Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What happened?


What happened? Why has organizing in the workplace degraded again into a (gasp!) pinko commie scheme or unpatriotic dissidence? While I do think that it's mostly due to how demonized socialism has become in lieu of the Obama presidency, I also think that the economy is at the heart of it too. Labor Unions and the wages they could procure were seen as excessive, etc. But the most integral point here is that the modern union is nothing like the revolutionary collective-minded unions of the late 18th and early 19th century.

Where once there was talk of changing the world through capitalism's demise and the birth of the collective, now we have endless bureaucracy and infighting. The same syndicates and collectively owned and run farms and factories that were shaping the landscape for future workers were the ones spearheading radical ideas. What happened? Now we just have more hierarchy and more egocentric leadership. The head of the union is no better now than the factory taskmaster was. The whole point was to not be micro-managed by anyone....and that's obviously fucking gone.

Voluntary association within the Union was a major idea. Now you can't get a job if you don't pay the dues, and that's not voluntary. There's less autonomy for the worker in these unions, and there's another strike against the unions of today.

I just want less semantics, contracts, rules, regulations and over-specialization, and it's sad to see the ideas that changed world degrade and decay into more of the same.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Culture is the Enemy


Our culture is what impedes us from progress on a social and even economic scale. The old traditions, the old standbys, all are ingrained into our heads from birth and for some reason held to a lofty standard of superior and prime validity. This is particularly evident to me in the assumed gender roles. Man works, woman tends etc. It's evident in many things however. Regional racism and bigotry, ideas about sex, drugs, politics and more. The culture we inherit (or are forced to inherit) is dangerous. Not just American culture, but ALL culture. Culture is the enemy of progress and of a better society. As long as we keep pushing what we've been pushing for a thousand years, we'll never get out of the Dark Ages.

I am not saying nothing good can come from culture. Certain values can be stolen and used to your advantage, the good ones. Every culture has some good values. Take them and use them for yourself, but let go of all of the things repulsive about culture (and there are a lot in my opinion). Most of all, never fall static, never become lazy and accept what cultural traditions are imposed upon you by your parents, your peers or yourself. Homophobia might seem culturally acceptable in your High School. Reject it. Sexism might seem culturally acceptable in the office. Reject it.

Force yourself to fearlessly question everything anyone tells you is right. Don't fall in line behind a mouthpiece, saying, "This is right because s/he says it is." Question everyone, even those you agree with. Not only will this develop a philosophy and culture all your own, unique to you, but it will refine your ability to think critically and give you more control over your own life. The ones who lose the fight are the ones who give up and accept what society is piling on them.

It's not easy to reject culture and make your own. Besides the lack of passivity necessary to accomplish this, we have the TV's, Internet, movies, billboards, magazines, commercials, churches and schools working against us. That's a mountain of opposition. Still, I know that people can overcome and develop their own culture in the face of these odds. If I did it, I know that you can do it.

This is a call. Make your own culture. Write your own commandments and your own constitution, but always leave space on the paper, because nothing can ever be totally forced to stay the same.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fourth of July


It's an obligatory post for me. Patriotism, faith in the state, it's all the same and it's all bullshit. Don't be proud just because you mother shot you out of her vagina in the USA or wherever. Be proud of yourself and what you can do as a human being. Be proud of other humans. Don't love America, the state, love Benjamin Franklin. Love the people that push us forward, not the state that we assume facilitates our progress and our very lives. Don't celebrate our forced bondage to laws and passive resignation to societal norms by lighting fireworks or waving flags dripping with oil and sweat and blood. We live among hungry pigs and wolves, snorting and oinking in congress or howling at the moon after grabbing up more cheap foreign labor.

I pledge allegiance to no flag. For me, there is no authority but myself, and that's it. I move to make a difference every day through my lifestyle. I question the legitimacy of my flag and yours. I question the authority of every flag and every state and every fucking president or masked dictator or politician or priest. I don't submit to lighting sparklers in honor of something vile.

Solidify your rage in words or stones or fire and do something with it. Rage is a creative force. Don't simmer, blow the lid of the pot off. Coercion doesn't need to rule your world, and you don't need to be gradually softened to the idea of hopelessness in your own abilities by FOX news or CNN. This shit is in your hands, human hands. Let's do something together, not divided into nations, bred to hate each other. United as humans, we could achieve so much, yet we stay divided up into countries, loyal to a few colors on a piece of cloth.

My flag is black. It is every color.



wrench

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Revolution in Iran


Neda is dead. Students and people protesting the sexist, fascist dictatorship of Ahmadinejad are being fired on. A media blackout is underway. We don't know how many people are dead, arrested, or imprisoned. The people assemble in the streets and burn trash, throw rocks, smash windows. Insurrection might be at hand, all because of the measures used by the state in an attempt to quell defiance. Neda, a protester among the throes of Iran's disenfranchised, was shot in the chest, dead on the streets. Her death was the biggest mistake the state could have made.

How many other revolutions have been started by a martyr, galvanized and hardened by loss of life? By challenging the institution of the supreme leader, Neda died. By questioning authority, for wanting her voice heard, Neda was shot. How much blood will be spilled on the streets before the people win or lose their fight against social control? How much blood has already been spilled?

It has happened before. The people outnumber the police and the military. The people don't have all the guns, but they do have the resolve, and the ingenuity to topple this completely top-down system so prevalent and clear in Iran. It's time for a counter-strike, it's time to rip down the quasi-religious fascist dictatorship currently in place, and then rebuild a new society. It's happened before, and it can happen again. The climate is perfect to wipe away the fundamentalist garbage and clear the way for change. The people have taken up arms.

What is to be done by the Anarchists all over the world? I say solidarity with Neda and the oppressed of Iran. I say actions need to be taken to pierce the media-blackout that the Iranian state has put into place. We need people over here in the states and Europe and Africa to participate and get the word out about just what the fuck is going on in Iran.

What can we learn from Iran? When it's all over, we'll see.


Solidarity for Neda!
Solidarity for all!


wrench

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Unstructured Rant


What can I believe in when I see countries funding genocide in Africa and the Middle East? Where can I retreat to when I see squalor, poverty, and hunger in the richest nation on the planet? What can I say in defense of humans when we blindly uphold an economic system that keeps every "developing" country's nose in the mud? What can I say when we enforce this economic system with police in every town, with soldiers invading other countries and policing the people there, with boot and gun? Bullets and baton?

It's hard to be a humanist when sometimes, I want to scream, fight, punch, kick, break my monitor, pull my hair out at what we fucking do to ourselves. People that thrive off of total control and oppression might always be around, but they don't need to rule the streets with badges and guns, and they don't need to police foreign lands in camo either, much less be the ruling CEOs/Politicians. I have faith in humans, I have seen what we can do when we use our labor voluntarily, with good intent and to achieve a mutually beneficial end for everyone. I see Anarchy work every day, because I implement it into my life. Still, I wretch at the racism, fascism, inequality, and the class gap. I twitch in dejected anger at the greed some can display, and how this greed can keep the majority of our population impoverished. It makes me sick. It stirs me to action.

Am I strong enough to keep pushing Humanism, the main precept of Anarchal Philosophy, even if I sometimes just want to reject it and everything, and fall into Nihilism? I won't. I won't become marred in that sand-trap. I will stay strong to the philosophy that I love and understand and want to see realized in practice the world over.

Our fight won't be over until the guts of the last priest hang the last politician. Our fight won't be over until coercion implemented by the state ceases to be. Our fight won't be over until the state and the church burn like trash in a dank Philadelphia alley, warming the hands of the homeless that they keep there to further their profit margins. Our fight sure as fuck isn't over yet.

What will it take to make the people become self-aware? A complete economic collapse? A lack of food and goods? An environmetnal degradation so severe it changes everything we know? a lack of the fossil-fuel that we subsist on like gluttonous pigs? I don't know. but when it does happen, I will be the one breaking into the supermarkets and tossing the food out to those who had to go hungry. I will be the one waving the red & black. I will be the one armed with bricks and fire and hammer and wrench, ready to end the fascist's hold on the people forever. I will be the one building hospitals and libraries and housing where there once stood churches and office space. Will you be the person too?


Fight forever, everyday. We are moving towards a Revolution for everyone, for freedom.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Note

Who is it that becomes an Anarchist? Do they possesses inherently noble characteristics? Generosity, faith in humans, pride in our ability to overcome, adapt, succeed and live? Do they live by the precepts of mutual aid, shunning debt and loan, but providing help and kindness regardless of issue? Do they shun all inequality, racist, sexist, homophobic or classist? Do they want change for the better, change for good? Do they possess a proud solidarity and union with their comrades and the masses still hypnotized by convention, religion and tradition?

Yes.


Are they crazed from the seemingly hopeless struggle that they nonetheless fight every day? Are they desperate for any chance to gain ground in an absurdly one-sided fight? Do they throw bricks, light molotovs, plant bombs, vandalize, destroy property and assault police? Do they violently protest fascism and authority? Are they insurrectionists, revolutionaries? Do they organize Direct Actions to combat the systems of oppression so rife not just in America, but all over the world?

Yes.


Are they every frustrated day-laborer, every disgruntled accountant, office-worker or code-monkey? Do they hate their jobs, and realize that they are squandering their lives away in pursuit of the carrot that is really a stick? Are they the students, bullied, picked on, fucked with, reviled for being different or too normal? Are they the college kids, crushed by debt in vain pursuit of an education and a way out of middle-class purgatory?

Yes.


Are they the addicts, the junkies, the alcoholics, the drug-users who have given up in the face of a hopeless future and now find solace in chemicals? Are they the gangs of urban cities, lost to the world, but connected and unified in the fact that at least they are lost together? Are they the thieves of necessity, the criminals of life, the embezzlers, the victims of decades of the same cycle of economic repression?

Yes.


Are they the gays, lesbians, transfolk, queers, the sexually repressed and hopeless? Are they the rebels of sexuality, true to themselves and humanity, but against the way things are? Are they radicals themselves, on the homefront and in front of the barricade? Are they greens, environmentalists, animal liberators? Are they the new face of the movement, emerging and making their presence known whilebeing welcomed with open arms by me?

Yes.


You are all in my revolution. You are all my comrades, all my friends, even if I haven't met you yet. You are all Anarchists, you are all cells of the revolution inherent within all of us. You are all me, and I am you. We are all in this together.

We are all in this together


In solidarity
for liberation
for revolution


//wrench

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Recommended Reading and Resources for the Frustrated and the Would-Be Anarchist

While Anarchy is a philosophy of practice, we need theory and written dialectic on our aspirations. Here is a list of places to find info about what anarchy really means. Check it out!!

www.zinelibrary.info -- This place has thousands of independent and traditional radical pamphlets, magazines and essays.

http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_archives/index.html --- This provides essays, works and letters from major anarchist theoreticians that are famous and have political backgrounds.

www.crimethinc.com --Arguably the most modern, awesome and resourceful haven for anarchists on the net. these guys are great, and all of the books they publish are extremely affordable, and great for breaking into theory.


Those should get you started. As far as names go, let me drop a few.

Pierre Joseph Proudhon
Mikhail Bakunin

Peter Kropotkin
Emma Goldman
George Woodcock
Rudolf Rocker
Lucy Parsons



so, check those names out, look at some of the essays, and by all fucking means, respond back iwth discussion questions, problems, thoughts and theories!!



wrench

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Alternatives to Police

I don't like cops. The fact that the government assumes we need armed thugs to prod and coerce us into conforming to societal and accepted norms and traditions is, to me, absurd. To paraphrase Michael Parenti, the idea that police keep 'order' and fight crime are simply not true. The true use of a police force anywhere is social control (to force us to conform to aforementioned societal norms) and protection of property (i.e., keeping the property and capital in the hands of the rich elite). The vast majority of police aren't out to protect the working class from anti-social, violent people. Instead, they are out to "protect" the minority (the rich, elite, and authoritarian upper class) from us, the disenfranchised and oppressed majority.

Still, some people assume that a world without police would degenerate into a violent free-for-all, with every person out to kill, rape ans steal. I don't think that this is the case. In fact, I think that society could function very well without police in the commonly accepted traditional sense of the word. I will now highlight some things that we can do as anarchists to demonstrate to the populace why we could very well live without police, and how this perceived impossibility is far more realistic than many assume.

1) Observe and Respect Natural Laws: This should be self-explanatory to the anarchist, but might need explained to those who are unaware of what it means. Natural Laws are common and almost axiomatic things that are "right." The right to free-speech, free-thought and free-expression are natural laws. The right of non-coercion and personal choice are natural laws. The right to live peacefully and defend your health and freedom in the face of violence is a natural law. In essence, following the golden rule and living in communion with your community
sum up what Natural Laws are.

2) When Conflicts Arise, Solve them Internally: Instead of letting a dispute escalate into violence (where most people assume that police would be needed to detain the persons and mediate the argument), don't let it go that far. Work on developing mutual respect for others and practice conflict-resolution without the aid of a guy holding a gun. Being able to talk out a problem and then hammer out a compromise would undermine much of the perceived need for police. Above all, never resort to violence during a petty dispute, no matter how tempting.

3) Move Towards a Tight-Knit Community: Knowing your neighbors and interacting with them will greatly diminish confrontations altogether. they will obviously still happen, but having an active participatory role in your community lessens the chances of alienating disputes between two or more indifferent citizens. Tighten community solidarity by working together as a whole, and being personable. Make friends, share in the labor and fun that go hand-in-hand with communities, and be respectful. When the community is tight-knit and unified in happiness, problems won't arise nearly as often.

In short, live the revolution you want in your everyday life, and we can show the pigs that we don't need them or their "protection."

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me.

I'm 18 years old now, an adult in the eyes of the state. I don't feel any different really. If anything, I feel a little tired and at the moment have a quasi-headache that fades in and out of existence.

There were few presents for me, but that is how I wanted it. A $50 from my aging grandmother who loves me unconditionally. A pack of smokes, a lighter and a dimebag from my younger brother (both of which we indulged in soon after the gift giving between us was done). A knitted coffee-mug cozy from my little sister. $28 in cash from my friends, as well as a multi-tool pocket knife, two ballpoint pens and a notebook, as well as high fives and a free lunch today at the caf. Add to this some congratulatory 'dark-as-fuck' coffee and cookies given to me by my boy at the coffee house that I haunt so frequently, and you have my birthday. My parents, besides busting their balls working for tuition at Penn State, have promised me a lap-top computer by the end of the summer along with most of the first year costs paid for. I've tried to gobble up as much grant money as possible, as well as independant scholarships, but school is just too expensive.

I like to think that new chapters are opening for me as I push myself further and further out on my own, into the world. I also like to think, though, that I have done more, seen more, and participated in more things conducive to a happy and exciting life than a lot of other kids my age. I'm proud of this.

Part of my personal philosophy, bound within my concept of Anarchy, is the idea that I want to make every single moment of my life worthwhile and profound. I hate idleness and inaction. I feel like those things are squandering the time we have to live, to enjoy, to feel.

As I treat myself to a Red Bull and sip at a coffee gone cold, I have a lot of people to thank, and a lot more to meet. I'm so ready for life, ready for life my way.



wrench

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Update

Hi all. I have been uber busy with finals lately, but will return soon to blog away. Trying to get some of these writing assignments done so that I can forget about them and...write some more stuff on here!!

I hope all is well.


Wrench

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Recession and 401k's





I haven't talked about the Recession for a reason--it's been talked to death by people who (at least think...) that they know more about economics than I do... Also, as this recession is a cyclical thing, it's not as though it jumped out from behind a bush and seized us by the balls. In a Capitalist economy, we should be ever ready and even expectant of a recession. Like the economists say, 'It's how the system works,' after all! 'Don't you all see? Suffering is an integral part of the system, a necessity!' they say in their 20 room mansions, laughing behind stacks of money.

The thing that I find most incredulous, most absurd and most infuriating is the fact that the working people, the people grinding the gears and doing the labor, did NOT get us into this recession. Still, with bankers, brokers, investors and CEO's at the top, not wanting to topple from their thrones built on our labor, it is only the working people that suffer. Sure, Bill Gates, Pickens, etc. will take a hit, but in the end, they will still be billionaires while the working people shuffle to the bread lines. The bosses got us into this mess, the bosses and their investors, the bosses and their lust for meaningless green paper, the bosses and their greed.

So the main problem I have with this is that the good people, the gears that make this world go around, the people that give us electricity, water, fix the cars, build EVERYTHING we use, are getting blasted because of the greed of millionaires. Doesn't that sound absurd to you?! Why should people with so much money be greedy at all? What facilitates this endless thirst for money, for numbers on a sheet of paper? Surely it's not a survival instinct--they can survive and more, they can live in lascivious, hedonistic luxury. All the while, unemployment rises, people go hungry, and the urban populace turns to drugs to combat the hopelessness.

Great.

Again, to reiterate, because I find myself more and more often falling into rants, the bosses made this mess, we have to clean it up. That being said, I do believe there are ways that we could stall this machine, and one big one is by not agreeing to pool money into a 401k.

I think that 401k's are the biggest racket the government has going. We pay them a portion of the money earned from our labor (and don't get me started on how meager this sum is to begin with...), and we let them use it to prop up their stock-market and make ends meet when some investor fucks up on his guesstimations about what that market will do. We give them this money in hopes that we will have some extra when we're ready to retire. We do this because we want some extra crumbs from the table when we're too old to toil. But what happens when the government is left in charge of directing our investment choices? Well, in Capitalism, a recession happens, and then we're left in the shit-storm. I know various older people, not yet retired but getting there, who are now looking around desperately for second jobs to fill the difference so that they can retire on schedule, on their terms.

401k's, in my opinion, are just a way for the government to squeeze more money out of us and prop up an economic system that chronically fails and breaks down. It is a more up-front form of extortion, a psychological shakedown, that we comply to because it is portrayed as being in our better interest. Stop listening to everything the politicians say!! Think for yourself, do some light economic research, beacause KNOWLEDGE REALLY IS POWER!

Don't be milked like cattle, don't be manipulated by a game piece.

The Capitalists and Politicians will sedate us with words and quick-fix solutions just long enough for the system to right itself, and then we will forget about the hardships that many had to endure and be 'thankful' that it's over. We will neglect to look to the future until it comes.

I can only hope that with each recession, the strength of the proletariat and the people affected by the economic downturn will come together in solidarity. I hope, most truly, that a sense of unity among working people will come about as a result of what the bosses got us into.

Read books, Cultivate yourself!


Wrench


Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Million Dead Fascists


Racism, intolerance, a fascist, one-party state, xenophobia, hatred, militarism. These are the principles of the numerous hate-groups that populate America. These organizations, focused on committing violence against ANYONE who thinks differently than they do, are growing in number, and this is a disturbing and infuriating fact. This could be due in part to the election of a man of color into the Executive Office, which probably got all those 'on-the-fence-fascists' to go all the way and throw in their lot with these groups....

More so than our President, I think that the increase in hate-group membership is due to the fact that the modern day fascists see the world progressing to a more accepting, tolerant and freedom-based place (though this progress seems agonizingly slow to me, personally, I still think it is happening). This fact has hardened the radical zeal of the hate-groups already functioning in America, and they are in a membership push, to increase their numbers and size. They do this because of the inherent fear that they have of their way of life becoming extinct in a changing world.

But what do we do? Do we let these hate-groups gather strength in numbers? Should we not oppose them through a diversity of tactics? I think so. An Anarchist Free Market or Free Food Day in a poor rural Southern town could have just the right effect. Giving direct aid to those who need it, regardless of color, could oppose these groups appeal to the people in the same situation (poor young whites, most of the time lacking much of an education). Through discourse and demonstration of Anarchist values, we can rip off the veneer of 'patriotism' and machismo surrounding these organizations and expose them for what they are.

Still, there remains the disturbing reality that these groups arm themselves with guns and explosives, making them a literal danger to the people that they subjugate. Sometimes whole shooting ranges are rented out for bi-monthly 'Weapons Awareness' courses set up by KKK Dens, Neo-Confederate 'Militias,' and White Nationalist clubs. They preach a mastery of weapons and a knowledge of violent tactics, and why wouldn't they? They so glorify militarism that they would sooner train their own little soldiers than have to serve in a minority-rich US Army or Marine Corps. Again, this knowledge of how to use weapons for destructive purposes against their perceived enemies makes them literally dangerous to everybody.

Many Anarchists I know preach tactics of strict non-violence, using civil disobedience and sabotage to practice Direct Action rather than insurrectionary property destruction or police confrontation. Still, others I know are hardcore insurrectionists, trained in demolitions and guerrilla tactics. My question to my fellow Anarchists is this; Can we afford to be unprepared? In other posts I have theorized that the first stormtroopers that will attempt to crush us will be these hate-groups. They will lead the attacks against us should we realize a social and political revolution simply because we are the antithesis of what they stand for.

Am I justifying violence? No. I am justifying a diversity of tactics to use against these organizations centered on blind hatred. I don't think we can sit idly by while these fools prepare themselves with knowledge to be used solely for committing violence against innocent people. If anything, we Anarchists should learn about weapons use for literal self-defense. I stand by the assertion that I would rather know how to use a gun and never have to use it than need to know and be unprepared.

I hate violence, and this is a fact. But sometimes defense is needed, of ourselves and our loved ones, not to mention our freedoms. There may come a time when we need to defend ourselves from these people, and I want to at least be realistically ready. It's not enough for me to despise them and their philosophy of hate. It's not enough to wish that they would change their ways, because the vast majority WON'T. I can pray that Fascism will die, along with all of its proponents, but that won't happen tomorrow either. In the meantime, I won't allow myself to be a sheep should the wolves approach in the distance.

I live to see a day when hatred will dissolve. I want peace more than anything, but I love myself and my freedom enough not to be crushed under a Nazi boot-heel as well.

We do what we can, to educate, to slowly pull people away from racist and sexist ideas, and this is right. Keep on trying, and maybe someday you and I will wake up and evil will be extinct, along with all of those who violently pursue its realization. What a utopia that would be!!

With Peace and Love to all my Friends

Wrench

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Squatting


I can think of no Direct Action more conducive to Anarchist Ideals (well...few...) than Squatting. Squatting is the re-appropriation of unused public space by a group of individuals for living communally, and without having to pay rent or adhere to strict tenant standards.

Squatting provides an environment for like minded revolutionaries to gather and feel safe, a place where you can come and crash or live for a damn long time (some old heads have lived and died in their squat). Community being one of the integral parts of Anarchist Philosophy, squats are focal points where community and communal living work concretely, for all to see. Squatters often take buildings that are trashed to say the least, and rebuild them slowly, through work and labor that they organize themselves.


As I said, the re-appropriation of space is a great way to concretely show others how self-organization can work, and how people are capable of achieving success without a manager or a boss. Every squat that gets built up from the bottom turns into a haven for people (like myself) who want to live off the greed and out of the system. The friendly atmosphere I've found in every squat I've ever stayed at is conducive to making new friends. I've had monumental political discussions that have refined my own theories. I've eaten great food, got my hands dirty, put shingles on roofs, and hauled toilet water into the basement in the middle of the night.

Squatting seems profoundly correct and good to me, and to others that find it disconcerting that we have a growing homeless population and thousands of buildings sitting empty and decaying. Is squatting illegal? Yes, in most cases (though squatters are gaining rights of their own in Europe!!). But you have to ask yourself sometimes if every law is right and just. I don't think it's right for people to freeze to death and sleep on park benches and under cars when they could lay their head down in a condemned building and be warm(er). For landlords to only think of the profit that they can make on their real estate and turn a blind and ignorant eye to the homeless is revolting.

For all of those people who think that collective labor can't work en masse, check out some of the noted US and Euro. squats that do exist and do function. They are beacons of hope for the Anarchist cause. Start a squat!!!


Wrench


Sunday, March 29, 2009

An Anarchist Academy


What would an Anarchist Academy look like? How would it operate? What would the benefits be of having one?These are allquestions that I will explore in this blog. I see this as a necessary follow-up to my short critique on education. Anyone can critique, few can offer viable alternatives. I feel as though simply pointing out society's problems is far too easy for the Anarchist Theoretician--we need alternative methods as well!

An Anarchist Academy would consist of open campuses that one could come and go freely from. No restrictive bell schedules or bus-route planning are needed. A student would receive a schedule of all classes and workshops offered, and what times the professors were going to be around to teach them. No lengthy scheduling process or credit amount is needed to 'graduate,' because the simple fact that you want to cultivate yourself through learning is graduating from ignorance!! Teachers would set their own schedules, work their own hours, and offer a variety of classes, diversified in not having to adhere to a code of what must be taught (imposed by the government and college boards).

An Anarchist Academy would demonstrate Free Association in action, and to its fullest extent. You don't need to stay and you don't need to go, but if you do stay, you'll be a better, more cultivated and learned person. An Anarchist Academy would be filled with affinity groups and collectives that could offer various services to the vagabond student passing through in their demonstration of Direct Action. In this way, goods and services would be offered to everyone, creating other reasons and attractions for would-be students to get involved and learn.

This community created among and around the Academy would be very fruitful for the entire society. Students could fully realize their creative potential while making the world a better place. That's what Anarchy is about for me, and these Academies would promote Anarchist Ideals to their fullest extent, getting the message out there. Subjects you ask?

Philosophy (East, West and More)
Political Science
Mathematics
English and Creative Writing
Engineering
Architecture
Chemistry
Gardening and Home Agriculture
Music
Art
Sociology
History
Culinary Arts
Mechanics
Communications (Radio, Television and Internet Media)
Self Defense
Personal Fitness

ANYTHING!


An Anarchist Academy seems to me an integral first step towards achieving a better society. As I said, the communities that would almost necessarily spring up around these students and their affinity would be ideal, as well as enabling the traveling student to take what he/she has learned elsewhere and implement it again, to spread the word. The possibilities and benefits of an Anarchist Academy are astounding, and hopefully one will turn out where squatting is the norm. I guarantee you that I would be the first to sign up.

Education and Knowledge are the keys to freedom!!


Wrench

Friday, March 20, 2009

The State of Education


Education. I can literally and realistically think of nothing more valuable to survival and life itself. To truly live, you must be educated and you must understand your surroundings. Now, I will not say how you need to be educated, to what extent, or through whom, but I stand by my assertion. You can be educated on the street, through friends and people, through the classroom or anywhere really, though it would make sense to have a designated place specified for learning. Enter: The School.

I'm drifting here--let's talk about public schools. In short, they suck, and they are at the same time refreshingly progressive. In this day and age, children in the US are pretty much guaranteed some sort of education, to some sort of extent. It's not as good as it could be (few things are...) but it's ok, and better than many.

We get a basic grounding in school, we learn life skills, but often the wrong ones. Schools today are indoctrination camps for future CEO's and soldiers, future oppressors. Schools are the hunting grounds of military recruiters, especially the urban public schools, which are populated by the demographic that they covet most (poor black and Latino kids). Schools are where Authority is first imposed on the young mind, and if we are not strong enough, the 'student' falls into the tired and dangerous traditions of the Capitalist. For those who are strong, for the number of children who question authority and wonder, "Why?", the schools can be conquered, and individual free-thought can come. I mean, look at me!!! I wasn't hopelessly indoctrinated into Capitalism, and I went through 12 years of public education! What I'm saying is that even though the odds are against you, there are children who can come through the school system unscathed and still 'free' in the sense that they think outside of the box and for themselves.

Still, this is not the case for the majority, and that is a sad fact. Until we are graced with the presence of a new generation of educators in the public school system, we won't ever break the cycle of re-indoctrinating our children into an economic and political system of violence and domination (Capitalism). We need to get new people in there, we need to sweep out all the conservative educators who are closing the minds of the youth and making them statues, static and regressive rather than progressive. That, I do believe, is the main problem with education, especially in the US.

We could easily change the state of the urban schools if we fixed the economic problems inherent with Capitalism. Urban schools don't have to be hunting grounds for the JROTC and Marines. These schools could just as easily function if the economic side of things was fixed. That school in Philadelphia needs computers and books?--They get them. End of fucking story! By not providing quality resources AND educators for the destitute urban youth, WE ARE CONDEMNING THEM TO THE SAME PATHS THAT THEY HAVE SEEN IN ACTION ALL THEIR LIVES! CRIME, POVERTY, HOPELESSNESS!

It's easy for me to see this. It's also easy for me to provide an oversimplified solution, like any pundit or critic. Still, I think that this problem is very fixable, it's just not economical. It's not in the Congressman's best interest to fix the schools, to make them better than they are. "Hey!," they say, starting the guilt trip, "our schools are better than many. Shouldn't you at least have some respect for what we've tried to do and what we're trying to do?" I answer this statement with the FACT that wanting more, wanting progress is not greedy, and it should not make us feel guilty. The schools are ok, and yes, better than some. Why not make them better? Why not strive for more?

In closing, I stand by my statement that Education is the greatest and most valuable thing able to be given to anyone. You will benefit so greatly from an education, the correct type of education where the educators do their best to remain extremely impartial, but at the same time critical. The synthesis of these two principles will allow our educators to benefit the prospective students much more than they do now.

The first in a jerked series of essays on Education,

Wrench

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Industrial Medicine Conspiracy

If there is something that shouldn't be Industrialized, it's medicine. Sadly, this is not the case. The Drug Industry is just that, an industry, and it makes me sick (no pun intended). Profit Margins are looked at with more reverence and concern than people's health every day, and it is a crime, a travesty. This is particularly relevant to me now, while I sit here with my foot wrapped up due to a fucking EXCRUCIATING ankle roll I suffered at the concert that I mentioned in my last post. Medicine, especially private medicine, is a problem that is quite truly a detriment to you and me.

When you extend the Capitalist ideas of ruthless competition, self-centered greed and downright negligence in pursuit of the next paycheck into something like medicine, the results will not be good. Socialized Medicine (Especially in Canada as I will relate later) works very well in many countries because the people have come to realize that everyone is entitled to at least a baseline of medical care, regardless of their financial situation. Why haven't we done the same thing over here in the good old US? The same reason a lot of other things aren't socialized too--an adherence and devotion to Capitalism, and the ingraining of Capitalist ideas into our psyche by the media and authority figures from day one.

My father had nothing bad to say about Canada's Socialized Medicine system. In fact, he praised it for its efficiency, affordability, and the skill that the doctors had there. One of the biggest arguments against Socialized Medicine is that the lack of competition would decrease the skill that surgeons, specialists and doctors would have to be able to effectively treat people with. Canada, Australia and France all have working Socialized Medicinal Systems, and the life expectancy in those countries is well above ours in the US (check the wikipedia link for some great info, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_Canada ).

On two occasions, while working up North, my father had to receive care from the Canadian system, once to have a tooth pulled, and again to have grinding dust removed from deep under the tissue of his eyelid. Obviously, the second time was of a more pressing nature and required more extensive care than the first. Still, on both occasions he was treated by doctors and nurses with a mastery of their craft, and he had absolutely nothing bad to say about his care. The cost? $10 for the tooth and $35 for his eye treatment. Yes this was back in 1978, but still, he had no insurance up there and he was not a citizen, so the price was very, very small.

The wait is another argument against Socialized Medicine. The Capitalists will have you believe that in a Socialized system, you'll be waiting in line forever to get treated, and that even people with life-threatening conditions are on an impossibly long wait-list. While this is true to an extent, one could not generalize and say that this is the case for every Socialized system, or indeed for everyone getting care from such a system. I gaurantee you that not everyone waits for treatment, and those who do are often seeking a specialist or surgeon with an obscure condition or problem. Also, bear in mind--How long do we have to wait for treatment over here in America?? It can amount to a lengthy wait as well.

Another plus to the Socialized side of medicine is the availability and affordability of RX drugs. Painkillers, insulin, blood-pressure controllers and anti-biotics, things that are frequently needed by the public, are all very, very cheap in Canada. When my Grandmother has to pay out the nose to get the medicine she needs to live (she's a diabetic among other numerous ailments), I just get frustrated. A lot of people in America actually buy their drugs from Canada, simply because of the reduced cost and quality.

In conclusion, moving to Socialized medicine is key, and not just because I want to see the Capitalist's hold on medicine broken, but moreso because it would better everyone in America who has needed health-care and couldn't afford it, for whatever reason. Hopefully Obama will take a few steps in moving us there. For how skeptical I am of him, some of the things he has been doing of late I really do approve of. His blowup on he CEO's and their bonuses was amusing, and it's nice to see a silver-tongued politician actually doing something, rather than spitballing and politicking away behind a desk.


Wrench

Monday, March 9, 2009

An Anarchist's Plans for Summer


Summer's going to be fun this year. This is a little list of some things I want to do. They won't all happen, but I'm going to work very very hard to try to do as many of them as I can. Anyway, here's a list!!


  • See as many ska shows as possible!!-- I try to see as many punk/ska shows as I can. It is my music, it is my life. The frantic upbeat, the 2-tone rhythm that can always make me happy no matter what the world throws at me, I just love it. The bands I will be seeing for sure this are: 1. Less than Jake with the Flatliners (March 14, this Saturday!), 2. Big D and the Kids Table, 3. Streetlight Manifesto, 4. Reel Big Fish, 5. Leftover Crack/Choking Victim, 6. Mustard Plug. These guys are gonna make for a summer full of skankin' and fun!! Punk rock shows, and in particular ska shows, are the BEST!
  • I will also try to start a squat with this kid from Penn State University, who wants to develop something like C-Squat in New York here in PA. It will be an arduous task, though. We have to first clean the place up (the building is a hole right now, it needs roofing, wall repair and some kind of heating), then populate it for as long as possible without alerting police or neighbors. It'll be cool just to get some free housing up though, so definitely listen in for more on this. It's one of my more lofty goals, but we'll see.
  • I want my band to get moving, practiced up, and then do some local touring. We're pretty good, doing completely original stuff with a few covers sprinkled in for variety and practice purposes. That will be fun when we get it off the ground. I'll post a link when we get our shit together.
  • Of course I'm going to be blogging my heart out, as I have become so used to doing now. Finding blogging like a year or so ago was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It provides a place for me to journal personal thoughts, as well as giving me a sort of forum to express alternative political ideas. Know this--no matter how far I travel this summer, I will continue to blog. I love it!
  • To wrap it up, I'm just going to bum around, hang out, meet new people, relax and wait for college to start.

So, yeah, that's it! If anybody knows any get-together's I don't know about, just drop me an address here (that includes punk concerts, squat-meets, rallies, etc.).
Also, if you're meandering into PA, well, I might have a place to crash and hangout if you want. Talk to me!!


To a happy summer, fast approaching,

Wrench



Thursday, March 5, 2009

Just What is an Anarchist Anyway?


Anarchy is very hard to explain, because we have been conditioned by our Capitalist system to disbelieve that we could survive without a government. Even Anarchists find it difficult to explain all of their motives and wants. For decades Anarchists defined themselves by what they were not instead of what they were! I will do what I can to try to explain the main theories and principles that most Anarchists have in common. This blog is by no means the gospel of what Anarchy is, it is my interpretation. The beautiful thing about Anarchy is that my interpretation can be one-hundred percent correct!

Above all these main principles, remember these wants--Survival Necessities for Everyone (Food, Housing, Education, Clothing), and a peaceful environment, free from encroachments on our liberty, to grow into a people that we want to be.

Main Principles:

  1. Anti-Authoritarianism-- Anarchists are obvious anti-authoritarians. We reject and ignore anyone who would impose their will on us through force (violence) or coercion (the threat of violence). We uphold the belief that people are not inherently bad, and that we don't need authorities to tell us how to live. Instead, our lifestyle is a decision made individually, all paths differing and unique. As Bakunin would have us remember, we don't reject all authority. On the subject of shoes, we gain the insight of the boot-maker, who obviously has a mastery over his trade. The thing is, we do this of our own volition. No one can force us to defer to authority. Think about it--We were born free, without any constraining laws on us. We grew into these laws, they were not always there. The State imposes these laws on us, they are not tangible outside of it. I believe that no one is more able to understand my wants, needs and passions than myself.
  2. Anti-Racist, Anti-Sexist, Anti-Homophobic--anarchy has always been about equality. No one, regardless of their race, creed (or lack of creed), "class," gender or orientation, we are all humans, and we are all capable of achieving amazing things. Stereo-typing is criminal, bias and bigotry is sickening and infantile. Anarchists are fiercely opposed to bias, racism, etc. Militant Anarchist groups have been and are being formed regularly to combat racists and fascists wherever they rear their heads. Check out the anti-Racist-Action website, and more.
  3. Solidarity and Self-Reliance--I literally just did a blog about this, so check it out, it should be relatively close to this one and it's way more in depth. These topics are important to making Anarchal society work. Anarchists are connected to their friends and allies very very tightly, and the ideas of solidarity and self-reliance keep us tight and unified, even in our individuality.
  4. Autonomy--Anarchy stresses Autonomy, or, the ability to operate working communities, with infrastructure, education, and all the other trappings of what we say we want, WITHOUT government help. Autonomy is hard to pin down, because it means this, as well as Autonomy in you yourself. The DIY (Do It Yourself!) ethic is stressed here. Over-specialization in the work-force is seen as claustrophobic and unnecessary. Learn how to do some of the stuff you see done all the time yourself! Be Autonomous, operate outside of the system. Grow some of your own food in a garden, learn some basic mechanics for your car or bike, cut your own hair! Basically, Autonomy can mean a lot of things, but it mostly means not being helpless, and being able to achieve your goals through a variety of means, none of them relying on authority.
  5. Direct Action--This is one of the keystones of Anarchism. Direct Action isn't waving picket signs, petitioning the governor, or whining to the Senate about injustices. Direct Action means getting out there and doing what needs to be done, regardless of whether it is deemed completely "legal" or not. For example, it's illegal to serve food on private property (and on most "public" property because of legal mumbo-jumbo). But, free food collectives have been doing this all the time, doling out tons of chili, stew, vegan friendly food and meals to the homeless and anyone else that wants to fill their stomachs without paying. Direct Action can mean numerous things, from this to flipping police cars at a rally. Direct Action is how anarchists get things done.
  6. Mutual Aid-- I could go on for pages and pages on any of these topics, but this one is particularly important. Mutual Aid is professing the idea that people should help other people, regardless of who they are or for what reason. If a neighbor needs a new roof, we go help, just because it needs done, not for payment or reparations. This can be applied to an infinite number of situations. We practice Mutual Aid when we do thing for principle, not profit. It is also very very reassuring to know that you are a member of a community where you can ask for help and get it. Mutual Aid is a very easy concept--help those who need help, and ask for help when you need it. No one can be completely autonomous, and to assume so would be absurd.


These principles should scratch the surface on what Anarchists stand for, at least a little bit. It is most important to remember that Anarchy is a deep and passionate love and respect for yourself, others, and freedom in general. Anarchy is built on love. It might sound corny, but it's true. We love liberty, our fellow humans, and ourselves.

Other defining principles are Decentralization, Anti-Wage Labor, Free Expression, Squatting (Re-Appropriation of living space for those who need it), Feminism, Stateless Socialism, Egalitarianism, Veganism, and more. for further reading refer to:

Mikhail Bakunin
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Lucy Parsons
Peter Kropotkin
Emma Goldman

Wikipedia searches should get you started. I hope that I have at least cleared up some of the fog surrounding what Anarchists stand for. If you still don't understand, it's ok, because we are talking about very abstract topics. Most Anarchists don't even have a full, to-the-letter definition of what Anarchy means, because it means something different to everyone!

Peace and Love,

Wrench

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Self-Reliance and Solidarity


What does it take for one person to stand in defiance to swarming enemies? What does it take for a woman to realize just how beautiful and powerful she really is in a male-centric world? What does it take for the Wal-Mart cashier to break off a piece of metal in the stock-door and then glue it shut? It takes courage, it takes inner-strength and a resolve in your cause. It takes Self-Reliance and Solidarity with a community of others who are at the very least willing to listen to you and talk with you about your views and opinions.

Self-Reliance is necessary for everyone. In my opinion, it is a very sad world we live in today, where everyone is willing to play the victim, and no one is willing to play the motivator, the catalyst, the match against the powder. Most people would sooner just let things continue happening how they are now, without regard or even empathy for the people oppressed by others. Apathy is a disease. We cannot just "not care either way" about the fate of those around us. As an Anarchist, and really, simply as a human being, I have what some might consider an extremely developed sense of empathy and care. I refuse this is a single case, too. I think that to some extent, all humans have a sense of empathy. Of course some people will be more humane than others, but still, I refuse to believe that people are inherently bad or evil.

This sense of empathy and caring is all well and good, but what good is it if I fail to use it? This system I live under would ostracize me for my empathy towards the modern proletariat, the homeless, the addicts, the poor and the disadvantaged. I would be labeled a (gasp!) 'Communist' or 'Socialist' for wanting people to share in their material goods. These two words have been demonized by Capitalists who want to censor out viewpoints that oppose the means by which they amass their fortunes. What good is being an Anarchist if you are too intimidated by our system to act how you feel? And how can you get out from under this massive rock?

The first way is through Self-Reliance. Like I said, I think we could all use a good dose right now. Americans in particular play the blame-game far too much. Yeah, ok, it probably was his fault or her fault for this or that petty thing, but these trivial things are just that--trivial. Self-Reliance enables you to have the courage, the pure will to do that most people sleepwalking through life lack. Self-Reliance to me means not being afraid of the people we are supposed to fear--cops, judges, teachers, parents, soldiers, and the government. Self-Reliance means a lot to me, and I think it is inextricably linked with Anarchists and what we do. We face down odds that at times seem like madness (examine figure one above....), but we do it for ourselves, for causes rectified with ourselves through theory, examination and practice. We do not blindly follow in our self-reliance, it is not a cult of single-file lines. Instead we constantly and fearlessly challenge what we think we know, like the Greeks of old who took Socrates to heart and questioned everything. Through our constant Socratic questioning of our principles, Anarchical theory has come to be recognized as the most wholesome, and yes that's including Communism and Capitalism. Self-Reliance lets us exceed and build, without fear of change, but with faith in our human ability to create and prosper.

Solidarity is another attribute that lets Anarchists laugh in the face of imposing authority. To me, Solidarity simply means knowing, knowing, that your friends and allies will have your back in whatever trouble you get yourself into. You won't lose your friends, you won't be seperated from your brothers and sisters. Solidarity is a union of people so devoted to each other that an infringement on the freedom of one is a blow that wounds all. How beautiful the world would be if we could establish global solidarity, a Solidarity not devoted to a political ideology but instead to humans, and to life... It is an Anarchist's goal, one among many. Solidarity is finding affinity and friendship with others, it is treasuring those personal relationships that you find with other people. Solidarity is beautiful.


Solidarity and Self-Reliance is something I want everyone to have.

Peace and Love,

Wrench

Friday, February 27, 2009

Update

Hey There!

Inspired by others, I'm going to start putting pics with my posts, as well as trying to promote this blog so more people read it. I'll be on blog catalog very soon. Just wanted to update anyone that reads this thing and give a little hello.

Hello!

Wrench

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Zen Buddhism, Revolt and Anarchy

Anyone reading my blogs should know I have a deep love for Philosophy, both Eastern and Western. In fact, my love for philosophy far outweighs my love for politics! Politics is only interesting for me because it is an application of philosophical findings. I think politics would be useless or even non-existent without philosophy itself, the mother of all invention (Science, Math, Politics, etc.).

Philosophy's my thing, and I've been reading, analyzing and discussing for years. Only currently have I started really digging into Eastern Philosophy, and Zen Buddhism is a doctrine I have come to deeply respect for its convention-shattering nature.

Zen Buddhists rejected the gradual steps of learning and gaining wisdom that Confucius put forth in his philosophy. They believed that enlightenment could happen at any moment, in or out of a meditative state, even doing something mundane or unrelated to wisdom. They found beauty in everything, from the simple to the complex, to no-thingness. Able to clear their mind and come to terms with what nothing actually means, the Zen Buddhists did not fear death, for what is death other than nothingness (or possible nothingness)? Death scares people because it is something we cannot relate to. We have no experience of thinking about the void, we have no experience of such complete and utter emptiness, and that's scary. The Zen Buddhists were fearless.

Rejecting the common Chinese philosophy of Confucius that had been the standard for years and years, the Zen Buddhists placed no stock in scriptural teachings or rituals. They believed anyone could become a Buddha, because Buddha-Nature was inherent in everyone and everything, which is also why enlightenment could strike during a trip to the latrine or while sweeping the floor. Instead of lecturing, questions could be posed to a Zen master, and his replies often bordered on the violent and absurd. The idea was that with a screaming response to a rational question, or a swatting with a walking cane in answer to an innocent query, the Zen master could shake a student to the point of abandoning his preconceived notions of what is real. To truly come to terms with what is undefinable through language, one must not even attempt to "rectify the name," or classify what is unclassifiable. You must know it on a more personal level, through means far more meaningful than dialectic or conversation.

The methods and ideas that the school of Zen Buddhism put forth were radically different than Confucianism, and even more distant from the oppressive totalitarian philosophy of Legalism. Zen monks built their philosophy on
thinking for yourself, abandoning the conventional, spontaneity, and challenging the common law of the day (anti-authoritarianism in the philosophical world at least). To me, they seem like Anarchists, and damn good ones!

With their willful disobedience to social norms and their rebellion concerning philosophy, the Zen Buddhists are another case of Anarchists existing before the principle was refined. They had their own Collectives (Monastic Temples), they farmed and supplied themselves without going to market, and they existed outside of the law of the Emperor. I'm going to implement a little Zen into my Anarchy, and I think you should too!

Wrench

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Tragic Dance with Violence

Many Anarchists I know are straight Pacifists, and more power to them. They would sooner "fight" the system by indulging in counter-economics, squatting, sabotage and a straight rejection of our Capitalist economy. Still, many other Anarchists I know are just as ready to respond to State violence with more extreme measures as they are to practicing these other forms of dissent. This leads me to the question--

--Can we humans ever escape from the adhesive web of violence pressed against us at all times?--


My answer is yes. Of course, given time, we human-beings can develop into a race of creatures able to avoid violence altogether. The second question is--How long is this gonna take?

To that question, I really don't have an answer. Theoretically, we could reach that utopian point of not needing physical violence (or the threat of violence) at all, but will we not nuke ourselves first? Can we avoid self-destruction due to our violent nature taught by our parents? Hopefully, yes.

What you can do now as an Anarchist to "fight" against violence is to not participate in it. Though I advocate police-confrontation and aggressive protest techniques, there is nothing more embarrassing to those minions of the State than to see their efforts to hurt us be reciprocated with acceptance. This is why non-violent protest tactics work all the time, and why violent protest tactics only work some of the time. It is a very dualistic topic for me--I see the good and bad in both methods, and I fully respect both. Let me dissect a bit.

Non-Violent Methodology and Tactics:

--This way of protesting and speaking out against the State most complies with our philosophy of peace and harmony. We can practice what we preach to the 'n'th degree this way.
--Non-Violence can, in most cases, direct more aggressive feelings towards authority figures than reciprocal violence can, especially when coupled with any sort of media attention. Think about it yourself--when I saw those Buddhist Monks being caned and brutalized by Chinese Police, the thoughts running through my mind were, "How can they do that?! They're not fighting back, they're peacefully protesting!"
--We can more concretely display our resolve to our cause this way. You would agree with me that it takes dedication to not respond to violence with violence, wouldn't you? To me, that would be a show of resolve and reliance upon our ideology, and this goes in tow with the above.
--Not everyone has the mindset to go on the attack. To assume that all Anarchists are chomping at the bit to toss molotovs and boot police in the head would be a broad over-generalization. Many Anarchists would be content to forget all about protests and sabotage and just go about living a different way. Don't forget about these people, warriors in their own right.

Violent (Aggressive) Protest Tactics:

--Anarchy is about loving yourself, and protecting yourself, your fellow humans, and your freedom. Responding with force is acceptable to me, in extreme circumstances, although not as a first choice.
--Private Property and the pawns of the State wreak unspeakable amounts of literal and technical violence against the people daily, and that goes for everyone enduring the ramifications of our economic policy overseas too. This reactionary violence we incur seems like a drop in the pan when compared to the havoc and anguish that our task-masters have inflicted on others before us.



I'm not trying to justify violence here. to be frank, I hate it, and it is reviled by Anarchists as a whole (if I may generalize). All I'm saying is that through a Diverse Array of Tactics we can more effectively dismantle the State, and that means using violence AND non-violence.


PEACE and love to all my brothers and sisters--

Wrench

Friday, February 20, 2009

Me and All the Other Radicals

I've been called a radical before. I've been laughed at for my "political" views, and I've been deemed unrealistic, stupid, idealistic, and crazy for wanting the abolishment of our task-masters. and the destruction of our chains. I ask you this--

What is so radical about wanting stomachs full? What is so radical about wanting housing for everyone, and wanting working infrastructure and water, heat and light? What's so radical about wanting to live life to its fullest extent, even if that means avoiding the eight hour grind? What's radical about wanting to help people out, and not wanting money or even recognition in return? I must be radical because I care. I must be radical because I love you, your friends, and me. I must be radical because I love life and freedom, and I stand against those who threaten both. I must be radical.

I must be radical.

Sometimes, when people won't even engage in conversation with me about how things could be different, how they could be, I just get very resentful. Nothing pisses me off more (and I've said this in other blogs) than a closed mind. Being opinionated is one thing, but we all must come to realize the benefits of conversation, the mutual gain that both parties obtain when they converse together. I cannot deny it. I will even go so far as to say that conversation has made me respect many Conservative thinkers and them me. Through our talks about the state of the country, and even the world, we both walk away with new ideas, new thoughts, new experience. I won't bullshit--there are many people who I've talked with who maintain straight-conservative opinions, but they are intelligent enough to speak with me like a reasoning human, and for this, I respect them. For the most part, unless you are completely uncompromising (and thus unintelligent to believe that you are absolutely right) I will respect your opinion, even if I don't think it's right. I'll hear you out, offer my thoughts, engage you, and if it's a good conversation, we'll both walk away better people.

Revive conversation--It's been dead awhile!!

But, back to the topic at hand...

Though the Anarchists, the Syndicalists, the Primitivists, the Left Libertarians, the unnamed Socialists, the Horizontalists, and the Cooperatives all ally themselves under different sects, we are all brothers. We are all comrades under the black flag, the flag with every color in it. We are all radical because we reject the social and economic order forced upon us. We are all radical, and we can't be afraid of this term. It is ugly at first glance, polarizing and scary even. But we, as Anarchists, all of us, every sect, must embrace this term and make it our own. Maybe how we think really is radical for all of those sleep-walking through life, beating out a path already predetermined by bosses and managers and politicians. But, more importantly, it isn't radical for us, and that is what matters. It is not radical to me, this pursuit of freedom and mutual aid, decentralization and free association. to me, it is the best way for the people and for myself. I will pursue it, fight for it, and talk about it because it is my way.

It is Anarchy.



Solidarity, Autonomy, Peace, Love and Respect to Everyone--

Wrench

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cash

It rules everyone. that symbol, the dollar-sign...It seems like a cult to me, with its own ringleaders and preachers and advocates. We all sell our labor for it, wallow in useless, demeaning, and mostly just unnecessary jobs for it. We give up our lives for it. We become disenfranchised, depressed and lethargic from it. The dollar kills us. We labor in this system because we have basic human wants--shelter, heat, food, water, clothing. We are victims of this system because we have been force-fed the notion that the only way to achieve these necessities is to labor. Wealth, instead of meaning a rich intellect, an inquisitive mind, good friends, music, art, literature, and fun, is now directly related to how many dollar bills we have--how many numbers show up on our bank statements.

There is more to life than that dollar, that meaningless piece of paper. Don't live your life in blind, meaningless pursuit of it. Yeah, we might need it to eat and to live, but this is temporary and most of the time avoidable for the anarchist. There is a life outside the cell of the wage-slave. There is more.

Don't confuse the pursuit of cash with the pursuit of happiness, because they have nothing in common. Make your life valuable and enjoyable for yourself, and do not give up endless hours of your life to better some manager's life, or his superior.

Anarchy is about loving yourself, and loving your fellow man and woman. No masters, no slaves.

Wrench

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Counter-Culture

Creating a counter-culture is the best way of getting our ideas as Anarchists out of the realm of theory and into practice. A readily available counter-culture ripe for harvesting new friends and allies from is the punk-rock community. No, everyone is not an Anarchist, and no, not everyone is really into politics at all, but so is the real world, my friends! Still, there is a generally large pool of Anarcists without Adjectives, Marxists, Radical Socialists, Anarcho-Nihilists, and more that go to punk rock shows. It's all about finding them, and building friendships. The people that you connect with at ska shows and in little tiny venues can become some of your best buddies, and comrades in general.

Pass out leaflets advertising your blog (cough, cough...), or pirate some paper and ink and pass out zines with your contact info on the cover. Do whatever it takes to network within the Anarchist Community. Talk to people about the bands you like, meet up over the internet, whatever!

When we can develop a counter-culture, and refine it to be a functional network of friends and friends of friends, focused on Mutual Aide and freedom, that will be when we can make Anarchy work. It has to work in small steps first, and then we can take it to the moon.

Confucius said that a working family would be the necessary starting point to achieve a working State. Well, I say that a working, liberal and productive Collective/Affinity Group/Counter-Culture will be the necessary starting point to achieve a working Anti-State Society.


Wrench

Sunday, February 1, 2009

No Direction Home

What would it be like to be homeless? Without any refuge whatsoever? I'm talking not even an Anarchist collective or a squat to go to. I can't fathom it. I can't fathom what it would be like to really and truly live like Dylan said, to be 'without a home, with no direction home.' I was in New York a week or so ago, and the people camped out in subway station bathrooms and every corner of Battery Park incite in me a very real anger at those who knowingly or unknowingly put them there.

It was cold, freezing actually. With windchill, it was definitely below zero. Still, there they were, a mass of men and women, linked together in their poverty, wrapped in rags and plastic garbage bags, taking refuge in alleys to avoid the wind. It's not right for them to have to live this way, especially not in the 'richest nation on the face of the earth,' as so many economists lovingly put it. It's another case of the rich man winning and the poor man dying. Slowly, achingly bitter and slow, the poor man dies because of how the rich man lives.

I found a scarf on the ground after my family and I left a diner restaurant. It was wool, and well made, about 30 inches maybe, and gray. It was thick and warm. I draped it over my arm and we continued walking, eventually cabbing to get to the subway. We walked in the first set of doors and I saw maybe six people, all homeless, lying around on the ground. A few were asleep on blankets and plastic, two were talking, and the rest were rattling cans as people pretended they didn't see them. I deposited some bills, as I always do when I see people on the street, and then continued into the subway. I stopped at the bathroom to take a leak before we got on the train, and saw another man in the bathroom, older, but not old. He had a sleeping bag tied to his backpack, and a winter hat jammed over his head. He was shouldering his stuff to go back out into the cold. I gave him the scarf and my last six bucks without a word, and he stammered a thanks to me that I really didn't understand. What I did understand was the glow in his eyes, the look of complete, honest thanks. That I understood, and I was happy too.

Even though the government could help these people in one fell swoop with their funda and projects and stimulis packages, they won't. Greed blinds them to the less fortunate's plight. We are the ones who have to help out those in need, the homeless, the addicts, the people who are suffering. If they won't do it, we can, and we will. All I did was give a man a scarf I found lying in the street and a completely trivial amount of money (to most anyway). It changed his night, it showed him someone cared. Do that. Do what I did. I do it everytime I go to a big city, and I do everything I can to help the tiny community of homeless people in my little town. I do it and it feels right. I will continue to directly help these people who are hurting, and I will do it myself, without an agency or a corporation or an organization. You should do it too. You'll understand what an impact you have when you hand that woman a ten-dollar bill or a coffee you got from McDonald's.

but hey, don't take my word for it--go do it yourself. Don't forget about those who everyone else seems to have forgotten.


We are not numbers, we are not commodities.



Saturday, January 31, 2009

We Want Something Different

People say Anarchy won't work. They say this because it is radically different from the way that they've been programmed since they could absorb information. Anarchy won't make sense at first to people that know nothing except being a wage-slave, being a cog, a number, a commodity. To be truthful, I struggle with the idea myself as well from time to time, and this is to be expected, because I am reprogramming myself. I am manually reprogramming how I think, and all for the better. The constant examination of my Anarchist Philosophy will only make it more sound.

Bakunin was right--the only way we can win is to banish the ignorance, apathy and laziness of the masses. We need to get the message out, we need to wake up all the sleepwalkers who assume that they are in control of their lives, when in reality a CEO or President or manager is pulling every string.

We can't forget that when we fight the machine, when we fight the system, we are fighting for all of the people being abused by it. Even when they attack us or revile us or don't understand us, we are trying to break their chains.

These same people classify Anarchy as radical. I ask you this--Is wanting something different really radical? Is wanting real change, wanting peace, wanting food and housing for everyone, is this radical? Is wanting a true LIFE outside of the slavery of Capitalism, a life where we can experience the true nature of what living should be, is that so radical? Is it dangerous? I think not. I think it is beautiful.

Fight on, and don't ever get discouraged. As long as one of us keeps the struggle going, Anarchy and the beauty of it will live on.

Never Surrender.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Anarchists and Materialism II

I wanted to explore this topic a little further, as my last post about it was jumpy and a little sporadic. What I mean to say is this--Everything in moderation. This can apply to almost everything in our lives, but in this case it applies perfectly. There is a difference between cherishing something and coveting it. To me, cherishing is loving something purely because of its inherent good to you. Coveting something is greed, a desire to have and hoarde and be selfish. Often do I cherish things that I cannot physically hold--Music, Philosophy, Literature. But, I do cherish some of my possessions, whether this be for the memories attached to them, or for the possible memories I could make with them. I don't see anyhting wrong with that.

Everything in moderation...


I suppose that all temporal things (possessions, physical things) are just that--temporal and inconstant. The temporary, as recounted in Plato's 'Phaedo' and in Buddhist texts, often does lead to nothing but fleeting joy, and a more constant sorrow, because you become attached to them. But, this being the case, I will say I have a love for a few of my possessions. The point is, I do not covet them, I do not put them above other things that are more important. People are more important than temporal things. Feelings and emotion are more important than temporal things. Creativity and Will are more important than temporal things.

It is when temporal things overpower the inherently good and noble things that we become greedy and materialistic.

The bottom line, I guess, is as simple as what I have said above. Just take everything in moderation, and you'll be alright.


--Wrench

Monday, January 19, 2009

Anarchists and Materialism

Materialism sucks. I think that that is plain and simple. People that covet things (money or material objects) over relationships, knowledge, or really just the betterment of themselves and others are leading completely hollow lives. But, looking deeper, I can't see anything wrong with loving the things that you glean from hard-work or preserverance.

For example: I love my bass guitar. I love it. I worked in this damn Capitalist institution and bought it through the sale of my labor. Yes, there are numerous flaws with the whole thing, but am I happy I got my bass guitar? Yes. I think that the means of my work don't justify the ends. Sometimes, however, they do. My instrument widens the borders of my mind and provides a healthy outlet for my energy, all while letting me have fun! Yeah, I worked as a cog in the Capitalist machine to get it, but I believe I can justify this by all of the things that I've done to nullify this--all my direct action, my solidarity, my sabotage. Combine all of these things that I do to detract from the Capitalist society we live in with the things that I do to 'promote' it, and I think the scales will be tipped my way, heavily.

The truth is, we're stuck knee-deep in this system, and we have to fight to get out. BUT, if all we did was fight, if every scrap of energy was spent rejecting this system, and none spent enjoying some of the things that an Anarchal Society will eventually bring (relaxation, creativity, peace, joy, happiness) right now, we would surely go insane. All work and no play makes the Anarchist a dull human.

What I'm saying (again I stray off topic...) is that materialism is mostly bad, but not completely bad. Nothing can be absolute. Enjoy the things you have, but don't covet them, don't place them above people or life. Your car, all that money, that's really not that important. Material possessions are nice, but they can't be put ahead of things that are more important--see above.

What I'm saying to the anarchist is this-- Don't be ashamed because you bought a video game that you can have fun with, or because you decided to buy a book from Barnes & Noble once, and not steal it. Expecting to wade through all this mud and not get dirty at all is a fantasy. Just my thoughts.


--Wrench

Friday, January 16, 2009

TOTSE Closing Its Doors

After 20 years of free information, lulz, shock videos and thoughtful flames and discussion, The Temple of the Screaming Electron is shutting down. TOTSE, or totse, or &t, was one of the largest text-file databases on the internet. Topics ranged from Anarchy to drugs, to politics in general, and so much more. If you want to know where a young radical got started, it was here. The sheer multitude of input from thousands of people was an amazing thing, and even though everyone got pwned at some point, all the n00bs had some sort of strange, masochistic/sadistic kinship with each other. I'm sorry to see it go. It was one of my favorite places to go in the internet.



Wrench

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Chains II

This is the second part of my "critique" of capitalism today.




I'd like to start off by saying that I understand the benefits of Capitalism. I might have made mention of this last time, but I would like to spell it all out right now. Capitalism was the economic system needed to increase developing nation's wealth and get things moving, politically and otherwise. Capitalism jump-started many wanna-be nations into working countries, and even, dare I say it, strengthened communities and more. My electricity, the water in my home, and more are all provided by the economic philosophy that is Capitalism. the question is,



at what price?




In my opinion, just like the feudal system, Capitalism has grown rotten with age. It was the Capitalists that toppled Monarchal and Feudalistic societies, leading to major progress as a human race. But, just as the people outgrew the increasingly corrupt and self-serving Feudalistic state, so do we NOW outgrow Capitalism. We can live with Capitalism now, but to me it just seems like we're prolonging the inevitable, and we're warping the old notion of what capitalism means (and it was pretty fucked up originally) into something even more monstrous.




I understand that the days of unregulated Capitalism are long over. The labor unions helped dissolve this. But what is left, this amalgam of government regulation that is in most cases just as corrupt as unregulated methods, and weak socialist programs (Social Security, etc) is an aberration. It seems to me to be the same as mixing opposing blood types--one rejects or outrightly negates the other. I will say that the slow chug to a more Socialist state is better than a straight Capitalist one, but even Socialism, in the form that it is recognized today, can lead to an oppressive and confining State that is just as bad as the coercion present in a Capitalist one.



Anarchist philosophy and theory is deeply rooted in Socialist concepts, that I can't deny. What I am asserting is that the form of Socialism that Karl Marx was talking about is skewed to the side of authoritarians and bullies. I will not debate the worth of Marx's Communism here, though I might in a later entry. Let me just say that, unlike some Anarchists, I do respect Karl Marx and his political theories.



Back to Capitalism though....


How can the owners of the machinery, the bosses etc., treat us like their automatons? When we experience an economic recession or depression, the Capitalists think that they can turn off the workers (through wage freezes and pink slips) just like they turn off the heat or electricity. Capitalists see the labor force, the people doing the work for the owners of the machines, as a commodity that can be manipulated and warped. People are not commodities, and we are not meant to be used and treated like machines. In this respect I think both Marx and Bakunin were right--The State applies both alienation and coercion in equal doses on to the proletariat.

Keep in mind, the proletariat of today has changed. No longer are they the agrarian farmers, peasants and laborers of the Industrial Age. Today they encompass everyone from the dry-wall cutter to the steel-mill worker, all the way to the white-collar cubicle monkey. No one deserves to be so enslaved, in any sense of the word, and slavery is what Capitalism thrives on.

They need us, we don't need them. Never forget that.


Wrench

Friday, January 9, 2009

Chains

Unity by our individuality will be the glue that holds an Anarchal society together. When we, as people, can break free of the chains that Capitalism has attached to us (Rewarding greed, necessitating dehumanizing labor, racism and bigotry, etc) then we may fly upward, and realize the utopia that we dream about.

Capitalism is an economic system that allows the ownership of capital (land and labor) and other resources (the oceans, the atmosphere, etc.) by private individuals, as opposed to the state owning them, or a public majority ownership. From this economic system is where most, if not all, of the recurrent and monstrous social problems in the world have sprung from.

The reason for this is many-faceted, and I am not well read enough, at least in my opinion, to critique every surface of the polygon of capitalism. What I can say about it though, I will.

With the majority of the country's money in the hands of maybe 5% of the people, something is wrong. When politicians and the owners of giant corporations eat $200 meals every night and young children in trailer parks and urban ghettos sleep hungry, something is wrong. We have a problem, and that problem is the reverence we show towards the pursuit of cash, and the heartlessness and even violence we are willing to commit in defense of it.

Capitalism uses greed as its main motivating force. Examine the mentality of most Americans-- 'Make as much money as you can and keep it all for yourself.' I would not attempt to make a spurious generality and say that this is how all Americans think (I am an American, and I don't think that way!), but it is prevalent in the common upbringing of the typical American child. Isn't that the philosophy ingrained into us as kids? The whole, 'Value of a dollar' thing? We are not interested in benefitting society, we are in it to make it for ourselves. Screw the rest, grab as much as you can and live it up! Do whatever you ahve to do to be better than the other guy. It's a competition, a competition for the most cash, the most power.

This greed (and the 'Competition between private industry') is the driving force behind capitalism, and the subsequent culprit responisble for the ever-widening gap between the rich and poor. People get rich through some means (usually inheritance, which only further continues the seperation of classes into rich aristocracy and poor laborer) and then hoarde all of that wealth. Yes, some may do what they call 'Charity,' but, in the minds of the rich, this charity is merely a cheaper form of advertisement.

The economic system of the United States has made the majority of its residents power hungry, money-grabbing pawns, each feeding the bigger fish above him through his personal subjugation of his underlings. This goes for every Corporate CEO, every boss, every Manager, every Assistant Manager, every one who is put in a position where he may execute his authority over someone else. They all are devout in their worship of Capitalism and the dollar, and their only wish is to get to the next level of the wholly corrupt "Corporate Ladder," and they DON'T CARE WHO THEY STEP ON.

I do understand that Capitalsim has shaped this country into what it is today, but is that supposed to be a defense of it? Look what the country has become. I will not deny that compared to other places, America may seem a utopia in of itself, but we residents have our own chains too, and I will not be free until all of my brothers are free from Capitalism's bonds, at home and abroad.

There will be more to come later.


Peace and Love,
Wrench