Economic Egregores: How Belief Drives the Power of Money and What We Can Do About It

“[S]ince it has become increasingly clear that stocks, and even money itself, is entirely based on a perception of value, which is by nature subjective and mutable, the only question becomes how that perception of value is influenced? And who is doing the influencing?”

From Sable Aradia

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Dollar Bills by Dawn Hudson. Courtesy Publicdomainimages.net.

A thoughtform is a semi-autonomous manifestation created when someone — or several someones — will it, or believe it, into being. As of that point, it is no longer entirely subject to the will of its creator(s), but in essence, acts and reacts in its own way. It has no physical reality as we understand it, but it has a virtual reality; it might as well be real because we engage with it as if it is. Which, in a sense, makes it real.

An egregore is a thoughtform that has been created by a group, and it influences the thoughts and actions of the group that engages with it. But it is also influenced by the thoughts and actions of these same people.

This is not a unique concept to the occult: William Gibson wrote about what he called “semiotic ghosts” in popular culture. To me, it was evident he was talking about egregores. I wrote an article about this recently at Between the Shadows.

The examples of a corporation and a meme are probably excellent ones for a modern reader. A corporation exists independently of its creators. The Board of Directors, the shareholders, and the employees who work for it, can change completely — leave, die, or be replaced — and yet the corporation continues.

In our modern age, money is also an egregore, and this is why it has no physical value (after all, money is no longer backed by a gold standard.) Its perceived value governs its real value on the world market. The two are effectively one and the same.

It’s extremely difficult for one person to significantly alter the nature of an egregore. A person who wants to will such a change would have to convince a majority of the other people who engage with the egregore that its nature has already changed. For example, these major brands either started their lives as Nazi corroborators, or developed significantly as corporations while doing so, but of course we no longer make these associations with them.

There was an excellent object lesson in the transformation of an egregore in the 1990s in Brazil. Plagued by runaway inflation, Brazil embraced a daring plan; they created a new currency to restore people’s faith in money. They called it the Unit of Real Value (Unidade real de valor)(1). And it was entirely fake. No bills or coins were ever printed. It was intended to absorb the effects of hyperinflation and was set at a fixed value of parity to the U.S. dollar.

Instead, people developed more confidence in the URV than in the cruzeiro real, which was the legal-tender Brazilian currency, and it replaced Brazil’s legal currency. Officially it was “extinguished” and replaced with a legal-tender currency called the real on July 1, 1994.

A semi-virtual currency exists in Canada in the form of Canadian Tire money. This is effectively Monopoly money that is given out by Canadian Tire as a reward for shopping at their stores. It’s a fraction of the value of what you bought; a very early loyalty program.

But many places in Canada began accepting Canadian Tire money as well as real money, because why not? Canadian Tire doesn’t really care where it came from, because at one point or another it came from their store, and you can still exchange it there for real goods.

Unfortunately Canadian Tire is now trying to force their clientele to go to a card system instead, citing a risk of criminal enterprises making use of their alternate currency as an excuse. I’m sure that’s a real threat: criminal enterprises profit enormously from the existence of shadow economies that don’t depend upon the whim of the World Bank. But then again, so would we.

One might also consider the bitcoin bubble. Bitcoin is an entirely virtual currency that has a certain perceived value; and it has that value because of that perception.

That’s not a new concept either. Stock values are also entirely influenced by perceived values. One of the flaws in our current economic system that is coming to a point of reckoning is that stock values can plummet, not because a company has lost money, but because it has not gained as much as people thought it would. Twitter and Facebook both recently bore a significant loss of stock value because their growth, falsely projected on false identities and bot accounts which political pressure has forced them to limit, was not as great as those false projections had assumed it would be.

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Insecurity Dollar Symbol by John Hain. Courtesy Publicdomainimages.net.

What this tells us is that any free market theory is fatally flawed. It is assumed in the study of free market economics that stock value changes based on information. Traders become aware of trends, new technology, expansions, etc. which will increase the income-making potential of a corporation.

But since it has become increasingly clear that stocks, and even money itself, is entirely based on a perception of value, which is by nature subjective and mutable, the only question becomes how that perception of value is influenced? And who is doing the influencing?

The question then becomes for the magician: how can we best utilize egregores? Can we make significant changes to the harmful effects of existing egregores, such as the value of currency and how it is determined?

Marx said that in order to address income inequality, workers must control the means of production. But he failed to visualize the development of technology and the value of virtual goods. How do you control the means of production when all the production is virtual?

I think the answer is that the common people must direct the egregores instead. Right now, we have been absorbed by the semiotic ghosts of futility, apathy, and the inequalities of capitalism. And Money has become a god in and of itself. To combat this, we must embrace new egregores, and helpful, older egregores, like the Enlightened Rebel and the Will of the People.

To change the perceived value of money, and who has it, we need to re-think what we’re basing that value on. Right now, the world thinks of money in terms of national currencies, so the perceived economic well-being of nations is what drives the world economy. This creates haves and have-nots by nature. It’s dependent on the idea that some nations have more economic value than others.

It’s also, in part, determined by corporations. The more big corporations a country is perceived to have, and the bigger their stock values, the more valuable their currency is perceived to be.

Canadian Tire money erodes that economy just a little bit, because it takes a small fraction of the value of currency out of the hands of governments and stock traders, and puts it into the hands of consumers. Still not great; still capitalism, but a more decentralized capitalism.

Bitcoin is an early attempt to rethink the way we value currency. It has established a currency value on information. Bits of data are what form the essential unit of a bitcoin. But the flaw of this approach is that those who control information can control the value of a bitcoin, which is why it has already achieved a speculation bubble that makes it completely unattainable for regular people.

Perhaps we should come back to Marx. Perhaps we should be basing the value of currency on labour-units. One hour of labour might equal one credit, which could buy one full meal. Think of how wealthy artists would be! Of course I can’t think of a way to track that which wouldn’t risk intense violations of privacy. No change of this nature would be quick or easy, and each would have its own drawbacks and unintended consequences that we would have to consider, and deal with.

The question for us is: what do we consider to be of real value? And what would we like the economy of the future to look like? Which egregores should we give power to?


  1. I think it’s worth noting just how difficult this reference was to find. I remembered hearing something on a YouTube video about this and I went searching for a reference to write this article. I typed “South American country that created an alternate currency” into Google. This yielded an article called “How Fake Money Saved Brazil,” which originally came from the NPR website. It’s referenced by a plethora of other blogs and articles, but you can’t get access to that article anymore; just a couple of forums where people sneer at the idea, despite the fact that it demonstrably worked. I finally found the name of the currency — “Unit of Real Value” — in a snippet from a site that might be an archive of the Wayback Machine from a site called Neatorama.com. I searched this on Google and finally found the Wikipedia entry, listed only under its Portuguese name. Now why was this so hard to find? The most benign answer I can come up with is racism. I suspect it’s a lot more complex.

Sable Aradia

I’m a Pagan and speculative fiction author, a professional blogger, and a musician. I’m proudly Canadian and proudly LGBTQ. My politics are decidedly left and if you ask for my opinion, expect an honest answer. I owned a dog, whom I still miss very much, and am still owned by a cat. I used to work part time at a bookstore and I love to read, especially about faith, philosophy, science, and sci-fi and fantasy.


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Urbancentrism

“For me, there is a social disease that, I do not know if it is identified by science as “official” but, I usually call URBANCENTRISM. It prevents people from seeing beyond the structure of large cities, as if there was a huge dome around the metropolis that prevents access to other places, or that transforms other places into utopias disconnected from reality which can be accessed only from time to time in dreams”

From InfoGuerra

English Translation here.

ITACIRA-12-JUL-FB-2

Urbanocentrismo

Pra quem nasceu e cresceu na metrópole é bem comum a convivência com uma gigantesca diversidade e interatividade entre culturas e com uma vasta disponibilidade de informação circulando das mais diversas formas, assim como a rápida transformação dos costumes, das tecnologias, das ruas…

Pra quem nasceu e cresceu, e que veio ou vive nos interiores em que a urbanização não é tão latente, tudo isso é muito mais difícil de ser acessado, conquistado e assimilado. É por isso que damos tanto valor à coisas que pra muitas pessoas parecem ser minúsculas ou ridículas e que pra nós são grandiosas. Para os meus antepassados, a contemplação é algo fundamental e a fugacidade, a velocidade com a qual as coisas se desmancham na metrópole, muitas vezes é aterrorizadora. A valorização do que é construído de forma lenta, mas “bem feita”, observando os mínimos detalhes é muito mais importante do que se entupir de mil tarefas e informações e não conseguir dar conta de tudo. O que inclusive é fonte de diversas doenças modernas.

Para as migrantes e para os migrantes que vêm de uma realidade pobre do interior, a discriminação contra seus costumes, sotaque, cor, vestimenta, pensamentos e práticas é uma ameaça constante. Mas como a maioria se arrisca na Babilônia sem ter respaldo de alguém que pode fortalecer quando o bicho pega, acabam aprendendo à gingar, à dissimular, à jogar com essas discriminações, se adaptando ao que a nova realidade pede. Muitas e muitos acabam abandonando seus costumes com o passar do tempo e recarregam suas antigas práticas ao se reencontrarem com outras e outros migrantes. Outras e outros carregam consigo a melancolia somada com a sensação de derrota por não conseguir retornar pra casa com a missão cumprida e com a conquista nas mãos. Muitas e muitos acabam indo morar nas ruas, por falta de assistência. Muitas e muitos morrem, assassinados por uma violência urbana ao qual não estão acostumadxs. Algumas e alguns conseguem alcançar lugares de prestígio e experimentar e compartilhar privilégios já com a meia idade chegando, depois de terem doado toda uma vida de sangue e suor e comprometido todas as suas economias em parcelamentos extensos que lá na frente se tornam as dívidas que, se não houver cuidado, levam à falência.

Sinceramente, eu não conheço nenhuma família que veio de onde eu vim e de outros interiores que conheci que não tenham um histórico de batalha e sobrevivência em condições extremas e mantenho um pensamento de revolta e combate contra a discriminação direcionada à essas pessoas que são invisibilizadas no cotidiano da metrópole.

Pra mim, existe uma doença social que eu não sei se é identificada pela ciência tida como “oficial”, mas que eu costumo chamar de URBANOCENTRISMO, que impede as pessoas de conseguirem enxergar para além da estrutura das grandes cidades, como se houvesse uma enorme redoma ao redor da metrópole que impedisse o acesso a outros lugares ou que transformasse os outros lugares em utopias desconectadas da realidade e que só podem ser acessadas de vez em quando nos sonhos. Sonhos estes que dão origem às máfias turísticas que fazem das paisagens dos interiores um produto de consumo acessível para quem tem muita grana. Sonhos estes que transformam as nascentes dos rios em poços de veneno e chorume despejado pelo agronegócio que abastece a metrópole. Sonhos estes que escravizam a mão de obra de meus manos que tão disputando uma diária de pouco mais de 30 conto no monopólio da banana que abastece a metrópole, fazendo serviço triplo: batendo veneno, cortando cachos maduros e transportando até os caminhões.

Eu sou migrante e também sofro com as sequelas causadas pelo urbanocentrismo. Uma vez um mano me disse que “o conhecimento é extremamente importante, mas nós precisamos ter cuidado pra não viajar demais nas idéias e esquecer de nossas raízes”. Infelizmente, de alguma forma, também sou infectado por esta doença. Mas não posso deixar que ela tome meu corpo e minha mente por completo. Pra isso preciso manter meus pés no chão, próximos às minhas raízes. Sempre em contato com quem também é migrante, com quem veio e com quem vive na mesma realidade da qual eu vim. E mais do que isso, observar, estudar e tentar compreender a estrutura de dominação que força minhas conterrâneas e conterrâneos à abandonarem seu local de origem. Observar, estudar e tentar compreender a história e a ancestralidade dos lugares e das pessoas que me ensinaram à caminhar e a lutar por minha vida.


ZAT Cinzenta

Editora/produtora independente e selo de divulgação/distribuição de material subterrâneo e libertário.


Translation

ITACIRA-12-JUL-FB-2

Urbancentrism

For those born and raised in the metropolis, it is very common to live with huge diversity and interaction between cultures, with vast availability of information circulating in the most diverse ways, as well as the rapid transformation of behaviors, technologies, streets…

For those born and raised, and who came or live in the inland where urbanization is not so latent, all of this is much more difficult to be accessed, conquered, and assimilated. That’s why we give so much value to things that to many people seem to be tiny or ridiculous; for us they are great. For my ancestors, contemplation is fundamental, and fugacity, the speed with which things break down in the metropolis, is often terrifying. Valuing what is built slowly but “well,” observing the smallest details is far more important than clogging up a thousand tasks and information and failing to account for everything. This is also the source of several modern diseases.

For migrants who come from poor conditions inland [into the city], discrimination against their customs, accent, color, dress, thoughts, and practices is a constant threat. But as most take a chance in Babylon without having the backing of someone for support when things get rough, they learn to dribble, to dissemble, to play with these discriminations, adapting to what the new reality demands. Many end up abandoning their customs over time and recharging their old practices by rejoining other migrants.

Others carry with them melancholy of defeat for not being able to return home with the mission accomplished, and the conquest in hand. Many end up living on the streets for lack of assistance. Many die, killed by urban violence to which they are not accustomed.

Some manage to reach places of prestige and experience, and share privileges with middle age already arriving, after having donated a whole life of blood and sweat, and having compromised all their earnings in extensive installments, that in the end become the debts, that, if not careful, lead to bankruptcy.

Honestly, I don’t know of any family that came from where I came from, or other cities inland, that do not have a history of battle and survival in extreme conditions, and I maintain a revolt and anti-discrimination thought directed at those people who are invisible in the metropolis.

For me, there is a social disease that, I do not know if it is identified by science as “official” but, I usually call Urbancentrism. It prevents people from seeing beyond the structure of large cities, as if there was a huge dome around the metropolis that prevents access to other places, or that transforms other places into utopias disconnected from reality which can be accessed only from time to time in dreams. These dreams give rise to the tourist mafias that make the landscapes of the inland an affordable product for those who have a lot of money. These dreams turn the rivers’ springs into poison and sludge wells dumped by the agribusiness that supplies the metropolis. These dreams enslave the workmanship of my hands, that compete for a little more than 10 bucks (30 reais) daily in the Banana Monopoly that supplies the metropolis, doing triple service: surviving poison, cutting ripe chunks, and transporting to the trucks.

I’m a migrant and I also suffer from the consequences caused by Urbancentrism. Once a buddy told me that “knowledge is extremely important, but we must be careful not to travel too much in ideas and forget our roots.” Unfortunately, somehow, I am also infected by this disease. But I can not let her take my body and my mind completely. For this I need to keep my feet on the ground, close to my roots. Always in contact with who is also a migrant, with whom they came and with whom they live in the same reality from which I came. And more than that, to observe, to study, and to try to understand the structure of domination that forces my countrymen and women to leave their place of origin. Observe, study and try to understand the history and ancestry of places and people who taught me to walk and fight for my life.


InfoGuerra


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Four Obscure Historical Figures

On public opinion manipulation tactics used by governmental institutions that make Imperialism and war feasible.

From Steve Varalyay

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Ask someone with a BA in history about any of the four figures below and they would likely draw a blank. High school grads? Forget it. Who are they? Edward Bernays, Ivy Lee, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and Hill & Knowlton. All have ties to the public relations (PR) industry and all have figured in some important events over the past century. The latter two are still operating today.

EDWARD BERNAYS. He is the most influential person in the field of PR. While his resume is long and impressive, two accomplishments are especially germane for this article.

Bernays began his career working on the Committee on Public Information/CPI, formed by President Woodrow Wilson shortly after his reelection. The CPI’s purpose was to convince a war-leery public to accept the US’ entrance into World War I. It used the most advanced technology of the day plus the “Four Minute Men”, an army of trained public speakers, to bombard the public about the atrocities committed by German soldiers. It worked. Six months later public opinion shifted and US troops were headed for France.

In 1954 United Fruit hired Bernays to essentially do what he did with the CPI decades earlier: shift public opinion in the US, a yeoman task considering UF had a worldwide reputation as a colonizer and exploiter.

Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz began fulfilling his campaign promise of land reform. He did this by using an eminent domain-like procedure to take UF’s fallow land and distribute among the nation’s many peasants. The company went to the Eisenhower Administration and complained, adding that Guatemala could also go Communist.

Bernays arranged for a series of all-expense paid cruises for influential journalists and editors, especially ones from the East and Midwest; the drinks were strong, the food was four-star and the weather was balmy. Once in Guatemala City the press contingent was taken on a tightly-conscripted tour, speaking to no one and seeing only UF-approved sites.

Success again! Upon return home all wrote that Guatemala was, indeed, in danger of going Communist. President Eisenhower greenlighted the CIA’s second coup in two years. And by early summer the Arbenz Administration was deposed.

IVY LEE. Lee became the founder of PR as we know it today when he bailed out the world’s first billionaire, John D. Rockefeller. In 1914 Colorado militiamen fired into the tents of striking miners, causing a fire that eventually claimed the lives of 20 women and children at Rockefeller’s Ludlow coal mine. His already sullied reputation sank even deeper with each new photo of the charred bodies. Desperate, he hired Lee to perform what is now referred to as “crisis management”.

Lee broke with conventional wisdom by cooperating with reporters rather than fighting with them. He allowed them access to certain parts of the mine. He granted them interviews with certain members of management. He provided them with “fact sheets”, though failing to disclose they were written by Rockefeller-owned dailies. And during the holiday season Lee took him into downtown Denver to dispense dimes to orphans—in the presence of many photographers.

In his waning years Rockefeller could travel about the state in relative safety. He would not have been able to do this without Lee’s efforts. Lee continued to work in PR for the next 20 years until it was discovered he was on IG Farben’s (Hitler’s) payroll and discredited.

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MANUFACTURERS/NAM. The Great Depression caught corporations off-guard. The NAM was the first to start fighting back after the passage of the Wagner Act (requiring management to bargain with unions) in 1935. It funded research on how to break strikes without reverting to violence, including the Remmington-Rand’s wildly successful Mohawk Valley Formula on how to demonize union leaders and radicals.

During WWII NAM operated beneath the radar screen, parlaying its profits into still more such research and cranking out unprecedented quantities of anti-union literature. After the war the public elected a Republican-controlled Congress which soon passed the Taft-Hartley Act, by far the most anti-union bill in US history.

HILL & KNOWLTON. This PR firm was founded during the Great Depression but came into its own in the early 1950s. The tobacco industry was reeling after scientific reports surfaced linking smoking and cancer. Hill-Knowlton’s first move was to blanket the nation with newspaper ads and a pamphlet entitled “Smoking without Fear”. Later it organized the Council for Tobacco Research, now known as a “front group”, an organization that purports to support a given cause while actually being controlled by some other interest. While the tobacco industry may have lost some of the many lawsuits filed against it, in the end it emerged from the crisis a lot better than it would have without HK.

In early 1991 the US was on the verge of invading Iraq. Shortly before Congress was to vote on giving President George HW Bush authorization a woman claiming to be a Kuwaiti nurse appeared. She tearfully testified that she had seen Iraqi soldiers take infants from their incubators and throw them on the cold floor to die. The next day Congress voted one short of unanimous to grant authorization of the invasion.

Reporters later uncovered evidence that the young woman was not a Kuwaiti nurse, rather the daughter of a Kuwaiti ambassador. Hill & Knowlton professionally coached her on how to give her testimony before Congress.

The public should know about these things as well as some of the basic methods of PR and news maniulation. The question is how to do it. Getting these four into high school history texts is out. Texas has banned Rosa Parks from its history textbooks. Banning or limiting the use of PR would result in a hopeless free speech fight.

The only possibility is for activists to become educators, speaking to adults at PTA, homeowners’ and renters’ meetings. Pulling a page out of Saul Allinsky’s playbook and make those in attendance part of the team. Some would help with the teaching. Others would host meetings or get involved with voter registration. Kids could play various roles.

Going to war. Invading other countries. Overthrowing democratically-elected governments. Union busting. We’re not talking trifles here. Doing nothing would be akin to giving up on democracy.


Steve Varalyay

Scanned from a Xerox Multifunction Printeronce covered labor and healthcare issues for Random Lengths, a progressive biweekly serving communities in the Los Angeles Harbor area. More recently he has written short historical fiction. His “Prohibition in the Harbor” won the grand prize in Easy Reader’s 2011 Writing Competition. He has a BA in Spanish and Minor in Labor Studies from California State University Dominguez Hills and lives in Torrance.


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Man Alone in a Mass Grave

‘Where we are now is a state of ruin. Ruins typify the geography of the world. And ruin is the apparent destination of History, God’s story for “Man”, as “Man” plunges into the Future’s abyss.”

From Julian Langer

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“And I saw the wild beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the one seated on the horse and against his army. And the wild beast was caught, and along with it the false prophet that performed in front of it the signs with which he misled those who received the mark of the wild beast and those who worship its image. While still alive, they both were hurled into the fiery lake that burns with sulfur.”

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

–Two quotes from The Book of Revelations

What greater symbol of manhood, manliness, “Man’s” strength, “Man’s” relevance, “Man’s” status in the world, “Man’s” authority, “Man’s” dominance, the awesome might of “Man’s” mighty cosmic cock, has there even been, than that of God? “Man” was made in God’s image and God signifies all power, all morality; God is the great, cosmic determiner. All is under God’s will and, as “Man” is made in God’s image, “Man’s” determination of how the world ought to be is within God’s image of what “Man” ought to construct, build, etc.

But as we stand in the aftermath of The Enlightenment, in the continuing Scientific and Industrial-Technological Revolutions, and the nihilism that has been found within the spaces between the great icons of the Leviathan, it feels reasonable to embrace the famed Nietzschean adage of “God is dead”.

With God being dead, we also find that “Man” has been slain in the process, with his mighty cosmic phallus decaying over the past couple centuries. The monarchies, churches and most other institutions that upheld “Man’s” image in God’s eyes have largely succumbed to ruin. In their place, “Man” has built great houses of Republicanism, laboratories and expanded the dominion over the earth promised to “Man” by God, through expansion of its roads, cities and national boundaries; through erecting great architectural monuments in the form of skyscrapers, in an apparent attempt to build a Neo-Tower of Babel to re-join God in heaven (or will that be through the great space elevator?); and through territorialising the entirety of the body of the earth under the singular locality of Production and Markets. This has all been done within the narrative of the myth of “Man’s” manifest destiny, as an attempt to regain “Man’s” Godliness.

What this has led us to is ruin and Death. Where we are now is a state of ruin. Ruins typify the geography of the world. And ruin is the apparent destination of History, God’s story for “Man”, as “Man” plunges into the Future’s abyss.

Can we honestly deny this? The weather over the past few years is an obvious sign of the ruin “Man” has created, as it makes ruins of the Reality “Man” has constructed. The evident collapsing of this culture is apparent within the escalating warfare between differing nations, in a dance whose choreography seems to originate through events in Europe and the world-made-European within the 15th century.

This dance, in the early days of the Scientific Revolution, as God’s face started looking old and tired to “Man”, followed from event the Dark/Middle Age of European History (in a Derridean sense, this is a sequence of différance that will likely never become whole, but … whatever). It manifested the colonialism we are abundantly aware of, as we find ourselves caged within History, through the centuries and into the early 20th century. Following the mighty cosmic cockiness of “Man”, manifested through the Technological-Industrial Revolution, the ruination of “Man’s” manifest destiny started tipping into the abyss of the Future we see as the manifest-geography “Man” has created. And out of this two World Wars, the Cold War and wars between the Euro-American “world” and the Communist and Islamist “worlds”, as this singular locality of “Man” made God through the Leviathan consumes itself, in an act of self-cannibalisation.

And we arrive at ruin. The ruin of the environment. The ruin of the Leviathan and the Reality “Man” has constructed, its buildings and markets, its roads and politics. Will God return reborn, like the bible preaches, to wipe away Man’s tears? I doubt it!

“There I saw a woman riding upon a scarlet animal, covered with blasphemous titles and having seven heads and ten horns. The woman herself was dressed in purple and scarlet, glittering with gold, jewels and pearls. In her hand she held a golden cup full of the earth’s filthiness and her own foul impurity. On her forehead is written a name with a secret meaning—BABYLON THE GREAT, MOTHER OF ALL HARLOTS AND OF THE EARTH’S ABOMINATIONS.”

–Another quote from the Book of Revelations

Within this narrative of the death of God and “Man” as an image of God, we’ve seen, in many ways, the image of Woman rise up, liberated, taking the mighty cosmic cock of “Man” and flinging it to the floor. And, while this might have been made part of the myths of History, the Leviathan, with Woman’s liberation being-made politicised and many technological phallus being made to replace “Man’s” fleshier one (some vibrating, others not), this has, in many ways, left Man’s image in ruins. (This is not to deny the manifestation of patriarchy in our present situation, but to simply acknowledge the effects of the forms of liberation that have been attained, in whatever ways they may be.)

But Woman’s liberation, in all the senses that entails, has not just led to the obvious resurgences of “Man’s” grasping for his mighty cosmic Godly wang, as the alt-right, populism and Trump-style politics attempts to masturbate all over the world (even through artificial virtual cocks, like Twitter and 4chan – cocks which don’t vibrate). No, there exists far more subtle ways of “Man” trying to retain his wang, as History nose-dives into ruin. They might often do it under the guise of being allies to Woman’s liberation and enemies of God, in the name of Secularism and Humanism. They virtually always retain their (virtual) allegiance (subservience) to History(/God/the Leviathan/the mighty cosmic cock of “Man” that was revealed, within the myths of civilisation, at the dawn of agriculture).

In the ruin that “Man” has constructed, through “Man” constructing the Reality of the Leviathan, “Man” has subsequently hidden himself away from the world through virtuality, alienating himself further from the immediacy of his flesh and the Living Real, in technological inauthenticity. And within this virtuality, this artificial cosmic wang for man to masturbate with (which does not vibrate), “Man” has attempted to erect himself as the image of History’s salvation, through the revolutionary icon of the Left.

Through this icon of Leftism, “Man” erects, “Man” attempts to save the world from ruin. We see this every day, through endless hashtags, callouts and social media campaigns. “Man” (predominantly white “Man”, the great writers of History, within colonialism’s racist narrative) will save Woman from his own fist (as he saves the world from the racists who uphold his image). These men of the Leftist image of “Man” claim this constructed Reality History has made as their own, their capital for them to have dominion over, for them to police and to condemn those who defy their image of how History ought to be.

No names will be stated here – this is no call out. These men of “Man” know who they are. We see them try to erect themselves as icons of the Leviathan and we know who they are. They are no-one. They are no-thing. They are constructions of the machine, symbolic phalluses. So their names shan’t be stated here.

These men find themselves alone, alienated from their flesh and the Real, caged by the Reality constructed by History, the Reality of a mass grave.

“God is engaged in three kinds of activity: creation, preservation and destruction. Death is inevitable. All will be destroyed at the time of dissolution. Nothing will remain. At that time the Divine Mother will gather up the seeds for the future creation, even as the elderly mistress of the house keeps in her hotchpotch-pot little bags of cucumber seeds, ‘sea-foam’, blue pills, and other miscellaneous things. The Divine Mother will take her seeds out again at the time of the new creation.”

–Ramakrishna

“She was a normal wild beast, whose power is dangerous, whose anger can kill, they had said. Be more careful of her, they advised. Allow her less excitement. Perhaps let her exercise more. She understood none of this. She understood only the look of fear in her keeper’s eyes. And now she paces. Paces as if she were angry, as if she were on the edge of frenzy. The spectators imagine she is going through the movements of the hunt, or that she is readying her body for survival. But she knows no life outside the garden. She has no notion of anger over what she could have been, or might be. No idea of rebellion.It is only her body that knows of these things, moving her, daily, hourly, back and forth, back and forth, before the bars of her cage.”

–Susan Griffin

In the eyes of God, though many of God’s worshippers of a more liberal disposition will seek to deny this, Woman signifies unrepressed wild animality. Eve takes the apple from the tree, ignoring the will of God, the will of the machine, the will of the Leviathan. Delilah cuts the hair of God’s servant Samson, in an act of betrayal towards the will of God. Jezebel doesn’t worship God who burns the body of bulls to prove his might, consuming the sacrifice instantly, but worships Baal, a god who, myths appear to reveal, didn’t want to consume the bodies of living beings in reverence of their own image (for authenticity’s sake I feel to acknowledge here that I am non-theistic in my belief systems (sympathetic to panpsychist/hylozoic metaphysics) so don’t actually believe in the existence of any gods).

Woman represents, in this way, the creative-destructive Mother Earthly energies of wild-Being.

And here we arrive at the crux of what I have intended to convey here. I suggest that we do not follow these men who uphold the image of “Man” and History, sacrificing Woman upon its alter, in their pursuit of the dominion over the earth granted to them by God. I suggest that we embrace the wild-feminine, rather than the sacred-feminine. This embrace of wild-feminine is the embrace of our bare naked flesh; our honest, impulsive, unrepressed, authentic desires; the animal creative-nothing of wild-Being.

I am not intending within the term wild-feminine to signify something inherently engendered or sexualised. Rather, as the Reality of civilisation the Leviathan of Man has attempted to construct is manifested through the phallus of “Mans” mighty cosmic phallus, I am intending to signify that which this Reality attempts to dominate, repress and domesticate.

Let us leave “Man” alone with his followers in their mass grave of ruins. We will embrace the Living world of creative-destruction, the wild-feminine that gives Life birth.


Julian Langer

Writer of Feral Consciousness: Deconstruction of the Modern Myth and Return to the Woods, blogger at Eco-Revolt, and has been published on a number of other sites. Eco-anarchist and guerilla ontologist philosopher. Lover of woods, deer, badgers and other wild Beings. Musician and activist.


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The Establishment’s Mistake: Ignoring the Youth Vote

If you’ve been paying attention, election results aren’t turning out the way that the pollsters and the pundits expected them to in four of the most high-profile recent elections in Western democratic countries.

In the highly contentious 2015 Canadian federal election, at the beginning of the campaign it looked as though people were angry enough that they were ready to oust the Conservative government under Stephen Harper that had reigned for a decade, but the NDP was clearly the front runner.  By the beginning of August, Maclean’s Magazine, a middle-right leaning magazine that is highly respected in Canada for its analysis of business and politics, said it was anybody’s game.  And of course, at the last minute, what actually happened was that the Liberal Party under Justin Trudeau swept in to claim the victory.

In the 2016 United States Presidential election, it was clear to everyone that Hillary Clinton was going to win, and by a landslide.  Of course, though she did win the popular vote, that’s not what actually happened.

Most pundits were refusing to call the 2017 French election.  But of course most of the world breathed a sigh of relief when Emmanuel Macron beat far-right Front National leader Marine LePen.

And in Britain just this past month, Elizabeth May and the Conservative Party of the UK called a snap election, smugly confident that this would result in the vast majority needed to give them a free hand in Brexit negotiations.  But it didn’t turn out that way.  The Labour Party under democratic socialist Jeremy Corbyn showed so well that they stole the Conservative majority, endangering their control of government to the point that they had to make a devil’s bargain to keep power, and most pundits treated it like a victory for Corbyn, rather than May’s defeat.  This, despite the fact that the Conservatives won their highest vote share since 1983, rivaling their results under the Iron Lady, and despite sabotage within Corbyn’s own party from people who thought he was running too far to the left.

So what gives?  How could these expert opinions have been so wildly inaccurate?

I believe it comes from an Establishment tradition of underestimating the youth vote.  This has been exacerbated in recent years by the difficulty of polling young people, who do not participate in traditional models like phone polls, and whose voices on social media are being drowned by fake accounts and internet bots.  But in part, it’s deliberate.

It is not in the Establishment’s interests for the youth to vote.  They engage in a policy of denigrating the importance of the youth in election results.  They project the impression, furthered by the media, that the youth do not care about politics, and their vote won’t matter anyway because they’re so outnumbered by other demographics.  Conservative and right-wing parties, knowing that they don’t do as well when more people show up to vote, institute policies when they’re in power that make it more difficult to register, such as requiring ID under the pretense of “voter fraud,” something that is more difficult for young and poor people to acquire.

This policy is threatening them at the polls.  Galvanized by consistent policies that our youth rightfully see as contrary to their values and destructive of their future, there is a huge movement in today’s youth to be more politically involved.  If the system is the only way to change the future, they will engage, and when they do, sh*t gets real.

The voter turnout at the Canadian 2015 election was the highest in 2 decades.  New voters and the youth demographic were considerably more involved than in previous years.  And they were overwhelmingly behind Justin Trudeau.  Some cynically claim it was because of the Liberal position on legalizing cannabis (and there may be some truth in that); others think maybe it was just that Trudeau was the youngest of the candidates; still others believe it was genuinely because the Liberal Party made an effort to engage young voters.  Whatever the reason, it worked.

In the UK general election a massive surge of young voters almost turned the tide completely in the Labour Party’s favour.  More than a million new voters registered in the month that Ms. May and the Conservatives allowed before the UK election.  The youth turnout was the highest in 25 years, according to the statistics, and they were mostly behind the Labour Party and its socialist platform.

On the other hand, in some places, youth engagement and this policy of ignoring the youth vote seemed to benefit the New Right more than the left.  Early polls suggested that almost half of France’s youth vote supported LePen and the Front National (though later this was amended to 34% of the youth vote, just a little more than her typical support level across the voting spectrum.)  And of course the American election remains a tangled, ugly mess, vote tampering from outside forces aside.  But it’s clear that one of the factors that influenced that election was that the youth supported Bernie Sanders, felt he was cheated of the Democratic nomination, and decided to cast their votes on third parties or on no one instead.

Speculation runs rampant among political pundits as to why the youth supported one candidate or party or another.  Some say that the parties who engaged the most with social media did better among the youth than those who did not.  If you discount the fact that Trump may have won because the millennials opted out of Clinton, this would seem consistent.  And this could also be confusing cause with effect.  Young people drive social media, so more young people are going to be engaged by definition.

Others disparagingly observe that “populists” are doing better among younger voters.  I think this is an oversimplification.  The truth is that young people are angry.  They know that not only is the existing system not working, it is rigged against them and is selling away their futures.  They have no loyalty to their companies because they know their companies have no loyalty to them; and I think the same holds true in politics.

But does that mean they will jump on any populist parade that comes along?  I don’t think so.  The election results in the US tell us that.  When given the best of bad options, they’ll choose not to choose, and without the youth to help contest them, that allowed the core right wing supporters to take the victory.

The political wisdom suggests that middle-centrists are the best the left can do in a popular vote.  But remember, the political pundits are paid mostly by multi-million dollar media corporations, who are clearly invested in the Establishment, corporate interest.  Left-wing policies cut into their profit margin.

When given the option, young voters choose the candidate they perceive as being the most Progressive, as evidenced in the Canadian and UK federal elections.  They want change, and they overwhelmingly vote in a way that suggests that they value progressive change.

So, what can the Establishment do to win over young voters, which is becoming a more and more significant demographic with every passing year, as slowly the Baby Boomers fade into the sunset?  They can run on more Progressive, left-wing platforms, and then do the things they’ve promised when they get elected.

And if you’re a young voter reading this, and you’ve been feeling despair, I hope if nothing else this shows you that the path to victory is to get involved in the process at a grassroots level.  Primary your Senators, register to vote, join movements like #Resist.  Because you are a far more powerful force than you know, and our hopes for the future rest upon you.

 

Capitalist Extortion in the Pagan Community

“Whatever the agenda of the extortionist, their victims are left with little to no choice: become an unwilling party to unethical, harmful conduct or try to opt out of the system entirely.”

Cultural and political commentary, from John Halstead


 

Twice in the past month, capitalists have tried to extort my silence.

That sounds dramatic.  But it’s what happened.

Corporate Extortion

The first time, it was a media corporation, BN Media, which recently took over the blogging platform, Patheos, where I used to write.  BN Media/Patheos has been withholding an electronic backup of my writing (almost 1000 posts) for several months now without explanation.  They recently let it leak that the reason for the delay was that the corporation was trying to keep me from writing negative things about them.  My writing was being held hostage, and the price of its ransom was my silence.  (That’s what prompted my recent snarky “Help Wanted: Patheos Pagan Writers” post.  Suffice it to say, I don’t respond well to coercion.)

BN Media’s attempt to shake me down was not surprising, considering how they had already attempted to extort all of the Patheos writers.  When BN Media acquired Patheos, they stepped into the corporate shoes of Patheos’ prior owners.  Writers who had formerly contracted with someone else now found themselves in an involuntary contractual relationship with an evangelical organization with a history of censorship and which had previously chased Pagans out of the Beliefnet platform.  BN Media then unilaterally rewrote the contract with the Patheos writers significantly expanding the editorial control and restricting writers’ freedom of expression.  Patheos Pagan writers now had the choice to abandon their exiting writing to BN Media or sign a contract which would give BN Media even more control over their writing.  When Pat Mosley and myself raised the alarm and attempted to build some solidarity among the Pagan Patheos writers, BN Media made an example of and summarily terminated us (which is how corporations often treat labor organizers).

Perhaps even more disturbing than the actions of BN Media were the excuses offered by the Patheos management.  The actions of the corporation were defended in terms of the profit motive (“They have to make money.”), without any regard to the people impacted–neither the Patheos writers, many of whom were unwittingly signing away control of their writing to a for-profit corporation for minimal benefit, nor the people who continue to be harmed by the anti-LGBT propaganda purveyed by BN Media’s affiliates.

This, I was told by Patheos management, was “standard in the industry.”   Indeed, it is.  And yet, why that should be any excuse for unethical behavior confounds me.  Bad behavior is bad behavior, no matter how “standard” it might be.  But I’m beginning to realize that the key word in the phrase “standard in the industry” may not be “standard”, but “industry.”  In a capitalist world, the profit motive covers a multitude of sins.

Small-Time Capitalist Extortion

The second time a capitalist tried to extort my silence this month, it was a troll who owns a couple of occult bookstores (which he calls an “empire”) and courts the worst kind of publicity for the Pagan community.  This troll was upset that I would be presenting at a Pagan Pride Day event in his region.  (Apparently, among other things, he doesn’t like my anti-capitalist views.)  He made various threats, from the vague-but-ominous (“watch yourself at that event”) to the ridiculously specific (threatening to set up an anonymous domain in the Bahamas and a website in Iceland and then publish that I molest children).

Even more disturbing than his attempts to directly extort me were his threats to harass, and even fire, his own employee, who was organizing the Pagan Pride event. This troll person unselfconsciously describes himself as “someone who not only knows how to use capitalism, but also has plenty of capital” and routinely threatens to use his capital (which I suspect is less sizeable than he likes to claim) to harass and bully those he disagrees with. I was only the most recent of his targets.

When overt threats didn’t work on me, he resorted to disingenuous appeals to my sympathy for his employees, arguing that “attacks” on him would hurt the people who work for him, like the aforementioned Pagan organizers. (Later he contradicting himself by saying that any press, good or bad, helped his business.) We’ve seen similar logic many times in the past decade, as heads of corporations escape punishment for their unethical behavior because they employ so many people.  A parallel argument was used to justify bailing out corporations which were deemed “too big to fail.”

My troll even threatened to “hire an army of gutter punks” to protest me at the event.  I admit, I had to look up what a “gutter punk” was.  Apparently it refers to a homeless or transient person who displays characteristics of the punk subculture.  So, add to the list exploiting homeless and transient people, as well as abusing the First Amendment.  (I’m not saying doesn’t have the right to hire whomever he could to stage a fake protest, but having the right to do something and doing the right thing are not the same.)

Not surprisingly, my troll also defended the management of Patheos.

Part of a Larger System

In some ways, my two would-be extortionists could not be more different.  One is a large media conglomerate that funds evangelical hate groups.  The other is a petty troll who has delusions of capitalist grandeur.  But in another way, they are two of a piece.  Both are capitalists, meaning they have accumulated capital by exploiting the work of others.  Both believe that their capital earns them the right to a louder voice than those with less.  And both attempt to use their capital to extort silence from those they disagree with.

And they are not alone.  Consider the similarity between my troll, who threatened to fire his employee if I was allowed to speak at a Pagan event she was organizing, and General Motors and Chrysler, which threaten to move their business overseas unless the American taxpayers continue to subsidize their unsustainable business practices.  Both attempt to manipulate our sympathies for the victims of their capitalist exploitation, while expecting us to take that exploitation for granted.

Or consider the similarity between BN Media and the Big Banks, like JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citibank, which were bailed out by taxpayers in 2008.  BN Media held the writing of the Patheos bloggers hostage in order to coerce their agreement to a new contract which would give BN Media even more power, while at the same time sponsoring anti-LGBT groups.  The Big Banks hold the world economy hostage in order to coerce bailouts and deregulation, while at the same time funding the Dakota Access Pipeline.

It’s a difference of scale, but not of method.  And the end result in both cases is that their victims become complicit in their own subjugation and the subjugation of others.

“Capitalist Extortion” is Redundant

I think this reveals something about the inherent relationship between capitalism and extortion.  I say this as a capitalist myself.  I am the part-owner of a business that employs other people who are not owners.  That we business owners exploit the labor our employees is evident by the discrepancy between our salaries and those of our employees.  And there is a kind of extortion going on there, which arises out of the unequal bargaining power between the employer and the employees, caused by a surplus of labor, the lack of a social safety net, the weakening or absence of collective bargaining organizations, and so on.  This is where the concept of “wage slavery” comes from.

But some capitalists take this extortion even further.  For them, it’s not sufficient to exploit the labor of employees.  They also have an agenda to advance–whether political or personal–and they use their capital to extort our complicity with that agenda.  For the Big Banks, that agenda is neoliberalism, with its attendant policies of deregulation and globalization (so that capital and corporations may cross nationals borders freely even while people cannot).  For my troll, the agenda was the promotion of his own cult of personality–the less said about which the better (even negative attention feeds the monster).  For BN Media, the agenda is an evangelical one, part of which involves channeling of charitable contributions to hate groups like Focus on the Family, Promise Keepers, and the American Center of Law and Justice, which promotes the criminalization of homosexuality.

Whatever the agenda of the extortionist, their victims are left with little to no choice: become an unwilling party to unethical, harmful conduct or try to opt out of the system entirely.  The latter path is being forged here at Gods & Radicals.

What I have realized through all of this is that this kind of extortionist behavior is not aberrant–it’s a feature of a capitalist system.  Obviously, not all capitalists will resort to such obvious shakedown methods as BN Media and my troll did, but there are no inherent checks to prevent it when they do.  After all, it’s “standard in the industry.”  It even finds its way even into our religious lives, at interfaith blogging platforms and at Pagan Pride events, for example. We can condemn extortionist behavior, but its not a problem of a few bad apples.  We need to get to the root of the problem–the inherently extortionist nature of capitalism.  Until we do, extortion will be an unavoidable part of our lives–and our Paganism.


John Halstead

halsteadJohn Halstead is a Pagan activist and blogger.  In addition to his writing here at Gods & Radicals, at Huffington Post, and on his personal blog, AllergicPagan.com, John is a environmental and anti-racist activist.  He is one of the founding members of 350 Indiana-Calumet, which works for a just transition from fossil fuels to a renewable energy economy in Northwest Indiana, where frontline communities of color are facing the disproportionate impacts of industrial polution. John was also the principal facilitator of “A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment” (ecopagan.com), which has collected over 9,000 signatures from 90 countries, and has been translated into 16 languages. It represents the most successful effort to date to harmonize the diverse voices of the Pagan community in defense of the Earth.


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Ash, Oak and Thorn: Clarification on the Death of British Paganism

The crisis of Paganism is directly tied to Capitalism

Cultural and religious analysis, from Jonathan Woolley


Ash die-back

Last month, I wrote an article in which I argued that the British Pagan Movement was dying. I was pleased to see it provoked(1) quite(2) a bit of(3) interest(4). As I expected, some people agreed with what I had to say, while others did not. Whenever you broach a controversial topic – and my article most certainly did so – there will always be some measure of disagreement. So before I move forward and offer some solutions to the problem as I see it, I thought it might be worthwhile to make some points of clarification.

This is what I shall attempt to do below; by means of a naturalistic metaphor. Much of my academic research has been concerned by exploring the ways in which the human and non-human worlds affect one another; how the forces of belief, profit, and bureaucracy percolate out through the landscape, and create patterns in the land and its people that closely mirror one another. Although I agreed with much of what John Beckett had to say in his response to my article*, what I found rather iffy about it was his use of evolution as a way of thinking about the development of religious communities. Using evolution as a model for understanding the spread or decline of human societies has a long and rather dubious history in anthropology, and contemporary social science has generally left metaphors of this particular kind behind.

While I still think nature can be – to use Levi-Strauss’ famous phrase – “good to think with” regarding social relations, I’d deploy it in a rather different way to John. So I thought I might demonstrate this, here, before I move on.

It will show, I hope, three things. One, it will help us appreciate what kinds of social groups I am talking about – in short, what I mean by “The British Pagan Movement.” Two, it will help us understand what “death” means here; what conclusions the evidence supports, and what conclusions it does not. Three, it will help us to understand why this process is inextricably bound-up with global flows of capital.

Clarification 1) Primroses

pagan things are not (necessarily) Paganism

There is a little wood, not far from where I live, that is mostly ash trees. As of this moment, the place is in a state much like many other ancient woodlands in the UK, managed for conservation; the branches are alive with birdsong, the forest floor is covered with a carpet of bluebells, primroses and lush spring grass. New life is flourishing everywhere you look. But if you look up, you see that a good number of the trees have brown lesions on their bark, and that last year’s withered leaf stalks are still clinging to their branches. Many of the older saplings are dead. Signs on the gate posts at the entry to the wood warn you – the whole place is suffering from Chalara, or Ash dieback. This fungus has already hit 90% of Denmark’s ash trees, and it is now spreading rapidly across the British Isles. Although mature trees can survive with an infection for many years, it decimates saplings, preventing the ash population from regenerating.

But remember – we are at the height of spring, and the forest is green, and many of the older trees will still put out leaves this year. So the majority of human visitors might imagine – even those who know the wood well – that there is no problem; hence the need for signs. But unless a solution is found, Britain’s glorious ash woods will die out. This does not mean the end of woodlands in general, nor does Chalara affect all plant species that live in ash woods – many of whom can and do thrive in woods of other sorts of trees. But if the ash trees all die out, then the woodlands defined by them will likewise disappear.

My previous article on Gods and Radicals made a similar diagnosis regarding British Paganism. I observed that – like the ebullient undergrowth in my ash woodland – the level of interest in “pagan” (note the small p) things is flourishing like never before. We’ve just celebrated May Day here in England, and there have been festivities up and down the country of a decidedly “pagan” feel. Despite many of these traditions have deep roots, I cannot remember them being celebrated so widely, or being publicised so much in the media.

I myself spent May Morning in Oxford with some friends, and 27,000 other people, who listened to the choir of Magdalene College sing to the rising sun, before a blessing was called out upon the Earth, our Mother, and the flourishing of the verdure for which the English springtime is famed. As the bells rang in the day, and Morris Men and other folk dancers jangled their way down across the Radcliffe Camera, the people of Oxford spread out to pubs and cafes – open especially early for that Morning – to toast the summer. And although there were initiated Pagans like myself present, by far and away the majority of those out on May Morning were not. The blessing was called out by an Anglican vicar, after all, and the choir were singing Hymnus Eucharisticus, a 500 year-old hymn about the Incarnation of Christ.

Events and activities of this kind, though undoubtedly “pagan” in a sense, should not be conflated with the Pagan Movement in Britain – which, as I stated in my original article, is a network of historically-related initiatory traditions, membership organisations, mailing lists, moots, and shops, all built around a genre of spiritual books, published from the late 19th to the present-day. This retail and voluntary framework supports a group of small religions and mystery schools that have grown dramatically in size during the 1980s and 1990s.

In the comments, a number of people suggested that because interest in pagan things like May Morning were doing so well the Pagan Movement itself must be flourishing. This reveals a common tendency  within both the advocacy and the study of Paganisms to claim pagan groups, ideas, and customs as part of the Pagan Movement, in a way that bolsters the Movement’s perceived size. An extreme version of this approach is represented in Michael York’s Pagan Theology, where he argues that indigenous religions, Hinduism, Shinto, African Traditional and Diasporic Religions, and Chinese Traditional Religions should all be reclassified as Pagan. This view has been heavily criticised for being a wild oversimplification of theological and ritual diversity in the traditions concerned, and for appropriating the independent philosophies of people of colour for confessional ends – despite the fact that followers in those philosophies would certainly reject the “Pagan” label.

I suggest we see a similar mistake being made when cultural events like May Morning, or the Stonehenge gathering at the Solstice, are treated as evidence for initiatory Pagan traditions themselves being in fine fettle. True, small-p paganism might encourage some people to seek out deeper mysteries, but I see little evidence that supports the view that the former necessarily leads to the latter in all cases. To dismiss the prospect of a gradual decline in popularity of initiatory Pagan groups or membership associations in Britain out of hand, simply because of the popularity of “pagan” cultural themes in Britain today is a bit like saying the ash trees can’t be dying from Chalara, because the primroses are doing awfully well.

Clarification 2) Saplings:

A lack of young people, and a lack of volunteerism are the problems; not an immediate collapse in membership

In my article, I identified evidence of decline with two observations; that there appear to be fewer people under 40 attending events organised by British Pagan traditions than previously, and that far fewer members of our community are volunteering to organise events. In the comments to my article – and in some rather frantic critiques published elsewhere – a lot of people went on to assume that the actual number of new members had collapsed, and that the existing membership figures of organisations like OBOD were falling. I have subsequently received clarification that – at least in the case of OBOD – this isn’t the case.

OBOD is increasing its membership rapidly to the point that the office is positively bustling; I have been informed that there are now nearly 20,000 members worldwide, an increase of roughly 4,000 over the past four years. Though reassuring, this bit of quantitative detail doesn’t necessarily affect my original observations – as OBOD doesn’t record the age of its members, it could be that this growth in membership is taking place solely amongst the over 40s. And as I argued in my original piece, if young people are joining the Order, but not coming to events, that still represents a problem. If millennials and younger members of Generation X are not being reached by the Order now, we have no guarantee that this will change as they get older – so the lack of young people at events could still indicate a problem that needs to be resolved. Nor does this continued growth indicate the extent to which people are willing to volunteer their time to organise moots, camps, or rituals.

With our ash woodland, the point is not that all the ash trees are dead already, or that no new seeds are able to germinate – rather, the problem is that Chalara is preventing the trees from flourishing as well as they might, to the point that a almost a whole generation of saplings has withered away, and this will have consequences long-term. The lack of young people at events, and the lack of ready volunteers, indicates that such a process may be ongoing in the British Pagan Community.

Clarification 3) Biosecurity:

Capitalism is, in fact, the causal factor

One might imagine that a fungal disease attacking ash trees and the combination of market forces I identified as being so deleterious to Britain’s initiatory Pagan traditions would have very little to do with one another. But in fact, both track the impact of global capitalism on local communities of different kinds.

Chalara – a species native to Asian forests, where it does no harm whatsoever – was imported into Europe in mass-produced furniture and ornamental plants. Rather than put in place adequate biosecurity measures to protect our forests from such diseases, the UK government opted for deregulation, preferring to protect the free movement of goods over the safety of our forests. It was neoliberal ideology – the religion of late capitalism – that brought Chalara to our shores. Just as Britain’s trees are blighted by the demands of capital, so our mysteries are deprived of the means of their reproduction by those self-same demands.

In the epic poem by Rudyard Kipling, Puck of Pook’s Hill, the nature spirit Puck explains that – apart from himself – all the magical people of England have left

“The People of the Hills have all left. I saw them come into Old England and I saw them go. Giants, trolls, kelpies, brownies, goblins, imps; wood, tree, mound, and water spirits; heath-people, hill-watchers, treasure-guards, good people, little people, pishogues, leprechauns, night-riders, pixies, nixies, gnomes and the rest — gone, all gone!”

Only he remains, for “I came into England with Oak, Ash, and Thorn, and when Oak, Ash, and Thorn are gone I shall go too”. This powerful poem contains, I suggest, the seeds of the sort of radical “saving vision” that John Halstead suggests we must pursue, not just to save our Movement from long-term decline, but to make it worth saving. While Britain’s ash trees wither due to the spread of Chalara, other threats – like the devastating Emerald Ash Borer – lurk on the horizon. Britain’s oak trees, too, are in danger – with Sudden Oak Death being another species introduced by the trade in exotic plants, without adequate biosecurity. It is the responsibility of initiated Pagans to lead the charge in protecting Oak, Ash, and Thorn, making the land welcoming again for The People of the Hills.

For if we do not, then who shall?

*However, as he believed his remarks were in disagreement with my own, I suspect he wrote more of a response to the title of my article, rather than its content.


Jonathan Woolley

1b&w copyJonathan is a social anthropologist and human ecologist, based at the University of Cambridge. He is a specialist in the political economy of the British landscape, and in the relationship between spirituality, the environment, and climate change. A member of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, and an eco-animist, Jonathan maintains a blog about his academic fieldwork called BROAD PATHWAYS.


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Trump: The Living Corporation Part II: Mysterium Feces

“Remember that there exists a certain malevolence about the formation of any social order. It is the struggle for existence by an artificial entity.”

~ Leto II, “God Emperor of Dune” by Frank Herbert

I don’t like Trump. Yes, for all the reasons everyone else that hates him does. But also because he spews so much bullshit that writing anything topical about him becomes obsolete in less than a day, let alone a two part article with over a month of time in between the parts. He is also an attention whoring bullshit faucet, and I hate giving him anything, let alone attention. Fortunately there is plenty of deeper material to get at once you’ve abandoned the shadow play of static that is the day to day of the Trump presidency. Yes! I hereby appropriate this article in the name of the people and the revolution. Fuck Trump, we’re talking about the nuts n’ bolts of Fascism.

First let me start by saying that I do not believe that Trump is a Fascist, a Nazi, or any other type of quasi-mystical totalitarian racist. Fascists are willing to kill, bleed, and die for Fascism. I do not believe Trump would do anything intentionally that caused itself a moment of discomfort on behalf of Fascism. Of course, the real Fascists don’t die for the cause. They leave their dumber compatriots to do that for them. Real Fascists escape the noose to continue on spreading their ideas and wait for the stars to be right once again. So no, Trump isn’t a Fascist, but I hear this idea repeated by liberals on a daily basis, and if you repeat something enough even people that ought to know better start repeating it too. So this is my attempt, probably a failed one, at putting a stop to that nonsense, but also to get people familiar with what Fascism is and what it looks like when it isn’t wearing it’s goose-stepping, swastika brandishing, cosmetics.

Fascist Theory 101: Carl Schmitt

Do you know who Carl Schmitt is? If not, then you’ve probably never familiarized yourself with the philosophy behind Fascism. This is both a good and a bad thing. Good in that it had no interest for you. Bad in that you now face an enemy you don’t understand. Also bad in that that enemy could be infiltrating whatever group you call home, or family, friends, with the purpose of subverting it. But I don’t offer you a boogey man to be impotently afraid of, so that you will do what I say. I offer you information with which you can take action, and overcome oppression as well as fear.

Carl Schmitt is the philosopher of Fascism. I know that Julius Evola and his Traditionalism is the hot pocket for liberals that have their sights on Breitbart News, Steve Bannon, and the Nazi youth that insist on trying to re-brand their new Fascism as “Alt-right”. Forget that shit. That’s pablum for the aforementioned kids. Herein, I will not explicate in detail on Carl Schmitt’s philosophy of the political, because you don’t need to hear the details to leave behind obsessing over the cosmetic trappings of Fascism and get to the meat and potatoes of what Fascism is. Once you see if for what it is, you will be better able to address the ideas, call people out that are trying to spread those ideas in your group, and maybe, you’ll be able to look into the mirror and ask yourself some hard questions about your own beliefs and maybe question just how you came about believing those beliefs.

Central to Schmitt’s philosophy is three ideas, the Dictator, the State, and the Enemy. Axiomatic to these ideas are two interrelated assumptions, that human beings are pieces of shit that will eat each other if not prevented from doing so, and that the basis of human interaction is conflict. These two axiomatic world views are throwbacks of the Victorian era. Social Darwinism was the half-assed combination of biblical ideas on race and the theories of Charles Darwin that weren’t understood if they were even read. Sigmund Freud thought that if human beings were left to their own devices, they would eventually tear society apart in a fury of Id unleashed that would destroy civilization. These two worldviews, which were staple reality tunnels in the Victorian age, are the foundation stones that Fascism builds on.

The Dictator

The Dictator in the philosophy of the political is the person who has the authority to act in contingency without restriction. In other words, the dictator is the person who steps in to provide order in a state of emergency. For reasons you will understand soon enough, the Fascist state is always in a state of emergency, recognized or not. On the 28th of February, 1933, Hitler’s government declared a state of emergency and that was pretty much the end of the Weimar Republic. Italy saw the slow removal of any power for the people, and the slow accumulation of power in the person of Mussolini. Japan was itself an interesting case, and it can be said that Tojo’s Japan was the low point of a slide downward that started with the Meiji Restoration. Fascist take-overs can be slow or fast, but the results are the same.

Fascists love dictators. An ideal dictator should be the very image of what these fuckheads consider manliness, power, wealth, all the substitute dicks that tiny-dicked men grasp at, all wrapped up into one idiot. Yes, the fascist dictator is usually either dumb, incompetent, dangerously insane, or a mixture of the three. This is also the weakness in all Fascist power schemes. The leader is always an incompetent insane idiot. Usually he finds out too late, like Mussolini, that he has mounted an animal that wants to kill him if he doesn’t just take the ride he gets. What little control or authority that does get exercised by the dictator is usually stupid and gets him in the position to be assassinated. The assassins, who are not heroes but other fascists trying to “save” fascism from the current idiot, well, they’re fascists, so they are usually stupid too. So the assassinations fail. It is external forces that depose the dictator and end the fascism, after blowing up a lot of infrastructure; more on that last bit latter.

The State

The State is the state, you all know it well. This ancient infomorph, similar in kind to the corporation, but much older, slower moving, and much more stupid, hearkens back to the first human cities. The old Babylonian con, as some Discordians say. Usury and Rent, the two magic words that get the State’s blood pumping. But can we call any state with a sovereign, or any kind of individual invested with all the power (theoretically at least), a Fascist state? No, we can’t. Fascism is a specific crisis. It is one of many reactions to the ravages of Capitalism, and it comes at the end of the Capitalist creation and destruction cycles that Austrian school economists and Marxists love to gawk at. Yes, Fascism is a reaction against Capitalism. And like certain other things that are the product of Capitalism, it cannot defeat Capitalism; Capitalism does not fight itself, it only appears to. A non-exhaustive list of features of a Fascist state include: a once powerful nation or people debased by what the people think of as unseen forces, in reality it is capital shifting from a bad credit region to a good credit region (incidentally this is why America’s credit rating being downgraded was a better indication of possible Fascist forces ascending than a list of who’s bought “Mien Kampf” lately); a conflation of a people, the state apparatus and ethnic mysticism; state control of business and industry in an attempt at reigning in capitalist forces; the rallying of the people around hatred of an “enemy” that has the power to destroy the state and its people (as well as the power to distract the people).

The end of the Fascist state is simple. It attempts to strong arm enough people to feed its industrial needs, based in warfare, until said Fascist state angers enough of its neighbors that they all gang together and dismantle it with explosives, bullets, war-crime trials and executions. The end of the Fascist dictator is usually a noose or a self administered bullet. The Capitalists then “clean up” the mess and rebuild the infrastructure, for money.

The Enemy

The enemy is the third pillar of The Political. It’s the easy part to understand. The enemy is real or fictional, sometimes both, and wants to destroy the “civilization” of the Fascist state. It is the joy of joys for a Fascist when the enemy is another Fascist. They can both posit each other as “the enemy” and prop each other up with real violence. No more fear mongering, the populace has something very real to be afraid of. I bruise my head when I hear of anarchists giving other anarchists shit for speaking out against ISIS or similar groups, on the rational that it is fear mongering against Muslims. This is stupid for two reasons. Firstly, ISIS and all those other groups called “radical Islam” are Fascists. Anarchists should rally and fight such assholes. Secondly, to conflate Islam with Fascists groups using Islam to slot into the quasi-mystical mystical element a Fascist state needs both helps those Fascists do that, but also slanders Islam. Good job gang, way to shoot yourself in the foot. Anyway, the enemy also serves the function of distracting the people from the shortcomings of the state, which usually start mounting very quickly, because remember, Fascists are dumb. They’re a bunch of dumb thugs with tiny dicks that got lucky for whatever reason, and are now stuck trying to manage something that is way over their head. The “enemy” provides the two pronged support of distraction and fealty from the people.

Against Fascism, Try Utopianism.

I wrote all this because I read a lot, and some of what I read is the output of other anarchists. It sometimes makes me wonder if I’m in the right movement. The reason for that is that a growing trend I see is the spread of the two basic assumptions of Carl Schmitt’s “The Political” underpinning the thought behind their writing. Other anarchists wonder why it is the movement is spinning its wheels, why it seems the movement seemingly has nothing to offer anyone. That’s the reason, because as long as we offer nothing but more of the same, the view that human beings are shitty and will eat each other given the chance, that they will. When I found anarchism as a young adult, that isn’t what I found. What I found was trust, solidarity, Utopianism, and the science (Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid) underpinning it, almost as old as the quasi-science of Social Darwinism.

What I see now is the desperation of people who, in straight materialist fashion, have forgone the raison d’être of the anarchist movement in the name of “getting real”. What a mistake, a mistake to assume the Utopianist isn’t a realist, and a mistake to confuse getting serious with accepting the status quo uncritically and declaring nothing else possible, to put one’s imagination down in the name of a false adulthood. It is woefully stupid to trade your principles in the name of the ever tiresome “more x than thou” machismo. If you’re wondering why anarchism isn’t catching on these days, these are the reasons why. It is because we have nothing but more of the same to offer. There was a critical failure of imagination, heralded by demagogues tastelessly appropriating the left and selling their persona for a profit.

Yes, Noam Chomsky, I’m talking about you, and people like you. I hate call outs but this one is long overdue motherfucker. You’re going to tell all the anarchists that aren’t interested in voting for the next crook to get real as they solve their lack of housing with squatting? You going to tell the black people getting gunned down in the street they should get real and vote for whatever liberal Capitalist you approve of? All the families getting broken up by mass deportations of the last 10 years that they should get real and give up fighting state power and start standing in line at the voting booth?

Utopianists are realists. You can’t be a Utopianist if you can look around at all this shit and say to yourself, “derp! Guess this is as good as it gets!”, and then like a dipshit try to fight the system from within itself. The Utopian sees the same world you see! And says, “No! We can, and should, do better! The current system will not bring better, it has had its chance!” You can’t move the system while you’re standing in it dummy! You can’t fight it while you’re tacitly approving of it with a vote you dum-dum! You can’t appropriate the actual left indefinitely and not get called on your bullshit you fucker!

Ok, sorry about that interlude, back to the point. So the point here is that there is more to Fascism than tiny dicks and idiocy. Fascists have a view of the world, a philosophy, and a specific political structure. Dismiss these facts at your own risk. And not just the risks you’re thinking of. Fascists need everyone to see the world their way. They don’t do this with persuasion, or argument, and only in the late stages do they cart people off as political prisoners/examples. They start by getting you to see the world their way, a world that is cruel, full of humans that are shitty to each other on a good day. But this isn’t the world, just the world according to Freud, the Social Darwinists, and thinking Fascists like Carl Schmitt.

Kropotkin had an answer to Social Darwinism more than 100 years ago. And it is Social Darwinism that is at the core of the Fascist worldview, underneath all of the philosophy and half-baked mysticism. I would suggest to everyone that while you prepare physically and logistically for the fights ahead, that you also prepare philosophically. You can not win a battle, much less a war, if you can’t convince anyone to join you in the fight; in this war the opposition has had quite a head start. Also, if I may recommend it, take a second look at how you see the world.

Acculturation is the process by which an individual takes up the views and the thought processes of the group they live in. We’ve all grown up with some measure of contact with the Fascist worldview, we’ve all let it seep in. No, we don’t need thought police or commissars. We need thinking anarchists who understand why they are in this fight, what they are and aren’t willing to do, and why, as well has what they are willing to give up for this fight. Some of us are going to disagree, that is actually a good thing.

Here’s a secret tip, you are still an anarchist if you aren’t willing to die, or give up everything, and have some scruples and morals. Refuse the petty self-consumptive struggle of being “more x than though”. This is a movement, not a scene.

Some anarchists are actually closet Fascists. Beware of people that scream “by any means necessary”, they will often have you supply the means, take the risks, and do the work. They aren’t intentionally trying to mislead anyone, but their desires and needs lead them to actions that make their anarchism cosmetic only. It is 100% your right to walk on a person or group that have left the principles of anarchism behind.

The Fascists are going to lose. Not only can Fascism not fight Capitalism successfully, it also depends on, from top to bottom, people that do not think. It doesn’t merely have people that are dumb, like any group (including anarchists) does. It needs them to function, and therefore, this Fascism informorph, wherever it pops up, is doomed to fail. It is you, the thinking, struggling, dedicated anarchists that hold that tide at bay. Don’t forget that. The only way we lose this fight if we give up, or spend more time fighting each other.


Patacelsus

mal1A Discordian for 20 years, Patacelsus finally got comfortable when the 21st century “started getting weird.” When not casting sigils, taking part in Tibetan Buddhist rituals, or studying the unfortunate but sometimes amusing stories of the dead, he’s been known to wander the hidden ways of the city, communing with all of the hidden spirits one can find in a city. As Patacelsus sees it, we’re all already free; after completing the arduous task of waking up to that we can then proceed, like a doctor treating a patient, to try to rouse others from the bitter and frightening nightmares of Archism. He laughs at Samsara’s shadow-play in lovely California, in the company of his wife, two cats, and two birds.


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Trump: The Living Corporation

Part I: Origo ad feces

What do such [thinking] machines really do? They increase the number of things we can do without thinking. Things we do without thinking — there’s the real danger. ~ Leto II, “God Emperor of Dune” by Frank Herbert

TWO THOUSAND SEVENTEEN was a historic year. But not the historic year everyone thought they would get. It was not the historic year that the first woman was inaugurated president of the United States. Although, some do joke that Ivanka might actually be our first woman president, considering how much Trump relies on her. But if that counts for shit, then Nancy Reagan was actually our first woman president.

No, the first that we are enjoying here is of a different variety. In talking about it, I feel as if I’m living in a very strange dystopian cyberpunk novel, minus the cheesy 80’s VR they were so sure would be wedded to the internet before it was called the internet. It is surreal, like some alien species obsessed with comedy is manipulating world politics to troll the people of Earth. But the reality is actually beyond surreal, it is Patæconomical.

The person occupying the White House is not human, but is in fact a corporation. A living corporation, The Trump Organization has found itself a body and is living almost as if it was fully human.

But that was my first clue that is was not fully human: how it lives, or imitates living. What he eats is a steady diet of fast food interrupted occasionally by meatloaf. The Trump Organization eats like a garbage disposal doing double duty. This would be startlingly, almost comically unhealthy, if one didn’t realize that The Trump Organization doesn’t actually need food to live, or at least very much. Like every corporation, it needs money to live. The fast food and junk food being eaten is probably a marketing tie-in deal, with the cooked meat slurry in a loaf there to keep the body standing. I have visions of the cooks being directed to put ground-up Centrum Silver pills in the food by The Trump Organizations loyal aides, since a corporation probably doesn’t realize a body needs vitamins and minerals along with basic protein.

It’s hard to say when The Trump Organization got a hold of the body. It is older than the-what-was-once human Donald Trump, and certainly Donald Trump was born human; certainly. One then has to ask, how did it happen? How did one of these vampire egregores grab hold of a real living body and start using it like a swim suit? Was it all at once? Did it happen slowly over time?

Here at the Patæconomical Institute for Sociological Study, we have been pursuing the latter hypothesis with vigor, and we are keen to getting this figured out. This development does not bode well for the human race. It was one thing for the corporations to devour our time and use us for distributed computing hardware, but to occupy a body and to get that body elected to the office of the President of the United States? This is an unprecedented development, and troubling. Troubling because, in case you’ve missed what I’ve said about it before, there is a fucking war on, and we the humans are losing that war. Clearly and certainly, a corporation has attained unto the power of Nuclear Weapons and the presidential twitter account. Gods and ancestors help us all.

However, let us get back to the matter of when The Trump Organization seized the body. Though it is possible that the takeover began as Trump was conceived — explaining both his narcissism and sociopathy, traits that the healthy corporation has, as well as traits that would leave the future meat puppet with little soul to compete with — it was probably after he had started to market himself as both brand and brand mascot that the takeover was accelerated and accomplished.

Could it have been in 1988 that The Trump Organization began to affect Donald Trump’s judgment? In 1988 he purchased the Plaza Hotel, at a price that he himself claims,

I haven’t purchased a building, I have purchased a masterpiece — the Mona Lisa. For the first time in my life, I have knowingly made a deal that was not economic — for I can never justify the price I paid, no matter how successful the Plaza becomes.

In fact, it was not successful while his wife, who he put into place as the hotel’s president, ran it. It made enough to pay for operations, but not enough to pay the debt he owed on it. Trump was always a sleaze, but it was in the early 90’s that he went from being a “normal” sleazy New York developer to something else entirely.

home-alone-2-the-plaza-hotel-ny-4

IF YOU’RE WONDERING what the Plaza Hotel looks like, or perhaps have an itch in the back of your brain like you may have heard or seen it before, that is because you likely have, if you’ve ever seen Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. The hotel where little Kevin stays is the Plaza. And it is one of the first appearances of Trump, not Donald, but Mascot Trump, The Trump Organization’s corporate mascot, usually known as Trump.

So to be clear here, when I say Donald Trump, I mean the human that likely doesn’t exist anymore. When I say The Trump Organization, I mean the corporation that is the real subject of this article. When I say Trump, I mean Mascot Trump, the corporate mascot and marketable property of The Trump Organization.

Everybody got that? Good!

We shouldn’t forget the Trump game that sold poorly, due in part to it being a shitty game apparently. Trump’s movie appearance was perhaps not the first, but at the time definitely the most widespread appearance of Trump, and not Donald Trump. In a product placement deal (no doubt including outrageous charges for rent during the filming) that could not save his hotel from being partially sold to his creditors in exchange for debt forgiveness, Home Alone 2 was filmed at the Plaza, and Trump got a cameo appearance.

The Trump Organization had made its first move, and Donald Trump the man was just starting to feel the water swirl as his soul slowly started circling the toilet bowl of the astral. Where does narcissism end and being ridden by a vampire egregore begin? It begins here. A hotel bought for a stupid amount of money by Donald Trump’s own admission, and the use of it by The Trump Organization to begin Donald Trump’s final transformation into mascot and meat-puppet.

By 2004 the Trump brand/mascot was ready to grow some more, and why not build the brand while simultaneously looking for more victims/employees? The Apprentice aired that year, and with it, the solidification of the identity of its fictional mascot. Trump crystallized during the run of The Apprentice. Everything The Trump Organization wanted you to believe about Trump was projected onto the brains of millions. Every TV show has fans, and this was the ultimate coup for The Trump Organization. Eliminate Donald Trump’s soul, get out of real estate development which has a lot of risk, and just license the brand and its mascot.

Trump also appeared during the run of The Apprentice on WWE. What transpired isn’t important because it’s the WWE. It was all scripted. And that is what’s important: at no time did Donald Trump appear on screen. Trump was on screen in a completely scripted role made just for Trump. This was the time when people looked upon what ostensibly is a real person, but was swiftly becoming entirely fiction. Donald Trump made several appearances on WWE, each one expanding and building the brand for The Trump Organization, expanding and building the brand mascot narrative character, and slowly eating away at Donald Trump.

Remember this! When not scripted, The Apprentice was edited to paint a completely different picture than what happened. All reality TV is. WWE is completely scripted. This is the essence of magic. The rituals are fiction but the magic is real. The Trump Organization ritually repeated the Trump mythos, like a product placement (oh my, are you wondering if advertising is magic now? Well why not!), until enough people believed Trump was what The Trump Organization said it was.

The year 1988 was also the year that Trump, or maybe at the time it was Donald Trump, started playing with the idea of running for office. Trump has had many political ambitions and affiliations over the years. Most of them all have one thing in common: it was big talk from a man with a tiny dick.

The difference now is that in our most recent election, talk translated to action and then accomplishment. This accomplishment caught many by surprise. “What?! How?!” was basically the reactions of many, even people that hated Hillary. Everyone that was surprised — everyone — had a deep unfamiliarity with the value of brand marketing. Trump did not win on class, eloquence, looks, policy, integrity, morality, basic human decency, or any of that other crap that politicians try to trick you into believing that they have. He won on brand recognition and brand loyalty.

TO BE CLEAR, Trump won the election because he, as a brand, goes back to 1988. He had 12 more years to work on selling that brand, in any way he chose, to whomever would buy it. Hillary, on the other hand, officially started her political career and her political “brand” in her 2000 run for Senate. During the time she served in office, she sponsored 31 pieces of legislation, 3 of which became law: a law that, in Troy, New York, establishes the Kate Mullany National Historic Site; a law that names a post office after Major George Quamo; a law that renames a U.S. Route Highway after late journalist Tim Russert.

Serving on the budget, Armed Services, Environment and Public works, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and Special Committee on Aging, and those laws were the length and breadth of what Hillary had accomplished as far as actual legislation. Not hard to see why so many, even though they hated Trump, saw her as being fake.

People will actually accept any amount of fake if you market it right. Just look at Trump: he doesn’t even have a soul or a mind independent from the vampire egregore of The Trump Organization; he’s so fake that he isn’t even human anymore, but because of brand marketing he seemed more real than Hillary.

Trump is then the natural evolutionary flow of the original marketing techniques created by Edward Bernays. Fast Eddy thought people were stupid and that you could say anything to them and they’d just eat it up. Fast Eddy started his career as a press agent in 1913, and more than 100 years later we live in his world. The things he created rule that world, sit in the offices of power, and devour the days of our lives, feeding off our lives to fuel the parasitic unlife that is their own.

Bernays is perhaps one of the most powerful sorcerers of the 20th century, if not ever. Forget Crowley, that hack only ever accomplished starting a religion as pathetic as he was. Bernays spawned a legion of monsters, like a real life Sutter Cane from John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness he opened up our world to a Lovecraftian nightmare. Legions of priest-like advertisers pour over reams of electronic marketing data, serving his creations and deepening their hold on us, their sustenance.


Patacelsus

mal1A Discordian for 20 years, Patacelsus finally got comfortable when the 21st century “started getting weird.” When not casting sigils, taking part in Tibetan Buddhist rituals, or studying the unfortunate but sometimes amusing stories of the dead, he’s been known to wander the hidden ways of the city, communing with all of the hidden spirits one can find in a city. As Patacelsus sees it, we’re all already free; after completing the arduous task of waking up to that we can then proceed, like a doctor treating a patient, to try to rouse others from the bitter and frightening nightmares of Archism. He laughs at Samsara’s shadow-play in lovely California, in the company of his wife, two cats, and two birds.


Gods&Radicals has hosted some amazing release parties for A Beautiful Resistance: Left Sacred. Our final one is in Baltimore on 19 March, 2017.