This was originally to be a group effort. The Wanton Wanderer Society was going to be my strong re-entrance with praxis oriented anarchy. Being that my former partner was showing no strong interest in sharing the weight of the project, I figured it was time to concentrate on individual efforts again.
I have a wishlist on approach, but with just one person, I may find my concentration limited even with this short list:
1. Drifting and Psychogeography: This is the number one activity. The situationists had their reasons, I have mine. How drifting and radical activity merge is difficult to explain abstractly and easier to show when done regularly. I learn where things are, how things change, how to cut through artificial barriers, how urban geography is designed (or has been redesigned) to minimize the potential of unrest. I also learn to see the sterile, banal, everyday. They amount of surveillance as well as the lack of hidden corners where people can just relax as people.
2. Posters: This is the entry point to street propaganda and graffiti crime. It is the media I am using to reach others due to the low risk and ease of replicating. There are many other types of media I’d also enjoy using and may still do so, but this is the easiest to talk about publically and get people more excited about the message rather than potentially upset about the media against the medium (i.e. spray painting on building walls).
3. Psychogeographical Maps: This is to make subjective maps of the urban layout. What do areas feel like can be one way to do it. Another would be to understand where all the surveillance cameras are in an area or where all the good mediums for propaganda are and what kind of media would best fit that medium. Stapling posters to wooden electrical poles while wheatpasting posters to metal light poles could be an example of other mappings that you typically won’t find when toying with the map makers of social order.
4. Journal: The journal is to keep notes on the project and track the history of the project, for the sake of posterity. It is also where the theory of the project would be entered and other relevant notes that discuss techniques and other developments.
5. Communiques: This is an action communication. Less necessary with poster activities, but as this group is also a situational group, thens can change and the communique is a way to explain the action of the group from our own voice rather than leave the media with sole control over our narrative, spreading misinformation and disinformation about what we may do (or not do).
6. Letters: These can be open letters to the public at large or a specific audience, they can be letters to an anarchist journal to engage in a discussion on something that might be relevant to the group or it can be to local newspapers and magazines to challenge their misinformation, disinformation or perhaps to inform.
7. Audio Show: This is an internet audio podcast which engages the greater anarchist audience and its media, as well as presents original music, skits, announcements and anything else that might make sense.
8. Tabling: Tabling and material created for tabling gives people an opportunity to speak face to face with me about the project, get informed on all that is going on as well as potentially growing from a solitary project into something a group or groups of people can engage in.
9. Protests, Demonstrations, Events: All of these are good for outreach and perhaps participation. I’m already beyond my ability to do protest militancy with a bad knee which almost gave out on me in D.C. when the black bloc was charged at with police motorcycles, but I’m not opposed to it as much as critical of the many forces that seek to take advantage and steer such things towards an agenda that reinforces the control of social order.
10. Discussion Groups: These have often been rather fruitful and engaging when I’ve done them. Unlike most discussion groups, I typically enjoy going to a hookah lounge or somewhere else where smoking or drinking can be done casually while talking, which relaxing people and the atmosphere. While most discussion groups don’t end like mine, I have very often ended my discussion groups by inviting everyone to join me on throwing up some posters or graffiti.
I can add more, but these are all just preliminary thoughts to put out as I continue starting this project.
So I start my new project alone. I had initially wanted to work with my usual partner in activity, but I feel I can carry the weight of the project better until I find others that want to share the weight rather than just walk with me, watching me carry the weight, but not caring to take on a little themselves.
This isn’t the first time I’ve worked alone and most typically, once I’m consciously working alone, I move into what I like to call “conspiratorial mindset”. Keeping to no long term strategies, the conspiracy is to look for holes and weaknesses in the system that can be exploited while also searching for more accomplices. This approach has no way to gain any sort of large scale success from my own direction, but it does open up far more possibilities than just sitting at home, watching TV. Then when it does come time, when people finally enter my life with enough sentiment as mine, I have a long, continuous trajectory of activity that I know of no other being able to match.
My acts of destruction started early in my life. We used BB guns, sling shots or just threw rocks through windows of people’s houses, churches, schools. We set fire to trash cans, trash dumpsters, then later garages and abandoned houses. Our favorite weekly activity was setting the school dumpster on fire. Our cohesion was strong and we were fast becoming a force that claimed local headlines, everyone between the ages of 8 and 12. Some of my friends broke away and worked independently, which is where things started going sour. No longer with me there to provide a level head, bigger actions were wanted. One of my friends who lived with his mother on the weekdays burned an apartment complex and a large church to the ground. However, this is where it peaked and our cohesion was breaking down. It was only with the disintegration of my old vandal/arson crew after one of our crew members burned an old lady’s house down, killing her in the process, which sent the youngest of us (age 6) to prison for murder and ended our cohesion. Later in life I learned that every other member of my crew was killed, two in prison and one murdered over drug money.
Shortly afterword, my family moved and not long after I ran into a new group of people who were into graffiti and vandalism, typically targeting Churches, small towns, bigots, abandoned buildings and random thrill destruction. We were a gothic punk vandal group of friends. All went well until an old friend to the group, not an old friend to me, showed up and was appalled that we were vandalizing churches with anti-Christian messages like “God gives good head”. Very quickly my new group of friends that had enjoyed so much fun together vandalizing, abandoned the practice, which was demoralizing. Only a few of the younger friends in the group continued to agree with me. Vandalism is fun. Graffiti is fun.
We attacked very few Churches after this, at least as a group. I continued by myself for a while with several attacks, usually assisted by the younger friends as they weren’t included in the older kids fun, though we favored schools more than churches during this period. Of this group, the youngest took it the most seriously and soon became a graffiti artist. For me, graffiti was never about the art, though I can’t say I don’t appreciate good aesthetics.
Then we started getting older and graduating. The older friends, whom roleplaying was our primary connection, almost to the very last one moved out of town. This left me feeling abandoned, but then I just mixed with the youngest, the graffiti artist. He had developed a graffiti artist crew around him which I participated in from time to time. Not being a graffiti artist (I prefer graffitist or graffiti criminal over artist) I did not have feels for the handle throw ups that most graffiti artists enjoyed. I did enjoy the calligraphy of graffiti as it evolved. The more advanced graffiti artists were developing a very difficult calligraphy which could only be read by experienced artists.
During this same period, we began participating in Anti-Racist Action. I had become disillusioned with college and found myself in the company of gutter punks, drug dealers, street thugs in the area than with the college kids of which I held very little affinity with. Through ARA, I connected with the graffiti crew “Writers for Revolution” and while I was always outlier, always a friendly accomplice rather than a member, I enjoyed this association.
Then a split in ARA happened. It wasn’t so much of a split between two sides against each other as much as a split between those that wanted to fuck up an ARA/WFR member and those that thought they were being outrageous over insignificant slights and misunderstandings. Because those that wanted to beat up the member were the ARA core (at that time) and those that didn’t were more newly identified accomplices, no permanent resolution was made by ARA as a whole. The ARA core that wanted to beat up the member attempted to jump the member in a dark alley one day, but he escaped into a convenience store, where they catcalled him from the outside to come out to get fucked up. He opted to call the police instead for his own safety.
The ARA core used this incident in a more ridiculous manner, accusing him of being a snitch and police informant. I did not buy this explanation. Their pressing of violence against this member impacted me a great deal, making me a critic of snitchjacketing. However, this did not destroy the firmly established ARA nor harm WFR too much, but this fellow had been excluded. Of those that sided with the member, we held a potluck to discuss the formation of a new group “Fuck Shit Up” and tried to come up with new antics that would out pace and out show the established militant radicals. What actually did occur were multiple graffiti campaigns and some minor property destruction that I was out of the loop on to get details.
FSU mastered one of my favorite tactics, the post-party graffiti and poster bombing with some minor vandalism. Basically as the party dies down and most people that were there just to socialize superficially were gone, the drunken core is left talking about the good ole days, then suddenly we are like “we can do that now”. The best of these I can remember is getting old left hippies who were parents and friends of parents of one of our members to join in with FSU on a 4 prong graffiti and poster bombing. Over 20 people participated out of the thrill and fun of it.
After this, my blog post on Columbus RAAN history kicks in: http://hpwombat.anarchyplanet.org/2009/09/14/a-brief-history-of-columbus-raan/
This blog is currently undergoing a clean up. Some old drafts that weren’t finished were published just because they were sitting for years. I doubt anything worthwhile can be found in any of my archives. Once I have time to move everything around and pull these from the news feed (probably make each post into a page and link them through an archive, but that is just thinking out loud). Everything above this post on the feed is new.
To understand the praxis heterodoxy I am experimenting with it is good to understand “Contribution to a Situationist Definition of Play”. There are other S.I. documents of importance regarding ludic activity and give more detail as to what the S.I. means by “play”. However, this is good for understanding an initial approach to its meaning.
Professional sports are largely a spectator activity, though some do emulate their professional heroes and something I’ve always found to be an inferior approach to “play”. While I am a fan of the UFC, it isn’t an addiction, something I put time into actively seeking. Rather my “fan” status is part of a default when television occupies my free time. When I consider what to do with my free time, it isn’t television that comes to mind, that happens when I’m not being considerate. Television, and now the Internet are default forms of leisure and sometimes play.
Even going to the professional sports event, the spectator aspect is still there. I’m often left feeling bored at sports events. In fact, I often enjoy the immediate viewing of a sports event less than watching television as a ludic pursuit. I have less access, less control over my environment. I’m crowded by others who are often obnoxious and/or rude when they are interacted with at all. Beer and food is more expensive. I can’t see what is going on as good as I could at home. Lines are everywhere. It just is an unpleasant experience to be a spectator at a sports event.
What I also dislike is the amount of free time that goes into studying every aspect of a professional sport by their fans. It isn’t attempting to learn how to play football for most…it is more getting into the social lives of their teams, the rankings they hold versus other teams and players versus players. The competitive element is interesting for the athlete that is actually playing the game, but for the fans..I don’t understand how people could connect themselves to a team in such a way that they feel something akin to patriotism for their chosen teams, even when never directly interacting with such teams. For these people, going to a sports event is a height within their own lives, something they can even brag about. To get good seating in such horrid events is elitist and expensive.
Then there are the commodities that surround the sports event. Clothing like jerseys, baseball caps, shirts, pants, shoes, socks, etc. A person can mix and match how they dress as a fan. They can dress like the players dress in a pseudo uniform or they can dress in the trademarked homage to their team showing off how big of a fan they are. Then there are the coffee mugs, the calendars, the greeting cards…the list goes on and on. Living in Columbus, Ohio, home of the Ohio State University Buckeyes, I’m in one of the most fanatical American cities for their University football team.
Sports riots are perhaps the only real activity of a fan. The power of the sports team, the crowd milling about sharing in the experience of the game, generates a powerful force that conflicts with the will of City and University authorities. I don’t see sports riots as political events, but rather challenges to city order. Finally the fan can show their love of the sport or their disappointment in their own team by destroying the University District. A sports riot could be considered an autonomous zone of epic proportions that isn’t guided by politics, any end goal nor specifically guided towards combating police. No one ever recuperates a sports riot, instead those that are blamed are called rioters and hooligans, it is the other person that set fires, smashed windows, fought police and had a good ole time with people they just met that night. Years of pent up love for their teams turns the fan into a creature seizing the moment with others.
The impact of sports riots on the city centered once on the University District bars, which have been destroyed in favor of a giant store complex called “the Gateway”. The new bars in this area were developed only for students with a little extra cash and yuppies to enjoy. I don’t remember the old bars as much, but I do recall they were more seedy than the current area. Other redevelopments took out several neighborhoods that hosted riots, turning them into an extension of the university. Since the last major riots in the area the University District has changed the face of its Southwestern boundary and along high street. The University itself has also undergone lots of major constructions, which is a point of contention among students because much of the University’s revenue is still generated by student tuition as well as the continued support of fans.
Campus Partners, the OSU controlled development group, is largely responsible for spearheading the changes while the Columbus Administration under Coleman’s regime has fast tracked most attempts to make development easier and move quicker. The price of gas has made the University District, the Short North, Italian Village, the Arena District and Downtown a hub for yuppies. While Upper Arlington still has a significant amount of Downtown employment, it is still a first rung suburb and it would be dishonest to call someone with a home there a yuppie. Instead opportunities for yuppie housing have sprung up all along the former mentioned neighborhoods, while at the same time increasing living costs in these long time gentrified areas.
Because of the students, the University District has to maintain a certain level of poverty, which also attracts drug dealers which have been known to battle each other over drug related issues resulting in a high number of University District disturbances while remaining outside the University. The students also attract a large number of rapists in the area, which sometimes kidnap and kill their prey, but leaving many survivors who express their rage and frustrations in a variety of ways.
OSU’s greatest propaganda is its football team, but it is not afraid to control its image, its fans, its area and its crime. University police and Columbus police both patrol the University and University District respectively, but they both serve the interests of the city’s social order, which includes OSU, both as an autocratic privately owned village and as a major development corporation. They also rank among the Medical industry with its University Hospital serving the greater needs of the city as well as its students and faculty. There is very little that OSU doesn’t control within itself, it has its own power plant even.
Contribution to a Situationist Definition of Play
Internationale Situationniste #1 (June 1958)
Translated by Reuben Keehan
THE NOTION OF PLAY can only escape the linguistic and practical confusion surrounding it by being considered in its movement. After two centuries of negation by the continuous idealization of production, the primitive social functions of play are presented as no more than decaying relics mixed with inferior forms that proceed directly from the necessities of the current organization of production. At the same time, the progressive tendencies of play appear in relation to the development of these very forces of production.
The new phase of affirmation of play seems to be characterized by the disappearance of any element of competition. The question of winning or losing, previously almost inseparable from ludic activity, appears linked to all other manifestations of the tension between individuals for the appropriation of goods. The feeling of the importance of winning in the game, that it is about concrete satisfactions — or, more often than not, illusions — is the wretched product of a wretched society. This feeling is naturally exploited by all the conservative forces that serve to mask the atrocious monotony of the conditions of life they themselves impose. One has only to think of all the claims détourned by competitive sports that are imposed in their precisely modern form in Great Britain with the expansion of the factories. Not only do crowds identify with professional players or clubs, which assume the same mythic role as movie stars and statesmen making all the decisions; but the infinite series of results of these competitions do not let their observers feel any of their passion. Direct participation in a game, even between those requiring a little intellectual exercise, ceases to be interesting as soon as competition for its own sake enters the framework of fixed rules. Where the idea of play is involved, nothing arouses so much scorn these days as the declaration that opens [Sawielly] Tartakower’s The Chess Bible: “The game of chess is universally recognized as the king of games.”
The element of competition must disappear in favor of a more authentically collective concept of play: the common creation of selected ludic ambiances. The central distinction that must be transcended is that established between play and ordinary life, play kept as an isolated and provisory exception. “Into an imperfect world and into the confusion of life,” writes Johan Huizinga, “it brings a temporary, a limited perfection.” Ordinary life, previously conditioned by the problem of survival, can be dominated rationally — this possibility is at the heart of every conflict of our time — and play, radically broken from a confined ludic time and space, must invade the whole of life. Perfection will not be its end, at least to the degree that this perfection signifies a static construction opposed to life. But one may propose to push to its perfection the beautiful confusion of life. The baroque — elegantly described by Eugénio d’Ors as “the vacancy of history” — and its organized beyond, play a major role in the coming reign of leisure.
In this historical perspective, play — the permanent experimentation with ludic novelties — appears to be not at all separate from ethics, from the question of the meaning of life. The only success that can be conceived in play is the immediate success of its ambiance, and the constant augmentation of its powers. Thus, even in its present co-existence with the residues of the phase of decline, play cannot be completely emancipated from a competitive aspect; its goal must be at the very least to provoke conditions favorable to direct living. In this sense it is another struggle and representation: the struggle for a life in step with desire, and the concrete representation of such a life.
Due to its marginal existence in relation to the oppressive reality of work, play is often regarded as fictitious. But the work of the situationists is precisely the preparation of ludic possibilities to come. One can thus attempt to neglect the Situationist International to the degree that one easily recognizes a few aspects of a great game. “Nevertheless,” says Huizinga, “as we have already pointed out, the consciousness of play being ‘only a pretend’ does not in any way prevent it from proceeding with the utmost seriousness. . . .”
Here is something to debate. At the moment, given the data, we appear to be gearing up for a very large scale, population destroying war. Eugenics vs. fears of collapse. The energy crisis and the population crisis are interlinked and are by far the most important problems facing the world. The benefits of science and technology has provided a life support system to help create bloated populations, that are now dependent on this life support system so deeply that without it, society would collapse. Traditionally when there are too many people, they die from plagues or starvation while the powerful hide behind their walls and wait out the problem until a solution comes up. Typically war is that solution.
When things become untenable, a state tends to justify a war to make things better. Otherwise they may be overthrown. However, wars are costly, so they could be sending their people off to slaughter with insufficient supplies. I feel that with the instability of the global ecosystem mixing in to the problems of peak energy, lots of states are going to be challenged. But not so much the United States. The very concentrations of wealth that are going on will either defend the United States or will defend the shadow state that empowers the government of the United States to act in its stead. It was mentioned after 9/11 many times, “the shadow government”. It this case, it would be better referred to as “shadow state”. The major corporations, the military and the intelligence network have the power collectively to dissolve the government of the United States should it not go in the direction they want it to go. A good example of this is Egypt’s military vs. the Muslim Brotherhood.
What I’m saying is that the government is just an institution to help a state administrate its power. The United States government is a powerful institution in its own right and if it’s patriots felt it was unjustly being overthrown, a civil war could occur. This civil war would most likely end with the military occupation of the country with a corporate oligarchy replacing the government with something a little more popular, maybe an Evangelical American Empire, to speculate. This isn’t being said to defend the United States, mainly to just say how fragile a government is in the face of the state, when most people feel the state and government are the same thing.
With the recent court decision, the government appears to be nakedly in the hands of the powerful elite. No need for backroom deals when corporate funding of politicians can occur without any real limits. You would think civil war would be in the air, but the fact of the matter is the nation’s population is bought off by the global corporate state, as well. Court settlements everywhere as fracking poisons our ground water, with hush up agreements to hide the spread of information. Our entire lifestyles are bought off, many living in a sci-fi fantasy world surrounded by technological devices and boredom killing distractions that prevent contemplation on what is going on.
Our consumer choices separate our lives just as if we led very different cultures, but the differences have nothing to do with culture. All of this extravagance, all of these various activities a person could do. Children are even separated from parents but consumer choice, separated by work and school. Parents separated by gender. Grandparents are separated into concentration camps to die in. Mental problems? Separated into a prison. One could even break down most crime into many different categories to show how elements of people themselves are being removed from the population. Many families see the government and religion as its ward. These people are also separated from the middle class.
Religion is not gone, it is growing in power. This segment of the population is the largest, yet most people don’t connect how tightly religion is tied to the government of the United States and into the majority culture of the country. It is here that the justification for every horror the Unites States commits is found. They have a very different view of America. They see America as a Christian nation and those that are elected are meant to serve the will of God until the coming of Jesus. However, like most people, they see a foul corruption, but that corruption isn’t related to the population crisis nor the energy crisis. It is the lack of Christian faith this country now holds, when only a few generations ago America was probably the most fundamentalist of Christian peoples on the planet.
With a recent wave of presidents elected by Christian fundamentalists and what seems to be a continuation of this, the policy of power in the United States is meant to be both Christian and corporate. It is the balance of power to be able to continue power in the country
Looking at anarchist primitivism, I want to add a contribution to the discourse. Anarchist primitivism has a reduced number of written contributions the past few years and most that have wanted to make an anti-civilization contribution have done so outside of the tendency. I think what anarchist primitivism may lack is an understanding of how it can be practiced today.
Nevermind the future and move beyond the past, it is the present that I consider. The dominant order continues its control of society through the web of civilization that it engenders. Technology and science act as forces of progress, tied to the ideas that created the ascension of the left. This progress has industrialized the globe. The mass ghettos of urban centers, the poisoned manufacturing towns, drug addiction, prison and rehabilitation, war, control. The people in society link into the Internet as they once watched television. The audience of life watches the old world die and we speculate on a future that is always brighter than the present.
Industrialism ended the need for the mass of population to stay in the fields. The farmer, the peasant, the serf and the slave. Most have rushed to the urban centers of civilization to survive, often at the cost of their life and liberty. Factories once could be criticized for the direct dangers they offer. Today, the arguments stem more on the lack of environmental regulations which transforms the surrounding environment into a toxic waste incapable of supporting healthy ways of living. This does not make the labor any less banal or any more free.
Children are born of defects and hushed voices speak of atrocities that should close the book on the existence of such things. Instead, there is the fear that the business may go elsewhere and leave the surrounding area destitute and empoverished. So little is done to stop this process. Only more demands for control. More demands that domination be more expansive and put the business owner underfoot as the owner puts its workforce.
Gatherer-Hunter ways of life has largely been abandoned. The former practitioners have lost great wars and suffered massive genocide as domination grew. The populations of the dominant order, seeking to create their own world has moved into areas that once fell outside the spheres of control in search of wealth and prestige.
Few actually achieved these goals and as the generations past, even fewer have kept the lands they initially seized. The sharks of the world follow the schools of fish that invaded the fertile seas of the unknown. Now the game is only for the sharks. Even the big fish hide in the coral reef searching to make their way as the large predator haunts the waters.
Small business acts as a revolution for capitalism. Always renewing a system that would otherwise grow old and stagnant. They aim to grow and perhaps even carry an egalitarian message with them. But in their growth, their message is lost. What helps to achieve growth may be remembered, but what doesn’t is forgotten. Control goes hand in hand with the success of these businesses.
Failure is not an option. Fail to grow, fail to bring new things into the system and the large businesses will move in and take over. Grow and the small business becomes large. The only hope a small business has is to maintain and hold out to niche, the shadows of the market. Too minute and costly to absorb, the small business that has no hope to grow also has no hope to become large. Stagnation of these markets will see these small businesses rise and fall, over and over again.
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.