Researches by burnt out anarchists.


Toward Permaculture Collectives.

Notes Toward the Formation of Anarchist Permaculture Collectives

1. Rate your job/ Planet of Slums – Young, northern hemispheric Anarchists entering the workplace are becoming more and more aware that their future work life holds nothing for them but an endless series of crap jobs: low wage, boring, slave labor, one job after another. At the same time, our southern hemispheric sisters and brothers come north because at least those crap jobs pay more than they do in the south. For an excellent analysis of the global distribution of crap labor and what it gets you, check out Planet of Slums, by Mike Davis.
2. Human happiness according to Spinoza, is the result of actions of self-improvement. What happens to young anarchists when they see no chance for improvement in their situation? Sadness, substance-abuse, mental anguish, health problems, inability to get along with others, poor-on-poor violence, all the things Wilhelm Reich saw in twenty years of counseling (Introduction to The Mass Psychology of Fascism). These problems exist in the south and in Indigenous communities as well.
3. At the same time, some young Anarchists already have kids or families depending on them to survive in the market economy: to pay rent, taxes, mortgages, medical care, school, food and transportation, shelter, internet and technology. Our relatives from the south and Indigenous relatives seem to know better how to share than the young northerners: the concept and practice of the Anarchist collective in the northern hemisphere isn’t getting much press these days. But sharing costs cuts them, leaving more for those who depend on us. A recent book by Roland Barthes, How to Live Together presents a nice ancient history of small group collectives with its rather ancient vocabulary. Barthes’ ideas could easily be expanded to provide for children and the elderly in a way similar to the Indigenous ‘longhouses’.
4. The problem with Permaculture is it takes time. One has to build a relationship with the land, to protect it, nurture it and take care of it over years, as our Indigenous relatives have shown us. The history of radical collectives tells us that experiments in collective living become targets for the capitalist/colonial powers – they’re broken up pretty quickly. Still, as stated by Sever in a recent Black Seed article, “…we need to begin feeding ourselves in every sense…”. The ideas of permaculture and building a relationship to the land seem essential to a sustainable Anarchism. Land acquisition remains as a subtext to alternatives to capitalist/colonialism.
5. Perhaps we will begin to see young Anarchists having ‘a chance of a chance’. Things are looking pretty bad for the low-income earners of El Norte: more than half of all children live below the poverty line, one in six adults have to use food shelters. Globally, about 10,000 children die every day from lack of clean water and basic antibiotics. More than 3 billion people live on 2 dollars a day or less. Things can only improve, no? Anarchists, lets learn how to ‘feed ourselves in every sense’ and live together!
– Sever. Land and Freedom, in Black Seed #1.
– Barthes, Roland. How to Live Together: Novelistic Simulations of Everyday Spaces. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013.
– Davis, Mike. Planet of Slums . New York: Verso Press, 2006.
– Reich, Wilhelm. The Mass Psychology of Fascism. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1980.

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Conference on Burn Out in Chicago?

Hello!  This is an announcement to see if there is interest in organizing a gathering around the idea of burn out.

It seems relevant in these harsh political-economic times that anarchists
find  emotional, mental and physical practices
which sustain their lives.
What kinds of practices and theories contribute to a sustainable
life?  What are the roadblocks?  What are the extremely potent elements
which must be used carefully and sparingly?
Presentation topics might include:
– Transhumanism and therapeutic technologies;
– Concepts of Holism, Natural Healing and Indigenous practices;
– Physical, mental and emotional health theories and practices;
   (Eastern, Western, Indigenous… especially the effects of highly hierarchized systems);
– Concepts of race, class and gender health;
– Substance use and abuse;
– practices of expression and autonomous problem-solving: art-making and writing;
– Sadness as a political issue – theories and therapies;
– Histories:  radical communities, caricoles, temporary economics and burn-out;
It seems clear that no one person’s “answers to problems” will work for everyone.
However, the conference might act as a kind of buffet from which people could draw ideas.
People working in health fields could be particularly helpful in siphening-off information for the rest of us
without the payment plans.
Emphasis should be given to practices which have a track record and or literature.
This idea is in its very earliest stages.
all best to all,

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In Favor of Anarchist Pilgrimage.

Spent 3 days visiting 6 Native Indigenous sites in Michigan, 5 sites of previously inhabited Ottawa and Ojibway villages and the Ojibway Museum (Ziibiwing Center, done by Indians for Indians, luckily others are invited).  Overwhelming feelings of happiness as one could imagine children running among the trees, campfires and wigwams.  Museum showed paleo-indian technology and craft, amazing and beautiful as far back as 10,000 BCE: ornate jewelry, cloth, tools, clothing  and homes.  Very mobile people.

Every time there is a return to these sites there is a critique of our society from the perspective of simplicity and living close to nature.   Renewed desire for a sociality of life-affirming peace and joy, for dance and making things.  As if just being in the place of these ancestors gives an energetic boost.  The ability for people to work together as self-governing units is easily visible.  Not that far from the anarchist communes in which I’ve stayed.

Signs on the reservation referred to the situation of domestic abuse.  Research shows 3 out of 4 violent crimes involve alcohol and drugs.  Continued endorsement of alcohol-free practices.  Further thought about medicinal use of natural substances. Also about sedentariness and nomadism.

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River People – by Peter Lamborn Wilson

We were taken by Peter’s book published by Autonomedia.  He is doing a mixture of psycho-geography, poetry, history, grieving, hagiography, tall-tale-telling, & political diatribe among other things, complete with pictures drawn from sources which connect to the text.  Nicely done. (River People. Wilson, Peter Lamborn. New York: Autonomedia Press, 2014).

We’d loved “the TAZ”, even with its minor problems, and then we’d read Vaneigem’s Movement of the Free Spirit.  What major books!!!

So what happens when you put “Movement of the Free Spirit” together with the “TAZ”?

Look.  Anarchists in the Midwest are burnt out.

– How do you recover something invisible, i.e. Energy?

We hope to find out and you’re welcome to come along for the ride.

Some ideas:

– Researches into ‘lost wisdoms’, reading between the lines of previous researches, especially, those related to nature;

– Attempts to retry, at this late stage of the game, practices which re-energize the physical and hence social body;

– Results of which can be made into works of portable art (i.e books).

Some of us have already started in Michigan, gathering info, visiting sites, reading and writing.  For the time being, we’re recommending an alcohol-free pursuit, to avoid the negative side-effects.  We can’t wait to quit our day jobs.  We hope to find bridges between city life and country life.

That’s all for now.