Sunday, December 4, 2016

BAGR4: Opening Editorial



Unrelenting heat.
         That feels like the summation of the world right now: like being in a boiling cauldron and the temperature just keeps escalating.
         I’m talking about the climate. I’m talking about society. I’m talking about politics. I’m talking about the economy. I’m talking about ecology. Every facet of the world we face feels like it is on fire. This is literally the case as record-setting wildfires overtake chunks of the map and as constant bombing campaigns continue to devastate others. 2015 was the hottest year on record and 2016 is on track to surpass it.
         This is the future unfolding before us: the consequences of industrialized growth and technologized expansion extrapolating the caustic downfall of a globalized civilization. And that is the overwhelming feeling you get every day when you wake up and open your computer or turn on your devices, opening yourself to the flood of seething anger and impotence.
         But we do it.
         We carry on. We get lost in the sea of reactionary reiterations. We fall into the crushing waves of the mutual assured destruction of our own empathy. We are willing to accept the destruction so long as we are right.
         Why? How are we able to do this?
         How do we simultaneously bask in the endless cycles of perpetual call-and-response of social media and ignore the world as it becomes only further engulfed in catastrophic and systemic destruction?
         We do this because we shut off. The atrocities of civilization are simply too much for our regionally based hunter-gatherer minds to comprehend. This is existence with implications that we were never psychologically prepared for because neither we nor any other being is physically capable of causing them. Not without technology.
         This is beyond our realm as empathetic beings, so we stop our minds from going there. This is our mind in survival mode: solely able to address the immediate fight-or-flight impulse, redirected through technological intrusion. We double down. We embody the ethos of accepting reality as it is and fragmenting our experience of life into individual issues. We plant ourselves and we defend that position until the next thing comes along.
         We define ourselves by our own acts of active defeatism. We immerse ourselves in the immediacy of technology so we no longer have to keep the totality in our minds. We are just reacting.
         Meanwhile, the predictions for the earth are dire. The potential for human extinction looms heavily underneath a perpetual loss of ecosystems and species. The thresholds once considered tipping points for endemic climate shifts are being surpassed.
         If we start to unplug, we can see it, but it is no less overwhelming. The New York Times recently released a site that charts the high and low temperatures of 2015 by city against what has been considered the baseline temperatures for each place based on 160-year-old data.[1] It has to be seen to be believed, but, as with nearly every climate change scenario, the worst-case scenario predictions for 2100 are being passed already. Places like Fort Chipeyan in Canada have already had an average temperature increase of 5.8° Celsius.
         Methane sinkholes become the new norm. Exaggerated cycles of drought and flooding become the new norm. Increased temperatures have resulted in concentrations of nitrates, hydrogen cyanide, and mycotoxins in cash crops.[2] And have resulted in the thawing of long frozen reindeer carcasses in Russia unleashing anthrax.[3]
         Social and political tension is impossible to ignore.
         We see in Donald Trump social media personified: exaggerated blasts of reactionary conspiracy, the billionaire acting as the underdog. We see the ignition of the xenophobic and racist underpinnings of civilization come back to the forefront. We see in Hillary Clinton the smiling voracious face of Neoliberal surgical strikes and expansive systemic subjugation sold as policy reform. We see a fanning of flames on liberal blindness to the iron fist of a society built upon violent subjugation of Others. We see people buying into the mythos of democracy: of the notion that any State is sustainable.
         We see the blow back as the climate refugees of one nation are corralled in camps, forced back by nations under their own economic and political duress. We see the need for scapegoats and watch as the Westernized identity of the Sacred Individual feels attacked and becomes militarized: as the frustrated and afraid are given access to hyper-technological weaponry and psychological justifications to kill en masse.
         Salvation, martyrdom, the elated subjects of a hero’s return, capturing headlines: the suicide bomber, the religious zealot, the soldier, and the mass murderer all share in the flaccid rage of living in a boiling world and feeling as though the promises of civilization have let them down. We are all boiling. And given direction, we will seek revenge on whoever is possible. Be it the ex-military cop gunning down unarmed black people in the streets or the suicide bomber seeking vilification beyond this world by killing as many within it as possible.

When we open ourselves to the depth of this reality, it becomes impossible. It is beyond comprehension, beyond our threshold for pain and empathy. It is easy to opt back in: to get lost on social media, to bury ourselves in our Self.
         It is easy to become lost in distraction.
         As sad as that option is, it makes sense. Against the reality that we surely face, any bit of hope stands against the most uphill battle imaginable.
         The problem we face is that distraction remains an option.
         We have no choice here. The reality that is unfolding before us is real. It is our home, this earth, being destroyed. It is those that we love, those we hate, those we wish we could not love being lost in an unrepentant mirage of distraction. It is our own fate intertwined with the fate of all life on this planet.
         We started Black and Green Review not because it would be the catalyst to save the world, but because we need to start somewhere. We need to stake our ground and attack from that position. It isn’t enough to continually react and respond while staying prepped for the next round of continual arguments on the same subjects forever through every cycle of the News Feed.
         As John Zerzan stated in the Opening Editorial of BAGR 3, we wanted to carry on the debates and discussions that Green Anarchy, Green Anarchist, and Species Traitor had taken part in. Those were discussions that spilled far beyond the microcosm of anarchist debate and circles. They had grown and found their way to filter into society at large.
         And in their absence, that trajectory atrophied. Through sites like Anarchist News, it became insular. The cheerleaders for insurrection-for-insurrection’s sake faded as the attention shifted towards the comfort afforded the critics. Anarchism has never been absent of the philosophical hollowness of eternal dissection of lingo, nor strayed far from the politics of negation. But these are the aspects that the internet and social media amplified.
         And they grew.
         This trajectory has led anarchists into the cul-de-sac of nihilistic terrorism and egoist soul searching. In that trajectory, anarcho-primitivism is a lightning rod for having the audacity to stand for something: to have staked our claim on seeing a world that is worth fighting for and defending. To want to build communities of resistance, support those that are and have been resisting civilization’s advances and to refuse the domestication process as it seeks to tear us from the wildness that runs through all life.
         We began BAGR in part to expand and challenge those discussions alongside others. There is merit among them, but the problem is that there is no end point, nothing worth acting upon. The politics of negation are discussion for the sake of discussion. They are about carving out the perfect anti-ideological ideology. To set out the perfect anti-moralistic moralism and to carry out the pure will of the Individual.
         Dedicated to finding and chasing out the boogey-men of impure thought, there are only two options: to celebrate in discussion as praxis, as stated by one of its advocates, “to laugh at the futility of it all”, or to embrace the absurdity of unthinking acts of terror under the guise of “eco-extremism” while leaning further and further towards eco-fascism.
         If we are to accept that there is no hope, that there isn’t even a sliver of chance that we can divert or lessen the catastrophic conclusion of civilization’s collapse, then we have nothing to offer but another noun to justify our particular brand of online voraciousness.
         I have no time for those discussions.
         I have two daughters. I have two daughters that I will, above all else, do anything to protect and to provide for. I have two daughters whose fates are intertwined with the fate of all wildness. I have two daughters who have no future on a dead planet.
         I have no false assumptions or heroic ambition to save the world, but if I’m not even fucking trying to do anything about all of this, then what am I worth? What am I worth to the world to just waste away finding new ways to demonize the grounds that I am standing upon, the grounds I have placed my stake in: the grounds that I will always fight for?
         All of the editors and contributors of this project have poured themselves into this. And we have gotten untold support from others who resonate with our simple call to action: for a wild resistance, for a passionate resistance.
         We are not, nor have we ever been, satisfied with vilifying ourselves for a spot within anarchist history. We are driven by a hatred of civilization. Driven by a vile contempt for the consequences of domestication. We are motivated by the nomadic hunter-gatherer within our bodies and minds that yearns to embrace the wildness.
         We see that within generations of communities, that there is hope. That there is that sliver of chance that this world will not be destroyed and that life may continue on. We take solace in the world our grandchildren’s grandchildren may one day inhabit where our lives and our struggles are forgotten memories.
         This resistance, like wildness, exists far beyond us. We aren’t leading the call: we have just seen the cracks and have sought to continue pursuing them.
         It would be easy to look at what we have done and to remain cynical: to continue the negation of critics and to wonder what any exploration based in ecology, anthropology, history or questions of technology could possibly have upon the world civilization has created. In the end, it may not matter at all.
         But that is where we split.
         We want discussion, but if it serves no end, then it serves nothing. With civilization, we have had everything taken from us. We are left with reflections and mirrors of its history. We are left with the scars of our elder’s own subjugation to the false future of empire building. We are left with their emptiness.
         But these are tools. They are a part of piecing together and deepening our understanding of how domestication begins, how it functions which, paired with building relationships beyond reification and beyond abstraction, we find the cracks. We find the pressure points, the bottlenecks.
         It is through this search that we find what has been taken from us and we take it back.
         Without question.
         Without hesitation.
         For us, there is no other option. There is no appeal to endless discussions that have long ago dismissed the idea of purpose. There is nothing to be gained from that.
         This discussion speaks to the soul of every domesticated being. And that is whom we are speaking to. We know our enemy. We have found its weaknesses and we will continue to search for more vulnerabilities.
         We aren’t interested in distractions and cycles: for discussions without end.
         We seek to do everything within our power to further push civilization beyond the brink. We seek to protect and fight for the world that we love.
         And we remain absolutely unapologetic to that end.
         We are in one of the most unique moments in history: to be at the end of this dying civilization. We face a world of uncertainty and we have the knowledge of how our ancestors had adapted for that. When distraction no longer remains an option, will you look back and wonder why you didn’t do everything in your power to make the most of it?




[1] http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/02/19/us/2015-year-in-weather-temperature-precipitation.html
[2] http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2016/0602/Climate-change-could-trigger-toxic-corn-what-can-be-done
[3] http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/28/health/anthrax-thawed-reindeer-siberia/

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Stay updated about Black and Green projects

Social media has pushed beyond diminishing returns for these projects and I really don't have the interest in logging onto those sites to post. So to stay in the loop on the many Black & Green Press projects, Black and Green Review, and everything else we have coming up, please sign up for our mailing list.
Won't be heavy traffic, but will have all the info about what's going on and I might even bring back the identification for free books giveaways too.

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

BAGR1: The Ferguson Insurrection

From Black and Green Review no 1.

The Ferguson Insurrection

The execution of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18 year old, by a white police officer on August 9, 2014 in Ferguson, MO, was sadly not an anomaly. The response, however, has been.
         Within hours, the streets had filled up and shortly after, businesses were in flames. And every night for weeks, it happened again. Each night spreading wider and farther.
         The confluence of systemic racism and the feeble-minded, infantile bullying mentality of those drawn into the police force unsurprisingly creates volatile and deadly situations. Time after time, police murders occur with regularity and largely without consequence. The explosiveness of the murder of Michael Brown doesn’t arise from the particulars, but from the sheer crushing weight of this reality. That fragile boundary between the threat of state power and coercion burst and the rage flooded.
         And while that rage has waned, it hasn’t died. Coiled and ready to strike, the rage boils just beneath the surface.
         While this unrest has been called many things, it should be referred to by what it has proven itself to be: the Ferguson Insurrection.

The Promise of the Insurrection

The promise of this insurrection lies in the fact that while many groups have tried to own or direct that rage, none has succeeded. Solidarity demonstrations have shut down mass transit in major cities, but attempts to curb property destruction have faltered. Riots have broken out with regularity and fervor in an ephemeral response.
         What we have been seeing is pure rage.
         We are seeing a crack in the veneer of a proscribed social contract that we were born into. We are seeing mythos that goes back to the origins of property and the external boundaries inherent to sedentary societies amplified as domestication intensifies. States are built on the lie that we cannot exist without their structures and defense. From the armies of Mesopotamia to the police of Ferguson, MO, this is the tie that binds.
         The rallying cry throughout this insurrection remains simple: no more. No more will these communities sit idly by as the pigs target, harass and kill. Some seek reform, some seek justice, but the overarching theme is that the attempts to suppress rage will no longer work. Complicity is no longer an option.
         It would be an absolute stretch to pretend that there was widespread thinking about the relationship between this insurrection and the nature of domestication. It is not my place nor any one else’s to attempt to own this insurrection through critique and reporting. Nevertheless, the base complicity with the law is an essential part of the domestication process. Conscious or not, the refusal to accept the legitimacy of state power nor to succumb to the mounting threats of an increasingly militarized police force is, on some level, a breakdown in that process.
         This insurrection, like all insurrections, doesn’t hold answers. Even if it does not seek them, there can be no divorce from the reality that people need to eat. Societies must not only attack the state, but move beyond it. Until that step is taken, the fate of those attacking is fully interwoven with the very society under fire.
         Yet the rage still pours out.
         And that’s where the beauty of this insurrection lies: it exemplifies the limits at which the domesticated begin to bite back. Context always matters, but it is the erosion of social control that exposes the possibilities that the infallibility and inevitability of power is a lie. Plain and simple, this is what it looks like when people hit their limits.
         It is this rage that has been the final blow to civilizations past, present and future. Anthropologist and historian Joseph Tainter famously observed that the apex of collapse is the point of diminishing returns. That’s an economic positioning, but it holds true for all social, ecological and psychological aspects of life. If giving your life to serving civilization has only ever been met with systemic poverty, being antagonized by police and being a talking point for religious and political figure heads, then where is that return? Why take it?
         In this case, as in many others, this isn’t a proverbial or rhetorical question. If you’re penned up, bullied, and killed by a state that is doing you no favors, how much worse can it be once they are destroyed? The immediacy is telling. This is the response of the human spirit, the human animal. This is the fox chewing at its leg after being snared in a steel trap.
         There’s a part of the mind saying over and over again: we don’t need this. And the façade, fortunately, is flammable.

The Limits of the Insurrection

The problem with this insurrection, as with any really, is that it becomes a reified. Community leaders, that is say the would-be politicians (even the anarchist ones), eagerly champion the perceived cause, often in defiance of the words and anger coming from the streets. Rage is rarely owned by any one position, but that won’t stop the professionals from navigating it.
         We see this over and over again.
         Liberals want to right the wrongs through reform. Conservatives want to demonize and ghettoize populations. Both will do so while bolstering the overall power of their militarized arm: resulting in military grade weaponry (tanks were a common sight in Ferguson), seeking body cameras (rarely if ever helping victims, but often used to identify and prosecute “suspects”), and allowing space to deflect the “trauma of the job” onto management rather than focusing on the pig mentality and logic itself.
         That last point can’t be overstated. Being over 13 years deep into oil wars, we’re talking about a high number of PTSD-fueled jarheads flooding the police and private security sectors (the private security world, by the way, is the refuge of the discharged police). So while it’s easy to look at the increase in police violence simply as documented by an increase in cameras and social networks to share videos, that’s missing the point that this increased hostility can only be a fraction of the interactions and incidences that these former-soldiers were displaying overseas. This is a context that has not only been ignored completely, but one where grievances have been hastily suppressed.
         The insurrection at home is a part of the global response to the globalized reign of techno-industrial civilization. It’s just the part that we’re seeing. But to separate this reality from the Arab Spring or uprisings throughout the world is to buy this same lie.
         So as the well intentioned try to bring both sides to the table, they’re really only ever-taking one: the furthering of state power and, at best, a relaxation of the barbed-wire fences.
         The lack of a cohesive narrative apparent in what is an outpouring of rage lends itself to outside narration. This is especially true as our “user-generated content” society wants a Spectacle. We’re programmed to want a smooth story arch. If anger in the streets is simply saying, “we have had enough”, the sidelines are booming with a way to finish that sentence. The vacuum of power is an implicit presumption that we create to remove that rage and contextualize our external discussions.
         The limitation of insurrection is the potential that it will die out through mediation. That is the goal of so many groups, religions, and states. That is the goal of domestication: to control the human being through diversion and redirection of impulses.
         This insurrection continues to show its promise in its persistence and instinctuality. We can only hope that the narratives of ownership and compromise fail to take root. So that they won’t die off in textbooks, prison cells, and Twitter feeds. This may not bring the end of civilization in and of itself, but it is a testament to the refusal of complicity necessary to continue its existence.
         This may not be the final blow, but it is certainly a death rattle.
         Alas, as the ability of civilization to carry on requires complete subservience, may the insurrection never die.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

BAGR3: Opening Editorial - John Zerzan

From Black and Green Review no 3.
Inaugurated only last year, the focus of BAGR seems already in need of adjustment. Kevin Tucker’s “Opening Editorial” announced that the Review would emphasize the promotion of critique and discussion within the anarchist milieu. That milieu, sadly enough, now appears undeserving of much attention.
         A few years back, around Occupy time, 2011-2012, various voices proclaimed the ascendancy of anarchism. Its time has come, now is the opening to anarchism, etc. This has not blossomed into anything, and Occupy is one place to explore this failure.
         The spontaneous outburst of Occupy energy was aimed at the excesses of capitalism. Even when militant, which was rare, it only amounted to more leftism. Occupy Oakland was its high point and anarchists were quite active there, but, fatally it seems, failed to add content to the Occupy energy. Supposedly post-Left and even anti-civilization, Bay Area anarchists apparently provided no voices along these lines.
         A potential turning point of Occupy would have been, for starters, to rechristen it De-Occupy. But that would have constituted an actual turn away from the Left, in favor of waking up to the indigenous dimension, and how very much could be found there. Anarchists largely voted with the (rest of) the Left to reject such a proposed name change, having been easily fronted off by a few identity politics thugs who wanted to be in charge of the De-Occupy (or “De-Colonize”) position. Our post-Left anarchists gave no voice to that outlook overall and when Occupy fizzled out were left with the hangover of their non-presence. Even now, it seems, little insight and even less energy can be seen. A persisting postmodern haze prevails, where egoists and nihilists compete to now even deny that reality is knowable. How this is anarchist at all escapes me. It more resembles the insular scenes of cynical hipsters, offering no analysis, no inspiration.
         The very ambitious To Change Everything tour in fall 2015 was a Crimethinc. production, involving speakers from various continents. Civilization, domestication, mass society, industrialism, and other institutions foundational to our immiseration and the systematic environmental devastation were never mentioned.
         On the other hand, there certainly are those who confront the nature of things, how we got here. And put such concerns into practice, such as anarchists in British Columbia and Arizona who’ve striven to be “accomplices not allies” to Native people whose ties to the land have not been broken after all they’ve had to endure, who still resist. The DOA (Dine-O’odham-Anarchist) black bloc, Phoenix 2010, was one instance among many of collaboration in Arizona. Others find a helpful challenge in anarcho-primitivist ideas in lots of places, a phenomenon that seems to be steadily gaining ground. An indirect testimony along these lines is the Black Seed zine, which feels the need to call itself the successor to Green Anarchy, even though its overall agenda is egoist-nihilist-postmodern.

         Many things are at a low ebb these days and we don’t have a real clear picture of where the anarchist milieu is at. It is clear that everything’s at stake and that we are not interested in in-group parlor games. Anarchy seemed promising pretty recently, but lately too much of it has almost no bearing on what is going down, little interest in that, and not much relevant to offer. The conversation about technology, for example, is apparently ignored by anarchism. We are anarchists and in no way are we shutting the door on anarchists. But a mammoth challenge faces us all, so we haven’t time to waste.