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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

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism.
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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

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism.
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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

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Despair, Transhumanism.
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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

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Epistemology, Transhumanism.
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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.

A Bit of Hatemail from Jaimie Hayden October 2, 2018

Posted by Summerspeaker in Despair, Queer politics.
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This is what it’s like being trans on the internet in 2018! Jaimie sure taught those straw men ey built a lesson! Ah, bigots!

I don’t buy you. You aren’t just repellent to others because you’re in a minority group. You’re self-hating, comically negative, and basically made of being resentful. You hate everyone else for being happy when you’re not. That’s a choice. That’s your responsibility. That’s the content of your bad character, AKA the thing it’s right to discriminate about. Plenty of people don’t respond to bad luck by being toxic. People hate you not just because your body is ugly but because your soul is ugly.

But let’s say you’re right, that it really is out of your control that other people just find you repellent and there’s nothing you can do about it. What you’re saying is you want human connection with people knowing full well it causes them pain.

Well, pedophilia is genetic. Some people are born with sexual desires they can’t fulfill without damaging other people’s lives. It’s not their fault. It’s bad luck. Well, I’m sorry. Either that pedophile has a moral obligation to accept a life of sexual frustration, or everyone else has a right to remove the danger to their children and community. There’s no way out of that.

If you’re right about yourself then you’re in the same boat. When you act like society is unfair because it’s organized so that people who feel miserable around you aren’t pushed to be around you, you’re fantasizing about people having less options about not giving you affection. And that’s pretty much like rape. Sorry, people being able to choose to be around people they like just means unlikeable people end up alone. That’s the system working. Anything else is you feeling entitled to ruin other people’s lives.

You’re basically an incel, and you need to be told something blunt. If you somehow at the same time lack every possible good thing from beauty to talent to charm to money to status to style to pride to fun to wit to kindness, then you should be rejected. That’s what not having merit means. But then I honestly have trouble believing that anyone in real life could really be as bad at everything at once as you paint yourself.

Imagine someone really existed whose body literally excreted shit from pores in the surface of their skin. Everything you touch turns to shit. Other people around them feel nauseated and ill just standing in the room with you. Well, obviously that person wouldn’t ever experience love or touch or affection. Of course they don’t. They’re a utility black hole. It’s absolutely senseless for anyone to put resources into someone incapable of being happy no matter what you do and who makes everyone else less happy just by existing.

But, like I said, I don’t buy you. I think it’s just easier for you to wallow in misery than admit you’re born less good at being deserving of anyone else’s love or respect, and your only choice is a long hard road of self-improvement to become adequate at it. It’s not fair, but the only way you’ll get anywhere is stop caring about unfairness and do the work of catch-up at being loveworthy. Knowing you might not succeed but realizing it’s your problem to succeed anyway.

If someone’s legs are broken, the person who trains themselves to walk on prosthetics and accepts working four times harder for imperfect functionality might succeed, while the person who just shouts hatred at people with functioning legs will fail. Making yourself feel better by over and over telling a moral story about how evil luckier people are is just doubling down on failure and the absolute most certain way to remain a failure for the rest of your life. Every unit of energy you throw at hating the world for being unfavourable to you is squandering resources you more than anyone else can’t afford to waste. While making you more and more unlovable and a worse and worse person.

And if you really just can’t. If the game of reality just spat out a map where there’s no way you can win this nightmare level, then you should accept that this is reality. Every human being faces that situation eventually. It’s called death. And some people go out with dignity, while other people go out whining and hating and shaming the human species with their disgraceful spectacle.

Grow some dignity. Change your life. Stop dragging everyone else down.

Jaimie does kinda have a point about how abject and impossible being genetically unlovable is. $10 says the vast majority of people (including radicals!) agree with Jaimie at the end of the day, because everyone loves eugenics. If you’re going to be a eugenicist, at least be kind enough to advocate exterminating the genetically unfit as soon as possible, so as to minimize their/our pain.

Anarchism, Anticolonialism, Immigration March 18, 2018

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Anti-imperialism, Decolonization, Transhumanism.
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During a one-on-one conversation the other day after talking about New Zealand’s immigration policy, I said I hoped we could all agree that at least Europe has no claim whatsoever to excluding immigrants on the ground of nationalism or self-determination. I extended this to colonized European groups like the Irish and Basques.

Yesterday, I went to a Saint Patrick’s Day event on the Irish national-liberation struggle and international anticolonialism/anti-imperialism.

While I consider purist anarchist arguments against oppressed nationalisms overblown, sometimes I can’t help but feel disturbed at how similar national-liberation rhetoric sounds to alt-right rhetoric. “Ireland for the Irish” can be anticolonial if targeted against British occupation, but “Sweden for the Swedes” serves as a fascist rallying cry. That’s goddamn confusing.

I support oppressed nationalisms in the current historical context so long as as they don’t mirror dominant nationalisms with their militarized borders and aggressive contempt for outsiders. I don’t have or want a homeland myself. If I went “back” to the lands my ancestors come from in Wales, England, Scotland, and France, I’d agitate for abolishing nations and borders there. I’d have no sympathy for using violence/coercion to preserve Welsh/English/Scottish/French culture.

According to prevalent left norms, it’s not my place to tell colonized peoples how to organize, what to do in their lands, and so on. This presumably includes colonized European groups. After all, I’m not Irish (except maybe a tiny bit ancestrally), Basque, etc.

In addition to present solidarity/alliance against common enemies, I’m curious about the possibilities for future coexistence between anarchists who don’t believe in homelands and Indigenous nationalists. Some of my dissertation looks at the Partido Liberal Mexican and its support of Yaqui self-determination for insight and inspiration on the subject. I plan to write a longer blog piece on this theme at some point.

I don’t know how it’s all going to work out. Perhaps we transhumanist anarchists will have to take to the seas and/or stars. For the moment, I’m happy to be fighting colonialism/imperialism with so many fabulous comrades.

Death to Borders January 14, 2018

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism.
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burn detention centres

The whole idea of borders and detention centers confounds and angers me.

Why does anyone want to pay people (ICE, etc.) to kidnap and torture others (undocumented immigrants) solely because they happen to have been born on the wrong side of an arbitrary line in the sand?

⚔️🔫And in the United States, at least, it’s a line imposed by ongoing colonialism against Native peoples. Historically, other than might making right, what possible basis does an illegitimate settler government largely run by the descendants of European invaders have to restrict the movement of largely mestizx immigrants from Mexico & Central America? In some cases the latter traverse trails that predate European invasion. Additionally, U.S. military intervention and economic policy fuels much migration. At a minimum, this context adds insult to the injury that contemporary U.S. borders cause by the minute.🔫⚔️

Even if you fundamentally like and/or believe in nation states and borders, is aggressive enforcement really worth all the negative externalities involved? Mainstream economics indicates considerable advantages from immigration. Deportations tear apart the iconic family structure and the principle of individual liberty that so many within the United States profess to value.

💢The logic of nation-state borders stands out as antithetical to freedom under the best circumstances. In the United States specifically, immigration policy constitutes white-supremacist and colonial violence.💢

🚫I hope we soon get to the point of eliminating detention centers and deportations via [nonviolent] direct action.🚫

#ShutDownICE #WyoSayNO #NoRaids #NoBorders

💗💗💗I send revolutionary love to everyone struggling against the nightmarish border monster.💗💗 💗

ningunserhumanoesilegal

On Markets, Meetings, and Social Value October 23, 2017

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Feminism, Queer politics, Transhumanism.
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No political tendency offers much to unpopular/unlovable folks. Some queer, feminist, and disability radicalisms make an effort. Communisms at least theoretically want equal material nice things for everyone.

In actually existing communism to date, of course, force & attractiveness (in its various modes) tended to determine access to resources. Party insiders at every level ruled the roost.

Popularity mechanisms such as markets and meetings necessarily exclude those of us who can’t compete, who can’t please other members of the species. They’re no good for freaks, outcasts, queers, losers, etc.

For the long term, transhumanism promises the satisfaction of all desires if only via virtual reality, the ability change or eliminate one’s desires, and the ability to copy whatever the successful folks have.

If I thought I could personally win the popularity game and didn’t care about those who couldn’t, then maybe I’d be a market anarchist.

Markets and currency might constitute the lesser evil temporarily and I’m grudgingly okay with that, but only if combined with attention to those excluded and attempts at correction.