Now THAT’S What I Call Optimism!
“I had a vision plain and true
Saw something that few people do
And Lord God I’ve seen enough.”
– North Country Gentleman, “Ghost Train”
“The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind.”
By all accounts the AltRight is in decline. As if an omen, the news today is that the Austin Bomber has gone and turned himself into liquid goo. I’m still looking for the crime scene photos online, but alas, no dice. We are in dangerous waters, Rhyd, and considering how our last conversation went I figured I’d attempt to make myself clear. The winds of hope are stirring the hearts of the young and the true believers. I find myself chuckling.
I suppose this goes into the “problem” left unsolved.
I mean, yes, when I heard Police Chief Brian Manley say in the press conference the deceased had “significant injuries from a blast that occurred from detonating a bomb inside his vehicle” I doubled over in fits. That’s a very nice way to say “reduced to a smoldering pile of shredded bone and organ meat,” but to each their own. And sure, maybe it’s “wrong” for me to laugh imagining that scene or to take glee in the fact that he’s dead.
She can call me cruel, twisted, a nihilistic danger all she wants. I see myself as a realist.
The recent talk of the “threat” of disillusionment or the need for a “hopeful” left, a solemn call to point towards a positive future is a far more dangerous idea than the ones I peddle. Hope is a choking thing, an uplifting wind that can blind the nerves to painful truths and realities. It is hope that keeps the poor playing the lottery, hope that makes them vote, and hope that ensures us if we ignore the lump on our neck everything will be juuuuuust fine.
Instead of hope or bitterness I prefer the comedic approach.
Want to hear a joke?
Imagine if you will a creature. The how’s and the why’s this creature exists are unclear. What is known is that it possesses an incredible power to reshape the face of creation simply by looking at it. It can make with its hands marvels that boggle the mind, or even distill the pure essence of spiritual truths into a variety of mediums; all this pales in comparison to the simple fact its consciousness wields the ability to warp subatomic particles into waves and back again. The very substance we call World is but putty when brought under its perception, literal gods with entire universes pouring through them at every moment. They dream up deities and summon them at altars, nourishing them with energy just as powerfully as those same Ultraterrestrials contort and twist the dimensions to their own devious ends.
Can you imagine such a creature? Yes? Good.
Now imagine that same creature wracked and riddled by cancer, choking on poisonous foods and segregated by a genetic lottery they call “color.” Millions of them subjected to absolute poverty and hunted in the streets, all for a distinction they know to be a complete fiction, nothing more than an adaptation to the amount of sun their ancestors were exposed to. Imagine the same already tortured beings further butchered into classes, some of these incredibly beautiful souls condemned to scrub toilets or cart around their “betters” in cars they can’t afford yet somehow need to survive. This division continues almost endlessly for a series of identities, pinned to things like gender, sex, familial history, even physical location in space/time. Imagine these shattered, compartmentalized souls existing only as sexual or laboring playthings for the parasites above them, so beaten and abused the world fills them with nothing but dread. Imagine them too tired or too anxious to go outside, to know the unparalleled joy of another thinking and living thing resting on their lap and dreaming a world with them.
Imagine an existence of grief-stricken loneliness. Of suicide. A world so crushing and macabre that every year 12,000 of them will drop dead with a needle in their arm, a feeble attempt to destroy the mechanism which keeps bringing the HellWorld home every single day.
Imagine their communication and speech so controlled their only outlet is a gigantic web of mental domination, one capable of re-wiring brains and owned by multinational business interests; these same infernal cabals are perfecting artificial intelligence in the hopes it can “cull” the herd of as many brown faces as possible. This already inhuman task is made even more horrifying by the fact that white “heroes” piloting flying robots from hell will do the same and never see the slaughter they carry out, not in person anyway. These “soldiers” instead sit at home and furiously masturbate to cartoon characters so bizarre it’s instantly clear the artist has never seen a woman in the flesh.
Imagine that beaten, huddled, piss-stricken mass of enslaved gods exposed to hour upon hour of advertisements, of lies, of information warfare in a grand attempt to ensure the dreams of the powerful are all people can believe. Imagine those reeking and quivering so confused and clueless, so powerless to as to have to beg a manager to pee, that they are convinced the same tools of domination that enslave them are somehow the key to their liberation.
And how do they fight for liberation you ask?
By tearing into their fellow slaves. By arguing over dead dictators and imaginary flag colors, by defending nationalist governments that have neither the time nor the inclination to even imagine them as a blip on the radar; by making accusations, refutations, a shrill and never-ending scream of pain into a digital vacuum owned by corporations who determine whether the online personas they have crafted live or die on a whim.
They do all this, Rhyd, these shit-covered and pale little slaves, and proudly proclaim to all that can hear: “I AM A REVOLUTIONARY!”
Jesus! I nearly spilled my rum chuckling to that one. Laughter is a natural reaction to the absurd and macabre, Rhyd, or as some call it, “life.” Life as it really is, not how our books or dreams wish it to be.
And isn’t that what we’re supposed to be focusing on?
The Trigger Ain’t Got No Heart
“Loose ya life over light green,
Kill a n**** over soft white
You ain’t from here, don’t come here
And if you do, better walk light.
Our here is a nightmare,
Homicides, not Freddy Krueger.”
– Juicy J, “No Heart No Love”
Amid the celebrations and general optimism I see cracks and tactical errors. I could pick any slew of examples to illustrate the point I’m trying to make, but rather than labor on it I’ll pick a recent one.
The “Great State” of Tennessee is best viewed from the air, hopefully flying PAST Nashville rather than INTO it. It is a loathsome, grey and ugly place; its cities and towns rise like some abandoned lunar colony destroyed by airborne syphilis. The faces there are hard, angular, and as cruel as the craggy mountains that house them. The people who own those faces prove “southern hospitality” is a myth, the reality being they’ve discovered ten-million ways to say “fuck you” in a pleasant or comforting manner. You will find nothing resembling the culture of Virginia or Kentucky, or the humor, and most rural farmers still hoist dead chickens in the air to repel whatever evil is bound to come along with a car bearing “Volunteer State” plates rolling down the road. This is the place that killed Martin Luther King Jr. It houses the only southern capital that can’t make a cocktail to save its life. The only decent thing to rise from this wasteland in the past one hundred years, the only saving grace that would stay the hand of a truly just god about to vaporize every trace of it from human memory, is a group of poets called Three Six Mafia.
This rocky outcrop has been the scene of an acidic and physically violent confrontation between an organization calling itself Great Lakes Antifa and the Nashville chapter of Anti Racist Action. Two sects of ideologically similar radicals are writing callout articles about one another, doxxing opposing members, and even attacking one another with metal batons. The fight between these groups has been so vicious, so notable, that the Department of Homeland Security has actually paid a member a visit and threatened them.
Which highlights the real danger so many pretend doesn’t exist.
At this point who’s “right” has very little bearing on our present environment. Far be it from me, without a thorough investigation and series of interviews, to determine whose side has the whole truth. I will say one does have the receipts and screenshots to prove a campaign of continued harassment, and another does highlight significant oversteps and outright lies. The truth? Whose Truth? In the real world we deal with multiple shades of grey.
What IS clear is that this is there has been a massive failure in the security and interpersonal workings of two fairly large and organized groups, groups with a history of getting into the street and actually getting shit done.
So how has something like this spiraled so out of control? And what does it mean for organizations with less experience, less militancy, and much worse operational security?
It could be we’ve forgotten the lessons of COINTELPRO, the FBI program specifically designed to undermine and break apart revolutionary movements. Brian Glick in his book War at Home gives details about how
“The FBI and police used myriad ‘dirty tricks’ to undermine progressive movements. They planted false media stories and published bogus leaflets and other publications in the name of targeted groups. They forged correspondence, sent anonymous letters, and made anonymous telephone calls. They spread misinformation about meetings and events, set up pseudo movement groups run by government agents, and manipulated or strong-armed parents, employers, landlords, school officials and others to cause trouble for activists. They used bad-jacketing to create suspicion about targeted activists, sometimes with lethal consequences.”
It will happen again if it isn’t already. Leftists are correct in thinking we’ve entered a new phase in American politics: the Alt-Right is indeed falling apart. The Traditionalist Worker’s Party has collapsed, Richard Spencer feels unsafe at his own events, and even Atomwaffen, quite possibly the most dangerous Neo-Nazi sect alive today, is facing mass arrest and harassment.
The fascists are beginning to falter! Does this mean the revolution is around the corner? Perhaps if you’re asleep. But if you’ve got both eyes open it means the State must be very aware it will be our next target. Fascism is a reaction by the bourgeoisie to a swing in Leftist organizing. They wheel out the tired ideas, the rotten flags, all in the hope it’s flashy enough to delude the workers YET AGAIN into keeping everything the same. Take that away and the game enters a new round.
Are we ready?
The FBI has admitted they’ve convinced people to lie on the stand, that they’ve fabricated evidence to arrest and sentence radicals. They’ve conspired with local police departments to threaten dissidents, conduct illegal break-ins, commit vandalism. They are responsible for assaults, beatings and yes, even assassinations.
In this new phase of revolutionary development, where even the mainstream media admits the Fascists are losing, how can radicals maintain current gains and build anti-fragility for the coming oppression of the future?
Just look at Tennessee! Hatred is putty in the hands of a good interrogator, and once one goes, Rhyd, they all go, like rats deserting a sinking ship. Everybody scrambles in the hopes to get a good deal and to hurt as many of the enemy as they can. The Department of Homeland Security, anybody really, just needs to snag one person and I guarantee you in 12 hours they’ll be giving names, addresses, social media profiles, discord servers, the works.
Few and far between will you find a radical organization that has been able to withstand this kind of assault. History is littered with Leftism’s failures, the “theories” passed down to us like dinosaur bones. The same hippies that promised “peace and love” are now our landlords refusing to fix the sink.
Save me the “hope,” “optimism,” or other feel-good bullshit. I want to know how we can survive.
La Cosa Nostra Means “Our Thing.”
“Because of the existing decentralized and personalistic institutional structures, contrasting ideas, interests and needs on a determined ‘criminal politics’ to pursue often emerged. In order to deal with this issue, the organization of the decision-making made up of a mix of centralized and decentralized distribution of power and authority aimed at favouring the construction of national and international alliances, which, then, tended to stabilize the system as a whole…
The system of governance in Cosa Nostra can, as a consequence, be described as a highly effective system of political representation capable of dealing with the increasing complexity that stemmed from its quasi-federal territorial structure and endemic individual tensions.– Alfio Cerami, The Political Regime of Cosa Nostra: Between Independentist and Consociational Pressures
“‘If you don’t mind my asking,’ Hiro says, ‘what was your mission anyway?’
Fisheye thinks this one over for a while. ‘Well it depends on how you look at it. Nominally, my objective is to get a fifteen-year-old girl back from these assholes. So my tactic was to take a bunch of their bigwigs hostage, then arrange a trade.’…
‘Is that really your whole objective?’
-Neal Stephenson, Snowcrash
Back in the twenties criminal gangs vied constantly for power, territory, and income just as the various factions of the Left do today. It was a bloody business, and the never-ending shootouts were not only depleting good talent but were bringing the cops into everything. Working was impossible. The hunt was on and the heat was everywhere. Something had to be done. A vicious war broke out between two factions, one controlled by Giuseppe “Joe The Boss” Masseria and the other by Salvatore Maranzano, over who would run all the American crime syndicates and put an end to the ceaseless bloodshed.
The Castellammarese War waged from February, 1930 to April 15, 1931. After corpses littered the street Maranzano’s faction ended up winning. Shortly after he declared himself capo di tutti capi (“boss of all bosses”) Maranzano was quickly murdered in turn by a faction of young upstarts led by Lucky Luciano. Instead of taking power and becoming a king, Luciano established a power-sharing arrangement called “The Commission,” a board formed from five Mafia families of equal stature, all in the hope of avoiding such pointless infighting in the future. Petty differences set aside, territories lined out, the Mob was free to plunder and prosper like never before.
The Commission, in its role as peacekeeper, also devised the system of the “sit-down” to keep disagreements between made members non-violent and away from the law. When the Commission senses a “beef” between two members they demand a meeting where the issues are lined out, arguments launched, and finally an agreement made.
To be unable to come to agreement can mark both members for death.
To go back on or to ignore the agreement is to be marked for death.
Now I’m not advocating murder, nor any of the extremely patriarchal or capitalistic views the Mafia holds. What I find interesting is the model, the praxis, of a semi-secret network capable of handling its business (both private and public) outside of the law and often against it. This model isn’t tied to the religious or cultural tropes we normally associate with the Mafia. In fact there is a long history of these mafia systems NOT being dictatorial:
“As noted by Paoli (2003, pp. 40-64), contrary to common wisdom, the Commission, whether it ever existed in the form portrayed in the movies, was not supposed to the central government of Cosa Nostra, but a representative mechanism for consultation of independent mandamenti and provinces who decided by deliberative-patriarchal consensus. As portrayed by several state witnesses (in particular, Tommaso Buscetta, Antonino Calderone, Francesco Marino Mannoia and Luciano Messina to quote only the most famous ones), not only do decisions followed the patterns of direct democracy with deliberative meetings by the representatives of each mandamento (sometimes also by raise of hands), but even the process of elections of representatives follows a democratic pattern. The capi-mandamentoare elected often on an annual basis either by open vote (rising hands) among the members of the clan, or, when security concerns emerged, as in the case of large family in Palermo, by secret ballot.”
The French Anarchists of the early 1900’s appeared to have employed a similar model, though perhaps unconsciously. Maybe it just comes with crime. When Jules Bonnot was initially accused of killing a comrade for money:
“The first thing Bonnot did on the afternoon of his arrival in Paris was look up his old mate, David Belonie, who was working as a laboratory assistant in a pharmacy in St Lazare, and who had returned two weeks earlier from a trip to London. He was lodging in an appartement at 45 rue Nollet, Batignolles in the XVIIth arrondissement. The landlady, widow Rollet, knew him simply as ‘Monsieur David’; Bonnot gave his own name as ‘Monsieur Comtesse’. He told Belonie about the death of Platano, and Belonie suggested he’d better explain the affair fully in front of the other comrades, especially those, like Garnier, who had known him; the last thing Bonnot needed was the hostility of other comrades. A meeting was therefore arranged in a little top-floor garret in Montmartre, possibly Godorowski’s flat at 6 rue Cortot just behind the Saw. Coeur, Garnier, Carouy and Callemin were there for sure, and possibly Belonie, Valet, De Boe and Dieudonne (on a two-week holiday from Nancy) and Godorowski himself. Bonnot managed to acquit himself well, angrily denying that he’d killed Platano for his money, as the current rumour had it.”
It was this clearing of the air, where each member heard testimony and made an independent decision if Bonnot could still be trusted, that allowed the Bonnot Gang to function at all. With these personal bonds, the real underlying structures behind the politics, fully restored Bonnot could expect the kind of “active friendship” the Mafia would have immediately recognized:
“There was the old Russian refugee, Godorowski, a veteran of l’anarchie since its inception, who allowed the gang to use his flat in Montmartre; there was young Andre Poyer, an acquaintance of the now imprisoned Louis Rimbault, who could provide them with brand-new high quality weapons; David Belonie, Bonnot’s old friend from Lyon could always be relied on; ginger-haired Rene Valet, withdrawn but intense, was already helping out his comrades by renting safe houses and casing banks with his companion, Anna, and Elie Monier, from Alais, would be a ‘sleeper’ in the southern suburbs of Paris.”
All of this would have been impossible if Bonnot hadn’t been vetted, trusted, and proven to a real network. And held accountable.
The level of trust it takes to pull off high-stakes robberies and political militancy doesn’t happen overnight. We read stories of revolutions and have somehow forgotten the technical expertise that made them possible. “It is only possible to detect and localise failure if the underground has been built on a solid basis according to the correct organisational principles,” reads How to Master Secret Work, a pamphlet for underground operatives working for the (illegal) Communist Party of South Africa in the 1980’s. “A network which is tightly organised, operates according to the rules of secrecy and is cleared of unsuitable operatives is easier to review and manage.”
The CP-SA had techniques to see if you were being followed, to freeze out informants without them knowing they’d been discovered, even how to create OFFLINE messaging systems so radicals could communicate unhindered right under the nose of the enemy. This is how you survive extreme state repression, what a revolution is, how it works, and instead of setting up the same shadowy cells the Mafia, Illegalists, or Communists did we spend our time tearing each other to pieces.
That or planning symbolic actions with moral victories, all in the hopes some invisible step is taken to some immaterial world where the “good” always triumphs and bad guys always lose.
Take a good fucking look at history, Rhyd. Look at the planet you’re on, the air you’re breathing, the mutilated corpses each country is founded on. You tell me who’s been winning.
Seriously: what the fuck does “the Left” think comes after the Fascists begin to whimper? That the cops are going to fall back? The army? That politicians are going to start giving a shit?
Congratulations comrades: by breaking the AltRight you may officially be deemed a threat to the continued existence of the United States. Ask Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, and Grenada exactly what that means.
A Trickster’s Kind of Hope
“We’re all gonna die that’s just how it is
There’s no escaping the future
Nobody gets what they want in this world
Even for you and me“
– Gunship, “Art3mis & Parzival”
“I am interested in the sort of resistance we pursue, not because we necessarily believe it will produce desired changes or lead us into a brighter future, but because it is the most meaningful response to this world we can imagine. Because we simply can’t stomach the idea of being passive in the face of a system this brutal, regardless of how far we may be from our dreams.”
– Serafinski, Blessed is the Flame
Many spiritual systems talk about a “fall” for humanity, of some ancient unity we had with the Universe now ripped asunder. We assure ourselves that all is not as it should be, that somewhere along the line the record skipped on the machine; we stare up at the skyscrapers, the drones, the factory farm meat, and wonder what could have been.
The larger world becomes a reflection of ourselves, not just the material one but the inner one only the individual can hear: the unspoken song when you stand in a mangrove swamp or find yourself in the middle of a sexual act loaded with symbols we barely comprehend.
We forget we aren’t just these outside beings we see walking around. We are the raging storm of emotions, dreams, and unconscious desires plugged into an esoteric window locked inside our chests. Each individual is a universe all their own and it is only an intellectual laziness that we reduce the world to physical, observable measures.
This planet is a byproduct of our own mass psychology, just as much a matter of unconscious desires and hidden dreams as any political or economic system.
Looking out onto the “Left” what do we see?
Pain. Trauma. A feeling of powerlessness. Abandonment. Betrayal. Hurt people, often young and still unsure who the fuck they even are, trying to figure out how to run a country. They’ve been raised on almost no education, they’ve been de-skilled, and are the living byproducts of centuries of abuse, rape, and murder. They are their angry father’s fist, the mother’s wandering fingers, and the ghosts they saw as a child as much as they are a devotee of Marx or Stirner.
So many of these radicals are simply chasing a feeling. Anything to feel a part of something, feel right, feel loved, feel that in the middle of a world slowly dissolving and increasingly not making any sense that somehow… somehow they’ve got the answers.
War is politics by other means. Politics is religion by another name.
People will fight over religion because it’s easier than fighting over real territory.
We are tiny, tiny beings arguing about things that are happening TO US instead of what we ourselves are doing. All the critiques have merit, but unwedded to action they are simply piss in the wind. I am watching the mutilated bodies of Kurds in Afrin litter the street as “leftists” debate the politics of selfies.
Is that too dark, Rhyd? Am I raining on everybody’s parade? I sure am sorry but I really can’t be bothered to give a fuck. Somebody has to stare into the darkness. I want to keep the revolutionaries alive while ten million other authors seem gleefully intent on blowing smoke up somebody’s ass in the hopes they get paid. I don’t give a SHIT what people WANT to hear because that’s not what’s piloting drones or staffing the jails across this god-forsaken wasteland.
Have hope! For fuck sake if that’s what you need to keep from jamming a gun in your mouth every morning than by all means, hope away! Believe that everything is all right and that the gods are on our side; that this time, unlike every other fucking “revolutionary moment” humanity is going to really pull it off and set everything right.
But I couldn’t sleep at night if I knew I was peddling that kind of horseshit to kids, the same kids that could quite possibly be facing death or imprisonment a little later down the road. The inevitability of history, the religious prophecy of a triumphant working class, how many times have these supposed comforts blinded us to what was really happening? I can’t sit here and pretend writing about the latest micro-aggression is going to help us to become “better revolutionaries” while we square off against people who share no such beliefs and actually get paid to lie, cheat, torture, and kill.
My thirst for change needs no illusions.
I’ve been laughing in a dark room for a long time, Rhyd. I sit there when I’m at home, when I’m at work, and even when I’m walking down the street. Capitalism is killing a planet and the rich are blasting off into space. Go ahead and fight over imaginary ideas that, when explained to normal fucking people, sound like a television show they never heard of; if we are lucky the wealthy will give us the honor of inhabiting the scorched, radioactive rock they wore out; that’s of course IF they don’t nuke us from orbit out of sheer spite.
History rolls on and the squeeze will continue to mount. People will go hungry. The smell of death will waft in the air. The idea that 7.6 billion apes armed to the teeth are going to be tamed, pacified, or even nominally controlled is the most preposterous illusion of all. The joke is on everybody, Rhyd. Why not enjoy the laugh?
Humanity’s engine of inhumanity will inevitably summon forth the trauma that pushes people over the edge. This is built into the system. People are either going to get their shit together or die. Plain and simple. That’s about as optimistic as it gets from my keyboard.
This isn’t to say it’s all doom and gloom. When you think about the possibility humanity will never save itself, that there is no final defeat or final victory… you get busy. You have to do something because if you don’t everything just stays the same.
The universe is completely fine with humanity reducing itself to a huddled hive-species. The only person that isn’t is you. Start there, and the rest will follow.
I think what we’re heading towards is where the REAL SHIT lives, the amazing connections we’ll think about for decades to come. Leftists will soon be meeting the friends that arrange their funerals, the ones they start families with, the ones they’ll travel half-way across the country just to SEE. The pointless bickering will become moot because they’ll realize it isn’t necessary for them to agree on everything to get free.
We are on the cusp here, the real edge of a kind of human interaction this continent hasn’t seen in quite some time. Something beyond friends and not quite lovers, the soul-wrapped bond found in trenches since time immemorial. It is this new historic period that will allow “The Left” to remake itself, if for nothing else but sheer survival.
When you talk about “comrades,” what do you mean? The faceless mass screaming into the digital void? Strangers? What if it meant my wife, my friend from Omaha whose kids I’ve come to care about, the Romani witch making soup in my kitchen and helping me understand their non-binary identity, the four transwomen running a half-way house in Atlanta we can always hide out in, the Palestinian kid I work with who shoots with me on weekends, the woman with fibromyalgia who’s teaching us all how to grow Seminole pumpkins and brew our own beer… and if I know when the shit really hit the fan these people would stand or fall with me, on the battlefield or on the witness stand? That if I must go they can be trusted to take care of my loved ones and children as if they were their own?
Now that, multiplied in cities and towns across the country, would be something to fight for: A leftism that offers something more than endless meetings and the possibility of arrest, one that could stare unflinchingly into whatever horrors the future holds because it would be built on REALITY instead of religious feelings. Not a past we’re trying to re-negotiate but a life… a life in the fullest, most beautiful and awe-inspiring sense. Something you do instead of wait for, something that grows instead of comes.
But that takes trust. That takes real structures, real work, and real ways to deal with the inevitable issues that come along with living illegally. Practical, dirty work based on results and devoid of any religious or blind hope. Comrade will need to mean something again.
But isn’t that the goal? To be more than mere workers or shuddering slaves? To live lives worth something?
We’re all hurt down here, Rhyd. Broken in our own ways. The real test will be to see if we can help put each other back again.
And if we can’t? We might as well get in on the joke and start laughing.
Lord knows I am…
Dr. Bones is a Hoodoo-slingin’ Florida native and Egoist-Communist spitting pure vitriol and sorcerous wisdom at a world gone mad. He lives with his loving wife, a herd of cats, and a house full of spirits.
His poltergasmic politics and gonzo journalism can be found at Gods & Radicals and The Conjure House. He can be reached by email, twitter, or facebook. Want to do him a favor? Help keep him alive for as little as $4.99 a month.