Report From Greece, Part 2

by George Caffentzis & Silvia Federici

If you missed it, check out Part 1 of this Report From Greece.

George Caffentzis on The Commons, Russian Workers, and Capitalists

Marx wrote of the non-coincidence of desires between Russian capitalists and workers:

“…even when [the capitalists] have money, the labor power is not available in sufficient quantity and at the right time. This is because the Russian agricultural worker, owing to the common ownership of the soil by the village community, is not yet fully separated from his means of production and is then still not a ‘free wage-laborer’ in the full sense of the term. But the presence of such ‘free wage-laborers’ throughout society is the indispensible condition without which M-C, the transformation of money into commodities, cannot take the form of the transformation of money capital into productive capital.”
(Capital vol 2, p. 117 of the Penguin edition).

Something similar could be said of Greek workers. The capitalist task of the crisis is to end whatever remains of the commons in their lives and make workers fully “free wage laborers” coincident with capital’s “lust for labor.”

The First anti-Syriza Demonstrations

An Athenian anarchist friend suggested that we should go to a demonstration in Syntagma Square called to protest Syriza’s willingness to sign a new memorandum with the “troika,” although we have as yet no concrete knowledge as to the contents of the new Memorandum. Since the whole affair is being presented in the form of a soccer match, why shouldn’t another team enter the field? Perhaps they will score a surprise goal! But at the moment all eyes are on LeGuard, Draghi and the faceless IMF “technocrats” versus the heroic Tsipras, who delays by putting ever higher bids, and rolling the debt one time more until it is time itself that becomes the issue.

3 July, 2015: Greek referendum 2015: demonstration for voting NO at Syntagma square, Athens Greece. Photo by Ggia (CC BY-SA 4.0).
3 July, 2015: Greek referendum 2015: demonstration for voting NO at Syntagma square, Athens Greece. Photo by Ggia (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Well, in Syntagma Square the initial rally was small—with predictable statements. But soon it was joined by another demonstration that marched to Syntagma from another part of the city and so the whole rally numbered about a thousand (respectable by NYC standards, but very small by Greek). The groups sponsoring the march and rally included, anarchists, autonomists, and even some Trotskyites. Sure enough I saw an old friend who happened to be a well-known Greek Trotskyite. We would see each other often in the 1990s in NYC, but he stopped coming to the US after 9/11, while my political affiliations in Greece became more defined in the post 9/11 period as well. To the point that we hadn’t seen each other in a decade. During that time he had a bout with liver cancer involving many surgeries and chemo-therapy sessions. The cancer would have killed him if it hadn’t been for his decision to go to France and get medical help there. The decision was motivated by another decision of the Greek medical authorities who ordered an anti-cancer drug for him that was needed immediately but with a 3 month expected time of delivery! The French doctors declared him cancer-free a few years ago, but he must return to France every 4 months to check his status.

My Trotskyite friend prided himself on the books he wrote and the political campaigns he was involved in while in the midst of his treatment, as he should. And now he wants to live to be part of the international working class revolution! The march was beginning again, going down Panapistemiou St. My Trotskyite friend took his place at the end and was off!

Trying to Raise the Spectre of Syntagma Square 2011

At first there was a small circle on the square, but it grew over time. At first it was mostly an older crowd, but slowly younger people joined. The intention is to call for a new decision-making body based on popular assemblies to replace the Vouli (the Parliament) that was de-legitimated by the actions of both left and right parties. One speaker after another noted a discrepancy between the extreme situation being faced and the lack of any force from the bottom to intervene! However, only one woman spoke and she addressed a logistic question: how long should each speaker be allotted, 3 or 5 minutes?

There ought to be a movement of the Syntagma Square 2015, but it remained just that, an ought.

A Run on the Banks in Sparta After the Call for a Referendum

On Saturday morning I woke up in Sparta and looked out from the hotel balcony down Paleologou Street and saw that there were lines in front of the ATMs. I wondered what this was about. On going downstairs for breakfast I learned that the night before Tsipras and his advisors walked out of a meeting with the “troika” and called for a referendum on the question, should the final memorandum the troika offered be accepted or not? The immediate response by the Greek populace was this minor “run on the banks,” minor since there are limits as how much can be withdrawn from ATMs per day. We shall see what will happen on Monday when the banks will be open for business. Will this minor run become a massive charge on the banks’ reserves? There was definitely a feeling of panic spreading on the lines in front of the street. I also felt it. I was prompted to take out extra euro cash (in a classic bow to Keynesian “liquidity preference”) because, though I would simply be contributing to the banks’ reserve of dollars, I too would be impacted by the lack of euro currency that would inevitably be experienced by some of the weaker banks (if not the whole banking system, if a “holiday” is called by the government).

This “preference,” however, has a primal feel about it: contagious, violent, irrational. A condition typified by an audience fleeing a minor fire, crushing each other to death trying to get to an exit!

The Taxi Driver’s Lament

He is a large man, both in height and breadth, and a small business man as well. I wondered whether he would try to short change me by insisting on the meter (which stated 63 euros) instead of the 55 euros I understood from George’s agreement last night with him. The taxi driver stuck to the original deal. This is definitely a time of distrust mingled with solidarity! Here are some quotes from his conversation with me on the road to Gythion:

“In Greece there is a saying, ‘The rich man is one with nothing; those with much, lose it to the tax man.’ ”
A Buddhist adage?

“Greece has the worst politicians and the worst drivers on the planet.”
A Platonic truth?

“I have worked since I was 13 and now I’m on the verge of losing it all. Take this taxi. I spent 130,000 euros for it, 30,000 for the car and 100,000 euros for the taxi driver’s medallion. Now the medallion costs 20,000 euros and falling…soon it will be worth 2,000 euros, but still my brother and I need to work as taxi-drivers to make something. I have one kid and my brother has three. We need to leave them something.”
A small businessman’s Abrahamic statement?

A Taxi Passenger’s Lament

Heard from a taxi passenger: When I flew in from Frankfurt to Athens I was very tired (it was night) so I decided to take a cab home. As I got into the cab I noticed a sign saying, “Flat Rate to Athens 35 euros.” So I settled back to enjoy the ride, but I was getting a little worried (as we were getting close to home) that he might short-change me. Sure enough, when we got to the door of my house I handed him 35 euros, he said, “It is 50 euros.” I began to protest and pointed to the sign. He said, “Thirty five euro is for the day, it is 50 euros for the night.” I said, “The sign said nothing about night or day.” The driver said, “Well, let’s go to the police station to straighten this out.” I didn’t want to go to the police station, but nor did he. So I said, to break the stalemate, “Let’s settle this with fists!” He laughed and said, “The 35 is o.k.,” and off he went.

Bank “Holiday” in Paradise

Message appearing on ATMs following the announcement of Greek bailout referendum. The message informs about the closure of banks from 29 June to 6 July and the 60 euro withdrawal per day per card. Photo by SucreRouge (CC BY-SA 4.0) .
Message appearing on ATMs following the announcement of Greek bailout referendum. The message informs about the closure of banks from 29 June to 6 July and the 60 euro withdrawal per day per card. Photo by SucreRouge (CC BY-SA 4.0) .

I am in Agios Dimitrios in the Mani with comrades from Switzerland, writing this on a terrace overlooking the Messenian Bay, it would seem I am in the midst of Paradise, without a care in the world! But I write this also on the first “bank Holiday” in Greece in many years, i.e., the government has ordered the banks to be closed and to distribute cash to depositors at a rate of 60 euros a day through ATMs.

What a strange name for this day…a holiday. What god is being honored, if not the God of Banks: the money form? This god presents itself as the universal mediator between non-coincident desires, but these days it is becoming an angry God that is denying all desires (coincident as well as non-coincident). So that capitalists are looking for cash to make more cash and the rest are looking for cash to keep body and soul together.

This is the first day that the debt crisis has hit the immediate lives of Greeks (and even visitors). The long queues in front of the ATMs tell the tale of anxiety and panic…but even worse is the lack of queues, indicating a machine that is out of cash!

I too am caught in this anxiety and panic, though to a lesser degree, because I can get as many euros I want from the ATMs, but I need to find one that is functioning and has cash. This is increasingly difficult since, most crucially, this availability depends on the euros lodged in the banks as cash!

A system of exchange of commodities is becoming a non-system of non-exchange of non-commodities, leaving in its wake gift exchanges and gratis offerings. What was considered a solid way to solve the problem of non-coincident desires has vanished into air, but it also has an escape hatch. Like the staircase from the inferno to purgatory, it takes time to get to and climb. The Syriza people seem to have the intention to do this without a Virgil. Such a trick is unlikely to succeed unless they are expert secret keepers or master game theoreticians! That we shall see, when this holiday in Paradise ends.

The OXI vote: Syriza’s Machiavellianism and the Anti-austerity Movement

Vox populi, vox Dei,”[“The voice of the people, [is] the voice of God”] is a phrase from a letter written by Alcuin, an advisor of Chalemagne’s who was an early “founder” of the Holy Roman Emire and often taken as the founder of Europe. In the letter Alcuin warns the Emperor not to pay heed to those (like myself) who use the phrase affirmatively. But if the adage is true, what is God saying through the July 5th, 2015 referendum in Greece? That has much to do with what the question being voted on.

A protestor outside the Greek parliament building on 29 June 2015, holding a sign reading "ΟΧΙ" στην  ΕΞΌΝΤΩΣΗ ("no to annihilation"). Photo by janwellman (CC BY-SA 3.0).
A protestor outside the Greek parliament building on 29 June 2015, holding a sign reading “ΟΧΙ” στην ΕΞΌΝΤΩΣΗ (“no to annihilation”). Photo by janwellman (CC BY-SA 3.0).

This question was not a general one like “Should pensions be further cut?” or “Should the right to strike be preserve in the new labor laws?” or “Should any new austerity policies be prohibited?” It was quite specific, i.e., “Should the memorandum proposed by the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, European Commission [aka “the troika”] on Thursday, June 27, 2015 be accepted (“NAI”) or rejected (“OXI”).”

As some critics pointed out, the referendum question had no proper answer, since the “troika” had already taken the memorandum “off the table.” So the vote came down to what the voter wanted it to mean: e.g., “No more pension cuts” or “End austerity policies” or “Greece out of the Eurozone” or a thousand other critiques of the present or nothing precise at all or anything Tsipras and Syriza want it to mean. The referendum’s wording made God speak ambiguously that Sunday through the Greek people’s voice.

In trying to make sense of the peculiar wording of the referendum I saw not so much game-theory in action but a Machiavellian aspect of Syriza, a failed Machiavellianism, however, since Machiavellian reasoning in politics is defeated when it is identified as Machiavellianism! First, the call for a referendum appeared to be a spontaneous response to the troika’s stony refusal to accept some milder structural adjustment measures and a reduction of the debt payments schedule at least. But I learned that the call for the referendum was discussed for months before, within the inner circle of Syriza. So the wording of the referendum was not a hurried decision made in a fit of anger and frustration.

The second Machiavellian point was Tsipras’s claim that an “OXI” vote would give him more power to negotiate with the troika. In other words, the heat of the voter’s insurrection, their gigantic “OXI,” would be useful in frightening his negotiating partners. The attempt to use the anger of Greek workers–who have been degraded on many levels since 2010 and given an avenue for its expression by the referendum—was problematic, since once it is expressed, it cannot be withdrawn. Many said that they voted “OXI” simply because of their refusal to be terrorized by the fears unleashed by the propaganda of the media. This is not a sentiment that can be turned on and off for the benefit of IMF bureaucrats and hedge-fund capitalists.

The third Machiavellian point is Syriza’s refusal to make preparations for taking Greek monetary transactions out of the Eurozone. This was not a technical matter but would have involved the education of the proletariat, capitalists and state employees in the consequences of changing currencies. Even a simple thing like having a few trucks filled with the currency of a possible future money system would have done a lot to “concentrate the mind” of wageworkers (after all, most capitalist-to-capitalist money transactions, outside of the drug trade, are not done in cash). The decision confused both the troika and the Greek working class.

The denouement of this failed Machiavellianism could be seen in Syriza’s proposal sent to the troika five days after the referendum. In that period the voters’ “OXI” was supposed to have shaken up European capitalism, but that did not happen. Neither the exchange rate for the Euro nor the major stock markets of Europe crashed. This lack of response spoke volumes in a language that neoliberals understand. So Tsipras presented the Syriza government’s proposal to the troika on Thursday, July 9. It turns out that this proposal is similar to the memorandum Syriza asked Greeks to reject in the referendum. Liz Alderman, in a nice piece of journalism, compared Tsipras’s and the “troika’s” proposals and she found little difference, e.g., the two proposals with respect to taxation are identical as were the proposed changes in the pension system. Ironically, the major difference was in mililtary spending. The troika’s proposal asks for 400 million euro cut while the Syriza proposal asks for a 100 million euro cut this year.

Silvia Federici, on the broader context of what is happening in Greece

The situation in Greece manifests a double crisis: the crisis of capitalism in Europe, as reflected in the politics of the German Government, and the crisis of the European working-class and the European left.

The politics of Syriza should be de-personalized. They have mismanaged the negotiations but their options were limited given that neither they nor the Greek people ever seriously considered leaving the Eurozone and, for example, turning to Russia for loans. The European Union has become a fetish for the Left, the ideological campaign of ‘Europeism’ has been successful, generating among most a great fear at the idea of leaving the Eurozone.

The Marxist autonomist Left is guilty of the same disease. The formation of a Eurozone has been hailed (to this day, see the recent conference on the crisis in Athens) as a terrain of working class re-composition, but actually we have seen that this has not been the case. Greece has confronted the battle with the European central bank and Bruxelles by itself. No mobilization, no significant expression of solidarity has cone from other countries. This lack of solidarity is especially worrisome, since the working classes of Europe have faced a decade and a half of austerity and structural adjustment and should know the implications of the disciplining of Greece.

By 1998 the EU had imposed on all its members a “Stability Pact” that prevented them from having deficits larger than 3%, forcing them to practically stop all payments, so they could not pay the companies that had been working for them and who eventually went bankrupt. In Italy even victims of an earthquake in Emilia could not be helped explicitly because of the budgetary limits even though the municipalities where the earthquake occurred did have the money necessary. Yet, there were no large demonstrations in London, Paris, Madrid, Rome or Berlin supporting the insurrectional “OXI” vote as a harbinger of their own rejection of austerity.

Even in front of a massive media attack stressing among other things that other workers in Europe would have to pay for the Greek debt.

Syriza never conceived of leaving the Eurozone, never prepared for it, in this, however, reflecting the ambivalence of the Greek/ European population. Clearly people expected more “understanding.” Syriza kept talking of a “humanitarian crisis” rather than a class conflict. The problem however was that the situation the EU is facing does not allow any margin of compromise. The possibility for Greece to default but continue to stay in the Eurozone is ruled by the crisis in which European capital finds itself. The European Union project is in crisis, it has not produced the profitability for which it was created, on the contrary, it is an area of non-accumulation. In this context, Germany is attempting to create a different Europe, “liberated” from countries like Greece that are seen as unproductive, so that can better compete and negotiate with the US and China. In the meantime, Germany too is facing a crisis, because it will have to pay the Greek debt, which cannot be paid by Greece, and will have to abide by the decisions of the US with regard to its relation to Russia (being forced, for instance, to participate in the attack on Ukraine, thereby being prevented from forming any alliance with Russia.)

From a class perspective the crisis, however, is (a) the lack of coordination and solidarity among European working classes; (b) the inability of European working class to delink from capital and the political class, despite the obvious attack to which it is being subjected which will be generalized and intensified in years to come if the TTIP (Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) is realized; (c) the inability of the European left to distinguish between the Europe of the bosses and the Europe of the proletariat and its commitment to a Europeanism that is suicidal, preventing a ‘rupture.’ If Greece had left the Eurozone, it could have triggered a real process of re-composition, instead of being used to discipline all the workers in the other countries, who every night have been reminded of what can happen to them if they step out of line, and reject the reforms imposed on them.

The only bright spot is the referendum, which was the first loud NO to globalization in Europe and, as some have noted, a Latin American moment in European class politics. The No! of Greece could have also begun a confrontation with EU politics that is now redirected against immigrants, as the case of Italy demonstrates. Unfortunately only the right wing in Europe now speaks against ‘Europe’.

The situation with immigrants. In the spring of 2015, 950 immigrants died – Now, everyday, boats with hundreds of people arrive. The government sends them to
different localities, forcing municipalities to accept a certain number, but now citizens are revolting, and the right-wing is fomenting the revolt. More immigrants continue to die. The rightwing calls for a naval blockade, to push them back and tells the government that to save them is wrong, because more will come. They say the government should give no assistance. In reality this is what is actually happening. France has closed the frontiers.

On Social Solidarity Health Clinics

Syriza’s refusal to prepare the working class in Greece of what an alternative to continuing with “humiliating” negotiations with the troika has been widely noted. This observation was even more problematic to those trying to understand Syriza’s strategy, since only if there was a credible threat to carry out a successful exodus from the Eurozone could have the Tsipras-Varoufakis team have won any substantial debt-relief in the first place. One way to explain this anomaly is by assuming that the Syriza leadership simply thought that taking any path out of the Eurozone would be too onerous for Greek workers and capitalists. Greece in this period was definitely inundated with terrifying images of a post-euro world without petrol, without doctors and medicines, without food, in short, a wasteland of repression, illness and violence…a Mad Max world, Greek-style.

But there was already a model of an escape from such a scenario in the more than 40 Social Solidarity Health Clinics (SSHC) that could be found in most of the cities of Greece. Most of these SSHCs were founded in the crisis, especially after the Syntagma Square occupation in 2011. They now involve thousands of doctors, nurses and pharmacists and they see tens of thousands of patients a year. They provide first level health care from doctors and nurses who are working for no pay. They began with the crisis to work with immigrants who were often turned away from public and private hospitals. Greek patients in the SSHCs were few because they (even if poor and uninsured) tended to avoid them since they assumed that anything that served the immigrants must be of low quality. But as the crisis deepened and more and more Greeks were laid-off, increasingly the patients in these clinics became more integrated at the bottom of the wage scale. Throughout Greece the SSHCs have become a remarkable pole of attraction in recent years, and they have played an important role in providing health care services to tens of thousands at a moment when the hospital system was deteriorating due to strictures on public investment on social reproduction.

I was invited to attend a discussion among volunteers at SSHCs from Athens, Thessaloniki, and Crete. The encounter was prefaced by the following self-description:

At the current situation of intensified deregulation of our lives, as in recent years, the Solidarity Clinics have been a Social Safety Net. The only one in such a broad scale. And this is a fact which cannot be appropriated by any government, party or official institutional body. The fact that we continue to operate has nothing to do with an expectation to get things done as it was before. We have nowhere to return to. And this is a conscious choice. In any situation of political and social instability we know that today we have the social relationships and the necessary experience to maintain an active role in social developments.

Here are some notes I took of the frank and open discussion:

  • We do “community medicine,” but it needs to be enlivened by new thinking and this new thinking must come from the patients. But it takes time to get new thoughts. Moreover, it is difficult to bring patients in for a general meeting. For example, we recently telephoned 400 patients to come to a meeting to discuss the project and only 30 came. But still, we are not a philanthropy!
  • We were originally driven to do our medicine out of need, but soon we started to deal with medicine in a political way.
  • We are formulating a third way of delivering health services (i.e., neither in the state mode nor as a private enterprise). We are thinking we are doing medicine as a common and we are using other terms—like “autonomy” and “real democracy”—as well to describe the kind of medicine we are trying to do.
  • We have a problem with the left-wing government of Syriza, even though many thought it would save the situation, But that has not happened. In actual fact, the uninsured are the majority in the country. No solution. And even when there is government support, it requires too much paperwork!
  • People become tired. At times we feel that some of our colleagues are doing the work out of duty. They don’t feel the same way we do.
  • We don’t want to deal with the state. We don’t want to comply with the state’s directives.

Athens after “OXI!”

The city seems to be on vacation after the “OXI!” The traffic is lighter, the tourists are fewer, the smog lighter, the shops (that are still surviving) often closed, except for the cafes, restaurants, and tavernas. I’m feeling the pulse of the city’s circulatory system slowing down, and even at odd moments stopping, as if the summer heat had turned to capital and just said, “Stamata!” (“Basta!”)

A CALL FOR AN INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY
MUTUAL AID NETWORK
SUPPORT SOCIAL STRUGGLE IN GREECE

The below statement is from the Social Solidarity Clinic in Iraklio who are collaborating with other clinics, social centers and movements to create a network from below to receive concrete forms of solidarity.

Please sign and contact at info@koinoniaher.gr

#ThisIsACoup
12 July 2015, Euro Summit

A surprise for some. Not a surprise for others. In either case, there is a lasting question. How is a response from below possible to counteract and negate the totalizing financialization of our lives?

There is not one political answer to this. However, a political point needs to be stressed. Support is not needed for an inter-class, ethnocentric peoples—the Greeks.
Support is needed for the struggle from below taking place in Greece. It is the State, first, that homogenizes the differentiated impact of austerity—due to class, age, gender, location, and way of life—under a national identity. To accept austerity, for each MoU, a respective national responsibility. And for five years—nationalization or austerity—the two remedies to choose from.

We choose differently. What is urgent, for us, is to collectivize (not homogenize) individual risk—due to personal debt, job precarity, lessened or no access to health services and good nutrition and the internalization of guilt and shame.

This is the 2nd call for the International Solidarity-Mutual Aid Network. To meet acute and longterm needs in Greece. From/to self-organized initiatives. The aim is to make visible, to demonstrate the efficacy of and put into practice an alternative form of Social Solidarity vis a vis the form of Institutional Solidarity—the EU-ECB-IMF institutions and the new austerity program by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) of the Eurozone.

To clarify. The call is not a contingent choice. It follows our broader effort to develop a different approach to healthcare. On a social, rather than individual, level. Solidarity, reciprocity, equity, without any distinction as to race, color, origin, sexual orientation or religion. Essential elements. For multifactorial healthcare. Not medicalized assessment. For treating human as a bio-psycho-social whole. Not reduction of human to any individual symptom. For deinstitutionalisation. Not charity, medicine for profit, or neoliberal de-hospitalization via closures, privatization and criminalization. For social emancipation.

The plan is to start from, and have at the core of this network, autonomous solidarity health clinics—the sites experimenting on the basis of non-capitalist forms of labor, non-medicalized healthcare, non-institutional dependency. Each clinic will act as a hub, and will coordinate with other self-organized groups in its city/broader area. Each such coalition will determine and share with the network—the initiatives responding to the call—a list of needs (money, in kind, human), ways to be reached (online, mail, in person), long term communication framework/programming. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Needs may range from medicine and electronics to doctors. Within the coming weeks each clinic/coalition will send out their first round of communication.

Social Solidarity Health Clinic & Pharmacy – Iraklio, Crete

George Caffentzis is a philosopher of money. He is also co-founder of the Midnight Notes Collective and the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa. He has taught and lectured in colleges and universities throughout the world and his work has been translated into many languages. His books include: Clipped Coins, Abused Words and Civil Government: John Locke’s Philosophy of Money, Exciting the Industry of Mankind: George Berkeley’s Philosophy of Money; No Blood for Oil! and In Letters of Blood and Fire: Work, Machines and the Crisis of Capitalism. His co-edited books include: Midnight Oil: Work Energy War 1973-1992.

Silvia Federici is a feminist activist, writer, and a teacher. In 1972 she was one of the co-founders of the International Feminist Collective, the organization that launched the international campaign for Wages For Housework (WFH). In the 1990s, after a period of teaching and research in Nigeria, she was active in the anti-globalization movement and the U.S. anti-death penalty movement. She is one of the co-founders of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa, an organization dedicated to generating support for the struggles of students and teachers in Africa against the structural adjustment of African economies and educational systems. From 1987 to 2005 she taught international studies, women studies, and political philosophy courses at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. All through these years she has written books and essays on philosophy and feminist theory, women’s history, education and culture, and more recently the worldwide struggle against capitalist globalization and for a feminist reconstruction of the commons. Her books include: Caliban & The Witch & Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle.

 

We World The Earth

The Highland Clearances, a prime example of Capitalist displacement of peoples. In the 18oo's, Scottish tribal chieftains began expelling people from land in order to 'improve' production. Supported by the English Crown which had already begun the same process, landlords forced people off their ancestral lands to turn land into Capital. The subsequent emigration also caused violence in the lands to which people fled, as indigenous peoples in the Americas and Australia became secondary victims of Scottish Capitalism.
The Highland Clearances, a prime example of Capitalist displacement of peoples. In the 18oo’s, Scottish tribal chieftains began expelling people from land in order to ‘improve’ production. Supported by the English Crown which had already begun the same process, landlords forced people off their ancestral lands to turn land into Capital. The subsequent emigration also caused violence in the lands to which people fled, as indigenous peoples in the Americas and Australia became secondary victims of Scottish Capitalism.

Tuesday marks our 50th post at Gods&Radicals!

Exciting news coming soon regarding the publication of our first print journal.  Also, we’ve added several new authors and have exciting guest posts coming in the next few months.

Again, thanks for all the re-shares, likes, re-posts, comments, and mentions.

Resist beautifully!

This Week

Sean Donahue, Jonathan Woolley, Christopher Scott Thompson, James Lindenschmidt, and Rhyd Wildermuth!

Links

In drought-stricken California, 50 million gallons of water behind an inflatable dam were released by vandals back to the sea.

An animist-leaning, anti-Capitalist urban communal movement sound interesting?  Meet the Kurdish Workers Party revolution in Rojava.

The Zapatistas held a large conference earlier this month entitled Critical Thinking in the Face of the Capitalist Hydra.  We note Sylvia Federici, oft-quoted author of Caliban and the Witch, was amongst those who participated.

 

Glossary

Improvement

A primary Capitalist ethic–maximizing profit derived from land while minimizing human (worker) input and overcoming natural limits to production. Improvement is closely related to Industrialisation–which is a form of improvement.

Because most resources (food, timber, petrochemicals, water) are tied to physical places, those who seek profit must have control of land, and seek constantly to ‘improve’ their extraction of the resources therein.  Small communities rooted in land tend to derive only what they need from it while managing its resources with the sustainability of the community in mind, so often they must be displaced (by force, law, or economic pressure).

The Capitalist ethic demands maximum production from land through ‘scientific management’ (often, irrigation, petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides) while minimizing human input, because workers cost money.

Often these ‘improvements’ have high costs for which the Capitalist is not held responsible.  For instance, chemical run-off from fields or displacement of peoples from land are foisted off onto communities.  Most immigration pressures in Western Capitalist Democracies are results of Capitalist destruction of other economies.

Also, these ‘improvements’ often cause problems that are then treated by more improvements.  Modern meat and dairy production are a great example.  Cows are fed corn (which they cannot ruminate) and given hormones to grow faster and larger.  Stomach infections (from corn) and udder infections (from hormone-improved lactation) sicken the animals, so they are given antibiotics as an ‘improvement.’

Quote

“Witches, like saints, are solitary stars that shine with a light of their own; they depend on nothing and no one, which is why they have no fear and plunge blindly into the abyss with the assurance that instead of crashing to earth, they will fly back out. They can change into birds and see the world from above, or worms to see it from within, they can inhabit other dimensions and travel to other galaxies, they are navigators on an infinite ocean of consciousness and cognition.”

Isabel Allende, author; also, daughter of Socialist president Salvador Allende (who was executed in a CIA-led pro-Capitalist coup)

Our Bodies Will Not Be Machines: My Resistance Will Be Bloody

I am thirteen and bleeding all over the floor of Renee’s bathroom. It is the middle of the night. I thought I had to pee, but it’s just that my period has started. I can’t predict these unpredictable occurrences. My stomach hurts. I feel queasy. But my flow is so heavy it’s running down my leg and making a mess on the floor. I mop up what I can. I swallow my pride and wake my friend to wake her mother. We need assistance. Thankfully, in an act of female teenage solidarity, no one ever hears of this story. Until now.

I am fifteen, crawling on my hands and knees through the halls of my high school. I have cramps so severe I cannot walk. I am pale and my English teacher is concerned that I might be passing out at my desk. Thankfully, most everyone is in class, so few people have to see my humiliation. But humiliation is the least of my concerns right now. Basic bodily functioning is my only priority at this moment. No one ever mentions seeing me do this.

I am nineteen and even being on the pill can’t cure me of cramps so bad that once again I cannot walk. I am slumped on the tile floor of the university dining hall bathroom. I might be passing out. A male friend is brought in to find me and carry me back to my dorm room. He never mentions this again.

In each of these moments what isn’t mentioned is that these moments aren’t mentioned. Women are supposed to be quiet about something that our bodies do every single month for thirty or forty years. Don’t make a big deal of your experience. Don’t gross anyone out. This is shameful and people will mock you. Or they willfully ignore it.

Don’t smell of flesh and blood. Don’t leak or leave a bloody stain. Stuff your cunt up. Eat ungodly amounts of pain-killers. Alter your hormones with birth control pills, regardless of the sex you may or may not be having. Don’t let cramps get you down; girl, let’s see that smile! Don’t rest; taking a day off work just proves women are weak and unreliable.

Patriarchy and Capitalism are cozy bedfellows. They are happy to convince women that their bodies are disgusting, so they can sell us one more product to make us more “productive”, to make my vagina smell like candy or flowers, anything that will stop these cunts from bleeding.

blood

HARDER FASTER STRONGER MORE

Anti-Capitalist efforts have always maintained the dignity of the human person, that our dignity is inherent in our being, and is not more nor less dignified according to our material wealth. Our bodies are not machines, and therefore we cannot work 12, 16, 18 hours a day. Thanks to the Socialists of the past, we now have an 8 hour work day.

Except, we don’t really. Our paid work may only be 8 hours a day, but there is no room for rest in our society. In 1974 Silvia Federici tackled the issue of the unpaid work of housework, done almost exclusively by women. She says “the unwaged condition of housework has been the most powerful weapon in reinforcing the common assumption that housework is not work, thus preventing women from struggling against it”. By denying that housework is work, that raising children is work, Capitalism can ignore women’s needs for equality of time, reimbursement, and support. If it’s not work, we can continue to underpay house cleaners, nannies, preschool teachers, (some) cooks, and so on.

We are encouraged to work ever longer hours. We are isolated in our nuclear families, not sharing the collective labor our lives require. Our communities are designed for long commutes. You can sleep when you’re dead. Play hard. Never give up. Always improving, never just being. There is no room for pain, or rest, or love, but our bodies are not machines.

“Women’s work,” women’s bodies, women’s embodied experience, in fact, all human embodied experiences, are inconvenient for the Capitalist enterprise. Because our bodies are not machines.

EMBRACING MY BLOODY BODY

In my late 20s, when I was in graduate school, I decided to try an experiment, because I could, because I had the flexibility to do so. I decided to give myself a 48 hour menstrual holiday. I was on the pill and could ensure that my period always started on a Friday. I would not make any plans. No studying if I could help it. I hung out in my pajamas, eating cheese burgers, napping, and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And bleeding onto cloth. No pushing myself to look good (when I was bloated and heavily bleeding). No trying to socialize (when I was spacey and queasy). No needing to be ON. No bleached cotton and chemicals blocking me up.

It transformed the way I felt about my period and my body. I stopped hurting as much. I stopped experiencing PMS symptoms as strongly. I started looking forward to my body releasing and resting. I started wondering how many other people, particularly women, were pushing through pain and discomfort, ignoring their bodies, menstruating or not.

It changed the way I understood bodies, period. My compassion for others’ bodies increased.

BY BEING SOFT I WILL RESIST

These days I don’t have “days off.” I have small children, born of a body so used to pain that labor was not that much worse than my cramps. When I am menstruating, I continue to observe my monthly holidays. I try not to schedule anything. We eat leftovers. I put my feet up. I embrace the blood that keeps my womb clean and healthy. I settle into a space, mentally, physically, and spiritually, that feels liminal and helps me wander between the realms of life and death, of this world and Other worlds.

By resting and embracing my bleeding I resist the fetishization of my female body. I don’t have to smell like a prepubescent female. I can smell like the animal I am, iron and flesh, pheromones and earth. I listen to the completely natural urges of my body. Sometimes the slickness and warmth sing a song of sex, needing salt and a firm hand. Other times I want not a single touch, as if every inch of my flesh has gone on strike.

Instead of purchasing conventional period products, I have acquired, over time, cloth products, made by women who work out of their home. They are more environmentally sustainable, easily washable, more comfortable, and supporting, not some corporation, but a family and/or independent craftsperson*. I step outside the conventional model and resist – economically, environmentally, bodily. One act of resistance leads to another.

BLOODY WILL BE THE WAY

I resist Capitalism by not being “productive.” I resist by refusing to accept that my body or your body is a machine. Our bodies need to rest. Our bodies need time and space to heal, to purge, to grow, to be. Honoring my body shows my kids that the female body is not disgusting, but a cause for celebration.

Blood is life. The blood that pumps in my body and your body every moment of every day is life. Your heart’s blood and my cunt’s blood. A bleeding woman is a powerful woman. A bleeding woman can grow a life in the hidden spaces of her body. A woman who resists hiding her power, in her sex, in her blood, lays bare her connection to the sacrality of life, of our flesh.

Who better to understand this than Pagans? We understand the balance on the knife’s edge between life and death. We understand that life is sacred, that blood and sex are sacred. The Capitalist system denies this sacredness and tries to shame us, male and female alike, by insisting that we soldier on, cover up, and purchase more goods to Get Through.

The body is a site of resistance. Resistance to Capitalism and Patriarchy may begin with a glimmer of a theoretical idea, realization, or hope. But those ideas must flower in relation to our lived, embodied experience. Resistance begins in these personal moments, in the ways we love, the ways we bleed, the ways we live and die.

I saw the tentacles of control between the two-headed hydra of Patriarchy and Capitalism, passing our bodies around. I cut one tentacle, only to see that we are tangled in others. But the confidence to cut one tentacle leads to cutting more. Resist once and you can resist again.

Resist beautifully. Bleed.

*Ironically, this form of resistance has finally been noticed by Capitalist powers and the FDA has decided that cloth pads are “class 1 medical devices” and must be regulated and taxed accordingly


Niki Whiting

Niki Whiting is a mother and a student of theology. She was born and raised in Alaska and currently lives in Olympia.


Gods&Radicals is a non-profit Pagan Anti-Capitalist publisher. Find out more about our books here.

Remarks on Capital, Women’s Liberation, and Deicide

by KatzFatz
by KatzFatz

By John Monroe

 

In particular, Marx neglects the role of the witch-hunts, which was a major war on women where hundreds of thousands of women were arrested, tortured, killed, burned on village squares. He also does not discuss the role of legislation that penalized all forms of contraception and control over the process of biological reproduction, or legislation that introduced a new type of family, a new type of sexual relations. That placed the body of women under the tutelage of the state. What you begin to see with the development of capitalism is a policy that looks at the body of women and procreation as a fundamental aspect of the production of the workforce. In that sense, with the development of capitalism women’s’ bodies are turned into machines for the production of workers, which explains why these very fierce and bloody laws against women are instituted where capital punishment is administered for any form of abortion.

Silvia Federici

The Kurdish resistance in the northern Mesopotamian region has called attention to itself as it has emerged as the most effective ally to Western powers against ISIL. In particular, the women’s defense militias have gained international renown for their fearless struggles against the Islamic extremists, which in turn has called up the strong feminist politics of the Kurdish militants.

On the other end of the spectrum is the now infamous PKK, the Kurdish Worker’s Party, which remains a terrorist organization on US, EU and Turkish lists (despite offspring organizations being current military allies of the US and others). In fact, at the moment, the PKK remains on these lists despite the fact that the Iranian organization Hezbollah, which has been supporting autocrat Assad in Syria, has recently been removed.

As a student of dialectics, I can’t help but note the irony of this massive, structurally-produced contradiction: while the US fights with Kurds against ISIL terrorists, it continues to denounce the PKK as itself terrorist. Mind you, the Kurdish Worker’s Party does have a long history of violence, but this has unfolded in the incredibly oppressive conditions under the Turkish state and within the crucible of Western imperialism. There is a lot of criticism of the PKK, and especially surrounding its leader, Abdullah Öcalan. The PKK, as a socialist and formerly Marxist party, is controversial on those grounds alone, amongst both the mainstream and other revolutionary tendencies. As a theoretician, Öcalan tends to essentialize both the racial history and identity of the Kurds, and the political/social roles of women and men. As a program, the PKK has made a priority of creating ‘new men and women’ – attempting to create ideal social actors within the current oppressive conditions. This has led to accusations of brain-washing. In short, a lot of classic criticisms of the Left can be and have been launched against the PKK as a revolutionary organization.

And yet, this is the militant group developed the incredibly effective men and women’s defense militias, not only surviving but gaining force in the hottest combat zone on the planet. So even if it is the case that the official ideology is theoretically weak or that there are internal leadership problems, it is clear that as a whole the Left Kurdish resistance has a deep organizational wisdom. (Beyond this, we can look at the Constitution of the Rojava Cantons, an institutional embodiment of Kurdish autonomism, though not reducible ideologically or historically by any means to the PKK).

I will take it as a principle of this essay that we may take core pieces of the PKK ideology and set them critically to work without being committed to the particular problems of the organization. So, in order to bypass a lot of important debate, I am going to focus on the conjunction of three PKK ideas with what I see as the militant possibilities emerging from the Western polytheist movement. These ideas are:

  1. If mass factory workers provided the revolutionary impetus in Europe during the 1800s and first half of the 1900s, and if colonized people in national liberation struggles represented the point of radical militancy in the second half of the 1900s, then now the global liberation movement hinges on the role of militant women.
  2. The dominant male is a socially-constructed type that has been at the root of class society since its inception and needs to be made an object not only of critique, but attack.
  3. Theory needs to move beyond its fetishization of mathematics and the subject-object model, especially as it is thought in the experimental sciences. It needs to think itself in mythological terms.

In this, the PKK is attempting to go beyond the limits of the revolutionary party offered by both the classic Bolshevik-turned-Stalinist Communist Party and the various National Liberation parties that came to power after World War II. In both of these cases, there was a tendency to see ‘scientific socialism’ as a war of science against not only ruling class ideas, but everything that seemed primitive and therefore reactive. Mythology was looked at as necessarily obscurantist, a tool for controlling the minds of the masses. It had to be replaced by history, science and mass culture.

The primary reason that all revolutions, whether the French, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, African or Latin American varieties, have so far collapsed inwards has been the overwhelming force and brutality of global imperialism. After that, we can begin to critique its revolutionary actors, theory, etc. To start with the revolution, ideas and those who carried them out, without taking into account the unaccountable horror of the capitalist system, is methodologically unsound and politically unfair. Though of course it is an automatic procedure today by ideologists of all kinds.

This isn’t to say we don’t critique the radical past. This is precisely what the PKK is attempting to do. First, they shift the revolutionary subject from the factory worker or the Third World peasant to women as such. Öcalan focuses on Muslim women, so many of whom live under the double tyranny of fundamentalist Islamic misogyny and Western imperialist anti-Islamism. However, we find that women everywhere have been brutally exploited by capital and thoroughly terrorized by its ruling class. Nor is this incidental. The Marxist feminist scholar Silvia Federici argues that capitalism had to terrorize women in order to establish itself. (See her Caliban and the Witch and Witch-Hunting.) This was prior to the brutalities of colonization and the slave trade, those two bloody pillars of the global market. Before the world system could be built, the European regime had to be established. And this required the introduction of what we today call rape culture.

Federici examines the role of systemic misogyny in the building of capitalist exploitative systems. In the late Middle Ages, the Black Plague struck Europe and decimated the population. This most affected the working-class, which had been urbanizing. As a result, the labor pool dropped, supply decreased, and the prices for labor grew. Through this collective economic power, the medieval proletariat was able to begin to gain social and political equity.

The ruling classes of Europe– feudal lords, church officials, and city merchants –fought back against the rising working-class by developing new forms of exploitation. Enclosures – which privatized communal peasant land for commercial exploitation by the powerful – were implemented. The role of communal land was of course essential to the medieval peasant. Decimated by these enclosures, peasants were forced to relocate to the growing cities and sell their labor-power at the dirt-cheap prices capitalists could get away with paying. A template of the pitting of the working-class against itself in competition to survive. Centuries later, this process would be implemented, yet again, in 1990s North America with the passage of NAFTA.

This feudal ruling class was destined to be the predecessor to the capitalist class, the most successful, brutal and degenerate ruling class in human history. They had to meet their task, these aristocrats, bishops and grand urban bankers. And they did, with zeal.

Throughout the 1300s and 1400s, the opening shots were launched. The European ruling class decriminalized rape against proletarian women. Let’s be very clear on this:

The leadership of Europe made it SOCIALLY TOLERABLE for packs of young men in European cities to rape women – SO LONG AS THEY WERE POOR.

To augment the process, the Church permitted the opening of brothels throughout Europe, so that women socially stigmatized by rape could be integrated into a new sex industry. They made less and had less social power. Win-win for the ruling class, which was reinforcing its own patriarchal foundations in the glorification of brave knights and virtuous ladies. Not unlike the racist terror regime of Jim Crow, carried out while Southern fraternities and sororities celebrated the glories of white culture.

The brutalization that occurred in this process laid the groundwork for the Witch Trials. As Federici points out, the Witch Trials were not hysterical acts of outdated barbarism. They didn’t “just happen to happen” because of crazy religious beliefs. No, the Witch Trials were primarily a political tool, to decimate the lower-class culture of Europe, which was based on the various social and communal roles played by women.

Hundreds of thousands of women were publicly tortured to death during the 1500s and 1600s. Mind you, this is during the rise of modern scientific enterprise, juridical and prison systems, and the Dutch and English revolutionary movements. But this wave of progress didn’t save the witches. Many of these, scientific male minds could endorse the Witch Trials. The Reformation upset a thousand-years of Catholic theology and sent Europe into incredibly violent religious wars. But both Calvin and Luther supported the Witch Trials. Not only church authorities, but also lay authorities (that is, what we would now call secular powers) enforced witch laws and brutally murdered women in the name of something like ‘public safety’.

Federici makes clear that what was essential here was the utter destruction of communal life. In order to subject humanity to the insane exploitation by capital, it was not enough to force people off the land and into cities where they had no choice but to work for the bourgeois at subsistence-wages. Beyond that, it was necessary to destroy any culture that could resist the rising capitalist-scientific discourse. For this reason, and this reason alone, all of this rape, torture and murder was institutionalized.

Our culture of commodities and profits is impossible without rape culture and the horrors of the Witch Trials.

The Witch Trials were not simply about making room for a new kind of production system. Though it accomplished this major feat, breaking the cultural back of the medieval peasantry and preparing them for the discipline of wage-labor, it had another function. It had to totally devalue the work of women as domestic laborers and reproducers of human labor. In order to do this, economic and moral power was given to the male head of the house. As the urban proletariat grew, it was often the men who worked and gained a wage while the women remained home, maintaining the home for the worker while caring for the next generation of laborers. And all for free. That is, the working family internalized a cost that should have been covered by those profiting – the capitalists.

Instead, a rift already opened by the decriminalization of rape and the Witch terror was maintained through the vicissitudes of domestic violence. Artificial scarcity, caused in no small part by the devaluation of domestic and reproductive labor, creates difficult conditions for most working families. Resentment of the ‘real worker’ against the woman who ‘just stays home’ is unfortunately as widespread as it is stereotypical. Through this, not only is the dominant male produced, he is also reinforced through substance abuse, media productions and repressive fraternization with other like-minded men.

So the ground having been stolen from beneath their feet, and their culture-bearing women burned before their eyes, the medieval European masses slowly entered the ranks of the modern working poor, liberated to freely sell their labor to the capitalist of their choice. The alternatives, of course, were internment or starvation.

Let’s take a moment to survey – the rise of capital and the world-system built on a carefully-managed war against the role of women in medieval lower-class society. Before it was possible to colonize the Americas or build the slave trade, the masses of Europe first had to be thoroughly dominated and made useful for exploitation. So men were pitted against women, enticed to abuse, rape and torture by the ruling class. Degeneracy ensued, and the pyres of women burning coexisted with the insane violence of the Religious Wars that emerged from the Reformation. We know about the printing press, Luther’s Bible and the Protestant-Catholic split. Incredible violence unfolded from this schism. In its wake, the European elite looked for a different way to manage ruling ideology. The Medieval Church was in crisis. Not only had it split in terms of doctrine and practice. Christian theology wasn’t amenable to the kinds of knowledge needed by the urban merchant class, which was steadily growing in power. A new kind of theoretical frame was necessary. The answer came in the form of the Enlightenment, the subject-object paradigm and the mathematical sciences. And it begins with the work of a French philosopher.

The PKK critiques the introduction of the subject-object paradigm and the dominance of the mathematical system. They claim, correctly, that this arose with the capitalist system. It was famously introduced by Rene Descartes. In his Meditations, he situates the subject as the thinking entity – the famous “I think therefore I am.” Everything else is objective, describable in terms of mathematical physics according to the well-known Cartesian graph – another production of the French philosopher.

Only humans are subjects. Only humans experience the world consciously. So Descartes felt justified in performing surgical investigations on living animals, justifying himself by explaining that the screams of the animals were mechanical responses, not expressions of lived suffering. He did this in the name of science, for anatomico-physiological research. Not unlike those animals who are tortured by Huntington Life Sciences today in the name of consumer well-being and clinical research.

Descartes’ methodological doubt submits all reality to the logic of either-or: either the thing is an object, inert and merely physical, and mathematically describable, or it is the human thinking subject of experience, which perceives the objects of the world and thinks about them.

The Christian God has a special place in this scheme: it guarantees the logical coherency of the relationship between the thinking subject and the mathematical object. Otherwise, Descartes speculates, the whole world could be a demonic delusion (premonitions of The Matrix?). That is, at the very birth of science, despite the obvious useful of its knowledge, the whole system needed a theology guarantee. Why? If mathematical physics could predict phenomena, if the thinking subject could understand the natural world through science, why was there a threat of it all being a demonic hallucination? What was beyond the schema of subject-object that threatened its stability?

Descartes, a student of Scholasticism and a staunch Catholic, was the inheritor of a system of thought that put the Christian God at its center. Every phenomenon, natural, cultural or spiritual, was interpreted through the various intellectualizations of the Bible. These had been carried on for over a thousand years, since the foundational works of Augustine, who himself built on the earlier Patristic works. In all this, there was a tendency to centralize not only Church power, but also the theoretical cohesion of the system: it was necessary to explain everything as an act of God’s Will.

Descartes inadvertently participated in the destruction of the very system he sought to support. Rather than reinforcing the role of the Christian God at the center of the system, mathematical physics helped decenter our world-view through the developments of astronomy. Upon discovering that the human race lived on a planet in a small solar system on the edge of the galaxy, the entire cosmological context for the Christian God was eviscerated. Descartes and Newton in their own ways tried to maintain theology through mathematical physics, but instead this science helped to dismantle every core assumption of scholastic theories of nature. With this, the idea that there could be a single Cause for all things (not simply in the sense of the Big Bang, but in the sense of a conscious Cause which meant for things to happen as they have) came to an end. At least on paper.

In fact, this Cause had moved from a simple symbolic role to a real function. In the destruction of Christian theology, modern science was able to set to work helping the construction of the world market. Not only were mathematics applied to industry through engineering and accounting, but the (pseudo)science, classic anthropology, emerged, not to explore cultural differences, but to legitimate and enhance colonization. Anthropology was used to legitimate doctrines of race which in turn justified slavery, land theft and mass murder. And now, rather than justifying this in the name of God, it was rather carried out in the name of the Human. This is the etymology of ‘anthropology’– science of the human. And for Western imperialism, this always meant the science of the superior humans for the subjection of the inferior.

In all this, we cannot doubt the prevalence of the dominant male. Immanuel Kant, the Enlightenment philosopher who theorized on universal freedom but believed in a hierarchy of human races, speculated that women were on principle incapable of philosophizing. It’s a note of historic irony that some of the best books on Kantian ethics and logic today are written by women philosophers. And this only seems to speak to the PKK’s point: women are militating around the world, in all forms of struggle, and are emerging time and again in the leadership positions of radical movements.

So what does this mean within the scope of polytheism, within a position that acknowledges that the gods exist, that they cannot be submitted to one schema of knowledge, and that they cannot be experienced in one universal manner?

I’ll develop only one point. I’ll elaborate this in a future piece, interlinking the famous ancient ‘intermundia’ and the rise of global capital. But for now:

It’s clear that there is no place for the gods in the mathematical subject-object paradigm. The domination of experience by the Cartesian mathematical graph literally excludes any relation to the gods. Precisely this is one of the threats to Descartes’ meditation: the ‘demonic’ influence, for a Catholic, of the gods who have been suppressed by centuries of Christendom. And it is not enough to theorize them away: the capitalist exploitation of resources will destroy the wild places where so many gods live, while the domination of the commodity will supplant ritual with spectacle. Most humans will be submitted to the soul-numbing brutality of wage-labor (if not some form of modern slavery), and this destroys both one’s time and one’s intuition. The relationship between humans and gods and between the earth and gods are both fundamentally deranged by the emergence and spread of global capital.

In my future work I hope to demonstrate that capital is inherently anti-gods, i.e., deicidal. At this moment, in lieu of a deduction, I can only develop a hypothesis based on the evidence of the actual devastation carried out by the world market and the unprecedented depravity unleashed by the capitalist ruling class: along with the countless people, animals, plants – entire species and cultures – rivers, mountains and others entities annihilated by global capital, a myriad of gods have been exterminated, and more face the same fate.

As to the PKK, their feminist militancy and the Kurdish resistance in Syria and Iraq against ISIL – a force of destruction that seems to embody the nihilism of global capital – perhaps from them, we polytheists can take some inspiration, if nothing else, for the anti-capitalist position necessary to stand by the gods.

John Monroe:

johnnightingalepicJohn Monroe is a philosopher, artist, organizer and alchemist. He comes from the Western territories of American Empire and hopes in the future to be living in a proper autonomous zone on that same ground. He has had many run-ins with gods and spirits, but is religious only in so far as he is a dialectical materialist.