Solidarity means marching in the rain

for a stranger, with strangers, in a strange town, and with a cop named Hans

I am traveling around Europe this summer which means breaking out of routinues, judgements, and pre-conceived notions about people & their practices. This is a refreshing break for me and I hope this fuels my next set of projects and collaborations. It is also quite difficult as I am feeling quite lonely and isolated. Perhaps I should sing a song?

Under the Prison dark and tall
The Anarchist has come into his hall!
The foe is dying, the State of Dread,
And ever so our foes shall fall.

This is particularly striking in Stockholm. The bookfair was a painful affair for me. Obviously I don’t expect people from around the globe to know about Little Black Cart or even to necessarily be interested in Enemies of Society but the crowd was so actively disinterested in me, my table, and conversation that I believe that a conspiratorial minded person would have suspected the Illuminati or the like. That would be a good verse to the song.

The sword is sharp, the spear is long,
The arrow swift, the Scene is strong;
The heart is bold that looks on society;
The workers no more shall suffer wrong.

The truth is that Stockholm probably has the largest active syndicalist (not necessarily anarcho-syndicalist mind you) scene in the world. Their Central Organization of the Workers of Sweden (aka SAC) is an actually politically relevant force here, organizing public sector workers and “the paperless” ( a fact I was informed about at least 10 times over the weekend). I’ll leave my editorializing about syndicalism for another time (although it’s not hard my feelings on a socialist workers movement) but it was clear that syndicalists were of one mind regarding me. Basically they didn’t even approach the table. They gave me the “solidarity cold shoulder” and didn’t even look at me. This will go in for sure.

The workers of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

The next day was much better. I stayed at a lovely house along with many other people. A solidarity action had been planned the day before but really kicked off once this entire household of freeloaders headed into action. Or should I say sprung into a nearly endless series of waitings. The goal for the day was to express solidarity to one of the Fittja 2 who had been captured just that week. This entailed (as we were to learn) quite a bit of a journey because Stockholm is a town spread out much further than its population would lead one to believe.

On silver carriages they were strung
The light of stars, onward they sung
The dragon-fire, from twisted wire
The melody of harps they wrung.

To be specific to get to the prison where our comrade was held we took a bus, then the metro, then transferred to another line, then landed on a train (and an hour ride), another bus ride (thirty minutes) and finally trekked around 5 kilometers to the prison. This entire comedy was accomplished by 30+ anarchists… in the rain!

The spirit of ours once more is freed!
O! wandering folk, the summons heed!
Come haste! Come haste! Across the waste!
Our lost friend and kin has need.

As with most journeys ours was mostly in the travel rather than the goal but the event itself was some fun. We walked around the prison with 5 meter tall walls and not a window or seam to be found making as much noise as we could manage. After our second go around the police finally appeared (clearly prompted to action from our banging on the front gates as there was no sign of life from the prison itself the entire time we were there). They chased us around the prison another time before their official spokesman appeared, approaching half a dozen of us with the cry “My name is Hans, would you like to talk to me?” But no body did. And once Hans had enough of a posse of what could easily have been the extras of The Will to Power in tow we were herded back to the parking lot and the hike back to the bus.

Now call we over prisons cold,
‘Come back unto the caverns old!’
Here at the walls the anarchist awaits,
Her hands are rich with dreams of old.

A few last notes on this small event of solidarity. One, you can find our more information about the prisoner we were expressing our solidarity with here. Two, after we dragged our cold shivering carcasses back to Stockholm proper we were fed by the awesome workers of Kafe 44. I would not be exaggerating to say that this place was (by far) the best thing about Stockholm. Three, I was reminded during this event that it is the act of solidarity with each other (the 30 on the outside) that was the powerful “take away” of the experience for me. The cops harassed the one car that left the parking lot, taking registration information and making it clear they wanted to hold the people within until the crowd of us surrounded them and made them uncomfortable enough that they freed the vehicle.

Under the Prison dark and tall
The Anarchist has come into his hall!
The foe is dying, the State of Dread,
And ever so our foes shall fall.

ps bonus points if you know what song I stole from. extra bonus points if you don’t use a search engine to find it.

Trip update II

The trip so far has been spectacular. I have made f2f connections with many of the people that I would have hoped to and have had wonderful experiences in both Greece & the Netherlands. I am going to try to avoid making synthetic arguments at this point since I am not quite 1/2 way through my trip but here is a “dump file” of what has happened up till now. Every one of these bullets could be an article…

  • wandering around lost in AMS
  • adventures in what is left of the squatters scene in AMS
  • travel to Athens
  • life in Athens (including a few days at the prison squat)
  • bfest
  • Exarchia
  • a pirate radio interview
  • interview with TPTG
  • meeting with techies
  • the squats of Athens
  • Syntagma Square
  • Athens punk show!
  • Pinksterlanddagen
  • Brussels!

The worst days are the ones when I am traveling. Since almost every time it is to a new location it means feeling like I am getting ripped off and more-or-less feeling lost the entire time. The best days are after I figure out a place well enough to sit down with someone who I know I really want to talk with. I’ve had far more of the latter than the former but the next week is going to be a bit of a drag (I mistakingly booked Ryanair for both my trip to Stockholm AND Barcelona).

I wish I had more interesting things to share at this point but I am really going to try to save my conclusions until they’ve gestated a bit (I’ve already started three articles that probably would send hit squads my way…). I will share a couple things though.

  1. You can see my anarcho-tourist photostream at Flickr
  2. If you would like to chat with me I am using duckduckgo and you can get me through xmpp federation ( or follow this to make your own account)
  3. Have you ever considered writing news (like about what is happening in the broader world) articles from an anarchist perspective? Drop me a line

The Accused of Tarnac & the Anarchist Turn

I’ll stop being in “report back” mode since there isn’t really a way to report back events where nothing really happened… except in my mind! I’ll instead ramble along as I usually do trying to recreate those features of the events of April 30th to May 5th that interested me.

I raced across the country because one of the two “formal” events with the “Accused of Tarnac” (abbreviated from now on as IC) was a private meeting with them and “allies”. I am glad that I did because I had a really good time on the first evening and it made what transpired during future events far more comprehensible. Mostly they prefaced the conversation that we were going to have the next night at S40 with a bit more context and were responsive to some of the wide-eyed attention they were getting (and that the next night was lost in the crowd).

Here is the salient controversial point that the IC made that caused a bit of a ruckus the next evening. They do not embrace Marxist dialects as being at the heart of the radical project or, perhaps more importantly economics as a necessary, useful, or appropriate discipline for the same.

Why is this so controversial, since it really shouldn’t be? Because the hipster (insurrectionary) communist has confused (again) complexity for correctness. In terms of not wasting the past 150 years Marxists of all stripes are striving to hold the ideological framework together, especially insofar as it serves as the method by which they can maintain control over the theory landscape. Yes, it is about control & ideology (like usual).

In the IC formulation (as I understand it) power (broadly understood) replaces the “little dialectical engine” as the simple machine that maintains the existing order. To refer to value, profit, & (perhaps) even exhange confuses the point that power relationships dominate and force compels us, not economy. We are not consensual participants in a relationship but subjects of violence.

This IMO reclaims the IC project for anarchists and provides us a way to stop losing our “best and brightest” to the tendrils of the hipster communist. I look forward to understanding a bit more of their reading list to see where they pull some of this from and how shaping this argument can develop a theoretical terrain that we can develop during my life.

Anyway, the commies got angry at the IC right out of the gate with KK storming out in a huff of ad hominems and ressentiment and the professor trying to explain to the IC that it is all just a big misunderstanding. The lengthy French Theory style responses that the IC made to simple questions totally confused the audience (as I said at the time, Americans demand the answer to A + B = ? to be C. If it isn’t C then the question must not be understood) which was funny. The structure of the event was such that the audience was pretty much already lost before the Q&A really began.

I also went to the NYC event (the Anarchist Turn) but it was very very very boring. I’ll try to pull the most interesting bits out of it for the next TCN Radio and you will be able to hear for yourself.

A quick jaunt around the US – Part II

I am going to try to catch up with my writing because I am now sitting in a squat in Amsterdam and am anxious to talk about my intense & awesome day today but first things first…

I love to drive. I can handle 500 miles before lunch and absolutely love the headspace that I get in during drives that span the night. I mostly tolerate driving during the day, but the night…

Which is a good thing because after leaving Houston on Sunday night we went to St. Louis (Monday), Milwaukee (T-Wed), and then streaked the 2000+ to be back in Berkeley on Friday by 2 pm. Monster driving was required.

St. Louis

If I could calm the fuck down and smell the roses, or seriously consider moving back to the Midwest, this would probably be the second place on my list. (I am from MI so that would be first) The people who comprise the St. Louis scene are the most, I hate to use the word sophisticated, but perhaps experienced and not-backwards of any place outside of the coasts. During my event there were a dozen people who had entirely thought through (and discussed with each other) topics that many places were hearing said out loud for the first time. I would not feel lonely in St. Louis, neither would you.

Like idiots we scheduled an event on the day that Black Bear Bakery was closed which meant we didn’t have a chance to hang out there and enjoy the @-Bakery. Suffice it to say that their bread is really good and the atmosphere is IMO the best of any @-work project in the US.

There is an urban squat project in St. Louis that I will not spoil by talking to much about. The US doesn’t have a squatting culture and so building one (both a squat(s) and a culture) is an incredible task filled with trepidation and awesome. I mostly think that people shouldn’t visit St. Louis for their squats but think seriously about what extra-legal land projects are possible in their location and how to learn the lessons of other US & European experiences.


Milwaukee has shown me different faces during different visits. I’ve seen punk Milwaukee, some version of @ Milwaukee, and I’ve passed through a few times. This time I saw the Riverwest neighborhood and the adorable coop & CCC. A total treat and a total Midwest intersection of space (meaning they have a lot of it) and comfort (meaning a short walk to great food & their community center + comfort food).


I have decided on the next LBC project. It is the biggest risk and reward potential yet. It hopefully will be what will get more people involved in the project and connect us more to the people that we like. It isn’t a project of reaction but doing shit I’ve been fascinated with for a decade… I can’t wait. Oh, except I have to because I can’t even get started on it until I get back from this damn three month vacation.

End of US trip

Never apologize

There will probably be a time in the future where apologizing makes sense again. Where you can honestly say you were sorry for some transgression or when one will be able to articulate an honest position that looks like an apology, but that is not today.

Today is the time of frowny clown emo bullshit that just covers lies, or hides the possibility of a lie in tears, or maudlin tales. Every apology is a weak kneed limp avoidance of the real. Of real consequences, real choices, and the very real possibility that forgiveness is worst that the status quo. Words cover the fact that the small parts of truth that are somewhere in there are corpses. Suffocated by what is actually the dominant form of expression… static.

From now on I will not apologize and that may make me an asshole but not someone who is trying to split the difference between mediocrity and deceit.

Now that I’m gone here is where I am

I am typing this slowly. Perhaps that says most of what needs to be said. I am ok. My right hand is working but just takes a little more attention. A little more time. My head is clear and hesitant.

This week I suffered my second cerebral aneurysm. It happened while I was sleeping (I think) just like the first time. The main symptoms include a very weak right hand with a significant loss in motor function and a slurring of speech. Both are hard to live with but the terror is surprisingly under control. The first time was horror. The idea of a loss of everything I am, of the ways I am in the world, was too much to bear.

But if I have learned anything in this life it is that I will bear.


Ending are anti-climactic. You know that, I do too. After working for three years in the cubes I am now free and barely know what to do with myself. I feel like someone recovering from Stockholm Syndrome.

I have at least 12 months to do… something else. I have a fairly good idea about what those things are going to be of course. After a couple week break I am hitting the road… Scratch that. Little Black Cart is hitting the road and I am its chaperone. If you are going to nearby these locations/dates please stop by and say hello!

Tucson AZ – April 15th
Phoenix AZ – April 17th
Austin TX – April 19thish
Houston TX – April 23rd, 24th
St. Louis – 25th, 26th
Milwaukee WI – April 27th

After that I’ll be back in the Bay for some yet-to-be-announced events and then in NYC for some more. Finally I’m headed to Europe for three months of travel. If all goes well I will come back and have my head totally cleared of the spooks of cloud computing and career drama. I will remember what exactly it is that is motivating me…

Oh wait, that isn’t really my problem at all. I know exactly why I continue to plod forward… stubbornness. And now I am free(r) to be stubborn on my own terms.

Yay me!

We have a possibility that makes us freer than the gods: we can quit. This is an idea to be savoured to the end. Nothing and no one is obliging us to live. Not even death. For that reason our life is a tabula rasa, a slate on which nothing has been written, so contains all the words possible. With such freedom, we cannot live as slaves. Slavery is for those who are condemned to live, those constrained to eternity, not for us.

-At Daggers Drawn

Do what you will

I wish I had something more inspiring to say than I did 6 weeks ago. I don’t. I am still burned out. I have succeeded at a couple small projects but they were maintenance (upgraded an out of data Drupal to Drupal 6) and not on the big list of major things that Need To Be Done ™.

It is alarming the extent to which I am motivated by crisis and change. There was a recent bit of drama that could have inspired some (more) public name calling and conflict but I just don’t think dealing with these situations in that way is the best strategy (for a non left position)… Because there are two things going on, one is exceedingly boring and irrelevant (a conflict between small-to-medium sized businesses) the other is deeply fascinating to me and worth talking about outside of the pinprick of this particular indignity.

Since the publication of SALA (Social Anarchism vs. Lifestyle Anarchism) there has been a tension (although one of several) in North American Anarchism. What is interesting about this tension is that the one side (the accused) have spent (hundreds of) thousands of words grappling with the implications, motivations, and philosophy of this book. Those who align themselves with its intent never defend it (per se) but instead evoke it like a glowing sword. Like a pistol at a fist fight. Believing that the mere utterance of the word “lifestylist” is enough to start, resolve and end any argument. North American’s are already impoverished: by an education woefully lacking in history or geographical context, by a near cellular level of acceptance of exchange relationships, and by our own geographical contradictions (being in a country that is comprised of at least 3 different cultural bodies).

I mention SALA not because I believe the text to be particularly important but the fact that there is a real conflict between those who share a lot of the same terminology in describing our desired world can’t be understated. For some this conflict boils down to serious disagreements about the strategy we should undertake, for others it is about a (set of) moral compulsion(s), and others about what form anarchist practice should take today. I take a softer (and harder) position. I care less about the particular articulation one chooses to make around their practice, desire, or strategy but much more about the religiousity (or ideological) one has around their choices. Consider this a bookmark to a larger discussion about this topic and enjoy this song (related).

Say what you must, do all you can,
Break all the fucking rules and
Go to Hell with Superman and
Die like a champion, yeah hey!

Life while burned out

I still have 1000 ideas running through my mind but absolutely no energy to act on any of them. I have enough energy to exercise, get through my work day… and that’s about it. I am burned out. I am sick of this routine but have still not completed my tasks (even though they are arbitrary) here. Life while burned out, dancing in the husk of potential, the bitter liquid that kickstarts another day and the set of problems I have to attend to…

But I am still on the data flow. Here are a couple nice snapshots from today alone.

Taste is not stable and peaceful, but a means of strategy and competition. Those superior in wealth use it to pretend they are superior in spirit. Groups closer in social class who yet draw their status from different sources use taste and its attainments to disdain one another and get a leg up. These conflicts for social dominance through culture are exactly what drive the dynamics within communities whose members are regarded as hipsters.

From NY Times: Sociology of a hipster

I’m not setting myself above the fray. I’m right here in the middle, reading comments as if listening in on a national party line (I experience a slight dislocation when I realize how few of you have ever listened in on a party line, or even know what one is). There are comments here are on all sorts of things: Politics, literature, movies, art, health, God, the universe.

From Roger Ebert’s Journal

I am also starting to think more seriously about a request that was made by a friend about an essay I should write. The topic is the decision making model used for LBC but more generally is the unanswered question about what are the different models that anarchist have at their disposal for decision making. I have direct experience with several of the models but want to sketch out the positions fairly and not just through the lens of my disillusionment. This will include consensus, spokes council, union of egos, charisma driven, etc…

This is all I have for now.

Anvil + foot == Ouch!

I haven’t updated in a while as I’ve been busy being unmotivated… and getting out the first issue of The Anvil! This link get’s you a free (but for the postage) copy of the paper. This link is to the editorial of the first issue. Here is a quote from the editorial that I’d like to expand on.

In our unreal world, it is hard not to be overwhelmed by the invisible things that are easily confused with reality: fake controversies, confused priorities, hyperbolic rhetoric about inconsequential things. We become disengaged with the torrents that pass us by. Paper slows us down enough to engage in the ideas that we are talking about.

Many readers are likely to know that as much as I valorize print, in my daily life I also spend 12+ hours a day in front of a screen. My criticisms of the Internet generation are criticisms that I know all too well. They are criticisms of me and the person that I have become since I started spending all of my time in front of a screen. I spend my waking hours switching from fake controversy to stupid priorities pausing long enough to dissect something useful, if possible, out of the rhetoric on the screen.

I don’t sit in the sun for hours. I rarely spend more than 15 minutes a day reading a book that I can touch with my hands. I recently bought a kindle and am rereading old, readily available SF on it. I am a brain in a bottle, stacked in a row. Can you tell I’ve been working in the cubicle farm for too long?

Outside of the torrent of screen life is the pace of publishing. I love it. We tend to line our titles up for a once a year (hopefully twice next year) launch around the San Francisco Anarchist Book Fair in March. This means that we are discussing manuscripts with authors now to finish in the next two months, to finalize in December, layout in January, and print in February to have on hand in March. Compared to blog-o-reality where the couple dozen people who check this regularly get a chunk of my thoughts a couple of hours after I start to have this this cycle is excruciatingly slow. Many of the people in my daily data flow sincerely believe that this aspect of life (print) is worthless. They extract no value out of the slow moving, muddy stream. They live in the rush (and the push and the land that we stand on is ours), the data rush, the drama rush, and the rush of the gaze.

I’ll wrap up my thinking about The Anvil other than to ask interested writers of review essays to get in touch with us. We would like to publish you. Interested readers we would like you to consider subscribing to the paper. If you do you will be helping support the project and make it easier to go to print more often.

I have been experimenting a bit with barefoot walking (with minimalist shoes). While I can’t imagine walking around the city in them, when I am at home, or hiking I am entirely in love with them. I think that the arguments about shoes being casts for our feet and weakening/atrophying our foot and lower leg muscles is entirely on point.

I started dialing into this because I tore some ligament in my knee (probably the ACL) a couple of years ago and haven’t been able to run with traditional running shoes ever since. I can still do cardio in the gym (which is basically an exercise cast for your whole body), I can still do everyday activities (including walking) but as soon as I add the extra motion of running in a couple blocks I am done.

Running as been the one kind of exercising that I have ever loved and I mean love L-U-V. As a teenager I was part of the cross country team and got into the whole package. Long runs, country runs, the competition, the solitude, endorphins, the whole package appealed to me. That was 25 years ago. Now I sit in front of a screen, motionless but for my fingers. I debate whether to watch one more hour of a program rather than be in my body. I need to run.

For a couple weeks I tried to run barefoot. It was fucking fantastic. For a couple of the runs I was reminded of the endorphin rush I used to get back in the day. I was reminded that I actually have more going on that just being a brain-in-a-bottle… so of course I injured myself. It has been two weeks since then waiting for my foot to heal (no break, just something that feels like a bruise). I realize that my hope to jump up to 10 miles a week isn’t going to happen quickly. I am fragile and fat. This thing that I know is going to nourish me in exactly the way that I want to be nourished right now is just out of reach.

Couple that with the misery of a routine I am tired of and I am not in a great place right now. I am just watching the days go by… waiting.