Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"Ten thousand years of captivity and darkness, to paraphrase Vaneigem, will not withstand ten days of full-out revolution, which will include the simultaneous reconstruction of our inner selves." - John Zerzan

Spontaneous Insurrection

What if everyone decided to dispense with the phoniness right now? No more fake smiles. No more politeness to the boss who humiliates you. No more days of slaving away at unfulfilling tasks in the hope that you can one day retire and die with some semblance of dignity. What if we all decided to act on our deepest felt desires right now? What if we decided to live as if we were already free? The world would be unrecognizable by tomorrow. And I think that would be a good thing.

Monday, September 25, 2017

“… the tiger you see madly pacing its cage is nevertheless preoccupied with something that a human would certainly recognize as a thought. And this thought is a question: Why? Why, why, why, why, why, why?” the tiger asks itself hour after hour, day after day, year after year, as it treads its endless path behind the bars of its cage. It cannot analyze the question or elaborate on it. If you were somehow able to ask the creature, “Why what?” it would be unable to answer you. Nevertheless this question burns like an unquenchable flame in its mind, inflicting a searing pain that does not diminish until the creature lapses into a final lethargy that zookeepers recognize as an irreversible rejection of life. And of course this question is something that no tiger does in its normal habitat.” - Ishmael

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. These slaves 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 (From "Spartacus" by Howard Fast)

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

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 anarchy - the myth that without the state, people will go crazy and eat each other’s children, among other things.


“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/