Anarchist propositions

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cco

Fascinating link, lagatta. Ybor in the Prohibition era was featured prominently in Dennis Lehane's last novel, Live By Night.

Slumberjack

Judith Butler

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In her most influential book Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990), Judith Butler argued that feminism had made a mistake by trying to assert that 'women' were a group with common characteristics and interests. That approach, Judith Butler said, performed 'an unwitting regulation and reification of gender relations', reinforcing a binary view of gender in which human beings are divided into two clear-cut groups, women and men. Judith Butler notes that feminists rejected the idea that biology is destiny, but then developed an account of patriarchal culture which assumed that masculine and feminine genders would inevitably be built, by culture, upon 'male' and 'female' bodies, making the same destiny just as inescapable. That argument allows no room for choice, difference or resistance.

Judith Butler argues that sex (male, female) is seen to cause gender (masculine, feminine) which, in turn, is seen to cause desire (towards the other gender). This is commonly regarded as a kind of continuum. Judith Butler's approach – inspired in part by Michel Foucault – is basically to smash the supposed links between these, so that gender and desire are flexible, free-floating and not 'caused' by other stable factors. Judith Butler suggests that certain cultural configurations of gender have seized a hegemonic hold, and calls for subversive action in the present: 'gender trouble' – the mobilization, subversive confusion, and proliferation of genders, and therefore identities. This idea of identity as free-floating, as not connected to an 'essence', but instead to a performance, is one of the key ideas in queer theory. Seen in this way, our identities, gendered and otherwise, do not express some authentic inner 'core' self but are the dramatic effect (rather than the cause) of our performances.

Slumberjack

Work - In the Age of Anxiety

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"Today's public secret is that everyone is anxious. Anxiety has spread from its previous localised locations (such as sexuality) to the whole of the social field. All forms of intensity, self-​expression, emotional connection, immediacy, and enjoyment are now laced with anxiety. It has become the linchpin of subordination."

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How do we expose the public secret? We need to actually communicate with each other. "People have to be socially isolated in order for a public secret to work. This is true of the current situation, in which authentic communication is increasingly rare. Communication is more pervasive than ever, but increasingly, communication happens only through paths mediated by the system. Hence, in many ways, people are prevented from actually communicating, even while the system demands that everyone be connected and communicable."  Expose the secret. Get rid of the cop in your head.

Slumberjack

You're Politics Are Boring as Fuck

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Perhaps it is time for a new word for "politics," since you have made such a swear word out of the old one. For no one should be put off when we talk about acting together to improve our lives. And so we present to you our demands, which are non-negotiable, and must be met as soon as possible—because we're not going to live forever, are we?

1. Make politics relevant to our everyday experience of life again. The farther away the object of our political concern, the less it will mean to us, the less real and pressing it will seem to us, and the more wearisome politics will be.

2. All political activity must be joyous and exciting in itself. You cannot escape from dreariness with more dreariness.

3. To accomplish those first two steps, entirely new political approaches and methods must be created. The old ones are outdated, outmoded. Perhaps they were NEVER any good, and that's why our world is the way it is now.

4. Enjoy yourselves! There is never any excuse for being bored . . . or boring!

MegB

Thanks for the bump SJ. I've always been partial to anarchism in theory and practise.

Slumberjack

Thanks to you as well.  It's not often that we get thanked for spreading anarchy.

Slumberjack

Our police order: What can be said, seen, and done

Jacques Rancière wrote:
We shouldn't think of the police order only as some institution. I don't think that the police order is the same as the police with their batons. I think it's too easy to say that the media is the police, that it is a big machine. The police order is not only a Big Brother, it is a kind of distribution of what is given to our experience, of what we can do. We don't need a Big Brother like Fox News. I think the same kind of partition between what is possible and impossible for us can be made by more sophisticated channels. It is wrong to focus on a horrible example like Fox News. The sophisticated media are also part of the police order, as a kind of distribution of what you are and are not able to do. In France, we have some sophisticated newspapers, but they are members of the police order in the same way as Fox News.

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From my point of view, Negri's multitude is still in keeping with what I would call the old economist view of political issues, the idea that the real political stage has to be found in the reality of the productive force, living force, of society. I think Negri is still working on this schema, according to which there will come a real movement from below, which will be the movement of work and transformation of work, and new forms of communication. There is this old Marxist idea that there will be a subversion coming from the system itself, the idea that productive forces engendered by the capitalist system itself will break the system. I don't think that capital creates its own gravediggers, according to the Marxist schema.

NDPP

Capital creates lots of gravediggers, all it needs. Its 'loyal' opposition often demands that it create even more. Unfortunately, history demonstrates these are frequently used to bury 'us' not 'them.' These are grave matters to dance upon indeed...

Slumberjack

Yes, it creates other people's gravediggers, but never its own, at least not intentionally.  Whatever Capitalist run societies allows for in the political realm will never amount to an effective oppositional challenge as we in Canada know only too well from experience.  Rancière's point is in relation to Negri and Hardt banking on the affinities of the Capitalist consumer/worker to rise up and transform societies for the sake of their own interests.  If you consider the possible improvement in relations between Cuba and the US, first and foremost it seems that many leftist opinion pieces celebrate the prospect of the consumerist embargo being lifted.  Apparently the Cuban worker may finally come into their own with the vast array of products that might come their way.

iyraste1313

just attended the Che 3 day gathering in Vancouver.....
Cuba with already a hefty import/export defecit, the government will never permit any such influx!

While I agree totally with you on the reality that parliamentary politics can never challenge the prevailing status quo capitalist and corporatist system...this must come from the grass roots.....I do disagree that such politics has no role to play....Syriza is the perfect example.....while I do not think thay will provide solutions for thier people...they will open the floodgates to genuine grass roots development movements that will build hopefully an anarchist federalist, bioregionalist system....they are a catalyst...we must watch and learn!!

Slumberjack

iyraste1313 wrote:
...this must come from the grass roots.....

I have been leaning for some time toward the notion that the idea of an empowered working class negating or transforming a system that the working class itself depends on for it's success is defunct, as it likely always was.  The Chinese communist proletariat and it's leadership embraced globalization at the earliest opportunity.  The people's representatives of the Soviet Union became the gangster oligarchs of the 90's and beyond.  The NDP with the support of it's delegates dumped the word 'social' as soon as it had acquired a realistic sniff of power.  If not the proletarian working class, I don't know where exactly the so called 'grass roots' of systemic change will be found.

There is an interesting theory that might be worth a read called 'desiring-production' found in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus.  In part it approached the question of why the masses(body) are susceptible to Fascism(organ) - we don't have to look very far to witness the phenomenon - and in the process of answering the question, it attempted to conceive of a 'body without organs.'

ETA:  The 'body without organs' concept doesn't only take into consideration the historical fascist models, but the everyday political sinkholes we're more familiar with, into which people willingly submit their energies.

Slumberjack

An end to post-politics! “Yes” to controversy!

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Sidelining ‘controversy’ is part of the post-political agenda. It draws a public/private distinction through a limited vision of professional life. Public culture is reduced to career advancement, while issues of social inequality are considered matters of private concern.  Make no mistake. This is the logic of whiteness. It signals a refusal to acknowledge, let alone contest, a system of unequal racialized power. Post-politics instead promises to bring race to the table only when it benefits everyone (and especially whites).

iyraste1313

I have been leaning for some time toward the notion that the idea of an empowered working class negating or transforming a system that the working class itself depends on for it's success is defunct, as it likely always was.....

 

Thanks for this thought, for which I agree to a point....the working class most dependant on the corporate fascist system, yes, can not be relied upon, although as the system breaks down, their workers in desperation may take strike actions, to help paralyse the system....

When I discuss grass roots I have two options in mind....first the marginalized working class, deriving few benefits from the system other than destitute survival, which is definitely a growing phenomenon, especially amongst the youth,

more significant and I must refer to ¨community anarchism¨ where the rural communities (outside the extraction economy)and urban slums in their desperate poverty, lack of services and threats of ecocide have the greatest potential to develop anarchist like systems, people controlled, through their own institutions may develop a political economy within the bowels of the corporatacrocy, as it slides into increasing bankruptcy.......

Slumberjack

Theses on the Terrible Community

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Everyone knows the terrible communities, whether because they’ve spent some time in them or because they’re still there. Or simply because they’re still stronger than the others, and so some of us have still partly remained in them – while at the same time being outside of them. The family, the school, work, prison – these are the classical faces of this contemporary form of hell, but they are the least interesting because they belong to a bygone depiction of commodity evolution, and are at present merely surviving on. There are some terrible communities, however, that fight against the existing state of things, and that are simultaneously quite attractive and much better than “this world.” And at the same time their way of approximating truth – and thus joy – distances them more than anything else from freedom.

The question that arises for us, in a final manner, is more of an ethical than a political nature, because the classical forms of politics are at the low water-mark, and their categories are leaving us, like the habits of childhood. The question is whether we prefer the possibility of unknown dangers to the certainty of the present misery. That is, whether we want to go on living and talking in accord (in a dissident manner, of course, but always in accord) with what has been done up to now – and thus with the terrible communities – or whether we want to really put to the test that little part of our desires that culture has still not managed to infest with its cumbersome quagmire and try to start out on a different path – in the name of a totally new kind of happiness.

This text was born as a contribution to that new journey.

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Whatever has for a time been understood has also for a time been forgotten.  To where no one perceives anymore that history has no eras.  In fact, nothing happens.  There are no more events.  There’s only news.  Look at the characters that sit at the summits of empires.  And turn around Spinoza’s words.  There’s nothing to understand.  Only to laugh and to cry. (Mario Tronti)

Pondering

Slumberjack wrote:

I have been leaning for some time toward the notion that the idea of an empowered working class negating or transforming a system that the working class itself depends on for it's success is defunct, as it likely always was. 

That seems so defeatist and dismissive of the potential that resides in us all.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quick anarchism question:  if Canada were to adopt anarchism to replace our current State government model, what would become of, say, Russell Williams and others like him?

Slumberjack

Pondering wrote:

Slumberjack wrote:
I have been leaning for some time toward the notion that the idea of an empowered working class negating or transforming a system that the working class itself depends on for it's success is defunct, as it likely always was. 

That seems so defeatist and dismissive of the potential that resides in us all.

What 'potential' are you referring to aside from being imbedded within capitalist production processes, with it's fatal effects on the environment?

Slumberjack

Mr. Magoo wrote:
Quick anarchism question:  if Canada were to adopt anarchism to replace our current State government model, what would become of, say, Russell Williams and others like him?

In that event I can only tell you that it wouldn't be any concern of mine.

lagatta

Transforming production. Conversion. If we are going to get rid of cars, we need more public transport, and we also need a better urban infrastructure that makes it easier to walk, cycle or take public transport. Walkable neighbourhoods above all. Beating swords into ploughshares. Converting arms production into production for human needs, and the needs of other sentient beings, as well as undoing the impacts of environmental disasters.

I'm an ecosocialist, but have a lot of affinity for anarchist thought. Just not the kind that dismisses the class struggle. The anarchists I know and work with do anything but.

Pondering

Slumberjack wrote:

Pondering wrote:

Slumberjack wrote:
I have been leaning for some time toward the notion that the idea of an empowered working class negating or transforming a system that the working class itself depends on for it's success is defunct, as it likely always was. 

That seems so defeatist and dismissive of the potential that resides in us all.

What 'potential' are you referring to aside from being imbedded within capitalist production processes, with it's fatal effects on the environment?

The arrogance inherent in your words leaves me a bit stunned. There is a fine line between rightful pride in your formal knowledge and the belief that those who don't have the access to the kind of life you have led are less than you are or can't be enlightened because they don't speak your language or know political theory. Given that most activists seem very well educated I would say the failure to communicate lies with activists not those they seek to convince of their wisdom. Who do revolutionaries speak with if not the working class? Where else do you expect to gain support unless significant political change is just an academic debating game?

Everyone has potential.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/10/30/video_of_homeless_man_play...

The dishevelled prodigy, who is known only as Ryan, has lived on the street for 30 years, according to Polard’s video description. He is playing one of six pianos that were placed around Edmonton as part of a project organized by a strategic analyst with the city, David Rauch.

“He said he learned to play the piano by going into music shops,” says Rauch. “We’re not certain he even knows this is a big deal.”

He humbles me.

I think activists need to think outside the box and try fresh approaches.

Pondering

lagatta wrote:
Transforming production. Conversion. If we are going to get rid of cars, we need more public transport, and we also need a better urban infrastructure that makes it easier to walk, cycle or take public transport. Walkable neighbourhoods above all. Beating swords into ploughshares. Converting arms production into production for human needs, and the needs of other sentient beings, as well as undoing the impacts of environmental disasters.

I'm an ecosocialist, but have a lot of affinity for anarchist thought. Just not the kind that dismisses the class struggle. The anarchists I know and work with do anything but.

I think I'm almost an ecosocialist but not really because I am not anti-capitalist in the short term nor anarchist. I think it will take many decades to get to the idealistic model proposed by ecosocialism if we get there at all. As such it seems very academic at this point in time and completely disconnected from real life. The equivalent of hippie communes.

The right regained ground they had lost in the perpetual class war by convincing the masses they were being robbed by government and the poor.

The left has to figure out a way to convince the masses that it is the other way around. I think people are ready to see it if it is presented effectively.

lagatta

Ecosocialism has nothing to do with hippie communes. But yes, it does require being anticapitalist. And it certainly requires being against destructive mega-projects and anything to do with the tar sands, yes, in the short term. This thread, of course, is about anarchy, not ecosocialism and I have no desire to hijack it; simply to point out how comrades in somewhat different currents can work on common goals. Ecosocialism has a Marxian basis, but has learnt much from anarchist and "communiste libertaire" thinkers. Not only in terms of theory but in terms of means of struggle - look at the neighbourhood assemblies that came into being around the Student Spring struggles. And the question of prefiguration, and returning to the imperative of mutual aid.

Remember that not all "communes" are "hippie". There are movements around the right to housing in Santiago (Chile) that have taken over disused buildings and provided better housing to families who were living in shantytowns. They also provide health and cultural services to the people living there, whom I guarantee are not hippies.

I'd like to read more about how such alternative organizing and about anarchists in the current crises in Greece and Spain.

Slumberjack

Pondering wrote:

Slumberjack wrote:

What 'potential' are you referring...

The arrogance inherent in your words leaves me a bit stunned.

Shouldn't it indicate that in my asking a question based on your statement not to be dismissive of 'potential,' that whatever so called knowledge you think I have, or are trying to position me with as if to place me atop of some arrogant mountain of knowledge, that it is after all less than complete considering that I'm the one seeking an answer, which I would have to assume you're in possession of, and not me?  More specifically though, how does your example of the piano player apply to this discussion, or to the thread in general?  Or is that more arrogance on my part to even ask?

Pondering

My basic understanding of Anarchy is:

an·ar·chyˈanərkē/nounnoun: anarchy

  1. a state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authority."he must ensure public order in a country threatened with anarchy"synonyms:lawlessness, nihilism, mobocracy, revolution, insurrection, disorder, chaos, mayhem, tumult, turmoil "conditions are dangerously ripe for anarchy"antonyms:government, order

    • absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, regarded as a political ideal.

 I have looked it up multiple times here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchy, but that is really heavy going and there is no concrete benefit to my studying that over studying something else. The truth is, the grand majority of people you want to influence have an equally limited or even more limited understanding than I do. Leaders, revolutionary or otherwise are more in need of that kind of theoretical knowledge because they have to know where they want to go.

So, I will withdraw from the conversation in this thread.

 

The rest I answered here: http://rabble.ca/comment/1489974#comment-1489974 post 6.

...because I was going too far off topic and I don't want to ruin your thread.

lagatta

You might prefer looking up "anarchism". Anarchy means absence of a state, not necessarily of all governmental forms, though the latter would be participatory and ideally consensual rather than repressive. I'd prefer that the actual anarchists provide good sources on the history of anarchism and the concept of anarchy, and the different currents within that movement.

iyraste1313

Anarchy as absence of state...better way to describe anarchism would be absence of professionalized form of government, rather a system whereby governance is embedded within the cultural social and economic institutions of Society...by establishing government as a separate institution, you guarantee its corruption by the power elites...

so the work of an anarchist is to build holistic self governing institutions....

Slumberjack

Some news regarding "To Our Friends" by the Invisible Committee, published in 2014

Fuck off Google - (note:  Excerpt - pdf download)

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In Tripoli, Tottenham or Wall Street people have been protesting failed policies and the meager possibilities afforded by the electoral system... They have lost faith in government and other centralized institutions of power... There is no viable justification for a democratic system in which public participation is limited to voting. 

Let's Disappear - (Note:  Chapter 5 Excerpt - pdf download from bloom0101.org

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We would have liked to be brief. To forgo genealogies, etymologies, quotations. That a poem, a song, would suffice.  We wished it would be enough to write "revolution" on a wall for the street to catch fire.  But it was necessary to untangle the skein of the present, and in places to settle accounts with ancient falsehoods. It was necessary to try and digest seven years of historical convulsions. And decipher a world in which confusion has blossomed on a tree of misunderstanding.  We’ve taken the time to write with the hope that others would take the time to read.  Writing is a vanity, unless it’s for the friend. Including the friend one doesn’t know yet.  In the coming years, we’ll be wherever the fires are lit.  During the periods of respite, we’re not that hard to find.  We’ll continue the effort of clarification we’ve begun here.  There will be dates and places where we can mass our forces against logical targets.  There will be dates and places for meeting up and debating.  We don’t know if the insurrection will have the look of a heroic assault, or if it will be a planetary fit of crying, a sudden expression of feeling after decades of anesthesia, misery, and stupidity.  Nothing guarantees that the fascist option won’t be preferred to revolution.  We’ll do what there is to be done.  Thinking, attacking, building—such is our fabulous agenda.

Toscano weighs in:

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After the Insurrection that was to come The Invisible Committee's À nos amis assesses the defeats and 'permanent catastrophe' which never stopped. Alberto Toscano's extended review, ahead of the book's English translation, seeks points of agreement among the peaks and pitfalls of a relentless metaphysical attack on network power.

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A theory of revolution is a balance-sheet of its defeats. That much transpires from the first pages of À nos amis/To Our Friends (English translation forthcoming in April from Semiotext(e)), setting it apart, notwithstanding the continuities of tone and targets, from The Coming Insurrection. Where in the latter, to recall the Eighteenth Brumaire, phrase had prophetically anticipated its content, now the content has outstripped the phrase. The insurrection came and was beaten back. Yet it is still coming. But the order of urgencies has shifted, the poetry of the imminent future largely making way for the prose of the recent past. We have been defeated. But we are everywhere. Stability is dead. Capitalism is disintegrating. And yet it reproduces itself – as a catastrophe in permanence.

Semiotexte(e) Version

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The Invisible Committee's The Coming Insurrection was a phenomenon, celebrated in some quarters and inveighed against in others, publicized in media that ranged from campus bulletin boards to Fox News. Seven years later, The Invisible Committee follows up their premonitory manifesto with a new book, To Our Friends. 

Slumberjack

Pondering wrote:
The truth is, the grand majority of people you want to influence have an equally limited or even more limited understanding than I do. Leaders, revolutionary or otherwise are more in need of that kind of theoretical knowledge because they have to know where they want to go.  So, I will withdraw from the conversation in this thread.

Can't say that I agree with a single thing you've said here.  People have more wisdom than they're given credit for.  They often demonstrate this wisdom employing a variety of equally valid forms of expression.  A paving stone and a philosophical sounding treatise can weigh in with a similar opinion.  Theoretical aspects merely represent formalized user's manuals for whatever social topic is under discussion, such as might be found in a box where you have to put the contents together yourself.  The instruction manual can be helpful in a pinch, but everyday logical thought processes can suffice in examining the individual pieces to know where they will most likely fit, and where they do not.  The more formal manuals can be referred to, or not as the case may be.  If you look at US congressional leaders and members of parliament in Canada, many of them could certainly use a dose or two of theory because they often come across as being dense as a sack of hammers, and as such, the leadership or the so called upper strata exemplars of our society, and this cuts across many academic fields, do not in themselves represent bastions of what people sometimes refer to as 'smarts.'  And how could that be the case anyway when we look around at the political legacy being passed down from one generation to the next.  I like the example of Jethro Bodine from the Hillbillies being able to come up with something better.  As far as I can tell, it's anthema to anarchist related discussions at any rate that certain types of information are best suited to certain levels of society.

Slumberjack

Derrida - IEP

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Jacques Derrida developed a strategy called "deconstruction" in the mid 1960s. Although not purely negative, deconstruction is primarily concerned with something tantamount to a critique of the Western philosophical tradition. Deconstruction is generally presented via an analysis of specific texts. It seeks to expose, and then to subvert, the various binary oppositions that undergird our dominant ways of thinking.

Deconstruction has at least two aspects: literary and philosophical. The literary aspect concerns the textual interpretation, where invention is essential to finding hidden alternative meanings in the text. The philosophical aspect concerns the main target of deconstruction: the “metaphysics of presence,” or simply metaphysics. Starting from an Heideggerian point of view, Derrida argues that metaphysics affects the whole of philosophy from Plato onwards. Metaphysics creates dualistic oppositions and installs a hierarchy that unfortunately privileges one term of each dichotomy (presence before absence, speech before writing, and so on).

The deconstructive strategy is to unmask these too-sedimented ways of thinking, and it operates on them especially through two steps—reversing dichotomies and attempting to corrupt the dichotomies themselves. The strategy also aims to show that there are undecidables, that is, something that cannot conform to either side of a dichotomy or opposition. Undecidability returns in later period of Derrida’s reflection, when it is applied to reveal paradoxes involved in notions such as gift giving or hospitality, whose conditions of possibility are at the same time their conditions of impossibility. Because of this, it is undecidable whether authentic giving or hospitality are either possible or impossible.

In this period, the founder of deconstruction turns his attention to ethical themes. In particular, the theme of responsibility to the other leads Derrida to leave the idea that responsibility is associated with a behavior publicly and rationally justifiable by general principles. Reflecting upon tales of Jewish tradition, he highlights the absolute singularity of responsibility to the other.

Slumberjack

J as in Joy

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A typhoon holds a potent force inside that rightly is profoundly joyous, but it doesn't rejoice in destroying houses.

Slumberjack

Terror and Somatic Control - Biopower and Security

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Biopower is the bastard child of neoliberal societies which have created elaborate systems of surveillance to control the body in pursuit of securitizing culture.

I highly recommend this engaging article.

Slumberjack

An Interview with Giorgio Agamben - Thought is the courage of hopelessness

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Theology plays a very important role in your reflection today. Why is that?

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The research projects that I have recently undertaken have shown me that our modern societies, which claim to be secular, are, on the contrary, governed by secularised theological concepts, which act all the more powerfully because we are not conscious of their existence. We will never grasp what is going on today unless we understand that capitalism is, in reality, a religion. And, as Walter Benjamin said, it is the fiercest of all religions because it does not allow for atonement.

Slumberjack
iyraste1313

capitalism as a religious metaphor? Hmm, unlike religious ideas, based on faith and abstractions unproveable, capitalism as a system of ideas can be shown to be a total demonstrable lie! The unseen hand of the free marketplace, long ago was shown by Marx to be an evolutionary process of greater and greatrer concentration of capital accumulation and elite control.

Unlike religion, capitalism is a system of justification of rape plunder and massacre, which can be factually demonstrated.....

so how can anyone justify supporting it is beyond my grasp...maybe theories on addiction may be a better analogy....

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

A good capitalist makes his 15% a year and keeps his mouth shut. A bad capitalist turns it into an ideology, and expects the government to "create a new market" for him.

Capitalism is not a religion or an ideology. It is just something people do. Buy Low. Sell High. People have been trying to do it since the days of Jericho. Some describe it as a form of slavery. There were some kinds of slavery which were not capitalist, and there are some kinds of capitalism which pay people decent wages.

Slumberjack

There is the term 'invisible hand of the market' that gets used quite a bit.  All of the mainstream financial reporting acts as if they were in unquestioned awe of this phenomena, as they set about like priests trying to interpret the daily numbers for us.  It all might as well consist of obscure parables embedded within scripture.  Apparently everything that occurs does so for a reason, everything is as it should be because the invisible hand is in charge.  The direction that the market takes and the resulting impact on humanity all forms part of some grand design, guided by the invisible force.  Hmmm, it all sounds oddly familiar to me.

iyraste1313

.....Capitalism is not a religion or an ideology. It is just something people do.....

It´s remarkable, that people so saturated in the North American culture and value system cannot see the capitalist values and principles underlying our actions, yet who claim to have progressive intentions.....

you just have to wonder what the purpose of such so called progressive websites, not to mention supposed progressive political parties, other than being a release valve for well intentioned people to continually support some marginal  but meaningless deviation.

sites and parties that do not adequately inform people as to the iniquitous nature of the capitalist system of institutions and its ideologic brainwashing of its participants..... 

Anyone that proclaims to hold progressive values must try to be in noncooperation with the capitalist system, as difficult as this may seem!

Slumberjack

Hostis, Issue 2, Call for Papers: Beyond Recognition

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We are drawn to those who sharpen the gap between the State and its subjects, not into biting tongues but cutting edges. Thus, against the State’s idealized invocation of authority, Hostis listens to military strategists who say that opening with a concession is to begin from a position of weakness. The point of Hostis is to spread the crisis of representation; to antagonize the vulgar translation at every step along the way. Hostis evades recognition altogether. It leaves the job of identification to the police.

We are looking for submissions that elude recognition. In addition to scholarly essays, we are looking for any original work suited to the printed page: strategic diagrams, logistical maps, printed code, how-to instructions, photo-essays, illustrations, or mixed-media art.

iyraste1313

¨Anarchists seem to assume that people are pretty much alike, being cooperative and kindly at heart. I don't find that this is so; there are enough people of ill-will ready to exploit others, and even to kill and torture.....¨

I´m afraid you miss the idea of anarchism entirely.....it´s not about individuals per se, it´s about how Society is organized...it´s a matter of creating institutions of economics and decentralist technologies which integrates the nature of power and politics within, eliminating the need for representational democracy which is so corruptible.

I agree that in our modern technologies of high centralization of political economic institutions...anarchist institutions would be hard to survive...so the need to decentralize...

so developed within the history of the green party so many years ago when the fanatics held influence, the ideas of bioregionalism and social ecology and ecofeminism...which thankfuklly to the present control freaks of the Party were quietly eliminated as flaky by executive decision!

Slumberjack

Doug Woodard wrote:
I had a certain amount of practical experience with fanatical anarchists in the Green Party 20-30 years ago. It was a frustrating experience of futility, and I glad to have done with it,

Then you know there's clearly no 'one size fits all' definition that can be applied to the business of anarchism.  This sounds a bit similar to your experience, but in the context of the Greek uprisings:

A Strange Defeat

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With its anarchist movement stronger than anywhere else, with its people largely uneasy with the very fact of being governed, with its always-already failed state, Greece stands as a textbook case of our defeated insurrections. Jacking the police, smashing the banks and temporarily routing a government is still not destituting it all. What the Greek case shows us is that without a concrete idea of what a victory would be, we can’t help but be defeated. Insurrectionary determination is not enough; our confusion is still too thick. Hopefully, studying our defeats will serve at least to dissipate it somewhat.

Slumberjack

Field Notes - To Our Friends

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As far as insurrection goes, To Our Friends affirms something else we have been suspecting: it’s hopeless to expect it to emerge from the radical left. Those who identify as “radical” tend to suffer a fundamental “disjunction from every situation,” substituting deadening moralism and abstract militancy for careful consideration of the real dynamics of a given moment. The more isolated they are from the actual conditions of struggle, the more convinced they become of the accuracy of their outdated beliefs—which only increases their isolation. In any case, recent uprisings have bypassed the radicals and demonstrated that they are lagging behind history. To Our Friends observes this promising tendency, for instance, in the massive Greek riots of 2008, where even the large contingents of anarchists were outstripped by the wild course of events. Consider also the anti-police demonstrations here in New York, where thousands spontaneously took to the streets and blockaded bridges, tunnels, and highways, stormed shopping malls and social gatherings in continual disruptions of the flows of the city. Stripped of their monopoly on such tactics, the radicals chased after what was happening around them, bewildered by actions they didn’t plan and certainly weren’t leading. Or take the epicenters of conflict in Ferguson and now Baltimore, where a much more interesting amalgamation of forces has appeared. Apparently radicals are becoming redundant. Instead of privileged actions or signifying gestures of the revolutionary, there is the generalized revolt of whoever is present, the unforeseen and wholly explosive force of people acting in concert.

Doug Woodard

It seems to me that anarchism is a good direction but a bad goal; something which we cannot ever expect to be perfected. We have to accept imperfect substitutes.

I had a certain amount of practical experience with fanatical anarchists in the Green Party 20-30 years ago. It was a frustrating experience of futility, and I glad to have done with it, although to a certain extent I miss the skepticism about power, authority and centralization which they contributed.

Anarchists seem to assume that people are pretty much alike, being cooperative and kindly at heart. I don't find that this is so; there are enough people of ill-will ready to exploit others, and even to kill and torture. The feudal system arose out of effective anarchy, and the careers of Genghis Khan and Adolf Hitler are examples of the pathology of power.

It seems to me that near-anarchism is a practical proposition in hunter-gatherer societies and some horticutural societies; small- scale societies. One has to expect a certain amount of violence.

 

A really interesting article about practical anarchism in human history is:

https://thesebonesofmine.wordpress.com/category/anarchist-archaeology/

 

A significant book is:

Hierarchy in the forest: the evolution of egalitarian behaviour, by Christopher Boehm. Harvard University Press, 2001. Boehm concludes that generally humans prefer to dominate, but rather than be dominated they are willing to participate in an egalitarian system, and they are adapted to do this in small-scale societies; that much of human society is a system for control of the strong by greater numbers of the weak (or at any rate less strong).

 

A classical article for modern activists is "The Tyranny of Structurelessness" by Jo Freeman aka Joreen:

http://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.htm

 

The discussion of scale in human societies is closely related. Two classical books are:

The Breakdown of Nations, by Leopold Kohr

Human Scale, by Kirkpatrick Sale

http://www.bookfinder.com

The (mostly) 19th century  Swiss-Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto suggested that larger economies inherently tend to produce greater inequality of incomes.

The British political scientist C. Northcote Parkinson in "The Evolution of Political Thought" also drew attention to the importance of scale.

Slumberjack

Thought I'd bump a revamped version of the Anarchist Library that had previously been posted here, and include, at least initially because of the title, an eyebrow raising selection from Julius Lester entitled:  The Oppression of Whites

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Perhaps the basic inability of black radicals and whites to communicate lies in the fact that the former know acutely the nature of oppression, while whites still think they’re free. They still find it difficult not to believe the fairy tales about this country taught in school. Blacks know what has been done to them and they are angry. Whites do not and thus can only romantically identify with the anger of blacks.

 

[graphic links to the homepage]

Slumberjack
Slumberjack

Theses on the Imaginary Party

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The political and moral significance of thinking only appears in those rare moments in history when “things fall apart; the center cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,” when “the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” At these moments thinking ceases to be a marginal affair in political matters. When everyone is swept away unthinkingly by what everybody else does and believes in, those who think are drawn out of hiding because their refusal to join is conspicuous and thereby becomes a kind of action.”  Hannah Arendt, “Thinking and Moral Considerations”

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The Imaginary Party is the particular form taken by Contradiction in the historical period when domination imposes itself as the dictatorship of visibility, and dictatorship in visibility; in a word, as Spectacle.

Because it is above all merely the negative party of negativity, and because the sorcery of the Spectacle (since it is unable to liquidate them) consists in rendering invisible all the expressions of negation – and that goes for freedom in acts as well as for suffering or pollution – its most remarkable character is precisely that it is reputed to be non-existent, or - more exactly - to be imaginary.

But people speak incessantly about it, and exclusively about it, since a little more every day it disrupts the proper operation of society. Still, people avoid saying its name – could it be said anyway? – with the same fear as if they were invoking the Devil. And people are quite right to do so: in a world so that has so conspicuously become an attribute of the Mind, pronouncements have the unfortunate tendency to become performative.

Inversely, the nominal evocation of the Imaginary Party, even right here in these pages, may serve as its act of constitution. Up to now, that is, up to its naming, it could be no more than what the classical proletariat was before coming to know itself as the proletariat: a class of civil society that is not a class of civil society, but rather its very dissolution. And, in effect, today it comprises but the negative multitudes of those who have no class, and don’t want to have any; the solitary crowd of those who have reappropriated their fundamental non-belonging to commodity society in the form of their voluntary non-participation in it.

At first, the Imaginary Party presents itself simply as the community of defection, the party of exodus, the fleeting and paradoxical reality of a subjectless subversion. But this is no more the essence of the Imaginary Party than the dawn is the essence of the day. It still remains to be seen how it will come fully into its own, and that can only appear in its living relationship with what produced it and now denies it.

Slumberjack

The Angel of History: Walter Benjamin’s Vision of Hope and Despair

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A Klee drawing named “Angelus Novus” shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating.  His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread.  This is how one pictures the angel of history.  His face is turned toward the past.  Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe that keeps piling ruin upon ruin and hurls it in front of his feet.  The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed.  But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them.  The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.  — Walter Benjamin, Ninth Thesis on the Philosophy of History

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For Walter Benjamin, a German Jewish literary critic and philosopher writing in 1940, the very notion of “historical progress” was a cruel illusion.  Benjamin, age forty-eight at the time, had already lived through World War I and its aftermath.  Now, in the second year of yet another war, the course of history had been commandeered by Fascism, a “catastrophe that keeps piling ruin upon ruin.”  Benjamin was himself destined, several months after he wrote these words, to become one more lifeless body tossed upon the heap. 

Slumberjack

Less Within, More Between

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caveat: Both feminists and anarchists come in wildly divergent flavors (some mutually exclusive), and yet those labels remain useful. I do not continually say “this kind of anarchist” or “my kind of feminist,” so please understand that I’m biased and referring to the anarchist and feminist ideas that are most interesting to me.

We acknowledge that we are all broken by the society that raised us, that we all need to learn how to interact with each other better, and that while some of us are more broken than others, self righteousness is not helpful to us, either as individuals or as groups.

While a bias towards the real is one of the things that maintains feminism’s relevance, that bias also limits us when it comes to articulating what our goals are. I have been to too many conferences, anarchist and otherwise, where the feminist component is dominated by talk about the prevalence of sexist behavior (duh) and how we need to support each other (again duh, or perhaps, unh unh, depending on the definition of support and who “each other” is; questions that are never addressed). The lack of analytic and strategic thinking is in part a valid rejection of abstraction, and in part intellectual laziness and/or intimidation. The feminist tactic of analyzing our individual behavior and needs, too frequently is used to attack people for not abiding by “rules,” when what it is good for is challenging ourselves and our friends to keep our theory and practice fresh and meaningful. This means criticism has to work for something other than making one person feel better than another.

Slumberjack

Full text of To Our Friends

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Crisis Is a Mode of Government.

We other revolutionaries are the great cuckolds of modern history. And one is always complicit in some way with one’s own betrayal. The fact is painful, so it’s generally denied. We’ve had a blind faith in crisis, a faith so blind and so enduring that we didn’t see how the liberal order had made it the centerpiece of its arsenal. Marx wrote in the aftermath of 1848: “A new revolution is possible only as a result of a new crisis; but it will come, just as surely as the crisis itself.” And indeed he spent the rest of his days prophetizing, with every spasm of the world economy, the great final crisis of capital which he would wait for in vain. There are still Marxists who try to sell us the current crisis as “The Big One,” and would have us wait a bit longer for their curious version of the Last Judgement.

“If you want to force a change,” Milton Friedman advised his Chicago Boys, “set off a crisis.” Far from fearing crises, capital now tries its hand at producing them experimentally. The way avalanches are intentionally triggered in order to control their timing and size. The way plains are set ablaze so that a menacing fire will extinguish itself there for lack of fuel. “Where and when” is a question of opportuneness or tactical necessity. It’s public knowledge that shortly after being appointed, in 2010, the director of the Greek Statistical Authority, ELSTAT, set about falsifying that country’s debt accounts, making them look worse as a way of justifying the Troika’s intervention. So it’s a fact that the “sovereign debt crisis” was launched by a man still on the official payroll of the IMF, an institution charged with “helping” countries get out of debt. Here it was a matter of testing out, in a European country under real conditions, the neoliberal project of a complete revamping of a society, to measure the effects of a proper policy of “structural adjustment.”

Slumberjack

Doug Woodard wrote:
  Anarchists seem to assume that people are pretty much alike, being cooperative and kindly at heart. I don't find that this is so; there are enough people of ill-will ready to exploit others, and even to kill and torture. The feudal system arose out of effective anarchy, and the careers of Genghis Khan and Adolf Hitler are examples of the pathology of power.

It seems to me that near-anarchism is a practical proposition in hunter-gatherer societies and some horticutural societies; small- scale societies. One has to expect a certain amount of violence.

It's likely why some anarchist factions have built their ideology around communes and its related workings, figuring that the smaller terrain one controls the better.  I come from a very small town and have worked in several cities, and the same interrelational antagonisms appear to exist no matter how large or small the community is.  Even at the level of families, between two adults in a relationship, or between two kids playing in a sandbox.  Perhaps it is in our nature to ultimately destroy ourselves along with everything else that doesn't survive our passing. Anarchism, despite the bad rap assigned to it collectively by the prevailing 'politics,' represents at best a study in progress that seeks to confront the harmful manifestations of our nature.  Self critique is very much a part of it I find.  Critique of all belief systems, political leanings, religious, societal, etc is essential.  Otherwise one is prone to taking publications like "The Moscow Times," and "RT" a bit too seriously as accurate sources of information.  The enemy of our enemy is not necessarily our friend.

NDPP

Looks good SJ...crisis indeed is fomented and exploited by power.

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