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For the benefit of EVERY true anarchist, radical, revolutionary

Anarchist political prisoner Jeff "Free" Luers said it best, and we as cultural revolutionaries had better heed the words contained within. Otherwise, the movement is doomed and the capitalist empire will remain yet standing.
The Problem with Anarchist Ego (March 2004)

It seems that more and more anarchist publications are becoming breeding grounds for self-promoting pompous drivel. Perpetuating a cycle of discord not only among fellow anarchists, but others who could be our allies if only our heads weren't stuck so far up our arses.

The problem is not so much a lack of ideas as it is a superiority complex. It is so easy to turn on those we disagree with because their view of a utopian society isn't like ours whereas it is much harder to actually challenge the state.

Anarchists, leftists and activists of various sorts all seem to have one thing in common these days: the ability to direct their energy at one another rather than focus their collective energy on the source of all our misery.

How easily do we forget? This is exactly what the state wants us to do-fight amongst ourselves. All the bickering has made us a stagnant and ineffective farce. We are so busy criticizing each other that we fail to challenge the state or even attempt to create an alternative, relegating ourselves to obscure political theory and unintelligible banter. Perhaps, most shameful of all: we fail to criticize ourselves.

I was very disappointed to read an article recently printed in Green Anarchy, called The left-handed path of repression. It was a case in point of how easy it is to completely dismiss others, and fail to even address an important issue-likely, because (gasp!) they were critical of anarchists, perhaps even the author of said article.

I happened to live in Eugene at the time the author refers to as when the "leftist emotional plague swept through the Eugene anarchist milieu... "I had a unique privilege to be accepted by all the different factions and circles of the Eugene activist scene. Thus, being able to drink beer and have discussions with the group of women and men that challenged the rhetoric and sexism inherent in the Eugene anarchist scene at the time and then going off to party with the ?hardcore' anarchist element-which I'm sure still includes some members of the GA collective. The ability to not be labeled by either side as "the enemy" gave me a unique perspective on the situation and also forced me into the mediator role on occasion.

There are 3 sides to every story-A, B and the truth.

Without getting into names or details, I was very involved with various elements of resistance in Eugene. Most organizing was done by a handful of white men with some rare exception. These men were outspoken and had a very dominant presence-which I don't necessarily believe is a bad trait.

On the other side, there was a group of women and men who were tired of the one-way slant of these men. They sought to focus attentions on issues of sexism, racism and other community issues. Let's be realistic-in a predominately white college town with a large activist community centered in the heart of the poor district and largely organized by a small handful of white men, the conditions are ripe for sexism, racism and elitism.

The issues these women and men raised were legitimate issues, echoed by me on more than one occasion. But, of course, there was bullshit coming from both sides, which created a dramatic season of Eugene 90210. But, progress was made, a couple of worthless pricks were run out of town, people grew and suddenly a community was trying to evolve. Women were empowered, men were frightened and nothing would ever be the same.

The allegations flew with cries of sexism from one side and allegations of infiltrator and provocateur from the other. Then, BAM, heads collided and we were left with an ineffective bunch of disorganized, disunified factions, Once again, the state is left standing.

I'm still in contact with both sides of this feud. Not a lot has changed over the years. It is disheartening and sad for such an advanced and amazing group of people to be disabled by in fighting. Sometimes, I think I'd rather live in prison than go back to Eugene.

Unfortunately, the problem is not limited to this one instance. It continues to play itself out in all of our politics. Green vs. Red. Anarchism vs. Leftism. So, I'm going to point out what I thought was obvious: It's a big world. So big, that not one of our political leanings has the solution for everyone, everywhere. At some point, if we actually succeed in our goal of smashing the state, each of us are going to have to decide how we want to recreate our communities. I'm sure that with a world as diverse as ours, each of our communities will be different.

However, there is something standing in the way of all this, and it isn't some red commie, lefty liberal or green caveman. It is a big, well armed, well organized, powerful and deadly state. I hope that faced with this reality, we will find better uses of our time. We are going to have to learn to agree to disagree because it is going to take all our collective efforts to stop this machine and bring down the beast.

We have a long way to go with so much at stake. If our publications actually focused on tactics, alternatives, what works, what doesn't... If we worked on building bridges instead of burning them... ?

I suppose this article, like so many dreams will simply become another "what if... ". That's too bad because I'd really like to see us accomplish change and not just dream, about it.

I'm not sure what the future hold. I don't even know when I'm getting gout of prison. My sentence, much like our collective future, depends on what you do. It gets said over and over again, but we seem to all have thick heads. Only you can change tings. Every single one of us has the power and ability to bring change but too often, we don't recognize our own power or we allow it to be misdirected.

We have to start in our own communities and build from there. It isn't going to work from the top down. We have to learn to work together as a diverse community and build from the bottom up. How can we hope to smash the World Bank and bring the G8 to their knees if we can't get along long enough to do it?

If we are not willing to fight together, if we are not willing to fight for each other because she's not an anarchist or because his god is different or simply because we disagree about something, then we don't have anything worth fighting for. Our revolution can't be about politics anymore. It has to be about life. It has to be about living to the fullest, sharing joy, about building and bring together sustainable communities founded on equality, freedom and respect. If that doesn't start with you, who's it going to start with?

 http://www.freefreenow.org
Agreed 04.May.2004 10:39

A person

I completely agree. We really need to stop infighting, and we need to stop wasting our time on crap. On the other hand, not infighting doesn't mean not being critical of ourselves and what we are doing. I would love to see the various scenes and factions come together, stop attacking each other, and stop wasting their time on stupid projects.

Sorry folks, 04.May.2004 14:08

but I thought this article he's attacking was right on

The Left-Handed Path of Repression
by Crocus Behemoth
Green Anarchy #15 (Winter 2004)

The pleasure police don't always wear uniforms. They wear ideologies - rigid, theoretical constructions in their heads. And their heads in turn rule over their bodies and oppress them. - Smirk #4 (Post-Leftist Pleasure Politics)

In spite of its abysmal, largely totalitarian history, the various political tendencies that comprise what we call the "Left" are attempting to make a resurgence in North America - basically by trying to exploit situations like the war in Iraq and capitalist globalization as new opportunities to promote their hopelessly outdated and downright ridiculously statist programs for "change". It would be easy enough to just ignore these socialist champions of duty and sacrifice - these would-be world-betterers who tilt at the windmills of established power and ultimately accomplish nothing - were it not for the fact that they've infested the anarchist movement with their authoritarian, guilt-ridden politics and are essentially waging war on the free exchange of ideas between radicals and dissidents. Cloaking themselves in "concerns" about racism, sexism and homophobia, these anarcho-leftists seem primarily interested in impeding the development of revolutionary theory and revolutionary action, by setting rules about what can and cannot be said (or even thought by those who are interested in examining the totality of the System we live under.

When they're not trying to lure anarchists down the dead-end path of "identity politics", these self-styled "experts in oppression" are working overtime to impose new "politically correct" moralisms and constraining codes of behavior on other people, adding new layers of repression to an already unbearably repressive and artificial situation, i.e., modern civilized "life". In a world where virtually every aspect of our lives is governed and controlled, where the majority of our "choices" and "options" are false, manufactured ones, and where our every instinct and biological impulse is stifled by an authoritarian order, the Left proposes more (or at least, new) rules and regulations as the solution! Like the genocidal Catholic missionaries of the Columbian invasion or the grim-faced, anally-retentive Puritans of New England, these internally tormented Leftists want to universalize their own inhibitions and psychological hang-ups, by creating a new governing structure that mirrors their own fears and personal misery.

The personal is very political when it comes to the Left, as your typical leftist is neurotically obsessed with how others live, what they eat and consume, and most alarmingly, with the words and thoughts that stray from the Left's approved range of opinions. The main difference between the Left and the "Right" is that the Left's intrusiveness into other peoples' lives is justified on political grounds, while the "Right" generally justifies it on Biblical or religious grounds. In either case, we're dealing with morality, with external codes of conduct and behavior that some self-appointed "superior" believes is the prescription for a more tidy, orderly and efficient society.

At this point, it's worth asking: What deranged emotional disorder leads to the formation of such authoritarian tendencies in the human personality, and what aberration of the psyche convinces the Left that it has the knowledge and the right to refashion and reprogram other people into its new morality? We believe that the research of Wilhelm Reich provides invaluable insight into the "mass psychosis of Leftism", and the remainder of this essay will explore Reich's theories of "character armoring" and how it applies to the Left as an inherently authoritarian political current.


Sexual Repression: The Root of All Social Control?

The person afflicted with the emotional plague limps characterologically. The emotional plague is a chronic biopathy of the organism. It made an inroad into human society with the first mass supression of genital sexuality; it became an endemic disease, which has been tormenting people the world over for thousands of years. According to our knowledge, it is implanted in the child from the first days of life. It is an endemic illness, like schizophrenia or cancer, with one notable difference, i.e., it is essentially manifested in social life. - Wilhelm Reich

Wilhelm Reich was a radical psychotherapist (and former student of Freud) who, in the 1920s, began to make observations about human sexual repression that we believe have alot to contribute to the anti-civilization critique. The linchpin of civilization, the defining process that holds it all together, is domestication - the suppression and restructuring of what was once wild and free. In the human animal this translates into the repression and bludgeoning of our natural instincts by outside social forces. Reich believed that human beings formed what he termed "character armor" as a chronic result of the clash between instinctual demands and an outer world `which frustrates those demands. This "character armor" is formed when the ego undergoes a structural change in order to carry out the inhibitiion of instincts demanded by the modern, civilized world and to be able to cope with the energy stasis which results from this inhibition.

Reich described this change in the human psyche as a hardening, a cementing of civilized repressions that take on a chronically operating, automatic character, as if the affected (repressed) personality has developed a hard shell around itself to deflect and weaken the blows of the outer world as well as the clamoring of unfulfilled inner needs. As a protective psychological formation that has become chronic, Reich felt that this character hardening merited the designation of the psychic mobility of the personality as a whole. The maintenance of this character armor always proceeds according to the pleasure-unpleasure principle and consists of multiple, interrelated layers that serve to ward off the most deeply repressed impulses.

And the most deeply repressed impulse in the civilized world, according to Reich, is the natural human need to give and receive love and to experience orgiastic, libidinal gratification and pleasure. But human sexuality had been repressed, claimed Reich, by the compulsory sex morality of the dominant culture.

Reich linked sexual repression to the formation of authoritarian personalities and believed that there are libidinal energies, which are employed in the anchoring of the authoritarian social order, as he explained in his 1933 book, The Mass Psychology of Fascism.

Reich believed that it was in this anchoring of the social order in the character structure that we find an explanation for the toleration on the part of the suppressed layers of the population toward the rulership of an upper social class that has the means of power at its disposal, a toleration that often goes so far as to affirm authoritarian suppression at the expense of its own class interests. Reich's analysis of sexual imagery within Nazi propaganda and Hitler's hypnotic oratory performances led him to believe that Germans achieved some sort of orgiastic satisfaction from their dedication to the fuhrer and his weltanschaung of sexual repression. Myron Sharaf, Reich's biographer, commented that, "This intense libidinal excitation, combined with a sense of moral righteousness, was strikingly similar to the atmosphere at religious revival meetings."

Reich went on to apply his same critique of the Third Reich to Soviet Russia and the Communist Party, and came to the following conclusions:

* Humankind is biologically sick.
* Politics is the irrational social expression of this sickness.
* The character structure of the masses is formed by socioeconomic processes, and it anchors and perpetuates these processes. Humanity's biopathic character structure is the fossilization of the authoritarian process of history. It is the biophysical reproduction of mass suppression.
* The fear of freedom - and the incapacity for freedom - of masses of people is expressed in the biophysical rigidity of the character and the inflexibility of the organism.
* Interest in money and power is a substitute for unfulfilled happiness in love, supported by the biologic rigidity of masses of people.

We want to make it clear at this point that we don't uncritically embrace all of Reich's ideas. Like most visionaries, Reich's life was riddled with contradictions, and even as anarchists, we regard some of his later writings as marginally crackpot. And despite his advocacy of "free love" and non-monogamy, Reich seemed to be pretty sexually repressed himself, and maintained throughout his life that homosexuality was a "disorder". Nonetheless, we feel that Reich stumbled upon a "piece of the puzzle", and if we accept that even a fraction of what he postulates is feasible, then it revoutionizes our understanding of how both social domestication and authoritarian political rackets work. Human beings as a species have been deeply scarred and traumatized by 10,000 years of colonization, domestication and sexual repression, and no social order that emerges from this collective dysfunctionality/psychosis can offer us anything but more repression. As Reich described it, "The human masses have become apathetic, incapable of discriminiation, biopathic and slavish as a result of the suppression of their vital life over thousands of years".

This is an amazingly basic insight, and yet so profound in its implications! If left-wing States and political movements originate in the same authoritarian gene pool as so-called "right wing" regimes, then we can be assured ahead of time that they won't reproduce anything but continued slavery and control. The political Left is nothing more than a particular form of authoritarianism, and is, in essence and character, identical to any version of statism.

The "progressives" who yearn to install a left-wing State want to use the power of that State to control other people's habits, living patterns, moral conduct and worldview. This has been demonstrated time after time since the 1917 Russian Revolution, yet shockingly, many younger radicals (especially here in Eugene) continue to subscribe the myth that the Left is the good guy in an overly-simplistic cartoonish struggle against the "reactionary" capitalist class. But as anarchists, it's obvious that there can be no cure for the disease of capitalism if the supposed "antidote" (the Left) is itself a carrier of the same virus of control and rigidity.


The Machine as Sadomasochistic Overseer, and Technology as a New Layer of Character Armor

If sexual repression forms an early and major layer of our "character armor", then how many additional layers of domestication are added as human life begins to merge more and more fully with technology? And why is it that all leftist models for a "socialist future" seem to resemble the workings of a machine? The second question is the easier one to answer, and that answer lies in the fact that leftists have always seen themselves as social engineers and have always had a nearly religious faith in continued linear progress and the limitless development of scientific and technical knowledge. The machine age and the "machine-age consciousness" it promulgates translates into an engineering vision of human beings reworked according to properly mechanical precepts. In the leftist techno-utopia the repressed sexual energy of the "masses" will be sublimated into work, as we all trudge in uniform fashion to the conveyor belts that will deliver us to our dreary, mind-numbing tasks each day, becoming effectively human extensions of the machine.

The cumulative result of all this is clear - more misery and more repression, as technology penetrates our lives ever more thoroughly, creating mechanical patterns to which we are expected to conform.


Welcome to Eugene, Leftist Capital of the World, or "It's Starting to Get a Little Kooky Around Here"

Several years ago a leftist "emotional plague" swept through the Eugene anarchist milieu, leaving a trail of shattered lives and sabotaged projects in its wake. The "plague" was introduced into the community by a small group of former or currently enrolled, middle-class college students whose objective seemed to be not only silencing opinions they didn't like but also destroying, both personally and publicly, the individuals who expressed those opinions. A huge preoccupation of this "vanguard intelligentsia" was the imposition of politically correct speech codes and the calculated, manipulative use of certain politically-loaded buzzwords (like "racist", sexist" and "homophobic") to stigmatize anyone who had an "unapproved" point of view.

Hiding behind legitimate issues of oppression (and camouflaging themselves for a short time as anarchists), this nasty, humorless sect promoted a group identity and employed all the hallmark leftist strategies of bullying and browbeating anyone who was too naive to see what was going on. Particularly fascinating was watching this constipated, dour-faced crew attempt to formulate a new, community-wide leftist morality, one that was decidedly anti-erotic, and even anti-pleasure. Like most leftists, they seemed to have zero interest in freedom, and actually appeared to be fighting for more pain!

The "administrators" of this leftist plague, the small cadre of self-appointed (and self-oppressed) "teachers" who believed that they - and only they - possessed the "superior knowledge", academic training, and social design to restructure human nature, began to develop a pedagogical style that isolated and demonized anyone they saw as "backwards" and "uneducated" - as well as anyone who desired to have egalitarian relationships with others and wasn't willing to be treated as a "subordinate". A new Thought Police began to emerge under the guise of "abolishing sexism", "smashing racism", etc., and implicitly sent out the message to stay quiet about the new leftist orthodoxy, lest you become the next victim of a "reputation assassination". It was a clever strategy, and helped to distract people from recognizing just how devoid these power-tripping socialists were of radical ideas and analysis!

Sadism and masochism seemed to be the psychological mechanics employed to foster group-think, along with "sin" and repentance, guilt, shame, fear of freedom, punishment, unworthiness, and distrust of one's own thoughts and instincts - in short, the usual reprogramming techniques utilized by any other cult, from the Moonies to the U.S. Army. The whole "plague" began to take on an eerie resemblance to Catholicism, and fortunately, only infoected our community just long enough to serve as a graphic, firsthand example of how the Left wants to control our lives through the imposition of new, uniquely leftist, forms of repression.


The Robots Will Not Get Through!

Authoritarians can be most easily distinguished from anarchists by the fact that authoritarians make their demands of lifr not merely on themselves, but, above all, on other people and on the social environment as a whole. The person afflicted with the authoritarian plague imposes their mode of life upon others by force, and will not tolerate views that threaten their authoritarian, repressed character armor or unmask their concealed motives. The repressed-authoritarian personality fights against other modes of life (and thought) even when they don't (or shouldn't) concern them in any way; they are impelled to fight because they perceive the very existence of other beliefs and ways of life as a provocation.

Left and Right-wing authoritarians all tend to view the human animal as a flawed machine that can be perfected through the installation of the correct "software" into our hard drive. But the Left is divided amongst itself, and there is significant (and often bitter) disagreement as to what the correct software program is, particularly with regard to human sexuality. Some leftists advocate compulsory homosexuality as a "perversion" and a symptom of the decadence of bourgeois society. Other leftists go a step further and promote an anti-sex celibacy that they see as the solution to problems such as sexism and rape.

butone thing's for sure, the Left is very interested in the sexuality of other people, as are all authoritarians. Leftist regimes - from the Soviet Union to Cuba to communist China - have all (just like Protestants and capitalists) used human mass as an instrument of control and as fuel for their grand human and social reengineering projects.

Authoritarians all have a strong hatred against every process which provokes its own orgiastic yearning (suffering from what Reich called "orgasm anxiety"). This helps explain why almost nowhere in the vast canon of leftist theoretical works are subjects like pleasure, ecstasy, and self-determination discussed...maybe the desire for Eros will be disciplined out of us by the State over time? We know that sexual repression is only one of many layers of repression placed on the human animal by civilization and ruling elites (the suppression of violence and anger, so brilliantly discussed by Frantz Fanon, will be elaborated on in this Spring's "Rewilding" issue of Green Anarchy) but we wanted to tackle the subject of the Left in a way that brings it back home, into our own lives. We've also attempted to provide something that's conspicuously absent from many of the newer "anarchist" publications, like Onward and Northeastern Anarchist - a critique of authoritarianism.

Sorry yourself 04.May.2004 15:57

being in GA means never having to say you're sorry

By "infighting" are people refering to calling out rapists and their supporters, or to writing reactionary, defensive anti-feminist shit like the above article? (this is just a more sophisticated version of Hank's bs last week about "Eugene feminists collaborating with rapist cops" same ideas being expressed: everybody should just lighten up and quit calling him a rapist)

When "everybody gets allong" does that mean that the old-school male leadership apologizes for fostering a scene for years riddled with sexual violence and male dominance, then shitting on the women who spoke up? Or does "getting allong" mean gritting your teeth and bearing it while the same old people do more of the same PLUS co-opt rhetoric in ways disgusting, dangerous and boring (seen issue16? who knew that patriarchy was all about blah blah blah and cave art?)

that is just my bitter, pessimistic (and probably self-loathing, what the fuck biz of yours is it anyway??) look at things. i say three cheers to everybody working hard to do positive work. we're all fucked up and who am i to say otherwise? I'll fucking apologize all day long, I'll apologize for bad mouthing people and for writing this post for god's sake...but some of those fucking GA people think they're just as fucking sweet as the shit from the baby jesus's ass. things are changing, but they're only going to change so much unless we're all willing to admit how fucked up things are and what roll we personally have played.

my god... 04.May.2004 16:03

m

"The personal is very political when it comes to the Left, as your typical leftist is neurotically obsessed with how others live, what they eat and consume, and most alarmingly, with the words and thoughts that stray from the Left's approved range of opinions..."

Wait a minute? Isn't it GA that's telling me and the rest of society that all technology post sharpened rock must be abolished? That there is a right way to live and a wrong way... and that if I chose to live differently than GA then I'm wrong?

All political ideologies are to some degree obsessed with how others live. Isn't that pretty obvious? Sure the "left" tells you how to live, so does GA, the high ground their searching for ain't there for a heartbeat.

(on the original post...)

Like free's article, though it's a hard thing to solve. Divisions will happen when there is sexism and racism and homophobia, etc etc etc, within the community, and I think it is pretty obvious that those things exist to a large degree in Eugene. Hard to have unity when your being treated as an inferior, when you have to fear the violence of those dominant in the subculture.

oh c'mon 04.May.2004 22:07

ClassWar

"violence in the subculture"? What kind of "violence" do you mean? As revolutionaries against an oppressive regime, I doubt homophobia is all that prevalent.

Incidentally 04.May.2004 23:20

Anti-Fa

Reich was kinda, sorta, wrong about a whole lot of shit. He was dead on in his own time - but now not so much. The sexual revolution didn't really get us anywhere. So using his theories as a motor for other conclusions is pretty problematic.

Anarchists Unite 05.May.2004 06:41

silverhair

...

Revisionist history 05.May.2004 09:14

---

It's a shame that since the GA folks are the only ones that are still hanging on to the mythical "Eugene Anarchist" movement, they get to write the "offical" history of the time however they damn well please.

We should all revere them, though, knowing that they are totally justified in crying about personal attacks made during that time from others in the community because, as we all remember, Zerzan and Co. never ever, (not even once) made petty personal attacks on others (i.e. for not being anarchists, for advocating "the slow death of reform," for wasting time with "single-issues" like feminism). I think that's really admirable. It's something I've always respected them for, personally. Because they would never do anything like that. Ever.

When they look at themselves in the mirror in the morning, I'm sure they can say confidently that their hands are clean. No need for them to take responsibility for the nastiness that went on in Eugene. "It was all Them. They did it to Us."

You fucking assholes.

Do you have ideas...or do ideas have you? 05.May.2004 19:44

Yes, I mean YOU!!!

DO YOU HAVE IDEAS OR DO IDEAS HAVE YOU? If you can't answer that question, you doomed to repeat history and keep things as they are.

Now put that in your ideological bong and smoke it!

yup 05.May.2004 22:11

april

For some reason, that last post is hysterical to me. I want an ideological bong...do they sell them at Saturday Market? *snerk*

Anyway! Infighting=bad. I dabbled in the idea of labeling myself anarchist, etc, but I have decided not to mess with the whole scene because of that very thing. All I had to do is open my mouth, and instead of people actually *listening* to me, I was told how wrong wrong WRONG I was in a snotty tone. I mean, just reading the posts on Indymedia is a total turn-off a good portion of the time. People name call in vicious ways, etc. It's disgusting. It's hard to believe that anarchists (yes, I'm generalizing, I'm sorry) believe in a peaceful society of co-existance when they spit so much invective at each other. No wonder so few people want to smash the state.

Mao more than ever! 06.May.2004 15:11

RCP Supporter and True Proletarian Revolutionary

While you anarchists fight each other, Maoists all over the world are fighting capitalist roaders; laying the proper foundation for a real peoples war against imperialism that has a solid chance of winning. You need to read the brilliant writings of Chairman Bob Avakian, join the RCP, and get a clue.

i think.... 12.Sep.2004 17:22

cleopatra dominguez

i think that it smell to poo poo like the roses thats so stupid
and i don't like nothing about that so please eat peanut butter and don't think stupid things the best you can do is study