Fight Back! Three Dreams to Help You Bring Class War to Your Boss

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NEW YEAR’S EVE, somewhere in Florida. My host has finally slipped into his mushroom trip, meaning the tribal drums are being brought out. A fire the height of my hat rages in the center of the circle as we swap sacred stories inbetween shots of whiskey and bottles of beer. Calls, shouts, we make as much noise as possible to draw the spirits to us. The first hands hit the skins and I keep time with my harmonica, alternating between a climbing beat and a freight-train wail. The ball is beginning to drop but no one is watching, some strange energy pouring down from the sky and spreading its tendrils into our souls. My vision splits, prayers in an unknown tongue slip from my host’s lips, and my wife breaks into sporadic dance. 5, 4, 3, 2…

The alarm goes off on my phone. I groan, slapping the vicious machine that has torn me from what little sleep I managed to get. I am thrust back into the world of the living, the grey world of working stiffs. Still half-drunk I drag my corpse  into the shower, hot steam reminding me I fell asleep with my bandanna still on.

Not hours before I had reveled in spirits both liquid and etheric with a backdrop of flames, music, and prayer; now I would spend the next eleven of them shoulder to shoulder with people who went to sleep at 8pm every night and got “toasted” off two “hard” sodas.

“Mother-of God….” I mutter.

In 15 minutes I slam coffee made the night before, a crude attempt to pacify the voice in my head demanding more sleep and more rest, a liquid riot cop beating the piss out of my circadian rhythm and forcing me to adapt to a world set by someone else’s clocks.

How had I wound up here, I wondered, how had I managed to wake up before the sun even rose over the fucking horizon to sell my labor to those that didn’t deserve it?

Why couldn’t I be like Mario, my manager, a greasy rich-man who boasted of paying nothing in taxes and blowing ten thousand dollars on a two day blackjack binge?

“The key to blackjack,” he’d often muse, “is all in the bankroll. If you lose, double down. Let’s say you lose $20, bet $40. $40? Bet $80. Keep doing that until your cards start to come up. One time I was eight grand behind at a table, won it all back and then some. You gotta have balls and bills to play blackjack, and I got both!”

With the same breath in stories like these, as he parades around the sales floor like some peacock promenanding, he’ll bemoan how much the poor abuse the system, how anybody that sells food stamps should be thrown in jail, and that the problem with this country is that people don’t want to work hard anymore.

I slink home at 5pm, collapse into bed and let my aching legs compel me to sleep. My mind fried, I’ll slip in and out of hypnogogic states, sometimes learning spells or speaking with spirits who can’t wait till my next ritual. Often I hear and see stories, epic dramas or tall tales alike, packed with hidden wisdom and lessons for the wise, characters I’ve never heard of and a few I make up teaching me things I have no way of knowing.

These dreams, smuggled and stolen from a world not so unlike our own, bring me joy and strength; carefully analyzed they often show practical occult means to fight a guerrilla war against those that live vampirically above us.

On days like this where the power of the Ruling Class is so naked, where the reality of just how much your life is owned by somebody else stinks like a dead pelican in the middle of August, these tales of rebellion and witchcraft come strongest; as my bones ache and my mind reels, sweating on thrift-store blankets in clothes that reek of grease, spirits come and offer tips to change fates and defy the odds….

(Read the rest at Gods & Radicals)

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Stop Pretending the Rich Care About You

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One of the terrible things about being a lone bastion of bomb-throwing, fire-starting, up-against-the-wall-fascist-killing type of Anarchism is you have to mingle and jive with the enemy. Like a Seminole off the reservation and walking into the Hard Rock Casino for the first time your nerves and mind are almost assaulted by the sheer idiocy of what we call modern living. I speak of course of the fake empathy held by rich “left” liberals and their kin.

Take for instance the Meryl Streep acceptance speech, widely being lauded as…well, nobody really seems to say what it is besides some rich lady getting up on stage and talking about somebody she doesn’t like. Everywhere I look online the words “heroic” are being used, how the speech was “everything.”

Why?

Because some Hollywood actress who supported a widely acknowledged War Criminal feels salty that her personal team of bourgeoisie didn’t win an election? Because she “bravely” stood up at a catered event in a dress that cost more than you or I make in a month to tell other rich people how “persecuted” they were?

I heard the speech, actually sat down and watched it. No where is she saying that the United States is some fascist superpower, that we’ve fucked up the world and Donald Trump is set to make it even worse; she’s merely upset it’s not bombing the ever-living shit out of Syria with silk gloves on.

These people are not your goddamn comrades, they are not far away intellectuals that only need to read “the bread book” to figure out where they’ve gone wrong. These are the same people who RALLIED around a woman that called Black children “super-predators” for godsake!

These creatures, these slimy denizens of far off nooks and crannies filled with champagne and $100,000 fundraisers are absolutely wedded to the same system that produced Donald Trump in the first place. They are not looking to rock the boat, they are not feeling sorry for foreign-born people and outsiders when they declare anything not on TV as “fake news” from spooky ole’ Russia and casually muse how many megatons it might take to wipe Moscow off the fucking map.

How about that speech to a bunch of bankers where Hillary makes clear her support for a no-fly zone over Syria would end up turning its people into hamburger meat?

“They’re getting more sophisticated thanks to Russian imports. To have a no-fly zone you have to take out all of the air defense, many of which are located in populated areas.  So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we’re not putting our pilots at risk—you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians.”

Where was the concern for foreign lives then?

Hollywood “care” for the most “at risk” is merely an act, a feigned empathy that is designed to make you forget that when push comes to shove they will make sure their money in tax-free offshore accounts stays safe rather than fund homeless shelters or soup kitchens.

They are as deceitful and treacherous as their cousins on the Right are stupid and violent. They are the Athenian merchants hailing their own empire while criticizing the growth of Sparta.

“Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence,” says Meryl, clutching her pearls amid other American aristocrats whose lives depend on the ongoing exploitation of millions. I looked twice to see if the fucking Romanovs or Marie Antoinette had possessed the woman but alas, she was spirit free. She is so out of touch she seems bewildered that anybody might disagree or even dislike the esteemed patricians she’s speaking to.

From where exactly does Meryl think the rage of the Red States comes from, their desire for change at any cost? Could it be the strip-mining of American manufacturing?

“The story changed dramatically in 2000. Since then, the U.S. has shed 5 million manufacturing jobs, a fact opponents of free trade mention often…

Since the 1960s, manufacturing has always paid substantially more than the minimum wage. Even today, the manufacturing jobs that remain average $20.17 an hour. That’s nearly three times the federal minimum wage.”

The fall in American standards of living?

“Today the average worker makes $8.50/hour — more than 57% less than in 1970. And since the average wage directly determines the standard of living of our society, we can see that the average standard of living in the U.S. has plummeted by over 57% over a span of 40 years.”

The obscene growth in CEO profits while Millennials earn less than their parents did?

“U.S. CEOs of major companies earned 20 times more than a typical worker in 1965; this ratio grew to 29.9-to-1 in 1978 and 58.7-to-1 by 1989, and then it surged in the 1990s to hit 376.1-to-1 by the end of the 1990s recovery in 2000. The fall in the stock market after 2000 reduced CEO stock-related pay (e.g., options) and caused CEO compensation to tumble until 2002 and 2003. CEO compensation recovered to a level of 345.3 times worker pay by 2007, almost back to its 2000 level. The financial crisis in 2008 and accompanying stock market decline reduced CEO compensation after 2007–2008, as discussed above, and the CEO-to-worker compensation ratio fell in tandem. By 2014, the stock market had recouped all of the value it lost following the financial crisis. Similarly, CEO compensation had grown from its 2009 low, and the CEO-to-worker compensation ratio in 2014 had recovered to 303.4-to-1, a rise of 107.6 since 2009.

“Single young people are getting poorer compared to the average population even those with dependent children, with stagnating disposable income and onerous living costs pressing down on prosperity.

New data accessed by the Guardian reveals that singletons aged 25 to 29 in eight rich countries – the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Spain, Italy, France and Germany – have become poorer over the last 20 years compared with the average population, and unattached young adults are finding it harder than ever to set up on their own.”

All facts conveniently left out of Meryl’s hard-hitting critique. The Left abandoned the working class for 50 years in favor of upper-middle class kids in college who spent more time dying their hair than reading Marx or even Stirner. NAFTA, a hellish neo-liberal agreement that looted Mexico to fatten the profits of American corporations, was drawn up not by some scary Republican tyrant but the “cool” Democrat and blowjob-aficionado Bill Clinton.

“During NAFTA, Mexico has had the slowest rate of economic growth than [with] any other previous economic strategy since the 1930s. From 1994 to 2013, Mexico’s gross domestic product per capita has grown at a paltry rate of 0.89 percent per year.” Additionally, “During NAFTA, Mexico’s economy grew much slower than almost every Latin American country. So to say that NAFTA has benefited the Mexican economy is also a myth. It has boosted trade and investment, but this has not translated into meaningful growth that generates jobs. One of the problems that NAFTA has generated is basically an exporting economy for transnational corporations, not for the Mexican industry per se.”

It turns out that not only did NAFTA, “flood Mexico with imported corn and cheap grains from the United States,” but “it also destroyed Mexico’s own industries,” according to Perez-Rocha.”

Where THE FUCK was Hollywood for that? For Libya? For Fast and Furious? For literally any of the ongoing despicable behavior this godforsaken Imperium has exported to millions of innocent human beings across the globe for the last eight fucking years?

Meryl Streep, and the millions of well-to-do liberals like her, want to live in a world where every McDonald’s is turned into a Panera, where every Wal-Mart blossoms into a Target. Sure you still work there, and you have no organizing rights and your pay is shitty, BUT at least your owners give money to gay charities and recycle!

Hooray ethical consumption! Never mind the suicide nets around those factories, did you know for every shirt you buy we’ll give $5 to help feed silverback gorillas? I mean, we don’t know how it works, and we can’t really say HOW we feed them but…but you can feel good about the shirt!

These people are only allies in the sense that they discredit our other enemies. Anybody that wants to shit on Donald Trump has my blessing but to pretend that they actually desire anything close to an increase in economic quality is a farce.

They are merely rich people that don’t want to feel guilty about being rich.

Don’t worry Meryl, as the US economy continues to take a shit and standards of living race to the bottom, more and more of us will be more than happy to help you overcome your feelings of guilt.

By seizing and redistributing the excesses that vex you so.


Gonzo journalism at no cost is my gift to you. Want to help keep me from starving to death or buy me a beer? Do me a favor and make a donation of any size and I’ll promise not to haunt you when I die.

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No Man Will Shake Me From This Land

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The spirit of my people is wedded to this land.

The bones of my Ancestors lie in a small churchyard in rural Kentucky, a place without cell phone reception and filled with people who may have never seen a plane fly over their heads. There, among those secluded stones, rest nearly every one of my Kin that walked the clays, sand, and dirt we now label the United States.

Generation after generation, all brought to one place, and practically holding hands in union. I can remember setting eyes on it that first time, walking up a hill 860 miles from home to witness the collected essence of the streams my heart rowed upon.

My family is an old one, migrating from Germany to Pennsylvania in 1650, nearly fifty years before the Seminoles ever set foot in Florida. In one generation they moved to the hills of Kentucky, becoming farmers and staying put until my own Grandfather became enamored with palm trees and bright, sunny weather.

We would fight in the Revolutionary War, one of the many families that believed enough in a life without England to kill for it. We would soak the roots of the Republic in blood again in the Civil War, fighting on the side of the Union to break the back of the Confederacy.

One of my greatest joys is to remind my fellow Southerners that my grandpappy whooped their grandpappy’s ass. Regularly.

From there we would serve in nearly every conflict the American flag called for: we died in a cloud of poison gas, went island hopping in the Pacific, helped to establish the DMZ, came back from Vietnam alive, and even aided our first misadventure in the Middle East.  The women in my family would inject much needed education and sophistication all throughout, as well as an Italian passion to smooth out the rougher edges of a farmland upbringing. My great-grandmother brought her children a love of Spirit and a taste for intelligent discourse, a gift my grandfather was kind enough to foster in me.

To say my family, my Ancestors, are tied up in the history of this Nation would be an understatement. We made this country, in every sense of the word, and plowed the farmlands of Kentucky before it even existed.

Which is why I plan on being here long after it’s gone.

There are those I know that have made a calculated decision to leave these shores due to an increasingly oppressive political atmosphere sprouting up like ants at a picnic. I cannot blame them, and the benefits they’ll gain from joining other societies or continents as refugees are very real: better healthcare, cheaper living, and a much needed repose from the violent, chaotic existence we call American living.

Let me preface all this by saying I do not look down upon those who relocate. For many the risks are too great, the rewards too good, and the history not worth saving.

Who could argue? A cursory view of the United States leaves the eye wondering just what should be spared from the torch.

But there will be plenty of beautiful words and vibrant essays written for those on the way out and those soon to join them. As my kin did in 1650 so shall theirs, and their names will be perhaps whispered in tones of wonder. How brave were these immigrants, to leave all they knew in the hopes for a better life? New songs, new words, fresh fashion. There will be, if the migration is ever large enough, entirely new cultures born from the communities of these immigrants just like the colonists of old.

Further may I say these words are not a song of praise or hope for the tottering giant we call the United States, a nostalgic look at the Stars and Stripes that once spread across two oceans and threatened the world with nuclear apocalypse. Unlike my forebears I view these relics of civic religion with nothing but disdain, symbols of a sport I never liked and never planned to play.

But I’d like to take the time and perhaps share my feelings on the matter, for my own peace and those like me who either stay by choice or by gravest necessity.

My people didn’t just hold anchor in Kentucky because they were fond of hills and good green earth. Until the end of WW2 rapid relocations to far-away places, while fashionable, were not widespread. My Grandfather relates a tale from his time owning a car dealership in Florida.

“I was heading out with these two guys from Lakeland to Sarasota to check out some cars, and the whole time they were just looking around like they were in another country. I thought it was the damnedest thing. Eventually I asked them what the hell they were looking at and they ended up telling me they’d never been out of Lakeland. Ever. Can you believe that? Sarasota is just 60 miles away and they had never been. Families lived their whole lives that way.”

When my wife and I ended up making the pilgrimage to the Ancestral burying ground we encountered the same thing, folks that had never seen a mixed person let alone anyone quite like ourselves. We were aliens, creatures from some distant planet, and spoke in foreign dialects that immediately marked us as outsiders. Many people, due to economic neccessity, cannot go anywhere. They must stay because where there are is all they have. Generation after generation may remain in the same town, content to see the starlight pour through the same trees it did one hundred years ago.

When I think about all my Dead up in those hills, and that it was only in the last 60 years our blood ever meandered outward it boggles the mind. In a way I’m an immigrant too.

My Grandfather’s schooling as a Louisville lawyer certainly rubbed off on me, but my soul sprouted up out of the barren sands of Boynton, not blue grass; my spirit jumps much quicker at the sight of swampland then any sign of elevation. I love oppressive, Jurassic heat and consider anything below 60 to be the most vile of torments. Mushroom Teachers have revealed to me Florida is the land my body was designed for. I am as much a part of the natural environment as a gator or garfish.

Even if I one day were to magically become independently wealthy it is this sense of place, this kinship with the land, that will always keep me here.

Sense of Place, something far removed from modern Leftist thinking. If I followed the theories currently in fashion I’d dispense with every piece of me deemed “provincial” to be like the others, to better fit in with the collective. But why? Stirner notes “In uniqueness [Einzigkeit] the contradiction is solved; the national is my quality. But I am not swallowed up in my quality — as the human too is my quality, but I give to man his existence first through my uniqueness.” To deny the ecosystem that defines my magic and erase the history that flowers on my Ancestral altar is to dispense with a part of me, a part of my Unique. I can revel in it and not be bound by it, no more threatening than my preference for biscuits over cornbread.

I can’t pretend I’m not tied to this continent like kudzu vines on oaks in Ocala. So I won’t. Because I like me and I like here.

I like the sound of gun fire and how it makes my hands shake, I like the strum of a blues guitar made to whine with a broken bottle neck, I like the smell of pork jowl cooking with greens, and I damn sure love the taste of alligator tail served with fresh swamp cabbage. I like the climate, the wilderness, and the spirits that whisper between them. I like the bright color of the sun as it hits the top of the pine trees over the plains of the State’s interior and I like the darkness of a thunderstorm straight from the sea as it swallows the skyline like an angry fist.

Everything about this Land I love, just as my people have since before it was the United States. My magic weaves and flows from the dirt under my feet. That magic will continue to exist long after I and whatever political machine might claim to own me disappears. My family has outlived administrations, watched corpses of neighbors and friends pile up, and even killed for the ability to be here. I do not intend to leave.

Perhaps many of you feel no kinship for the land around you, but remain out of necessity. Maybe a tree is a tree to you. But for those of you that must stay I invite you to take another look. Go down to your nearest forest and smell it, take in the plants that grow there and feel them in your hands. Just like you they share a unique existence, a spirit all their own. Softly ask to get to know them and in your quiet places you will hear them speak.

Attune yourself to the passage of the seasons, the dance of the clouds and rains as it pertains to your locale. Consider what food you enjoy that might be alien somewhere else and summon up energetic memories locked tightly in the cells of your lungs.

Breathe the land around you, take it in, and feel it’s spirit come alive.

That Spirit has existed before this country and will continue to do so long after we are all dead.

Look into the histories of your Ancestors and drop whatever colonist narrative you might have been told to adopt. Consider for a moment most of these people came here fleeing something, the same thing your brethren now wish to do. Touch the tears on your grandmother’s table, drink the words of your grandfather written in ball point pen on the back of a photograph. Look onto your past as a living river coursing the landscape. How did these interactions shape them, you, and whatever future actions you might undertake? If you can’t move away I advise you to become acquainted with the natural neighbor you may have never bothered to meet, the silent friend who watched your family grow for generations.

What trees heard your grandmother sing, what waters put fish on the table when all else failed?

All this is to be surrendered because of one man, one threat, even one ideology?

The future is indeed as bleak as it is uncertain, and easy answers are as difficult to come by as home-grown apples in Miami. There is health, family, and a host of other issues to consider and many of us would not wake up on this continent if some distant forebear hadn’t made the same decision many will make today.

I have no movement, no leader, and speak only for myself. I am a Florida Conjurer who has not yet traversed the globe or sat under redwoods on star-lit Pacific nights. I cannot claim to have seen it all, done it all, or even so much as touched all of what I aimed to say with these words.

But for me and my family the United States, though large, is but a slice of our history; Florida too will have existed under the Spanish flag, one of six,  longer than the American colors until 2050. My family’s roots run deep and are imbued with spirit, each person a byway and gateway of past and present, potential and probability, pecans and persimmons on trees of living memory that have bloomed for generations.

Astra inclinant, sed non obligant: the stars incline us, but they do not bind us. You may have all these things and still walk away.

But not I. No, not for all the money or safety the world could provide. It is here I will make my stand, here I will wage my war.

Not for any country but the dirt of my graveyards.
Not for any flag but the spanish moss waving gently in the breeze.

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2017: The Year America Looks Like Aleppo?

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From my weekly column at Greed: “No Quarter”

(GREED) – If the movin’ and shakin’s of the Luck Plane are any indication it appears 2017 will be a defining point in the death of large political collectives in favor of smaller and smaller sects, a never ending war of 10,000 fronts fought not for dominance but for vendetta.

Already a major omen has predicted absolute disaster for the year ahead, a failure in a re-occuring miracle that’s correctly warned of everything from earthquakes to World War 2. This alone was enough to set wizards and witches scurrying for cover; not to be outdone the material world has provided its own trends to study.

It was 86 degrees in December, a cool breeze fresh from the shoreline on my face and a voodoo doll in my pocket when I heard about the recent assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov in the same nation that shot down a Russian jet in December 2015. This appeared to happen in unison with an attack on Christmas revelers in Germany that killed 12 and injured 40.

The cause? The war in Syria and it’s sectarian battle lines, the killer of Andrew Karlov even giving the one-fingered salute so common to ISIS forces, ISIS itself one rabid pole in the wide field of outlooks fighting for control of an entire religion. Syria’s civil war, a proxy chum-bucket of competing ideologies and religious beliefs egged on by Russia and the US, had spilled beyond it’s borders.

Revenge had been taken not for a government but a city, fought for the interpretation of a religion rather than it’s spread.

It’s a growing trend too often ignored, a zeitgeist that extends beyond one religion or even one region.

May I remind you that a day’s car drive from the quaint shops of Berlin 2,900 explosions were just recently recorded during a heavy battle near Svitlodarsk involving Separatists and Ukrainian nationals using tanks, MRLS, and artillery. It’s a war fought over differing histories, opposed languages, and radical interpretations of just who “the people” really are by folks who once thought themselves countrymen.

This is overlooked aspect, the Global Splintering, is the new normal, a never ending see-saw of State-sanctioned destabilization, armed conflict, and surprise attacks. The world is dividing into smaller and smaller armed camps aided by larger powers. If 2016 is any indication Europe is only the first step, the newest battlefield, in war of attrition with no trench lines and no rules.

It won’t be long before it spreads to the United States, and it’s easy to see the seeds already sprouting.

Donald Trump was affirmed as future War Lord of the American Imperium and will take the throne with the most batshit insane cabinet since President Grant. On a material level things are guaranteed to be bad.

But as any Wizard will tell you it’s the immaterial that shapes events, and already a strange shift has taken place in the minds of the populace. The “wetware” of American thinking has been permanently updated, and much a like a couch made out of cactus it is woefully, shockingly bad.

Take for instance the meme of “Russian Hackers” winning Trump the election. In one fell swoop this meme, parroted endlessly by progressives, has de-legitimized the entire concept of the American “election.” The belief that it is the people who at least get to pick the newest slave master, the entire lynch-pin of the idiotic faith they call “government,” is up in smoke leaving the door wide open authoritarian control to ensure the “right” people get in charge.

The result? Liberals were calling for the most anti-democratic part of the government to veto the popular vote and install their preferred corporate war-monger; the Mainstream Media, now so syphilitically weak and broke they have to rent out office space just to stay afloat, has issued a fatwa against independent voices and declared them “fake news” for daring to challenge the official narrative.

The Age of Discourse has run it’s course, all sides having expended every rhetorical flourish and sound argument thus set down to convince an open debate opponent.

Both Republicans and Democrats want a strong-armed government to punish one another, all that’s missing is the person with the gun to offer them the chance. 2017 will not be a time of debate but verbal and physical war, the media two opposing lawyers who will stop at nothing to make sure their side wins.

The slimy toads are more divided than ever, living in two entirely different worlds determined by the bellows of ideology: before they claimed the opposing team was merely biased, now with the ‘fake news’ narrative in full play they simply do not believe a word the other side says and will look to party-approved news outlets for all information regarding reality.

This is exactly what happened in Iraq.

“The increased sectarian entrenchment of post-2003 Iraq and the broader Middle East was in no small part the cumulative result of two legacy issues. The first was failed nation-building. The second, a counterproductive and ultimately futile attempt to negate sectarian identities in the name of coercively enforced and restrictively defined notions of national unity. This partially explains how places such as Iraq have seen multiplicity – something that exists the world over – turn into division. Different imaginations of what “we the people” represent inhere on individual political and social perceptions to the extent that clearly identifiable and politically relevant opposing narratives of state, society, politics and history become salient enough to be easily activated and utilized in politics….

“The sectarian prism’s ability to color perceptions regarding regional events today can scarcely be exaggerated. Fears of sectarian encirclement are so easily aroused that there have been instances of the Sunni-Shia divide becoming a contentious issue, even to the point of lethal violence, in some unlikely places. For example, in 2013 Egyptian Salafists embarked on a campaign to counter the “spread of Shiism” in Egypt despite the country having a miniscule Shia population…

“Unfortunately, in the places where it matters most, moderate or a-sectarian voices have become increasingly marginalized. This is not because they lack popular appeal but because the empowerment of sect-centric forces has proven self-perpetuating in that it has created the fear upon which it thrives.

The United States, once immune to the shifts of the world by nature of being their cause, is a shadow of it’s former Imperial self. Defeated in Syria, barely holding on in Iraq and Afghanistan, it will slump into 2017 paranoid, bitter, and armed to the teeth. The populace, fleeing the illusion of national identity in favor of equally illusory political or ethnic ones, stands starkly divided on everything from what science is to what gender means.

The Sunni and Shiites of the United States are the two wings of it’s one true religion: monolithic capitalism. How long until requests for “American regime change?” How far away is the same treatment that’s torn hell across the Ukraine, turned Syria into a slaughterhouse, and is fervently being picked up across the country from college campuses to Alt-right forums? We may not know the exacts but we do know this: 2017 will be as stunning and heinous here as 2016 has been everywhere else, a global war towering in the distance, small in meaning and all-encompassing in scope.


Gonzo journalism at no cost is my gift to you. Want to help keep me from starving to death or buy me a beer? Do me a favor and make a donation of any size and I’ll promise not to haunt you when I die.

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An American Retrograde

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“The fall of peoples and mankind will invite me to my rise.”- Max Stirner, The Ego and His Own

Perhaps the fates had finally turned against humanity. What other explanation existed for a mercury retrograde coming right after the most batshit election the American people had ever suffered?

Everything was an abysmal mix of high comedy and cosmic terror. Trump’s cabinet picks were something out of guide on how to be a comic book villain: Goldman Sach’s running the treasury, Exxon mobile running the State department, the person in charge of Gitmo’s torture policies heading the Department of Homeland Security, a fast-food CEO running the Department of Labor, and one of the most bitter enemies of the EPA set to be in charge of protecting the environment.

The Democrats, rather than blame themselves, saw free speech as the enemy, the term “fake news” replacing the tired old CIA-made “conspiracy theory” as the new term de jure. People once calling for “the will of the people” were now cheering for the Electoral College, the literal embodiment of everything they stood against, and agreeing that any news that wasn’t on television could not be trusted. None of them had apparently heard of Gary Webb.

The militant Left, while still having some glimmer of hope, had fallen into it’s usual role of insipid echo chamber capable of doing nothing. Brutal self-reflection on how the working class had been lost had given way to masturbatory critiques on how America just “didn’t get” the vapid idealism so important to the University crowd, as if it was the world’s fault for not being fluent in the ever-shifting and empty nest of special words and phrases they equated to actual revolution.

I drink pretty heavily to begin with, but I switched to 90 proof liquor after I watched a call for the creation of a Leftist fitness group to prepare for real combat dismissed as “body-shaming.”

I’d had enough of the struggle, enough of the people involved, and decided that the wholesale destruction of the species couldn’t come fast enough. If the people could be this dumb and this so far against their own interests who was I to free them? If the Left wanted to perish in glorious martydom they could prepare the funeral pyre themselves.

In my mind there was nothing left to fight for; let the cards fall where they may. My wife and I began looking for land to buy in the hopes that ourselves and a few comrades might have a safe place to live while we watched the world collapse into sweet, sweet oblivion.

Ah. To look back now. I can see my furrowed brow, the nights spent awake, the weird stares out windows and the ever familiar “are you okay?”

The Spirits however had other plans.
And I’d have a man who committed suicide to thank.

How did this all happen? How had everything gotten…well, here?
I suppose it all began when I developed “The Itch.”

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Every Occultist knows “The Itch,” is born with it, deals with it in her own way. The Wizard Folk have forever seemed odd to the outside world due to the peculiar natural cycles and rhythms they seem perpetually aware of that others don’t. The Itch is one of them. The Itch is that overwhelming feeling to do ritual, to cast spells, to totally throw oneself into some kind of magical release. It’s impossible to describe, an unsettling tension that feels like the gears of a clock all wound up. It starts on your peripherals, as if surrounded by a cloud, and slowly sinks into the marrow of your bones. Odd, jerky movements soon become the sole source of locomotion, a hideous grin stretching from cheek to cheek following what can only be described as a permanent sense of urgency. On the wrong night your spirit can slip so easily you want to die.

It does not stop until the magic is done, and I began to realize I was hopelessly in it’s throws.

Sunday, a beautiful Florida afternoon. Desiring some time to shoot the shit and get cheap food my wife and I walk up to a diner before I have to work. It’s a plasticine relic, a facsimile reprint of another age most American’s voted overwhelmingly to recapture, and all for the low low price of $4.99 a meal.

After getting our table my wife begins talking but I can’t seem to focus, something wrong with the corner of my eye. This little tiny light that slowly grows bigger, ever so bigger. I hold on to the table, keep my grin. Nod “yes” and say “mhm” as I slowly lose control. My bones light up with heat, I’m in my body, yet part of me is elsewhere, slipped through a crack in the back of my head I can only describe in synthesisitic references, a multi-color tear through the soft part of my spirit that usually sounds a little higher than the rest.

Everything around me pours in, sights and smells wafting past my nostrils and lodging in my spine. Voices of average middle America chime with the slink of silverwear, slices of conversation melting together like cheese on chili mac.

“…got me the best Christmas present…”
“…go out there and check it out…”
“….grandbaby. She never sees them and I just think…”

The crowd continues to pour in from churches, street corners, and lazy sunday livingrooms. Vet hats recall foreign killing fields that shaped young lives forever, places only dimly remembered by those that they “served.” Patriotic sweaters, a Florida favorite for 74 degree weather, seem as much a part of The Sabbath Day as anything else.

Eating, talking, children being raised tableside by parents as grandpa and grandma look on with smiling faces. Away from the news cycle and the dizzying images of television there is a sense that this is the real America, the keepers of slackjawed common sense that keep the power plants and auto shops running smoothly.

Homey, quaint, but not quite real. Even here was the psychology of the village, familial debates quietly raging at public audio levels. Questions about school, about work, about day to day living. Triumphs, failures, the quest for understanding, the need to be loved, all here between eggs and bacon; a temple of sorts to humanity, to the entire social organism stretched between generations. It may change borders and colors but it had remained unchanged for millennia.

Yet it still was not the core. I wanted more.

“I…have to do a ritual tomorrow.” My wife looks up, perplexed.
“What for?”
“I don’t know. I-I just know that I need to go out of this place. I need to go deeper.”
“Do you want to leave?”
“No, no,” I raised my hands in protest. “I’m going to be fine. I just know that I need to get out of the world for a bit. Things are too confused here, too muddled.” I unwrapped a fork and began twirling it in my fingers. “This retrograde…it’s fucked. Everything is fucked. The people, their ideas, everyone’s pissing and shitting all over everything and I just…I need to stick my head in the water and breathe deep if…if that makes sense.”

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My wife, ever my anchor, nods. She’s dealt with far stranger and in a moment The Itch recedes to a manageable level.

Work came and went and Monday evening I was preparing what I would need as I’d been taught by the Spirits: a metal bucket, candle, incense burner, self-lighting charcoal, tongs, Solomon’s Seal Root, a Six of Diamonds, my rattle, and two beers. With the addition of my alligator staff I looked more like a Southern Gandalf than anything else, and with kiss on my wife’s cheek I was out the door.

The walk to any ritual site in town is always an interesting one, cars zooming by at 45 miles per hour, barely cognizant of your existence; you’re in the world but not entirely. With a strong enough intent behind your mission you can actually feel things warp around you; everything drools into symbols like a DMT trip, buildings and humans become accents of greater meaning speaking to you in a twilight language all your own.

My mind, sloshing around with plenty of 90 proof Pineapple liqueur, was placid and tranquil, and I began to sing lightly to the land under my feet. I was walking through “Babylon” as the Rainbow folks call it, on a mission to leave behind it’s trappings in favor of the Real. Each business I passed I felt another layer peel away, as if I was moving through physical countries on the map. I passed trendy restaurants and a mall, then run down buffets and furniture stores, culminating finally in a patch of woods as of yet undeveloped yet proudly for sale and ready for “immediate commercial construction.”

Here it was, the border of the World, an island of wild where the American Imperium had not yet tred. Just a few yards away was a hidden country, a faiery land I alone knew, my first meeting with it documented in a book sitting on the Gods & Radicals desk.

The exhalation however quickly turned to exasperation.

Trash, a sure sign of human habitation, filled the entrance I had thought hidden and was the first sign that something was wrong. Bending down I peeked around a corner. Ahead at perhaps 50 yards were three tents and the smell of burning wood.

All I could do was sigh. “The fucking bastards finally got to it.”

A few more steps confirmed my suspicions, grey human shadows moving beyond the trees. The path ahead was littered with Steel Reserve cans and every kind of plastic one could imagine, impossible to traverse stealthily.

But who cared for stealth? A garbage dump had thrown up in the woods I’d loved and the ones responsible were directly ahead. But a confrontation was not on the agenda, at least not tonight. I was 45 minutes away from moonrise and needed to find a new clearing free of human intervention. I made a mental note to begin hexing the place and sought to enter from a different angle.

A hop and a skip around the back of a few buildings brought me to the edge of a new entrance, a blown out fence of aged wood trampled over the course of a few weeks. “Fucking idiots. What assholes!” I stammered aloud, making my way across the broken wood. “T-there’s a-a-an entrance not 10 fucking feet away and they go ahead and just destroy somebody’s fence. This is why the cops get called.”

The path out of this entrance, once a small snake of matted grass, was now so big it could have been a fucking highway, broken glass and condoms becoming exit ramp signs towards beer can villages.  Furious, drunk, I passed several empty tents surrounded by walls of refuse with no trouble. One more section of open field and I’d be safely back in the sandy thickets of palmettos, out of sight and out of mind and free to plot my revenge.

“Hey!” A gruff voice carried itself on a sudden wind from across the field. I had been noticed.

A figure in the distance was motioning me to come over to the main entrance, the large collection of tents under the pines I had first tried to avoid.. The liquor in my blood cooed at the chance to meet the neighbors.

And what a surprise it was.

The campsite, the largest of the bunch, wasn’t anything I didn’t expect. Three tattered tents and a sea of items scattered everywhere like confetti at a Mardi Gra parade. Empty skoal bottles rested on blackened cooking pots home to rotting food, paper plates laying like bodies in a World War 1 trench. The smell of feces and ammonia hung over the campsite like a noxious cloud.

I set my eyes on the asshole who had called me over, words of pure hatred ready to unleash from my tongue.

And then I realized I knew him.

A ghost from my past, a kid that had come into my work all the time bragging about how happy he was to be getting 40 hours working at Wendy’s, telling any who would listen about how he planned to be a manager. He was barely recognizable now, pink eyes and red pupils resting upon a rough and scraggly beard, a torn t-shirt and bathing suit hanging from a body two sizes too small. He swayed from side to side, moved by winds only the drunkard can feel. He spoke in my direction but his eyes lost focus every few seconds.

“Hey man.” I feigned friendliness, trying to keep my gaze on the person in front of me and not on the conditions he was living in.
“Hey.” His energetic body felt cold, lifeless.
“Well…I always figured somebody would camp out here eventually. Place is too perfect.”
“Yeah.” Words slow and awkward, baseballs thrown by a pitcher with a broken wrist. “I’ve been coming out here on-and-off for about….5 years I think. Used to grow weed out here.”
“Oh?”
“Yeah…planted some uh…cattails too around ’em. Y-you know why?”
“Why?”
“Because…cattails have the same heat signature as weed does. Cops c-can’t see it.”
“I see you’ve got some neighbors over there.” I pointed toward the other tents I’d passed.
“Yeah. Unfortunately.” He just stared in silence now, his eyes almost swallowed by the dark red rings that surrounded them until I pointed at the dirty cast wrapped from his elbow to his thumb.
“What happened to your arm?”
“Fell down a flight of stairs. Shattered it.” The answer came as quick as the cloud of mosquitoes that appeared all around him. They bit him constantly though he never seemed to notice.
“Jesus. How uh…how many?”
“Not many. Split my head open too.” He pointed to a large gash barely healed on his head. There was an unspoken acknowledgement that he hadn’t fell down any stairs.
“Well…I’ve got to be going. Gotta do some prayers. Take it easy.
“Y-yeah man. Be safe.”As I made my way out of the camp I heard him strain to raise his voice. “H-hey! Hey man!”
“Yeah?”
“Hey uh…did Trump win?”
“Trump? Yeah, he won.”
“Oh.” A smile came over his face. “Maybe now I can make it out to Colorado.”

With no explanation as to how the two were connected he shuffled back over to a lawn chair and flopped into it like a wet rag, his eyes unblinkingly locked on a cell phone. To him I had effectively ceased to exist. I was about to ask a question, thought better of it, and made my way to the back of the woods.

The encounter was deeply unnerving and left me feeling instantly sober. This was indeed the edge of civilization, the souls that had been pushed to it’s farthest corners, the land of the living dead. Psychically these beaten and battered folk made up the last bastions of The World, confined by force and economics to it’s barest borders, a region where beatings went unpunished and arms were put back together in the lackluster hope they might heal correctly.

If he died of an infection tomorrow nobody would notice, his life reduced to a ghostly trail of official documents. He was a fucking human being, with hopes and dreams. Whose woods were these really then? For me they were a temple, for him the only place he had. Troubled, I put as much distance between myself and those tents as I could, knowing full well the encounter carried much meaning behind it.

It was uncomfortable, visceral, but altogether real. I knew I had left Babylon behind.

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After some searching I found a suitable clearing, far off from any signs of human activity. No trash, no bottles, and the only Bud Light cans that could be found were bleached enough to be years old. I placed the bucket down and prepared my tools, knocking on the soil with my staff to alert the spirits to my presence. I began walking, clockwise, shaking my rattle and muttering the words that I heard in my head, a voice leaking from my spine and filtered through my vocal cords. The place instantly takes an energetic shape, becomes a vestibule. Reality shifts and the clearing becomes an island, a space of shared dimensions.

The altar is set and the moon rises on the horizon. As I ready my gear I think of the generations before me that snuck into woods like this many years ago, practicing Hoodoo and calling on spirits just out of sight of the day to day world. How many men and women felt suffocated beyond the treeline in times past? How many folk breathed air as unclean as today, engaged in rituals such as this knowing full well they would return to a hopeless place where life itself seemed pointless?

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When the moon finally hits the highest branches I jump up to light the candle. The embers of self lighting charcoal fly and the smell of jasmine and solomon’s seal fills the air; I growl to break the shells of my outer body allowing the power to leak out. Rattling I move around the altar, a 6 of Diamonds anointed with Road Opener Oil acting as a focal point to clear out anything that might block the flow of energy. The moon grows and shapes begin to materialize on the borders, spirits attracted to the noise and energy. I call out to Brother Bat, my Guide, and in an instant he is there.

I tell him of my troubles, of my doubt, of the poverty I feel in my soul and the fears that plague my heart. I gnash my teeth and tell of the trials here on Earth, how everything seems so muddled and confused. He whispers secrets of my nature to me, deep parts of my Self I had never known. He teaches me a new art to keep my melancholy away and we walk around the circle and sing. He tells me I will have multiple visitors tonight, and in a wind breeze he departs.

Two black figures, twins, sit at the altar. They motion me to come closer. They speak in funny high voices, creatures not dead but not spirits either. I have met them here before, these wizards from another realm.

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I ask them how they deal with politics in their own world. They both nod and make it clear I’m to listen to them speak. They turn to each other and have a casual conversation.

“How do you deal with your clients when they have troubles of the world?”
“Well, I tell them I will do the best for them I can and go about my way.”
“And when their way gets in your way?”
“I remember the world is a river and hold on to my spirit. I am a nexus, a portal. I must keep my shape.”

“Can I ask something,” I interject, “are the portals between worlds opening up? It feels like the Otherworlds are drifting in more than usual.” They seem annoyed and again motion for me to pay attention to the words they are saying. They face one another again, pretending I’m not there.

“The old world is dying, being cleared away. The gates are being opened to aid this,” one remarks.
“Yes, periods of instability always follow stability, just as this instability will lead to stability.”
“Yes, that is why wizards find politics such a tiresome game. Even at the end of this age humanity will build a new order of it’s own design and close up the gates.”
“They will desire one of their own image and so they’ll deny the others in favor of the one they made.”
“Yes. That’s why revolutions are always magical and why orders must always seek to control the gates.”
“Yes.” They both turn to me. “Your enemies know this.” My mind fills with an assortment of images, ideologies I know and symbols I’ve never seen. “The wizard aims at the battle behind things, the invisible conditions that make reality.”

In an instant they are gone. Yet the magic is not. The circle is still not empty and the air is filled with static.

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I stare at the moon, in awe of it’s lonesome presence. I go through my bag and find my harmonica, an instrument I’ve only barely played in years. A song comes out of my heart and my lungs breathe lonesome notes that fill the space with a deep yearning for a place I cannot name. I play for the moon, for the trees, and become overwhelmed at the thoughts of humanity’s quest for understanding. Words come from somewhere else and I sing a song I’ve never heard before, a lonesome western about being lost in the world and having only oneself to count on, a modern day Hymn of the Pearl born right out of the soil beneath my feet. Tragic, beautiful, resilient, it carries a lifetime of experience that is totally alien. As I feel the song end I struggle to retain some fragment of it.

The harmonica fades in my hands. The energy winks out of the circle. I can only hold on to the chorus: “I got me. Whoaaaah, I got meeeee.”

Just like that everything is over.

The candle is still burning, the incense is still going, but where I’m sitting is now just a great place to view the moon in the woods behind a Chinese buffet. The clean scents of pine wood and sand have replaced any fragrance of mystery. I crack open another beer and just sit there to take in the view, lost in myself and the lessons I’ve learned.

How long had the ritual taken place? Even now as I write this the clocks and movements of the Imperium seem far away and useless. As I gulped down the still cool Tecate in my hand that night it dawned on me that perhaps that was the ultimate lesson I was sent to learn: the whole thing we called civilization, the country, the people, they were all immaterial things, ghostly phantoms in our head built on an amazingly unreal foundation. Beyond the superstores, behind the coffee shops pounded the still beating heart of mystery that entranced our ancestors. All things in time would pass, and we ourselves were part of invisible cycles that ravaged this plane again and again. What mattered was my existence.

Everything I say after this point only seems like the cheapest illustration of the most wondrous thing…that song…the music…..I know I’ll never hear it again. And I weep. But what the lyrics sang about in voices beyond mortal life will forever remain with me.

We must fight, we have to, because our lives and the lives of others will be damaged by the cycles of existence; the woods do not have to be homes to derelict camps of the infected and dying. Fortuna opens her gates to all, Nazi or Communist alike, and when The Age of the Hyena finally closes we do not want to be caught in an artifice we had no hand in building.

The world is fucked, and sadly so is the Left if it doesn’t change, but the magical folk must retain their shapes under duress, must understand that the world is a river, ever-changing and absurd in every sense of the word. There will be bad governments, there will be mass censorship, the people will choose fascism, there may even be widespread death and torture. In the word’s of a Syrian civilian trapped in Aleppo, mere meters away from government forces that would no doubt shoot him dead “it’s okay–this is life.”

That bravery, that amor fati is something we should all aspire to. The Wizards and Witches must take their place in the revolution as fountains of energy and steely eyes that gaze upon more than one timeline. It’s okay to be confused, angry, and want to give up the woods to our bitter enemies.

But we can’t. Because underneath all the crap and bullshit still lies what’s important.

All the campus protests and theoretical posturing hadn’t done a damn thing to stop the rise of fascism, to stop the surge of income inequality, to stop the growth of camps like I had just traveled through. Why let them get in my way? The Left be damned, I’d fight because I wanted to, because the fact someone should nurse a shattered arm surrounded by mosquitoes and feces in the “greatest country in the world” filled me with violent, frenzied fury. Earthly existence is fleeting anyway, what better way to spend it than by giving hell to those you loathe right up till the bitter end?

And if the world would not come with me? If Tumbler and echo chambers were the sole territory the Left could claim? I’d let them perish because I was determined to change the dirt under my feet.

I walked out of those woods as if I’d tasted the Fountain of Youth, marching with a smile back into the world of mainstream media, global war, and a massive economic system built on institutional slavery. On my way out I ran into the kid I’d seen earlier, looking much more lively and conversational.

“You said you were praying back there? What kind of prayers?”
“Oh just….talking to a few teachers of mine.”
“You know people died back there, right?”
“What? No way.”
“Yep. I knew one of ’em.”
“Who?”
“Guy with mental problems begged me to kill him because he didn’t want to hurt anybody. Crazy guy, schizophrenic. Saw people on fire all the time, crazy shit. He was cool when he was fine but he was just really worried her would hurt somebody. Kept saying ‘you gotta kill me man.’ Told him I couldn’t do it. One day I come back and there he is, hanging from a tree. Some guy from out west.”

I thought back to the western tune I’d played, the mournful song of a soul cast into a world that didn’t make sense….where had the desire to fight no matter how the world might come at you have come from?

I said my goodbyes and made my way home, silently grateful to the spirit of a man I’d never met for giving me the ability to see over the horizon of a world gone mad. I was ready to fight again, ready to ride the retrograde.

And if it pissed off some people? If my actions, writings, thoughts, or ideas weren’t to the palate of a nation knee deep in horse-shit and choking on fumes? What did it matter?

Whatever happened I knew: I got me.

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Standing Rock Is In It’s Most Precarious Situation, So Why Should People Go Home?

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(GREED) – When the news hit that the Army had stood down, that for a brief second it appeared the people might have a glimpse of what victory actually feels like in the face of impossible odds, I was about as far away from North Dakota as anyone could be. On some deserted Florida beach I had made camp, my communist bandanna flying violently in the wind as I guzzled tall-boy after tall-boy of cheap American beer. Bossa Nova from the 1960’s blared at full volume, a soothing weight to balance out the ever-familiar tension of a mind on high alert. I knew that the times ahead would be the most important and this pipeline business was now more dangerous than ever.

A quick overview of the facts: the Army Corps of Engineers, after facing the possibility of hundreds of military veterans acting as human shields, has decided not to the grant the easement necessary for Energy Transfer Partners to complete the Dakota Access pipeline, seemingly bringing an end to months of protests over the project. Cheers from the northern territories could be heard as faraway as Georgia and the internet was absolutely ablaze with congratulatory memes. The battle had been one, the pipeline would be moved, and one of the tribal leaders was even beginning to ask the nearly 5,000 people assembled to move along unless they belonged to the Sioux tribe.

Weird, isn’t it? Maybe I’m just too far away, maybe the large amount of free ions coming off of the waves and cavorting with booze-soaked brain matter has caused an unnatural reaction, an impervious shield against masturbatory pats on the back but…doesn’t this all seem a bit too easy? Doesn’t anybody remember the FIRST time we were told the battle was won?

On September 9, the Obama administration revoked authorization for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) on federally controlled lands and asked the pipeline’s owners, led by Energy Transfer Partners, to voluntarily halt construction on adjacent areas at the center of protests by Native Americans and supporters.

However, at the same time the pipeline and protests surrounding it were galvanizing an international swell of solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its Sacred Stone Camp, another federal move on two key pipelines has flown under the radar….

Within a two-week span in May 2016, as the Sacred Stone Camp was getting off the ground as the center of protests, the U.S.Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued presidential permits for the Trans-Pecos and Comanche Trail Pipelines. Together, the pipelines will take natural gas obtained from fracking in Texas’ Permian Basin and ship it in different directions across the U.S.-Mexico border, with both starting at the Waha Oil Field.

Even that was a joke, a judge quickly ruling the DAPL could continue on it’s merry way and fuck what’cha heard. Still, even if this most recent stop of the Dakota access line actually sticks what exactly has been won?

The Army Corps of Engineers announced it will look for an alternate route for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota, not that it’s stopping anything. This is the equivalent of the State saying “you guys pissed off too many people and we don’t want images of a bunch of vets getting maced on the TV. You can keep building the pipeline, just stay off the Rez.” The same insanely dirty and insanely dangerous pipeline was still going to be built, still do massive amounts of environmental damage, and still connect to other pipelines. There will still be pipeline spills in many states and hazardous materials would still be shipped into residential areas right alongside schools and major traffic.

Excuse me for being blunt but this isn’t a fucking victory for anybody but the Sioux.

The whole country rallied to stop an indigenous people from being exploited but beyond that absolutely nothing has happened. How telling than that once the tribal lands are off the table people are being told they’ve “served their purpose” and need to get the fuck out of Dodge.

“They brought worldwide attention to this area and I am thankful for their support, and I am thankful for their efforts but it’s time now. And everybody can just relax and go home.

The Greed Florida Office has sent numerous cables to Standing Rock leaders asking if they will be leading the charge to stop other pipelines, such as the one ripping it’s way through our own pristine wilderness, but as of yet no word.

From a tactical standpoint it boggles the mind that people are being told to “go home.” You have a city, a literal city, of 5,000 people with renewable energy all united by a common cause. It could transform into an American Freetown Christiania, a hub for Eco-Warriors to launch campaigns against other pipelines while challenging the idea that a corporation’s desires usually become law. This is a special place, a sacred place by all accounts where multiple tribes have united with the rest of the country to pursue a vision in league in Mother Earth.

People used to build temples over places like that.

Eagles are letting people pet them for Christ-sake, and everything ends as soon as the pipeline no longer becomes the tribe’s responsibility?

Surely the leaders of Standing Rock then have some master plan in store, some country-wide strategy to combat the evils of pipeline pollution that threaten sacred groves and forests all across the country?

“I’m asking them to go,” Dave Archambault III told Reuters on Monday, saying that the Obama administration “did the right thing,” and that he hoped to “educate the incoming administration” of President-elect Donald Trump.

Well. That sure sounds promising especially since the Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren donated $100,000 to a committee supporting Trump’s election.

Let me weigh the two options here: a sacred city of 5,000 people dedicated to combating the black snakes circling what little wilderness this country has left and protecting the planet versus “educating” a human cartoon with a spray-on tan who has about as much empathy as a bag of rocks taken from a freshly demolished slaughterhouse.

Yeah. Fuck it. Why not?

Why not stop while you have the initiative, why take your momentary regional victory and turn it into an actually revolutionary spearhead, why not embrace the tactics so peculiar to World War 1 and not move a single fucking inch when the gods themselves roll the dice in your favor?

Why not just tell everyone you won and put the political activism board game back up in the closet?

Because it’s pretty clear the pipeline people don’t give a fuck what the Army says.

“Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (NYSE: ETP) and Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. (NYSE: SXL) announced that the Administration’s statement today that it would not at this time issue an “easement” to Dakota Access Pipeline is a purely political action – which the Administration concedes when it states it has made a “policy decision” – Washington code for a political decision. This is nothing new from this Administration, since over the last four months the Administration has demonstrated by its action and inaction that it intended to delay a decision in this matter until President Obama is out of office…

The White House’s directive today to the Corps for further delay is just the latest in a series of overt and transparent political actions by an administration which has abandoned the rule of law in favor of currying favor with a narrow and extreme political constituency.

As stated all along, ETP and SXL are fully committed to ensuring that this vital project is brought to completion and fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe. Nothing this Administration has done today changes that in any way.”

Let’s recap:

  1. At best this merely re-routes the pipeline off the radar of the Sioux people and continues on it’s merry way to fuck up the rest of the country.
  2. At worst, just as before, this is merely an appeasement to get the Sioux to lower their guard until the pipeline can do whatever the fuck it wants anyway. Considering how the President-Elect feels about it one wonders what a pipeline friendly administration might do.

Far away from my beach on the Florida coast even I can sense something is amiss. Could the Sioux leaders really be so foolish to blow such a big opportunity? Could their concern about pipelines really only extend to the borders of their own territory? Out here on the quietly warm coast, waves spraying and seagulls calling, I’m left to ponder if Florida is as alien to them as North Dakota is to me. Separated by 2,091 miles maybe we might as well be on different planets.

Time will tell, though if the situation remains as it is it may be up to the activists that went to Standing Rock to continue the battle in their home states.

Alone.

The country, perhaps the planet, will depend on them bringing the fire of Standing Rock out of the snow and into the wider world.

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America Won’t Convict Killer Cops Because It Couldn’t Care Less

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From my weekly column at Greed: “No Quarter”

(GREED) – “I cannot in good conscience consider a guilty verdict.” This is the sound of what a fully militarized system of white supremacy sounds like. 

Jaws hit the floor yesterday in the case of Michael Slager, better known as the cop who shot an unarmed man named Walter Scott, when a jury of 11 whites and one black person said it looked like they were heading for a mistrial. This wasn’t some dire gridlock either, but one lone asshole who somehow has decided that they cannot possibly conceive of any punishment for a cop that not only shot an unarmed man in the fucking back but tried to plant a weapon on him to make it look justified.

We here at the Greed Florida Office have been staying up all night reviewing the details of this case, practically draining the local liquor store of supplies absolutely critical to reviewing the footage of the shooting. It must be very difficult to be a juror on the Walter Scott case, what with the vast amount of studying required of what surely must be a very long and very unclear bit of videotape. We did our best to put ourselves in their shoes. Try your own hand at it:

Eight shots, eight motherfucking shots for a man who:

  1. Had no weapon
  2. Had his back turned
  3. Took no aggressive action against the police officer
  4. Was running at about the speed of a de-caffeinated 12-year-old

On what strange and alien planet can one view this footage and possibly allow the words “I cannot in good conscience consider a guilty verdict” slither from your lips? What kind of vile, brutish existence in some godforsaken den of absolute mayhem can one even ponder a quantum possibility in an alternate timeline where a cop shoots a man basically fucking speed walking and be unsure as to who is at fault?

But that’s just it isn’t it, because this juror isn’t unsure, isn’t waffling on some legal pretense or the language of the law. No, this pile of human excrement has declared “I cannot and will not change my mind.”

That the jury might go for the lesser charge of manslaughter, the crime of killing a human being without malice, would be scandal enough. We could sit around and talk about how this country considers killing an unarmed black man as something free from malice, as if stepping on a roach or brushing away a fly. THAT would be bad.

But that one juror, who somehow sneaked past the jury selection phase, has decided that they refuse to prosecute a modern-day lynching because the killer wears a badge boggles the imagination.

We have come face to face with the stark and frankly disgusting nature of the American “justice” system. We live in a country where it is not only open season on an entire segment of the population that has been enslaved, beaten, abused, and forced to live in sub-standard conditions due to the pigmentation of their skin, but where wide swaths of the population can watch this happen on video and not give a single fuck.

We are rank, wicked, hairy little apes delighting in violence and furiously masturbating to the idea that there are men in uniform killing the innocent simply because they can. It is so devious, so dark, it most certainly has to have some weird sexual undercurrent behind it.

Every person of color should take this case as a screaming alarm that this country has never cared for them, never will, and if they dare to step out of line they will be killed on camera to the sounds of applause. There is no justice in this country, nor will there ever be as long as the same toilet paper that sold human beings as property is hoisted up on flagpoles and saluted every fucking morning by the inhuman toads we call “police.” Their feet run to evil, they hasten to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, devastation and destruction follow in their wake. This is what they were built to do and they will continue to do it.

The American people “cannot and will not” live in a world where Black folks are human beings and not irritating outcasts born specifically to wheel around old people and make their food. This juror, and many like him, could see a million innocent lives snuffed out and not lose a single night of sleep.

And the American people will defend him.

Oh yes, just wait until you start hearing the arguments about how it’s such a “difficult decision” and how nobody wants to see “two lives ruined.” And of course the same suburbanites that tell you “how difficult it is to be a cop” never think about how difficult it is to be a black person in the United States, and they’ll call this a “tragedy” while the righteous actions of Micah Johnson are treated as the most heinous kind of crime imaginable.

At dinner tables, at workplaces, shrill white voices will congregate and soothe themselves of any collective guilt. They will deny they hold any responsibility, that they don’t directly benefit from a system where a white person can put a gun in a cop’s face and live while black people can sneeze and wind up being answered with 8 rounds of .40 Smith and Wesson.

There is no amount of holy water that can scrub this nation of its sins, no fire pure enough to purge the vicious evil that oozes out of every institution it stands on. This nation deserves nothing less than the full Gomorrah treatment, a sudden and violent smiting leaving nothing but ash in its wake. When all these things come to account, when the tottering empire of Uncle Sam finally comes crumbling down and the oppressed people within her rise up in flames of fury, the powerful and their dogs better pray to whatever foul and fetid gods they follow that they don’t get back an ounce of what they’ve given out.

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You Must Remember Rosewood

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As it gets closer to winter, we in Florida reflect on what makes us different from the rest of the country. Spurred on by scenes of snow and cruel blizzards we sit on porches in shorts and reminisce of times before, nostalgic flashes of beachside February mornings or sweltering Christmas Eve’s where the temperatures rose above 80 degrees.

I had been enjoying my usual festivities, such as gleefully laughing at my increasingly colder comrades, when I noticed a derailment begin to take place. People I knew and respected were discussing this whole Alt-Right business and what they were supposed to call it, rather than the benefits between bolt action rifles or assault rifles; various online outlets were ablaze with the most nervous of pearl-clutching and could not stop endlessly screeching about how America’s end had come at the hand of some Russian created ideology.

Panic had seized the hearts of the West and North of this continent like a cottonmouth on a fat frog. Militants were patting themselves on the back, saying the Nazis had finally come while progressives hailed this as unnatural perversion of the American civic spirit.

I could hold my breath no longer, no amount of Sailor Jerry’s or calming midnight walks could ease the venom slowly lurching in my throat. Fangs began to take shape, my eyes split, and argument upon argument hit the page waiting to be unleashed on the unsuspecting public.

bones-pullBut it occurred to me that perhaps the fault was not a theoretical one. For many Millennials, and even some Gen-X’ers, the current batch of xenophobia was all that lurked in their memory. Perhaps in these urban centers so distant from my own territory, they simply hadn’t seen anything like this before. Every major city had Nazis, sure, but it’s not like they held both the power to write the laws and enforce them.
The American progressive, and sadly even many militants, seemed overwhelmed. In one night they’d woken up and realized all was not as it seemed. They assumed Trumpism was a new menace conjured from the depths of hell to combat America’s glorious march to membership in the Union of Scandinavian States.

And they wonder why they get laughed at.

Rather than beat my head against a wall I want to tell you a story that will stay in your heart for a long time to come, one that will whisper to you when you smell campfire smoke or hear the lonely cries of wind whipping through forgotten groves.

I want to tell you about a place.

A place called Rosewood, Florida…


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“Cracker Cowboys of Florida” published in Harper’s new monthly magazine v.91, issue 543, August 1895. Source: Wikicommons

“I was born in 1923
In the Florida forest were the rose meets the trees
My mama named me Jesus for the air we breathe
I was born in 1923.”

From the sweltering Mississippi Delta to the cultured stones of Savannah, to be in the South is to step into an entirely different country than the United States. For one, the history is entirely different. The North was settled by plucky farmers or religious zealots and the Children of the West fled more traditional existences to carve new worlds suited to individual tastes out of freshly cleared Native territory. The South instead was populated by the war-like peoples of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, and the English Upland, and came from a herding culture with its emphasis on courage, strength, self-sufficiency, and violence that still rules the region today down to a chemical level:

“Nisbett and Cohen followed up their findings with a study that looked at the differences between the emotional and physiological responses of Northern and Southern white men when faced with an insult. They had both Northern and Southern college-age men come into the lab under the pretense of taking part in an unrelated study. They were asked to take a questionnaire to a room at the end of a long and narrow hallway, and as they made their way down it, a confederate to the experimenters would bump into the subject, and call him an ‘asshole.’…

During this altercation, the subjects’ emotional response was recorded, and afterwards their levels of cortisol (which is released from arousal and stress), and testosterone (which increases when gearing up for something that will involve aggression and dominance) were measured…The cortisol levels of insulted Northerners rose 33%, even less than the control Northerners who walked down the hallway without being bumped at all. But the cortisol levels of insulted Southerners went up more than double that: 79%. The testosterone levels of Northern increased by 6%, but went up 12% for Southerners.”

The land drunk in beauty and adorned with spanish moss was shaped by an aggressive stance towards the world and a wariness towards outsiders: kinship and reputation carrying more weight than any written code or federal ruling. Authority was based on the ability to kill or dominate those around oneself, and right or wrong that ability decided who called the shots and who would serve. One’s reputation decided who had what rights and the slightest insult was enough to earn someone an early grave.

One struggles to imagine a worse place for an entire people to be regulated to the status of property.

For a Black person to “step out of line” meant one’s honor had been called into question, and any who deviated from the herdsman’s violent culture was severely punished. To be too kind towards Black folks was to be ostracized, seen as a “nancy” and to be expelled from the bonds of kinship Southern folk depended on. Black folks were regulated to the status of social antitheses, everything a white was supposed NOT to be.

This attitude, an obsession with upholding one group identity while violently rebelling against one deemed the living embodiment of the Jungian Shadow, lead to many deaths, more torture, and enough tears to overflow the banks of the Suwanee River.


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“My father settled on the cotton rail
Most of folks fled when the forest failed
Well with the great migration and the trumpet wail
My father settled on a cotton rail.”

Of course the Civil War changed all that, right? Hadn’t all those nice laws been passed to end the bloodshed?

bones-pullEver since Sherman blazed his way down to Atlanta, folks from outside the South-East have come against a system more in line with the mafia than any civil society as we might recognize it. Campaigns and laws will be worked around, ignored, subverted, deliberately misunderstood, lied about, fooled with, torn to pieces, selectively heard, or suddenly forgot as if by trauma when lacking the necessary personal clout or regional attitude behind them. Reconstruction, an attempt to undue the patriarchal and racist Southern society and rebuild it to Northern tastes, was a massive failure undone the minute guns were no longer pointed at Southern faces. In a country supposedly “free” Black folks were barred from voting, barred from owning choice property, barred from any substantial legal representation and were often killed and tortured simply to pass the time.

It’s no wonder than that many folks, Black or white, chose to flee such an oppressive atmosphere. In Great Migrations or small, many poured out of a land they considered beyond help, backwards, and a threat to their physical safety. Entire guides were written to help Black motorists find lodging and stay out of dangerous areas, death as much a modern reality as when the Klan hunted the night on horseback.


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“My uncle was a preaching man
Held a good book in his right hand
He blessed my body and my father’s land
My uncle was a preaching man.”

Even amid horrors the South was still beautiful, and many souls could never tear themselves away from her charms. Places like Rosewood, Florida were oases of joy and tranquility in a sea of derision and danger. Mornings were filled with the giggles of children and sizzle of frying pans, nights echoed with music and prayers before dinner. Flowers, as per its namesake, were everywhere and every house was painted bright, beautiful colors. Home to 344 black souls, Rosewood boasted three churches, a school, a Mason Hall, a turpentine mill, a sugarcane mill, a baseball team, and two general stores.

Life was good, as good as it could be in a region built on violence and racial segregation. Self-sufficiency allowed Rosewood to be on good terms with the residents of nearby Sumner, an almost entirely white town, and the two traded freely. Free from the yoke of constant fear folks like Sylvester Carrier, a man described as an avid hunter, skilled music teacher, and expert marksman, weren’t afraid to refuse their allotted place as second class citizens.

Rosewood was bountiful and didn’t need to beg. It defied the roles ordained for it by Southern society and could even be seen as a shining example of how Southern values, treasured enough to kill for, might to extend to every aspect of it’s society.

For this grave sin they would pay dearly.


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A house in Rosewood burns. Source: Wikicommons

“The day I was born the church burned down.
People came from miles around.
They found my uncle hanging upside down
The day I was born the church burned down.

And they say that people were screaming and the say that they were calling his name.
But there was no gun and rose when the white man came.”

Fannie Taylor was a young woman in nearby Sumner whose husband left early in the morning to work at the turpentine mill. When the sun rose, as locals told it, a white lover would sneak in to Fannie’s residence and proceed to spend the day educating the bored housewife in the carnal arts. One day, amid a furious argument, her lover beat her and stormed off in the general direction of Rosewood.

Her husband due home later that day, Fannie needed an explanation for her bruised face. To tell her husband the man she’d been fucking while he was away had laid hands on her was simply out of the question.

So she told him a Black man did it.

Word spread fast and a posse was formed, rumors of an escaped Black prisoner circulating as the probable culprit. Simple assault quickly turned to rape, and a Black man named Sam Carter was seized at random and tortured until he “admitted” he helped hide the escapee. He was killed and strung up as a warning to other Black folks that such “crimes” would not stand. The mob ran into Sylvester Carrier on the road home and warned him to leave town. Sylvester made it clear he would do no such thing as the area was his home.

Somehow his words got twisted and fed to the New York Times as not only condoning the beating and rape but somehow saying such things would continue. Enraged, a white lynch mob marched on Sylvester’s home with the intent to slaughter as many souls in Black skin as they could. A shootout occurred, wounding many would-be lynchers, killing Sylvester, and buying enough time for the children he’d been protecting to flee into the woods.

A Black man had not only dared to stand up against white Southern society, but held his own against it, giving his life that others might live. Sylvester was an example of the values Southern culture was built on and should have a statue in Rosewood today to honor his legacy and bravery

But there is no statue, nor will there ever be one, for there are no hands left in Rosewood to build it.

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“My brother died on a railroad track
Fourteen years old, built like a stack
Oh they burned his feet and whipped his back
My brother died on a rail road track.” – “Rosewood Jesus” by Fire Next Time

The idea that Black folks had dared to raise an armed fist against whites, no matter the details, was unthinkable in Southern society. Crowds descended on Rosewood; Wilson Hall, who was 9 at the time, remembers car lights from incoming white men visible for miles. The resulting bloodlust upon their arrival was insatiable.

Houses were doused in kerosene, lit on fire, and anyone who emerged was immediately killed. Where once there had been flowers, now only flames could be found, trees once danced around after school turned into makeshift gibbets and became adorned with swinging bodies. Screams pierced the air and echoed across the woods to ears hidden deep within the brush, the carnage going on well into the next morning. Any Black folks found on the road were killed and Slyvester’s cousin was tortured, forced to dig his own grave, and shot in the back to ferret out a fugitive that had never been there in the first place.

By the next day nothing was left. Rosewood had been burned off the map. Those that survived walked through miles of swampland to friendly faces, hiding among what communities they could and vowing never to speak of that long night ever again. The lynchers and their descendants went unpunished, faced no jail time, and when the white editor of a local paper tried to print a story on the massacre in the 1980’s, she was told in no uncertain terms she did so at her own peril.

Let me repeat that: the descendants of these people will still kill you if you dare to bring it up.

To this day, the official body count is unknown because the murders were never reported. All that remains of Rosewood are trees lengthened by ash and grown thick like cemetery oaks. A lone marker sits on State Road 24, the only testament to the once thriving community that did its best to get by on the terms allotted to it and was punished for living too well by the ways of the region.

Where Black folks cowed they might be picked off one by one, but for refusing to kneel and daring to dream they paid the ultimate price.


The South has millions of stories like Rosewood, dark histories told only to knowing ears and desperately downplayed by tourism boards as things of the past. While the atrocities of legal lynch mobs the police are finally becoming widely known, the more subtle dangers that litter the region for people of color are still widely unacknowledged

“My wife and I drove through Kissimmee on our way up to Orlando,” I told a co-worker after I’d had a particularly fun weekend off. “I really like the place, kind of a big city but not quite yet. Right amount of lived in and built, you know?” Her face became pursed, pulled in, eyebrows slightly jumping.

“What part of Kissimmee?”

“Oh I don’t know. Not deep deep, maybe on the outskirts. Something close enough to go to restaurants but far enough on the outside to shoot guns in my back yard.”

She nervously laughed. “I don’t think that would be good for your wife.”

“Ah, she’d be fine. Besides it’s such beautiful country out there–“ A cold hand gripped my shoulder as darting eyes leaned in to whisper.

“No, I mean…because…since she’s mixed.

The America that razed Rosewood to the ground for daring to exist is still with us: Blacks folks still fear Sumter, you cannot be Black and found in Two Egg after dark, and I personally work with a Black woman who regularly drives to Alabama from Central Florida with her own gas cans to refuel, and a loaded pistol in her glove box.

We are shocked at Trump’s calls for a Muslim registry, aghast at Republican screams for mass deportations, and horrified at Alt-Right references to “subhumans” as if these are new developments, unnatural tumors on the American body politic. Ask any Black person about some of the more harrowing encounters with racism they’ve lived through, and you’ll find the most nightmarish desires of crypto-fascists to be “just another Tuesday in Palatka.”

Nothing surprises us down here, because we’ve seen it all. Every time some idiot mentions how they “can’t believe this is happening in America” I double over with laughter.

What America have you been living in?

The civic joys and pleasures you hail as cornerstones of your liberalism are nothing but empty party favors to folks down here, and we have no illusions as to how little our “rights” matter. They only exist as long as you don’t piss off the people running the show, and when you do, no amount of legal wrangling or talk of “the Constitution” will save you from indefinite detention or an “accident” that couldn’t be avoided. Rosewood was razed not for crimes committed but for daring to imagine itself an equal, for believing all those words spoken in D.C. were actually true.

Trump and the Alt-Right aren’t talking about anything that hasn’t already existed for millions of Americans, and no laws were needed to get them to happen.

We need to realize while certain parts of the system are in decay, many others are working just as designed. Even if Trump were impeached tomorrow, they could continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Elect whoever the fuck you want, the local Sheriff still wields the power of life and death, and you can be damned sure the Mayor won’t risk an upcoming election by telling him to “take it easy.” Nor will he get too vocal when the Sheriff’s cousin hits his wife again or “accidentally” shoots that Plack boy who was “prowling” in the wrong neighborhood.

Alt-Right, Nazi, Klansman, or Fascist, all that matters is they exist and they breathe among us. Rosewood was burned not just by ideologues but by people who knew its residents on a day-to-day basis; they were unrepentant, as were their children, and their children, and it is they who fill the school boards and police departments of the country today.

The great tragedy of Rosewood is this: it is not some far-off crime, but one relived everyday. That hatred and death may shapeshift to suit the times, but that it is ever-present. Like a Southern Dachau, its eerie remains are a warning of the feral, violent nature that held sway in this country and still does today.

Tearful cries can be heard when the moon is right and no cars are on the road in what used to be Rosewood. Who can tell the Spirits that dwell there times have changed? The crimes of this nation, this region, are still etched in the spirit of this land, silent dreams of peace becoming shattered glass left to heat up in the noonday Florida sun.

One of those shards now exists within you.

Welcome to Rosewood.

“It has been a struggle telling this story over the years, because a lot of people don’t want to hear about this kind of history. People don’t relate to it, or just don’t want to hear about it. But Mama told me to keep it alive, so I keep telling it … It’s a sad story, but it’s one I think everyone needs to hear.” –  Lizzie Jenkins, executive director of the Real Rosewood Foundation and niece of the Rosewood schoolteacher

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“The Time to Get Involved is Now”: The Story of the Stimulator (Part 2)

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Part 1 available here.

Past events had always been a point of pride to Anarchists. In some strange, weird way we carried the small flashes of history where we’d been successful deep in our hearts because we couldn’t regularly find them in the world around us. The history of revolt isn’t an easy one to pin down because each instance seemed predicated on so many factors, historical or otherwise. Revolution, far from a science, instead appeared to be a natural phenomena having more in common with El Niño and La Niña. Perhaps one of the most confusing of these events, for Anarchists and States alike, was the Arab Spring.

Dr. Bones: “Looking at what the Arab Spring was, these popular revolts popping up everywhere, I remember alot of radicals(myself included) thinking ‘Oh shit, this is the moment where everything pops off.’ We thought it was going to travel through the whole world and when Occupy came people thought it was an American offshoot of the Arab Spring. Now, 6 years down the line, we’ve had dictators traded for dictators, brutal civil wars, we’ve got Saudi’s crushing revolts, and Occupy’s own bones lie bleaching on the plains. What do you say to the people that grew cynical? How do you see these cycles of struggle that have gone south and gotten bloody, gory, and messy?”

The Stimulator: “I think you used the right word. It’s cycles, right? Let me just think about this for a second…It’s sad what happened in the Middle East, no doubt about that, but I think we should all take solace that nobody saw that shit coming, not even the US. You know there are some conspiracy theorists, that this is all some CIA thing, but that’s total bullshit. People were fed up. This is the thought I look to put into people’s heads, that people in the Middle East thought they never do these things because they were under authoritarian governments(WAY more authoritarian than what we have) and they made some shit happen.

Now, did it it turn out how people wanted it? No, but at least people see now that possibility and when that next cycle comes around people are going to be more ready. People are not going to let these ideas that something’s ‘too authoritarian’ control us or thing that it’s an obstacle. I would tell people in the United States, you know, get off your asses! Occupy was a white, middle class movement, you know? Look at Black folks who are the most criminalized population in the United States with a frickin’ target on their foreheads from birth and look how much they’ve been able to accomplish with few resources.

I would like to call attention to indigenous folks, who are a largely ignored section of our population. They have very little resources, they’re a smaller minority group then black folks and they fight so fucking hard and have accomplished so much. You know the Kodiac pipeline should come as a really livid example of what a population, even one that’s been so historically beaten down and that the State has basically tried to genocide completely, still cling to their desire to protect the land to such an extent that you can readily see just how far they’re willing to go. If you look north of the colonial border people have long been involved with blockades. There is a rich indigenous history of resistance and these folks have alot less privilege and a lot less resources then 99.9% of the people who took part in Occupy.

Part of me wants to say to those folks(Occupy) ‘boo hoo, fucking get it together and go at it again.’ Sadly the reality is Occupy got co-opted, we saw alot of the visible faces of Occupy getting involved in the Bernie Sanders campaign and selling out their efforts to the Democratic party again-”

Dr. Bones: “Did you take a big gulp of ‘I Told You So’ when he came out and absolutely threw his weight behind Hillary? I can remember how vehemently some on the Left thought he was going to be this Vermont Lenin rising up out of the forest to make some sort of Swedish democracy while plenty of folks on the radical side were calling it exactly what it was. Now that there has been this collapse, now that there is this sense of disillusionment in the people that though he was some great white messiah that was going to fix everything, do you think people are better primed for radical politics? Do you think the majority of people are going to step away from this bullshit two-party system and look elsewhere now that they’ve been betrayed?”

Stim: “Yeah, absolutely. If I can continue to expose various embarrassing facts about myself before 9/11 in the year 2000, and even before becoming an Anarchist, I was campaigning for Ralph Nader in Georgia.  That experience left me so disillusioned, it really opened up my eyes to how impenetrable the electoral system is. It informed a huge amount of my politics today. In 2008 when Obama was coming up I spent alot of my time on the show trying to steer people away from that because alot of Leftists and alot of people that considered themselves radical threw their weight behind Obama and he ended up winning.

But we saw what happened: more black people were being killed under his watch than under any other president. For the people that read your stuff I don’t have to go down the laundry list but Obama is an awful fucking president, a mass murdering piece of shit.

When we saw Bernie Sanders coming around I was…I was just so, so frustrated because I thought this election, which we’re seeing right now, was just going to be this milquetoast election; nobody’s really going to give a shit about this. It’s so disheartening drinking the kool-aid on that one. My friends and my partner were really annoyed at me because I couldn’t stop talking about it. It sort of became a thing.

Nobody wants to be told ‘I-told-you-so’ and I took great glee and satisfaction in saying it, but I think the comrades that threw their weight behind it deserve a good ‘I-told-you-so’ and to be mocked a little bit. For the folks that really believed in it and are trying to do politics in a different way I think we need to be a little bit gentler to them because they are as you said ‘primed.’ I think this is a hugely important time to agitate people away from the election and the electoral system. There are plenty of things that are not in electoral politics that people can get involved in and affect immediate change through Direct Action. I don’t necessarily mean burning cop cars, it’s a number of different things.

Dr. Bones: “I want to continue on that line, regarding the folks within the Arab Spring and the Syrian Councils. I mean I had no idea about them. To hear about this, that there actually is this revolutionary grassroots movement, that these people aren’t just there but that they’re organizing hospitals, they’re organizing schools, radio stations, newspapers, all these things built and maintained in the middle of a warzone below two imperial powers fighting over who’s going to be dominant in the region. The people really are caught in the middle and the sheer idea that they’re able not only to survive but to create structures of living that are liberating…t-that’s extremely impressive and I just don’t understand how that’s not been screamed from the roof tops. Why do you think this has just been so completely ignored?”

Stim: “I mean I think, I think…I mean, part of it is, and this may sound really shitty, partly I think these folks didn’t have the ability or were not really able to successfully get the word out about the things they were doing. I can remember the first time I heard about Syria it was a friend from Vancouver, he was doing these videos of these sort of flash mobs they would do to, uh, to oppose Assad. Basically they would time it and go out into the streets just long enough time so they could get some video out but these videos weren’t getting around. At the time I was producing a feature film so I’m complicit…well, not really complicit but guilty in the sense that I didn’t follow up this back then but….media was getting out, but it wasn’t getting any traction.

People who remember the rise of the Zapatistas remember how good they were at getting things out and letting people know who they were and what they were about. Like if you compare that to the folks in Rojava they have been really good at connecting with people in the west and getting people to come visit and tour their cantons and it’s just been a really successful and incredible campaign to, you know, build international solidarity for their movement. We didn’t really get to see that in Syria but also, partly like the conversation we had earlier which is the more visible Left sort of ignored it and decided to throw their weight behind Assad. It all became some conspiracy for the West to remove an anti-American leader. Unfortunately what’s left of the Syrian Revolution is only a fraction of what it was and we’re left to wonder if it can even be rebuilt…I sure hope so, I mean really hope they find a way to rebuild and collaborate with the Kurds and make something happen but, you know…that’s just hope.”

Dr. Bones: “On hope, you know you’ve been in the game for a minute. We talked about cycles and everything like that, and these incredible authoritarian regimes where to stand up wasn’t just risking to go to jail but to have your arms broken and your finger nails ripped out before they put a bullet in your head. What does it speak to you, maybe on an emotional level, to see these….for me it’s always amazing to see the unfurling of this human spirit of resistance in an age where humanity is so crushed, where their noses are so pushed into the dirt. To still have these explosions of strength and beautiful resistance, how do you feel about that?”

Stim: “I think we’re capable of great things under the most terrible, crushing circumstances. Not to beat a dead horse here, but especially to people on this continent I point to the years of indigenous resistance. Not just on this continent but I know folks personally here who are involved in struggles for liberation and sovereignty. Anytime I hear people complain about things, even when I start to complain about things, all I have to do is look at them. I think people should look to really see how chemical and biological warfare was used to wipe them out and didn’t succeed. That and the systematic relocation of these folks out of their traditional areas to so called ‘reservations’ which are basically open air prisons. You know in Canada till the late 60’s people couldn’t leave the reserves, they call them reserves here, without government permission. I know of one particular legendary activist that who was found trafficking indigenous sovereignty propaganda in lacrosse equipment bags because they were only allowed to leave the reserve in to play in lacrosse tournaments.

You have stories like that where even under the watchful eye of the Canadian state there were able to organize and move information around. When you consider the residential school system which, for folks that don’t know, was a way to kidnap children out of traditional native families and hand them over to Catholic and protestant churches to ‘get the indian our of the indian.’ Literally beat it out of them, cut their hair, indoctrinate them into Christianism, and through that process breaking the spirits of literally thousands of indigenous folks with the hope there could never be an organized indigenous….anything in Canada. And that didn’t work.”

There is a certain awe, an ethereal kinship that comes across when The Stimulator speaks of native struggles. In every vowel, in every pitch and modulation of the throat a massive amount of hope can be felt. It’s infectious, and really makes one pause to consider if the indigenous people could survive so much what possible excuse anyone else could dare to mutter?

Stim: “Now you have crazy surveillance, much more beefed up police, oil and gas industries who are rich and powerful and pulling every trick in the book to despoil and encroach on indigenous lands and these folks, who are a tiny, tiny minority still fighting back. People should really see just how small the numbers are. You’ll be impressed. So we have no fucking excuse. White folks that have that privilege should be using it to the fucking max to help revolutionary movements and really stop complaining.”

Dr. Bones: “Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. One final question. It seems like we are all on a really big brink of transition. We have China pledging troops to fight alongside Russian ones in Syria, not only that they’ve claimed large areas of the South China sea and said they’ll blow any carrier out of the fucking water if the US tries to do anything about it, you have the fascists in the Ukraine being supported by the US against Russia, almost a chessboard similar to World War 1; on top of that we have 3d printing, something set to revolutionize manufacturing, humanity gunning as fast as it can towards private space travel–you know Elon Musk has said to numerous reporters that ‘we must get off planet or everything is lost‘–all this sort of activity going on…as the world seems to be speeding up in production, space travel, environmental damage, war, where do you think this is all going to go? Where do you see–and honestly see, not just hope for–with everything you’ve seen, what do you think the next 30, 40 years holds for the human species?”

Stim: “Wow. Holy shit. On the one hand I think we’re going to be in for alot of heartbreak. For people who love nature these are really depressing times. I stopped looking at climate news because…”

He stops, struggling to put into words a horror he fights not to comprehend. Behind the microphone I can hear him slightly squirm in his seat. He almost wants to turn away but can’t, the following words falling out of him like coffin nails into wood.

Stim: “We’re seeing the extinction of alot of species, and not just the little ones that go under reported–that’s like a weekly occurrence. A bird goes extinct like every week, we’ve seen the first extinction of a mammal in alot of years, but we’re going to see the extinction of alot more visible species like polar bears and rhinos. We’re going to see the complete acidification of the ocean, uh….total collapse of ocean ecosystems. I mean it’s coming. I don’t think they can be stopped. Hopefully they can be slowed down to give us a bit of a window and a running start but…without sounding New Age or anything like that…

“Maybe it’s because we’re so connected media wise but…I do think we’re seeing an awakening in alot of people like we have never seen before. I think the connectivity between information technologies–which is both a strength and a weakness–is connecting information between people in struggle. Information like how to conduct ourselves in certain situations, how information gets leaked, the things people would have been laughed years ago for saying like ‘the government is spying on us,’ ‘the government is corrupt,’ now we have tangible proof that these things are happening. I think that you’re absolutely right everything is accelerating towards something but I think, taking hope aside, we do stand a chance.

We are seeing the acceleration of movements of liberation, particularly in areas we never thought before like the Middle East but also First World nations as well. People aren’t paying attention to alot of things happening in Latin America in regards to self-organization, particularly in Mexico. In Chile, in Colombia I think people can take solace in the fact that people are organizing.

I also want to say to people the time to get involved is now. People can’t really wait for these movements to start and then join. If you look at the movements that have been successful they all have a continuity of struggle, they have lasted a few generations, they have learned from their mistakes and hopefully will not repeat them.”

He hung in the air for a minute, ending on a sentence that highlighted the history of Anarchism from Proudhon to the present day.

Stim: “Lotta bad shit, but also a piece of blue sky out there.”


Gonzo journalism at no cost is my gift to you. Want to help keep me from starving to death or buy me a beer? Do me a favor and make a donation of any size and I’ll promise not to haunt you when I die.

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“The Time to Get Involved is Now”: The Story of the Stimulator

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To say the election had been bad for my health would be an understatement.

I had been thrown out of bars, hunted down the ghost of Max Stirner while tripping balls, argued, fought, howled at the moon, and most certainly risen up the ranks of the Potential Terrorist Watch list with my ever-increasing firearms purchases. I had become more beast than man, spawning legends across the trailer parks of a mad wizard draped in a Hammer and Sickle bandanna that could put the evil eye on folk at a distance of 200 yards. Children fled from my gaze, women shrieked in horror, and grown men wept and wailed at the merest sight of my signature straw hat.

I had gotten fucked up on politics, bad, and needed something to balance my humors before my liver gave out or I did something rash. I needed something, anything, other than the massive dose of nihilism one gains from being glued into machinery so vile it makes Anarchists drop any semblance of theory and call for the immediate ignition of every cop car in sight.

I needed a friendly face, even if it cursed as much as I fucking did, and so inbetween the throes of venom or fits of laughter brought on by the Mainstream media I’d plug into It’s The End of The World as We Know It And I Feel Fine, or simply ITEOTWAWKIAIFF for those into the whole brevity thing. The program was an iconic one, one of the few dedicated to an Anarchism built on action and real solidarity instead of paper clips, hosted by a floating face that referred to himself only as “The Stimulator.”

But who was this mysterious visage lurking somewhere in the internet, what body and mind lay behind it? What made such an odd creature tic, inspire it to call for riots?

I had scored an interview with the man months before but the timing had never quite been right. The election scooped up too much media, to many calls for being stronger together instead of burning the country to the fucking ground.

Every time I was set to publish, every hour I felt it was the right time, some new scandal would inevitably arise: emails, sexual assault, rumors of Egyptian chaos gods tinkering with the universe; the universe itself seemed intent on making me wait for some opportune moment just over the hedge.

The levee finally broke when Trump was elected. Suddenly the liberals were afraid again, dribbles of piss pooling around fresh sneakers as Il Duce made it clear he didn’t give two damns what “the other half” of the country thought of him. With both the House and Senate tightly in Republican control he’d been given a mandate to rule as he saw fit, and as he floated ideas of a Muslim registry Democrats could do little but look on in horror.

Key word: Democrats.

Legions of Anarchists, troupes of Illegalists, hordes of Communists, and even a few feral-eyed Primitivists battle against the newly elected Arch-Salesman. Calls rang out for the disruption of his installation, and with the folks at Submedia leading the charge the stars were finally ripe for a deeper look into the foul-mouthed voice inciting hearts and minds to glorious revolt.

How had it all happened? What was the key to his success? Did he think we were on the brink of success or plunging towards the most barbaric hellscape humanity had ever had the displeasure of seeing? I intended to find out…

***

Dr. Bones: “So, one thing I want to ask: you’re a pretty prominent activist, uh, your real identity isn’t really thrown out in everybody’s face but especially with the many strange and mysterious deaths happening to activists, to reporters, even to DNC staffers…well, something I like to ask of people who are involved in Anarchism or radical politics for a long time….have you thought about something happening to you, have you dealt with that sort of existential thought process?”

The Stimulator: “I think when I was really young and naive I was really scared about putting anything out there that I thought was subversive and uh, for me taking that first step was huge, even though if you look at that first project I put out under the name of Submedia…you know it’s not laughable, but its kind of a strange first attempt.

I was a pot activist if you can believe that and I thought I was just going to jail. I thought I was taking the largest chance ever and I was so relieved and…not really disappointed but you know….sort of all this expectation thinking that The Powers That Be really give a shit that much about what we do.

I came to realize that you really have to be super, super, super effective for them to even put any resources to you. In some cases these people have over-inflated budgets that they have to justify in order to put some surveillance on you. I dealt with that early in life. The more and more I got comfortable pushing the envelope with what I was comfortable saying in public the more I realized it’s people like the Edward Snowden’s of the world who are really making a huge dent, who really are getting put under the crosshairs. I think we’re reaching even more people than ever now, me and the people I work with at Submedia, but we’re still not at a level, I think, where we the government would try to take us out. We’re more at a level I think where we’re pissing people off. More like….the hacker level, you know? We got hacked this summer. It was brutal.”

Dr. Bones: “I saw that.”

Stim: “Yeah, more on that level. My dad was involved in politics in Puerto Rico(where I’m from) and while I was a teenager he helped start a television station down there that did a lot of investigative journalism and reporting on local politicians. He found links between the Cartel de Medellín, the Columbian cocaine cartel, and US Customs that were allowing huge shipments of cocaine to go through the Puerto Rican airport and into the United States. As soon as he put out reports about that things started going shitty for him and he ended up in jail. That for me was a clear example of huge effectiveness. We’ve seen people like Gary Webb who unearthed a similar a similar story in the 90’s and how they essentially tried to destroy him. Eventually, you know….the jury’s still out. Some people say he shot himself twice in the head so…you go figure that one out.”

Dr. Bones: “Especially with the recent killings of unarmed people, specifically black folks. You know you’ve got Darren Seals, a prominent Ferguson activist who was found shot dead with his car burned to all hell. Just a week before his twitter account said he had been stopped by Ferguson police and told to ‘choose his enemies wisely.’ I don’t know if things have always been this violent and we’re just seeing it now or what. People that certainly aren’t on the Edward Snowden level are being killed and the brazenness of the police is really shocking.

Now, you’re based in Canada, right?”

Stim: “Yeah.”

Dr. Bones: “What is it like watching all this police brutality madness happening just across the border?”

Stim: “I think that alot of black and brown folks would tell you nothing has changed. I think the difference is more mobile phone cameras, more videos, more evidence. These things have been going on for a long time and the immediateness of this evidence is making a huge impact in how people react.

I was going to school, going to college, when the Rodney King beating happened. For Americans that was particularly shocking because this was done with a VHS camcorder and it may have been bad video but it got out, it got out on television.

Eventually the cops were acquitted. Los Angeles, the rest of the country, and any other country with significant amounts of black and brown folks went ape shit. Rightfully so because that’s bullshit. It sparked huge rebellions.  I think we’re seeing the logical version of that in our times with the technological tools we have at our disposal. Sadly though, and again black and brown folks will tell you this, police killings are not going down.

At the same time it’s really refreshing to see the level of autonomous organization. But, again, you see the fire extinguishers of the movement, the Jesse Jackson’s and Al Sharpton’s, the NAACP, and some religious reverends trying to pacify the movement. It’s almost like we live in these cycles and young people are just too young to remember how coaptation happens. The Democratic Party is usually the one to take the wind out of these movements and incorporating them into their political machine.”

Dr. Bones: “You’ve clearly been in the Anarchist game for awhile and before I ask how everything has worked out, how the identity of the Stimulator has grown and prospered, I’d like to address the large crowd of people who identify as Anarchist writer and artists who are merely scraping by and fighting for recognition. I think many people would agree you’re one now of the most prominent and well-known voices out there. How was it you and your comrades managed to build this Submedia thing?”

Stim: “Well, its been a one person show for a while. My discovery as an Anarchist really came after the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. That’s when I really dropped all aspirations of being a video artist and decided to dedicate myself to making radical videos.  I was 30 when my friends really pointed out my Anarchist tendencies. That being said I started this show after doing a brief stint working for Democracy Now in NYC, one of the most prominent progressive news shows probably in the world right now. When I returned to my home in Vancouver I played around with the idea of making a podcast, making Anarchist videos on this media website, but I wanted something that had a similar format to Democracy Now. Something that was no-holds barred, no language limitations, and basically using it as a way to vent. I had no aspirations that this was going to become anything other than a weekly video blog; a way to talk about things that interested me and an excuse to meet people I always wanted to interview.

As the show progressed my politics progressed. When you go to the beginning the show was concerned with primarily environmental issues, energy issues, peak oil, and what not. The more and more I got involved in the Anarchist milieu the more that my focus became about action and the folks that were doing things physically. In 2008 the show really became what it is now, a full-fledged Anarchist news show. That was the year Obama got elected and I traveled with a crew from Seattle who called themselves ‘Pepper Spray Productions.’ We went down to the Democratic National Convention and even to the Republican one, cranking out daily videos on the streets. Anybody in the milieu that didn’t know the show by then got to know it. It became a thing. People would finish their day of rioting or protesting and there would be this summation of it in this super snarky, sarcastic, cursing, floating…”

Dr. Bones: “Floating face dude?”

Stim: “Yeah. It showed me there was an audience for this, people who wanted moral…not moral support, but somebody who would ‘ra-ra’ the movement, right? Something which I don’t think happens enough. Also an immediacy, something that could put events through an Anarchist lens easily.”

Dr. Bones: You talked about how your politics changed towards action, how the movement needed this ‘ra-ra,’ how this it didn’t need more flowery language or peaceful marches in the middle of downtown where no-one’s even fucking looking. What was it that you weren’t seeing in the politics before that led you down an insurrectionist line of thought?

Stim: It was a bit of a work in progress. The first Anarchist film I saw, or at least was aware it was an Anarchist film was ‘Breaking the Spell.’ For anybody who hasn’t seen it I highly recommend it. It retells the story of the 1989 riots that happened in Seattle, when Anarchists and the Blac Block really made a national appearance and brought free trade agreements and neoliberalism to a national stage by smashing a few windows.” He made it clear other things happened, and he wasn’t trying to oversimplify it, but the film brought one clearly into the street and perfectly captured the mood. He described it as brilliant. “It was filmed through different sources, different cameras, some more professional than others, but was just really well put to together. That film just changed my shit and that film introduced to the concept of ‘riot porn'”

A noticeable shift came over The Stimulator as he spoke about this film, and for a moment you were there with him when the scenes of resistance that would forever sear into his cortex first singed his nerve endings. Images of burning buildings, flying bricks, and tear gas clouds quickened the blood. For the first time militant revolt was not the subject of patronizing reporters or disgruntled middle class cops. Here was footage he thought would never be legal to display, in full view, and framed in a way that lionized those who took part. The seed had been planted but was not quite yet ready to bloom.

When he moved to Vancouver a few things happened that would change his life forever.

Stim: “A few people that had seen my show, that I didn’t know personally called the Anti-Poverty Committee, found out I lived in Vancouver and got a hold of me. Told me ‘We’re going to do an action. We’d love for you to come and film it.’ There was a garbage strike in the city and we went to the Vancouver mayor’s apartment building. They had accumulated weeks worth of rank fucking garbage and they just dumped it all in front of this luxury apartment. Coming from the post-9/11 United States, living in Georgia where everything was scary shit and just seeing these people do this action, one of the most minor they ever did, as a camera man was so inspiring.  Not to just be invited to capture that but to see how brazen these people were. They just didn’t give a fuck.”

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This same group was part of another moment that would shape the Stimulator even more. The group had been engaged in defending low-income housing State forces looked to destroy historic neighborhoods to make room for the Olympics.

The group went to the office of the Olympic organizing committee and evicted them.

Stim: “They literally went in, broad day light, into their offices; took computers, faxes, couches, whatever they found and threw it into the street. I was just like ‘this shit, people need to see this shit.’ People need to understand that, while there is risk of arrest, sometimes you just have to do things. This can’t stay in just VHS underground where only a chosen few in the right scenes can obtain a copy. Whenever these actions happened and there was footage I wanted to bring it to people, as many as possible, and to break the fear threshold, specifically in the United States. There’s this idea in the United States that this kind of thing is impossible and it’s not true. I think alot is possible in the US…to make a long story short the purpose is to inspire people.”

Dr. Bones: “As someone who went through this long process, who came from obscurity, to now reaching an international audience and seeing that message reaching so many people, what pieces of advice do you have for other people involved with radical politics who want to reach those same large amounts of people?”

Stim: “Stop self censoring. I think we’ve created in atmosphere in our scenes where people are policing what people are saying and also are…it’s funny for someone like me to say this but people are fucking rude and disrespectful. I think we should be rude and disrespectful towards politicians, towards cops, towards anybody that oppresses us, but I think that we need a little more gentleness with comrades. I think we’ve created an atmosphere where people are afraid to speak out about certain things, like being lambasted on social media, certain websites, etc. I think people should let go of that fear, you know? They will find an audience that understands that, that feeling particularly. I think that’s why people come and watch our stuff because we’re not afraid to take some heat and we’re not afraid to speak the way that we want to speak.

People call us Manarchists, people call us all kind of names, but in the end the people that do that usually come out and apologize. They end up basically saying they were following the stream, so to speak, just doing what everybody else was doing.

I know I shouldn’t bring you into the article but when I read your stuff it spoke to me. It’s rare to see people writing with such brazenness and chutzpah and all that. I don’t think all people should acquire that style, but I think people shouldn’t be afraid to write in the style that turns them on. People should really do what turns them on and to me creating this non-nonsensical character that’s a total fucking potty mouth, loves riot porn, that turns me on. So I do it with passion.

I’m happy every week that I’m able to make this happen and while honestly I make a living out of this people should know I’m dirt poor. I live in a co-op apartment, I live in Montreal because rent is dirt cheap. But for me it’s important so I did the things that I needed to do to for the show to exist. If people have a passion for whatever it is they do whether writing, poetry, science fiction, whatever it is, they should fucking go for it. You only live this one life and you need to give it your all.

I’m actually hugely disappointed we don’t see more Anarchist video projects. I’ve ranted about this in the past and I really thought with the advent of indymedia, all this cheap technology, and all these different ways to publish, Anarchists would have been at the forefront of getting this information out. Video has really fallen short and I don’t understand why. We got publishing, we got books, and zines, and all that shit on lock down, but video? I don’t know what the fuck happened…”

What the fuck had happened, a question too often asked by radicals all stripes. So many moments of possibility drifting away like tear gas on wind, twisting banners all that remained of dreams so close to manifesting you could practically taste them. In 10 years time The Stimulator had seen a large range of protests, battles, revolts, and counter-insurgencies, outliving both the good and the bad. Campaigns lie like fetid corpses in the history of Anarchism, and so few have carried the flowers of victory that many don’t expect anything beyond a few burnt cop cars when news of an uprising reaches their ears.

But did it need to be this way? Had The Stimulator seen the seeds of promise somewhere where perhaps other Anarchists hadn’t looked hard enough? At the end of our conversation I can remember leaning back, slightly buzzed and trying to put together just what I had learned. As I typed the interview one theme seemed to resonate above the others:

“Syria and Indigenous resistance were the key.”

Part 2 available here.


Gonzo journalism at no cost is my gift to you. Want to help keep me from starving to death or buy me a beer? Do me a favor and make a donation of any size and I’ll promise not to haunt you when I die.

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