Wednesday, February 26, 2014

War

"You see, we live in a republic. That means that there are a great many people who have nothing and a handful who have a great deal. And those who have a great deal must be defended and protected by those who have nothing. Not only that, but those who have a great deal must guard their property, and therefore those who have nothing must be willing to die for the property of people like you and me and our good host Antonius. Also, people like ourselves have many slaves. Theseslaves do not like us. We should not fall for the illusion that slaves like their masters. They don't, and therefore the slaves will not protect us against the slaves. So the many, many people who have no slaves at all must be willing to die in order for us to have our slaves. Rome keeps a quarter of a million men under arms. These soldiers must be willing to go to foreign lands, to march their feet off, to live in filth and squalor, to wallow in blood - so that we may be safe and live in comfort and increase our personal fortunes. When these troops went to fight Spartacus, they had less to defend than the slaves. Yet they died by the thousands fighting the slaves. One could go further. The peasants who died fighting the slaves were in the army in the first place because they have been driven off their land by the latifundia. The slave plantation turns them into landless paupers; and then they die to keep the plantation intact. Whereupon one is tempted to say reductio ad absurdum. For consider, my dear Cicero, what does the brave Roman soldier stand to lose if the slaves conquer? Indeed, they would need him desperately, for there are not enough slaves to till the land properly. There would be land enough for all, and our legionary would have what he dreams of most, his plot of land and his little house. Yet he marches off to destroy his own dreams, so that sixteen slaves may carry a fat old hog like me in a padded litter." - A Roman politician

Monday, January 27, 2014

Human Nature

“But what about human nature? Can it be changed? And if not, will it endure under Anarchism? Poor human nature, what horrible crimes have been committed in thy name! Every fool, from king to policeman, from the flatheaded parson to the visionless dabbler in science, presumes to speak authoritatively of human nature. The greater the mental charlatan, the more definite his insistence on the wickedness and weaknesses of human nature. Yet, how can any one speak of it today, with every soul in a prison, with every heart fettered, wounded, and maimed? John Burroughs has stated that experimental study of animals in captivity is absolutely useless. Their character, their habits, their appetites undergo a complete transformation when torn from their soil in field and forest. With human nature caged in a narrow space, whipped daily into submission, how can we speak of its potentialities?" - Emma Goldman

Monday, November 25, 2013

How to resist fiat currency without becoming a Douche

So I recently became aware of the fact that what we call “money” is actually not money at all. It is just paper. If someone can just print it at will, how can it be valuable? If your answer to this is, “Because the government says so”, then my answer to you is “Fuck the government”.  From now on I intend to refer to this paper as what it actually is, “paper” or “currency”. There was a time when these pieces of paper were backed by gold, but in 1971 Richard Nixon removed the dollar from the gold standard, which means people could no longer convert their dollars directly to gold.

This whole concept was, initially, a bit of a mind fuck to me. A friend suggested I read a book called “The Silver Bomb”, which did a  great job of explaining the global financial system in layman’s terms. The other book he recommended was “Guide to Investing in Gold and Silver”. See, the problem with both of these books is that, after explaining what a clusterfuck this system is, the only suggestion they have is that you buy as much gold and silver as possible.

What if I don’t want to become a hoarder? What if I know that the things I own will end up owning me? I guess dealing with gold and silver is preferable to dealing with fiat paper currency, but the concept of money is still kinda silly to me. Surely there must be alternatives other than simply hoarding as much gold and silver as possible? I don’t want to buy a safe. I don’t want to bury gold in PVC pipes. But I can’t just keep on accepting this paper that the federal reserve is printing at will. 


 There's no easy answer to this conundrum, but I suppose the bottom line is that I want to live in a world of sharing, not of privilege.  The same people who preach about buying gold and silver are often the same people who advocate owning property, one of the primary evils of wetiko culture. I don't want to be one of them. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Civilising

The boy lay next to the pool, scooping
"What are you doing?" I asked
"Saving the animals," he replied
"If I don't help them they'll get sucked into the machine"

The flies flapped helplessly
trying to swim against the force
that was pulling them towards Death

Then out came the boy's mother

"Move away from the pool," she said
"But I'm helping the fly," the boy replied

"You don't have to help the insects," she said

The boy listened

Monday, November 19, 2012

What the f**k is anarchism?


Roger Benham dispels one of the most common myths about anarchism. Namely, the myth that without the state, people will go crazy and eat each other’s children, amongst other things. Enjoy.

“To me, anarchism means the absence of a coercive authority and people acting in the absence of that authority. So what we’re seeing now played out in the wake of Superstorm Sandy we’ve seen before in the wake of other disasters:

When there is the absence of a coercive authority or something/someone telling them what to do, people automatically tend to act in co-operative ways to help their community. We’ve noticed this before with disasters. They really do seem to bring out the best in people. The best in people, to me, is anarchism, and that’s what we mean when we talk about anarchism - the idea that when there’s not a cop or a priest there to tell you what to do you are going to act in ways that are beneficial not just to yourself and not just to your immediate family but also to your community.

In the immediate wake of a disaster all human beings tend to exhibit anarchist principles. When there isn’t a disaster around there are some of us who want to advocate for that kind of organisation all the time in that belief that as humans we can organise ourselves without a coercive force and on principles of mutual aid.  But the institutions of our society are obviously completely opposed to that. The prison industrial complex, capitalism, the state. These institutions have top-down organisations and hierarchies that are very slow to react to new realities on the ground. One of the best things about anarchism is that we are decentralised when we’re doing anarchist practice. We’re trying to be responsive to ourselves and to our communities and this enables us to be more nimble than the state and corporate responses. Another very important thing is that it enables us to go into communities that are directly affected immediately and not be afraid of them. That’s also something that the state depends upon - the fear that if the state didn’t exist then all of us as humans would be at each other’s throats. So you’ll constantly see this narrative deployed in the wake of a disaster:

“There’s no police! There’s no food! There’s no public utilities! People are out there pillaging and looting and raping!”

Time after time after time we find out that this is not the case, that these stories are false. These stories make it so that the state wants to reconstitute itself through its most basic function, which is that of a monopoly on violence and this is what happened in Haiti after the earthquake. In Port Au Prince, the US military took over the airport there and actually stopped aid shipments for two solid days so that they could get elements of the 82nd airborne on the ground with all of their security assets.

I responded to the disaster in Haiti with some other anarchists and anti-authoritarians. We were going into areas of Port Au Prince that we were told “You cannot go in there with anything less than a battalion-strength security force”.  It was ridiculous. There were all these stories of people looting and burning and roadblocks with bandits. When we got there, that wasn’t the case. It was neighbourhoods of people in dire situations and they were helping one another. It was found out that the crime rate in Port Au Prince actually went down after the earthquake. We see this over and over again. The same thing happened in New Orleans in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. All of those stories the police and the press were spreading about rapes and pillaging. That wasn’t happening. The violence that happened was perpetuated mainly by the police and by private security forces, who had this idea that people were going crazy and assaulting each other because they didn’t have a coercive presence there. As anarchists, we don’t believe that the coercive presence of the state is what prevents people from being at one another’s throats. So this enables us to go into disaster areas immediately after they’re affected.  Because we’re not waiting around to make sure that we’re safe or that we’re secure. I saw this in New York. An aid organisation in New York was very concerned that we were going into darkened public housing in New York City to check people’s needs. They said “You need a police escort to do that”. Even when the power is on you need a police escort to go into those buildings. Organisations like the American Red Cross… my understanding is that they are not allowed to deploy their resources into evacuation zones. They have this obsession with security. We don’t have that as anarchists. The people that we are going to treat are our comrades and our neighbours and our friends and our fellow human beings. We don’t see them as possible threats. We also are self-directed and very invested in the idea of small autonomous groups that are able to see a need and respond to it. We don’t have to go back to some chain of command and fill out paperwork.

“Hey, there’s a problem here. Let’s go ahead and respond to it directly”.

There are five or six of us together who can work together and we don’t have to check it out with some kind of hierarchy."



Roger Benham, Mutual Aid Street Medics Collective



This quote comes from a fantastic edition of Stimulator's "It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine"   -     http://submedia.tv/stimulator/2012/11/15/anarchy-in-the-usa/

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Walls Still Stand by Wolfi Landstreicher

I came across this great poem in Green Anarchy Magazine. I couldn't find a decent copy on the internet so decided to post it to my blog. Enjoy!

 
Sometimes it seems we could not be

stopped; we were crazy feral children,

our eyes ablaze with polymorphous lust.

Our intensity demanded eternity, an

unending flow.

...
There was no turning back. Reeling,

dizzy with joy on the edge of a cliff, our

lives so full of now, there was no

tomorrow.

We flew burning through the night

finding toys with which to create the

wonders of our lives.

Bricolage symphonies, cacophonies,

insanities.

Our madness was intentional, a

godless rite to break down the walls

and dams.

The moments of our lives seemed like

forevers so full of this life they had

become.
We lost ourselves in flows of desire, in

wandering currents of sensation

stronger than the channels that would

keep them in constraints.

Our hearts pounded, we were wild-eyed

with our energy, flaming tornadoes

dancing zig-zag through heaving

landscapes...

Smashing the walls...

Smashing the walls...

Smashing... smashing... smashing the

walls...

But the walls still stand and I am tired...

Set me aflame once more.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My Dream


I’m sitting in lotus

A waterfall thunders behind me

Fish swim peacefully in the crystal clear water

I’m unclothed with long hair and a beard

My body is firm, clean and strong

My skin glows with a healthy tan

My mind is still and I am completely in the present

I have let go of my past and my future

I am truly happy and enlightened

I no longer need words to express my love for everything and everyone

It is an energy that permeates the air

Around me the jungle is filled with the sounds of wild nature

Birds sing and leaves rustle peacefully

A snake slithers by

I am unperturbed

I am at peace with my mortality and unthreatened by anything around me


Nature provides me with all the medicine I will ever need

After a while I rise from my position and return to camp

Children are playing

Adults are going about their daily business

There is much laughter and conversation
Money does not exist

It was always an illusion that is now all but forgotten


Without money, all relationships are voluntary


So much fakeness has been cleansed from our spirits

We joke about the concept of work

We wonder how people were ever tricked into it

I join a few men and women who are preparing for a hunt

It is a sacred practice, an honoured ritual

We walk down a jungle path

Monkeys watch us cautiously from the trees as we pass

We move through the remnants of a city

The buildings and streets have been reclaimed by wilderness

Vines creep up the buildings and grass grows from cracks in the tar

Antelope run across the roads

There is a thick cloud of mist around the dilapidated buildings

Some abandoned cars litter the streets

They’re of no use to anyone anymore

We pass through the city

We walk a few more kilometres before coming to a clearing

A few metres away lies a crystal clear pond

A warthog is drinking quietly

I kneel down and pull the string of my bow

The hog is aware of my presence

But he knows that his time has come

I thank him for his sacrifice and let the arrow fly

I whisper a blessing for the pig as I kneel over him and slit his throat

Yes, a degree of violence is necessary in the life cycle

But long term suffering and torture are not

I thank him for giving his life force so that my life can continue

Everything is a cycle of give and take

When I die, my body shall feed the soil

Any carnivore that comes by may feed upon my carcass

The air is so clean

It is purer than a civilised man could fathom

I am invigorated with every breath

My lungs thank Mother Nature for her blessing with each inhalation


With each exhalation memories of civilisation are released and forgotten

On the way back to camp I kneel by a stream and sip life-giving water

The other villagers welcome us upon our return

Other men and women have been out gathering wild fruits

There is no agriculture here

There are no pesticides

We take only what nature provides for us and we thank her for her generosity

I am greeted by a beautiful woman

I have loved her for some time now

I do not know for how many months or years we have been in love

Time is no longer recorded or symbolised


It was only ever useful to help our bosses control us


Now we live in the moment

There are no laws

Sometimes conflict is solved with violence

It is the same with all animals

But there is no punishment for uncivilised behaviour

We acknowledge ourselves as wild beings

My soul mate and I wander to a hilltop

We hold hands and behold the awesome view

My soul is free