Tag Archives: anarchism

Ben Passmore Cartoon on the Nib

Congratulations to the Nib for getting a great writer, and to Ben for getting a bigger audience! The article is called “Black Lives Matter, the ACLU and Respectability Politics.” It puts the ACLU in their place, it tries to ram into your dumbfuck white internet-liberal face how Black Lives Matter is stuck in a compromise with its oppressor’s society (YOU), and, as always, shines the historical light on anarchism’s role in democracy, something this country’s sense of history badly needs.

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Picture by Ben Passmore. Screen-captured out of respect and collegiality only.

Besides a lot of things, one thing I really dig about Ben is how much research he puts into everything, and how he makes his sources visible. Make sure to check out his other comics too.

https://thenib.com/black-lives-matter-the-aclu-and-respectability-politics

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Jon Taplin on the Libertarian Internet

Here’s an excellent talk by Jon Taplin of the Annenberg School of Communication at USC and father of Post-Consumer‘s Nick Taplin, on the problems of libertarian dumbshits who control the internet and also US politics. Remember kids, libertarians and neonazis are the SAME PEOPLE, Google CEO or not.

As a fairly true anarchist artist who is always about community, dialogue and exposure before “copyright,” I nevertheless appreciate Taplin’s warning that “the technological revolution is coming for all of your jobs.” Does that make me double down on copyright? Fuck no! It makes me double down on 1.) reduction of reliance on capitalism’s rules for survival and 2.) increase of sharing all things so that they don’t end up falling apart when whatever thing comes for whatever of all our things. Enjoy the video!

Goodbye by Ben Passmore

Saw the cats from Owl Bike or whatever at the Local Color gallery’s zine fest in downtown San José and seized on the opportunity to find out whence all the commotion about Louisiana artist Ben Passmore‘s comic Goodbye.

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Besides being surprised by the smallness of its quarter-sheet format (because the ad I got in the mail is legal size? Were they trying to impress me?), one association I made for myself when I first started reading was that both Goodbye and Pantomime Horse have a frame of this dead guy lying on the ground, who ends up representing a major conceit in the book revealed later.

I’ll give Ben this commendation: his stuff makes us want to reread it, largely because he has a skill for illustrating and talking around themes rather than hitting them on the nose, which many of us don’t, either for lack of skill, focus or confidence.

Goodbye deals impressively with values, action, and dialectic. In the comic, Passmore transports us from a somewhat startling shift in perspective about yuppie vacationing, through a mysterious and doubtlessly magical explosion, into a self-aware allegory about the conflict within a person over what counts as meaningful intentions and effective action. On the spectrum (sorry, Ben!), Passmore is much more a writer than an artist although the neat and tidy art has its charm.

In guiding us through this dialectic, Passmore wisely begins with the sense of community that we had when we were stupid, unmobilized kids with lots of time and few commitments, rather than shooting straight for self-critique about direct action against the fuckeries of late capitalism and anti-intellectualism. He makes a genuine case for the tiny sweetness found between people when partying and trying to figure it all out. He makes fun of bay area outwanderers (scheiss Auswanderer!) who impose their whatever on our scene –if only they’d move to red states in order to influence federal-level voting trends like Bernie’s meme machine said to without gentrifying our fucking domestic light beer establishments! Believe me Ben, I’m in San god damn José, where they paved the valley of the heart’s delight to make the god damn eBay, and I feel you.

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He then makes a joke about group sex and lands us in the lap of a local anarchist, soon to draw us into his spirit with a breath of the aging process and times gone by. Ultimately his message is for us to find the common ground and get together again. What, then, does goodbye mean? Maybe it just means that parting is not the end, but rather the beginning of many happy returns.

As noted above and in our comments on Pantomime Horse, Passmore seems always to be talking around the invisible on several levels, one of them usually comprising hilarious and true imagery from the circles of people in which we operate, and one that’s very personal and spiritual, and which colors the reportage with its tone.

Ben could be a great artist one day as long as he avoids the ironic bullshit and stays on target. Goodbye should get its due respect in the short story world. I wonder if Bird in the Hand or whatever know what they have in him. Get Goodbye! Get several copies and give it as a gift! As Ben rightly reminds us, there are no rights to reserve!

Neonazi and Fascist Update: London Forum and Traditionalist Workers’ Party

Was cruising through the aforementioned Traditionalist Workers’ Party‘s videos on Youtube, when we found a video from September 2016 in which the Party’s only-average, overweight uneducated over-self-esteemed normal American jealous white man “Chairman” Matthew Heimbach talk for the London Forum about his platform of racism, white imperialism and hatred of immigrants. We guess he had to go to Europe after his dumbass followers got beat in Sacramento.

The Forum is an average Libertarian white-supremacy group that masquerades just like the TWP as an anticapitalist organization, which particularly irritates this writer who is an actual anticapitalist and not just a racist who wants to make up all his own rules in a vacuum with no context and no society.

The Czech Social Justice Workers’ Party provided the facility for the video. In it the barely literate 25-year-old mansplainer Heimbach, who wears a Celtic cross that he does not understand, bitched in the video about how British PM Theresa May barred him (in a personal letter, allegedly) from visiting England. Are they sharp over there, or what? The British must have like zero terrorist attacks and zero refugees sneaking in through the Chunnel, what with the kind of oversight it takes to catch little old white trash from Middle America and prevent them from coming over for a conference.

Heimbach goes on to praise the racist and xenophobic Brexit and spin the same tired yarns of nationalism versus globalism and other naive, essentially lazy and selfish perspectives on history and economic reality. The “next David Duke” asks us to consider the world as it is as an inheritance from ancestors and ignore that the ancestors and other people’s ancestors (a terribly divisive idea in itself!) worked their asses off, often together, to make the world that they now want to tear apart.

The story behind this is that the London Forum and the Traditionalist Workers’ Party have evidently tried to strike up an intercontinental relationship between white supremacist groups. Both whine about how (white) ethnicity, culture and religion are being intentionally destroyed by bankers and plutocrats, while, logically, allowing all other ethnicities cultures and religions to flourish, and it’s just a hatred for white-ism that drives it all.

Everyone should be concerned that these tiny groups of idiots are organizing, amplifying their voices via social media, and vying for a spot before the irresponsible, yellow attentions of mass media, who will show anything sensational, despite the fact that what they show invariably metastasizes into movements of ignorant people. For an example of this we may look no further than CNN, FOX, NPR and NBC’s fabrication of the Donald Trump presidential candidacy and the army of stupid people ready to support it.

The Party works hard to try to legitimize itself without leaving off indulgence in the classical Nazi and KKK buzzword doublespeak indicated above and elsewhere. On their videos the TWP takes pains to describe itself as a “legally constituted political party.” Why insist on this? Because it separates them semantically from a hate group, a terror organization. But let’s not be dense. These groups are only a few hundred Facebook Likes away from becoming recruitment organs or even front organizations for larger terror groups and plutocrat thinkers (like the “anarcho-capitalists”) who do not establish Vaterlands nor protect their stupid members from immigrants, but rather just use the groups’ labor and money to uphold the status quo.

To be fair, this kind of Libertarianism does sort of represent a dark side of anarchism. If anarchism is living free of force, in the community of our choice, by the responsible and ethical means of our choice, then Libertarianism, Nazism, London Forumism and KKKism are what happen when one just focuses on wanting the community of one’s choice, that is, the most reduced context possible to perceive, such as the suburban Man Cave. This is a philosophy that wants all the trappings of globalist society and its wasteful products without having to live with those who produce it.

The lesson here is that we have to always consider our context, and live by anarchism always in the service of harmony, generosity and attention to our natural lives. Nature when not disturbed by human selfishness is absolutely balanced, absolutely abundant, and absolutely not wasteful. These Traditionalist Morons will never get there, even with the help of their old gray British peers.

Domestication and Pathological Distraction by Kevin Tucker

I’ll let Mr Tucker speak for himself but I will contextualize: when he talks about domestication, that’s one of the key parameters of his worldview, in which he calls for a resurgence of wildness and natural stewardship, and correspondingly a decreased reliance on domestication of life systems. Enjoy!

New Black and Green Review

The new Black and Green Review is out! Don’t miss an issue! Buy a few copies so they take slightly longer to go balls up!

Here’s an essential article on climate refugees, reprinted here. The active bibliography is available at BAGR’s website above, and yes, those footnotes are active.

Losing Ground: Syria’s Climate Refugees
Evan Cestari, Black and Green Review #2, Fall 2015

The climate wars have already begun. In the parlance of the State, climate change has proven to be a “threat multiplier” that has become typified by, among other conflicts, a war in Syria that to date has killed more than 300,000 people and displaced over 9 million.[1] With people throughout the Middle East escaping the ongoing resource wars and desperate for some semblance of stability, Europe now faces its greatest refugee influx since World War II and fears over a reactionary fascist backlash loom in the background.
All this when we’ve only just scratched the surface of climate change. With a 0.85°C increase in global average temperature over since the Industrial Revolution, the United Nations estimates that 60 million people have been forced to flee their homes.[2] Meanwhile, as global average temperature is widely expected to climb past a catastrophic 2°C limit, analysts predict that number to more than double to 150 million in the next 35 years. Ten times that figure, or nearly 10 percent of the world’s population, are at direct risk of displacement due to climate change.[3] What an increasingly probable 6°C or higher global temperature increase may bring becomes a frightening proposition.

The Syria-Climate Connection

The haunting image of a refugee Syrian toddler’s corpse washed up on a Turkish beach is now weaved into our nightmarish cultural subconscious. But sadly, such a tragedy had been long predicted in a part of the world where water was scarce, populations growing, and pressures to develop advanced agricultural economies reached new levels. At least since the 1970s, Syria, Iraq and Turkey were locked in tense standoffs, and even “undeclared wars” over access to the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates.[4] By 1999, Turkey, a NATO member and European Union candidate nation, succeeded in quelling Kurdish resistance and wasted little time in advancing a series of dams and irrigation projects that left Syrian farmers with a trickle of their former flows. Meanwhile, population growth surged in all three countries at a rate that would double the number of inhabitants in mere decades. As analyst Michael T. Klare stated in 2001, “The stage is being set for a series of recurring crises over water supplies in the Tigris-Euphrates basin.”[5]
Enter the threat multiplier, climate change. From 2006 to 2010, as moist Mediterranean winds weakened and surface temperatures spiked to new highs, an epic drought plagued the region. It was reputed to be the worst in Syria’s recorded history and at least two to three times more likely to occur due to climate change. In an area already short on water, 1.5 million starving villagers fled to overcrowded city centers. With a crippled domestic agricultural industry also came a catastrophic loss of imports as Russia, a main supplier of grain, halted all exports in 2010 after a “once in a century” heatwave triggered wildfires, destroyed crops and claimed the lives of over 50,000 Russian people. Food riots erupted throughout the Middle East, eventually cascading into the Arab Spring. The Bashar al-Assad regime reacted swiftly and violently to the desperate migrants while brutal ISIS gangs, dependent on an economy of pillaging and slavery, stepped in to fill the void. As the conflict escalated throughout both the cities and countryside, both sides didn’t hesitate to deploy chemical weapons, barrel bombs, and other indiscriminate weapons causing the casualty figure to surpass 250,000. Determined to escape what can only be called a living hell, 3 million Syrians sought refuge abroad, including 150,000 who treked to parts of Europe by the Autumn of 2015. It is currently uncertain exactly how welcoming the European nations will be. Some states, such as Germany, have pledged to take in tens of thousands; others, such as Hungary, have actively resisted the influx.
Syrian economist Samir Aita notes the historical irony of the disaster’s location: “State and government was invented in this part of the world, in ancient Mesopotamia, precisely to manage irrigation and crop growing,” said Aita, “and Assad failed in that basic task.”[6] However, considering the rising climate pressures, it is doubtful that any political leader, democratic or authoritarian, could have ever succeed. Despite attempts to obfuscate the crisis as the result of mismanagement, the truth is that it is more structurally rooted in a globalized industrial economy that is both perpetrator and victim of its own catastrophe.

Climate Migrations in Past Collapses

Like every other symptom and driver of a collapsing civilization, what is new here is the global scale rather than the crises themselves. Mass migrations due to climate change have been repeatedly pointed out as a culprit in the sequence of events leading to the collapse of complex societies. In his sweeping history of the role of climate change as a “serial killer” of civilizations, Eugene Linden convincingly portrays the Mongolian barbarian intruders that overwhelmed the Roman Empire in the 6th century as exiles of a conflict catalyzed by sudden global cooling around 536 A.D.[7] Ethnic Avar horsemen, who increasingly lost economic and political influence to their rival Turkic herders after a severe drought decimated their primary equine resources, moved west gathering other disaffected groups on the edges of the Empire. Few historians point to barbarian invasions as the sole cause for the collapse of the Roman Empire, yet combined with other factors including food shortages, disease, and population overshoot, Rome became progressively overburdened by a series of related and ruinous catastrophes.
Jared Diamond illustrates another example of such a process in his book Collapse while discussing the last stages of Greenland Norse society shortly after the start of the Little Ice Age between 1400 and 1800. While Greenland’s Western settlements experienced the worst effects and became unable to grow hay for livestock, the Gardar settlement in the East was located in a more resilient area that could still support cows, the preferred source of protein among the settlers. Diamond suggests how the final breakdown unfolded:

[A]t the end, Gardar was like an overcrowded lifeboat. When hay production was failing and the livestock had all died or been eaten at the poorer farms of Eastern Settlement, their settlers would have tried to push their way onto the best farms that still had some animals: Brattahlid, Hvalsey, Herjolfsnes, and last of all Gardar. The authority of the church officials at Gardar Cathedral, or of the landowning chief there, would have been acknowledged as long as they and the power of God were visibly protecting their parishioners and followers. But famine and associated disease would have caused a breakdown of respect for authority, much as the Greek historian Thucydides described in his terrifying account of the plague of Athens 2,000 years earlier. Starving people would have poured into Gardar, and the outnumbered chiefs and church officials could no longer prevent them from slaughtering the last cattle and sheep.[8]

In both Linden’s and Diamond’s accounts, developed states over time became overpowered by hungry people. And in both cases, climate change fueled that hunger.

Migration and the Collapse Forecast

What remains clear, even to those in power, is that the Syrian situation is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the displacement that is in store. Tesla CEO Elon Musk publicly called Europe’s refugee crisis a “small indication of what the world will be like” adding that the tens of millions of refugees today will increase exponentially. Indeed, all this was forecast by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its very first report on climate change in 1990 which foretold “millions of people displaced by shoreline erosion, coastal flooding and severe drought.”[9] As the effects of climate change continue to be felt more directly in the First World, we become more and more likely to see conflict. John Gray wrote in his 2003 book Al Qaeda and What it Means to Be Modern that “global warming may well overtake scarcity in energy supplies as a source of geopolitical conflict.”[10] Gray foresaw major disruptions in food production leading to mass migrations that would eventually be blocked by both autocratic and democratic regimes.

     Echoing such a proscription, in 2008 journalist Mark Lynas painted a dismal prognosis in his book Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet:

With structural famine gripping much of the subtropics, hundreds of millions of people will have only one choice left other than death for themselves and their families: They will have to pack up their belongings and leave. The resulting population transfers could dwarf those that have historically taken place owing to wars or crop failures.

…Conflicts will inevitably erupt as these numerous climate refugees spill into already densely populated areas….Tens of millions more will flee north from Africa towards Europe, where a warm welcome is unlikely to await them; new fascist parties may make sweeping electoral gains by promising to keep the starving African hordes out. Undaunted, many of these new climate refugees will make the journey on foot, carrying what they can, with children and old people trailing behind. Many of them will die by the wayside. Uprooted, stateless, and without hope, these will be the first generation of a new type of people; climate nomads, constantly moving in search of food, their varied cultures forgotten, ancestral ties to ancient lands cut forever. But these people may not be content to remain passive victims, for they will surely know that the world they inherit is not one that they have created. The resentment felt by Muslims towards Westerners will be tame by comparison. As social collapse accelerates, new political philosophies may emerge, philosophies that seek to lay blame where it truly belongs- on the rich countries that lit the fire that has now begun to consume the world.[11]

Today, Lynas seems incorrect only in terms of exactly who would be the first to experience such climate change induced famine. Certainly, it is not difficult to find parallels between the ideology Lynas describes and the bloodthirsty quest for revenge espoused by ISIS.
Of course, the blame of the rich nations that Lynas describes only scratches the surface; anarcho-primitivism digs deeper to lay the finger on domestication and civilization itself. As Tim Garrett, professor of Atmospheric Studies at the University of Utah explains, civilization is fundamentally a “heat engine” programmed for climate change as it “consumes energy and does ‘work’ in the form of economic production, which then spurs it to consume more energy.”[12] The task facing anarcho-primitivists then becomes engaging the crisis and the “climate nomads” in ways that expose the underlying culprit while resisting emerging fascist and xenophobic tendencies. Simultaneously, we can lead attempts to reconnect with wild places that may be on the margins for agriculture, but which may allow a more flexible resource base through foraging. The solutions to foraging in dry environments will undoubtedly vary from area to area, but any attempts to do so can draw hope from contemporary foragers. As !Kung elder Moloreng states in James Workman’s important book Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought; “The old…They know how to live without the water.”[13]
Perhaps the most hopeful vision we can draw upon is that of the Greenland Inuit during the course of the Norse civilization’s decline. While not immune to the effects of climatic variations in an already marginal environment, with large fluctuations in the populations of prey species meaning sporadic community starvations, Inuit culture as a whole was able to draw upon a wider variety of food resources to adapt through the Little Ice Age that starved out the Western Settlements and eventually even the rich Gardar. Amidst social collapse the Norse were unable to overcome their ingrained contempt for Inuit culture and could therefore not seek assistance from those who most knew how to persist. It is now our duty to not repeat their mistake.