Black Clad Guru: Barbarist in his own words.
Jose G. Perez
jgperez at SPAMfreepcmail.com
Fri Dec 3 21:30:25 MST 1999
>>Our grieving takes the form of postmodern exhaustion, with its wasting
diet of an anxious, ever-shifting relativism, and that attachment to
surface that fears connecting with the fact of staggering loss. The
fatal emptiness of ironized consumerism is marked by a loss of energy,
difficulty in concentrating, feelings of apathy, social withdrawal;
precisely those enumerated in the psychological literature of mourning. <<
I suggest we just take up a collection so that he can buy some koolaid and
get on with it.
Frankly, if you made me read this kind of crap, I'd be out smashing windows
too. Well, not radio shack. I LIKE Radio Shack,well, just the parts racks,
so sue me, or send me to a gulag. But Nike's and the whatchamacallit yuppie
coffee shops? You bet. Oh yes, and Brentano's-WaldenBooks-Amazon.
As for anarchists, whatever happened to Murry Bookchin, you know, "Listen
Marxist." Reading this stuff leaves one feeling like a glazed donut, ready
for the sugar coating. I know what's next. "Daybreak" by Joan Baez. That way
lies Rod McKuen and madness.
I'll be a spart. I''l be a Maoist. I'll sing Hosannas to Avakian, Barnes and
Marable -- anything, anything!
But don't make me read more of this guy.
From: Macdonald Stainsby <mstainsby at dojo.tao.ca>
To: marxism at lists.panix.com <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Cc: Leninist-international at buo319b.econ.utah.edu
<Leninist-international at buo319b.econ.utah.edu>
Date: Friday, December 03, 1999 6:35 PM
Subject: Black Clad Guru: Barbarist in his own words.
>I post this not to defend, but to give some background to the debate on
>the "Black Clad Messengers", who are messed up, but from what I saw, I
>don't think they are cops.
>They just took Luxemburg's "Socialism or Barbarism" literally and opted
>for the Barbaric. We know most Anarchists are notoriously anti-
>Eugene, OR 97440
>AGE OF GRIEF
>by John Zerzan
>A pervasive sense of loss and unease envelops us, a cultural sadness
>that can justly be compared to the individual who suffers a personal
>A hyper-technologized late capitalism is steadily effacing the living
>texture of existence, as the world's biggest die-off in 50 million
>years proceeds apace: 50,000 plant and animal species disappear each
>year (World Wildlife Fund, 1996).
>Our grieving takes the form of postmodern exhaustion, with its wasting
>diet of an anxious, ever-shifting relativism, and that attachment to
>surface that fears connecting with the fact of staggering loss. The
>fatal emptiness of ironized consumerism is marked by a loss of energy,
>difficulty in concentrating, feelings of apathy, social withdrawal;
>precisely those enumerated in the psychological literature of mourning.
>The falsity of postmodernism consists in its denial of loss, the
>refusal to mourn. Devoid of hope or vision for the future, the reigning
>zeitgeist also cuts off, very explicitly, an understanding of what has
>happened and why. There is a ban on thinking about origins, which is
>companion to an insistence on the superficial, the fleeting, the
>Parallels between individual grief and a desolate, grieving common
>sphere are often striking. Consider the following from therapist
>Kenneth Doka (1989): "Disenfranchised grief can be defined as the grief
>that persons experience when they incur a loss that is not or cannot be
>openly acknowledged, publicly mourned, or socially supported." Denial
>on an individual level provides an inescapable metaphor for denial at
>large; personal denial, so often thoroughly understandable, introduces
>the question of refusal to come to grips with the crisis occurring at
>Ushering in the millennium are voices whose trademark is opposition to
>narrative itself, escape from any kind of closure. The modernist
>project at least made room for the apocalyptic; now we are expected to
>hover forever in a world of surfaces and simulation that ensure
>the "erasure" of the real world and the dispersal of both the self and
>the social. Baudrillard is of course emblematic of the "end of the
>end," based on his prefigured "extermination of meaning."
>We may turn again to the psychological literature for apt description.
>Deutsch (1937) examined the absence of expressions of grief that occur
>following some bereavements and considered this a defensive attempt of
>the ego to preserve itself in the face of overwhelming anxiety.
>Fenichel (1945) observed that grief is at first experienced only in
>very small doses; if it were released full-strength, the subject would
>feel overwhelming despair. Similarly, Grimspoon (1964) noted
>that "people cannot risk being overwhelmed by the anxiety which might
>accompany a full cognitive and affective grasp of the present world
>situation and its implications for the future."
>With these counsels and cautions in mind, it is nonetheless obvious
>that loss must be faced. All the more so in the realm of social
>existence, where in distinction to, say, the death of a loved one, a
>crisis of monumental proportions might be turned toward a
>transformative solution, if no longer denied. Repression, most clearly
>and presently practised via postmodern fragmentation and
>superficiality. does not extinguish the problem. "The repressed,"
>according to Bollas (1995) "signifies the preserved: hidden away in the
>organized tensions of the unconscious, wishes and their memories are
>ceaselessly struggling to find some way into gratification in the
>present -- desire refutes annihilation."
>Grief is the thwarting and deadening of desire and very much resembles
>depression; in fact, many depressions are precipitated by losses
>(Klerman, 1981). Both grief and depression may have anger at their
>root; consider, for example, the cultural association of black with
>grief and mourning and with anger, as in "black rage."
>Traditionally, grief has been seen as giving rise to cancer. A
>contemporary variation on this thesis is Norman Mailer's notion that
>cancer is the unhealthiness of a deranged society, turned inward,
>bridging the personal and public spheres. Again, a likely connection
>among grief, depression, and anger -- and testimony, I think, to
>massive repression. Signs abound concerning weakening immune defenses;
>along with increasing material toxins, there seems to be a rising level
>of grief and its concomitants. When meaning and desire are too painful,
>too unpromising to admit or pursue, the accumulating results only add
>to the catastrophe now unfolding.
>To look at narcissism, today's bellwether profile of character, is to
>see suffering as an ensemble of more and more closely related aspects.
>Lasch (1979) wrote of such characteristic traits of the narcissistic
>personality as an inability to feel, protective shallowness, increased
>repressed hostility, and a sense of unreality and emptiness. Thus,
>narcissism too could be subsumed under the heading of grief, and the
>larger suggestion arises with perhaps greater force: there is something
>profoundly wrong, something at the heart of all this sorrow, however
>much it is commonly labelled under various separate categories.
>In a 1917 exploration, "Mourning and Melancholia," a puzzled Freud
>asked why the memory of "each single one of the memories and hopes"
>that is connected to the lost loved one "should be so extraordinarily
>painful." But tears of grief, it is said, are at base tears for
>oneself. The intense sorrow at a personal loss, tragic and difficult as
>it most certainly is, may be in some way also a vulnerability to sorrow
>over a more general, trans-species loss.
>Walter Benjamin wrote his "Theses on History" a few months before his
>premature death in 1940 at a sealed frontier that prevented escape from
>the Nazis. Breaking the constraints of marxism and literariness,
>Benjamin achieved a high point of critical thinking. He saw that
>civilization, from its origin, is that storm evacuating Eden, saw that
>progress is an single, ongoing catastrophe.
>Alienation and anguish were once largely, if not entirely, unknown.
>Today the rate of serious depression, for example, doubles roughly
>every ten years in the developed nations (Wright, 1995).
>As Peter Homans (1984) put it very ably, "Mourning does not destroy the
>past -- it reopens relations with it and with the communities of the
>past." Authentic grieving poses the opportunity to understand what has
>been lost and why, also to demand the recovery of an innocent state of
>being, wherein needless loss is banished.
>Eugene, OR 97440
>by John Zerzan
>Technogogues and technopaths we have had with us for some time. The
>Artificial Intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky, for instance, was well-
>known in the early 1980s for his descriptions of the human brain as "a
>3 pound computer made of meat." He was featured in the December 1983
>issue of Psychology Today, occasioning the following letter:
>With the wholly uncritical treatment -- nay, giddy embrace -- of high
>technology, even to such excrescences as machine "emotions" which you
>develop and promote, Psychology Today has at least made it publicly
>plain what's intended for social life.
>Your dehumanizing work is a prime contribution to high tech's
>accelerating motion toward an ever more artificial, de- individualized,
>I believe I am not alone in the opinion that vermin such as you will
>one day be considered among the worst criminals this century has
>(Signed) In Revulsion, John Zerzan.
>A dozen years later the number of those actively engaged in the
>desolation of the soul and the murder of nature has probably risen; but
>support for the entire framework of such activity has undoubtably
>Enter Unabomber (he/she/they) with a critique, in acts as well as
>words, of our sad, perverse, and increasingly bereft technological
>existence. Unabomber calls for a return to "wild nature" via
>the "complete and permanent destruction of modern industrial society in
>every part of the world," and the replacement of that impersonal,
>unfree, and alienated society by that of small, face-to-face social
>groupings. He has killed three and wounded 23 in the service of this
>profoundly radical vision.
>There are two somewhat obvious objections to this theory and practice.
>For one thing, a return to undomesticated autonomous ways of living
>would not be achieved by the removal of industrialism alone. Such
>removal would still leave domination of nature, subjugation of women,
>war, religion, the state, and division of labor, to cite some basic
>social pathologies. It is civilization itself that must be undone to go
>where Unabomber wants to go. In other words, the wrong turn for
>humanity was the Agricultural Revolution, much more fundamentally than
>the Industrial Revolution.
>In terms of practice, the mailing of explosive devices intended for the
>agents who are engineering the present catastrophe is too random.
>Children, mail carriers and others could easily be killed. Even if one
>granted the legitimacy of striking at the high-tech horror show by
>terrorizing its indispensable architects, collateral harm is not
>Meanwhile, Unabomber operates in a context of massive psychic
>immiseration and loss of faith in all of the system's institutions. How
>many moviegoers, to be more specific, took issue with Terminator 2 and
>its equating of science and technology with death and destruction? Keay
>Davidson's "A Rage Against Science" (San Francisco Examiner 4/30/95)
>observed that Unabomber's "avowed hatred of science and technological
>trends reflects growing popular disillusionment with science."
>A noteworthy example of the resonance that his sweeping critique of the
>modern world enjoys is "The Evolution of Despair" by Robert Wright,
>cover story of Time for August 28, 1995. The article discusses
>Unabomber's indictment soberly and sympathetically, in an effort to
>plumb "the source of our pervasive sense of discontent."
>At the same time, not surprisingly, other commentators have sought to
>minimize the possible impact of such ideas. "Unabomber Manifesto Not
>Particularly Unique" is the dismissive summary John Schwartz provided
>for the August 20 Washington Post. Schwartz found professors who would
>loftily attest to the unoriginality of fundamental questioning of
>society, as if anything like that goes on in classrooms. Ellul,
>Juenger, and others with a negative view of technology are far from old
>hat; they are unknown, not part of accepted, respectable discourse. The
>cowardice and dishonesty typical of professors and journalists could
>hardly be more clearly represented.
>Also easily predictable has been the antipathy to Unabomber-type ideas
>from the liberal left. "Unabummer" was Alexander Cockburn's near-
>hysterical denunciation in The Nation, August 28/September 4. This
>pseudo-critic of U.S. capitalism rants about Unabomber's "homicidal
>political nuttiness," the fruit of an "irrational" American anarchist
>tradition. Cockburn says that Unabomber represents a "rotted-out
>romanticism of the individual and nature," that nature is gone forever
>and we'd better accept its extinction. In reply to this effort to
>vilify and marginalize both Unabomber and anarchism, Bob Black points
>out (unpublished letter to the editor) the worldwide resurgence of
>anarchism and finds Unabomber expressing "the best and the predominant
>thinking in contemporary North American anarchism, which has mostly
>gotten over the workerism and productivism which it too often used to
>share with Marxism."
>In spring '95, Earth First!,/i> spokesperson Judy Bari labelled
>Unabomber "a sociopath," going on to declare, definitively but
>mistakenly, that "there is no one in the radical environmental movement
>who is calling for violence." This is not the place to adequately
>discuss the politics of radical environmentalism, but Bari's
>pontificating sounds like the voice of the many anarcho-liberals and
>anarcho-pacifists who wish to go no further in defense of the wild than
>tired, ineffective civil disobedience, and who brandish such timid and
>compromised slogans as "no deforestation without representation."
>The summer '95 issue of Slingshot, tabloid of politically correct
>Berkeley militants, contained a brief editorial trashing Unabomber for
>creating "the real danger of government repression" of the radical
>milieu. The fear that misplaces blame on Unabomber overlooks the simple
>fact that any real blows against the Megamachine will invite responses
>from our enemies. The spectre of repression is most effectively
>banished by doing nothing.
>check the "ten point platform" of Tao at: http://new.tao.ca
>"To give food aid to a country just because they are starving is a
>pretty weak reason."
> Henry Kissinger, 1974
>(former American Secretary of State)
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