Archive for the ‘May Day’ Category

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The historical period was the 1550s in both Europe and in the Americas. European colonization and warfare had existed within two full continents on the globe, (Europe and the Americas), and Europe’s disease ridden, stench-filled warriors were moving well into African and Asian territories. These madmen from this small continent in the north knew that they were on to something greater than themselves. Somehow, God or the Cosmos itself was involved.

However, the supremacy of the Roman Catholic Church had lost its power in most of northern Europe, the exceptions surviving with Ireland in the west, and the Polish-Lithuanian Empire in the east. The Protestant Reformation was successful. The noxious dream of a great empire of western Christendom was over. The Roman Catholic Papacy had earlier rejoiced in the Turkish sack of Constantinople, renamed Istanbul, and so the Greek Orthodox Church, which still claimed the papal supremacy of Rome, was scattered in the east. Only the Czar of Russia claimed some authority over the defense of Orthodoxy. But he was in the eastern European frontier, and the Mongol Muslim Khanates still had their power bases in central Asia counterbalancing Russia. Out of this geo-political stalemate, which still survives somewhat today, a religious-ideological leader emerged.

There were many prophets and self-proclaimed leaders in those days, (like in our days), but one ideological movement changed world history – and even without military conquests. The religious ideologue was a Basque soldier turned religious mystic, Iñigo de Loyola, and his new religious order, the Jesuits, or the Society of Jesus. This religious order in defense of the Roman Catholic Church was no ordinary order of monks, like the Benedictines or the Carmelites, nor was it simply a preaching order, such as the Franciscans and the Dominicans. These warriors of the Lord obeyed Paul’s principles in his second letter to Timothy, to both live and die as good soldiers in Christ. So, they did everything for the greater glory of God.

They became the confessors to Catholic monarchs, advisers to Catholic princes, opened numerous schools and taught the sons of elites. They occupied the most prestigious posts of scholarship in Catholic universities, wrote endless theology pamphlets, books, histories, poetry compendiums, philosophical treatises, and scientific theses. They directed new forms of painting, sculpture, architecture, theater, music and ritual performance, which history refers to as the Baroque. They even ventured to the extreme parts of the Earth as missionaries to convert the heathens and heretics.

By the turn of the century, the 1600s, they transformed the Roman Catholic Church, which history refers to as the Tridentine Church. Vatican II would officially change this Tridentine Church in the 1960s. They also changed the face of the world. Their doctrines, such as the Good Death practice, and intensive church building, laid the Order’s foundations in most of the capitals of Europe, (the exceptions being the Protestant ones, such as London), and within their colonies, such as Bahia, Brazil, Lima, Peru, Mexico City, Goa, India, Congo, Africa, and Macao, China. Their missions in the interior of Paraguay with the Guarani nation created a successful Christian community of Herbal Matte, or Yerba Mate, commerce, and armed self-defense against Portuguese, mixed race slave raiders, called Paulistas based in the small coastal city of Sao Paolo. The 1600s or seventeenth-century was their century.

By the 1700s, the eighteenth-century, these same staunch Catholic monarchs began to hate them. They were jealous of their power, and conspiracy theories emerged. How did this religious order become so successful, so powerful and so respected, and even their Protestant enemies admired them? Many believed that the Jesuits simply stole and manipulated their willing dupes, wealthy ones mostly, into handing over their loot. Pope Clement XIV suppressed the order in the late eighteenth-century due to pressures from the courts of Catholic monarchs. After the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, around 1815, the Pope lifted the suppression.

The real reason for the ‘power of the Jesuits’ was their practice of the Discernment of Spirits, or more honestly, the Discernment of Ideologies. Loyola advocated this practice incessantly. A good Jesuit had to read enormously and devour the written works of humanity, and even the texts of enemies in order to debate them and counter their propaganda. This Jesuit practice possessed the name of Propaganda Fide, or Propaganda in defense of the Faith. This practice works and it still works. Think on the Anarchist Propaganda of the Word and of the Deed.

Those Christian missionaries were quite hateful and intolerant, but at least they put their words into practice, and most importantly, they were prepared for any contingency because they knew the ideologies of the world during the 1600s: Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Pietism, Puritanism, Mystical Illuminism, Jansenism, Anabaptist-Quakerism, Calvinism, Lutheranism, Manichaeism, Sufism and even Atheism.

Nowadays, there are thousands of more ideologies, whether political, intellectual, religious or philosophical, across the globe. They all share a desire for power and the violent use of power over others. As Anarchists, they are our enemies and we fight them. But first, and like the Jesuits of old, we must also read about them. We do not have to read the entirety of their badly written books, but we can see their emphases, analyze their key words and points that they harp on, and we can possess an overall view of their conniving tactics. Some examples of the more dangerous ideologies of today are American Exceptionalism, Zionism, Communitarianism, Psychobabble, the End of History, Postmodernism, Communalism, Feminist-Puritanism, Christian Evangelical Dominionism, Media Objectivism and Global Neoliberalism.

But we are living in times that are more dangerous because the above nefarious ideologies often disguise their sinister and violent ideals through ‘anti-system’ tactics. Even well read Anarchists have fallen into their traps. We forget that the European Fascist movements of the twenties and thirties started on the streets. Both Mussolini and Hitler were ‘anti-establishment’ figures. Even the Zionists were revolutionary terrorists at one time in their history. As Anarchists, we must remain careful in supporting the first protests, demonstrations, riots, rebellions and revolutions that we watch against a particular State. Some good examples are the actual ‘rebellions’ against regimes in west Asia and in northern Africa.

Is the current rebellion in Turkey, which actually started last May Day, a true spirit of Anarchist rebellion against a corrupt state? May Day in Turkey often has more representation from Communist groups and Kurdish separatists than Turkish Anarchists. The current regime is corrupt like all states, but some of those courageous ‘street revolutionaries’ are also Kemalists, meaning that they support a Fascist platform for Turkish political-cultural supremacy in both the Balkans and in west Asia. Nazi Germany also organized Turkic-Albanian-Bosnian SS divisions during WWII. Also, when disguised fronts for Anglo-American Imperialism and Genocide, such as Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, condemn the ‘despotic regime’ under duress, then this should make the Anarchist think again about defending all of the street rebels.

We can add the racist murderers and revolutionaries in Libya supported by the US, Britain and France, or the Wahhabi-Salafist religious extremists and murderers of Christians and Shiites, supported by the US, Britain, France, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in Syria. These fighters are in rebellion against a corrupt, dictatorial State, yet whose side are those fighters truly on? As Anarchists, we ought to look upon our sick and evil world the same way our state enemies look at it, and the same way the Jesuit Order looked upon it during the 1600s.

The Discernment of Ideologies then comes into full practice. We see the corporate media announce the street rebellion on ‘the news,’ and soon, the Leftist alternative media plays with the campaign. Yet, we also know that the Leftists are often the willing idiots of the state institutions. They want reforms; Anarchists, on the other hand, want true revolutionary change. The Anarchist has to make a choice: join the revolutionary practice or sit and wait. If we join, we might have to make temporary alliances with our mortal enemies, the Communist gangs, (like in Spain 1936), support the revolt in propaganda writing, (such as Indymedia), or we can act separately against a few open targets of power through hit and run, partisan-guerrilla tactics.

I would choose the latter. In world history, no matter who wins the recall, the resignation or the ‘reelection,’ the regular people always lose. Read between the media lines first, and then decide. Discern the different ideologies on the street first, and then act with force, or disengage for a later date. Once the Anarchist masters the Discernment of Ideologies, he or she becomes greatly more powerful. No state system or self-proclaimed leader can control such a revolutionary. The Jesuits always had the institutional support of the papacy throughout their reign of power. The Anarchist rather, stands alone, or works within small cells, ready with his or her weapon of choice.

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Anarchism

Anarchism (Photo credit: anarchism)

This is the month of May Day and there have been the usual demos, manis, protests, and symbolic attacks against the State, etc. These marches and street performances have never ended. They rarely change the system, but they do scare their enemies – sometimes at least. Black Blocks know the art of demonstrating, faking out established donut cop routes, and knowing when to move from defensive blocking into offensive street mode. When thousands of radical youth take over the main drag of the city and start chanting and marching, this action sends a distinct warning message to the local political hacks that have to manage such a sick system. I lived for a few years in a city on the west coat where those types of May 1st, or May Day events, were well worth the attendance.

When I lived in this ‘prog’ west coast city  as an Anarcho-hipster-activst, I always attended those annual events. This city also had its pathetic demos too, where the coppers forced the marchers onto the sidewalks. But May Day was always different. Most of the radical talkers and organizers came out in public in a show of strength. The Anarcho-ambience was fun with all the sound-whistle hoopla and visual delights of signage and outfits, while I spotted my fellow Anarcho-travelers out in force. There were the large lettered signs that threatened the power of the state, black and red flags, and I especially liked checking out any attractive demonstrators, both men and women, at the events. I always ran into friends, acquaintances – and even radical enemies. When one gets deep into radical political work, one makes enemies too. This was one of the absurdities inside this subculture.

And it was a lot more of a subculture than a culture and sub-society of resistance. Most of the people on the streets wore black outfits, bandanas, ripped jeans, combat boots or ripped up Converse. The women tended to dress with more flair and style, and the general look was heavy towards the punk version, from crusty drunk to straight edge kid. I preferred overalls, bandanas and bare feet. I would always try looking for others with a similar look. If we were going radical, then these street manis ought to have every style imaginable.

I also sighted the queer radical groups and trans radicals. I especially liked seeing the gender outlaws at such street venues. The gender outlaws were one of those true radical groups because they were living as desperadoes 24/7, and gender bending made a lot of people stare in pride – or in hate, but rarely with indifference. Our real political enemies also faithfully attended these events.

The donut gang wore their blue-black, Amerikan stormtrooper uniforms, they carried guns openly. They shot glaring stares against the radicals, which made the protesters even more nervous. There were also the ubiquitous helicopters flying over head, and the state gang of thugs were mostly hanging in their cars, while the other state scroungers carried demo-paramilitary gear on their uniforms. I also screened a gang of copbangers on bicycles, while a few higher ups stayed back inside their protective metal paramilitary trucks. I even perceived a few undercover narcs that hung around the marchers wearing plainclothes – yet quite noticeable that they didn’t belong with the Anarcho mobs.

The event proceeded down the main streets and it made me feel good to see that none of the Anarchists asked the city for a permit to march. The May Day demos usually lasted about two hours since we were all walking in a rectangle around the main thoroughfares of downtown. A few marchers got away with spray painting Anarchist slogans on public buildings. I felt good afterward, and the weather usually got better during this time of year. What better way to work off Pabst beer belly fat on a pleasant day! When May 1st hit on a weekend, and especially Friday to Sunday, the ambience was even grander with more marchers on the streets. But there was always one question on my mind after the annual May Day ritual, what about the bystanders and the general public seeing the event for the first time? Did May Day explain the Anarchist position, or did it just expose an anti-system subculture with a better sense of fashion than the dour and weird Marxists?

Anarchism is anti-system, but there is a reason for its hatred of the current political-economic system that now rules the world. It is not just the destruction of the evil state, or the criminal governments, that Anarchy desires. Anarchism also wants to see capitalism destroyed, inclusive of its political economic supremacy over our lives, the dangerous technologies engendered, and its cultural suffocation against our imaginations. Anarchism also fights against all tyrannies, despotisms, crap authorities, personality cults, institutions and ideologies that oppress people and try to ensnare new victims. The list includes psychobabble pathologies, religious institutions, mental institutions, hospitalizations, prisons, jails, state schools, prep schools, university administrations, Marxist vanguard political sects, obscure political-religious cults, dogmas, etc. So we know what Anarchism is against, but what does it support?

Anarchism desires completely autonomous, small communities where everyone has a comfortable place to sleep, food to eat, clothes to wear, and there is enjoyable social camaraderie between community members because hierarchical power relations are not cool. Within every autonomous community, and usually in small-sized groups, everyone possesses the freedom and privilege to do whatever he/she wants within their own private spaces, with no fear of any state coercion nor having to engage in capitalist wage slave work.

Anarchism is against work in the capitalist sense, but it is not against doing things that one wants to do, and actually enjoys doing. According to Anarchism, this is not work, but one’s life, one’s creative edge, one’s unbounded freedom to explore and conceive. The state dies a horrible death, and a local band of people forms their own community organization, which comes alive through the complete consent and autonomy of each individual member. If a particular member dislikes the community, then he/she can leave, go off on his/her own, or associate with another community. If one likes a particular community, and for whatever reason whatsoever, then this community survives through mutual aid, which means that the community shares their extra resources, such as food, drugs, booze, clothes, guns, ammo, art, free sexual relations, etc.

This also means that no one exchanges money for such things, everything is either a barter or a member gives something out freely that they can share. What remain are autonomous communities, scattered warrior-outlaws, or traveler ensembles roaming free in the wilds. There are no empires, confederations, nations, alliances, borders, treaties, state institutions, cops, militaries, prisons, execution sites, legal internment, nor any standard legal codes. Each community has its own agreements, and everyone goes armed. Conflict will not end nor will it ever stop. The human condition under civilization functions that way. But every person has the right to defend his/herself through whatever means possible. Anarchism goes down the basic living list of survival: eating, drinking, excreting, sleeping, partying, creating, playing and dying.

Yet during these complex and absurd days, I have seen some Anarchists that have spoken and acted more like Leftist-Marxists, and even like Leftist-Liberals… And devious communist-socialist types have also hidden behind Anarchist banners. I have visited websites dedicated to Anarcho-Communism. All Anarchists need to study history, and especially what the Communists have cruelly done to Anarchists once they have taken power, i.e. Russia 1921, and Barcelona 1937.

I have also witnessed hard-core American Libertarians, (or free market, pro-capitalist ideologues), stating that they were the true Anarchists, calling themselves Anarcho-Capitalists. And there are now Anarcho-Nationalist clubs in Europe, where racist-nationalist ideologues have advocated autonomous societies for their ‘own people.’ Are all these groupings Anarchist? For one part, no. But Anarchism has one last element: it is against all revealed truths, dogmas, ideological positions and codes – even though Anarchism is another ideology. The new age traveler addicted to heroin, or the punk squatter who gets drunk every single day and never cleans his/her own room, are also living inside Anarchist realms. They are living lives to their own methods, and so who can judge them. There are also Anarcho-Christian clubs, Anarcho-Vegetarian meet ups, and Anarcho-Yoga classes. I am sure that I am missing another Anarcho-what group somewhere in this absurd Earth.

What is actual Anarchism then? It is doing whatever the you want as long as it does not cause suffering to another living being. The cultural revolution of Punk transformed Anarchism – and this was a good thing. So bring on the jugglers, drunk punks, beggars with cool signs, travelers, squatters, buskers, DIY cooks and artists, and even the deadbeat clowns!