Anarchist Audio Update #1: Where Have We Been?

(Let’s see if I can get this written and published in like, 5 minutes…)

Hi friends! You may have noticed a lack of audio content here at the Anarchist Audio Archive for the past, like, two weeks. That’s because I started getting sick midway through the first week, and I didn’t have any sort of backlog recorded or ready to go. This is a learning process, and I’ve learned my first major thing: always be prepared for breaks like the one we just took.

One way to do that is obviously just record a buttload of content and edit it in chunks so it can be posted. Which is a great plan of action in the best of times, but even though I’m at about 98 percent wellness my voice still gets raw and raspy really quickly, and the prospect of recording a few hours’ worth of recordings after I get home from the job where I talk to people all day just… doesn’t seem like a great idea right now.

But the show must go on and the Archive must continue to be filled, even if it’s not a one-person operation. I’ll be working through the weekend on finding and implementing a good submission system for folks who are interested and want to record themselves reading historical and current anarchist literature for inclusion in the Archive.

I don’t really have a great way to close this out, save for simply saying: thanks for the support and we’ll see you soon!


AAA #3: An Illegalist Space Program In Four Parts

Today’s Archive entry comes from a much more recent article than either of the previous entries. This was an essay posted to Anarchist News a few days ago that I really liked. It’s about space. I am 100 percent all about anything to do with fucking space.

science-to learn
communism-to share
nihilism-to begin
anarchism-to be

1. This is the Planet Of Sadness. (Nihilism- To Begin Again, Always.)

Fuck Earth. Industrial capitalism has put shoes on all our feet, and now our toes are permanently fucked up. Look it up. I was born in a domesticated place, at the beginning of the end of American hegemony. I was all tuned up to give an honest try at revolution or liberation or whatever, and then Occupy collapsed into it’s obvious conclusion. Prison support makes me want to shoot myself, because I can never do enough, I forget things, and I’m just not ready to die for people I haven’t met yet. Primitivism is embarrassing. I lived with some people who only wore skins that they tanned, and stole bison meat from Whole Foods. It smelled, and little kids thought they were LARPing. The cops keep shooting people. Perhaps in response, people keep shooting themselves.

I live out of my truck. I am not trying to save the world. The world is constantly trying to save me. The priests of science want to give me pills. Patriarchy wants to get me laid. Racism wants to give me a nice new house in Nairobi, and capital wants to give me a job. It is funny to me that they have all failed. The Earth is covered in humans like ants, and they all drag their ideologies and stupid tribal wars around like trophies. People of every nationality and creed waste their breath trying to push the Earth this way or that way, trying to fake like there is some where to go. They have nothing to push off of, no leverage. Would you like to watch the last forests become toilet paper? Would you like to contact and destroy the last indigenous tribes, to tell them “I’m sorry, but we figured out how to turn pig farts and air into fertilizer, and things got out of hand. Here’s some fried chicken and an eviction notice.” I’m not trying to take over, save the world, and steal the bacon. I just want to build a new world somewhere else.

I bought a seven dollar microscope at GoodWill, and a 10X loop with lights on it that make me look like a mad scientist. I’ve made whiskey. I don’t believe that rocket science is more difficult than insurrection. Let’s get the fuck out of here as soon as possible. You’d be surprised to learn that hippie dippy shit like ecosystem management actually makes sense when you live in a built environment. Theoretically, at least, it makes a hell of a lot more sense than what they do in the ISS. We can probably make it work.

Are you seriously gonna sit back and let fuckin Elon Musk turn Mars into a reality TV show? Earth is a tiny blue dot covered in troubles, and the endless wild universe isn’t responding to state sponsored attempts to communicate. Perhaps aliens don’t know what to say when we beam Kim Kardashian and I Love Lucy into their motherships. More importantly, space is SPACE. Distance between you and the cops. Distance between you and the church, the courts, the great failure that is Terran society and all of its stupid gravity. Instead of pounding the pud and waiting to die, why don’t we get our shit together and make a break for it?

2. Learn To Direct Your Inner Napoleon (Communism- To Share)

Space exploration seems to cost an incredible amount of money. However, anarchists have some very important advantages over government or corporate attempts to build a new Imperium. For one thing, what government does best is launder money. They pay incredible salaries to idiots just because some dipshit has a friend in the DoJ or whatever. The Apollo missions had the computational power of a student’s calculator. It’s really just a lot of hard work. I’m teaching myself calculus, and hope to shoot an iPod around the world sometime in the next couple years. You should join me. It’ll be fun.

The other thing is that they really would love it if we left. They’ll try to stop us for a little while, but then they’ll get it in their head that THE ANARCHISTS ARE LEAVING, and we’ll have all the funding we’ll ever need. The Pinkertons have been praying for it since the 1890’s. That is, if we need funding at all. Maybe we could just tell them we are leaving, and would you please just fuck off while we do our thing? Maybe we’ll have to twist some elbows on that one. Either way, we start where we are.

Put down your beer, or crack a new one. Pick up a book about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and start creating lists of materials necessary to human life on Mars, on the Moon, or in orbit. It is indeed a very long list. There is a lot to do. (A space program is the perfect front!)

Call your friends. Who knows how to weld? Who’s got the internet connection? Who’s got the keys to the biology department? Fuck mink. Liberate the electron microscopes. Who’s grows weed? NASA did a study where they measured gas exchange and plant growth given a controlled amount of light, soil, and heat. They only studied corn, soy, wheat, potatoes, tomatoes, and lettuce. If you want kale and avocados up there, you’ll have to divert a grow light or two and figure it out yourself.

Tor is great and all, but pirate radio is still using technology from the eighties. Where are the pirate cell towers? Where is the pirate internet? I heard some people in Germany want to launch satellites to give everybody free internet. Better them than google, right? Why don’t anarchists build things that anarchists use? (Bicycles, vegetables, fireworks, X-Ray Spectrometers)

People recently released from prison need shit to do, a place to live, and a community that supports them as they deal with getting out. We can provide this kind of support by creating spaces that double as labs, storage units, or production facilities for everything from Stirling engines to vermicompost. By starting from nothing, and building up to a gigantic goal, we can direct our hopelessness into something that builds serious counter power in the process. A space program is an excuse to do anything. Who cares if we succeed? At least we blew up the shed, and feel like we learned something!

Do you feel me? This endless TV show sucks. We are steadily salting the only known soil in the universe. We are trapped here with billions of desperate lunatics and megalomaniacal sociopaths. You wanna save the Earth? Leave it. You wanna build a better world? Do it. But not in the shell of the old world. Not even in its shadow. Space is the place, buddy.

Imagine a thousand asteroids hollowed out and squatted. Imagine a queer commune orbiting Uranus. Imagine a million bickering communes on Mars. Seed bombing the home planet with endangered species. An endless opportunity for failure and the occasional success. Imagine being able to talk without worrying who’s listening. Imagine free housing, free food, and chickens learning to fly in zero gravity. Imagine the sky is a great big blue window and it’s breaking. Newspaper boxes are falling from the sky and smashing to pieces in the street. We can make it
happen. (A space program is an excuse to do anything!)

3. A Tight Rope Over The Void (Science- Figure it out your damn self.)

I love my mama. However, I live with my friends. If there are future generations of humans, they will probably have drifted even farther from the old tribalism, and less-old atomized family of our time. To them, we will be dumb artifacts of history, like all the black-and-white people in Charlie Chaplin movies. What do we owe to the future, if anything? What a stupid question! The future will take everything we have, and everything we have ever cared about will become nostalgia, then shit, then dust. You’ve no more choice in this than anybody else, so there’s no excuse to go grieving about your loss. You didn’t earn any of it in the first place. All we can do is avoid blowing up the spot for the little ones who come later on. Imagine their chubby little cheeks, crying out, “Oh, papa! Oh, mama! Why are you such fucking breeders? Why must I eke by on this paved rock? Why must I sell myself, my labor and my blood, to gain my daily bread?” For crying out loud, can we get out of here now? This whole place is a sleazy theater, and the show is over, and it’s time to go.

Let’s gather our things and leave, we’ve got better things to do than watch an empty stage. Anything would be better than this. (A space program is an excuse to do anything!)

Coming Soon: A Thorough Analysis Of Materials and Technologies Involved in The Production Of HSOF (High Standard Of Living) Extraterrestrial Habitats, Utilizing Current ISRU (In Situ Resource Utilization) Technologies And Disregard For International Copyright and Patent Laws

AAA #2: Are You An Anarchist? The Answer Might Surprise You, by David Graeber

Today’s Archive entry is an essay by the anarchist anthropologist David Graeber. In “Are You An Anarchist,” Graeber argues that anarchists are normal everyday individuals who simply have taken the values of common decency, mutual trust and respect, and integrity to their logical conclusion. More importantly, he lays down a solid framework for a consistent anarchist philosophy. Find the full text below.

Chances are you have already heard something about who anarchists are and what they are supposed to believe. Chances are almost everything you have heard is nonsense. Many people seem to think that anarchists are proponents of violence, chaos, and destruction, that they are against all forms of order and organization, or that they are crazed nihilists who just want to blow everything up. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Anarchists are simply people who believe human beings are capable of behaving in a reasonable fashion without having to be forced to. It is really a very simple notion. But it’s one that the rich and powerful have always found extremely dangerous.

At their very simplest, anarchist beliefs turn on to two elementary assumptions. The first is that human beings are, under ordinary circumstances, about as reasonable and decent as they are allowed to be, and can organize themselves and their communities without needing to be told how. The second is that power corrupts. Most of all, anarchism is just a matter of having the courage to take the simple principles of common decency that we all live by, and to follow them through to their logical conclusions. Odd though this may seem, in most important ways you are probably already an anarchist — you just don’t realize it.

Let’s start by taking a few examples from everyday life.

If there’s a line to get on a crowded bus, do you wait your turn and refrain from elbowing your way past others even in the absence of police?

If you answered “yes”, then you are used to acting like an anarchist! The most basic anarchist principle is self-organization: the assumption that human beings do not need to be threatened with prosecution in order to be able to come to reasonable understandings with each other, or to treat each other with dignity and respect.

Everyone believes they are capable of behaving reasonably themselves. If they think laws and police are necessary, it is only because they don’t believe that other people are. But if you think about it, don’t those people all feel exactly the same way about you? Anarchists argue that almost all the anti-social behavior which makes us think it’s necessary to have armies, police, prisons, and governments to control our lives, is actually caused by the systematic inequalities and injustice those armies, police, prisons and governments make possible. It’s all a vicious circle. If people are used to being treated like their opinions do not matter, they are likely to become angry and cynical, even violent— which of course makes it easy for those in power to say that their opinions do not matter. Once they understand that their opinions really do matter just as much as anyone else’s, they tend to become remarkably understanding. To cut a long story short: anarchists believe that for the most part it is power itself, and the effects of power, that make people stupid and irresponsible.

Are you a member of a club or sports team or any other voluntary organization where decisions are not imposed by one leader but made on the basis of general consent?

If you answered “yes”, then you belong to an organization which works on anarchist principles! Another basic anarchist principle is voluntary association. This is simply a matter of applying democratic principles to ordinary life. The only difference is that anarchists believe it should be possible to have a society in which everything could be organized along these lines, all groups based on the free consent of their members, and therefore, that all top-down, military styles of organization like armies or bureaucracies or large corporations, based on chains of command, would no longer be necessary. Perhaps you don’t believe that would be possible. Perhaps you do. But every time you reach an agreement by consensus, rather than threats, every time you make a voluntary arrangement with another person, come to an understanding, or reach a compromise by taking due consideration of the other person’s particular situation or needs, you are being an anarchist — even if you don’t realize it.

Anarchism is just the way people act when they are free to do as they choose, and when they deal with others who are equally free — and therefore aware of the responsibility to others that entails. This leads to another crucial point: that while people can be reasonable and considerate when they are dealing with equals, human nature is such that they cannot be trusted to do so when given power over others. Give someone such power, they will almost invariably abuse it in some way or another.

Do you believe that most politicians are selfish, egotistical swine who don’t really care about the public interest? Do you think we live in an economic system which is stupid and unfair?

If you answered “yes”, then you subscribe to the anarchist critique of today’s society— at least, in its broadest outlines. Anarchists believe that power corrupts and those who spend their entire lives seeking power are the very last people who should have it. Anarchists believe that our present economic system is more likely to reward people for selfish and unscrupulous behavior than for being decent, caring human beings. Most people feel that way. The only difference is that most people don’t think there’s anything that can be done about it, or anyway— and this is what the faithful servants of the powerful are always most likely to insist— anything that won’t end up making things even worse.

But what if that weren’t true?

And is there really any reason to believe this? When you can actually test them, most of the usual predictions about what would happen without states or capitalism turn out to be entirely untrue. For thousands of years people lived without governments. In many parts of the world people live outside of the control of governments today. They do not all kill each other. Mostly they just get on about their lives the same as anyone else would. Of course, in a complex, urban, technological society all this would be more complicated: but technology can also make all these problems a lot easier to solve. In fact, we have not even begun to think about what our lives could be like if technology were really marshaled to fit human needs. How many hours would we really need to work in order to maintain a functional society — that is, if we got rid of all the useless or destructive occupations like telemarketers, lawyers, prison guards, financial analysts, public relations experts, bureaucrats and politicians, and turn our best scientific minds away from working on space weaponry or stock market systems to mechanizing away dangerous or annoying tasks like coal mining or cleaning the bathroom, and distribute the remaining work among everyone equally? Five hours a day? Four? Three? Two? Nobody knows because no one is even asking this kind of question. Anarchists think these are the very questions we should be asking.

Do you really believe those things you tell your children (or that your parents told you)?

“It doesn’t matter who started it.” “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” “Clean up your own mess.” “Do unto others…” “Don’t be mean to people just because they’re different.” Perhaps we should decide whether we’re lying to our children when we tell them about right and wrong, or whether we’re willing to take our own injunctions seriously. Because if you take these moral principles to their logical conclusions, you arrive at anarchism.

Take the principle that two wrongs don’t make a right. If you really took it seriously, that alone would knock away almost the entire basis for war and the criminal justice system. The same goes for sharing: we’re always telling children that they have to learn to share, to be considerate of each other’s needs, to help each other; then we go off into the real world where we assume that everyone is naturally selfish and competitive. But an anarchist would point out: in fact, what we say to our children is right. Pretty much every great worthwhile achievement in human history, every discovery or accomplishment that’s improved our lives, has been based on cooperation and mutual aid; even now, most of us spend more of our money on our friends and families than on ourselves; while likely as not there will always be competitive people in the world, there’s no reason why society has to be based on encouraging such behavior, let alone making people compete over the basic necessities of life. That only serves the interests of people in power, who want us to live in fear of one another. That’s why anarchists call for a society based not only on free association but mutual aid. The fact is that most children grow up believing in anarchist morality, and then gradually have to realize that the adult world doesn’t really work that way. That’s why so many become rebellious, or alienated, even suicidal as adolescents, and finally, resigned and bitter as adults; their only solace, often, being the ability to raise children of their own and pretend to them that the world is fair. But what if we really could start to build a world which really was at least founded on principles of justice? Wouldn’t that be the greatest gift to one’s children one could possibly give?

Do you believe that human beings are fundamentally corrupt and evil, or that certain sorts of people (women, people of color, ordinary folk who are not rich or highly educated) are inferior specimens, destined to be ruled by their betters?

If you answered “yes”, then, well, it looks like you aren’t an anarchist after all. But if you answered “no”, then chances are you already subscribe to 90% of anarchist principles, and, likely as not, are living your life largely in accord with them. Every time you treat another human with consideration and respect, you are being an anarchist. Every time you work out your differences with others by coming to reasonable compromise, listening to what everyone has to say rather than letting one person decide for everyone else, you are being an anarchist. Every time you have the opportunity to force someone to do something, but decide to appeal to their sense of reason or justice instead, you are being an anarchist. The same goes for every time you share something with a friend, or decide who is going to do the dishes, or do anything at all with an eye to fairness.

Now, you might object that all this is well and good as a way for small groups of people to get on with each other, but managing a city, or a country, is an entirely different matter. And of course there is something to this. Even if you decentralize society and put as much power as possible in the hands of small communities, there will still be plenty of things that need to be coordinated, from running railroads to deciding on directions for medical research. But just because something is complicated does not mean there is no way to do it democratically. It would just be complicated. In fact, anarchists have all sorts of different ideas and visions about how a complex society might manage itself. To explain them though would go far beyond the scope of a little introductory text like this. Suffice it to say, first of all, that a lot of people have spent a lot of time coming up with models for how a really democratic, healthy society might work; but second, and just as importantly, no anarchist claims to have a perfect blueprint. The last thing we want is to impose prefab models on society anyway. The truth is we probably can’t even imagine half the problems that will come up when we try to create a democratic society; still, we’re confident that, human ingenuity being what it is, such problems can always be solved, so long as it is in the spirit of our basic principles — which are, in the final analysis, simply the principles of fundamental human decency.

Anarchist Audio Archive #1: A New Declaration of Independence, by Emma Goldman

The first piece of anarchist propaganda we decided to enter into this new audio archive is a short article written by the illustrious foremother of modern anarchism, Emma Goldman. “A New Declaration of Independence” was published in Mother Earth in July, 1909, and is a perfect introduction to what anarchism stands for. Find the full text below.

When, in the course of human development, existing institutions prove inadequate to the needs of man, when they serve merely to enslave, rob, and oppress mankind, the people have the eternal right to rebel against, and overthrow, these institutions.

The mere fact that these forces — inimical to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — are legalized by statute laws, sanctified by divine rights, and enforced by political power, in no way justifies their continued existence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all human beings, irrespective of race, color, or sex, are born with the equal right to share at the table of life; that to secure this right, there must be established among men economic, social, and political freedom; we hold further that government exists but to maintain special privilege and property rights; that it coerces man into submission and therefore robs him of dignity, self-respect, and life.

The history of the American kings of capital and authority is the history of repeated crimes, injustice, oppression, outrage, and abuse, all aiming at the suppression of individual liberties and the exploitation of the people. A vast country, rich enough to supply all her children with all possible comforts, and insure well-being to all, is in the hands of a few, while the nameless millions are at the mercy of ruthless wealth gatherers, unscrupulous lawmakers, and corrupt politicians. Sturdy sons of America are forced to tramp the country in a fruitless search for bread, and many of her daughters are driven into the street, while thousands of tender children are daily sacrificed on the altar of Mammon. The reign of these kings is holding mankind in slavery, perpetuating poverty and disease, maintaining crime and corruption; it is fettering the spirit of liberty, throttling the voice of justice, and degrading and oppressing humanity. It is engaged in continual war and slaughter, devastating the country and destroying the best and finest qualities of man; it nurtures superstition and ignorance, sows prejudice and strife, and turns the human family into a camp of Ishmaelites.

We, therefore, the liberty-loving men and women, realizing the great injustice and brutality of this state of affairs, earnestly and boldly do hereby declare, That each and every individual is and ought to be free to own himself and to enjoy the full fruit of his labor; that man is absolved from all allegiance to the kings of authority and capital; that he has, by the very fact of his being, free access to the land and all means of production, and entire liberty of disposing of the fruits of his efforts; that each and every individual has the unquestionable and unabridgeable right of free and voluntary association with other equally sovereign individuals for economic, political, social, and all other purposes, and that to achieve this end man must emancipate himself from the sacredness of property, the respect for man-made law, the fearof the Church, the cowardice of public opinion, the stupid arrogance of national, racial, religious, and sex superiority, and from the narrow puritanical conception of human life. And for the support of this Declaration, and with a firm reliance on the harmonious blending of man’s social and individual tendencies, the lovers of liberty joyfully consecrate their uncompromising devotion, their energy and intelligence, their solidarity and their lives.