Tag Archives | anarchism

On Fighting Against Hegemonic Urban Development

BayOfRage reveals infrastructure and redevelopment projects in Oakland (and beyond) as a means of reshaping cities for social control:

Further development will not open space for meaningful social activity and will only constrict it — In the slew of development projects coming down the pipe, residents will be free to consume, travel to and from work, or stay inside to not bother anyone.

Mistakes in architecture will never be repeated in future developments. The UC system learned the danger in building large plazas where dissident students could gather during the free speech movement at Berkeley. University of California campuses built since the sixties are subdivided into a number to smaller campuses, to better contain and neutralize student revolt. Housing projects are built to make the space transparent and easily surveillable, often by the administrators of social services. Likewise, we can be entirely sure that the city of Oakland will never allow the construction of another space like Oscar Grant Plaza, where thousands of people were able to gather, meet their needs and organize an assault against capitalism.

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In Praise of Anarchy

Part II (Part I can be found here) from Club Orlov. Raises some very salient points about the ecological nature of Anarchism.

When confronted with an increasingly despotic régime, the good people of almost any nation will cower in their homes and, once they are flushed out, will allow themselves to be herded like domesticated animals. They will gladly take orders from whoever gives them, because their worst fear is not despotism—it is anarchy. Anarchy! Are you afraid of anarchy? Or are you more afraid of hierarchy? Color me strange, but I am much more afraid of being subjected to a chain of command than of anarchy (which is a lack of hierarchy).

Mind you, this is not an irrational fear, but comes from a lifetime of studying nature, human as well as the regular kind, and of working within hierarchically organized organizations as well as some anarchically organized ones.

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Landlessness: A History of Direct Action

Picture: Millet (PD)

Dr. John J. Gurney, via Energy Bulletin, discusses the history of the landless Digger movement in England, and how we can apply their tactics to our contemporary social and economic crises. Thanks to Anarchy Pony for the link.

The Runneymede Eco Village has, at the time of writing, continued in being for seven weeks, despite the bad summer weather and the frequent and inevitable attempts by the authorities to move the Diggers on. The action began on 9 June, with a march from Syon Lane Community Allotment towards Windsor, where activists aimed to set up a self-sustaining community on disused land belonging to the Crown Estate. Eventually they settled on land surrounding the former Cooper’s Hill campus of Shoreditch College of Education and Brunel University, and it was here that they began building a long house, complete with wattle and daub and cob. The published demands of the participants in the venture were simple and direct.

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The Voluntaryist Delusion

Picture: Skyler J. Collins (PD)

“Rule by landlords!?”  Doesn’t sound like liberty to me.  (Not that I’m opposed to all kinds of “property rights.”)

Francois Tremblay writes:

Voluntaryism is a popular ideology amongst people who like Anarchism but recoil at its leftist implications. By adopting the simple principle, “whatever is voluntary is ethical,” they believe that they have found the high ground, the ruler with which all other ideologies must be evaluated.

Some openly advocate a “rule by landlords,” a sort of extra-small minarchism where whoever owns the land can impose whatever laws he wishes on anyone who works or lives within his land. This is the “ultimate decision-making power” which defines the State: these landowners are effectively rulers over that land. Although they refuse to see this pretty direct deduction (but to be fair, even Rothbard was too blinded by his pro-property bias to see it), it is clear that the voluntaryists who hold to this ideology have nothing to do with Anarchism.

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Six Arguments For The Elimination of Capitalism

Shout out to Anarchy Pony for the link. An ‘insider’s’ perspective on the flaws of our economic system.

Via Dissident Voice

Jerry Mander’s new book, The Capitalism Papers, has a promising subtitle: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System. None of the hedging of bets there that constrains much progressive social critique in the US. In liberal punditry, the acceptable spectrum of discourse does not even permit use of the word, and in the foundation-sponsored non-profit sector, such talk would be financial suicide. Nor are US trade unions, what’s left of them, anti-capitalist. (In fact their leaders explicitly claim their aim is to get capitalism to work better.) As he correctly points out, there is an unspoken consensus: “it is as if global capitalism” – a human creation – “occupies a virtually permanent existence, like a religion, a gift of God, infallible.”

This unmasking of the unspoken, invisible, assumed, is what Jerry Mander’s books do best, and it is a promising start.

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Was A Georgia College Student Arrested Because She Likes to “Blow Things Up”?

One wonders if the political views she expressed on her Facebook page was also a factor: “I despise all law enforcement and any governing authority,” she states in her profile. “I am not one for selective targeting but mass destruction.” Reports Alexis Stevens in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

It will be an explosive-free weekend for the northeast Georgia college student who admitted to federal agents that she likes to blow things up as a hobby. She’s being held without bond after a hearing was canceled Friday.

Celia Alchemy Savage’s father says his daughter shouldn’t be in jail and the government should butt out.

“She likes to hunt and fish,” Tommy Savage told Channel 2 Action News. “She loves shooting. She goes sky diving. All kinds of stuff like that that you wouldn’t really typically think of a young lady doing.”

But a search of her home Wednesday led to federal charges for 23-year-old Celia Savage of Cornelia.

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The Politics of Steampunk

Steampunk Mask

Photo: Jim (CC)

I thought it would be interesting to continue the discussion from my previous post on “Steampunk and Anarchism” (found here). This next article by Magpie Killjoy explores the intersection of radical politics and steampunk fiction and aesthetic Via TOR.com:

I first consciously got into steampunk back in 2004. It was the perfect aesthetic lens for my interests: history, mad science, genre fiction, the underclasses, and radical politics. It was steampunk, really, that helped me realize how awesome it is to be classy yet poor, that we can celebrate individual and communal ingenuity without babbling on about how great this or that nation or empire might be.

Now, seven years later, I’m constantly amazed by how many people, including some of the most die-hard steampunk adherents, seem to believe that steampunk has nothing to offer but designer clothes. There are people (a minority, I would argue, just a loud one) who act like steampunk is simply a brassy veneer with which to coat the mainstream.

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Anarchism and Steampunk

Aerial HouseExploring the radical roots of a popular science fiction genre. Via Airships, Anarchists, & Anachronisms:

Steampunk began as a radical satirical form of fiction, but today it encompasses much more. What precisely is steampunk? As the editors of Steampunk Magazine explain, steampunk is “a vibrant culture of DIY crafters, writers, artists, and other creative types, each with their own slightly different answer to that question.” By its diverse nature, steampunk resists definition. Furthermore, in the ever evolving nature of steampunk, “as each new iteration of the idea be­comes more ambitious, the mutations are delightfully limitless and unpredictable.”

This definition seems in line with Rachel A. Bowser and Brian Croxall’s statement that, “Steampunk is more about instability than any other single characteristic. It resists fixedness by unsettling the categories from which it cribs.” Yet, the authors do provide a definition for those looking for the quintessential steampunk. They write:

That being said, one common element arguably shared by all steampunk texts, objects, or performances is the one on which this journal is predicated: the invocation of Victorianism.

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Anarchism and Enlightenment

Buddhist Anarchism

Illustration: H0utw (CC)

A reproduction of Gary Snyder’s 1969 seminal text “Buddhist Anarchism” found on The Anarchist Library:

Buddhism holds that the universe and all creatures in it are intrinsically in a state of complete wisdom, love and compassion; acting in natural response and mutual interdependence. The personal realization of this from-the-beginning state cannot be had for and by one-“self” — because it is not fully realized unless one has given the self up; and away.

In the Buddhist view, that which obstructs the effortless manifestation of this is Ignorance, which projects into fear and needless craving. Historically, Buddhist philosophers have failed to analyze out the degree to which ignorance and suffering are caused or encouraged by social factors, considering fear-and-desire to be given facts of the human condition. Consequently the major concern of Buddhist philosophy is epistemology and “psychology” with no attention paid to historical or sociological problems. Although Mahayana Buddhism has a grand vision of universal salvation, the actual achievement of Buddhism has been the development of practical systems of meditation toward the end of liberating a few dedicated individuals from psychological hangups and cultural conditionings.

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