The New Sun

“For empires crumble as I’ve been told, and in the rib-caged wreckage of gray leviathans I may glimpse some hint of the blueprint of this shared corruption. I may come to comprehend why I could never mend my own desolation. I may erase my station.”

From Christopher Scott Thompson

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Surrealist Prophecies #6

The sixth in a sequence of surrealist prophecies written using the divinatory technique of automatic writing (with subsequent revision). The theme of the sequence is the collapse of our global civilization due to uncontrollable climate change, leading to a mass rejection of both faith and reason and the re-enchantment of our world among the ruins of our failed creations. Some of the poems in the sequence are set before the Fall and portray the spiritual and emotional dilemma of our current crisis. Some describe the Fall itself, and the strange changes in thought and perception that will be needed if any are to survive a world in which humanity has been radically de-centered. Some describe the world to come, a world newly alive with gods and spirits yet free of all dogma or fixed belief – a world of beauty and strange magic.

The sixth prophecy was inspired by an Alley Valkyrie shirt design, and the “rib-caged wreckage” of the Colosseum. It describes the death of a mystic in the years before the Fall, and hints at the coming rebirth of both the individual and the world. The “brass sun” in the poem refers to the failed attempts of the Finnish gods to create a mechanical sun after the real sun was stolen by Louhi, the witch of the north wind. A world without a spiritual heart is a doomed world, and no technology can change that.

The New Sun

Instructions for a funeral –

Hold no tribunal.

That man was a gnostic,

If often caustic.

 

So make a new sun out of brass.

Bless it with burnt cash slipped from the pockets of the old Caesar

Who drools in his glass castle counting calculus,

And tell the fire I’m coming soon.

 

If you want to, sweep my room.

Croon if you need to, but do not keen.

Nobody asked me to shake my fist at archons,

If you know what I mean.

 

You know I was never one of those clashing cymbals,

Hollow of throat like a brash jackal.

I never brayed at any tomb.

 

And if I sang

A wordless song sometimes

Beneath the stars and moon

To unseen powers

And you ask what for –

 

Well, I was only waging war.

 

I wasn’t fond of flowers.

Gather up

Whatever broken coffee cup

You considered “ours,”

And tell them all

My time had come.

 

If it feels numb, don’t poke it.

Just rinse your eyes out completely,

Comb your hair out neatly,

And go home.

 

But as for me, I’ll be gone.

 

For empires crumble as I’ve been told,

And in the rib-caged wreckage of gray leviathans

I may glimpse some hint

Of the blueprint of this shared corruption.

I may come to comprehend why I could never mend

My own desolation.

I may erase my station.

 

My eyes may become the starry skies

That are not wise nor foolish

But only real.

My cuts may heal into healthy hillsides

Of humming bees.

My blood may flood.

My breath might bloom.

There are a million things I might become.

 

And in some life –

Some life I cannot imagine,

Some distant life –

I may look out beneath strange skies

And there glimpse your eyes.


Christopher Scott Thompson

Christopher Scott Thompson is an anarchist, martial arts instructor, devotee of Brighid and Macha, and a wandering exile roaming the earth. Photo by Tam Zech.

The Martyrs

“No cluttered shelves with hanging altar cloths will ever save us. Nor will any ancient yellow poster of some killer angel explain the stain of sin or let us in on the secret of how Christ forgave us and how at last our cause must win.”

From Christopher Scott Thompson

Photo by BRUNO CERVERA on Unsplash

 

 

Surrealist Prophecies #5

The fifth in a sequence of surrealist prophecies written using the divinatory technique of automatic writing (with subsequent revision). The theme of the sequence is the collapse of our global civilization due to uncontrollable climate change, leading to a mass rejection of both faith and reason and the re-enchantment of our world among the ruins of our failed creations. Some of the poems in the sequence are set before the Fall and portray the spiritual and emotional dilemma of our current crisis. Some describe the Fall itself, and the strange changes in thought and perception that will be needed if any are to survive a world in which humanity has been radically de-centered. Some describe the world to come, a world newly alive with gods and spirits yet free of all dogma or fixed belief – a world of beauty and strange magic.

 

The fifth prophecy was inspired by an old CNT-FAI propaganda poster from the Spanish Civil War, and the yearly march in honor of anarchist martyrs every May Day. Respect for our honored dead is not a substitute for building a world.

Public Domain Image From Wikimedia Commons

The Martyrs

Outside, the waters of a springtime sky

Plunge screaming from the heights.

And in the stain

That creeps along this poster on my wall

Free Barcelona falls.

 

And on the rain, I hear dead heroes asking if they lived in vain – if there was no message in their martyrdom, no future hope, but only a longer rope with which to hang ourselves.

 

To clinging altar cloths, to cluttered shelves,

Our selves attach themselves.

Adore your gods,

But never tell yourself your faith can change the odds.

 

No cluttered shelves with hanging altar cloths will ever save us. Nor will any ancient yellow poster of some killer angel explain the stain of sin or let us in on the secret of how Christ forgave us and how at last our cause must win.

 

Our gods are here –

They move within our bodies and the turning of the year.

 

Our gods are real –

They live in every drop of blood and every spark of wood or steel.

 

Our dead are dust –

Unless we give them life with every act, in each of us.

 

Our dead are seeds –

These flowers never bloom with faith

But deeds.


Christopher Scott Thompson

Christopher Scott Thompson is an anarchist, martial arts instructor, devotee of Brighid and Macha, and a wandering exile roaming the earth. Photo by Tam Zech.


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Wage-Slave in the Wasteland

“The fisher king was never healed, they never meant for us to heal him. They only meant to conceal what we’d been fed, so they concealed him.”

From Christopher Scott Thompson

Surrealist Prophecies #4

The fourth in a sequnce of surrealist prophecies written using the divinatory technique of automatic writing (with subsequent revision). The theme of the sequence is the collapse of our global civilization due to uncontrollable climate change, leading to a mass rejection of both faith and reason and the re-enchantment of our world among the ruins of our failed creations. Some of the poems in the sequence are set before the Fall and portray the spiritual and emotional dilemma of our current crisis. Some describe the Fall itself, and the strange changes in thought and perception that will be needed if any are to survive a world in which humanity has been radically de-centered. Some describe the world to come, a world newly alive with gods and spirits yet free of all dogma or fixed belief – a world of beauty and strange magic.

The fourth prophecy explores the horror of living in our world in the last few generations before the Fall, trapped in bare survival as the world begins to slip from its moorings and slide down into strange dreams – a world in which meaning has died and has not yet been reborn. The wage-slave dreams of an apocalyptic wasteland but wakes up to an alarm clock.

Wage-Slave in the Wasteland

Between life and death there is just a breath, pluming out like choking smoke in the cold cracked morning of “not much left.”

 

Some part of me dreams…

 

Between life and death there is just a breath in the fresh anger of the frozen morning. Bare bushes burn in a dustland of rusted cars. My eyes stare out across the flat plain and coolly assess if there might be rain. A train approaches, black puffs of coal smoke chugging out angrily into the autumn air. There is a dead dog there, crawling along on broken legs with mindless eyes before the tracks. The scene lacks color, lacks contrast. The air feels thin, but leaves a slick film of grease on the skin. The sun looks parched, fighting to create its own conditions for some new existence that might pierce these clouds. Munitions cook off in the distance with a breakfast crackle as a castle burns.

 

Some part of me yearns…

 

But between life and death there is not much difference. A sick horror, and stuck tears. A body exhausted from all the acid years, corroded to almost nothing, holed-up like cheese. A red alarm demands full attention and announces that the morning now pounces upon you with its sharp intentions. The numbers flash, and you crash down from the grotesque fantasies of forgetful sleep to keep faith with cash. Dustland dreams disappear – another morning, another year.

We live here in the wasteland in which the Grail once shined, with no question on the tip of our lips, our gestures false like mimes. The fisher king was never healed, they never meant for us to heal him. They only meant to conceal what we’d been fed, so they concealed him. And what was revealed when they pulled the cloth away was just his worm-wet head.

Alive or dead? Too many days beneath this airless mystery where no soul has history, tied fast to the bedpost of this harsh necessity. I can no longer tell. And worst of all, I’m not even sure I can still recall – was I alive before? Was there, at some point, more?


Christopher Scott Thompson

Christopher Scott Thompson is an anarchist, martial arts instructor, devotee of Brighid and Macha, and a wandering exile roaming the earth. Photo by Tam Zech.


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Junkyard Nemeton

“This forest, or another forest – forests without end. As faith retreats and reason sleeps those times shall come again.”

From Christopher Scott Thompson

Photo by Niilo Isotalo on Unsplash
Photo by Niilo Isotalo

Surrealist Prophecies #3

The third in a sequence of surrealist prophecies written using the divinatory technique of automatic writing (with subsequent revision). The theme of the sequence is the collapse of our global civilization due to uncontrollable climate change, leading to a mass rejection of both faith and reason and the re-enchantment of our world among the ruins of our failed creations. Some of the poems in the sequence are set before the Fall and portray the spiritual and emotional dilemma of our current crisis. Some describe the Fall itself, and the strange changes in thought and perception that will be needed if any are to survive a world in which humanity has been radically de-centered. Some describe the world to come, a world newly alive with gods and spirits yet free of all dogma or fixed belief – a world of beauty and strange magic.

The third prophecy centers around Rudolf Otto’s concept of the numinous as the immediate presence of the Other, often experienced as a “terrible and fascinating mystery” and described by Otto in The Idea of the Holy as “daemonic dread… the horror of Pan.” In “Junkyard Nemeton,” an abandoned junkyard becomes a druidic grove as the trees advance, and the numen walks in the reborn forest. In this case, only a few lines from the final poem have their origin in automatic writing.

Junkyard Nemeton

Dead cars and broken plastic crates with empty bottles bloom.

Roots twist and turn while weird lights burn, out there beyond the gloom.

Discarded wedding rings and books, lost toys and headless dolls.

The forest grows and no one knows what comes and goes, what calls.

There’s something there, with tangled hair. It walks, and drips, and moans.

The song that calls me to the night sounds sweeter than my own.

I step across the muddy ditch and jump the broken fence.

Between the trees, the night-owl sees, and flees in self-defense.

I raise my hands in recompense and mutter words of prayer.

Strange laughter fills the junkyard night. I whisper “who is there?”.

Novitiate, initiate, at last I shall be shown.

The lies that brought me here tonight seem truer than my own.

I lived my life in constant strife, in service to a creed.

But here at last I have no past, for here there is no need.

I stepped across the border and I crawled across the wall.

Here reason sleeps and faith retreats. The forest eats them all.

I’m startled into silence by a long and lonely moan.

The truth that called me here tonight seems stronger than my own.

Ten thousand years now disappear. In some forgotten time,

My ancient dead here bowed their heads as I am bowing mine.

This forest, or another forest – forests without end.

As faith retreats and reason sleeps those times shall come again.

I speak, but I could never tell the things that I was shown.

The words that I would need are so much stranger than my own.

The wings that flap, the eyes that see, the creatures with their call.

The mountain past the forest looms – strange, black, and fat, and tall.

The birds, like gods, are eating flesh. Skulls guard the cave of bears.

Nine-fold the numen walks tonight, and dogs are howling there.

In polar coldness, near the heart, flame flickers on a stone.

The star that leads me to the light is brighter than my own!


Christopher Scott Thompson

CSTshortbeardBW

is an anarchist, martial arts instructor, devotee of Brighid and Macha, and a wandering exile roaming the earth. Photo by Tam Zech.


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Tornado Warning

“But there is a king: his name is Lludd. They call him the Once and Future King.”

From Christopher Scott Thompson

Photo by Brian Cook on Unsplash
Photo by Brian Cook

Surrealist Prophecies #2

The second in a sequence of surrealist prophecies written using the divinatory technique of automatic writing (with subsequent revision). The theme of the sequence is the collapse of our global civilization due to uncontrollable climate change, leading to a mass rejection of both faith and reason and the re-enchantment of our world among the ruins of our failed creations. Some of the poems in the sequence are set before the Fall and portray the spiritual and emotional dilemma of our current crisis. Some describe the Fall itself, and the strange changes in thought and perception that will be needed if any are to survive a world in which humanity has been radically de-centered. Some describe the world to come, a world newly alive with gods and spirits yet free of all dogma or fixed belief – a world of beauty and strange magic.

The trigger for the writing of the second prophecy was the sound of a tornado warning siren outside the window while reading Abel Paz’s biography of Buenaventura Durruti.

Tornado Warning

A high, proud, howling outside the window through an enervating lassitude of limp, white streets.

A scar advances across this torn landscape of trembling cheek.

A leak of blood and bone discreetly declares itself beneath your eyelashes and tells you to wear a pair of fiery eyeglasses, to declare his reign.

For spring means rain.

And in the swarming bug-storm of divine inventions there will be no mention of our intentions: what we made is what we made. This is our one and only chance: we can dance with the coming sunsets of oblivion or stay home to sing.

But there is a king: his name is Lludd. They call him the Once and Future King.

Let us weave a garland of teeth to make his headband; let him wear our eyes on his red hands like rings. This hasn’t gone as planned.

 

And when King Lludd sings,

When the Jacquerie

With brutal mockery

Dethrone and debone

All lesser kings

Oh, when King Lludd sings.

 

Still if in ruins we must dwell,

Fear not, we shall.

A time for building will come again.

 

It’s not that we cannot build. We built all these things. The mud-splattered walls of all your flooded palaces, the brick-battered glass facades of all your callous palisades. We built all these things.

And we shall know how to dwell in the shell of the world you made us make for you before we build our own.


Christopher Scott Thompson

CSTshortbeardBWChristopher Scott Thompson is an anarchist, martial arts instructor, devotee of Brighid and Macha, and a wandering exile roaming the earth. Photo by Tam Zech.

Put Reason Back to Sleep

“The future will have a place for neither faith nor reason.”

From Christopher Scott Thompson

Photo by Hans Eiskonen on Unsplash
Photo by Hans Eiskonen

Surrealist Prophecies #1

“It was in the black mirror of anarchism that surrealism first recognised itself.”

– Andre Breton

This poem is the first in a sequence of apocalyptic prophecies inspired by China Mieville’s novel Last Days of New Paris, which led me to investigate the Surrealist Manifesto of Andre Breton and the use of what Breton calls “the magical Surrealist art” as a method of channeling or divination:

Put yourself in as passive, or receptive, a state of mind as you can. Forget about your genius, your talents, and the talents of everyone else. Keep reminding yourself that literature is one of the saddest roads that leads to everything. Write quickly, without any preconceived subject, fast enough so that you will not remember what you’re writing and be tempted to reread what you have written.

The pure “Surrealist game” is unedited automatic writing, but the poems in this sequence use automatic writing only as a starting point – to be followed in each case by many hours of revision and polishing.

The theme of the sequence is the collapse of our global civilization due to uncontrollable climate change, leading to a mass rejection of both faith and reason and the re-enchantment of our world among the ruins of our failed creations. Some of the poems in the sequence are set before the Fall and portray the spiritual and emotional dilemma of our current crisis. Some describe the Fall itself, and the strange changes in thought and perception that will be needed if any are to survive a world in which humanity has been radically de-centered. Some describe the world to come, a world newly alive with gods and spirits yet free of all dogma or fixed belief – a world of beauty and strange magic.

Put Reason Back to Sleep

“The sleep of reason produces monsters.”

– Francisco Goya

Put reason back to sleep.

Let monsters slip

Out of the corners of your eyes

And lick bricks like meat.

Let them lie them down to breathe

Among the ruins of old useless infrastructure

And there breed new beasts.

The future will have a place for neither faith nor reason.

But only a fluttering

As of birds in flight

That we can sight in season.

And we can plant new trees in

The broken bones of what we built

While from the silt of dead dreams

We must pick out what still gleams.

The future will have a place for neither fact nor fiction.

There will be no restriction based on creed,

But all eyes will bleed.

From one drop,

A vast bulk

Will heave its hulking tentacles

Up through the holes

In once-solid floors

And splash black ink on broken doors

To announce its presence,

To stake its claim.

Another drop shall bloom

And become a room

Red with blood flowers

Above the flood.

Where we shall

Hold all-night congresses

With the snarled tresses

Of wet hair.

We will carve knots in candles there.

The future will have a place for neither pope nor king.

There will be no special honor paid to art,

Yet all hearts shall sing.

We will leave offerings at cold crossroads

Where no cars roll.

A strange new song, not a soul.

For the fast unfolding of

Something old.

We will pray quietly in empty stores

Whose floors are strewn with plastic bags,

And weep silently as humbled conquerors

Before shattered windows

To paint new dragons

On flooded streets.

We will hear the gathering of shuffled feet,

The stir of wings.

We will hear the voice

When it sings.

We will praise the flight

Of dead birds

With muttered words

And raise hands in prayer

To sun and air,

To praise the dawn as she gleams.

We’ll never ask what it means.

To ask questions

Of either fact or fiction

Is to place restrictions on

Dreams,

And when dreams walk,

That isn’t safe.

The gods of the future will not be safe.

For there the ocean,

Now fat and bold,

In the mud-choked memory of some high cathedral

Will hold his revels and make his home.

The sun will dance her way

Through the cracked dome

Of this corrupted capitol

Where cruel laws were made

And pierce straight through it

Like a blade.

And there, death,

Clothed in white,

Will hold court in some aborted

Cinema

And serve drinks all night.

And she who has heard

The merest rumor

Of that old tumor,

Faith –

He who has seen the faintest wraith

Of that old traitor, reason –

They themselves shall have done treason.

For these things bring death.

They taught us to believe

And to not believe

Till there were no gods left.

They themselves brought the dust –

The rust that showed itself as

A red taint in tap-water

And shall become our Fall.

Put faith to sleep.

Let Titans climb up out of the black bowl of your heart

And squeeze bricks to dust.

Let them lie them down to breed

Among the ruins of old useless infrastructure

And there spread like rust.

The future will have a place for no faith but wonder.

And an endless shattering

Of cracking glass

And a long crash, like thunder.

But we can plant new trees in

The ruined remnants of what we built.

And from the silt of dead dreams

We can pick out what still gleams.


Christopher Scott Thompson

CSTshortbeardBW

Christopher Scott Thompson is an anarchist, martial arts instructor, devotee of Brighid and Macha, and a wandering exile roaming the earth. Photo by Tam Zech.


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Know the Enemy and Know Yourself: A Review of “Fascism Today”

Book Review of Shane Burley’s Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It.
From Christopher Scott Thompson

IMG_2299
Photo by Laura Cantal

Those who would rather wring their hands than use them to punch Nazis might not want to admit it, but we are in a state of conflict. The angry men currently marching through the streets carrying Tiki torches and calling for genocide are our enemies. Since we have to fight them, we owe it to ourselves and everyone endangered by fascism to win the fight. Shane Burley’s Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It is a valuable tool for winning this conflict.

Reading Fascism Today, I found myself thinking of a quote by Sun Tzu:

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

Burley’s book might as well have been written with this passage in mind. In part one, Burley reviews several existing definitions of fascism and addresses the strengths and weaknesses of each one. I was especially glad to see him debunking the idea that fascism is primarily defined by censorship or political violence – a misunderstanding that has been used by both fascists and liberals to demonize Antifa as “the real fascists.” Burley clearly defines what makes a movement fascist, and why such movements are dangerous rather than merely offensive.

He then discusses many of these factions at length, including traditional American white supremacist groups, proto-fascist militia groups, esoteric and neopagan fascism, the “Men’s Rights” misogynists, the Alt-Right, and many others.

These groups may disagree with each other on many points but they share a common commitment to undo what they see as the degenerate egalitarianism of the modern world and return to a society defined by strict hierarchies and inflexible roles, all of which would be enforced by violence and the fear of violence. They cannot hope to achieve this while a majority of people consider the open expression of bigotry to be socially unacceptable – so if they want to win, they have to make bigotry acceptable again.

As Burley argues, the defining strategy of the current fascist resurgence is metapolitics – the manipulation of culture to create a subtle yet significant mental shift toward the acceptance of their ideas. This type of strategy was originally suggested by leftist thinker Antonio Gramsci, but has since been hijacked by the Alt-Right. (In fact, Altright.com features a quote by Gramsci: “Any parliamentary struggle must be preceded, legitimised, and supported by a metapolitical struggle.”)

The fascist street factions can look so bizarre and frankly ludicrous that it’s hard to think of them as a serious threat – until they’re standing right in front of you with clubs and shields in their hands. That surreal mix of frog cartoons, American flags, Swastika imagery, and body armor is not merely an aesthetic catastrophe – it’s a metapolitical strategy to make fascist ideas appear humorously edgy rather than murderously violent.

In part two of “Fascism Today,” Burley lays out a convincing argument for a multifaceted approach to antifascist struggle that incorporates this concept of metapolitics and turns it back against the enemy. If their primary strategic goal is to make society safe for fascism again, our primary strategic goal must be to build a society that is broadly and deeply antifascist.

IMG_2484-2
Photo by Laura Cantal

Obviously this cannot be restricted to a few dozen black-masked streetfighters in every city. Burley presents a number of realistic and achievable ideas for how to win the war of metapolitics, by building an antifascist coalition that goes far beyond the narrow social circles of anarchist and communist purism without making concessions to liberal complacency.

This would still include traditional Antifa tactics like intelligence-gathering and no-platforming, but would also expand to include massive popular manifestations like the recent antifascist victories in Boston and elsewhere, in which the Black Bloc was only one small part of the coalition. If antifascism is something anyone and everyone can participate in, then the fascists will find themselves outnumbered every single time.

If there is one thing the recent “Antifa Civil War” panic demonstrates, it’s that the enemy does not understand us at all. Anyone who has ever been involved with Antifa knows it as a decentralized network with no chain of command. Yet the American Right still sees Antifa as a highly-organized top-down revolutionary organization with sinister nationwide plans (including “Antifa supersoldiers” under UN command!). According to Sun Tzu, an enemy who does not understand us cannot hope to win more than one battle out of every two.

If we know our enemy and know ourselves, Sun Tzu tells us we will prevail in every battle. Shane Burley’s Fascism Today is a big step in that direction.

Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It, Published by AK Press


Christopher Scott Thompson

CSTshortbeardBW

Christopher Scott Thompson is an anarcho-communist, martial arts instructor, devotee of Brighid and Macha, and a wandering exile roaming the earth. Photo by Tam Zech.


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A Wildness Comes on the Heart of the Deer

From Christopher Scott Thompson

 

A Fianna warrior running. Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

It is the month of May is the pleasant time; its face is beautiful; the blackbird sings his full song, the living wood is his holding, the cuckoos are singing and ever singing; there is a welcome before the brightness of the summer.

 Summer is lessening the rivers, the swift horses are looking for the pool; the heath spreads out its long hair, the weak white bog-down grows. A wildness comes on the heart of the deer… (Poem attributed to Finn)

The thing that I love most in the world, other than people of course, is poetry. And thus, by extension, religion and philosophy. Which causes me to love justice and seek truth. Which forces me to admit that the world is currently ruled by injustice and lies. Which drives me to anarchism and revolution.

Poetry is at the heart of my reality; it is how I feel anything at all. It is how I understand what I feel. It is how I express it. When poetry is used in the service of horror and ugliness, I call that an obscenity. I call on my gods for the strength to defeat it.

Men Who Are Not Wolves

A torch blazes in the center of a table scattered with ritual implements. A man dressed in a black leather jacket leans forward slightly as if receiving a benediction from the shirtless man whose hand rests paternally on his back. A man kneels, holding a spear, nearby. Another kneels with an animal skull. Their faces are marked with runes and thick white face-paint. The scene might look like a black metal album cover, but to the men participating it is clearly solemn, mysterious, a spiritual experience. This is a ritual of the Wolves of Vinland, a white supremacist heathen sect that refers to itself as a “tribe” and has chapters in Virginia, the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere.

The power of the mythic is one thing fascists understand. Appeals to reason will never reach them, because their belief system doesn’t have anything to do with reason. Liberals may not want to admit it, but no belief system is truly based on reason. Reason is a powerful tool for defending or questioning a belief if you choose to do so, but the real foundation of any belief is the primal emotions and core values of the person holding it. The deepest and most personal parts of the self are beyond the reach of argument. The language of the deep places is the language of myth.

We must not surrender the mythic to the fascist enemy. If we want to drive fascism back into the abyss and create a world of justice and equality, we must make the mythic a contested ground.

Tribal Fantasies

The fantasy tribalism of the Wolves of Vinland is empty at the core, based on an imaginary conception of what a tribe is by people who were not born into anything of the sort. The “tribalism” peddled by writers like Jack Donovan (a member of the Wolves of Vinland) is more similar to a Conan comic than any actual tribe, ancient or modern.

That doesn’t change how appealing it is to the men who fall for it, and the many others who feel the same deep sense of need. People want to have a tribe because they want to be part of something meaningful, something with mythic power, something they can give themselves to and be ennobled by.

The left used to understand something about how to create that kind of myth. Millions of people devoted their lives to communism, for better or worse. The lived for it, fought for it and died for it. They didn’t do that because they rationally agreed with a certain economic theory. They did it because the dream of creating a classless society was something big enough to give your life to. Millions of people fought for anarchism for the same reason – they wanted to be part of a heroic struggle to make a better world for human beings to live in, a world without hierarchy or fixed authority.

The dream of the fascists is not about creating a better world, but transforming the world into something even crueler than it already is. A world in which violence is fetishized and exalted while any form of perceived weakness is degraded and despised. A world in which the only thing that matters is whether you are an insider, because all outsiders are slaves or prey.

It may seem strange and horrifying that this appeals to anyone, but the truth is that it has proven to be as powerful an idea as anything the left has ever offered. It cannot be defeated by rational argument alone, and still less by smugness and sarcasm. Defeating this idea requires courage. It requires sacrifice. It requires heroism.

We need to meet esoteric fascism on the same ground it is attempting to claim, armed with a better and nobler myth, and defeat it there.

If pagan fascists have a warrior magic, we need a better one.

Warband Culture

Among the ancient Celtic cultures, most warriors fought on behalf of a particular tribe, or a clan faction within a particular tribe. As in several other Indo-European cultures, there were also warriors outside of any tribe or clan, warriors who lived in the deep forests and survived by hunting, raiding and banditry. These warriors were organized into small warbands, united by loyalties that were personal rather than tribal. If the Irish lore is an accurate guide, the warbands were often in conflict with the tribal kings.

Warbands of this type could also be hired as mercenaries. In Celtic Gaul they were known as Gaesatae, in Celtic Ireland as Fianna. Members of a Fianna warband were specifically not considered members of any clan or tribe, and were absolved from the ties and obligations of kinship while in the warband:

And there was no man taken into the Fianna until his tribe and his kindred would give securities for him, that even if they themselves were all killed he would not look for satisfaction for their death. But if he himself would harm others, that harm was not to be avenged on his people. (From the Finn Cycle)

Although there is an entire cycle of Irish legend based around the Fianna chief named Finn MacCumhail, there are also references to Fianna warbands in the older Ulster Cycle.

Fianna bands were among the last groups in Ireland to resist the conversion to Christianity, and the early Irish law codes associate them with the final remnants of the druids. In at least one case, a Fianna band is described as being led by a druid.

A small but tightly-knit band living outside the tribe and outside the law, close to nature and uncontrollable by any power structure. This sounds like the perfect model for a pagan anarchist affinity group…

The Fianna Ethos

The Fianna were defined by small autonomous bands. The standard size of a Fianna warband was 27 fighters, as seen in this passage from the Finn cycle:

AND the number of the Fianna of Ireland at that time was seven score and ten chief men, every one of them having three times nine fighting men under him.

The Fianna band of Cathbad the druid had 27 warriors, as did the band of Nessa the woman-warrior:

Conchobar was called from the name of his mother, mac Nessa. But her name in the beginning had been Assa, “docile “or” gentle,” and it was on this manner that it was changed to Niassa, “ungentle.” She was daughter of Eochaid Yellow-heel, king of Ulster, and by his desire she had been trained up by twelve tutors, to whom she was ever docile and full of teachableness. But in one night the entire number of her tutors fell by the hand of Cathbad the druid, who from the southern part of Ulster went on a raid through Thin with three times nine men. He was a man of knowledge and of druidical skill; moreover, he was endowed with great bodily strength. Now the girl had no knowledge who they were who bad slain her guardians, but from that moment she turned woman­warrior, and with her company set out to seek the author of the deed. In every district of Erin she destroyed and plundered, so that her name was changed to Niassa (Nessa) after that, because of the greatness of her prowess and of her valor. (From the Ulster Cycle)

The Fianna of legend were required to display personal integrity, generosity, and immovable courage:

And every man of them was bound to three things, to take no cattle by oppression, not to refuse any man, as to cattle or riches; no one of them to fall back before nine fighting men. (From the Finn Cycle)

Given that Fianna warbands lived by raiding and banditry as well as hunting, what does it mean to say “take no cattle by oppression”? In my opinion it can only mean that the raids of the Fianna should target those with cattle to spare, not those who are barely surviving. In other words, expropriation.

“Not to refuse any man, as to cattle or riches” refers to the extravagant generosity expected by the Celtic society of which the Fianna were a part. These outlaw warriors were oathbound to refuse nothing to anyone:

Finn never refused any man; he never put away any one that came to his house. If the brown leaves falling in the woods were gold, if the white waves were silver, Finn would have given away the whole of it.

There is no conception of “private property” here, no concept of wealth for its own sake. No honor is gained by keeping anything; honor can only be gained by giving everything away. The warband takes from those who have more than they need, and gives all of it away without a thought for the morning. Sounds sort of… communist, doesn’t it?

“No one of them to fall back before nine fighting men” may sound like a tall order, but I’ve seen it done. I’ve been in situations where a small group stood outnumbered and exposed, faced with a much larger opposing force… and held its ground. There is much to be said for the hit and run mentality, the mindset of living to fight another day, but there is also much to be said for standing firm and immovable in the right circumstances. Based on raiding as it was, the Fianna’s mode of warfare is most similar to that of the modern guerrilla, so my assumption is that this rule applied only in a situation where the Fianna had determined to stand their ground.

The Fianna warrior also lived by a martial creed, expressed in the triad “Truth in our hearts, strength in our arms, and fulfillment in our tongues.”

“Truth in our hearts” means exactly what it sounds like: integrity and honesty. “Strength in our arms” refers to physical strength, but also to skill with weapons. “Fulfillment in our tongues” means that a person’s actions should match their stated principles. So, this triad calls for the Fianna warrior to cultivate personal integrity, martial ability and accountability.

Mystery of the Deer

The Wolves of Vinland use initiation rituals to build a sense of spirituality, group identity and esprit de corps. Their mysteries are based on a mythos of elite yet predatory outsiders living outside of a corrupt society – a band of wolves.

The Fianna loved to fight and could even be bloodthirsty. As the lore says of Finn’s son Osgar:

A desire of the desires of Osgar was to listen to the striking of shields; to be hacking at bones in a battle, it is what he had a mind for always…

As warriors, the Fianna were expected to be ferocious:

If you were to search the world you would not find a harder man, best of blood, best in battle; no one got the upper hand of him.

However, the mysteries of the Fianna did not identify them with a wolf pack, but with a herd of deer – the same animals they hunted and ate. Finn and several other figures associated with the Fianna are named after the deer they hunted. Finn’s boyhood name of “Deimne” means “a young male deer.” His wife Sadhbh often changed into a doe. His son Oisin’s name means “fawn.”

This may very well have some connection to the Cernunnos panel on the Gundestrup cauldron, where the stag-headed god is surrounded by wild animals of various kinds. In any case, the mentality of the hunter identifying with the target of the hunt, rather than with a predatory animal, is strikingly different from a warband referring to its members as “wolves” or other predatory animals. (Some warbands in ancient Ireland did refer to themselves as “werewolves.” These may have been the diberg, an explicitly antisocial version of the Fianna. In other Indo-European societies warbands are often identified with wolves, and there is nothing inherently fascist about this symbolism.)

The initiation mysteries of the ancient Fianna also emphasized poetry and druidism. Finn, the greatest of the Fianna, sought wisdom from the sage Finneces at the Boyne river, the mystical source of poetic inspiration or Imbas. Identification with the hunted animal, love of poetry and mysticism, and fighting for the sheer joy of fighting. The Fianna were not predators but warrior-poets.

The initiation tests of the Fianna were severe indeed, beginning with the requirement to have a deep understanding of poetry and followed by an intense test of martial skills:

And there was no man taken into the Fianna till he knew the twelve books of poetry. And before any man was taken, he would be put into a deep hole in the ground up to his middle, and he having his shield and a hazel rod in his hand. And nine men would go the length of ten furrows from him and would cast their spears at him at the one time. And if he got a wound from one of them, he was not thought fit to join with the Fianna. And after that again, his hair would be fastened up, and he put to run through the woods of Ireland, and the Fianna following after him to try could they wound him, and only the length of a branch between themselves and himself when they started. And if they came up with him and wounded him, he was not let join them; or if his spears had trembled in his hand, or if a branch of a tree had undone the plaiting of his hair, or if he had cracked a dry stick under his foot, and he running. And they would not take him among them till he had made a leap over a stick the height of himself, and till he had stooped under one the height of his knee, and till he had taken a thorn out from his foot with his nail, and he running his fastest. But if he had done all these things, he was of Finn’s people.

Note how the martial skills being tested here emphasize defense – the warrior has to be impossible to hit, rather than adept at destroying others – and the ability to run and jump in near silence through the forests while being chased. This test puts the would-be Fianna in the role of a hunted deer, not a pursuing wolf. The paradox is that the initiated warrior then joins the hunters. The Fianna initiation ritual dramatizes a transformation, from the one who is chased to the one who chases, while retaining the ability to identify with the hunted.

Poetry of the Fianna

The poetry of the Fianna displays a deep love of and familiarity with the forests in which these warbands roamed. In later legends, Finn’s son Oisin, the “fawn,” made a voyage to Tir n an-Og, and returned several hundred years later to meet St. Patrick. This provided the storytellers with an opportunity to contrast the pagan lifestyle of the Fianna with the Christian ethos. In theory, all this material was written by Christians and for Christians, yet paganism is given a remarkably sympathetic treatment. The pagan love of nature and delight in physicality is contrasted with the Christian tendency toward self-hatred and disdain for the flesh, and it is often the pagan ethos that comes off better in these poems.

It is what Finn had a mind for, to be listening to the sound of Druim Dearg; to sleep at the stream of Ess Ruadh, to be hunting the deer of Gallimh of the bays…

 The call of Osgar going to the hunt; the voice of the hounds on the road of the Fianna, to be listening to them and to the poets, that was always his desire.

 The music that put Finn to his sleep was the cackling of the ducks from the lake of the Three Narrows; the scolding talk of the blackbird of Doire an Cairn, the bellowing of the ox from the Valley of the Berries.

 The whistle of the eagle from the Valley of Victories, or from the rough branches of the ridge by the stream; the grouse of the heather of Cruachan; the call of the otter of Druim-re-Coir.

 The song of the blackbird of Doire an Cairn indeed I never heard sweeter music, if I could be under its nest.

 My grief that I ever took baptism; it is little credit I got by it, being without food, without drink, doing fasting and praying.

“Sometimes Antisocial, Always Antifascist”

Imagine the lifestyle. Living in the forest with other fighters, hunting and listening to poetry and fighting fascism and capitalism, giving away anything that comes into your hands so that no one ever goes without. Uncontrollable by anyone, but bound by oath to resist oppression. If you can honestly tell me that doesn’t appeal to you, I can honestly tell you I will never understand you.

You may not be in a position to live that way. Obviously, most people won’t be. However, here are a few ideas for those who may be inspired to take this path.

A radical Fianna band could base its training activities broadly on the mythical description of the Fianna initiation test, including:

  • Games of defense in which one person has to fend off the attacks of several using a shield and stick.
  • Chasing games, in which one person has to escape several while running through the forest.
  • Obstacle courses involving jumping and crawling at speed.

In physical conflicts, martial skill is not always as important a factor as an immovable spirit. On the other hand, martial training tends to produce and encourage that spirit. So never neglect your training!

But don’t forget the poetry either. I would suggest that a day of hard training should always be followed by a night spent sharing poetry, stories and songs around the campfire, and that these stories and songs should exemplify the ethos of the Fianna:

Take nothing by oppression, refuse nothing to anyone in need, and hold your ground.

Show personal integrity, build martial ability and let your actions match your words.


Christopher Scott Thompson

CSTshortbeardBW

Christopher Scott Thompson is an anarcho-communist, martial arts instructor, devotee of Brighid and Macha, and a wandering exile roaming the earth. Photo by Tam Zech.


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Last of the Free, First of the Free

Calgacus

Calgacus speaking to the Caledonians. Public domain image from Wikipedia.

In the year 83 AD, the legions of the Roman Empire advanced into the mountains of Caledonia – what we would now call the Scottish Highlands. The warriors who came together to meet them in battle came from many different tribes, unified to some extent by their Celtic language but primarily by their mutual refusal to be conquered by Empire.

The Roman historian Tacitus, in his description of the battle, reports a stirring speech by the Caledonian chieftain Calgacus:

But there are no tribes beyond us, nothing indeed but waves and rocks, and the yet more terrible Romans, from whose oppression escape is vainly sought by obedience and submission. Robbers of the world, having by their universal plunder exhausted the land, they rifle the deep. If the enemy be rich, they are rapacious; if he be poor, they lust for dominion; neither the east nor the west has been able to satisfy them. Alone among men they covet with equal eagerness poverty and riches. To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a solitude and call it peace.

If this description seems eerily familiar, that’s because all empires are basically the same. Crime on a large enough scale to declare itself the law. Most people, then as now, would rather just live their lives and not have to deal with people depraved enough to want to rule and exploit everyone else. As Calgacus told his warriors, fighting back comes naturally to some and not to others, but “in war and battle, in which the brave find glory, even the coward will find safety”. When “obedience and submission” bring no peace, it’s safer to fight back than it is to submit – just as it is for us today with the return of fascism.

In other translations of the same speech, Calgacus refers to the Caledonians as “the last of the free” and describes the horror the Roman soldiers must have felt, surrounded by enemies in a remote wilderness:

Few in number, dismayed by their ignorance, looking around upon a sky, a sea, and forests which are all unfamiliar to them; hemmed in, as it were, and enmeshed, the Gods have delivered them into our hands.

According to the Romans, the Caledonians suffered a crushing defeat at Mons Graupius despite their confidence, but it must have been a curious sort of defeat, because the Caledonians remained the last of the free. Rather than advancing to conquer and administer Caledonia, the Romans withdrew to the south and later built fortified walls to keep the Caledonians out. Over time, the unconquered tribes to the north of the Roman walls became known as the Picts. These walls are the obvious inspiration for the massive wall in George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire, as the Caledonians and their successors the Picts are the obvious inspiration for Martin’s “Free Folk.”

The Picts were the Free Folk of ancient Scotland, defying the Romans for hundreds of years and surviving to pillage the declining empire. No one can say for sure who the Picts really were. They left behind so little – enigmatic stone carvings of strange animals and abstract shapes, bleak fortifications, a few place names that don’t seem to be of Gaelic origin but still seem to be Celtic.

I feel that I have a better sense now of who the Picts must have been, but the answer was not provided by any Celtic scholar. James C.Scott’s The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Southeast Asia has changed my entire understanding of Celtic history, of history in general, and of what the State really is. It has also changed my understanding of how we can liberate ourselves and our world.

Highlanders

The Zomia Highlands is a vast region of mountains in Southeast Asia, most of which was effectively outside the control of any state for the past two thousand or so years. Down in the valleys, among the rice farmers, states came and went as they always have. Up in the mountains, among the hill tribes, there were not only no states but often no concept of hierarchical leadership at all. Some tribes did have chiefs and elite family groups, but others did not. For instance, the Kumlao Kachin people refused to acknowledge the authority of any leaders, and had no chiefs even at the village level. The Lisu had village headmen, but granted them no coercive authority and told many stories about headmen who were murdered for telling other people what to do too often. The British colonial authorities found it so impossible to accept this state of affairs that they imposed “tribal chiefs” on peoples that had never had such a thing before.

The peoples of the valley states usually interpreted the hill tribes as barbaric or primitive, holdovers from an earlier stage of human development. Scott’s argument in The Art of Not Being Governed is that the hill tribes were not an earlier stage at all, but people who had deliberately rejected the state and placed themselves beyond the reach of its laws:

best understood as runaway, fugitive, maroon communities who have, over the course of two millennia, been fleeing the oppressions of state-making projects in the valleys — slavery, conscription, taxes, corvée labor, epidemics, and warfare. (Scott)

No pre-modern state could exist without concentrating huge numbers of people in the richest agricultural areas where they could be taxed, conscripted and controlled. They did so through slavery, through violence, and through the establishment of armies. Once this fact is understood, we can see even the earliest states for what they really were – organized criminal enterprises.

At the same time, no state could prevent people from running for the hills if they decided to do so. Like Martin’s “Free Folk,” the Zomia Highlanders were not throwbacks to a more primitive era but simply people who chose not to be governed.

Before the modern era, no state was powerful enough to assert its authority effectively in remote and mountainous areas. In the British Isles, the Scottish Highlanders were outside the control of central authority until 1745. In the Zomia Highlands, most of the tribes were outside the control of central authority until after World War II, and to some extent a few of them still are.

When the Roman Empire invaded Britain, anyone who didn’t want to be ruled by Rome could always just head north and keep on going. While the original Caledonians were probably just the people who already lived in the Scottish Highlands, there were probably huge numbers of refugees from the original conquest, from the failed uprising of Boudicca, from the civil war among the Brigantes. Escaped criminals, escaped slaves, people who didn’t want to be told what to do – the Last of the Free. I think the Picts came into existence as a maroon people, a mix of native Caledonians and Britons fleeing Roman oppression.

Multicultural Peoples

Ethnic homogeneity is supposed to be one of the defining characteristics of a “tribe,” at least when that word was still being used by reputable anthropologists. Many indigenous cultures are and have been largely homogenous, but there are some interesting exceptions to this in border regions.

Scott’s research found many exceptions to this rule among the Zomia Highlanders. Some villages in Zomia didn’t even have a single common language, with up to five different languages being spoke regularly in the same small town and some villagers unable to communicate with each other except through intermediaries. Colonial authorities found this baffling, because it was too much like a cosmopolitan neighborhood in a big European city, and not enough like their own stereotypes about “tribal peoples.” The typical bureaucratic response to this was to declare each village the territory of a particular tribe, assign a chief, and then interact with the chief as the legitimate local representative – essentially creating an ethnically homogenous hierarchical tribe where none had existed before.

Not only were the villages not always ethnically homogenous, the individual people weren’t either. Any individual hill person could often claim two or three different ethnic identities at once – including the ability to speak the languages, tell the stories and participate in the customs and ceremonies of all those identities.

This may sound bewildering, but the evidence suggests it was not uncommon in similar areas elsewhere in the world. For instance, something similar could be said of the people who lived on the border between Highland and Lowland Scotland before the 18th century, and about the Gaulish tribes near the Rhine before the Roman conquest who could claim either a Celtic or a German identity depending on circumstances.

The Gaulish example is also interesting for another reason. Just as some Zomia hill tribes allowed no chiefs and killed anyone who tried to claim the title, so did some of the Gaulish Celtic tribes. The resistance leader Vercingetorix was the son of a man who was executed by his tribe for seeking the kingship.

It’s not that the ancient Celts had no concept of hierarchy – like other Indo-European peoples, they clearly did – but at least some of the anti-authoritarian tendencies found among the Zomia peoples also manifested among some of the Celts, and some of the Celts showed the same tendency toward blurry ethnic boundaries and multiple simultaneous identities.

If real “tribal peoples” are not always homogenous and are not always hierarchical, the whole right-wing fantasy of tribalism simply falls apart. What is left is something much more interesting for us as anti-capitalist pagans – an example of how people have become free before and may yet do so again.

Apocalypse Soon

In 2016, The Intercept acquired a Pentagon training video used in a course at the US military’s elite Joint Special Operations University. The title of the video was “Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity,” and the theme of the video was that the cities of the near future will become so vast as to be effectively ungovernable. According to the video’s anonymous narrator:

Megacities are complex systems where people and structures are compressed together in ways that defy both our understanding of city planning and military doctrine… Even our counterinsurgency doctrine, honed in the cities of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, is inadequate to address the sheer scale of population in the future urban reality…

You read that right. Although the American military’s strategic planners seem to believe that these megacities will become “subterranean labyrinths,” (what a lovely, chthonic thought!) producing “sophisticated illicit economies and decentralized syndicates of crime” and divided up into autonomous neighborhoods with their “own social code and rule of law,” it does not propose to regain control over these future cities once control has been lost.

Why? Because it already knows there will be no way to do so. Other Army reports obtained by the Intercept make the same admission in even clearer terms:

the Army is currently unprepared. Although the Army has a long history of urban fighting, it has never dealt with an environment so complex and beyond the scope of its resources… U.S. Army is incapable of operating within the megacity…

Because the military knows that no one will be able to govern these massive cities, it does not propose to even try. Instead the goal will be containment – segregating the rich, affluent areas of the city under the rule of law from the vast slums of the now self-governing poor. Just as it was in the declining days of the Roman Empire, the Army’s job will be to maintain the frontier against the barbarians, not to attempt to reestablish control.

Is all of this merely a contingency plan, a possibility the Army wants to prepare for even though it probably won’t happen? Not according to the video:

This is the world of our future… It is one we are not prepared to effectively operate within and it is unavoidable.

Note the choice of language. They’re not even talking about trying to control these megacities, only to “operate within” them as one player among many. And they’re not even confident they can do that much.

As frightening as this scenario is, it is also an opportunity. There are no longer any large Highland areas in the original sense, only small remnants of what used to be vast ungovernable spaces. But the megacities of the future will become as impossible to govern as the Highlands once were. Some of these massive urban spaces will surely be divided into oppressive and violent patriarchal societies, warlord zones with no justice and little hope. But others may become Free Territories, liberated spaces where no one is allowed to rule. In fact, it’s already happening.

Liberated Zones

Viewed by many as “an evil den of anarchists and criminals living in a neighborhood that is beyond the law,” Exarcheia is an area of Athens into which the riot police enter only in force and always anticipate fierce resistance. The area’s tradition of resistance goes back at least as far as the Athens Polytechnic Uprising of 1973, which helped bring about the end of the Greek junta. In recent years, the neighborhood’s many militant anarchists have successfully radicalized the entire area, to the extent that any incursion by the police is likely to be resisted by an immediate neighborhood uprising.

The real Exarcheia is not an “evil den” but a liberated zone, a place where the rule of the State no longer applies. The result is not an apocalyptic wasteland, but a vibrant urban neighborhood:

home to students, immigrants, Greek families of different economic strata, restaurants, cafes, computer shops, used vinyl and CD shops, terrific guitar shops, used bookshops, boutiques, clubs, bars, anarchists, drug addicts, stray dogs and just about every kind of person, except cops. The police don’t really go to Exarchia except in extreme situations because for them just to enter the neighborhood creates trouble. So on many weekends in downtown Athens you will see police and soldiers stationed strategically on corners around Exarchia, not to keep people out, but to keep large groups of anarchists or troublemakers in. (Matt Barrett’s AthensGuide)

Some people argue against anarchism because they believe that only governments can provide effective social services. Exarcheia does have social problems, like any gritty working class neighborhood anywhere in the world. It also has free and low-cost medical clinics, pay-what-you-can-afford restaurants, and refugee housing. The anarchists have proven much more committed to creating a social safety net than the Greek government has.

Just as predicted by the Pentagon’s video, the Greek security services do not attempt to govern this liberated zone, but merely to contain it. Exarcheia only remains free because its inhabitants and ready and willing to fight for that freedom, and they do live under the constant and watchful eyes of armored riot police hovering just outside the liberated area. If Exarcheia was only one of thousands of such zones, how could any State even hope to contain them?

First of the Free

Just as the ancient Caledonians under Calgacus were the “last of the free,” the people of Exarcheia and similar liberated zones could be described as the “first of the free,” the first people who have begun to escape the rule of the State. This is what anarchists mean by revolution. Not an attempt to overthrow one government and replace it with another, but to liberate space from the rule of any government whatsoever. As the megacities grow and spread, and large areas drop out of the effective control of any government, the opportunities to create new liberated zones will only multiply. The opportunities to create pagan spaces will multiply too.

In the Zomia Highlands, rebellions against centralized authority usually took the form of religious movements. A revelation from a god or spirit was often the spark for a rebellion, destroying whatever elements of institutionalized hierarchy had managed to creep in. In The Art of Not Being Governed, Scott suggested that many of the existing ethnic groups in the Zomia Highlands may have begun as rebellious sects of this type.

Our gods and our dead have been speaking to many of us; sometimes with warnings and sometimes with urgent calls to action. As pagan radicals, we have seen the things we value most being used as weapons by our enemies. Many of the fascists now marching and killing on the streets of the United States identify as heathen, think of themselves as tribal warriors and base their entire selfhood on this set of lies.

We must drive them from the streets of our cities, but we must not stop there. We must also heed the words of our dead and our gods, by creating and defending new liberated spaces. We must work together in mutual aid and solidarity, to create a thousand and then ten thousand Exercheias.

We must become the first of the free.


Christopher Scott Thompson

cst-authorChristopher Scott Thompson became a pagan at age 12, inspired by books of mythology and the experience of homesteading in rural Maine. A devotee of the Celtic goddesses Brighid and Macha, Thompson has been active in the pagan and polytheist communities as an author, activist and founding member of Clann Bhride (The Children of Brighid). Thompson was active in Occupy Minnesota and is currently a member of the Workers’ Solidarity Alliance, an anarcho-syndicalist organization. He is also the founder of the Cateran Society, an organization that studies the historical martial art of the Highland broadsword.g


Christopher Scott Thompson is the author of Pagan Anarchism, available from Gods&Radicals Press. Order it here.