Foresight against Blueprinting


An anarchist critique of visionary confinement

In the last twenty to one hundred years, encapsulating without tethering anarchy has been a challenging prospect for those who engage in discourse over it. To accomplish this goal, some who chose to remove tactical preferences from their anarchism also advocated a practical indifference in tactics themselves, favoring a multifaceted opposition to authority on all conceivable social levels. Sadly, anarchists who think this way didn’t have it so easy on the timeline leading us to right now.

Late into the 19th century, sporadic shows of tactical and philosophical defiance (illegalism, platformism, synthesis, expropriation, etc.) carved out a recognizable anarchist movement; one composed of different perspectives into the origin and behavior of authoritarian society, each coming to their own conclusions on how to carry anarchism beyond its usual barriers.

I think a significant realization of practical indifference is so rare because of the way an anarchist movement came to be. What cemented the divides between these perspectives probably has to do with what happened that only future generations could put into words, and what their detractors would insist is the rational continuation of an ideological and social body that advocates for an “anarchist society.”

After different global conflicts in the 20th century, it seemed that almost half of the anarchists in the world receded back into the annals of debate where they could interact easier and refine their ideas. The evolution of conflict was halted for the first time to make way for efforts to prefigure the dos and don’ts of a specific anarchy, only worsening the sense of urgency in argument rather than action. The idea being to win swiftly, cleanly, efficiently and globally. To find some sort of agreement among the people assumed to be effected by this hypothetical transformation. And while not an incorrect prospect, it seems to be the direction only a few got lost in, who then used the shame of previous mishaps to enforce it onto their peers for fear of another failure, which became the Anarchism™️ many found themselves making less than commendable choices for.

One of the defining things to come out of this environment were the symbolic efforts in both creating these theories and acting on them, the latter making a dependency of large organizations and/or popular support (I’ll elaborate on these two later.) These required passionate factions to export their energy into the ways we could detail, fine-tune and pre-package anarchy to meet those needs. As an abstract guiding ideal, this anarchy relates itself through carefully designed social functions that interlace to drive economic formations after capitalism specifically is defeated.1 (Here we reach an interesting feature into the logic at play: An expectation of a hole left by capitalism, something replacing it and what “replacing” entails. To abandon the hole entirely, or to fill it — and with what?)

This takes a lot of effort to present itself as the swiftest and most foolproof course toward communism, but always talking about itself in a sketch of a late industrial world that is subtly becoming less recognizable as the one we’re living in. As the news and discussion around automation, the gig economy, the role of the left and the bankruptcy of leadership changes, it feels only sensible to update our responses to these and alter the paths we’ve been going on rather than try to withstand time and personal development.

One of the more recent lessons is that historical records are always at risk of being made into iconic symbols of glory and might when that particular fuel is tossed onto the fire of present-day class rage. In the absence of an active will enabled by other autonomous individuals, there is sometimes a yearning for the vague assurance of mass groups and dense organizations, not awfully different from our blissful surrender to gods when things seemed out of hand.

The end result is a style of revolt typical of authoritarian socialists: brandishing well-intended dialogs against the capitalist order, but failing to expel its adapted logic from the very trajectory against the boss. It is suggested, at least, that anarchists aren’t immune to this.

While the advent of broadband Internet would appear instrumental in dispelling the glorification of a routine anarchism that aligns with the playbook of the current order, it seems to have smeared the mess rather than absorbing and eliminating it (not to say the Internet hasn’t been exceptionally useful in other ways.)

The online community is overwhelmed with a pious allegiance to models and identities that point to these nostalgic fervors. Every week we can expect video essay Q&As where the publisher expectedly praises two or three of the most popular and done-to-death treatises on anarchist communism or the IWW. Or group chats committed to the familiar cycle of discussions, questions and answers. And let’s not forget the memes depicting anarchist or libertarian figures ridding the world of capitalism in eccentric ways.

I don’t think we should self-police a more erratic anarchism in light of this, one without shows of passion and humor in our downtime. But I suggest that it might be healthy to go outside, breathe in some different air, observe the patterns of non-human life, use the word “comrade” less often, or even just open the curtains — anything to go against the grain of what we’ve been doing.

Obviously this is only one of a myriad problems, and fixing it involves a totally different discussion. But we would be foolish to disregard how the existing order, among other tactics, adapts to commodify exchanges of dissent through new technology and integrate them into surveillance as a factor in the direction being presented.

So where does all this leave us now? For those who like to think of tactics as response to the specific moment instead of allegiance, how do we brave the path we’re currently on?

Because of my personal relationship with anarchist theory, I don’t consider left-critical or post-left anarchy to be a perfect solution to this problem. I think the monopoly on anarchism by revolutionary measurement can be surpassed by repositioning the values it shares with the factions it differs with tactically. It seems to me that they both intend to safeguard and propel struggles through different enablers of different actions. The hope is for the goal to register more comfortably with each participating how they choose, but there are a few other cautionary possibilities to be elaborated going forward.

There are often complaints about this line of thought being nebulous and impractical. Apparently disassociation from unionism as a lifestyle is an act of frenzied nihilism in itself. I suppose I could simply be naive in the inverse, anti-orthodox sense, but it seems to only take an adjustment in where your energy is going with the idea in mind to embrace the uncertain through different things happening at once.

It also helps to reconsider the notion of ideas being practical to a fault “off paper,” especially if you’re calling yourself an anarchist. Clearly that mentality wasn’t born out of anti-authoritarian interest, just as the people who wrote about capitalism being a great idea were never homeless in midwestern cities in 2018.

We’ll have to address some problems with the linear imagination of anarchy if we want to conjure the proper exit from thinking like city planners with our hypothetical participatory world. To imagine in a linear way means to throw caution to the wind in developing a provisional idea of a successful conflict and basing a strategy on the trust given to this prediction of the future.

Thinking this way requires us to give superhuman strength to these tactics against the unknowable, which either collapses any real chance of success, reduces participants down to their labor for the continuity of democracy, or opens itself to infiltration and repression.

It’s not often that we see any previous revolution actualized twice, which is because breaking free from control happens according to the container it reacts in. Sometimes it happens with armed workers’ formations during civil conflict. Other times, it happens with neighbors creating community gardens, retail workers banding together in spite of their managers’ dictates, or affinity groups in squatted Greek towns committing themselves to permanent conflict with authoritarian society. Even these few examples are reductive! Control extends itself in more ways than just repression, which gets different reactions from those being subjugated. No example of this fact but the fact itself can be used to measure where we’re going. We are simply compelled to respond uniquely, and substituting those responses with vague stability in a hasty sketch of an aftermath is both excessively hopeful and managerial of anarchist activity.

We sometimes find a suggestion within anarchist discourse, of all places, to make certain compromises: to settle for participation in reformist activism, non-violent protest or labor movements, being necessary to win the “popularity” component of revolution. But these would-be allies always refuse to compromise the other way around when it comes to immediate success against hierarchy and domination, even if it’s just a temporary direct action for future participants to derive motivation from without being made into an idol. Furthermore, these particular instances of insurrection are where organizations play a quite effective part in joining together to comprise wider bases of support. It only seems more effective than trying to integrate our frustrations into their very sources, or pestering our friends to live permanently on the run.

This is combined with an odd relationship to goals and accomplishing them, which comes with linear imagination. I think most people would agree that there’s a difference between sympathizing with goals and pursuing them. While anarchists are out making a case for the power of individual free initiative, those who stridently advocate pursuit in the form of purely symbolic shows of force2 also sympathize quite highly with reliability expressed through programs.

I call it “reliability” because I get that impression from every “anti-nihilist” or “anti-insurrectionary” perspective I read. Simply put, those in favor of an anarchist society established through specific programs typically argue that it’s the only “stable” course (predictable, stagnant) toward a functional post-revolutionary society; one that has taken all needs into account via some excuse or blueprint for its hypothetical circumstances. These concepts are always disconnected from any lived personal critique that could call its carefully designed cogs into question. All this is presented in an obscured time and place (borrowing common or trending fears and uncertainties), already admitting a precise set of actions for an imprecise, unknown image of time, events and relationships.

It seems these people find more accomplishment in expanding their desperation for revolutionary measurement than taking the obvious shortcut in the entire playing field. This one-track focus on reliability is strictly the product of life under hierarchy, attaching the qualifying pattern of state and capital to the likelihood of a social equilibrium between egalitarian collectives and autonomous individuals. It often feels like a holier-than-thou conquest to reify activity into the revolutionary protocol and impose new institutions built on formalized hope, waving the red-and-black flag. Not a careful accommodation for the variety of human needs and desires, but an obstacle against discovering new desires and reshaping our tools and practice as we wish.

I would go further and say that this conception of reliability runs counter to anarchism entirely. Even when reliability can be experimented with as a prerequisite to meeting needs, we outright establish a new social quota for the container it’s put in instead of abolishing absolutist modes of association outright.3

One example I find of people indirectly becoming the instruments of a program, instead of the other way around, rests in the collectivization in Graus during Spain’s revolution. While not a forced collectivization — allegedly helpful in the needs of the concerned, it appears as an economic configuration that made it necessary for people to adapt themselves to it rather than itaccommodating and adapting to varied desires.

There was no forced collectivization. […] But even if isolation were possible, the obvious benefits of the collective were so great that the right to secede was seldom, if ever, invoked.

The setting speaks to the obviously harsh struggle against the fascist, reactionary and anti-socialist enemies the revolutionaries had to defend themselves from, as well as the regional preference for collectivist anarchism or anarcho-syndicalism. But as for us, the ones presently looking at this as a testimony for something we intend to create for ourselves: if we are consciously striving toward a focal point of anarchy where participation is caused by a saturation of nostalgic revolutionary measurement, applied by the pressure of a loose revolutionary class system, where we conveniently invoke “reliability” and “voluntary” as the excuse for inflexibility on the part of the social programs revolutionaries demanded, we will not find a stranger in taking orders under bold talk of “anarchism.” Sam Dolgoff’s 1976 conception of voluntary does not answer for immobile programs founded on capitalistic logic of production and efficiency. If we continue to align ourselves with the ideas of figures before our lifetimes in a highly repetitive design of an anarchist movement, we are assuring ourselves a quick defeat at this point in late capitalism.

Talking about reliability always requires some speculation of what is or is not reliable in a new world. It simply isn’t a relevant question when compared to asking ourselves what comes during and after any measure of successful engagement. As anarchists, we normally lend our trust to certain actions or arrangements when we can determine their worth in person and in good faith. What is reliable to one section of a community is not guaranteed to be in line with another, and where one sections ends and one begins, either in territory or jurisdiction, cannot be laid out from the blueprint’s point of view without imposing revolutionary borders on our activity. At the rate we begin aligning ourselves with these pacifying impressions of safety, the doors are opened to authority and the formations that came together around reliability are dissolved once more.

At what point do we stop retrying the past?

The informal rule of experts and the authority of the blueprint they impose are what comes between free people and anarchy. When we overlook and effectively combat the details of immediate situations for a blueprinted program, we’re not creating a better social setting for ourselves and each other. Instead, we are delegating trust from ourselves to the alleged means of our self-interest. Instead of relating to these as parts of a cluster of necessary actions and reactions, we act in a manner of dependence to these complex social vehicles, treating them as schedules for revolution. We imbue them with the power to at least capture the lifeblood of that legendary social transformation, when in the end they can only instill a fleeting sense of abstract momentum without actually vanquishing the obstacle at hand and salting the earth of it.

A covenant has been made between the bulky desperation of the organization and those who tend to its ghost. Pretty soon, the obligations of interacting with capitalist society become blurred with interacting with the organization. A spectacular hysteria of commodity fetishism brought to light through some resurgent post-left figures, which is where things will get difficult in staying non-sectarian. Nevertheless, I think they hold up in this particular discussion where I’ve grown more sympathetic to them.

North American organizations have been fumbling again and again for just about a hundred years now around the desire to lead swathes of proletarians through the streets of New York, Chicago, Boston, Toronto and other cities to reclaim the factory, farm, store and office for themselves. I think there is a profound and useful energy in this drive, backed by a sort of optimism that I think has room in anarchy. But this drive exists in a decaying portrait of its former self, seeking to band together today’s working class the same way they did eighty years ago in a global neoliberal gig economy nearing a post-climate erosion hellscape. Putting aside its dusty workerist interaction with present struggles and quasi-vanguard martyrdom, this is because the visionary points of impact remain focused on a program of self-management instead of a new and whole self-organization against the totality of what originally spawned the institutions and obligations we are now looking to run collectively. To top it off, these anarchists appear totally fixated on the quick and cheap release of dopamine in designing the grunt work of mass organizational movements, convinced that the way into communism is to make more and more of this grunt work and get more people to deal with it and become specialized in it until a revolution comes about, maybe.

The question is no longer if this is practical, viable or necessary. I think most anarchists have learned to be somewhat skeptical of all courses, especially this. The question now is if the direction it has necessitated, as far as chasing The One True anarchism, is what we really need (given everything we’ve been through.) After all, if anyone has done anything beyond advocating the ideas of dead thinkers, it’s those who have acted immediately out of common affinity in minimal associations.

When it comes to betting on the future, the contingency is obvious, but so is the capacity of human actors to influence this contingency and help to shape the future. And in those cases where the bettors thought that they knew the shape of the future by virtue of their grasp of historical laws of progress or scientific truth, whatever awareness they retained of the contingency seemed to dissolve before their faith.

— James C Scott, Seeing Like a State

At this point, it’s usually the choice of post-left anarchists to stage an immediate and permanent break with organization, revolution and ideology. To dart off into [what’s left of] the wilderness — trusty copies of The Ego and Its Property and Against His-Story in hand — demolishing every pebble of concrete and industrial implement they come across to disrupt the contingency. I’m with them only half way on this: I admire the transformation of pacifying ideology into a lived praxis, as well as an insurgency against civilizational imposition, but I don’t think a fixed antagonistic approach (that sometimes lends itself to pessimism and its own convoluted anti-moral high ground) replaces or builds on what organization leaves for us to deal with.

The call to Organize!, power in numbers, etc., are probably just appropriations of what some people choose to do when they feel the need or desire to. So it seems to me that the anarchistic thing to do is hardly to proceed in an alternate direction, because the direction has been ours this entire time. It doesn’t terminate in one specific location because we consciously alter it toward whatever destination we continue talking about. I think so far we’ve created a very skewed and inconvenient juncture on the path into the unknown.

Ultimately none of this means we “can’t” or “shouldn’t” use certain tactics, but enabling them as anarchists should look for modes outside the politics of jumping through hoops and sticking the landing to get as many people on board as possible. At the same time, every impact by every type of action should resonate in such a way to open a truly free association rather than preaching about a handful of issues and bestowing ourselves with an alternative moral high ground against (but functionally similar to) capital.

I don’t think it’s a betrayal to anyone to suggest that we could benefit from reinvesting our energy likewise. I think another way of putting it is, “we haven’t found the ideal form of anarchist association yet.” Which is fine. Maybe we don’t need one. This is also not to discredit the advantages in large-scale organizing, but it has obviously been the boldest enabler of what I personally can’t stand being centered in the abolition of authority for a moment longer.

To argue that one big social transformation should and can happen anywhere is a gross negligence of material conditions and an insult to those who live and create in those places. It contests that people in different regions should chain their desires for insurrection until the rest of the world (namely the west) can come to some kind of Kumbaya unanimity on loosing its chains through membership and symbolic “solidarity.” On the other hand, it’s equally negligent of many different possibilities to argue that everyone should shred their union card, debit card and personal safety in favor of perpetually running through the streets, shouting off about esoteric concepts to be a “real” anarchist.

Further, nobody has a claim to be the moral police of revolt, whether dispensed by the lecturing tone of the activist class that winks at the cops during our presence on the streets, or the mostly white, straight, cisgender, neurotypical and/or able-bodied demographics of all strict dogmas. The complex nature of oppression means that revolt is a reactive substance in each individual, ignited by the myriad infractions on self-determination and sustained by the agency of those revolting. It’s not a specialized or governable sphere of social activity that can be condensed into facebook events or permitted marches. All sides involved in this will have to make peace with an adjustment to the mode of actions if we’re going to have a serious grasp on the situation we always talk so highly of.

My personal bias is in favor of doing everything at once, correcting as needed and overlapping/decentralizing avenues of involvement and decision-making. But I enable such a preference through the hope of acting on desires instead of having to choose a side in an utterly pointless schism, or put faith in any single program that hasn’t earned my trust.

Perhaps the most disappointing feature of programmatic anarchism is its perception of struggle. This is another thing with leftist content creators that always peeved me. It can almost be summarized as “inspiration porn” into the possibilities when we come together, make fun of “ancaps” and right-libertarians on the Internet, argue over markets, and maybe unionize after watching a video essay. Repeatedly enriching a language of visionary faith and leaving the physical parts of enacting it up to the audience, instead of making the span of actions particular to the context it’s aimed at. Much talk of joining, thinking and acting in the hope — The Cause of accomplishment, but not as much directed at relating, interacting or building on what accomplishes things now. Although we sometimes hear “Direct action gets the goods,” it’s often cut with the centricity of workers’ formations instead of some effort to dissolve tactical and ideological boundaries. This would make direct action not only what gets the goods, but what reinforces and advances every other aspect of struggle to maximize the range of possibility for everyone.

But firm organizations that center revolutionary measurement are far more interested in reducing struggle down to a generational science project. This becomes the main expression of activity. The initial focus is to offer a vision and inform on it: To explain anti-capitalist organizing, unionism, etc., to everyday people. Prerequisite to membership and publicity. But when informing has reached its limit of usefulness, the program, or designing phase of it, becomes a form of this advocacy which is sometimes enlarged into demonstrations, committees, speakings and workshops. These rarely, if ever, use their chosen avenue to overlap with other tactics. Instead the aim is always to cultivate some kind of popular yet alternative legitimacy. This alone is expected to spark a revolution in a perpetual game of chicken over who makes the first move or when “the time is right.”

At this level of organizing, we also encounter organizations’ self-policing of an internallegitimacy. The masses become a beacon of resolution, placing an exceptional favor on a process that extracts a decision, the majority, from the demos which is specialized over those who they impact — the individual; always citing a few things in its defense:

  1. With the many, we can accomplish anything—
  2. Therefore, the many should have some means of legitimizing and enforcing their decisions (kratos)
  3. Otherwise, the will of the many is betrayed and the revolution is at risk.

The political interplay is based on an interchanging monopolistic subversion of agency. Although we are always promised everyone’s full inclusion in the demos, it exists precisely as the rule of all by all, licensing each would-be associate who is also part of the majority a role in policing their victory over a new class of others. When we get to its actual deliverance of action, there is more curtailment of free activity and silencing or reduction of proposed overlaps that comes from a central, legitimate process than whatever promise it makes of opening channels for difference and taking initiative. Are we really supposed to believe that we can consistently participate in securing leverage for the marginalized while stratifying each other and creating our own internal imbalances of power along the way?

The idea of losing hegemony over individuals is more frightening to democratic blueprints than failure in the program itself, because at least with the collapse of the program they might still have a means of extracting and imposing a momentum to try again.

Perhaps the most defining feature of limitation or control is baiting people into it. Leaders and experts have been carefully adapting notions of efficiency, loyalty, and collaboration between rulers and ruled, extending them into spheres that integrate struggles with states or sow their own types of hierarchy. Overcoming control isn’t limited to the organized physical recourse against social structures. It involves, in equal amount, the interpersonal abolition of all notions assumed to be unchanging and indefinitely correct.

Anarcho-syndicalists are well-known for invoking civil war Spain as the brightest accomplishment of revolutionary unionism. Despite the heaps of critical vantage points waged against the syndicalist program, my main gripe is against its implication that functional and trustworthy are synonymous and inherently compatible. This is where we exit mere visionary practices and enter a form of assumption that is deeply harmful to an anarchistic path. I have more tactical sympathy for anarcho-syndicalism than most economically-focused anarchist forms, insofar that it can cultivate relations between workers that pose a specific threat to authority over labor. But despite the success in that particular sphere, the energy and mode it uses is derived from an understanding of authority that assumes the severed head of the wage system and hierarchical workplace as moral bargaining chips. These are used in everything from theory (outlining the centricity of a limited anti-state class analysis), to vision (a speculative grasp on the future meant to codify prescriptive planning in attaining it), to publicity (adjusting and popularizing this analysis and its program.)

Whether or not a program has a specialized function tells us very little about its implications for participants. We are continually met with an appeal for the alternative politics-as-usual that we would bemoan in the so-called mainstream. This is always sustained by some form of apologetics for overriding genuine initiative to widen and transform our palette of engagement. In other cases, we’re treated to a sentimental urge for camaraderie and unity to reignite some collective power as a class.

I don’t believe in sanctifying resistance or its significations. Resistance as a social sphere interacted with in authoritarian society, and not a personal inclination toward whatever series of short-term and long-term choices, is a different and lesser object than the potential adventures along the paths of active desire. To me, what makes any social resistance beautiful is an ever-developing social insurrection that can offer motivation, empathy and community for those seeking and consenting to it.

Workers’ formations have purpose, that isn’t being challenged. But if we assume that workers’ formations, no matter how situated, are the solution, we’re not reasoning differently from leninism or militarism. And when we attach the word “anarchist” to this, it seems that we only customize these formations through the sentiment of decentralization without removing the logic that begets authoritarian behavior. E.g., planning similarly to urban development, or retaining managerial relationships that revolve around the logic of work. Even if we reach some kind of Revolutionary Catalonia in North America, how long could it be until we risk finding a demand for fossil fuels because we didn’t shape an economy to a localized and sustainable framework? And what if a majority decides that we need to honor this demand out of some crisis?

The answer has consistently been an addition to the problem: Calling for endless referendums, rotations and checks & balances — throwing our arms up in the Enlightenment-style of surrender to the “natural order” of what is thought to be “inevitable.” Instead of promising ourselves a quick return to feelings of disconnection and wanting, let’s trust ourselves to create and do what we want right now in the spirit of a better world that has no material commonality with the one we were desperate to escape.

Along with expunging democratic entrapments, removing impersonal associations from all power is essential for anarchy, because the nature of such institutions is shaped by the continuity of coercive authority. In the absence (or criticism) of meeting needs through intimate channels, we find fragments of institutions (whether in physical or theoretical form) that can promise the satisfaction of rising needs, but at the cost of standardizing an asymmetric role in the revolutionary course. Those who go through these institutions are reduced to an identifier within a lower stage of representational buffer, formalizing a chasm between givers and receivers; possessor and non-possessor transforming into non-interchangeable points of transaction. If this seems too direct and horizontal, a myriad of smaller associations can easily congeal to do the same thing, but with indirect and often hierarchical processes of communicating, storing, analyzing and discriminating identifiers in the aim of “efficiency.”

The same dominant social ethos that necessitates perpetually side-eying the clock and nervously submitting to the crowd around you, “comrades” or not, cannot be transplanted into anarchy without introducing the same logic that references authoritarian incentive and places its content in the direction built under it.

Local, community and individual self-sufficiency are strikes against these authoritarian resurgences. With any investment in defense and sustenance, empowerment becomes a discovery rather than something you’re walked-through by some expert. In these self-sufficient discoveries, the remnants of previous attempts or the tactics of others in the present can change up a scenario until one fits the right time for something else.

When adapting, it’s sometimes necessary to use known options to expand on the support for new ones. This is hardly exclusive to pluralistic approaches: if union members can’t determine the right time to leave the picket line and destroy property, what is the relationship between the union and the members? And if a group of friends can’t go through the trouble of unionizing, what is the relationship between these individuals and the expected, “reliable” paths of deviation?

When can we stop asking ourselves how to see the path to liberation and begin making it? The process of creation sometimes involves the spheres of hypothesis and experiment used in tandem. Different ways of mixing these up extend into different areas, but I think we can find ways to accomplish and reshape goals organically, if not simultaneously, that blueprints could only hope to.

The latest political climate has made anarchist programs appealing once again, and rightly so. Simply living in routine suffering doesn’t make anyone an expert on how to thoroughly and substantially eradicate coercive hierarchies. Certainly not to the standards of any well-read anarchist who regularly steeps in the jargon. This very fact has been a gift for those who want to popularize a specific anarchy, reducing struggle down to what can fit into its worker-centric Internationale-on-replay mode of resistance. With the question of rising discontent among other people, blueprints find a moral supplement to its stage of popularization.

People in the United States who are curious about alternative political channels often find themselves in the DSA or tagging along with the latest disruption of white supremacist assembly. Some anarchists in the middle of this can be found marching with banners, distributing the same few zines and using “solidarity” as a slogan for an amorphous revolutionary ethos. These aren’t ineffectual undertakings, but certainly not the place to ease the pressure. Especially after someone from the local workers’ organization awkwardly reassures that “there’s a few anarchists in the group.”

But creating anarchist missionary trips out of these times and places is how we take on the same popularizing tactics of blueprinting with black fabric on wooden dowels. This does nothing but set a desperate and artificial precedent for free initiative. On the other hand, we can cultivate relationships and open different clusters to each other over any amount of time as we wish. This expresses a redundancy to encase various spontaneous activity, which is probably the most fruitful direction that anti-authoritarians take. Here we find an excruciatingly powerful starting point for every individual. This is a reach into the total diameter of objects and their uses in the given setting. Conferring this look into possibility lends itself to each perspective of plurality, which enlarges the original scope by the number of those sharing in it.

This is more anarchistic to me than any commune or act of property destruction. “Spontaneous” doesn’t have to mean frantic or aimless. It doesn’t take long for a group of people to deduce something obvious for themselves on any scale, this is just a sign of things coming easily within our spaces of encounter. This is precisely where we should place the time frame for most of what we concern ourselves with.

At this point, those in the insurrectionary sphere are interrogated as to how the sick, disabled and so on will be cared for and assured well-being without plans to repurpose the frameworks of stratification. These types of questions assume that we can simply “reclaim” the society modeled after the prison and be free by maintaining it as is. What seems to me like effective negation extends well beyond discernible economic matters taken down on paper, but this means little for how people act on their free will or simply continue living.

One of the good things about mutual aid is its sheer resilience. It can be practiced however people choose to with diligence according to the issue at hand. Necessary implements aren’t affected in this sense, they retain the same form of things we make use of. That’s about the short of it. But the institutions they exist in are left out of the meditations we embark on, assuming something’s mere presence isn’t coercive. The testament of many anarchists is that the need for, say, cancer treatments and the various requirements for their manufacturing will diminish along with the prevalence of what causes cancer. The same for the eventual decline of cars and highways when the origin of rush hour ceases and new desires spawn what they will. And of course, nobody will be coerced out of doing or making something as long as consenting parties take responsibility for it and it isn’t encroaching on others.

This is another thing that blueprinting can’t take into account without contradicting itself. Part of the reason people turn to blueprints is to delegate action to a later time, imagined as an image that is preserved and developed in its frozen state until the time is ripe. The course has to be perfected before anything else can happen. Even when adjustments can be made, they typically happen in isolated environments that value an intellectual reduction of situations over living through problems and solving them as we’re motivated to. In this sense, there’s a displacement of drive with any constructive action. I think many anarchists speak of insurrectionary joy becauseof a sudden break from rigidly measured paradigms of revolt. The participants understand in a very sudden and exciting way, not only by the literature they read and decisions they come to — but also the endeavors they set out on, that the starting point of all anarchy is invested in themselves. Individual and collective have no real difference, only extensions of the same immediate grasp that we confer to friends and associates.

What happens when we set a standard for ourselves in an environment that most aren’t acquainted with? Unless we’re talking about individuals who’ve lived in and out of conflict and destabilized regions, anarchists would probably make things a lot easier on themselves if they accepted that life in anarchy is something we don’t have total grasp of. We talk a lot of our centuries of study into authority, institutions, the very definition of power and the prospect of running our own lives. And yet we know in ourselves that every conflict is totally different. Every encounter with each other yields different moods, content and reactions which propels different directions we never considered. This isn’t even accounting for authority’s different recourses against us that adapt over time. The image in our minds is consistently bested by the ongoing flow of life. The reality is that our situation as anarchists is incredibly dense and erratic, while our means of pathfinding a success in our task are just reactions to its different parts.

We’re probably better off steering our vessels when the way becomes obvious. To cross that bridge when we get to it. It isn’t desirable to reprimand ourselves for not staying the course when the entire voyage was faulty all along. This doesn’t mean going down with the ship, but setting off anywhere and everywhere, inspiring others to do likewise. This is hardly just some empty thrust into the unknown.

Understanding what each of us are able and willing to do in our areas, opening communication and building trust across lines of involvement — even just through acquaintances in common places — is how we fortify our social ties without anchoring them to one type of involvement or structure, or even one handful of types.

We shouldn’t take this to mean leaving our success and safety up to chance for the sake of making it easier for adapting ideas. But it does mean abandoning the limited patterns that come with not answering to ourselves. The anarchist program has yet to prove itself as the salvation from social woe, while the anarchists are simply pursuing their varied will against the coercion of society in ways that are small enough to slip through its net.

There is a reason programs exist. None of this is to build a case against revolutionary unionists or activists, but to illustrate how the drive for programs probably relates to the end goal far more presumptuously than how anarchy would actually flow. So I choose not to shame technically or economically-minded anarchists, but I think by now the substitution of the program for the participants’ general flexibility in building power on any scale has got to end.

I guess what would make me happy, if I needed to make it as simple as possible, which seems like it would peeve both organizational anarchists and post-left anarchists alike, is if we re-invent all factors of revolt as tools (in an actual, tangible sense,) advance the creation of local autonomous groups and reject the identitarian transactions of campaigns, programs, so-called mass movements and ideologies — insofar that they create an environment of excessive visionary measurement, democratic reductionism and incompatibility with free and spontaneous action.

Instead of a program, even beyond doing something else in its place, I suggest a foresight.

An anarchist foresight can be thought of as a kind of familiarity or knowledge of situations as they emerge, employing whatever response or tactic that directly corresponds with the agency of those taking action. There is minimal if any investment in laying something out or reducing it to its parts. But at the same time, it’s not a demand to leave something up to chance at the last moment. Foresight has more to do with positioning ourselves with problems in a way that makes activity the result of the lived details, leaving room open for anything.

Blueprinting is also a kind of foresight, but one that positions its goal on the other side of calculated revolutionary chores for a membership to fulfill. This is meant to capture and compartmentalize details to adjust an isolated course before deployment. Anarchist foresight, however, is only a catalyst for the likely or ongoing activities that connect present desires, constantly reshaping the options according to what’s happening. This is part of “the anarchist way of conceiving life […] to grasp back the totality of our own […]”4

This contrasts from blueprinting in its immediacy. It’s just any other way of planning given to the constant moment of now instead of placing a hope for ourselves in a time that hasn’t and might not come. Much like protest movements that base themselves on a symbolic demand, blueprinting can only put more distance between accomplishment and pursuit, while foresight is a constructive self-determination based on the setting from where we start, retaining the same connection between inspiration and willful continuity.

In large enough contingencies with familiar clusters of relationships, different groups with their own foresight can focus on what they care about while intersecting simultaneously. The specific organizations, understood as tools wielded by individuals, could be set to disintegrate at the first show of failure if needed. That, or the burden of continuing these groups when the situation has changed would be incentive for participants to fragment into smaller clusters, alternating coverage back and forth until something influences them to merge and act at once in large numbers.

This is also about respecting our own energy and attention. People of different personalities can be foresighted about things across levels of intensity and responsibility. We always have basic coverage that exerts energy only in things determined to be worth it. But in this way, we also connect future needs through an investment right now. Unlike blueprinting, which imposes a strategic prophesy on the next ten to fifty years, foresight aims to make every passing moment the results of the combined interests of motivated participants. While the blueprint exerts force against the unknowable by placing authority on current knowledge, anarchy encourages us to make peace with the unknowable by out-witting its tyranny through our creative-adaptive nature. After all, there’s no future without us.

To plan a future society is to imply a myriad infractions on the unaccounted people and groups that make any society possible. But to plan or construct self-theory by living among those effected is to synchronize our desires with our conditions and means. This is how we imagine and create in a way that informs itself on the perils and triumphs of earlier, so we are building a new world from the inspirations of the present instead of building it from the interests of the old and done. Instead of pursuing revolutionary indulgence in a depressing blah, we shake free from homogeneous forms of interaction to merge insurrection with downtime. Future worlds with current relationships.

We find that we’re less dependent on formulaic vision and more attentive with the changes in what we do. Eventually they will be used to salt the earth of the paternalist workings of the program, giving full control to us. This isn’t as nebulous as those who steep in anarchist programs make it out to be. Insurrection versus organization is an embarrassing notion that comes out of the classical anarchist milieu and its contemporary allegiance, as if to be reenacted for play. When it comes to success over hierarchy, it has very little to do with one strategy or another, but the specific range of confining us to revolutionary hope.

To choose the immediate over the program, or at least modify the program to fit with the immediate, is to deviate from the expert’s foresight and align with our own. So it seems obvious to me, at least, that we actually aren’t surrendering anything “in the name of” becoming different from authority, but knowing that a vibrant anarchy can only really come if we evolve our connections to what we build and how those creations relate to our energy in maintaining them.

Immediacy has been left for distortion since leftists clutched their pearls at the provocative critiques of work, morality, civilization and the whole point of being an anarchist. At the same time, it was the hubris of post-left anarchists to cover their tracks with esoteric gibberish that only started a fight for the rest of us to break up. I think the time has come to move on from this non-sense entirely.

An autonomous, pan-tactical, foresighted anarchism without adjectives seems to me like a reasonable starting point for a series of conflicts against a series of obstacles. To win the game in our committees and meetings only to fail in the streets once more, or to endure every part of life’s adventures one-by-one. An anarchist foresight is about basing actions on the developing circumstances, a portable effort to merge zones of activity so they can renounce the forms of blueprinted economic procedure, and assume the personal forms of creative free activity we feel more at home with; more powerful and far less governable with.

Thus, desire, as a drive rather than a longing, acts immediately to attack all that prevents it from forcefully moving.


  1. My personal divorce from centering economy in anarchism comes from its reduction of stratified relationships. Obviously capitalism is one of the main forces in authoritarian society, but its hardly an independent sector of domination that can be completely removed by a mere change in economic configuration. Social ties that are built around any economy can become just as subordinate to efforts of production and distribution, no matter how cooperative or horizontal.
  2. Referring to the habit of revolutionaries to set a precedent for gathering in public by making use of numbers in the most wasteful and performative ways. There are people who have little choice in their participation due to whatever personal limitations who are not included in this criticism.
  3. Referring to tactical or economic reductionism which suggests a clear, singular path toward a single goal that can only be legitimately participated in through one or a few acceptable forms of activity.
Foresight against Blueprinting

Last stop: The end of my teens


Plenty of twists and turns are now behind me in the space between the beginning and right here. I’ve reached that milestone, and I think by now it goes without saying.

Our lives aren’t as captivating or provocative as we like to think they are. Not to brush this off by saying we’re ultimately human. Instead, I think the finality of our lives’ content pulls the veil back from a central and sobering reality: We just kind of exist and do things. We fill empty things with what we like, and a lot of people do this so many times over that nothing is truly it’s own distinct substance positioned on any winning side beyond our own invention.

I think when we try to make sense of life, we’re bound to distinguish between experiences accounting for circumstance (cause and effect) and setting. I use “distinguish” in a very precise way; to underscore contrasting elements of substance that certainly went through the wringer, but impact differently depending on who encounters them. Doing this normally leads us to conclude that the individual experience is as close to relative certainty as we can get. And that seems to always be the goal. To continually overcome uncertainty, being necessary to secure some inner peace. Contentment.

Considering life this way, I’m more inclined to accept how little I’ve done up to this point. I’m more at peace with the conclusion of that period and where it left me. At least my shortcomings existed in a sort of vacuum. But while things in the end are meaningless, this doesn’t mean it’s pointless to look for reason in the madness, or to create it. The absence of meaning is probably a reason to create your own.

So, you’ve acknowledged that coherence will never be given to you on a silver platter, and ventured to derive some from your own experience. Here lies the catch. Personal experience isn’t always pleasant, especially when it’s of the existential sort measured in birthdays, changing shape every five to fifteen years.

There aren’t any answers toward the end to expect. Only angry moments of disappointment and frenzy in real time. Bills. Rent. Why you can’t think straight. Your health problems. There is no time whatsoever to pause and investigate. None of these moments work well with each other, they don’t form a larger whole, and no discernible truth has come from the experiments so far. The cycle eats itself. At the end, you’re really just gravitated to live out the hypotheses without method. That I’m told, is a very liberating point in your life. Where uncertainty becomes the exhale of your whole life, and your desires outlast everything (as far as you know.)

To me, this is the sum of existence. Or at least one way of imagining it.

But I’m not at that point of relief, and I can’t just keep reminding myself that I’ll get there someday. You don’t get a break from hunger by the idea of tomorrow’s lunch. So how do you face the reality that 240 months of your millisecond flash in eternity has gone by? Not disappointed by what you have or haven’t done, but unnerved by the simple fact of time passing and what that could mean for future experiences?

Getting off the brief adventure that was my teenage years feels like the last stop on one or two of a series of travels. A final chance for something significant. An urgent and narrow opportunity to grab something before it expires on me. I’ve talked to so many people who recall chaotic teenage years right the middle of a great social hysteria, while my own are spent at home, all year every year. Alone in small towns, isolated and bland. Mortified of the uncertain. It feels like making up for that in my twenties will bend the fence of my character compared to those I’ll associate with going forward. Should I be ashamed of this, or embrace it?

For whatever reason, I think of Trainspotting (1996) Who am I most similar to: Renton, or Spud? How might I reconstruct this point in life?

Resolving this intimate gloom is different for each individual. It depends on the trades you find yourself invested in, the people you bite your lip for, or the words you write that nobody else reads. For some, this is the end for one set of adventures, probably one where nothing was restricted. For me, it’s a curious glance at what I’m willing to go through for a few tranquil moments before my 30s going on 40s, and where to seek refuge afterward.

None of this is to advocate an obvious point of deterioration. We all rot into oblivion at different rates, but every person has a point in time where they shine brightest. I think it’s worth talking about it, always curious if we’re living it now while admiring the brevity of everything we can ever hope to know. Roughly ten years of elapsed time is good enough for me to reflect on, to chart where things are going; if only for the hell of it.

When you carve a statement into prose about yourself, it’s hard to fool anyone. At least, anyone who matters. You can lie and have everyone know it, but you’re always honest to yourself in the moments between thinking and speaking. You’re the only one who has to bare that emotional labor. You might even take comfort in coming back down to earth. One way or another, truth that only comes from the person living the life in question slips through, heard or not.

I endured new ruminations on what is “ultimate” or “final” in the course of all this. Although I’m not drawing up a final testament before my death, I value the graceful closure of one stage of my life and what I see in it looking back. Maybe I’m just afraid of important moments slipping away, even if I know better ones are bound to come along later. Maybe I genuinely like getting lost in memory, telling myself points A, M and V were the best three out of the others. All neatly sorted with the knowledge that I’ll never have these a second time.

I might have an opportunity to hold my present and future selves accountable to one another, while using past excursions and blunders to hold it all together in the hope of doing better. Though I never want one point in my life to hold every proceeding experience to, there is no safety net of contentment better than leaving a trail for the future self back to a trusted place if things go bad.

After scrawling a few different prefaces, I’m giving myself at least one week of time to collect these scraps of thought and synthesize them into streamline prose; giving the illusion of a consistent and clear thought process behind this article’s production.

I’ll just go through some highlights.

Who is right, who can tell and who gives a damn right now?
Until’ the spirit, new sensation takes hold, then you know

I don’t consider thirteen to have been a fruitful first year of my “teens.” While it was probably the peak of my desire to sort and document things, it didn’t resemble much of the road I still travel, nor is it fully relevant for it.

That said, I like to pay it tribute it for a weird scholarly phase when I learned the basic definition of philosophy. The first name I steeped myself in was Kierkegaard. Either/Or specifically, from Books-A-Million with the money I saved up that summer. At the time, I couldn’t hope to really grasp the concepts of Christian existentialism or Angest and interact with them significantly. But I did gain an impression of the fragility of the charted world’s framework, and it’s poor foundation in the surface level of our minds. Søren’s melancholic charm was also something of a treat for my young feelings toward men.

I’d give it two more years before getting somewhere familiar. I had a number of these impressions stored up with a bit of constructive interaction going on between them. It was just enough to give me a sense of real perspective, first emerging in the social and interpersonal spectrum of issues. I picked these up somewhere between Marx, Kropotkin, Tolstoy and Thoreau. It was exciting that these things had more to do with why things were happening now and how the past informs the present, rather than asking questions about “god” and eternity. The shift from existential and speculative, to immediate and foresighted. A slow, personal divorce from sanctity and a gravitation to realistic projects. This played out at different times: Commending Aaron Swartz and his legacy in online organizing, Internet legislation and the “modern web.” Supporting Edward Snowden’s revelations of global NSA surveillance. Advocating for free culture. My energy had more in common with the present than the present forcing itself on me.

It’s interesting when I think about how my social/political energy redirected over three years. I used to have all my passion stored into Internet freedom: The idea that the Internet is the one thing that people should control and be responsible for, not authorities of any kind, state or private. I think that was a good starting point for my overall philosophy, which meant that it would have to grow out of whatever box it started in. It would eventually find itself side-by-side with ideas that critique capitalism, stratification, expectations of conformity and power imbalance on a variety of axes.

At eighteen, this was changing form through the course of politics that year. Shortly after I stopped taking Bernie Sanders and the election seriously, I was changing political labels and buying different leftist and anarchist literature every three months. Internet freedom was soon meshed with a more general perspective of social change.

Now, just replace the Internet and people’s electronic possessions with every part of life. Whether it’s the joys and spoils of material excess, or the most basic necessities of survival, we have to own all of this and interact with it indivisibly, freely and equally, and establish clear habits to make this arrangement the most agreeable reality. It’s not up to any master to enforce their will upon us at the expense of what we love. At least, it isn’t desirable; yet the conversation gets caught up in whether that thing is or isn’t what someone claims it is. As far as I’ve unearthed, people who advocate against this are in an abusive relationship with something not out of the question to be overcome someday by future generations. Generations of people who had to put their lives on hold for the failures of those before them.

Every logic to the contrary offers nothing. Not a better idea, not a more lasting method. It only wants to pull us back into the tired old misery. It tells us the same thing we oppose in a different way. We have to discard things like this and keep answering to ourselves against all odds. Seeing how right and wrong, whether on a scale of “morality”, “practicality” or “efficiency”, is totally fabricated for the benefit of a variety of elites with only their accumulation of power and wealth in mind, it proved to me that life is kind of awful most of the time. After a while, some questions go unanswered for so long that people can’t hold any self-respect ignoring them anymore. They’re compelled to prove that they’re better than that. To do what feels obvious.

So ends my noteworthy evolution in that regard. The most recent development is probably my gravitation toward an anarchism without adjectives, spelled out nicely by Aragorn! and Voline. One that disregards excessively prefiguring a hypothetical future world. Instead, it favors proactive engagement with the present and associations of individuals living out their desires. It values anarchist projects equally for whatever reasons those involved decide on, and whatever methods are necessary for their common interest. But this has more to do with widening or obscuring boundaries than moving beyond something. A pattern I found myself falling in and out with.

Maybe the emotional sphere of my teens hasn’t been as constructive as I’d like in that sense. There is nil to gain from widening those particular boundaries, reducing oneself to one or two jaded emotional gears after seeing too much of everything. As much as the individual’s contrast with life itself is admirable, it’s often painful. My early to mid teens comprised a web of introverted strains that I’m still working to untangle.

Leaving school in my early adolescence was rough. Although I was being spared a long and grueling few years of bullying, I had little in the way of validating my deepest thoughts and feelings. My refuge was in the imaginative assortment of reality that different writers strung together, telling myself “maybe.” I used those as indicators toward the likelihood of a better day, but I didn’t consider that a better day isn’t synonymous with any kind of redemption.

New relationships built on honesty and intimacy conflict with my adjustment to solitude. If I’m not ungrateful, I’m easily weary of the emotional warmth that I need at different points, only to be overwhelmed by them after a few days of their use. While I need the embrace of my partner, the voices of my friends, and my ever-changing interests, I don’t need them to become the same centerpieces of my conscience as melancholy was. Retreating back to scenes from my old neighborhoods at early morning hours, outraged at the vast emptiness of every day, is one way of reminding myself how stagnant, if not worse, things could be.

“Intense” is one of a few words I think succinctly describe having senses and emotions. Intensity makes or breaks. I fully understand the desire to cease interacting with this reality. But I think there are ways we can get by, if only to numb the pain with vague reassurance. For instance, the belief that being hopeful is reasonable is also incredibly difficult. This difficulty is then artfully expressed through a culture, defiantly mad against the absurdity of it all, understanding that doing so is the means toward accumulating reason to illuminate hope. There is self-evident action in these ideals, and questions only answerable by the one asking them.

What I was hopeful for and what I’m presently hopeful for are steps in the unique process of myself, doomed to cycle back to each other without connecting or forming a stable whole. The chaotic pattern I’ve become accustomed to. I fully recognize the anguish on almost stereotypical levels of romantic sentiment, but I don’t see why anyone should exhaust their energy to cover up the simple fact of life being overwhelming and strange.

And in those moments as if we’re seated comfortably on a hill watching the vibrant blaze of social life in all the cities and towns on earth, we look for a few simple words to decorate the obvious. But why spoil those moments? I’d rather say what I would if given the full opportunity to elaborate on a few scenes from these last ten years. To attach my own reason to a couple glimpses back that meant something to me.

It’s time to go ’round
A one man showdown
Teach us how to fail

For the foreseeable journey, all of my genuinely creative energy is invested in this medium, which specifically entails the pattern of tone one would expect from an author’s usual spiel. I feel like I should consciously tend to that or let the tyranny of legacy set the standard for me. The common themes that fall into place are the first things people read on an author’s wikipedia page; their appraisals, and the verdict of public opinion. It’s the checklist of things likely to be twisted or exaggerated about me. That’s a crucial point of communication left out of my control, if I allow it.

I consider much of this to be necessarily detached from the intimate experiences and influences of the author. The basis of criticism is pointing out and stressing the divide between one perspective and another, always highlighting impression instead of deeper intention, which can only be assumed. This isn’t to say all criticism is faulty because it lacks that insight, but it could probably do well for itself to acknowledge this. Adapt, maybe.

How to actually steer a medium is hard to visualize. I guess it depends on what I’m interested in burning energy over. This particular set of paragraphs and epigraphs isn’t guaranteed to stick the landing and I don’t care. Getting to the destination I set out on is my prime concern. Getting there gracefully is always someone else’s concern. Looking at what I want out of all this, the sacrifices I haven’t made and won’t make, I should preface any attention I get with a disclaimer of impulse: I write the bare minimum notes and do the least possible outlining before steeping in the intricacies of what I want to relay. Only after I judged it in my best creative interest do I go back to overly producing a frame for my prose.

Unless my active project isn’t sorting my personal thoughts, I don’t feel the urge to be scientific about this. I consider it a “moral” duty to transgress as much of the bourgeois how to be a successful writer culture as possible. If I must brave this swirling concrete void, soaking up our decomposing dreams in the humidity, I only ask that my words are laminated before being swallowed by the ocean.

So I prefer to separate that noise from “writing.” I think “medium” is akin to a vessel that makes ideas more engaging and open to scrutiny, while “writing” refers to free acts in the form of text: A few pages of monologue. Two verses scrawled on a napkin. Graffiti lamenting industrial society. With or without attribution, every act of writing is a willful blow to an imposed social fabric (sometimes woven by highly formal mediums), with every pause giving time for new parts to be developed and applied.

Does it follow that mediums lack the spontaneous energy of writing? Probably not, if you build one out of what inspirations come naturally and immediately. Fixing the same revised narratives to a publishing or marketing scheme is just another thing to be avoided when pursuing impression while making a clear case for intention. Most of us are aware of publications (especially with the expanded partner program) that invest excessive creative effort in aesthetic, leavened with trademark micromanaging analysis on culture that hardly makes a case for anything beside completing the look.

The question is not if mediums make us less sincere, or if writing has to take on an insurrectionist vibe for us to have it at its most raw. The question is how the author relates the sum of their work to an overarching profile or aesthetic, and how to change it to fit, if at all. We should ask if we’re actually reading someone’s words, or just admiring the medium.

I prefer to make the medium’s aesthetic from what one might contrast it with, simply because it wouldn’t feel like my own craftsmanship otherwise.

Whatever helps you get by.

I guess I should incorporate the setting I work and live in. There are separate ventures from my personal medium based on such willful acts of writing. Local newspapers and the handful of college zines. While their range is limited, I think that’s exactly what a consciously written medium deserves. A small and manageable project, if only for a short time. At least it could be an opportunity to critique workshops, prepare notes on how to collaborate better and open to participants.

Probably half of writing is just listening to yourself talk or think. Getting familiar with how you think and what habits to exploit. Highlighting a few keywords when brainstorming, slowly building an idea for something. But this process enters new and difficult realms when it’s time to translate to a structure. Align the scattered thoughts into something you can read back to the point of origin. There’s always disappointment in what you read, which is the function of ourselves being our worst critics. This is where it becomes a tightrope.

One might lack a coherent stream of thought. It might be the wrong weather. One’s access to helpful substances might be broken. This is where we get irritable and it becomes paramount to find the right order of words, if only to be rid of the stress.

There have been grueling nights at the looming hours of my own deadline where I’m sitting over my fourth cup of coffee at 3 am working on another draft, hating every word I put into it, nauseated over every paragraph. Why do I do this!? Persisting is the only thing that feels right, making little investment in mental breathing room. I am the pawn of my medium, but only because the landscape uncovered by continually reshaping my writing is one of the most enticing and urgent self-realizations I ever experienced.

Dadda and surrealism were probably manifestations of surrendering to this impossibility, handing control over to anguish. Not expression as science or pulpit, but as a scream or plea.

Bukowski gave his own advice, now beat to death by creative writing students.

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.

I think the safest and most appropriate bet is to work on something according to how much you want out of it. Blogging removed the publishing mechanics of a book from the author’s concern, so people now have a much wider range of options than what he had. A more potent sense of constructive rage is probably to blame, common with “not getting published” during his time, which is now “not getting read.” Still, the basic idea remains.

unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.

I don’t plan to formally publish a book: I’m going to stitch things together as I see fit and throw it at people’s heads for free whenever I can. That said, I’m not opposed to tip jars. Consistent sources of income aren’t as immediate and manipulable as writing, so I think both will be happening simultaneously. Some writers think we should survive on this, but at what cost can this be promised?

Adopting the identity of a writer is an angle (if not a reach) into some intricate sliver of life, either presented by a medium or inserted through writing.

I’m not going to suddenly do more worthwhile things or make smarter choices in my second decade of life, and taking this opportunity to carve out a fragment of a memoir isn’t going to do much beyond leaving a personal record. I feel compelled to do so because the subject exists in the same environment as the creative process. A particularly useful reach into how to make sense of it and leave behind some documentation. When I find myself in the middle of the next leap for the anarchist movement, shift in society or in myself, I’ll consider the opportunity and act on my own terms.

I don’t feel like I need to be compensated, because the part we each play in all of this is a reward in of itself.

We’re off the streets now
And back on the road
On the riot trail

There’s a basic idea underlying most of what I create. I like to think we can imagine that idea in basic terms, knowing it won’t be perfect. That idea is that none of this should have to be complicated.

Every day we could wake up and physically build on our desires, discover new ones, share in the necessary labor for what a group of people agree to maintaining, and find the wherewithal to point out and remove the gunk from life. Sadly, people had to ask if this is idealistic or sensible, falling into the trap.

The more we interact with a toxic web of displeasure and confusion, the more we become the thing we hate: We get into situations where complexity is mandatory, the only thing that space is made for. We meet complication with more of it, playing into it’s own game and recreating the nutrients for social, emotional and existential disarray. We build brick walls around ourselves and keep building higher to try to escape.

Ultimately, nothing is secured in place by our own diluted sanctity. Everything is recycled around the impersonal changing nature of social stratification. But in the moments before that, we can get better at consciously disassociating from its ideals and patters of social organization to make way for our own worlds, becoming more and more familiar with how to overcome.

The prospect of overturning the nightmare is endearing. Perhaps a little more hopeful than I’m comfortable with, but a worthwhile standard to act on. But in the meantime, the suffering and limitations imposed on us inspire more ways to attack. We’re continually inclined to overcome, which seems like a fact of this world being unsustainable on all fronts.

Living a life is more akin to a radiating, shifting mass of energy than a hopeless journey of submission on a straight line of time mapped onto a hollow notion of “progress.” If we enable individual actualization over the blank frame of reality, we can outlast imprisonment in all its forms.

Until then, we’re all basically slowdancing with reality, awkwardly grinning at the horrors staring back at us, catching a few brief glimpses of something interesting in the background, until the music stops and the lights go out.

We all just want to surpass the constantly current mode of “average.” I’m glad to be moving in some direction with people doing the same in their own unique ways.

Twenty years. Huh.

To erase everything from the slate from one day to the next, to be new with each morning, in a perpetual revival of our emotional virginity this, and only this, is worth being or having, to be or have what we imperfectly are.

Last stop: The end of my teens

Pass Me By, 2017

New year. Here again. The late December cold surges once more through the neighborhoods. Jack Frost assaults people at bus stops in Midwestern cities on cruel weekend schedules. The neglected Christmas tree and ice skating rink downtown stand below the overcast and gentle descent of flurries. Corner liquor stores are cleared of champagne. Dirty white tents selling fireworks set up in empty parking lots. Sticker-covered trash cans and thirty-five year-old concrete walls sit where they were yesterday and the day before. Ambulance sirens.

More importantly, it seems, people find things to write about on this occasion; at this uncertain turning point.

Five alarms on my phone wake me up. One after the other, an intemperate decision made four hours and sixteen minutes before crashing. I knew that one simply wouldn’t do it if I was serious about being up. This is perfectly normal.

11:45 am. 11:50 am. 12:05 pm. 12:10 pm. The same android alarm I changed to when I moved into the apartment. I find my way out of bed. To the bathroom, then the kitchen for coffee. My clothes are laid out on the couch next to my backpack, bus fair and wad of bills.

A few essentials are packed for the first trek out in my city after returning from visiting family. When living off two-hundred dollars or less a week, Christmas gifts become apparent as genuine tools for life being a little more bearable.

A pear beckons me from the produce drawer of the fridge. Part of a fancy snack box of fruit, mixed nuts, cheese and summer sausage, a gift from my partner’s dad. I add one to the backpack along with coffee from the french press in a new black thermos, both gifts from a week ago. It feels like trying on new colors for everyday routines.

My familiar Dr. Martens, the creases in the leather coated in dry crusted balm and the dust attracted to it, are then straight-laced tightly. Jackets layered. Scarf tossed over my neck. Down the stairs and out the door into the snowfall, crunching on the pear.

This day is flooded in a particularly pleasing shade of overcast. The sky a distinct pale blue, its brightness subdued by grey clouds. Ear buds connect my phone to my head, playing the same playlist on the same bus route. Indifferent community members fill the seats. The usual people, the usual business.

The same as any winter day. No watermark at the corner of every glimpse that reads “New Year 2017.” It takes me a moment to realize this when I glance at the date on my phone.

Am I dreaming? Is it all really that insignificant?

I go forward, coming home to the one I love when all is said and done. The rest of today will be totally boring and I will love it. I pour some coffee, take necessary pulls off the usual substances, and get to typing an offhand account (for a change) of a lived experience back in town before the seven-to-eight transition, just for the hell of it.

Here we are. The world is the same. It might stay this way next year — tomorrow. Annual life feels less like a spectacular reset of 12 seasonal points of planetary alignments, and more like the expected repackaging of time and events by people who aren’t you or me, gradually set in place over 72 hours of morning news and Trump’s latest tweets.

At least for now, I’ve stopped cursing the informal obligation to offer up thoughts in the form of prose before the new year, as my first thoughts of this year elaborate. I simply decided to act. To observe the moments before and after. Take from them what I might, but take nothing too seriously. Along the way, maybe construct a bumper for my medium.

The calendar starts over. Air traffic controllers and data centers begin the first of their monthly operations. The final digit in date fields of IBM and Windows NT embedded systems changes. The same minute and specific continuation of mass industrial society, constantly directing us toward large-scale ecological collapse. Everyday life.

Whatever happens involving Trump, the anniversary of Disrupt J20 and the whole host of deaths, scandals and social abuses to take course in society, we’re mostly in the same spot we were 365 days ago.

The same people we lose in 2018 — not accounting for their specifics — will be interchangeable with those we lost in 2017, looking from the macro perspective of the closing few years of the decade. The same for the street battles between fascists and anarchists, the oil pipelines and the legal repression.

Thats how most people after us will see this point in time, to interpret and utilize for future efforts. Not much to be worked up for. It doesn’t feel much like a choice. The same uncertainty embraced again.

What can you do? I cursed myself for documenting the first moments of the new year. For not make better use of energy on something that everyone else wasn’t doing. It was useless to be so hard on myself. I realize now that its just more liberating to let things pass you by. To go forward and do it offhand.

Don’t force anything. That isn’t my resolution that everyone advocates against, but probably something I’ll take away from 2017.

We go on in our own ways. I document the one perspective I have control over. Almost like letters to myself, but spaced out between the years and publicly displayed. Like we share in the general idea. I like to think we do.

Pass Me By, 2017

Internet Feudal Barons and Our Lack of Surprise


(Subversion News, Itsgoingdown)

December 14th is the congressional vote to repeal Title II classification for Internet service providers, which regulates them as public utilities and mandates equal protection for all Internet traffic, fulfilling the concept of Net Neutrality. It seems that I’ve been here before, and nothing feels different aside from this issue in the grand scheme of things. That, and maybe my level of cynicism.

Three years ago, in my social democrat days, I dove into all that so-called “Team Internet” could really do. The late Obama years were a push to ensure progressive policies would withstand after election season. Everything except physically organizing was what I did when the FCC was urged to adopt clear net neutrality rules. We knew that consumers were just waiting to be fucked over by broadband companies if reclassification didn’t beat them to it, so it was a big deal for most of that year.

Outreach was rather grueling when trying to bring the issue to everyone who uses the Internet. The aggressive lies about “innovation” being at stake if broadband speeds didn’t remain a competitive market seemed as convincing to many as the reality of Internet connections being universally jumbled with the stablest ones concentrated in the hands of those who could pay.

Initially, I didn’t think writing/calling congress and having the situation explained in full would matter much. What felt like this loose network of hackers and nerd-activists seemed to be no match for the landlords of broadband and their lobbyists, so my hopes for victory were modest. But in time the decision to reclassify was sealed, thanks to enough noise against the idea of paying premiums for different connections. There was a sense of accomplishment in banding together within the “safety” of government that my white skin affords me.

This, of course, was before the political jolt that was Trump’s presidency. Around an administration that has been one clique power-grab after the other, Ajit Pai’s flagship decision as newly-appointed FCC chairman was to crash and burn protective Internet regulations, similar to our health care system or public water treatment.

What distinguishes then from now is [my understanding of] what I want out of putting time and energy into an issue. I realized the inherent limitations on what could realistically be won through this perpetually circular politics of appeal and compromise. Self-described “radicals” are engaging in a battle for leverage in a situation that affects what they should realistically be forcing out of the hands of the few. Its not exactly overcoming or progressing (notions that liberals have always suggested) if you’re constantly fighting for the same reforms in different political eras. I arrived at the conclusion that working within authority can only push it to change its tactics of constraint. It has to be deconstructed, physically disrupted and abolished by obsolescing its relevance through new social habits.

This is ultimately no more of a surprise than Trump doing anything else. When you have a president with this kind of hubris, uncharted influence and a tattered but intact support base with various reactionary formations, this is just a drop in the bucket. I was convinced that the definitive sign of more (and worse) to come was the early rhetoric around immigration and “America first”, so its hard to be surprised or significantly upset by any of this.

Let’s not take all this to mean this situation isn’t a problem. Bludgeoning Internet access to guarantee that Telecom giants can exert restraint on consumers as a business strategy in this particular time of polarization and turbulence — especially with most organizing happening online — is going to prove difficult for radicals’ playing field.

But do I clench my heart and cry “Oh, the humanity!” No, because whether we have European-style net neutrality regulations or the same model we have for health care, we are ignoring the relationship at play. The entities people are out to win over cannot have the same conversation. There are mutually opposing interests that are the final say, and accruing their sympathy will not do anything if it conflicts with them. You always run the risk of having any concessions revoked when they’re mere options for appeasement within the negligence of impersonal democracy.

Net neutrality is a false distinction in a society where access to anything is fundamentally broken, let alone the Internet. Nonetheless, liberals will prioritize the things within reach to middle-class whites and avoid the overarching motive behind it all. This is going to be a pain, no doubt. What isn’t in this world?

Hashtag resistance is officially canceled.

What the Internet has demonstrated is among the most effective means of collaborating and opening up new and powerful means of expressing, sharing, reinventing and decentralizing. But that ethos can never reach its fullest potential when Telecom property owners can pull the plug whenever they please. They will never cease control of our access so long as there is any base for them to stand on.

The airwaves are a commons. Every tool and beyond should be, but this will never be adopted as the reality so long as monopolizing or mediating capabilities exist anywhere, be they state or private.

Internet Feudal Barons and Our Lack of Surprise

Reflections on Being Bi

September 23rd marks Celebrate Bisexuality Day, on which in 1999, Wendy Curry and friends with BiNet USA created a day of celebration to foster non-monosexual (not strictly gay, lesbian, etc.) pride and solidarity in the post-1960s and 70s gay rights movement. During a period in the movement of bisexuals patronized as “going through a phase” or reduced as “half gay,” constantly lugging behind rainbow banners hoping to be recognized with as much dignity, Curry gave non-monosexual queers a day to get loud and proud without being vouched for by their rigidly gay older siblings.

A little over a decade, new grounds on identity and community have been broken. The “gay or straight” dichotomy is increasingly decommissioned in favor of a fluid, shifting idea of sexual, romantic and emotional orientation. The strict roles of man or woman are replaced by individuals defining their presentations free from strict qualifying castes. Angry queers are on standby to take direct action against the oppression and bigotry that persists, despite liberal appeals for assimilation.

While bisexuals and other non-monosexuals still endure misconception and stigma around their identity, there are strides made in deconstructioning mythology and tapping into pride as a change-making tool. In Curry’s words, “If you really study civil rights/diversity acceptance, you’ll see that people start to respect people once they respect themselves. As long as we were in this endless begging for inclusion, we weren’t addressing the respect issue.”

For me, bisexuality laid a path of self-identity that has been a strange and reassuring force. Well before digging into all the complexities, I had a sense of there being more to it than “liking guys and girls” through lived experience. Emotions beyond romance and sex coupled with self-esteem and existential chaos provided me with the texture of this still young, still uncertain life. Seeing the way people in-between’ed expression gave me a sense of deeper possibilities even before I saw them put down in theory. And ultimately, seeing where I am right now with a truly wonderful and life-saving partner, I don’t ever want to let where I came from lose its influencing power on where I go from here.

In the years of bi voices being amplified, the positivity shared by those who endured community changes, and my own doings around who I am beyond sexual identity, I think now is a good time to lend my own perspective to the conversation, given the occasion.

Growing Up

Don’t worry, there won’t be any irrelevant life story. Though I will say that I grew up kind of hazy, in memory and in what I felt during life-defining experiences. Even if that’s how it should be, it still feels abnormally tangled. The sentiment of things not needing to make perfect sense was always kind of endearing for me.

Considering that I’m at the last stop before my twenties as of writing, we’ll be backing up to the point where a lot of these testimonies qualify as life stories.

I was weird. I still am. I knew I was weird, and I told myself this everyday. It didn’t really become an unhealthy thing until I was about eleven or twelve years old. My weight, personality and learning disability became the foremost things plaguing my nerves when I was in school or around kids my age. I think I tried to build my personality vicariously through the images I got in media, which is a terrible thing to do. Overly romanticized situations don’t serve as a good primer for the all-too real awkwardness of pre-adolescent social exchanges. With that facade toppled, I was on my own.

When I realized I wasn’t as “cool” as I thought I was, the only way I could avoid a breakdown was by repeating apologies in my head to people I had to talk to. “I’m sorry you have to interact with me.” Whenever I could calm myself down and think of something “funny” or “witty” to say, they would kind of just grin, smother a cringe and turn to their friends to snicker. After so many of those over and over again, all my effort to be likable wasted, I finally decided to just shut my mouth for good. I would have asked people straight-up if they would prefer not to talk to me before I even said my name, but that would pretty much defeat the purpose. People were no-go zones.

Around that time I was pulled out of public school after a year of bullying that I left bottled up became known to my mom, and I continued through online courses officially registered as homeschooled. At the time I felt luckier than ever, especially with new methods of education available to me. The school system served, and continues to serve, a dual purpose of devaluing students’ capabilities for making them useful to a boss somewhere down the road, and encouraging an atmosphere of strife and petty indignities among each other. The last part made me not pay a second thought to being removed from easy access to socializing. I was convinced that everyone in my age range hated me anyways, and anyone a few years older than me would always find ways to exploit my social shortcomings for a sick laugh.

By then, the stage was set for my personality to follow. A lot of confusion and angst was baked into my young perception, so I wasn’t really lonely so much as angry and dismissive. A lot of time alone in that conviction made me comfortably numb, reassuring myself with “fuck everyone” whenever I felt envious to the contrary. But everything only worsened with time, and soon I had to come to terms with myself and the world.


I knew what being bisexual meant fairly early, but I had trouble considering myself that. With all the self-hatred going on, I determined my identity based on how “likable” I was; how and if I could relate to others regardless of gender. So for a while, with what juvenile information I had, I considered myself asexual for a brief period. I thought it was the most fitting justification for being asocial more than anything, but I couldn’t deny that I was misusing the label. Then I called myself straight but that I “didn’t like sex,” and then I kind of just stopped trying to name it, letting it be whatever.

All my time at home let me figure out how to transform hobbies into meaningful work. A lot of effort was funneled into writing and learning programming, which is responsible for everything right now. It was humble beginnings and I’m still proud that I made the most of my time alone in my own world, but it also did a great job of keeping me at a distance from things I wanted to go further in. I was too comfortable in front of a keyboard, and couldn’t see how to change that with minimal effort.

Nothing ever felt fair. I rarely got a break from being sad or anxious. There’s nothing to complain about family-wise, but emotionally — in the realm I never spoke about to anyone — I was always in a rut. As far as simply getting people to know and respect me, I was completely lost. A local church youth group was a decent enough sandbox for finding common interests, but sure enough, the same impressions I got from school were rediscovered there. At this stage anger was dissolved into mild acceptance. I was fully prepared to be overlooked, but disappointed nonetheless.

There wasn’t much refuge alone. Oftentimes I would see a close bond between two men in a film and I would feel the worst reeling pain of emptiness and envy I could imagine. Or I would see a bond between a man and woman and feel the same way. I couldn’t make sense of the inconsistency, losing the grasp on reasoning with it in the haze of everything else. Puberty at its finest. I often reminded myself with Wizard’s line from Taxi Driver: “Don’t worry so much!”

Internet friendships and communities were a blessing, a monumental tool for being real with someone dealing with the same things and giving me at least some reassurance that generations before have been dealt this same shitty roll of the dice. Around that point, going through different causes of my misery, it dawned on me that my frustrations had a connection to sexual and romantic orientation worthy of examination.

That particular case was reopened, but investigating it was delayed. It was in the middle of moving to another state that confusion was transplanted in a new environment, stripped of my familiar home town and nothing but long car rides to dwell on things. Temporary residence in a rural area gave me a tranquil place to reset for a little while. A forest to merge with in spirit, a sunny field to get lost in thought staring at — dumb little sentimental touches that were really needed for my weary mind. I think I was trying to reassure myself that it was okay that I didn’t belong in the castes of heterosexuality and conservatism; that I had to put my own convictions first or risk being the same fake type of person I detested.

Eventually we settled in another town, where I resumed my self-examination online with a new outlook. It didn’t take long for me to accept that whatever I was, I certainly wasn’t straight. It might have been the queer gamers and furries (yep) that had my back, but soon I came to embrace it quietly, uncertain of my family’s reaction if they knew.

I must be a magnet for ruining everything, because I couldn’t keep myself from inventing new problems. With some newly won self-confidence, I made attempts at distant relationships which were predictably failures. In my own defense, both parties were young and trying different things with different persuasions, so it wasn’t a foolproof excursion in retrospect. But at the time it meant as much to me as anyone in a face-to-face relationship. Once again, I was crushed. I secured the pain in place with such adages as I’m uglyI’m boring or Its best that I’m not known.

It wasn’t abnormal to find myself fantasizing about draining all my blood via slit arteries or Google searching the highest point near me to jump from. I have to admit these still plague me sporadically. My mom finding out I was self-harming for reasons I kept vague made me want to put every possible thing in existence in one place while I walk away from it all. Torment on top of torment, I dragged on mindlessly. I’m honestly surprised I survived those hectic times.

Getting Out and Coming Out

I got over the bumps in the road. I still don’t know how, and even now when I face similar problems I forget how to start recovery. I think the mind just lets go of things when its ready to, at least in my case.

I latched onto new things and found myself in a refreshed mindset. At this point I was openly bi online for two years, amassing all the advice I could get and looking to generally improve on my existence. I wasn’t free from anguish, but I poured as much energy as I could into my blog and programming to keep myself busy. Working my first job helped disperse a lot of that energy too.

I didn’t stop looking for someone who could care about me, but I played it safe. I was done being desperate about it. I used that familiar misery as the force that brought me back down to earth whenever I could feel myself flying too close to the sun. My teens were spent alone from the start, and I felt like I deserved someone to build prospects with. Nothing dramatic or specific, and in fact I dreamed of an understated but palpably close bond that would become dramatic when it needed to be. I was out for anyone: friend, lover, something in-between — anyone.

A week before thanksgiving, I started talking to someone. At first I rested assured that we wouldn’t go far. That was my mechanism for staying intact. I prefaced our first night of conversation with something along the lines of “I’m not looking for anything sexual or whatever. Just someone to talk to.” If only I could guess at how short I was selling myself. The things we shared were surprising, how well we clicked and understood each other was something I never felt with anyone else. Day by day, good morning and good night texts, I knew I found the one I would take refuge in when everything else felt wrong. It didn’t take more than four months for us to officially begin dating, and two more for me to save up for a plane ticket for us to finally rendezvous.

Minneapolis, summer of 2016. That was when I finally broke from my past and started a new beginning. A solid week of my doubts and fears melted away by love, honesty and adventure in Minnesota. It was a totally alien sensation; all those years of self-doubt healed in such a short time. But even then, questions about ourselves and the future weren’t over. My partner had time to think things over, and affirmed that she was trans. This presented us with new questions to ask ourselves; for her as an individual in a shitty society, and us as a couple to be perceived by others.

Along with worrying for her health, safety and the respect she deserves in the years to come, I was concerned with how I was going to be looked at: As a bisexual guy, or an assumed straight guy, with a girl at my side. This particular revelation opened a new part in the … I became invested in her through the gender I first perceived her as, and now it was a matter of channeling this kind of inertia in a positive and constructive way. I knew that my feelings for her were unaffected, I was just too used to the idea of being seen with someone of the same gender. It was up to knowing the changes, holding on to what was most important and respecting this person who I love above all else.

The trip home was the worst. I never walked through an airport trying not to cry before, but the flight home gave me time to contemplate this new beginning and what it would take to make it flourish into something tangible. A couple weeks passed and I was alone in my room binging on netflix and something unhealthy. My mom checks on me and tells me I haven’t been very talkative lately. I tell her that I’m fine, but that we should take a drive. It was completely spur of the moment, I just felt the urge to get this over with.

We get coffee and sit in the starbucks parking lot. I’m already panicking when she asks whats up. I know I’m not going to tell her everything, certainly not the gender identity of my “friend”, but only the truth of who I am. I shake off the worst-case scenario thoughts of being disowned and get it out: “Mom, I can only hope you don’t hate me, but… I’m bisexual.”

I immediately begin to cry, terrified. “Okay” she replies. I keep crying.

“Its okay!” she repeats. I piece myself together as much as possible, explain my relationship, neglect all the necessary details and retire back to my room after gaining the approval of my mom, the rest of my family to follow. That feeling in your gut, like you took off a lead vest: I felt that for the rest of the week. A long stretch of uncertainty amounted to my experiences translated into a newly public fact about myself. I felt like my reality was acknowledged, giving me my first sense of self-validation.

A year later, after the right planning and timing, my girlfriend and I are living together, making the most of our passions and bringing them to life with our friends in our community. The rest is history, but one that drives doing better everyday, looking for something at the end of it all worth resting on.


I never liked talking about myself. I think I always neglect the richest details that could be compressed into a perfect couple of sentences to save your time and mine, and instead I gravitate toward droning recollections of times that may or may not paint an accurate picture. But there are times when you have to do your best in that to avoid yet another stuffy academic review of sexual identity and derive from lived experiences. I think being real at the risk of sounding sentimental is a lot better than being a jargon machine from one’s favorite armchair.

I think two things determined how I went about self-discovery: Autism and internalized self-restraint, or, more formulaic: my perception of the world multiplied by the effects of the world on me in return. In this light, this applies to a lot of different stories with different names given to the variables. For me, one thing was very good at fortifying the results of the other: I had a preconception of people, I had a preconception of the right ways to act, their responses were things I held too sacredly, and I instilled them in myself because I trusted others’ judgment far more than my own. This bolstered the whole cycle during new periods in my life when I felt like trying again, more or less giving new reasons to stop again because of responses following preconception. Putting it simply, I was hopeful, disappointed and confused in that order. My naive belief in better things over the horizon sabotaged by the realities others lived.

Self-discovery happened in different parts in different places. A lot of it took place alone with what I had to dwell on. It wasn’t healthy, but it was the only option when I didn’t want to risk a panic attack. I mostly just hated bothering people, but every once in a while I could refresh what specific types of interactions had the most effect on me. This included how shy I was around masculine people compared to feminine people, how intensity changed with people’s age, and the personalities that I felt threatened by.

Soon I noticed that boys my age with relatively outgoing personalities caused me the most tension, while girls fitting the same descriptions were just a hair more fear-inducing. I can easily see connections to who these people reminded me of during negative interactions in the past, e.g., girls telling me that I’m “gross”, or boys telling me I’m “stupid”, but further down the road it went from simply “bothering people” to the likelihood of never being able to make a bond with anyone. Now it was a question of who I desired bonds with the most.

I was always juggling who held sway of my preference when I was realizing myself as bi. Before that, I had a boundless admiration for anyone with the right amount of charm, wit and kindness. It didn’t connect with sexuality and take on a certain form until I hit puberty, where I was mixed up by everything I started feeling. I never got to be face-to-face with any of this until meeting my girlfriend, but I think years of observing and stewing alone from a distance was ultimately worth it.

I eventually judged myself to be a four on the Kinsey scale, essentially saying that I prefer people of the same gender while maintaining a fair attraction to those who aren’t. My girlfriend’s identity gave me an interesting lesson in what you’re attracted to and who you love; not as things that necessitate each other, but as things that indicate one’s sexual capacity separate from long-term emotional standpoint, and what you do to consolidate those feelings in a healthy way. I didn’t surrender my attraction to men, but I arranged my committed relationship and my expression of attraction as non-conflicting spheres with every parties’ consent.

A lot my tribulations can rightly be blamed on hormones, but I’m not going to deny that for most of my life, and as it continues now, I’ve always taken emotional responses and the meanings in things I can’t fully grasp very seriously. Overlaps with social anxiety, uncertainty, self-disgust and feeling bad for everyone I talked to made me more conscious of my interactions. They held me accountable, and I think even if they made me more self-conscious than I need to be, it made a thorough process of knowing who I was without much left to guess on.

It wasn’t a way to say “I know I’m bi because…“, but a way to show the inspiration behind the style of bisexuality I invented for myself.

Why Bi Day Matters

“Pride already happened.” This was one person’s response to me advertising a bi day celebration in my city. Aside from the baked-in aggression against queer voices, it reflects one of the reasons why sections of the queer community value their sovereign days of celebration, sometimes more than the massive annual parades and festivals of rainbow capitalism.

There was no serious usage of “LGBT” as a unified group of people in solidarity until the late 90s. Even afterward, the appearance of a cohesive community of non-heterosexual and gender non-conforming individuals is a pretty new thing. I think in the wake of bigotry expressing itself in neoliberal America, LGBT sections urgently crystallized in a way that shrugged off past injuries, and pardoned new ones in the name of “progress.”

Before this, there was a lot of conflict in legislative and community organizing that cut deep into trans and non-monosexual hidden figures, whether it was after Harvey Milk’s death or the damage control after the stonewall riots. Today that tradition graduates from negligent organizing behaviors to the ongoing assimilation of gay people into state apparatuses of domination and mediation, who expect the rest of us to go along with their victories as trans and non-binary people of color are assaulted or killed by the same cops they march with at pride.

Gay has become a trademark with a standard set of attributes, and if you aren’t “gay” or “straight”, you’re certainly queer in one sense or other. We, obviously, are looking to make the gay community militant again — not to shun every monosexual as a liberal traitor. But with the circumstance of it all, rebuilding ourselves requires amplifying those who are left to the back of the parade line or asked silly questions about their identity.

Bi, trans, non-binary, intersex, asexual and other days of celebration are all occasions to hold our communities proud and independent from the history of liberal assimilation into rigid legalistic frameworks. Its about having the self-respect to determine one’s own sense of pride specific to their identity and how its expressed to others.

A Better Relationship with Sexuality and Gender

The relativity and fluidity of gender content is something that can’t be dismissed for much longer in today’s world. As the gendering of behaviors becomes increasingly brittle with each person living them, its clear that laying down a basic idea of contouring ourselves with others is easier and more fruitful than everyone trying to fit into something that won’t budge.

I’ve often been asked the question when talking about gender followed by my own sexuality: “If gender is about self-identity and not ‘how many genders there are,’ how can you call yourself bisexual? Doesn’t that imply that there are only two?”

When thinking about bisexuality, most people jump to the conclusion of quantities meaning “how many genders this person is attracted to” instead of considering what quantity even relates to. Dealing with quantity is more or less visualizing people’s scope and flexibility, using quantity to refer to points that start and stop boundaries. It should be obvious that nobody should submit to any elementary analysis and surrender their identity just because there are differences on what quantifying adjectives mean.

For a basic example, we can think of two (bi-) poles that start in one place on a spectrum and terminate in another. These poles encompass a specific area of presentation that an individual is attracted to, instead of having two mutually exclusive types of people our inclinations will be limited to like the traditional idea of bisexuality suggests. Its more like covering all bases by looking at the two ends of a region, which are sometimes simplified as masculine, feminine and what is between them.

This model might work accordingly with other non-monosexual identities too: Polysexual individuals might envision multiple sections encompassed by multiple sets of poles, while pansexual individuals have no visible divides at all, embracing the entirety of identity spectrums.

I think this is key to expressing any sexuality without coming off as binary about gender. Bisexuality is a way of people defining the scope of their attraction in relation to the sum of their preference, and not so much the “number of genders” they prefer. Even with straight or monosexual people, there is no correct way to be any of those things; identifying the areas of attraction doesn’t take any prescribed form of roles or numbers. Its about presentation and who it resonates with.

Going Forward

We decide what life looks and feels like. There are collective and individual aspects of that reality; people can get together to make societal changes, and individuals can establish the facts of themselves through which to interface with life. Joining or conflicting, relating potential to each other accomplishes more than we think. Its all in knowing ourselves, what we want and what it all means in the end. Doing our best and staying relentless.

Happy Bi Day. Remember Scout Schultz.

Reflections on Being Bi

The Religion of Civility

(For Subversion News)

Two weeks after the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, the geniuses of sacred non-action are still at it.

Between “an-tee-fuh”, the “alt-left” and “violence on both sides“, we’re back to J20 and Pikeville as everyone crawls out of the woodwork to talk about the “violence on the left” and circulate their ready-made expertise on anti-fascism, all while dodging what lit a fire under them, or fighting the actual philosophical meat of it and broader anarchism with condescending outrage.

I’ve been focused on this since I got back, since this was my first major action since being physically involved in such things. Not only that, but the discussion has been going on for longer than expected. Charlottesville was the tamest anti-fascist demonstration I’ve ever seen. We came into a small town and ruined a white nationalist rally before it can even start, without many arrests and without much trouble from the cops, and yet this might be the one event of this decade’s anti-fascist activity that garners the most commentary from the right and center.

Those in the combination of their sheltered media chambers and traditional social litanies, instead of being on the ground in front of struggles, always get the loudest mic to speak into. Not like this is surprising: They get to be pampered by the social byproducts of others’ subordination, and simultaneously defend their legitimacy in all corners of life. Nonetheless, it peeves me when we continue encountering the same angry questions under a different name, and someone is expecting a new answer.

I think, along with someone being killed, the legalistics of permits and free speech coming into this really set the popular stage, allowing the white panic of preserving the current structures to coming into conflict with the larger goals of anti-fascism. Beyond that playing out as usual, I certainly think we’re on track toward a civil conflict for better or worse. Thats precisely why anti-fascists are going all out, we intend to win.

And with the “why” absolutely cleared just now, the heavier baggage of attacking assembly and working outside the perimeters of the law remains. Particularly, the use of violence.

We are always denying ourselves the reality of violence when talking about disrupting social systems. For Industrial Society 101, violence has been monopolized for generations through the state. This is the crux of the issue when looking at how smashing a corporation’s window stacks up to letting thousands of people go uninsured each year, and so on. People have an instinctive way of judging those scenarios with a set of obfuscated, reproduced norms that totally demonize one act while not paying a second glance to another.

Getting to where people see that and understand why its like this involves rediscovering history through a different lens, one that demonstrates how people then and now are affected and repressed. Even trickier is explaining why civility in these conditions is instantly surrender, and how developing our own strategies and coming together on our own terms is the best way to win a better world.

Civility, in how society is presently arranged, is the effect of the privileged accumulating the complacency of the ruled. Alternative social patterns are simply unthinkable or collectively hammered into our skulls as impractical and dangerous, so generations typically reproduce an atmosphere of things being stable the way they are, or disseminating spirituality as a coping mechanism for life being unbearable. Coupled with familial castes and popular media, we have the central nervous system of capitalist state society: a populous that is comfortable and obedient in the limits they were told are the infinite expanses of life.

Resistance happens when the requirements for capital and privilege (subordination, stratification) build up into distinct social groups. With what freedom of thought the ruled have to themselves, there is capacity to design alternatives and nourish its growth while in bondage. Cultures that solidify around exploitation always secure their dreams with a rich and resonating community. Slavery in North America and a class of African descendants carried on a particular consciousness that lives in the changing face of racism and white supremacy. From Nat Turner in 1830s Virginia plantations, to the Black Panthers in 1960s Harlem, to Black Lives Matter in contemporary liberal America, the consciousness that intersects with other struggles (workers’ and queer struggle, etc.) finds the very channels that mediate or propagate oppression and grow beneath them.

Over time, however, incremental reformism has proven to be the most hypnotizing buffer between the dissolving of bondage and the securing of privilege. After trade unionism was legalized, participation in social movements became increasingly perfunctory and symbolic, crystallizing the aversion to direct action in favor of seeking legitimacy from higher authorities. People’s self-confidence in their own actions were, and have increasingly become, disarmed and filtered into a singular, designated political sphere that was reinforced by the doctrines of civility.

Those who cling to this model do so for varying reasons. Commonly in the United States, its liberals whose political identity was forged solely out of this model and know nothing beyond it, or its conservative-right people who find this model to always be a stepping stone toward a real instance of their ideals. The sanctity of what they’re familiar with, the desperation in avoiding what requires fundamental restructuring and demonizing the interests of the exploited always play a synchronized part in propping up a confused warning of danger to further influence civility.

What makes for an obvious double-standard but a opportune entryway is how people who declare that life is savage and that things like markets and speculation are rooted in a human instinct toward savagery can’t at least reconcile this with anti-fascists acting in such a way. The doctrine of “tough shit” is always hammered into those with social grievances, but suddenly the lecturers are shaking in their boots when the act of brutality expands inward on the whole framework.

Undoing this ritual requires understanding violence and the relationships around it: whats is considered violent, how it is regulated, how it is ultimately relative and where to go with that understanding.

Violence is a character of life, a means of dispensing power. But more deeply, violence as a social phenomena isn’t a defined, tangible thing as we might envision it. The underpinnings of force are typically applied to an inherently political situation and manipulated depending on the actor. This covers everything from breaking the windows of a bank that evicts people from their houses, the police arresting protesters, to any form of speech that resonates in society.

Expression has long been painted in the light of reducing the consequences of what people say. On one hand, people today seem to allow racists as well as far-left radicals to say what they please in equal measure. But on the other, they reserve their rights to “disagree” with whomever. These reactions are the modifications to consequences in the light of mediation. They acknowledge an idea of consequences of speech, but only in the form of their own reaction and its relationship to discourse. The possibility of any consequences outside of this are left up to pacifying or quelling forces, like the police. So long as an authority rests on top of these transactions, and as long as they are imbued with trust in stopping anything that deviates from civility, there can only be popular displacement from the genuine consequences outside of upper middle class communities. So while a racist spreading lies about marginalized communities means little to a well-off liberal, it means a hell of a lot to those who will see and live through the consequences of that speech right in front of them.

This is probably the summary for why free speech isn’t so much “opposed” by anti-fascists and anarchists as much as its just a terrible reduction of what language is. Language is a tool as powerful as cutting individuals off from your life or starting rumors. Such things have intention and weight, they accomplish things whether explicit or not. If we can imagine what such things mean for tight-knit social groups of single-digit amounts of people, think of its impact on anything from towns, to cities, to whole continent populations. But again, as long as quelling authorities rest on top of these intimately human transactions, they will always be reduced down to the ins and outs of politics while the genuine consequences play out unaccounted for. Disconnected from any social importance.

So in this framing, the features and levels of violence are anything but unanimously agreed on. Political actions are commonly measured by the weight they carry and how forceful or affective they are, but the affiliation the action is bound to is always the deciding factor for whether its violent.

But the relativity of violence doesn’t imply a disregard for what it accomplishes. For anti-fascists, it isn’t unitary violence that is examined as much as whats behind the violence, who is doing it and to what ends. Violence is expected from the opposition as much as it is from the bindings of today’s society, and so which violence we oppose is made clear because it enforces what we want destroyed. Regardless of seeing the word violence and knowing that people will imagine vastly different examples, it describes an emotional reality underneath the vagueness, and it can be used to align our intentions properly.

Denouncing violence is like denouncing the force required in tackling anything that works against you, but we cannot take this to just mean “in self-defense.” Reducing all of self-defense down to immediate physical protection neglects what violence and preserving oneself entails, especially in a setting where the lifeblood of society is constant threat. The end goal is to eliminate structures of violence: coercion, domination and the like, which comprise forces decidedly not relative, and perform concrete functions such as capitalism, state repression and social bigotry that build a reality of suffering.

The instinctual disregard for criticism from the right and center comes from their dependence on what social emancipation requires destroying. By relying on “its not that bad”, “haven’t you learned anything from Stalin?” or “you hate free speech”, we meet at the same starting point over and over. All that time wasted trying to explain our case just for it to be thrown out could be spent organizing and arming around worthwhile goals.

Obedience to currently acceptable ideals has driven the left away from debate, because the requirement to be taken seriously is to lie down and submit or risk being named “alt”. And every time a glimpse of our case is made, the reaction is simply angry defense of political essentialism or flipping the narrative.

So speaking calmly and acting how we’re told has been proven fruitless, a spectacle for the media facade and self-service repression. We’re over playing pretend. As spontaneous action finds its way in the streets and communities, as the structures of privilege and coercion are discredited, we’re reaching a trying time of discovering our strength and wielding it together, or once again rebranding the game of domination.

Non-violence can only persuade authority to take a new shape or expand appeasement, but it can never mend the relations of exploitation and violence that anarchists will always oppose. Autonomy and dignity in our lives will always be sacrificed so long as we act obediently in the shadow of power.

We might have landed on a particularly stubborn generational spot for the next social transition to happen, as most people still don’t see how we went from Kings and Surfs to Bosses and Employees. Its always difficult to attack the conscience of the population without seemingly devaluing the whole of their character. In doing the latter, we become just as bad as our enemies in allowing material mechanisms to segment us from the whole of humanity. It takes reminding oneself of the values they inherited and the vessel that expresses them, seeking only to revise one of them for everyone’s wellness.

We don’t desire or get anything out of talking down to everyday people, but the frustration and outrage that is perpetuated through popular channels creates the only audible tone. As much as we would prefer diverse and colorful images of anarchy and vanquished white supremacy as a gift to all, a rich connection between the individual, the world, and what fills the space between them, those would be dismissed as utopian in a heartbeat.

The monotone black [and red] of militant negation appears to set the stage well enough for what we have to deal with presently. We appear to be assholes because we’re backed into such a corner where we only have so much to work with. And with what is available to us, we consistently build up our conclusion.

Nazis are for shutting down and putting down, not assimilating and regulating as you would anyone else. Free speech is a political right afforded to you by the same class of elites who arrange the wages of starvation, mandate ritualistic appeals to higher-ups and draw out who suffers and who dispenses. When people aren’t separated from consequences, it isn’t a social axiom that anybody abides by even in their most intimate setting.

We’ll soon be forced out of our screen-lit rooms and into the world we’ve abandoned, reeling at what we left to fester. Popular conscience will experience a thermal shock of reality when people understand that mediating fascism, whether by trademarked Rational Centrism over twitter or the holiness of legislation, is a joke when the bodies start piling up.

So, whats the solution? Social revolution.

The Religion of Civility

Charlottesville is Barely The Start

e6663 blur

(For Subversion NewsIts Going Down)

Our group of four stood at the crosswalk, flagpoles in hand and bandannas around our necks. Off in the distance, the park is teeming with black-clad people with clubs, shields, respirators, flags, banners, signs. Any form of message delivery, all with the same idea. Looking down the street to see if there’s a quicker way to get across, we spot the first of our enemy: Identity Evropa marching in a single column down the sidewalk across the park, their distinct blue and white flags waving above them. Before they round the corner to face the anti-fascists, we already hear cries against them, cries unlike at any sporting event; cries with sincere disdain on every level. “Nazi Scum Off Our Streets!” The column leaves our sight, and we cross the street. This is at 10 AM.

Over the next two hours, we move from park to park, checkpoint to checkpoint encountering the sections of this new wave of terror and fervor of racial fantasy. At the same time, we encounter some of the most courageous and selfless individuals who put themselves in danger to aid their comrades. Street medics tending to those pepper sprayed and injured by the enemy. Redneck Revolt giving armed protection to the mass of anti-fascists. Camp sites out in the woods providing legal info, mental health support and weapons training before the action. Every bit of this would contribute to our victory over the enemy in Charlottesville, but also set the paradigm for what to do from then on.

After the police declared Emancipation park an unlawful assembly for the white nationalists, we regrouped at our initial rendezvous. We eat, rehydrate and plan our next moves. Reports from communications come in and out, that the fascists are approaching us. A couple right-wing stragglers cross the street, get punched in the mouth and get their confederate flag expropriated, which is later burned.

We make our way to McGuffey park to rejoin with people we got separated with. When we arrive we get word that Richard Spencer was arrested and celebrate accordingly. Soon after, we get reports of fascists en route to harass a black, low income neighborhood. As armed bike-runners are dispatched to confirm the situation, the need to gather all the counter-protesters to have the whole town on watch becomes obvious.

We set our sights for the busy roads around the pedestrian mall, a mile out from Emancipation Park. An improvised chant invigorates our numbers down the road leaving McGuffey. “Everywhere we go, pigs wanna know; Who we are — so we tell them: ‘We are the People! The motherfucking people! Fighting for Justice. Black liberation, brown liberation, queer liberation, trans liberation, native liberation, workers’ liberation!

Soon we reach an intersection, and we are greeted by red communist flags and black lives matter banners. Cheers signal them into the mass of people united against white supremacy. We wave our flags and continuously declare these streets to be ours, as they are. But just after clearing the intersection, at Water and Fourth streets, I hear faint screams up the road. I grab my partner and a comrade and rush us to a sidewalk in the opposite direction before the screams culminate in a roaring smash with people tumbling over windshields. The rush of victory and camaraderie is instantly replaced by terror; fear for what the toll of injuries and deaths will be reported on in the news later that day. I clutch my partner, knowing that someone is dead. “This is fucking class war!” we shout.

Paramedics arrive in minutes. One of our group members is missing, and our anxiety peaks when riot police begin stepping in, advancing ten feet per minute. To our greatest relief, she makes it back to us having been trapped on the other side when police cleared the street. For fear of being kettled, we rejoin with people from our state and get somewhere safe.

After the attack, activities on all sides are fragmented into a free-for-all. The give a little, get a littleconvention is thrown out the window. Hospitals caring for injured anti-fascists are circled by cars belonging to Identity Evropa. Reports of drive-by shootings by nationalists put everyone on edge. Sporadic reports of mass arrests send us to ultimately barren locations. Cooling down at a local coffeeshop, we decide that we’ve done our part. We make it back to our car and debrief at camp before getting on the road for home. We get the outside world’s view of the situation in the car. It feels almost insulting, after what we’ve seen firsthand.


Charlottesville as a city is now tainted to me. I can never get that first impression healed, and that city will always be bookended as where I was on August 12, 2017. Every bit of stonework, every street and every shop can only play a part in mentally outlining the vessel for what arose on that day from devotion to the myth of “blood and soil.” Regardless, a few facts need to be repeated.

We outnumbered them. We shut their event down before it could start. We were lucky enough to have the cops turn on them. But they will step up their game. They will celebrate the murder of Heather Heyer and twist it into a repetitive in-joke, encouraging their fantasy to be built on further. They willkill more of us, and they will try to win. The fascist rise to power is always prefaced in the streets.

The analyses of late show all and more I could say about the situation: This is a testament to this generation’s resurgence of nationalism; the point where everyone agrees that they’ve moved out of the Internet. Where mere disgruntled young white men are organized into formations capable of terrorizing vulnerable communities and securing the already prevalent structures of oppression as the core mode of society.

Charlottesville as some grand call to action was a laughable failure, yes, but I can only speak for the impressions I got in the streets. Personally, it was a declaration of class war that was secured when Heather Heyer was killed. Each side had a sense of this being something momentous, probably not as profound when knowing that it was built up over the weeks prior, but it was there and it meant something more.

And now in the aftermath, as white nationalists announce more rallies over confederate statue removals across the US, threatening posters put in low income neighborhoods and random acts of racist violence, we are seeing that sentiment spreading and coalescing into a real conflict beyond protests. With liberals saying their routine denouncing of violence “on many sides”, its made clear once again that only we will protect us.


We have to come to the realization of peace and love being an outcome. A result, and not a means of maintaining itself. You can stand up to hate with love, but what vehicle of action is love driving? Certainly not more and more “love” until it somehow forms an effective weapon to literally kill white supremacy. You don’t “love” a fascist to death or make your love out to be deadly if it can’t hate and kill when it needs to.

Our relationships need to break away from appeasing the exploitation of non-violent complacency, monotonous popular dialog, and taking to heart the acceptability of liberal pats on the back.

If anyone cares about standing up to hate, they won’t prioritize “taking a stand” and announcing support while backing down at the first sign of physical confrontation. They will speak last while organizing, arming, training and fighting alongside the marginalized. They will understand the need to raze the shackles of state mediation, working to the crossroads of autonomy or autocracy. It is possible, and day by day it becomes our time to decide.

[Image Credits: Anonymous]

Charlottesville is Barely The Start

National Socialist Movement to join “Unite the Right” in Virginia

(For Subversion NewsIts Going Down)

After the American Renaissance conference in Tennessee, its seems clear what to expect from the Unite the Right event in Charlottesville, Virginia, which is due in one week.

We anticipated the conference to be a sort of ideological warm-up for the alt-right’s journey through the Upper South and Appalachia, met with moderate opposition outside the Montgomery Bell Park Inn. Despite the predictable impressions of the attendees and the laughable enticement of minor physical violence from the far-right side, it remains a far cry from a simple disconnected meeting of nazis.

While international figures convened in Tennessee, the gathering in Charlottesville has its sights set for a very real goal in the communities of those in the US: To preserve the commemoration of genocide, slavery and the prevailing sentiments of white domination over the marginalized, wrapped in the myth of “preserving history”. Even then, there seems to be a deeper goal considering the nature of the right coming together in such a time.

Along with figureheads Milo Yiannopoulos, Richard Spencer, Neo-Confederates League of the South, Strasserists Traditionalist Worker Party and assorted kekistanis wielding stale memes and embarrassment, the National Socialist Movement, led by Jeff Schoep, has announced their partnership with the attendance.

The NSM joining more or less summarizes the drive of the entire event. Yes, whether in swastika’ed bomber jackets or suits and ties, they’re advocating white supremacy. But while Spencer and those like him will definitely make attempts at keeping a civic profile, the attraction of the out-and-loud white supremacists is not as innocent or unintentional as it appears.

Uniting the right is pointless without a good reason. There isn’t much purpose if the right historically has always been divided into their own subcultures ranging from neocons enforcing poverty, to disenchanted rural militiamen defending the constitution; or something. The right in all their incoherence always finds ways to isolate their own strands while fighting for the same side of the spectrum. E.g., an attack on a neo-nazi is an attack on the first amendment, and therefore the constitution and the values of America. Undermining whiteness is a perpetuation of a literal white genocide, and equally an attack on white christian property owners that conservatives bend over backwards for. The outline of similar interests becomes more shared when framed just right.

It takes a big issue, or a bright shining abstraction, to bring together such interests.

The major media scare of anti-fascist resistance and ground-up community action has no doubt played a role in drumming up emotions from all corners of the right and center. The typical suburban household to the local red-lace chapter has adopted and customized the outrage as a political wedge. The pox of white defensiveness has become the current paradigm — a delicate bridge separating the ways this tension will conclude. Opportunism hasn’t been this stirred up since the 1960s.

It seems to come down to lines becoming more and more visible, sides becoming more one or the otherWith us, or against us in the desperation of the political base abandoning party lines. The far-left has always held the line, encouraged crossing it, in the face of growing polarization and instability. But like routine, its often the right that quickly steps up to the plate ready to see how this particular game will go. Our culture wars coming out of our isolated social media chambers and into the streets signifies a very uncertain round of society reconfiguring itself, liberals playing insufferable mediator.

Its time to get fucking real. For those who haven’t already, its time to shake off party-based activism and legislation and look to our own potential: in our own towns and backyards. Its time to subvert the state buffer between the marginalized and the smirking scourge of white supremacy and defeat it where it stalks closest to home.

The fascists must not have the streets. We call on all anarchist, anti-fascist and anti-authoritarian groups in Appalachia and East South Central North America to converge at Lee Park on August 12th at 3:00 PM EST, and carry on the active resistance against white supremacy. We intend to win.

National Socialist Movement to join “Unite the Right” in Virginia

Lexington Anti-Racist Action Shuts Down Homophobic Protesters at Pride Festival


(For Subversion News)

Attendees of the 10th Annual Lexington Pride Festival in Kentucky were treated to a host of music, food, vendors, live performances and other delights that come with LGBTQ gatherings in celebration of the community and the pursuit of social equality.

Not among these was a welcoming from their local assholes on the corner of East Main Street where a small group of christian fundamentalist protesters gathered with signs advocating “repentance” for “homo sex”, logically inconsistent ramblings over bullhorn about the doom of loving someone in particular, and other cowardly forms of harassment directed toward the queer community behind a wall of cops.

With only the East Main Street entrance to the festival being muddled by the religious hecklers, the early afternoon went on as over thirty vendors and activities continued in the farther regions of the Fayette Circuit Court.

It was only after 4 o’ clock in the afternoon that things began ramping up. The hecklers gained a larger reaction, mostly comprised of sporadic liberal attempts of chanting “Love trumps Hate”, obscuring the speaker’s face with a pride flag, and couples raising their joined hands in the air and cheering over the sapless, unoriginal preaching. After this had run its course, about ten members of the festivities joined in a circle around the protesters while police began barricading the onlookers from the agitators.

After several attempts by the rainbow-clad resistance to fight with love — still under the pungent screeching of the fanatics, several attendees with the Lexington Anti-Racist Action chapter assembled as one defined body and took on a simple, but next-level direct action to end the noise.

The ARA attendees distributed paint sticks to as much of the crowd as possible, adding cymbals to the mix and began a noise demo. With howling, chanting, and plenty of clattering wood and clashing brass, the repetitive sermon was quickly drowned out, rendering the fundamentalist presence pointless.

After five minutes of engineered pandemonium, the chants faded into more specific political cries, bringing a much-needed broader consciousness to the corporate sponsored festival. One person slammed a paint stick on a cymbal while shouting “the first pride was a riot!” referring to the Stonewall Riots. After a few more minutes, the chants grew in directness toward the police in the aftermath of the Philando Castile verdict.

“No justice, no peace!” while a minority followed through: “Fuck the police!”

In the heat of anti-fascist calls and bewildered liberals, the agitators disassembled their step-latter and PA system, packed up and went home with their tails between their legs. The chanting concluded with a victory song. “Na na na, na na na, hey hey-ey; Goodbye!”

Lexington Police assess the aftermath of the confrontation.

While none of the protesters or counter-protesters were arrested, one scuffle between two apparently uninvolved people caused the police to tackle them when they fell to the ground punching each other.

It was rumored that the primary fundamentalist speaker has a history of enticing people to get physical, at which point he sues and reaps legal settlements. Regardless, the radical sections of Lexington demonstrated themselves well in going beyond “fighting with love” when facing dialogs of violence and shame poking at the gatherings of disadvantaged communities.

Lexington Anti-Racist Action Shuts Down Homophobic Protesters at Pride Festival

The Sentiment Market and Killing It

After a little way’s into USA network’s premier of Mr. Robot in 2015, the feeling began to crystallize for me and probably others.

I just began restarting a personal blog. My political tendencies were taking shape around my commitment to Internet freedom and the greater hacker community influenced by the threat of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Scared shitless that copyright goons would seize my parents’ router, I immersed myself deeper in the culture to build up a pseudo-militant persona.

I got the first four episodes after an Internet friend kept pressuring me. Before that I only saw one image, later to be seen on different cringe threads. “OUR DEMOCRACY HAS BEEN HACKED,” superimposed over Rami Malek’s hooded face.

Not long after walking away having enjoyed it well enough, I published the first real article on the blog. It seemed like a cozy blend of opposition to intellectual property cut with an acceptance of money being a concrete social thing, simply declaring that media isn’t a tangible item to be commodified. It can’t work. This made me feel steadfast and edgy but grounded and practical, probably engineered to take solace in being looked at seriously enough by everyday people, not needing to engage in significant explanations.

That was my mindset for a while, in that light of Pirate Party support and free culture vigilance. Of course, I grew to see why things I love are being threatened: Why open content and the desire and tools to expand it was scaring the shit out of the entertainment industry, weaponizing their dollars. The problem was the whole structure, the whole interwoven combinations, as well as the narrative of protecting them and ensuring their appeasement.

But looking back on that brief stint of not fully knowing where I stood economically, nor having a conception of a social stance being integral to an economic one, it brought back memories of what was dispensed my way. In them, I found an uneasiness distinct in the artificial tones playing out casually; like they couldn’t afford to pretend anymore, so they needed to adapt themselves by wearing plastic sentiments.

Mr. Robot did so by sprinkling a Fight Club rewrite with cult jargon about onion routing, GNOME, KDE and “hacking”, with a layer of corporate critical, post-Snowden conspiracy fantasy and a slice of appealing to those with emotional problems. Basically all the qualities of the cyberpunk communities I would frequent.

The conversation it must have taken beforehand seems obvious. “That linux-hacker computer-thing has a pretty sizable community online. Lets tap into it by making a TV show about hacking, evil businessmen and social anxiety.”

Immediately, its easy to know what I’m talking about in total, but it seems like this particular feature has more depth to it. There is a sincerity in things like Mr. Robot and countless other media, normally when dealing with trends or niches. But its not an advocacy of the content, instead its a mesh of (plastic) sentiments as a vehicle for richness, of allure when the intensity in scenarios is coated with a positive or heroic representation of the protagonists. The intent is normally for the same reasons as any TV or film undertaking, using these subcultures for spectacle.

However, it also attempts to sabotage the potential in politically-oriented subcultures by using their dialog and ideals for the reverse purposes. And indeed they accomplish them when million dollar documentaries about whistleblowers make their budget back, or when coverage of outcry sends ratings into the stratosphere. When it isn’t the hacker or the guerrilla fighter depicted as heartless and chaotic, their heroism is livened to such a proportion that it accomplishes a mutually opposing interest in the real world.

We can boil down the marketing of sentiments, isolated from the total spectacle, by its power in subtlety. You won’t find intimately relatable people on any TV network or social media anymore, since their only role is distraction. A break from the busy mind. But when the distraction becomes toxic complacency, and those who acknowledge it want a feeling of rejuvenating empowerment like the young beginners of social awareness and political identity, you can find little bursts anywhere that reconcile two halves which ultimately serve one. The Market, then the sentiment: the illusion of a message.

This is one of advertising’s basic survival mechanisms. People won’t care about whats being offered if it feels disconnected from their own world, so it targets as many specific types of people it can for net turnout. It used to be that popular behaviors were copied, or even lived by advertisers, and rewritten to sell. But now they’ve infiltrated deeper, attaching as many timely embellishments as possible, applying research on general social dissatisfaction within these subcultures. All to sell not only representation, but commonality, which is consequentially monopolized.

What makes the end result so plastic is how impersonal the words and images are. For things so integral to personalities, they are shouted off from unfamiliar places and meant to entice those who recognize them. For those observant of this process, it has an Uncanny Valley effect: Relatively agreeable dialogs or situations depicted in contrived environments, rather than playing out in our most familiar collectives, muddles the original texture. For others, when facing the monopoly on cultural representation, there is little choice but to consume its products and enjoy the most of the stories possible, instead of feeling right about the representation in equal measure. To watch yourself be played out by another instead of grasping the actions yourself.

To put it all together, the traits of socially relevant subcultures are accounted for and implemented into commodities and advertisements, which have a corrupted similarity to their source material. We are subjected to deeply engineered versions of our own passions. This is probably why those who enter into a subculture through the contrived channels experience higher fascination when entering the personal spaces, even experiencing feelings of inadequacy, limited belonging.

Inversion of the market by some degree of non-profit causes are not exempt from this. They have the same stench, coming from the same batch of trendy gloss. The framing is distinctly impersonal, held at a distance between viewer and speaker with a long cord of familiarity traveling the length.

The adverts by TruthOrange made it perfectly clear to me. I knew of the typical picture of suits in a boardroom calculating loss and subdividing, but their anti-smoking ads made up entirely of twenty-year olds and Trap music in the background allowed me to peer into those rooms and almost taste the words on their lips. Beat for beat, I knew the formula at the first second.

“If we make our characters young, black, sassy and loud about social issues, talking about ‘recent studies’ and ‘the supreme court’, we can hook onto that burgeoning niche with an appeal to realness.”

It becomes obvious that its not a matter of changing the approach to creating media “for” or “about” such interests. There is not any adequate means of offering groups what they want that can’t generate plastic sentimentality. Its a consequence of market necessities mass filtering socially relevant passions and dispensing hollow spectacles. The sentiments must be well earned, derived from the groups alone.

The gap between the continuation of hierarchies and people’s needs and desires soon becomes marketed. Something new becomes obvious, so they bank on it — possibly a quelling tactic. Resistance itself, the concept, is now a casualty to advertising and plastic moving images, totally displaced from intimately building transformation on a given scale. In its place are those plastic tones in the form of hashtags and mass produced protest signs. Now they’ve run their course for so long, that we begin living them.

You see democrats calling for “resistance” to Trump, but in the fashion of Love not Hate without any praxis whatsoever.

You see people in the streets demonstrating for minimum wage increases with an attitude only suitable for toppling the wage system entirely.

You see clenched fists implemented in political parties and safe, impersonal non-profits.

Of course, its foolish to suggest that large scale, genuine sentiments can break through under capitalism. Its for that reason that “indie” media or other highly contained items are distinguished from all the rest, always proving the model of the adorable little hundred dollar movie that tried. From this, we can derive that fully realized passions not debased by market intrusion is tightly bound up in social revolution.

For gaining the strength to build a true, militant culture free of interference, my hopes are in the inner-city apartment blocks. In the neighborhoods behind the construction sites. In the rural clusters of homes in Appalachia. Where material sorrows exist, there is a young person working to relay anarchy to the dejected. Where there are obscure inclinations toward a better personal network, there is a community who shares them. There is no place or people where trust is stronger, where faith in self-determination and actualization is more defined, and certainly more plausible.

The act of uprooting planned culture through self-organized media outlets, cultural hubs and social structures in the present is probably the right start for revolt entirely. Not simply to keep it healthy for a time, but also to nourish its roots now so they can grow deeper when the scorched earth is removed. And even then, it certainly goes a little deeper as I see it.

People actually building a society within the current one with its own priorities and decisions, negating the ones issued to them, is the general direction. I think people should get to a point where they aren’t working jobs or paying rent or bills or taxes pertaining to the outer, private and public society, but pursuing their existence contextual to what communities they themselves have erected. If they can fend off repression and infiltration sufficiently, they can grow out and revitalize what they keep from the old world.

Among their defense networks and coordination assemblies, there are well-earned, non-contrivedsentiments springing from people’s intimately connected expressions in the pursuit of autonomy. They become the social vessel for what is being enlarged by the voices in the streets. The voices are critical and hopeful, the adapted essence of the situationists for what they themselves adapted to.

Our challenge, this particular one, is in the monopoly on commonality. The brands, TV and Internet markets hold the reigns of trust, given total guidance over our passions (themselves not in our control) or warping what we’re slowly realizing. Meanwhile, we distrust those who most deeply share the ills of class society or the significant issues in a common area.

The continual pressure doesn’t offer many options without dressing up the same melancholy. We wallow in the romantic misery of being oneself in a society of strangers who walk and talk kind of like us, inventing a new pride in being the real thing. Or, we dethrone the channels of impersonal adaption which alienate our passions and aspirations from ourselves and our experiences in the hope of total self-determination.

The Sentiment Market and Killing It