The Antipolitics of Food, a Discussion

Seaweed

 Post subject: anti-politics of food (dead link)
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 4:42 am

The anti-politics of food

I noticed that sex and gossip are big hits here (an anti-politics of radical youth-adult sensuality? and Reverend Chuck0 Munson, Libel Artist and general shit-talker) are two of the three threads with the highest number of views. Actually there were some interesting/challenging posts at the former, though I couldn't find anything worthwhile at the latter. I would like to begin a discussion around a topic likely considered less exciting and controversial, but fundamental nonetheless. Perhaps we might be surprised by the discoveries we can make together around this subject. I take the position that urban civilization is not only inherently authoritarian, but unsustainable as well. I believe that small scale, bio-regionally based, organically self-organized subsistence movements could solve many of the problems associated with our predicament. As we create our bio-regions, they in turn simultaneously create us. A subsistence culture would be primarily based on gathering, gardening, hunting, fishing and preserving. That is, food, its acquisition, preservation and sharing would be central. In order to feed ourselves in a sustainable way, without wage slaves or ecological sacrifice zones, we would need healthy habitats. We are animals after all, and all animals need a habitat, preferably a healthy one. For me this means that our vision must include a focus on acquiring land both as a potential habitat and as a territory within which to lead autonomous lives. Collectively deciding to seize/create a healthy habitat for ourselves and then defending it seems a sensible strategy and motivation for insurrection/revolt/insurgency.

What I'd like to participate in is a discussion around food. Where does it fit in your analysis? In your vision? In your practice?

A few questions for everyone, but hey this isn't a poll, I just wanted to get the discussion going:

1) Do you provide any of your own food?
2) Do you acquire any of your food outside of the market?
3) Do you believe that urban configurations can feed themselves without authoritarian means or sacrifice zones?
4) Should revolutionaries be focusing on access to land within which they can feed themselves and experiment with and explore new ways of living?

aragorn

 Post subject: Re: anti-politics of food
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:25 am

The question here, as with many other topics, is 'what is the difference between your behavior ITW (in this world) vs. ATR?' Because I am not sure that many of us are particularly engaged in a variety of practices ITW that would be sustainable ATR. I sure don't. I eat out often. I drive a petroleum machine. I use computer technology connected to world wide networks.

But I also refuse to live my life now based on a possibility. It could be that a radical transformation of the world will not happen in my lifetime. It likely isn't going to 'go down' in any way that I or any of my contemporaries believe that it will.

Which is to say that I am not sure that 'lifestyle' issues require a lot of theoretical justification. The choices that I have made (and I have made some pretty intentional ones) are not a reflection of my politics as much as values that may, or may not be, considered political. They came out of the same decision trees that most of us have confronted but the difference between making the decision to do this or that and stay doing it (let's take vegetarianism as an easy example) are two pretty different things. That difference is only apparent later on in the process, something that a lot of our theory tends to avoid.

To answer directly though...
1) no. I live in an urban environment and a yard that occasionally provides herbs and greens.
2) Very little. It is more likely that I provide others food from the market than that I eat dumpstered food (for instance).
3) Not really. Could be but I tend to agree that 7 billion people cannot be provided for without authoritarian means
4) Sure, but not because it is 'revolutionary' but because it (or they) has a value in itself.

seaweed

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 6:16 am

A couple of comments:

I certainly don't consider myself a lifestylist. But i do believe that the means and the ends are linked. The means may not create the ends in a strict sense, but they certainly are a significant influence. Therefore if we want a de-massified world, for instance, then we need to organize ourselves outside of mass configurations. If we want a sense of place, then we should stay put and fight for a place to sustain ourselves within, etc.

I have hunted, fished and have had a garden for fifteen years. You are right, not because I am a self-identified revolutionary, but because these activities have meaning in themselves.

It just seems to me that most revolutionaries with strong Marxist backgrounds seem to be perpetually waiting for the "historic agents of change" or " the subjects" etc. What about individuals shedding our labels/categories/identity markers and not waiting, but intentionally looking for cracks and fissures in the dominant reality and exploiting these openings? Aren't we all tired of waiting for "objective conditions"? I am interested in expressions of anger and rage, in destruction and leaving the old world behind, but I am also interested in intent.

This brings up the larger question of whether revolution is everywhere or nowhere.

I think that we can have successful secessionist strategies that create liberated zones. These zones can link with other zones. In this way authoritarian civilization can be attacked from many different sides, weakening it and destroying it over time, rather than by a single global proletarian upheaval.

By asserting our need for access to land, for food, fuel. shelter and a meaningful place to exist, the project for rebels becomes clearer. This isn't to say that i don't recognize spontaneous or unexpected upheavals and wouldn't or haven't participated in them. But while we are waiting, why not stay put in one bio-region, claim some space with comrades/friends/neighbors and defend it? By claiming i mean understand and use an area. Of course this makes more sense in a rural context, but how do urban revolutionaries see their future? Where will the food come from to feed London? I think that cities must be partly abandoned, partly recreated into a sort of collection of villages, the whole area healed by becomming a vast permaculture zone surrounded by a re-emerging wilderness.

bzfgt

 Post subject: great question
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 12:04 pm

Great thread. I think you've really hit on something--isn't it naive to think that people will suddenly acquire radically different ways of relating to their environment and getting their subsistence "ATR"? Isn't it better to start trying to change one's lifestyle as much as possible now, and if a revolution comes we will be already prepared in some ways to live differently? Unfortunately, on the other hand, "as much as possible" usually isn't very much for very many. And the idea of adopting ways of life that are inconvenient now but will prepare one for a hypothetical cataclysm isn't very attractive to most of us. So there is much to think about here.

pilpil

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 4:23 pm

Hi guest (go on, give us a name),

A very good idea for a thread. Have you noticed the thread 'a book of pleasures' begun on 'intimacy'? Here, we have discussed 'gardens'... particularly in relation to reproduction of labour power. You may also be interested in the reading group discussion; riff-raff make 15 references to 'food' in the text and on page five assert:

If we use food as an example it will mean that the food eaten in communism most surely will be different from what is served today. As a matter of fact, new forms of relations to food are often developed during revolutionary times. In historical insurrectionary situations we can see how the poor have stormed luxury restaurants to have orgies that have ended only when the insurrection has been struck down. In other situations peasants has fought for the right to hunt, while in other situations new attitudes to food, such as vegetarianism and fasting, have been developed.

Anyway, on a personal level, I am lucky to be married into a french/italian family, and when we can borrow a car, I like to get out into the countryside and join in their tradition of collecting dandelion and stinging nettle leaves in spring, which in itself marries into our english tradition of allotments, collecting nuts and berries from the hedgerow in autumn. My dad used to be paid by the local hospital for collecting rose hips (to make syrup, no GSK in that relation!), and his dad was a poacher... This kind of activity is dependent on family structure and immediate conditions... it makes not much sense if you live alone in a city. It also has no specific inherent radical aspect, on the contrary 'traditions' are always conservatively 'everyday.'

A number of thoughts on the 'anti-politics' question:

1. the social relation is, er, social, and so personal activity only ever has a status of personal activity. Aggregations of personal activities of the type you suggest above a certain level tend to produce markets because capital is needed to increase yields and sustain the activity.

2. I might be tempted to think that because I can grow peas it makes me a revolutionary subject; however, ideological food sticks in the gullet, and if I am gardening 'politically' it won't last much beyond the first attack of killer slugs; food should always be for sustenance and fun, not to prove a point (that would come under anorexia).

3. there is some element of moral elitism in DIY which I find distasteful... for this reason, and to prevent myself drifting into superiority, I force myself to consume lots of expensive French delicacies.

4. The objections made by Mikus to the status of 'subsistence' activities outside of the labour relation (which I am still ruminating over).

5. I have looked on, and sometimes participated, as groups of anarchists have set up this or that 'collective' which wants to achieve things now... it often seems to me that they end up merely exploiting themselves, grimly slaving for little gain or joy.

I would say that 'food' and other similar lifestyle factors are most important at the level of parables used for informing the critique of the social relation... consider the mustard seed.

be seeing you,

pilpil

bzfgt

 Post subject: the question at hand
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:17 pm

I think you're too quick to dismiss what Guest is suggesting, pilpil. Although, I largely agree with you. This is something I'm conflicted about.

But the main thing is this--a "cataclysm" theory of revolution vs. any other theory. the cataclysm theory--that a radical break will come, sweeping away current forms and opening up oppportunites that are currently closed off--has the disadvantage of encouraging quietism in the here and now.

Why not encourage any critical attempts to begin to build a new world, without hoping to cause a catalysm and without fearing that it won't (or will) come---while maintaining a critical outlook--by admitting we are claimed by the necessity to attempt the impossible? Not in terms of lifestyle choices --are you a vegetarian?--which may nevertheless be important on a certain level, but in terms of collective projects.

This seems more realistic to me than waiting for the proletarian revolution.

As for the list of questions:

1) Do you provide any of your own food?
No, I hate gardening and I have little stomach for killing things.

2) Do you acquire any of your food outside of the market?
No, I don't have time to dumpster dive, and see q 1.

These first two questions seem to be about individual lifestyle choices, NOT the sort of projects Guest intimates in the body of his.her email.

3) Do you believe that urban configurations can feed themselves without authoritarian means or sacrifice zones? Yes, but this means rethinking what an "urban configuration" means. I certainly think that spreading subsistence farms all over the face of the earth is a bad idea. But this needs to be thought about more.

4) Should revolutionaries be focusing on access to land within which they can feed themselves and experiment with and explore new ways of living?

Yes! Yes! Yes! It is always insisted that this may be fun,but has nothing to do with revolution. Bullshit. If the idea of revolution is to begin to live differently, then it is just mystification to suggest that this is impossible now but will suddenly be possible after some cataclysm. Yet, the current configuration WILL reach out and disfigure whatever happens on this level, so in itself this is not sufficient.

There are three and only three things that can be done:

1. Fighting. Rioting, insurrection, sabotage, warfare.
2. Walking away, planting seeds of future. This can be either attempting to create a new world, or simply to prepare for the cataclysm of 1 so that after the cataclysm the old world doesn't start to spring back up. This also includes changing how we relate to one another, while recognizing the structural underpinnings and the impossibility of simply breaking with the latter in the current configuration.
3. Education/discussion. Disseminating and discussing ideas--what we're doing now.

Of course, there's also 4. Waiting for a collapse, but there's nothing to discuss with that one, it isn't a course of action and it reduces our options to storing nuts and spreading chaos.

1, 2, and 3 are all important, and 2 is perhaps the hardest. As pilpil says, it has rarely if ever been seen in a collective, well-realized form. In some ways we can do this individually, but the revolutionary value of this is perhaps marginal. Yet this also relates to how we relate to one another, which Red reduces to a kind of emotivism but which ought to have serious bearing on our future ways of relating, with or without a cataclysm.

That's all for now.

pilpil

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:32 pm

Good points, I'm not against these things anymore than I am against joining a union. I just don't like too much enthusiasm and patriotism for 'self- activity' (ie forgetting what has been tried before, 1649 St Georges Hill et al), there is no point in middle class people going back to being cavemen... other than the point that they want to and it makes them feel good.

On the other hand if you accept limitations, know that you are going to fail, but go ahead anyway (because there is little other choice, we have to live our values as best we can as Aragorn says), I do think there is a very important role for increasing autonomy.

All conflicted stuff... boiled down: go ahead do it, then reflect critically,

pilpil

seaweed

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 6:24 pm

Hi,

I have a dificult time using computer technology. I couldn't figure out how to have my name come up rather than just "guest". I think i understand it now. Anyway, I am the person who posted the initial topic for this thread.

seaweed

I wasn't suggesting making individual choices. Our problem is collective and therefore our solution must be collective as well. I recognize this. I live in a village in a rural part of Canada. The comrades here have consciously made links/friendships with others in nearby cities and large towns. We have an annual gathering of rebels from our region in our village during which we share ideas, build trust, challenge one another, make new friendships, share food, etc. One of the things we discusss, naturally, is how do we revolt?

Rather than wait for a large segment of the "proletariat" to self-organize and begin the great upheaval, what can we do, besides propaganda and cultural projects, as self-identified revolutionaries?

As a group of friends functionning within a geographical community, we have two 'zines, a pirate radio station, an annual gathering, spend time with and listen to indigenous sovereigntists as well as participate in urban activities to support our comrades/friends there. We aren't a bunch of naive hippies or middle class idiots who want to return to being cavemen as pilpil put it. (BTW, neanderthal people had the same cranial capacity as modern humans..)

A basic lie of the rulers has always been that life in nature is nasty, brutish and short. Check out some anthropology for more on this pilpil.

As i said earlier, while the means might not determine the ends, they are significantly linked. So what we do now is important.

I'm always curious who ultra-leftists are waiting for? Each other?

I agree with bzfgt who writes there are only a few things we can do, among them:
1. Fighting. Rioting, insurrection, sabotage, warfare.
2. Walking away, planting seeds of future. This can be either attempting to create a new world, or simply to prepare for the cataclysm of 1 so that after the cataclysm the old world doesn't start to spring back up. This also includes changing how we relate to one another, while recognizing the structural underpinnings and the impossibility of simply breaking with the latter in the current configuration.

I would add that they are not mutually exclusive. I am not suggesting a gradualist approach. This isn't a call to create alternative institutions like co-ops and peoples banks that will slowly, along with plenty of incisive propaganda, enlighten/replace the existing authoritarian social order. We all need to talk about where our food comes from and acquire skills to provide ourselves with sustenance. Here and now.

Finally, must we always be fighting "for" something rather than defending something? I think that by attempting to provide ourselves with food, we are confronted by private property, capitalism and the state.

When a group has a territory that sustains them, they feel compelled to not only defend that territory against plunder and destruction, but to defend their friends and the ways they depend on that live within that territory. I think that a focus for revolutionaries, here and now, should be access to land.

seaweed

pilpil

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 8:11 pm

hi seaweed,

firstly I apologise for implying that you wished to get with the cavemen. Actually, I forgot to finish my point, what I meant to say was that there is no point in 'deciding' to become cavemen (hunter gatherers, peasants, nomads or any such) in the hope that you can re-invent the wheel, or the social relation to be more exact. It is not possible to 'decide' in advance the world's relation to food production from a subjective position, or to decide the technological measures needed, nor the type of necessary activity required for a communist society (although we can make guesses about all of these things). The problem for voluntary activity is always one of lack of capital, markets and making a living.

Secondly I have no hatred of 'hippies', most of whom weren't hippies, the diggers for example; I am very influenced by countercultural elements (but I also see their inherent commodity aspect).

Experiments in lifestyle are interesting and I would not argue against choosing as far as possible the type of life you live. However, we can see from history that the objective significance of these choices, from the earliest anarchist communes onwards, have always been marginal. The simple life is not simple. I think this is because deciding on 'doing' something, that is identifying a problem and providing an answer to it, is overly reductive. Human beings do not produce/consume food as an end in itself, provision is a motor of 'culture' or 'being' and thus serves to facilitate cultural values. By setting the cart of 'food' before the 'horse' of value in your experiments/activities means, I think, you are likely to end feeling disappointed, asking 'is this all there is'. But then, is success in providing yourself with a non-commodity life your only motive? Wouldn't you continue even if you were sure that the generalised application of your scheme was impossible? In other words, wouldn't you continue if you knew you were going to fail? If you would continue, then you have lost nothing other than a delusion of grandeur.

Whilst I do mean my apology, it was not my intention to upset you, I also think it is a pity that you were so quick to take offence, particularly when I was not discussing your activities but the history of failure of 'collective' efforts and the notion of voluntarist subjectivity.

You began the thread asking for a discussion but then became annoyed when the thread didn't just follow a path of mere affirmation of your perspective. It seems to me that you are implying that you think what you are doing is important, I agree, I think it is important. It is important to you, and I think that if lots more people did similar things it would be important to them too, but I do not think that what you are doing is significant beyond your own scale. This is not intended as an insult, nor is it the judgement of history, it is just my opinion based on my experience.

Quote:     I'm always curious who ultra-leftists are waiting for? Each other?

Waiting is a much maligned activity...

Quote:   Check out some anthropology for more on this pilpil.

I'd be delighted to old bean, name me your favourite book and I shall read it, for pleasure and for penance.

pilpil

bzfgt

 Post subject: yes but pilpil
PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 9:35 pm

Yeah, I'd really like some anthropology recommendations too.

What Seaweed is suggesting is that this can be one way to revolt. All revolt in the past has failed just as surely as all alternative communities have. Thus, this board can't be about what is realistic, but what just may glimmer as a possibility, if briefly and uncertainly. IF we are going to revolt against the system, THEN we should be experimenting with extra-systematic ways of living. Otherwise, we are probably going to keep living similarly to how we are now, except maybe with workers running the factories. SO this sort of thing may be impossible, but it's also necessary. To say "we will tear everything down and decide collectively how to live" fetishises the cataclysm and gives it a generative power it may not have. This is also why various "oppressions" are important to consider besides just class, to refer to another discussion we had here.

So, pilpil, I disagree vehemently with your psychologising of all this, as though it were a particularly rewarding hobby. Sure, it is bound to fail if there isn't an upheaval. But the upheaval is likewise bound to fail without these steps.

Wolverine

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 10:41 pm

I have to second the above. I of course have affinity with what seaweed is suggesting for the simple reason that the local, noncomplex subsistance model is to date the most egalitarian mode of living on record. The problem with this whole general struggle and henceforth existance is that it ends up vague on various issues. While the local models of the past may have come and gone within the context of capitalism, there's at least a clear logic to them.

seaweed

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 11:48 pm

Gee you folks are a bunch of smart cookies! Pilpil, apologies accepted, and I'll try to be a little tougher. But I also have to admit that I am having a difficult time understanding what you are saying. Perhaps if I try, you will correct me if I am wrong. I'll only look at a small part of what you've replied with so far.

You write: 'It is not possible to 'decide' in advance the world's relation to food production from a subjective position, or to decide the technological measures needed, nor the type of necessary activity required for a communist society (although we can make guesses about all of these things)."

It is not a decision but an intent I am promoting. Surely we can intend that food within our autonomous territory, the anarchic/communist territory that I am trying to create with friends/comrades/neighbors, etc. will be produced in a sustainable way, that it will have excellent nutritional value, that the process of producing it will be meaningful as opposed to alienated, that the tools used (not technology) will also be produced according to these principles and that our food will be freely given and shared. am I to sit here, miserable, atomized, privatized, impoverished, bitter and angry at the predicament I share with the rest of the population under the rule of authoritarian civilization, waiting patiently for global proletarian upheaval or do I get together with others within my bio-region, neighborhood, indian reserve, island, or whatever and resist, create some space/seize some territory, and try to lead a life not determined by others?

pilpil wrote: 'The problem for voluntary activity is always one of lack of capital, markets and making a living."

I am talking about providing food for ourselves instead of relying on the market or the welfare state or dumpster diving. If a neighborhood of immigrants in a big european city were to get together and start a community garden so they can avoid some wage labor (growing it instead of working to buy it), get to know each other, break out of their privatized and atomized lives, this has nothing to do with lack of capital, making a living or markets. It's called mutual aid. Then when/if the cops or whatever authority come to shut the garden down perhaps the whole neighborhood will riot against them in order to defend their garden/food source/territory. Solidarity is built, skills (practical and convivial) are learned and shared, and the theory of seizing control of one's life becomes practice. I think tastes of authentic community and freedom can be inspiring and help lead to the greater more widespread uprising we all dream of.

I tend not to focus on the concept of classes as much as on whole communities, wherever possible. This is a difficult concept for many and I'll get back to it later.

A comment for now bzfgt, you wrote: Sure, it is bound to fail if there isn't an upheaval. But the upheaval is likewise bound to fail without these steps.

True according to some definitions of failure. I think that human customs/traditions/ways everywhere are different and that therefore communism everywhere will be different. It will also partly be determined by the activities that prefigure its realization.

What is failure? am i to believe that when a group of people get together and collectively decide to revolt, to self-organize, to determine their future, to attempt to create a world based on giving and sharing, that there can be failure in this? Just because everybody didn't join them? Because it wasn't permanent? I disagree. Maybe the whole world will never be communist at once, maybe nothing lasts forever. I hold that there is great success in the trying.

I have a lot more to say specifically about food, its acquisition etc, but will stop here for now.

Thanks everyone for discussing this with me, it is helping to clarify my ideas.

seaweed

bzfgt

 Post subject: here you go sport
PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 12:28 am

SEAWEED: What is failure? am i to believe & c.

EGO: Well, I agree mostly, but the problem is that any venture like this will necessarily, I think, maintain some relation to the market and to society at large. Even if all the food is produced on site, something I have never seen happen, there is equipment, taxes, permits, easements, fuel, clothing, people's projects that take them outside, ties to family, friends, the clock and the schedule of the world, the media. Some, most or all of these come into play, and I'm sure I forgot things. But that's not to call an endeavor like this a total failure; it's just that some measure of success or failure probably has to be kept in mind in order for such a project to have coherence as a form of revolt or preparation for one.

pilpil

 Post subject: Re: yes but pilpil
PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 6:02 pm
bzfgt wrote:   So, pilpil, I disagree vehemently with your psychologising of all this, as though it were a particularly rewarding hobby. Sure, it is bound to fail if there isn't an upheaval. But the upheaval is likewise bound to fail without these steps.

I hate to be the bad guy, I feel like macbeth, waist deep in blood, which way do I wade with this?

You do not have to disagree vehemently with me because I do not oppose any decided upon activity in itself, whether it be prayer, voting, direct action, setting up a commune, joining a union or political party. If people think any of these are the measures that will get them what they want then they should at least try.

The struggle for living is about realising self-interest, and to this end we should both know ourselves and what we want. But we should also know that interests in conflict with ours operate against us, and most effectively, through the actions we think we choose.

The problem with activist activity is that intended outcomes do not often materialise.

The capitalist social relation is unavoidably reproduced within all oppositional structures because it is the context for all structure. And it reproduces itself to a greater degree within the opposition to it where this process of reproduction has not been examined.

pilpil

pilpil

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 6:23 pm
seaweed wrote:   Gee you folks are a bunch of smart cookies!

Dear seaweed,

it is not being smart so much as creeping wickedness and the hunched over jading that derives from having crouched over a thin flame for so many years.

I was lying in this morning, and I should have been ploughing, I was hung over and my wife and children were reading me random sections from the Gospel of Thomas, I thought this one applied to me:

Quote:   102 Jesus said, "Damn the Pharisees! They are like a dog sleeping in the cattle manger: the dog neither eats nor lets the cattle eat."

So tell me the tales of how you collect your ice encrusted berries, how you build trout dams, how you know the healing herbs, how you harvest the free sea weed, how to coppice hazel and pollard willow, how to sculpt your kyak, how the scottish islanders used the bodies of kittiwakes for their shoes, tell me the tales.

pilpil

bzfgt

 Post subject: yes of course right you are
PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 11:28 pm
Quote:   The capitalist social relation is unavoidably reproduced within all oppositional structures because it is the context for all structure. And it reproduces itself to a greater degree within the opposition to it where this process of reproduction has not been examined.

I agree with this 100,000%, and nowhere more so than in the american anarchist movement, in which anti-intellectualism and willful know-nothing-ism have so impoverished the theoretical terrain that this movement has little value other than as a social club.

As for the oppositional structures of the type we are discussing on this thread, couldn't there be a hope that rigorous self-critique might be maintained (not to be confused with asceticism or joyless behavior policing) and that it may even be that such endeavors might begin to deform the structure within which they are contextualised to a certain extent?

Also, I see no reason to shy away from hopes of a better life that is not the best imaginable life, and I know you don't either, but I think Seaweed makes a valuable contribution when he points out that this is not failure. It is failure, and its not failure. Every attempt to live how we would and should is doomed to failure, because the world was not made for such purposes. But then again, the existence of any type of flourishing diminishes the totality of capitalism a bit, no?

seaweed

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 11:40 pm

Dear Pilpil,

Are you speaking in tongues? I think you read and drink too much!

This isn't about work, but about meaningful activity here and now. That's right, I believe meaningful activity is possible, here and now, because I engage in it all the time! I dream, make love, have deep friendships, share food, express anger, etc. Perhaps you are one of those that spreads widespread defeatism, the "enemy occupies every inch" hopelessness, the "all activity is pointless activism" cynicism masked as intelligence. Perhaps you aren't such a smart cookie after all! Maybe you cuddle with Karl Marx too often instead of a lover! I don't have a work ethic. Stay in bed until you have boils if that makes sense to you, but it makes sense to me, not just as an individual, but as a self-identified revolutionary, to get together with others wherever I live and rebel against the conditions that I live under. One of the ways I suggest we do this is to at least try and feed ourselves, where this is possible. I am not saying that getting together with others and rebelling in isolated ways or areas will lead to global proletarian upheaval and thus to communism. I am saying that feeding ourselves, sabotage, sharing radical ideas, being open for intimacy with others, etc., helps create an oppositional momentum that may either compliment or incite uprisings.

I'm not going to wait until those at the levers of production stop refusing the blackmail and the bribes of capital, take off their blinders, find some courage and some hope, kick out the bosses and decide to take control of their lives because too many at the levers of production are enthralled and mystified by the myth of progress. I'd rather get together with people who live where I live and collectively decide to secede from authoritarian ways.

As for your request to regal you with tales of self reliance and self-sustenance, the dismissive tone you used to phrase it was bizarre. Actually most of the folks I know do collect berries ( i canned about 40 jars last year), my neighbor is a herbologist ( yes, she sells wild crafted herbal medicines), i go fishing, (rather unsuccessfully), have hunted successfully, garden and collect some wild food. I just put about ten pounds of nettles into my freezer, had some fresh oysters on the beach the other day with some comrades from the city, etc. To belittle all this as self-deluding pointless activism and biblical tales as though i were preaching (and today is sunday!) hurts, pilpil.

So, go to work and sell your self for a wage, take the wage and go to your supermarket and be served by other wage slaves and buy some crappy food made by yet more wage slaves and feel really, really smart about it all! I'll stay home away from work and bosses with neighbors/friends/comrades and we'll all share some healthy wild berries I canned last autumn, some fresh nettles, some salmon from nearby and plant my spinach and kale.

I'm not saying that providing food for ourselves is the way, I'm saying it is part of the way because it makes us think about territory and who controls it. By trying to feed ourselves we are confronted with the fact that we don't have habitats or autonomy, rather our potential habitats/territories are controlled by the market and a class of bullies. I do think we should also be engaged in a variety of other projects and activities that are part of creating a wider momentum for social upheaval.

A question: is mutual aid only possible under communism?

Seaweed

To bzfgt,

The point is to encourage others to refuse to get the permits, pay the taxes, etc. This eventually leads to confrontation with authority and potentially leads to an oppositional atmosphere that encourages others to be more rebellious. We are animals, we should be trying to feed ourselves otherwise we are simply accepting our domestication while we patiently wait for the global majority of those at the levers of production to revolt. seaweed

seaweed

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 11:52 pm

Hi bzfgt,

I don't want to monopolize the discussion here. I really appreciate your input. You wrote: "It is failure and it is not failure." How true. One of the things i believe is that paradox is part of life. Axioms tend to belong to mathematics, not revolutionary ideas.

As for suggestions for anthropology and related texts/authors, i'll put together a list soon. seawed

bzfgt

 Post subject: great quote
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:04 am

I loved that quote from Thomas. How true...I think you've misread the tone of pilpil's post...

bzfgt

 Post subject: PS
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:05 am

Oh, I didn't mean I agree that you're like the Pharisees, pilpil....

seaweed

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:24 am

What an unsophisticated country bumpkin i must be! I missed both the joke and the insight...

seaweed

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 4:43 pm

Hi,

I think I can summarize the responses so far, please correct me if I'm wrong.

Aragorn: Thinks that providing one's food in a group is lifestylism and needs no theoretical justification. It is an issue of values not political choices or strategy. I was disappointed with this because I thought we shared a notion of the possibility, even importance, of rebecomming indigenous, which would involve getting involved in this sort of activity immediately, not ATR. I also put forward my ideas as a strategy, encouraging the concept of small organically self-organized subsistence movements forming a generalized momentum of secession.

Pilpil: 1) Resistance is futile. This is because capitalist social relations are inevitably reproduced within all oppositional structures. The reason being that capitalism is the context for these structures. The deformed opposition is also reproduced to a greater degree where this phenomenon is not examined. 2) DIY activity tends to be moralistic and self-righteous 3) There is no point in deciding to do something because the activity we do here and now before the revolution will likely not carry over and will likely not really accomplish anything here and now anyway, so disappointment is inevitable. 4) But, hey, go ahead and try. 5) Ultimately we should eat french pastries while we wait patiently for the cataclysm.

Bzgft Wrote: "1) but isn't it naive to think that people will suddenly acquire radically different ways of relating to their environment and getting their subsistence "ATR"? So he thinks activity here and now can be relevant to ATR. 2) Also mentions riots, insurrections, sabotage and warfare. I agree. We are in a state of war, we should defend ourselves and fight back. 3) We can wait for the cataclysm.

seaweed

bzfgt

 Post subject: war schmar
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 5:03 pm

I don't really think "we are in state of war." I mean, I think that this whole "state of war" mentality is one of the fucked-up things we would like to get out of. But getting out of it doesn't just involve winning the war, and then putting aside our warlike ways--that's what all warlike people think they're doing.

What I mean is that thinking in terms of battles, strategies, and acceptable damage is thinking right in line with the current state of affairs. Horrific acts that target ordinary people are one example. Also, if we are at war, who is the enemy? That's way too complicated to figure out, because it's everyone and no-one. I mean, it's structures, ways of doing things, habits, institutions. But it's also people--cops, tycoons, politicians. Yet it's not simply reducible to "us vs. them." If the "them" is problematic, the "us" is even more so. And even in terms of structures etc. the war trope doesn't work very well, because how do you wage war against these things? And even here our complicity in such things makes it complicated. Anyway, if we're at war, "we" are clearly losing hard.

I think that rigorous critique is a constant necessity. But I think that it's also important not to plague oneself with guilt about our thoughts and behavior, and to have fun, even eat French pastries if we'd like to. At least, that's important if I'm going to hang out with you, because ascetic radicals are persona non grata in my sphere. I think that revolt is not war, because it strikes at the whole war paradigm, I would hope. I think that most anarchists agree that ends and means are related, and I agree, so the war trope doesn't work for me.

pilpil

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 5:39 pm
seaweed wrote: What an unsophisticated country bumpkin i must be! I missed both the joke and the insight...

Ho-hum seaweed,

There was no joke. For somebody so at ease with the natural world you seem mighty pretty uptight...

I had thought you would appreciate something from the logia of Thomas (not at all "biblical"). If the fable uses character and plot to arrive at a neat and already set conclusion, parables are much more part of the "process" of positioning the self in the world, they are context-bound and derive their significance in the active reception of the listener/reader as much as from the transmission of the speaker/writer.

This particular parable was reminder to me that even though my argument was better than yours that didn't mean I was closer to the truth of the situation than you. I understood that where I was going with it served neither me (the dog), nor you (the cattle). To put it into English colloquial, I didn't want to rain on your parade, I didn't want to piss in your pint.

No doubt if this parable had come from an "indigenous" person you would have thought it sublime. It seems this reaction of yours is also a parable, it tells me that petit bourgeois ideological snobbery concerning "authenticity" has, like acid rain, contaminated even the furthermost reaches of Canada where it reproduces, far from the lives of mere "wage slaves", the ultimate in avant garde gestures.

pilpil

pilpil

 Post subject: hyper-inflation of agreements. Perhaps.
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 5:43 pm
bzfgt wrote:   As for the oppositional structures of the type we are discussing on this thread, couldn't there be a hope that rigorous self-critique might be maintained (not to be confused with asceticism or joyless behavior policing) and that it may even be that such endeavors might begin to deform the structure within which they are contextualised to a certain extent?

Also, I see no reason to shy away from hopes of a better life that is not the best imaginable life, and I know you don't either, but I think Seaweed makes a valuable contribution when he points out that this is not failure. It is failure, and its not failure. Every attempt to live how we would and should is doomed to failure, because the world was not made for such purposes. But then again, the existence of any type of flourishing diminishes the totality of capitalism a bit, no?

I agree with both points 1, 000,000%. I was thinking about it this morning before I read your post.

I guess what I dislike most is ideolgically-led attempts at "community", when nothing is attempted that is not "sound", and where everything that is attempted has its meaning located "outside" as a proof either of "viability" of anarchist forms or as "one in the eye for the tyrant".

It seems to me that ideology drags activity very quickly, much more quickly than non-ideologically motivated actions, onto a bourgeois sense of "value", in terms of equivalence/exchange (what's this act "worth" on the revolutionary market?) and also in terms of base "utility" (which invites moralism).

To this I prefer "innocence" and the pure lines of spontaneous enthusiasm and transformation, which once set in motion, takes the non-polticised very far, very quickly from their setting. I would define innocence as the absence of strategy. I would define strategy as a burden we cannot escape from, and thus must use it against itself.

It is strange that I am arguing for an autonomous "human" realm with mikus, and against the pursuit of this realm with seaweed.

On the nature of "flourishing" as you call it, yes a good word (I'm not a good "flourisher" but I like it in others).

Flourishing, where death is simple and life is complication; flourishing at the level of conscious activity becomes rigorous self-critique, because it multiplies the levels of struggle and sees everything as process and engagement. It is restless, and filled with energy, it connects with as many other forms as possible and refuses a final, simple statement of its position (which would be death to it).

pilpil

aragorn

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:06 pm
seaweed wrote:  
Aragorn: Thinks that providing one's food in a group is lifestylism and needs no theoretical justification. It is an issue of values not political choices or strategy. I was disappointed with this because I thought we shared a notion of the possibility, even importance, of rebecomming indigenous, which would involve getting involved in this sort of activity immediately, not ATR. I also put forward my ideas as a strategy, encouraging the concept of small organically self-organized subsistence movements forming a generalized momentum of secession.

Theoretical justification isn't all it's cracked up to be. At some point your feet have to touch the ground. Touching the ground would where I would start a conversation about becoming indigenous not agreeing to some program (agriculture?) that may, or may not, have anything to do with what the world will look like.

I disagree with your view of strategy almost as much as I resent your representation of my position. If you want to self-organize subsitence movements have at it, but if you believe that it is a strategy for social change... I'm not sure what epithat would convince you to the contrary. I think it is more appropriate to look at your motivations and be ok with the fact that you are not a revolutioanry machine inputing theory and outputting movements. Or maybe you are.

bzfgt

 Post subject: interesting
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:28 pm

Hmmm...we all seem to be getting closer to one another, and the sticking point now seems to be the word "strategy," which A!, pilpil and I haved all expressed various reservations about. The most satisfying positive statement against strategy seems to me to be this:

Quote:   Flourishing, where death is simple and life is complication; flourishing at the level of conscious activity becomes rigorous self-critique, because it multiplies the levels of struggle and sees everything as process and engagement. It is restless, and filled with energy, it connects with as many other forms as possible and refuses a final, simple statement of its position (which would be death to it).

Efflorescence/flourishing against strategy? But pilpil also points out the unavoidability of strategy. So perhaps we can all move closer still, or figure out why we can't.

Concretely, perhaps an example of this sort of thinking may be this: if masses of people move to the land and, as seaweed suggests, refuse to pay taxes and permits, this may become a revolutionary situation. Yet any group that wants to flourish on the land, outside of a mass movement like that, would probably do better to render unto caesar what is his. Moving to the land is not simply strategic; a group wouldn't do it simply in the hopes that others will follow suit. At junctures like this, decisions will have to be made. If these are made on the basis of implementing a program, perhaps this will be at the expense of a group's ability to flourish.

If we can't produce the future like a product, neither do we need to, nor can we, stop imagining a better world. Like strategy, utopianism is unavoidable but dangerous.

seaweed

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 8:39 pm

Hi,

Aragorn: I'm not sure why you resent my representation of your view. I wasn't intentionally trying to misrepresent it or reduce it, that's obvious, I put my understanding of it in print so that you could review it and correct me. That's how i learn. I have, however, gone over the posts and realize, as pilpil tried to point out earlier, that I took a defensive position/tone pretty well immediately. Not very helpful in an attempt to have a conversation. You wrote:

"I think it is more appropriate to look at your motivations and be ok with the fact that you are not a revolutionary machine inputting theory and outputting movements. Or maybe you are." I really don't see myself having such delusions of grandeur. I can only hope that it is this thread and the nature of the medium that is making me come off as such an ass to you.

Pilpil: I don't claim to be any more at ease with the natural world than any one else. I live in rural canada. The first non-indigenous folks only arrived in this particular area around 1860. Many anarchists in this region have indigenous friends just because a lot of indigenous people live here (It's their traditional territory) and many of them are very active in resistance movements/struggles. Over the past twenty years a number of friendly alliances have been made between anarchists and native traditionalists/sovereigntists. Some indigenous people also became directly involved with the anarchist milieu. Some of the challenges they put to us non-indigenous folk are: "what is your relationship to the land you are living on?" " why aren't you trying to live the way you want to?" " if you think trying is pointless because authority will just shut you down, just be ready to fight back." It's not like I a read a few books by david watson and ward churchill and said to myself, "that's it! I better go spread the word! There is only one way to do this. Let's get together, call it authentic community, claim some territory and then defend it. I'll go on the net right away and start to spread the word there too!" There is a context for our attempts. Also I live in a village not a city. There are only 1200 people here. There is no milieu or subculture to function within. This is what led many of us to explore the idea that small scale organically self-organized subsistence movements could make sense as part of a larger revolutionary momentum.

I'm sorry that I come off as humorless and ideological. I don't think that this medium can do other than misrepresent us as the complex individuals we actually are. I love pastries! I get drunk, read poetry, laugh at myself, play tons of music, have plenty of friends from diverse backgrounds/ages/perspectives, spend a lot of time with children (my own and others), etc. I do want to say that your comment : "No doubt if this parable had come from an "indigenous" person you would have thought it sublime." only demonstrates that I am not expressing myself very well here. There are plenty of indigenous capitalists, assimilationists and other assorted wayward indigenous souls that I have no more respect for than any non-indigenous ones. But then again, maybe one of them is my neighbor and maybe we have a few beers now and then.

Let me think about spontaneity, flourishing, self-critique, anti-strategy, humility and petit-bourgeois ideological snobbery for a bit and i'll get back to you all.

sea weed

aragorn

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:08 pm
seaweed wrote:  
Aragorn: I'm not sure why you resent my representation of your view. I wasn't intentionally trying to misrepresent it or reduce it, that's obvious, I put my understanding of it in print so that you could review it and correct me. That's how i learn. I have, however, gone over the posts and realize, as pilpil tried to point out earlier, that I took a defensive position/tone pretty well immediately. Not very helpful in an attempt to have a conversation.
You wrote:  
"I think it is more appropriate to look at your motivations and be ok with the fact that you are not a revolutionary machine inputting theory and outputting movements. Or maybe you are." I really don't see myself having such delusions of grandeur. I can only hope that it is this thread and the nature of the medium that is making me come off as such an ass to you.

I will take you in good faith. I think the threads you have inspired have been some of the more interesting ones to come around lately so don't feel like I am saying I wish you would go away. To the contrary you are challenging as someone who is asking good questions and getting carried away with the consequences of those questions.

For me the biggest limitation of this format is nuance. We are not actually having a conversation, we are having something else. The consequences of this kind of communication aren't entirely satisfying or ideal but they bridge certain gaps in our lives. They fill a void we didn't know we had.

Cheers.

Aragorn!

Guest

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2006 2:30 am

where's a preciousometer when you need one?

seaweed

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2006 4:25 am

Hi,

Perhaps sharing more of the context for my suggested activity might help move our discussion along. There seems to be the impression that these are the untried ideas of some guy's named seaweed who naively thinks that we can come up with a strategy, follow it and likely end up in a preconceived place. In fact he also wants to be the one with the strategy and the vision. This isn't the case. There are actually several dozen people considering/exploring these ideas. The region I live in is also home to the indigenous anarchist writer zig zag, The insurrectionary anarchists of the coast salish territories, active native youth movement (NYM) chapters and Taiaiake Alfred, a Kanien'kehaka (Mohawk) philosopher, writer and teacher who writes about indigenous anarchism. I noticed that most of the references anathema used in his/her thread at this site on indigenous nations were from this region as well. I think that if you google any of the above names you will find some interesting writing, some of which will compliment mine. Many of us have met and continue to meet regularly to discuss our perspective and to support one another.

I happen to be the type of person who likes to share ideas and to write the odd article. I don't speak for a group, but I am not acting alone. My feet are firmly on the ground even though my head is in the clouds and stars. There are other folks who live in my village as well, including those who help put out the "zine Minus Tides!, Ron Sakolsky, editor of Gone to Croatan and some anarcho-permaculture friends. I didn't coin the expression organically self-organized subsistence movements, I just popularized it around these parts. There are friends and neighbors who actively pursue food subsistence with more dedication than I, but a large number of the folks who live in our village have been exposed to anarchic notions over the past fifteen years and consequently a homegrown idea has evolved which continues to be refined/challenged/explored. The subsistence I am talking about of course is not only about food. Most of us see access to land as a central focus. This is partly because of the profound influence we have had from our indigenous friends but also because it seems to make sense. All animals need a habitat. A city is not a habitat. Land means shelter, food, fuel and a sense of place. I want to create my bio-region as it simultaneously creates me.

In the year 2000, members of the St'at'imc nation and their allies established a permanent camp near Melvin Creek, in the southern Interior region of BC. The camp is called Sutikalh (Winter spirit) and was set up to stop government and corporate plans to build a $500 million all-season ski and recreation resort in an untouched Alpine mountain area within St'at'imc territory. Many anarchists spend time there helping out, listening to and meeting indigenous warriors and elders, and getting rejuvenated in the clean mountain air. So please try to understand that I am not talking about vegetarianism, agriculture or gardening. Healthy people need a healthy habitat. Once the orgies in the luxury restaurants are over and the supermarkets have all been looted, how will cities feed themselves? I'm sure people would be grateful to have friends/neighbors with seeds, gardening skills, fishing rods, knowledge of edibles, etc. I still think that looking at these questions now makes sense, no matter where you live.

For freedom and pleasure, sea weed

pilpil

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2006 6:16 pm

Okay, I've got three posts on all this. Last night I wanted to say something on strategy, or anti-strategy, it was something like (a) finding a truth in others, (b) wherever the Party (politics) is that is where the situation is not. But I felt this was very weak.

I'm influenced a lot by a cross-political brand of Russian "intervention", it involves "being there", and dragging others "there" too, but once "there", once the goal has been achieved, the leader, the one who had the vision, just laughs, or looks resigned, or drinks himself into oblivion, and all the others step over his body and go back to what they were doing. The leader achieves his "vision", his utopia, and that is neither a good nor bad thing, it is just what he does, it is his role. It is the role of others to become involved, or not, and then to carry on afterwards with this absurd alien reminder sitting in the middle of their village; they are changed but cannot say how. The world is smaller or bigger to them.

(I've talked of this before but nevermind) "Stalker", my favourite sci-fi film, follows this model. The stalker is some sort of subversive, he takes others into the "zone" where they follow a complicated, apparently dangerous (but perhaps not) route to a disused building where they confront themselves and may dream of anything. It is the stalker himself who I find interesting. He is the opposite of a guide (say, like Virgil), he is instrumental in bringing people to the zone, but really it is the others' desire that has brought them all there, the stalker merely accompanies them and comments on their character; or he acts like a lightening rod; he knows nothing; he refuses to lead the way or say what is about to happen. It is an interesting strategic ruse.

pilpil

pilpil

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2006 6:17 pm

This one is about reciprocation. It seems to me that it is important that seaweed recognises me, and thus expands his categories of what is and isn't "human". I also seek the means to recognise seaweed. We do not have to negate each other, except where we impinge on each other obviously, rather we need to discover a means by which each of the possibilities we articulate expands somehow to include what the other has to say too. This helps to expand the field of "revolutionary" activity to cover almost every possible human action, given that "action" has no inherent value in itself (what is important is the nature of the field of value... just as almost any activity becomes "capitalist" within the capitalist field of value).

What I have to say to seaweed is tactical not strategic, what I have to say to any "other" is in some part dictated by the other. What I have to say to seaweed is provoked by seaweed, it does not come only from me. In our connection he has half the responsibility for who I am within our connection, just as I facilitate who he is in this moment. It is the connection itself and not these two "positions" that we embody that is important. I am not a robot, so I do not have to transmit a robotic "message" of what I "really" think. It is not enough for me to constantly repeat the same thing to every different individual I come across (one size does not fit all). The field of tactics, is responsive and flexible, whereas strategy is concerns appropriation. Tactics seek to maintain some sense of self whilst at the same time being prepared to lose almost all sense of self in the struggle to fit in to conditions.

pilpil

pilpil

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2006 6:24 pm

This one is a bit of a departure. I was frying noodles for the kids, and I was just about to pour a miso/lemon/ginger/sesame sauce over them, when I had this idea. Earlier in the day I had thought about "Under Milkwood" and how unfortunate it was that the Burton version had censored out the lipstick on the nipple bit... I was also thinking about Burroughs notion of "intersection reading", an active reading technique where you include your surroundings into your reception of the text. The "play for voices" thing returned to me at that moment because I was listening to Momus' Summerisle Horspiel (his attempt at a german experimental radio evocation).

Then I replayed the thought of "wherever the Party is that is where the situation is not", alongside my notion of the "stalker", I had this vision that revolutionaries, like Buddhist monks, must demand that those around them should help them out of their predicament. For example, it would be the revolutionary's role to announce that things are hopeless and that there is no way forward, this would of course cause a vacuum which the non-expert others would have to do their best to fill with solutions to the problem (the revolutionary would say, 'yes, but what about reproduction? How do you know this would work? That was tried in 1936?). The other people would eventually become adjusted to this burden of their's.

I finally formulated it thus: on the long collective trek forward the revolutionary is the one that has lost his shoe, and so holds the others up. Anyone who has read Brecht's "The Measures Taken" (returning to the matter of theatre) will recognise what the Party thinks of stragglers.

Well, then it struck me that all of us (or some of us) could re-write the "Measures taken", we could write it together, we could each put the play on in our own part of the world, and in our own style (the play is easily rewritable, it could be about setting up a commune, it could be about the French anti-CPE protests it could be about "leftism"...)

Anyway, that is my idea for a concrete investigation into "strategy".

pilpil

observer

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:11 pm

there's nothing self-indulgent about any of this.

pilpil

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2006 11:26 am

Hello,

The category of "observer" belongs to bourgeois science, it is an unself-examined position and unsustainable beyond the confines of ideology. Therefore "Observers" are impossible, there is really only commitment. But what is a wannabe observer committed to if not self-indulgence? Dispassion? Self-sacrifice?

I think you are suffering from your " education" otherwise why would you formulate your response in the manner that you did? You write "there is nothing self-indulgent about any of this." (I note the neurotic full-stop) and what you you actually mean is "I think this is self-indulgent", but something is stopping you expressing yourself directly, something is preventing you from saying "I", something has caused you to aspire to be an "observer" of self-indulgence.

Of course the reproduction of compliant behaviours invests in ideologies of anti-indulgence, particularly in religious or political formations that take on a very extreme form; Reich noted the puritanism of the communist currents, and the simple substitution of ideological/moral terms which absorbed christianity into the communist party.

But I do not think that is all there is in your remarks. After all, the contorted means of your expression, your desire for the idealised "observer" position would indicate that you are also attracted, you are provoked and feel yourself called into question.

The discussion on this thread concerns strategy, recognition of different point of views, and the role of the party or subjectivity (my attempt was to realise this, to show how these things occur and how they may be responded to). Perhaps these questions are important to you but you do not know how to orientate yourself towards them... But that is by the way.

If I can discern uncertainty in you, I can also recognise your cop personality as part of my self. Your words could have been mine, I too am distorted by character armour like yours. I, like you, am a piece of shit, filled with self-loathing who must exteriorise his doubts and police the expressions of others. The superego announces:

Quote:   there's nothing self-indulgent about any of this.

and I feel its truth. What I do, who I am, is self-indulgent: a theatre project (absurd), a reading group (folly), the contributions here... all meaningless and vanity.

I have learnt to trust my intuition and leave the scene when I sense danger. So I will temporarily disconnect from this forum and reconsider my mistakes, are you able do that too Mr Observer?

pilpil

bzfgt

 Post subject: hecklers
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2006 2:15 pm

It is an interesting heckle..."self-indulgence"...as though we have work to do or something, and we're shirking it. And who else should we indulge, if not ourselves? Why is this a bad thing? It sounds like a puritanical activist mentality, or at least some sort of revolutionary pragmatist. Why not write a few sentences and explain your objection?

And what is a "preciousometer"? I assume it is the same guest. What is it about this thread that arouses hostility? I think it's the most interesting thread we've had this year.

fendersen

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2006 2:29 pm

Is this how we end this thread, with esoterics and criticism of tactics? Please allow me to be blunt. Isn't the basic issue in anarchy or libcom or insurrection and all the other isms about regaining control over our own lives? Why would dynamite or leafleteering represent less a lifestyle choice than, say, providing ones own food and sharing with others? Can propaganda and dynamite allow us to flourish like a shared feast of canned salmon? Food, shelter and intimacy or companionship are really all we need in our brief hour upon the stage. Everything else is luxury. Luxury is always provided by the slavery of others. Enjoying abundance is quite another thing. To suggest denying autonomous subsistence groups as improper revolutionary strategy or tactic is to promote an elitism of the highest order. If we are not even to produce our own food and take and occupy our own shelter, then we must demand the cooperative nature of a peasant class to feed us and a worker class to house us. Yes, we do love our slaves, don't we? And we have the balls to call this mutual aid. Of course attempts at autonomy (self-sufficiency) are not going to overthrow the capitalist system, but neither is dynamite. Strategy is nothing more than a plan for putting into practice one's ideology/beliefs and tactics is how that plan is carried out. If that ideology is against the present order, then all strategies are acceptable in my book. I congratulate Seaweed for his/her efforts and arguments. Here Here. - fendersen

bzfgt

 Post subject: ugh
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2006 4:30 pm

We are talking about ways of living. Living your life as a strategy--using yourself as a counter or piece in a game--doesn't sound very liberating to me. In fact, it sounds like the way most of us are living now.

Quote:   Food, shelter and intimacy or companionship are really all we need in our brief hour upon the stage. Everything else is luxury. Luxury is always provided by the slavery of others.

And food, shelter and intimacy are never provided by the slavery of others? This sounds like Ted Kascynski's manifesto---activities that aren't done for bare survival are decadent. Lame-o philosophy, no thanks.

#2 neurotic full-stopper

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2006 5:01 pm

pilpil, i salute you.

this week I am fascinated by the recurring scenario in which someone responds to nuanced posts or interactions by feeling or acting attacked.

i think it is too easy (although not inappropriate) to blame this on the sort of relationship (or lack thereof) between the given folks. it is as relevant to talk about cultural expectations of support and defense. is it that questions and concerns are seen as automatically aggressive? does there have to be some level of unqualified agreement immediately put forth, before questions and concerns can be percieved as friendly? is it that inexperience is defensive? ah, my biases are showing. i will stop.

PP - please don't leave us for long. you made me laugh out loud with your last post.

Wolverine

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2006 8:00 pm

I don't see engulfing oneself in subsistance as a "strategy" as you call it. I would think that people like seaweed and fenderson enjoy the whole permaculture/hunting gathering thing as much as others enjoy eating out. None of the two are inherently better then the other, however in the latter to sustain it you need another group of people holding up the rope(ie being produce pickers slaughter house workers bla bla). At any moment they can let go. I think about that all the time. For me I don't get into any moralistic guilt ridden posturing. Instead I think that if the latino produce pickers or the peasants of the world all say fuck civilization and quit doing and go on existing for themselves, we urban dwellers are fucked. It's not a matter of guilt or crying decedence as much as it is of interest.

And survival in the right context can be a pretty productive way of living.

Guest

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2006 10:59 pm

Hi from others through me,

seaweed

A man who carries the cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way mark twain

As i came home through the woods with my string of fish, trailing my pole, it being now quite dark, i caught a glimpse of a woodchuck stealing across my path, and felt a strange thrill of savage delight, and was strongly tempted to seize and devour him raw; not that i was hungry then, except for the wildness which he represented. h d thoreau

Guest

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 1:12 am

I just joined this forum. The topic regarding how to change how we live and relate in the here and now interests me. I have aquaintances who are doing things very similarly to what Seaweed describes, i.e. living off the land, building their own dwellings growing and storing most of their food, and relying as little on the system as possible. And , in many ways, this really appeals to me. I do enjoy putting my hands in the dirt, breathing fresh air etc. but I don't have the money to buy land. I barely have the money to pay rent on my apartment. Most of my friends are in similar predicaments. And the city, which is the center of capitalist production etc. is also a center for social activity, which is why I keep getting drawn to it and the people in it (cheaper rent too). I am seriously allergic to the air/atmosphere in the city, i.e. the car exhaust, perfume, cigarettes, cell phones galore, and there tends to be a lesser dose of that, the less concentrated the population is. But, I find that I can be even more socially isolated outside the city, (and I'm pretty socially isolated everywhere).

allergic

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 4:02 am

P.S. the above post is mine, I couldn't figure out how to log in. -Allergic.

Yea, I am struggling with just trying to survive in this fucked up society that challenges my health and overall well being as well as the well being of those who I love most in the world. I find this situation to be a real quandary. I am sick in the city--literally-- (I agree with seaweed that the capitalist city is not a healthy atmosphere--it's designed to serve the system). Yet I am "dispossessed" by the system and therefor I can't just go out and buy land and grow my own food etc. I may be driven out of the city due to my allergies to it, but I and my environment will still be diminished by capitalism everywhere I go, as long as this system remains intact. I have been told by friends that revolution will happen in the cities--where there is the highest concentration of people, (and particularly poor people) not outside of it.

I also have a hard time looking at this screen much--it's eye-straining radiation. But Seaweed, I have a question for you, Is there any room in your community for others? Do people have their own dwellings or live together? (I would prefer my own dwelling since I'm a horrible insomniac and people tend to bother me).

former observer

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 5:19 am

now the self-abnegater...

in truth i like your contributions here: very erudite and thought-provoking.

i responded with sacrasm, despite my general dislike for that mode, out of a frustration with a certain something about this discussion. i provisionally accept, and indeed expected, your embrace of self-indulgence.

Guest

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 4:17 pm

Some comments:

allergic: i'm sorry that you are suffering from living in a city. For your own health you should leave. I am not part of any formal community that can offer you anything. Unfortunately you have to get together with other like-minded people and try to create something. Perhaps however there might be some type of already existing intentional community project that is accepting new members.

I'm not only opposed to "capitalist cities", but to urban ways as such. Without the polis there would never have been states, empires, capitalism, etc. We need to look at this. I suggest reading some Lewis Mumford as a start for some insights.

There is no place for us to run and hide. The whole planet has been colonized. But perhaps wherever you live you can make a stand. By staying put in one place, getting to know and integrating oneself into a bioregion, with others, and I don't mean just other anarchists/communists, but your friends/neighbors and your comrades, a small ember can begin to glow that could potentially be part of a larger momentum.

At this time rural places are just the flip side of cities. I'm not inspired by a social terrain covered with farmland, small housing co-ops or cabins on ten acre lots. Nor am I encouraging some variant of family pioneering. I think we should be aiming for something more adventurous, more unknown. However clans/tribes/villages make sense to me.

I don't live in an authentic community. I presently live in a geographical one. A big difference. It is a place populated by many interesting people; drop outs, old draft dodgers, artisans, seasonal workers, etc. But private property, authority, private lives, the market, wages, ecological plunder, social stratification are all part of my existence as well, just like anywhere else.

seaweed

Arthur

 Post subject: ye
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 10:19 pm

It 's undoubtedly true that without cities, capitalism would have been impossible. But does that mean that cities must be, by definition capitalist, imperial or anti-human? Personally, I dont think so. Obviously cities would have to be very different than they are now under capitalism.

allergic

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:00 pm
seaweed wrote:   Some comments:

" i'm sorry that you are suffering from living in a city. For your own health you should leave. I am not part of any formal community that can offer you anything.... Perhaps however there might be some type of already existing intentional community project that is accepting new members. "

Seaweed, you suggest that I seek an intentional community outside of the city? From my experience Intentional Communities are insulated, isolated ideological bubbles (little liberal "utopias" amidst ruins) with their own social problems. Most of them cost money and have all these rules etc. I do not have money for land or to move out of the city. 75 % of the worlds population lives in cities. You can't expect us to all just leave.

I am familiar with Lewis Mumford. I do think it's a bit reductionist to say that the polis is the cause of capitalism if that's what you're implying.

arthur

 Post subject: kjg o9876
PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:34 pm
Better to not jump the gun, it can easily become like a secret whispered person by person, from ear to ear, by the end of the line its not what the original person said.

Guest

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 7:21 am
Allergic wrote:  
Seaweed, you suggest that I seek an intentional community outside of the city? From my experience Intentional Communities are insulated, isolated ideological bubbles (little liberal "utopias" amidst ruins) with their own social problems. Most of them cost money and have all these rules etc. I do not have money for land or to move out of the city. 75 % of the worlds population lives in cities. You can't expect us to all just leave. "

I didn't suggest that we can, or should try to, buy our way out. I know that this isn't possible. I also agree with your assessment of intentional communities. However I know that there are a few intentional communities with anarchists as the core group or as factions. But I am not encouraging or exploring that direction in this thread. I'm suggesting that we need habitats. Cities are not habitats. Perhaps they can be transformed somehow, i'm skeptical, but i don't see any other way to achieve communism except through the existence of healthy habitats for all animals, including humans. If we agree that cities, inherently can not be healthy habitats, that they are sacrifice zones, the original police zone, birth place of the market, etc., then how will we live? Reforming cities to me is like reforming the nation state. Cities are social configurations that serve power and encourage homogeneity, surveillance, atomization, disconnection from sustenance sources, etc. This doesn't meant that i think 6 billion people should move out to the countryside tomorrow morning. But when we (radicals or revolutionaries) talk about destroying the present social order so that something entirely new can emerge, that destruction should or inevitably will, in some way, include cities. But whether that destruction might take generations or hours, i don't know.

Only wage slaves or unpaid slaves would maintain the infrastructure necessary to maintain urban environments. Humans didn't choose to live in cities. They were beaten into it, dispossesed, etc.

What the hell do we do with the human sewage from millions of people all living in one place when there is no longer an exploited class to deal with it all? It just doesn't make any sense to me. And what about road maintenance? Engineering monstrosities like bridges, chunnels, etc? Where will the fuel for heat come from? Urban ways should be closely examined, their origin, development and function in our domestication and disposession.

You wrote earlier: "I am sick in the city--literally--", and : " Is there any room in your community for others? ". I undersood these to indicate two things: 1) you should leave the place that makes you sick. and 2) you would like to join a ready made community. So i suggested checking out an intentional community as a potentially affordable and healthier place to settle.

What i, and others in this thread are debating/exploring/discussing (among a number of related subjects) is whether a group of people getting together to provide themselves with food (and shelter, intimacy, etc.) is a good tactic in a strategy aimed at creating organically self-organized subsistence movements, that, taken together, could be part of a larger momentum toward anarchy/communism. I guess i was encouraging an exploration of bio-regional secession/rebellion as part of an intentional attempt to collectively break away and create some space. I think when people create/seize space and it is threatened they tend to want to defend it. I was suggesting that access to land should be a focus of revolutionaries everywhere, even in cities. Where will those who live in cities get their food ATR? Maybe cities can be broken up into collections of villages and healed through some form of permaculture approach, i don't know. If healing/transforming cities is possible i'm confidant that people ATR will find a way to do it. But i think the way people will find is to abolish urban ways. So, to the extent that the means determine the ends, we should be making explorations of subsistence and access to land pillars of our vision/practice/attempts just as we make de-commodification, sharing/giving and radical subjectivity recurring themes/goals/ends.

An interesting challenge that i received was whether all strategies were self-delusional. Rather we should be waiting for widespread, spontaneous expressions of class anger, popular uprisings/rebellions to occur and to participate in them. Perhaps all other activity has some element of leftism, control, naivete and guaranteed dissapointment.

The polis did not cause capitalism, but i think a strong argument can be made that the polis was a necessary condition for its development and that it's strength would be minimal, if it survived at all as a form of social organization, in a de-massified world.

seaweed

bzfgt

 Post subject: mumford
PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 12:07 pm

Interesting you cite "The City in History," although he gives a dire account of the origin of cities, Mumford still sees them as the preferred cite of human flourishing, after we tinker with them according to the neolithic village model. He sees pre-neolithic life as dire, neolithic life as almost utopian, and thinks that the confluence of ideas and culture in the city is potentially liberating.

I'm not sure what I think of all that, but I do think that with current population levels cities of some sort are probably here to stay....and I also agree with Mumford that, culturally, cities can be exhilarating places to hang. But whether they are sustainable or whatever, I dare not guess.

Guest

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 3:56 pm
Hi bzfgt,

That's actually one of the reasons I mentioned Mumford as a beginning source. He is highly informed and insightful. He's also a very interesting autodidact who doesn't take an ideological position. I agree with your summary of his view of cities, but i found him very helpful in explaining their origin and function.

I grew up in a very small,xenophobic, homophobic town in a rural part of canada. I longed to get the hell out of there and go to a city, for its sophistication, so that i could find a place to explore my sexuality, to experience art and meet folks from more diverse backgrounds, etc. I lived in Montreal and Vancouver for several years and after a while it all just seemed empty. My rebellion turned into activism, my sexual explorations turned into belonging to self righteous ghettos, art proved to have less to do with fearless imagination and possibilities than with pretentious scenes and money, etc.

We are each a minority of one, said Thoreau.

I don't need cinemas, clubs, subcultures and restaurants to be stimulated. Culture most often is just diversion and consumerism. But i do go to the city once a year, sometimes twice, to participate in the activities of comrades/friends there and to "blow out" a little. I immerse myself in the anonymity and soak up all the crazy stimulation, noise, artificial lights, cops, consant movement, speed, etc., and return home relieved at the quiet, the close friendships, the stars, the birds, the shared music and food, etc.

bzfgt (and any one else), are you familiar with the three d's: 1) de-massify 2)de-industrialize 3)de-commodify

These are aims that some thinkers/radicals have suggested we must include in our vision/momentum or whatever. What do you think? You mentioned that you think cities will be with us for a long time "with curent population levels" . I agree. But don't you think that current population levels are related to exploitation and ecological plunder? Once exploitation stops, and communities decide together how many mouths can be fed and nurtured through a lifetime, then i think populations will begin to drop drastically.

Again, its not just cities, but urban ways, which presently reach out into the countryside as well. Most people here, on a rural island with pleasant year round temperatures (a temperate rain forest region), still work for a wage, buy their food from the supermarket, etc. There is a lot more gardening and gathering/fishing than in "cities", but urban ways permeate pretty welll everywhere in canada, not just cities.

seaweed

bzfgt

 Post subject: cities
PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:11 pm

I am not sure what direction the causal relationship of population/ways of life goes, or even if such a causality exists. It's too hard explain one without invoking the other. But I do hope there is a way of living that would cause pop. levels to drop, or something causes them to drop at some point. But I don't think emptying out the cities is going to do wonders for the environment or the way of life under the stars that you extol...therefore I think that people who are inclined to social planning-type questions should probably apply themselves to the question of the city, how cities can change and be more sustainable.

RedHughs

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 7:54 pm

Hmm,

Some of this could discussion might have more to do with personal prejudice than with what the fundamental content of communism will eventually turn out to be.

Still, I tend to believe that a proto-communist and a full communist society would include a situation of many large concentrations of people. This may be, even likely will be, quite different from present day cities. Fairs and other temporary gatherings show how large concentrations of people can exist without permanent dwellings and much of the purpose of today's permanent dwellings is serving capital rather than acheiving survival. The scale of everything could be quite different, varying from individual tents to large dormatory buildings.

I too grew up on stupid small town/suburb existence and came to the city as the source of excitement. While modern cities are indeed generally complete shit, the moment when they aren't, from riots to spontaneous parades to moments of actual community, just don't seem like they could be duplicated in a truly rural area.

In a society with a highly developed transportation and communication system, we are seeing a culture that is beyond the simplistically urban or rural. We can see this in the very shallow internet culture that exists but also in something the culture of a small liberal school - out in the country perhaps but connecting to and acting in reference to urban culture.

Anyway, in cities, the points that have been valuable are points where a group of individuals occupy space somewhat outside any commodities or work or capitalist order. This can be as simple as a cafe where it is not particular necessary to spend money (and where those self consciously outside the dominant order congregate to experience nothing more than the passage of time) or it can be as inspiring as a march where bystanders actually join in, in order to simply entertain themselves.

I cannot imagine such things happening in a rural or suburban area where the nearest stranger is miles away.

Perhaps a small city can be as rebellious as a large one (Eugene comes to mind, for all its problems). But I still can't help seeing cities of sort as the only areas where spontaneous rebellion can spring. I know many folks find coming face to face with strangers to be a terribly alienating experience. I would say that despite its unpleasantness, it is also the way to be surprised, to be forced to experience things beyond one's personal bubble - which actually even let the bubble itself become more flexible and ironically stronger as well.

Red

Guest

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 4:02 pm
redhughs,

I do think the question of mass is about fundamentals.

But i do see the possibility of a modern-primitive synthesis where cities have become a collection of villages clustered together. Each autonomous from the other, yet with many friendly alliances and supportive activities.

However i appreciate your conception of "temporary" concentrations of large populations much more. Festivals and gatherings of several villages...

In my posts i made it clear that i see the rural/city divide as false. Contemporary rural living is the flip side of cities. I suggest that communists aim for village like living, for the various reasons i've already shared. Villages of a few thousand people where folks live close together, not where the nearest neighbor is miles away as you supposed.

You can't imagine a cafe where people don't have to spend money or a march where bystanders join in as happening in a rural place? What do you mean by this?

There have been inumerable peasant uprisings. In fact city folk tend to self-organize and revolt less from my reading of history.

Of course rebellion can occur anywhere; in prisons, on native reservations, in ethnic neighborhoods, islands, cities, etc. Hopefully one day we'll all draw ourselves into an unstoppable momentum.

seaweed

aaron

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 5:24 pm
i don't get this fetish for autonomy.

take two so-called "autonomous" villages existing in close proximity to one another. how would people join these villages? would the autonoumous villages share the product of their efforts? could members of one autonomous village attend meetings of the other? would the two villages have joint projects and agreements? how would these come about (that is, without violating each other's "autonomy")?

L. Mirari

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 5:43 pm

Great thread -- has drawn me in from my lurking, though I really don't like this form of communication (so quick to spiral into negativitiy)...but there are so many thoughtful people here...

I'm reminded of something Williams wrote, in "The Country and the City," that seems relevant to this conversation:

"When the pressure of a system is great and is increasing, it matters to find a breathing-space, a fortunate distance, from the immediate and visible controls. What was drastically reduced, by enclosures, was just such a breathing space, a marginal day-to-day independence, for many thousands of people."

I think this "fortuante distance" is not tied to specific geographical locales -- more a kind of modalized existance. There are people who live in cities who are far more "independent" or "wild" than some rural agri-commune types who have for the time being avoided the cameras and the cops that make passionate life difficult in the city. [I'm going to pick up Camatte again tonight, because I think the question of domestication may be central here...]

But this is not to deny Seaweed's basic point, that the project of constructing real alternatives to city-life is absolutely fundamental to our well-being.

I live in a kind of split between the city and the country -- a "breathing-space" (actually my home) which is in a rural, or "ex-urban" area in the Coast Salish Sea, and a very precarious semi-illegal "camp" in the city. I used to live the other way around, with my home in the city and then constant, manic, attempts to "escape" to the woods. But the pleasures of the city, such as they are, no longer came anywhere close to satisfying my desire for autonomy and an intimate connection to the land. [I should add that where I live, renting space in the country with friends and squatting/couch-surfing in the city to get money is way cheaper too...camping doesn't have to be done in the country, or even "outdoors", etc.].

One last point about political agency in/from "the country" -- Seaweed is correct I think that, historically, non-urban areas have been bastions for resistance, from banditry and piracy to outright insurrection. Forgive me for mentioning Mao on an anti-politics forum (I promise never to do it again!) but:

"Mao's theory of "protracted people's war" recognized that in semi-colonial, semi-feudal countries [...], the revolutionary forces start out weak and small compared to the government forces and that to engage in all-out military battles would only lead to getting crushed. But by avoiding decisive tests of strength and by waging guerrilla warfare, the revolutionary forces can defeat and weaken the government forces in smaller battles and through a protracted process, gain popular support, increase in strength and numbers, and extend their control. Building rural base areas and establishing military control and political authority in ever larger parts of the countryside allows the revolutionaries to surround the cities from the countryside and eventually seize country-wide political power."

Of course I'm *not* suggesting this as a desirable or viable tactic today ("extending control" and "seizing country wide power" is not exactly what we're talking about here!), but there is something to this analysis of both direct engagement with the state, and in the idea of "surrounding the cities", perhaps if only to demonstrate that there is an alternative to pollution, wage-slavery, "culture", and shopping...

-Luc

Guest

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 5:51 pm
aaron: i think the answer to all your questions is "it depends." Are you looking for the "Autonomous Villager's Guidebook"? Hasn't been written yet, alas...

How do things work in your neighborhood now? Are you happy with those arrangemnts?

J.

RedHughs

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 6:55 pm

Seaweed: But i do see the possibility of a modern-primitive synthesis where cities have become a collection of villages clustered together. Each autonomous from the other, yet with many friendly alliances and supportive activities.

Red: Perhaps that will be the form that a post-capitalist society will take. I would focus on

Seaweed: In my posts i made it clear that i see the rural/city divide as false. Contemporary rural living is the flip side of cities.

Red: Fine, I was simply stating my ideas about urbanization and revolution. I wouldn't argue with your formulation that much. I just wouldn't locate the "problem" in cities in particular anyway.

Seaweed: I suggest that communists aim for village like living, for the various reasons i've already shared. Villages of a few thousand people where folks live close together, not where the nearest neighbor is miles away as you supposed.

Red: Hmm, I would say that, presently, would-be communist revolutionaries more or less should follow the flow of revolutionary waves. Seeing as things are at a pretty low ebb lately (last tens or so), there is not that much to do and revolutionaries might as well do what they enjoy. Is your idea about what we should be implementing this village plan now (fat chance) or what will happen given greater upheavals OR after an end to capitalist relations?

Seaweed: You can't imagine a cafe where people don't have to spend money or a march where bystanders join in as happening in a rural place? What do you mean by this?

Red: Hmm, well the cafe where folks don't spend money certainly is possilbe. The march where bystanders join in obviously requires a density of bystanders. There isn't a rural location that I know about where this kind of thing seems at all possible. Perhaps by rural you mean something like a small city - the places I know of are Arcata california or Olympia Washington. In the area you describe in BC, it sounds like there is indeed plenty of revolt but it seems like any act of revolt has to happen with deliberatenss - the folks who are interested in knowing about an event would show and you might have quite a bit of trouble telling anyone else about it (tell me if I'm wrong).

One you didn't mention but something I personally enjoy is meeting strangers. This is one thing that gets pretty difficult a small city or village. A situation where people are highly mobile and moving from area to area is different. Here is where the free cafe actually is useful. A free space where you can count on only the same people is nice but free space where new people show up on a regular basis has a fertility toward revolt. I suppose that my definition is a bit self-referential since I would define urbanity as any area where you have possibility of unexpected human interactions.

Now, this is NOT saying that unexpect interactions are normal in the city - they are an exception. But they are a possible exception.

Seaweed: There have been inumerable peasant uprisings. In fact city folk tend to self-organize and revolt less from my reading of history.

Red: Possibly. If we had any peasants or even poor tenant farmers, this might matter. The main thing is the populations of the US and Canada are overwhelming urban and suburban. As you note, even the rural population is overwhelming integrated into the overall economy.

More later,

Red

bzfgt

 Post subject: tons and tons
PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 7:38 pm
RedHughs wrote:  
Red: Hmm, I would say that, presently, would-be communist revolutionaries more or less should follow the flow of revolutionary waves. Seeing as things are at a pretty low ebb lately (last tens or so), there is not that much to do and revolutionaries might as well do what they enjoy. Is your idea about what we should be implementing this village plan now (fat chance) or what will happen given greater upheavals OR after an end to capitalist relations?

Red,

If you go back to the beginning, tons of posts have already been expended on precisely this question...

bz

Guest

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 8:49 pm
Red asks: "Is your idea about what we should be implementing this village plan now (fat chance) or what will happen given greater upheavals OR after an end to capitalist relations?"

My idea is that revolutionaries shouldn't just be content with riding waves, but also trying to create waves, even small ones. I'm not saying that we can light a prairie fire. I'm not saying that lifestyle choices or moral choices can ignite anything or achieve anything beyond our personal lives. But, let's together, right now, with our friends/co-workers/neighbors/comrades and try to start leading lives not so completely directed/determined by others with interests that conflict with ours. This could be an effort that originates/occurs within a city neighborhood, an ethnic ghetto, a native reservation, a small village, a red neck region, a factory floor, whatever. These efforts could create an atmosphere of support for self-organization and self-direction. Naturally whenever people try to take control of their lives authority steps in to prevent it. This pushes the social tension between freedom/power into a more public place. I'm not suggesting activism or suicidal missions, rather I'm exploring what the possibilities are for small local populations to revolt as opposed to specific categories within populations. By this I mean all or the majority of a neighborhood, not just the proletariat within it or most of the inhabitants on the rez, not just a few warriors. We are all in this mess together, so we need to make room for everyone to contribute a way out.

This does mean opening oneself up for intimacy with others, learning to provide ourselves with food and learning to share it, preparing ourselves for repression with the acquisition of martial skills, a willingness to confront authority, an openness for discussion with strangers about breaking out of our private lives, etc.

To answer your question: I recognize that we can not implement any plan right now, but we should all be taking time away from work, playing with kids, fishing, gathering, gardening, making closer friendships, practicing mutual aid with neighbors, as well as riding the waves of rebellion when they occur. I also am exploring/suggesting that a plethora of autonomous, local, self-organized subsistence movements, even from rural north america could compliment urban resistance/upheaval and perhaps even be a force to reckon with unto themselves should it spread. I also think that ATR people will voluntarily decide to abandon cities (in the internalized sense) and urban ways generally.

Regardless, while we spend this short hour upon earth ( thx fendersen), why not break out of our private, atomized, domesticated, miserable lives and get together with others to provide ourselves with the basics: food, shelter and intimacy, if only for our collective health. So in and of itself I think subsistence activities are valuable, but I also think that should these activities become generalized they could form the basis of a momentum that would/could compliment other forms of rebellion.

I also don't want to mythologize the region I live in. I don't live in chiapas, but in a small left-liberal enclave where anarchists are tolerated but so are real estate agents and developers. We have managed to put together some projects, several in fact, and have reached out and made friends with many others in our region, but there is no self-organized subsistence movement here. Some of the comrades talk of a three pronged approach: subsistence, indigenous sovereignty and urban insurrection.

seaweed

pilpil

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 2:26 pm

On cities: We put up a starling next box on our house in february and within a day the starlings were exploring it. I attribute this to a mechanical perceptual receptivity to starling-sized holes. Starlings are 'ready' for that which will provide nest-sites/shelter.

Like the starlings I have been visiting ancient structures over the last few years, and thinking of their occult use, and how the shapes/proportions of ritual spaces continually recur: pyramids, cubes, circles etc.

I surmise this is because we are receptive to architectural forms... and are continually provoked by them, invest them with meaning, and are impelled to materialise them in nature, just as a certain shape of web belongs to certain species of spider.

From this I deduce that there is a city form (not identical to the cities we ctually live in) natural/inherant to the human species and it would be as impossible to remove this city-compatiblity from human society as it would be to remove the termite mound from termites. The implication is that human society never existed within "nature", but that it does belong within architecture, ie what it builds.

As cities involve a certain level of anonymity, this too would suggest that moving amongst those we don't know, anti-flocks, and "finding" the significance of others within this herding, also belongs to our species. The human scale may not be 'face to face' or of communities where everyone knows each other.

But what of people who do not live in cities? It seems to me that those who are forced to live in nature are those who have been expelled from the city, they are feral " nature is not their proper home but they can make a life for themselves there as outcasts. In other words, humans living in nature, is a secondary not primary form of existence.

I wonder whether "primitivism" as an american phenomenon might be caused by the absence of ancient architecture...

pilpil

arthur

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 5:52 pm
pilpil,

Interesting. What do you mean by nature? I was right there with you and the starlings until you brought it in as something that can actually exist apart from our constructed environment. Animlas find, track and construct their environments, altering that which is around them, creating structures and filters that mediate their experiences and relations with other living things and natural forces such as rain, wind, heat etc. Certainly nests and damns are examples of this process. So i thought you were counterposing this, to an abstract pristine "nature" in which the individual finds itself thrown into, and which is impervious to it, much like throwing a man into an old cretan labrynth-his flesh is too soft to indent the hard stone walls.

Also, it seems that you aren't aware that people have lived outside of cities for some time, precisely in flocks without moving among strangers since the dawn of time.? Are sugesting that the polis is the original form or location of human organization? You are right that american architecture visible today is not very old. America did have both ancient cities and those who dwelled outside them-who were never of them- of course.

arthur

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 6:28 pm
I want to reply to Seaweed also, just to say that I like what youre saying about leading lives that, through meeting basic needs ourselves, are more self determined.

I think the problem here is that this has been attempted quite a bit in the last 50 years according to a program that poses it as a retreat at worst or an imperative at best, but not as a functional part of a strategy. I'm honestly not sure that I understand how to do this strategically, or how exactly seccesion, autonomy, self managed resources or spaces can be part of a strategy.

I certainly see these as things that I want to do, they both preced and follwof rom my own desires as an anarchist.

But I dont wan't to concieve of the nature of actions as meaning what their proponents paint them as. Like, ok dropping out is now a strategy cause were not calling it dropping out, we're disgusted by that term. and hey its us anarchists doing it.

This discussion is incomplete without mentioning squatting-which has, in most of our countries failed as a strategy and have mostly evaporated. They do still exist, but more as a lifestyle scene or drop out scheme only. This failure was certainly not for lack of effort. there was something wrong or out of date in the strategy-somethng that didn't respond to changing conditions in capitalism.

Wondering out loud, Another problem for me is this:

Does taking on food.water/land projects that are more self managed give us more strength, self awareness and organizational ability-or even happyness, that goes on to allow us to fight better?

Or do the projects simply become what we do-(and not that that is bad at all !)-but they absorb us and our time-therefore not giving us an advantage in fighting the machine.

One thing about letting capital meet my basic needs is that I have leisure time to organize conflictual projects in if I want to. Now, I know many wage slaves in the world dont have much 'free" time-but they are the same people who are not able to just go fishing, hunting, buy land, start a big roof garden or whatever-without crossing the line into revolt and repression.

I think my question here is a little rhetorical-from personal experience I have seen self managed projects free and empower their participants and catylize further action-not to mention enjoyment of life. And I have seen the oppsite effect which I alluded to above, even worse-burnout, fractured friendships and ongoing sacrifice.

So what is the factor that leads to one outcome over the other?

Finding that answer I think would be part of creating a strategy. But in order to avoid a "drop out" or hobbiest outcome that may exist apart from our intentions, we should start not with a call to create these projects-but with question of why-when all anarchists/communists would like to have more control over their lives-are these projects not common place? Then we can start with more than a call of encouragement-but with some strategy.

fendersen

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:45 pm
Quote:   Does taking on food.water/land projects that are more self managed give us more strength, self awareness and organizational ability-or even happyness, that goes on to allow us to fight better?

...I have seen self managed projects free and empower their participants and catylize further action-not to mention enjoyment of life. And I have seen the oppsite effect which I alluded to above, even worse-burnout, fractured friendships and ongoing sacrifice.

So what is the factor that leads to one outcome over the other?

You raise some excellent points, Arthur. But I think we might distinguish between the fight against the machine and the results of our eventual success. Who do you suppose will fare best after the fall (ATF, whether through revolution or collapse), those who are able to self-manage or those who require others to provide for them? I think burn-out will always occur when we view our projects as struggle. That is the ideology of work. It suggests to me we might adopt a strategy of 'play' and 'adventure' - enjoyment in our projects must be fostered. The more urban the situation, the more need for some type of symbiosis, or sharing. This is the basis for comradery and I don't think any would suggest comradery is not enjoyable.

Architecture is a creative means of designing and establishing shelter from the elements. Humans need shelter and they also need each other. Yes, this is nature. We are, as Pilpil suggests, driven to it. But cities are a recent phenomena in our history. To suggest cities are the state of nature is absurd. Villages? Yes. But cities? The distinction between a village and city is not just a matter of absolute size or population density but of local sustainability and symbiosis with neighboring groups. After the revolution or collapse some cities may be redeemable if asphalt is bulldozed and parking lots and parks and lawns are converted to gardens and, for example, habitat for free-ranging chickens. I've never suggested total evacuation. Seaweed's point is sustainability and autonomy. I would add enjoyment and symbiosis. This is none other than Kropotin's "mutual aid".

Urbanization, property and the exploitation of one class by another arose side by side. All three are anti-mutual or exclusionary. Many call this process "civilization". What was once symbiosis between settled agricultural villages and semi-permanent horticultural villages and nomadic herdsman (the "Neolithic") became expropriative with the concept of exclusive ownership of territory and resources. The racist-like attitudes of the urban toward the 'rural' persists to this day and is clearly evident in some comments in this forum. Anything suggesting a more rural or self-sufficient existence is labeled "primitivism" or "DIY" and castigated. We still hold Hobbes' notion of life outside of the city, outside of civilization as nasty, brutish and short. On the contrary, subsistence activities are at least five times less labor and time consuming than commercial farming. Is this life for everyone? Of course not. Is it a strategy? For me it is, but it is not the only strategy I would endorse. How does it change the world? Maybe not a lot, but every quarter of "surplus labor" I do not return to the system denies a potential bullet which would kill an Iraqi or Afghani child. Is this less strategic and impactful than an act of sabotage against a road grater or a molotoved police station when there are so many more to take their place? Why would one deserve expressions of solidarity over another?

Dropping out is always only done to a certain degree. It does not mean a life of the hermit. Because one opts out of civilization - of the capitalist arrangement, does not mean a priori that acts of resistance or insurgence stop. Contrary to what most believe, rural areas are actually much safer to carry some of these out. While luddism may have started in the urban textile factories, monkey-wrenching has been a rural phenomenon for many decades. One likewise does not need to live in a city to expropriate war funds from the government (e.g. welfare scams or extra-legal activities) and sink them into the local arena or even black market. Squatting is much easier in the country than the city. Threats of unrest in the cities reduce police pressure in the rural areas. Like the ghettos, the more remote areas take on more and more the quality of no-go zones. You demand strategy? It is not dependent on where one chooses to live. The opposition of lifestylism and revolutionary strategy is a false and misleading dialectic. To denounce lifestyle change as not properly revolutionary is to denounce any alternative to the capitalist arrangement. It ultimately suggests that we should not act on our desires or at least that our acts can be dictated. Where then is revolution? Where then is the anarchist spirit?

Call me paranoid, but government and corporate stooges (some regulars and even administrators in many internet forums) utilize this tendency toward mistrust and even fear and hatred to instill divisiveness and ideological factioning among a group which might just coalesce into a real threat if it adopted a spirit of symbiosis. - fendersen

pilpil

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:57 pm
fendersen wrote:  
But cities are a recent phenomena in our history. To suggest cities are the state of nature is absurd.

Hi fenderson,

But I am an absurdist!

I was trying to provide a psychological frame as an alternative to the primitivist scheme of the fall of man into civilisation. I was thinking that if the city is conceived as inherent to human society, that it has always been there, or put another way, there were no humans until the construction of cities, then this would aid any solutions attempted to problems encountered.

I think architectural form and anonymity are essential to human wellbeing.

Equally, it seemed to me, that if the urge towards "nature" is seen as a secondary response to city-life (whitman, and other american nature poets) and not a wished for reversion to a natural state then this urge could shed some of its reductionist baggage and know itself for what it is " a psychological reaction.

regards, pilpil

fendersen

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 7:18 pm
Greetings Pilpil, I think you no more absurd than Lear's 'fool'. I see your point. In fact, some have proclaimed that 'nature' itself did not exist until humans created it with 'culture'. If 'rural' is also the flip-side of 'urban' (which I agree with) as Seaweed said, perhaps humanity (as we think of it) did not arise until the first city was built. I have always thought the cartesian oppositions of man/animal or nature/culture absurd. It's all a psychological reaction. Even Sigmund recognized that civilization breeds discontent.

arthur

 Post subject: ...
PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 7:30 pm
There's taking into account abstract categories and how they affect our lives and conceptions-and then there's just being in love with abstractions while the people and places that they refer to melt away. I don't insist on talking about "reality" vs. "abstract", like some absolute binary, but lets not fall into philosophizing either. I want to refer to people and places, not concepts about concepts about people and places..

fendersen

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 8:38 pm
Yes. I think I agree. Are you saying "let's get down to brass tacks"? I cannot be more specific about my own activities, since their legality might be considered questionable. My point is that our abstractions color our views of each other and influence our actions. I think Pilpil considers our abstractions continually reproduce the system we live in. Can you elaborate on your ideas?

RedHughs

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 5:20 am
seaweed wrote:  
My idea is that revolutionaries shouldn't just be content with riding waves, but also trying to create waves, even small ones. I'm not saying that we can light a prairie fire. I'm not saying that lifestyle choices or moral choices can ignite anything or achieve anything beyond our personal lives. But, let's together, right now, with our friends/co-workers/neighbors/comrades and try to start leading lives not so completely directed/determined by others with interests that conflict with ours.

Hmm,

Let me start indirectly on this. I have seen present-day living-on-the-land projects that went fairly well. I have seen or heard-of bits of present day projects that went terribly.

To me, what seems to actually make the good projects work is that they were not done as "here is a model of what everyone else can do, here is THE ANSWER". Rather they were done because folks happened to have some resources and chose a certain way of taking advantage of them. Sometimes the folks who did this were radicals but they weren't doing their thing as a big radical project.

Thus, I kind-of think making waves is good but it seems like you would want to only make certain kinds of waves as "revolutionaries". Having a pleasant farm in the country is nice but such a farm doesn't particularly need a revolutionary label. Seizing a cache of arms and distributing it during a popular insurrection, on the other hand, is more something that might merit the label a revolutionary action.

seaweed has described his village in parts but has left things vague that I wouldn't know how I would label it as a project.

More later,

Red

Guest

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 6:34 am
hi,

i don't think that termite hill is to termite what city is to human. perhaps city is to human what zoo is to elephant might be closer.

i was sitting at my pottery wheel (that's how i make money, as a potter) and remembering something i read by lebbeus woods, the architect: there are infinite permutations possible in built form. i would add that there are infinite permutations possible in social organization/configuration. yet, just because a form is possible doesn't make it interesting/communistic/sustainable etc. among the infinite possibilities, ATR each clan, village, neighborhood, region or whatever will have to make choices about what best suits them. however i just don't see how a city could exist without a large scale infrastructure, impersonal institutions, engineers ( and thus universities), bureaucracies, large scale energy schemes, etc. all animals need a healthy habitat. humans are animals, therefore we need a healthy habitat. a city is not a habitat.

a back to the land movement is not what I am proposing. i don't think i have "the answer" to anything. like everyone else i have dreams and desires. and i have opinions. i enjoy sharing them. some folks call their opinions theories to give them more weight.

i am not encouraging pleasant farms in the country. i do ask what it means to be a self-described revolutionary.

what causes popular insurrections? what is the spontaneity that is typically brought up in conjunction with this concept? i question this concept of complete spontaneity. rather i think that typically there are instigators.. in fact likely several people are expressing their anger publicly, urging others to join them in their expression,and thus instigating actions. maybe claiming the label revolutionary involves some measure of instigating.

should a rural region declare its secessionist urges in practice would that not be a popular insurrection? can insurrection only occur in the city?

perhaps redhughs could share his thoughts on what constitutes a revolutionary action or perhaps revolutionary activity. is this type of activity possible here and now regardless of whether there is popular insurrection, or must it always be in the context of popular upheavals?

during my years as a participant in the communist/anarchist milieus, i've noticed that a lot of our activity tends to be oriented toward "projects". i hope to encourage myself and others to focus on living, on life, rather than projects ( info shops, 'zines, radio stations, publishing, distro, etc.). getting together with others to provide food for ourselves seems like a good break to make with activism in favor of living. helping keep each others kids out of school, would be another activity along these lines.

squatting has come up a few times. i would think that this is an important concept to explore in the context of this thread.

i can only hope that many of us will get to experience seizing a cache of arms and distributing it during a popular insurrection!

very interesting ideas everyone!

seaweed

fendersen

 Post subject: cache of arms
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 1:35 pm
I still fail to see how freely distributing a cache of arms is more properly revolutionary than giving away sheep and goats or as Seaweed said, helping to liberate a child from school. Do you think a force of arms will demolish the capitalist arrangement? Will it stop an f-16 from annihilating your neighborhood? A mass uprising will stop the machine by shouting "no!" in unison. Mass refusal is a more powerful weapon than any cache of ak-47's. The latter will get you and your friends killed. If, on the other hand, you were to come visit me, I would offer you friendship, help you find your own squat, help you chop firewood, give you a healthy milk goat or teach you to garden and you would be able to sustain yourself outside of the capitalist arrangement while you worked on your plans to overthrow the government. If I helped you get your children out of school, they might have a chance to de-learn the capitalist ethic. Shouldn't an anarchist refuse the force of authority? Any attempt to match that force has always reproduced it. I am not saying "no" to violence. I am all for self-defense and protection of loved ones. I am all for fighting and perhaps dying when no other options are available. If prisoners refused the chain gang, sure, some would be tortured and killed, but eventually the prison walls would crumble because their labor is all that holds those walls up in the first place. Would you call an escapee a lousy drop-out who chose to abandon the struggle? Suppose s/he went on to distribute food for others to help her fellow prisoners escape? Just an insignificant lifestyle choice? The anti-politics of food? Damn right Seaweed!

bzfgt

 Post subject: here we go
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 2:56 pm

So far what is missing is an explicit argument as to WHY what we do here and now cannot be part of, or contribute to, or be useful preparation for, a revolutionary break, whether this comes gradually (again, why not?) or as a cataclysm. Since this is something I've never entirely grokked, I eagerly await clarification from Red or whomever else. In lieu pf such clarification, the arguments of Seaweed and Fendersen seem much more lucid, if not entirely unproblematic.

Guest

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 5:17 pm
Arthur wrote:  
"I'm honestly not sure that I understand how to do this strategically, or how exactly secession, autonomy, self managed resources or spaces can be part of a strategy."

Let me try to share my perspective. Resistance includes both withdrawal and fighting back. Withdrawal includes:refusing work, stopping to shop, staying out of school, sharinging not selling, etc. In other words rather than being obedient producers and consumers, we refuse to participate. We can leaflet others to do this or we can get together with like minded folks and actually make some attempts ourselves. By doing this we acquire skills that are valuable here and now but which could be essential in a revolutionary situation or ATR. By the way I also think about endurance and patience, about being prepared to spend a lifetime to get the momentum going wherever you live. Human arrogance, hubris, is a big part of the reason we are in this predicament. Some humility would as well be an essential part of any attempt.

I also think that by withdrawing we follow a well tested martial strategy. Sometimes its best to retreat rather than surrender. You regroup and find a place to sustain yourselves while regaining strength to fight another day. Apparently if one never takes the offensive one can't win, so eventually we must take the offensive but I add that the offensive must be part of a larger strategy that also includes a readiness to withdraw. Any direct martial attack on the powers that be in NA or Europe right now would be suicidal.

Withdrawing also works as part of a strategy because I am convinced by historical examples and by the logic of this that once folks claim space for themselves they don't tend to give it up easily. So why not withdraw, claim some space, acquire some skills and explore conviviality and intimacy with others and when the authorities come, if it isn't suicidal, defend it. I realize that this can only be part of a momentum that includes many other paths to the oases we want to create together.

By the way I've never suggested that withdrawing is all we do. Native traditionalist for instance spend a lot of time in the bush or within their traditional territories pursuing subsistence activities, but who more than they has been in confrontations with the Canadian state? It isn't a single minded notion I'm encouraged by. About a year ago some native people in eastern Canada kicked the cops off their reserve. A year ago and still no cops! That doesn't mean that the inhabitants of that reservation aren't hunting, canning, fishing and helping each other out as well. What is inspiring is the holistic nature of their revolts. Traditionalists encourage both a warrior spirit and a communitarian ethic. I'm interested in entire populations revolting, in urban, rural and regional uprisings that link together. Everyone is oppressed by the rule of the bullies in power, by capital, by empire and its urban ways.

I'm not waiting for a cataclysm in some strategic sense. I just think that our future is shrinking. There is a lot of evidence that an ecological cataclysm of unthinkable proportions is on the horizon. The cataclysm will bring foreseeable and unforeseeable events/consequences. Better that we get together and prepare ourselves. Food, friendship, water, love, intimacy, shelter. I do think that the means determine the ends to a great extent. If we want a mere replica of the world we presently live in, a world of cities and factories and plundered ecological zones and experts then a mass movement based on ideas of self management and an urban insurrectionnary foci will surely get us there. If we want a world where human scale configurations (as opposed to machine/mass scale) dominate the social landscape, where abundance refers to food and friendship not to objects, where meaningful activity predominates (acquiring, preserving, preparing and sharing food for instance), then we want to encourage a momentum (not a movement) that incorporates a multitude of human scale rebellions. These rebellions would be more likely to succeed if they have well developed subsistence skills and are autonomous from any centralized head (ideology, strategy, institution, infrastructure).

Arthur wrote:  
But in order to avoid a "drop out" or hobbiest outcome that may exist apart from our intentions, we should start not with a call to create these projects-but with question of why-when all anarchists/communists would like to have more control over their lives-are these projects not common place? Then we can start with more than a call of encouragement-but with some strategy.

Arthur I think you"ve really hit on an important question. Let's explore it.

seaweed

bzfgt

 Post subject: some questions
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 5:31 pm

1. OK, I think that Arthur's is a great question, especially among primitivists, so many of whom seem content to live in an urban setting.

Here are my fundamental questions:

2. If there is a break with the present order, must it A. be a single cataclysm or B. could it have a more slowly articulated trajectory?

3. If B., why can't living in community in the ways we've discussed be part of that trajectory?

4. But if A., then even more so, wouldn't the existence of variously expressed strategies for community and subsistence be a (perhaps indispensible) head start for, nascent infrastructure for (although perhaps reflective of certain illusions), and dress rehearsal for (again, not necessariy adequate but useful), a post-revolutionary existence? And if not, WHY NOT?

I'd be particularly interested in how Red would answer these questions, as well as pilpil and A! and others who have expressed reservations at Seaweed's initial postings.

aragorn

 Post subject: Re: some questions
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:12 pm
bzfgt wrote:  
2. If there is a break with the present order, must it A. be a single cataclysm or B. could it have a more slowly articulated trajectory?

3. If B., why can't living in community in the ways we've discussed be part of that trajectory?

4. But if A., then even more so, wouldn't the existence of variously expressed strategies for community and subsistence be a (perhaps indispensible) head start for, nascent infrastructure for (although perhaps reflective of certain illusions), and dress rehearsal for (again, not necessariy adequate but useful), a post-revolutionary existence? And if not, WHY NOT?

I have been part of so many failed urban living 'community experiments' that I would never point to that as a solution. I have only seen a few rural examples that made any sense to me, in terms of sustainability and longevity.

As with many other things I see there being a pretty clear difference between agreeing with a decision and agreeing with it for months, years, a life.

I believe, absolutely, that we should live a life that integrates exactly the kinds of principles that seaweed offered from the very start. Having skills, making plans, having a close-knit network of friends are all absolutely essential ingredients to being happy in this world and preparing for an impossible ATR.

I'm not sure if that really answers your questions but that where I start.

A!

RedHughs

 Post subject: Re: some questions
PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 12:45 am
bzfgt wrote:  
2. If there is a break with the present order, must it A. be a single cataclysm or B. could it have a more slowly articulated trajectory?

Well... I believe A is the only option worth considering.

Considering that we live in a world with a ruling class working very actively to defend itself, it seems like their destruction will be much more likely to happen quickly than slowly - a slow attack give the rulers a chance to regroup. Just as much, the majority of people today have to work unless there is a disruption of the daily routine and so the ruling class can regroup quite effective while we waste our time working. Riots or any other large scale disruptions of normal life continue until either the ruling class is destroyed or the food runs out. The food will indeed out fairly quickly. Also, most historical insurrections have happened quickly and certainly required speed.

bzfgt wrote:  
3. If B., why can't living in community in the ways we've discussed be part of that trajectory?

Sure, if communities with revolutionary leanings happen to arise, they would likely be part of any revolutionary trajectory, by inclination. The problem is that most folks have pretty much admitted that they don't have any way to bring such communities into being so their usefulness is something of a moot point.

bzfgt wrote:  
4. But if A., then even more so, wouldn't the existence of variously expressed strategies for community and subsistence be a (perhaps indispensible) head start for, nascent infrastructure for (although perhaps reflective of certain illusions), and dress rehearsal for (again, not necessariy adequate but useful), a post-revolutionary existence? And if not, WHY NOT?

Again, sure, it would be nice for such things to exist. I wouldn't mind a pleasant out-side-the-city situation. It wouldn't be directly revolutionary but it could be quite nice and could play a role if it was sucessful and if an insurrection broke out.

But the thing is that there have been many, many back-to-the-land, communalist and so-forth movements. Most have failed and few have suceeded in terms we wouldn't enjoy (as work-camps and capitalist enterprises). I don't think I'm smarter than all those people. To be a "revolutionary" is simply to have a particular slant on the conditions of capitalist society, it doesn't give you the ability to suceed at projects that many failed previously at.

--------------

The discussion here involves a certain vagueness - we're not going back to the land but we are "reclaiming our habitat". Seaweed doesn't have a community but he has some situation that is somehow desireable, etc.. Making the options we're discussing much clearer would make the discussion clearer as well.

Best Wishes,

Red

bzfgt

 Post subject: what huh what huh
PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 12:55 am

Aragorn! and Red,

Thanks, I see your objections are empirical. In that case, I don't necessarily disagree. I don't have enough empirical info to necessarily draw a strong conclusion, though.

Since most projects fail, empirical objections are correct, necessary, but not necessarily conclusive. But this did help me to understand where you're coming from, Red.

I guess, when I pose option B, I show that I still have some aspirations that could even almost be termed "reformist"...not really a slow-burning revolution but a collective walking-away maybe punctuated by a revolution at the right time. Of course, that's highly unlikely.

As for what's more realistic, I'm not sure, but I'm not really living in daily expectation of a revolution of any type.

I guess another question is, to what extent is it important to carve out a niche right now, in this world. In that case, I know where I've placed my chips, in that case, at least so far--and it hasn't been in Seaweed's pile. Another thing that causes me anguish and doubt...but we are always closing off options when we choose anything...

posion_oak

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 2:15 am
what is ATR?

xxx

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 2:46 am
posion_oak wrote:  
what is ATR?

After the Revolution

allergic

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 6:26 am

Hi. In response to Red Hughs about clarity---could you PLEASE try to watch your typos. I think you have good ideas but if we're talking about clarity here come on. Okay, now, I've got just a little thought to add to this discussion. The earth, the trees, the dirt, the ocean and basically all the things I love most about life on this planet, are getting destroyed by the current world order, and by what Seaweed might call, "urban ways as such." Actually I'm not gonna sit around and squabble over whether or not composting my shit for example, is "Revolutionary", but it sure as fuck, given what we know about the state of the environmental crisis makes sense to me. So, yea, of course living in a conscious way, that is the way we feel makes the most sense--which for me is living "sustainably" (and god we need a better word than that because who the fuck wants to "sustain" the status-quo) to me. I just want to remind all of you to consider that we might not have much of a planet left to defend when the time comes unless we start now. -Allergic

p.s. does anyone have, or know of anyone who might have some land that one could "live-off of" ?

Guest

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 9:17 am
Quote:   does anyone have, or know of anyone who might have some land that one could "live-off of" ?

The problem is always practical, the theoretical part of it comes in when you encounter limits to what you can achieve.

1.It is difficult to get past the fundamental of land being property; which means you can either squat, this is probably going to be temporary so you cannot begin substantial works, or you can buy(!?)

2. I earn just over '6 an hour my wife around '10, we have no savings, we do not own a house or car, or have nothing we could sell. In other words, we have no capital. Most of the people we know have no capital, those that do are not going to hand it to us so we can live in the country.

3. A project like this would involve the establishment of a "rhythm" of life, involving a lot of trial and error about techniques and arrangements, a lot of initial investment of labour, such a rhythm would take years to develop and would take its toll on those involved, in the meantime life goes on. It is not easy to begin from scratch, exhaustion is a mjor problem.

4. Most people make agreements in the spirit of the moment, when you say to them "but we have an agreement" they say, "yes but a new opportunity has come up, circumstances have changed." And it is true, they cannot be bound like that, "agreements" cause us to become employers/business partners.

5.If you are an individual you can commit yourself to anything, but if you have a family you are responsible for more than just yourself. Moving to the country is easy for a boy with a pack on his back, but not for those with children in school.

6. We could start "training" now, in the hope that we can realise our dream later; but I am not sure how this "training" would differ from any other ATR pie-in-the-sky.

7. This means that most communes/living experiments are conducted by people who have capital and no family responsibilities, or landless peasants being shunted about by the authorities.

I like the book Bolo, Bolo but it only points up the difference between conditions of voluntarism and those of generalisation; the difference between the collective power of many millions achieving things and the meagre resources of a few idealists struggling against a hostile social relation.

pilpil

fendersen

 Post subject: On Squatting
PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 6:59 pm
Yes but

1. squatting can only occur when land is no longer considered "property".
2. The question of capital is therefore rendered inconsequential.
3. Yes, it is not easy, but all things need rhythm. The lack of rhythm produces exhaustion. Have you ever tried sustained dancing to a bad band? Whether the band is good or bad, time is still expended. The bad rhythm is experienced as toil, the good as pleasureable exertion.
4. Aggreements are like any other organization. When the task is achieved or found unworkable, the agreement expires. One need not expect permanence in any arrangement.
5. Children should not be in school!
6. On that note, one should also forget training. Better to just live. There are people who can help.
7. Those with capital can afford "legal squats". Kind of defeats the purpose. When landless peasants learn the world is theirs for the using or taking, they come away feeling like millionaires. What stops those in the middle is fear of loss and past training for subjection and acquiescence to property and leadership learned by too much schooling - they don't know how to say "no!".

Quote:   Squatters who demand the "right to a home" or try to legalize their squats, thieves who work their "jobs" like any other worker, only in order to accumulate more worthless commodities -- these people have no interest in destroying the economy...they merely want a fair share of its goods. But those who squat and steal as part of an insurgent life, do so in defiance of the logic of economic property. Refusing to accept the scarcity imposed by this logic or to bow to the demands of a world they did not create, such insurgents take what they desire without asking anyone's permission whenever the possibility arises. In this defiance of society's economic rule, one takes back the abundance of the world as one's own -- and this is an act of insurrection. In order to maintain social control, the lives of individuals have to be stolen away. In their place, we received economic survival, the tedious existence of work and pay. We cannot buy our lives back, nor can we beg them back. Our lives will only be our own when we steal them back -- and that means taking what we want without asking permission. " Feral Faun

yoshomon not logged in

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 7:55 pm
Fenderson,

I hate compulsory schooling with a passion, but the State has this nasty tendency of taking away people's children when they don't send them to school. Homeschooling/raising kids on some commune creates a lot of problems as well because it separates kids from most of their 'peers'. Almost all of the people I know who were raised like that hated it.

arthur

 Post subject: sfghrth
PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 9:02 pm
Thats a bit binary, yoshomon.

Its not just a choice between making your kid stay home all day and sending them to school. Homeschooling can easily be free schooling if you live in a city especially. Kids that homeschool can hang out at pools, play on sports teams, take art classes at the community center, go to the arcade, and play/learn with other kids doing the same thing -if the parents cooperate. They can go to other kids houses, and on endless field trips as well. They just need to find likeminded parents to collaborate with, which is possible in a big town or in a city.

The people you knew probably counterposed family(good) to school(bad), (cause they were christians, hippies or paranoid rightwing libertarians). rather than making it society/community/childhood vs. school.

RedHughs

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 9:44 pm
Yosh wrote:  
I hate compulsory schooling with a passion, but the State has this nasty tendency of taking away people's children when they don't send them to school. Homeschooling/raising kids on some commune creates a lot of problems as well because it separates kids from most of their 'peers'. Almost all of the people I know who were raised like that hated it.

Yeah, this and other points really highlight how hard the whole go-to-a-rural-area thing is in practice.

People underestimate how connected they are to the present social fabric - everything from friendship to habits to the need for money and resources to the difficulty of raising kids to whatever.

In general, there is a tendency for various folks to imagine that they become entirely "at cause" when they take on the label "revolutionary" or "anarchist". They then can use pure will to engage whatever project they can concoct out of the utopian (or megalomaniac) imagination.

Contrary to this, I would say we should always imagine that we are products of the current social fabric. Rather than simply creating a new world out of whole cloth, we are bending and modifying the existing fabric. We are "at cause" and "at effect" at the same time. There are degree to which we are either but, ironically, believing that our actions are "purely free" puts more at effect whereas seeing how you are a product of the present world and how it causes you put one relatively more "at cause".

So saying "I am a revolutionary" only gives you an advantage when you factor in how much of your existence is the product of the world you are opposing. Only then can you this out to get some small measure of initiative (or freedom or whatever you would call the ability to act on the stage of society). Naturally, I consider rediscovering how cities can be liberatory is an important part of us moving with the existence social fabric. Perhaps, we could also discover how rural areas could be liberatory as well but there are some serious roadblocks I see to this.

Best Wishes,

Red

Guest

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 10:44 pm
the fact that this thread has actually remained coherent, intelligent, and interesting to me must say something about the subject matter. or not. in any case i have to say i really dig the topic, and much of the discussion thus far.

while i don't have too much to add at this time, i must say that i have a great deal of affinity with what i've seen seaweed and fendersen saying. as usual, i disagree almost entirely with yoshoman and red, although they have had some useful comments, imo. and pilpil has joined their ranks for me - intelligent and articulate, without question, yet perspectives that i strongly disagree with. i also appreciate buzzy's questioning "tone" and comments, and particularly a willingness to admit being unclear on a variety of things. ok, enough dissin and ass-kissin.

i spent most of my life in large urban areas, more recently living very much rurally, trying to become more and more self-sufficient. i still love certain aspects of city life, and enjoy visiting, but i could not see living there again. i think any perspective that views either urban or rural environs to be inherently "the way", or NOT "the way", is absurd and completely ideological. cities, or at least mass concentrations of humans living in asphalt jungles, are a major reality of the world we live in. even if all the technological infrastructure that currently provides the feasibility for a huge majority of urban lifeways were to dissappear magically (or otherwise) today, there would still be all those people and all that STUFF. though no doubt most of the people would die, i think those that don't could (and ought to) make use of whatever is left. all those buildings, equipment, etc, could surely be used for SOMETHING that does not require additional/new technology. shit, even the millions of miles of electrical wiring - without electricity running through it - could be extremely useful for a wide variety of things. I am a huge fan of making do with what is available around me. if some of that stuff was man-made and technological, well... so the fuck what?!?! i ain't no primitivist!

i also would like someone to define for me what they mean by "revolutionary". red kinda defined it as having a bent against the capitalist system (paraphrased). that definition (although i would surely see that as a part - or perhaps a result - of what i might think of as a revolutionary perspective) seems a bit narrow to me, but i guess that is about what i'd expect from a perspective that seems utterly and completely class-focused (no personal attack intended, red). more importantly, though, i really question why people seem so hung up on whether something is or should be (or not) labelled "revolutionary". much like the comments above questioning why meaningful activities should need to be part of "projects", i question why anyone needs to label their (or others') activities as revolutionary or not revolutionary, radical or not radical, etc. if we are doing the things we choose to do in order to create our own lives as liberated from all that would prevent that, does one really need to label that? seems mostly like a way to judge the choices and decisions of others. sometimes "labels" can serve a useful shorthand, that i don't dismiss. but that requires that everyone involved in the discussion is clear on the meaning and intent behind the label. and the fact is, i seem to see these labels used more as tools for easy judgements, rather than simple shorthand notation.

just my 2c.

foga

Guest

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:28 am
hi everyone,

Red; thanks for your opinions and for trying to be clear. You believe that "most historical events have happened quickly and certainly required speed"

. Are you referring to a single event? You seem to suggest that a single global cataclysm is the only way to break with the present order. Is this accurate?

Also, is waiting a strategy?

I think any such cataclysm would likely be the result of a global confluence of many rebellions that together created a momentum that simply became unstoppable. Such a momentum might take a century or a week from beginning to end, who knows? Along the way one might find regions that had established anarchic ways for decades before the last pockets of authoritarian resistance finally failed. In other words communism can be local. It might likely be doomed to be temporary unless it becomes global, but not necessarily. This is fundamental to this discussion, because part of what I want to explore includes this notion that communism isn't everywhere or nowhere and therefore neither is revolution.

If communism can be local then rather than viewing regional, organically self-organized subsistence movements as delusional or nave or pointless or the result of megalomania, they, like any local thrust, riots/insurrections for instance, would make a lot of sense because they could make a significant impact where they occur. In fact, viewed in this light, all our activity is potentially very powerful. History seems to prove this true because capital did not conquer everywhere at once. Pockets, regions, even entire continents were anarchic at the same time that other areas were colonized by authoritarian empires. North american indigenous anarchic/communistic societies existed at the same time as authoritarian civilizations for millennia. It seems to make sense then to advocate for the creation of local/regional anti-authoritarian rebellions because history has shown that it might be possible to achieve success, perhaps even for an extended period of time. Perhaps looking to the ideas and attempts of the Magon brothers and Zapata are worthwhile and inspiring for instance, with their cry of land and liberty.

Every historic event so far has been isolated, in the sense that there has never been a global anything (uprising, upheaval, rebellion) that I am aware of. In other words every event occurred within a specific, limited geographical area. We often refer to events by their location, ie: The Russian revolution, Hungary '56, Paris '68, The Spanish Revolution, etc. Even the two World Wars were not truly global.

Would you and Pilpil (and anyone else of course) mind clarifying whether you hold that both revolution and communism can only be everywhere or nowhere?

There also seems to be an assumption that none of us currently live outside of cities. I seem to be hearing a lot of defensive arguments about why "we" can't "move to the country." If you can't afford to or do not want to move out of the city, that's fine. But please don't extrapolate your fears, reasons, excuses, etc. to the rest of humanity.

Keep in mind that some of the posters at this forum already live in rural areas as do a couple of billion other people. For Pilpil to write: "most communes/living experiments are conducted by people who have capital and no family responsibilities" is nonsense from my point of view. I have two children, a fourteen year old and a twelve year old. Fifteen years ago I got together with like minded folk and chipped in on a piece of land. None of us had any money but there is still relatively cheap land in Canada. It all depends on where you live or are willing to live. Besides I'm not making a call to leave cities or to buy land. I just think that its strange that revolutionaries aren't interested in learning how to provide food for themselves or to look critically at how urban ways are destructive and rely heavily on a class of exploited people, etc.

I don't think there are universally applicable theories/explanations for revolution. Where I live, it seems that a combination of urban insurrections, rural subsistence movements and indigenous traditionalist sovereigntist activity might be a powerful opposition to authority. I'm sure Pilpil has a better understanding of the conditions specific to the european city that he lives in. But only some of his ideas/perspectives can apply where I live. Communism has been described at this forum as " a society in which people have an equal access to the conditions of their existence, a society without wage labor, commodity production, money, a state or private property".

Of course. But these are the barest bones, a skeleton of what I am dreaming of. Where's the mention of freedom, love, imagination, adventure and abundance? And are we talking just commodity production or all industrial production, because no one is going to force me to work in their factory I don't care who manages it. A friend recently asked me to describe what I think we should be aiming for. This was my reply:" I'd like to wake up as a free individual in a healthy habitat, spend several hours getting food, maybe head down to the ocean and fish with some friends or work in the garden. Then I'd return to the village cooking area and play with the kids while others prepared some food for everyone to share. After eating I'd play some physical game in the field for an hour or so. After that I'd spend a few hours fucking, story telling or laying in a hammock. When night fell we'd all sit around a fire, play music, brag and gossip and tell farting jokes."

" I want to live in your world!" she replied.

To foga: Have you thought about the concept of a modern-primitive synthesis? As I suggested in an earlier post, rather than physically leaving cities, many of us might have to abandon urban ways but remain where we are and heal/transform/re-create the formerly urban zone into a collection of autonomous villages.

Seaweed

pilpil

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:05 am

Hi fenderson, seaweed, et al,

Quote:   Would you and Pilpil (and anyone else of course) mind clarifying whether you hold that both revolution and communism can only be everywhere or nowhere?

Really, unfortunately, I would think that (I think this has something to do with Blakean "experience") because although there can be temporary and localised spaces, they tend to slip back over time, the power of the general social relation over specific acts directed against it is almost unbearable, unless you can find a place the productive order does not need to extend to... (that is not to bring the matter of unwittingly "importing" values). The question of whether capitalism conquered the world immediately in one go or only gradually is an interesting question (I think the former, at an abstract level).

I have a variant of "a boy-called sue" attitude to my kids in the world, and I would prefer them to experience, in gradual doses, the traumas of life under capital (my boy attacked for wearing nail varnish, he's five, my girl called, "a lesbian", she's 8). But despite it all they have retained their innocence, because they are supported and loved, and lot's of people like them because they are so "different" to most other working class children in the school/area. On balance I much prefer this idea of combative "difference" in the world to trying to raise them according to my "values" (which lets face it are all over the place). I think red is correct to talk about our underestimation of our connection.

I would certainly take my kids out of school if there were an "anti-school" movement, but this would occur because of a coming together of factors other than my trying to start one. Although of course I still consider this option. However, by not making this decision we become obliged to get "involved", confront parents of bullies, "have it out" with teachers and so on, which otherwise we would really prefer to avoid. Life is very long and childhood is very long, these things cannot be "decided" unless you have capital to make it stick.

A small story: When I was a kid, the first communes started being set up, it was the late 60's/ early '70's, we had one outside the village where I lived. The commune kids came to school, they had posh voices and posh names but they were funny, clever and wild; it was hilarious to us to see the way they kept dropping their trousers. But because it was the '70's they fitted in all the same, all the teachers were hippies, even state schools like ours were full of guitars, and spinning wheels... Nearly twenty years later I saw one of the commune kids on the bus, he had a job in insurance, and was dressed in a suit, I was off to a job where I machine folded paper all day. He cringed at the memories of the old days whilst I have always been inspired and excited by what his parents and friends did... and if I talk to my parents about the commune, they seem to think of it fondly too. That is because communes were part of the confluence of events in england at that time, high industrial militancy, oil crisis, power cuts, living experiments. People made things happen but in a context of things happening.

Another five years on from that, I set up a living experiment with my friends in the early 90's, I'd run a lot of meetings/groups and so on and it seemed a natural extension because they were 'into' what I did. However, one by one they got jobs in other towns; they were my friends, they did not share my "vision". What I did was important to them because they liked me, but they did not do the same as me, they did not show me their leaflets, they did not ask me to turn up to their picket. For most people "vision" of possibilities tends to follow material circumstances; if the TV transmitter goes off air they find other things to do, this is not the same as me demanding they turn their tv off.

This is a negative observation but not a hostile one,

pilpil

Guest

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:41 pm
Hi again,

Just a few quick comments.

Thanks pilpil.

There is no compulsory schooling in canada. Both mine have been in "free schools", state schools, have been home schooled and have simply just stayed home. You are right about "values" and raising kids. It took me a while before i realized that kids are not little clay balls that i can form into whatever i please. In my case i went for the androgynous, artistic, anarchist form. Maybe they'll be accountants...

Some friends and i host an annual get together of anarchists/rebels/friends every summer. Quite a few of them grew up in 'alternative' situations like land co-ops/housing co-ops, etc. They speak of those years fondly.

I do not want to live in a bubble although a small oasis appeals to me.

seaweed

posion_oak

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 2:02 pm
homeskooling is great, i must say! there are plenty of people out there during a "school" day (8-3) who i can easily hang out with (farmers, collage kids, potters, photographers, a few homeskool friends, and wild-primitive people who live in the woods!). but, i gotta say, sometimes i wish i had more social time with peers (sometimes i crave that fluidness of talking my head off and having fun with my peers during those 5 minute breaks in class...i still do at parties and such). and that's the reason why my other friends (a few have joined the team) dont quit...that and they're scared of being able to arrange their lives. but, i'd much rather not be in school for social stuff, i'd rather be in the "real world" (sorry bzfg!), which is a lot more helpful that it's made out to be ("a competitive, dog eat dog existence").

fendersen

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 4:01 pm
Quote:   ...they're scared of being able to arrange their (own) lives.

I just wanted to highlight this thought. I think it applies to graduates even more than to students. It's one of the major lessons we learn in school. - fendersen

yoshomon

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 5:43 pm

I guess I should toss my own personal experience in.

I dropped out of school after my sophomore year in highschool. This was not a difficult decision for me - I hated school, had friends and connections outside of school, and my parents moreorless supported my decision (I didn't really give them a choice). I think that the decision would have been a lot harder if I had been younger and not had the latter two things.

Also, it is very hard to homeschool or freeschool your kids while working full-time. And if you leave your kids at home by themselves all day, the police will attempt to take them away from you. This is just the reality of it. Is it possible to avoid compulsory schooling? Definitely. Is it easy? No. I think there are a lot more possibilities once kids get into highschool and can get GEDs and jobs and all that.

yoshomon

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 5:49 pm
Pilpil wrote:  
I have a variant of "a boy-called sue" attitude to my kids in the world, and I would prefer them to experience, in gradual doses, the traumas of life under capital (my boy attacked for wearing nail varnish, he's five, my girl called, "a lesbian", she's 8). But despite it all they have retained their innocence, because they are supported and loved, and lot's of people like them because they are so "different" to most other working class children in the school/area. On balance I much prefer this idea of combative "difference" in the world to trying to raise them according to my "values" (which lets face it are all over the place). I think red is correct to talk about our underestimation of our connection.

Pilpil,

I do not having any kids (though I hope to raise children someday), but I find a lot of affinity with this idea of parenting.

pilpil

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:41 pm

Good luck yoshomon,

Of course, what I have said is a rationalisation, it's about surviving a horrible circumstance. On the other hand, the advantage is your kids understand from a very early age that all this that they see around them is not "ours", it is where we live but we are not responsible, we are responding to circumstances, making the best, we are not the author of this.

My children encounter the world as I encountered the world, as something foriegn and not right, the difference is that I can provide an explanation of the poison that comes out of other people's mouths, and in this way they can make sense of things; they do not seem as bewildered or damaged as I was/am. But whether they accept my expalantion is another matter. Anarchism/communism cannot be passed down through the generations, it is not a hereditary condition, certain phases of life have to be lived by the person themselves.

for oases not bubbles!

pilpil

pilpil

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:45 pm

ps, building things takes a long time but most of us work on a fairly intense/short term model of engagement. Maybe people here have something to say with regard to seasonality, rhythm, temporality. The communes I talked about earlier are mostly all gone now; it has always interested me the way people fall away from their commitment... again red's thoughts of being 'at cause' and 'at effect' have something to with this I think. So when people say 'make your own life' I always think about why those who said 'make your own life' thirty years ago, now no longer do so... I wonder if sustainablity has to do with a perception of time, the quick time of aspiration and escape, the dead-slow time of pulling a plough.

fendersen

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:23 pm
Pilpil, if everyone taught their children with that attitude, we might just be able to get through this thing. Unfortunately, most kids get the message, "Sure, it's rotten, but it's the only system we've got". I cried when you earlier said "Resistence is futile".

Please excuse my sarcasm, I'm not addressing anyone here in particular, but I have heard all of the following statements over the years:

Quote:   It's just too hard for people, this is why it just won't work. I dropped out of school and look where it's gotten me: a dead-end job and no hope for a future. People just can't get along close up; that's why all those hippy communes failed. We need to worry about educating our kids so they can get full time jobs. You know, it takes full time jobs for everyone in the family just to meagerly survive, and it just keeps getting worse. If only my kids could stay in school for longer hours because I have a chance for more overtime at work and I can't afford day-care. Maybe then I wouldn't have to worry so much about those ungodly car payments and we could actually take the whole fam on that camping trip to the country next summer. Ah, if only we could just stay there, but ya know, the kids have their schooling to think of so when they grow up, they won't have to struggle as hard as their mother and I have. Maybe the kids will be able to make some changes in this rotten system. If we could only just educate more people - get some cool people like us to be their teachers.

If we want our jobs and our schools, just what is it we want in a revolution? If it is just to end class distinctions and intolerance, we are still led back to the problem Poison_oak noted: 'We're just too scared of being able to arrange our own lives'. Or is it that we just want a bigger piece of the pie for ourselves and/or our children? If that is the case, this is how the poisonous monster reproduces itself in each of us - consciously and rationally.

I was one of those you spoke of who said thirty years ago to "make your own life". All of us did not cop out. But you are right, I think, about the time reference. Most of us want it all and we want it now. I am reminded of Libertad's essay "We go on" http://www.geocities.com/kk_abacus/kka/go.html.

Quote:   We are not certain that we will succeed: we are not certain that we are right...Those that envision the goal from the first steps, those that want the certitude of reaching it before walking never arrive....To accelerate our march, we don't need mirages showing us the closest end, within our hand's reach. It will be enough for us to know that we go on and that, if we sometimes stamp around the same spot, we do not go astray.

The path we go on need not be as toilsome as pulling a plough, but it does take time and effort, and it can be pleasureable. see ya, fendersen

posion_oak

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:54 pm
homeschooling your kids when they are young would be incredibly hard. i could have never done it myself (mom and pops work full time). but i certainly think that kids who are in highschool are easily capable of it (that's when i quit, after my freshmen year). there are libraries, people to learn from, places to explore.

and again, i think the reason people are scared/or fuck up is because they are scared of living for themselves. i have heard (i havent seen) so many stories of people fucking up (stories my father would tell me to scared me away from quitting school) and not doing anything productive, but really, it's really just them doing what they learned in school--to do nothing worthwhile..to expect some one to give you lecture or a worksheet.

RedHughs

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 10:45 pm
foga wrote:  
i also would like someone to define for me what they mean by "revolutionary". red kinda defined it as having a bent against the capitalist system (paraphrased). that definition (although i would surely see that as a part - or perhaps a result - of what i might think of as a revolutionary perspective) seems a bit narrow to me, but i guess that is about what i'd expect from a perspective that seems utterly and completely class-focused (no personal attack intended, red). more importantly, though, i really question why people seem so hung up on whether something is or should be (or not) labelled "revolutionary". much like the comments above questioning why meaningful activities should need to be part of "projects", i question why anyone needs to label their (or others') activities as revolutionary or not revolutionary, radical or not radical, etc.

I'll respond to this first because I want to highlight it. In many ways, I agree with a lot of this but I think Foga misses the ways I agree with him (or perhaps she/he misses how the her/his first sentence contradicts his/her second).

I think it is important to see what is or isn't revolutionary. BUT, I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT WHAT IS REVOLUTIONARY IS BE EVERYTHING THAT IS WORTH DOING. I take narrow definition of what is revolutionary for the reason that Foga describes above - some/many/most of the worthwhile things that we are doing don't need the label revolutionary and don't benefit from it. What foga sees as me being "completely class-focused", I see as opposing communism as new total social relationship versus capitalism as a totalitarian system - the things that allow people to collectively challenge the system could be labeled directly revolutionary. The things that are worthwhile but don't challenge the whole system is just that - worthwhile but not revolutionary. I am not telling anyone not to do them - I myself wouldn't mind doing some or all of them.

There are great models, great ways to improve people's lives, and a thousand nice projects out there. I seriously don't intend to denigrate them. I do want to mention that the massive tides of capitalist crisis and development tend to sweep them away over time (this downside is matched advantage that people can do them right now - no moral judgement EITHER WAY). The late 1960's and early 1970's in the US really produce amazing things in the US and much of this is ancient history currently.

Anyway, AGAIN. I am not laying a statement of what is good and what is bad. Most people today will not be what is revolutionary and THAT IS PERFECTLY NATURAL. I am NOT CONDEMNING THEM. To focus on the revolutionary might even require a certain odd psychosis (which isn't necessarily "bad" either, just unusual). Average people are making choices based on what fits the immediate circumstances of their lives and I often engage in the exactly the same non-revolutionary approach. A pleasant rural situation, a pleasant squat or a pleasant fiddle is something I could really use. But aside from not directly opposing the system, the other quality of these things is that you can't just get them by being willing, you need skills/connections and/or luck (notice how Seaweed can't give Allegic any concrete tips on how to actually acheive the situation that she/he has). Seaweed seems to make his living self-employed as a potter and I'll admit I've tried and failed to be self-employed on a number of occasions. Perhaps I'll suceed soon but the point is that such a path isn't easy and there is no point in pointing "the masses" towards this approach - which is what labeling this as revolutionary would do.

Perhaps a collective activity opposed to this society but not yet actively opposing it could be called subversive. Sadly, I would see subversive activity at a low-ebb in the US. All sort of alternative projects tend to form in subversive times but the alternative projects are not the subversive current, indeed these projects have often stood in the way of the most direct upwellings of collective empowerment - from the way the hippiest hippies stood in the way of mass refusal of work and commodities in the US 1960's to the way gang councilors tried to recuperate rage before and after the LA riots or grass roots self-organization versus FEMA versus Common Ground Resource Center in the events around New Orleans. But this for a further post.

Anyway, to repeat. I think what makes it hard for folks to understand what I'm saying is that I am not making a moral statement and folks want to reduce everyone's positions to moral statements, to hierarchies of inherent importance. The school of Tibetan Shamanic Qigong which I follow takes the position that "nothing is more important than anything else" (don't tell me I'm not fuckin' spiritual, dudes but it's not naturally not the most important or least important thing...). Being revolutioanry isn't more important than just doing things and vice-versa. You may as well as do what is in front of you. On the historical scale, the end of capitalism is front of us (considering it took generations to appear and may not last further generations). But there are many other scales of existence we live in.

Moving along...

Foga wrote:  
cities, or at least mass concentrations of humans living in asphalt jungles, are a major reality of the world we live in. even if all the technological infrastructure that currently provides the feasibility for a huge majority of urban lifeways were to dissappear magically (or otherwise) today, there would still be all those people and all that STUFF. though no doubt most of the people would die, i think those that don't could (and ought to) make use of whatever is left.

I think this is a good point. But the potential "down side" of cities wouldn't necessarily be limited to the inhabitants of the cities dying. These same inhabitants could also go out and kill other folks. Situation of the Russian Revolution, which involved a civil war between city and country side should be taken into account - in Russia, I believe the rural population outnumbered the urban population BUT industrializational and organization trumped the country side's possession of the food AND the foreign intervention against the cities/Bolsheviks. AND I certainly would not have taken the Bolshevik or white side in the civil war. The Bolshevik dictatorship was established fairly quickly after the Russian Revolution. As I understand it, the program of requesitioning food from the country side was part of a program of primitive accumulation for a new capitalist system (a question worth discussing further as I am far from an expert on Russian history, see myself and Mikus' debate on whether the USSR was capitalist).

There is a whole bogus thread of thought that assumes that a "fall of civilization" will immediately put food back in the hands of the direct producers of food (I'm not talking about Foga necessarily here but books like "The Long Emergency"). Hardly. If food becomes more important, those with a monopoly of force will move even more aggressively to control it. The job of farmer may become more common but the job of security guard will be more important in a world where oil is scarce but capitalism continues.

Best Wishes,

Red

allergic

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:51 pm
RedHughs wrote:  
some/many/most of the worthwhile things that we are doing don't need the label revolutionary and don't benefit from it.

Red

Yea. I think that some of the most radical or revolutionary folks are those who don't even label themselves as that. For instance some of the homeless people I've met and hung out with over the years are really down-to-earth, people who are also some of the most giving, and non-capitalist, non-judgemental people I've ever met. (Not saying all homeless folks are, just some of the ones I know or am friends with). Interesting how usually the Poorest people are the ones who give me money when I am playing music on the streets and some guy in a business suit who's obviously loaded, tosses a penny into my case as if to jeer "get a job" at me.

Just to illustrate what I'm getting at here: today I went down to the People's Food Co-Op Farmer's Market. I brought my guitar and sat down on a bench and started to play music. My friend, who's "homeless", came and sat next to me. Then, after a couple songs, this lady came up and told me that they'd hired a musician to play there and would prefer it if I didn't play, because it was "competition" or something for the hired band etc. Anyways the whole thing was just weird and my friend thought so too. And it's just that, something as "community-oriented" as a small co-op can even be pretty fucked up as long as it functions in the capitalist system. The Most Revolutionary things are the things that Are NOT CAPITALIST --not in behavior or spirit. It's easy to claim to be "anti-capitalist", it's another thing to live that way, to interact with others that way. -Allergic

navigator

 Post subject: the big question
PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:08 am
pilpil, Perhaps this is another thread, but having followed this thread all at once, and having got a sense of your style, I'd be interested in hearing more about how you negotiate this capitalist world in general. I may be the only one, but I got hooked on V is for Vendetta, not because it's radical but because with it style enters the fray again, that Wildean anarchism thats not afraid to admit it hates camping. Sure it's a cartoonish version and not as clever and literate as it pretends to be, but I like that too since otherwise it would just be just another foreign movie. As a lurker in all worlds and navigating them clumsily, I'm interested to hear how people "grow up" without that annoying tendency to repudiate "youth." So many older anarchists I see get hedged into ridiculously rigid personaes either moral and pragmatic or anti-activist and mean or theory dogmatists or anti-intellectuals or bitter/paranoid beyond belief. Are there communities where older surrealist types live out calm militant lives and don't have to examine every shit they take to determine whether or not it's revolutionary?

pilpil

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 5:53 pm

Navigator,

Quote:   Are there communities where older surrealist types live out calm militant lives and don't have to examine every shit they take to determine whether or not it's revolutionary?

Ha ha, er no. Or yes. The calm militancy of people's behaviour on any given street... Yesterday my elderly neighbour rushed out of his house, screamed repeatedly to a startled passer-by, "I'm going to rip your fucking head off" and then, profusely apologising, "sorry, sorry mate, I thought you were someone else", he turns to me, "hello andy", "hello john", just a normal sort of day. Then last evening I was collecting leeks from my scrupulously organic veg-plot whilst immersed in a fog of toxic fumes caused by the kids in the house behind burning larger items of plasticised furniture from their mother's house. So much for people who do not consider whether their shit is revolutionary.

As for "V" I haven't seen it. I do think there is a danger in "decadence" as a political position, its epitome is addiction to heroin; there has to be a tension between pleasure and renunciation.

I would agree with Red's position in the post above on what is important and what is not, and what is revolutionary and what is not. I am not entirely as my writing would suggest, it sketches out the bits where I don't exist. I am naturally an ascetic but to correct this I like to map the necessity for french dainties.

I give you a quote from Otto Ruhle, I think you would really like where he's coming from... it could be useful for bridging the space between an interest in communism and surrealism. And if you are interested in a collaborative effort in this direction I am always open to offers...

Quote:   "Only in the factory is the worker of today a real proletarian, and as such a revolutionary within the meaning of the proletarian-socialist revolution. Outside the factory he is a petty-bourgeois, involved in a petty-bourgeois milieu and middle-class habits of life, dominated by petty-bourgeois ideology. He has grown up in bourgeois families, been educated in a bourgeois school, nourished on the bourgeois spirit. Marriage is a bourgeois penal institution.....( etc. etc)... If we group the worker according to living areas and streets, with the party and trade union membership, then we only find him as a petty bourgeois. At best we get him along to distribute a leaflet, to a peaceful demonstration, hardly anything more. He prefers to avoid fighting or retreats quickly. "The leaders ought to fight," he says in his cowardice, "that's what they"re paid for."

In the factory the worker is another person. There he confronts the capitalist face to face, feels the fist on his neck, is irritated, embittered, hostile. If a conflict breaks out here, he cannot shirk so easily. He is under the control of others, subject to the general influence, is carried away by the rest and holds his own. Revolutionary disposition and revolutionary determination coincide here."

From the Bourgeois to the Proletarian Revolution
http://www.marxists.org/archive/ruhle/1924/ruhle01.htm

pilpil

navigator

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 1:13 am
Of course you're right pil pil. That's one of the reasons I secretly enjoy reading about Marx's kid and booze-filled squalidly bourgeois domestic life. (I know what they say, but from what I've read he and Jenny really did dig each other) I don't know why I was so whiney yesterday about the lack of a ready-made personalized utopia. I went home and made some tabouli with well-chopped fresh mint, listened to some Spaceman 3, taking drugs to make music to take drugs to etc. and all was as well as could be BTR, to return to the food topic at hand. I'll check out the Ruhle. nav

foga

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 3:01 am
red - thanks for that post, definitely somewhat clarifying.

I am not sure i framed my question clearly, and i'm even less sure that the question is relevant to anyone but myself.

you explained - somewhat - your perceived difference between what is revolutionary and what isn't. regardless of how one defines "revolutionary" (or radical, etc), my main question is this: why do people feel such a need to place individuals (and/or actions and/or projects etc) into these neat and tidy little "boxes"? again, it is one thing to use commonly understood shorthand (how commonly understood is always questionable), but it is entirely another to create some identifying, usually fairly rigid, limiting conceptual box into which people, ideas, projects, actions, lifeways, etc are placed. i know that may sound abstract and all, but i guess i just haven't quite figured out how to articulate my views on this very clearly yet.

you also seemed to be defending your perspective against being called moralistic. when i mentioned the use of certain labels (eg, revolutionary) as often being used to judge or dismiss the projects/activities/perspectives of others, i certainly wasn't thinking in moralistic terms - not consciously at any rate. i think of moralism as concerning/contextualizing the "objective" rather than the "subjective". let me be very clear - i reject moralism completely (i also reject the notion that anyone can actually be objective). and although i no doubt retain (sometimes overwhelming) residues of my conditioning by this fucked up world (of which i see capitalism as only a part - albeit a sizable one), i surely don't think of myself as moralistic. but if someone does perceive me that way, i want to be called on it so i can look at where I am with it. does my perspective seem moralistic to you? if so, please elaborate. perhaps that's a discussion for another thread.

anyways, again i wanna say that i appreciate this thread.

foga

sea weed

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 4:34 am
Hi Red, (and others),

You wrote:  
..."some/many/most of the worthwhile things that we are doing don't need the label revolutionary and don't benefit from it."

Good point. I agree. But could you name some that do?

Also you say that being revolutionary doesn't mean anything more than having a particular slant on the present social order. For the moment I also agree with you on that. Of course they don't have any obligation to do any particular thing: leaflet, burn suvs, homeskool, rob banks, grow their own food, publish a 'zine, visualize collapse, ride an insurrectionary wave, throw a wooden shoe into the works, stand up, speak out or write a protest song.

And yet somehow this doesn't seem entirely accurate. We (friends) sometimes say that there are philosophical anarchists, i.e. those that feet no compelling urge or responsibility to act on their beliefs/dreams/knowledge/desires and there are revolutionary anarchists (those that feel compelled or responsible to act on them). Of course one might experience both phases in the course of a lifetime, but we perceived essential differences. I'm not sure what I think at the moment. How about others?

I also have to say that I need some convincing of the usefulness of this widely used expression at this forum: ATR.

It seems to assume ( the use of the) that there will definitely be a revolution. Wouldn't that be a rather deterministic or scientific assumption? I'm sure there were dispossessed laborers in a Sumerian work gang thousands of years ago who assured their friends: " Don't worry, ATR we'll get our lives back, after all, this nightmare can't last long." Thousands of years ago.

Perhaps ARA, After A Revolution might be more appropriate. A use of the expression as a speculative notion/concept. That is also an acknowledgement that there might never be a revolution. This makes the question of what we (people, not just revolutionaries) could do here and now more relevant.

Pilpil: You strung me along! You collect wild food (nettles) and garden ( leeks) and are familiar with Whitman!

seaweed

RedHughs

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 7:37 pm

Foga: my main question is this: why do people feel such a need to place individuals (and/or actions and/or projects etc) into these neat and tidy little "boxes"? again, it is one thing to use commonly understood shorthand (how commonly understood is always questionable), but it is entirely another to create some identifying, usually fairly rigid, limiting conceptual box into which people, ideas, projects, actions, lifeways, etc are placed. i know that may sound abstract and all, but i guess i just haven't quite figured out how to articulate my views on this very clearly yet.

Red: OK, I am guessing that you are connecting this to your critique of class-based analysis. I would say first-up that I personally don't feel any need to sort individuals today into bourgeois and proletariat. With some, it might be obvious but with others its a gray-area. At the same time, the main sorting that happens today is done by the system itself - how much money, skills and connections a person has is pretty much given and determines how things happen. It may not alway be neat and tidy but it is pretty real. In the situation of an insurrection, things would be more clear cut in a sense - folks would be fighting on one side or another or they would be hiding. The situation would then create the "box".

Foga: you also seemed to be defending your perspective against being called moralistic. when i mentioned the use of certain labels (eg, revolutionary) as often being used to judge or dismiss the projects/activities/perspectives of others, i certainly wasn't thinking in moralistic terms - not consciously at any rate. i think of moralism as concerning/contextualizing the "objective" rather than the "subjective". let me be very clear - i reject moralism completely (i also reject the notion that anyone can actually be objective). and although i no doubt retain (sometimes overwhelming) residues of my conditioning by this fucked up world (of which i see capitalism as only a part - albeit a sizable one), i surely don't think of myself as moralistic.

Red: So are you are saying that moralism is simply claiming that your personal judgements are objective/universal. That seems pretty shallow to me. All one has to do to escape moralism is put "I believe that..." in front of all their opinions. Judge as much, a person will naturally act as if their most closely held subjective beliefs are "objectively" true. We could go off into some ridiculous philosophical tangent, so I'll leave it as this.

Anyway, considering that you are defining morality quite differently than me, I should clarify that I when I call something "revolutionary", it is not to judgement on a universal scale of desireability or undersireabiliity, since I don't believe such a scale exists. And this doesn't require us to agree on what being moralistic is.

Hope this clarifies,

Red

fendersen

 Post subject: Revolution vs Dropping Out
PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 6:46 pm
Revolution vs Dropping Out
Quote:   People who talk about revolution and class struggle without referring explicitly to everyday life, without understanding what is subversive about love and what is positive in the refusal of constraints, such people have corpses in their mouths. - Raul Vaneigem

Council communism and its cousin, anarcho-syndicalism, and most of the rest of the revolutionary isms which concentrate on class-struggle want to liberate proletariats from their bosses - from their relation to capital. Sounds great, right? The worker is to become the dominant class. Why not instead liberate the worker from work? Because we love our civilization and its toys and can't imagine the toil of producing for our own sustenance and enjoyment. Someone must toil. By all means, don't shut down the factory or farm, let them be managed by the workers and farmers themselves. Thus, we don't liberate the peasant or proletariat, we have liberated product and capital so it can be spread about 'evenly' and we have liberated ourselves from toil. ATR, workers will continue to toil out of an enlightened sense of social responsibility - a moral constraint. "What's good for GM (general management) is good for the country - the collective - the world".

My own opinion is that it is not sufficient to work out revolutionary tactic and strategy, bearing in mind that no historic revolution has liberated workers as-a-class. But refusal is both necessary and sufficient. If the revolutionary is not willing to pursue his/her struggle outside of the system of exploitation, there will never be any liberation. This is why I prefer the term, "insurrection". It suggests action, and the most subversive and effective insurrectionary act is refusal. To actually refuse is nothing more than dropping out of the exploitative system. It means saying "no" to our own exploitation and to our willingness to exploit others. This idea is often counterpoised as "anti-technology" or "anti-civ" or "primitivism". This counter-position discounts human creativity, mutuality and desire. The liberation of the worker from work frees and enables his/her creativity and real mutuality. I can guarantee that if you shut down all the guitar factories and send the workers home, we would still be playing guitars, only better ones crafted with subversive love. There will always be luthiers, tinkerers, craftsmen, artists, goatherders and gardeners if they are left free to pursue their desires. Is it the task of the revolutionary to organize them and manage them or even to instill a self-empowerment ("taking the responsibility for supervising our own exhaustion and contributing to the mechanism of our own exploitation" - Kamunist Kranti) to order their arrangements?

Seaweed's autonomous communities are local. Any de-centralized alternative to locality requires federation (permanent organization?) and therefore compromise (exploitation?) to maintain itself. It is still the state. Even "socialism from the bottom-up" will produce a stalinism where everyone's name is "Little Joe" - the proletariat. It is a world without novelty and adventure. It is a world for Prozac (from prosaic - 'matter-of-fact, straightforward, without imagination and spirit, dull).

I would like to close with this additional thought:

Quote:   It is intriguing how many of the dispositions usually attributed to human nature are intrinsic conditions of symbolic discourse, and have in that regard some claims to universality without the necessity of biology. This seems especially evident in the sociology of the linguistic "shifters": "I" and "you,"...The person using the pronoun "I" thereby constitutes space, time and objects (reference) from his or her point of view " egotism, or even the will to power. One's interlocutor does the same, an alternative assertion of world-making authority " competition.

The same alternation (can also be) recognized as the reversibility of "I" and "you," " reciprocity or altruism. The mutuality of personhood is implied by this interchange of subject positions " sociability. Symbolic discourse contains within itself the elementary principles of human social interaction. - Marshal Sahlins

fendersen

RedHughs

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 7:37 pm
Quote:   Council communism and its cousin, anarcho-syndicalism, and most of the rest of the revolutionary isms which concentrate on class-struggle want to liberate proletariats from their bosses - from their relation to capital. Sounds great, right? The worker is to become the dominant class. Why not instead liberate the worker from work?

Why liberate anyone from anything? If folks want liberation, they should go out and get it themselves. Actually, I think even the more intelligent syndicalists would say this. and any decent council communist talks about the abolition of classes, not the rule of the working class. And really, I think just about every regular here already wants the abolition of work. You're shooting blanks.

Quote:   My own opinion is that it is not sufficient to work out revolutionary tactic and strategy, bearing in mind that no historic revolution has liberated workers as-a-class.

Uh, that might have something to do with the failure of all previous revolutions.

Quote:   But refusal is both necessary and sufficient.

I had a friend who would regularly took her clothes off and stopped traffic. This seemed a pretty basic refusal of capitalist and "civilzed" social relations. Unfortunately, it was not sufficient to put an end to these relations (if only it was, we'd be done). It was sufficient for the forces of repression to lock her up.

Seems to refute your theory of "necessary and sufficient" - QED.

Best Wishes,

Red

fendersen

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 10:43 pm
Excuse my naivete, Red, I didn't know that everyone else who reads the antipolitics forum thought as you do. I am glad to learn you are for the abolition of work. Then we are also in agreement. Sometimes you just have to shoot a few blanks to see what others are up to. But if there is so much clarity and agreement, why even participate in a forum?

Some revolutions did not fail. For example, the reformist revolution against papal rule (which accompanied and overshadowed the widespread peasant revolts), the bourgeois against monarchy throughout europe, the slave revolt in Haiti, the land-holding gentry in North america against the british, the revolution against the tsar in russia, the people's revolution in China, the cuban revolution against Batista. Workers fought and died in these successful revolutions and called them struggles for liberation. We can only say the revolutions failed because the peoples struggles for their own liberation were co-opted by the revolutionary avant guard.

If everyone collectively disrobed and stopped traffic, there would soon be no more traffic. Wouldn't you agree that each individual in this mass refusal/disrobing would also have had to disrobe? QED, as you say.

Quote:   If folks want liberation, they should go out and get it themselves.

So the revolution is not about liberation? Not about autonomy? Not about refusal? Resistance is futile - the forces of repression will lock you up! Tell that to the folks in Canada who are also stopping traffic. Of course they seem to understand what is meant by mutuality, interchange and sociability.

foga

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 7:13 pm
though i agree with much of what fendersen has said, i would have to agree with red (begrudgingly, since i so enjoy disagreeing ;-) that saying "refusal is sufficient" is not... well... sufficient. refusal IS necessary, for sure. i think it is even sufficient for some situations. but i can unfortunately never see it being sufficient to abolish the institutions of domination that "rule" this planet.

yes, if everyone refused car culture by stripping naked in the roads, that would no doubt create some real and substantial insurrectionary possibilities. but that would require that everyone desire the same thing, using the same tactics, with (assumedly) the same or similar objective. not likely, and in my world, not even necessarily desirable. it requires a massification, a homogenization of desire. now, if everyone decided to simultaneously refuse whatever they wanted, however they wanted... NOW we're talking.

red - it is not at all clear to me that many folks on this board desire the abolition of work, though I am not saying the opposite is true either. only that i have not seen many posts where that was clear to me (granted, i have not read even close to all the posts). when so many perspectives are so focused on class and how that plays out in our lives, where is the implication - or better, direct statement - that the desire is to abolish work along with all other authoritarian institutions? along with a bunch of (to me boring) class analysis, i have seen much discussion of solidarity with workers, etc, which i understand and sometimes feel aligned with. but given that most "workers" have as their main objective "better conditions" (i'm summarizing with that phrase), where does the desire to abolish work come into the picture? in order for me to have true solidarity with someone, their objectives need to be somewhat in line with my own. unfortunately, that is not true for the majority of the "working class". that is not to say i dismiss anyone because they have different objectives - at least not until i have had the opportunity to talk to them and discover how open they are to new ways of living and relating, and acting on them.

foga

ps: red - the morality discussion is for another time/place, there is no clarity for now.

hmm

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 7:52 pm
foga: I think action precedes consciousness.

aragorn

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 9:10 pm
sea weed wrote:  
I also have to say that I need some convincing of the usefulness of this widely used expression at this forum: ATR.

It seems to assume ( the use of the) that there will definitely be a revolution. Wouldn't that be a rather deterministic or scientific assumption? I'm sure there were dispossessed laborers in a Sumerian work gang thousands of years ago who assured their friends: " Don't worry, ATR we'll get our lives back, after all, this nightmare can't last long." Thousands of years ago.

Perhaps ARA, After A Revolution might be more appropriate. A use of the expression as a speculative notion/concept. That is also an acknowledgement that there might never be a revolution. This makes the question of what we (people, not just revolutionaries) could do here and now more relevant.

Sorry to chime in infrequently. I have been travelling and will continue to be sporadic over the next few months.

I use the term ATR in exactly the idealist sense you are criticizing here. This is intentional. I absolutely agree with the criticism of thinking that we can solve problems ATR. That we have only great things to look forward to, that all of our troubles will just fade away...

I use the term with tongue firmly in cheek.

It also is the name of a zine that I did long ago when I was young and embarrasingly pro-situ.

Aragorn!

freak

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 7:54 am
This is bullshit. This isn't LIFE. This is the secret misery of Every Day Consumer-living. We sit around in capitalist dwellings, the city is a commodity-playground. We sit around and chat and discuss and argue while we shit in our drinking water. we buy our food in packages. We communicate through computers cause it's too hard to find time and space to meet face-to-face with a group of people. And so....it goes.......and I am SICK OF IT. I want to live off the land. Take back the land from those who steal it from us. I want to live in a way that doesn't poison the earth and me. And the city--suburb--"urban sprawl", the endless rule of Private Property makes it hard cause you need money to get land. What the Fuck does one do? AAARRGhghhhh

bzfgt

 Post subject: farlo durare
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 3:46 pm

Perhaps you will find this helpful? I do:

"The inferno of the living is not something that will be: if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space."

fendersen

 Post subject: Re: farlo durare
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 4:17 pm

Cool, where does this come from bzfgt?

Here are some things I've found:

Quote:   The framework of generalized appearances or, if you will, the essential lie required for the development of privative appropriation (i.e., the appropriation of things by means of the appropriation of beings) is an intrinsic aspect of the dialectic of sacrifice, and the root of the infamous separation that this involves. The mistake of the philosophers was that they built an ontology and the notion of an unchanging human nature on the basis of a mere social accident, a purely contingent necessity. History has been seeking to eliminate privative appropriation ever since the conditions which called for it ceased to exist. But the metaphysical maintenance of the philosophers' error continues to work to the advantage of the masters, of the 'eternal' ruling minority.

Those who organize the world organize both suffering and the anaesthetics for dealing with it; this much is common knowledge. Most people live like sleepwalkers, torn between the gratification of neurosis and the traumatic prospect of a return to real life. Things are now reaching the point, however, where the maintenance of survival calls for so many analgesics that the organism approaches saturation point. But the magical analogy is more apt here than the medical: practitioners of magic fully expect a backlash effect in such circumstances, and we should expect the same. It is because of the imminence of this upheaval that I compare the present conditioning of human beings to a massive bewitchment.

In the consumer's manipulated view of things -the view of conditioning -the lack of life appears as insufficient consumption of power and insufficient self-consumption in the service of power. As a palliative to the absence of real life we are offered death on an instalment plan. A world that condemns us to a bloodless death is naturally obliged to propagate the taste for blood. Where survival sickness reigns, the desire to live lays hold spontaneously of the weapons of death: senseless murder and sadism flourish. For passion destroyed is reborn in the passion for destruction. If these conditions persist, no one will survive the era of survival. Already the despair is so great that many people would go along with the Antonin Artaud who said: "l bear the stigma of an insistent death that strips real death of all terror for me."...Should one kill oneself? Killing oneself, though, implies some sense of resistance: one must possess a value that one can destroy. Where there is nothing, the destructive actions themselves crumble to nothing...So general is survival sickness that the slightest concentration of lived experience could not fail to unite the largest number of people in a common will to live. The negation of despair would of necessity become the construction of a new life. The rejection of economic logic (which only economizes on life) would of necessity entail the death of economics and carry us beyond the realm of survival. - Raul Vaneigem

***

I refuse the role of 'revolutionary' which presents self-action as the solution and thereby reproduces spectacular representations of cause and effect. In this way I reject 'strategy' because a strategic outlook implies hierarchy, it demands that the strategist sees things not as they are in themselves but as units functioning within the bigger picture. I absolutely refuse the bigger picture, I do not set my pieces against the pieces of my enemy, I reject the game entirely.

...those who resist present conditions resist present conditions and that's an end of it. It is what they do, there is no need to add on to this resistance a set of higher aims, which must in the end drag back 'resistance' into negotiation'. There is no teleology, there is no movement, there is no representationalism in the rebels actions, there is only the act of resistance itself which has no significance but for those engaged. They fight for themselves, for their sense of themselves and they fight because it is what they are driven to. If they fight because they believe they can overthrow present conditions they are wrong, in that belief they reproduce present conditions.

...if resistance is constituted in the terms expressed, what is immediately apparent in our everyday life, what grates our soul, then insurrection is an event not constituted in everyday terms. The "dialectical" understanding of "revolution of everyday life" is surely the supercession, that is the abolition of everyday life and its struggles not its "reclaiming" or "self-management" as is so often the anarchist formulation. It is simply not good enough to explain atrocity committed in terms of atrocity endured, if our intent is to escape all this...we should exist in a manner that they might find in us a stance that is...pro-human both individually and in common. Anything else is just strategy. - Pilpil

***

In the night of power, its glow holds the hostile forces at bay: cultural conditioning, every type of specialisation and Weltanschauungen are inevitably totalitarian. Everyone has the absolute weapon. However, it must be used with circumspection, like certain charms. If one approaches it from the standpoint of lies and oppression - back to front - then it is no more than bad clowning: an artistic consecration. The acts which destroy power are the same as the acts which construct free individual will but their range is different just as in strategy preparation for defense is obviously different from preparation for attack.

The job of a consistent revolutionary group, far from being the creation of a new type of conditioning, is to establish protected areas where the intensity of conditioning tends toward zero. Making each person aware of their creative potential will be a hapless task unless recourse is had to qualitative shock tactics. Which is why we expect nothing from the mass parties and other groupings based on the principle of quantitative recruitment. Something can be expected, on the other hand, from a micro- society formed on the basis of the radical acts or thought of its members, and maintained in a permanent state of practical readiness by means of strict theoretical discrimination. Cells successfully established along such lines would have every chance of wielding sufficient influence one day to free the creativity of the majority of the people. The despair of the anarchist terrorist must be changed into hope; those tactics, worthy of some medieval warrior, must be changed into a modern strategy. - Raul Vaneigem

sea weed

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 7:16 pm
There must then be two kinds of strategy. One which is a strategy that comes from self-labeled "revolutionaries"; strategy or strategies with a capital s. The other is simply the group of tactics used by a group of people to achieve whatever ends they are aiming for. These groups of people make no claim that their strategy (ies) are applicable anywhere else.

It is interesting that many of us at this forum see the label 'revolutionary' as similar to say 'tourist' or ' intellectual'.

aragorn wrote that: "I use the term ATR in exactly the idealist sense you are criticizing here. This is intentional. I absolutely agree with the criticism of thinking that we can solve problems ATR. That we have only great things to look forward to, that all of our troubles will just fade away...I use the term with tongue firmly in cheek. "

I don't get the sense that many others share this usage with you. Is that correct, any one else use ATR "tongue firmly in cheek"?

I offer this as a possibility: In the moment when one is rebelling one is a rebel. During a revolution, anyone who participates is a revolutionary. Outside of these real moments the labels rebel or revolutionary don't apply.

I disagree with Pilpil, as quoted by Fendersen, : "If they fight because they believe they can overthrow present conditions they are wrong, in that belief they reproduce present conditions."

I still believe that communism can happen in geographically isolated areas and that it can be achieved by populations resisting together. "Present conditions" are not the same everywhere.

seaweed

bzfgt

 Post subject: agreement time
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 7:35 pm

I agree with pilpil's quote in that we cannot simply overthrow present conditions, we must recognize that the future cannot be cranked out like a product made to our mold. But that doesn't mean resistance is futile and no change is possible. It does mean that rigorous, informed critique is a necessity---sadly, something almost entirely missing from the US anarchist milieu.

I agree with A! that ATR is kind of a half-serious term for me too, and I do not expect a cataclysmic revolution to come and alter everything.

I agree with Seaweed that "revolutionary" is a silly term when one is not in the process of revolt, and it says more about the psychological needs of the people who apply it to themselves than it says about anything else.

bzfgt

 Post subject: bertwd
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 7:42 pm

Fendersen: It's from Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino.

Seaweed: It sounds like you're conflating tactics and strategy. I think that there is always a glimpse of the future that steals into our actions, but utopianism can be violent and rigid, as pilpil points out in that wonderful passage. I also like what he says at the end about atrocity; I agree wholeheartedly.

Guest

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 2:42 am
pilpil wrote:  
"Anarchism/communism cannot be passed down through the generations, it is not a hereditary condition, certain phases of life have to be lived by the person themselves. "

When my son was about 11 years old he asked: " am i an anarchist? Is my sister?" To which i began to laugh. " Just tell me, he said annoyed. "Don't laugh." "You have to decide for yourself. What do you think, are you?"I asked. " I don't think so. But when I am older, i'm going to buy the anarchists some land, put a big fence around it, drop some food and a whole bunch of guns inside and then go get a job. I don't think i'll live there."

I guess he viewed anarchists as a bunch of lazy complainers who couldn't get their act together and get some land and live the way they wanted to so he was going to fix everything for us. I learned a lot from that short interaction.

Yet if one views primal societies as anarchistic/communistic, then you'd have to agree that people can be born into anarchy and in that sense it is passed through the generations, not by individuals or nuclear families, but by whole communities. What gets passed down through nuclear families is neurosis and ideology, although i think that there can also be a lot of love, friendship and sharing.

bzfgt wrote:  
"Seaweed: It sounds like you're conflating tactics and strategy. "

I'm not sure what you mean. Would you mind explaining?

seaweed

bzfgt

 Post subject: dig
PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 1:33 pm

From everything I've read about primal societies--pre-tribal societies, or foraging bands--the nuclear family was the basic social unit before the advent of tribalism.

Tactics and strategy are usually differentiated. A strategy is an overarching plan, and tactics are the techniques and manoeuvers that are used to advance toward a specific strategic goal.

fendersen

Quote:   If they fight because they believe they can overthrow present conditions they are wrong, in that belief they reproduce present conditions. - Pilpil

If I had said that, I think I would have meant that if our motivation does not come out of the desire to follow a path and live it, but instead is a mode (tactic/strategy) of attack, then our revolution is just a fetish - an appearance and therefore more of the spectacle. If one views the 'other' in terms of competition and discourse instead of mutuality and intercourse no new social relations will produce "authentic community". If we use power in order to destroy power, we become the powerful. Some folks would say "right on!", but I somehow see a contradiction. If we acquire the means, the skills and machines (ak-47's) to protect and defend our land, our property, then land-as-property is maintained. If we decide to live with the land instead of off the land, then what we think of as property becomes territory and that is nothing more than 'where we choose to live'. Then we defend ourselves, not our property. Property is a spook, and spooks cannot be overcome by means of force. They can only be exorcised. Earth liberation? Yes: Exorcise the spooks.

No single act of revolt or refusal has ever changed anything in the relationships of power except the players. In the same way, "The Great Man" of history has never existed. The closest approximations to "great men" or "great movements" have merely stated out loud what many others were already thinking. If one were to amass an army of superior force against the armies of capitalism and the state and thereupon defeat them, what will have changed? Yes, it would be a revolutionary victory, a greater power will have overcome a lesser power, but power remains and so does the urge to use it. As I've said before, we need to get the state out of our heads before we can get our heads out of the state. In this I am more optimistic than Red and Pilpil. If a sense of mutuality is incorporated, autonomous subsistence communities will not produce communism, they will be communism on a local level. It's a matter of how one chooses to live one's life and relate to others. That is the only revolution I fully endorse. Only this will allow us to abolish everyday life, and everyday life must be the starting point. We must learn to say "no!" - otherwise we are just pissing in the wind.

Seaweed, you said earlier that you don't live in an authentic community but a geographical one. It is the same here. My own comrades might live eight or forty miles away. But it is authentic, just not locally circumscribed.

Quote:   "seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space." - thanks bzfgt

It is not a matter of like-mindedness but an appreciation of diversity, self-sufficiency and interchange rather than uniformity, appropriation and exchange. Yes, land presents the greatest obstacle to establishing communities. Our own geographical, "not-inferno" communities can only exist because of modern transportation and long-distance communication technologies. If your son buys us a piece of land, we will be a zoo as far as everyone else is concerned. That is still a cage. Without a generalized access to land, we can still attempt to abolish our everyday life of competition and one-upmanship with others. Aside from squatting, which has become my choice, if enough of us could re-appropriate ourselves, refusing altogether to play the game, then space in which to live might become more readily available. So, I agree with both Seaweed and Pilpil. It is a perplexing quandary, this revolution.

Quote:   Throw out holiness and wisdom, and people will be a hundred times happier. Throw out morality and justice, and people will do the right thing. Throw out industry and profit, and there won't be any thieves. When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everybody will respect you. - Lao Tse

RedHughs

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 7:25 pm

Ah fenderson,

You have this knack of taking good points and making them absolute and thus false.

Quote:   If I had said that, I think I would have meant that if our motivation does not come out of the desire to follow a path and live it, but instead is a mode (tactic/strategy) of attack, then our revolution is just a fetish - an appearance and therefore more of the spectacle. If one views the 'other' in terms of competition and discourse instead of mutuality and intercourse no new social relations will produce "authentic community". If we use power in order to destroy power, we become the powerful.

The first sentence is definitely true. Without a sense of how we can live in a way that is fundamentally different from today's world, we just treating revolution as an opportunity to impose some blue print we happen to have become obsessed with. Fair enough. The part about power is sort-of true. One can indeed not fight the system with the logic of the system. The problem is "power" is a shitty metaphor for the logic of the system - the present world involves some people being powerful and others being powerless. A desirable world would involve everyone being powerful - if anything, the enemy is more "powerlessness" than power but both are fairly worthless floating abstractions. I call the present world sysm Capitalism but even if you don't like that term, you should find a SPECIFIC term for the present order - even "civilization" is more specific than power, which reeks of anarcho-moralism ("we will suceed when we become the ubber-humble ultra-self-deniers").

Quote:   No single act of revolt or refusal has ever changed anything in the relationships of power except the players.

Revolts altogether haven't ended the present order. But revolted have changed a lot, sometimes in ways we like, other times in ways we dislike. One of the things that annoys me most the anarcho critique of power is that since it looks at only the broad brush of power, it takes no interest in the rich diversity of present world (rich and diverse in ways that are perhaps horrific at the same time certainly). Thus it becomes nothing but the repetition of the matra "bad, bad, bad, it's all bad". Sure, it is something threatens the planet and the human with extinction but if you can't get enjoyment in the process of fighting it, your joyless fight against this order will fail. Indeed, seriousness is one germ that infects capitalists and activists equally.

This goes back to point of looking to a different logic than the logic of the present order. The only way I can see to project a different logic to the present order is to actually go with the flow of the world's energy in general. Capital is undoubtly fighting the logic of human existence and the logic of the natural world. But the natural world is not some anthropomorphic gaia thingy but merely something that is. From a budhist or a scientific viewpoint, trees don't scream when they die - the power we feel from existence of trees is the way that they just don't care.

Taking the opposite position to this society is seeing how all of its logic will play itself out. This includes both the system fighting against itself (crisis) and the system clashing against human existence (revolt). Depending on the flow of subversive energy, this kind of approach will be more active or more passive. This is counter to the prescriptive logic of either activism or spectatorhood.

Hmm, this went to "spiritual" concepts I've been playing with lately but what the heck, you folks heard it first.

Red

bzfgt

 Post subject: heavy
PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 8:28 pm
Quote:   Sure, it is something threatens the plant and the human with extinction but if you can't enjoyment in the process, your joyless fight against this order will fail.

Whoa...

fendersen

 Post subject: seriously
PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 10:30 pm
Red Hues,

"we will suceed when we become the ubber-humble ultra-self-deniers". This sounds like christianity. I seek to deny nothing but which I deem unimportant. It turns out I have abandoned much in the way of "things" (like tv and electric coffeemakers) but I live like a king. I used the word "power" to stay in the vein of the quotes I posted above by Vaneigem - it is the word he uses. I usually use the word "civilization", which to me is the logic of 'power' (force, authority), 'value' (capitalism) and 'growth' (progress) and "state", which I see as its apparatus. Vaneigem suggested that "power" (as in 'the powers that be', capitalism, the state, etc.) deals out "survival" to us. We should want more than that. I certainly do. The term I have used for this is "scarcity". I want abundance, which in my glossary, is the main attribute of 'nature'. I have no use for power, progress, or value (in things rather than relationships). I especially have no use for survival. It is a sickness. (There is my 'absolutism' for the day.)

Could it be that you object to talk of "subsistence" because of this term's etymology - 'a level below existence'? i'm sure Seaweed does not intend this meaning, and i certainly don't. We would probably be the last ones to suggest denial of any pleasure or enjoyment one could grab if it is not done to the detriment of another (except maybe to a cop). Subsistence farming is usually opposed to commercial farming - ie., it does not entail capitalist profit. I farm to thrive, not to merely exist or subsist or as a revolutionary strategy but i do not deny its revolutionary significance if many were to do likewise (and in this area, many do).

I think of myself as a nihilist, so i would not agree with your assessment of my making ideas "absolutes and thus false". It is probably my deficient literary style which causes the misconception (Sometimes it is, I agree, my own misconception in reading what others have said - i never claimed to be too awfully bright). I only try to extend a logic into a "truism" to illustrate how the things we fight against can be retained, even if we feel victorious in their annihilation. History often seems to bear this out. Maybe Pilpil would call this "absurdism". Your "looking to a different logic than the logic of the present order", Vaneigem called a "change of perspective". This is what i've been arguing for all along. Having said this, i find i agree with most of what you stated, especially about seriousness. We take ourselves altogether too seriously. How about this for a spiritual concept?

Quote:   Magicians, and their progeny the scientists, have always taken themselves and their subject in an orderly and sober manner, thereby disregarding an essential metaphysical balance. When magicians learn to approach philosophy as a malleable art instead of an immutable Truth, and learn to appreciate the absurdity of man's endeavours, then they will be able to pursue their art with a lighter heart, and perhaps gain a clearer understanding of it, and therefore gain more effective magic...The human race will begin solving it's problems on the day that it ceases taking itself so seriously. " Gregory Hill

fendersen

pilpil

 Post subject: Re: agreement time
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 5:27 pm
bzfgt wrote:  
I agree with Seaweed that "revolutionary" is a silly term when one is not in the process of revolt, and it says more about the psychological needs of the people who apply it to themselves than it says about anything else.

Whether "revolution" has merely a psychological function or not is a question that should not be taken too lightly. From my perspective revolution indicates a limit to activity, it refers to a sphere of events which lie beyond and before the decision based actions of self-defined subject positions. The concept also allows for a more developed understanding of reproduction, capture, failure, determination, ie the processes of society itself, as these terms refer to the relation between small groups/local events and the world-wide productive relation. The institution of the concept of revolution as an objective event within theory also allows for the recognition of the actions of "others", those who are not motivated by the ideas we are motivated by, that is those who are not motivated by ideas at all. I agree that there is little point in calling oneself a "revolutionary", so I have used the term "pro-revolutionary" by which I mean one in favour of general revolutionary change to the general social relation but who does not have the capacity to effect that change. We might equally observe that those who have no place for the concept of revolution in their ideas and insist instead on emphasising a subjective sphere of activity, crudely deny the process of human society in general terms and thus reveal the psychological function of "activity" in their position.

pilpil

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 5:35 pm

Hi fenderson,

I was going to respond to this point by point from a 'communist' position but I wrote something else instead...

fendersen wrote:  Revolution vs Dropping Out

Quote:   People who talk about revolution and class struggle without referring explicitly to everyday life, without understanding what is subversive about love and what is positive in the refusal of constraints, such people have corpses in their mouths. - Raul Vaneigem

Council communism and its cousin, anarcho-syndicalism, and most of the rest of the revolutionary isms which concentrate on class-struggle want to liberate proletariats from their bosses - from their relation to capital. Sounds great, right? The worker is to become the dominant class. Why not instead liberate the worker from work? Because we love our civilization and its toys and can't imagine the toil of producing for our own sustenance and enjoyment. Someone must toil. By all means, don't shut down the factory or farm, let them be managed by the workers and farmers themselves. Thus, we don't liberate the peasant or proletariat, we have liberated product and capital so it can be spread about 'evenly' and we have liberated ourselves from toil. ATR, workers will continue to toil out of an enlightened sense of social responsibility - a moral constraint. "What's good for GM (general management) is good for the country - the collective - the world".

My own opinion is that it is not sufficient to work out revolutionary tactic and strategy, bearing in mind that no historic revolution has liberated workers as-a-class. But refusal is both necessary and sufficient. If the revolutionary is not willing to pursue his/her struggle outside of the system of exploitation, there will never be any liberation. This is why I prefer the term, "insurrection". It suggests action, and the most subversive and effective insurrectionary act is refusal. To actually refuse is nothing more than dropping out of the exploitative system. It means saying "no" to our own exploitation and to our willingness to exploit others. This idea is often counterpoised as "anti-technology" or "anti-civ" or "primitivism". This counter-position discounts human creativity, mutuality and desire. The liberation of the worker from work frees and enables his/her creativity and real mutuality. I can guarantee that if you shut down all the guitar factories and send the workers home, we would still be playing guitars, only better ones crafted with subversive love. There will always be luthiers, tinkerers, craftsmen, artists, goatherders and gardeners if they are left free to pursue their desires. Is it the task of the revolutionary to organize them and manage them or even to instill a self-empowerment

Each defined position seeks to draw to itself only those lines that reaffirm what it is. In order to sustain itself in discussion the position must access subsidiary lines of argument which immediately become the mainstay of what it, as a position, must be. But in defining itself as a position it also inadvertently draws to itself other minor or "neutral" lines which it shares with radically different positions. These neutral lines do not immediately effect a crisis within the position as a position because they are, for that moment, neutral. Even so, no subject position ever seeks to appropriate or rehearse those lines which actively contradict itself; this capacity for aggregating all lines together lies within the generality. There are positions taken up within an antagonistic moment but the antagonism itself is held within a specified formation of space and time.

It is within this capacity for aggregation of multiple lines, this general "tendency" to determine subjective reception of lines, that society is located. The decision to emphasise a line positively or negatively is a capacity of the subject position but the possibility of the position itself is determined by the general system... the position is fated, tragic. It is this clinging to its lines, this negligence of neutral lines, this active rejection of lines not appropriate to itself, that does for it in the end. Positions are fixed by lines but the transitory intensity of lines is attributable to the moments within the social relation and not by subject positions.

As an example, a "subsistence" position will not find itself arguing for "workers control", on the contrary, it will clearly demonstrate how "workers" control" actually reproduces capitalism at the level of objective "production". Subsistence as an anti-capitalist position is defined to a greater degree in its rejection of the anti-capitalist potential of workers councils. The knowledge of the subsistence position's critique of "the left wing of capital" is remarkable and prescient. On the other hand, it is fated to find its own understanding blocked on how the categories of its solutions also "reproduce" capitalism, the lines of that particular critique make up the position which defines itself against "primitivism".

The constitutive movement of the generality can be discerned in simultaneous appropriations of the same line, e.g. on council communism, by positions which in no way can be understood to be "subsistence", the text "Self-organisation is the first act of the revolution..." by Theorie Communiste to name one. Certainly, several different defined positions no longer find it possible to advocate "workers" councils" as most left communist groups in the '60's and '70's once did. Something has changed; some of the lines which defined us then have since died. At the level of lines and their distribution amongst subject positions the mechanics of the generality impose almost any combination of divergences/convergences, the unlikely mutual owning of lines, unaccountable blindspots and blockages, then track-jumpings/parallel movements.

Coincidences within theoretical findings from different positions, such as that on "workers" autonomy", may indicate a continued impoverishment of experience amongst those who reject capitalism or it may signal a shift in the general conditions which all "revolutionary" groupings are more or less determined by. Either way the phenomenon of lines going cold and how this gives the shivers to subject positions is significant. As we become aware of the strange, otherwise incompatible alliances that are caused by it, the question of what to do about it is evidently raised.

pilpil

a person

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 9:39 pm
Hi there,

Often I think of revolutionary change occurring along lines similar to biological/natural processes. In the unnatural world of simple, invented axioms parallel lines never meet. But in the multiverse of lived experience, of possibilities yet occurring, what isn't possible? My short lived experience tells me that paradox is part of life. On a sphere a triangle has more than 180 degrees.

Revolution or revolutionary change (Pilpil, do you make a distinction?) may be the result of a tornado or a flood or a hurricane or a slow burning fire or a series of catastrophes or a plague or a virus or a combination of all of the above or whatever. I don't mean literally. The institution of revolution as an objective event may be useful for our discussions, but I think revolution as a single global event is only one of many possible scenarios so why focus on it?

Should everyone at the levers of production, should all obedient citizens, all us producers and consumers and managers and criminals, decide, within a short period of time, that we no longer believe in "capitalism" or "authoritarian social relations" or "civilized ways", who knows what doors will be open, what worlds will be possible. At this point globalization is in a sense the globalization of proletarian conditions, so there may well be a global response sooner than we think. In other words as soon as capital has truly colonized the entire planet there may be planetary revolt against the rule of capital.

But what about all ideologies, what about all forms of domination and colonizing forces? The rule of capital is not the only harmful force in our lives, nor is it necessarily the one on which all others rest. In fact capital might be contained by other larger forces that we should be examining, like civilization. There seem to be some pretty strong arguments for this point of view. Does capitals strength rely on urban ways? I think so. Does capitals strength rely on our acceptance of ideology in general, I think so. So friends and neighbors get together wherever they live and create some anarchic space, unlearn, re-learn, shed some armor, open themselves up for intimacy with others, seize some territory within which to sustain themselves. You can call this leftism or moralism or naivete. For me it is "in the mean time" and it is also "the only time", in other words it is right now.

What appear to be antagonistic forces may in some instances be complimentary or share aims. The concept of organically self-organized subsistence ways is not being put forth as anything other than what a group of friends/neighbors in my bio-region have decided to describe as a means to"communism" or "anarchy". It is part of our way to our communism or anarchy because it responds to the totality of our environment. It isn't a static concept, but an ever changing response/dream of many. Some of the participants in this thread seem to think I am suggesting it is "the strategy" for "revolutionary change" everywhere. This isn't the case. I am being beaten up everyday by the present social order. I want to get together with others where I live and say no to the bullies who are doing this. I want to examine with others why we take it, why we are afraid. So far we"ve come up with the fact that we are afraid of punishment, we feel alone and impoverished and we are surrounded by others who don't share this perspective or who can't bring themselves to talk about the pain. So we want to make space for expressions of anger and pain and a place to share our desires and dreams and perspectives.

While on this voyage for the past several years some of us realized that there were anarchists/communists who lived right here, in this bio-region for thousands of years. Their conquest is very recent, in fact many of them are still resisting that conquest. So it made sense for us to look at their ways, to get in touch, to learn from these elder anarchists. What we see and understand is that it is possible to create your bio-region and be simultaneously created by it. In fact, by trying to live according to this principle/set of ways, one ends up simultaneously revolting and creating anarchy. It seems to make sense to share this with other pro-revolutionaries. I have learned a great deal from the council communists (I used to do shifts at La Sociale, Montreals ultra left bookshop) as I have from the Taoists, anarchists, Indigenous philosophers, etc.

seaweed

RedHughs

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 8:43 am
seaweed wrote:  
Should everyone at the levers of production, should all obedient citizens, all us producers and consumers and managers and criminals, decide, within a short period of time, that we no longer believe in "capitalism" or "authoritarian social relations" or "civilized ways", who knows what doors will be open, what worlds will be possible?

Uh, I don't know but perhaps a bit of research into situations where this happened would give us SOME idea. Why dick around with speculation when you can have some concrete information. Just a friggin' suggestion...

seaweed wrote:  
The institution of revolution as an objective event may be useful for our discussions, but I think revolution as a single global event is only one of many possible scenarios so why focus on it?

Well...

Looking at those situations where things have been in ferment... the nineteen sixties and seventies, the nineteen teens through thirties, heck even the uprising in Argentina in the last few years...

Well... the ruling class very systematically targets "revolutionary" (radical, anti-system) aspects of such ferment. This ruling class reaction uses violence, lies and stealth, it calculates weak points and attacks them verociously. It unifies as a counter force versus an often divided alternative. It is ruthless where those seeking a new world are often very giving in victory, hoping that the mere show of their power and the presence of their new order will win the old order over (we can see this in Argentina recently as well as Spain in the nineteen thirties).

Seriously, I am interested in all the possibilities that appear when the dispossessed (for want of a better word) abandon their loyalty to capitalist relations. Beautiful events, full of promise, often follow. I sorely wish I was born earlier so that I could have experienced the Summer of Love. It is simply that some kind of unity around the rebels is very necessary at that point or such events descend into the madness that you can see at the end of many, if not all, of these events - the cult madness of nineteen seventies, the massive manipulation involved in the Red Brigades and the end of the "slow sixty eight" in Italy. etc.

The possibility of ending this society isn't some potentiality that has never appeared before. It has appeared numberous times and the challenges are well worth noticing.

seaweed wrote:  
But what about all ideologies, what about all forms of domination and colonizing forces? The rule of capital is not the only harmful force in our lives, nor is it necessarily the one on which all others rest.

Well, it depends on what you mean by "rest". Crude economic interests certainly don't determine everyone's behavior certainly. But the importance of capital isn't in economic interests directly determining things but in creating the world where all the other shit is basically inevitable. Basically, by capitalism, I mean the over-all, self-reproducing system, not the pull of immediate money interests.

There have been some long threads on this theme but we can discuss it further if you wish.

Best Wishes,

Red

a person

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 6:16 pm
Fendersen:What i meant by not having authentic community is that i believe that authentic community is only possible without the limits and pressures and coerced direction of our lives that are imposed by the dominant/dominating reality, by rulers and their civilized ways, etc. In other words from my perspective genuine community can only exist in liberated areas. This doesn't mean that i don't have deep friendships, etc., but true kinship i believe takes generations. I encourage pro-revolutionaries (and people generally) to stay put in one place, to learn about their bio-region, to commit to deep friendships, to build trust with people so that resistance naturally grows out of relationships and not as the result of leftist activism. The reason i make this suggestion is that it has worked for me. By place i don't mean strictly within a small village or neighborhood, but within a region.

What i would like to ask (primarily Pilpil and Red,but anyone else of course) is this:When you use the term revolution does it always/ever imply strictly a global event? If not, then what is the minimun sized geographical area that you think revolution/communism can occur within?

This is important because if you think that it can occur within a region, for instance, then there is no naivete or leftism involved in intentionally self-organizing with friends/neighbors/comrades with the explicit aim of seceeding from the nation state and the ideologies that control one's region. Strategy then isn't a limiting force or a leftist means/concept, but a necessary ongoing discussion along the way for alliances of people within a region to use to free themselves. However if you think revolution/communism is only possible within say, a country, or globally, then discussing strategy becomes silly, because there are too many forces and variables to consider.

I think that a region can revolt, can succeed, and can together participate in creating a new world for themselves. Naturally, such a region would potentially be perpetually on the defensive if other regions/cities/nations didn't also revolt, but nevertheless, for those living within the liberated region(s), their life experience would be communistic/anarchic.

seaweed

RedHughs

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 7:43 pm
Quote:   What i would like to ask (primarily Pilpil and Red,but anyone else of course) is this:When you use the term revolution does it always/ever imply strictly a global event? If not, then what is the minimun sized geographical area that you think revolution/communism can occur within?

This is important because if you think that it can occur within a region, for instance, then there is no naivete or leftism involved in intentionally self-organizing with friends/neighbors/comrades with the explicit aim of seceeding from the nation state and the ideologies that control one's region. Strategy then isn't a limiting force or a leftist means/concept, but a necessary ongoing discussion along the way for alliances of people within a region to use to free themselves. However if you think revolution/communism is only possible within say, a country, or globally, then discussing strategy becomes silly, because there are too many forces and variables to consider.

I think that a region can revolt, can succeed, and can together participate in creating a new world for themselves. Naturally, such a region would potentially be perpetually on the defensive if other regions/cities/nations didn't also revolt, but nevertheless, for those living within the liberated region(s), their life experience would be communistic/anarchic.

Obviously, any communist uprising would happen in smaller areas than the entire world. Certainly, there could be pockets that appeared here or there.

BUT as you acknowledge, whatever the size of a communist uprising, the rest of the capitalist world would not remain static but make every effort to crush such Islands. The Zapatistas may not be exactly my ideal but they are close enough to anti-capitalists to have their entire land sarounded by soldiers subjecting them to constant harassment. The Soviet Union was invaded by about ten different countries and essentially under siege for its entire existence. The USSR is not ideal or model by any means but it's experience shows the situation that even a large chunk of the world going authentically communist would face - indeed, since a communist society would do better not being a military society, it would face further problems.

"perpetually on the defensive" is actually rather optimistic. Quickly crushed is closer to the experiance of previous revolts. The USSR existed before the present doctrine of actively invading all threats to US (and world capitalist) security. Even the Zapatistas are a-typical in that media campaigns and politic pressure made harder to crush them than similar revolts. Other rebells in Mexico who seized cities faced direct military pressure from start to finish.

I think is good to be grounded in the present moment when thinking about opposition to capitalism. But it is also crucial to be grounded in history and grounded in the awareness that capitalism isn't a static world of people just not seeing further possibilities but a world of social/economic repression preventing people from realizing the possibilities they can imagine. You acknowledge this to an extent but I don't think you really follow through on the implications.

---

From all this, I should say I don't believe that there is an absolute duality between satisfying relationships that are possible in the present moment, relationships that might be possible in the midst of a regional revolt and relationships that might be possible several generations after a world wide communist revolution. There are certainly differences of degree and many qualitative variations but no absolute boundaries. Communist is not "good" and capitalist is not "bad". The boundaries that I am concerned with as would-be revolutionary (I like this term better than the jargony "pre-revolutionary") are those that come into existence through the tendency of this society to reconstitute itself - the boundaries that happen once the fight begins.

Anyway, IF you can organize a revolt against the entire capitalist system in your rural region, then I would say go for it. Communism often defies expectations. But I have something of a suspicion that you are engaging in some subtle self-justification when you say:

Quote:   This is important because if you think that it can occur within a region, for instance, then there is no naivete or leftism involved in intentionally self-organizing with friends/neighbors/comrades with the explicit aim of seceeding from the nation state and the ideologies that control one's region.

Here, whether there is leftism involved in "self-organizing" doesn't really swing on whether or not communism can occur in a region or not. It has to do with whether you are building institutions/bureaucracy for the reform of capitalism - whether you are acting as "the left-wing of capitalism". Especially, whether you are thinking about ways to "improve life" while maintaining/managing the despotism of the economy (a perpetual temptation for rural utopian schemes). Thus if you are claiming that whatever you mean by "self-organizing" here is automatically not leftist by the fact that communism can happen in a region, then you are engaging in mystified self-justification. In anycase, you at least need to clarify what you mean.

Again, I am not against creating satisfying rural situtions - I am even considering how I could live such a thing. I simply don't want to label them the vanguard of the revolution.

Best Wishes,

Red

pilpil

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2006 5:07 pm
a person wrote:  
When you use the term revolution does it always/ever imply strictly a global event? If not, then what is the minimun sized geographical area that you think revolution/communism can occur within?

seaweed

Again, with the question of autonomy, it is important to think about what distinguishes the generality from any given locality. It is important to think how each level is caused to come into existence. A general social relation is not synonymous with the "global", it is not geographically positioned, it has no citadels.

In fact, the generality is not like "imperialism", it is not created through time in the conquering of geographical space. At least, I should say, the general social relation is not an aggregate of localities, one added to the next like the Soviet Bloc. So, if we say the communist social relation has to first exist at the level of the generality before we can directly experience it in our lives we are only observing how localities are produced by, rather than are producive of, human society.

There is a paradox in this, but we have to look at the capitalist social relation to get close to it. If instead of your question we asked ourselves, "does capitalism always imply a strictly global relation?" Or, put another way, "is there local capitalism?" Or, put another way, "can a group of capitalists organise together and cause capitalism to come into existence?" According to the theory of imperialism then the answer is yes, this is how capitalism has been exported across the world.

But I do not subscribe to the theory of imperialism, which I see as implying a political understanding of the capitalist social relation. I do not see how capital can "advance" in this manner, there is either capitalism everywhere, or nowhere, either it is or it isn't. On the other hand, first there was Manchester and only later there was, say, Shanghai. It is quite evident at the level of experience that the capitalist relation of production did not realise itself everywhere immediately.

But then, it is this question of levels that is most important. Capitalism did conquer the world immediately otherwise it could not be a general social relation, and if it were not a general social relation dominating all of human society it could not be "capitalism". So it certainly has conquered every inch of the world, even where there are no people, but at a "formal" or "abstract" level.

The victory of this social relation first occurred abstractly, beyond, before, underneath, over and above actual "capitalist" experience... Organisation precedes experience and capitalist organisation preceded capitalist existence. Ever since this formal victory over the world capital has remorselessly advanced out of the abstract and into its realisation at the level of human experience. It is at the level of experience that we experience capitalism; we do not experience it abstractly. We do not experience it abstractly so this conditions the nature of our response, we are trapped at the level of what we could call, the post-abstract.

Most, perhaps all, resistance to capital, occurs at the level of "experience". Resistance, by its nature, is response, that is a secondary phenomenon of the world. It is possible that aggregated "resistances" could cause a crisis within the general social relation (we cannot say for sure) but we can say that individual resistances are products of the general relation and are therefore not producive of either another abstract relation or directly constitutive of a local relation independant of the general.

Capitalism is not "Empire", it did not advance across the map in the way the Romans did and nor can it "decay" and retreat in the same manner, being fought back, inch by inch, by resurgent barbarians. On the other hand, the identity between its formal and realised aspects may "eclipse" and then separate. If this happens we would observe that at the level of experience capitalism will persist longer as "habit" and tradition than it will as a formal general relation. Just as Manchester was realised as capitalism's first geographical location so there could be, if the relation goes into crisis, the formation of initial areas of communisation (indicating the dominance of a communist abstract generality).

As to the status of "Zones of permanent subsistence", we can only speak as we find. My own opinion is that even as the trappings of capitalist society are voluntarily shed, the essential determination of that "shedding" is of the capitalist and not a communist social relation. I think the capitalist relation continues to dominate actual experience abstractly, and that countercultural formations are outcomes of this dominance.

This is not to say that I think such zones are inevitably "ideological", that is directly reproductive of capitalism, although of course they run the risk of recycling a kind of political "entrepreneurialism" which is now denigrated as "activism". So, if they are not necessarily ideological, I still do not think these experiments have a status much above a differentiated/nuanced "resistance" to conditions " but as I consider all human beings to live in resistance to the formal domination of capital over their individual lives I would not immediately value any specified "conscious" antagonism as being "more" resistant to that relation than, say, going off sick from work.

I applaud all resistances but I cannot say yet that resistance is anything more than a symptom of what is... but, you know, when the wind changes.

pilpil

bzfgt

 Post subject: "Manchester"?
PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2006 5:44 pm

"Manchester"? That's where it all started?

Guest

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2006 6:15 pm
An origin myth. Manchester as the portal between two modes of production.

pilpil

Guest

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2006 6:49 pm
Hi Pilpil. I'm interested, from a historical perspective, if you distinguish 'imperialism' from 'colonialism', beyond the "empires have emperors" argument. I usually think of the latter as a newer (more efficient) model of the same 'machine' just as 'globalization' is the latest model - the bearer and bringer of the capitalist relation beyond the locality. Force is force. Imperialism, colonialism and globalism destroy autonomy (or what's left of it) in the process and suggest/demand their adoption/incorporation as the only survival option by assuring 'survival' as the most one can accomplish. - fendersen

RedHughs

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2006 7:20 pm

Pil, I agree with what you are saying.

But you just seem to have a knack for explaining a complicated situation in a way that makes it ... even more complicated. That isn't bad, it is just that it puts things in ways that seem paradoxical/illogical untill you understand that underlying assumptions, something that frustrated me even more than now when I was just getting into these ideas.

You could much more understanably say that communism and capitalism are both dynamic systems, constantly growing and changing, that creating a static "permanent substance zone" within capitalism is something like damming an ocean - conceptually possible but not practical.

Capitalism conquered the world immediately in that the conditions for its flame to burn were sufficient in many places and that a spark appears to light that flame in one place.

I am sorry also that some might see this particular explaination as denigrating resistance but it is sadly realistic. It is not inevitable that the United States or Mexico would occupy its present area but any counter tendency would have to come to terms with the massive movements that was circling the world.

Anyway, sorry about that.

Best Wishes,

Red

pilpil

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2006 5:47 pm

Hi fenderson,

'- the bearer and bringer of the capitalist relation beyond the locality.'

I like the distinctions you make between imperialism and colonisation but I just wonder whether there is much point in using nuanced terms to describe what is basically the capitalist social relation. What would be the use in it?

Just as anti-fascism as an ideology negatively defines a position for left politics so anti-imperialism/anti-colonialism is used to support "native" nationalisms. Both these perspectives tend to mask and reproduce the capitalist social relation from a political perspective.

Many years ago I read a writer called Virillio (I think) who talked about "endo-colonisation" to describe how the abstract commodity colonises the "inside" of people's fleshy existence. This has always stuck in my mind because it suggests the image of a "colon" which I have then associated with the pop band Carcass and their toe-tapper, "Cadaveric Incubator of Endo Parasites".

In the Eighties there were English anarchists who used to parrot, "Ireland for the Irish" whilst streetfighting those who parroted "England for the English". These were the same anarchists that criticised hippies and lifestylists for their "woolly thinking".

In short, getting rid of the foreign oppressor does not make people happy and so thinking in terms for which this is the best likely outcome will not contribute to the destruction of the capitalist relation.

pilpil

pilpil

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2006 5:52 pm

Hi Red,

I find writing very difficult. And it is also difficult to write against both the world and the positions that are allowed to us by the world to write against it. In other words, it is easy to fall into leftism but difficult to climb out of it.

As you do, I try and anticipate arguments against what I am saying (playing both black and white pieces) just to move things along, but that does get complicated. I should also say that I am working this stuff out for myself " most of it does not stick in my mind and I have to constantly reinvent my arguments.

All any of us can say is that we do our best, we are of good intention, and finally... let those who have ears hear!

I am mostly in favour of 'natural' resistance, and the closer that resistance is to what I see as realsing communist values the more I am in favour of it.

I would hope for myself that I resist this world with all of my being, but I probably don't resist it as profoundly as some of my neighbours/work colleagues, or my kids, all of whom have never heard of communism, but who instinctively bet everything on every encounter, and never play percentages like I do.

The point is that resistance is reactive and belongs to this world, whilst communist revolution is initiatory and comes from elsewhere*.

cheers,

pilpil

*other planets probably.

bzfgt

 Post subject: initiation
PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2006 8:52 pm

Pilpil,

"Communist resistance is initiatory"? This is a very non-Marxist communism....and sounds impossible (hence your footnote, I suppose).

Your kids have never heard of communism? Odd!

Bzzzz

Guest

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2006 10:08 pm

communism is not hereditory. resistance is not initiatory, the future comes from other planets, insects are evil thoughts, projectiion is faith in others, bzzing is beautiful, may I introduce you to a nice rijoca

pilpil

bzfgt

 Post subject: a nice grfmlhmph
PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 1:28 am

Yeah, I could always stand a nice rijoca....

fendersen

 Post subject: Artaud
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2006 4:28 pm

Further reading: Preface to the Theatre & its Double
by Antonin Artaud (1938)

After The Revolution: Food
by Peter Kropotkin, The Conquest of Bread, 1906

Thoughts on the City
by Guerra Sociale

 


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