THE REAL ANARCHIST WITHIN
DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS
I have been raised in the faith that reality is the material relation of objective points in time and space. I have been constrained throughout my life to get to the point not only in my material affairs but also in spiritual ones as well, as if spiritual matters have points corresponding or analogous to the material ones. I am frequently admonished to stop beating around the bush. I am informed that man is a goal-seeking animal who has no time to waste, not even leisure time. The time is not really his – he must be perpetually engaged in material or spiritual consumption. I am urged to conduct myself toward socially defined goals according to the prevailing ideology. I see there is really only one ideology – idolatry – and I feel I am just another passenger on everybody else’s speeding train. All of this getting to the point seems to be a maddening rat race to me, a life devoid of cosmic meaning. It seems to be a pointless life despite all its pointed claims ignoring the subject living it. If it does consider the self at all, it deems it to be just another finite passerby or, at most, a potential fast-food customer. Therefore I have a profound wish to pause for an epoch of freedom. I would disembark to duly stretch my legs and honor my diminutive self in all its magnificent insignificance. But to bring the train of accelerating material progress to a screeching halt would require an equal and opposite force; namely, a counter-revolutionary force.
As appealing as counter-revolution is to me, the same skeptical self that doubts the virtues of the modern utility god also wonders whether such a counter-revolution is even possible and, if so, whether the medicine might destroy more selves than the disease. Some doctors are naturally concerned more with the greater happiness of the survivors rather than with their absolute number-perhaps one million Americans would have a greater sum of happiness than two hundred and sixty-eight millions. However, I have disavowed murder and suicide as a remedy for the stresses of civilization as we know it. I especially disavow the solutions of large-scale mass murderers who would cleanse the world for future generations, as well as the solutions of small-scale mass murderers who sometimes put their families out of their misery or send them to heaven before running amok downtown. The preclusion of such violent conclusions is of paramount personal importance to me. Is any sort of revolution, however, including counter-revolution possible without massive violence? And, what powers the wheels of modern revolution, the wheels that are grinding so many selves into monadic statistical dust? These questions have inspired me to rummage around in the dustbin of history for clues and to yet again retrieve this very Essay from the trash despite the claim that it is pointless.
I have also found in the wastebasket of the past Ted Kaczynski’s Unabomber manifesto, “Industrial Society and Its Future.” The ostensible cause he provides therein for the necessity of killing people is familiar to us. It is the same motive attributed by alienists to those so-called paranoid schizophrenics without manifestos who, nevertheless, manifest occasional paroxysms of mass murder-what they allegedly seek is publicity. Violent protesters without papers or other evidence expressing an apparently coherent agenda have only a few days of infamy; unless their crime is unusually bizarre or horrendous, they soon fade into relative obscurity. Whereas a terrorist with a seemingly rational manifesto may attract more enduring attention to his cause, especially when it appertains to a common affliction and alludes to a solution to it. In any event, a society of selves suppressed into a state of self-repression is for an obvious reason inordinately interested in violent crimes. The popular exhibitions of crime in the news and in fictional portrayals reveals the existence of an urgent need for a freedom of expression only partially satisfied by vicarious enjoyment of rebellions against social mores and political laws. When crime rates fall and the vulgar depiction of crime rises, we can be sure there exists a suppressed multitude without a legitimate voice or representation, and that revolutionary forces are mounting to meet the straw that broke the camel’s back. Therefore, if we are in a scientific mood, we should not be too finicky about the dirty details from which we make our inductions-we should give due regard to murderous manifestos no matter how finical they might be. Such matters should be awfully interesting to those who would prevent rebellions as well as those who would foment them.
According to Ted Kaczynski, the Industrial Revolution is a disaster. By “destabilizing” society, it has subjected the human race to a great deal of suffering. We have become “cogs in the social machine.” And the natural world is being destroyed. “We therefore advocate a revolution against the industrial system? This is not to be a POLITICAL revolution. Its object will be to overthrow not governments but the economic and technological basis of the present society.” The greatest manifestation of “craziness” in our “deeply troubled” society is “Leftism.” He admits his definition of Leftism is not precise – he advises the reader to draw his own conclusions from the text. “Leftism is collective. It seeks to bind together the entire world… but this implies management of nature and human life… and requires advanced technology…. The anarchist too seeks power, but he seeks it on an individual or small group basis… a movement that exalts (wild) nature and opposes technology must take a resolutely anti-leftist stance and must avoid all collaboration of leftists.” He characterizes Leftists as having “feelings of inferiority”- they take the underdog’s side because they themselves are inferior due to the “oversocialization” that results in their own guilt complex. Leftists utilize the social ideals of the very system they would overturn; for example, Equality-in this conceptual case, Leftists are levelers who cannot stand anything that smacks of someone else’s superiority.
Kaczynski claims that the will to power of the individual is severely impeded by the industrial system which prevents him from having his own goals, working towards them independently, and attaining them autonomously. The failure to engage in this power process denigrates the self, and the individual suffers the indignities of low self-esteem, defeatism, and depression. Perhaps Kaczynski is being self-critical – it is reasonable to assume from his presentation that the denigrated self is vulnerable to Leftism and, therefore, by reaction, to anarchism. Kaczynski goes on to say that, since the basic needs for survival are easily satisfied in our developed civilization, the denigrated individual expends most of his time engaged in “surrogate” activities trying to satisfy wants that cannot be satisfied because they are artificial-therefore, I presume, infinite. The individual may think he is engaged in autonomous activity, but he is not-his wants are defined and manufactured by large-scale organizations. Large organizations have too much power over nature, all to the detriment of man and his naturally small groups.
Therefore small is beautiful. Large-scale industrial technology requires large bureaucracies, which have to be run by rigid rules. This system forces people to behave in ways remote from natural patterns of behavior. We must therefore take the natural path back to nature with our small-scale technology. History demonstrates that small-scale technology of small communities is not lost with the collapse of large-scale technology of large organizations; for example, the Roman Empire’s infrastructure, it roads and aqueducts and so on were ruined, but its small-scale technology survived. The back to nature movement is not to be a figurative one like Rousseau’s spiritual return to a mythical state, but is to be a literal return-note here that Kaczynski studied Neanderthal Man and other primitive peoples, and he was duly impressed with the possibilities of living a real natural life rather than an imaginary inward one. Of course, “we” must act before it is too late. The situation is desperate. “We” must get the word out there, warn people, and let them know what must be done. But it is hard to get the word published-even if it is published, it is swamped by the industrial system’s propaganda. Therefore, we have here the motive for what anarchists call “propaganda by deed.”
“In order to get our message before the public with some chance of making a lasting impression, we’ve had to kill people,” Kaczynski confessed. And he promised the killing would stop if his manifesto were published. It was published and it bore his incriminating “voiceprint”. He plead guilty to avoid being adjudged insane, receiving a life sentence in turn. Now he thinks the death penalty would be better than the life in prison he is serving. He has appealed to the largest organization in the world for a new trial.
Some conservative authorities believe crimes should be punished without regard to circumstances tending to diminish or negate personal responsibility-He did it, therefore off with his head! Nevertheless, we have an interest in attending to the cause of crime if we want to prevent its recurrence. I asked at the outset of this Essay, “What powers the wheels of the modern revolution, the wheels that are grinding so many selves into statistical dust?” Perhaps it is systematic greed organized by violent means controlled by a relatively few powerful authorities who purchase peace at gunpoint with piles of trash. Is the industrial system itself the evil cause of the discontent that leads to crime? Did the Industrial Revolution make Kaczynski maim and kill people, just as it makes wealthy industrialists grind people to death or sell them merchandise that demeans, maims, and kills them? Does the modern industrial-technological system make our business and political leaders teach their followers by example to lie, cheat, steal and kill? And what is the foundation of this evil? The state, of course, as far as the real anarchist is concerned. Politics, the domestic substitute for murder and mayhem, is the main criminal issue, is it not? All crimes are political because they encroach on the monopoly of violence the political authority has over society. By continuous and systematic exercise of state terror and organized corruption, the troubled majority are rendered consumptively docile and involuntarily productive while the originally fierce and murderous authorities evolve into intelligent parasitic gentlemen who remain, relatively speaking and behind the scenes, above the very laws they carefully drafted “for the People” in the form of an Employee Manual.
As far as the real anarchist is concerned, the state is the mother of crimes; there would be no crime without it. The state, no matter what its form, is a monstrous, gruesome, and inherently evil device for injustice that must be annihilated as a matter of anarchic principle. If Kaczynski is a real anarchist, if he is true to the anarchic principle, he did not believe he was committing crimes. Besides, how could a criminal state have any jurisdiction over him? Any proper justice in his case should therefore be the object of blood feuds. And since the industrial system made him do it, the feudal assault rifles should also be turned on it too. But how does one shoot an abstract “system”?
Yes, there are absurdities in Kaczynski’s manifesto, such as his statement that revolution must not be a political revolution against governments. If he really means that, then he has no revolution-he has barbarian vandalism, and barbarians are always absorbed by business-as-usual. Surely he is not so naïve or regressed to the native natural state not to know fully well that the Power Elite who control and own most of the military-industrial system and its technology also control and own most of the state and its minions, notwithstanding their occasional “Leftist” concessions to their servile “inferiors.” The only reason for the state is its forceful protection of the property system that he deplores. But perhaps he is being devious. After all, Kaczynski places his faith in Nature, and Nature is devious and deceptive when not understood. If that is the case, this might be one of his more picaresque examples of the natural art of deception. We should never underestimate the deviousness of an antinomian who rejects the law, ecclesiastical and moral, as no longer binding, in favor of natural faith versus artificial works, or intuited gospel versus positive law.
There is no doubt that Kaczynski is a practitioner of deception: his bombs are sufficient evidence. Deceptions recognized are absurdities. In his manifesto, he states that intelligent people “on the more sophisticated level”, or “rational” people “with full appreciation of the problems and ambiguities involved,” should be “addressed on as rational a level as possible. Facts should never intentionally be distorted and intemperate language should be avoided; care should be taken to avoid misrepresenting the truth.” But there is another level, that of the “unthinking majority” who “like to have such issues presented to them in simple black-and-white terms: THIS is all good and THAT is all bad.” It is better to obtain the loyalty of the rational minority who understand ambiguity than to appeal to the “unthinking, fickle mob who will change their attitude as soon as someone comes along with a better propaganda gimmick. However, propaganda of the rabble-rousing type may be necessary?” Kaczynski is here using a common propaganda gimmick. That is, Everybody who is stupid raise his or her right hand. OK, now everybody who is intelligent raise his or her right hand-no, the other right hand. Gee whiz, everyone is intelligent!
Yet another occasion of deviousness is Kaczynski’s statement that “Revolutionaries might consider favoring measures that tend to bind the world economy into a unified whole. It will be easier to destroy the industrial system on a worldwide basis if the world is so unified.” Here he utilizes the old long-term/short-term propaganda ploy favored by investment advisers and other diverse authorities. That is, in the short term there will be some suffering, some damage to your environment, but in the long term you will succeed if you behave as authorized; therefore, the glorious ends justify the painful means. Of course, that is absurd. In the long run I will die, the market will crash, the United States will fall, and the Universe may collapse. And nobody knows when. Probability is not a law; it is a guess-remember the man who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge on New Year’s Eve to obey the Law of Averages commanding one more suicide there to fulfill its annual quota.
Life is absurd once we become lucid. The last thing an anarchist would do is appeal to the state for a new trial so he can be executed. No, he would instead use his life sentence to spread the gospel now that he has the attention he supposedly wanted. Some of the best manifestos praising God, Nature, Man and other Utopias while condemning the current hellish state of affairs have been composed in prison. Prison is in the starkest contrast to the ideal of Freedom, providing ample opportunities, by virtue of that contrast, for rhapsodic exaltation. Sweet Liberty, how Freedom rings loud and clear as a bell in a prison cell! Finally, if Kaczynski is retried, convicted, and sentenced to death, as a real anarchist he would do his best to construct or otherwise get his hands on a simply ingenious bomb and blow himself to smithereens before the state’s obsequious executioners lay their hands on him. In fact, that may be his plan-he may want a new trial to put the state on trial and bring more glory to the natural cause.
Be that as it may, let us further entertain some of the reasons given for anarchy, find out what a real anarchist is, and decide if he should be employed. We feel the wheel of the revolutionary industrial-technological system revolving. The earth trembling under the brunt of liberal bulldozers makes us anxious, but at least we still have our toilets and beds to sleep in. Yet we hear the groans, curses, screams, and homicidal outbursts of those in the immediate path of the wheel of creative progress to destruction. Before it can be stopped in the “inevitable” course extolled by the pious political prelates of public policy institutes, the natural world may be paved over and life brought to an end by virtue of the continuous hostile innovation of the power-mongering corporate jockeys racing their teams around the vicious and narrow track as they struggle to stay on top. The authorities at the wheel cannot be persuaded to cease and desist. Together with the heirs who inherit their wealth and therefore their superiority, They would kill our family, the entire human race. What do They care for future generations when They are unable to curb their own craving for privately accumulated capital and absolute power, and will gracefully permit their neighbors to starve and be subjected to ethnic cleansing? Indeed, the very poverty and helplessness of others seems to validate their own superiority. In simpler terms, imagine that someone is going to murder your family. When you try to dissuade him, he swears on his holy stock book that he has altruistic intentions while his ministers cite the sacred laws of free-market economics. The police will do nothing: no crime in particular has been committed – yet. What is to be done? Is a counter-revolution possible without violence? Must we destroy property in self-defense and kill people to save people?
Well, the infrastructure is a convenient, publicly available target, as are the structures housing the several branches of government. And there are the symbolic monuments. Also remember the fascist trade organizations and employer councils, as well as the Federal Reserve Bank and the hated monopolies it spawns. Do not neglect the headquarters, factories, warehouses, and retail outlets of major corporations. Think of the broadcasting corporations and their networks such as CEO News – people will really panic without TV, grab their handguns and get a real life. Yes, open up the prisons –
all crimes are essentially political. Hack into the appropriate web sites, but leave the Internet intact for virtual anarchy. By all means destroy automobiles. Someday that curse of civilization, the wheel, might be eliminated and even more service jobs created.
Besides the vandalism to accumulated private property, what can be done about the Power Elite? Well, do not forget that the real symbol of authority is the head. Spontaneous anarchists of the Paris Terror put heads on pikes and ate hearts. Perhaps the prehistoric ritual of eating brains might be restored to serve the contemporary cause. The Neanderthals seem to have had a brain-eating skull cult-why should the postmodern man be outdone by the prehistoric? Here is a tip for conducting the ritual: smash the face flat to erase the victim’s individuality-then one can proceed without retaliation from the hereafter.
Alas! The Power Elite own the police and military force, so they are very hard to get to. But wait a minute, is not everybody a card-carrying member of the Social Security System? Well, then, nobody is innocent! On February 12, 1894, after blowing up the Café Terminus, Emile Henry expressed regret that the explosion did not claim more victims: “There are no innocents!” he proclaimed. Yes, this is clearly a job for the anarchists, to get the mobs riled up and itching for equal justice under their own law while syndicated authority proclaims the merits of their own brand of law and order. Yes, this turmoil will clear the way for the “philosophical anarchists” who have more definite axes to grind, and who would change the awful wheel for one reason or another, placing themselves in the driver’s seat. Of course, most philosophical anarchists do not condone violence. They deplore it while apologizing for the poor miserable souls driven to crime by the vicious system. They are likely to gloat over the violence in private, however, and whisper “I told them so!” But these philosophical anarchists with social systems are not real anarchists, for where systems begin, anarchy ends.
I am in an anarchic mood at this very moment, so I am not about to cite some authority’s definition of anarchy! There are libraries of definitions if you care to research the concept, and ample web sites to boot. We find all sorts of hyphenated anarchies: anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-environmentalism, anarcho-capitalism, anarcho-collectivism, anarcho-Christianity, anarcho-communitarianism, anarcho-individualism, and so on. Allow me to add anarcho-neanderthalism. No matter what definition of anarchy I might make, I know the intellectual piranhas will devour its flesh down to the bare bones, then pound them into a plaster from which they will fashion an idol in their own image. They would deprive me of my anarchy in the form of The Real Anarchist just as shamans tried to grab people’s favorite totems and give them a big sky-god. The shaman failed-people hang on to their animals and other natural objects for dear life. Today, the environmentalists still refuse to allow Mother Earth to be ravaged in Father Heaven’s name.
They have congregated in Seattle to protest against the arrogant behavior of the World Trade Organization. What a motley conglomeration of protesting groups! Each group is decked out with its favorite totem. The unions carry the emblems of their threatened species, the working man. But the real anarchists get out of hand, and give the Seattle police their golden opportunity to behave like a fascist organization of well- trained thugs. Besides dealing with the anarchists, the police finally enjoy some longed for indiscriminate assaults on “civilians”, kicking them in their groins, shooting gas into their faces point blank, whacking them with clubs, grinding their faces into the cement with their boots, and other cathartic methods of conflict resolution. What a marvelous example of organized violence supporting organized greed, of how laissez-faire liberalism dovetails with totalitarianism to free the police state to protect accumulated capital.
Why, this calls to mind how a liberal philosopher praised Mussolini for being more liberal than liberals are! Under the ideal classical liberal regime, there is no right to assemble and speak against the accumulation of capital and private destruction of natural resources. Forty square blocks of downtown Seattle are declared off limits to demonstrators. The authority heading the WTO referred to all those demonstrators opposed to its agenda and excluded from its meetings-hence kept in the dark-as the “forces of darkness”. Commentators on the all-pervasive CEO News cited “tribalism” as the cause of disorder. All this is certainly enough to drive destabilized persons to define the practice anarchy with deeds.
Setting all that aside in brackets, if we synthesize the arid philosophical definitions of anarchy, we shall have a “philosophical anarchist”, and we shall then see that a philosophical anarchist is anyone who has a will of his own and desires to do something about it. The kind of philosophical anarchy depends on how the anarchic will is asserted. It was once said of Parisians in the late Nineteenth century that they were all anarchists in one way or another. But that is to say nothing. If we, the human race, are in peril, and if we do need anarchists to at least derail the train rushing to doom, we must have a better idea of what a real anarchist is. On that subject I venture to hazard a rough guess, more in the way of a description than a formal definition. Keep in mind that I do not claim to be an authority on this subject. For, if I was an authority, and inasmuch as I am in an anarchic mood, I would have to kill myself-in which case I would be an absurd man.
An anarchist is a human time bomb on an unknown schedule. He is often used for political purposes by factions with a more coherent agenda than sheer chaos. The anarchist himself simply engenders chaos. The anarchist is an outlaw obsessed with the authority he loves to hate. In fact, he unconsciously craves the affection of the authority he would kill. Since anarchism is the absurd denial of authority, almost any authority with a radical “ism” easily influences the anarchist. All political “isms” have an element of anarchy as their basis, for each political faction rejects the leadership of the other factions, and all would love to have the violent police and military means at their disposal.
An anarchist is not always easy to spot, at least not until he exceeds critical mass. He might look like anybody. Although there is no reliable FBI profile, sometimes there are clear signs of danger. Although he might be a nice suburban boy, he is most likely living in miserable accommodations; the most typical anarchist is an antisocial, volatile person crammed into tight quarters resembling a pipe or box. Policemen have observed that a visit to the home of an anarchist is sufficient to convince anyone to avoid becoming an anarchist, and that, if anarchists wasted less time making bombs and stewing in their own juices, they would be law-abiding, productive consumers. In other words, hard-core anarchists are usually dropouts who are isolated, immoral, and bad housekeepers.
We cannot overstate an anarchist’s antipathy to society. When real anarchists are employed by communists or fascists, the anarchists have to turn in their anarchic credentials at the cellar door. An anarchists hates socialism, communism, collectivism, and so on, even more than he hates theism. And he hates the means used by the repugnant masses: large-scale technology. Furthermore, he considers democracy to be especially vile, with its mediocre herd-rule. And he even eschews republicanism with its houses of political prostitution. Naturally, he condemns the consequence of social economies: property. Property is the root of all evil. If it were not for the division of labor that eventually resulted in mass production, the anarchist would not be alienated from the natural world and the paternal authority who has become so abstract and remote. After all, the insane cultivated obsession with property has deprived him of a mother and father. Even the mythical primal scene would be better than the modern impersonal life-he might even enjoy solidarity with his brothers without remorse if it were not for civilization.
The anarchist strikes out violently in random self-defense, in a sort of explosive, hysterical temper tantrum, somewhat like a wild child raised by bears or wolves instead of civilized humans. He is neither stupid nor wise; he has a native intelligence that rebels against all those artificial restraints he would replace with natural restraints-the state of nature is also a state. Yes, the anarchist regresses to a primitive state, hence is reactionary, conservative, and aristocratic: anarchic aristocracy is boiled down to the virtue of might makes right. He is present-oriented, thus has no definite idea of what the future might be-in any case, it should be a return to the simple life of a dim and remote past, to the cradle if not the womb of mankind. This is not to be the simple monastic life-its highly regulated, authoritarian regime simply will not do. It is to be a life in the Wild-not the simple life of an ascetic religious hermit holed up in a Himalayan cave, but the life of, perhaps, a heroic Stone Age cave man. Ironically, the simplicity desired would be rigidly regulated by natural conditions and social customs.
I am prone to ancestor worship myself, so I know that the Stone Age Hero is the ancestor of Herakles. The myth of Herakles extends into a remote prehistoric age many thousands of years prior to Homer. Heracles is the Stone Age Hero who wears the skin of a cave lion, a beast twenty-five percent larger than the modern lion. He carries a spear big enough to double as a club. He clears the land of beasts now extinct, beasts that would look like monsters to an uninformed modern man. (Some authorities attribute the extinction of the cave bear to Neanderthal Man’s hunting habits. Others note that cave bears were an inferior source of meat; they must have been hunted for the accumulated magical properties of their skulls when deposited in a box kept in a natural bank vault-a cave). Herakles was the hero of the Greek Cynics; they adopted similar attire, returned to a natural dog-like state, and fought the current social monsters, the artificial social conventions. Herakles has many other spiritual descendants: those who wear a coarse garment, carry a staff and a bag, walk barefoot, and preach against the evils of civilization. But that sort of rebellion is unacceptable to the anarchist. He prefers spontaneous, independent violence-he eschews the draft, refusing militant service either spiritual or secular. Note here that an ancient anarchist reformed to nonviolent passive disobedience is a Cynic, not a Stoic dutifully killing for earthly empire; he is an early Christian, not a later one making war for spiritual domain.
As for the anarcho-neanderthalist, he is more likely to be French than German or Middle Eastern-he is individualistic. In the United States, anarchy was described as the imported poison of foreign lunatics who brought their handy bomb-making techniques with them from Paris. Back home in France, anarchy was called the brutal solution of social problems by vandalism, theft, burning and murder. The anarchist was said to be a man with a bomb under his coat and an insane manifesto in his pocket.
Absurdly, an anarchist is a man who simultaneously hates hierarchy and equality. He might, however, say he likes equality of opportunity, for he is, like the primitive hunter, an opportunist. Therefore, it is impossible to say just when he will blow up. For example, as Kaczynski said, “The positive ideal that we propose is WILD nature: those aspects that are independent of human management. And with wild nature we include human nature, by which we mean those aspects of the functioning of the human individual that are not subject to regulation by organized society, but are products of chance?” So even the anarchist does not know what will trigger him to detonate nor when-perhaps a jet flying overhead will do the trick; the sound of a bulldozer nearby; an image of the President; an acronym such as CFR, FBI, or WTO; yuppies gulping coffee at Starbucks; “whatever.”
By the way, I recommend four books for the postmodern anarchist. Two works are essential: Survival of the Fittest (anonymous) and The Zen of Bomb Making (anonymous). The handyman destined for the jungle or savanna should also read The Monkey Wrench Gang (Edward Abbey), and the lady should have on hand the cave opera Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean Marie Auel) and sequels. She will discover therein that the Romantic Movement was alive and well 60,000 years ago-indeed, climaxes were explosive in the good old days. She will probably be most familiar with the brutish experiences of a more advanced Cro-Magnon girl (Alya) who suffers under an up-and-coming Neanderthal leader.
Regrettably, the Neanderthals did not leave much of a time capsule behind for scientific analysis. Certain pious investigators said Neanderthals were beasts unrelated to man, but modern scientists are more open-minded – all adventures are likely to have rude origins. Whoever the Neanderthals were, it is certainly not my intention to impeach them as a people, not even for their cannibalism. Indeed, cannibalism might accelerate the return to nature; otherwise, just downsizing to the feudal stage might require centuries of attrition. I mean, each man can live on about three pounds of meat per day, and he can be butchered down to about ten nutritious pounds. Hence a man can accelerate the salvation of mankind by eating about one hundred and ten people per annum.
Another aspect uncovered by archeologists really fascinates me: it seems the Neanderthals had death rites, and provided the dead with things for the afterlife. They must have had a great respect for life if they wanted to live after death. The belief in its continuance in the hereafter would have made the fear of losing their current life much less fearsome-an anarchist might find a fearless disposition enormously useful as he goes about saving the human race.
Anarchists will use assault rifles and handguns, but their preferred instrument is the homemade bomb, a perfect symbol for the exploding ego. In psychic isolation one tends to blow little things way out of proportion to their size. In the physical world, bombs will do nicely. What more efficient use is there for the technology the anarchist naturally loves to hate because everyone is crazy about it, and ignores the suppressed self of the accursed technical geek who does not want to play football? And what remains after an effective explosion? Etymological utopia, or no-place. Perhaps the bomber is still alive, however, at some remote undisclosed location, observing self-destruction. For the self is social: there is no individual identity without relation. The whole event is absurd and tragic. It is a colossal goof.
Finally, the anarchism of the anarchist can be expressed in a simple formula:
Critical Reaction plus Explosive Means plus Nebulous Future equals Anarchism.
I do have some sympathy for the anarchist at my chaotic core. There are certain technological cues in the modernized environment that outrage me. For instance, the sight of a gun causes me to imagine shooting its owner with it. But I then sympathize with the family I suppose he has. I grieve for all the survivors, most of all the children. My grief for the families of all murdered people gives me reason to refrain from homicide. I would refrain despite the fact that homicide is a venerable tradition embraced as a necessary evil providing that enemies are killed for the greater glory of the highest authority that all should love and fear.
This brings me back to one of my original questions: Is any sort of revolution including counter-revolution possible without massive violence? Of course it is. Kaczynski said small actions will not change big trends. I disagree: in our increasingly interdependent society, massive violent acts are unnecessary for revolution. Small, well-directed acts of violence can result in massive change; but that is a subject better left for another chapter. On the other hand, there does exist a nonviolent, possible means of overthrowing the entire political-economic system in a very short period of time. Because the possibility does exist, it can be employed as a powerful tool for radical nonviolent change of the vicious social system as well as the troubled personal system of the individual.
Kaczynski remarked that his ideal Primitive Man could, after providing for his simple needs, sit around doing nothing and think nothing of it, whereas modern man is compelled to engage in surrogate activities trying to satisfy an endless number of contrived wants. I add that, when Western explorers approached tribes with trinkets, mirrors, and a few useful articles, some people spit on the objects, saying they did not want other people’s things because they had their own.
Today, those who would be content taking care of their own basic needs and producing their own set of things do not have the natural means of doing so-relatively few men have taken possession of those means and are in the business of destroying them for abstracted profit. Instead, those who would be self-subsistent have to work all day to provide the majority with the “junk” it is addicted to. The free market is a forced labor market, a public labor system of involuntary servitude. Most of the labor is spent in the production of frivolous ends, and an enormously wasteful make-work bureaucracy supports those ends. In the United States, those who do not want to participate in the system are to be denied welfare, and are given workfare instead. The hypocrisy is that much of the work of the entire system is make-work, or workfare. President Clinton has congratulated former welfare recipients for “teaching their children the dignity of work” (not the dignity of the worker). Fortunately, what Primitive Man took for granted Postmodern Man can use to liberate himself: he can deliberately do nothing and think nothing for very good reasons and purposes of his own, and thereby restore the dignity of the worker. In other words, he can fold his arms and just say no, and then do nothing except meditate.
Meditating on nothing particular can be very healthy for the individual, and might lead to the contemplation of ideals or even enlightenment. And, if enough people just say no all at once, and for good reasons do nothing, the monstrous systems will collapse into nothingness. If the general strike realizing the union of the troubled multitude endures for long, many alternative possibilities will present themselves, and they can be used as objectives for the next strike. In any event, the modern power of just saying no is not something to be scoffed at. Special general strikes for specific purposes could, for instance, bring the politicians to heel by cutting off government supplies via a tax revolt and boycott of government debt. Regarding campaign funding, why wait for the bribed to reform themselves? And, why wait decades for politicians and their bosses who benefit from the corrupt income tax system to get rid of it when we can rid ourselves of it now? Obviously the taxpayers’ power to withhold state funding can be organized for specific purposes. And so can the consumers’ power over the entire means of private production which can be shut down by refusing to produce and consume-the consumers already indirectly own the means of production and can do with them as they please. Demand can be shifted from wasteful goods to a demand for spiritual and psychological goods, and the latter can be produced by genuinely profitable enterprises. Most of our consumption is already of the sizzle and not the steak. Besides the fact that a lot of the steak is being wasted, it is not an efficient energy source. Cannibalism is even less efficient. Viable alternatives to involuntary make-work workfare can be worked out for those who want them. No, the entire system does not have to be dismantled to protect our environment and us. Yet the greatest danger to both is our effort to push our system on the entire world for, if the undeveloped countries go through the same industrial stages, the world will most likely be ruined for everyone. Multicultural diversity is not everyone eating Big Macs and shopping for standardized stuff at Walmart.
The power of just saying no to the hateful activities of the diseased dog-eat-dog, football-brained corporate mentality must be applied by everyone truly interested in the dignity of the ultimate producer. Yes, the power of a union of syndicated no’s transcending the boundaries of all producer and consumer unions is an awesome power. If the Power Elite do not want syndicated powers between their coveted absolute state and its systemic atoms-citizens, automatons, units, individuals, et cetera-they will be left empty-handed.
Many revolutionaries ignore the possibility of the general strike. They have a very dim view of the “herd”-a view I disagree with. They are convinced the herd is too dumb and addicted to consuming junk to employ the general strike. They believe the herd lives in a state of carefully cultivated consumer cowardice. The herd must eat or be sent to the slaughterhouses at once, so it desperately consumes in constant fear of the future as the free-market cowboys herd it. But the herd is not to be blamed. After all, it was educated in finely calibrated sausage factories where pigskins are handed out for brains. And the schools of intellectual barracudas in the political-economic institutes keep up the ominous chant: “Adapt to our laws of nature. Adjust to our inevitable global progress, or die!” Meanwhile, the tiny minority of elected officials who were selected for election by another tiny majority selected by yet another minority feed back the same refrain in their capacity as symbols of mediocrity continually reinforced by opinion polls. What is needed then, is some gunfire to stampede the herd towards its salvation. That the revolutionaries will be glad to supply, but they dare not go too far lest they be trampled themselves in the rush to the exits towards yet another corral. No, I do not agree with these revolutionaries, for I have a much higher opinion of the “masses.”
I feel it is essential for the individual to vacate the mind for the appearance of viable alternatives. After just saying no, or “I prefer not to”, the best way, in my opinion, to do nothing is to think nothing, to become the absolute freedom of the Universal No in the pure vacant inwardness of empty space. From this empty indeterminate shrine is banished all determination, all logic, externality, objectivity, mechanism, and, most importantly, technology. This exclusive abstraction resulting in pure inward vacancy finally excludes the inward – the spiritual world becomes an empty, non-dimensional point. The empty point is the naked authority to say no. It is during this personal strike that viable alternatives spontaneously appear. The more general the strike, the more universal is the character of the manifested alternatives. The best of these alternatives when held by mind and cultivated by reason can revolutionize worlds. Thus it is said, by doing nothing everything gets done. That is not to say that no work remains for the execution of the best alternatives. But the execution is sacred ritual instead of deadening routine. There is joy in that Work, although the work may seem pointless to the quashed selves that are desperate to get to and have objective points that really do not exist. And I close on this point to honor the demands that I stop beating around the bush and get to the point.
THE REAL ANARCHIST
DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS
I very much enjoy strolling in the park on weekends. I occasionally hear someone on a soapbox preaching “anarchism” of one kind or another during my perambulations, as if anarchy could be anything but incomprehensible chaos. I usually chuckle inwardly and pass on by, suppressing my urge to stop and laugh out loud at the presentation of yet another oxymoron and at the credulity of innocent bystanders deluded by it.
But I am not such a stand-offish passerby or spoil-sport every day. In fact I have paused today to listen to a soapbox anarchist speak – I shall no doubt have a few guffaws at the sheer absurdity of the proposition that anarchy can have any form at all, let alone the form he declaims, and still be anarchy.
It is often said that “anarchy” means “without a leader.” It would be obvious enough to any competent observer that a society without any leadership at all is a joke and a rather bad one at that. No matter how democratic or communistic the formal structure of a group might be, underneath the pretext of social equality we observe an informal hierarchy with all the power struggles that that implies. And in the midst of the perpetual struggle for leadership, we may find a self-fashioned anarchist representing his brand of leadership in order to convince others of the merits of his absurd position. If he is unwise, unaware of his self-contradiction in his anarchic proposal, he certainly has lost his sense of humor; not to worry, however, for if he is in good company, he will soon be corrected, maybe rudely laughed down as a fool.
Every genuine order requires a leading principle. If the professed anarchist were really an unprincipled man, no argument would be availing to him except those advancing the destruction of the social entity including himself. He might and probably will claim that he is self-led, that he is his own natural-born leader. Yet if we examine the principles of his self-leadership, if he is able to state any, we shall find them adopted from the society in which he resides and with which he cannot do without and still be a human being. And that society itself is organized in a range of low to high, from vulgar to noble, so let us hope his principles are the leading ones, namely, the highest ones, and that he is not a deranged anarchist who, once retired to the forest, is still so much in need of society that he sends bombs to it. In the former case, of higher principles, the self-styled anarchist is, despite his semantics, not really an anarchist. In the latter case, of unwisdom regardless of intelligence, the anarchist shall realize his devastating dream only in death and destruction, for the perfection of anarchy is chaos. And what can be said about chaos? Nothing can be known about chaos, for chaos is the total absence of order. We do know that man is a classifier who must attend to order in order to perceive and conceive anything at all, and the higher he ascends, the broader his view and the more he shall know.
I have previously described the real anarchist in ‘The Real Anarchist,’ which I highly recommend to soapbox-anarchists and the audience endangered by them – a bomb can be easily concealed in a soap box.
“The anarchism of the anarchist can be expressed in a simple formula:
“Critical Reaction plus Explosive Means plus Nebulous Future equals Anarchism!”
I shouted that out to the soapbox anarchist, and added, “Read my red paper, The Real Anarchist!”
He paused to that say he had perused my paper in the bathroom, and, as far as he was concerned, I was referring merely to a strict definition of anarchy, as if a definition could disprove it. With that he proceeded with his exhortation on “Pure Anarchy.”
His continued declamation gives me further cause for glee and sympathy – and cause for fear. Yes, as a catholicist I must confess that I am amused by people I disagree with because I sympathize with them. You might have noticed that, in my denigration of anarchists, I subtly adopted their attitude in Seattle. Another favorite tactic of mine is to rush to a group’s defense and slap them around a little bit while defending them. But I must break off my remarks forthwith and exit this park before our Pure Anarchist finds out the joke is on him and blows everyone up with him.
Indeed, a Pure Anarchist would be bound by the natural logical order to blow himself up, for his actual existence as Pure Anarchist in this world is impossible. Once he realizes that the self-authorization he idolizes is actually derived from society and is the foundation of moral order represented by the state he despises, he must, in self-rebellion against the introjected social authority, destroy himself to be consistent with his absurd principles.
My advice is, therefore: RUN!
Copyright 2003 David Arthur Walters