation team act as developers of our comments, aiming to create space for the upwardly mobile contributors that may write articles for associated media and generate a greater value to the properties they manage. Anarchist News has become gentrified, its preferred commenters are the yuppies of anarchy and the trolls of the site are the native inhabitants being slowly forced out. Where is Keating when you need him?
I opted to post some silliness on Anarchist news dot org, as I and others often do. It was removed by someone on the website’s administrative staff. Because it didn’t break any guidelines, I decided to make an issue out of it and post comments against the moderator that was removing posts out of personal taste.
Here is the one I reposted over and over, which is a statement placing the line in the sand:
“What the fuck is up with the selective and heavy handed moderation lately? You know what is a good response, moderator? Don’t respond to my posts. This site doesn’t moderate based on taste. Worker, tell your little moderator fascists to get in line or GTFO.
What I said in response was I hope I do get hit by a bus that has a Victoria’s Secret Ad on the side of it. I also said the fucking dumbasses that these calendars are for didn’t pull all on the line. The only reason they have a calendar for them is because they were stupid enough to get caught. I also requested that a nude calendar was made by people that didn’t get caught. Those people put all on the line as well and were smart enough to: 1. Not get caught and 2. Use the funds for their nude calendar to buy the goodies that will make fucking destroy.
Asshole moderator, I’m copy-pasting this and I’ll tire your ass out if you fuck with this post. Anarchy motherfucker. Get a fucking life and do something off the internet for a while. Watch some TV or beat off to whatever weird fetish you are into.”
The silliness was that the “calendar” wasn’t even a calendar, it was a list of prisoner birthdays. Because there has been nude calendars made for various charities for quite some time (Calendar Girls is a movie about such a thing) I thought it was slightly humorous to make this into an important demand. The person that responded to this got ridiculously angry and said something about the prisoners putting all on the line, like they were above mockery. They then told me they wished I would get hit by a bus. I found this to be extremely stupid, so I replied back that the prisoners were stupid for getting caught and they were no better than anyone else that conflicts with the state (capitalism, social order, dominant order, domination, etc.).
The moderator decided to intervene and remove my post out of some weird position of taste. Since the moderation guidelines don’t support moderators removing comments out of taste, I decided to go further and attack the moderator.
Wanting it to be funny and humiliating for the moderator, I quickly thought up some nasty responses to challenge their understanding of moderation as well as continuing for the next several hours to post my above comment. Seeing that it kept getting removed, I went even further. Here is an example:
“I once saw the penis of the moderator. I was surprised at how small it actually was. He actually requested to give me a pearl necklace. Since I was in a bored mood, I accepted. Taking his pinky, he thrusted it up his asshole and used two greasy digits to rub his small dick/big clit for a few seconds until a small gob slowly oozed out of the tiny organ. Disappointed, I got up and left.”
Since this moderator continued to remove my first post, but left some up like this, I decided to check his moderation with these two comments, which he removed over and over like the top one:
“Anarchy-faggs demand we all adopt black babies and stop pleading guilty. The Hope Bloc includes this fucking moderator that wants us to give in to his selective moderation. The arbitrary enforcement of this moderation is abusive and there is no guideline that defends what they are doing.
We need more nude pix in the political prisoner calendars! Throw newspaper boxes into the streets until this happens. Clandestine action and open revolt against moderators with small dicks!
Adopt a black baby!”
“This calendar is almost good. If the graphics were more interesting, perhaps a penis or vagina here or there, it would be better. If it was connected to an anarchist who didn’t get caught by the state, that would be great, if it happened to be a prisoner, I’d still fap to it, but since they aren’t special and didn’t put more on the line than anyone else, it doesn’t matter. After all, they got caught and that is the only reason we are hearing about them in this calendar. Moderator has a small penis that would fit in the calendar nicely, though hopefully they’d wash the grape jelly off their sticky fingers.”
The first of these two was an anarchist meme reference point. “Anarchy-fagg” and “Adopt a black baby” were two repeated comments from years ago that became meme worthy, but the commenter was often moderated, but persisted on posting for quite a while.
The second was an attempt to test the moderator on removing my other comments, as to discover what exactly they found offensive. It was removed. Later, after several more hours of reposting my copy/pastes and having them removed, I broke it down into one sentence comments that said the same thing I was saying in my removed comments. These, however, were not removed.
“Worker” posted a poll on comments, which has been done several times over, perhaps to gauge the opinion of the users, when typically the polls are supposed to be useless and silly. I figured that worker would say something about the issue, so I spread my attack on this moderator to the poll and announced my intention to keep posting my comments until worker made a change in moderation policy or confronted this moderator and informed him to stop deleting my comments, which were removed outside of the moderation guideline.
This did not happen. Instead, I have been banned from Anarchist news dot org. I decided to appeal to worker on the issue and he said something about changing the policy, but didn’t mention anything about giving me back my access to the website. Given that the response was formal sounding and not a response to someone that has been a participant and contributor for years, from being a moderator for Anarchist news dot org and other websites worker owns, to writing sporadically an occasional essay to writing substantial comments when others write baby-talk trolling to finally being one of the most interesting trollers on Anarchist news dot org, I figured I’d lambast the entire process until I am spoken to as a friend or associate and not this formal bullshit. This may not be something that is important to worker, but it is important to me.
The moderator that performed these actions can kiss my ass.
Currently I’m going through drug treatment group therapy. One of the things the councilor brought up was the Laws of Attraction. The gist of it is by focusing the mind on things you’d like to have, those things will come into your life. While it is easy to be skeptical of accepting this method to empowering my life, it also holds some truth. In the past I’ve practiced self mind control methods to achieve success in things I wanted and while it isn’t a guaranteed way of gaining in life, it does help generate the potential to do so.
This is, in a way, part of achieving a will to power, accomplishing self power in my life by focusing attention to the things I’d like to see happen. However, as they are “laws” there are certain methods that also must be practiced to manifest its power. This clearly smacks of mysticism, a type of magic employed in one’s life.
Drug therapy done through the county government is tied to Alcoholics Anonymous, which uses spirituality to achieve success. These things ultimately employ methods of calling beyond oneself and into the realm of the imaginary, but reinforce such magic with forced group interaction, prescribing Alcoholics Anonymous as part of completing drug treatment within the county program.
Does it work? Well, I do feel compelled to finish my drug treatment so I can get back to work (currently under suspension) and bring in the money to continue supporting my family. I put on a false smile and I attend my therapy meetings and the required number of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. I get drug tested regularly, so to pass these tests, I do avoid drugs, but I also see more to it.
By entering this program, I have evoked a ritual to change my life. I have decided prior to entering that I’d like to give up drugs and alcohol, so part of this program is voluntary compliance. The councilor is realistic, as are others that attend the AA meetings. They know that I and others attend these meetings because they are coerced into the program. Typically, people that enter these programs have broken the law in some way and do drug treatment as part of their probation. If not this, then they have a family reason or, like me, a work related reason for entering the program.
The ritual of change is first breaking the addictive habits one has. So simply by stopping the consumption of drugs and alcohol, one has completed the first step on the road of recovery. But this is simply not enough. Most anyone that attempts to quit drugs and alcohol knows this is how you stop…you just stop and don’t start again. It is the latter, not starting again, that the rest of the treatment is about.
This is where it gets tricky. Attempting treatment is a life changing event and I’ll admit I have no desire for a “full transformation”. Giving up on old friendships and relationships where drugs and alcohol are consumed is the next part. For me, I attempted to ignore this part. I found it to be stupid to give up on people I’ve known for years just because a program suggests it. However, even when I reject their narratives, I find some truth to the matter.
Not long ago on Anarchist news dot org the discussion of trauma triggers came up, mainly related to rape. While I find overcoming triggers to be a sign of a powerful personality and avoiding triggers to be a personal flaw, there is truth to it. When we place ourselves in situations that remind us of certain behaviors, in my case smoking marijuana or drinking alcohol, we may have a tendency to react to them.
In my case again, my trigger would make me desire to smoke weed or drink alcohol. In the case of trauma triggers, it might cause revulsion or reliving incidents. Perhaps because I have a lot of strong positive feelings with smoking and drinking, memory may compel me towards, while a trauma trigger would compel against.
Not to dwell on trauma triggers as it is a tangent, avoiding situations that trigger behavior was my decision. I decided to avoid hanging out with my old friends for extended periods. When I do hang out with them, I hang out for short periods and for specific reasons. What helps the situation is witnessing how little drugs and alcohol assists what I want to do with them.
Typically it is a constant interruption, but more often, by not using I realize how much the subject matter of others is boring. In fact, by not using, I have been reminded of why I was using. I am very bored with life. To fix this problem, I started trying to get out of the house more often and walk around, but that also got dull, especially when done by myself. Then I started playing more video games, then reading more, then writing more. I built a small table top roleplaying game. Now I’m designing more stuff. It seems to prevent boredom without using, I’ve become a machine of creation. I like this approach to life.
Before, I felt the use of marijuana helps me find other ways of looking at things, activating creative parts of my mind. On the flip side, alcohol would loosen me up enough to create. This still may hold true in some ways, but there are other things that can press forward creation. And that is lots of downtime.
I realize that unlike many other people, I am not very extroverted. Well, more like, I don’t like me being too extroverted. I’ve experienced very social, extroverted ways of life and found them to be very empty and dull (again with the boredom!), so by keeping only enough social interaction around to prevent insanity, I am content. I’ve also watched myself in an extroverted state of being and I have just as much of a capacity of being a shallow douchebag as anyone else. So when the opportunity comes up to remove more people from my life in order to move forward, it doesn’t really bother me too much.
So with that step down, the next steps are about creating my new self. I’ve moved past the feelings of constant addiction desires and angst at my situation, with the rare occasion to come to my mind and sometimes allow relapse and then back on the path, showing to myself that I’m not addicted, but still recovering from addiction.
But what is this new self to do with all this time that I want to use for me? I could spend it hunting down new friendships within Alcoholics Anonymous, as is suggested and perhaps there will be some searching within its participants for a few fellows that I might enjoy socializing with. However, I know me more. I know I’d much rather have something else going on. I like my return to writing, my drive to create. I also like my attempt to continue my praxis group, Revolt Against Work.
As stated in previous blog posts, I’m working towards new methods. I’ve accepted my aloneness, but I also want to expand my relationships. Based on this contradiction, I feel I am ready to begin rallying towards new relationships that aren’t founded on remaining content with life, but rather challenge my life. It is time to remain focused, to attempt to use the laws of attraction to my advantage. To give in to my higher power, which is my will to power.
For a long time I’ve attempted to make my participation in the Red and Anarchist Action Network known. I’ve wanted to rally post-left styled anarchists and anti-Leninist communists into some sort of coherent group locally and work forward from there. However, with the RAAN Hub down again and the continued lack of interest in changing the presentation of RAAN away from boring imagery which seems to continually marginalize my desires for something more, it might be time to take another break from RAAN.
It has been fun being in a network where I could share my thoughts with others, but this doesn’t seem to reciprocate very often. I post comments on the RAAN Hub, which don’t seem to impact anyone. I talk about what I’m doing and others might talk about what they are doing, but there just isn’t a benefit in any sort of mutual way in my continued promotion of the network.
Just looking around the web, searching the history of RAAN, I realize that I alone post more about RAAN than the entirety of the network combined. I have more articles written than any other participant, I have more essays, more blog entries, more forum comments that discuss experimental praxis than the rest of the network.
For a long time I’ve attempted to tone down my mentioning of RAAN so as to not confuse people into thinking that I’m the front person for the network. My critical support for the Principles and Direction, the Principles of Organization and the Principles of Action is in no way a singing endorsement of them. I’ve wanted to see others come up with ways that we could share ideas, but more often, I feel as though if I were to give my full weight of idea making, my full weight of posters, zines, essays, photos of graffiti, it would seem the network is centered on me rather than a sharing between various affiliates.
I definitely support RAAN and may return to it in the future, but it is time that I define the groups I create in more explicit ways as to attract like minded people. Anti-Leninist communism is not a popular tendency, while anarchists might be more susceptible to my viewpoints, enough so that I might grow more participation locally beyond the small number I currently operate with.
Besides anti-Leninist communists, there is the thought on Discordians and my unity with them. Along with this are those situationistic Marxists that might be hiding somewhere…yet I never seem to get contact as I did when I wore my anarchy on my sleeve. Then there is the Internet trolls and random anti-authoritarians. I’ve attempted to remain open so much so, that I perhaps don’t offer anything that can be understood enough on initial contact that would make me worth an everyday anarchist’s time to deal with.
I enjoy experimentation, attempting to find new ways of expressing my anarchist viewpoint. I am very specific in what I think is radical and I know to many my nuanced views can be intimidating. There has not been a strong enough Occupy presence in town to attend, the Sporeprint infoshop is so vague I question if anarchists are even involved. Indymedia, while friendly, is not anarchist, though maybe there are a few that might give a nod to anarchists.
Food not Bombs seems to still exist and there might even be some co-operative housing projects that are explicitly anarchist. Time and again I’ve heard others speak of people wanting to meet me, but I’ve allowed my free time to be absorbed by gaming with old friends, taking care of my parents and working long hours. I’ve also spent the past few years involved in the creation of a video game that I have decided should no longer need my participation. I’ve sat on the fence with all these other projects that aren’t about who I really am. I am an anarchist and I want to live as an anarchist who attracts other anarchists to engage me.
Perhaps the other anarchists won’t be on my same tendency. Perhaps they would clash with my views, but also, it is time to try and reach out. Wandering the town with my small group is fun, but it might be better if there was more to it. I still have what I view as necessary things to complete. I’m by no means finished with things that still take up a great deal of time. But if I continue along this path, I feel I won’t be able to experience more. I feel I won’t be able to make a larger impact in my city if I remain on the fringe of what is happening. Time passes and things seem to pass me by.
I don’t know if this means anything yet. This is just a beginning as I continue to consider the possible. I want to be friendly with the anti-authoritarians in town as I’ve always wanted to be. I want future RAANistas to approach me and to continue my communications with the network. I want to question spiritual thought with other discordians and do silly posters and propaganda should any appear to have an interest in what I do. I want to manipulate images and post controversial thoughts with trolls and challenge the sacred cows that have a hold on many anarchists.
I enjoy being a type-3 anarchist with so many influences and abilities to affiliate my time. Perhaps this all will mean nothing will change. But it is time to see what anarchy in Columbus is today and where it might be going with my participation. If this should make no real difference, perhaps I will return and do as I’ve done for the past decade. I suppose it is time to really try. It might be the only way to see more than me mentioned when I look for anarchists in my area.
A couple of songs I like to listen to by Covenant
Like Tears in the Rain
The first is a reminder that social decay is my world today. The second is a reminder that my project is shared by those isolated individuals that watch the world decay. Of the powerful social relations I remember, virtually none hold today. However, I exist in the present and I continue my push forward. The need for others, though felt and desired, comes with the understanding that no one can truly understand me. My ability to relate to others seems distant, yet I still continue to try. My friendships are those crafted by the projects and games I create, rather than because of some deeper connection I share.
Certainly, I won’t deny that I do have connections, though I feel their superficiality when I’m the one who makes the phone calls, when I’m the one who drafts the purpose and reason for gathering. Others seem to always fail to return this favor, depending more on my abilities rather than stepping up in emulation of my attempts or making their own.
It was far more interesting being younger. “We stand together” would be a better way of explaining my old connections, even with my friends who were influenced by the dark music from a generation before. But to stand together, it would say that others are reasons for the social fabric that exists in my life. Today, I’m a friend of last resort due to my alien nature in my “normal” relations. Too smart and educated, too specific and uncompromising, I embrace the truth (more like the lack of truth) of the void to have a space from the daily alienation of people that lie to themselves and others in order to keep getting through the day.
So many want their girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands, wives, kids, job and security. Even I am not immune to this. But my “need” for a job and security is mainly to support relationships with family, to keep them from falling into the well of destruction and becoming an even sadder reflection of the life I once remembered. Should I break away from this, I may become more powerful still, but at the expense of others becoming another memory.
I need not have a job and a roof over my head. I’ve trained myself to exist without such trappings. Survival against the odds of the environment seems so appealing sometimes that it grasps at me, wanting me to end my ties to the relationships that depend on my dark star, emanating a joyful blackness. Life is a joke sometimes, a tragic comedy, a farce of the life we could have if we could but grasp the power we are denied, from others, from ourselves.
I’ll continue this great dance and seek others to dance with me. But when I do this, I do it from where I’ve always been able to do it. I do it from a place where I share myself to others and others attempt to share themselves to me, only to have their truths denied so I might stand strong. Every flower I ever held, Every spring I ever had, has died. I stand alone, we stand alone.
taken from anokchan.com
an anarchist gamer’s take on the world.
An Anarchist World
What’s going on at Anarchist News Dot Org?
I still don’t agree. Breaking windows is neither symbolic nor propaganda of any sort. Rather, it is a revolt in and of itself. I also disagree with illegalism as propaganda of the deed. Illegalism was another self-fulfilling act, but to make it a phenomenon with a label is disgusting. In their day, as today, there were anarchists and socialists who frowned on criminal elements within their milieu. I don’t think crime needs an ideological justification such as “illegalism”; I think you’re either appreciative of it or you’re bourgeois. But I don’t remember a lot of those Parisians doing it to spread a message and incite rebellion. Instead, they were experiencing hard times, the state had recently shut down the Paris Commune in a brutal way, and many poor people went that route out of necessity.
Next, Suzy Subway and friends wanted to make a statement to anarchists after a falling out over the direction of student occupations. She follows it up with a list of who’s who among left anarcho douche bags as if the feel good sentiment for “democracy” were supposed to cover up the hyperbolic claims from the authors. It reads like an appeal for real anarchists to be more like the leftists that invite them to be less aggressive, but also are insulted by accusations of sexism and threats of rape. Those that signed this statement chose the wrong way to express their discontent, perhaps hoping sympathy could be found on an anarchist news site. However, the response was almost completely negative. It went in several directions, some feeling it is a fake document, others (like myself) telling off the signers and still others using the anarchist snitch list as the new signers onto this condescending report back/proposal.
Lastly, another reportback/proposal, this time from Olympia, Washington. “What happened in Olympia — Some notes on opacity” reports the failure of the Olympian anarchists to seize the day and how they think they could approach it next time. Also a fan of lists (lists are awesome, am I right?) this proposal for strategic thinking goes in the opposite direction that Suzy Subway and friends went and rather than denounce their fellows as potential rapists, they decided more militancy might be needed. The strategy doesn’t break away from protests, but I anticipate more thinking that wants more than what’s offered as well. Best of luck to y’all and play safe.
The Infamous JZ
John took a number of calls throughout the country, including one from Portland discussing protests and jail solidarity. The jail solidarity created a near riot situation inside the jail even. There was an attack on the Portland Police Union as well. For the April 6th 2010 show, I watched Anarchy Radio instead of listened because the audio sound isn’t as strong on the audio download. Crank that volume up Mr. Techie dude!
Q&A @ Anarchy101.org
This week’s question:What are anarchist alternatives to the police?
Question by rocinate:
1.) Instead of calling the police…
2.) How an “anarchist society” may “police” itself?
3.) Examples throughout history?
Answer by dot:
once again, the question presumes the answer.
once you get to the question of police (as a term that means anything), then the answer already sucks.
i watched a very intense movie one time that was about a small band of people living in a remote area, dealing with the fact that two men hated each other, couldn’t get away from each other, and couldn’t resolve their differences. other people couldn’t help them work it out, they had been living with it for years and it just got worse. this is what i think of when the saccharine talk of community gets too much for me, but even this claustrophobic and miserable situation was better than having a specialized group of people who are authorized to use force, alienated from the rest of the people they live around, given too much power, etc.
but to more clearly address the question — community control, people being in each other’s business and intervening in problems, getting better at knowing when to be invasive and when not to be. learning how to have more permeable boundaries between ourselves and the people we care about.
skills that are next to impossible to learn in the atomized and isolated situations we mostly live in.
The point is to make every aspect of poster creation a game. From the first images to the text to the placement of the poster, each can be enjoyed on various levels. The images can either be found, stolen, created or altered, but once an image has been chosen for the poster, one can share the image on an imageboard like anokchan.com. This gives the image out to the world at least temporarily for any “anonymous person” to use (no one is really anonymous on the internet, but many do try).
The comments on imageboards will probably suck, mock the OP (original poster) or be derogatory in some way and may also share space with images that can be of any quality, given that most anyone can upload images to an imageboard. The imageboard can often be the plaything of internet trolls, who might also be the perfect audience for poster images. A troll is bored and looking for lulz, so there are many responses they could give to the image. It could be a comment, an alteration of the image, an image in response or maybe they could also find a way to use the image in their own way outside the forum and/or be inspired by the image (inspired to poop on!).
taken from anokchan.com
an anarchist gamer’s take on the world.
An Anarchist World
What’s going on at Anarchist News Dot Org?
As many of you have heard, a bombing that occured in Athens, Greece on Sunday resulted in the death of a 15-year-old Afghani immigrant and seriously injured his 10-year old sister. Most news sources indicate that the two children were rummaging through trash cans with their mother when the boy picked up bag found in a trash can. That bag contained a bomb that exploded seconds later.
Initially, no group claimed responsibility for the action, with the clandestine group Conspiracy Cells of Fire going so far as to clearly state that they had nothing to do with the attack. Yesterday, Greek news sources received 2 claims of responsibility, one supposedly from a fascist group and one supposedly from an anarchist group. The authenticity of the claims is questionable, to say the least. While it is conceivable that fascists are responsible and that their communique is genuine, it seems as though whatever party is actually responsible for the bombing has no desire to admit fault (understandably), creating a situation where different political factions are attempting to frame each other for the tragedy.
As always the comments are amazing. Most of them are a back and forth about the Greek tragedy, but some are insightful. Here is an interesting one:
Its obvious that this is a false flag event orchestrated by para-state elements to discredit the conspiracy of cells of fire. The lack of evacuation calls and the statement released by the conspiracy disavowing this action are enough to convince me. It is very tragic that these young people were maimed, and I hope the global anti-authoritarian community does everything it can to help the survivors.
There are two points which I feel bear repeating within this context. One is that 4-6 people in the united states die because of police everyday. This is only one of countless manifestations of the violence inherent in our social structure. Worker got it right, this tragedy is nothing compared to a day of the states operations.
Second, there’s nothing more despicable then some zealot hopping on a tragedy to serve their ideological ends. These trolls are a good example. If their crocodile tears were genuine, they wouldn’t be using such ignorant language. They’d recognize that life is a precious and fleeting thing, be thankful for theirs, and busy themselves at improving the world. These people only comprehend things through the mental lens which the spectacular-commodity society has implanted in them, and are incapable of rational analysis of facts. If they truly cared about people who suffer violence, there are plenty of perpetrators of atrocities far graver then we window-hating anarchists whom they could be calling dirty names.
It isn’t that I hate windows, I just love to see them break.
But seriously there is a lot that could be said about the Greek situation, but most of it is cheerleading, monday night quarterbacking, back seat driving or whatever nonsense word for the speculative solutions people come up with for things they have no control in affecting or altering. Best of luck to the Greeks.
The Infamous JZ
On his March 30th 2010 show he talked about societal meltdown and anarchists failing to notice, among many other topics. In this clip he mentions his visit to the Bay Area and gives an example of how anarchists are focused more on their identity as anarchists and not the context that society is moving in. Listen to the full show here.
Bash Back News reports that a fishbowl caucus is going to happen in Denver. Apparently it is an attempt to create a decision making model that forces people to listen while others talk. Here is a further explanation from the horse’s mouth:
A fishbowl caucus is different from the caucus/auxiliary model that many of us have participated in in the past. In a fishbowl caucus, the caucus sits in a circle in a room and talks. Meanwhile, the ‘auxiliary’ (anyone who is not participating in the caucus) sits in the same room, in a circle around the caucus, and listens (without speaking). After the caucus is finished, the inside circle may turn around and ask questions, or answer questions.
We believe that fishbowls will be the best way for a caucus to actually have an impact on people with privilege, while hopefully still being a positive way to talk about power dynamics among people who have parallel experiences.
Letters Journal posted a diatribe on the pro-revolutionary which is a response to a response to something that was important enough to reply to. They should just say more openly that “pro-revolutionary” is a pejorative in the manner Letters Journal wants it to be used. Yes yes! the context! If people just knew what you really mean when you say “pro-revolutionary” versus what they think you are saying! If the only people talking about what pro-revolutionary means are pro-revolutionaries of course it is going to take a positive connotation. I don’t see how the expression was doomed to fail otherwise. Entropy is a bitch and even nihilists can’t predict how their shit will become more diarrhea and defending the word from misuse is pointless as long as the word is being used by the subject of the word. Outside of revolutionary circles the pro-revolutionary as pejorative may fly more easily. If not, it is a forced meme, time to move on to the next thing.
Finding the time to poster is sometimes hard. I work and I play and I adventure. Before I became familiar with situationist theory and urban exploration jargon, I referred to my walks as “adventures”. I enjoy the term more than “drifting”, “urban exploration”, “infiltration” or “urban hiking”.
An adventure is sometimes a quest, a hunt for thrills. Other times it is a wander. And then there are times it is just a walk in between destinations, a fixed route with little variance or detour. Even with a fixed route though, there is an ability to run into things that seem out of place with the order that surrounds us.
Putting up posters can be part of this adventure. Instead of seeking typical routes of pedestrian traffic, posters can be placed in obscurely traveled areas. Those that think of postering as a chore don’t realize the potential of placing a few posters in various areas at a time along a long wander, some in heavily traveled areas and others along those paths sought by those that seek more interesting routes.
If one must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of placing posters along rarely traveled routes, the advantages are based on audience and time. The poster may stay up longer than usual because less people pass that may rip it down. Those that would walk the same routes may also share some desire for an interesting travel so placing posters along all paths can add to the general experience the area can present. It is fun to discover old graffiti, so finding a poster around the same areas draws more attention to it than if it were posted in the University District where posters and flyers are common and easily ignored.
While posters may take time in creation, the walk to put them up can be a voyage into the unknown rather than a mundane chore.
I’m reading and pondering “From Riot to Insurrection” at the moment. One thing that struck me was the definition of “included” and “excluded” in the post-industrial age. By post-industrialism, FRtI explains that computers and technology handle major changes in industry that used to require huge investments of capital to do. In relation to this post-industrial society, FRtI posits:
Computer programming in some skyscraper in Milan, for example, will put production into effect in Melbourne, Detroit or anywhere else. What will this make possible? On the one hand, capital will be able to create a better world, one that is qualitatively different, a better life. But who for rrhat is the problem. Certainly not for everybody. If capital was really capable of achieving this qualitatively better world for everyone, then we could all go home — we would all be supporters of the capitalist ideology. The fact is that it can only be realised for some, and that this privileged strata will become more restricted in the future than it was in the past. The privileged of the future will find themselves in a similar situation to the Teutonic knights of mediaeval times, supporting an ideology aimed at founding a minority of “equals” — of “equally” privileged — inside the castle, surrounded by wall s and by the poor, who will obviously try continually to get inside.
Now this group of privileged will not just be the big capitalists, but a social strata that extends down to the upper middle cadres. A very broad strata, even if it is restricted when compared to the great number of the exploited. However, let’s not forget that we are speaking of a project that exists only in tendency.
This strata can be defined as the “included”, composed of those who will close themselves inside this castle. Do you think they will surround themselves with walls, barbed wire, armies, guards or police? I don’t think so.
Because the prison walls, the ghetto, the dormitory suburb and repression as a whole: police and torture — all of those things that are quite visible today, where comrades and proletarians all over the world continue to die under torture — well, all this could undergo considerable changes in the next few years. It is important to realise that five or ten years today corresponds to 100 years not long ago. The capitalist project is travelling at such speed that it has a geometric progression unequalled to anything that has happened before. The kind of change that took place between the beginning of the 60’s and 1968 takes place in only a few months today.
So what will the privileged try to do? They will try to cut the excluded off from the included. Cut off in what way? By cutting off communication.
This is a central concept of the repression of the future, a concept which, in my opinion, should be examined as deeply as possible. To cut off communication means two things. To construct a reduced language that is modest and has an absolutely elementary code to supply to the excluded so that they can use the computer terminals. Something extremely simple that will keep them quiet. And to provide the included, on the other hand, with a language of “the included”, so that their world will go towards that utopia of privilege and capital that is sought more or less everywhere. That will be the real wall: the lack of a common language. This will be the real prison wall, one that is not easily scaled.
This problem presents various interesting aspects. Above all there is the situation of the included themselves. Let us not forget that in this world of privilege there will be people who in the past have had a wide revolutionary-ideological experience, and they may not enjoy their situation of privilege tomorrow, feeling themselves asphyxiated inside the Teutonic castle. These will be the first thorn in the side of the capitalist project. The class homecomers, that is, those who abandon their class. Who were the homecomers of the class of yesterday? I, myself, once belonged to the class of the privileged. I abandoned it to become “a comrade among comrades”, from privileged of yesterday to revolutionary of today. But what have I brought with me? I have brought my Humanist culture, my ideological culture. I can only give you words. But the homecomer of tomorrow, the revolutionary who abandons tomorrow’s privileged class, will bring technology with him, because one of the characteristics of tomorrow’s capitalist project and one of the essential conditions for it to remain standing, will be a distribution of knowledge that is no longer pyramidal but horizontal. Capital will need to distribute knowledge in a more reasonable and equal way — but always with in the class of the included. Therefore the deserters of tomorrow will bring with them a considerable number of usable elements from a revolutionary point of view.
This seems to suggest an alliance of interests with the (upper)middle class and the capitalist, which in a early industrial and pre-industrial era were reflected by an alliance of the small capitalist and the artisan with the big capitalist and nobility. The Teutonic knights are brought up, which is a pretty significant comparison as well. The Templars, the Hospitalers and the Teutonic knights all created micro states where they were often exempt from the rule of law in the local area. In the early stages of this privilege, it was given for the purposes of acting as the vanguard of the crusades and in the later stages (after the Holy Land was largely lost) it was to find purpose within Catholic and greater Christiandom: Fighting pirates, establishing hospitals, seeking sponsorship or creating their own mini-states.
While the Templars were suppressed, which eliminated the early banking practices throughout Europe, their remaining numbers fell inside of sympathetic states (like Scotland) or sympathetic knight orders, like the Hospitallers. The Hospitallers were not bankers, but they did focus a great deal of attention to the creation of hospitals. Like the very early stages for all knight orders, the Hospitallers relied heavily on the donations from wealthy sponsors. After the crusades were lost, the Hospitallers battled piracy and gained great amounts of wealth, but were sometimes resented for this. The Teutonic Knights after the crusades moved into Europe and became conquerors, even creating a mini-state within Prussia to launch these campaigns.
What I think is important in the comparison is how the knights were privileged with training and skills that those outside their orders did not receive. Instead of building giant physical structures to include the knights, technology builds a privilege of skills and language, backed by higher education and access to computers. In today’s age (not in the middle of the 80s) the door to these higher skills, specializations and forms of communication has attempted to provide some level of meritocracy to pull individuals in the lower strata up. This would be like the knight orders who were always open to the nobility for entrance, but would also accept members from the lower classes within their orders. These lower classed knights would receive the benefits of the order as in training and skills, but would not be allowed as much wealth in weapons, armor, horses, attendants and more difficulty in accessing higher ranks within the order.
The included and excluded are defined differently than exploiter and exploited, capitalist and proletariat. To me it is the cross class definition, which would be the included is more about middle class privilege, which includes groups of people that could be defined as “exploited” in relation to the capitalist, thus are actually proletarian, but the amount of privilege they receive puts them more in allegiance with the capitalist, which is also “included”. I do have problems with the class definitions offered within FRtI. My concepts surrounding “social war” puts greater weight of power on the institution as more important to the web of power than the class.
In discussions surrounding gentrification, it would seem that perhaps there is room to make several notes involving the mixing of two interpretations of class (the tiers of upper, middle and lower class versus the tiers of capitalist and proletariat) and how these classed tiers interact with the institutional web of the social order. The identity based tiers surrounding oppressor and oppressed also mix the social strata in ways that further confuse or blur the distinctions within society. To me, this seems like a school yard where the kids that own/control the kickball become the team captains and must choose who is going to be on their teams. Sometimes those chosen will be the most athletic, but just as often, those that the captain favors for a variety of reasons are also chosen ahead of those that may be more apt that playing kickball. Once the teams are chosen, the game begins and the sport is to manipulate the playing field to ones advantage with the given team chosen.
The game would be the institutions of the social order, the team is the classes chosen. The capitalist can be quite sexist, racist, homophobic and can manipulate the game to suit their identity biases, but the politics revolving around this can be manipulated so that the game doesn’t reflect the bias of a team to be more neutral. This manipulation of the game may change the attitudes of the team, giving greater privilege to those more skilled in playing the game, but the game still must be played, so changing the rules of the game to favor those that are less competitive is less likely than changing the rules to favor less bias within how teams are chosen. In many cases, just because the rules of the game have virtually neutralized identity bias, the bias still exists and the de facto bias of the team makers (the team captains and the insiders within the team) still attempt to manipulate the game based on the bias, though much less overtly else the rules of the game punish them.
Perhaps I’m abusing metaphor a little here, but I think there is space to discuss how capitalism defines us versus how the capitalist defines us and how the difference creates several ways of examining society which blurs the lines of how society is interpreted into several schools of interpretation. None of these schools are completely true or false, but all of these interpretations mix the definition of how the players are defined, how the game is defined, how the game defines the players and how the players define the game.
One of my long standing projects has been participating in the Red and Anarchist Action Network (RAAN), but has had several manifestations in town as I’ve aged. In late 2002, I started first with “Liberatory Projects” which made a text archive cd and distributed it around town with a few friends. This was followed with a small loose group called “Columbus Anti-Authoritarian Media” (CAAM), a group that made a few short films and went to protests as part of the black bloc. We began collaborating with Columbus Anti-Racist Action, affiliated regionally with the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Network (RAIN) and slowly made friends. At this time I was an individual affiliate of both FRAC (Federation of Revolutionary Anarchist Collectives) and RAAN. CAAM, as a group, was also RAAN affiliated.
Sometime in 2003 some friends and I helped found a group called the “Arawak City Brain Trust” which gathered a large number of anarchists, activists and anti-authoritarians and sought to experiment in just about anything. Both CAAM and ARA dissolved into the Brain Trust along with a large section of people that were in Citizens for Justice in Palestine. We discussed affiliating with FRAC and RAAN at one point. FRAC was largely rejected because of the dues request. However, the majority agreed to join RAAN without much a problem, with only a couple opposing voices. Because the Brain Trust used consensus as the model and because affiliation was not seen as necessary, it was decided that the group did not have to join. Instead, inside the Brain Trust, the RAAN Fraction was created, which shared decision making with the Brain Trust for much of the Brain Trust’s existence.
The Arawak City Brain Trust survived for a few months with regular meetings to discuss the potential of what we could do with over a dozen people (and growing). The main activities of the Brain Trust were discussion, graffiti, Food not Bombs and a few attempts at tabling events. As the group continued, the RAAN Fraction felt it was being held back by remaining within the Brain Trust due to being constantly derailed by certain individuals that would attend meetings. So in order to move forward, the RAAN Fraction rejected Brain Trust meetings, kicked out several members of Fraction and began a discussion group and graffiti campaign throughout town. Without the RAAN Fraction, the Brain Trust dissolved. While the RAAN Fraction never official dissolved, after several months of activity several of the members were no longer able to participate due to personal problems and became inactive sometime in 2004.
This was not the end of RAAN activity for me though. While the end of my participation in the Fraction was largely due to my vehicle breaking down and living on the other side of town away from everyone, I continued operating as a RAAN affiliate in workplace agitation. The workplace was a retail store. By this time, I was already familiar with agitation in the workplace from several previous attempts. Throughout 2002 to 2004, the workplace saw RAAN graffiti and a large amount of damage, but it was played off as normal negligence and had little effect on the workplace. Around Christmas 2003 I, along with many of my co-workers in the stockroom formed a work council and decided to encourage a slowdown and voluntary call offs.
The slowdown was done for two reasons: One, the boss was pushing us all too hard and we had enough of it. Two, I informed most of the workers that like the year before, most of the people after the holiday season would be released so we needed to stretch work out enough so that we could make it through winter, which many felt was a necessity to cover bills. At the height of the slowdown, we had seized extended breaks, turning 15 minute smoke breaks into a 1/2 hour and our 1/2 lunches sometimes into an hour. After the boss got frustrated and yelled at us about how slow we were working, we decided to all go on break at the same time for an hour, though we were eventually convinced to return to work. By the time Christmas had hit and passed, sure enough we had enough work to make it til the middle of February instead of the middle of January, winning a month before the inevitable mass layoffs began. By the end of 2004, discouraged and without much more success in agitation and also for personal reasons, I left.
Sometime in 2005 I stopped considering myself affiliated with anyone and toured around with green anarchists and later in 2006 I spent some time working primarily on Indymedia projects and I began a freestyle mixed martial arts sparring group. At the end of 2006 I went to the Great Lakes Anarchist Gathering and participated in trying to get the Midwest Action Network off the ground. In March 2007 I organized a RAAN “Warrior Night” which held several workshops around the armed and unarmed combat tactics, the history of ninjas and DIY armor and weapons. I decided sometime later in 2007 to begin a work abolitionist group called “Revolt Against Work” (RAW) which concentrated on discussion, geographic analysis, posters, graffiti and a locally produced bulletin which was “narrowcasted” throughout the West side of Columbus. We went on two campaigns during this time. One was a work abolitionist poster campaign on the far West side of Columbus, the other was a graffiti campaign in response to the city dislocating the homeless along the river downtown.
Working with others in early 2008, we formed the Subvertical Action Netwerk, which brought together groups like Anarchist Black Cross, Copwatch, Anti-Racist Action, Revolt Against Work and Radio Subvertista. It was a small network that dissolved shortly after its creation and reverted back into the Revolt Against Work project once we realized that most of the other groups were largely inactive outside our collaborations to do was RAW was already doing.
Currently Revolt Against Work still continues to operate and still continues to remain a RAAN affiliate, though without a RAAN hub, we’ve lost much contact with the network and so we’ve operated autonomously. Though RAW remains a collaboration between Lord Rambler and I, we still occasionally organize walks and do graffiti and posters throughout town, primarily on the Westside of Columbus.
My new project is working with groups and individuals around development in Columbus, though this time I am going to concentrate on the Eastside of Columbus. Looking at what exists as far as an analysis of gentrification and development that others have created, I’m left to feel unsatisfied that anti-authoritarians have a grasp on how such things actually operate, so I’m looking to expand my knowledge of this and other aspects of Columbus that have largely received a simplistic examination. It is my hope that by getting more into detail here that others will see how power operates and perhaps how resistance can be taken on without simplicity, hype and rhetoric that often comes from groups that seek to present themselves as an oppositional force.