November is a busy month for us. The 13th, of course, marks the triumphant return of the Inglourious Basterds Bloc, as we go for round two against the National Socialist Movement at the Sandra Day O'Conner Federal Courthouse. As comrade Jon Riley pointed out in his recent preview of the action, the dare is on: can we do better than last time? Although it will be tough to exceed last year's clear victory, it looks promising indeed! Handing those fascists a second defeat will feel good and being in the street with friends from last year will feel great! For those interested in some of our thoughts on the NSM, you might want to check out our essay, "The NSM offers nothing for the white working class but more exploitation and misery".
After the 13th, PCWC is happy to be bringing the rawkus Holy! Holy! Holy! to town to present their Resistance Rising tour to Valley anarchos. H!H!H! is performing at various spots on their tour, including a house show here in town, but in addition to the jams they're also hoping to set up discussions and presentations, including extended excerpts from Franklin Lopez's (subMedia, End of the World As We Know It...) soon to be completed End:Civ film. Initially we had planned to book the whole event, including a show the night of, but as things worked themselves out it seemed like it would be better to host the discussions and film. We have the date (Tuesday, November 23rd) but not the venue quite figured out yet, so this post is just a teaser for now. Check back for the details in a few days.
This week on John Zerzan's Anarchy Radio broadcast, H!H!H! joined him and discussed their tour and what they hope to accomplish. They were kind enough to give a shout out to PCWC and the DO@ Bloc from last January, and expressed what seemed like quite a bit of interest in the goings on here in Arizona. I recommend listening to the show to get an idea of what they're going to bring to town. Given that, I thought it would be a good time to take the opportunity to explore some of the potential commonalities we may have with these soon-to-be new comrades from the Northwest.
It's perhaps quite appropriate that the DO@ bloc was mentioned, as our community, though undeterred, is still suffering the repercussions from the police/liberal attack that day. Some face jail terms in the near future and others still face trial. The combination we projected that day, calling out both the cops and the liberal organizers that collaborate with them while forging the beginnings of new alliances not seen in this region, was too much for the state to bear, and as we all remember the cops brought out the horses, pepper spray and truncheons at the end. The irony of that attack, from my perspective, is that the only conflict we expected that day was with the Nazis and other racists, who had announced that they were going to intercept the march. Is it any surprise, then, in hindsight that the same leftists who denounced us as "crazies" for taking on the NSM in November of last year, would join forces with the cops to attack us that day in January?
So, one thing that appeals to me about the Resistance Rising tour is the rejection of the left. Regular readers of this blog will know that we find a lot of value in the post-leftist analysis, as well as fanatical politics. Which is to say that we reject the notion of the common front, or that we necessarily have anything beyond perhaps short term and incidental goals from time to time in common with the left. This doesn't mean we have moved to the right, however it does mean that joint projects with the left, when they must happen, should be engaged in from a critical and autonomous perspective, and they must be temporary. When we look at anarchy and compare it to the various leftist tendencies, we don't see a lot in common in terms of the world we want or how we want to get there (or when we want to get there). In other words, just because we may both be critical or even opposed to capitalism doesn't negate our other differences.
PCWC sometimes gets some shit for this, and we are occasionally denounced as sectarian and other such things by refusing to support authoritarians on the left. Somehow we're supposed to go after the Nazis, but leave the RCP alone. We're allowed to call out the libertarians but not the liberals. But, as the reaction from the left in Phoenix to the police attack on the DO@ bloc goes to show, they have little, if any loyalty to us. Why we should defend what is at best an abusive relationship and a political compromise, and at worst a suicide pact, is quite beyond us. What fanaticism then brings to the table is the advocacy of attack on the middle. In some ways it even goes beyond post-leftism, pointing a way for its implementation, perhaps. The goal of the revolutionary, in our eyes and informed by fanaticism is simple in the end: polarize and mobilize!
Beyond the rejection of the left as a defacto point of alliance, another thing that I like about the Resistance Rising tour is its situating of primitivist ideas within the context of resistance. For us at PCWC, while primitivism has been influential, as with most political tendencies, we take what we think is interesting and do not necessarily feel wedded to the rest. For instance, we see connections to primitivism in our hatred of work and our fears for the planet's survival, among other things. We don't see it in contradiction to our desire to bring class war to the capitalists and bureaucrats.
For PCWC, primitivism has always been most useful as a critique of the existing order rather than an identity or an ideology. It points to a time when humans didn't suffer the hierarchical domination that, once introduced with copious fire and blood, but the boiling reduced to a simmer for now, has become the lukewarm bath in which we all soak, hardly even noticing at times. In this day and age of high tech controls, extreme alienation, genocide, global unending war and environmental collapse, I think anarchists ignore primitivism at their own peril. I suppose it'd be fair to say that for us those old Red/Green arguments of the last decade really didn't make much sense. As usual, we say take what's worth taking and leave the rest.
In fact, what primitivism says most of all is that humans evolved to be anarchists. That is, they evolved to be egalitarian in egalitarian conditions. It also points anarchists in directions where we can begin to appreciate indigenous ways of living, which in turn intersects with imperialism, colonialism, white supremacy and the collapsing environment. In my opinion, I think it would have been unlikely that the DO@ would have emerged, considering our part in it at least, had we not already been primed for it through our race traitor politics, but also because of our appreciation for the ideas we got from primitivism.
Anarchism is not alone amongst political ideologies in terms of having taken far too long to look and consider the lives and struggles of Native peoples, but I think that primitivism has helped open many, especially white, anarchist's eyes to it, whereas more industrial-oriented politics have ignored, condescended or sometimes worse. This is also not to say that primitivism as an ideology does not have its own issues, as it sometimes romanticizes indigenous peoples and their societies in ways that are worthy of criticism.
And, indeed, the fact that the strongholds of primitivism -- while inspiring with night time actions in the early 2000's -- have seemed to suffer until recently at least from a lack of moving the politics from a generalized radical environmentalism to a genuine solidarity with indigenous peoples of the area (i.e., one that does not invisibilize them or romanticize them) highlights some of the weaknesses of a anti-totality politics that seems too often to turn inwards to re-wilding skillshares than towards action. But overall the rise of primitivism did, at least for us, help create a point of departure that had often been lacking within the anarchist milieu, and that's good.
When we consider it, this connection to a real history of egalitarian living, stretching from hundreds of thousands of years back until the present day in many, many parts of the world, help us explain why every new level of domestication imposed on us, whether the imposition of patriarchy, or white supremacy, colonialism or capitalism, has been violent to the extreme. The witch trials, the forming of the slavocracy, the imposition of capitalist relations and the destruction of the commons, the continuing invasions of the lands and lives of indigenous peoples, the rise of the imperialist system -- all of these have come against the will of vast numbers of people, often the majority.
But these systems weren't imposed violently merely because they are violent systems, although clearly they are. They were imposed through violence because we resist them, often with violence of our own, but also with shirking, stealing, sabotaging, escaping. Seeing the enemy, we join the fight. Our determination to remain free, or as free as possible, in the face of the many assaults of capital, the state, colonialism, patriarchy and white supremacy make the violence necessary to force us back in line, or to reorganize our ways in accordance with the desires of the new boss.
And this is what I take from primtivism: a memory thousands of years old of resistance and struggle against the imposition of domestication of all kinds. Of man over woman, human over nature, boss over worker, colonizer over colonized, and on and on. One need not be a primitivist to recognize this, I think. The message transcends ideology. At the end, it's a lesson in possibilities.