Sometimes secondhand books can come into our possession in ways that make it quite clear they need us to read them.
Such was the case with Le fascisme italien by Pierre Milza and Serge Berstein, (1) which reached me by means of a random sequence of events including a friend moving flat, an unexpected traffic jam and a small public park on the outskirts of Paris.
It did not disappoint and, as I am about to explain in more detail, helped me to see a number of crucial issues more clearly.
Firstly, it confirmed that, despite constant claims to the contrary, fascism was not at all anti-capitalist, but extremely pro-capitalist.
Secondly, it presented interesting parallels with the Coronavirus-linked totalitarian mindset so dominant in 2020, which I am calling ‘newnormalism’.
Thirdly, it sparked some wider reflection on my part about the participation of most of the left in this 21st century authoritarianism and how that relates to my own anti-fascist position.
FASCISM AND CAPITALISM
It is well known, I think, that Benito Mussolini, the fascist dictator, began his political career on the left and, when he started building a movement immediately after the First World War, the initial programme that attracted support was left-wing, with anarchist influences.
However, as Milza and Berstein make abundantly clear, this prototype fascism was quickly and drastically ditched as Mussolini realised the only way he was going to gain the power he craved was with the support of capitalists and big landowners.
Much much later, at the end of the Second World War, in a desperate last-ditch attempt to rally the Italian people behind them in the face of defeat, the hardcore fascist Saló republic rediscovered their socialist side, but it was all hopelessly too late.
Having lived through the fascist ventennio (20 years), the population were not going to fall for any more redwashing attempts or superficial anti-bourgeois posturing. They had seen clearly that fascism in power defended the interests of Capital, rather than the people.
The authors trace this story back to 1910, when the Italian Nationalist Association was founded with “the support of certain business circles, in particular that of heavy industry”, (2) who had a very obvious direct vestes interest in promoting the nationalist call for Italian participation in the approaching war in Europe.
It was Mussolini’s sudden support for Italy going to war (on the Allied side), that led to him being thrown out of the socialist party, the PSI, splitting from others on the left. This left him ideally placed to benefit from capitalist funding, though it is not clear whether his conversion to the war cause was actually motivated by this consideration.
It is known that Mussolini received money from the French government and from pro-war businessmen like Filippo Naldi.
The first fascist general assembly in 1919 took place in a hall in Milan lent by a group of wealthy capitalists.
Funds started to roll in from business, banks and big landowners
Fascism benefited greatly from the ruling classes’ fear of a Bolshevik-style revolution in Italy, with post-war waves of strikes and a rural movement which reclaimed land from rich property owners.
Explain the authors: “The fear born in the world of the country landowners as a result of the land occupation movement greatly outlived the phenomenon itself and helped pushed them into the arms of fascism, through fear of a challenge to property rights”. (3)
Business organisations such as Confagricoltura and Confindustria were set up to defend capitalism. Fascism was happy to win favour by providing them with foot soldiers, squadristi, who physically attacked trade unionists and leftists in a wave of “preventative counter-revolution”. (4)
This, say Milza and Berstein, represented fascism’s big break and funds started to roll in from business, banks and big landowners.
Moreover, the fascists started receiving the support of local authorities, the army and the police in their fight against leftist ‘subversion’. They were the system’s emergency weapon against the threat of revolution.
“Prefects, magistrates and officers of the Carabinieri, let the fascists carry on and assure them of impunity. The moment that the State started to crumble, the bourgeoisie, so frightened by the popular uprising of 1919-20, lent their support to fascism’s reactionary violence”. (5)
In November 1920, for instance, violent fascist squads descended on Bologna, where the radical left had gained control of the local council. There were nine deaths and more than 100 injuries.
Elsewhere, in the next couple of years, they smashed up trade union and co-operative HQs and attacked working-class districts, wielding clubs and revolvers to force strikers back to work.
By now the fascists had stopped pretending to be left-wing and were openly singing the praises of capitalism and economic liberalism. (6)
Fascist economic policies were all in the interests of the ruling class.
“Mussolini himself set before the future party a manfesto which no longer owed anything to the leftist tendencies of 1919. In the economic realm it was absolute liberalism, with the State indulging in no intervention or nationalisation, or any fiscal measures deemed ‘populist’. On the political and social side, a strong State was to be created, capable of imposing the ban on strikes in the public sector”. (7)
This was authoritarian capitalism, meant to please “the big money interests from whom Mussolini was now seeking political and financial backing”. (8)
As the future dictator said himself: “We are liberal economically, but we will never be so politically”. (9) This was a question of sacrificing political liberalism in the interests of economic liberalism, aka capitalism. (10) (For more on the little-appreciated similarities between fascism and liberalism, see this article on the orgrad website)
Once the fascists were in power, the clamp-down on opposition was ruthless. Strikes were banned and workers found themselves defenceless against their bosses.
Fascist economic policies were all in the interests of the ruling class. When finance minister Alberto De Stefani reformed the tax system in 1923 this “was above all to the profit of the rich”. (11)
He offered tax breaks for foreign investors, did away with the “red tape” of bodies controlling food prices and rents, ended state funding for co-operatives and halted land reforms which threatened the interests of rich landowners.
After 1925, in the face of economic crisis, the pure economic liberalism of the Manchester School went out of the window, in favour of state intervention.
But this was intervention in the interests of business and Capital, not in the interests of the Italian people whom fascism mendaciously claimed to represent!
‘Development’ was at the forefront of fascist plans, as is the case with all industrial capitalists. More land was cultivated and an infrastructure of roads, new towns and industrial estates was built.
“A vast programme of public works was undertaken, carried out by private firms, who were offered lucrative contracts by the State. Electrification of the rail system began, with the construction of tunnels on the Rome-Naples and Bologna-Florence lines. A massive roadbuilding programme was entrusted to ANAS (Azienda Nazionale Autonoma delle Strade), created in 1928, which oversaw the showcase construction of big toll motorways, the first in Europe”. (12)
This was nothing other than a bailing-out of the capitalist economy by the pro-business fascist state, for which the cost would ultimately have to be borne by the public.
Ring any bells in 2020?
Banks were also treated to fascist largesse, notably BCI, saved by the Italian state with a massive influx of money.
Note the authors: “There was neither socialisation nor nationalisation. The State became capitalist; it guaranteed the property of most of the shareholders and their future dividends. The only socialisation was that of the losses, assumed by the public purse”. (13)
In 1931, Mussolini even set up a body, L’Istituto mobiliare italiano, with the role of helping businesses in financial trouble, declaring that this was “a means of energetically driving the Italian economy towards its corporative phase, which is to say a system which fundamentally respects private property and initiative, but ties them tightly to the State, which alone can protect, control and nourish them”. (14)
But the emphasis was very much on the big businesses and financiers allied with the fascist regime. Economic crisis saw numerous small and medium-sized firms go to the wall or gobbled up by big companies, as the fascist state aided this concentration of wealth into ever-fewer hands. (15)
“As for the working classes,” add Milza and Berstein, “they paid the price for this alliance, with unemployment, reduced wages and higher cost of living”. (16)
Fascist corporatism, with its officially-approved phoney trade unions, was supposed to bring together workers and bosses in the interests of the nation, but did nothing of the sort: “It allowed big industry and financial groups to use the State’s arbitration and power of coercion to reinforce their positions and impose their law on their employees”. (17)
“Far from being destroyed by fascism as the first proto-fascist manifesto suggested, Italian capitalism found in it a defender which managed to save it from revolution or collapse and went on to reinforce its structures and its means of action”. (18)
It was not for nothing that the bankers of J.P. Morgan boosted the fascist regime with a $100m loan between 1925 and 1927 (19) or that Winston Churchill praised, during a 1927 visit, Mussolini’s success in defending Italy from what he termed international subversion. He meant the radical left. (20)
FASCISM AND NEWNORMALISM
Already, in the above account of Milza and Berstein’s work, there are some striking parallels with society a hundred years after the fascists seized power in Italy, in particular regarding the way in which a pro-capitalist regime will use the power of the State not to control big business, but to rescue it from collapse, defend its wealth and impose its interests on the people.
But the similarities become still more alarming when we consider the ideological framing of the fascist mission.
Everything was to be “new” under fascism. A new creed for a new Italian people in a new Italy. The old days were gone for good and nothing would ever be the same again. Mussolini’s dictatorship was the New Normal.
The regime tried to change the date to symbolise this complete rupture, insisting that party members stopped thinking in terms of the 1920s or 1930s and instead spoke of Year 8 or 10 of the fascist New Order. (21)
It also tried to abolish handshakes – not because they might spread disease but because they represented the decadent old world that had been left behind. Socially-distanced fascist salutes were preferred. (22)
It hoped that a fascist future would be carried forward by a new brainwashed generation, building a cult of youth and a structure of youth organisations which aimed to foster “obedience and fanatical attachment to the regime”. (23)
Fascism differed from other pro-capitalist and authoritarian regimes in that it aimed to reshape, to reinvent, everything about society.
Milza and Berstein stress “its totalitarian character, in other words the way in which it tried to direct and control every aspect of every individual’s activity and thinking”. (24)
These early 20th century fascists, like the newnormalists today, were obsessed with “remodelling the social body and transforming it radically”. (25)
Mussolini dreamed of “the fascisisation of the spirit, complete transformation of society and the creation of a new man… with a radically new conception of the world”. (26)
It is when we look at what this new fascist existence would actually involve that we can begin to understand the agenda behind this early experiment in behavioural change.
Explain the authors: “It was about reducing all Italians to the same model, that of the fascist man. This ‘new’ man was not to be defined by ideas, actions, faith or social utility but by a ‘style’, the fascist custom, taken straight from futurist raptures. Speed, dynamism, efficiency and decisiveness were its main components”. (27)
Futurism, one of the great inspirations for Italian fascism, was the ideology of industrialism, of the man-machine, of the surrender of all that was human and natural to the giant cogs and turbines of technological progress.
One of the great successes of the fascist period in Italy was the acceleration of the working rhythm
20th century industrial capitalism needed a new kind of human being – a regimented, automated human being – to fit in with its brave new world and the unimaginable profits and power that could roll off its factory conveyor belts.
Inconveniently, actual human beings – reactionaries, oldthinkers, enemies of progress – did not seem to want to remould themselves to suit the requirements of capitalist machinery, so compulsion was required.
“Only a strong power could impose on the masses the sacrifices necessary for the accumulation of capital”, (28) note Milza and Berstein and, indeed, one of the great successes of the fascist period in Italy was “the acceleration of the working rhythm”. (29)
Mussolini wanted to “modernise” Italians in the way that Margaret Thatcher modernised British people in the 1980s or in which Emmanuel Macron has been trying to modernise the French with his own brand of neoliberal authoritarianism.
And today there is a global attempt to modernise us all in order to suit the requirements of 21st century capitalism and its nightmarish Fourth Industrial Repression.
We are to be reduced to fearful, isolated, obedient and dependent cattle owned and exploited by a ruthless and truthless financial elite.
Once again, we have not been shuffling fast enough towards the abyss on our own, so “strong power” has been activated, on the back of the Coronavirus hysteria, to shove us deeper into the jaws of the life-consuming industrial beast.
The propagandistic language, hysterical mass brainwashing and police-state coercion used by the newnormalists for their “Great Reset” are straight out of Mussolini’s hundred-year-old handbook.
NEWNORMALISM AND THE LEFT
There is at least one significant difference between the fascist period and today’s newnormalism and that concerns the left.
As we have seen, Mussolini came to power on the back of attacking the left, earning him the gratitude of a ruling class scared by the prospect of revolution. Once in power, he did all he could to destroy it, with most left-wing radicals fleeing Italy or ending up in jail.
Indeed, my reading Milza and Berstein’s book led to a conversation with a woman whose grandfather, a left-wing activist in Italy, had been forced to escape the fascist regime and settle in France.
How can it be that the left – theoretically anti-capitalist and anti-fascist – finds itself marching in step with totalitarian capitalist newnormalism?
Today, however, there is a resounding silence from most of the left in the face of the newnormalist totalitarian coup.
Many of them, even some self-described anarchists, are enthusiastic supporters of the fascistic “lockdown” and compulsory mask-wearing. They regard support for the system and its framing of reality as socially responsible and therefore “left-wing”. Anyone who challenges the system is irresponsible and therefore “right-wing”.
How on earth has this happened? How can it be that the left – theoretically anti-capitalist and anti-fascist – finds itself marching in step with totalitarian capitalist newnormalism?
Putting aside the possible factors of sheer gullibility and deceitful bad faith, I can see two reasons for this total ethical and ideological collapse.
The first is the way that much left-wing thinking has drifted away from direct opposition to capitalism. The beginning of this was, I think, the failure to understand that industrialism is nothing other than capitalism and that technological progress is not the same thing as social or human progress.
The left has therefore evolved within the framework of industrial capitalism, essentially accepting its basic premises. As a result, the left often has nothing more to propose than a reform of capitalism, or its relabelling.
Increasingly it has been sidetracked into defending the right of various minorities to be fully accepted within capitalist society.
Nothing wrong with that in itself, but it does not tackle the central injustice of the full-spectrum rule of a tiny elite class and the ways in which this central injustice is hidden from view and excluded from the realm of political discussion. Indeed, it helps to hide it still further from view.
Neither does it challenge the domination of industrialism and often reinforces its myth of technological “progress”.
The second reason concerns human nature. It has become widely accepted on the left that there is no innate human nature, that our minds are born as blank slates and, like machines, we are “programmed” by family and society to become who we are.
In fact, this misunderstanding arises from the broader failure to understand that human beings are part of nature, which is a planet-sized collective organism (see Nature, Essence and Anarchy).
Denying the existence of human nature effectively involves denying us all our primary freedom – to be who we are.
It automatically justifies outside imposition on each individual, and indeed community, in order to ensure that we are all “programmed” the right way.
This attitude can begin with a relatively harmless over-emphasis on formal top-down education (rather than allowing people to discover and think for themselves), but ends up with an insistence on controlling and policing every aspect of everyone’s lives.
Both these factors in fact stem from the contamination of left-wing thinking by liberal ideas. Liberalism is, of course, the philosophy of capitalism. Economic liberalism was, as we have seen, a central pillar of historic fascism.
So it should come as no surprise that a strong liberal influence on left-wing thinking should result in it siding with the capitalist fascism of newnormalism.
Left-liberals have taken on board the ruling class’s elitist belief that the mass of people are incapable of thinking or acting properly without strict supervision and training.
Total freedom, for them as for our rulers, is thus a frightening concept, one which has to be permanently penned in with qualifications and restrictions.
The mainstay of this current of thinking, to which I associate myself, is that human (and animal) nature is innately co-operative and that it is only the domination and exploitation imposed on us for many centuries that has forced people into an unhealthy condition of narrow individual selfishness combined with pathological dependence on authority.
For real anarchists, the smashing of the chains of tyranny would release humankind to live in the way it was always meant to live, to fulfil its true potential.
The idea is that human society would arise organically from human nature, and our belonging to the Earth, that we would create a society that suits who we are.
The opposite point of view says that there is no innate tendency towards mutual aid and social co-operation, indeed no innate tendency towards anything at all.
It says that human nature is entirely malleable and should therefore be forced to adapt to whatever way of living is deeemed necessary by those in charge of society.
For Victorian industrialists in England and 20th century fascists in Italy, this meant forcing complex and multi-dimensional human beings into the square hole of industrial servitude.
For today’s big business transhumanists and newnormalists, this means forcing living human beings to adapt to the demands of their sinsister and dehumanised “smart” totalitarian world.
From my point of view, a very clear divide has opened up here. On one side of this are those of us who are motivated by a love of life, of people and of nature and who seek to bring about a future in which all of this can thrive.
On the other side are those who are motivated by the vision of a certain future system, the end result perhaps of hundreds of years of industrial so-called progress, and who see life, people and nature and subservient to that.
If human nature doesn’t fit with their system and their way of thinking, that human nature has to be changed by what every means necessary.
To me, this mindset is extremely noxious. It is a kind of sterile hygienism, an attitude which regards everything “bio” as a hazard, anything natural as dangerous and imperfect, in contrast to the artificial symmetry and cleanliness of its machine-based futuristic dream.
I have previously labelled this ideology “vitaphobic“, meaning that it amounts to nothing less than a hatred of life itself.
It comes as no surprise to realise that historical fascism was part of this vitaphobic trend. It is harder to accept that the same is also true of much of the contemporary left, including groups and people I was, until recently, happy to work with.
I am every bit as much opposed to vitaphobic newnormalist leftists as I am to fascists
These kind of leftists invariably and inevitably feel the need to dismiss anyone who does not entirely share their dogma as being “right-wing” or “fascist”.
But, in fact, here my opposition to their vitaphibic ideology comes from the very same place as my opposition to fascist vitaphobia.
This does not mean that they are themselves “fascists”, which was a specific historical phenomenon, but that, in 2020, they have aligned themselves with a life-hating ideological trend of which historical fascism was also part.
This is why I am every bit as much opposed to vitaphobic newnormalist leftists as I am to fascists and consider their ideology equally dangerous to the future of humankind and our Mother Earth.
1. Pierre Milza and Serge Berstein, Le fascisme italien 1919-1945 (Paris: Editions de Seuil, 1980). All subsequent notes refer to this work.
2. p. 30.
3. p. 68.
4. p. 71.
5. p. 110.
6. p. 104.
7. pp. 110-11.
8. p. 111.
9. Benito Mussolini, cit. p. 113.
10. p. 119.
11. p. 223.
12. p. 232.
13. p. 245.
14. Mussolini, cit. p. 246.
15. p. 247.
16. p. 248.
17. p. 283.
18. p. 276.
19. p 228.
20. p. 316.
21. p. 194.
23. p. 203.
24. p. 198.
25. p. 275.
26. p. 198.
27. p. 212.
28. p 414.
29. p. 283.
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.
For 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.
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.
“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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org”
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.
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'”.
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, Vicewrote 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!
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.  
Imagine a world where we ignored the mass media. 
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.
Imagine 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. 
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. 
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.
Imagine 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. 
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.
Imagine 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. 
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. 
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.
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:
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.
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”.
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?
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.
On 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!
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.
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.
We 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.
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.
So, 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…
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.
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”.
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:
* 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”.
* 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
* 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.
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”.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
He 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)
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)
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.
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)
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.
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.
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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”.
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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 email@example.com
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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”.
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“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.
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“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.
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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.
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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.
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“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.
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“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.
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“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”.
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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…
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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”.
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.
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.
Jails are also burning in Colombia – in Bogota alone more than 20 prisoners died in the process.
Hundreds of prisoners escaped from four semi-open prisons in São Paulo state in the south-east of Brazil after Easter prison holidays were cancelled and restrictions on visitors tightened because of coronavirus.
And prisoners rioted and set fire to part of a prison complex in northeastern Thailand on Sunday March 29.
Enough Is Enough report that there have been further uprisings in Argentina and in Africa.
Meanwhile, in the giant continent-sized prison previously known as Europe, French authorities have reportedly had to abandon attempts to impose the crackdown in some poorer suburbs.
Brutal and exaggerated harassment by racist cops prompted a feisty reaction, with police ambushed and atttacked by large groups and cars torched.
In Brussels, police trying to impose “social distancing” sparked a riot in the Schaerbeek district on Friday March 27.
In Sicily, cops with batons and guns have moved in to protect supermarkets after looting by locals who could no longer afford food.
In Panama, central America, which is under a coronavirus “state of emergency”, people also came together in the spirit of mutual aid on Saturday, March 28, and looted a supermarket.
Resistance looks set to spread as the clampdown continues, even if the authorities take the êmergency step of closing down much of the internet.
If the coronazis have not abandoned their attempt to imprison humanity by the end of April, a historic day of worldwide revolt could well lie ahead.
May Day is always an occasion for coming together to commemorate not only the political struggle of the people against the ruling elite, but also the annual resurgence of the force of life itself.
We don’t need emails, messaging or the internet to be collectively aware of the potential significance of Friday May 1 2020.
In the current malaise regarding the health of nations, calls are growing for 5G to be SWITCHED OFF.
Wuhan, the epicenter of the SAR-Cov-2 virus which causes the killer disease COVID-19, was China’s first smart 5G city and location of its first 5G highway.
The epidemic was first discovered when 8,000 high 5G antennae were being built all over the city.
Royal Society of Medicine member Alan Cooke is in no doubt about the causal links. He told The Acorn: “If there’s any doubt about health issues then it should be stopped. It’s too late after there’s already been exposure. The most vulnerable people are … the elderly, but everyone is at potential risk.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) class microwave technology as a possible 2b carcinogen on the same level as lead, engine exhaust and the pesticide, DDT.
“It’s absolutely diabolical what is happening with all this. We are the guinea pigs”.
The predominant cause of death from this coronavirus is pneumonia. Pneumonia is known to be exacerbated by the deleterious effects of 2/3/4/5G radiation and Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) via Voltage -gated calcium channels (VGCCs).
According to Cooke, Lloyds of London refused to insure Telecoms companies over the health risks more than five years ago. There have been no safety tests with 5G and if you think the closest thing, we have to it frequency-wise is actually a US military grade weapon nicknamed ‘the Growler’ then it’s hardly surprising.
All this as the telecoms and utility industries rake in huge profits from the Western indulgence with the ‘internet of things’ provided by 5G as well as the riches accruing from smart meter roll out.
Resistance is growing with groups springing up all over Europe concerned about health dangers and lack of public consultation.
Fifth generation cellular network technology (5G) transmits on a higher radio frequency than 4G, and in smaller millimeter waves which can interfere with small cells, like those in human and animal bodies as well as plants.
Stop 5G groups in the UK stretch from Brighton to the West Country to Waterford near Dublin. Ayse Leflef from Waterford said: “We raise awareness about this – about 40 people were on our last protest. All the different active groups around Ireland protest on the last Saturday of every month.”
In Glastonbury, which became the first in the UK to ban the development of 5G, the Mayor, Cllr Denise Michell said: “We are standing up and saying enough is enough – other councils may wish to follow our lead. 5G is being slipped through underhandedly and I think it’s very dangerous. The precautionary principle is key – we are postponing it until our working group finds out more about the risks.”
And worldwide people are waking up to this – in California 16 5G masts were blocked in 2019; the Polish PM has voiced his opposition; and in Geneva and Brussels 5G is on hold over radiation safety standard fears.
In May 2019, scientists and doctors from 40 countries appealed to the World Health Organisation for a moratorium and for wireless to be reassigned as a Group 1 carcinogen, the same level as arsenic and asbestos. France, Cyprus and Canada have already banned the use of wireless technology in schools.
In the home, smart meters, which are being installed in UK homes as we speak, use the same wireless technology, pulsing out yet more radio frequency (RF) radiation into enclosed spaces.
“Smart Meters are the biggest swindle since time began but an absolute gold mine for the utility companies. There are absolutely no benefits to the consumer whatsoever,” said a spokesperson for the group, Smart Meters Health Problems UK.
“They are not compulsory and there is no plan for them to become compulsory by 2020. The initial roll out is costing us £12bn, that’s £420 per household, Smart Meters only live for 5 years. My analogue is 55 years and still going strong.
“Energy Suppliers can switch our power off remotely by the flick of a switch with an analogue meter they have to go through a legal process to gain entry to your property.
“There are [also] privacy concerns. Smart meters are computers that can be programmed to record everything we do and pass that info on to the utility. Utilities will make more money from selling our data than selling us fuel.”
Public Health England maintains that wireless technology is safe and points you to regulations regarding safe radiation levels.
On Friday February 28, activists from the Green Anti-capitalist Front courageously tried to storm the London Stock Exchange (above), causing it to be locked down for some four hours. They asked us to publish this statement, in which they call for “a new kind of environmental movement” which harnesses popular anger against the capitalists who are destroying our world.
At the Rally Against Capital, the Green Anti-capitalist Front wanted to show that it’s not regular working people but the rich, the bankers and those who protect them who are causing climate change.
We led our demonstration to the London Stock Exchange, a centre of finance and capital for some of the most destructive companies on the planet, to attempt to disrupt some of their capitalist system.
We feel that what many environmental movements of the past have lacked is a direction of anger towards the capitalists, the rich and their industries of destruction and GAF London want to be a part of the new kind of environmental movement, a movement that will not only help activists but also regular working people in the struggle against oppression.
As per usual, this demonstration showed how aggressively the police will attempt to protect the rich and their property against the people, using fists, batons and choke-holds to stop us gaining entry to the building.
The climate movement will not get anywhere without radical direct action; this can sometimes be hard, dangerous and painful but we are thankful that we had medics from Queercare and a Legal Observer from the Activist Court Aid Brigade (ACAB) to assist GAF during the day.
We hope this action will inspire others to take action against capitalism and show that the people will not let the planet go down without a fight.
This is our planet, not theirs. They’re about to start realising that whether they like it or not. Let’s show them – get involved.
“True freedom lies in the free enjoyment of the earth”
Gerrard Winstanley (1606-1676) was a revolutionary writer and activist who has inspired generations of socialists, communists and anarchists.
Writing in 1906, Lewis H. Berens declared that “Winstanley was, in truth, one of the most courageous, far-seeing and philosophic preachers of social righteousness that England has given to the world”. (1)
He was the best-known spokesman of the Diggers, or True Levellers, a group of men and women who occupied and cultivated common land at St George’s Hill in Surrey in 1649 and called for an egalitarian society free of the chains of property, wealth and authority.
Along with like-minded people elsewhere in the country, Winstanley and his comrades wanted to push the English Revolution to a second stage.
After the execution of Charles I, they did not want to see power simply transferred to a new parliamentary authority promoting the interests of the mercantile classes.
Unfortunately, their revolt was crushed and, after this key moment in its history, the country took the disastrous path of rapacious capitalism, industrialism and imperialism, destroying the freedom and social stability not just of its own population but of peoples all across the world.
Winstanley’s writings are strongly marked by a heretic and pantheistic form of Christianity, inherited from the revolutionary spirituality of the medieval Free Spirit movement and the early Protestant rebellions against the Roman Catholic Church.
Rather than being an unfortunate anachronism than can safely be ignored by 21st century radicals, Winstanley’s spirituality is the foundation of his holistic anarcho-communism.
As Kenneth Rexroth wrote: “It was not his economics that was most important to Winstanley. What he sought was a spiritual condition in mankind which would be in harmony with the working of Reason in nature — the return of man, who had fallen into covetousness, to the universal harmony.
“Winstanley’s communism was not an economic doctrine, but mutual aid followed from his organic philosophy as a logical consequence”. (2)
Winstanley rejected the whole basis of authority in England as being an imposture, part of the “Norman Yoke” that had been inflicted on the people in 1066.
Central to this imposture, which had robbed ordinary folk of their god-given natural freedom, was the idea that land could be “owned” by certain individuals or families. Instead, he said, the earth should become “a common treasury for all”. (3)
Winstanley declared in The Law of Freedom: “The poorest man hath as true a title and just right to the land as the richest man. True freedom lies in the free enjoyment of the earth”. (4)
He told the landed class, in one of his characteristic broadsides, that the power of “enclosing land and owning property” had been created by the violence of their ancestors – “which first did murder their fellow creatures, men, and after plunder or steal away their land, and left this land successively to you, their children”. (5)
So although the rich of his day might not personally have had to kill or steal to attain their inherited wealth and power, they would have to answer for their ancestors’ crimes “till your bloody and grieving power be rooted out of the land”. (6)
The law was also frequently identified by Winstanley and his comrades as a central part of the violence inflicted on the common people by the wealthy elite.
He wrote in A New Year’s Gift for the Parliament and Army in 1650: “England is a prison; the varieties of subtleties in the Laws preserved by the Sword are the bolts, bars and doors of the prison; the Lawyers are the Jailers; and Poor Men are the prisoners”. (7)
He had no illusions about the legitimacy of the power which dressed itself up either as The Crown or, under William Cromwell, The Commonwealth: “It was clearer to Winstanley than to most radicals that the state and its legal institutions existed in order to hold the lower classes in place,” remarks Christopher Hill. (8)
It was a measure of Winstanley’s radicalism that he understood that royal power, church power, legal power and commercial power were all linked and could all be brought tumbling down by a real people’s revolution: “If one truly fall, all must fall”. (9)
Although the revolutionary idealism expressed by Winstanley and his fellow Diggers was clearly forward-looking, there was another aspect to their vision which looked back to the past.
In many ways, they were rebelling against England’s transition from traditional co-operative community (Gemeinschaft in Ferdinand Tönnies’ terms) to a modern, individualistic, commercial society (Gesellschaft).
In The Law of Freedom, Winstanley repeatedly condemned “buying and selling” in the same moral tone in which Leo Tolstoy was to condemn artificial money-based society, or in which René Guénon was to condemn the modern “Reign of Quantity”.
Winstanley regarded the society he knew as a perversion of the natural, ethical, egalitarian way of life which should have been the birthright of every man and woman.
This perspective was rooted in Winstanley’s heretical brand of Protestant Christianity, which identified God not as a personal deity or supreme being, but as an all-pervasive guiding spirit which he often referred to as “Reason”.
In this, he was close to the ideas of the 16th century natural philosopher Paracelsus. Writes Hill: “Winstanley was certainly acquainted with the Paracelsian tradition, from which he no doubt took the antithesis of light/darkness which pervades his thought as it does that of Clarkson, Bauthumley and the Quakers, the Children of Light.
“Winstanley may also have learnt from this source that ‘to know the secrets of nature is to know the works of God’, the ‘secrets of nature’ being a familiar phrase in this tradition”. (10)
In The Law of Freedom, Winstanley described “the law of nature” which “does move both man and beast in their actions; or that causes grass, trees, corn and all plants to grow in their several reasons; and whatsoever any body does, he does it as he is moved by this inward law”. (11)
In The True Levellers Standard Advanced, he invoked the universal pantheistic view of nature as the mystical source of life when he referred to “thy mother, which is the earth, that brought us all forth; that as a true mother loves all her children”. (12)
For Winstanley, this age-old sense of natural belonging was the basis of his egalitarianism, the belief that all of us were equally-loved children of Mother Earth.
1. Lewis H. Berens, The Digger Movement in the Days of the Commonwealth, 1906. http://diggers.org/17480-Digger-Movement-BERENS.pdf
2. Kenneth Rexroth, Communalism: From Its Origins to the Twentieth Century, http://diggers.org/rexroth_diggers.htm.
3. Gerrard Winstanley, The True Levellers Standard Advanced (1649).
4. Gerrard Winstanley, The Law of Freedom (1652).
5. Gerrard Winstanley, A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England (1649).
7. Gerrard Winstanley, A New Year’s Gift for the Parliament and Army (1650).
8. Christopher Hill, The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas During the English Revolution (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1975), p. 269.
9. Winstanley, A New Year’s Gift for the Parliament and Army.
10. Hill, p. 299.
11. Winstanley, The Law of Freedom.
12. Winstanley, The True Levellers Standard Advanced.
Eco-activists targeted the premises of Tesla, the electric car firm, in Hamburg on the night of February 26 in solidarity with those resisting its factory in the forest at Grünheide. They report: “We attacked at least 12 luxury cars and one company car of Tesla with bitumen. Tesla is a company that profits from the ideology that all problems of this world can be solved via the further development of technologies. An important part of their image is that the technologies that they are working on (e.g. they are pioneers in the fields of artificial intelligence and autonomous driving) are of value to the general public in the areas of social and environmental safety. We reject the constant perfection of human beings through technology, as it is associated with the extension of control and the further restriction of freedom. We also oppose the destruction of nature, which, contrary to popular claims, is inevitably accompanied by the expansion of technology”.
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“Vaccine revolution. Financialization of Nature. Fourth Industrial Revolution (Green New Deal). A global shock/disruption as we step into, in the words of Salesforce (& WEF founder & CEO Klaus Schwab) ‘the future of global governance’. The new world of #BioFascism.” This forms part of an important thread on Twitter from investigative journalist Cory Morningstar.
“They make people beg for the police state”. New York journalist @velocirapture23, aka Helen of desTroy, explains how Coronavirus is being used as “a NEW new Pearl Harbor” in this video.
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Two important and informative articles on coronavirus have been published on the Off Guardian site. They give details of no fewer than 22 medical experts whose opinions on the Coronavirus outbreak contradict the official narratives of the MSM, and the memes so prevalent on social media.
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Anyone trying to make sense of what is happening today would do well to take a look at a 2015 article in The American Journal of Economics and Sociology by Jacob Levich. This explains that Bill Gates tried to use the Ebola scare (remember that, anyone?) to create a worldwide, militarized, supranational health authority governed by Western powers and targeting the underdeveloped world. This, warns the author, amounts to nothing less than “global health imperialism”.
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“One would think you could trust the WWF to know what’s best when it comes to conservation, but they are merely a front and a tool for the interests of capitalists”. So writes Jordan Lunness in an excellent new article in The Commoner, entitled The Brutal Marriage of Capitalism and Conservation.
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An interesting video has been posted on YouTube about the need to stand up to threats and intimidation. Warns Richard Grannon: “I’m warning you it’s coming. If you don’t say ‘no’ you will get hurt. And if you won’t do it for yourself, do it for the people around you. If you’re thinking of saying ‘no’, start early. You need to gird up your loins now. They can’t win. There is nowhere anywhere near enough resources for them to win. It’s a threat. They’re relying on you being nice”.
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Acorn quote: “In France, as everywhere else, nostalgia for certain moral values from the past, the idealisation of certain pre-capitalist social forms (rural living or cottage industry) and the rejection of industrial/bourgeois civilization were an essential component of anarchist culture” .