When They Bought Us Out

“[W]hite supremacy exists not external to the class, but as a perversion of its own interests.”

From Shane Burley

solomon-hsu-518339-unsplash.jpg

Based on a speech delivered at The Potter’s House in Washington D.C. on June 19th, 2017.

The days that followed Donald Trump’s unlikely election were a red-carpet moment for Twitter nationalists.

Richard Spencer made his fame in the wake of Trump’s run, as the Alt Right rose in public recognition as the new leadership for a fascist movement made visible. Spencer was the President of the National Policy Institute; a white nationalist think tank that built up an intellectual underpinning to a self-conscious fascist movement. It knew what it was, and it didn’t lie.

He had been holding posh conferences in the heart of Washington D.C. for years, and he planned his November 2016 conference just after the election. It was going to be a celebration or a recommital to accelerationism, whatever worked. In front of a crowd of suits and MAGA hats Spencer berated the press and gave a raucous speech, going fully explicit with the language with which he saw his movement.

“To be white is to be a striver, a crusader, an explorer, and a conqueror. We build, we produce, we go upward. And we recognize the central lie of American race relations. We don’t exploit other groups. We don’t gain anything from their presence. They need us, and not the other way around. Whiteness, or rather identity, is being forced on the deracinated, consumerist “last man” that is European America. No one is going to be permitted to escape this process. Great historical changes are imminent when people are forced into a binary choice, fight or flee, join or die, resist or cuck. That is the position of white people right now.”

That speech finished with an explosion from the crowd when Spencer yelled “Hail Trump! Hail Our People! Hail Victory.” The Roman Salutes that dotted the audience made sense, and the liberal media loved it.

One year later, at the November 2017 NPI conference, things had changed. The infighting in the Alt Right began almost immediately, with the revolutionary white nationalists separating from the Trump Republicans. Antifascist mass actions began to disrupt any functioning event the Alt Right had, from Spencer’s campus appearances to Identity Evropa’s brief attempts at anti-immigrant rallies. Then there was Charlottesville, a window into the reality of what the white nationalist movement is capable of, and the mass media platform denial that came as a result. Social media, podcast hosting, YouTube, and almost all venues for their expression were halted; their message, and money, began to flounder in the wake.

This year, they were no longer allowed the Ronald Reagan building in D.C.’s City Center, but instead had to rent an unheated barn in rural Pennsylvania. They could not secure another venue, no one would rent to them: it simply wasn’t worth it. During the event Spencer did an interview with author Angela Nagle for a documentary on the Alt Right, discussing the state of their movement and Spencer’s vision for a great white empire.

When Nagle asked what he would do with the American whites who did not want the vision he promised, he had a binary choice. “Then we will force them to be free.”

31755420304_06067c8277_b

Fascism is not just a system of obtuse and indecipherable totalitarianism. It is not simply the decisive rule from the top. It is populist: meaning, in a sense, it is popular. It is a movement that has to be rooted in the people. Fascism was not popular in an era before mass politics, when aristocratic elites ruled by decry without the charade of mass democracy. Fascism rises and rules by the mass participation of segments of the working class, a point which many have tried to ignore. It is the flaws in democracy it hopes to exploit, to expose the lies of extra-judicial violence and control that allow the system to continue.

As a revolutionary movement which seeks to undermine some of the basic assumptions of Western liberalism, fascism rises from the same conditions that the radical left does: economic strife, dehumanizing living conditions, racial conflict, state repression, and the range of violence marked by modern capitalist society. This creates the turmoil, a revolutionary spirit that can tip over into a number of directions. The rage of the marginalized classes is always sincere and valid, yet its purity guarantees nothing about outcomes.

One element that can pivot and distort class rebellion is the meager benefits that a privileged class of workers have. This is to say, the more white, male, or otherwise marginally-benefited workers have, the more advantages they see above their counterparts. A reactionary privileged class, desperate to hold on to those privileges in a world of uncertainty and competition, have the longest tradition of patented self-destruction. The inability of white workers to see the benefits of anti-racist solidarity, the strength that comes from class unity only possible through a revolutionary refusal of white supremacy, has been the bargain made for decades in an attempt to grasp at that privilege.

This choice has been the Achilles Heel of the worker’s movement, and largely all left mass movements, and enacts arson on liberation. The push in the labor movement to bait out immigrants, including demonizing immigrant labor, was a bid to raise wages for domestic workers. However, it ignored the fact that those meager wage gains were nothing compared to what could have been achieved if a true internationalism was embedded. The benefits of male social caste came at the cost of crushing patriarchy, the kind of rigid gender roles that have cost men the ability to hold relationships and live with themselves as they are. The exchange has been made, and for pennies now they lost thousands.

The mass politics of fascism is built on the white working class, it cannot exist without it. They are what gives it strength, people, anger. They are the enforcers, even the vanguards, even if they are not the beneficiaries. This reality has to be confronted: white supremacy exists not external to the class, but as a perversion of its own interests. But whose fault is it? As the left recedes into urban college campuses, internalize jargon, and failed liberal movements, where is the white working class? Is it organizing?

No one needs to tell us to organize, to survive. We do it every day, and we do it without the organized left. There is no reason to believe, however, that this is always in a direction we could celebrate, or even accept. The old IWW slogan of “if you aren’t talking to your co-worker, someone else is” with the silhouette of a Klansman rings true, and the anger of the white worker class has nowhere to go but down. Their energy, built on de-industrialization, falling real wages, and the true reality of working life rises; it has been effectively turned upon itself and on immigrants, women, queers, and people of color.

This is not eternal, it has not always been this way. While the shift has taken place, the left has always been there, a step away to mock, criticize, and remain insular, losing popularity as it loses the class.

This is a call to engage all members of the working class in fundamental change, but it is not a declaration to ignore the reality of violent white supremacy coming from people with similar paychecks to our own. We have to prioritize defense in times of repression and supremacist insurrection, including building networks of community protection against white nationalist attacks and the growing infrastructure of genocide in the state. While white workers have not largely sided with movements like the project to Abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcment (ICE) system, we push ahead without apology.

Regardless, white workers benefit from a deeply revolutionary antiracist movement, one that drives out divisions in the working class. Such a movement can do so only by uprooting actual inequality and destroying racism, both interpersonal and institutional. When white workers give up privilege by undoing the system of institutionalized white supremacy, they will get solidarity in return. This provides real power, not just the illusion of freedom so many cling to.

A movement like that can destroy all borders, wages, bosses, and states. And to do that we need everyone together, with foundations that were built consciously. A working class movement does not abandon the work at road blocks, or offense, or even trauma; instead, it sees the reclamation of the class as inherent to a revolutionary process. This doesn’t stop the work: there are two projects ahead, revolution against the top and the rebuilding of the class. This is a permanent work in progress, a permanent revolution.

This doesn’t mean every white worker will read your pamphlet, hear your speech, and join your movement. And why would they? Organizing rests on more than that: the legitimacy of shared class identification and matching of idealism with material conditions. It won’t work universally, and the “false consciousness,” or even parallel consciousness, lingers in huge swaths of people whose mythology of self is cemented in the whiteness offered as a consolation prize. That doesn’t matter, though: they benefit from the destruction of whiteness just the same.

So that means going forward. And if they tell you they don’t want it, then we will give them a binary choice. We will force them to be free.


Shane Burley

12375190_1270053539678590_6582607531732468985_oShane Burley is a writer and filmmaker based in Portland, Oregon.  He is the author of Fascism Today: What It Is and How We Stop It (Forthcoming 2017, AK Press). His work has been featured in places like In These Times, ThinkProgress, Roar Magazine, Labor Notes, Make/Shift, Upping the Ante, and Waging Nonviolence. He can be found at ShaneBurley.net, and on Twitter @Shane_Burley1


Can you tell us how we’re doing by filling out this short survey?

We’d really, really appreciate it! And also we’ll give you a discount at our bookstore for your time.

Caesar in Briton

We call upon enemies of the Leviathan living on the islands of Briton to join in a campaign to challenge Trump and History.

From Julian Langer and Emma Kathryn

jose-moreno-196356-unsplash.jpg

This July Caesar is returning to the islands of Briton … well Donald Trump is, and aren’t we all so excited?

The “special arrangement” Britain has had with America appears strained at this point, in the way that all politics appears strained in this situation we find ourselves in. War, economic failures, cultural-identity crises and other factors have led us to this place.

Both the nations of Britain and America have gone down the pathway of significantly isolationist political policy, noticeably at times where the populations are feeling less trusting of the electionist-democratic model. Politics is desperate to retain the image of sanity, while the energetic spasm of its psychosis undermines this attempt – Trump’s visit is part of this keeping-up-appearances, like so many visits are. We welcome the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, President Xi Jinping and many other war mongers, killers of innocents, and enslavers.

Events like this hold potential for fun, for those of us who are enemies of the Leviathan.
The British Left is currently talking protests, in the traditional mass-block form that we are all familiar with, both those of us within radical cultures and those outside of them. We’ve attended protests, held banners and chanted. We’ve walked in marches, side by side with friends. We’ve rioted, throwing barriers across streets and at police, setting fireworks off in the streets of London. There is a beauty in these types of actions.
But we do not believe in this as a means of fighting back and challenging what we hate. History has squashed the energy of these actions under its Death, and we’d rather do something full of Life.

As Julian has written previously, on this site and others, the enemy we are faced with is one of a socially-constructed ontology, so challenging it involves being creative and at the same time destructive, in ways that don’t fit the everyday normal of politics. Guerrilla ontology was first used as a concept by the religious practice of Discordianism, for games like Operation Mindfuck, for their worship of Eris Goddess of Chaos. It is a means of challenging Realities, and we’d like to light the fires of a similar campaign.

Witches and other magical practitioners across America (and most likely outside it too) have been engaged in #magicresistance, a campaign of spells and prayers within a pagan framework to challenge Trump. This has taken as many (and more) forms as there have been pagans involving themselves within this campaign. This includes, at the very least, hexes and darker forms of attack.

When Julius Caesar came to Briton he was terrified of the savage warriors that came to meet his army. Caesar was terrified of druids, or at least that is how it is recorded – all history is propaganda, so whether or not the accounts he recorded were true means very little to us. He wrote of the druids – “They believe, in effect, that, unless for a man’s life a man’s life be paid, the majesty of the immortal gods may not be appeased; and in public, as in private life they observe an ordinance of sacrifices of the same kind. Others use figures of immense size whose limbs, woven out of twigs, they fill with living men and set on fire, and the men perish in a sheet of flame. They believe that the execution of those who have been caught in the act of theft or robbery or some crime is more pleasing to the immortal gods; but when the supply of such fails they resort to the execution even of the innocent”. According to one mythic-tale of druids Figol would threaten to cast fire upon his enemies and stop them and their horses from being able to go to the toilet.

We call upon enemies of the Leviathan living on the islands of Briton to join in a campaign to challenge Trump and History. Not a #magicresistance here, as we are not looking to save the political body of Britain for it is beyond saving, as all governments are, but one of chaos magick, of wild mayhem, of mindfuckery, and of savage warriors, channelling the energy of the wild animals, the wild botany, the rivers that course through these islands, the seas that beat upon our shores, the rains that the civilised never fucking stop complaining about, the fury of the winds, the fires in our campsites and fireplaces. This is no patriotic-nationalistic desire to save this machine of empire and History. This is a proclamation, that we dance savage dances, to call upon the energies of living world in opposition to this Emperor of Death and all empires of Death the Leviathan takes form within. That we use this energy to cast some fear into the heart of Trump and his supporters, through hexes, curses and the promise that when he falls we shall sacrifice him in a spell to bring down this global Leviathan.

Like all that is mystical, this shall be paradoxical. It shall be recorded, with no record of it. Like the druids, we will not record what we have done, what our spells are. But we will record that they have happened as they have happened, over these coming months.

In all cases of oppression, in all acts of resisting that oppression, let your witchcrafts become your resistance. It will be far more effective than spending your money on an old song, putting money into the pockets of the already rich. That isn’t really any kind of resistance or protest at all, is it?


Julian Langer and Emma Kathryn

The Factory Floor & The Witch’s Stake

To accept Empire is to deny the dead, the tortured witches of our past and the tortured rebels dying in Empire’s prisons. To not fight Empire is to defy our own bodies, defile the land and destroy the bodies of others. To accept Empire is to become Empire.

From Rhyd Wildermuth

The following essay is adapted from Rhyd Wildermuth’s speech, “Witches In A Crumbling Empire,” to be republished as part of his next collection, Our Time of Springs, Our Time of Flames (August, 2018)


The Empire under which we all suffer, under whom we are all ruled, was born upon the factory floor and upon the witch’s stake.

Industrialised capitalism started in England around 1760. Before then, almost everything humans used was made by humans with human effort, without the input of petroleum. So, in the early 1700’s, any clothing you wore and any food you ate was made or grown completely without fossil fuels.

The first coal-fired factories were built in cities swollen with refugees from the surrounding areas. Those people had just lost all access to land and the means to support themselves because of laws called the Enclosure Acts. No longer could they raise animals and plants from the earth with their own two feet firmly planted on the ground; now, their only option was to stand on wood and stone factory floors for 14 hours a day making things for other people.

Humans are hard to control. Humans don’t like working all day for someone else. They have to eat, and piss, and shit, and rest. Many women bleed every moon, sometimes they get pregnant and have to care for their children.

But Coal doesn’t tire. Coal doesn’t show up to work late after a night of drinking or fucking. Coal doesn’t need a rest, doesn’t get menstrual cramps, doesn’t daydream about how life can be better. Coal also doesn’t demand wages.

So the great ‘revolution’ of industrialisation was the slow replacement of human labor with black carbon labor from the earth. In the Americas, the people called Black were also used to replace waged labor. In both cases, the rich tried to find a low-cost, easily-managed, fully-predictable means to gain wealth.

Slaves revolt, though, and kill their masters. Coal and oil blacken the cities and skies with soot, but burned through filters, the carbon becomes invisible, escapes quietly into the atmosphere, warming the earth at such imperceptible rates that it could be ignored until recently.

What could not be ignored was the tendency of humans to revolt against their masters, be they slaves or peasants, workers or servants. Humans don’t make very good machines, we are unpredictable, tire easily, and anyway would rather be creating art or eating, then doing monotonous work for little pay.

The same era which saw the birth of industrialised capitalism also saw the birth of all modern forms of government and control. The modern city, the nation-state, so-called Democracy, representative government, prisons resembling factories resembling schools which resemble prisons. It also saw the birth of the modern police and the political order under which we now live.

But what is Empire?

By Empire I mean America, but I also do not.

By Empire I mean Capitalism, but I also do not.

By Empire I mean colonization. I mean industrialisation. I mean the slaughter of indigenous peoples and the enslavement of Africans. I mean the carbon in the air and the worker in the factory. I mean all the newly extinct species and all the dying forests. I mean the corporations which own the internet and the corporations who profit from the computers and smartphones you read this on.

By Empire, I mean the foreign wars. I mean an Arab woman cradling the corpse of her decapitated daughter and shaking her fist at the gay Black dude from Los Angeles who only joined the Army to get money to support his mother.

By Empire, I mean the Mexican child screaming as her father is taken away by an ICE agent whose grandparents fled the Nazi advance in Europe.

By Empire, I mean the Black father mourning his son killed by a cop whose ancestors sold themselves into indentured servitude rather than starve to death during the famine in Ireland.

By Empire, I mean the intersectional feminist writing essays about the exploitation of women and children on a computer made through the exploitation of Asian women and African children.

And by Empire I mean the Arab man who massacres gays in a nightclub to retaliate for atrocities none of those people committed.

By Empire, I mean the single white mother driving her disabled kid to a doctor’s appointment over roads lain by migrant workers who are about to get deported.

By Empire I mean the civitas and the polis. I mean civilization and the police, the laws and logic, the political order, the thou shalt nots and the prisons where you go when you refuse to listen.

But more than anything, I mean the Empire in each of you and the Empire in me.

I mean all that was once wild and raw and sacred in us that is now ground into machine-parts and mechanical obedience.

By Empire I mean you, and by Empire I mean me.

And finally, by Empire I mean this thing that is crumbling around us, gasping for air, begging us to keep it alive.

The Empire that is crumbling around us was born on the factory floors and the witch’s stake, and both were assaults on the human body.

Silvia Federici said it, in her essay “In Praise of the Dancing Body:

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…. What we have not always seen is what the separation from the land and nature has meant for our body, which has been pauperized and stripped of the powers that pre-capitalist populations attributed to it.

If the first task of Capitalism was to separate us from land and nature, they have more than succeeded. One need only look at the vastly artificial surroundings we all live in, the devices we use to speak with each other, the manufactured foods and synthetic medicines. Can you walk outside your home and find something edible growing by the pavement? Do you know which birds share your neighborhood with you? Can you point to where precisely the sun will rise tomorrow morning without a compass? Without looking outside tonight or at the internet, which phase is the moon in?

But it’s useless to rail against this disconnection. What separates us from the land and nature is not a current assault in an ongoing struggle: the war was won by them long ago. We are an occupied people, often occupying occupied land cleared long before any of us were born.

If that war was lost, though, the other war is still on going. Says Federici again:

Mechanization—the turning of the body, male and female, into a machine—has been one of capitalism’s most relentless pursuits.

Capitalism has needed us to act like machines so we can fit into the system as mere, fully-interchangeable cogs. Many of use don’t fit, though: be it our bodies themselves or our failure to conform, the process of turning us into machines is never fully complete.

Those of us who gum up the gears aren’t welcome in the factory, but Empire has a place for us too.

Empire was born on the factory floor, and it was also born on the witch’s stake. Failure to file down your rough bits, refusal to conform to the will of the political order, and worst of all encouraging others to do the same will land you at best in jail, or riddled with mental-illnesses that were non-existent in pre-capitalist lands, suffocated with a crushed trachea for daring to sell loose cigarettes or bleeding to death in the street for looking non-white when the polis tried to enforce its will.

There are countless technological distractions and institutions which have helped us forget our bodies: the masturbatory fantasies of video games and pornography, the medicalisation of any bodily refusal to be a good worker. Gyms look like factories for a reason, for it’s in the mills and on the mechanical looms where we first lost the meaning of muscle and blood. And then there is clock time, our smartphones and alarm clocks, schools which teach kids to move from class to class to prepare them to move from task to task.

Capitalism needed to separate us from the land and our body because it is the land and the body which tells you this is all wrong. The land screams as species go extinct, forests die, icecaps melt. Your body screams when you treat it as a machine.

Your body tells you this is all wrong. Starting from the body, you know you tire faster when you are doing meaningless work. You know the food on offer to you at the supermarkets is empty, you know that the air you breathe is often toxic. You know sitting for eight hours staring at a screen hurts more than just your eyes, that standing behind a counter slinging coffee to exhausted people makes you a poorly-paid drug dealer.

All that knowledge is what capitalism needs you not to know.

All those feelings are what Empire fears you’ll feel.

Capitalism needed to separate us from the land and our bodies for another reason.

Your body is always in contact with something else, something outside yourself. Your feet, the lowest part of you, the easiest part to ignore until they hurt, they connect to the entire world-soul. Taking your shoes off, standing on the grass or the sand or stone, you become no longer a machine but a body again, part of something always bigger than yourself, with a different logic, a more intuitive time, a deeper truth.

Your feet on the earth, you cannot be disconnected from the earth and the seasons, because you are also the earth and its seasons. Work in summer is not work in winter, the time of your waking and the cycles of your sleeping follow a different rhythm fully separate from the time of money-making, the time of machines.

Capitalism needs you to forget this.

Witchcraft tells you to remember.

If Empire was born on the factory floor and on the witch’s stake, it spread into every last bit of our existence, making subjects out of each one of us. While Capitalism needed to separate us from the land and our bodies, Empire needed us to become passive subjects of the political order.

Passivity is not receptivity. As a gay man I can assure you, more action goes into receptive sex than merely closing your eyes and thinking about the Empire. I suspect most women would concur.

Receptivity opens us to the world of senses, of feelings, of meaning. You are being receptive now, taking my words into you, playing with them, weaving their meaning into the tapestry of you. But passivity makes you a victim, a mere tool in the hands of the powerful. Passivity is consumption, selection between lifestyle options, an identity defined not by what you do but by what you choose. Did you vote Democrat or Republican? Drink Coke or Pepsi? Use an iPhone or Android?

Passivity reduces will to mere consumer preference. No longer will to power but a mere checkbox on a ballot or a selection on a screen. No longer desire and suffering but mere distractions to dull the fatigue of work and the anxiety of alienation.

You cannot force someone to become passive except by long applications of torture. But there is another route, a slower one, by which you can conquer the will of others by telling them not ‘thou shalt not’ but ‘thou cannot.’ Like the God of Eden’s lies to the woman in the garden, we are told we cannot survive without capitalism, cannot be safe without police, cannot find meaning outside of waged work, cannot find love without cosmetics.

And so what we did not lose on the factory floor we lost with the death of witches. Not only the women with herbs and poison roots, not only the crones bearing stories from times before private property, not only the maidens urging worship in temples of wild lust, not only the mothers feeding us from their bodies. Not only them, but also them: the women who reminded us an entire world can be made not from city and machine but forest and dirt.

Not only them, but also the heretics, the mad, the dreamers, the rebels. The men dressed like women tearing down fences along with women drest like men, refusing the enclosure of the sacred commons and the seizure of land for the profit of the few. The indigenous elders gunned down by settlers, the traditional healers dead in the hulls of slave ships. All of them taught what Empire needed us to forget: the earth knows what the computer never will, that the body bleeds a liquid more powerful than petroleum.

With them gone, we started to believe we can-not. We cannot heal ourselves without pharmaceuticals, we cannot feed ourselves without factory farms. We cannot make our own clothes, cannot craft our own homes. We must now suckle at the toxic teat of the Market while it slaps us with an invisible hand.

We started to believe we cannot resist.

But in the screaming defiance of the immolated witches was a reminder: we can refuse to submit, even in death.

It took centuries to shape us into what we are now, passive sniveling subjects of Empire and Capital. Though this may seem long, we lived outside Empire much longer. Capitalism is new and short-lived, compared even to Feudalism. It differs only in its full permeation of all our existence, and it is for this reason I call it Empire.

It is also collapsing.

The climate change caused by Capitalism cannot be stopped any longer, and its effects already cause famines and resource wars throughout the world. Between 30,000 and 140,000 species go extinct every year now; at the beginning of the 1800’s, this number was no more than 1000 yearly. Cities are beginning to flood, water tables depleting, while the oil-wells which makes the entire Empire run are going dry. Climate change will increase the refugee crises currently fueling the nationalist parties in Europe and the US, and whether they are fleeing from resource wars or unmanned drone bombers, they are undoubtedly the first quakes of Empire’s impending collapse.

Empires always pompously declare themselves eternal. The British swore the sun would never set on them, the third reich was supposed to last 1000 years. Western Democratic Capitalist Empire declared itself ‘the end of history’ in the 1990’s, but of course Fukuyama’s prediction sealed its fate.

Empires have always tried to cheat death and this one is no different. But the crone that stands on the other side of death’s door revealed her trump card, and now few can deny what this means.

Some still cling to the vain hope that Donald Trump is merely an unfortunate set-back to the progress of civilization. But reversing civil protections, installing fascist theorists in positions of power, rattling the chains of other world leaders, building a wall to keep the Mexicans out—these are not mere reversals of Empire’s progress, they are Empire trying to save itself.

Consider this wall between the US and Mexico. See past the obvious racism of such a thing and its absurd cost to what’s lurking beneath the political veneer. Consider the impending flood of climate refugees: remember your geography, look at a map displaying where the major destruction will occur first, and suddenly Trump’s idea isn’t mere xenophobic delusion.

The increase in surveillance powers, the militarization of police forces, the dismantling of the courts and the rights they are sworn to protect, the stoking of fascist flames: these are not just the actions of a psychopath, but of an engineer shoring up the ruins of Empire.

The same is happening everywhere else in the world. The capitalists know we are remembering to resist again, and so they are raising again the stakes, piling faggots beneath them, waiting for our next sign of revolt.

To accept what is around us now, to call such things “good” and “necessary,” is to laugh in the faces of the screaming witches who died so this Empire could arise. To chase after like mongrel dogs the trinkets and crumbs the capitalists throw down to us on the floor–the “rights” and “freedoms” and all the glossy junk cluttering store shelves–is to jeer at the sorrow and sufferings of our ancestors hauled to work in chains or prodded into mills by the terror of starvation.

To accept Empire is to deny the dead, the tortured witches of our past and the tortured rebels dying in Empire’s prisons. To not fight Empire is to defy our own bodies, defile the land and destroy the bodies of others. To accept Empire is to become Empire.

To fight Empire is to stare in the face of our own deaths and laugh, knowing the worst that might happen is Empire might burn us, too.

But to the witches who risked the stake to avoid forever the factory floor, the insurrectionists who risked bullets to forever avoid submission, and any who risked the rage of Empire for the possibility that Empire might fall, the choice was an easy one.

So is ours.


Rhyd Wildermuth

Rhyd is a co-founder and the managing editor of Gods&Radicals Press and a co-editor of godsandradicals.org.


Please help us pay our writers by donating a few dollars to us. And thanks!

Global Warming: The Secular Paganism Everyone can “Enjoy”

 “There’s a real dark side of the kind of paganism — the secular elites’ religion now — being evidently global warming.” 

K. H. White, Trump’s nominee for White House Council on Environmental Policy

An essay from Patacelsus

The Invisible Hand smites when unopposed. Patæconomically, this couldn’t be a more true statement. And the Statement made by the current nomination to chair the White House Council on Environmental Quality is also true; to wit: “There’s a real dark side of the kind of paganism — the secular elites’ religion now — being evidently global warming.

K.H. White, you tipped your hand. Had anyone noticed, your masters would have been a little more than annoyed with you.

I’ve outlined a little previously on the religion of the corporate person. But this recent blip on the general psychic scream that is Trump (best advertising gimmick ever, just psi-scream constantly so that no matter what you always have their attention; best corporate mascot ever…) has landed us the opportunity to go in a little deeper into the religion of the corporate person.

In later articles, we will also have to delve deeper into the study of the excreta of the corporate person, and why the Black Sun symbol truly is the most true totem that they could have stolen. Needless to say,  pre-sapient vampire gestalt consciousnesses have very strange dreams, which are also their shits, which are also spirits.

It’s a very strange world in 2017, now more than ever we humans should stick together. This isn’t human chauvinism, just a basic recognition that we are no longer the apex predator of the planet. The corporations have made it clear what their message is, “We’re the top of the fucking food chain!” Of course, we’re going to find servants among us, who serve the corporations but haven’t ceded their mind and spirit, like Trump has, quite yet. Kind of like the human vampire servants in the movie Blade, which I reference for no other reason but that I always really liked that weird movie.

But before we get into that, we should stop and reflect on what we already know. We know that the Invisible Hand is the God of the Free Market. It is worshiped by the corporations who have achieved an primitive type of Gestalt Consciousness. Being very much the creation of and being supported by human beings, and therefore, very much like any animal, it asks itself four basic questions when it encounters you:

  • Can I fuck it?
  • Can it fuck me?
  • Can I eat it?
  • Will it eat me?

You have a serious problem if a gestalt decides it can eat you. We call that the State. You have a different serious problem if it decides it can fuck you. We call that Capitalism. You yourself, reader, ask and answer these questions to yourself every time you meet someone, with emphasis put on the questions most pertinent to your situation. It’s ok! You’re human, it’s ok to be human!

You don’t ask these questions consciously anyway. Moral agency does come in when you decide what to do with the answer, hint hint. The only people who don’t think it is ok to be human are non-human people. And the God of the true Capitalists, the corporations, who is a jealous God, is the Invisible Hand; the ultimate eater/fucker.

The Invisible Hand has been fucking and eating for a long time, make no mistake. It’s big first score was in France, September of 1774. Turgot deregulated the grain market by abolishing police regulations. Yes! Food security was of vital state importance back in the day and age of Kings. If people aren’t getting fed, they start killing the people that failed them, screaming, “Mother fucker are you out of your damn mind?”

War of all against all? Monarchs and States should be so lucky.

The Police were in charge of ensuring purity and price conformity. It was left to the Police to ensure the food supply. For them to suddenly stop doing that was disaster. The Flour War went down in ’75, completely disproving Adam Smith’s theories a year before he published The Wealth of Nations.

The Free Market was loosed upon the world, and there was now no stopping it. The big score was also a birth cry.

Like any spirit human enough to make pacts with, corporations can be restrained by words on paper. The archists call these words “contracts” and “laws”, and in addition to serving loyally the ancient monster that summons them and binds them to these pacts, the archists also believe that being so bound protects them from the bad stuff.

They fail to realize that being a bound servant is the bad stuff.

This is the environment that corporations live in, desperately fighting against human beings and their ancient master, the state, to create the promised land, the free market. A perfect free market in which they can simply own the software/hardware that they exist in. Neo-feudalism is what some are calling it now, and not fondly.

However they are, like the State, just spirits, and spirits can be dealt with. And monarchs are mere mortals, flesh and blood just as we, they too can be dealt with. They all make mistakes like everyone else. K. H. White made a mistake. In 2016 she said out loud on radio that, “There’s a real dark side of the kind of paganism — the secular elites’ religion now — being evidently global warming.”

That’s the quote on the CNN story:

Now you might think that this is amazing peace of performance art/bullshit is paid for and promoted by Christians, like with the evolution in schools deal. It isn’t. K. H. White’s employer is the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative themed paid mouthpiece for business interests. And for professional bullshit artists, they have a pretty solid 7 figure revenue. Some of their biggest donors are oil interests like ExxonMobil and Chevron.

The basic bullshit they seem to be using as a script is “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” written by Alex Epstein, which equates fossil fuels with all the basic advances we equate with the 20th century. The argument seems to be that fossil fuels are the only energy source that can provide the things of the modern world needs to be “modern,” and that it is therefore immoral to “revert” back to anything else; in this case wind and solar being considered a technological step back. Yes, converting the products of a fusion explosion so huge it has its own gravity into usable energy, like the cavemen did. Sorry, cavepersons.

One could be forgiven for making this mistake though, this bullshit’s reasoning is similar to the type of reasoning at the center of the Wedge doctrine, in that the creators of the Wedge doctrine thought that the only two options were evolution or biblical creationism; that once they convinced people that evolution was mistaken, they’d have no choice but to choose creationism, thereby placing Christianity back in the center of life and Jesus back into our schools. Completely ignorant of the fact that there were many theories of how animals got to be the way they are. Meaning even if they could convince everyone evolution is a crock of shit, it does not necessarily follow that everyone will just roll over for Christianity.

In the same vein, Epstein’s argument seems to hinge on the non-Fact that fossil fuels are the only sources of products and energy that human beings need to be basically healthy and happy, and yes, materially wealthy. Because that’s the real worry of these folks, making sure their masters are profitable. But shh shh, don’t say that too loud.

You wouldn’t want the Pagans to hear.

If you listen to the sound cloud file, you don’t ever hear K. H. White or the person she is talking to mention Christ, Christianity, Jah, the Holy Spirit, Saints, or any of that mess. Instead, their praise is reserved for the engineering feats, real and imagined, of the oil industry. It is in this context that she equates global warming and Paganism. Also, she seems to think all pagans all like and get along with each other. Here we are, one big happy fucking family! At the end of the clip, the real Satan comes out for them to flap their hands and ‘fraidy-pee about, Communism!

But of course they disappointingly only mean Marxism, because nuance is a hard thing to express when your being paid to shill bullshit. It’s true: crosses don’t do squat.

White’s true masters are the corporations, which means her true master is the Invisible Hand. She doesn’t seem to be ridden, as is the case with Trump. She truly seems to be a willing collaborator. Selling out her own species. Small wonder Trump brought her in to be the chair of the CEQ. We can’t have these people whose backs we live off of telling us things like, “We need clean air to breath,” or, “we don’t want to die of UV exposure”, or maybe, “Please don’t make the world an unlivable desert.”

“We certainly can’t have that,” think the corporations and their god, evidently. But that isn’t the actual news here, Trump, the ever busy mascot for The Trump Organization that he is, has been plenty busy on the behalf of the fossil fuel clique of vampire spirits. No, the real news is that K. H. White tipped their hand a little bit too much the September before last. But, she got lucky, and nobody was the wiser, or if they did look twice, they just assumed it was another Christian thing.

Except they never mention Christ or Jah.

So to really get at what the fuck they mean by “Paganism”, we have to interrogate the word itself. Or more properly, the word Pagan. Paganus is what the Romans used to call the country rustics. You find country rustics in the ager, outside the Pomerium, which circumscribes what is officially Rome. Of course this isn’t what they mean, but the basic concepts operating here are descended from this ancient meaning.

To be clear, the “free market” is the Pomerium, the promised land, that the vampire lords are building for themselves, based on that first taste they got back in ’74. Everything else is ager. You may often encounter so called “libertarians” complain about the market not being free. There is very little left of any market that is in fact not free. But it is only free for those permitted to the Pomerium.

The market is within the walls, and you aren’t invited, you country hick, good luck in the ager, Pagan!

The secular elites they mention are people like Tom Steyer. I don’t know how secular he is or isn’t, but his wiki page says he was married to his wife by a Presbyterian minister and a rabbi, I must assume a Jewish one, the wiki didn’t go that far into it.

Seems a bit much for someone who is thorough going “secular,” Usually when “secular” gets used, it’s code for godless atheist commie scum, but again, a billionaire hedge fund manager doesn’t seem to quite fit. About the only thing that people like Tom Steyer have in common with the phrase “secular elites” is that they are indeed part of that ruling monetary caste, the rich “elites” of America. But so does K. H. White, and so is Trump, and Elon Musk, and so are all the vampire spirits consuming our time, the corporations. So the phrase “elite” is a bait and switch, the real importance is the equation of global warming and Paganism.

“Secular Paganism.” Unless you are the Invisible Hand, a corporation, or one of the elite monetary class, a.k.a., the rich, a. k. a., the house slaves, you are officially a (Secular) Pagan now, congratulations!

What? You don’t want to be a Pagan, says the inexplicable non-Pagan reading this? Too bad! The hurricanes and famines and pestilences are going to kill you whether you think global warming is real or not. Because we passed the period of being able to do something useful decades ago. So buck up, inexplicable non-Pagan reading this, you’re a Pagan now, but this revelation, at this late hour, hardly matters.

We’re way passed the point of avoiding the worst. You may wake up one day and find yourself extinct. Some motherfuckers are always trying to ice-skate uphill? You know I’ve been doing a Blade reference extravaganza over here this whole time and if you haven’t gotten that by now then I am super annoyed with you; that movie is awesome.

Ok, so you don’t want me to end on a low note, sorry. Fine then, so we caught the Invisible Hand red handed. So what? You want me to tell you what to do about it?

You don’t need me to tell you, you already know what to do. Go do it. You only need to remember one thing, crosses and holy water don’t do dick so forget what you’ve seen in the movies.


Patacelsus

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


Hey! We’ve started our fundraiser for next year. Can you help us pay our writers and hire a new assistant site editor? Here’s the link. Thanks!

The Beauty of Trump

“What we get to see with Trump is that capitalism has nowhere to go other than into the darker reaches of itself.”

The aesthetics of narcissistic Capitalism, from Charles Liburd


“ The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as all serious endeavour in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness.

In this sense I am religious. To me, it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all that there is. ”

― Albert Einstein, On Cosmic Religion and Other Opinions and Aphorisms

I have come to like Trump for all the reasons everyone hates him. This, of course, is not true or really only true in a kind of Trumpian way – – in that it’s a lie. But unlike Trump, I have a tendency to care about the truth, so I will try and extract some form of truth from this sentence.

What I like about Trump is that he is a good visual. His true awfulness is on display for all to see. It is an irrefutable awfulness that shows itself everywhere and in everything that he does or says. It is also a comedic and tragic awfulness that invites concentration and analysis. For me, this does not make him a fascist, a kleptomaniac, a madman, a pervert or a post-truth prophet. It makes him useful.

It is, I agree, a terrible kind of use but useful it is. What we get to see with Trump is that capitalism has nowhere to go other than into the darker reaches of itself. This has been happening for some time, but it is only with Trump that we get to see it where we live: on our TV, our ‘news’ programs, our newspapers and magazines, on online chat shows and forums; and on ships meant to be heading for North Korea as part of an ‘Armada’ but actually on its way to Australia. Its exposure, like the ocean, is deep and wide too.

Trump’s narcissism (and long may it last) demands that everything is seen. It must have an audience, it exists to be witnessed and lauded. The fact that there is a disconnect between what he believes to be true and what we are seeing, does not concern him. No, more than that…it is a concern he believes does not exist.

And it here, in the small crevice of that disconnection, that Trump meets capitalism, that in turn meets the most fabulous revolutionary opportunity of our time that will be exposed and exploited by humanity and it is, by the force of capitalist narcissism, unstoppable.

A narcissistic economic system will inevitably throw up a narcissistic prophet who will come at the end of its days to usher in the new. That prophet must reflect the fundamentals of the system he represents in a way that is visceral, visual and profound: so that everyone can see it, feel it, hear it; and in so doing come to understand that the end is nigh. Trump is that visual. Trump is the beginning of that end.

At the centre of capitalism is an indestructible narcissism. In fact, it is so indestructible that it has vanquished all in its path and scared off the rest to the shallow waters of old starving ideologies where they flap about seeking relevance in 19th-century articulation. That capitalism’s very fierceness is its beautiful weakness, we seem to have missed.

Fear can do that to you.

Capital has now achieved its goal of not needing you or I. It needs no one except itself and the 1% of the world’s population who accumulate it. The rest, the 99%, are left free to wonder. Capital doesn’t care about us. We are no longer useful. We can die in our droves without Medicare, without a functioning NHS, without functioning and affordable schools,  pensions or savings. We can drown in debt, graciously handed out as a substitute for decent wage increases. We can do anything with the economic infrastructure it has left behind…or not. It doesn’t care. It has left us free to roam off the plantation and it has walled off the master’s house that now functions as a self-contained, self-serving, self-reflecting system. And like Trump, it is steeped in, trained in, buried in the belief that our concerns do not exist.

And this is the beautiful mistake. They do exist. They always have and they always will. We are not roaming the fields of the capitalist zombie apocalypse still believing in the American dream of endless growth, or that our self-worth is tied to a system that only shares out that particular commodity parading as wealth to the 1%. There are just too many left behind or (as I would prefer it) jettisoned forward to allow that to happen. Ultimately, contrary to our endearing slowness, we are just too smart.

People are thinking. They are inventing. They are re-inventing. They are looking into their hearts, their systems, their religions and their basic humanity; and they are coming up with as many new systems as gods and radicals can envisage. They are managing the barricades. They are seeking and finding a voice. They are digging deep because, on the surface, all looks like devastation and lies. They are not turning to the leftovers like scavengers. They are emphasising and connecting. They are finding spirit in spite of the poverty of thought and debt capitalism has left them embroiled in. They are taking responsibility, in the arena of their gifts, for the long consumer lead slumber they have been in.

Capitalism is faced with a very inconvenient truth. It has achieved the goal of its own narcissism. It is a monotheistic God whose grandiosity possesses all. It has taken unto itself all that is possible, and in so doing has freed us from its clutches— allowing us the freedom to think, to change, to innovate to deconstruct this Trumpian world.


Charles Liburd

Charles Liburd is a script writer, script consultant and producer. He sometimes writes poems.


 

War is Coming, War is Here

“You hear that?”

It was a warm evening, our leather-shod feet treading slowly over ancient cobble. Strasbourg, last summer, a few days visiting a friend before my companion headed to Germany and then returned to the US.

“Yes.” She said. The worry on her face probably reflected mine. “It’s like They’re shouting, war.

I nodded. That was exactly what I heard, too.

A few days later, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, abandoning Liberal Democracy’s greatest experiment, one touted as a way not just to bring economic prosperity to an entire continent and nearby islands, but also to make a group of nations so inter-connected that their leaders would never again call for war against each other.

While much of the liberal-left who’d opposed that vote (as well as even those on the right who’d supported it) expressed wild shock that Brexit had been successful, neither my companion nor I were surprised.

It was no different with the election of Donald Trump as the next leader of the American Empire. While every major newspaper and ‘scientific’ prediction site assured us that Hillary Clinton would win handily, the voices I’d heard made clear that’s not how the future would be.

That same companion heard them too.

We called each other after the election results were announced. She was eerily calm. So was I.  “I almost convinced myself otherwise,” she said.

“I know. I tried, too.”

We both sighed, perpetually reluctant Cassandras in a tragedy that is only just beginning.

The Drums of War

I HAVE NO special powers of prediction. I also do not need them to see what is happening, nor do you. To follow the threads of actions now to consequences and likely re-actions later, one need only disengage a bit from the narratives with which our governments, political parties, and the capitalists who fund them assure us that their actions are just. One need also disengage from the stories we tell ourselves, the pretty lies by which we live in willful ignorance of the damage we do to the world.

Stand outside those, for just a little while, and the inevitability of war becomes frightfully apparent. From outside those narratives, we start to see things we conveniently ignore, counter-narratives, ‘natural’ forces and societal limits which threaten our ‘peace’ and ‘security’ much more than any foreign power or terrorist act could dare dream to do.

Climate Change (the Anthropocene)

Since the start of the industrial (counter-)revolution and the birth of capitalism, the inherent resilience of forests, oceans, the atmosphere, and all other bio-regions has been damaged beyond the point of healing. So much carbon has been shit into the air that ancient ice is melting, weather patterns are changing, and ocean currents which make densely-populated lands livable are shifting, threatening the wealth those nations accumulated through militant and economic conquest.

The damage done to bio-systems particularly affects those in what is often called the Global South. South America, Africa, and many small Pacific Island nations face massive flooding and die-offs of ecosystems on which the people who live there rely for subsistence.

Resource Depletion

Industrial Capitalism (and its Chinese cognate, Industrial Authoritarian Communism) relies on relentless extraction of resources in order to fuel the engines of economic control of its citizenry. Petroleum feeds everything, from the automobiles and lorries which move products and people between businesses and homes, to the products being constructed, sold, consumed, and discarded at the altars of ‘economic growth,’ to all the infrastructure in between: even the roads connecting cities and people are made of petroleum (asphalt).

Petroleum, Coal, and the other primary resources which feed the furnaces of capitalism are finite resources, swiftly depleting. Even the ‘renewable’ resources are dwindling, unable to replace themselves swiftly enough to meet our rapacious demand. The oceans are over-fished, forests cannot grow back as fast as they are cut down, and the natural systems which sustain them have been so severely damaged that they are close to (if not already at) collapse. Many systems are on life-support: soil stripped long ago of its nutrients only ‘produces’ food now on account of industrial fertilizers and pesticides, often themselves a product of petroleum.

Social Unrest

Depleted resources and climate destruction are not mere esoteric problems to be debated with sad faces in coffeeshops and classrooms. They directly affect the ability of billions of humans to survive, and humans do not generally let themselves die without a fight. The Middle-East, where the largest remaining reserves of oil exist, is increasingly swept by mass uprisings and civil strife violently subdued by totalitarian governments propped up by one or more foreign powers. Syria, Iraq, Afganistan, Egypt, Turkey, and others have all becomes sites of international political struggles resulting in slaughter, while quasi-religious ideologies such as Wahabism embolden the disaffected to claim new power through terrifyingly violent frameworks.

That same unrest has awakened in the nation-states which gain most from the strife elsewhere. Europe, particularly, is witnessing a virulently fascist backlash against the refugees and immigrants fleeing foreign conflict and resource depletion, while simultaneously seeing a new resurgence of anti-capitalist organizing that threatens the political structures even more than the fascist threat. Politicians and capitalists there, as in the United States (which boasts the largest, most-funded military in the world), have chosen to ally with the racists and nationalists against that leftist threat, promising a ‘return’ to economic prosperity and stability.

“Liberal” Nationalism

While the nationalist, racist, and fascist currents in Liberal Democracies (as well as the totalitarian religious ideologies seen primarily in the Middle-East) offer a coherent and pristine (but terrifying) political narrative to lead people through the current crises, ideologies generally associated with ‘the left’ are in utter disarray. This is particularly true in the United States, where the centrist/capitalist party (Democrats) have long co-opted organized opposition, the name ‘Marx’ or the word ‘insurrection’ evoke embarrassed gasps from even those who dedicate their lives towards activism.

Instead of organized opposition to state structures, ‘leftists’ have been happy to justify the recent U.S. military actions in Syria as justified, while embracing a constructed conspiracy narrative that Donald Trump is a puppet of a foreign power, rather than an inevitable symptom of America’s inherent imperialism.

There currently exists no significant internal opposition to the United States’ drumbeat of war. Decades of attempting to appear sympathetic to the employees of the military and defend against right-wing charges of ‘anti-Americanism’ has created a Liberal Nationalism which only argues over how wars are conducted, not whether they should be conducted at all. This was seen most clearly in the campaign of Hillary Clinton, who threatened even harsher foreign action than Donald Trump has currently enacted, while cynically using “Feminism” to distract women and minorities from her nationalist platform.

War is Already Here, And Is Coming

THIS IS WHERE we find ourselves now, and also how we got here. All this has led us to this point where war is inevitable, where the entire world sits upon a powder keg while a few reckless leaders drunkenly play with matches. However, the coming war is not the only war we must worry over.

Those of us in Liberal Democracies often forget that the economic and military dominance of the nations to which we are subject comes through war. War is never just soldier against soldier, gun against gun, nation against nation. War is what has been waged against the forests and the oceans since the birth of capitalism. It is what was declared against the peasantry during the Enclosure Acts, what was fought against witches and heretics and rebels who dared fight back.

War is what was waged against the indigenous peoples of the Americas in order to found the United States, an undeclared war against the land and its human and non-human inhabitants still being fought to this day. War is what kills the unarmed Blacks in the streets of cities, what drags them to misery in prison complexes. It is what has been declared upon the poor of all races, not ‘collateral damage’ but direct casualties. The homeless are refugees in their own lands, the jails filled with those dragged there by uniformed occupiers, hospitals filled with victims of systematic destruction.

War is coming, but it has already been here.

Sadly, we surrendered, laid down our own arms, chose obedience and misery rather than insurrection. Worse, many of us not only do not fight, but tacitly and often willfully support the enemy. Opportunists content to profit within regimes of exploitation, obedient servants to Empire and Capital, corporations, politicians, and individuals occasionally muttering words about ‘social justice’ yet eagerly collaborating with conquest and slaughter as long as the profits still roll in, as long as capitalism keeps them better fed than the rest of the world.

War is already here, and it is also coming.

Unspeakable weapons now used casually, military maneuvers, call-ups of reserve soldiers and media campaigns tell us what we do not need gods to hear. As the numbers of the poor and disaffected in Liberal Democracy crush upon the system, the leaders have decided they need gainful employment. Young men told they are inherently dangerous and violent by Liberals and encouraged to be so by Conservatives will soon be trained and armed to do what society demands of them. They will now be joined by women, a victory of Liberal Democratic equality that will no doubt prove to their bleeding, dismembered victims that America is truly a land of the free.

European nations struggling under the weight of their own contradictions and threatened by their peoples’ demands for more freedom may join these wars, though if real resistance arises against this new militarism, is it much more likely on the continent than in the United States. In France, a Communist candidate has almost as much of a chance to win the next election as the Fascist candidate; Germany seems safe for now, and anti-statist movements are flourishing in countries ruined by Liberal capitalist policies (like Greece, Italy, and Spain). The people on the continent from which I write may be resilient enough to stand against the calls to slaughter. They may also not be.

To War!

WAR IS ALREADY HERE, and war is coming, but it can be stopped. Even the gods cannot predict the future when the weavers of fate and destiny intervene.

Those weavers are us.

How might we stop the coming slaughter? By taking up our own arms, enjoining the war that is already here. Not against other nations, not against the poor or the hired soldiers of other lands, but rising up against our occupiers, our imperialist masters and their collaborators.

Those squeamish about violence and insurrection are right to be so, but they cannot ignore that war has already been enjoined. In some cases, this may mean taking up literal weapons. In some cases, it may not. In all cases it will involve intentional resistance, actively engaging in struggle against those who would lead us to the destruction of the earth and world-wide imperialist war.

I am amongst those who do not intend to take up weapons, so I offer here a strategy of war based on attrition and sabotage rather than armed conflict. Others more ready, skilled, and trained to offer force to fight Empire no doubt can outline their insurrectionist strategies better. I will not oppose them, and suspect these strategies will complement theirs.

The Path of Desertion

States rely heavily on obedience, submission, and passive participation in the political and economic systems which sustain them. Capitalists need workers to show up, to produce, to spend their incomes on products and services. Politicians need their subjects to give away their own power and invest it in government and political parties instead.

The Path of Desertion is an act of war against this.

We must stop ‘showing up’ to work, stop relying on the capitalists for the means of our survival and existence, and stop giving away our power to those who demand it from us. But desertion is not just a cessation; neither the soldier who leaves his post nor the worker who quits her job are engaging merely in passive resistance: they are affirming and embracing their own power, their own will, and their own desire.

We must do this, too.

Deserting is not just walking away, but it is also walking away. It means abandoning our posts and quitting our jobs while also posting and employing ourselves elsewhere: our families, our networks, our friendships, our chosen (not ‘enforced’) communities. It means producing our own goods, growing and cooking and consuming our own food. It means making our own art, telling our own stories, creating our own narratives completely outside the narratives of power-over.

Deserting means no longer doing our ‘duty’ to report crimes to the government and their hired thugs. It means no longer paying our taxes, no longer paying our rents and mortgages. It means no longer serving in their wars, literally deserting their armies.

It means admitting that the nationalist nightmare of The United States–or any other construct–is over, and then acting as on that acknowledgment. Liberal politicians in the US are hoping those who oppose Trump will still cling to the American political system long enough for them to have a chance to take the reigns again. In effect, they are demanding we keep ‘showing up’ to the American project, even as it slaughters. We must desert them, too.

The Path of Sabotage

If the Nation is an imperial occupation upon the land and the people, those who would follow the path of sabotage seek to weaken the occupation. Guerrilla warfare is not just fought with guns; its strongest weapons are disruption, infiltration, and sabotage.

Centuries ago, textile workers who wished to retaliate against their bosses threw their wooden shoes into the machines, irrevocably destroying them.  These shoes were called sabots, and those who used this tactic were saboteurs.

Like the path of desertion, the path of sabotage is an active choice to take up arms, to enjoin war against those who make war against us. Unlike the path of desertion, it involves direct antagonism, direct action, in support of both the deserters and the insurrectionists.

There are relentless ways to throw our shoes into the machines, damaging the ability of the rich, the police, and the military to enact their war against the earth and all that live within it. Port blockades, strikes, work slow-downs. Theft from businesses, squatting of private and government-owned land. Destruction of oil pipelines, transport networks, mass take-overs of government buildings and capitalist businesses.

Sabotage can be loud, and it can also be subtle. Those who unmask the motives of politicians (liberal and conservative alike), unearth the exploitative histories of business figures, or create counter-narratives to the dominant propaganda machine are as engaged as those who do more visible acts.

Sabotage is often done best when it is done by those without names and faces, so that our enemy cannot know which of we ‘obedient’ house-servants left the front door unlocked for the field-servants to kill the master. When it is public, it is done best to inspire others to do the same.

Notes on The Path of Armed Struggle

It is up to others to define the Path of Armed Struggle. The beginnings of it have already awakened in the streets of large American cities; many trans, disabled, queer, and Black folks have begun training in weapons-use. Many soldiers in the US army–as with other nations–may desert. Some have already joined anti-capitalist and anti-imperial struggle elsewhere, and perhaps they will offer their training to those wishing to follow their path. Armed resistance has long been the path of those in the Global South fighting off capitalist (particularly US) imperialism. They have much to teach as well.

For many, this will be the path of least fame and least support. I am sorry for this. Even now, no doubt some readers are appalled it would even be considered. To them I can say only, ‘if it is not your path, find your own,’ as I am doing.


Some of us will take up direct arms against Empire. Some will desert. Some will sabotage. Many will engage in all three. It is time. But it has always been time. War is coming, but war has already been here.

We have a world to win.

Fight well.


Rhyd Wildermuth

Rhyd is the managing editor and a co-founder of Gods&Radicals. He is a poet, a writer, a theorist, and a pretty decent chef. He can be supported on Patreon, and his other work can be found at Paganarch, and shirtless selfies occasionally seen on his FB. and also his Instagram


The entire digital catalogue of our publications is now available for $20 US!

Sucking up to the boss: Trump as an Archetype

Ever since Trump was elected, like many progressives, I have been struggling to understand why. In the course of reading around what Trump himself says, and what his supporters say about him, I started to think about him as much as a spiritual phenomenon, as a political one. These two domains are, after all, more or less impossible to distinguish in any absolute sense.

As is often the case when a line of thinking is worthwhile, another author recently published something along the same lines. Reading Patacelsus’s meditation on the egregore of The Trump Corporation has encouraged me to put down my own thoughts on this subject. But rather than apply the theories of chaos magic and witchcraft to Trump’s ascent, below I’ll use another important conceptual tool from the Pagan toolbox – the Jungian archetype. What archetype might Trump be harnessing to cultivate his success? Why is it so influential amongst certain sections of American society? How does this archetype become a trope, to be repeated in creative work? And how can we combat it, politically, creatively and magically?

When we think about hierarchy, our first instinct might perhaps be to reach for classic Pagan archetypes – in Tarot, we find the temporal power of the Emperor, for example, and the spiritual authority of the High Priest. Such images can be compared constructively to the Jungian archetype of The Father – a character that, for Jung, represented our collective experience of authority; an experience that often induces fear. But in the modern world, we experience authority rather differently than we might have done when these archetypes were defined. High priests and emperors lack much of the legal and political authority they once commanded, where they continue to exist at all. And though fathers remain authority figures for many people today, this dynamic is much reduced in its prevalence and power compared to when Jung was writing – it’s much more usual now for men to be caregivers, and friends to their children, or to be unable to act as an authority figure for other reasons. The nature of fatherhood, and parenting itself, has changed, so that the role of it in expressing formal authority (and instilling fear) is much reduced on the collective level.

Therefore, if we wish to identify the social roles that carry formal authority, and invoke fear in us, and therefore play the psychical role of “The Father”, we must look beyond recorded archetypes, and think a little more creatively. When you do this, new archetypical forms begin to emerge. For many contemporary Americans, I suggest, the primary experience of authority today comes not from male parents, but rather in the workplace. Imagine back to your first job: you were eager for pay and the independence that came with it, but you probably didn’t enjoy the job itself. Nonetheless, you may well have been nervous, and worried that you might be fired – conscious of the fact that you were at the mercy of the company. The will of the company would be distilled in a particular person: namely, The Boss.

Naturally, there is a wide degree of diversity amongst individual line managers – some are good with people, kind, reasonable, and even helpful, while others will be irrational, ruthless, and cruel, and everything in between. Though important for the experience of individual employees, these differences are incidental, relative to the structural role any line manager plays in the business. A line manager is invested with authority over the staff who report to them; a hierarchical relationship that does not go away, no matter how good a boss the line manager might be. The employee’s ability to make rent, buy food, pay medical costs, go on holiday, is entirely dependent upon that relationship. The boss’s ability, by contrast, is not dependent on his employee to same degree. As such, that relationship is bound to become invested with emotional energy over time, particularly fear and anxiety; energy that over time crystallises into the Boss as a collective idea – an archetype.

Given the negativity of the emotions involved, the Boss normally manifests as a Worst Case Scenario. An avalanche of stories, films, and op-ed pieces about awful, tyrannical, cruel, incompetent, stupid, mean-spirited, greedy bosses descends from the collective unconscious of America every year; movies like the Horrible Bosses franchise are a case in point. This is perhaps best crystallised by The Lonely Island song Like a Boss, in which the eponymous boss careens from his professional responsibilities through a sequence of events that ranges from the aggressively antisocial to the pathetic, becoming progressively less and less realistic over the course of the song. This mixture of deceit, desperation, and braggadocio is a distinctive feature of many bad boss caricatures, not least David Brent from The Office.

But this negative view of the Boss is matched by a complimentary, positive view of this archetype. I was stuck by the power of this when I read a recent piece by Rick Perlstein regarding an essay written by “Peter” – one of Perlstein’s students – to explain why he had voted for Trump. “Peter” describes his home town in Oklahoma, where the local economy was suffering. “Peter” mentions that Oklahomans felt deeply disenfranchised from local politics, and found it easier to reach an accommodation with their managers, than lobby their representatives for legislative changes. Attempts by the federal government to improve workers’ rights would often result in local employers – such as Walmart – laying off employees or cutting pay, creating greater welfare dependency amongst the general population. He goes on to say,

“The majority of the people in the area do not blame the business or the company for their loss because they realize that businesses are in the business of making money, and that if they had a business of their own, they would do the same things.”

Clearly, here, the inhabitants of “Peter”s hometown sympathise with their Bosses, even when they make choices that negatively effect them. This is because, clearly, they see themselves as potential bosses too.

Much of the power of the Boss in the American imagination arises from the importance of a particular institutional form in American society – bureaucracy. As sociologist Max Weber points out, one of the key features of bureaucracy is a set hierarchy, with clear lines of authority and areas of responsibility. Bureaucracies require bosses. As David Graeber argues, Americans actually rather good at building and running bureaucracies, despite their antipathy towards them. As in France, official processes in Britain are often inefficient, slow, and incompletely realised, and end up being used to reinforce the established class system – with only those who attend certain schools and universities being equipped with the necessary skills to penetrate the byzantine levels of administrative complexity, or even avoid them completely.

American society, by contrast, has been thoroughly integrated into inclusive bureaucratic systems for over a century, making bureaucracy seem to Americans like a truly universal system*; despite the fact that Americans still adhere to a self-image of rugged individualism. Graeber reveals the reason for this apparent contradiction; the majority of American bureaucracies emerged from within the private sector, where they largely aren’t thought of as “bureaucracies” at all.

A corporation is also a bureau; it’s just a bureau devoted to the enrichment of shareholders, rather than the execution of state power. For Tea-Party Republicans, the government department and the private corporation exist as hypostases for the bad and good faces of Janus-faced Officialdom. The junior staff of the state are demotivated, surly, obsessed with paperwork (as well as being black**), while the junior staff of the corporation are efficient, professional, and obsessed with the customer (as well as being white**). Those in charge of state bureaucracies – that is, politicians – are corrupt, smarmy, and mercenary. Those in charge of private bureaucracies are strong, driven, and successful. The bad side of bureaucracy is symbolised by “the Swamp” – a brown-grey turgid morass populated by pond life and predators. The good side of bureaucracy is the Boss.

Now, to suggest that Trump actively embodies “The Boss” should seem like a logical conclusion to draw. He is, after all, the CEO of a multinational corporation. His reality TV persona is literally all about his status as an employer of other people. The Apprentice was just an extremely protracted job interview, in which Trump was doing the interviewing; giving candidates tasks, assessing their performance, firing them and hiring them – in short, bossing them about. All his rhetoric during his campaign and subsequently – concerned with winning, adversarial posturing against competitors, and promising to run America like a business – actively harnesses this image. Trump has approached the entire election as a hostile takeover; of the American state by corporate America.

The fact is that even though archetypes are universal, they take culturally very specific shapes. Tolstoy began Anna Karenina by famously saying that “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” The same could be said of politics. Every country has its own nationalistic obsessions and anxieties; that manifest publicly in quite a specific guises – guises simply wouldn’t fly anywhere else. Every far right leader is necessarily playing to the home crowd; so the fact that someone else’s extremist seems so ridiculous, should never be taken as an indication that your own national discourse would be immune. The fact that there has been an international chorus of disgust at Trump’s election should not make anyone complacent.

Regardless of the particular, local shapes Father-surrogates might take, what unites them is the response these shapes elicit from others: they demand sycophancy, absolute obedience, and unquestioning loyalty. They surround themselves with those who are willing to give these things, and shun or attack those who do not. In short, what the Boss demands from all of us is sucking up.

This, I think, represents a fundamental contradiction at the heart of the Trump moment, that is ripe for exploitation by those of us opposed to it. Just as capitalism is bedevilled by internal contradictions, so it is with the far right politics that defends it. For while Trump’s supporters may like to imagine themselves as muscular, pioneering individuals – who do not rely on the State or anyone else for their livelihood – what Trump himself demands of them is nothing short of vassalage. He will make America great again, create jobs, and bring back the 1950s, and in return, his voters will magnify his own greatness. In dramatic contrast to the kaleidoscopic heterogeneity of the anti-globalisation movement or Occupy***, the Trump movement, with their mass-produced baseball caps, mostly white faces, the choreography of their rallies, the vision that many Trump supporters have of America, is remarkably uniformist.

Such uniform public displays, so typical of totalitarian regimes, do not exist to highlight the strength and distinctiveness of individual participants – but to accentuate and reinforce the power and will of the guy in charge. Of course, the way the Boss copes with this is by creating opportunities for his followers to get a taste of his power, in small, confined ways. By restricting the reproductive rights of women, the Boss makes men the boss of women’s bodies. By expanding and militarising the police, the Boss creates opportunities for small-town sheriffs to feel like the boss of blackfolk’s lives. By forbidding transfolk from entering the right bathroom, the Boss allows ciswomen to feel like the boss of their trans sisters. By rolling back the rights of workers, the Boss allows managers to become more like him. The Boss transforms the contagion of schoolyard bullying into tool of government

And yet, American culture demonises sucking up. Having to tug your forelock at someone richer and more powerful than you to get ahead is precisely what the ancestors of most present-day white Americans were striving to escape when they colonised Turtle Island. This experience has left many scars in American national consciousness – in film and on TV, suck ups are, at best, a pathetic comic relief, and at worst the guy who holds the bad guy’s hat, and runs off squealing in fear when the hero wins

Nobody wants to see themselves as that guy; least of all the sort of middle-class, white folk who voted for Trump in their droves. But that is precisely what they have become. Seduced by the facade of egalitarianism and meritocracy that corporate America has spun around itself, they have become everything their ancestors would have despised – the cringing assistant to the local liege-lord; responsible for keeping the rest of the manor in line, and keeping him in power. Their fate is not their own, but tied to his. This will remain the case, until they choose to abandon him.

Now that Trump is in power, he and his cronies in the Republican party are starting to take steps that will hurt many of those who voted for him – from dismantling the Affordable Care Act, to removing important environmental protections. As a result, some Trump voters are starting to regret their choice. Although I have little sympathy for people who fail to apologise for support an overt racist, sexist, and xenophobe; this bitter experience will hopefully make one thing abundantly clear; The Boss is using you. This is the most important lesson for any Trump voter to take away from the connection between Trump and the Boss archetype; a lesson evident in the anxiety of that first day’s employment; a lesson “Peter” and his fellow Oklahomans failed to grasp. To the Boss, you do not exist as a person to him, but as an employee, as labour that he needs. As soon as he no longer needs that service, or you can no longer provide it, he will discard you. And, unfortunately, you’ve done your bit – he’s in office now.

There may still be time to turn from the dark road the Anglophone world is now on. To turn away from bosses and Father-surrogates, to embrace equality and compassion for all. Because nobody should have to live their life sucking up to the Boss.


Notes:

*You’d never see a British filmmaker depicting an aristocrat queuing up to get their title recognised by the state. To us, that’s too weird, even for science fiction.

**There is a clear, racial dimension to this distinction. The State is viewed as both an employer and a patron of people of colour, whereas the private sector is imagined as a white domain.

*** Occupy was so diverse, that mainstream journalists frequently used this as a stick to beat the movement with – presenting it as fundamentally disorganised, with no clear objective, despite much evidence to the contrary.


Jonathan Woolley

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


 You can still purchase our entire digital catalogue for $20 US until 1 June.


Against Liberals

THERE IS A LOADED GUN sitting on a table again.

A crowd has gathered around the table. They watched the man who had it before clean the gun, reload it, and place it there. Now, it’s time for them to decide who gets it next, as they wait for the dead bodies to be dragged from the room.

This last guy? He killed people pretty cleanly. Sure, some of them were innocent, some of them were kids. But he did it so politely that everyone could admit it wasn’t so bad this time. They’re all worried though–of the two people who might get the gun next, one of them is really inexperienced, hot-tempered. The people who want him to have the gun also want him to shoot a lot more people than that last guy. The other possible shooter, though–she’s pretty nice. Shifty, not very honest, but she’s got some good points. She warns everyone that if the other guy gets the gun this time, he’ll kill some of the really vulnerable people. He doesn’t like women or Blacks or trans people. He’s said some bad words about the Muslims and Mexicans in the room.

She promises that she’ll use the gun for good. He promises that he’ll shoot the gun well. He’ll make the whole room great again, keep strangers from getting in. She promises she’ll point it at some other countries who have guns too.

While most everyone in the room is arguing about which of them should get the gun, there are the wounded in the corners of the room, bleeding out from the last guy’s charismatic shooting spree. There are also the parents of those that got killed cursing the gun. And a small handful are talking in quick whispers, asking a question no one ever asks. They remember how the last guy broke his promises, how he made sure the gun was loaded before he put it back on the table, and how the two would-be shooters aren’t promising not to use the gun, only promising to use it well…

Liberalism vs. Leftism

If you had trouble following the analogy above, I’ll parse it clearly: The loaded gun is the nation-state, and the two primary camps are the Conservative and Liberal parties in every Western Capitalist Democracy. Those in the corner, of course, are what we generally call “The Left.”

If you live in an English-speaking country, Left and Liberal have probably become synonymous in your mind, but they are hardly the same. This confusion doesn’t occur so much in continental European countries like France, Spain, and Germany: in those countries, Leftist movements and groups (anarchists, communists) have more political power. The strikes last year in France, for instance, were instigated by Leftist trade-unions against a government led by a social-democrat (Hollande); likewise in France, Germany, Greece, and Italy, anarchists and communists fight street battles against fascists and liberal-state police forces simultaneously.

In the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, there is no such clear division. At least some degree of this is on account of legislative actions and policing against labor unions and radical organizers: in the United States, the power of unions has been almost completely broken, and Democratic and Republican governments alike have engaged in infiltration, sabotage, and entrapment of anarchist groups for decades, particularly of the green (eco) and red (communal-ist) varieties.

What now passes for ‘Left’ in all these countries looks remarkably like the centre-right governments in Europe. Obama’s domestic and foreign policy was more pro-capitalist and pro-war then Nicolai Sarkozy’s government in France, and Hillary Clinton’s platform was more conservative (and imperialist) than Angela Merkel’s conservative government in Germany.

The Limits of “The Overton Window

This right-ward drift of American ‘leftism’ is usually explained by means of what is called the Overton Window. In this conceptual picture, politicians and elected leaders can only call upon a limited number of actions and legislation within what is considered an acceptable ‘window’ of ideology.

Those who use the Overton Window to explain why American ‘leftism’ seems ‘centrist’ compared to Europe make two errors. While cultural and societal norms definitely define what appears to the majority of the public as acceptable vs. extreme, political parties themselves wield the power to shift this window through police and legislative actions. By police actions I mean the long-standing suppression of anarchist, marxist, indigenous, and Black resistance groups by the FBI under both Liberal and Conservative governments in the United States, and by legislative I mean (at minimum) the collaborative suppression of so-called ‘third parties’ by both the Democratic and Republican parties.

Likewise, the Overton Window assumes that politicians actually care what the majority of people who elect them want and that liberals would take stronger ‘leftist’ positions if only their people would accept. This is true only if we take into consideration the power of wealth in elections: corporations, banks, and the very wealthy have much more influence over getting politicians elected than community groups or individual electors.

And anyway, the Democratic party in the United States has repeatedly made clear where their own Overton Window is. Nancy Pelosi, the most powerful Democrat in the US House of Representatives recently re-iterated what every Leftist has known forever about the Democratic party: “we are capitalists.” Hillary Clinton, likewise, made clear to her wealthy donors her support for capitalism against popular opposition to fracking and the Dakota Access Pipeline when she told those private bankers that those protesting such things should “get a life.”

Liberalism, particularly in America, is staunchly pro-capitalist and only cares about the environment when doing so doesn’t scare off political donors.

Liberal Nationalism

The Liberal parties in the United States and elsewhere have never been anti-capitalist. In fact, Liberalism is by definition capitalist, though so-called Social Democrats (such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in the United States) or the British Labour Party offer select and relatively insignificant socialist policies to mitigate the damage done by capitalism. The programs they argue for — nationalized (so-called ‘universal) health care and direct income assistance (‘universal’ basic income) — do not directly challenge the capitalist system; rather, they merely modify it in order to keep it functioning.

Not only do Liberals not challenge the capitalist system, they are just as nationalist as the conservative ‘opposition.’ Nationalism takes myriad forms, but all instances of it hold one thing in common: the imagined community of the Nation is paramount to all other individual concerns.

We see this best regarding the militarization of Liberal Democratic states, particularly the United States. The US has the largest military in the world, and in 2014 (the latest available numbers) spent $610 billion dollars on it: three times the next highest budget (China) and 34% of the world’s total military spending. In case you need a reminder, Barack Obama was president in 2014. That’s right: that was the budget under a Democrat.

In comparison, the Russian Federation spent 84.5 billion that same year, or 14% of what the United States spent. I bring up Russian for a very good reason: currently, Liberals in the United States are obsessed over the threat Vladimir Putin poses to America, and Democratic Party politicians and operatives seem certain that Trump’s potential ties to Russian business deals and potential Russian involvement in the recent election constitute treason.

Treason is, of course, a betrayal of the state and the people it claims to represent on behalf of a foreign power. It’s a crime against a Nation, not against individuals. That many Liberals now hope Trump’s frightening rise to power can be thwarted by claiming he is a traitor to America might seem at first a mere political move, but it belies something much more frightening: Liberals are Nationalist, just like the conservatives and fascists they claim to oppose.

The Big Red Button

Pin by Margaret Killjoy, available here.

The Nationalist foundations of liberalism can be seen not just in the construction of Russia (a nation which spends 86% less than the US on its military) as a clear and present threat, nor just in the Democratic Party’s military appropriations, but also in the way Liberals have pushed for more government surveillance powers.

After the attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York at the beginning of the last decade, then-president George W. Bush presided over the creation of new state-policing powers. The Department of Homeland Security and its subsidiaries (Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Patrol), now the primary enforcement arm of Trump’s anti-immigrant (that is, anti-foreigner) orders, subsequently received increased funding under Obama.

But more insidious was the expansion of surveillance powers under a Democratic President, including a peculiar executive order signed just a few days before Obama left office. Executive Order 12333, signed by a president widely seen to be on the side of the people, made it possible for the National Security Administration (the NSA) to make all their domestic intercepts freely available to other police agencies:

The last-minute adoption of the procedures is one of many examples of the Obama administration making new executive powers established by the Bush administration permanent, on the assumption that the executive branch could be trusted to police itself.

Why would liberals, after Trump was elected and just days before he was to take office, give such an order?

Return to the analogy with which I began this editorial, and you have your answer. Liberals and Conservatives both increase the power of the state because they know they will eventually hold control of that state, just as much as the two camps in my analogy make sure to reload the gun before passing it off to the opposition.

Currently, we in the United States are urged by Liberals to oppose Trump because he has access to the ‘big red button’ of nuclear capabilities, of a massive surveillance state, of a militarized Department of Homeland Security, and all kinds of other “loaded guns.” What they politely fail to mention, however, is that Liberals helped build those nuclear capabilities, increased military spending, expanded the Department of Homeland Security’s budget, and gave the government more surveillance powers.

That ‘big red button’ happens to be in the hands of someone quite terrifying at the moment. But what a Liberal will never allow to be asked is what Leftists — particularly anarchists — demand: why should anyone have access to the means of destruction? What good is a nation anyway, especially if it proves itself repeatedly to be a way of eliciting popular support for wars against others?

Vote For Us, or Your Friends Will Die

retrieved from Anarchist People of Color

Nationalist fears against weaker foreign powers do not constitute the only way that Liberals suppress leftist opposition to capitalism and the state. Their most insidious strategy has been wielding identity politics against the very people the social justice framework attempts to liberate.

To understand this, we need to look first at what is meant by identity politics. In an essay published on Vanity Fair, James Wolcott (a media critic and film reviewer, not a political theorist) warned against the so-called ‘alt-left’ (a constructed term) and an animosity they supposedly share with the fascist alt-right:

Disillusionment with Obama’s presidency, loathing of Hillary Clinton, disgust with “identity politics,” and a craving for a climactic reckoning that will clear the stage for a bold tomorrow have created a kinship between the “alt-right” and an alt-left.

Wolcott ends that essay, incidentally, by calling on the ‘deep state’ (the CIA) to end Trump’s regime, just as many other Liberals now do.

There is no alt-left, though. The term was first floated just after Clinton’s defeat by Liberals who put the blame for her loss on low Black voter turn-out and on leftists who refused to mobilize their groups to vote for a pro-capitalist, pro-war candidate (who’d previously called Black men “super-predators” and told environmentalists to “get a life.”)

The matter of identity politics requires more attention, though. In an incredible retort to Vanity Fair’s piece, Devyn Springer clarifies the leftist stance on identity (emphasis mine):

Because what Wolcott said was the “alt-left” has a “disgust” with identity politics, but what he meant to say was the left has dialectical analysis of the limits of identity politics. Lower the the proverbial fire into the gasoline puddle surrounding this paper-thin article, Wolcott conjures tired and recycled sentiments of ‘Bernie Bro’ leftists with a total disregard for identity politics, intersectional politics, and political theory surrounding the two. While these people do exist, they are but marginal voices among the left, a left largely compromised of people of color, women, disabled folks, queer and trans individuals, Muslims, immigrants, and other otherized individuals who’ve taken a class-analysis to approach the ways in which individuals of different identities are oppressed. It is not an end to identity politics we seek, rather a politic that encompasses the realities of different identities infused with class analysis and observation of power dynamics.

It’s probably important here for some readers to know that the author is in many of the identity groups for which Hillary Clinton was trotted-out as champion:

Let me explicitly say that, as a Black queer Muslim who is the child of immigrants living a low class life in the US south, to ‘loath’ someone both directly and indirectly responsible for millions of people’s oppression is a good decision. The left’s “loathing” of Clinton cannot, and should not, be equated to the right’s simply because they exist in completely different form.

It has been the practice of liberals in both the United States and in the United Kingdom to position themselves as the primary defenders of oppressed minorities within each nation. However, they do not position themselves as our champions against capitalism and state oppression, but rather against conservatives and foreign adversaries (particularly radical Islam, and now Russia). This was in sharp focus particularly during the recent US Election and the so-called Brexit vote in the United Kingdom: in both countries, Liberals painted the vote as nothing less than a hostage situation.

Consider the rhetoric of the Democratic Party in the United States after Clinton was chosen as their presidential candidate. The same ‘you’re either with us or with the terrorists’ dichotomy which George W. Bush used to elicit support for the invasions of Iraq and Afganistan repeated: if you were not voting for Clinton, you were consigning Black, women, trans, disabled, queer, and other minorities to a brutal death. Likewise, the Remain camp in the UK warned of similar fates to oppressed minorities there.

Were such statements only warnings not to vote for Trump or not to vote “Leave,” we could perhaps forgive the rhetoric. After all, the rise of the fascist right in both countries would seem to prove their deep fears have come true. But these were not just arguments against voting for the opposing side: they were indictments of anyone who did not vote, or voted for a third party (in the US). That is: vote for Clinton/vote Remain…or else.

This is why leftists oppose so-called ‘identity politics,’ which can be better called Liberal Identity Politics. Liberals have become quite good at manipulating the competing identities of oppressed peoples for their own benefit. Clinton’s statement about “super predators,” for instance, manipulated [white] women’s fears of out-of-control Black bodies, pitting Black identity against [bourgeois] Feminist identity. Similarly, racism against Blacks was employed by Clinton in her failed bid against Barack Obama for the Democratic Party nomination in 2008, just as Barack Obama employed chauvinism against women to win that nomination. Anti-Semitic ‘red-baiting’ was used by the Clinton campaign in 2016 against Bernie Sanders, just as Bernie Sanders’ campaign tried to repeat Obama’s successful use of misogyny against her.

In all these cases, Liberals employed identity politics against other Liberals.

Those of us on the Left (no, Sanders was not a leftist) who watched this have more than enough reason to suspect that the once-liberatory social justice framework now serves the nationalist desires of politicians more than it serves us. Conservatives employ identity politics just as well, especially to drum up support for foreign invasions: the invasion of Afghanistan, for instance, was effectively framed as a war to liberate women from the patriarchal Taliban, regardless of whether or not those women were hoping to be liberated by bombs and occupation. And the fascist right (‘alt-right’ in the United States, ‘New Right’ in Europe) frames their politics now as “Identity Politics for Whites.”

In all cases (Liberal, Conservative, Fascist), identity is used as a weapon and method of control, cynically re-directing the self-description of people back into the machine of nationalist oppression.

The Return of the Left

The election of Donald Trump in the United States and the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom points both to the rise of nationalism (and soon, fascism). Those events also, however, herald the end of Anglo-Liberalism in both of those countries.

We must see this as good news, and also as a warning.

The complete failure of the Democratic Party in the United States to manipulate identity politics in a way that could win them the presidency (against the most pathetic excuse of a demagogue the world has yet seen) means nothing less than this: the Democratic Party in the United States has little political power any longer.

Insofar as Liberals have set themselves up cynically as the party of the oppressed while building up the power of the state and protecting the interests of capitalism, Leftists in the United States can now build actual anti-capitalist and anti-nationalist movements.

Black Lives Matter and the NODAPL movement at Standing Rock are both signs that indigenous and oppressed peoples have begun reclaiming their own power rather than allowing Liberals to co-opt their revolutionary struggles. Similarly, antifascist organizing against alt-right groups and leaders — despite Liberal attacks against their actions — shows that the Left has finally made a real break from the nationalism of the Democratic Party, and the Democrats are pissed.

That’s where the warning comes in. In every significant Leftist populist movement in the United States, the Democratic Party has shown itself quite adept at co-opting the struggles of the poor and oppressed. Resistance is ‘in’ now, Liberals are already starting to realise their fashion is out of date and seeking new ways to update their image.

How might they co-op these movements? Re-branding our politics as anti-Trump movements, re-directing leftist anger at capitalism and the police-state into electoral and establishment politics. The police were militarized before Trump, the security state exploded in size under Obama, Clinton openly advocated for military engagement in the Middle East, but in our current moment of terror, it will be easy for many to forget this. If a charismatic new Liberal were to rise suddenly, promising an end to Trump, only our memory of Liberalism’s relentless betrayal could stop them.

We who seek a better world must become not just revolutionaries, but keepers of the memories of Liberal betrayal. While Trump promised to “Make America Great Again,” Liberals will soon be promising the same thing, a return to the halcyon days where they had control over the military and police, where they got to be the ones holding the gun to our heads, smiling, telling us they were on our side.

When the Liberals try to co-opt us, we must be ready. We must not settle for anything less than the end of the American Empire, the end of Capitalism, and the end of any political system that would promise to point a gun at another’s head on our behalf.


Rhyd Wildermuth

Rhyd is the managing editor and co-founder of Gods&Radicals. He and Alley Valkyrie are currently raising funds to live in France — find out how to help them here.


Like this essay? You’ll probably really like Christopher Scott Thompson’s book, Pagan Anarchism. It, and all our other books, is available here.

Trump: The Living Corporation

Part I: Origo ad feces

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everybody got that? Good!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Patacelsus

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


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