Weekly Update: 4 September

Updates!

This week, we’ve poetry, audio, and essays coming from Lorna Smithers, Crafted Recordings, William Hawes, Rhyd Wildermuth, and more!

Also, the call for submissions for the next issue of A Beautiful Resistance has been announced! More information here.

Also, you can now read Christopher Scott Thompson’s essay, “What is Pagan Anarchy?” translated into Spanish.

Notes On Land Resistance

“The witch has been created by the land to speak and act for it.”

Peter Grey, Rewilding Witchcraft

The Smithsonian Magazine has a fascinating article on slave resistance in the Great Dismal Swamps in the United States:

“These people performed a critique of a brutal capitalistic enslavement system, and they rejected it completely. They risked everything to live in a more just and equitable way, and they were successful for ten generations. One of them, a man named Charlie, was interviewed later in Canada. He said that all labor was communal here. That’s how it would have been in an African village.”

Capitalism was born from the separation of people from the land and its first task was to make work independent of the seasons and to lengthen the workday beyond the limits of our endurance.

Silvia Federici, In Praise of the Dancing Body

Over the last few weeks, we’ve mentioned the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline in the United States. There are several places to get updates on the struggle, including Warrior Publications, Democracy Now!, and Indian Country Today.  Also, check out the Pagan Solidarity with Standing Rock statement!

The first person who, having enclosed a plot of land, took it into his head to say this is mine and found people simple enough to believe him was the true founder of civil society. What crimes, wars, murders, what miseries and horrors would the human race have been spared, had some one pulled up the stakes or filled in the ditch and cried out to his fellow men:

“Do not listen to this imposter. You are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to all and the earth to no one!”

–Jean Jacques Rousseau

Here’s a call for international solidarity from Nantes, where the French government is trying to destroy radical commons. We REALLY like their resistance poster (the French says, “Our Lady of Struggles”)

ZAD_Notre_Dame_des_Luttes

 

Weekly Update: 28 August

With the increasing anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiment in Paganism, we were deeply thrilled to see this beautifully written contemplation from Helio Pires regarding Polytheism and anti-refugee sentiment:

“The idea that you need to stop Arab refugees from entering the continent so as to preserve European indigenous culture and population is something that can only come from an ignorant bigot or someone who’s simply not aware of the history of other countries.”

Earlier this week, we mentioned the Asatru Fellowship Assembly’s racist and essentialist statement. Heathen groups were very quick to denounce them (though some polytheists unfortunately defended them). Here’s HUAR’s statement, and also The Troth’s.

And if you’d like a suggestion on how to respond to anti-gay, anti-urban AFA bigots, try Rhyd Wildermuth’s strategy:

cock

 

European ‘secularists’ have been forcing women to remove their clothing on beaches in France. We recently saw this helpful graphic to understand what’s going on:

giphy

Ever thought of blocking coal trains with tripods?

They’re still killing wolves to protect the profit of ranchers.

Here’s some excellent academic theories on constructed religious authority in the ancient world (requires free account for access).

And Gods&Radicals writer and charming druid Jonathan Woolley was selected to receive this year’s OBOD Mt. Haemus Scholarship!

Coming up this week, John Halstead, Syren Nagakyrie, Rhyd Wildermuth, Crafted Recordings Podcast #10 (“Speeches from the Astral”), and the call for submissions for the next A Beautiful Resistance!

HailRunners

 

Weekly Update: 21 August

Consider yourself a polytheist but becoming increasingly alienated from the authoritarian push of some self-appointed leaders? There’s a new series of writing from folks who will inspire you.  “My Polytheism” began a few weeks ago, and there’s been quite a lot of diverse writing already which the site is compiling.   From the intro page:

This is the common ground our communities need to be built around. Not same-ness. Not dogma. Not gate-keeping. Hospitality.

Gods&Radicals co-founder Alley Valkyrie and treasurer Syren Nagakyrie have also contributed (Note–Gods&Radicals isn’t affiliated with this, but thinks it’s awesome!!!).

And speaking of Polytheism, here are the notes for Ryan Smith’s presentation at Many Gods West on the ‘Future of Polytheism.’

Look later this week for an editorial from Rhyd Wildermuth on these subjects.

We mentioned the struggle to stop the pipeline on First Nations land last week. As of this posting, it’s been paused, but the State of North Dakota has issued a State of Emergency to get more police to stop the protests. And the Standing Rock Sioux are appealing to the United Nations.

The police in Rio are still killing poor people on behalf of the Olympic games.

The failed coup in Turkey last month is now being partially blamed on the leftist Kurdish rebels by Turkey’s president. Many of the Kurdish rebel factions are anarchist, feminist, and also support the revival of traditional religions in the region.

This week

We’ll have a reprint of Feminist & Marxist theorist Silvia Federici’s essay for A Beautiful Resistance: Everything We Already Are, as well as essays from Sable Aradia, a guest essay from Ruth Morang, an editorial from Rhyd Wildermuth, and another poem from Hunter Hall!

oil god

 

 

 

Weekly Update: 14 August

“A frightful hobgoblin stalks throughout Europe. We are haunted by a ghost. The ghost of Communism…”

From Helen McFarlane’s English translation of “The Communist Manifesto”

Site & Publishing News

It’s been 80 weeks since Gods&Radicals officially started. Since then, we’ve posted 381 articles by over 60 writers, published two issues of our journal A Beautiful Resistance and one other publication, A Pagan Anti-Capitalist Primer.  And we’re just getting started.

The call for submissions for the next issue of A Beautiful Resistance will be September 1st, 2016, and we currently have a publication date scheduled for Imbolc of 2017. Due to the unanticipated popularity of the journal, we’re adding staff, retailers, and working to overhaul our distribution process to get copies to subscribers faster.

We also have another print project that will come out before then–more information on that soon!

While Rhyd Wildermuth, the Managing Editor (hi!) was on pilgrimage in Europe, three Gods&Radicals writers kept the site afloat. Rhyd would like to thank Linda Boeckhout, Fjothr Lokakvan, and James Lindenschmidt for their incredible work. You folks are awesome!

And a last brief note, you can follow Gods&Radicals now on Instagram, as well as on Twitter, Tumblr, Disinfo, & Facebook.

Interesting Things Elsewhere

While the United States has only 4.4% of the world’s population, it has 22% of the world’s prisoners. And many of them are about to go on strike:

On September 9, a series of coordinated work stoppages and hunger strikes will take place at prisons across the country. Organized by a coalition of prisoner rights, labor, and racial justice groups, the strikes will include prisoners from at least 20 states—making this the largest effort to organize incarcerated people in US history.

 And also in the United States, Sioux and other First Nations groups are fighting to keep an oil pipeline being built across their lands:

Tribes from North Dakota and South Dakota are adamantly opposed to oil companies coming near tribal lands in fear of pipelines bursting and then contaminated water supplies, tribal lands and especially sacred sites on tribal lands.

Feminist and Marxist writer Silvia Federici was featured in an interview in one of our favorite new magazines, ROAR:

The reason women have been targeted by these institutions is that, in the face of the crisis, they have taken matters into their own hands. They have gone into the streets and have created a whole alternative economy that has its roots in subsistence farming—it is the micro-trade, the small snacks and drinks that they prepare and sell for very little money to neighbors and other workers. This is an economy that international organizations and governments try to destroy or manipulate, through the aggressive promotion of micro-credit for instance, because it gives women and people in general more independence from the market.

Silvia is also the author of Caliban & The Witch, as well as an essay in A Beautiful Resistance: Everything We Already Are.

Last weekend saw the second year of Many Gods West, a polytheist conference co-founded by Rhyd Wildermuth and co-organized this year by Gods&Radicals board member Syren Nagakyrie. She wrote about her experience (and presentation) here.

Like eating human flesh and worshiping power-hungry gods? Some Greek cultists probably did too.

And while some people are celebrating victories for equality in the Olympic games, all those gold medals and victories for equality are made possible in Rio de Janeiro by tear gas.

Have a news tip for us? Please send it our way!

Be well, and Resist Beautifully!

TheSacred

Weekly Update August 7

This week, we’ll see articles from Sophia Burns, Rhyd Wildermuth, and another episode of Crafted Recording’s awesome Podcast series. Each episode is between 10 and 20 minutes long, and can be downloaded for later listening.

We just learned that our very own Dr. Bones has been named part of a dangerous new Communist insurgency. We’re quite proud of him!

At Patheos, Druid John Beckett contemplates an anti-authoritarian theme in “A Savior isn’t Coming”. And Yvonne Aburrow discusses Pagan hospitality as it relates to refugees.

Like fiction? Like witchcraft and gods? Like leftist politics? Then you’ll probably love T. Thorn Coyle’s latest free short stories.

And we always think Heathen Chinese is pretty brilliant. But his latest essay on violence, warriors, and gods is even more pretty brilliant. Go check it out.

Gods&Radicals is always looking for more retail distributors of our publications, and we’ll be announcing new retailers in France and Scotland soon. We’re also looking for a retailer interested in handling distribution within Canada on our behalf.

Interested? Contact us at Gods.and.Radicals@gmail.com with the word “Retail” in the subject line.

A Note on Anti-Muslim and Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

Terrorist attacks, immigration pressures, and sensationalized news stories from right-wing media have all contributed to white fear of the ‘other.’  As Liberal Democracies confront economic and political turmoil similar to the situations in Europe and North America in the early part of the 20th century, people have begun looking for scapegoats.

Before, it was the Jews. And while anti-Semitism hasn’t gone away, new enemies have been added to the political repertoire of the right-wing: Muslims and immigrants. Often, of course, these categories coincide: because many of the most war-torn and economically damaged countries currently happen to be in the Middle East and in Africa where Islam predominates, many displaced peoples are also Muslim.

We should be very worried.  But not worried about immigrants or Muslims, but about the political forces which are now eager to pin the problems capitalism has caused upon people who have already been victimized.

Occasionally, we’ll hear stories of large events which seem to prove that the scapegoat du jour is a danger to “our way of life.” On Sylvester (New Year’s Eve) in the German city of Köln, for instance, there were many reported attacks by immigrant men on women. These attacks led to calls by Far Right leaders (and even some polytheists and heathens) for armed bands of people to defend ‘our women’ [their words] from foreigners.

As noted by a German Feminist friend of mine, such attacks happen yearly in large German cities during New Year’s, and are perpetrated more by white German men than by immigrants:

“I don’t know many women who feel safe going out alone on Sylvester,” she said. “Men always grope women that night–but it’s usually German men, not immigrants…If anything, those attacks proved that immigrants are assimilating to European culture.”

The fact that no one was calling for armed bands to defend women from such attacks by German men and only called for such things when it was perpetrated by men with darker skin shows the true motives of such people.

We must be very wary of political attempts (and those disguised as apolitical religious critiques) to demonize an entire people. This has happened before, and concentration camps and mass graves stand as witness and warning from the realm of the Dead as to where this leads.

We stand in solidarity with immigrants, just as we stand in solidarity with all people displaced from their lands, demonized by politicians, and threatened with violence.  And we stand strongly against those who’d threaten them.

 

Weekly Update: July 31

We are thrilled that A Beautiful Resistance #2, The Fire is Here, has been arriving in the hands of those who have already placed orders! If you are not one of those folks, you can still get a copy here. And here is a review of the issue (already!).

Coming to your web reader of choice this week, writing on G&R includes an interview by guest author William Hawes with Richard Oxman, a review of Pagan Leadership Anthology (from yours truly), a poem and essay about harvest and connection to the land from Linda Boeckhout, and an essay on how religion and politics intertwine from Yvonne Aburrow.

Various and Sundry

The second Many Gods West polytheist gathering in Olympia, Washington, is starting in less than a week; online pre-registration will end on Monday, August 1, but registration will still be taken at the door (for details see this Facebook post).

A spot of good news for watersheds, especially for those inhabiting areas immediately adjacent to large rivers: Popularity of Big Hydropower Projects Diminishes Around the World. Large dams are destructive to ecosystems and human communities, especially indigenous or poorer communities, and costly, often far exceeding their original budgets. Other forms of renewable energy (like solar and wind) are faster to build, less expensive, and less destructive to their locations. There are still big hydropower projects in process, but “the level of investment in big water-powered electricity projects has been flat for much of the last decade, and is now being overwhelmed by financing for renewable energy, led by wind and solar power.”

Moving to a much smaller scale, here is a short video and some text about the efforts being made on a 20-acre island in Illinois to restore the population of a species of plant that grows nowhere else. The Kankakee mallow is one of the rarest species of plants in the United States, and has had problems with invasive species crowding it out; the lack of wildfire in its habitat has contributed to the problem. The “READ MORE” link at the link goes into more history about the restoration of the plant, which – fortunately – has seed that can hang out in the soil for years, until the right conditions, including fire, are brought back.

Traditional approaches to work and relationships provide numerous benefits over new technologies. The “Cats at Work” program in the city of Chicago provides feral cats, considered “unadoptable,” with “work” in one of the most traditional cat professions there is: keeping rodents. In return, the cats are provided secure housing, food, and other care overseen by the shelter running the program. The program has been running for over a decade and, in addition to reducing ineffective methods of rat control (like poison), it provides beneficial emotional relationships for the humans hosting or living near their local “working cats.”

Lastly, if 2016 is getting you down too much, take a quick scroll through this list of positive things that have happened as a reminder that it isn’t all bad all the time – or maybe file it away to read a little bit at a time while we finish out the year.

Weekly Update: July 24

We are happy to say that after some unfortunate delays, about 90% of the A Beautiful Resistance #2 orders have shipped. If you are in Canada, or were one of the contributing writers, your copy will be shipping soon. Thanks again for your patience! We are so happy to see this journal off into the world. If you have ordered it but have not received your copy by the end of July, please let us know in the first week of August so we can troubleshoot any problems.

And if you have not yet ordered your copy, it isn’t too late. Get yours here.

Coming This Week

Another strong week is in store. The week begins with poetry from Lorna Smithers and Simcha Ben-Sefis. Mid-week will see Sable Aradia continuing her series on 23 Things about capitalism, along with another episode of the Crafted Recordings Podcast: the Origin of Dr Bones. The end of the week will see Yvonne Aburrow with “The Pragmatic Revolution.”

Links

  • Dreams in Brythonic Tradition, by Lorna Smithers
    “Our secular society places little value on dreams aside from their psychoanalytical interpretation wherein they are reduced to symptoms of neurosis or symbolic aspects of the human psyche. The belief we receive messages from the otherworld in dreams is, at best, considered eccentric and, at worst, derided as madness.”
  • What Do Your Deeds Make You? by Karl E.H. Seigfried
    “Some Heathens insist that they are only interested in their own innangarð, focusing exclusively on the “inner yard” of their closest family and friends. As in the distant past, today the outside world forces itself into the inner one. Family members who are part of the LGBTQ+ community are targeted for hate crimes by both Islamic extremists and those whose personal issues lead them to strike out in extreme acts of public violence. Our Black loved ones are disproportionately targeted by police officers who break their own rules of conduct. Right-acting police officers in our communities are gunned down, and their killers – in both Dallas and Baton Rouge – are damaged veterans of our nation’s military. If we turn our backs on the world and pretend that nothing affects us or those we love, honoring the deeds of our literal and aspirational ancestors while performing blót and symbel, how are we different from Sunday Christians who only turn their thoughts to Christ while sitting in church pews?”
  • Neoliberalism is a Political Project, by David Harvey
    “I think it’s possible that you can make a better capitalism than that which currently exists. But not by much. The fundamental problems are actually so deep right now that there is no way that we are going to go anywhere without a very strong anticapitalist movement. So I would want to put things in anticapitalist terms rather than putting them in anti-neoliberal terms. And I think the danger is, when I listen to people talking about anti-neoliberalism, that there is no sense that capitalism is itself, in whatever form, a problem. Most anti-neoliberalism fails to deal with the macro-problems of endless compound growth — ecological, political, and economic problems. So I would rather be talking about anticapitalism than anti-neoliberalism.”

Revolution & Counter-Revolution Politics Under Capitalism

Given the main political party conventions in America, Rhyd Wildermuth’s series on Liberal Democracy is a must-read, a series I regard as among the most important analyses he has yet written, particularly for their timeliness. Thus far there have been 4 parts:

This series brings the party conventions in the US in a new light. Both parties are inherently counter-revolutionary in the sense that they serve Capital, actively seeking to reproduce its power structures. For the Democrats, WikiLeaks has shown us that the primary/caucus process was rigged from the beginning, with the primary goal of the DNC to be to hold on to their power, preventing a populist candidate openly speaking of a political revolution from achieving the Democratic nomination. For the Republican convention, it was little more than a spectacle of fascism, scoring as such on nearly all counts.

Meanwhile, how different people and organizations interact with these political processes under capitalism is telling. As we saw in I’m With The Banned, a very important article that shows how people — usually right wing white males — can usurp the political process in America by saying outrageous & controversial things merely for their own attention (or marketing) to capitalize upon. In a sense, this is an instance of the capitalist accumulation of the political process itself.

And yet, here at Gods & Radicals, we have both theoretically and legally rejected capitalism with our status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. As a result, we are not legally permitted to endorse or show favoritism or even an authentic opinion toward any one candidate.

It’s quite a contrast, wouldn’t you say?

Weekly Update: 17 July

“I know what you mean by this magic of capitalism, but I also think we can deconstruct it, and do our own counter-magic. When the will is collectivized and activized, or made into actions, then it is central to working-class struggle from early centuries to the present. We are taught in our civilization that is a matter of the individual will, it’s always a kind of individual bootstrapping.

 

But to the social historian who examines human actions that have effects on one another and on the world, the will is a social creation. I think most kids see this right away, if not in school then certainly in sports. Their own will, their own desires, are fortified, nurtured and strengthened by those of others. So walking down the street is one thing, marching down the street is another. Doing it with 10 people is one thing, doing it with 500 people is another. The excitement, the joy, the emotions, and the will is collective when it becomes powerful, and then it produces events that are totally unthought of.

 

Who could have possibly imagined that a wall 90 feet high, in parts 30 feet thick, surrounded by a moat deep enough to drown in, who would have thought that such an edifice which had remained for centuries could be brought down in the space of less than 24 hours. That’s what we’re celebrating on the 14th of July, 1789. This edifice of tyranny, this edifice of repression, this action of people who are rewilding it has provided inspiration for every urban revolution that has ever taken place, and it provides us inspiration now that the carceral archipelago, the huge military prison complex of the USA, can be brought down in a twinkling. These are the miracles of history, but it’s just as accurate to say these are peoples’ magic.”
–Peter Linebaugh

Incredibly, just a few hours after the above interview (to be published soon as a podcast episode) was conducted on Thursday, news emerged that a recently divorced father of three with a history of mental illness, financial difficulties, and “no particular interest in religion” drove a truck and shot guns into a crowd in Nice, killing more than 80, as people had taken to the streets to celebrate Bastille Day.

Then, word emerged from Turkey about the attempted coup d’etat, which now appears to have failed. Even so, nearly 300 people are dead, nearly 1500 people have been injured, and many thousands of judges & military personnel have been taken into custody. It is a complex situation, where many people in Turkey took to the streets to resist the military coup, despite their misgivings about the Erdogan administration. Many are nervous about how the response to the coup attempt will consolidate their power and result in increased government repression.

In the US, fresh off a week with violence in Baton Rouge, Minnesota, and Dallas, Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump chose his running mate, both of which have resulted in much consternation and hang-wringing among each party’s faithful. Both parties seem to be in full-on crisis mode; each are now forced to contend with the least-popular candidates in history, creating deep division within both parties.

In short, the time is ripe for revolution. May the right people in the right numbers come together enough to unify their collective will to the greater good.

Coming This Week

After this eventful week,  another series of great articles are headed your way here at Gods&Radicals. Early in the week we will have the latest installment of Things with Feathers by Fjothr Lokakvan, along with How “Gods Before Politics” Perpetuates Privilege by occasional G&R writer John Halstead. Mid-week will give us Privilege Decoded by Sable Aradia, and Part 4 of Rhyd Wildermuth’s series on Liberal Democracy, The Resurgence of the Fascist Right. Then, the week will end with Adrift, a poem from Hunter Hall, and What Is Pagan Anarchism? from C.S. Thompson.

Links

  • On Collisions, and the Footsteps of Heresy And Fate
    by Alley Valkyrie
    “In tracing Walter Benjamin’s final hours, in gaining that perspective as we followed his final path and in our mirrored experiences during that journey, I feel as though I somehow collided into his spirit directly and to this day the resonance of that collision is not only lingering but ever strengthening. In following the footsteps of and paying tribute to a prophet whose heresies tragically collided with fate, what came forth was a new level of understanding, connection, and Work.”
  • Andrew Korybko analysis of Turkish coup attempt
    “it’s very likely that Turkey will accelerate its multipolar pivot and finally embrace its Eurasian destiny, though not without forthcoming American-improvised Hybrid War challenges – a renewed Kurdish insurgency, left-wing terrorism, a Color Revolution, Daesh attacks, maritime proxy hostility via Greece, engineered provocations with Turkey’s other neighbors, a civil war, and/or another feeble coup attempt — in order to throw the progressively Islamifying and Muslim Brotherhood-inspired state into such chaos that it becomes impossible for its new multipolar partners to make any substantial use of its territory in their joint quest to dismantle the unipolar world order.”
  • Jill Stein Just Promised To Pardon Snowden, Appoint Him To Cabinet If Elected
    “[Snowden] has done an incredible service to our country at great cost to himself for having to live away from his family, his friends, his job, his network, to basically live as an expatriate…. I would say not only bring Snowden back, but bring him into my administration as a member of the Cabinet,” Stein continued, “because we need people who are part of our national security administration who are really, very patriotic. If we’re really going to protect our American security, we also have to protect our Constitutional rights, and that includes our right to privacy.”
  • Unity and the Police
    “Racial terror means the repressive state apparatus means racial terror. You can’t love the apparatus on those terms. Instead, you endure or rebel, in each case expressing, arguably, aspects of the necropolitical order in which killing or sacrifice seem the only paths of resistance. While simultaneous with that is the exhortation to whites: belong through love, this is your unity. Behind the police. They stormtroop for you. Learn to love that.”
image via unsplash.com Avel Chuklanov

Weekly Update: July 10

This week we will bring you a new installment in Rhyd Wildermuth’s series on the end of Liberal Democracy.  Sable Aradia will follow with “Privilege Decoded”. Christopher Scott Thompson will bring us his poem “Prayer to the Storm God in a Time of Conflict” and Heathen Chinese brings the week to a close with his essay “To Make the Voice of the Criminal Audible”. As always, there will probably be a few last minute surprises as well.

I find it awkward to write an update for you now, while so many of you are intensely concerned over or even involved in the current events. Yet it is not possible to stay silent on this matter. I write this from the Netherlands, a country that might seem idyllic in this respect when compared to the U.S. Yet tension is rising between ethnic groups here too, and police violence is not unheard of. What happens in America, is very much on people’s minds here, and influences the society I live in as well. In an intimately connected world, events and ideas travel fast – and a heartbreaking video of a man dying with his daughter in the back of the car causes shockwaves that ripple across the Atlantic.

If anything, the events of the past week again demonstrate the urgency and importance of subversion – of questioning fixed narratives, which is exactly what Gods and Radicals is trying to do. If anything will move humanity forward, bold and uncomfortable questions need to be raised and answered. We can no longer shield our lives from the winds of change, and things might get worse before they get better.

On better and other things…

Many Pagan communities have spoken out to condemn racism and to promote inclusivity. Inclusive Wicca, a resource for inclusive covens of witches and Wiccans, released a statement with the title “We Reject Racism” in the aftermath of the U.K. vote to leave the European Union: “We call upon all people of good will to stand up to racism and fascism wherever they are encountered, and to defend victims of harassment and attacks, and pledge to do this ourselves.”

Dun Brython, a community of Brythonic polytheists also released a statement on inclusivity: “By standing with other pagan groups promoting inclusivity and standing against discrimination and hatred we aim to help create a more tolerant world.

from "Harnessing the Wind" by Deon Reynolds
from “Harnessing the Wind” by Deon Reynolds

Photographer Deon Reynolds recently donated his portfolio “Harnessing the Wind” to the Nevada Museum of Art, Center for Art and Environment. Reynolds: I want to open viewers’ eyes to the importance of renewable energy, how beautiful it can be and make a positive difference in how people respond to new sources of energy generation.

Thoughts, images and words can all inspire action – and action creates our world. The next great revolution of mankind will necessarily be a spiritual revolution, with very material consequences, for good or bad. Be safe this week – and be fierce when you have to be.