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tolbiac

Annual Discontent

9 min read

My first hours into the New Year, 2017... I hate writing these kinds of things, because for one thing its an incredibly cheap and easy topic for any writer. Any moron with a language to work with can start one of these things and get attention for it. Secondly, I know that halfway through the year, when everything will either turn out worse than expected or take on a totally different nature (rendering prediction and analysis mere egostroking) I will feel like I wasted my energy on hope and idealism than using it for real-time commentary. However, all this considered, I didn't do any preparation for the turn of the year, being emotionally scattered and indifferent, and so I think that gives me a better look at how things might go in the sense of just riding it through, than going into it with a set list of expectations and things to compare it to that will add insincerity to the experience.

I awoke this afternoon from sorrow the night before, and into the common bustle and noise of this place, but enveloped in a new foreboding. Even now as I write, I was totally unaware of any breaking news or trends, save some drama over Mariah Carey botching a performance somewhere. The only thing I could guarantee was changed was the 6 to 7, and the annoyance of needing to ingrain that in my mind when filling out a date field in a document. I climbed out of bed carefully, like in a new place altogether, got my coffee and sort of just shut myself out of Twitter or any other source of news, contemplating what stood before me and how I would communicate that to prose.

Lets take a second to acknowledge two concrete factors of being: 1, We don't ask to be here, alive, in general. And 2, every person deals with that fact in vastly different ways. In the existential, adolescent sense, we sometimes make that blindingly clear to our parents when the world becomes too much. In the middle-years of adulthood, a time for reassessment of everything you got involved with as a younger person becomes unavoidable. The outlooks are bound to shift as experiences and reactions do, forming long-term conditions and emotions as we keep moving, nonetheless they are still the mechanisms for dealing with what we didn't ask for.

In my case, every person is a representative of some company that is trying to sell me a product, and every moment consists of them telling me that with enough work, with enough effort, with enough ritualistic motivation and a healthy approach to it all, this product (life) can work out great for me. But who wants a product that you need to take constant care of, especially at this point in time? Do you want a device or an appliance that requires insane amounts of maintenance and responsibility, where all that effort takes over from the enjoyment or use? Of course not. Why then is life exempt from this standard? Is it because we fail to quantify what we can control of it, and so we surrender to inevitability and prescribe methods of dealing with that? Can we just not be bothered to change immediate and artificial difficulties, because apparently they make us stronger even when they just kill us? I have to deal with what I didn't ask for, and when the collective attitude for dealing with a burden is more burdens, it defeats itself and then some.

All this restarts with full stamina after New Year's eve. Both the question of what I will make out of this year, and the understanding that the time and place to make something good are totally arbitrary, collide and, if nothing else, emphasize the inescapable difficulties that we are thrust into. Its all going too fast as it is. I need a minute. Let me just breathe and hope to god the shit from last year doesn't carry over and take shape again.

I chose to go in blind, because I think learning of yet another beloved musician's or actor's death or a story of the new president-elect will conjure up the bias of "here we go again" in that vein sense. So while I'm somewhat uncorrupted with whatever is currently happening, if I can convey a general sense of what I think should be the case for this new start prior to the year filling itself with continued drama, I think I can get through this well enough.

Every year I can't help but think of the desperation and bickering that must go on in the media companies and figures responsible for providing the cultural condition of a step in time. The friction and combination of ideas in an effort to appear viable and worthy of the stature they have, to give to those waiting the attitude to follow or the new human clay to mold something out of. Their desperation, the newly found stress of this generation that haunts every one in their time in the sun, is bleeding through when the pressures on every side close in. This does two things: renders the previous product obsolete or at least dated, and gives the idea for the next. A statement or movement runs its course and lays the way for its inheritor.

I have some issues with this model. Although I generally approach problems in a linear manner, the linear order of finding the new approach is just that; the new approach... for the next approach. The distraction on itself takes over any attempt at bettering social life.

What good are new developments in anything if they'll simply become part of the zeitgeist, and dismantled in a few decade's time? Why do we pursue things we'll just get tired of before we have time to rejoice? If we can't make up our minds on principles which will remain and adapt to every smaller development throughout time, what good is there in rewinding our anger to redo what could have been done and over with a century ago?

The process is one of passion, not urgency. Each generation hates itself for being socially stagnant or sedated by individual comforts as injustice continues unscathed. But its action is simply for action alone than for urgency: the historical obligation to find something to be angry about and develop new ideas to follow, because their parents and grandparents did the same, so consequently so must they. Expand or die is the implication: manufactured and forced, blindly hurried to the next checkpoint. If these people truly care about doing things differently and expanding reality, why don't they consider the very framework in which they do things? Why don't we consider when or if we will be able to stop and actually be satisfied?

This is not to say there is no urgency now, but for me the actions I want to take need to be universally encompassing changes, changes that will settle into our social framework and guide every individual shift for as long as we uphold it. A great and socially omnipotent simplicity that enables more complex things under it. Meanwhile, everyone else seems to actively desire a situation where we will need to do things over and over again, opposite to a single massive reconfiguration to take place that will conform to and welcome the smaller, decentralized changes in perspective and association. The opposite seems to be the case for most people, where they desire many small changes in an effort to satisfy a benign, almost nonexistent encompassing configuration. Tiny organic units instead of organic universality to be the mode of life. Frankly, I've grown tired of both the exploiters and the tail-chasing opportunism of those against them to a point where the two blur and mesh into a new oppression; an oppression of direction. Do you or do you not want a better order of life? Than stop pussyfooting around and make direct change on something. Alas, with this new step in time, we will only find what cultural product will lay way to the next.

For half of last year, it took me a lot of agonizing thinking, more fittingly called mind-consuming depression, over what I believe and feel, what those who are striving toward what I seek think and feel as well as if they would agree with me, to come to any sort of conclusion on my own direction. At this point, I'm not certain if it won't be something I will think about forever until the gland in the human anatomy which produces the feeling called anxiety can no longer take it.

I think if there is a meaning or an aim in what I do, it is to come to a point where people can do and be as they want while all the functions of social life are in a state of respectful indifference or mutual support of it, no more and no less. Everything before that is a struggle to overcome the structures rooted in one side against that idea to continue its domination. Be it a condition of socialism, an equitable reconfiguration of present society, whatever. If you can be you and I can be me, and there has been an effective elimination of institutional exploitation, artificial complications and desperation as a result, I can't help but feel that my work in that range is arguably finished, and that I can begin work elsewhere from what that has left. I don't see any current means of convincing me otherwise that that idea is the enveloping change which I desire, and possibly what every person who shares my political alignment seeks when boiled down to its essence.

And maybe these New Years are outer layers of the same mindless cultural production. They repeat themselves until we acknowledge the broken record and actually initiate change instead of just suggesting the idea, reformatted to look and sound new and interesting, to make the best of the crumbling relationship hanging by a few threads. Otherwise, it isn't the fault of causes but life itself. Just another thing we didn't ask for but have to deal with. Ride it through without expectations that make it feel insincere.

tolbiac

"Its 2016"

8 min read

Standing at the edge of the year, seconds before diving off into the unknown horrors and abstract hopes which await me on the other side: like a ghostly whisper from the ground I've just finished covering, I hear for the final time, in the crumbling confines of the year, that phrase which has been the vehicle for language on current events for the last 12 months and has garnered an asinine but fitting title for what it has encompassed.

In nearly every conversation, article, video and wherever else I've heard someone talking, its been used to convey a sense of being shortchanged by the times. It was a verbal phenomenon of genuine grievance poking through a veil of irrelevant, impotent complaining that shrouds real meaning. Something good delivered in an untrustworthy package.

2016 started as the year of big questions as the final year of Obama's presidency began, and all eyes shifted to the presidential debates for the entirety of it. A new presidency is a new chapter in an era. Every bump in the social and political road will have an administration held responsible for it, and a constant force above all citizens scrutinized and guiding questions of who we want determining our limited societal capacity.

Hope for a break from the reupholstered empty promises of political conformity took form when outsiders Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump competed in the initial parts of it, with Trump steadily climbing and coming out as the victor to a lot of people's dismay and others' rejoice.

On top of this, we seem to have reached the deadline of progress of a sort and are far overdue, causing general agitation in people expecting something better at this point. Of course, some have comically associated it with not acquiring Robert Zemeckis' vision of the future, while others have used it to outline the continuation of human downfall in political, social and economic areas, with the cultural areas amplifying the unrest.

There is a difference to me between someone acknowledging the passing of time with a lack of resolution or progress, and identifying the situation as being inseparable from the current year. While the former is totally open to refitting, the 2016 approach seems to be a direct and aggressive title, like a campaign slogan that serves one specific purpose, incompatible under any other situation. Stating the date give us a setting and allows us to go back five or ten years and follow the graph to trace where things went wrong. This is almost a double-edged sword in this regard, because it almost actually explains why things are the way they are, and doesn't solely deliver the message of bewildered outrage: If you listened to what you just said, and paired it with the last couple years, you would know where to focus your anger.

We have a contained environment where we can determine what political climate in the last 5 years lead to Trump's victory and how the media only made it worse. What public and private sector crossovers lead to deplorable climate change resolutions. The constellation of policy choices throughout the 1990s and 2000s that laid the way for neoliberalism in the United States, leaving the immense bulk of people disenfranchised in a hundred ways and the architects blaming the left. "Its fucking 2016 and [negative things here]"

The phrase by nature is a commentary on where we're at and what we don't yet have. e.g., its 2016 and we still don't have single-payer health care; or what we do have but shouldn't: its 2016 and Donald Trump is the US president, its 2016 and indigenous people are still being driven off their land for profit and the continued pillaging of the earth. Implied, seemingly unnoticed by the very people who spout it, is the demand for accountability or redaction of those in positions who have amassed the only means to do anything and neglected those left wanting. Inevitably all filth flows downhill, and the Kings and Lords at the top shout off comfortably at political drama as the many wait for their time in the sun. Its 2016 and we're still dependent on wage labor.

Self-awareness of the shared procrastination (result of the pacification), at least in my eyes, becomes too real. Another overlooked trimming. Right. Here we are in this year, and what good has this step in time brought us? Then they turn to the people elected to critical positions of power and despair at their history in policy and public appearance. Oh, right. I need to be engaged in the society I live in and carry my own stake in this to avoid this happening more. Although those who were paying attention will know by now that "being engaged" is far from being a good little citizen and casting your vote every four years; but instead it depends on how far you're willing to go once you've jumped the lines drawn out for you. Indeed it will mean asking yourself if you will sacrifice comfort and security for a future you may very well never see for yourself.

No longer is it 2016, but it remains the era when moving forward in time means stepping back in everything else. The hopeful passing of time merely serves the growing decay of those subject to it. With another year older, another year together, and another year to make more resolutions, is another year wasting away in denial, with cutesy aphorisms remarking on our times which offer up a bittersweet nod for a moment, then its back to the grind. While the collective hand reaching for resolve — splintered and worn as it is, an obstacle in itself to overcome — desperately extends its tendons to the infinitesimal shutter of light ahead, its fibers break until total reset becomes mandatory for hope to carry on, not in this age, but in the next.

In a word this decade is bleak, if not disconcertingly so. This year has been a source of great personal distress over the conditions which will herald the future meant to overcome that foul emotion being the daily garment of the heart. Discussion among intelligent politically motivated people only segments and begets division, becoming its own worst enemy once meant to expand itself, instead turned onto its own communities and shatters itself into a hundred pieces, from where the cycle repeats ad infinitum. Rebuilding, decaying. Rebuilding, and decaying. There appears no stoic phantom to thrust an iron rod into the maw of rhetorical turmoil to give it a dire halt, and restart on simpler, cleaner principles in the spirit of the continued strife between ideas, and not egotistic posturing within them. A long winter of the heart is stretched thin across the late years of the 2010s for those ambitious for new social configuration and means of existence. Those who look at the phrase which is the present subject and see, in their most basic form, "we carry again what has been carried for centuries." Those who believe unrestrained well-being guaranteed to all by a community based on common good is a much deserved relief. Those who believe the time for that is now and overdue.

But as in all such conditions, there are roaring blazes found in the storm that adjusts the vehicle through this journey. For me, the solidification of a pure and perfect love that enriches and sustains once forgotten cogs of my humanity, where if all else fails, I have the only solid thing that really matters to me to run to. In others, newly found urgency and unity in the eminent outgrowth of organized hate in America, marched on by segmented and deceived working people.

Once again we are witnessing a critical and trying time in human history emerging. The static and mundane discourse of the previous American presidency has been abandoned by a profound and phenomenal force, forging something incredibly more volatile. Not only by Trump, but by the door being opened to overcome neoliberalism where one of two sides (socialism and fascism) will escape through and gain the upper hand in society. I believe we are beginning to see the rise of divisions with mutually exclusive interests not unlike those seen during the World Wars nearly a hundred years ago, instead where the outcome might not be just a middle-ground, but the goals of direct movements than the job of politicians. Where the collective possession of power among the citizenry is perfectly able to break through the historic barriers of coercion and instate something with a pure meaning and an all-encompassing benevolent function.

Every insincere groan at 2016 is a touch on a greater cluster of problems and contradictions. The growing pains of everyday people's agitation will blossom into unified expressions against disproportionately structured association in all imaginable forms. The abstraction cannot survive forever in the face of limitless possibility. Its 2017, and we have to push on in direct, practical ways to reach that light we are all variedly compelled to.

tolbiac

Social Anarchism Explained Simply

29 min read

The purpose of this article is to give a simple overview of what are the chief ideals of the socialist anarchist tendency of radical political thought, made accessible to the layman.

Considering the volatile shift in the American political environment at present and its influence on the opposition of the victor in the 2016 presidential election, there is bound to be unintelligent conversation when in the course of mainstream discussion around the reemergence of anarchist and communist dialog. This article is intended to correct those misunderstandings in advance and provide an untampered glimpse into the anti-authoritarian far-left. This is done partly against the continuing debate over semantics corrupting substantive discussion in the mainstream, with the hopes of stepping into a less warped understanding of anarchism and what it means to be an anarchist or socialist.

The method used here will be to define and differentiate concepts and institutions to give a nuanced designation of either a concept or institution's mere reformation, or a collective effort to transcend it, under the realization of social anarchist principles. Furthermore, where a concept is not to be totally abolished under a totalitarian apparatus as popular misconception might suggest, but for its practice to transition to work under a far more equitable social configuration than in a coercive, hierarchical system. With this method in mind, we will go through several crucial elements with an anarchist analysis that defines the approach.

Power

The ability to do anything with all social components cooperating with the person taking action, or an individual's free will being practical in a social setting, is the sum of what is meant by "power". The ability to take action in favor or against something, amass and guide support, create lasting change, benefit the wellness of others, pave the way for the future. These are all examples of power, where efforts involving you or others are almost always immediately successful or at least very possible. This can obviously be used for good or bad.

Power concentration is the condition of power being mostly if not totally controlled by a specific ruling apparatus, while those subject to its demands are left with an impotent possession of social power. This is the basis for state societies and governments where we are required to submit to their status.

With this in mind, power is understood as an essential device of human progress, and so anarchism is far from opposing this, and instead wants to see power made accessible to all people without distinction. In practice, the abundance of power would create a self-correcting, self-sustaining federation of communities where the well-being and equality of all people would be the constant aim. This end is assisted by further concepts of material conditions which nullifies the expectation of barbarism in a scenario where there is no restrain on people's ability to do things. As we go on, this will become clear.

Authority

Authority amounts to one action or possession of power being varyingly more legitimate than another. This can exist in different contexts, such as a qualification on an intellectual matter or in a profession, which are separate from the central type of authority that anarchists oppose.

In referring to a social system based on the constant exercising of authority, this provides the anarchist movement with its goal of anti-authoritarianism. The opposition to a system of management in which a select few hold authority over the direction of the association is central to this. It may be more adequate to define anarchism as anti-authoritarian and not anti-authority, as authority can exist in a resonable context under an anarchist society, while authoritarianism, the disproportionate system of coercive authority, cannot. This type of authority is exercised by governing bodies, the police and military, bosses and owners, etc.

One key notion as put forth by professor and author Noam Chomsky is that authority which cannot justify itself cannot be justifiable for those subject to it, and must therefore be replaced by a better social system.

Additionally, anarchist theorist Mikhail Bakunin stated the following on distinguishing the function of authority verses coercive authority.

Does it follow that I reject all authority? Far from me such a thought. In the matter of boots, I refer to the authority of the bootmaker; concerning houses, canals, or railroads, I consult that of the architect or the engineer. For such or such special knowledge I apply to such or such a savant. But I allow neither the bootmaker nor the architect nor the savant to impose his authority upon me. I listen to them freely and with all the respect merited by their intelligence, their character, their knowledge, reserving always my incontestable right of criticism and censure. I do not content myself with consulting a single authority in any special branch; I consult several; I compare their opinions, and choose that which seems to me the soundest. But I recognise no infallible authority, even in special questions; consequently, whatever respect I may have for the honesty and the sincerity of such or such an individual, I have no absolute faith in any person.

What Is Authority?, 1882

Its important to note that most anarchists will claim that they oppose "authority" when referring specifically to coercive authority and its primary implementation: social hierarchy.

Social Hierarchy

In terms of how an association is organized, social hierarchy is an arrangement of people in terms of their authority or status. This creates a relationship (sometimes called a "relationship of power") where what ultimately matters is who is higher up in the hierarchy (boss, politician, etc.), and that who is in service to that authority's interest is obedient (worker, citizen). This negates the interests of the worker who performs a task for the boss, or a citizen who is subject to the constraints of the state.

As most people would rightly assume the person responsible for the use and maintenance of an object should be the legitimate controller of it, but instead this is given to someone who does not directly operate it, and is simply an appointed, unjustified controller over those who do the actual work. The dictates of the individual at the top of the hierarchy is what matters, and not the interests of the majority subjected to the hierarchy.

With all power centered in a hierarchy, there is no alternative choice of it and we become dependent on it. It forms a self-perpetuating, exploitative relationship where the only option for those within it to survive is obedience, which contributes to the continued necessity of servitude. The instinct to survive overrides the creative and constructive traits of individuals, and reduces them to mere cogs in the exploitative yet sustaining machine of hierarchically structured organizations.

Hierarchy in other contexts is similar to authority in serving reasonable purposes, but it is believed in anarchism that there are arbitrary and unreasonable positions of power over other people that form abusive and inefficient relationships, which in turn unfairly benefits a minority in power and deprives people of their humanity. Unjustified hierarchy, very much synonymous with unjustified authority, is arguably the core enemy in the eyes of anarchists, which manifests in numerous ways.

Property, Ownership and Capitalism

Property is the quality of any item belonging to a group or individual. In the political and economic sense, this refers to who is responsible for the operation of a business or other legally/socially affected establishment. There are a few ways in which this is outlined. Among them, the most common form in state society, is private ownership, in which the authority in a hierarchy controls property (in this case, what is called the means of production: machinery, offices, farms, etc.) while it is operated and tended to by the employment of workers, which generates money, a small fraction of which given to the workers to rent them into continued service (called wage labor) for the productivity of the private business. A market system works alongside this, where a society's transactions of goods and services is directed by many other businesses, which affects the conditions (prices, demands) of items in circulation for the profit of the owners, all dependent on the rented (exploited) labor of everyday people.

This state of affairs is called capitalism, firstly originating from unequal power in ownership, and working through the reduction of human beings to disposable assets. Additionally, the outcomes of capitalist entrenchment have proven to be the most pervasive, widespread and socially accepted forms of malice by any hierarchical institution. It places the importance of profit far over that of immediate human needs, primarily because it continues to aid in the essential presence of money and market systems in global society. Its existence relies on wasteful practices and artificial scarcity to continue its validity in the eyes of those who it employs and who lives in what it has come to dominate through the centuries following the industrial revolution. This is due in part to the immense bulk of wealth generated that is either wasted in continuous growth expenses, or simply lost to the workers who have made that wealth possible.

Within state societies, a set of property rights is enforced by the government to give legal protection to the owners of private property. These are often used against those (anarchists) seeking the transformation of private ownership into a democratic arrangement. Because the state coupled with capitalism relies on the influx of money, it requires the protection of the producers of it to continue functioning, and so a legal framework is made for deterring its interruption.

Property belonging to an individual is personal property, in which the ownership does not affect other people in any way and serves only the desired use of the owner. This includes houses or apartment rooms, clothing, personal vehicles, electronic devices, tools, books; usually everyday things people have. It is very important to distinguish private and personal property to avoid misunderstandings that have presently been accepted as facts of anarchism. Anarchism seeks that these personal belongings be totally unaffected, but that the means to create them and distribute them are made available to people in a democratic fashion through the process of expropriation (which requires the destruction of capitalism). The kind of ownership of productive property which anarchists seek is called social ownership, where the members of a group own and control the property together without a hierarchical arrangement. This also has its own subtypes.

  • Collective ownership, which refers to group-ownership by joint agreement; e.g., the members of a union agreeing to own a factory and manage their work democratically. (This can be seen in syndicalism or an anarchist market system, and is the root of socialism.)
  • Common ownership, which refers to productive property being owned equally and indivisibly, as a characteristic of society beyond specific agreement; e.g., a community opening its machinery and factories to all members of it. (This form normally constitutes a gift economy model of exchange, and thus the enveloping principle of communism.)
  • Among others (mutualism, participatory economics) which share traits of the previous two.

Social anarchists commonly fluctuate between the first two types of social ownership, sometimes viewing collective ownership as a means to recover into adopting common ownership, or combining the two. The purpose of striving toward social ownership is to establish an important guiding principle: labor according to the extent of one's abilities, and consumption according to their needs. This is the basis for emancipation from capitalism, creating material abundance of goods and equitable productivity among a workforce.

Class

Class, referring to social class, is a kind of hierarchy which outlines people's social and economic relation to capitalism and the state. It is primarily determined from one's relationship to the means of production, while other factors include income, occupation, housing and education. Two contrasting sides (with one meeting in the middle) are made from who gains an upper hand in a system built on hierarchical power relations, normally consisting of who gives orders and who follows them, and who indirectly contributes to the oppression of the other class. Simply put, one class has little and is forced to sell their labor for the other class who has much and does little if any actual work in comparison. This creates a stark contrast of material conditions consisting of a possessing and non-possessing class; working class (historically called the proletariat) and upper (owning, bourgeoisie) class respectively, where the working class is forced to rent themselves out to the profit interests of the owning class in order to survive. Exploited and Exploiter thus becomes a noticeable dichotomy.

For the individual, in the course of working to better oneself under this, a multitude of expenses and debts such as rent, bills, taxes and prices are put upon them to overcome while under a limited income, making enjoyment of life increasingly scarce with the pressures of money-dependent society. The atmosphere of dependence on renting oneself out becomes the whole mode of life: basing our daily lives on the time and dates we attend work and carefully planning what fractions of wages we've earned to pay for goods and essentials. Fabricated concepts like The American Dream exist to keep people emotionally chained to the labor market; either to remain an exploited pawn or to assume the role of an exploiting boss.

The class system in the last several decades has expanded to combine different groups of people, such as women, ethnic minorities, the LGBT+ community, disabled people, and others. Because of this, those in lower classes also meeting criteria for these groups experience additional societal disadvantages coupled with being working class. The result is a condition where white, male, able-bodied working people, while still working class, experience an involuntary, unfair advantage in capitalist state society, known as social privilege. This is not the fault of individuals or traits, but a function of social hierarchy. Moreover, it has shifted working people's focus away from class issues and kept it in the direction of race, sex, etc., in the form of impotent identity politics which distracts from uniting these overlapping struggles into a singular force against the source of oppression, and serves to divide people further.

Now, lets put all this together...

Power is greatly filtered and suppressed by forms of coercive authority and social hierarchy which are dependent on the disposable service of those who live under them. In capitalism, the most prevailing kind of coercion, we find ourselves divided into classes which specify what relation people have to the capitalist system. It identifies workers as non-consenting servants to an all-encompassing domination. In the state, an extension of this coercion overlays and acts as the front-end enforcement of profit. Property rights provide the legal protection of exploitation, and institutions like the military and police physically enable it while representative or parliamentary government determines the wages of force.

The state and capitalism are not viewed as separate entities, but as united halves of an exploitative whole possessing similar but nuanced functions. Both interlace and combine powers to form appendages of maintaining each other. Such things as imperialism (the global expansion of state and capitalist rule) are acted on when investing domination in other regions becomes necessary for profit.

Complimentary to this are the prejudiced narratives of racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia. They originated from other socially hierarchical perspectives, but were directly amplified by the owning class (both in encouraging racist and sexist dialog, and oppressing minority groups) in later centuries to distract working people from immediate exploitation, and initiate a splintered working class to sabotage unity.

There are a number of other factors that play into coercive hierarchy differently, some matters of debate within the anarchist community. But in total, they return to being symptoms of social hierarchy than singular autonomous problems to be added to a long, hypothetical list of issues to tackle.

What all this means

The problem in short is that the important associations in society are arranged in such a way that take advantage of desperation from the conditions which the structure has made concrete to advance itself and keep the subjugated in continued service, working in a cycle. The solution in the anarchist perspective is to bring the working class and other disadvantaged groups together in solidarity and cooperation to replace (by force) hierarchical social arrangements with a democratic and voluntary structure. The way of doing this is to advocate class consciousness, a set of knowledge of what would benefit one's class, in working people to inform them that what they live in is rigged against them — not simply the present condition of the structure (who is in charge or what the law is) but the structure itself (capitalism, the state, social hierarchy).

Social Anarchism is used to denote itself from radically individualistic trends of anti-statism (such as "anarcho-capitalism" or "free-market anarchism") which are dismissive of unifying communal efforts, in favor of individual, sometimes hierarchical, institutions existing free of a state, but nothing further. Social anarchism puts importance on community and equality being integral to the security of individual autonomy and freedom. This is a big reason "social anarchism" is specifically used than simply "anarchism". Interchangeably, Libertarian Socialism is used to lessen an emphasis on explicit anti-statism and instead offer an approach to socialism (worker-control over the means of production) different from the intellectual stigma that has popularly corrupted its meaning.

Anarchy is not chaos, as the most continuous misconception suggests. The phrase meaning without rulers does not entail without rules or without order. It is the condition of people being emancipated from arbitrary institutions of power concentration which thrive off of exploitation and require manufactured violence to vaguely justify themselves. This means that not only will chaos and violence not be abundant, but it will lack purpose when people's desperation is destroyed alongside capitalist domination. Moreover, any violence is far more suited to exist in an anarchist society than a state society, as people's direct efforts of combating it are the only solutions, and therefore the most effective and stable, as decided democratically by those immediately affected by violence.

It further postulates that brutality, crime, prejudice and social competition are outcomes of the imbalances caused by social hierarchy and exploitation, and thus it seeks to overthrow and replace these systems with an equitable and democratic group of systems, where power is wielded equally by all and social security is guaranteed by a resulting abundance of material goods and equitable productivity, disarming inner-class conflicts.

In total, the underlying goal of anarchism is to establish perfect human autonomy in all realms of social life: To restructure things and make people free of coercion, the filtering and restraining of power and labor out of desperation. Where principles of direct democracy, free association, horizontal cooperation and self-management guide the growth and health of a community where its functions were formerly entrusted in the state, capitalism and other disproportionate models of occupancy. To enrich freedom of thought, creativity, expression and the expansion of individual personhood and identity. To make the occupants of communities the direct managers of themselves and associate freely with others; in the hopes of a new global, voluntary community breaking the chains of hierarchical confinement.

Schools of Thought

With these principles in mind, a multitude of tendencies of anarchism interpret the ideal means of achieving this differently, specifying different approaches to aspects of society. A few of the major social anarchist tendencies will be explained in under one paragraph.

  • Anarchist Communism — Also called anarcho-communism, anarchist communism is derived from the works of Russian scientist, activist and writer Peter Kropotkin, specifically his books The Conquest of Bread and Mutual Aid. The tendency derives from these works that the state, capitalism, wage labor, markets and private ownership must be abolished and replaced with common ownership of the means of production, direct democracy governing a horizontal federation of voluntary communes, and work being done under the guiding principle of "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need". Furthermore, the tendency advocates that human beings are naturally inclined toward cooperation rather than competition in the course of production and general society, in contrast to the Darwinist application to society at large. It was the underlying principle behind the Ukrainian Free Territory led by Nestor Makhno in 1918, and is widely believed to be the most common trend of social anarchism.
  • Anarcho-Syndicalism — Originating in the works of Mikhail Bakunin and Collectivist Anarchism (in which collective ownership under a stateless society is achieved through violent revolution), Anarcho-Syndicalism emphasizes radical trade unionism, solidarity and direct action as a means to overwhelm capitalist society and gain large-scale worker control of the economy. With this control, they aim to implement workers' self-management, abolish the wage system (understood as wage slavery) and transform private property into collective property, gradually expanding this control to other territories and countries. Historically, the most ideal example of anarcho-syndicalism put into real-world use is the trade union activity in the Spanish Revolution of 1936. Members of the CNT and FAI trade unions (among other communist groups) rose up against the existing government and reclaimed Catalonia, Aragon and other smaller parts of Spain under principles of workers' self-management and direct democracy before the Second World War. German anarchist Rudolph Rocker outlined the history and methods of the tendency in his work Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice.
  • Anarcha-Feminism — Combining opposition to capitalism and the state with feminist concerns of women affected by social hierarchy, anarcha-feminism is a school that seeks to dismantle male-centric social domination (patriarchy) in favor of an equal ground between men and women, complimentary to a stateless, horizontal and democratic society welcoming of free love and non-traditional relationships. Feminist anarchist Emma Goldman famously pioneered the combining principles of anarchism with women's independence from male coercive authority, among fighting homophobia within anarchist circles and criticism of organized religion.
  • Mutualism — Often debated as a more individualist trend of anarchism, Mutualism seeks to establish a reciprocal market system of voluntary associations and means of production, either collectively or privately owned, with use and occupancy justifying ownership alongside self-defense and free contract. It is derived from the writings of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who famously began to establish the anarchist perspectives on property, ownership and labor.
  • Platformism — A kind of organizing method usually coupled with anarcho-communism, platformism seeks to create tightly-organized anarchist federations as a means to gain broad influence in the working class, rather than only appealing to the far-left. It holds that unity in tactics and ideas, consensus-based decision-making and collective responsibility held by the federation is important in effectively engaging in a class war. This stands in contrast to Insurrectionary anarchism, which instead favors temporary, loosely-connected affinity groups as means toward an anarchist society.
  • Infoanarchism — A recent trend of anarchism, Infoanarchism reconciles decentralized distribution of computer-based information with the aim of creating a stateless society — the Internet seen as being a model of such a society. It primarily opposes copyright law, intellectual property and censorship, deeming them to be state and capitalist tampering in the free and anarchic nature of public information. Though not explicitly in connection to conventional class-struggle trends of anarchism, being more associated with Internet piracy, copyleft and the free culture movement, Infoanarchists have made connections to their approach with how a revolution would operate and participate in direct action over the Internet.

The matter of actually convincing one to identify as an anarchist will be up to their own autonomy of intellect. While one's material interests in their unfettered perfection would certainly persuade them to it, no one can expect anyone to throw off what convictions they were born into and cling to in the light of new information. The intention of this essay is strictly to give proper representation of the perspective lost in mainstream discourse, and for the debates over semantics to whither away.

Author's Proposals To Anarchists

The anarchist movement has existed for well over two hundred years. Its core values have been around for about as long as recorded history, but within two hundred years of enlightenment thinking propelling anti-authoritarianism, it has had plenty of time to develop and connect itself with the further identification of hierarchies as they formed. This time has allowed us to examine the methods of bringing people in and what side-effects they had.

Intellectual narratives generally produce a shock in their respective society. In the matter of feminism, it produced a shock in the 1960s and 70s that cultivated discussion around the role of women in society. The drug culture produced shock around illicit substances, their use, their morality and the laws concerning them. These "shocks" are the phenomena of new ideas, not unlike the awe of a marvel or tragedy. The substance is more or less absent to those looking at it, the only genuine value is the spectacle than any meaning.

What really makes the spectacle is conflict, when we have a hypothetical red team and blue team going at it in some way, and nobody is really invested in any side being the victor, let alone anyone joining that side, except for the sides essential to having the spectacle go on. We already know this is the model for contemporary politics, with voting having been reduced to a mere obligation of citizenship. In the age of light-speed access to information, the public's love of conflict merely for one to attach their comments to it overshadows any genuine attempt at social change. On top of this, we aren't even safe from this alone with ourselves. We have layers upon layers of these spectacles: Inner-community drama over orthodoxy, language, methods, tendencies, and even drama over drama. Posturing and hypocrisy boils over, blinded by the banner of socialism or anarchism, causing the splintering, the separating and the cementing, just for us to splinter and separate again as the forces of profit and imperialism expand unhindered.

I think this is bound to happen when we keep putting ideas out in the way we have online (which is, thankfully to a point, the only way of getting anything out anymore) for the last decade. Its my opinion that we don't want to have another culture shock where we merely have another divide between adherents and opponents for the uninvested everyday person and omnipresent capitalist class to act as spectators to. Doing so totally reduces ideas to names than informed approaches to life. We instead want discussion not for the sake of looking correct and representing an idea, knowing its just going to devolve into sensation, but for the actual manifestation of a voluntary structure of society, with a sort of foreknowledge that working people in general can easily sympathize what we mean when we address the latest grievances and the unspoken origins of them when we escape the spectacle.

Mere discussion and team-picking is simply posturing, high school levels of shallowness, and furthermore the divides within sides produces more and more spectacles that make a joke of something crucial to mankind's continued existence. In the same manner of speech and intellectual communities, we should strive toward organizations which emphasize the means of arriving at a horizontal arrangement of society, and more plainly, what we agree on and not mending each difference of perspective. We also do not want posturing given any power outside or within the communities, placing a higher importance on the substance of the association, removing any sort of contradictory competition of who can satisfy a subjective idea of being the best leftist. We want to focus on what we're here for and not let petty contextual differences ruin something good.

We've got so caught up in the process of carefully analyzing every idea that crosses paths with leftism, that an overarching sense of community was sacrificed for the sake of critique. A balance has been lost, one once commonplace. I believe this should be corrected or the last remaining integrity of the left will certainly perish. Thats the matter of ourselves. And with that settled, moving to what matters more: other working people.

In order for us to successfully persuade people into anarchist organizations, I propose that we need to follow a simple and careful procedure of condensing and connecting ideas to real-world current events which will effectively illustrate the problems and the solutions. The independently drawn-up illustrations of immense and complicated proportions in cinematic video essays and stylized publications have been coated in a left-centric aura that fogs the path for many people. It isn't that a sudden revelation needs to be captured and dropped on every working person, its that the ideas need to be made accessible and connected to everyday experiences of exploitation and inequality. The ideas need to reveal themselves to working people with the subtle, case-by-case nudge of anti-capitalism, until that revelation can be reached, challenged, and understood. This is how many of us started out, and how I think we should aim to keep it going. For me, it was gradually reading The Conquest of Bread alongside working my first job in one of the most deplorable corporations in the world. Bit by bit, we began to understand.

Our aim must be for solidarity and agreement insofar that individuals have the same goal in mind for a stateless society, that they can fight side by side, honor a relationship of mutual aid, and reserve other disagreements for a civil and inclusive environment of free discussion.

That which we overwhelmingly agree on needs to be put first and foremost, mixed with a good dose of self-awareness and even humor at our own orthodoxies. The desperation to obsolesce capitalism and destroy fascism will not come easily with a fixed uprightness in each and every realm of life. A hearty laugh needs to be made when needed in a hilariously complex and worthless scenario. "This is my world, my life; and I decide what gets the better of me and what solidifies my humanity."

The intimidation rightfully reserved for hardened reactionaries needs to be directed in the most opposite possible direction of newcomers. The list of burdens must be greatly reduced if not suspended to open the gate for all willing proletarians. We are, after all, seeking to bring the greatest possible number of workers into the anarchist community, and we really can't expect each of our customs to resonate with people of varying educations, convictions and reasons for test-running the anarchist community. Reserving an anarchist organization only for those versed in theory and the other manifold implications is simply inverting the present exclusive jingoism in broader society we are so profoundly opposed to.

We shouldn't view libertarian socialism as a ship to board with quotas and training need being met beforehand, transporting us to the communist promised land. It should be an ethos that molds to the pre-existing passions and traits of every individual with a heart for an equal society. It should possess a sense of simplicity and optimism that innately appeals to the downtrodden and desperate, as if the phrase they could distinctly feel in their heart but could not adequately proclaim. If we furthermore understand libertarian socialism as a lost friendship linking every and all living things with a lightheartedness in innocent differences not detrimental to the shared vision of the future, and apply this to our present affairs in organizing and informing, I think we have the greatest possible chance of moving on from desperately predetermining the most practical way of anarchy and finding the one crucial element in pursuing the admired historical ideals all along — that being unity.

If we already understand collective action to be what enriches individual autonomy, consequently I think we should know collective sympathy and steadfastness to be what will enrich individual might and compassion to prolong solidarity.

I ask that we resolve our ideals into the perfection of our community and commit to a practical motion of our convictions, that we celebrate our solidarity and camaraderie in all circumstances, and hone our anger into the insidious, smirking curse that is the reactionary capitalist foe.

Further Reading:

Books:

  • The Conquest of Bread, by Peter Kropotkin
  • Mutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution, by Peter Kropotkin
  • God and the State, by Mikhail Bakunin
  • Statism and Anarchy, by Mikhail Bakunin
  • Grundrisse, by Karl Marx
  • The Accumulation of Capital, by Rosa Luxemburg
  • Reform or Revolution, by Rosa Luxemburg
  • Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice, by Rudolph Rocker
  • Homage to Catalonia, by George Orwell
  • Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky, by Noam Chomsky
  • Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order, by Noam Chomsky
  • Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky
  • Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy, by Noam Chomsky
  • Our Word is Our Weapon: Selected Writings, by Subcomandante Marcos
  • Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, by David Graeber
  • War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, by Chris Hedges
  • Death of the Liberal Class, by Chris Hedges
  • Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt, by Chris Hedges

Essays/Articles:

Websites:

tolbiac

What the Election Taught me

11 min read

The 2016 presidential race was the first I could fully bear witness to with all faculties and a proper reserve of cynicism intact, having been far too young to know of or care about any details of politics during Obama's initial run (knowing only from relatives that he would be the worst thing to the country since Osama Bin Laden), let alone Bush's quest for a second term and his initial race after Bill Clinton's time in office. But now its over, and frankly its too painful to go into at length and too cruel to make you read another one of these. I want only to compact everything I've observed during this election cycle into a few key highlights, and be done with this as best as every sensory origin around me will allow for the next year or so.

Going into it

  • Election season comes on slowly, looming over everyone's head as the final year of a presidential term arrives, but its official kick-off drops on everyone like a stone in shallow water when we learn about people starting campaigns and listing their crucial issues for the next president. A lot like waking up from a slumber you forgot you settled in for. We have to elect a new president? Oh, right.
  • There are those imbued with faith in the system to some degree who think the whole event is critical to sustaining a legacy of sorts of a past president, those new voters who see an opportunity to contribute to American history with obscure hopes, and those veterans to politics who know the matter to be 20% appearance, 20% pandering, 40% money, 10% logistics of money, 9% sensational drama and 1% repetition.
  • All campaigns preface their own failure, a kind of Schroedinger's Cat of politics. Modesty, such as that with Sanders, foreshadows this. Mainly because of the expressed weakness seen by the whole game, like in prison. Once you see that, you know it will turn into an only the good die young situation.
  • Learned campaign bystanders will imply the above axiom, letting it germinate and sink in, bursting into a magnificent weed of disappointment and misery for new voters in the election's progress.
  • Support in a campaign done with intent of "engaging in your future" while having no direct means of any real engagement is the outstanding oxymoron of elections. Moreover, it is active disengagement in reclaiming your future than engaging in a predetermined caricature of it.
  • The hunt for a new president is the search for a new American social period. Bush's time in office encompassed a period of questioning war, interventionism, nation-building, the historic causes of extremism and the US's blindness to digging itself in a hole. Obama's time revolved around accountability, civil rights progression, the simultaneous invasion of them, acts condemned elsewhere done under a different title, and finally the drive to do better all over again. All this propagated by a great shift in media, information and activism.
  • With a lot happening in four to eight years, it isn't wrong to say that the election cycle is the actual New Year's Day for the United States. We're met again with what will define our time, the matter of wading through the waters and scrounging up what we will make of this next era, and how the powers at the top will be affected those.

Halfway through

  • Eugene Debs' vision of Socialism in the United States has perished, having been reduced to the red-headed step-child of The New Deal in fighting for more comfortable chains than their abolition.
  • Good intentions and a following around them won't amount to anything in a system built on bureaucracy and fluctuating cash. The system rewards playing by its own rules and then some, along with it being incompatible with human concepts. Humanitarian campaigns in American politics are like charity under capitalism.
  • Issues are just the vehicles for narratives. The two may appear linked in the course of politics, but in the grand scheme its only narratives and support around them than issues that count. Single-issue campaigns contrast by having a steady singular velocity, due to (1) a lack of a figure or personality for things to center around ("We need to elect Hillary to get equal pay"), and (2) the lack of a narrative around this personality ("Hillary said she will get us equal pay"). This furthermore shows that narratives can only drive politics, not issues nor pressing needs for change. There needs to be a political vehicle and occupant; a candidate is elected and a mere facade of hope in an issue is achieved. But this isn't to say that single-issue campaigns are any better, because they lack the power to break through the barriers set up by the state, otherwise there would be no politics to begin with. The results are narratives carried by the supporters profitable only to the administration's appearance, and impotent campaigns of singular reform taken up independently.
  • The farther the margin of impossibility and absurdity is set, the more it will be surpassed.

In the end

  • Every young adult too basic, disengaged and happily stupid (wielded as down-to-earth) to get into politics will contribute to the death of urgently needed movements of direct action in favor of the most immediate and comfortable "best of two evils", wherefore the contingency for freedom against tyranny, agreed to be "not practical", will be charged back to the social squalor once more.
  • Every reduction of greater concepts in the course of campaign narratives will not only bolster the ignorant support of voters, but contribute to the distance between people's autonomy and deeper entrenching a public state directed by private interests.
  • Defeat, like the start of it all, comes on slow, but hits harder than anticipated. And when its over the whole picture becomes clear.
  • All things accounted for, pandering coupled with aggression and absorption, giant reserves of money and holding on that fowl inflection in speaking hollow promises, mixed with some side-drama for publicity is the key to it all.
  • The greater hubris, name and bank account yields the greater outcome, or at least a more worthwhile political spectacle.
  • Any ignorant orange blowhard with a capital empire and a name synonymous with everything loathed in the American people will make it in the United States. Truly the American dream.
  • There can be no doubt that politicians are as ineffective in countering competition as they are bound to be the people's downfall universally. Lousiness wins as intelligence loses, desperation worsened. Every time.

Onward, every American generation is going to have one of these, every new child with a heart and mind to grow into only for it to work itself into a frenzy of political hope in a hopeless machinery of cogs that work against what they claim to provide for. Thats about the last sad truth every child will learn: After the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy, Santa Claus and life purpose, they figure out for themselves, wishing that it could have been wrapped in that innocent parental sugar coating so it isn't as tragic, "Candidates are puppets to greater evil, and merge with it quickly".

Even those hopeless maladjusted citizens stumbling behind Trump will find either in his success or failure in what resembles policy that a candidate can only meet below the minimum expectation for better or worse, whether they take him as the second coming of Bush, or a certain leader of a historic German political party, or not.

Ultimately, on the death bed, the final dying lesson learned in the realm of politics is that the state itself is the biggest sham and far from the necessity we were so convinced it was. We always catch glimpses of this, seeing our elders scoff at big brother or Uncle Sam, but always opting instead to battle for a few months every four or eight years in defense of it, and continually missing a world managed solely by the good will and unfettered power of the people alone. Persuasion so deep into the physiology compels them to answer to the call of a new almighty overseer, that the exit door stretches farther away from them every passing season, looking back at it only before the final moment of perishing.

The greatest misfortune to me was the sheer conviction, the angry strife to be aligned in something where everything is crooked and sad. The entire time I spent watching Hillary apologists lecturing people to get out and vote, rewriting sexism to mean not agreeing with her or questioning her record, alongside hollow calls for justice for working people being spewed by an orange madman billionaire wrapped in unapologetic self-absorption and prejudice, I genuinely could only feel hopelessness. A very real sadness was awakened in me that hearkens back to personal times of an emotional sinking feeling at the inertia of the world too powerful for me to overcome. I felt almost precisely that in regard to politics in 2016. It wasn't the actual words that struck me like that, but the nature of the fervor in something so basically stupid and repetitive as an election, mounting at it becoming one between a war criminal opportunist and a Trump.

Coming back onto myself and others, even the despair culture of this election season provided little, but equally so did the demands for mobilizing around a third-party candidate, recurring back to narratives and issues. The third party side blended with the despair side and canceled each other out as the inevitable raged on. If anything, it cemented that Mars colonization can't happen any sooner. But I think deeper still, it awakened just enough people, a minuscule minority nonetheless, to a lesson in approaching politics and holding out hope for some people bound to hold ultimate coercion over you, if not the sum of what it means to partake in the electoral performance and to be free.

There are no necessary evils, there is no best of two evils. There is tyranny and freedom. Any in between ultimately sides with an exception to freedom, and thus nullifies it. Any president however Utopian or benevolent can never do justice. The tyranny is not in any action, but in the very place of power. The very seat and foundation where they sit. They cannot grant freedom because it is innate and not bestowed. It springs from the bottom-up and is chained and mutilated as an oppressor needs, taking generations to regain its roots and grow anew attempting to reach us after being vanquished once again.

There are no good presidents. A president distinguishes your ultimate place at the bottom rung in the ladder of power, and submission and humoring of that structure by telling people to participate in asking for a new slavemaster emphasizes your assimilation on every human front, devoid of greater features and realms of thinking. You choose between freedom and tyranny. Tyranny is a deep and jagged chasm described by its pawns with the sweetest words refreshed to call on the newest generation, functioning in varied complex loopholes and convincing gimmicks, stumbled onto by countless agreements, fees and terms. All this coated in fine-trimmed promises that you grow to hate but still serve out of dependence, up until the very end.

Freedom is not the freedom we know. It is the lightness of the heart in the worst of calamities and the grin during tragedy. Freedom is not an allowance or a pardon, it is the holistic envelopment of self in every shade of life outside the confines of state and master. Its sustains itself solely from enjoyment of it. It holds one singular request in the face of its corruption and needing to be bestowed: Revolt in the spirit of unfettered self-determination.

For the final time, I will let Thoreau's words, often exaggerated and bludgeoned into intellectual jamais vu, make their attempt to sway the heart for approximately the eight thousandth time. Not in the spirit of commentary or angst, but in the spirit of their actual meaning and the hope to see them made real in the world. I feel his ghost weep in this hour.

"Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men. When the majority shall at length vote for the abolition of slavery, it will be because they are indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little slavery left to be abolished by their vote. They will then be the only slaves. Only his vote can hasten the abolition of slavery who asserts his own freedom by his vote."

tolbiac

The Good Old Boy Complex

15 min read

just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.

— HST

An irresistible historical specimen with unique overtones continues to be a curious case in the Southern United States, or the lower Appalachian region broadly, mostly to its outsiders. Particularly, the subclass of Americans — not entirely what is known as a redneck or hick, but that demographic which rides the line between them, and consolidates their values amplified by sociopolitical ideals common of the Southern ethos. The generation proceeding hardened male working class Christians, who have entered contemporary society with their fathers' attitudes and principles in one hand, and the strange complexities of larger society facing them in the other. The result is a rebirth of that last generation struggling to be in a world that forgot their dogmas along with women needing their husbands' signature for loans, and brushed off the relevance of their character after their collective spite against conditions which would advance their conditions of life centuries ago. I speak of those young Southern men who are in a distinctive social dimension tilting slightly to one side while one foot is in another. Trapped between the past's lost embers and the growth of modern circles, a sort of cultural uncanny valley that becomes obvious when crossing the state line in Virgina, Tennessee or Kentucky, from my and others' experience. The Good Old Boy, as I can most adequately identify from the conversations I've heard, is the passive-pronounced character trait of the congenital Southern American male, and the product of the Southern antagonism meeting current events, new issues and old covenants kept by silent rites.

Those interested in history, social commentary or any owner of two brain cells are aware of this. In layman's words, a southern man. But over time I've observed a kind of subgroup in this background. More specifically, a young, relatively ambitious southern man engaged in the outside or mainstream to some extent. The offspring of the patriarchs, who also existed in this same situation a generation previous, who carry on their fathers' attitudes into the next period of time. The subject at hand has been acknowledged and documented a few times times before. As far back as Thomas Jefferson in his Notes on the State of Virginia provided some observations on the castes of Virginian social life close enough at the time to resemble what we're met with now. Varying factors have all been accounted for as the basis for this in different observations by intellectuals leagues above me, but I think we only glimpse at its surface in the course of critically looking at America today, and we've yet to look at how the class of people is fairing in a situation where their only immediate use is the beguiled labor for property owners, and to remind others that they're a thing.

It used to be that the North and South regions held their own separate social and cultural shades, not exactly intended to maintain territorial identity, but as a matter of circumstance. The interests and class stances concentrating in vertical dispositions one century after British colonization, trades and demands segmenting and booming respective of their place on the pole, and economic institutions settling in bountiful areas all contributed to germinating what we have now. A few miles north of Hillview, Kentucky is now still the horizon of the Yankees. They rarely crossed their own invisible boundaries, and even rural and urban sectors were only slightly dissimilar. The civil war of the mid 19th century hardened the regional differences when confederacy and union were propped up, and war over ownership of people hauled from across the Atlantic was waged. But with that old quarrel over and being accepted as staying in that forgotten corner of time, the shades have progressively melded together as travel and relocation for jobs became more common. This lead to Alabama hicks and Florida crackers being found in Illinois and Vermont, spreading out considerably like they never left Dixie; with their traditions following like a stench. Truly blending the ethno-cultural contrasts into the unified American body.

Before moving into the actual notes, lets recognize an important disclosure for the content at this time. The goal here is not simply to take a razor to the whole features of the South or demean its culture, but to deconstruct a social aura that has put itself in front of me since my own inception of critical thinking around my environment, and is past due a written observation of some sort. Of course at this point all social critics have hammered at the complimentary nature of the culture with the political platforms, but rarely I think they've looked at the specific tinges we can find in unsuspected venues should we look hard enough with an eye for its transparent undertones.

My life thus largely spent in Southern states, with a certain fondness and optimism for this region of the continent — but with great disdain for what the culture has always embodied to varying degrees, has left me with a trove of observations and notes from family reunions, mom and pop restaurants out in the boonies, and discussions with elder patriarchs and masters of the universe, opposite to me on all spectrums. I intend for what follows to be a biased but responsible summary from my own accounts, comprising a dialog on an old but filtered breed of people meets the emboldened fixtures of the contemporary setting.

Essentially the good old boy standardizes an assimilation of the redneck to where [subtle] prejudice, contrasting judgment or distrust based on traits and non-conformity is merely a frame, and not a full basis of character in the expected setting, like a person with this trait and the other hackneyed attributes. An example would be an executive director transfered from West Virginia with a Masters in marketing and a quaint demeanor, who is particularly wary of women in hijabs. It removes just enough of the caricature and puts it in every profession or position of power for it to stand on its own.

The engagement outside the culture is the entryway into what reminds us of their existence. Those moments online where you see a 30 year-old new father from Georgia in a camouflage shirt with a Glock 26 on his hip, using emojis and dabbing or what have you. A 60 year-old patriarch signing up for Facebook (and probably snapchat at this point) with the help of his family, sharing and posting rightist political material. Obscure relatives like the cousin of an uncle's step-sister with a specific set of life values, presumptions of social classes and reductionist outlooks on current events, with a contradictory side note that "people are too uptight". Sticking out like a sore thumb. Blinking neon arrows exclaiming "country boy".

From here we move onto the family, and the families that make up a broader family such as the aunts, uncles, in-laws and swarms of first, second and third cousins. Though its more of a product of families in themselves, the good old family has a propensity to exemplify what we normally think of. The sentimentality of families operating as a collective body, folding vague and distant relatives inward into a greater clan when an occasion requests, is an intoxicating and empowering sense of having been born into a magnificent tribe blessed by the good lord, of which the good old family strives to make an empire, both in informal political unanimity and inward power structures secured by firearms and various contrived narratives.

An undercurrent of patriarchal dominance is evident in the family, not as blatantly asserted as in previous decades (while accounting for varying conditions across families today), but it remains in subtle gender relations. Most opposite to adult males are seen with a very delicate tinge of weakness, in the same reductionist fashion elsewhere, just enough to be clearly picked up with attentive observation. Nowadays, the good old family has little choice but to accompany the event of women attaining status as sovereign individuals, lest they suffer excommunication from the society that grants them to be good old boys. Regardless, often coming from both sexes alike, they seem to yearn for a scaling back to when women had a "sense of place" and children fell into familial caste systems of personality to recycle the father's ambitions.

Gentleness is not done solely out of compassion, but compassion as a necessity to secure that pre-determined inferiority and maintain a rigid family structure, the ends seen as justifiable for cruel firmness. One can reasonably contend that the best interests for the child or spouse are in mind, but the nature all around entails a bigger object. Preeminent masculine traits are injected into the child's environment as soon as sentience begins to sprout. For the male, to set a goal to meet. For the female, to understand who is favored to really be in charge. "Man-up" and "Boys don't [do X]" can commonly be unearthed when a male child is acting up or hurt in some way. Into the teenage years the boys may be taken hunting, fishing or the like as a last ditch effort to ensure your kid don't grow up queer, while the girls are prepped by their mothers for child bearing, marriage and possibly to be a provider alongside the husband. All this contoured around the acceptable minimums of the society they will assimilate into.

If not derivatives of classic white power dialog far more reserved for those going above and beyond a simple good old boy, they sustain the contrasted logic of crime and punishment around ethnic minorities adjacent to the scope of power by police that we've seen in the decade's wake of police violence. Furthermore, basic uneasiness in urban areas and a physiological tension in the pit of the stomach around dark skinned persons, perhaps the occasional angry annoyance at the demand for ethnic justice, is about the worst we see. The suggestion of material conditions being at fault for perceived collective wrongdoings in place of race not once presenting itself to them. And even if it did, it would be a fantastical instance of wording to think any such systems of determining contentedness would do any wrong.

Personal ownership of firearms is a core value, a true holy rite. A kind of ubermensch trait of right-wing bastardization, and precisely as important to the good old family as the firstborn child. It must at all times be proudly displayed on their hip for it to complete its intended impact, as it is often idolized in the culture: The adapted version of Dukes and Princes with daggers and rapiers hanging at their sides as they go about their business is the apparent aim. It reflects on the tribalism, the yearning for a dynasty requiring such protection, and a corresponding victim complex. It demonstrates the fetish of the manifold directions of wielding a kind of power against a perceived constant danger, crucial to upholding the justice of the tribe; up to and including acting on an idea of threat by ethnic minorities at nearly every turn. The ownership of land coincides with this tremendously, though it falls outside the confines of the good old boy nature, as they commonly reside in suburban areas or places bordering town and country.

All these combined and intersecting respectively with that distinctive regional flair, they comprise the outward attitude, and this is more or less the actual weapon of the complex when faced with an issue. As sure as one or more of the good old family members has the DRUDGE REPORT bookmarked, they ready armaments of national providence and vindication of social privilege in their righteous battle to uphold their end of a committed incongruity.

The Broader American Antagonism amounts to the mythic-sensory continuum in sociocultural tensions, namely Southern autonomy which in turn encompasses the slave trade, race relations, civil rights and perceived attacks on individual liberty by big government, all complementary to the mythic reality possessed by Southern reactionaries, the right overall, and encapsulated by the good old boys. We define the mythic reality as a reality with absent substance, made from emotional subscription and constructed by those who want it desperately to be separate from myth. By existing, this already creates a dialog which of course creates a battle of ideas. Moreover, it is a historically integral constituent of the political dichotomy in the United States: wherein we seem to inevitably trace back and overlap near that great civil conflict we faced one hundred and fifty years ago. Needless in saying, it set the eternal stage for this nation which it will bear for the remainder of its being. It alone was only a circumstantial occurrence and a pawn to greater colonialism, but from its start it was the American social furniture to which we would apply new upholstery every few decades. Jim Crow, the War on Drugs, mass incarceration, police violence, white supremacy and silence in the face of injustice. This is the sensory reality — a reality with tangible elements — possessed by the inhabitants of the greater Union who see through the structures possessed by the complex, and wish to overcome the antagonism.

However, the good old boys also wish to conquer this obstacle, and indeed it is one to them, but from the other side. In total the strife is a game of tug-of-war with the center of the rope composed of two halves—each the goal of the respective side. Each side requires the other to be the instigator with a laundry list of reasons for the strife's genesis. "The liberals destroyed the south's economy after the civil war", or "the ruination of the family" normally among them. It demonstrates strikingly that the social conflicts in the nation can always be boiled down to two defined sides, both of which came out the two factions during the war of the 1860s, always taking form in right or left.

The good old boys, commonly, are the front end, expendable footsoliders to this whole network — but not explicitly in direct service to it. They serve it by being of service to separate but connected monoliths of ideas and attitudes which raise up the complex. The attitudes, culture and enjoyments themselves are mundane and even irrelevant. But their permeation in the repository of American social outlooks is what seems to amplify them, just as much as attitudes common to the left or liberal worldviews tend to amplify and easily mark themselves.

They are victims of a mythic narrative that was inherited by their fathers, who were themselves associated in some sense to reactionary movements, the labor exploiters and religious institutions. These conjured the perfect storm for the antagonism when met with plans for reform, reducing singular grasp of society. The political, economic and social pillars of identity created the precursor to the present manifestation. Right-wing quasi-nationalism, free-market capitalism (now having evolved into a more corporatist neoconservatism) and Christian-centric morality, marking June 26th as a worse holocaust than September 11th, may as well have devised an entirely new United States situated on top of the original Union. They are the delegates in the cities and towns for the rigid and angry families in the hills and ranches, as the emerging generations everywhere continue to overcome the past.

The transformation of the good old boy complex has existed as long as the regional distinctions first became relevant and merged as part of the expansion west. The confederate solider begets the senator in favor of Jim Crow laws, who begets the DEA agent from Alabama, who begets the police officer in the urban squalor. Considering at present the impending election results of 2016, and the constant sparks of current events outlining who falls where, we are nearing a new transformation of its political implications as first seen in the media's acknowledgement of the "alt-right". The transformation, in my opinion, will likely be made up of individual social factions, not oligarchical circles of statesmen, returning to nationalistic, nativist and traditionalist values, and aspiring to make them conventional once more. Consequently, there will be a rise in counter-movements center or opposite to them, and the antagonism will as always take new form and carry on. Cats and dogs; Right and Left. The equilibrium is the life force of the nation.

The question becomes not what we do about the good old boys, not if they should be removed by combating their higher-ups by some anarchic anti-racist/fascist force. They are not only the symptom of deeper issues, they are equal parts the paramours of the culture in their historical region, and inheritors of their fathers' spite against unions and equal protection under the law.

We should seek to defuse the anger and dialog by making them useless. It may take riding out the four to eight years of whichever candidate takes the oath, but inevitably how we actually solve the whole antagonism is to engage in a grand upheaval against the conditions which make the reactionary returns to supremacy seem necessary to those convinced or downtrodden by the ruling economic minority.

The result is the good old boy taking a more modest and fanciful form than one complimentary to the amplification of reactionary narratives. The gentle southerner, born in the parts immortalized by Twain and Faulkner, made melodies by Nelson, Jennings and Charles; not the son of a ranting, raving Trump supporter, doomed to carry that weight in a cozy job in the big city.

tolbiac

Kentucky Workers must Unite

6 min read

The recent Jim Beam strike in Clermont, though a passive and contained frustration, is a reminder that the working class in the core cultural pillars of the Bluegrass state such as bourbon manufacturing still hold some semblance of engagement in their trade and consciousness against the structures of capital. It has defeated my sorrow at the late void of working class voices in the commonwealth, and as usual, presents an opportunity to reach out to the strikers to push their grievances into wider political and economic aspects. While the walkout like many is simply a frustration against contract offers, staff shortages and work hours, in these times of mere regulation and deterrence against direct collective action, no angry worker can be left without a hand of unity. It tends to be a signal to leftists to fuel the flames wherever they emerge, that the opportunity is constantly presenting itself but always trampled by the discourse around the conditions the worker relies on.

The obstacles in re-enriching proletarian power are daunting and seem to expand increasingly each passing day of this election season's ins and outs, complementary to the habitual attack on the labor movement and the ingrained shutter from the power structures against the present serfs organizing for their own interests. And even within the more radical left we stumble onto copious internal differences of approaches and viewpoints to wade through until a solid point of solidarity can be reached, moving on to the next hundred or so obstacles of actually getting to what we believe. The entire process has possibly been one of the most boom and bust formations of action in American history, whose resolve depends on the health of the current labor organization getting to the next point, all without tampering by neoliberal establishment. Now is one of those crucial points in time we need to foster.

But strikes and unity alone can't hold up against the forces which dictate the status of human well-being and exploit the resulting desperation. The provisional means of outcry can't carry us into a better way, nor can they last forever in serving our best interests. Like all scenarios in history a need to unite under new order arises when the battle changes form. The working class in all regions must acknowledge itself as the non-possessing entity in a possessing and non-possessing dichotomy of material conditions upheld by the laws of the state, and hence the recipient of all ill burdens of social life. They need to know they fall under a specially designated class of exploited people for the benefit of the possessing class, rewarded, like a treat to an obedient dog, with hardly a quarter of their value for their services and no further. From this understanding of the abusive relationship of concentrated power, working people of all backgrounds must overcome their boundaries and unite as an autonomous, democratic force against capitalism, the state and the emerging hierarchical divides of persons.

For Kentucky and other Red-states, the pressure put on everyone by local governments and their celebration of Right to Work policy, designed to ensnare workers in an unrestrained labor market, more recently in Kentucky with Matt Bevin's governorship, has created the divide on policy among the workers guaranteed to quench any and all flames regardless of the vote's outcome. False and hollow reform distracts class energy from revolution into the bourgeois honeypot where it dies instantly. Otherwise, the ills of working people are revised by the bosses and politicians to scapegoat ethnic minorities and eliminate the very idea of class and its effects.

Disengagement due to political dissatisfaction is either the break from the crushing world around everyone or the innate nihilism in those who want to work a job and come home to their families or breaks from reality, and nothing more. Life itself for the worker is a burden of routine and not a matter of being the master of ones own existence in the company of other self-masters united to build a greater world. Life's purpose becomes suffering for the vague hope of an offspring's suffering to grow less and less over a hundred years, with no substance to guarantee this.

Appalachia is caught between a tense historic antagonism against the left, and being one of the most impoverished working class areas in the country because of this. Towns and neighborhoods lack maintenance, families go without medical care, go starving, unemployed and homeless. Drug use skyrockets and laws combating individual choices create broken families. Meanwhile the course of hollow reform leaves Republican and Democratic workers alike chasing their tails leading them right back where they started. Hope placed in presidential candidates proves the gross lack of people's autonomy in a state society. The union men and women are laughed off and told to accept the imposed changes of the workspaces, let alone seen as the growing potential of a labor revolt in a southern state.

This needs to change, and the change must start with bolstering the spirits of the strikers and organizing them, but not in basic contained unions. Their ambition needs to be influenced for a long-term efficiency of liberation from compromises and desperation. A broad inclusive platform of workers needs to be situated in the region. A dedicated, armed socialist-anarchist federation built on free groups stationed in the states composing Appalachia needs to be arranged and managed horizontally. The group representing Kentucky should begin with engaging with similar workers in the essential cultural productions of the commonwealth. This would gain volume more than any other area to strike in. Kentucky's bourbon industry, which makes up 90% of the world's whiskey, being uprooted and reclaimed by those who develop it would get the world's attention by a thousand times the scope of Clermont's strike. Gradually; ideally, this would apply to places beyond the lower Midwest area, and include Pittsburgh's steel and Oregon's timber, etc.

The opportunities for better organization come and go in all circles, but something in the revolt involving such things as an area's cultural legacy illuminates the image. The trademark symbols of cultural regions should be appropriated during revolt for the benefit and happiness of working people than for the excess intake of industry. The crafts and trades enjoyed by generations taken out of an exploiter class's hands and put under a new social system is a hallmark of our endeavor: Our sources of happiness situated next to universal well-being. Freedom and expressive outlets being integral to one another. Mountain-men shiners under black-and-red flags, drinking happily with their family and friends in a better life. This can only be accomplished with organizing under this idea, and acted on in unity with other states and groups. Kentucky, and Appalachia, must unite.

tolbiac

Content's Phenomenon

5 min read

Its quite remarkable to see the planning phase, the execution and the reflections or footnotes afterward in the course of creating any type of content. If we lay all these out in one straight line, we can read an entire month's or decade's time of work as a single sentence, and take a shortcut through a huge part of following a creator. This is slightly like memory as well, when we consider ourselves 365 days previous to where we are now; how much we've learned and grown in that time, and how those all made us the person right now. Perfectly listing all the differences that emerged in that course of time would probably leave one dumbfounded. Studying this in media certainly will, when we replace the constraints of time with the vastness of mediums, and the person in question with the odd and manifold forms of thought.

The creator often never has a perfect idea mapped out, even when a synopsis and several drafts are done. All the notes implemented and weird little bursts of "Damn, thats a good line!" included. Putting it all in a main draft and piecing things together is still just winging it, all things considered. This is why a lot of times the final piece is very different from the original concept, and even after that there are leftover tidbits to add in interviews or comments on one's own work when its become known to a group or shared the world over. The understanding that the source is ambiguous about the core and the insightful ridges of the work leaves a lot of questions open about its meaning and flexibility. To think that the one who created that great movie or wrote that long, epic story is vulnerable to any degree makes the observers feel as though they have an equal amount of power in determining the direction of the content. It also supports the notion that a story conveys itself by its various perception than by its solid form.

Film and books experience this phenomenon way too often. So often in fact that it ought to be incorporated into that sector of expression altogether. "When I wrote [so and so] I had the intention of conveying X, but ended up seeing the deeper meaning being Y when I looked at how people were reacting to it.", "The film took on a totally different meaning when it reached the audience." and so on.

The way life lessons collide with us in a sudden and resonating way have become a similar unspoken trait of creativity. The work doesn't seem to end until the viewer has a long, introspective moment to assess what was just absorbed, as with the author when the instruments of creation are put away. The work, however complex, is perhaps only the vehicle for getting the viewer as close as possible to the intended message, than for one to follow through objectively.

My modest thought experiment is this: Lets assume a writer has a concept for a book — but he wants to explore the deeper themes of the work in a published assessment of real instances of that thing. Having taken the essay into consideration, basing most or all of the book on that, the larger body incorporates the findings of that publication and perhaps expands on it when the author has time to step back and examine it under a different light. The book is complete and when its reception blows over, the author recounts what went into making that and notes the interesting values learned upon second, and now, third, glance. With all these three steps: The initial essay, The story based on the essay's concept, and the remarks encompassing the two previous steps, is it wrong to say that the third step is the most pure and complete instance of that whole cycle of ideas? We can arrive not only at three, but at five or ninety or five-hundred instances of that third step after so many of the first two have been done — constant expansions and developments that take us someplace else after each other. Of course, after a while this would be cumbersome and annoying to keep up with, but nevertheless its still a form of filtering out the abstractions and getting to the purest batch of that idea. Ringing it dry.

The when its all said and done effect seems to be what trails off of finished work, being the spore that plants the natural continuation, or at least the afterthought, of media. This isn't so unrealistic on the surface when we consider the reverse of Symbolic Self-Completion, e.g., doing less, or at least not enough, and being left with more to add.

I suppose its safe to say we've found an exploit for media; until, perhaps, we invert the phenomenon I proposed and not-self-completion, and we end up just making another mess. I guess time will tell if we get this one right.

tolbiac

The Case Against a So-Called Right to Work

3 min read

Note: I wrote the following for a course in Language Arts on Right to Work policy, in demonstrating defending a position. For a while, I thought it was a hastily-made presentation, good enough for the demand, but after re-reading I think its decent enough to share, though its not invested in specifics and more focused on basic points and logic for the topic at hand.

The relation between organized labor and notorious “right to work” policy is one of co-opted concepts and meanings to devise a trap for heedless working class people to embrace. One that is contrived for the carefully elaborated absence of nuance in popular political discourse – the absolutist establishment of Liberal and Conservative, it appears that both positions are aligned against the material interests of the working class.

As the direct physical operators of production and distribution, workers are entitled to and rightfully deserve, so long as they continue to assimilate in a capitalist market economy, organization and negotiation for fairer wages and attainment of common goals otherwise non-profitable to their employers, despite emerging antagonisms between hierarchies, the commonest anomaly of the most non-oppressed faction of social life bellowing oppression through the channels they unjustly acquired.

Labor unions and socioeconomic institutes have opposed right to work legislation as they purposely decrease better paying jobs and leverage profits with more, lower paying jobs. This is done with the negation of common understanding that having any job is completely pointless if you aren't paid enough to live. They also ignore the fact that if there simply isn't enough of a demand for labor to employ everyone in the country privately, then consequently the private employment model is null and void altogether, or guaranteeing a livelihood for all unemployed workers would be the most prudent course of action.

In submission to right to work policy, a February 2012 right to work adoption in Indiana took on unions where labor's foothold was once strong and has now slowly withered away. This presented a problem for manufacturing businesses in Michigan, in which an average 18 percent of workers were represented by unions, where lower wages presented a tempting opportunity for management to relocate. Such integration of these policies have deterred unionization in non-union prevalent places elsewhere, as reported by The American Prospect:

"States throughout the South and West soon passedsuch legislation, and used the laws to prevent unions from gaining a foothold or gaining significant power. The laws never actually dismantled a strong union presence, but instead kept unions out forfear they would upset racial and class structures."

The "Right to work", therefore, is coded language for the right of the employer to participate in an unfettered labor market – that is, to choose the worker who will accept the lowest possible wage, and therefore leave the employer with the greatest possible profit, the net effect of which is wage depression for all workers, the condition under which the surplus value of labor is extracted to disproportionately benefit the employer class: the sum of private exploitation.

tolbiac

Nature and Substance of Infoanarchism

14 min read

 The related ideals of opposition to centralization of social mechanisms emerge in varying degrees in all things capable of occupancy, community and derivative. We have yet to find anything like the Internet that is capable of going against this. It appears very much to be the outer instance of replication and growth seen in the evolution of animals, instead in social systems. Break-aways and growths. Any concept with a formula and inner-working cells can counteract other cells that form barriers, seemingly devouring the encompassing formula for itself. This is the idea behind anonymizing networks, encryption and independent platforms of communication. These form the defenses of open, vetted communities and services against the gatekeepers of the Internet and the malice of investment in control. Striking against malicious cells. From this idea melded with critique of property rights over files, the source and distribution of information and the private ownership of technology exists a trend that stresses democratic control of a shared online space, total freedom of public information and free ownership of technology. That is the summary of Infoanarchism.

Its almost certainly impossible for any anarchist to pass up the realization of their proposed social system in smaller contained instances which serve as testimonies to the natural universal draw to anarchy. In our place in modern time, we can't help but encounter that fashion of effusive disorder in every basic interaction. Even in structured areas of communication, the underlying fibers are decided by consensus. This seems to be information at large. The distribution of media is multiplied by the initial numbers of people who discovered and shared something. A descending order of heightened volume, regardless of what system it happens under. Natural anarchy, the ends determined by the participants. That is, of course, until the ruling occupation deems it harmful and dispatches its combatants.

This alone puts anarchism in a different light than physical civilization in which Proudhon or Kropotkin centered their attention, and infers that things can spring from within just as uniquely as from insurrection. The hacker culture, though not explicitly dissident to the state, made the earliest form of this. Richard Stallman's GNU project in the 1980s at MIT spearheaded a quasi gift economy model for the exchange of source code between developers and end users, leading to the modern open source community that created the Linux kernel and a myriad of other free software unrestricted by private ownership of the technicalities. Here started the first major questioning of money being important to software: The programmers being the ones developing and distributing the technology, they should have free agency to grant rights to end users to reproduce and share the code under the same conditions.

A decade down the road, the influx of the BitTorrent protocol and file sharing networks as a whole became the first major discord in the information age between free access to media and the profit interests of the entertainment industry. This was the shift from owning and sharing ones own work, to opposing the institution of private ownership of other work. A radiant and perfect concept that ideas made public are common property and transcend regional and material boundaries, not compatible with capitalism. When The Pirate Bay in Sweden was first being legally hammered by the United States, it was a matter of (international) state action against content-sharing in defense of property rights. In this sense, the perfect storm for Infoanarchist ideals was created. Disregard for capitalist and state monopoly on data and direct action to circumvent it. This would play out significantly during such incidents as Aaron Swartz' harassment by the federal government for downloading JSTOR academic journal articles, investigative journalism by Barrett Brown and Project PM, and the leaks by Manning and Snowden. Upon knowledge being made public of the United States and cooperating global powers engaging in clandestine monitoring of all telecommunications — imperialism of the airwaves — perhaps the largest modern pulse of state malice to rejuvenate Infoanarchist involvement against force in all forms had been found. Privacy efforts like campaigns by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, GnuPG and an array of encrypted instant messaging applications were among a new wave of tools for concerned hackers and anti-authoritarians in the 2010s. All these continue now to contribute action against tyrannies who aim to suppress justice, however only in the context of current society's pressing hunger for accountability than a full recondition of institutions and associations that anarchists would wish to see most.

The two above points of significance, unrestrained technology and conflict between monopoly and anarchy, seal the endeavor for Infoanarchists. Its more or less the essence of the whole matter: Free information; free people. With natural similarities to Anarchist Communism and Revolutionary Syndicalism, its essence is inseparable to the broad core of socialism. Now affirmed as an exceptional current of anti-authoritarianism, the question of practical use is in need of answer; something I don't think has been seriously examined, since perhaps this was never thought to be a serious school of thought outside the Internet, since the piracy crowd was thought to be only of angry, unruly teenagers until worldwide pirate parties formed and later began leading in polls in Iceland in 2015.

If we can imagine the radical difference the present world would experience had the circles around the printing press and audio recording suggested an importance in owning technical capacity in common, we can determine the importance this plays in the contention for an anarchist society. The means to build groups concerned with liberation cannot be kept in the hands of the few as rival interests utilize them. This is a clear case of welcoming the Trojan horse into the gates, the perfect moment to pull the rug from beneath opposition. Enter the need for free and open source utilities as a means to build an anarchist platform instead of simply relying on facebook groups and twitter accounts, all under private firms cooperative with global surveillance and censorship.

Ground-up creation of association, connecting messages with palpable specimens of injustice and authority, their injection into working class populations and the rallying of frustration into a democratic platform of direct action and expropriation is the best approach at beginning an effective movement that I can condense into one sentence. None of this can be possible without every component from beginning to end being owned wholly by participants. This is true in the same way that democracy cannot be attained nor sustained through structured authority for one moment at all.

The outstanding trait of Infoanarchism is probably its development as a distinct community practice before a defined theory. Hackers always prided themselves as opponents to authority in some form or other. Be it simple liberal dislike of government tampering, capitalist minarchism or attacking hierarchies in their own communities, they all simply want to keep their transactions safe from coercive power. Ian Clarke's inception of freenet and its coverage by TIME in 1998 demonstrated this very basically.

Clarke is the creator of Freenet, a computer system which allows anything that can be digitalized from political tracts to pirated music videos to child pornography to be traded anonymously on the Internet. "Anarchy means without a ruler and that sums up the architecture of Freenet," says Clarke. "It does not have any kind of centralized control. In fact, it is designed in such a way that it is impossible to control."

[...] While it will allow anonymity and free speech on the Internet to flourish, Freenet will also pose a serious threat to intellectual property rights and the firms that profit from them like book publishers and record companies. "It would be nice if the system were used only for wholesome purposes such as allowing people in China to access political information they might not otherwise get," says the boyish-looking Clarke. "But I know it will also be used for other purposes such as distributing music without paying for it. You have to take the bad with the good."

"The problem [with going after Freenet] is there is no there there," says Bob Kruger, Washington D.C.-based vice president of enforcement at the Business Software Alliance, which represents leading software developers such as Microsoft and Apple. "We have to think long and hard about who would be the target for any type of enforcement action. It's like a wheel when you can't attack the hub then you are forced to go after the tops of the spokes and here we may be talking about lots of people."

Emphasis should be put on a device, e.g., freenet, being impossible to control, but essential to direct. As far as I can tell, this is the situation we want to start at across the board, from the people the platform bring in to the power they take up in communication. A message is not to be controlled in such a uniform way or adhere to any quota, but to exist in many forms that comprise a fluidly directed meaning. Each concern from individual voices inevitably meets the goal that we all subconsciously compel ourselves toward if we are met in a particular situation; a phenomenon of psychology. No matter the individuals' concern, it is destined to exist in the context of civilization's benefit in a self-correcting, self-sustaining informal system of associations. We could think of ten or twenty sub-problems, but two or three of them will quickly prove to be the key to demolishing wage labor and social privilege in a given geographic region.

The stressing of information ownership seems to suggest if like concerns are an entrance to revolution. The intense passion by International Pirate Parties in response to state and private attacks on technology have thus far been the only known instances of related mobilization, more or less desperate proclamations of their existence to the mainstream political sphere. But while we've yet to see banks being smashed and cops being overpowered as the direct consequences of the anti-copyright mindset, we can infer revolutionary scenarios coming from severing ideas and culture from capitalism before the bulk of production as well. As stated previously, the hacker ethos is very closely tied with anarchism when the issue of control over software, hardware and the flow of information is a major issue. The popular sentiment of stealing music and making starving artists being deeply accepted maxims cannot go unchallenged by all fronts for long, should large scale challenging of wage labor also manifest. The innate contempt for authority and the gravitation toward betterment of information exchange and efficient employment of computer science, regardless of political leaning (though its commonly left nowadays), leaves very little room for sectarian divide, that we need only apply copyleft principles of information to labor and quality of living for them to be fully communist.

Even without this, its likely for an information revolution as the fortifier of physical skirmishes to come. The possibility of the frontlines changing place has never been more likely, almost certain, than now. The shift from footsoliders, to naval warfare, to thermonuclear terror is a noticeable continuation of how aggression is transformed. A long-overdue cyberwarfare campaign by anarchists bent on the deliverance of intelligence is both an ideal method of a platform's origin, and the inevitable place to be filled in aggression transformation. Though the divides between the state apparatus and populations greatly limit the fair engagement in matched aggression against the state and capital (as far as nuclear weapons and naval gunships are), the mass connection to networks in all realms of life prove to be the greatest battleground. We've all heard the conspiracies of China hacking us and the NSA doing covert battle by keyboard; theres no doubt that an anarchist federation will take this form of battle unto themselves when the time is right.

No formal outline or hypothesis of this strain of anarchism exists, and I make no attempt to change that. The absence of any "Infoanarchism: Theory and Practice" is in itself a testament to methodological realization of basic principles subconsciously followed. That is, you realize you're doing something good and effective before you write something on it. I assume scholars could venture to propose from this that all further ideas ought to reverse the chain of hypothesis and experiment, and instead seek an experiment in all social doings and record a pattern when noticed. But I think the constant focus on developing new theories stalls bringing the actual vision of the fore-bearers of anarchism to fruition. Concern seems far more needed in formulating how to achieve free communism than ideas to start over in. Infoanarchism seems to simply be the ideas of social anarchism in the context of property rights of media and the means of making information available, and considering our place in time, it could be the best amplification of getting to a free society.

This all adds up to understanding what Infoanarchism brings to the table that other tendencies fall short of emphasizing or correctly defining. In a sense it puts tried and true critique in a relevant environment. The great majority of people today are tragically apathetic to their own alienation by the boss, due partly to the shift in the standards of work and the multitude of escapes from the problem, breaking compulsion to tackle it. But intellectual property is a reachable topic to most people under the matter of capitalism. When TorrentFreak manages to get an article trending and people happen to read it, and it touches on our obligation to buy every digitized work of art, that acts as an entryway to thinking the same way about labor, money and markets. Of course most people think its wrong to copy media for yourself without paying for it, but that small bit of engagement alone means there is room to challenge it and form pockets of discussion. Nowhere is there conversation about if bosses are needed or if a state does the best for citizens, but knowing what the institution of copyright serves and there being some recognition of that corner allows us to talk about artificial scarcity and the massive profitability alone in court settlements, the corporate victim complex and harassment of teenage system administrators. This acts almost as an ambassador to anarchy more broadly, introducing first the objections to private control of media to disengaged people, before the next step of workers' self-management, stateless society and so on.

The free culture movement and its progressive figures, who at best support fortified welfare provisions, have become the meeker sibling of radical seeders and bank vandals. I wish their endeavors in patent reform and free access to code the best, but with the warning that its far from the final stop in this issue. The two sides of copyright critique share a similar environment to the age-old conflict between social democrats and Marxists. The Battle of the Practicals, the Hunt for the Red Estate, Knight-errants of the workers. That same old hilarious spectacle of who can best represent the workers while representing their own conflicting establishment. The parade continues as the people begin to pick themselves up. Not simply socialists, but also indifferent netizens who just want a copy of that new film, take as they please and leave nothing for the hoarding pigs of industry. Proudly so, too. This single idea is the start of a greater flourishing, which continues when they unite in the understanding that we must apply this to all corners of social life, treat human society as a vast and free infinity rightfully open to all as a common inheritance, and put the future directly in the hands of all, starting with information.

tolbiac

An Appeal to Film

6 min read

For the film industry, shareholders, billionaire producers, copyright lawyers and the MPAA: You guys are just shit. That goes without saying, but lets get that out of the way right now. You and I and everybody else, including those who abscent-mindedly pay to see your movies just to have something to do on a Saturday night, know it.

You make movies because they make money, not because you intend to leave a mark on the decade in our present time or pay homage to the legends of the art of the motion picture. And even when you try to do this, it ends up being rushed and insulting to their and our intelligence. You exploit a medium because its attainable by the public who got swept into the trap coated in promises of an exciting, edge-of-your-seat adventure. You perpetuate artificial scarcity by demonizing copying to justify making people pay for the latest flaming garbage of Happy Madison Productions and M. Night Shyamalan. You try to keep a corpse breathing by beating it to death. You try to keep an audience by pissing in their eyes. Its an abusive relationship where everyone tries so hard to be happy, when they all know they're killing themselves slowly. Its an insulting continuation of events and I intend to propose a truce.

Lets take a step back for a moment and look at the ugly truth. Movies once had a sensible balance of being profitable and being well-made in terms of story structure and conveying meaning through subtlety. Their profitability was the result of the product being good. People think RottenTomatoes gives older movies higher ratings because they're old films and they're just snooty in that way -- but they neglect to see the downward spiral of filmmaking quality after the threshold of the Chinatown or Streetcar Named Desire era. The scales tipped dramatically when profitability and determination in cheap production became the primary investment for the largest congestion of filmmaking. As with all things that accumulate profit, it swelled into itself and regurgitated paniced, flat productions hardly worth a sigh's effort, simply to keep the company afloat. At its core, its laziness and petite greed. You would think that with the potential of technology rising, film quality would consequently rise too, but only in an ethical world where the ends of income aren't put first.

But I guess I'm telling you what you already know. But I think what a lot of people don't know or don't care to know is that this isn't the result of just one line of events, but the splintering of those events creating a new line of events circling back onto itself and sustaining its vicious circle. That is, the overall quality of films degrading and the standards of audiences degrading with it, justifying the present substance of major motion pictures. People don't care, producers and directors don't care. So who cares? If stupid audiences like stupid movies, there isn't anything to correct.

This is where the indie film demographic comes in for the outlanders who do care. But no group of people should have to seek the outcast underground experimental demographic of movies to rejuvinate their outlook on the craft. They should damn well be able to look to a well-off production company and expect a film that bends and heats and cools something inside them right before the credits role. Across the board, films should just be good. Not perfect, but just good. Just like books and TV shows, things that are garbage and shams and gimmicks shouldn't be syndicated and distributed and make millions of dollars each quarter. There should be a federation of people who jail investors in media that robs people of their right to fair-priced good content and self-respect.

Ah but here we reach the part where I'm told that my subjective opinion on the sustance of major films doesn't hold up outside my own taste. That each movie can't be a masterpiece, that each theatergoer's life can't be changed each time. Of course it can't, but no industry should exist around and thrive off of garbage. Not garbage simply in concensus of quality, but in the honesty and intentions of the producers. Worthless nothingness that is a means to an end is garbage. Films now are simply trash, tools in the exploitation of people who could have taste but instead want nothing.

My proposal is less than a practical overview of how to allocate money and resources into a project and more of an idealistic suggestion to breathing life into a medium. To save the world, more or less, so I don't exactly care about how it will be done. You invest a quarter of your efforts in remastering, remarketing and re-releasing films from the 1950s - 90s, give their presentation to a new audience and witness a recycling of ideas, stories and art that fertilizes the future frontier of cinema beyond the current gray area, which would, as an extension to my idealistic vision, collide with the social realization against intellectual property and exploitation in other realms.

The general idea boils down to casting a mirror onto all the components that make up film and remind it of its former greatness, encouraging a return to solid, basic story architecture and genuine ambition. Incorporate solid, tried and true values of filmmaking with contemporary techniques. A combination that gives us yearly releases that individually compete in a race to the top, each worth a thousandfold what was put into them. Not just productions made to be forgotten next year to occupy an audience for a week.

This shouldn't just be an appeal to the industry, but also to the people who keep it propped up. You people are the most abhorrent entertainment-seekers who ever graced the earth. You sustain the idea of honing 100 percent of your intelligence and good sense into your obligations and tasks of the week, and shut that shit off the second its time to wind down, instead of caring about yourself and reserving some of that critical and curious mental energy for a quality story. Instead you prefer to witness the dancing-singing corpse of Ben Hur or the next generic jumpscare dependant horror flick of the coming month.

I'm not telling everyone to go on a spree of Scorsese or become the encyclopedia of Sidney Lumet or Michael Cimino, but to compare average and high-ranking films from then and now, and see what I'm getting at. Demand that films be less like trash, or at least demand that trash films don't make mountains of cash.