Anews Podcast 220 – 7.23.21

From: The Anews Podcast

Welcome to the anews podcast. This podcast is on anarchist activity, ideas, and conversations from the previous week on

Sound editing by Greg.

One of the New Things in the Library: Evasion (intro). read by Max Powers

"What's New Segment" with Chisel and a friend.

TotW conversation with Ariel and Octox: "Watching the Drift"

1. Spook Rat – You Say Oogle Like It’s A Bad Thing
2. Action Songs for Kids – The Singing Walrus
3. Brian Eno – Drift

There are 43 Comments

I think it's really interesting the mention of how anarchism as a "counter culture" often leads to anarchists no longer being anarchists when they finally give in to the desire for the main culture, for the civilized/capitalist life. This is something I've been thinking about a lot and exploring in my own writing, and identify my own ideas of anti-civ/primitivism/lifestylism/anarchism with a sort of asceticism, which while my hope now is that this asceticism will grow (rejecting even more of civilized life) this sort of recuperatibe desire is very interesting to me and I wonder how the question of age will affect that aspect of my thinking/life since I think other people would consider me a young person.

As for the discussion of Discourse I found the perspective very interesting since it is extremely counter to my experiences as again someone others may consider young. I discovered the term anarchist maybe 7 years ago on Tumblr with someone defining the term anarcho-communism (i had considered myself a communist for a least a year prior) and from there I feel I have constantly been discovering more and more new discourses, from building that first sort of critique of the state, to learning about unionizing and organizing with unions and doing activism based on the prison abolitionist school of thought, later learning about eco-anarchist struggles which then turned me on to the texts Desert which felt like a monumental shift for me. Even today (though I'm still behind by a year or two) reading recent publications like Atassa, or Baedan I see extremely interesting conversations happening (and outside of social media!) that spur that same kind of impression of importance Desert left with me (and seems to have left many others).

Another difficerence in experience has been mine with social media, though I'm largely off it now due to bans, social media has been in my experience a great place to participate in discourse in one way while many people discuss the sort of cyclical nature of it (such as the recurrence of "kink at pride" discourse) I think it actually these sort of "dull" seeming premises for conversation that can really allow for them to be recontextualized and "radical" or more contemporary or more interesting conclusions I think can emerge from these sort of boring repetitive topics. In a way I think this is kind of a uphill battle with social media since it is my opinion these sorts of topics are popularized because their conclusions are quite recuperative (such as the desexualization of queer people) but I think reaprppriating these topics on these ways can combat this recuperative force in some conversations, which I think especially helps new people who are exploring these ideas for the first time. Though it can also be harder for them to understand from their current frame (think of someone just getting into anarchy being told its anti-social chaos) but cam be helpful for those who are interested in pushing this notion of "ruthless critique of all that exists" as far as possible.

As well in my experience with social media it seems the sort of "drift" of some of these spaces are happening extremely rapidly (and cyclicly) which is leading to a lot of interesting splits on topics. For example my final leave from Twitter was a split between pro-pedophilia anarchists, Marxists, primitivists etc and anti-pedophiles (of every ideology). And this split has influenced my thoughts on "justice" (extending critiques of carceral logic to restorative/transformative justice), consent, youth liberation, anti-identity/anti-humanism, anti-moralism not to mention the actual topic itself, which at least for myself has turned me on to a historical position I was unaware of.

So I think in a way these drifts or splits are not only helpful but I think with this notion of "critique" it is required, since at least in my mind this critique means we will always be drifting further and further away from where we were yesterday.

And at least for myself, while I may find company in what meter position i find myself holding today, I'm more interested in find those people who are interested in the path. Who while we still may diverge, or find ourselves "stuck" in different positions, find a commonality in the "drift", in this critique.

I have a feeling you haven't read Stirner yet, or grappled with the contradictions of Randian individual objectivism where ironically her fundamentalist philosophy would have everyone living voluntarily as ascetics for her perfect society to function?

I haven't read any of striners works fully though I do take some influence from some egoists. I definitely do not consider myself an individualist however, of the stirner or thr Randian variety, since I do not believe in the "self"/individual, and I am opposed to desire (thus the asceticism.

I would also say I reject Randyianism despite not having read the theory since i reject markets, society, and civilization. I also reject objectivity and science.

If you would want to elaborate however on what you think the connection between asceticism and Randyianism is that may help me understand since I don't see it. Personally I don't see how Randyians are ascetics at all but even if they are that wouldn't be unique to them since asceticism is also used by other groups.

Rand is complex in a puerile way, resembling the smug rich sociopath with the whole world at their feet. The arrogant narcissist, whether a winner gloating in their fortune, or the loser depressed by their failure and wallowing in feelings of low self-esteem, both resemble a kind of ascetic and are not a dichotomy, but a continuum of the same mindset under opposite material circumstances. Rand abhors the loser (she grimaced at disabled children), blaming their misfortune upon their character and not the --objects-, because for her Objectivism, rational reality is there to be conquered without skepticism, humility or compassion. Resembling a fundamentalist religious doctrine of selfish acquisition yet forbidding interference or force, her pacifist essays never delved very deep into the emotional and empathic dimensions of the human condition, similar to the monastic orders of disciplined ascetics reaping the field in a coccoon of unrestrained smug righteousness. Around the middle of this continuum are those who are able to consider that their own personal interests are a part of a society of many interests which could be reined into conflict and/or cooperation. Self-worth projects itself outwards into a social worth which leads to not selfishness nor selflessness (types of asceticism); it leads to compromise, fairness, and hopefully better world.
This is just my own theory on the psychology of aggressive individual selfishness,

"The arrogant narcissist, whether a winner gloating in their fortune, or the loser depressed by their failure and wallowing in feelings of low self-esteem, both resemble a kind of ascetic"

To me asceticism is a rejection of the benefit of civilization (I call this profit, from Perlmans Against His-Story Against Leviathan) I don't see how being a winner with a fortune can be ascetic. And I don't think losers can be ascetic since they still desire to be winners.

"Resembling a fundamentalist religious doctrine of selfish acquisition "

I'm very confused at your connection of Randyianism to asceticism since it seems extremely focused on the "material" world where to me asceticism is a rejection of this materialism.

Your theory is uniquely phrased but honestly it seems little more then the average ego-com rejection of individualism, where you critique the selflessness of certain ideologies but still hold some things above yourself, such as the collective, or society, or communism.

I reject both selflessness and selfishness for a couple reasons. Firstly again I do not believe in the self. Secondly I think asceticism is simultaneously a rejection of selfishness in the form of materiality but an affirmation of the wholistic self (a self outside of our self) in a selfish sense. To rephrase, asceticism to me is a rejection of civilized selfishness in the form of rejecting profit, which can also be an affirmation of natural drives, or immateriality (some people call this spirituality, I do not). Personally I focus more on the rejection then on affirmation since I believe affirmation without complet rejection often leads to recreation of that which you attempt to reject.

For example the ascetic may reject the written word of civilization (material), and in doing so affirm the spoken word (immaterial). Or reject the agriculture of civilization (possessive -> material) and in doing so affirm foraging (non-possesive -> immaterial).

Hmm, yes, I agree with you definition of asceticism. Mine has recently evolved from watching some Olympics and noting that the --winners-- have mostly lived joyful, disciplined and highly ego driven lives, going without many petty joys to attain gold. Enduring an almost primitive withdrawal from casual hedonism to pursue their goals. Are the alpha sports perps ascetic?
You are more the nihilistic neo- primitivist no?

"Are the alpha sports peeps ascetics?"

No everyone (to my knowledge) involved in the Olympics is a materialist in some way, they live in homes, they get payed money, even their victories (and losses are a social value that I consider materialist. To me being an ascetic is to exist completely outside of civilization.

I used to associate with primitivism and anti-civ but the likes of Zerzan, post civ anarchists and neo-luddites have led me to distance myself. I would say I'm more interested now this Eco-Extremists but I'm definitely not a part of the tendency since while some of them are ascetics they are focused solely on Attack, which I think is too solely focused on the material world, though I find their attacks admirable. Also while I may lean more nihlist in my rejection of positive construction I think I am very firmly not a nihlist, since nihlists believe these positive constructions are impossible, I think they are only limited, so where nihlists purely attack, to me attack is only one aspect of asceticism. This "spirituality"/immateriality to me is a possible positive construction that I have associated more with an absurdism. But tbh I mainly just appropriation that word because I like it, not necessarily because I think my ideas actually align with the school of thought.

There's nothing significant the Eco-Extremists did as "attack", that wasn't a reappropriation of some eco-anarchist tactics.

Indiscriminate violence? ISIS completely stole their fame at that, 'member? ITS in Mexico were no threat, as this is already an ultra-violent country where cartels have been challenging the State's monopoly for at least two decades, and doing brutal violent acts that make whatever ITS is look like the kindergarten gang.

I've never seen eco anarchists advocate the killing of humans to kill nerves, and am unaware of them advocating parcel Bombs targeting random workers. Sure I agree Eco-Extremism isn't entirely original, it pulls from ISIS, from anarchism, from freedom club etc. But the culmination of all these things in Eco-Extremism I think is interesting and while not original per se is a unique mix that I think one can learn from. And since some ITS members are nomads and I assume at least in part ascetics, and they are adjacent to nihlism I thought they were a good example.

Wow, you got it in for materialists, and this "spiritual absurdism" alternative-spook-thing has me concerned. I use the term "nihilist" in its most general sense, as a negatively focused resistance to a popular or common process, and your ideas, as far as I'm concerned, fall into its school of thought.
If you just admit that you are a frugal disenchanted primitivist-communist I will leave you alone and move on.

Im am anti communist so I don't see why I would say that. Im also not frugal. Also it doesn't matter to e if you leave me alone, i don't quite understand your perspective but I've found the convo engaging at the least. If it helps you to call me a nihlist then go ahead, I just thought I'd clarify.

Also, its like the asectic gets joy out of self-sacrifice and going without comforts. Its an inverted egoism of sorts, altruistic yet done for personal gain similar to virtue signalling no?

I do not think your comparisons are apt. To me asceticism is not a self sacrifice but instead a rejection of the self. Civilization exists as a flow of extraction and profit, the revolutionary just trys to combat extraction, the matry or self sacrificial only escapes profit, the ascetic tries to escape both. In this way one could say the escape from the extraction process is a "benefit" to the ascetic. I don't see where altruism has anything to do with asceticism.

All revolutionaries were driven by profit, a quest for territory and the spoils of being valorous. Also, you have along way to go to obliterate the self. And so one could at least agree then I was correct, that asceticism is a branch of nihilism? There's a certain emptiness required, also an acute awareness of oneself, external manipulations etc etc. There's alot more than just extraction and profit to worry about.

Most of my understanding of nihlism stems from this influenced by stirner, because asceticism to me rejects the self I would say it isn't nihlist, but there are connections to be made. Personally I see myself interested in a sort of post-egoism, critiquing some of these notions of the self I see from egoists, so maybe that's one way to see the relationship.

What are you worried about besides extraction and profit? I think most ifvl not all of civilization can be boiled down to these functions.

Besides extraction and profit, the decreasing percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere is one worry, many more I won't bore u,,,,,

To me this seems a natural outcome of the extraction from the biosphere/nature etc.

Can you elaborate what you find innacurate? This comment is very unconducive to an interesting conversation. What is your criticism?

I might just add that the spiritualist ascetic's joy is referred to as "epiphany" or "holy bliss or ecstasy "
The altruistic epiphany of the holy ascetic monk in his non-materialistic monastery! This is not a character assassination, merely an impersonal observation ;)

I think your use of "holy" "monestary" "bliss" "ecstasy" and "altruistic" are very different from my understanding of asceticism.

A broader knowledge of the human psyche has me realizing that the successful Randian capitalist CEO, the successful sport perp, the successful holier-than-thou ascetic, the aspiring loser and workerist, the gambling peasant addicted to the notion of instance financial wealth are all of the same shallow perception of objectivity. Good luck with your quest for ethical purity.

Lol well my asceticism has nothing to do with ethics but thanks anyway. I think it's kind of funny you and some other people make that assumption though. Good luck with your own lifestyle as well.

I actually don't believe in "good luck", its a spook, and only use the term on ascetics who don't believe or comprehend the mathematical concept of probability, but thanks anyway.

I agree with your analysis of luck, but it's funny how you also don't see how probability and science/maths is also a "spook" or ideology.

Its pure objective truth is all so it cannot be a spook. Analysis is not a spook, like my neurolinguistic skills, some intuition, creative imagination, or the study of needs. Its fairly simple really, for the pure one such as myself.

Objective truth is ideology, gotta read some Foucault.

No, subjective lies are ideology, gotta read some Camus and Heidegger.

I see what you mean, A-Zs has taken Perlman literally, opposing the mantra of profit whilst you have extended this "profit" in a post-modern sense, you're introducing a mantra of success or winning outside of capital, one of monopolizing ethical credit, of accumulating personal virtue to a surplus surpassing that of the enslaved masses sins and their moral weaknesses. The priests with all their ethics are enslaved themselves by their righteousness. The winning athlete is enslaved by their ego, the ascetic is enslaved by their abstinence. But what are you enslaved by?

Below was supposed to be a response to "All revolutionaries were driven by profit, a quest for territory and the spoils of being valorous..."

You don't know what you are talking about. Not even close.

All revolution is, is a reorganization of profit, a redrawing of the lines of property and from whom (or what) to extract from. Not only do revolutions such as the Bourgeois French revolution and its ramifications show this, as well as communist revolutionaries, but even anarchist revolutionaries desire little more then a new distribution of wealth and aesthetics of domination. (E.x. restorative justice vs. Punitive justice, forced labor through ideology instead of need etc.)

it seems likely that the issue taken with that obviously lazy generalization was the ALL portion in the statement "all revolutionaries...".

here, watch, I'll do it too "all generalizations are always accurate". see how silly it is?

if anything, a generalizing statement almost always tells me that the speaker is just hostile to a set of ideas and throwing fistfuls of their poop from the tree.

It must be hard to never use generalizations, do you have to examine each individual fascists politics to see if you disagree with them?

didn't say I never use them, I said I'm wary of them and yes, I do try to examine each individual's position, when there's time

Seems like a waste of time to me. Fascism has a generalized function. Revolution has a generalized function. Ignoring the generalities of something only hinders ones analysis. Especially since the generalized analysis typically offers more insight, especially into how things connect, but also beyond the subject matter into other connections.

If you are wary perhaps you could state a critique of this analysis of revolution instead of just writing it off as a generalization.

perhaps I could but that assumes I wouldn't be wasting my time talking to you.

generalizations are at best, problematic and at worst, literally another way of saying things like dogma, prejudice or of course, "spook".

you're exactly wrong, making hasty assumptions is what hinders analysis. if you can afford the time to slow down and take in more specific data, why wouldn't you? humans make broad associations in their thinking to save time and almost all the shitty things about their thinking can result

The problem in my mind is not the generalized analysis but the blind acceptance of it. Anti-capitalism is a generalization, feminist opposition to patriarchy is a generalization. Anarchist critiques of the state are generalizations. If you instead of using a generalized critique of the state, look at each and every state to determine of you like it, I think it's missing the way that all states operate. But in addition to the ways all states operate, yes you can add to that analysis by looking at specific examples, and specific manifestations of these generalized functions. But I don't understand the point of ignoring the generalized functionals.

Another commenter here, its because lazy thinkers ignore generalized functionals! These determinist critics are the ones who always make blueprints or create dogma with their pompous assertions about methodology. One can never really relax around those that fetishize perfection!

... did you notice that your first sentence was my point this whole time?

No because you are very obviously interested in just blindly rejecting a generalized analysis of revolution if its critical of the idea.

Are not enough to undo the problems of revolution. At best they are insurgents who are badly distributing their energy.

Anarchy works best as radical graduation or insurrection.

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