同一條爭取自由解放的路上: 從西雅圖給香港戰友寫信

多謝凱雄, JZ, Catta 與 Phyllis 幫忙翻譯。(英文版)

同一條爭取自由解放的路上

從西雅圖給香港戰友寫信

親愛的香港戰友,

我們是”佔領華爾街”和”反殖/佔領西雅圖”的幾位參與者。我們寫此信是想表達我們對你們反壓制運動的強烈支持。你們的勇敢激勵了我們。我們想告訴你們,這裡的人十分關注你們的示威活動。

十月一號在西雅圖,大約有四五百名來自香港、台灣、大陸、以及其他華僑一起出來示威,支持你們的抗爭。

我們視自己為全球社會運動的一部分。在這些運動中,我們試圖塑造一種民主,來挑戰資本階級和為它服務的政治系統.如此一來也可以將我們從他們操控下的選舉和工作等場域中解放出來。

我們看到你們在為真正的普選戰鬥。普選是美國政府自稱有做到的,雖然他們事實上並沒有達成.在真正的民主選舉中,全國最有錢的前百分一之並不會擁有比其他百分之九十的人民更多的金錢和財富;銀行也不會在空屋率比無家可歸的人五倍之多的差距中,將人們逐出住所.

一個真正民主的政府不會從坦克車上將槍對準在 Ferguson, Missouri抗議的民眾.一個真正民主的政府也不會將從拉丁美洲逃離暴力傷害的孩子們關進監獄.这里资本式的民主摧毀了美国以往所建立的工业基础,留下為數眾多的法拍屋和許多被汙染的土地。同时,液压破碎等新类型资源開發方式讓我們陷入生態環境汙染的危機之中.

我們看到你們在對抗一個自稱遵循共產主義的政府。但我們相信在一個真正的共產主義社會中,富士康工人不會在制作智慧型手機時選擇跳樓自殺.這些工人應該是對未來充滿希望,並且應該不要浪費他們保貴的生命為財團賣命工作.

這些勞工們不應該在發薪日前過著捉襟見肘的日子;而同時他們的老闆卻像李嘉誠一樣坐擁金山,

我們雖站在不同位置,我們卻被這些二元政治觀誤導了。這樣變質的政治氛圍來自於過往的政治壓抑和迫害。現在我們這一代就要建立新的由下而上的政治新氣象。由每一個社會的公民開始形塑並實踐這一展新型態的政治模式,改變職場、學校及社區:什麼都跟大家分享,也和大家一起集體決定什麼是更好的生活.

我們想建立一個新的社會讓「各盡所能、各取所需」這宗旨從灰塵裡再現形。投票權雖然僅是民主政治中得一環,但我們不但要據理力爭,還要要求公平正義.如果选舉系統依舊被國家機器主宰,我們就只能決定怎樣分配全球資本經濟的剩餘物。

因為我們相信在不同區域上抗爭其實是基於一樣的全球反抗,所以我們想跟你們分享我們示威運動的成功與失敗。現今的國家機器已經制定了許多壓制我們示威活動的政策.當我們關注香港反壓迫運動的策略和分歧的意見時,我們想到了那些我們曾經有歷過的爭論.

我們也用了佔領和封鎖的各種手法。我們雙方抗爭的脈絡雖存在差異,但像是在面對類似的挑戰.我們在美國的佔領運動同時參考了埃及和希臘的同類示威運動.希望我們過往的經驗能對你們的抗爭活動有幫助.

考慮到香港示威活動的規模之大,我們不知道是否該貿然提出建言.你們在Mongkok, Causeway Bay, and Admiralty都設了障礙物.然而,我們在反殖/占领西雅图僅設了一道障礙物防線.在香港,所有的勞工都走上街頭.但我們並沒有如此有效且成功的動員示威民眾.

然而,我們還是從大西洋的另一端捎來此信,因為我們希望能夠聯繫更多人,一起在全球的情境下共同抗爭努力

我們希望在一切塵埃落定之後,你們也能和我們分享你的的經驗.我們並不在香港所以我們並不了解問題的所在,所以請諒解我們可能對某些議題有些重覆性的討論.也請明白這些建議是出於善意

反殖/佔領西雅圖的反思

一)阻斷資本主義的生產及產銷網絡,以直接行动来反制警方的暴力行為。

雖然你們宣稱採取非暴力抗爭,但並不會因此使得警方及被收買的幫派不對你們使用暴力。雖然規模小得很多,我們在這兒也面對類似的問題。

各美國城市的警察互相勾結、派臥底滲入、監視並壓制我們的示威運動。警察出動時,他們使用胡椒噴霧和催淚煙,也毆打市民,目的是要摧毀示威活動的核心

警方的暴力也不放過那些主流社會所尊重的人們。在西雅圖,警方近距離地把胡椒霧發射在八十四歲的婦女Dorli Rainey臉上。在奧克蘭, 從伊拉克退役的老兵Scott Olsen也被警方用橡皮子彈開槍射擊而重傷.

面對警方的暴力,我們選擇了阻橈美國西海岸的主要碼頭,目的是要阻斷跨太平洋的貿易。目的是要癱瘓貿易,使利用警方來維持他們的階級利益的資本家害怕我們的運動。

我們當時也要把運動的勢力帶入到其他的場合中,不限於佔領的據點. 我們知道若堅持單單守據點,我們從和大眾 疏遠,使得政府更容易壓抑我們。

如同你們在香港一樣,我們的位置在全球貿易的樞紐點中焦點。這樣全球的流通脈絡,使跨國企業使能輕易地把生產線遷移到工人尚未組織起來的地方。

這讓資產家操作全球化的裝配線,從深圳到香港到西雅圖等。也就是這個系統產生了我們的經濟不平等,使我們不能掌控自己的生活.因為我們現在一個工業化相對落後的區域,我們的實質力量在於癱瘓國際貿易和物流系統

我們認同工人們能夠向這體系進行阻礙與施壓的勢力。全球生產線的運作靠的是農工、工廠工人、碼頭工人、卡車司機、物流公司職員、銀行職員、所有為他們辦理衣食住行的人等等的勞動。

為此,我們積極地與在西雅圖罷工的港卡車司機建立起關系,也協助了激進的碼頭工人在華盛頓州長景市的示威活動。運動在全國各地支持多個工人斗爭,其中包括華盛頓州東部的農場工人以及加州伯克利的鋼鐵工人。

同時,不在全球供應鏈中佔決定性位置的失業人士、青年、學生、以及服務行業的工人也可以通過封鎖貨櫃物流,來癱瘓海運系統的命脈。非殖民化/佔領西雅圖也就是抗議警察暴力而關閉了港口。

我們臨時的港口行動,在據點被砸了后進行或許為時已晚,卻也展現了運動不肯悄悄引退的精神。行動不但長期堅固了參與者和工作人員之間的網絡和關系,也指引未來保衛運動,開拓空間組織新的社會生活和政治形式所能採取的行動。

(二)公民大會與行動組的重要性,單一議題領導的有限度

我們看到在你們的佔領行動當中,開始出現一些討論小組和團體。我們希望你們知道,這樣的討論小組是很珍貴的,而且請你們務必讓這樣的討論繼續延伸、擴展,讓這些人更有力量在這個運動中去發展真正的民主,而不是等待其他人來下指示。

對我們來說,佔領運動的力量在於它匯集了對系統抱有不同冤屈的人士,他們通常不會一起被動員上街。公民大會和臨時行動組是我們嘗試建立直接的民主論壇,讓運動中持有各種傾向的成員提出論點,協調各方計劃運動的策略。

戰略決策一旦在公民大會上達成,人們可以通過不同的戰術和行動自由地執行戰略。行動無須經過任何中央領導的允許,保留了各人的自主權。在通常的情況下,人們「用腳投票」,在街頭各自發起新的戰術。其它時候,我們成立行動小組試圖以地方行動擴大在其他城市新興的戰略。這些小組與大會重疊,把關鍵的問題帶到大會上討論和進行投票。但是,它們從不等待大會批准才前進。

這過程無疑乏味充滿壓力,卻是維護運動的民主文化的必要之一。這也使既有的政黨及其工作人員更難拉攏並且控制參與者。他們曾嘗試拉攏運動裡自封的挂名代表,但在實地的戰友們都知道,運動的方向是由多人努力的合作決定的。這樣去中心且分權化的組織讓運動更為堅強而且具有適應力。

一些派系试着以争取狭窄又温和的团结为目的试图压制运动的多样性。他们为了改革选举制度,保持「可敬」的运动形象,不顾群体而推进个人的利益。他们辩道如果改革想成功,抗爭运动就有必要先限制在一两个议题,排除所有有分歧的政治主张。

維持運動動能关键就是不能讓單一的政治議題所主導。我們是移民,是有色人种,是住在士绅化住宅區的工是,是無住屋者,是婦女,是酷兒,我們對於這樣的選舉政治都有所不滿。我们不會因為假的「99%人的團結」而沉默。我們的團結就是多元。我們要讓這場運動與其他的運動結合,在人們生活的周遭、監獄裡、工作場所中出現,而且我們拒絕讓這場運動變成是少數人的運動,成為少數菁英的運動。如此一來我們的運動也會持續充滿能量,更長久的走下去。我們一起反對迫遷、反對警察暴力、反對遣返。多元的運動面貌和議題會讓運動持續下去,即使最後佔領運動暫時消失。如果佔領運動只把自己限縮在特定議題裡面,運動就無法持續下去。

公民大會的集體決策制度,對發展多樣性及分散式的運動勢力至關重要。其安排讓我們能夠共同討論的問題如:自封領袖的中產人士應否替大眾向市長談判?營地是否因持續的警察暴力和日益惡化的氣候而搬遷?大會也讓我們和陌生的朋友會面與交談,尋找合作對象和協調自主的行動,完全不必經過任何冒名的領導機構。

沒有任何一個存在和正式的組織團體能聲稱代表我們所有人。更重要的是,我們共同創造的空間,鼓勵了對此陌生還有無黨派的人們發言和表示擔憂。公民大會讓我們互相發現,長遠地組織起來,改變了政局。

我們攜手成功地建立了一個超出選舉革制度的關懷,我們關心經濟不公、種族主義、酷兒解放等問題的人際網。我們堅強又有組織性地異口同聲,發起了直接行動,抵抗大規模監禁、勞工不公平、紳士化以及警察暴力。

我們有組織,卻又不屬於一個組織,所以非常靈活,能夠適應和面對快速變化的局面。在一起創造的同時,我們的創意和勇氣也隨著提升。

受打壓之時回復原有的組織團體雖很具誘惑力,西雅圖的抗爭經驗卻教導了我們在危機時刻更是須要大家相互扶持,計算風險,以新異的方式組織。

(三)抵抗「好壞抗議者」的動態

我們知道,在多議會,多新臉孔和觀點聚集在一起的混亂之下,很容易出現「好壞抗議者」的動態。佔領行動早期常見無家可歸的青年、酷兒青年和黑人青年–一些不符合典范正直公民形象的人們– 的參與。這些青年被運動當中的中規中矩的中產成員貶為「壞抗議者」。中產階級力量試圖把運動限制於合理的委屈,無視其青年們日常生活上所受到的不公對待。中產階級力量尤其是認為民眾與警察的對立是一場錯誤,反對大家在佔領的平台上討論更深刻更基本的社會問題。

然而在西雅圖,被上流社會排斥的「壞示威者」卻是在鎮壓之時保衛營地和維持斗爭立下了大功。反殖/佔領西雅圖初期的營地,就是其中處境最危險最奮勇的無家可歸青年死守下來的。他們同警方的大膽對峙,不但成功地擴大運動也激勵了成千人上街支持。「好示威者」目睹了這一切才事后來到。

(四)對付運動之中的美國民族主義

我們看得出你們運動其中有人受到民族主義的吸引。這也存在於我們的運動,促使我們極力對付。美國民族主義和優越感常在佔領運動早期的言辭裡出現。反中心態普遍認為中國人搶了大家的飯碗,把富裕的統治階級和抵抗著經濟不公的工人們混淆在一起。

這種言辭也隨著把美國理想化成民主聖地。我們與原住民長老和戰友們經過商討后,選擇了把運動取名為反殖/佔領西雅圖,強調美國領土是通過奴隸制度和原住民土地的盜竊而建立起來的。

來自不同群體的國際主義者,通過營地和集會連接在一起,有效地挑戰美國民族主義的言論。我們互相配合對付此問題。在反殖/佔領西雅圖的首度集會上,我們在演講中批評美國民族主義,述說了移民運動、墨西哥的抗爭運動和中國內地的罷工事件,還強調全球為抵抗統治階級和全球經濟的壓迫力而團結起來的必要性。后來,我們也組織了各種聲援行動,其中包括了對烏坎村民當時在反抗政府鎮壓的支持。我們在運動當中維持了強烈的國際主義以及反種族主義的聯盟。

(五)處理佔領運動中的暴力事件

在佔領的過程中,我們不斷的面對警察的暴力,以及使用各種手段要打壓我們的運動。美國的警察非常善於製造內部混亂,我們相信香港的警察亦是如此。在西雅圖佔領運動裡常見的就是滲入許多喝醉的人和毒品販賣者。警察試圖製造出這些人很腐敗頹廢的假象,要讓佔領運動充滿負面形象。他們會讓佔領運動看起來很骯髒很危險,藉此提出打壓遊民的政策,製造社會大眾的負面情緒。我們的運動當時不夠強壯,無法處理過量吸食海洛因的人,或是那些喝醉/太high的人打架的問題。

有些人試圖設置一些安全的手段,減少佔領運動的紛爭、維持所有人的安全,並且同時拒絕佔領運動裡面的一些新納粹(他們有一晚突然出現,我們當時認為會有更多這種人加入)。我們所需要的安全並非建立在怪罪上,也不是要將標籤貼在無住屋者、精神疾病患者或是對藥物成癮的人。我們的目標只是要阻止某些危險的行為,但並不是要妖魔化特定的人,他們已經是社會失能底下所出現的產物了。

然而,有些人反對這樣的作法,認為我們應該要尋求警察的協助以獲得安全的佔領運動。這根本不是個選項,因為警察一直以來只想要破壞這場運動。我們在這件事情上有很多的討論和爭辯,越來越難以維持佔領行動,那些傾向找警察來的人阻斷了內部的安全小組運作。例如當時安全小組試圖要把那些支持納粹的人趕出佔領據點,但又不想要找警察來。人們當時就開始離開佔領據點,因為感到不安全,讓警察和屋主開始輕易鬆動我們的運動。運動現場的安全對於那些參與運動但是被社會邊緣化的人來說非常重要,他們是特定種族的青年、是無住屋者、是酷兒、是那些容易被警察找麻煩的人。但是中產階級式的要求警察介入以確保安全,讓這一切都變了調。

安全問題甚至到佔領據點被破壞之後仍一直存在。這是你們在運動中也要小心的事情。美國警察甚至付錢讓連續猥褻兒童的強姦犯Robert Childs加入我們的佔領運動,他領薪水來做他最擅長的事情:以性暴力和反社會行為,來造成所有人的困擾。美國政府經常使用這種手段來分化運動,讓這些性騷擾、鄙視女性的慣犯到運動現場,分化運動者之間的信任。當我們發現Robert Childs的身分的時候,我們立刻將他逐出佔領運動,不久之後他也就離開了西雅圖。

在運動中不只有這些領薪水的間諜和搗亂者,也有一些運動者對其他人性騷擾或侵犯,嚴重地動搖了耗費多時所建立的運動根基。我們試圖要面對、處理這些問題,並且確實究責,但並不是很成功。我們知道在運動中不依賴警察來處理這些事情是非常重要的,因為在過往經驗裡警察通常都不會處理這些事情,甚至還會故意讓這些事情在運動中發生。我們必須要集體行動,捍衛我們自己的安全。這其實並不容易,但也真的非常重要。

***

我們的運動都會反應出社會的矛盾和衝突,而且通常會以性別、種族等等形式的壓迫呈現。有些運動者會試圖打壓不一樣的聲音,以「團結」之名打壓其他人的意見,試圖阻止運動裡面不入流的事情被看見。這只會帶來失敗,因為如果我們不去處理這些內部矛盾,將會對運動帶來反作用力。我們要一起面對挑戰,並且一起解決這些問題。

我們知道即使當權者試圖鎮壓你們,你們仍持續佔領街頭。很明顯地這是這場運動重要的時刻。我們希望你們能夠勝利,希望你們的這場運動能夠戰勝我們過去所遇到的那些限制,希望這封信能夠是跨太平洋的交流和討論,並且讓我們的運動更茁壯。願我們不論在哪,都走在同一條爭取自由解放的路上。

 

 

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A letter from Seattle to Hong Kong Protestors/ 从西雅图给香港战友写信

中文版正在翻译当中!

Fighting For Our Common Freedoms:

A letter from Seattle to Hong Kong Protesters

policeacrosspacific

Dear Hong Kong protesters,

We write to you as people who participated in the Occupy Wall Street movement and Decolonize/Occupy Seattle. We are writing to express our solidarity with your struggle against repression. We are inspired by your courage and we want to let you know that people here are paying attention to your struggle.

On Oct 1st, 400-500 Chinese people from Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and the broader Chinese diaspora came to a rally in Seattle in solidarity with your struggle .

We see ourselves as part of a global movement where everyday people are trying to create forms of democracy that challenge the rule of the capitalist class and the political system that serves them – that frees us from their domination everywhere from the voting polls to the workplace.

We see that you are fighting for democracy, for the right to nominate your own leaders. In the US, this is something the government claims to practice, but doesn’t. In a true democracy, the richest 1% would not hold more wealth than the bottom 90% combined, and banks would not be able to evict families from their homes when the vacancy rate is five times the homelessness rate. A truly democratic government wouldn’t be pointing rifles from the top of tanks at protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, and or imprisoning children fleeing from violence in Latin America. Our capitalist “democracy” has dismantled the old U.S. industrial base, leaving cities full of foreclosed homes and toxic land, while generating new forms of resource extraction such as fracking that have left us struggling against pollution and environmental degradation.

We see that you are also fighting against repression by a government that calls itself Communist. But we believe that in a true communist society, the Foxconn workers producing our smart phones would not be despaired to the point of suicide: workers would have hope for the future and not have to waste away ten to twelve hours each day of their young lives making their bosses rich. Workers would not be counting their pennies before their next pay day while their bosses—whether they be mainlanders like Ma Yun or Hong Kongers like Li Kashing—roll in money enough to spread their investments over the world.

Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Group Statements, Strategy and Tactics, What's up in Seattle | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Zine version of Reading For Revolution

Reading for Revolution is a three-part series of short articles that I wrote on collective learning and the struggle for a new society. 

The first article, “Steal the the Ability to Read this Book,” makes a case for seizing the reading skills that slave-masters and capitalist bosses have systematically denied oppressed communities. 

The second article, “Clowns to the left of me, Leninists to the right, here I am – Chillin and reading with you…,” argues for developing a learning praxis (reflective practice) that can break from the alienated and oppressive dynamics of capitalist classrooms.

The third article, “DIY Study Strategies,” is more practical, offering suggestions for how to start your own revolutionary study group.  I argue that how we read to make a revolution is different from how we are taught to read in school. I attempt to outline some of the more revolutionary reading strategies that we’ve learned and co-created in the hope that others will build upon these and share their own. I emphasize how to integrate literacy skills into discussion so that study groups will be more accessible to folks who did not learn these skills ins school. 

A group called Radical Ideas For a Moribund Society Distro turned these articles into a zine format that can be printed easily.  It is available here at their site.   I’ve also uploaded it here:  Reading For Revolution Zine Version.   Thanks to the folks who put in the work to format this.

Here are their suggestions for printing:

TO PRINT: Download the PDF and print onto 8.5×11 paper, flip on short-edge.

TO COPY: To make multiple copies from the original print, configure the copier settings to print both sides by selecting 2>2 SIDED or something similar if the option is available and STACK after each printed batch (if you select sort, you will have to compile each copy afterward – which is tedious.)

Posted in Education struggles, Organizational Practice, Strategy and Tactics, Study Group, Theory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Reading for Revolution Part 3: DIY Strategies for Study Groups

Assata on educationI recently published an article in the journal Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, sharing some suggestions for how to form revolutionary study groups.  It is available for free download here:  DIY study strategies.  Feel free to distribute it if you find it useful.  This is the third part of a series on revolution, education, and reading; the first two parts can be found here.

The full issue of the Perspectives journal focuses on anarchist strategizing, and can be purchased here, from the Institute for Anarchist Studies and AK Press.

In the article, I lay out some methods for learning from each other instead of treating the text or the facilitator as an authority.  I also wrestle with how to navigate differences in literacy skills among study group participants, and suggest some practical and creative ways to make texts and discussions more accessible to folks who have varying degrees of access to formal education.

The article includes reflections on a study group the Black Orchid Collective did together last year, and the appendix includes step-by-step outlines of a particular group session, writing prompts, and graphic organizers for note taking that we’ve developed.

My hope is that other affinity groups, collectives, and learning commons projects will engage with this and provide critical feedback based on your own experiences learning together.  I also hope you all will write up your own reflections on collective study so that we can share practical tips with each other for how to learn outside of the capitalist education system.  Our enemies have their think tanks, schools, and universities.  We have processes of freestyle thinking and learning that cannot be enclosed, and that can grow rhizomatically if we put in the effort to make it happen.

If folks are interested in continuing these conversations, I write semi-regularly for the blog Creativity Not Control.  It’s a collaborative project I’ve been working on with several public school parents; we are also involved in organizing against the school to prison pipeline and other forms of inequality in the schools.  We want learning for life, not for labor.  If this resonates with you, we welcome guest posts and collaboration in Seattle and beyond.

Posted in Education struggles, Organizational Practice, Strategy and Tactics, Study Group, Theory, What's up in Seattle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Statement Against Snitch-Jacketing

An anonymous blog post recently emerged accusing someone we have organized with in the past of being a snitch; the post provided no evidence to back up this accusation. We have decided not to validate the accusations in this post by engaging with it. Instead we choose to emphasize the following points:

There is no place in radical movements for anonymous and/or unsubstantiated allegations. Such allegations, whether from well-intentioned but misguided individuals or from state agents, have the effect of sowing distrust and division within our movements. They put the accused people in the impossible situation of responding to no one and nothing in particular, or risk seeming to admit guilt by refusing to reply. And they put the rest of us in an uncomfortable position by seeming to demand a verdict of guilt or innocence, without providing any basis for judgment. Such tactics can divide and even destroy movements, as the FBI proved most decisively with its Counter-Intelligence Program, COINTELPRO, against the liberation movements of the 1960s and 1970s. We must learn the lessons of the past and refuse to engage in snitch-jacketing.

It is equally dangerous, and for precisely the same reasons, to speculate about who is responsible for such allegations and why. That sort of speculation merely worsens the problem that it pretends to solve. It increases the speculation; where once it was focused on a single person suspected as a snitch, it expands to envelope everyone as a potential snitch-jacketer. Division widens as we look to each other with suspicion and paranoia.

If people feel sure enough of their facts to launch public accusations against fellow activists, they should be willing to take personal and/or collective responsibility for such accusations and provide supporting evidence. Otherwise, if we fall into the habit of making accusations unaccountably, and accepting them without question, we have to assume that our enemies will observe the resulting divisions and exploit our weaknesses.

If you agree with these principles, we encourage you to sign onto this statement by leaving a comment below.

sincerely,

Amaranto
Jomo
Mamos

Posted in What's up in Seattle | 19 Comments

Dark Ecology, Hyperobjects, and the New Materialism

I recently wrote a piece on ecology, spirituality, and philosophy entitled “White Baby Jesus Vs. Dark Ecology” for my Aroma of the World blog.   Our comrade Matt, aka Bypolar the Toxic Cherub, turned it into a piece of youtube video art:

This is one manifestation of my recent engagement with the philosophical work of Timothy Morton.  Morton is part of an emerging movement of radical philosophers who academics are calling the “New Materialists”.   Like Marxists, these materialists emphasize there is a reality outside of our individual thoughts, and that we are shaped by social, political and economic forces.  Like Marxists, they emphasize humans have self-activity;  we shape ourselves and other objects through our creativity, which is alienated into labor under capitalism.  However, like many radical ecologists, they also emphasize that non-human beings have agency to shape each other and us; hence the universe is a rhythm of various objects imprinting themselves on each other.

Morton locates human subjectivity as one form of inter-objective activity among many.  In other words, our thoughts themselves are physical because they are happening in our bodies, and in the interactions between our bodies and other objects.

In his most recent book, Morton focuses on the historical agency of very large objects like the universe, the planet, and climate – what he calls “hyperobjects.”  But he is part of a broader trend called Object Oriented Ontology, which argues that even smaller objects engage in forms of uncanny, weird, aesthetic causation.  He talks about that in his (free) book called Realist Magic, a play on the literary tradition of magical realism.

Morton is attempting to develop a revolutionary aesthetic, artistic, and political response to the ecological crisis.  He wants to encourage us to take the partial, impure, impaired actions that are possible now to slow the destruction of the planet’s climate.  He wants us to  do something, however limited and hypocritical, instead of waiting in pure despair for the end of the world.  He argues that the end of the world has already happened because the concept of “world” implies the planet is simply a backdrop to our grand historical biographies, our world-building.  And that concept has already been destroyed by hyper-objects.  Global warming collapses the distinction between foreground and background, between humans and our environment, which destroys many of the philosophical underpinnings of BOTH western religions AND 19th century scientific rationalism.

In this sense, Morton’s thought stumbles right through some of the limitations of the Marxist humanism, postmodernism,  anti-humanism, and new-Ageism that are so popular here in Northwest radical communities.  He calls his perspective “Ecology without nature” or “dark ecology” because he thinks that truly overcoming the nature-human divide requires jettisoning the concepts of “nature” and “humanity” altogether.  Instead of going out to the woods to find nature, we can develop an ecological perspective right here in the middle of our polluted metropolis; it will simply be an uncanny, uncomfortable one.  We can meditate on the fact that the styrofoam cups we are using will last hundreds of years, and that the casual conversation we just had outside the grocery store about the weather is actually a conversation about global warming.

Like a Zen (martial) artist, Morton aims to provoke uncanny experiences of encounter with other human and non-human beings, encounters that can lead to ethical commitment, compassion, and radical action rather than apocalyptic waiting, cynicism, or  games of theoretical one-upmanship (the trap of acting “more meta than thou”).

I’m finding all of this very helpful in breaking out of some of the cynicism and demoralization that set in around here after the collapse and repression of the Decolonize/ Occupy movement.  I also think it’s very uncanny  how myself,  Morton (a celebrated professor) and Bypolar (a revolutionary artist from the ‘hood facing trumped up riot charges) are coming to some of the same conclusions. Maybe we are all becoming more attuned to the planet we are living inside.  Or maybe the planet is breaking its way into our thinking.

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“How to Overthrow the Illuminati” Pamphlet

pamphlet-coverThis summer, I collaborated with comrades in New York City to produce a pamphlet criticizing conspiracy theories.  We also set up a website to discuss and distribute the pamphlet.  For some reason, I forgot to link it here on the Black Orchid blog, so I figured I’d put it up now.

Here is how the pamphlet starts:

Everyone talks about the Illuminati. You may have heard Jay Z and Beyonce are members of the Illuminati, and channel demons when they perform. You may have heard Obama is a member of the Illuminati, and plans to implant microchips in all U.S. citizens, to prepare for martial law. You may have heard the dollar bill contains secret symbols, which reveal the U.S. has been controlled by the Illuminati for hundreds of years.

Illuminati theory helps oppressed people to explain our experiences in the hood. Society throws horrible stuff in our faces: our family members get locked up for bullshit. Our friends kill each other over beefs, money or turf. Our future is full of dead-end jobs that don’t pay shit. We struggle to pay bills while others live in luxury. On TV, we see people all over the world dying in poverty, even though we live in the most materially abundant society in history. Most people act like none of these terrible things are happening. Why does this occur? We start looking for answers, and Illuminati theory provides one.

We believe Illuminati theory is wrong, and we wrote this pamphlet to offer a different answer. We wrote this pamphlet because we know people who think about the Illuminati usually want to stop oppression and exploitation. They’re some of the smartest people in the hood today. Forty years ago, Illuminati theorists would’ve been in the Black Panther Party. Today most of them sit around and talk endlessly about conspiracies. This is a waste of talent. The world is in a deep crisis, and big protests, rebellions and revolutions are happening. In Egypt, South Africa, Turkey–and even in the U.S.–these movements are already taking 

place. 

People who 

say 

we can’t 

do 

anything because no 

one 

else 

is 

fighting are simply refusing to join the fight themselves. With the right tools, we can participate in these actions, and make history with millions of others.

table of contents

This pamphlet is a tool to help you understand the world around you. It offers a brief history of Illuminati theory: who invented it, when and where. It shows how Illuminati theory became popular in the hood after the defeat of the movements of the 1970s. It reveals that Illuminati theory is unable to explain how society works, or provide solutions for how to end oppression and exploitation. It offers an alternative explanation of why exploitation and oppression exists, and what we can do to change it. First, we have to unearth the origin of Illuminati theory itself.

To read the rest, click here

Posted in Communism, Labor, popular culture, Race, Theory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments