Thursday, December 02, 2010

Wikileaks, Julian Assange & Modern Anarchist Praxis

Most people could probably not name very many anarchists -- historical, contemporary, or even fictional. A few might cite artists like George Orwell or Leo Tolstoy, and fewer still will be aware of prominent historical anarchists like Emma Goldman or Peter Kropotkin. The historical impact of anarchist practice has largely been glossed over in the curriculum of government run, and compulsory, public schools. People generally aren't aware of anarchists fighting for the first labor rights in America or giving the first public talks on birth control. People are unaware that it was the anarchists who brought about the Russian revolution which was subsequently derailed by the Bolsheviks. People are largely unaware of historical anarchist movements in Spain, the Ukraine, and elsewhere. As for contemporaries... most people might only be able to name Noam Chomsky as an anarchist (and that is probably something of a misnomer).

But now... in the headlines of all the world's newspapers, on the lips of all the television pundits, all over the internet, and in the running for Time magazine's "Person of the Year," we have Julian Assange. One may argue about whether or not he precisely fits into the definition of what an anarchist is, and some dyed-in-the-wool anarchists will perhaps turn up their noses at the suggestion, but Julian Assange is engaged in anarchist acts and has presented governments around the world with damning attacks against their credibility and legitimacy.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chris Hedges advocates monkeywrenching?!

I stand by my criticism of Hedges for a previous article he wrote, but I've always been a fan of his work. And this time I think he's managed to hit one out of the park with his most recent Op-Ed for Truthdig: Power and the Tiny Acts of Rebellion.

At the very least, this article will make you think. And if more prominent lefties start moving in a more radical direction like Hedges has... human beings might not wipe themselves out after all.

He offers a somber and sobering look at humanity's current situation and he calls for acts of resistance to take place for the sake of personal dignity and a sense of self-respect -- if nothing else. He's not terribly explicit with his calls for sabotage in the closing paragraph, but it does seem to subtly appear in the text -- and that's a rarity for this time and place (as most prominent academics and journalists are only covering their own asses and trying to make a buck). Check the article out and see what you think he's getting at. It seems fairly obvious and quite aggressive to me.

Kudos to Chris Hedges for another excellent piece!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A powerful anti-war video!

MUST SEE!  Please forward, share, tweet, and so on!  This is the sort of video that may actually help bring about some much needed change.

A small part of what it is that inspires my political/philosophical worldview...

(The following statements [backed up with linked citations], were given as response to a comment on Reddit which reached the front page of the "best of" subreddit. Since I took the time to spell it out and dig up the links... I thought I'd repost it here as a reminder to my readers of some of the things which I feel are fairly important. Most of these issues won't come as a surprise to anyone, but it's amazing how easy it is to forget about them as we go about our mundane daily lives.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

On voting...

There have been several articles written about the futility or the negative consequences of voting.  But I wanted to put forward some of my thoughts about electoral politics.  I do want to point out that I'm not taking an extremely hardline position against voting.  There may be a time and a place for voting -- but I don't see it as particularly useful on the national level.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Some Basic Social Media Recommendations

For those of you interested in the issues I often write about (see the tags in the lower left hand column), I'd strongly recommend trying to network a little more by following, subscribing, and linking to other blogs and sites that you feel others should see. Linking (wherever you can -- Facebook, your blog,, stumbleupon, etc.) and subscribing to various blogs can help them immensely in many subtle ways.

In particular, I'd like to recommend trying out (perhaps for the second time), & The latter takes a little more work to really get the information flowing, but both can be used very effectively to find and distribute good information. I'll try to describe them both and provide some ideas about how to make them easier to use.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reservations about Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's Rally

Generally speaking, I really like what Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart do with their respective shows (The Colbert Report and The Daily Show).  I often find them hilarious, insightful, and serving as something of a media watchdog.  Stephen Colbert's roast of George W. Bush at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in 2006 was one of the boldest and funniest comic routines that I have ever seen.  And Jon Stewart, although he seems to have become more partisan, still has done a lot of great work.

That said... I think both of these fantastic comedians have made some very counterproductive and hurtful presentations which relate directly to their planned rally.  I know a lot of people idolize these men, and criticism of such progressive leftist icons will be distasteful to many party-line liberals, but in this instance I think it's particularly important to offer some friendly criticism and to hold them accountable for  their recent comments (or the lack thereof) about other rallies, protests, and demonstrations. 

Monday, September 06, 2010

Values of a College Education

Much of my adult life I've spent enrolled in, or usually just around, various universities and colleges. This is because I appreciate some of the fresh ideas and the open-mindedness that is often associated with such institutions. I like to see prominent speakers come to town for participation in panels, or public discussions, or simply to give lectures about their fields of expertise. And I admire the passion that so many people around campus have about various subjects -- whether of a technical nature or with more obvious social importance. And, honestly, I often appreciate the decadent revelry that takes place throughout the school year.

That said... in just the last 15 years I have noticed some very disturbing trends which are making institutions of higher learning less beneficial to those enrolled within them and for society at large. Certainly some of these trends have been manifesting for some time longer than the last decade or so, and more seasoned academics could probably point out larger more insidious differences between today's college experience compared to campus life a few decades ago. But it's also possible that negative changes have started to occur more rapidly and with greater consequences to society as a whole.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Two Video Interviews with Two Great Philosophers

I know it may seem like I'm posting a lot of videos lately, and this format may be a bit clumsy (you can just watch them on Youtube if you want), but these are really excellent multi-part videos featuring two of my favorite philosophers (Jacques Ellul and Herbert Marcuse) discussing imminently important subjects which are often misunderstood.

We'll start with Ellul and you can click the little "read more..." button below (if necessary) to see the rest. BTW, the first interview is given in French (w/ English subtitles) and the second, with Marcuse, is given in English.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Anarchy, Technophiles, Freedom & Primitivism

(The following piece was written to create a dialogue in response to an article entitled: "Anarchy Would Most Likely Prevent The BP Oil Disaster" written by someone known as ComradShaw.)

The ideas presented in ComradShaw's article are somewhat ideal, but they seem to rely too heavily on a misguided notion of self-restraint -- when such a thing seems to be seriously lacking in actual reality. The author seems to think that everyone could vote and agree on everything -- which, while potentially nice in practice, may or may not actually be somewhat more ideal in the consequences. My point isn't that people shouldn't rely on self-restraint in many matters, nor am I suggesting that they shouldn't have a much greater say about what goes on in their world. But even free people in a far more egalitarian society could make horrible mistakes. And hubris, whether coming from the whole or from even just a segment of society, can lead to disaster.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Oil Spill Disaster & Fundamental Flaws of the Overall System

As many of my regular readers might suspect, I've been following the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico rather closely. But a particular event related to that catastrophe really brought together my overall opinion of the whole mess. In an obscenely ludicrous turn of events, those applying to respond for the clean-up efforts on the gulf coast were subjected to drug tests and immigration raids! I was almost too furiously disgusted to guffaw.

But, frankly, maybe this potentially predictable event is just what was needed to allow us a chance to see the oil spill in a broader and more comprehensive context. As destructive, disruptive, and outright calamitous as this epic and growing oil spill has been... it's easy to forget or overlook the fact that humanity was already in and facing serious crisis. Even without our terminal addiction to oil (which is easily one of the most comprehensive and pressing issues) we still face issues which are often, at best, only incidentally related to petroleum extraction.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Infiltration, Surveillance, Brutality: The Police State is Issue #1

No matter what your primary concerns about society are -- environmental degradation, sweatshop labor, war, racism, etc. -- without foremostly addressing and scaling back the corporate police state, i.e. the prison-industrial complex, any progressive social change you are advocating for can, and will, be thwarted. This matters not if you are part of the most non-violent vegan sewing circle or if you are prepared to throw down in the streets for the dignity of humankind. Any perceived threat to the status quo, to profits and destruction, will be subjected to the evermore brazen and militarized forces of the state.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Noam Chomsky and Mild Reformist Tactics

The following was inspired by a recent interview with Noam Chomsky which was coordinated by people working through the anarchist subreddit at Reddit dot com.

As a chronicler of modern history, Noam Chomsky is something of an icon. The number of people he has influenced with his writing in favor of general social justice is probably beyond measure. He has highlighted things with his political writings that may otherwise not have received the attention they deserve, and I'm sure he'll be the first to admit that they still do not get all the attention they deserve. He's talking about very serious things in terms of apartheid, genocide, and war.

Unfortunately, with his latest interview, he has proven that simply being aware of many serious problems does not necessarily give you any real insight on how to effectively deal with them. And I might point out... some of the issues he brings up in passing, like environmental degradation, seem to be thrown in as a token for the effect of appearing comprehensive. On the particular subject of environmentalism, for instance, he offers nothing substantive with his suggestion that anarchists should be concerned with such issues. Unsupported by what human beings have already done, he suggests that humanity will be able to technologically engineer it's way into a more peaceful, less polluted, less devastated world. Perhaps so, but that's pretty vague, at best.

Friday, March 05, 2010

A primitivist response to Andrew Flood's question: Is primitivism realistic?

The following is a response to an article written some time back by Andrew Flood (hereafter often referred to as "the author"). The article is in circulation again on one of the social networking/bookmarking/link-sharing sites ( which I peruse. Although this response is somewhat late, I feel it's still relevant and will remain so. I should also point out that I do not primarily identify myself as a Primitivist, but I do see much worth in the ideas of anarcho-primitivism. My response starts and continues by taking on quoted statements made in the original work by Andrew Flood: Is primitivism realistic? An anarchist reply to John Zerzan and others.

Since when was the "basic purpose" of anarchism "the creation of a free mass society?" And if that was the simplified basic purpose, why does it have to remain so? Maybe these are word games the author is playing, but a free society doesn't necessarily have to be a "mass" society and I personally could see complications arising in a mass society that was too large. This would be especially true if the mass society was constantly encroaching on bioregions and cultures that could not survive the intrusion. What does freedom really mean if your version of mass industrialism imposes itself as far and as densely populated as possible? More to do with "faith than reality" indeed.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Zero Point Indeed: A Response to Chris Hedges

In his latest article, Zero Point of Systemic Collapse (February '10 Adbusters),Chris Hedges analyzes the breakdown of the modern socio-economic & global political system. Anyone on the eyes-wide-open radical fringes is likely to have seen elsewhere many of the points Hedges makes in his article. However, as always, such work is often worth a look as it may challenge or clarify some of the ideas you may have had on the various subjects presented. Personally, I took issue with some of the things he wrote and found some theoretical shortcomings which were not very enlightening.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Resist Do Not Comply

More Wood for the Fire: Capitalist Solutions for Global Warming

(This article, by Peter Gelderloos, I originally found at [which reposted it from]. It's one of the best articles I've seen in a long time and I had to repost it here for your consideration.)

More Wood for the Fire: Capitalist Solutions for Global Warming

While some people were shocked when Obama revealed himself to be an energy policy rightwinger in his State of the Union address, advocating more oil drilling, more nuclear power, and uttering that egregious Bush-era term, “clean coal,” I think the most remarkable aspect of this portion of his speech was that a politician had uttered the plain and obvious truth about the future.