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.”
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