Culture

Occulture explored.

Anarchy in Today’s World: A Little Note on Anarchism

By Ethan Pierce | July 28, 2002 | Leave a comment

You justify anarchy. Self-mastery ? Discipline ? Control ? Principle ?….or is it simply the will to make these things a memory of times when ease took the place of fear ? None of it concerns me. Who I am is who you are. We are all the same and we just exist. But, self-definition causes us to search for what we believe which leads to the inevitable imposing of our ideals on others. My justification then is through lack of concern for the individual, and more concern for the whole.

Being comfortable is what makes us weak. I base my assumption on the simple concept learned from the beginning of our existence – which is easier to resist, pain ? or pleasure ?

Pain of course.

The breakdown of what is perceived as ” a relaxed state of general well-being.” Pain has many forms – emotional and physical. Anarchy then is pain in the sense that it is a breakdown. Its redeeming quality being that it is a filter – what is broken down is rebuilt – stronger with purpose.

Anarchy is a tool – a means to and end that proposes a directive of destruction against a target for a goal. We live in a society that proves everyday that survival is a dying art. Living day-to-day is letting your life slip away one minute at a time when you don’t realize that everything you ever learned is a story and every story has its place in history.

Question all things.

Vigilance is what counts when complacency destroys discipline. History applies to those who lived it. They are gone and we replace them with a new idea of what it means to be alive.

Are you alive? Be honest. Don’t think of it in terms what you did. Think of it in terms of how you found yourself. Self-definition can only be justified through what lessons are learned and what lessons are lost. Anarchy is what happens when someone asks for more, and nothing more is to be given. Chaos could be the answer when your mind is free. Free your mind before all questions are tackled. Lop-sided attacks to problems will never give you the knowledge needed to push to the lesson that must be learned. You break a pattern and you grow. The only growth is up. Negative growth never occurs.

Learning and conditioning teach much. But all must be gained through experience. If one drops to his knees for redemption, is he redeemed if it is asked? Never question, never give excuses and never lie. Live your life as though the day might be your last and show yourself the power you still have.


Subversion for Fun and Profit

By Roachy McBong | July 28, 2002 | Leave a comment

Hey, kids! Do you have very strongly held political beliefs? Are these beliefs operating from outside the political mainstream? I’ll bet you’d like to spread your political creed over a wider audience in an attempt to affect real change! Well, you’re in luck, because Uncle Roachy is going to teach you the finer points of political activism, or as the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities called it, shameless subversion. Gather round, kids, and I shall tell you a tale.

1. Getting Started

The first step, if you haven’t already done it, is to clarify your own political beliefs. Figure out your position on every issue imaginable. This sounds simple, but you might be astonished by how many people live their whole lives based around some extremely vague principal – “the rich are evil,” “I think fascists suck,” etc. Take that idea and expand on it. Sure you hate the rich – so how does that relate to gun control? Abortion? Drug policy? The absolute kiss of death, for any non-traditional political movement, is being accused of not having an actual, practical plan of governance (or lack thereof, in the case of our anarchist friends).

For the record, I don’t give a good golly damn what your political preference is – I’m going to try and keep this page as non-denominational as I can. I, for instance, am a young Libertarian, so I’ll be using Libertarianism in most of my examples to help illustrate concepts that can be applied to any political movement.

Once you’ve got an actual platform, it’s time to think about who you’re going to be trying to convince. For instance, in my endeavours, I’m generally trying to convince kids my age (17, in three days) to join up with us Libertarians. What do kids my age like? Well, for one, drugs. And for another, sex. And, more subtly, a desire to rise up against some unjust authority, fueled by adolescent anger and an ongoing clash with parents. So we play to that.

Now, I don’t think I can do much in the way of offering kids sex – I mean, unless the kid is a girl and she’s drunk, but that doesn’t have much to do with politics, does it? On the other hand, the Libertarian Party platform advocates the immediate end to drug prohibition, and the whole Libertarian mindset is moderately rebellious; more so than the mainstream, but not quite as much as Anarchism. The goal, then, should be to use those as your hooks to get them interested, then you can reel them in with the rest of your platform.

2. Going To It

Now let’s talk about actual transmission of your views. When choosing a medium, you should mainly consider a few important factors – ease of distribution, appeal to audience, etc. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Flyers are still the old standby. A night at Kinko’s, and you can have yourself an entire propaganda campaign set up by the time you leave. When you’re making flyers, be creative – don’t just make one that says “Politicians Suck” in plain black and white. Incorporate graphics, the more attention-getting the better. Also make sure you tell the person what to do – vote Libertarian, visit www.proletariat.com, shoot a cop, whatever. Remember, you’re not just yelling at people, you’re trying to convince them to embrace your political beliefs.
  • A little higher on the complexity scale would be the underground newsletter. Compile your statements of belief and explanations of your movement into a one or two page newsletter, make about a hundred copies, and then distribute them at school. Now, if you’re talking political beliefs that aren’t to the school’s liking – and if you’re reading this, they probably aren’t – then you’ll have to find a sneaky way of distributing the goods. Here’s an idea: does your school have any of those unused lockers that don’t have locks? Put your work in there, grab a copy, then walk up to a friend, and say “Hey, did you guys see these? Some guy put ‘em in locker 1281.” Word of mouth will do the rest.
  • If you’re good at public speaking, that can also be turned to your advantage. Most public schools offer many, many avenues that allow you to get in front of a lot of people and bitch for ten minutes. Incorporate your beliefs into English projects. Join your school’s speech team. Whatever it takes. Essay contests are also a good route – if you write a really good one and win, there’s a good chance you’ll be asked to read it in front of the whole school at an assembly. That’s a lot of prospective converts!

3. A Brief Example

For demonstration purposes, I’ll give you guys a little example of some first-rate activism. For this we’ll be using my own beliefs in Libertarianism, but you can adapt it to whatever you damn well please.

Now, I want something fairly simple, so let’s go with some flyers. The first thing I’ll need is a hook, something that appeals to my generation’s rebellious anger and distrust of authority. So, in that vein, I’ll emblazon the words HOW LONG ARE YOU GONNA BE THE GOVERNMENT’S BITCH? across the top of the flyer. Done and done.

Next we need a kickass graphic. Time to hit the web! The internet is an excellent resource for graphics. Don’t be afraid to mix-n-match, either. After some consideration, I decide that I’ll go with a humanized drawing of the Bill of Rights cowering scared on the floor, while George W. Bush raises a fist threateningly at it. For the George W. Bush part I’ll get a picture of him pounding his fist on the podium during a speech off the internet, than cut out the podium part. The Bill of Rights will be trickier, but in the end I can just have a friend who’s good at drawing do it for me. Then I’ll cut and paste the two into the appropriate positions.

For the “call to arms,” I’ll go with some suitably confrontational text:

For far too long, the federal government has abused our rights and stolen our hard-earned income. Are you gonna just sit there and take it? Are you gonna be a bitch your whole life? Or are you gonna RESIST?

VOTE LIBERTARIAN!

Perfect! That should do just fine. I’ll put that right under the graphic, and then it’s off to Kinko’s for printing.


A Little Note on Anarchism

By Anonymous | July 28, 2002 | Leave a comment

In a sane society, most of what goes on can’t be distinguished from anarchy. We buy and sell, we love, we read and write – most of the time, the laws are (or ought to be) irrelevant to these activities.

What does it mean to live as an anarchist in a state-ridden world? First of all, it means not to cooperate willingly with the state’s arbitrary demands. We don’t help the cops against tax-dodgers, draft-dodgers, pot-smokers, wetbacks. We don’t volunteer private information to every noseyparker who feels entitled to it. We don’t mention “sales tax” at the flea market. We don’t vote to subsidize a new stadium for the Giants or the 49ers. We don’t apply for permits to exercise our natural right of self-defense. We obey the prohibition of murder, theft, fraud– but we’d do that anyway. Among consenting adults, we make our own rules.

It’s impossible – some say by design – to obey all the laws. So we try to behave ethically, and not get caught. In that, we anarchists aren’t much different from most of our neighbors, we’re just more philosophical (read:wordy) about it.


Against Amnesia

By (d)anger | July 28, 2002 | Leave a comment

There are moments when life seems entirely impossible. All the crazy dreams of rebellion disappear. The desire to revolt against the society of the civilized is lost to futility, the open but empty hand. All of the late-night laughter filled conversations, the meanderings and wanderings of those intoxicated with thoughts of adventure, begin to seem naive and empty. One comes to the conclusion that one is accomplishing nothing: destruction and creation seem equally without attraction. One abandons one’s own imagination and returns to the old trap of fear. The existential idiot occupies one’s head.

Here is the point where the misery of this society completes itself. This society strengthens itself by continually forcing the individual to disappear: the individual disappears when the individual gives in to the misery of this society. One begins to accept the limitations imposed by this society as one’s own. To experience comes to mean to repeat oneself. One begins to feel one has nothing to offer in defiance, nothing to give: every gesture becomes a blank stare. Passion is pacified. Desire is rationalized away. The forbidden remain forbidden.

This supreme moment of misery marks nothing less than the triumph of amnesia. Such complete abandonment of life’s adventure is the surrender of one who has forgotten all previous rebellion and all previous desire to revolt. Memory has ceased to be a pleasure: the misery of the moment stretches backwards forever. Amnesia is essential to civilizing human beings: when one forgets the possibilities (the richness of past, present, and future) one is domesticated, one disappears.

Amnesia is the colonization of memory. One is forced to forget everything rebellious about one’s life. The colonized mind is less likely to imagine a total revolt against this society if all traces of earlier revolts are suppressed. Everything from simple negative gestures to the hand in the cookie jar to late night crimes make memory precious to the individual; as soon as these breaches are forgotten the present becomes less and less pregnant: the stem of the flower is cut before the flower blooms. One is in despair over the absence of past freedom simply because the residue of past freedoms have been purged from one’s memory.

When asked how one knows that freedom is possible the rebel responds with examples of past freedoms. The rebel remembers the events, movements, and moments of one’s past that mark breaks with the dominant order. One knows that freedom is possible because everybody has experienced freedom: the taste of paradise is in all our mouths. To forget this is fatal. Amnesia can be combatted by constantly digging back into our memories, by constantly becoming more and more aware of our mistakes and victories. No, we must not dwell in the past, we must be cruel with our pasts (and those who would keep us there), and yet we must be greedy with our pasts (and wary of those who would paint those pasts with the blackness of misery and impossibilities). Rebels must return to their own past with a bouquet of flowers in one hand and a knife in the other.

–(d)anger

Reprinted from:
ANARCHY: A Journal of Desire Armed
B.A.L. Press
P.O. Box 2647
Stuyvesant Station
New York, NY 10009


A New Punk Manifesto

By Joel | April 21, 2002 | Leave a comment

Originally published in Profane Existence #13, reprinted from Making Punk a Threat Again: Best Cuts of Profane Existence 1989-1993.

Punk has done important things in its short history. (It’s done some really stupid things, too, but that’s for someone else to chronicle.) Out of the waste heap of middle class values and shopping mall aesthetics, we’ve built a culture that has allowed us to survive the postindustrial world while at the same time salvaging some semblance of our independence, freedom, creativity, and human integrity. As important as this is, it is now time for punk to enter a new phase. Punk has allowed thousands of youths to survive in this rat heap of a world through its music, zines, and communities; now it’s time to change the rat heap itself.

For the most part, punks, have historically been interested in shocking society. In North America, at least, punk’s political practice has been to reject the middle class values shoved down our throat. Being a largely white, middle class youth movement (again, at least in North America), punk’s relations with the outside world have been concentrated on shocking and rejecting that world, from the most political Crass punk to the drunkest Sore Throat punk to the sincerest Minor Threat punk to the most idiotic Exploited mall punk. About the only punk subgroup I would exclude from this generalization would be the wave of upper middle class straightedge and pop punk fans, although there are significant numbers of people in these groups who also spend most of their political activity (where “political” is defined as one’s relations with the social world) rejecting the morals and values of white bread America.

This rejection of our roots, our middle class backgrounds, is important, for (theoretically, at least) we are the inheritors of the white supremacist, patriarchal, capitalist world order. A prime position as defenders of the capital of the ruling class and the overseers of the underclass has been set aside for us by our parents, our upbringing, our culture, our history, and yet we have the moral gumption to reject it. As punks we reject our inherited race and class positions because we know they are bullshit. We want no part in oppressing others and we certainly want no part of Suburbia, our promised land.

However, as important as it is for us to reject our somewhat privileged backgrounds, it is also not enough. Our goal needs to be not to merely reject society, but to recreate it as well. Punk’s effectiveness up to now has primarily been negative in the sense that its primary political acitivity has been to criticize and reject America and everything it stands for. Now it is time to take positive action. We need to turn our anger and disgust with middle class America and creatively channel it into mass-based political action.

To say that punk’s effectiveness has been entirely negative and reaction-oriented would be dead wrong, and I don’t mean to demean the accomplishments of punk by any means. To see the positive influences of punk, we need to look beyond the average mosher at an Agnostic Front gig and examine the smaller, more active community of punks who do zines, write mail, run independent labels and distribution services, organize gigs and/or demos, etc. The people in these communities do an enormous amount of very vital work, work that keeps us from going insane within this fucked up Amerikan society. That work needs to continue.

The positive political activities of punk primarily fall in two categories. One is our work in developing the punk community. This kind of activity includes writing fanzines, putting out records, setting up gigs, having picnics, distributing punk materials, writing mail, travelling, and simply hanging out with our good punk friends. The second kind of positive punk political activity is the focus on changing our individual selves. This includes vegetarianism/ veganism, emphasizing recycling, exploring racism, sexism, and homophobia in our punk communities and within ourselves, etc. As I’ve said, these activities need to continue. They are absolutely necessary in creating change, and in making change fun. After all, without punk, what would the disaffected middle class youth of Amerika have to listen to, the goddamn Grateful Dead? The Chili Peppers? Yeesh.

However, we need to add a third element in our goal to make positive change: organizing with other revolutionary elements in our society. In case you didn’t know, punk is and needs to be revolutionary. The fact that it doesn’t seem so indicates not that punk is liberal or reactionary but that we as punx have been selling ourselves short in realizing the potential of punk and our potential to thoroughly fuck up this society. Punk is one of the very few middle class youth cultures in North America that actually rejects middle class values. This puts us punks in a unique position, and we need to use this position as rejectors of the inheritance to our advantage and to the advantage of oppressed peoples by working with them: women, blacks, Native Americans, homeless, queers, i.e. the underprivileged. We’ve abandoned our middle class backgrounds, now it’s time for us to unequivocally side with the oppressed.

Punk rejects America completely. Punk demands something new. Punk is and needs to be revolutionary, and if you don’t agree, maybe it’s time for you to turn in your 7″ collection for a Columbia House CD Club membership. Just don’t be surprised when we bulldoze through your fucking house someday.

Punks do an excellent job, for the most part, in developing our own community. It’s time to take that experience into the larger community and infuse our spirit and creativity with mass-based revolutionary potential. We need to help organize and work towards a mass movement, one that’s set on destroying America as it stands and empowering the dispossessed. We need a revolution and it’s time for punk to be a part of it!

Further, we need to be more than superficial. We need more than another zine. We need to organize and get established in our local communities. We need to offer our collective strengths to the struggles of oppressed people, which, after all, are our own. I’m talking about expanding our present facilities, I’m talking about developing new ones. We need to continue to put out zines, but we need to get them out beyond the punk community, even if that means giving them away. We need to make better use of our present facilities and open them up to the rest of the community. Epicenter, the punk-run nonprofit record store and community center in San Francisco is an example of this, like when they opened their doors to the community as a meeting space for the General Strike meetings during the Gulf War and when they open their space for various community groups to hold their meetings. Not every city has an Epicenter, to be sure. It’s time to work with the rest of the underprivileged people in our communities and build them.

We need other new resources. We need outreach: punk soup kitchens, community groups, free stores, etc. We need to let people know that we are on the side of people, not privilege. The fascists are organizing in our communities; we need to beat them at their own game. Why do you think the KKK and the racist populist movement enjoys such success in poor farming and lower middle class communities? Because they actually go into those communities and work with the people there and help them in their struggles with the rich and powerful who are trying to destroy their lives (e.g. by helping farmers keep their land from the banks, etc.). We need to do the same thing, but we need to offer anti-fascist alternatives to the people who need help in empowering themselves. This will take a mass, broad-based movement, and punks need to take an active part in that.

The fascists are organizing in our communities; we’re not. Time to change. Make no mistake, war is coming to Amerika. It’s overdue. Look at the economy, look at the deteriorating condition of our cities, look at whatever you want. The New World Order of Bush and his lackeys is heralding in a new age, and it’s not going to be pretty. The New Right want a piece of you, the racist Right wants a piece of you, the upper class want to keep their piece of you. Are you going to let them? War is coming to Amerika, and it’s time to prepare, punx. We need to fight if we are to survive, and being punx, we undoubtedly can figure out a way to have a good time doing it.

Getting involved in the community does not mean we have to sacrifice our identities. We don’t have to “grow up,” look nice, act polite, or refrain from drunken binges to be revolutionary or to work with non-punks. We’re punks and we will change the world as punks. We need to help out those who need help in our community as punx and let folks know that we’re on their side and that we’re ready for a revolution, even though we’re white and largely middle class and male.

So what are we doing here in Minneapolis? Profane Existence is taking an active part in a new local anarchist group, Twin Cities Anarchist Federation. TCAF has just started, and our focus will be on community activities and creating solidarity with other groups in the Twin Cities struggling for self-determination as well as working toward, well, total social revolution. Further, Profane Existence will emphasize and document punk activities and punks who are getting involved in their communities. In this issue, check out the Anti-Racist Action piece.

It’s time to fess up. We’re punks, we hate society, and we want a new world. We’re revolutionaries. As revolutionaries, it’s time to work with the underprivileged and angry elements in our communities and to get organized. It’s in our hands, and we should expect nothing less from punk and from ourselves. We will make punk a threat again, together. Let’s do it!

Reprinted from Profane Existence with the understanding that: “Permission is granted to reproduce any written contents of this site for non-commercial use, so long as we are credited as the source”.


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