This text finds itself more relevant to my life this week than it has in years. From Foucault’s introduction to Anti-Oedipus.


Whence the three adversaries confronted by Anti-Oedipus. Three adversaries who do not have the same strength, who represent varying degrees of danger, and whom the book combats in different ways:

  1. The political ascetics, the sad militant, the terrorists of theory, those who would preserve the pure order of politics and political discourse. Bureaucrats of the revolution and civil servants of Truth.
  2. The poor technicians of desire — psychoanalysts and semiologists of every sign and symptom — who would subjugate the multiplicity of desire to the twofold law of structure and lack.
  3. Last but not least, the major enemy, the strategic adversary is fascism (whereas Anti-Oedipus’ opposition to the others is more of a tactical engagement). And not only historical fascism, the fascism of Hitler and Mussolini — which was able to mobilize and use the desire of the masses so effectively — but also the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us.

I would say that Anti-Oedipus (may its authors forgive me) is a book of ethics, the first book of ethics to be written in France in quite a long time (perhaps that explains why its success was not limited to a particular “readership”: being anti-oedipal has become a life style, a way of thinking and living). How does one keep from being fascist, even (especially) when one believes oneself to be a revolutionary militant? How do we rid our speech and our acts, our hearts and our pleasures, of fascism? How do we ferret out the fascism that is ingrained in our behavior? The Christian moralists sought out the traces of the flesh lodged deep within the soul. Deleuze and Guattari, for their part, pursue the slightest traces of fascism in the body.

Paying a modest tribute to Saint Francis de Sales, one might say that Anti-Oedipus is an Introduction to the Non-Fascist Life.

This art of living counter to all forms of fascism, whether already present or impending, carries with it a certain number of essential principles which I would summarize as follows if I were to make this great book into a manual or guide for everyday life:

  • Free political action from all unitary and totalizing paranoia.
  • Develop action, thought, and desires by proliferation, juxtaposition, and disjunction, and not by subdivision and pyramidal hierarchization.
  • Withdraw allegiance from the old categories of the Negative (law, limit, castration, lack, lacuna), which Western thought has so long held sacred as a form of power and an access to reality. Prefer what is positive and multiple, difference over uniformity, flows over unities, mobile arrangements over systems. Believe that what is productive is not sedentary but nomadic.
  • Do not think that one has to be sad in order to be militant, even though the thing one is fighting is abominable. It is the connection of desire to reality (and not its retreat into the forms of representation) that possesses revolutionary force.
  • Do not use thought to ground a political practice in Truth; nor political action to discredit, as mere speculation, a line of thought. Use political practice as an intensifier of thought, and analysis as a multiplier of the forms and domains for the intervention of political action.
  • Do not demand of politics that it restore the “rights” of the individual, as philosophy has defined them. The individual is the product of power. What is needed is to “de-individualize” by means of multiplication and displacement, diverse combinations. The group must not be the organic bond uniting hierarchized individuals, but a constant generator of de-individualization.
  • Do not become enamored of power.

It could even be said that Deleuze and Guattari care so little for power that they have tried to neutralize the effects of power linked to their own discourse. Hence the games and snares scattered throughout the book, rendering its translation a feat of real prowess. But thse are not the familiar traps of rhetoric; the latter work to sway the reader without his being aware of the manipulation, and ultimately win him over against his will. The traps of Anti-Oedipus are those of humor: so many invitations to let oneself be put out, to take one’s leave of the text and slam the door shut. The book often leads one to believe it is all fun and games, when something essential is taking place, something of extreme seriousness: the tracking down of all varieties of fascism, from the enormous ones that surround and crush us to the petty ones that constitute the tyrannical bitterness of our everday lives.

What I hate about the Internet and what it means for the future of Anarchism

In another life I work with technology for a living. This means I keep up to date on Internet technologies and the theories that inform them. I just scanned a solid article from new TOR board member and security researcher Bruce Schneier and the power struggle between the feudal internet and those of us who are working for distributed power (by many other names). While Bruce’s goal isn’t necessarily mine, I do think that considering the modern anarchist project one of deliberately distributing power (and working for this distribution) isn’t far off the mark.


What I hate about the Internet, of course, is that it has quickly moved from a decentralized cacophony of voices, perspectives, and mediums for transmitting different ideas, into a channeled, mediated, controlled, and censored medium replicating most of the media flaws that lead to the popularization of the Internet in the first place. In the context of the anarchist internet this means that the first wave of anarchist controlled internet1 have almost entirely disappeared. Anarchist Internet discussion has almost entirely moved to Facebook and/or the ephemeral snapchat, instragram, and twitter contexts2.

Real life has politically split with the Internet to limited affect. In the activist version of real life (that in my past life as a post-situationist I would call the double abstracted life of the spectacular present) this means issuing communiques on the Internet (with the most secure https and the most blurred of faces) but never discussing strategy or criticism (outside the clique). In the diy version of real life this means rooms with fewer and fewer people talking from the basis of less and less knowledge. Abandoning the internet, as smart as it is from one set of assumptions, has as its major downside a lack of interconnectedness. This fabric of relationships is the one thing I would point to as the most necessary thing to any vision of a future world that isn’t dictated by the feudal concerns of state, capital, and centralized power.

In a different context I am entirely on the side of real life. The meaningful relationships I want to build with individuals lives there. I live there. But that is only one part of what I do with my time. Another part, that of a publisher, propagandist, and curious monkey, lives on the internet. To the extent to which I continue to want to entertain and be entertained I think the feudal internet has to be fought but this seems like such a desperate and lonely fight. Returning to Schneier’s essay here is a nice way to think about the problem.

The truth is that technology magnifies power in general, but the rates of adoption are different. The unorganized, the distributed, the marginal, the dissidents, the powerless, the criminal: they can make use of new technologies faster. And when those groups discovered the Internet, suddenly they had power. But when the already powerful big institutions finally figured out how to harness the Internet for their needs, they had more power to magnify. That’s the difference: the distributed were more nimble and were quicker to make use of their new power, while the institutional were slower but were able to use their power more effectively. So while the Syrian dissidents used Facebook to organize, the Syrian government used Facebook to identify dissidents.

Now I’m not exactly sure I agree that we (the unorganized, marginal, and dissidents) should race to get ahead on tech like quantum computing or VR or whatever. But I am quite sure that whatever innovation happens here (by the unorganized, marginal, and dissident) has to do what it is going to do quickly (and probably in such an uncompromising and vicious of a way as to be entirely disagreeable to most of the unorganized, marginal, and dissident) so as to not lose to the logic of big institutions. The internet wasn’t destroyed the day amazon went live but it took years for us to realize how big of an impact that day was and some of us haven’t learned it yet.

1 spunk, radio4all, indymedia, infoshop, etc
2 Astute readers (and trolls) will notice that I am not mentioning my own sites/work here. Love or hate my projects but you have to admit they are self-organized and not financed or profitable.

Entry 6 – End of Trip. Lessons

Montreal should get its own entry but now that I’ve been home for two weeks the time to review the end of May seems to have passed. Suffice it to say that Montreal, Chicago (!!!), and Phoenix were all fantastic stops and had great turn outs for what I and LBC have to share. I’m excited to visit these places again. There were nice aspects to Columbus, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis too but for different reasons than pushing forward for projects. For now I’m trying to finish the Q2 titles, figure out GPG (which a serious annoyance) for the fifth or sixth time, and proceed gently into writing more. In that vein I’ll summarize my trip rather than dig into the details.


Middle Age, no way!

This trip did confirm what I suspected, middle age is a state of mind and not a real thing at all. When what I mostly do with my time is sit in front of a computer trying to make the world move then it’s no surprise I feel middle age. When I’m riding a motorcycle, taking in the glories of the world, meeting new & interesting people it is again no surprise that I feel young. I guess the most middle aged thing about this trip is that I now see the place for both. That and the injuries (persistent and minor). But I now realize that if sitting here typing away is getting me down, then I just need to get back into the world, into living in real time and not this (primarily) sublimated existence as a keyboard warrior. I do feel sorry for young people who know no life outside of this though. Depressing

A few people commented that my trip had some hallmarks of the “mid life crisis,” which in fact it was not. At the end of the trip I pulled back up to the physical location I left from and picked up exactly where I left off. As a matter of fact we will be publishing a full quarters worth of books in the next week or so.

Cognitive breaks

I am a lover of critiques. I have foundthe critique of specialization to be one of the most useful and inspiring for me. On the other hand I have made some effort to make things, physical things, for other people. One of the lessons of this effort is that people demand quality, especially with regard to graphic design, which I’m not qualified to even have an opinion on. The tension between despising specialization and living in a world that demands it is one of about a dozen irreconcilable contradictions I’m faced with holding together on any given week. It’s exhausting.

One of the only ways I know how to continue to do this glue work and still keep a smile on my face is to walk away on occasion. Like fucking Caine. Walk. Get your mind empty. Have an adventure. Come home and do it again with a fresh outlook.

North American Anarchism

I absolutely understand the critique of the milieu. The self-righteous belief that a social scene is the same thing as a movement of the destruction of this world (or any of the other dozen other ways you could say it). I also am no longer a particular beneficiary, I’m too old, unhip, and established to take advantage of the “find each other” aspect of social scenes. But I think that the reasons that the milieu came into existence after the Vietnam era is still valid and is absolutely not replaceable by the nothingness (which really means splinter groups with no fixed identity) that has replaced it. I think the milieu, as crappy as it is, as incomplete as it is, as much of a work in progress as it is, is what we are capable of. It is the DIY shelter we (and by we I mean the freaks I am in the lineage of over the past 50 years) are capable of creating. It is absolutely still what every new radical needs in their transition from straight society and a new one.

I have learned to hate the Internet on this count. I realize it is no longer even possible to make this criticism but learning outside of a social context isn’t a deep type of learning, it’s something else. Not quite sure what to call it but I’ve seen a great deal of it over the past decade or so. Yes, it’s a type of knowledge but without a body. It is the opposite of the sacred conjuration.

North American anarchism has been decimated by the Internet in other ways as well. Where once we had to find each other in some sort of physical place (for me it was downtown at the Amphitheater, a short lived youth TAZ in the town I grew up in, but was replicated in many of my friends towns as well), now many people find themselves satisfied in a forum or two. It means that traveling around to meet people is a real challenge. Any city where I could get 20 people out of their bedrooms and into face-to-face seemed like a place that still remembered that meat space, that people in the flesh, is still incredibly important. It is still where the chemistry happens.

I asked the question in many of the towns I went to. Why has anarchism attracted so few people since Occupy? In some towns I was stared at as if a fool. In a few towns there has been a flock of new people who bring hope and future disappointment. Those towns were the exception though. In most places, especially bigger cities, there were no new people. The average age of the anarchist population was closer to, if not over, thirty. The lack of young people wasn’t seen as a crisis but as some sort of sign that punk rock, or counter-culture in general, wasn’t funneling people towards radical politics, as understood by the anarchist milieu, and that was something. Unclear what that something was but it wasn’t necessarily seen as bad.

I build this question on the ruins of Occupy because anarchists were such a part of the theory that created Occupy and because of the potential it had to because something that it didn’t. The most common response is that what has evolved out of the past five years is a less partisan political force, in short Struggle not Politics. This tension, between politics (in this sense just the use of descriptive and aspirational words like anarchism) and activity (or direct intervention in social struggle) is the problem of this particular moment. I saw this all over the country and most anarchists seemed to be coupling the lesson of “the critique of the milieu” to a new (and fresher?) definition of anarchism that defined it as struggle, period. I’d probably have less of a problem with this new formation if it wasn’t so self-satisfied without accompanying successes but I guess both terms are highly subjective so a wait and see approach is probably healthier.


I want to wrap this up but of course this is only about a quarter of what has been on my mind since the trip. I have nearly a hundred different people across the continent that I need to personally thank (and I’ll get to that). It is because of the generosity of my hosts and the hundreds of people who came to see me and talk, who threw some gas money into my tanks (btw I went 11,700 miles at about 43.7 mpg paying on average about $2.75 per gallon because my bike required premium for a rough estimate of about $800 on gas which seems surprisingly low), who took me out for a meal, who let me crash on their couch or extra bed that made this epic trip possible. I look forward to paying back a lot of people by returning the favor.

Seen from this perspective this trip was an amazing success. The number of people who shared their life with me during the past three months has been incredible. I wish I could move all of these people to a place where my daily life could look a lot more like what these trips look like. A challenging activity (mostly physical) in the morning (like riding a motorcycle a couple hundred miles), an afternoon decompression (a nap or sitting around on a porch chit chatting), and an evening of entertainment and sometimes intense debate. Then gone early the next day.

If I have a future as a type of minstrel (which I probably don’t all things considered) I have a lot of work to do. Politics is not interesting or sexy in this world. I’d like to try to make it more so, within reason since I am not necessarily either. I have an idea and that is what I’ll be working on for the next year or two before I hit the road again.

Entry 5 – Ontario & the East Coast


Did you know there are still active projects in MI? Indeed, Fifth Estate is a currently active project that still puts out three issues of an anarchistish content periodical every year. While I was in Detroit this project loomed large as I was staying with its managing editor. We went to visit its memorialization. I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with one of my projects being locked away in a museum but likely don’t have anything to worry about. We discussed devotion to singular projects. We went to Heidelburg and even got to spend some time with Tyree. We ate pizza delivered by the hands of our hosts and had a lovely breakfast where we followed up on all the threads and tied them in a bow.



I’m tempted to oversimplify when I write about Ontario but it wouldn’t be fair. I visited three different towns there and had three very different experiences. Hamilton is a successful anarchist scene there. They have a strong active infoshop. They also have something that looks and feels like the kind of community most towns aspire to (constituent ingredients include consistency, some old timers, and some wingnuts that add color). I was there to visit friends and to help launch the new LBC title Blessed is the Flame. The book launch was quite intense with family members, out of town radicals, and a multi-media presentation that was quite impressive.

Toronto was a challenge. Any big town trip is stressful because having a motorcycle out on the street with most of my luggage is stressful. I just had my camera stolen out of my tank bag (sorry J) which reminded me of what I already know, most of the time things are fine, and then they aren’t. The event was hosted at a campus restaurant by a consistent local anarchist reading group.

Kingston was really nice. The event wasn’t so interesting but the space it was held in (motorcycle shop) was adorable and appropriate given the nature of my trip. I came back a couple of thousand miles later to have my tires changed. The scene there is small and older but frankly, this was much appreciated as my point of contact seemed totally dialed in on most of the topics I like to talk about.

East Coast

Rochester was totally forgettable except for the sincerity and generosity of my host. I could use this opportunity to make fun of the Black Rose Federation members there but frankly the less ink any of us spill over them the faster they may disappear from the planet. Insert clever quote about anarchists needing a federation like a fish needs a bicycle.

Woodstock was lovely as it involved some conversations about topics I need to research later. Added to my reading list: Artaud, On the art of the nō drama: the major treatises of Zeami, The Empty Space, and The Theater & it’s Double.

Providence RI was a pleasant surprise. My host did not have much experience and the event wasn’t that well attended (no surprise given how well I/LBC plays in the East Coast generally) but the people who did attend were interesting, interested, and found each other! I can count on one hand how many times my mere existence was a catalyst to new interactions. I hope they go well.

Boston has one of the most stable anarchist bookstores in North America, the Lucy Parsons Center. The history doesn’t mention why so I guess I’ll leave it unsaid but my time there was notable for getting to watch Boston street culture close up, an engaged conversation about The Blast and the question of anarchist aging. I did attend a birthday party of a stranger while I was there that was strange. The people were very nice and friendly to me but the crowd was either of the “family don’t care about stranger” variety, the “I’m just here to drink beer” or the “I’m a member of Black Rose Federation and have no curiosity about you whatsoever”. I do find curiosity (and the lack thereof) to be one of the hallmarks of red anarchism.

Central Vermont is lovely and I can only imagine the leaf peeping there. 😉

Next up… Quebec & the trip home

Entry 4 – From BC to MI

On the essay denouncement

The author of one of the three recent denouncements of nihilism that I am at least partially culpable in lives in the city of Vancouver (or so they say in the essay). My presentation there was pregnant with the possibility of a public face-to-face with this critic. Sadly, though not surprisingly, they did not make themselves known to me and I had to make my remarks about the bad faithedness and religiousity of their essay in front of an audience that didn’t seem exactly dialed into the details.


Using an essay to work through issues, rather than meat space or a letter or even an email, is an interesting proposition to me. On the one hand I totally get it. Interpersonal shit can get gnarly quickly. Trying to engage with ideas without necessarily making them personal is hard and worthwhile work. And it’s a lot easier to work over the perception you have of other people’s perspective than their actual perspective. Bad things are bad after all, it’s all we know about them!

But it seems like a pretty rotten thing about the anarchist space to normalize this behavior.

Big travel

Vancouver was nice but I do stress a bit about leaving my bike, laden with bags, out in the public in big cities. In two short days I was able to hang out with an old friend, do a presentation, hang out with a new friend, and meet up for an interview. Finally I left V and headed back south to have someone look at my motorcycle who was smarter than me.

The next leg of my tour (after the social BC leg) was a solo leg. I first traveled to Yellowstone (originally I was going to Glacier AND Yellowstone) without realizing that at the end of April it was still fucking cold there. As in, snow line at about the level of altitude where I was camping cold and say what you will about riding but even I will not ride in the snow! This meant my two days of adventure in Yellowstone got cut short to one day before I bailed but here is what I saw in that brief time.

– A running battle between a bison and an RV
– about 30 feet of empty space between me and a pissed off bison after the RV got away
– Yellowstone annual staff act like they were about to have a kick-ass summer
– Cold canned food
– Mud pots
– Scary motorcycle parking

The next day I woke up and decided to hit the road. I’m thankful I did because otherwise I would have had to do a lot more miles in a single day than I would have liked (I’ve been trying to keep it to about six hours max) and I ended that day staring at this.


After a slow ride through SD I landed in Minneapolis and the kind of loving embrace of my people there. Then an excellent ride through the UP of MI and a short trip through my childhood.

Nostalgia is a hell of a drug

I’m at about the half way point of the trip from the perspective of miles. I’m about to enter Canada for the last time on this trip. I am struck by endings. Some, if not many, of the people I have visited are from my past. Our time together was when we were both looking towards a future. Today, as I sat with an old (20+ years) friend they said to me that I have not changed much in the past five years. I’m working on a project that excites me. I’m with the same people as I was five years ago. I’m fully adulting, even if that doesn’t look all that adult. I don’t dwell all that much on the past.

As I head into the next context I am reflecting on that. Is it possible to be fair to new people you meet, who enter your life, while also respecting the memory of the relationships that come before. Don’t most of us choose one or the other? When framed that way I’d like to think that I choose neither. That I don’t live in a headspace dominated by the past or the present but with a type of simulflow.

A few days ago I was sitting with someone and talking about a personality trait I have that involves unconscious cruelty. I emphasized how my meanness isn’t usually intentional and they emphasized how many people despise me for it. One of my lessons from this trip is that both ways I pay a price. When I am intentionally nice I feel a falseness and like the resultant isn’t true. When I am honest I feel unliked. It’s easy to be pat about either approach but the lesson is that neither satisfies. There isn’t a right way to do this and the fact that I don’t get to be friends with everyone shouldn’t bother me half as much as it does.

Next up: Ontario, New York, Boston

Entry 3 – British Columbia

I haven’t been away from my home keyboard setup for this long in a few years. The reason I know is because I haven’t read hundreds of @news comments. I have stopped caring about all of the updates of my “friends.” And I’m ambivalent about catching all of you up with my trip.

That’s not totally true of course. With my phone I have been updating snarky little bits about the daily life of my trip but that isn’t real. It’s just for a laugh. The real take away from this trip is a running series of thoughts about the people I’ve met, the incredible things I’ve seen, and how fast life goes when you’re actually living it. All that computer time, all those projects, as valuable, blah blah, just feels like something else. Something dumb.

British Columbia is lovely. It’s the place we’ll all run to when the world collapses. Denman Island both is and isn’t an idyllic environment to stage a revolution or to spin a nice interpretation of the bowl form. Not much else to say about there.


The ostensible reason I was on Vancouver Island was to go to a conference on Nihilism. Academic conferences are a trip. I guess I should try to go to them more often but they demonstrate so many strange things at the same time it’s hard to pin down just one to discuss. Here is a start. Thousands of dollars are spent to host an event that no more than 50 people passed through the entire weekend. It was mostly no more than half this number. It was mostly no more than a dozen who were not also presenters. Moreover the number of presentations that actually dealt with nihilist concepts, that attempted to tackle what it means to live without meaning (meta-narrative) or power were few. Like one hand few.

Doesn’t mean there weren’t quite a few interesting presentations. The most were the ones that conflated pessimism for nihilism (the few on David Foster Wallace were OK). The political presentations were mostly not good but there were some sparks. Maybe in five years these could be fanned into flames but the context is probably a wet blanket. It is probably not possible to suss out much in the way of detail about how to act in an age of political, social powerlessness. The professors hold the conversations hostage and the grad students do not dare offend them. The number of social actors was nearly zero. The conversations were only held between sessions and then mostly about popular theoreticians and brands.

It’s nice to be fed and given gas money but I hope for little but access to the next generation of para-academics at events like this. These are the people who I hope to collaborate with in the future.

The event at Camas that Sunday evening was of a different caliber. I’m not saying the difference was me but I could see at least three different levels of engagement in my presentation (at least two somewhat hostile) and there was at least some hope that I incensed a few people to further, future activity. That’s always the hope of course. Further engagement and interrogation along the lines of a fresh and painful view on the same old assumptions. I also appreciate the Camas model. They have figured out how to maintain a long term anarchist project and stayed humble in the face of it. It no longer looks like a subcultural anarchist project and I think that’s great.

Anyway I’m like 10 days past this on the trip so I’m going to post this and get started on entry 4 (From BC to MI).


Entry 2. To mile 1000.


One expects the worst from Portland. From “we will not be silenced,” to Portlandia, to the fact that Portland doesn’t even seem to be trying any more I had low expectations. The fact that the only person I knew from the Annares collective wasn’t there and my fear started to rise. I was totally wrong.

The crowd that Annares reached was mostly young, very interested, and my presentation went well (outside of my own repetition and over reliance on certain turns of phrase). I doubt this will rise to the level of being meaningful more broadly for the Portland scene generally but I was greeted by 30-40 people who seemed absolutely interested in ideas of fighting leftist framing, attacking conceptual regimes, and not being complacent about anti-civ ideas.

The question and answer section was particularly delightful with a nice combination of easy (or newbie) and hard (experienced) questions. A couple of friends (and others) stepped in to answer better than I could and I leave the experience feeling quite satisfied and even hopeful that future collaborations may exist in Portland. Time will tell.


And the plus side:… I can pick up my motorcycle on my own (it is over 700 lbs with gear).
On the minus side: I had to.


A combination of being tired and on the down side of an incline means that I dropped the bike for the second time. This time it was crawling to the pay office for the Denman ferry but hopefully I now have the tools to not make this mistake again. The Vancouver Island ride was nice but a little more intense that I was ready for. As you likely know motorcycle culture is pretty clannish. I met a dude on a GS1200 on the ferry who adopted me. This meant keeping up with him on unfamiliar roads. Not my favorite. But once he turned off and I figured the right road I had a lovely ride that only slowed down as the bugs began a kamikaze cascade into my face.

I have two more ferry rides and then I’m on to solid ground. I am fearing and excited about the 49th parallel ride I’ll be doing north of the line and then the ride through Glacier Highway to the Sky and down to Yellowstone. After that the rides will be simple.


The Seattle event was an introduction to this new project that hasn’t been entirely finalized yet… and so in this way I’m quite excited because some of the needs for the project came cascading out of me during the presentation. The need is for a real world (not internet) networking project that can serve as an introduction to anarchist ideas (rather than sectarian punch up) and an excuse to meet f2f. It’s called The Blast and you can learn more from the broken website (that I’ll probably not fix until June) http://theblast.info.

Left Bank is an interesting venue. Totally not made for the purpose of meetings but the crowd was really useful in getting to think about what to talk to the rest of the blast people about when I get back. I’ll be presenting about three more times on the new paper.

Entry 1 – #lbcasual tour

About 450 miles from Berkeley, CA to Southern Oregon

First stops

I’m going to journal my trip a little bit, not so personal but perhaps over personal along the lines of what a long motorcycle trip looks like for a middle aged person. What travails and pleasantries I encounter and how I somehow relate all of the things I do to an anarchist life, one full of adventure, quietude, and, at least for the next couple months, the road.

I have decided to start my trips pretty early in the morning. I prefer to wake up with the sun and if I lived in such a way I would wake with her every morning. I left home about six in the morning and didn’t feel a need to take a break until my first fill up about 100 miles in. A motorcycle is better than coffee (although does not eliminate the need for it) and even though I did evade the worst of the morning traffic I did see it in droves heading the opposite direction.


The morning never warmed up. I have a pretty good layer system with a synth base, cotton big shirt, and finally a down vest beneath my big motorcycle jacket. It’s hard to underestimate how great the jacket it. Pockets are in exactly the right places (although a larger inside pocket for valuables would be nice). I did alright until the rain started. Off an on, bit by bit, my feet and gloves were soaked through. By the time my day ended the teeth were chattering and I was fried. That said I was very worried about all the miles on my body but with the assistance of my cheater (helps my right hand grip by not forcing me to pull the full throttle all the time) I didn’t feel injured by the end of the day. Just tired.


I imagine I’ll post this after I give my first “away” presentation (I give the first at the Berkeley Anarchist Study Group) but I’ve been thinking a lot about the themes I’ll be covering and how to position them in such a way as to make sure that we have interesting conversations and not stupid ones. Hard stuff.

This thread has made it harder.

What is funny to me is that insurrectionary anarchism was always built on the basis of a critique of activism, and wanting to get away from simply being a subculture. Now, it seems that the American Nihilists want to now build a strawman that says that anything that isn’t “doing what they’re doing” (who knows what the fuck that is, because they spend more time talking about it than doing it) is strugglismo, aka, activism. Listen to any of the Brillant podcasts and you’ll get the general gist of it.

I agree with the above paragraph and this is why the term strugglismo came into being. I@ was a critique of boring, stale, ineffective, ritualized activity and, recently, has given birth to a bunch of stale, boring, sanctimonious projects. The term (Insurrectionary anarchists) has lost its meaning as an a priori hostility against activism. The point isn’t much beyond that but the term was an attempt to put in a way that I thought was funny, not a critique against the totality of some peoples activity.

I also have a hard time agreeing with any critique that begins and ends with “they are not doing anything.” What the hell does that even mean? They are not winning? Isn’t anything that is not entirely in ones head something? Does “doing something” really only means X (and X is defined as ABC work, IWW, and antifa) and not Y (media projects, writing, and discussion)?

Last night (at my event in Portland) I found myself referring to my projects in excruciating detail. And this is because I, and others I know are doing interesting work have a very hard time talking about it. We (and in this case I mean everyone involved in these disputes) aren’t doing a great job of making the compelling cases as to why our work/projects are compelling. As a result they are not.

I apologize for the term but I do think it describes a certain kind of sanctimonious behavior. I try to not mirror that behavior. I try to point out what I really like about the hard work that anti-prison and prison support people do. I don’t think pointing out that many of our friends are doing the same thing over again (harder) is sanctimonious, I just think it’s a waste of time.

But whatever, it’s not my time to waste and I’ll try to stop tearing other people down on their hobbies (especially if they do the same).

Beds and dogs

I pushed myself to make it to the next town after Portland and was greeted by hilarous dogs (who remembered me!) and a bed. I know that later in this tour I’ll be camping so I don’t feel guilty about taking offers of beds here at the early part. Dogs are great though. I recommend them highly.

On to Seattle.

The Casual LBC Tour

I am about to head out to the 49th parallel for a two month motorcycle tour. That could be fun.

  1. April 17th – Portland OR: Anarres Infoshop
  2. April 18th – Seattle WA: Left Bank Books
  3. April 24th – Victoria BC: Camas books
  4. April 25th – Vancouver BC: 38 Blood Alley
  5. May 3rd – Minneapolis MN
  6. May 6th-10th – Western Michigan
  7. May 12thish – SE Michigan
  8. May 15th – Hamilton @ The Tower
  9. May 16th – Toronto
  10. May 17th – Kingston
  11. May 18th – Rochester NY
  12. May 20th – Providence RI
  13. May 21st – Boston MA
  14. May 28th – Montreal QC
  15. May 31st – Pittsburgh?
  16. June 1st – Cleveland
  17. June 3rd – Columbus
  18. June 4th – Toledo
  19. June 5th – Bloomington
  20. June 6th-8th – Chicago
  21. June 11th – Tulsa (Oklahoma bookfair)
  22. June 9th-on – Somewhere West of Chicago near the I80


Motorcycles >= Anarchy

I haven’t been writing much lately. I was working too much over the last year (with less to show for it than I planned) and that, along with drama, made it so I really haven’t felt like I have had much to say. My experiences have stored up and I hope over the next few months and years I’ll get to share what I’ve discovered.

This past weekend I traveled to Los Angeles for the “Nah” event in response to the LA Art bookfair. It was a fine event. A bookfair, which I think is a fine activity for anarch* friends to involve themselves in, plus my project did alright. But in this case it’s the how that I want to discuss more than the what. Trigger alert: the rest of this post is mostly going to be about motorcycles and aging.

The day before I got shitcanned from my last full time gig I purchased a very nice and very new motorcycle. I don’t talk about it a ton because I’ve never experienced motorcycling as a social activity but I’ve been a rider for most of the past 26 years. I started with a Vespa (‘68 super sport 180cc) and went for 10 years riding piece-of-shit motorcycles that were dirt cheap. Since then I’ve been riding standards (a category of motorcycle distinct from cruisers, twins, and sport bikes) from the Kawasaki corporation of Japan. My latest bike was a 2009 Versys that was an excellent commuter but a little small for me at 650cc.


For some months I’ve been daydreaming about a big trip. I took one in my early 20s (from San Diego to MI with scattered stops between) and have wanted something similar for some time. But the differences are real. Last go-round I slept on dirty couches, porches, and whatever I could find. This go-round my body is 20+ years older and I wont be staying at or near crushes. In fact I plan on bringing a tent (and air mattress) which will shrink my world to a pinprick (and expand it to some of the grand National Parks that I’ve never seen).

Anyway, as a test run for my new motorcycle I loaded it down with books and headed to Los Angeles. Muscling an extra 150lbs or so has taught me some important lessons about what I am capable of, what I like (and hate) about motorcycling, and has made me long for the road to an extent I wouldn’t have imagined as I limped into LA tired and sore.

The Wind

The Grapevine was the worst of it but when you go faster than about 65 MPH (100KM/H) the wind becomes a great hand. It pushes you nearly randomly from side to side and front to back. The ‘Vine was, in fact, terrifying as it both forced me to slow down about 15 MPH and to change a lane or two. I visualize wind as a series of flows and vectors rolling off the gentle mountains but experience it as wanting nothing more than to fling me off the side of a cliff. Kind of like the milieu I guess.

What’s fascinating about this as a ride is how utterly ambivalent the drivers of cars (and especially the 90 MPH SUVs that screamed by) are to the physical exertion and real life danger I was experiencing as they sat in climate-controlled gas-guzzling bliss. Kind of like the milieu I guess.

My Arms

My new motorcycle (name forthcoming) is as hard as diamond. It is a machine designed to gobble up whatever road I throw at it. It would happily start every ride by throwing up its front wheel, it hits 90 MPH before I even notice the speedometer, it is 10,000 miles away from caring about anything other than an oil change. I, on the other hand, have the body of an office worker. I am soft and weak. My heart may soar but my wings have been brutalized by all the peck, peck, pecking and giving two fucks about what people say on the Internet. I am going to slow us down.

During my trip to LA I felt the need to stop every 40-60 minutes just because my wrists and forearms couldn’t handle it. My main criticism of the bike so far is that it forces me to sit differently than I prefer. Standard motorcycles force you to sit up straight. I like that. This bike kind of forces you to lean on the gas tank in “sports bike” pose. I put a tank bag on for the trip but didn’t like the way this kind of riding made my back feel. Perhaps because of the pose, or the inflexibility of my body, there were times when I’d come off the freeway where I couldn’t move my right leg (which only operates the back brake) as it had frozen in place. This did not happen to me at 24.

I used what is called a cheater (brand name Throttle Rocker) to ameliorate arm pain on the throttle side. This didn’t work that well for a couple reasons. The concept is to afix a piece of hard plastic to the accelerator so that instead of having to hang on and hold you can just rest your palm on the plastic to maintain acceleration. You can only safely maneuver the plastic when you aren’t moving and pretty much anywhere you put it isn’t exactly the right spot. Because it modifies how you accelerate, it is quite unsafe until you are at real speed. This much I knew from trying to use the Rocker in the past. This go-round I learned that my RSI is bad enough to be triggered by the plastic pressing against my palm. Tingle ahoy!

The only real solution I have come up with to all these issues is to slow the fuck down. This isn’t easy for me because my personality has always been hostile to slowing down and smelling the roses but if the only way I can travel in the world (whether by motorcycle or whatever) is to do it slow, then that’s what it’ll have to be. I’ve kind of suspected this “slow down” thing has to be the way for some time as I find that after I take big trips (like LBC bookfair trips where I blast through by going, tabling, returning) I always need 1-3 days to recover when I get home. This coming trip I’ll have to build in recovery time while traveling.

Los Angeles

I despise Los Angeles. Perhaps I’ve just fallen into the trap of norcal v socal and just picked my team but, much like NYC, I just find the city itself to be an intolerable mess. The past few times I’ve traveled to the area for the anarchies I haven’t even spent the night. It is fucking hot. The traffic is brutal and terrifying (doubly so on a motorcycle because the car drivers do not seem to give a fuck that a fenderbender with me equals death). The attitude of the political scene is extremely fragmented (which makes sense given how enormous the city is) from very young and naive to older and jaded-as-hell. It is a town that is sophisticated except where it is not, both diverse and lily-white. A huge mess that you can’t possibly understand in a weekend.

This event was unusual for a couple of reasons. It was politically sophisticated (and obscure as it wasn’t necessarily political at all. It was a type of response to the LA Art bookfair) by a crowd I’m ostensibly in a type of agreement with (the ASC/post-situ crowd) but if I were to just walk in I’d mostly have experienced a group of ethnically diverse friends drinking together alongside a serious hodge-podge of tablers. Spiked belts, ancient surrealist books, some remnant of “the Oakland scene,” and LBC.

The real charm of the event was the after-party. Next door to LA Skidrow (I did not realize how Blade Runneresque the LA Skidrow is) we spent the evening in total bliss. Chilly, a fantastic roof view, while a total mix of people shot the shit in as unpretentious of a scene as I’ve ever experienced in a big city. Take note of the new website project that has come out of the group that put on the bookfair. http://www.onda.la/

I scurried away as early as I could to avoid the LA marathon that morning. The ride home was fast. I had less weight on the bike and always find return trips to be faster than away trips. Next up, the Northwest and big National Parks.