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Archive for Paul seZ — Paul’s blog

Introduction to the Black Eye anthology!

What Were You Thinking Of…
When You Dreamt That Up?
–Echo and the Bunnymen

It is 1988.
It is August.
It is the Beginning of the End.

In a dark room five figures move around a table, they talk, three smoke. A piece of paper is drawn through a typewriter. One figure sits and leans forward, the smacking of typewriter keys echoes around the room and slowly words roll out onto the paper…

BLACK EYE was born pathogenic and perverse in a basement in the Lower East Side’s Heart of Darkness. Half a dozen comrades armed with even fewer weapons (besides pens and typewriters, a few cartoons and quite a few ideas) set out to upend this rotten yuppified, spectacular world and provide first-hand reports of its demise. Initial articles ranged from paganism to the poverty of student life to the confessions of an ex-Trotskyist. Fiction and poetry complement revolutionary theory and resurgent utopianism. Eclecticism continues to be a virtue, is desired and cultivated, a political gesture itself in an era of heterogeneity. The common ingredient is liberation.

The malcontents responsible for this rag are lust-crazed maximalist freedom fighters, ornery and virulently independent squatters, latter day rock and roll Jacobins and potentialities seeking to impose their unique Frankenstein monster egos on an unsuspecting America oblivious to its own decomposition. It must be admitted: BLACK EYE was founded by anarchists.

At the very heart of the problem, if not near to it, one encounters Leftism, in its Liberal to Leninist variants, and institutionalized opposition, part and parcel of the dominant culture. The BLACK EYE folks recognize Right and Left as two sides of the same ugly coin and say don’t take any wooden nickels and DEMAND MORE THAN SPARE CHANGE! The complicity of Leftism must be exposed. We refuse to forget the unforgivable or forgive the unforgettable.

The domination of the specialists will come to an end. Publishing is a good place to start. BLACK EYE publishes those who never fancied themselves writers, plagiarizes blatantly from all manner of texts, and snatches material circulating through the mail or mouthed by frenzied poets in New York City. BLACK EYE sneered at offers of word-processing and desk-top publishing and the concomitant smorgasbord of computer generated stylistics in order to demystify information and argument. “Hey I can do that!” With a few bucks, a typewriter and a xerox machine, anyone can be a modern Tom Paine, celebrating their opinions, communicating with others. BLACK EYE does not seek to “grow” and pities those held captive by economistic and productivist outlooks. Instead we hope to see similar projects initiated by others everywhere and all over our post-industrial landscape. We think that this will be an important step in people beginning to think for themselves again.

BLACK EYE wants to corrode all your received ideas and cherished ideological assumptions. It will give you a black eye if it doesn’t open your eyes, and it might just set you on an adventurous path of zero-work role refusal and you’ll discover you’re a voluntary conscript in an army of conscious egoists practicing the permanent revolution of desire.

BLACK EYE is a proto-council of the marvelous.

BLACK EYE asks, Why not?

black_eye_cover

Black Eye anthology cover: published by Little Black Cart

It is 2014.
It is August.
It is the End of the Beginning.

If the foregoing text wasn’t really written that way, it should have been. During the ’80s and ’90s there were a million zines. They came in all colors and flavors. Some were political, some were erotic, some were awful. Most are about being pissed off at someone or something. Who knows how these things start? Someone somewhere finds that they have a few extra reams of paper, they type up a few ideas, maybe steal some artwork and paste and copy and staple for a few hours. Friends get copies in the mail, strangers find them on the floor of a bus. They are thrown away; they are cherished. Pretty soon everyone is a publisher, an editor, a critic, a writer, and a clown; or at least they could if they wanted to. And that is what fueled the global zine machine. The possibility; the dangerous, stormy potential.

In spring of 1998 I had just been through a nasty breakup and with $2,000 in my pocket went South of the Border to drink, sun, and with any luck, kill myself; well, two out of three ain’t bad. I returned to NYC in July of 1988 and found that a few friends and malcontents who hung out at the Anarchist Switchboard had put enough material together to crank out an issue of a zine they called Black Eye. I had returned from Central America with sufficient diary and travelogue copy to pitch in an article for the next few issues. And that’s how I found my way into the weird and wonderful world of zines.

The production of Black Eye was a work of love. Graphics were stolen from other zines, canned graphics books lifted from art supply houses, things found on the street, advertisements, doodles. Each writer was responsible for their own copy so the zine had a mind-bending array of fonts, sizes, smashed typewriter keys and sometimes just plain pen on paper was used. Usually just one of us took responsibility for pasting an issue together and then we would all take turns copying the pasted sheets. I don’t know how many millions of free copies I stole from my various places of employment. One of us worked in a stationery store with a xerox machine in back—thousands more pages were churned out there. Finally if no one could steal anymore copier time we went to Kinko’s and paid for the last few copies—it was worth it.

Black Eye came out in print runs of 500, with the one exception of the Tompkins Square Park Riot edition (Issue #3); we’ll get into later. St. Mark’s Books would take a few copies, we’d all try to sell copies to people better off than we were, some we would give to friends—hundreds we would trade through the mail, which was another great secret of the zine world. As chaotic and fluid as the whole scene was, there was one central touch point, Factsheet Five (FF), a quarterly that came out of California and later, New York. Originally the brainchild of Mike Gunderloy and in the beginning years covering only sci-fi fanzines, by the late 1980’s FF contained reviews of literally thousands of zines. We would look through Factsheet Five for other zines that interested us and we would trade with them. The zine universe was an underground hive of activity, discussion, character assassination, and argument fueled by the US postal service.

Black Eye set out initially on a course of anarchist theory, fiction, and some personal reflection as in the “Diary of an Ex-Trotskyist” and the short story “Puppy and Kitty Prison” in Issue One. Graphics played an important part of Black Eye and we used detourned cartoons, free hand drawings and stuff stolen from other zines. We learned quickly that high contrast pen and ink worked much better than gently shaded images, so no Hokusai in Black Eye, but a lot of comics.
Black Eye was very much a “local zine” during this period, concentrating on issues of squatting, homelessness, NYC Police Department barbarity and anything we could cull from word of mouth. Then between the second and third issue the unreal happened. The City of New York decided to impose a curfew on Tompkins Square Park in the heart of the Lower East Side and a few blocks from both the squats and the Anarchist Switchboard. It was a ridiculous idea back then, few people had air conditioning, and things only cooled down in the city late at night. Further, because of the various ethnicities in the neighborhood, Puerto Ricans, African Americans, and punks spent much of their day at night, specifically in the park. I remember one evening strolling home from a debauch at about four am and seeing two old men playing dominoes on one of the park’s benches. The first night of the curfew was to be August 8th and all hell literally broke loose. The riot lasted until 2 or 3 am and everyone was involved, little old ladies got water for the rioters, local tavern owners joined with patrons to beat on police officers, and wave after wave of cops tried to maintain order. The next day the city backpedaled hard and fast, withdrawing the curfew. The press roasted Mayor Koch and especially Gerald MacNamara, the commanding officer of the police forces. Especially when it turned out the entire event had been filmed and showed that cops had hidden their badge numbers to avoid official reprimands and that they had attacked first. Score Anarchists/Squatters/Lower East Side Residents, One—NYPD, Zero. We put everything we could find about the riot into Issue 3 and offset printed 3,000 copies and sold almost all of them. It all culminated in one scene for me when two short little legs came easing down the steep steps of the Anarchist Switchboard, it was Allen Ginsberg come to see what we were all about. The next several issues maintained the action orientation of the zine and covered the issues of squatting, gentrification and the attempts by housing cops to throw out the trespassers. A number of the writers participated in the continental gatherings and major protests, in Philadelphia and Washington DC and these were reported on in the journal.

The other global event that Black Eye found itself having to respond to was the fall of communism in Europe and the Tiananmen Square protests and riots. I remember watching the Berlin Wall falling on television and hearing the news reporter just crow over the fact that the East Bloc had decided to participate in the “Free Market.” I kept thinking to myself I wonder what hell is really going on? The answers were not long in coming, Black Eye had excellent contacts in Poland and elsewhere in the Communist Bloc through Neither East Nor West, a magazine published New York and very soon we heard that the desire for new Levi’s was a tertiary issue. People were fed up with being treated like pawns in the grand communist game; they were tired of being numbered, oppressed, tortured—the spark was freedom (as the Russian underground press samizdat makes clear), not access to expensive clothing and the yuppie lifestyle.

As time went on theory began to play a larger role in Black Eye and in many ways where anarchist theory is at in the United States in 2014 is where the writers from Black Eye progressed to over the issues through 1993. Black Eye writers hated the “Left,” hence there was a truly strange mix of anti-civilization, feminist, insurrectionary theory in the issues of Black Eye. The topics that these issues were hashed out in were occasionally nutty, in one essay on Vietnam Major Bellows reviews US foreign policy choices in Indochina and arrives at individualist anarchism. Edwin Hammer’s articles consistently critiqued the cookie cutter roles that civilization imposes of its actors. In one of my pieces I develop theses defining the activity of play in culture, politics and economics. Debates were rare among the writers, everyone seemed interested in their own realm of theory though Sunshine D. and Mary Shelley actively debated feminism in two issues, neither one giving an inch of ground. Though I think Mary got the last word in. A number of pieces were lifted from other zines and books that interested us. One notable example is a humorous and effective piece by bp ummfatik titled “Take Things From Work.” I can only assume that bp ummfatik is a nom de guerre. Suffice it to say with the death of the Left, the Black Eye writers were left to their own devices to try to make some sense of civilization. In this feeling one’s way through the theoretical dark, some thinkers and activists appeared to show the way,

We quickly found ourselves interacting with an eclectic mix of earlier theorists. Jacques Camatte, one-time amigo of Amadeo Bordiga and member of the Italian ultra-left communist tendency, proved to be an extremely important thinker and thanks to Fredy Perlman much of his most important material was available in English. Camatte had shown that Capital had effectively superseded the law of value and that through the global dominance of the wage relation that the human species had been effectively proletarianized as of the end of the Second World War. Both findings are central to the foundation of post-left anarchism—the death of class conflict, the triumph of Capital over the law of value. Perlman himself, while not essential, has also proven to be an interesting and original thinker. Post-modernism was never really explored nor utilized by any writer, though Baudrillard’s Mirror of Production, is still an important essay and probably the final nail in the coffin of Marxism. John Zerzan’s material, particularly the essays in Elements of Refusal proved to be seminal in identifying just what the anarchists were up against, civilization itself. Though no writer ever published an explicitly anti-tech piece, his work instilled in most of us a healthy distrust for the ideology and effect of technology on the species. The Situationists made their entrance into the general American consciousness via Ken Knabb and his Situationist International Anthology, which was given to me by my boss at work. He had bought it and read it and he was no radical. It was just the book to read at the time. The jangled theoretics of the group, which derived as much from Hegel and Fourier as they did from Marx, were occasionally breathtaking and many of us used their argumentative models to develop our ideas. We stole liberally from history and historians which fueled many of my pieces on the Jacobins (Crane Brinton), the Fascists (Alice Yeager Kaplan), Progress (Georges Sorel), and Organization (Jacques Camatte). We read and were alternately interested and angered by the Frankfurt School. Horkheimer and Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment is central to an understanding civilization as it appears today, Marcuse’s work on the psychology of Capital (The One Dimensional Man) is the last word on alienation. No book written since has even come close to his rigid and critical eye when it comes to suffering, loneliness, and powerlessness in a civilized world. Marcuse also did an amazing job discussing Hegel (Reason and Revolution: Hegel and the Rise of Social Theory) and revolution in one of his earlier works, though no one reads that now, as Hegel via Fukuyama has become the mascot of decadent Capital. Major Bellows attacked Fukuyama and I think did a good job critiquing the silly assertion that history stopped at the Battle of Jena. Everything was fair game and I believe that few political zines were as eclectic or as snarltooth as Black Eye.

So what was Black Eye? Basically a lot of fun. Black Eye was a group of friends trying to figure it all out in a place of conviviality and support. Black Eye did its best to push post-left anarchism front and center, to make people aware that the with the death of the Left, Life gets better, the chances for insurrection become more clear and the ways and means to produce a human community that realizes the talents of each of its members develops as a real possibility. Black Eye was hard work, we met weekly and I spent many Sundays as a Xerox ninja, as did Edwin Hammer, Joe Braun, et al. In the end it was worth it. I have gone on to write and edit several magazines, other collective members run art spaces, and one is still cranking out top-notch essays. And I will say I miss the whole thing, the late night discussions at the Veselka or Kiev restaurants, the smile of a friend as I discuss some crazy theoretical gymnastics, and the pride of holding a hundred hot-off-the-xerox-machine Black Eyes in my hands as I go to sell them in Tompkins Square Park. But that was then, this is now. Our ideas still resonate with much of what the Social Enemy has up its sleeve, but new theorists are needed as Capital and the nation-state become ever more fearsome adversaries in the battle for real freedom.

So I dedicate this Black Eye anthology to those of you who would take up the sword or the pen and make the writers and thinkers of Black Eye look like senile old reactionary codgers, for those willing to do so, the future is yours…

-Paul Z. Simons          Order Black Eye through the LBC web site

Black Eye anthology now available from LBC

black_eye_cover

Black Eye

[Publisher’s blurb]

Black Eye was a zine out of New York, and this book offers some of the best pieces from this fiesty, piss-and-vinegar, punk-inspired series. Pieces on living your life creatively at work, fiction starring John Zerzan, journal notes on the process of a budding anarchist leaving a Trotskyist group, the taking (and taking back) of Tompkin Square Park, the significance of play, and much more.

BLACK EYE was born pathogenic and perverse in a basement in the Lower East Side’s Heart of Darkness in the 1980s. Half a dozen comrades armed with even fewer weapons (besides pens and typewriters, a few cartoons and quite a few ideas) set out to upend this rotten yuppified, spectacular world and provide first-hand reports of its demise. Initial articles ranged from paganism to the poverty of student life to the confessions of an ex-Trotskyist. Fiction and poetry complement revolutionary theory and resurgent utopianism. Eclecticism continues to be a virtue, is desired and cultivated, a political gesture itself in an era of heterogeneity. The common ingredient is liberation.

BLACK EYE wants to corrode all your received ideas and cherished ideological assumptions. It will give you a BLACK EYE if it doesn’t open your eyes, and it might just set you on an adventurous path of zero-work role refusal and you’ll discover you’re a voluntary conscript in an army of conscious egoists practicing the permanent revolution of desire.

BLACK EYE is a proto-council of the marvelous.

Order Black Eye through the LBC web site

My Date With Sam Dolgoff

My Date With Sam Dolgoff

(a shared memory)

( Note: the “My Date…” series of articles stretches back as far as the mid 1980’s and was begun by an article written by a woman attendee at anarchist functions in NYC. Her article, My Date with Holly Near, is a brief fluffy piece about an outing she and the singer had which evidently ended in some very earnest and breathy sex play. At that time Holly Near had dated (and fucked) almost every identifiable female anarchist in NYC, and the article may have been an attempt to record this historic campaign for posterity. Shortly thereafter Bob McGlynn wrote his “My Date with Holly Near,” which is a fantasy piece in which he and the singer drink beer, go bowling, and then stomp the lungs out of a bunch of malicious bikers. By far the most famous entry is Bob Black’s My Date with Jim Hogshire, which is an account of the notorious evening of February 10/11, 1996, where Black, who was to stay at Hogshire’s place, had a falling out with his host, allegedly groped Hogshire’s wife, was threatened with an M1 rifle and then was shown the door. This resulting article is classic Bob Black, and the vengeful aftermath includes a court case that stemmed from an issue Hogshire had with the local constabulary regarding the legality of making opium tea out of dried poppies purchased at florist shops. Hogshire unfortunately still has not written what he may have been put into this world to write, the response titled My Date with Bob Black.)

 

Suffice it to say that by 1985 or so I had become an anarchist with all the attendant vices and virtues, I hated the state, I lived on the Lower East Side, I attended interminable meetings; I read much and worked little. The city had two operating anarchist groups that I knew of, and I was a part of both, the Libertarian Book Club, and the Anarchist Switchboard. There were a lot of folks through each of these, but mainly a hardcore group of about 20 souls maintained the beating heart of anarchy in those foul years of Reagan and his ilk, which proved the truism that in any society the scum eventually rises to the surface to be drained off by history. I had been friends with Lauren for several months and she had called, said she was on her way to see Sam Dolgoff and invited me along. I met her at the Anarchist Switchboard that March afternoon in a cold, pouring rain. She said that we should just walk to his apartment as, other than busses, no trains would put us anywhere near his place. I asked where that was and she said that he lived in a building for retired members of the NY painters union. There are dozens of these union administered retirement buildings throughout New York, and though they resemble housing projects, the insides are better kept, and they have built-in meeting rooms and offices, some for the unions, some for rent. The Libertarian Book Club’s monthly events were held at a large meeting room in a union retirement home a few blocks down Seventh Avenue from Madison Square Garden. Even then, and in spite of the prevailing political climate, the unions would let the anarchists use the room—it was pretty cheap too. Lauren had made it her business, at the young age of 20, of bouncing around New York and introducing herself to as many of the old time anarchists, the Dolgoffs, the staff of the then recently defunct Freie Arbeiter Stimme (The Free Voice of Labor)—the Yiddish anarchist newspaper that had been going since the twenties, Vilario—an old Italian gentleman who at one time was involved both with the Galleanist’s and (it was rumoured) also Malatesta. Finally she had met Mel Most, who it was believed was related to Johann Most—a cousin or nephew—who for years had been running an outreach and service agency for prostitutes working on the Lower East Side. So this trip to the Dolgoffs was just her doing her best to string these old time anarchists to the younger punk anarchist scene—I guess to maintain some semblance of continuity.

All Aid, Comfort and Protection

It had to happen, was only a question of time really, that somewhere some unlucky police/espionage/or military agency would inadvertently recruit and train an individual with a conscience of sufficient substance such that you can’t pass your hand through it.

It makes perfect sense that the Los Angeles Police Department drew the unlucky number. Without rehashing the history of this sorry-ass agency, the beatings of black motorists, with supervisors watching and applauding, the false testimony that convicted hundreds sending these poor folks to prison, and finally like a phoenix rising from the ashes leaving behind the entire sordid mess to once again come crashing down into the shit that these officers wallow in and call a career. Two steps forward, six steps back…

Enter Chris Dorner, trained killer, Navy man, and ex-LA cop who during a training run witnessed a training officer assault, kick and beat a homeless, helpless mentally ill man just for the fun of it–I guess. I mean I believe the LAPD thinks its fun because they sure as hell do enough of it. Dorner was thrown off the force and has now turned on his previous oppressor/employer in what can only be called a wage slave revolt of furious intensity, and deadly precision.

Therefore, I ask– I implore all anarchists who may find themselves in a position to assist Dorner to reach a country without extradition to do so, and to provide to him with all aid, comfort, and protection possible–before the law and order bloodhounds shoot him down in his tracks. And in the unlikely chance Chris Dorner reads this, your heart beats with mine and many others. If you can–stay alive to tell your story, either with words or bullets–Stay Alive!

Ain’t that Snuff Enough?

It’s been a while and I thought I’d throw a few ideas out there and see if anything sticks. Sometime in 2007 while watching a CNN report on Afghanistan or Iraq or wherever there was a visual image of several burned bodies, evidently the aftermath of a drone strike and then it hit me, hard and real, that what I was watching was not the news but some great national, ongoing snuff film.

Rumours of snuff films, that is a movie where a real murder is filmed and marketed to interested parties for the express purpose of commercial gain, have been rife since the 70’s. Low budget filmmakers in the US of course noticed the  interest and the movie Snuff was released in 1976. Originally titled Slaughter and filmed in Argentina by Michael and Roberta Findlay it was based loosely on the Manson Family murders but unable to find distribution it sat in a can for several years. Enter Allen Shackleton from Monarch Distribution, a master at marketing bad films who shot a short 10 minute ending to the film purporting to show the film crew kill and dismember a woman on the set. He then distributed the film to all the negative publicity he could garner including the tag line, “Shot in South America where Life is CHEAP!” He also paid women to picket the theaters where the film played to whip up interest and community standard fury. It all worked of course and the film raked in the cash. But that’s the phony snuff story, the cheap Hollywood version…what about the real thing?

So what about war coverage as snuff? Is there any resonance between CNN’s reportage on Afghanistan and Iraq and snuff film. Of course there is–both are grounded in a desire to generate profits, in one case theater receipts and the other is about making sure that the US military get the hundreds of billions of dollars that their budgets seem to demand. Is there any difference in shamelessness between the two? Damned little. We know that while the Findlay/Shackleton axis was

 

The Final Straw interview with Paul Z Simons on Modern Slavery

Paul Z with a dose of Anarchy

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The Final Straw:

Paul Z. Simons & Modern Slavery:  A Libertarian Critique of Civilization

by William Goodenuff

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Audio interview download here

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William talks with Paul Z. Simons, a contributor to and editor of the journal Modern Slavery; A Libertarian Critique of Civilization. Mr. Simons is also an essayist and former contributor/editor of Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed and Out of Anarchy among other projects. Modern Slavery delves into the conception of a modern slavery through an explicitly radical discussion of the history and present condition of wage economies and wage slavery. In addition, the journal showcases poetry, short stories, book reviews, and art. If you wish to become a contributor, you can do so through the journals website.

Among other topics, William and Paul discuss the inspiration for and inception of the journal, some forms a post collapse society could take, other forms of modern day slavery, and the socially chaotic potential of horror movies.

This episode will stream through 01/05/14 at AFM, airing Monday/Tuesday on KWTF, podcasting at radio4all.net (link pending) and archiving later at thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org. To contact the show’s producers, email us at thefinalstrawradio(a t)riseup(dott)net

God. Damn. It. One Post-Leftist Supports the Rojava Social Revolution.

So after sitting on the fence for the better part of a year, I have to commit to support for and defense of the Rojava experiment, and particularly our comrades in the DAF (Revolutionary Anarchist Action) and the two militias the YPG (People’s Protection Units, in Kurdish: Yekîneyên Parastina Gel) and the women’s militia component the YPJ (Women’s Protection Units, in Kurdish: Yekîneyên Parastina Jinê). Though inspired, at least according to most reports by Bookchin and specifically calling their current political status libertarian municipalism, they seem to have moved very far toward an insurrectionary society indeed. In fact the central government is essentially a husk and currently necessary only to interact with other sovereigns, without coercive elements (army and police) and with real power residing in local assemblies (which are guaranteed effective parity between Muslims and Christians and men and women). Further the addressing of police functions is outstanding. The Kurds are training all adults in how to be effective stewards of their neighborhoods and have abolished the police, or are in the process of doing so. Brilliant, when everyone is a master, there are no slaves.

So Bookchin? Who the fuck cares? A state? Yes, but moving in the opposite direction. Do all reports concur with the above enumeration? Yes, incredibly, yes. So what to do? Write, speak and support this tiny anarchist experiment in the same way one would the various social experiments in Greece or Spain. Hope that this fertile garden overgrows its boundaries, and spreads like the Black Death. And what of their opponent ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant)? I am as opposed to them as I would be any fundamentalist lunatic, Christian, Buddhist, Stalinist or Muslim; in this case more so, because ISIL threaten anarchists, my family. In fact ISIL has been explicit in their threats to “enslave” the entire civilian population. The sole good use of the trillions wasted on US military hardware is to unleash it all on this militarized fundamentalist scum. Kill them all. Let Allah sort them out.

And that doesn’t begin to enumerate all the enemies of Rojava, including other Kurds, Syria (Assad’s rump regime) and the largest danger, Turkey and her control of the borders and the flow of arms to both ISIL, and the revolutionaries. And sitting behind these players is the United States, the EU, and of course the Russians, always interested in playing vicariously in the Middle East. Finally, the Kurds have oil, not lots, but they have been steady suppliers to world markets since the Second Iraqi War, a fact not lost to bond traders on either Wall Street or the City of London. Grim tidings, but not insuperable.

It has been hard to arrive at the place I am right now, and it has taken much reading and thought. This is the shortest blog post I’ve ever written, and the most painful. I have had to eat a lot of very humble pie to get here. Do I still think the Left is a ridiculous and vestigial organ on the body of Society? Yes, and I disdain class theory as pseudo-science and am an individualist to the bone. I also realize that the species-goal of utopia is nowhere near being reached in Kurdistan. Rather, they have moved further and faster than any other insurrection to date. In fact the current stability, of roughly two years, makes it the longest running anarchist experiment during the triumph of civilization. Then hopefully, one day the Revolution will slip beyond all control, then we will be where we need to be to finish the anarchist project; utopia. Long Live the Rojava Social Revolution! No Peace, Without Victory!

“A shot over the bow….”

It’s not that I’ve been bereft of ideas. One thing I try not to do is sit about the house watching movies, eating anything, and basically being four blockheads at once. Rather my curiosity has been drawn in a number of different directions, the ebb and flow of street based actions, the ennui of empire imploding, the gentle crumbling of the assumptions. From very small institutions like the Mormon church (which I fled at 19) to the stomp of millions of feet down the Champs-Elysee. Crisis, collapse, and calumny seems a fitting chorus to the Song of Capital and Nation-State. I would ask, Where to start, but a more accurate inquiry would be,”Where to finish?”

So, consider this sliver of verbiage a shot over the bow, a stab in the dark, a baby-step, a New Years Irresolution. One blog entry a month for 2015, and not like this one, but with the firmness, the clarity of cold, stiff, jell-o. See ya soon.

The Skin Deep

So as a quick justification for this post I want to state that I come from a long line of proudly alcoholic lawyers centered primarily in Wyoming and Utah–so while not a lawyer, I am occasionally fascinated by all things legal and criminal–depending on one’s definition. That said I can’t help but notice two recent news items that have struck a chord with the lawyerly part of my genome, and a twinge of deja vu–having been married/divorced several times; the tales of Shannon Rogers Richardson and Jodi Arias.
We’ll start with Jodi Arias whose story involves anal sex, Mormonism and murder most foul. Jodi met and fell in love with Travis Alexander, devout Mormon, motivational speaker and salesman at a business conference in Vegas September 2006. He converted her to Mormonism and subsequently baptized her in November of 2006, according to her they had anal sex the same day…whew, now there’s a way to celebrate a religious milestone. They became a couple–whatever that means–in February of 2007. The relationship, like most, was great in the beginning but eventually become purely sexual–a big no-no for devout Mormons, and it eventually forced their break up in June 2007. Suffice it to say, Arias hadn’t had enough and would occasionally venture to Mesa AZ from Yreka CA for some lubricated cuddling. » Read more..

Death of a Pirate

I wouldn’t usually eulogize the recently dead for fear that upon investigation they might turn out to be less than what appeared at the moment. But in the instance of Aaron Swartz I feel moved to put a few lines down.

First I should note that as a ’60s baby I am only moderately computer literate, and that other than ranting, watching movies, and enjoying porn my skills at the machine are limited. That said, Aaron Swartz was clearly one of the folks who put their money where their mouth was to maintain the internet as it is, a Wild West show of all possible opinion available to almost anyone (almost anywhere) in an instant. This guy, who in spite of wealth and fame, would sneak into an MIT basement to pry loose academic journal articles, and just about anything else not nailed down to be posted, free of charge, on the internet must have rattled the dogs of law. So much so that they saw fit to arrest him and prosecute him. The punishments proposed for Swartz were daunting, 35 to 50 years behind bars and from 1 to 4 million dollars fine.

Some of the liberal media have bemoaned the “obviously” depressed state that led to his suicide which I take as pure CNN psycho-bullshit. When someone does something honorable make it psychotic — its the only way to have it make sense in these the waning days of Babylon. He saw where he was, the fines, the bilge rat prosecutor, and took his life back by taking his life. Never, ever relinquish freedom to the state, if you must kill to keep it kill. Swartz lived the same truth, his solution was the taking of his own life. I honor this internet pirate, this reboot buccaneer, as cunning and freedom loving as any of the marine version, and hope that the prosecutor who is responsible finds himself in hell, where there’s a special circle reserved for his ilk. Thanks Aaron for the example of your life and of your death — who will stand next in the breach you have left? And who will avenge this tragedy?