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Scott Siskind on Capitalism, Wealth, & Power February 15, 2021

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Why might anyone be critical of someone as calm & nice as Scott Alexander Siskind? Here is an example of how Siskind thinks about capitalism & wealth, from the Slate Star Codex subreddit on March 23, 2019.

This kind of thing is why I wrote Against Bravery Debates | Slate Star Codex. People can have such different impressions of which position is “in power”, and it can be so infuriating to hear someone saying the opposite of how it feels. I don’t blame you for writing what you did, I think you honestly hold a really different position from me and it’s probably just as justified, but I want to give my emotion reaction to this.

For me, “capital is really ideologically powerful and its propaganda controls your mind” seems so distant from reality. I was probably in college by the time I heard anyone who had anything good to say about capitalism, and it was always weird autistic contrarians who everyone hates like Robin Hanson. Everyone fashionable, high-status, socially-adept, and keyed into organs of information like schools or media seemed to be pushing the same message of “we need more equality”, “greed is evil”, “corporations are fat cat polluters”, “if you don’t want a bigger welfare state you don’t have compassion”. I was shocked and delighted to encounter e.g. Bryan Caplan for the first time. And Bryan strikes me as one of the realest (as opposed to astroturfed) people in the world. If you had to choose either Bryan Caplan or Matthew Yglesias to be a shill hack, well…

When nrxers talk about the Cathedral, I find it tempting – sure, they flirt with conspiracy theory, but it seems they’re at least good conspiracy theories, in the sense that they explain a real phenomenon. Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories have their flaws, but one of their strong points is that Kennedy is in fact dead. If you’re coming up with a conspiracy theory to explain why people are biased in favor of capitalism, that seems almost like coming up with an Obama assassination conspiracy theory – not only are conspiracy theories bad, but this one doesn’t even explain a real fact.

Trump got elected after promising tariffs and immigration restrictions that no business or plutocrat wanted. Bernie Sanders was on the top of the prediction market for the next Dem nominee as of last week (today it’s Biden, but Sanders is close behind). The richest people in the world spend most of their time constantly apologizing to everyone for trumped up charges, and loudly (one might say fearfully) confessing they don’t deserve their wealth. This just really doesn’t seem like the world where capitalism in control of the narrative, unless it’s doing some weird judo I’ve never heard communists try to explain.

An alternative would be that socialists, populists, and other anticapitalists have basically won the war of ideas/propaganda entirely, and capitalism still nominally exists in its current form basically because politicians feel pressure not just to please the populace directly, but also to keep the lights on (in the broad sense of having a good economy).

| But you have to acknowledge that capital is really “in power” right?

Not really, no. Capitalists have money, which is great for buying material goods. But it can’t buy power, sex, popularity, or any of a dozen other currencies. It’s helpful for getting those things; I’m sure Jeff Bezos has a better love life than an equally-attractive poor person, and Howard Schultz is at least being taken slightly more seriously as a presidential candidate than Joe Nobody. But Schultz is going to lose miserably. Mark Zuckerberg keeps hoping if he donates enough money to charity everyone will stop hating him, but it doesn’t seem to be working.

The latest studies suggest that the rich do not get their policy preferences enacted more than any other class (a study came out before showing the opposite, but it seems to have been wrong). I’m not sure what else you mean by “capital is really in power,” other than that rich people can be yachts or something.

| Where is the “yes let’s overturn capitalism” side of the debate represented? Certainly not in the editorial line of any major newspaper, TV station or radio station.

I’m tempted to take an extreme contrarian position that everything interesting happens in a parallel status economy. The money economy isn’t “in power”, it’s a (weak) brake on power, or a force orthogonal to power that is helpful in not concentrating power 100%. That’s why overthrowing capitalism keeps producing authoritarians. I mean, it’s better represented than libertarianism. Yes, the Overton Window goes between “slightly more capitalism” and “slightly less capitalism”, but the “slightly less capitalism” side seems to always have the upper hand. I agree the war of ideas isn’t yet a total massacre, I’m just saying the anti-capitalist side always seems to be winning, and pro-capitalist on the defensive. Propaganda victory exerts weak pressure on reality, it doesn’t shift it all at once.

(also, what I said before about keeping the lights on)

& here some possible info into Siskind & company from an anonymous poster in the same subreddit at the same time. Content warning: ableism.

Many of Scott’s house-mates from the rationalist community are extremely weird and awkward (I guess I can’t name them without sharing personal info so you’ll have to take my word for it) and are often sad about their lack of status. They are very wealthy by worldwide standards if not by the absurd local-regional standards which is still enough to at least feel obligated to feel guilty by community standards. (Think: people who are making making donations MIRI well over the US median household income)

If you combine this with the frequent inability of people perceive their own privilege and the high levels of narcissist-like traits exhibited in the rationalist community you end up with people around you saying “I have all this money and yet no one respects for the Gift to the world that I am and instead keeps treating me like a weirdo…” and maybe you start thinking money doesn’t matter much.

Some of this likely stems from conflating status and power as a result of overvaluing what other people think of you as a result of living in a group house (similar to how high-schoolers are stereotyped as thinking their life is over at every bump in their social lives).

Let me offer an alternative explanation (in pseudo mathy terms so the rationalists can pretend that its deeply insightful): Power is a normalized product of many factors: P_you = (F1_you * F2_you * F3_you … * Fn_you)/(sum(product(Fn)_everyone)) and many of these factors are highly correlated with wealth: education, connections to other people with high power: things like free time, safety from starvation, good health, affiliation with socially powerful groups, level of control over the time of others (e.g. owning a business), freedom from biological/social persecution… Some of these factors could rightfully be considered latent forms of wealth in themselves (in that they inevitably result from or lead to wealth). As a result, P changes with wealth raised to some high power but weakness in a non-wealth respect can still handicap you.

So yes, you can have some modicum of wealth and still have low power by being very weak in other respects, such as not having enough EQ to realize when your “just asking” has ventured into extremely offensive and impolitic waters or too much selfishness to cut it out if you do realize. This does not change the fact that wealth is a universal solvent able to radically simply many concerns and a nearly impassable barrier for many goals.

Over time, you become your friends in many respects. Choosing who you spend time with is one of the biggest things someone can do to influence their future personality. Comparing the Scott of today to the one who wrote the anti-libertarian FAQ feels to me like looking at someone who hasn’t made the best decisions of this kind.

On Slate Star Codex & Scott Alexander February 14, 2021

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A few years ago, I spent a considerable amount of time engaging with folks in the Slate Star Codex community. I can confirm that Scott Alexander Siskind attracts a lot of fascists, racists, & bigots. I learned about contemporary scientific racism in part because SSC fans *kept on* bringing it up & I wanted to refute them. Siskind maintained distance from the more openly oppressive & offensive followers. But it’s got to be more than coincidence.As others are emphasizing, the fandom scene around Siskind is a major pipeline of fascist & eugenicist recruitment. I tried to humanize social justice warriors to SSC folks & argue against the oppressive narratives popular among them in shared rationalist terms. While the experience was always intellectually simulating, I eventually moved away from that approach. As pleasant as aspects of SSC culture are, the persistent prominence of fascism & eugenics ultimately says the most about the project.

I hope Siskind’s current notoriety doesn’t lead more people down the recruitment pipeline. I might quibble about certain details, but overall I support the negative attention Siskind & SSC are getting.

I still intend to write a longer piece aimed at Slate Star Codex types that argues disability radicalism makes the focus on IQ & so on irrelevant.

Yes, humans differ & society only accommodates specific minds & bodies.

Yes, people lie about this & refuse to accept reality.

The solution ain’t to double down on selection, but rather to create environments where all feeling beings can thrive.

The IQ debate highlights the utter hegemony of meritocracy. It’s an overwhelmingly intra-eugenicist dispute where hardly anyone even acknowledges the underlying assumptions, much less challenges them.

Scientific racist: “Ability differs between populations, so fuck equality & fuck you.”

Liberal eugenicist: “No, ability only differs between individuals. Equality of opportunity facilitates selection.”

Mystical meritocrat: “It’s not about ability but the choice to work hard.”

Each of these jerks supports having some thrive while others languish, whether determined by the free market, the experts, bureaucrats, or what have you. They’re all eugenicists, including the mystical meritocrat who will never admit it.

Likewise, disavowals of IQ typically retain the concept of intelligence in normative terms & reinforce its social value: “Only idiots believe in IQ! (Implied: I am very smart!)”

Only communists take the relatively radical position of (theoretically) wanting everyone to have absolutely equal access to material nice regardless of intelligence or ability of any sort. They rarely entertain notions of *social equality*, however.

The Hour Is Still Drawing Near November 26, 2020

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“The armed uprising of the Navajo Indians of New Mexico denying the authority of the United States has all our applause.” – Antonio de P. Araujo, December 27, 1913

By the time the Partido Liberal Mexicano (PLM) published this statement of support, the so-called Beautiful Mountain Uprising was over. The small band U.S. officials wanted prosecuted had accepted that fate a month earlier, on or around Thanksgiving Day. This supposed revolt involved conflict & coercion but no serious injuries.

Many media reports sensationalized the incident as a full-scale rebellion. Familiar with the Yaqui people’s tenacious military resistance to colonialism, Araujo apparently let these exaggerated news stories & eir hopes persuade em something similar was happening. While Aruajo’s account is largely fanciful as far as I can tell, I’m sharing my translation of it here in deep sympathy with eir dreams of Native liberation. That’s what I’m thinking about today. The dramatic decolonial reckoning Araujo yearned for in 1913 wasn’t as close as ey thought, yet I still believe it approaches.

Araujo’s article:


The armed uprising of the Navajo Indians of New Mexico denying the authority of the United States has all our applause.

The Navajo Indians have given their cry of freedom from Yankee domination, although in truth, nearly five hundred of the tribe have never recognized the authority of the Americans.

Since Mexico lost the territory of New Mexico as a result of the American invasion of 1847, the Navajo Indians have been going through a long torment under North American domination and although many times they have resisted by means of arms the invasion of their lands by the barbarians, and have waged battles with the soldiers in yellow that Republican like Democratic presidents have dispatched to fight them, the conquerors have persisted in peacetime in imprisoning their men and raping their women.

The Indians have awakened to their right, and some revolutionary propaganda that our comrades in New Mexico have made among them has been successful.

Our Indian brothers have been in arms since last September 17, a fact that the capitalist press has made known until now that it is impossible to hide the truth.

Fifteen hundred Indians are fortified in the Beautiful Mountains in the northwestern region of New Mexico, and they refuse to surrender some Indians whom the bandit marshals of the United States are trying to capture. The first platoon of henchmen that left Santa Fe for Gallup and the Ship Rock Agency, in Indian territory, returned to their barracks full of fear when they saw the attitude of the Navajos. Later, the government of Professor Wilson, the “democrat” servant of the interests in Washington, ordered the troops in yellow that garrison the Mexican border to leave for New Mexico to subjugate the Indians, but seeing that the situation in Texas is highly compromised by the attitude developed there by the Mexican comrades determined to take action in the event that the state perpetrates the assassination of Rangel and comrades, revoked the order and instructed the forces that garrison the state of Nebraska to march to defeat the Indians.

The Navajos have declared that in case they are attacked by the soldiers in yellow, they will resist until the last moment, burn down the Ship Rock agency and kill those in their charge.The Indians are not upset by the dispatch of troops and respond to the pacifist agents through the mouth of their leader, Black Horse: “We will not surrender, we will fight.”

The true Americans of the continent are right, because the pureblood Indians are the true Americans. And as they are well armed, well provisioned and encouraged by some of the most notable of the tribe, they will carry to the last their desire to live free in the beautiful mountains of the northwest corner of New Mexico, or perish in defense of their right trodden by the white-skinned bandits, the henchmen of Wall Street who want to subjugate every man they calculate is of “inferior” races.The act of the Navajos to deny the law and the announcement of punishing any Indian traitor or friend of the American exploiters, are to be commended, and that the situation is truly serious for the Yankee government is evidenced by the following dispatch that one has made public. of the members of Professor Wilson’s cabinet, and which comes from a Major of the army in yellow who once tried to dupe the Indians: “This recalcitrant gang has been defying the authorities since September 17 and has been called to the ordered by Chee Dodge Peshlaky and Mitchell, the most influential men in the tribe, and also by most other Navajo chieftains, but to no avail. To besiege their camp requires 500 men, and in my judgment they cannot surrender out of hunger. They have threatened the lives of friendly Indians and merchant Walker. The Indians have also threatened to burn down the Agency and the Wood Mill that is six miles from their camp and kill the ‘white’ men employed there. The Navajos have been defying the law for months. Delaying their arrests longer will mean they get reinforcements from those who are now friends of the United States.”

Ah! What a beautiful awakening of the North American Indian! The adventurers’ atonement is not far off. The hour is drawing near.


Y en español:


El levantamiento armado de los indios navajos de Nuevo México negando la autoridad de los Estados Unidos, tiene todo nuestro aplauso.

Los indios navajos han dado su grito de libertad de la dominación yankee, aunque en verdad, cerca de quinientos de la tribu jamás han reconocido la autoridad de los americanos.

Desde que á raíz de la in invasión americana de 1847 perdió México el territorio de Nuevo México, los indios navajos han venido pasando un largo calvario bajo la dominación norteamericana y aunque muchas veces han resistido por medio de las armas la invasión de sus tierras por los bárbaros, y han empeñado batallas con los soldados de amarillo que presidentes republicanos como demócratas han despachado para combatirlos, los conquistadores han persistido en tiempo de paz en encarcelar á sus hombres y violar á sus mujeres.

Los indios han despertado á su derecho y alguna propaganda revolucionaria que nuestros compañeros de Nuevo México han hecho entre ellos ha tenido éxito.

Nuestros hermanos indios están en armas desde el 17 de Septiembre último, hecho que la prensa capitalista ha dado á conocer hasta ahora que es imposible el ocultar la verdad.Mil quinientos indios están fortificados en las Montañas Hermosas en la región noroeste de Nuevo México y se rehúsan á entregar á algunos indios á quienes los bandidos marshalls de los Estados Unidos tratan de capturar. El primer pelotón de esbirros que salió de Santa Fé para Gallup y la Agencia Ship Rock, en territorio indio, lleno de miedo regresó á sus cuarteles al ver la actitud de los navajos. Después, el gobierno del Profesor Wilson, el “demócrata” sirviente de los intereses en Washington, ordenó que las tropas de amarillo que guarnecen la frontera mexicana salieran para Nuevo México á subyugar á los indios, pero viendo que la situación en Texas está altamente comprometida por la actitud que desarrollan ahí los compañeros mexicanos decididos á entrar la acción en caso que el estado perpetre el asesinato de Rangel y compañeros, revocó la orden é instruyó á las fuerzas que guarnecen el estado de Nebraska que marcharan para batir á los indios.Los navajos han declarado que en caso de que sean atacados por los soldados de amarillo, resistirán hasta el último momento, quemarán la agencia de Ship Rock y matarán á aquellos que estén á su cargo.

Los indios no se inmutan con el envío de tropas y responden á los agentes pacifistas por boca de su jefe Caballo Negro: “No nos rendiremos, lucharemos.”

Tienen razón los verdaderos americanos del continente, porque los indios de raza pura son los verdaderos americanos. Y como están bien armados, bien provisionados y animados por algunos de los más notables de la tribu, llevarán hasta el último su deseo de vivir libres en las hermosas montañas del ángulo noroeste de Nuevo México, ó perecer en defensa de su derecho hollado por los bandidos de piel blanca, los esbirros de Wall Street que quieren subyugar á todo hombre que calculan que es de razas “inferiores.”

El acto de los navajos de negar la ley y anuncio de castigar á cualquier indio traidor ó amigo de los explotadores americanos, son de encomiarse, y que la situación es verdaderamente grave para el gobierno yankee se evidencia por el siguiente despacho que ha hecho público uno de los miembros del gabinete del Profesor Wilson, y que proviene de un Mayor de ejército de amarillo que en otros tiempos trató de embaucar á los indios: “Esta recalcitrante banda ha estado desafiando á las autoridades desde el 17 de Septiembre y ha sido llamada al orden por Chee Dodge Peshlaky y Mitchell, los hombres de más influencia en la tribu, y también por la mayoría de otros jefes navajos, pero sin resultado alguno. Sitiar su campamento requiere 500 hombres, y á mi juicio no pueden rendirse por hambre. Han amenazado las vidas de indios amigables y la del comerciante Walker. Los indios han amenazado también quemar la Agencia y el Molino de madera que dista seis millas de su campamento y matar á los hombres ‘blancos’ empleados en el mismo. Los navajos han estado desafiando á la ley durante los meses. El retardar sus arresto más tiempo, significará que obtengan refuerzos de aquellos que ahora son amigos de los Estados Unidos.”

¡Ah! ¡Qué bello despertar del indio de Norte América! La expiación de los aventureros no está lejana. La hora se acerca.


Regeneración 170, December 27, 1913, page 3.

Sakai’s Settlers in 2020: Still Critical May 2, 2020

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Ever since learning about J. Sakai’s Settlers, I’ve always considered its core claim correct: the U.S. white working class as a whole has consistently sided with white supremacy & settler colonialism over revolutionary international solidarity.

Regardless of current controversies & the way some tankie types invoke Settlers as a bludgeon, let’s be on the same page regarding Sakai’s analysis of the USA as fundamentally a white settler society. As Sakai notes, lots of oppressed peoples have of course long recognized this.

Debates/arguments between tankies & anarchists often become confused because tankies accuse anarchists of denying or downplaying the profound power of settler colonialism. White anarchists too frequently provide a basis for this charge.

However, the most compelling versions of anarchism & of MLM hardly disagree in their description of the problem of white supremacy & settler colonialism. They differ on the ideal path forward in this context.

Attempts at generative conversation should keep this in mind.

Anarchists & other radical critics of MLM: If opposition to tankies leads you to hate Sakai & Settlers or at all minimize the central importance of dismantling settler colonialism here on the USA’s stolen land & globally, you’ve gone astray.

Remembering Ricardo Flores Magón November 21, 2019

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Decolonization, Uncategorized.
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Ricardo Flores Magón died 97 year ago in Fort Leavenworth Penitentiary while serving time for writing against WWI & for anarchist revolution. Whether directly by a guard’s hands or indirectly by medical neglect, the prison killed him.

Despite various contradictions, RFM’s thought & life continue to inspire me & to shape my convictions. I believe that RFM receives insufficient attention as an anarchist theorist, especially for his insurrectionism & articulation of Mexican Indigenous communal traditions.

RFM adhered resolutely to anarchist principles to the end. In the 1918 manifesto to anarchists & workers worldwide that the US government used to charge him under the Espionage Act of 1917, he & Librado Rivera wrote the following:

In order to ensure that unconscious rebellion doesn’t form with its own arms the new chain that will again enslave the people, it’s necessary that we, those who do not believe in government, those who are convinced that government, whatever its form and wherever it shows its face, is tyranny, because it is not an institution created to protect the week, but rather to protect the strong, place ourselves at the forefront of circumstances and fearlessly proclaim our holy anarchist ideal, the only human, just, and true ideal.

RFM likewise criticized the Bolsheviks in February 1921:

I fully understand your disappointment at seeing so many comrades supporting the Lenin-Trotzky’s government. I am not, of course, in favor of allied intervention in Russia; we must oppose it, but we must refrain from showing Marxian tyranny as means to gain freedom. Tyranny cannot breed but tyranny. It is better to intensify the propaganda of our Ideal to the utmost.

& in June of the same year:

I have been watching day by day the compromising and killing of the revolutionary principles in Russia. It is grievous, of course, to see the wanton assassination of the vague hopes of the peoples, but nothing is lost in the long run. If they believe to-day that Freedom can be gained through Dictatorship, they will be wiser to-morrow, and will conquer Freedom by breaking all shackles. Cheer up!

Born in Oaxaca, RFM developed his ideology from experience in Indigenous & land-based mestizx communities, from facing state repression as a student protester, & from extensive reading of anarchist texts such as Peter Kropotkin’s *The Conquest of Bread*.

RFM rose to prominence in the movement against the de-facto dictator Porfirio Díaz. Persecution forced him into exile in the USA in 1904. The Partido Liberal Mexicano began as broad opposition party but grew steadily more anarchist as time went on.

The PLM included Indigenous members like Fernando Palomares (Mayo) & Primo Tapia de la Cruz (Purépecha). The party focused on solidarity with Indigenous peoples in & the Yaqui in particular. Yaqui leader Luis Espinosa described the Yaqui struggle as aligned with anarchism.

RFM defended the Mexican Revolution against ignorant & racist attacks by European anarchists, including from Luigi Galleani. RFM stressed the communal past & present when making the case that the Mexican people were well-suited for anarchist communism.

Scholars continue to debate RFM & his family’s exact social position; Claudio Lomnitz, for instance, counsels caution about any claims of Indigenous identity. Regardless of the details, there’s no question of his familiarity with & ties to Indigenous communities.

The depth of RFM’s thought defies summary. I encourage folx who’re interested to read his writings, which you can find for free via archivomagon.net. Most of them are in Spanish, but some are in English. *Dreams of Freedom* has English translations of key pieces.

Disclaimer: Like many radicals of the era, RFM was overbearingly ableist, stridently antiqueer, & rather masculinist. He tended to denounce anyone who disagreed with him as a traitor. The PLM was at times anti-Chinese & the 1911 Baja California campaign was a disaster.

I finish for now with the concluding lines from that 1918 PLM manifesto:

Let every man and every woman who loves the anarchist ideal proclaim it with tenacity, with stubbornness, taking no notice of taunts, without fearing dangers, without regard to the consequences. Shoulders to the wheel, comrades, and the future will be the unfolding of our ideal. Land and Liberty.

Are Tankies Fash?: Musings on Values & Trauma November 13, 2019

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I reject the “tankies are fash” discourse, at least when cast broadly at all state commies/socialists & folx who ever support supposedly socialist or anti-imperialist states.

Obviously *some* tankies do amount to fash, but same holds for some (people who claim to be) anarchists.

Lots of the folx anarchists call tankies hold decent values & support oppression (they’d say imperfection) as a pragmatic measure. From their perspective, they’re being proper consequentialists. Equating this with fascism confuses the issue & stands out as excessively harsh.

Fascists, especially white ones in the U.S. & other western countries, tend to hold profoundly different values. They’re not trying to achieve nice things for all or to fight oppression, but rather to maintain & enhance their ingroup’s dominance.

Many fascists, along with certain tankies & a disturbing number of nihilist anarchists, have a “might makes right” worldview & are cynical abusers. In the abstract, I’m more opposed to this worldview than I am to disagreements about how to achieve shared goals.

Both anarchists & tankies love to cherry-pick, finding the worst of the opposed group to discredit them all. Fascists, racists, rapists, etc. exist under each banner. The overall contours matter, & can’t be easily assessed or conveyed.

Perhaps all conflicts do boil down to anarchism versus fascism in the end. I’m compelled by this claim while simultaneously skeptical of stark binaries & “you’re either with us or against us” bullying.

Even if so, we don’t have to flip ahead to the final page.

Denouncing most everyone as the worst sort of oppressor & trying to fight them suits my traumatized psyche. That’s my go-to response, even with other anarchists. I respect the approach. I feel it in my bones. But it’s not strictly rational or accurate. I doubt it’s optimal.

Eugenics Remains Ascendant September 29, 2019

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19th-century eugenicists: Radicals, suffragists, & leftists of all stripes are atavistic & degenerate. Their triumph would return us to primordial collectivist savagery.

21st-century radicals: Conservatives & company are mouth-breathing troglodytes destined for extinction.


The ableist/eugenicist mentality remains ascendant & nearly all political thought & rhetoric operate within it. Eugenics at its height in the first half of the 20th century was but a formalization & intensification of venerable ableist beliefs & practices.

Even eugenics in the narrow sense of centralized & coercive selective breeding stretches back to antiquity or earlier. Plato recommended such a scheme. Various groups winnowed the young via trials of fitness. Masters controlled the reproduction of enslaved folks. Etc.

When most people say they’re against eugenics, they mean “scientific” racism & obviously coercive policies like forced sterilization. They’re fine with decentralized eugenics & with innumerable status-quo ableist selection dynamics such as competition in education & the market.

Folks imagine eugenics lost with the Nazis in WWII, but only that particular brand of eugenics lost & not completely. (The USA practiced forced sterilization into the 1980s.) The liberal, decentralized eugenics of meritocracy won.

Anarchism Has Never Taken Ableism Seriously March 22, 2019

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Woman no longer wants to be a party to the production of a race of sickly, feeble, decrepit, wretched human beings, who have neither the strength nor moral courage to throw off the yoke of poverty and slavery. (Emma Goldman, “Marriage and Love”)


🏴Like so many educated people of eir time, Goldman was a strident eugenicist who worried runaway reproduction under poor conditions was creating a breed of inferior beings. 🏴

Today’s anarchists follow in Goldman’s footsteps, despite whatever superficial nods to disability radicalism they might make. From fash to libertarians, the entire political spectrum can agree on ableism, on mocking & despising the unfit. Freak. Loser. Failure. Hardy a soul refrains from slinging such epithets against their personal & political opponents.


Even the best anarchists, at least the prominent ones, are ultimately still eugenicist bigots like everyone else. They hold nothing but contempt for suffering & marginalized folks. They insist on conformity to establish norms of social value like intelligence. Their interests & goals can never truly align with mine, with those of people on the wrong side of the genetic hierarchy, with those of any person who finds eirself on unsuited to eir environment.


Transhumanist anarchism holds the potential to break with custom & center the project of creating accessible & enabling environments for all feeling beings. To date, that potential remains utterly unrealized.


We can & must do so much better.


Facts Don’t Care about Your Feelings! December 10, 2018

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Success in current society comes from DNA, structural advantage, & sheer chance. The same for failure by dominant norms.

Fascists, open eugenicists, many centrists, many liberals, etc. embrace this because they support the existing cistem of genetic sorting (even if some want to tweak it to be even more nightmarish).

Other centrists & liberals as well as most radicals prefer to mystify this reality, whether because they’re part of the genetic elite & defending their position or because they wish the world operated differently.

I recommend accepting the truth & striving to maximize freedom & pleasure as well as to minimize suffering for all sentient beings. We can create ever more accessible & enabling physical & social environments.

Social Justice Contrasts: Fancy Hotels & Grungy Mutual Aid November 26, 2018

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My experience at the recent American Studies Association (ASA) conference in Atlanta, GA highlights the tensions in the social-justice (SJ) scene. From the start, walking past folks sleeping on the street on my way to the conference location in a posh hotel unsettled me. Helping with a Food Not Bombs Atlanta meal further brought the contradictions into focus. Is our only choice between affluent academic professionalism & meager mutual aid? I hope not.

One of the folks at Atlanta FNB drew a clear theory-practice distinction. When I mentioned that the conference was people talking social justice in a fancy hotel, this FNBer told me they were doing it (SJ). The poverty & marginality of FNB Atlanta stood out. Like many FNBs, this one preps in a messy collective house. Its anarchist decor awed me: such an assortment of stickers & posters! The food comes from donations & includes the common array of weary veggies.

By my (petty bourgeois?) standards, the whole FNB Atlanta affair seemed a bit desperate, even as far as FNBs go. I’m impressed by how they used their limited resources, but I sure wish they had greater access to nice things.

How come society allocates so much more time & energy to SJ academic conferences than to SJ practice on the ground that serves folks in need?

I’m guessing the potential for SJ humanities disciplines like American studies to entertain & enlighten members of the professional & elite classes gives them the nod over anarchist mutual aid to unsheltered folks.

Needless to say, I’m not the only person to run in both academic & nonacademic radical circles. Various American studies scholars participate in organizing, mutual aid, etc. Some live in poverty themselves.

While I want American studies to thrive, I remain uncomfortable with conferences in high-class venues that charge to enter. These events aren’t accessible or welcoming to many poor/low-income people.

I long for vastly increased resources for mutual aid & for academic conferences that meaningfully engage with local class struggles.