The Acorn – 57

acorn 2019bNumber 57

In this issue:

  1. Join the resistance!
  2. Imagine a world where we seek to destroy what destroys us
  3. Between life and death
  4. Humble but fiery reflections
  5. A sort of a warning…
  6. The rebels will return
  7. The Gates of hell
  8. Gustav Landauer: an orgrad inspiration
  9. Acorninfo

1.  Join the resistance!

émeutes2020

There had already been signs, before the coronavirus panic, that neoliberalism was shedding its fake-democratic mask and was preparing to switch to fascist mode.

And now we are well on the way. The global ruling elite have declared war on our freedom.

So what are we going to do about it? We reported in Acorn 56 that even last month there were signs of resistance.

Since then, despite the concerted efforts of the fake left to encourage supine obedience, there have been more outbreaks of anti-authoritarian revolt.

In Brussels, for instance, an anti-police uprising took place from April 10 to 12, unfortunately resulting in 100 arrests. There has also been spirited resistance on the streets of Santiago, Chile.

In France, the biggest reaction against the confinement has come from the poorest housing estates on the fringes of Paris and other cities.

The ongoing war between brutal, often racist, cops and local youth has intensified under the new police-state atmosphere and riots kicked off all over the place after Mouldi, a young man on a moped, was “accidentally” killed by police at Villeneuve la Garenne on April 18.

émeutes2020bFor night after night, in various parts of France, police were pelted with stones and fireworks and their vehicles and at least one local police station set on fire. “Mort aux porcs!”, “Death to the pigs!” was the slogan of choice.

A statement supporting the revolts has been published by a number of anti-capitalists and Gilets Jaunes.

This declares: “We haven’t forgotten that at the end of 2018 the violence of the Gilets Jaunes had become its last remaining option for seeking dignity and social justice.

“Some denied that this was the case and today there is another battle for the general interest that many would rather not see.

“This is the battle of the working-class areas who are fighting back with violence because violence is the only option the authorities have left open to them if they are to defend themselves against a police force which has granted itself power over life and death in these areas.

émeutes2020c“As ever, and as was frequently the case with the Gilets Jaunes, the political and media class will condemn these popular revolts and explain to us that nothing can justify such violence. That people can be angry and have legitimate complaints, but that they can’t be expressed in this fashion.

“This class will try to empty these eminently political acts of all their substance. It will tell us that this violence is just gratuitous barbarity. But the real barbarity here is injustice.

“This is a people’s revolt and we must get behind it!”

Meanwhile, at least one call for protests in France on Friday May 1 has gone out.

“Because we are being trampled on. Because we can’t let the State dictate our lives. Because ending the lockdown has got to be an integral part of our struggle”.

The post on Nantes Indymedia adds: “Small-scale or individual actions are fine, but it is also important to take back the streets, to re-open a space that the authorities would like to close down”.

In the UK, radicals are calling for Mayday action short of mass protest.

mayday2020

Say the Green Anticapitalist Front: “This Mayday is unlike any previous Maydays. There will be no marches in the streets and no public speeches. Yet, now more than ever, we need to show that we are still here, still angry and still fighting.

“GAF is calling for an autonomous day of action on the 1st of May. We can’t demonstrate, but that doesn’t mean we can’t revolt. Take action alone or in a small crew. Mutual aid, solidarity, and direct action, all are valid. Keep it serious, keep it quiet. But above all stay safe.

“If you want us to share your action (after the event) on our social media, send us photos and details to greenanticapitalistfront@riseup.net”

In the USA, there have been sizeable protests against the shutdown. The flag-waving and pro-business elements in this libertarian wave are a little offputting for us, to be honest!

But the determination of large numbers of Americans to stand up to tyranny is heartening.

Could it be that, from now on, the only political fault line that really matters is between those who support and bow down to the new life-crushing global techno-dictatorship and those who rise up to resist it?

We will watch with interest how things evolve on the other side of the Atlantic.

Perhaps the most interesting developments have been coming in Germany, where a collective memory of the reality of totalitarianism remains strong.

German protest Orwell

Up to 1,000 people have been turning up for what are now weekly Saturday rallies in Berlin, with other protests elsewhere.

There are conflicting reports as to who is involved in these events, with some dismissing them as essentially far-right.

But it is clear that, as with the Gilets Jaunes in France, the wave of angry opposition is flooding across the usual political divides.

This report made it clear that the latest Berlin protest “attracted mainly far-left activists”.

It added: “Some of the demonstrators wore T-shirts accusing Chancellor Angela Merkel of ‘banning life’ while others simply called for ‘freedom’. Others brandished placards bearing slogans such as ‘Stop the pharmaceutical lobby'”.

germany protest

Coverage was notably more hostile from other sources, such as Vice, with its dubious sources including “extremism experts monitoring the protests”.

It conceded that the rallies were “organized by a fringe group that considers themselves left-wing anticapitalists”, while still suggesting that they were contaminated by the right.

In another piece, Vice wrote dismissively of “conspiracy theorists” and “the paranoid belief that elites are imposing an oppressive ‘corona dictatorship’ on the public”.

Anyone detect a hint of panicky state propaganda?

One of these dangerous subversives, Anselm Lenz, gives an interview in English here.

Lenz is a journalist who was thrown out of his job for questioning the official virus narrative.

He and others have now formed a Demokatrischer Widerstand (Democratic Resistance) movement, with a printed rebel newspaper.

He explains that this is being distributed all over the country. There are now more than 100 local DW groups up and running, he says.

On Friday May 1 and Saturday May 2, the dissidents will be distributing their paper in Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin, from 3.30pm, with simultaneous events far and wide.

We look forward to hearing news of the resistance kicking off everywhere!

fuck the system

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2.  Imagine a world where we seek to destroy what destroys us

Pachamama

by @frackfree_eu

For all those who have yet to decolonise their hearts and minds from the dominant system, and are to eager to run into the arms of those offering “solutions” to what are complex societal issues.

Imagine a world where we opposed the entire system, rather than parts of it. [1] [2]

Imagine a world where we ignored the mass media. [3]

Imagine a world where we spent our time fighting the latest corporate scam instead of being distracted by whatever the mass media is trying to distract us with.

Imagine a world free of advertising.

Imagine a world where we only consume what is absolutely necessary, reducing the need for exploitation of people and planet.

Imagine a world where communities lived off-grid.

Imagine a world free of factories producing stuff we don’t need.

Another-World-Is-PossibleImagine a world where corporations didn’t exist because we produce what we need for ourselves.

Imagine a world where we all have access to land to grow enough food to be self-sufficient.

Imagine a world free of religion, where instead we hold in reverence Mother Earth and all her wonders. [4]

Imagine a world where people stopped placing their trust in NGOs and civil society organisations, and instead formed strong, organic communities to fight state and corporate greed. [5]

Imagine a world with minimum need for conventional medicine because Mother Earth offers us everything we need to stay healthy.

Imagine a world where we spent most of our days outdoors close to nature, strengthening our immune systems and building up resistance to any viruses that may come our way.

nature5Imagine a world where we cared for each other without having to rely on governments, institutions or corporations.

Imagine a world where children are taught the importance of living in harmony with the natural world rather than removed from it by spending their days learning online between four walls.

Imagine a world where children are allowed to develop their imagination and creativity without having material forced down their throats.

Imagine a world where we exchanged our skills, and did away with the need for money. [6]

Imagine a world where we stopped arguing with each other over petty things, and instead focused on what unites us rather than on what divides.

Imagine a world where we took the time to genuinely listen to each other and understand each other, rather than making rash judgements, sticking labels on each other, putting each other in boxes, positioning each other on the left-right spectrum.

Indian forest dwellersImagine a world where we stood in solidarity with indigenous and tribal peoples instead of supporting the climate capitalists hell bent on plundering more of their lands. [7]

Imagine a world where we didn’t feel obliged to get married, settle down, or have children.

Imagine a world where we didn’t have to do work that we don’t enjoy.

Imagine a world where we didn’t live by the tyranny of the clock. [8]

To learn more:

[1] Read and watch: Crimethinc — To change everything
[2] Read: The Anarchist Revelation, Paul Cudenec
[3] Herbert Marcuse: ‘The non-functioning of television and the allied media might thus begin to achieve what the inherent contradictions of capitalism did not achieve — the disintegration of the system’.
[4] Read: The Green One, Paul Cudenec
[5] ‘[Ferdinand Tönnies] explicitly equated Gesellschaft, the opposite of his organic Gemeinschaft, with capitalism. “The merchants or capitalists”, he wrote, “are the natural masters and rulers of the Gesellschaft. The Gesellschaft exists for their sake. It is their tool”.’
[6] Read: The Moneyless Man, Mark Boyle
[7] Read, watch and listen to the resources at https://winteroak.org.uk/climate-capitalists/
[8] Read: The Tyranny of the Clock, George Woodcock

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3. Between life and death

machine world

by @ludicluddite

Western Despotism can now unload the liberal baggage of bourgeois democratic institutions, having ruined the planet and enslaved humanity to its poisonous techno/industrial economy.

The capitalist disaster returns to its despotic origins, as the grave it is digging for itself threatens to take the rest of us and all living things that populate the planet.

The digital nightmare that will make domination inescapable is being foisted on a population terrorised by the very products it consumes and the mode of production that creates them.

The machine man and machine world that is domination’s dream of total control requires a level of servitude that can only be realized through the coercive apparatus of the state and the techno industrial Hydra that has colonized daily life with increasing speed in the last 20 years.

The choices that we humans face boil down to one: the living death of servitude, as machines in a machine world or liberty, or put in a more clear way, between life and death.

robot skull

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4. Humble but fiery reflections

325

The Road to Hell Is Paved with Good Intentions: COVID-19, Corbyn and ‘Crisis’ is a new 44-page brochure on the 325 website which reflects that the UK anarchist movement has been badly led astray by the Jeremy Corbyn phenomenon and now in its reaction to the virus clamp-down. It states: “Relationships that were built on shared ideas and experiences have become damaged. This isn’t some teenage angst ridden over dramatisation, it is a genuine reflection, a question about what remains”. The full text is available here, but below are few choice segments:

325

We planned to get this text together and then publish and distribute it when stuff “returned to normal”. But, the reality is: there is no going back to what was “normal,” so even though some may read this text as an unsympathetic distraction from a global “crisis”, and an unhelpful poke in some festering wounds (when we should be focusing on “unity”), we hope our humble but fiery reflections will spark some much needed discourse. We are living in a hostile environment, but it was important to us not to shy away from our beliefs in these dark times, and to respond accordingly.

325

Already many mutual aid groups have become channels for gossip (who knows where this will go in the next few weeks… comrades in Italy warn us of neighbourhood snitching and people using these channels to do the work of the police). Already over half the police forces in England are co-opting the mutual aid groups and using them as an extension of their surveillance mechanisms. The divisive mentality that emerged with the growth of social media (the idea that you are inherently dodgy if you don’t engage; as you must have something to hide) has spiked, and like the virus, it seems unclear when it will “peak”.

325

To those who say that now is not the time for “civil unrest,” that division is unhelpful, that we must keep going… we say: now is the time for it all. Mutual aid and solidarity can be no more than acts of charity if they are not combined with resistance in this current context. Carefully, whilst being safe and thinking of others… rebel, resist, and plan. Find
the gaps, use the skills and networks you have. Keep yourself sane and your rebellious heart burning, because when the virus eases, the police state will continue, and food parcels and lending books are not going to dismantle it. Stay sharp.

COVID-19 is in many ways a global gift to all leaders and politicians seeking to ramp up social control. After the virus eases, we will see unprecedented changes on a global scale as legislation that was rushed through hangs over us like a spectre and people obediently go about their business, terrified of Covid-20. We hope that we will never be too scared to resist. Corona shows us that the system is fucked. Will you kick it while it’s down?

325

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5. A sort of warning

by The South Essex Heckler

We’ve had week after week of wall to wall coverage of the COVID-19 crisis in the media. The question is, how many people are still paying attention to it and how many, for the sake of their sanity, are choosing to switch off from it? If this ever ends, it would be an interesting exercise to conduct research on what effect this barrage of coverage has had on people’s mental health. It would also be interesting to see how much this relentless coverage has further undermined people’s already shrinking faith in the media.

We’ve been doing what we can to try and keep up with developments but to be honest, we have days when the stress of trying to discern any meaningful signal from the cacophony of noise is so overwhelming, we simply switch off and try to re-focus the following day. Having said this, a still somewhat scratchy picture is starting to emerge of what we face in the coming months and years as the COVID-19 crisis evolves and morphs into something that will quite possibly be sinister and dystopian.

Fault lines are emerging. On the one hand, there are those who by and large accept the lockdown and the need for it to go on for some considerable time and also, are largely supportive of whatever tracking and monitoring measures have been mooted to ostensibly limit and eventually eliminate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

South Essex HecklerOn the other hand, there are those who have taken a look at the relentless coverage of the crisis, smelt a rat and are starting to question the narrative we’re being fed, particularly when that is being used to justify measures which will restrict our freedom and subject us to more surveillance.

As regular readers of the Heckler may have gathered, we tend towards the latter. We’re anarchists and as we’re supposed to accept no higher authority than ourselves and those we collectively organise with, it would be downright negligent of us to not question the narrative we’re being fed!

Coming right in over the top of this is the threat of more austerity to ‘pay’ for the money the government has spent in ‘dealing’ with the COVID-19 crisis. The impact of the last round of austerity is still being felt and has decimated the lives of millions of working class people. Another round of austerity will leave millions with nothing left to lose. That will have consequences as Dr Lisa Mckenzie clearly sets out in this piece: If the UK government brings in a new round of austerity to pay for Covid-19, it’ll spark civil unrest that will see cities burn.

So, all of the extra powers the government has conferred upon itself and all of the surveillance and tracking that’s coming our way, ostensibly to deal with COVID-19, will certainly come in handy when the shit hits the fan as the next wave of austerity is sent to crush us. Just one example are the powers that could see restrictions or bans on large gatherings for the rest of the year and quite possibly, into 2021. As we’ve mentioned previously, large gatherings will take in demonstrations and radical/anarchist bookfairs.

Which leaves us with mutual aid work and online propagandising. If you keep your mutual aid work away from digital networks as far as possible, avoid any hierarchy, keep it grassroots and face to face, you’ll get by. Those of us who are basically propagandists and because of the dearth of opportunities to physically distribute our material, pretty much have to rely on being online, will be facing a very uncertain future as we slide towards more authoritarianism.

Pubs-closed

On the subject of restrictions, there are strong rumours that many cafes, pubs and restaurants will not open again until close to Christmas. Bear in mind, many of these establishments face the prospect of going to the wall: Pubs in the UK Might be Closed Until Christmas – If They Survive at All. As we’ve written before, that’s a massive loss of opportunities to meet up with friends for company, drink and/or food.

While those of us whose jobs have survived this massive economic shock will be gradually returning to work, there will be little or no socialising because there won’t be anywhere to go. Life will be reduced to work, commute, eat, sleep, commute, work…repeat on loop, ad infinitum. Entertainment will not be the company of friends but whatever is being piped down to our TVs. A diet of fear-mongering so called ‘news’ designed to keep us frightened and reliant on the authorities to look after us. Sprinkled with a toxic dose of divide and rule to keep us divided, atomised and easier to manipulate and control.

That’s for those ‘lucky’ enough to still be in ‘steady’ work. For the millions more who’ll be on precarious zero hours contracts or unemployed, struggling to find work in an economy that’s been gutted and reliant on Universal Credit, life will be grim. For those who are disabled and rely on Universal Credit and a gutted public sector for the support they need, life is already horrendous as they find themselves increasingly thrown to the margins. As it is for the elderly in care homes pretty much unable to access hospital treatment and finding that they’re subject to ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ notices.

We’re in a society where some lives are seen as worth considerably less than others – based on how much people can or can’t contribute to the ‘bottom line’. When that narrative starts to become widely accepted, what is essentially a cull by a combination of neglect and malice starts to become normalised.

The lockdown is tearing us apart from each other. If a loved one has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 before they passed away, not only were you not allowed to be with them in their final hours if they were in hospital, you’re not allowed to see their body before cremation. Numbers are strictly limited at the funeral with physical distancing enforced and no wake afterwards. At a point in life where you need to emotional and physical support of family and friends, it’s denied to you. People are going to be mentally scarred by experiencing the passing of a loved one in this way for the rest of their lives.

playground closedWe live opposite a park with play equipment, now taped off. It’s been silent since March when the lockdown was brought in. Along with the closure of nurseries and schools, kids have been denied the opportunity to play with each other. Play is not a frivolous activity. From toddlers onwards, play is how kids learn to interact with each other. It’s how they learn to negotiate, compromise and co-operate with each other. It’s how they learn from mistakes and go on to become fully rounded human beings. Denying kids the opportunity to play for any significant length of time is going to cause long term developmental and mental health issues down the line.

Adolescence is when kids really start to work out who they are. It’s when kids quite rightly want to assert their independence and get out into the world. It’s when long term friendships are formed. It’s when they develop a support network of their peers. Can you imagine what an adolescent will be feeling when all of this is denied to them as they face what is to all intents and purposes, indefinite house arrest? A ‘normal’ adolescent will find this hard enough. Anyone with mental health issues will find this agonising. Tragically, this has already led to adolescents feeling they have no option but to take their lives.

Lockdown with an abusive partner or parent is a nightmare that doesn’t even bear thinking about. It’s a potential death sentence. Anyone advocating the continuation of the lockdown really needs to have some thought as to what urgently has to happen to prevent any more tragedies where an individual has been killed by an abusive partner or parent.

lockdown gate

As we’ve written previously, it really does feel like we’re being subjected to a massive psychological experiment: A few readings and thoughts on the psychological impact of COVID-19 anxiety and the lockdown. One in which we’re simultaneously being subjected to an unprecedented level of fear-mongering and being torn apart from each other. One in which we’re being made to feel that the only option of being able to move forwards is to subject ourselves to a loss of autonomy through increased tracking and surveillance, ostensibly for our own good. One in which our hopes and plans for the future have been trashed. One in which we’re being atomised and made ever more dependent on the whims of our rulers for our survival. One which has already turned into a fucking nightmare for a lot of people and will do for many more of us.

It seems that when a commentator uses the word ‘reset’ to describe the social and economic turmoil that’s coming our way, the accusations of ‘conspiracy theory’ start flying around. The last few weeks have been quite revealing in terms of where those accusations have been coming from because a fair number of them have come from people who consider themselves to be ‘radical’ and a few from so called ‘anarchists’. The point is that the global lockdown has caused an economic shock of historic proportions that like previous shocks, will end up seeing more wealth concentrated in fewer hands. As has already been seen in the years since the banking crash of 2008.

police checksSo, people who may think they’re doing the right thing by supporting restrictions on movement and gatherings, as well as increased tracking and surveillance are actually supporting the creation and enhancement of an apparatus that will completely screw our lives and freedoms. All we ask is that you take a deep breath, take a few steps back, do your best to get some perspective and start to ask some hard questions about what’s being done to us. If those questions aren’t asked and we continue on the trajectory we’re on, for many of us, life will become mere existence as we’re effectively plugged into a dystopian matrix. Many may not even survive to experience this.

You may find this hard to believe but we’d really love it if we were wrong on everything we’ve written above and ended up with a copious amount of egg on our faces. Trust us, we want to wake up and find this has all been a bad dream. The thing is, we wake up every morning, check our news feed, see the deserted playground opposite us, feel that tightening, sickening feeling in our guts and realise this is reality. We’ve got an all too narrow window of opportunity to act and start to resist what’s happening to us. If we don’t, not only are we screwed, generations to come will be as well…

anarchy is freedom

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6. The rebels will return

June 18 1999b

by Paul Cudenec

I have always been proud to be an anarchist.

I am proud to have found my way to anarchism some 30 years ago, proud to have learned all I could about anarchism, to have put anarchism into practice, to have met existing anarchists, to have led others towards anarchism, to have written and talked so much about anarchism.

I have lived anarchism and I know that I will die an anarchist.

That is why it pains me to have had to say that there are today some fundamental problems at the very heart of the anarchist movement, problems which reach deep into the very way it thinks and feels.

It saddens me to have had to point out that what presents itself to the outside world as anarchism is often nothing but the empty shell of anarchism, a zombie anarchism, still stumbling ahead with black flag held aloft, but cruelly robbed of its soul.

Needless to say there are plenty of anarchists around the world who are true to the essence of the idea, some of whom have let me know that they share my concerns.

But I have got a horrible feeling that these authentic anarchists are, these days, very much in the minority.

My first inkling that all was not well with anarchism, and indeed the wider social movement to which it belongs, came nearly 19 years ago.

Up until that moment, everything had been going swimmingly well for me. I was inspired and delighted by the seemingly unstoppable tide of the global anti-capitalist revolt of which I formed a tiny part.

I should say here that I wasn’t at the great battles of Seattle, Prague or Genoa, although I was in the City of London on June 18, 1999 and at the subsequent Mayday events.

But missing out on all the “summit hopping” didn’t make me any less enthusiastic about the great revolution that seemed to be approaching.

My comrades and I made sure the inhabitants of our home town were well aware of what was happening across the world, via leaflets, bulletins, posters, meetings, protests and squatted infoshops.

I am sure I was still feeling as motivated as ever on September 11 2001, as a group of us travelled to London Docklands to protest against the DSEI arms fair.

The demo ground to halt when news started coming in of the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York and people rushed to the pub to watch the news on TV.

We didn’t, of course, understand the implications of what had happened and initially welcomed it as another sign of the impending collapse of the evil empire.

The actual effect of 9/11 on our struggle only became clear to me a few weeks later when I was attending a meeting in the nearby city whose thriving anarchist scene was, to me and my friends, a constant source of inspiration.

Someone who had been very much part of the pink-and-silver-samba-bloc Zeitgeist of the uprising told me that she wouldn’t be doing that any more. It didn’t seem right, after the terrorist attack, to continue our carnival-cum-war against the USA and its world of capitalism.

I was completely taken aback by this comment. I simply couldn’t imagine how anyone – anyone on my side! – could have come to that decision.

Stop fighting against everything that was bad in the world because something else bad had happened, something that wasn’t our fault, that was nothing to do with us, that had no bearing on the reasons or the aims of our struggle?

My disappointment resonates now across the years, vibrating with the brave new world of 2020…

Fortunately, this wasn’t the end of the movement to which I had attached myself. It morphed seamlessly into the radical wing of the anti-war movement in 2002 and 2003.

The demos were less fun-based now, maybe, but the energy was very much still in evidence, together with a firmness of ethical conviction that was well able to withstand the weapons of mass deception unleashed by Blair, Campbell and Bush.

It wasn’t just anarchists who didn’t believe their lies, of course. Millions of people rejected their message of fear and took to the streets to say so.

The authorities hadn’t quite perfected their narrative projection in those days. They hadn’t properly closed down all the possibilities of dissent. But that still didn’t stop them from going ahead with the invasion of Iraq!

Another moment of disappointment for me came in the summer of 2005 during the anti-G8 moblisation in Scotland, one which was strangely similiar to that of 2001.

Once again our protests came to a halt, this time because of the 7/7 carnage down in London.

Once again something bad had happened somewhere else, something that wasn’t our fault, that was nothing to do with us, that had no bearing on the reasons or the aims of our protest.

Some people were saying we should call off the planned demos. Why? Why would we want to do that?

I recall that we broke down into bario meetings to discuss what to do. Our group was certainly in favour of carrying on the mobilisation and I heard later that the same was true of others.

But, somehow or other, the non-leaders at the Stirling convergence space deemed that the democratic decision had been taken to throw in the towel. Their de-escalation team went into action to defuse all that inconvenient anarchist rage.

They must have diligently continued their work everywhere afterwards, because from that point on, there seemed to be decreasing levels of anger, and indeed, energy, in the UK movement.

The very idea of physically opposing global capitalist summits, which had so inspired me in the past, was now considered hopelessly old hat.

The 2013 Stop The G8 campaign was largely snubbed by what was left of the anarchist movement in the country and the London mobilisation would have been a total flop without the enthusiastic participation of European comrades.

Since then, the movement and its attitudes seem to have become progressively drained of the coherent and powerful worldview which drew me to anarchism as a young man in search of political and philosophical truth.

Every couple of years, a new fashionable obsession seems to have taken a grip, speaking a language I do not know in order to express views which are completely alien to me.

Noam Chomsky has spoken about the “incomprehensible gibberish that comes out of left-wing intellectual movements”, which he described as “just impossible to understand”. (1)

There are two obvious consequences to this relentless advance of the anarchist scene into an intellectual and political dead-end.

Firstly, the people it recruits will be those who are prepared to uncritically conform to its one-dimensional newthink, who are willing to surrender their own independence of thought and swallow what Chomsky called “the latest version of post-modern this and that”.

It now turns out, at this historical moment, that these are exactly the kind of people who are eager to accept whatever version of the truth is presented to them by authority figures.

They are also the kind of people who are eager to condemn and ostracise any old-fashioned anarchists who have the audacity to think for themselves.

I have noticed that, inevitably I suppose, they do so using the same reflexes and language with which they try to impose their dogma on their comrades.

The whole world becomes a “safer space” when they insist that you should not question martial-law lockdown because you could put others at risk.

When you point out that the virus is mainly killing those who are already sick or old, they declare that you are “ablist” and use their familiar shaming and accusatory tone in order to imply that drawing attention to the relatively low mortality rate is the same thing as welcoming the deaths of those who have sadly succumbed.

Someone saw fit to slip into his argument against my condemnation of the clampdown the fact that I am “white”, which apparently means my views on absolutely everything are hopelessly polluted by privilege and can happily be ignored by all left-thinking citizens. (He is also “white”, by the way).

The guilt-by-association smearing is pushed to the extreme. Whatever view you share which is critical of the panic and the global police state it has spawned turns out to be illegitimate because the person who expressed it is a believer in the wrong kind of freedom (see my previous post), or is an “anti-vaxxer”, or uses language or arguments that sound suspiciously alt-right, or has otherwise not earned the blue tick of ideological purity.

Their greatest magical weapon is, of course, the term “conspiracy theorist”. No sooner is it brandished, than all need to refute fact or engage logically is dispelled in a great puff of newthink smoke.

The argument has been won without even the need to address it!

The other side of the coin, the corollary to the take-over of the movement by zombie-anarchists, is the question of what has happened to all the born anarchists.

Chomsky’s comments came in the context of his concern that young people would be turned away from anarchism by the cult-like ideological fixations that are today so dominant.

It’s not even just the young. There are people of all ages who learn a little bit about anarchism, would like to find out more with a view to getting involved and so dip their toes into the water by turning up at an anarchist venue or event.

If they run a mile and never come back, what happens to them? And what happens to those who never even get that far, who get one faint whiff of the stifling intellectual claustrophobia via the internet and realise there is no place for them in that self-righteous and puritan little world?

I think they are still out there. They may or may not think of themselves as anarchists. They may use other labels or none at all. We don’t have to give ourselves labels.

But they are still anarchists, natural anarchists, the rebels who would have formed a strong and healthy anti-capitalist movement if it had not been sabotaged from within by the zombies.

They are the anarchists who would have stood up, in anger and en masse, against the coronavirus coup d’état.

These natural anarchists will keep emerging in each generation, because a love of freedom and truth is part of what it means to be human.

They may emerge and rise up now, straight away, in the face of this unprecedented global power grab.

Or it may happen later, when they have had a chance to reorientate themselves and find each other.

But we can be sure that sooner or later they will cast off their muzzles, unplug their chains and try to smash to pieces the slave-system which has stolen everything from them.

Because, after all, as Gustav Landauer (2) put it, anarchy is life. Where there’s life there’s anarchy. Where there’s anarchy there’s hope.

1. Noam Chomsky, ‘Anarchism, Intellectuals and the State’, Chomsky on Anarchism, ed. by Barry Pateman (Edinburgh, Oakland and West Virginia: AK Press, 2005), p.217.

2. Gustav Landauer, Revolution and Other Writings: A Political Reader, ed. and trans. by Gabriel Kuhn, (Oakland: PM Press, 2010), p. 74.

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7. The Gates of hell

vaccine imperialism

One name which keeps coming up again and again in the context of the Covid-19 coup is that of billionaire Bill Gates.

Indeed, he himself announced on April 27 that as from that day, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would be focusing its “total attention” on the pandemic.

His allies and apologists are complaining that poor Bill is the victim of “misinformation” and “conspiracy theories” regarding his involvement and influence.

So horribly unfair when he has “donated $250 million toward the crisis, espoused the importance of developing a safe and effective vaccine, and supported the creation of a government-funded manufacturing infrastructure”.

But it is undeniable that the Microsoft founder has got his fingers in many a pie.

Researcher Jacob Levich has described Gates’ activities as part of a new “global health imperialism”.

He says: “Interlocking networks of foundations, foundation-sponsored NGOs, and US government institutions like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) — notorious as a “pass-through” for CIA funds — work hand-in-hand in support of imperialism, subverting people-friendly states and social movements by co-opting institutions deemed helpful to US global strategy”.

Bill and Belinda Gates
Bill and Belinda

Levich adds: “The Gates Foundation exercises power not only via its own spending, but more broadly through an elaborate network of ‘partner organizations’ including non-profits, government agencies, and private corporations.

“It orchestrates vast elaborate public-private partnerships – charitable salmagundis that tend to blur distinctions between states, which are at least theoretically accountable to citizens, and profit-seeking businesses that are accountable only to their shareholders”.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation dishes out phenomenal amounts of funding every year across the global health sector. In the words of one NGO official quoted by Levich: “You can’t cough, scratch your head or sneeze in health without coming to the Gates Foundation”.

Some salient facts:

WHO logo* The Gates Foundation is the World Health Organization’s second biggest donor. “This largesse gives him outsized influence over its agenda” notes the Politico website. “Gates’ priorities have become the WHO’s”.

* Gates Foundation cash has been pouring into Imperial College, London, which came up with the scaremongering death toll projections – £63 million in 2020 alone!

* Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, the US equivalent of Imperial, received at least $2,876,472 from the Gates Foundation in 2019.

* The UK’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty declared himself “delighted” in 2008 when the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded £31 million for his consortium’s malaria research in Africa. One good turn deservers another.

* The BBC, whose shock-and-awe propaganda has been keeping the UK public paralysed by fear, is funded by the Gates Foundation to the tune of many millions of pounds.

* The Guardian’s “Global Development” section declares: “This website is funded by support provided, in part, by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation”.

guardian gates

* Gavi, the “Vaccine Alliance”, received $2,498,750 from the Gates Foundation in 2019. On its website it lists its first partner as the Bill and Gates Foundation, followed by Unicef, the WHO and The World Bank.

* Gates has been described as “a major player in trying to get the world to go digital and ditch cash, especially relevant given his role in the COVID-19 issue”.

* The Gates Foundation is a heavy pusher of agrochemicals and patented seeds. Environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason, questioning why pesticides did not feature in a WHO-UNICEF-Lancet report, discovered that many of the 42 listed authors had received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, attends a news conference as the foundation teams up with the Japan Sports Agency and Tokyo 2020 to promote the Sustainable Development Goals in conjunction with the Olympics, in Tokyo

* Gates wants to create global health “governance” which would “work closely with Western military forces, specifically NATO, in operations targeting the developing world”. It would have the power to bypass national safety regulations, suspend constitutional rights and impose surveillance networks.

It is not as if nobody had noticed the evolving Gates global power grab. It has been building up for some time.

In 2016, Global Justice Now warned that it was likely that “Bill Gates, who has regular access to world leaders and is in effect personally bankrolling hundreds of universities, international organisations, NGOs and media outlets, has become the single most
influential voice in international development”.

It drew attention to the Gates Foundation’s “aggressive corporate strategy and extraordinary influence across governments, academics and the media” and the astonishing absence of voices criticising its influence.

“Global Justice Now is concerned that the foundation’s influence is so pervasive that many actors in international development, which would otherwise critique the policy and practice of the foundation, are unable to speak out independently as a result of its funding and patronage”.

But now, as events accelerate rapidly, lots more critical attention is finally being turned to the Gates empire.

bill-and-boris

Investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley, for instance, warns that behind the COVID-19 drama is “an entire pharmaceutical complex potentially protecting its own interests over any genuine concerns for the health and welfare of global populations”. This involves The Gates Foundation, the World Bank and the British Government.

Gates’ key role in advocating for a global vaccination programme is also probed by Eric Wagner in Multipolar Magazin. He examines “ID 2020”, which wants to roll out a global “digital identity” system of control and says: “The founding partners of the project are Gates’ company Microsoft, the Gates-sponsored vaccination alliance GAVI, the management consultancy Accenture and the Rockefeller Foundation, one of the oldest and wealthiest foundations in the USA”.

And a useful report on the Children’s Health Defense site adds: “Globally, roughly 70 COVID-19 vaccines are in various stages of development — a veritable gold rush that will be all the more lucrative since Gates has made sure that the vaccines will be indemnified against lawsuits”.

covid paranoia

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8. Gustav Landauer: an orgrad inspiration

Gustav Landauer died 101 years ago on May 2, beaten and kicked to death by proto-fascists after taking part in the defeated Bavarian Revolution of 1919. Here we share the profile of this important anarchist thinker from the orgrad website.

Gustav Landauer

“Anarchy is life; the life that awaits us after we have freed ourselves from the yoke”

Gustav Landauer (1870-1919) was an important anarchist theorist and key precursor of organic radicalism.

He took part in the Bavarian Revolution at the end of the First World War but, with its collapse, he was arrested and murdered by proto-Nazi Freikorps soldiers in Stadelheim Prison, Munich.

Strongly influenced by Meister Eckhart, NovalisFriedrich Hölderlin and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Landauer was very much part of the Romantic anti-capitalist tradition identified by Michael Löwy and has been described as representing “a left-wing form of the völkisch current in thought”. (1)

Like his friend Martin Buber, he saw a close link between human interrelationships and the rebirth of community which was needed to put society right.

Landauer also echoed the likes of William Morris and John Ruskin in condemning the “unculture” of industrial capitalist society.

bahnhofmunchen

He wrote in 1911: “Progress, what you call progress, this incessant hustle-bustle, this rapid tiring and neurasthenic, short-breathed chase after novelty, after anything new as long as it is new, this progress and the crazy ideas of the practitioners of development associated with it… this progress, this unsteady, restless haste; this inability to remain still and this perpetual desire to be on the move, this so-called progress is a symptom of our abnormal condition, our unculture”. (2)

His vision was based on living human communities, social organisms with their own guiding collective spirit or Geist, arising from below and from within. This is very much the idea of the authentic human community, the Gemeinschaft, described by Ferdinand Tönnies.

Landauer was inspired by organic medieval society, which he contrasted with contemporary top-down artificiality.

medieval town2He wrote: “The state, with its police and all its laws and its contrivances for property rights, exists for the people as a miserable replacement for Geist and for organizations with specific purposes; and now the people are supposed to exist for the sake of the state, which pretends to be some sort of ideal structure and a purpose in itself, to be Geist

“Earlier there were corporate groups, clans, gilds, fraternities, communities, and they all interrelated to form society. Today there is coercion, the letter of the law, the state”. (3)

The state combined with industrial society to destroy all authentic collective spirit, argued Landauer.

Writes Charles Maurer: “The most obvious sign of the absence of Geist was for Landauer the plight of the industrial workers.

“Separated from the earth and its products and spiritually isolated from each other despite the closeness of their living conditions, they become victims of alcohol, disease, and poverty.

“The relationship between worker and employer becomes completely dehumanized through capitalism, technology, and the state”. (4)

germanfactory

Landauer bitterly opposed Marxists for remaining trapped in this mechanistic mindset and for failing to lead a deep and effective resistance to industrial capitalism.

Russell Berman and Tim Luke explain that, for Landauer, Marxism was itself “part of the problem posed by industrialization”. (5)

They add: “Marxism, despite its revolutionary appearance, functions in fact as an impediment to socialism. In the light of Landauer’s critique, nineteenth century scientific socialism ceases to appear as a radical critique of the status quo. Rather, behind its revolutionary pretenses, it buttresses the development of capitalist structures”. (6)

In his booklet For Socialism, Landauer was vehemently outspoken against the Marxists who had taken control of the socialist movement of which he considered himself a part.

He described their dogma as “the plague of our times and the curse of the socialist movement” (7) and bemoaned “the grotesque wrongness of their materialist conception of history” (8) in which they reduced everything to “what they call economic and social reality”. (9)

Soviet factory

Landauer also hinted at his disquiet over the growing influence of Marxism, and its modes of thinking, on the anarchist movement.

He refered disparagingly to “the syndicalists and the anarcho-socialists, recently so-called by a pitiful misuse of two noble names” as the Marxists’ “brothers” (10) and specifically extended his condemnation to all Marxists “whether they call themselves Social Democrats or anarchists”. (11)

Still today, Landauer’s rich and powerful brand of anarchism is sometimes dismissed as “mystical” and therefore unacceptable to the shallow modern industrial world view adopted by too many so-called anarchists.

Like Constantin von Monakow, Landauer extended his concept of the organic to a cosmic level, regarding the universe as a living creature with a collective soul and writing that “the psyche [das Seelenhafte] in the human being is a function or manifestation of the infinite universe”. (12)

Landauer’s use of terms like Geist and Seelenhafte forms an inherent part of his anarchism, flowing naturally from the rest of his philosophy.

He was opposed to all private land ownership, declaring: “All ownership of things, all land-ownership is in reality ownership of men. Whoever withholds the earth from others, from the masses, forces these others to work for him. Private ownership is theft and slave-holding”. (13)

He was equally opposed to the power of the state favoured by his Marxist rivals, which destroyed authentic and organic society inspired by the collective Geist.

The idea of Geist also fed into Landauer’s ideas regarding revolution, along with his related concept of Wahn, a kind of motivating resonance which could bring about sudden radical change.

munich1919

He explained: “Wahn is not only every goal, every ideal, every belief in a sense of purpose of life and the world: Wahn is every banner followed by mankind; every drumbeat leading mankind into danger; every alliance that unites mankind and creates from a sum of individuals a new structure, an organism”. (14)

Landauer said the spark for revolution was always the stupidity, brutality or weakness of rulers, but that “the people, the thinkers, the poets are a powder keg, loaded with spirit and the power of creative destruction”. (15)

The energy of Wahn would ensure that this powder keg ignited: “There is no need to fear a lack of revolutionaries: they actually arise by a sort of spontaneous generation – namely when the revolution comes.

“The voice of the spirit is the trumpet that will sound again and again and again, as long as men are together. Injustice will always seek to perpetuate itself; and always as long as men are truly alive, revolt against it will break out”. (16)

Anarchism, said Landauer, was “a collective name for transformative ambitions” (17) and its role was to encourage Wahn and help create the resonance of revolution.

In this way it could rid the human social organism of the stifling restrictions imposed by property, the state and industrialism and allow it to breathe and flourish in a free and natural way.

As Landauer famously declared: “Anarchy is life; the life that awaits us after we have freed ourselves from the yoke”. (18)

Video link: Soviet Republic of Bavaria (2 mins)

LandauerAufruf.jpg

1. Russell Berman & Tim Luke, ‘Introduction’, Gustav Landauer, For Socialism, trans. by David J Parent, (St Louis: Telos Press, 1978), p. 8.
2. Gustav Landauer, For Socialism, pp. 35-36.
3. Gustav Landauer, Aufruf zum Sozialismus (Berlin: 2nd ed, 1919), pp. 19-20, cit. Charles B. Maurer, Call to Revolution: The Mystical Anarchism of Gustav Landauer (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1971), p. 93.
4. Maurer, pp. 108-109.
5. Berman & Luke, ‘Introduction’, For Socialism, p. 10.
6. Berman & Luke, Introduction, For Socialism, p. 11.
7. Landauer, For Socialism, p. 32.
8. Landauer, For Socialism, p. 123.
9. Landauer, For Socialism, p. 56.
10. Landauer, For Socialism, p. 57.
11. Landauer, For Socialism, p. 82.
12. Gustav Landauer, Skepsis und Mystik: Versuche im Anschluss an Mauthners Sprachkritik (Cologne: 2d ed, 1923) p. 7, cit. Maurer, p. 69.
13. Landauer, For Socialism, p. 128.
14. Landauer, Beginnen: Aufsätze über Sozialismus, ed. by Martin Buber, Cologne, 1924, p. 16, cit. Maurer, p. 92.
15. Gustav Landauer, Revolution and Other Writings: A Political Reader, ed. and trans. by Gabriel Kuhn, (Oakland: PM Press, 2010) p. 170.
16. Landauer, For Socialism, p. 82 & p. 130.
17. Landauer, Revolution and Other Writings, p. 304.
18. Landauer, Revolution and Other Writings, p. 74.

orgrad logo

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9. Acorninfo

A wave of direct action has broken out against 5G, the central infrastructure of what some are calling the Fourth Industrial Repression. Masts have been torched in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands, with “conspiracy theories” inevitably being blamed by corporate media. Meanwhile, a study has emerged from Spain pointing to a very clear geographical relationship between “coronavirus outbreaks” and the presence of 5G networks. English version here.

5G-masts-set-on-fire

* * *

An international day of action against mobile phones has been called for June 2O-21 2020. A new organization called End Cellphones Here on Earth (ECHOEarth) announces that its mission is “to end the root cause of the wireless web that is punching holes in our atmosphere and bathing us all in radiation”.

5G mast

* * *

Three Days Against Techno-Sciences is the title of an event to be staged in Italy in July. This is described as “an informal, convivial and international opportunity for discussion and reflection among individuals and organisations engaged in building an analysis and a critique of what we may call the technoworld”. Contact info@resistenzealnanomondo.org

resistenze

* * *

Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has spoken out against the new covid-fascism. He wrote: “The disproportionate reaction to what according to the CNR is something not too different from the normal flus that affect us every year is quite blatant. It is almost as if with terrorism exhausted as a cause for exceptional measures, the invention of an epidemic offered the ideal pretext for scaling them up beyond any limitation”.

Giorgio-Agamben

* * *

“The truth is that all that is living, all living organisms, the cells that comprise them and the ecosystems they exist within, are the sum total of our individual life”. Beyond the Dark Horizon is a green anarchist review from so-called Australia and can be found here.

beyond the dark horizon

* * *

“Between the SDGs, the WEF’s calls for a ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, and the rise of carbon-markets and ‘natural capital’, it’s clear that ecomodernism is not just a buzzword for naive ex-hippies and dodgy PR agents; it is the ideological framework for an emerging green technocracy. A conservation-industrial complex, if you will”. Android Wolves, Electric Sheep: Ecomodernism and The Rise of the Green Technocracy is the first article on a brand new blog, Symbiotic Culture.

androidwolves

* * *

Planet of the Humans is a new film by Jeff Gibbs, in collaboration with Michael Moore, and it is currently free to view. Like the Wrong Kind of Green website, we have reservations over its emphasis on population, rather than consumption, as a key issue, but this remains a splendid demolition of the climate capitalists’ scam of selling us their industrial solutions to an industrial problem.

Planet_of_the_Humans_01

* * *

A very thorough analysis by Iain Davis on the Off-Guardian site presents evidence “which strongly suggests the State and the MSM, adhering to a globalist agenda, have colluded to mislead the public into believing the COVID 19 threat is far greater than it actually is”. A must-read.

lockdown sign

* * *

“This is a war. Not a war on a pandemic but a war on the people. This is corporate authoritarianism. This is fascism. We are nothing more than torture victims at the hands of these emotional terrorists”. Quarantyranny is a remarkable 30-minute video from the Book of Ours team in the USA.

emotional terrorists

* * *

“Perhaps we’ve decided that freedom no longer has value. It would seem that safety has taken primacy in the left’s discourse in recent years”. So writes Lorenzo Raymond in a April 23 article on the Diversity of Tactics website.

monitoring anklet

* * *

“We must recognize we live in a capitalist economic system that serves capital first and foremost”, warns investigative journalist Cory Morningstar. The World Economic Forum is using “influencers” such as David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg and Jane Goodall to push us into the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the monetization of nature, in lockstep with the deployment of central bank digital currency.  She adds: “Covid19 is the conduit to the #4IR now in full motion. As people come to terms with what is being forced upon humanity, we will soon regret that we did not unite to oppose to draconian lockdowns and expanding surveillance that will serve to protect/insulate ruling classes from revolt”.

WEF new global architecture

* * *

We were all set to share with readers a clear, level-headed and professional exposure of the reality behind the virus scare by doctors Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi of Bakersfield, California. But then we learned that, having notched up 4.3 million views, it had been removed by YouTube for violating its “community standards”. Now why would that be? The original link was here, someone put it up again here, and it should still be available here and here

Erickson video censored

* * *

A fake-left infiltrator of the socialist scene, spreading smears against anyone standing up to neoliberalism and imperialism… What has been recently unveiled in Germany very much chimes with the Labour Leaks scandal in the UK. Unmasking a Wikipedia propagandist is a fascinating interview with Dirk Pohlmann (pictured) of Wikihausen.de by US journalist Helen of desTroy.

Dirk Pohlmann

* * *

Modern Medicine, the New World Religion is a book by Olivier Clerc which argues that the medical establishment has become the government’s ally, as the Catholic Church was in the past. ‘Charlatans’ are prosecuted today, as ‘heretics’ once were, and dogmatism rules out promising medical theories.

Modern Medicine book

* * *

Smartphones are so out of date these days. Imagine, some people might not actually carry them around with them every minute of the day! How would the authorities know where you are so as to keep you safe from terrorists, viruses and disinformation? But don’t worry, you can get yourself microchipped! Apparently this is already catching on in Sweden, as this video report (and this) explain. This is the “new normal” they want us to swallow.

microchipping video

* * *

Acorn quote: “Mechanization and industrialization have rapidly transformed the planet, exploding ecosystems and human communities with monoculture, industrial degradation, and mass markets. The world now corresponds more closely to the prophetic warnings of primal peoples than to the hollow advertising claims of the industrial system: the plants disappearing and the animals dying, the soils denuded along with the human spirit, vast oceans poisoned, the very rain turned corrosive and deadly, human communities at war with one another over diminishing spoils – and all poised on the brink of an even greater annihilation at the push of a few buttons within reach of stunted, half-dead head-zeks in fortified bunkers. Civilization’s railroad leads not only to ecocide, but to evolutionary suicide”.

David Watson

david-watson-against-the-megamachine

(For many more like this, see the Winter Oak quotes for the day blog)

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Anarchists against freedom!

by Paul Cudenec

A number of rather strange criticisms have come flying my way over the last few weeks.

For the moment I am going to address just one of them – the one which strikes me as the most serious.

I had always been under the fond impression that freedom was an untouchable cornerstone of the anarchist worldview. The word certainly features a lot in anarchist literature and culture!

However, it turns out that sometimes freedom is not a good thing at all, according to certain comrades with whom I have been exchanging views.

Their issue was with the concept of individual freedom, which they even insisted on writing in inverted commas to make their distaste for the term quite clear.

The first objection that sprung into their minds was that individual freedom was part of the language of Donald Trump and gun-toting libertarians in the USA.

This meant, according to the usual fashionable anti-logic, that anyone who believed in individual freedom was therefore dangerously contaminated with the ideologies of the American capitalist right.

Putting this absurdity aside, there is a serious point lurking in there, in that it is true that individual freedom is cited by capitalists in defence of their world of exploitation and inequality.

The anarchist concept of freedom necessarily also involves a collective aspect, recognising that the freedom of the individual depends on the freedom of the society of which she or he is a part.

There is also the issue of responsibility, in that anarchists do not expect individuals to pursue their freedom at the expense of others, but to feel their responsibility to the greater whole.

As one anarchist writer has put it: “Real freedom and real responsibility are so intertwined and interdependent in their meaning as to be almost inseparable”.

The fact that this anarchist was me (in my 2015 book Forms of Freedom) should hint strongly that I am not in fact advocating the me-first kind of freedom touted by capitalist libertarians.

But this is how it apparently seemed to my critics, purely because of my opposition to the global police-state lockdown of our basic freedoms imposed on the back of the coronavirus panic.

From their point of view, it was irrresponsible to complain about loss of individual freedom (sorry, “individual freedom”) when the greater good of the community, the need to protect ourselves and others from contagion, was at stake.

I disagree with this on two levels.

In the specific context of what is happening today, I do not accept that the virus is a threat that justifies the authoritarian clamp-down on our lives that has been rolled out, as I have already stated.

Therefore, the freedom of the individual is not trumped by an overriding social responsibility to accept what is basically a state of martial law.

Moreover, because the virus has been massively exaggerated as cover for a totalitarian-financial grab of power and wealth, the true social responsibility lies in the opposite direction.

From my point of view, the freedom of the individual to seek out a quiet life by just going along with all this, by keeping his or her head down, is overriden by the responsibility to speak out, to challenge the propaganda, to alert society to what is happening and to urge people to resist.

Obviously from my critics’ stance, this is not a valid argument, because they are starting from the assumption that the virus is as real and as deadly as we have been constantly told by the authorities and their media.

This, in itself, is deeply problematic. What happened to “question everything?” It is not possible to build a critique of oppression without being prepared to challenge the assumptions used to justify that oppression.

The anarchist argument about collective responsibility, when transplanted into the soil of deceit, grows upside-down.

The logic that should require people to act for the common good is reversed and serves to instead condemn those who are acting for the common good and trying to expose the fraud.

The second level of my disagreement with these critics concerns their ideological interpretation of responsibility and freedom.

Here, I find that their thinking strays a very long way from the anarchist outlook.

I did, in fact, deal with all this in Forms of Freedom. It’s now available as a free pdf on the Winter Oak site (as are all my other books) and to understand my position in more depth, I recommend having a look.

This passage on responsibility is particularly relevant:

“Part of the confusion surrounding the term responsibility arises from the manner in which it is abused to suit certain purposes. It is often conflated with the notion of conformity or obedience not to the interests of the collectivity, but to an entity which is passing itself off as representing those interests”.

By this I meant the state, of course, as I went on to explain: the entity which tells people that their responsibility to obey orders overrules their individual freedom.

I pointed out in the book that this responsibility to obey the law is never imagined as emerging from an individual’s own judgement – hence the perceived irresponsibility of ‘taking the law into your own hands’ – but is seen as required in the interests of a collective good defined from above rather than below.

Whether that law is good or bad is irrelevant: “The important point is that the responsibility in question is seen as something that must be accepted regardless of one’s free conscience, rather than as the result of it”.

“There is an important conflict here between fake and real responsibility, between imposed and free responsibility, between responsibility dictated from the outside and responsibility assumed from the inside of the individual.

“Ultimately, those who propose an imposed responsibility do so because they are afraid of the real responsibility which emerges from within.

“An imposed responsibility can be invoked to demand obedience to arbitrary rules constructed for the selfish interests of a minority which maintains control of stolen wealth through the violence of authority in all its forms.

“A real responsibility could well lead individuals, or communities, to challenge those arbitrary rules and the phoney morality built up around them”.

“To turn our backs on the symbiotic relationship between individual and collective interests is to turn our backs on anarchism”

Anyone who champions a duty of collective responsibility which involves suppressing individual freedom is not invoking real responsibilty, but the imposed kind.

“The individual is part of the collectivity and the collectivity is made up of individuals. They are the same living thing with the same interests at heart“.

Freedom and responsibility are two aspects of the same thing and so are the individual and the collectivity.

The collectivity needs individuals to be free, because without that freedom the social organism would be dead.

“It is important for the collectivity that individuals are free to live according to the subtlest demands of their nature, for only in that way can the collectivity also live according to the subtlest demands of its nature.

“A collectivity cannot be free unless the individuals who make it up are all free. An individual cannot be free unless they are living in a collectivity which is free, that is to say in which all individuals are free”.

To turn our backs on the symbiotic relationship between individual and collective interests is to turn our backs on anarchism.

It is, in fact, to adopt a way of thinking shared by liberalism and fascism, which are not at all the opposites which they might appear, as this article explains.

Both these systems of control (the first more subtle than the second) are based on lies. They twist the truth, even reverse the meanings of words in order to impose their own agenda, as George Orwell so perfectly showed us in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Liberalism and fascism both use a language which suggests the full participation of the population in the workings of society, which even appears to involve a kind of symbiosis like the one referred to above.

Liberals label this involvement “democracy” and have, until now at least, gone to great lengths to maintain this illusion, which is the principal justification for the legitimacy of their system.

But it’s just a sham, of course. It always has been. The game is rigged in so many ways and on so many levels.

Fascists don’t like the term “democracy” and prefer to talk about “the nation”, which is supposedly the incorporation of the collective interests of the people.

Sometimes they have even stolen the language of the social organism to give the impression that there is something natural about their system.

“They are systems which impose the control of the ruling class over the people”

But the social organism, for fascists, can never be a living entity of free individuals acting according to their own consciences, as it is for anarchists.

Their imagined organism is more like a robot, under the total control of the fascist state.

The reality behind the liberals’ fake democracy and the fascists’ fake organism is one and the same – a ruling elite which only pretends to be acting in the interests of everyone.

A contempt for the “masses”, for the “mob”, for the “great unwashed”, the “Untermensch” is shared by both systems because they are elitist and authoritarian.

They are systems which impose the control of the ruling class over the people.

From the perspective of the ruling class, the idea that we could run our own lives and our own societies without their structures of control is a dangerous one.

That is why they talk fearfully about “descending into anarchy”. Their worst nightmare is that their slaves might break free.

This is why they often depict human nature as selfish, greedy and violent – thus needing the firm hand of the liberal/fascist state to keep it under control.

This is why they sometimes prefer to say that there is no such thing as human nature at all, thus rejecting the empowering anarchist idea that we are all born with the natural capacity or tendency to live co-operatively and more or less harmoniously.

It is a primary assumption of liberalism/fascism that we cannot be trusted to make our own decisions, that we are basically irresponsible and in need of control and “protection” from our wise and benevolent leaders.

To keep us safe. From each other.

So why is this living freedom sourced from the individual-collective symbiosis, not recognised by all anarchists today?

Why do they regurgitate the liberal/fascist lie that individual freedom and the collective good are incompatible?

The problem, for me, is that too many anarchists are today entirely trapped within what I called “the inherent thought-restriction of the dominant system”.

This stifling contemporary newthink completely negates the timeless human wisdom from which anarchist philosophy emerged.

It sees human beings as programmable and malleable machines. Artificiality triumphs over authenticity. Any talk of social organism is seen as reactionary or borderline fascist (a typical inversion, as noted above – see also this article).

The notion of essence is dismissed out of hand, the idea of innateness can provoke panic attacks, meaning is regarded as meaningless, nature as reactionary, ethics as a construction, quality as an illusion.

There is no truth or reality. Two plus two can equal five if it suits the liedeology.

“Any way of thinking outside this ever-narrowing framework becomes impossible in a post-natural, post-human, post-authentic intellectual climate that effectively constitutes a complete paralysis of the collective human mind”, as I wrote.

Contemporary newthink is binary, one-dimensional. It does not understand multi-dimensional thinking and cannot embrace creative paradox.

It can only ever see individual freedom and collective responsibility as opposites.

It is incapable of even hearing, let alone understanding, oldthink arguments that soar above its empty and flattened-out dogmas.

In short, people are attaching the anarchist label, and a sort of shallow parody of anarchist ideology, to something which is not anarchism at all.

This pseudo-anarchist thinking has not grown from anarchist philosophy and therefore can never be anything but a replica anarchism, a zombie anarchism which appears to be the real thing but lacks the anarchist soul.

This fake anarchism is the sworn enemy of true anarchism. By stealing the body of anarchism, it banishes real anarchism from the world.

Whenever real anarchism does emerge, this zombie anarchism points an accusatory finger at it and declares it to be dangerous.

This is anti-anarchism, upside-down anarchism, inverted anarchism.

I have been going on about all this for years. Sometimes I have wondered if it is as important as all that, whether I could not just accept some philosophical differences with comrades in the interests of working and campaigning together.

But now that anarchists are getting angry with me for believing in freedom, I can see very clearly what was worrying me all along.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Threads of inspiration — organic radicals

Reclaiming the revolutionary wisdom of the past is the title of a new contribution to the articles page of the orgrad website. The first part of this piece is a general discussion of the relationship between radical politics and tradition. This is largely informed by an interesting critique of Guy Debord and the Situationist movement […]

via Threads of inspiration — organic radicals

Resist the Fourth Industrial Repression!

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The First Industrial Repression saw us thrown off the land, forced into crowded towns and cities, used as human fodder for the dark satanic mills of the new steam-powered capitalist world.

The Second Industrial Repression electrified the rule of The Machine. New generations were born who had never tasted freedom. Their lives and their thinking were increasingly dominated by the rhythms of industrial mass production.

The Third Industrial Repression heralded the arrival of computers and robots. Human beings were now expected to meekly conform to these automated norms and functions.

And now we face the onset of the Fourth Industrial Repression (4IR), the most deathly repression of them all…

4IR Fourth industrial revolution on blockchain polygon world map

The 4IR wants to own, control and profit from everything that exists in this world.

Its Internet of Things aims to create a matrix of total connectivity, of which it is the owner.

You, your home, your family, your friends, your relationships and your activities will all belong to the 4IR.

Its technocrats regard you as nothing more than another piece of disposable fleshware, one unit among millions, just another figure on its global balance sheet of exploitation.

The 4IR will track you and always know where you are, whom you are with, what you are doing.

It demands your total obedience. You can have no values, ideals or dreams of your own, only the ones authorised by the system.

Disobedient units are unproductive units.

4IR

The 4IR will know how to spot you, if you even so much as consider stepping out of line. Its predictive policing will quickly identify you as an anti-social element, a pre-criminal, a thought criminal.

It will send out its robots and its drones to neutralise you and protect the safe functioning of the matrix.

Digital identity systems. Militarised 5G. Neuro-technological brain enhancements. Genetic editing.

Cybersecurity Macht Frei!

The 4IR will not tolerate any irresponsible words or behaviour that present a threat to health and safety, to law and order, to resilience and prosperity.

Submission. Sycophancy. Slavery. We’re all in it together, citizen!

Greta1The 4IR wants to scare us into its devouring jaws by pointing to impending disaster and claiming that nobody can save us but itself.

It shows us the misery and disease inflicted by the First, Second and Third Industrial Repressions and insists that the “solution” is a fourth dose of the same deadly industrial poison.

The intelligence of the 4IR is entirely artificial and its dead robot brain cannot smell what we smell, feel what we feel, love what we love.

It coldly ignores the timeless and vital value of people, animals, trees, plants and the whole organic reality of which these form part.

Instead it sees just raw material for its own profit.

It thirsts above all for data, endless floods of data to be collected, processed, sold and transformed into the wealth which buys its total control.

The Fourth Industrial Repression wants to replace everything true and authentic with its replicas, with a reality not so much virtual as entirely fake.

4IReAnd yet its forked robotic tongue tells us that this phoney reality is in fact an “enhanced” or “augmented” one.

The 4IR wants to abolish the lives we have known. It wants to microchip us, lock us up in little cages, and force-feed us chemical food substitutes, laced with feel-good soma.

It cannot tolerate the idea that we might enjoy anything for free, such as sunshine, fresh air and the wild outdoors.

It craves a total monopoly of our experience. Cut off from the real world, from authenticity and liberty, we will have no choice but to buy and consume the poisonous ersatz reality it has carefully manufactured.

The 4IR, like all the other repressions before it, is built on our separation from one another, the destruction of our communities and the undermining of our solidarities.

social_distancing

“Social distancing” is the prerequisite for its seizure of complete power.

The 4IR wants us all to be on our own, online and in line.

The 4IR empties everything of meaning, particularly words. It says “sustainable” when it means ecocidal. It says “development” when it means destruction. It says “basic universal income” when it means slavery.

When the 4IR talks about “social impact investing” it really means it wants to turn human beings into lucrative investment opportunities.

Human capital. Human cattle.

new deal for nature and people logoWhen the 4IR talks about “a new deal for nature” it really means it wants to privatise the whole living world so as to make the billionaire class even richer than it already is.

When the 4IR demands “biosecurity”, it means the security of its own systems of control against the threat from biological reality. From nature, from life, from us!

The 4IR thinks it is so smart. Its glossy propaganda promises us smart mobility in a smart economy, smart living and smart governance for the smart people of tomorrow.

The smart money is on the 4IR project. The smart money of the smart-arse smart set. Smart is the new smug.

The 4IR employs huge armies of professional liars and gullible fools to spread its  propaganda and scream abuse at all who dare challenge its fearmongering falsehoods.

The 4IR is a death cult which dreams of wiping out everything that is natural, everything that is wild, everything that is free.

Resist the Fourth Industrial Repression!

Fight the 4IR!

Printable pdf version for distributing in the real world!

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Lots of reading…

We have now made the following books available as free pdfs:

The Anarchist Revelation (2013)

Antibodies and Anarchangels (2013)

The Stifled Soul of Humankind (2014)

Forms of Freedom (2015)

The Fakir of Florence (2016)

Nature, Essence and Anarchy (2016)

The Green One (2017)

No Such Place As Asha (2019)

For more information on all these titles, see our Books page.

We also recommend the organic radicals website, which includes a veritable library of articles (including video and audio links) on more than 90 important thinkers.

Anarchists and the coronavirus

 

acorn 2019bSpecial report

Moments of crisis like the one we are currently experiencing can allow us to see through the surface of our world and grasp with greater clarity some hitherto hidden truths. It is with this in mind that we present this provisional and far-from-comprehensive analysis of the reaction to the coronavirus situation from anarchist and left-libertarian outlets.

    1. Mutual aid
    2. Striking back
    3. Criticism of capitalism
    4. We are not “all in it together”
    5. Against the police state
    6. No to the “new normal”
    7. Limits of the critique
    8. Embracing the narrative
    9. Rejecting “conspiracy theories”
    10. The anarchist spirit

1.  Mutual aid

coronarch mutual aid2

Mutual aid features prominently in the anarchist response to the current situation.

Here is, after all, a perfect opportunity to put theory into practice and to show that acting together, by and for ourselves, is more effective and empowering than waiting passively for the state to save us.

There is also the possibility that the self-help community networks built up now could evolve into the bases of future revolutionary activity.

“Longstanding anarchist forms of organization and security have a lot to offer when it comes to surviving the pandemic and the panic it is causing”.

“Within communities, mutual aid has been proven as the only way to get through the privations of lockdown and the fear of serious or fatal illness. Communities have acted quickly to share basic supplies and resources”.

“We are seeing Mutual Aid groups spring up in local communities across the UK as crisis sparks compassion in many who want to help out and reach our most vulnerable, our isolated, the many left behind by successions of uncaring governments”.

“Social solidarity and mutual aid pandemic care is blossoming in communities large and small”.

See also here, here and here.

There has been occasional reflection on the limits of such an approach, asking how we can ensure that mutual aid networks do not simply turn into temporary means of helping people adapt to a situation they maybe ought not to be adapting to…

“If our capacity to care for one another fails to be instantiated in qualitatively different forms, they may very well simply be reintegrated into novel expressions of privation, dispossession, and precaritization in whatever new legal and economic systems that may attempt to establish themselves”.

coronarch mutual aid

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2.  Striking back

coronarch rent strikes

Anarchists have also been vocal in their support for rent strikes, industrial action and prison revolts.

“With millions of people now wondering how they are going to make ends meet and pay rent, let alone survive the current epidemic, a new wave of struggles is breaking out across the social terrain. Prisoners and detention center detainees are launching hunger strikes as those on the outside demand that they be released, tenants are currently pushing for a rent strike starting on April 1st, the houseless are taking over vacant homes in Los Angeles, and workers have launched a series of wildcat strikers, sick-outs, and job actions in response to being forced onto the front lines of the pandemic like lambs to the slaughter”.

“The first wave of this countermovement are the worldwide prison revolts, which now have spread to almost all continents. Simultaneous revolts in two dozen Italian prisons (with more than 20 dead prisoners), a wave of rebellion also in the prisons and internment camps for refugees in France, in Colombia the wings are burning, in Bogota alone more than 20 prisoners die in the process. Uprisings also in Argentina, on the African continent…”

coronarch rent strike2

“Around the country, as people lose their jobs and wonder how they will pay their rent or mortgage, the words rent strike are being heard more and more”.

“As renters and mortgagors we need to pledge, en-masse, that we will collectively withhold all rental and mortgage payments while the COVID-19 pandemic requires vulnerable people to isolate without security of income and housing”.

“Getting free from rent (which is to say, theft) and debt amid a full-blown pandemic crisis seemed like the best possible way to start. We believe that the simple tactics of refusal (rent strike, sick-outs, redistribution of resources, mutual aid) are essential to getting through this situation. We hope the rent strike spreads. We have the best chance of survival and victory together”.

See also here, here and here.

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3. Criticism of capitalism

coronarch capitalism virus

Criticism of the capitalist system is obviously very relevant today, not least the massive corporate handouts being justified by the virus.

“The corona crisis may have smashed stock markets and halted economic growth but for some it’s a great business opportunity”.

Attention has also been drawn to the “the short-selling millionaires bet against the shares of companies in corona-hammered sectors: for example, travel companies, restaurants, and real estate investment“.

Anarchists are pointing out that, as ever, the fall guys for these latest capitalist scams are the people with the least wealth and (therefore) power.

“This crisis is being paid for by those who have an occasional or precarious job, currently without income and without any certainty of getting their jobs back after the epidemic has ended”.

“The casual way in which workers have either been discarded without wages and adequate redundancy measures or exposed to further risk, depending on what best suited the needs and tendencies of the employing class”.

Part of this criticism of the capitalism system involves highlighting its failure to adequately fund public health services. Anarchists point to “the British government’s own systematic destruction of the NHS” and to “unnecessary cuts to our public services”.

We have witnessed, they say, “over a decade of cuts to the NHS and other front-line services”.

coronarch class war

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4. We are not “all in it together”

coronarch same boat

The myth of national unity is also being widely challenged by anarchists.

Some have in fact used the term “we’re all in this together”, in the context of mutual aid, while others suggest a need to be careful with the use of this kind of system-friendly language…

“It is a common tactic of states and capital to invoke the ‘national interest’ and ‘we’re all in it together’ as a means of diverting attention from the class war”.

“A big part of the state’s narrative is unity — the idea that we need to come together as a society around a singular good that is for everyone… We can begin rejecting it by reminding ourselves that the interests of the rich and powerful are fundamentally at odds with our own”.

This sometimes extends to a general warning about falling into the trap of obeying the men in white coats in the name of a “common good” as defined by authority (see the famous Milgram Experiment).

“Calls to surrender our own agency and to have faith in experts are already common on the left, especially in the climate change movement, and extending that to the virus crisis is a small leap”.

we're all in this together

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5. Against the police state

coronarch tyranny

Unsurprisingly, anarchists and libertarian leftists are unenthusiastic about the police-state measures currently being rolled out across much of the world.

There are powerful warnings against “power grabs that capitalists and state authorities are preparing to carry out”.

“Let’s be clear: totalitarianism is no longer a threat situated in the future. The measures being implemented around the world are totalitarian in every sense of the word. We are seeing unilateral government decrees imposing total travel bans, 24-hour-a-day curfews, veritable martial law, and other dictatorial measures… Worst of all, all this is occurring with the tacit consent of the general population. The authorities can do virtually anything in the name of protecting our health—right up to killing us”.

“It will not be a surprise if the rhetoric of ‘responsibility’ will be used to further refine the disciplinary and social control mechanisms, to further restrict freedom of movement, to further restrict the freedom to strike and demonstrate, which is now in fact suspended”.

Diverse voices are condemning “a lockdown that for many people in the country is probably the most drastic measure disruptive to normal life since the end of WW2”.

“Beware of the state! A left that demands ‘stricter enforcement of social distancing’ from the state is an enemy of the working class, full stop”.

coronarch fist

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6. No to the “new normal”

coronarch matrix

Looking beyond the immediate measures being taken to “control the virus”, there is also criticism of the “new normal” which seems to be on its way, a post-coronavirus world of “biosecurity” and virtual “connectivity” which looks very much like the beginnings of a nightmare high-tech dystopia.

“We’re accelerating into a future in which a digitally connected privileged class performs virtual labor in isolation while a massive police state protects them from an expendable underclass that takes most of the risks. In this context, there is bound to be revolt. It is likely that we will see some social reforms aimed at placating the population—at least temporary ones to mitigate the impact of the pandemic—but that they will arrive alongside the ever-increasing violence of a state that no one can imagine doing without, insofar as it is misunderstood as the protector of our health”.

“This outbreak is the dream and an experimental laboratory for the expansion of surveillance and control and the enforcement of power”.

“Once the pandemic is finally over, we don’t want to see a permanent shift to cashless payment and the eventual elimination of cash”.

Among the details of this “new normal” now emerging are “terrifying” plans for a mobile phone app that tracks people to check if they have been in contact with someone testing positive for the virus – initially optional, this may become obligatory in the post-crisis smart-fascist world.

coronarch app

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7. Limits of the critique

coronarch head in sand

We should also note what is generally absent from anarchist analysis. Fortunately, there is no take-up of the eco-fascist line that “humanity is the virus” or that the coronavirus represents nature’s “revenge” against humankind.

But unfortunately, there is also little critical questioning of the reality of the coronavirus “threat” which is being so ably manipulated by the capitalist system to push its own agendas.

This is despite mounting evidence of something extremely fishy going on, presented by intelligent sources like the Off Guardian, Cory Morningstar, Club des Cordeliers, Helen of desTroy and Charlotte Gracias.

It increasingly looks as if the coronavirus scare has been whipped up as cover for a power grab by the network of capitalists promoting the Fourth Industrial Revolution of 5G, smart meters, the internet of things, nanotechnology and AI.

These are broadly the “climate capitalists” who have been flying the false flag of environmentalism to engineer massive “emergency” state subsidies for their “exponentially” lucrative investment projects.

For more info on all this see our “climate capitalists” library. For coronavirus updates see Coronavirus Thoughtcrime and Acorn 56.

marc benioff
Climate capitalist Marc Benioff

There is not a complete lack of questioning of the coronavirus narrative in the broader world of the libertarian left:

“Our current fear is an enemy to our developing and maintaining a critical perspective. The more we are frightened by graphs, by deaths, the more we are likely to submit to whatever we are told will keep us safe”.

“In New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, the number of virus cases have been falling. This real news, which should reassure the isolated, is buried in daily media scaremongering as an effective police state is declared. Beware the new virus of unleashed authority”.

“Currently, the count goes so far that, for example in Italy, corona tests are still carried out after death. If there is a disease, the person is counted as ‘corona dead’, although it is unclear whether the person died of the CoronaVirus or merely – incidentally – infected by it”.

However, it seems that most fellow anarchists feel obliged to respect the prevalent social taboo. They insist that they are “not downplaying the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic” and are anxious to distance themselves from the dreaded “conspiracy theorists”.

Analysis of the way the crisis is being instrumentalised usually stops at the point of the “opportunism” of state and capital.

Thus it is perfectly fine to point out the “nationalists and authoritarians intent on using this opportunity to set new precedents for state intervention and control”, but any suggestion that there is something more dodgy going on is generally considered beyond the anarcho-pale.

Even someone who insists that “we need to break free of the narrative we are given” feels able to go on to speak, a few lines later, of “the benefits of an infection-control protocol” and limits the possibilities of narrative-challenge to merely “being critical of the ways the state is using this moment for its own ends”.

coronarch monkeys

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8. Embracing the narrative

coronarch mask
It’s never been cooler to mask up

Because they accept at face value the narrative around coronavirus being pumped out by the corporate media, too many anarchists end up reinforcing and amplifying the fearmongering message.

They repeat, without the ideological-distancing practice of using quote marks, the language of their enemies. We are left in no doubt that “the global pandemic is upon us”.

For these non-questioning anarchists, there is no denying “the reality of the coronavirus pandemic”, “the exponential spreading of illness” or the fearful notion that “we’re all at risk of Covid-19”.

As “the world continues to struggle to contain this virus”, “people are dying and getting ill in large numbers”, they remind us.

“Unless everyone cooperates, the virus exponentially spreads”.

coronarch panic

Some are actually opposed to ending of police-state lockdown restrictions – “a move which threatens to undo anything that has been achieved by social distancing and attempts at quarantine”.

Others warn that “the virus could resume spreading exponentially again as soon as the measures are suspended”and helpfully provide a link to the controversially alarmist modelling from Imperial College in London.

The epidemic (rather than the response it has triggered) is regarded “a national and international emergency” in which “human life is presently threatened on a planetary scale”.

Some anarchists have been uncritically relaying alarmist predictions from the WHO and the Center for Health Security of the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Healthlinking to government sites and even declaring that “we want to help the government in the fight against this pandemic”!

Others not only declare that “we are facing a pernicious virus that terrifies the world” but add that “watching the news has become an essential activity to get through the day”.

TV watching

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9. Rejecting “conspiracy theories”

coronarch fingers

It is unsettling to note that there are comrades who not only insist on absorbing and regurgitating corporate propaganda, but also join the likes of the sinister “Center for Countering Digital Hate” in a mission “to combat fake news and conspiracy theories”. 

They react hysterically and irrationally to the new heretics of the day – termed “Covid Deniers” by the CCDH, which incidentally played a key role in smearing former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn with alleged “anti-semitism”.

Drawing the public’s attention to official statistics, or to the fact that the UK government itself has declared the coronavirus mortality rate to be “low”, is regarded as the spreading of irresponsible “misinformation“.

A sceptical attitude to the tsunami of fear-mongering is interpreted, bizarrely, as a eugenist desire to wipe out old or vulnerable people: anyone who suggests that the coronavirus death toll has been massively over-hyped is held to be somehow morally responsible for the deaths of those who have succumbed.

Retweeting the thoroughly lucid coronavirus analysis of Peter Hitchens is considered a thoughtcrime because his general politics are not of the left.

Anyone questioning the official line risks being smeared with “right-wing” or even “fascist” associations, even when they are exposing a manipulation which is imposing a very real form of fascism on much of the global population.

This is, of course, a classic authoritarian liberal gaslighting technique, as outlined here.

thoughtcrime2

So why this head-in-the-sand refusal on the part of so many anarchists to even consider the possibility that the risks from coronavirus have been massively and deliberately exaggerated, let alone to examine what might lie behind such deceit?

There are several possibilities. One of these is that they are making a tactical or strategic decision. In order to make their message understandable to the general public, it has to be be based on something which the public recognises as reality.

Rather than trying to tell people that everything they have been told is a lie, it is more effective to go along with the reality of the “danger”, but to point out that bosses are sacrificing workers to health risks.

“We believe that large sections of the working class will have clearly seen how the boss class sees them as expendable, valued only as a wealth producer (for them)”.

The argument about neoliberal cuts to the health service also involves no contradiction of the mainstream message. Indeed, suggesting that the risks from the virus have been overhyped would undermine this line of attack.

However, accepting the official narrative as a strategic ploy would be not only dishonest, but would risk undermining long-term anarchist credibility.

Another, ostensibly more plausible, possibility is that these people simply do not accept the dissenting narrative, being firmly convinced that the fear is justified.

bodysnatchersHowever, the panicked and emotive tone of their responses (including a wave of blocking on Twitter) suggests that there is something else in play here, namely fear.

There is the fear being whipped up over the virus, of course, and with that the fear of being seen by society as a whole not to be respectful of other people’s concerns and well-being. But beyond that there is the fear of being rejected by other anarchists.

“The intense fear and pressure to conform coming from many who would normally be our allies makes even finding space to discuss the crises on different terms a challenge”.

In particular there is the fear of being considered a “conspiracy theorist”. We have questioned in the past why this anxiety is so prevalent in our circles and seems now to be so deeply embedded in anarchist culture.

People seem uneasy even talking about well-documented historical phenomena like the “Gladio” network of NATO-sponsored terrorists in late 20th century Europe.

Any such reflections concerning more recent “terrorist” atrocities are considered completely out of bounds. Even investigations of contemporary capitalist manipulations, by “green” capitalists or Big Pharma, are rejected as “conspiracy theory” by people who nevertheless lay claim to opposing capitalism…

Beginning with the work of US intellectual Richard Hofstadter in the 1960s, the industrial-military complex has worked hard to create an intellectual climate in which analysis of its nefarious activities is considered illegitimate.

Those anarchists who have fallen for this trick are, per se, victims of ideological manipulation.

It would be very helpful if the anarchist milieu could assess whether further manipulation has taken place to the point where its capacity for collective critical thinking has been severely compromised – disabled, even – by state-corporate interference.

But, of course, it won’t do that because any such reflection has been rendered impossible in advance by that very same “conspiracy theory” taboo.

coronarch ccdh

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10. The anarchist spirit

anarchist uprising

Happily, this worrying drift into conformity with state-capitalist agendas is countered by the nature of anarchism itself.

The anarchist idea remains intact and independent of those who claim to speak on its behalf at any given point. It is instrinsically opposed to all physical or psychological submission to authority.

“The anarchist does not merely stray outside the framework of acceptable thinking as carefully assembled by the current system – she smashes it to pieces and dances on the wreckage”.

As the weeks pass, disagreements over the severity and extent of the coronavirus, about the means by which we arrived at this new point in history, will become less relevant.

Instead, the sole issue will be how to come together to fight and organise in the context of whatever it is that is facing us – whether a collapsing economic order ripe for toppling or a totalitarian new fascist order.

The fighting spirit of anarchism, its life-affirming call to revolt, to risk everything for our freedom, is still much in evidence as we write.

Some anarchists are already calling for grassroots “non-party political insurgent movements, fighting for revolutionary change”, declaring that “alternatives must emerge from below”.

And there is a growing feeling that these strange “virus” days herald the beginning of a battle of monumental proportions.

“Let’s rebel in the streets, in the prisons, in the camps, like the prisoners of 30 Italian prisons, who, faced with the ban on visits imposed on them by Covid-19, rebelled, devastated, burned and in some cases even escaped their cages”.

“Rioting and fighting back is the only real solution, not staying in your house and being afraid. The supermarkets and the other companies which are profiting massively from this ‘crisis’, – which is solely the responsibility of the structures of power and capital-, are valid and understandable targets for the nihilistic and anti-social rage against this situation. The lies of the media tell us that we are ‘all in this together’ but it’s clear that we are not, and never will be. It’s the fight of the young people and the irreducibles against this sick system and this is but one drop from the storm to come”.

coronarch london

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