Saturday, March 5, 2016


One thing that strikes me so much about the United States now that I've lived abroad is, the near lack of any kind of intellectual culture. I grew up in the Boston Area which, next to New York, Chicago, and maybe Washington DC, is one of the few places where anything of that nature can be found (and it's usually conducted by intellectuals who only seek to further the status quo - economics professors from Harvard who advocate expanding global capitalism to an even higher realm, etc.). From my experience, "heavy" conversations with the average American - including college students - rarely go that far. There is a tendency to address only what they see on a surface level, nothing further, and an even stronger tendency to talk out of arrogance, rather than wisdom or knowledge.

By contrast, I've experienced the exact opposite in France. People from all backgrounds take an interest in the arts and current events, and willingly discuss them in an open space. This is something heavily built into the culture as well: everyone takes an hour off work at 13hr where they go to cafés to discuss politics and art over coffee and pastries. Mainstream French news publications openly discuss controversial issues, even featuring communist intellectuals like Alain Badiou on the front cover (it's not like David Harvey gets put on the cover of Newsweek). This isn't exactly a "French" thing either, as you see similar attitudes in Germany, Greece, Brazil...

Americans also tend to be quite detached from their history. In Europe, by contrast, people will acknowledge their countries' triumphs and crimes. The French may feel reluctant to talk about France's colonial history in Africa and Indochina, for example, but they are well aware of it and will talk about it if they need to. I have rarely seen Americans speak about American imperialism (such as US intervention in Central America between 1950s-1980s) out in the open. Even while growing up in the Merrimack Valley, it was a rare thing to speak about the history of labor struggles in our region.

There's a paradox: Americans pride themselves on their individualism and how much they value freedom of speech compared to other nations, yet there's very little speech in American culture that's truly insightful or cutting-edge. Instead, what's given is an endless repetition of the same old points-of-view. Politicians may be scum everywhere, but in the US there isn't even an attempt to appear sophisticated.

It's also the case that those of us who desire an intellectual conversation on a serious issue with someone (say, a college student) are accused of being "entitled" for wanting to get to that level of understanding. Everyone assumes your intentions are as nefarious as theirs when you're merely looking for a clarification.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Re: Nietzsche, narcissism and self-transcendence

Very interesting. I want to start reading Nietzsche again.

One common trope I've seen with narcissists is, they always demand that other people self-destruct ("take one for the team") for the greater good, but refuse to do so themselves. I was recently having a discussion on self-sacrifice and how it relates to "the struggle" with a Marxist-Leninist friend of mine. There are plenty of organizations on the radical Left (both Marxist and anarchist-oriented) which push for what they conceive of as extreme discipline; namely, monitoring other members' consumer choices, personal relationships, what kind of music they listen to, and so on, all in the name of molding the mind so that it becomes "non-oppressive". But it's not really - it's only a means in which others within the organization (usually the higher-ups) get to bully others whom they see as morally imperfect.

I think you're right. The problem in this case is narcissism, and narcissism almost always grows in people who are broken in some form. Narcissism is taken up in order to compensate for lack of knowledge or (emotional) strength. In the scenario of me and my friend, you see a bunch of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist college kids being bullied into thinking of themselves as soldiers without any war. I'm not necessarily against rejecting capitalist culture as much as possible, but in this case, the call for that rejection is being driven by the egos of others, rather than an action to ensure a higher goal.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

"A Good Student" - Insurrection Notes of the December Revolt


The December Revolt inspired countless of texts and poems. It seemed like all these thoughts and feelings that were asphyxiating inside our minds and bodies about what is wrong with this world, busted out into words and actions, from a written text to the mesmerizing sight of a flaming barricade that is an optical poem in itself.

The extract spoken in this video comes from an e-mail sent during the December Rebellion in Athens to the Occupied ASOEE university in Athens and was published in the website of the squat on 12 December 2008. 

How the December Revolt started:

6 December 2008, few minutes after 9 pm - Time Zero of the December Revolt. Two policemen shoot against a group of youngsters hanging out on a Saturday night, at the heart of the Exarcheia district of central Athens, Greece an area with a long history of insurrection against authority and riots for socio economic and political grounds, inhabited mainly by anarchists, anti-authoritarians and liberals. The police bullet finds in the heart and kills 15 year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos.

Και μέχρι τα 18 νόμιζαν πως με έχουν με το μέρος τους. Άριστη διαγωγή, άριστοι βαθμοί, πτυχία σε ξένες γλώσσες. Ξέρετε, όλα αυτά τους κάνουν να σε λένε "καλό παιδί", εννοώντας πως θα μπεις σε μια καλή σχολή, θα αποκτήσεις μια καλή δουλειά, θα κάνεις μια καλή οικογένεια, θα είσαι ένας φιλήσυχος άνθρωπος, θα πηγαίνεις το Σάββατο στο σούπερ μάρκετ και τις Κυριακές εκδρομή με το αυτοκίνητο. Και δεν έχω τίποτα προσωπικό με αυτούς τους ανθρώπους. Αν κανείς δεν τους μίλησε για το παραθυράκι που θα τους δείξει εικόνες έξω από τον μικρόκοσμό τους δε φταίνε αυτοί. 

Αλλά και αν -μόνοι τους ή με βοήθεια- κοίταξαν από αυτό το παραθυράκι και αποφάσισαν πως δεν ενδιαφέρονται, είναι δική τους επιλογή και δε θα τους πιέσω για τίποτα. Το μόνο που μπορώ να κάνω είναι να τους δείξω και αυτό το "άλλο" και να τους αφήσω να διαλέξουν. Και ας μου μιλήσουν μετά για ευτυχία και πως αυτοί την εννοούν. Και έγινα 20, αλλά δυστυχώς για κάποιους δεν έγινα φυτό. Αποφάσισα να ψάχνω ό,τι μου πλασάρουν για σωστό και να μαθαίνω πολλά για να αποκτήσω δική μου άποψη. Και μετά με τρόμαξαν. Με τρόμαξαν πολύ γιατί με κάποιον τρόπο με έβαζαν να διαλέξω: ή υποταγή ή ξύλο. Δε με κάνουν να πιστεύω σε δημοκρατία όταν με το που ανοίγω το στόμα με κυνηγάνε με ένα δακρυγόνο και με τρομοκρατούν. Και αυτό έχει δύο αποτελέσματα : ή φοβάσαι και μένεις σπίτι τρώγοντας τη φόλα ή γεμίζεις οργή.

Το ομολογώ. Στην αρχή πέτυχαν το πρώτο. Τρόμαξα. Παραλίγο να γίνω ένα με ό,τι πριν κατηγορούσα. Μόνοι τους όμως έσκαψαν το λάκκο τους. Χρειαζόταν ένα γερό χαστούκι για να ξυπνήσω. Και να το. Λυπάμαι αγαπητοί μου αλλά θα με βρείτε πάλι απέναντί σας. Είμαι μόνο 1,70 και 55 κιλά. Δεν έχετε ιδέα τι μπορώ να κάνω όμως.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

Why Don't Maoist-Third Worldists Just Become Post-Left Anarchists?

(Note: I will post much longer and more detailed essays on Third Worldism later in the month.)

The growing trend of Third Worldism on the internet is funny. On one hand, its adherents come off as deeply nihilistic and militant, but on the other, they resort right back to moralism and reluctance to engage in actions of any kind.

This appears whenever a critique of their much-underdeveloped ideology poses the question on all of our minds: "If Third Worldism is correct, and it's impossible for a successful and legitimate socialist revolution to occur in the First World, what do we, as First Worlders, do?" The overarching idea is, the West (or "First World") has lost its chances for revolution, or was never revolutionary to begin with. Revolution in the so-called "First World" is impossible, or, if it were to occur, would only shine as a beacon of social imperialism and Western chauvinism to nations that are much more in need of one.

The Third Worldist sees zero space for any kind of resistance in the "First World". When workers in the "First World" go on strike for higher wages, the workers in the "Third World" pay via higher rates of exploitation. But this isn't limited to the workplace. The "First Worlder" lives in a state of perpetual colonization through immersion in bourgeois ideology.

Everything a Westerner does furthers the colonial relationship between "First" and "Third" Worlds. We go to the store to buy mangoes grown in the Philippines and toothpaste made from minerals stolen from Mali - imperialism. We get prescribed modern medicine that comes from plants found in the Amazon - imperialism. We go to university and proceed to be indoctrinated with imperialist paradigms - imperialism. We go to work in retail where we sell cheap clothing made by Indonesian and Salvadoran sweatshop labor - more imperialism. We drive a car with oil stolen from Who-Knows-Where - imperialism. Even when we shop at hippie grocers ("good capitalists") and take the bus we are still reproducing the cycle of exploitation either physically or mentally by wallowing in imperialist culture.

The Third Worldist says this is exactly why organic radicalism can never come from the West. On the other side, the post-leftist would contend that within the consumer culture small kernels of resistance can form. They realize in this atmosphere of meaningless they search for new forms of existence. In both cases, the solution is to divorce yourself from capital as much as possible. Squat your next home, dumpster dive, and refuse to work or study. Throw off the rationalist paradigms that keep us glued to the social order.

The Maoist obsession with maintaining strict self-discipline would see the act of "dropping out" as a means of achieving a more radical and less degenerate mindset. Today, Western Maoists emphasize the much-needed escape from identities that condition one into maintaining an oppressor status. If you are white, you must rid your mind of "whiteness" as a vital act. If you were born into any other kind of privilege, you must proverbially self-flagellate until the reminiscence of your privilege is gone. Can one be expected to do so when they're actively participating in a culture that does nothing but reproduce imperialism?

The post-leftist willingly makes their life an expression of anarchy. They see the old anarchist strategies as useless in today's world. Much like Diogenes of old, they construct their lives outside the mainstream as much as they can. Bourgeois culture in total is something that ought to be rejected, as it is not only oppressive, but creates the aura of meaninglessness. Little acts of rebellion create a mental shield against the dominant culture. It is the outright refusal to be assimilated into capital that has the means of breaking the social law.

Post-leftists genuinely take up the paradigms and rituals of the outsider cultures. For them, it is not so much a fetish, but a learning experience. Third Worldists state the moral need to do so, as "Third Worlders" are, in their view, in possession of a metaphysical essence which propels them spiritually over their "First World" exploiters. Rather than insisting their (bastardized form of) Marxism ought to learn from them, Third Worldists insist on shoehorning the "paradigms of the oppressed" into a Marxist framework, where they naively insist that they're already on the same page.

From a Marxist perspective, it makes sense to reject the (non-)strategies of post-leftism. They are idealist, Utopian, romantic. But if one does accept the new narratives put forth by internet Third Worldists, would taking up a "lifestyle anarchism" be the only means left for "First Worlders" to weaken imperialism? Complete rejection of bourgeois culture means you eventually have nothing left to lose. Your dependence on the system for your experiences of life is gone, as is the state of mind which keeps you attached to it.

Perhaps the LLCO should collaborate with CrimethInc.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Reblogged - Statement from Revolutionary Anarchist Action about the Paris Massacre (Turkey)

Taken from 325:

On 13th of November, more than 150 people have lost their lives and tens injured in 7 different neighborhoods of Paris as a result of coordinated ISIS attacks with bombs and guns. The murderer ISIS continues its murders outside of the Middle East and Anatolia regions. The massacre which took place in Paris shows clearly that ISIS terror knows no bounds. —- We feel the massacre in Paris deeply and share your sorrow. We have lived and still living through ISIS attacks supported by the state. From Şengal to Kobane, from Pirsus (Suruç) to Ankara, we have lost many comrades and friends. We are aware of the fact that the massacres aim to create fear, distrust and loneliness on us. Our pain is great and increases every day. In these periods, We have to grow the solidarity against the murderers that want to bury us into fear, loneliness and isolation.

We see the simultaneous moves of the french state and other states aiming to direct the process. We know that these same strategies are realized in our region under the name of “Fight against Terror”. In this environment of distrust, people have a psychology of panic which is directed by the ideological devices of the state; the state oppression of revolutionaries and state politics restricting the freedom of the oppressed will be politically legitimized; and the racist discourse and politics will increase. The states use these extraordinary periods for their political, economic and social interests.

We understand the situation that the peoples living in France are and will be in. We know the difficulty of carrying on one side the sorrow of the lost ones and on the side, struggling against the fascist mobilisations in the society created by the state. We stress that, even with this hardship, the struggle should be against the fear, the state and fascism.

The sorrow you live is our sorrow, The rage you feel is our rage, your fight is our fight!

Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet – DAF (Revolutionary Anarchist Action)

From a-infos via insurrectionnews.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Re: Re: The West embraces infantilism, through fear of hardship

+Jennifer Armstrong I'd also say that both the contemporary Left and Right are fully saturated in narcissistic abuse tactics (more precisely, their use of fear, obligation, and guilt in order to manipulate their political rivals into taking up their positions). For example, look at the response to the recent attacks in Paris. The right-wing demands collective punishment; they won't say it, but it's pretty obvious that they're going to start demanding all French Muslims be deported and the EU seal their borders to Syrian refugees and new migrants from North Africa. They insist that Muslims reform themselves to be more in-line with Western culture or else (something from which grows resentment - why is the burden on Syrians/Algerians to become more Western rather than on the West to stop interfering in the Arab World? Not that the Arab World doesn't have its own dirt, but one can definitely smell the hypocrisy). On the other hand, the Left responds in a way that's just childish by all means. "Well, if France wasn't so islamophobic, then the attacks wouldn't have happened," - as if ISIS truly cares about Algerian/Syrian immigrants living in French ghettos and these attacks were nothing but retaliation for the grievances of those families. In both cases, the Right and Left put the burden on the other guy to deal with the issues at hand, and for the exact same reasons you're describing. The Right has no ability to deal with existing material conditions, so they demand that the people causing the "problems" (immigrants, racial/ethnic minorities, the working poor, etc.) reform themselves to meet the Right's criteria of what people ought to be. The Left, even if their understanding of the material conditions is (mostly) correct, refuse to deal. They will not break a few eggs to make an omelette, because doing so inevitably requires getting your hands dirty. That's why their "plans of attack" are nothing more than using emotional blackmail tactics to get the people on top to treat those on the bottom nicer; they refuse to organize or form any kind of coherent politic that works at dismantling those social hierarchies to begin with. It's a giant mess.
+Julia Riber Pitt Yes, I have found that too, with the left and right -- but more precisely the left plays into the hand of the right almost every time. I mean every time that their narrow guilt tactics do not work and people think more broadly, they play directly into the hands of the right. I have certainly experienced this in my own life, where constant abuse drove me, at one point sharply rightward looking for a solution. In the end, I followed a much more dialectical path and balanced myself out, but my deeper understanding of the left and its fundamentally cowardly nature, as it now seems to me, has given me a certain amount of sympathy for some of those on the right that I would not have had before. As for the attacks on Paris, I sense a new discourse coming into play. I think it is interesting that modern people, of the left or right, would be prepared to fight for anything at all, rather than dissolving themselves into petty guilt-mongering and intellectual apathy.
+Jennifer Armstrong In particular, one trend that appears to be very common on the Left these days is the idea that good intention overrides everything. The Left feels as though it doesn't need to be intelligent or tactical or even militant so as long as their intentions are to "end oppression X". This is why you often see college liberals spewing out things that are completely absurd, but justify them on the basis that their hearts are in the right place. The Left tends to strive for temporary gratification rather than working long-term towards putting a permanent stop to the ongoing disasters. At least ANTIFA in France is there to kick the shit out of neo-Nazis who try to attack innocent Muslims in response to the recent attacks. Leftists in the US are basically just talking heads.
+Julia Riber Pitt If they can't think but only emote about the situation, they are not good for anything.   Also, if they do not have mental discipline, they are likely to devolve into narcissism and self-pitying when the going gets tough.  Temporary gratification is just another word for narcissistic supply.

Paris and Beirut

I'm horrified at the recent attacks in Paris, and also in Beirut. Thankfully, no one I know, whether personally or online, was killed. That doesn't diminish the effects. All of France is under a state of emergency right now. I've been back in the US for exactly one month, so all of the reports I'm receiving are from others. It's very likely that the situation in Paris will resemble the aftermath of the 2013 Boston bombing, whereby the city is shut down for days and everyone is at the orders of the police, military, or both.

The aftermath of these attacks are what the far-Right wants to happen. The amount of backlash towards the Arab communities in France are going to be high, and more and more French will undoubtedly embrace the FN and its agenda. Syrian refugees are already being blamed for causing the attacks, despite the fact that the ISIS scumfucks who committed the attacks in both cities are the very people from whom the refugees were escaping.

I haven't spoken to anyone in Beirut, but I assume their situation is very similar.

Defend yourselves.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Re: The West embraces infantilism, through fear of hardship

There tends to be a sentiment on the modern Left that the only way we can "win" is by out-moralizing our enemies (the Right). What the Left seeks today is sympathy from those above, as if the people in power will willingly give it up if they're preached to enough or feel sorry for those on the bottom. Feelings of resentment towards current power structures are not channeled into any kind of praxis, since that would entail a moment where the marginalized are put in a position of potential violence and destruction (even if the act is strictly for the ending the ongoing state of disaster and bringing forth the redemption of humankind). What you do see, on the other hand, is an utterly confused Left that wants to maintain its innocence despite the ongoing disaster. Call-out culture, trigger warnings on classical literature, safe spaces, and so on are shields that substitute the need to deal with evil.

I'd say it goes along with the idea of "simulated" activism. The image is considered more vital to movements than the actions taken. I saw this quite a bit when I was attending Occupy back in 2011-2012. There were those of us who wanted to steer our protests in a more militant direction - join with the local unions and start occupying buildings and all that. We were told by others that we were privileged, and that because we held some privilege relative to others, it would not be our place to direct these potential acts of defiance. Were we doing something wrong? We didn't know, but we certainly felt that way. We obviously weren't liberals, nor were we Ron Paul fans who were desperately trying to weasel their ways into our movement as good entryists often do, nor did we understand our plans as acts of exclusion of the more disenfranchised. The basic premise was: if you are marked with an "oppressor identity" - and we were, as college students from white, middle-class backgrounds - you are not allowed to contribute in any significant way to any kind of social struggle. It extends far beyond this; not only are you not allowed to contribute and be given credit for your contribution, but anything you do will ultimately be toxic for the others involved. The way to ensure your saintly image is to apologize for whatever privileges you may hold and to step back from going over the top.

I haven't been to an American college campus since I finished at McDaniel at the end of 2012. However, my perception is that things on college campuses have only gotten tighter and more binded since then. During my undergrad at both McDaniel and Cal State, I would always wear a keffiyeh to show solidarity with the Palestinians. Today, I'm told that wearing a keffiyeh if you're not Arab is a sign of a "white savoir" complex and those who do so need to be shamed. Again, the need to maintain your image as a good person now outweighs the desire to show solidarity with the oppressed.

As it is, in the US, we're seeing a huge rebirth of the Right-wing (which suffers from its own infantilism). I had the wonderful luck of having been a teenager during the Bush II years, when the Right was at its strongest. My region was saturated with Religious Right ideology at the time. Then, soon after Obama took office, my home region began flooding with free marketeers. My suspicion is that a reemergence of the Right in American culture would be the start of a giant backlash against the liberal Left (i.e. college campus social justice), something that most people on the Left wouldn't be able to handle. Why settle for being a mere martyr when you can win?

Of course, it's obvious that the Right are far more guilty of this mindset. The Right takes on a childish attitude because they can't deal with the existing reality. They can't handle the fact that the white male is no longer the default in American society, or that inequalities of wealth and climate change are serious issues that need to be addressed. I don't know what the Right are like in Australian politics, but in the US the Republican Party is completely out-of-touch. They refuse to acknowledge the contradictions that have arisen with neoliberalism and the massive shift in culture since the 1960s. This is also where conspiracy theories about Planned Parenthood, the Frankfurt School, George Soros, and other Left intellectuals secretly plotting to destroy the West come into play. Everything is the fault of the "aliens" for them, because addressing the existing material conditions would be too much.

I don't see things getting too much better, unfortunately.