Addiction and the State

As an idealist and an anarchist, I must adamantly oppose the use of recreational drugs, pharmaceuticals and all forms of addicting, damaging distractions. I deplore the use of such substances because of their harmful, stagnating effects on the progress and growth of the individual and the community. Addictions are formed, whether to opiates or television, to alleviate the discomfort of imposed work, to assuage the burden of coerced education, to aid in forgetting one’s alienation and isolation if only for a moment. Addictions are formed, therefore, to dull the pain of being enslaved – enslaved to the family, enslaved to Society, enslaved to the government, enslaved to Capital. Addictions consequently grow, and multiply cancerously, to stave off the frighteningly suicidal aspirations birthed unconsciously in the field, the factory and the classroom. It is a hard decision to make: whether to willingly kill one’s soul or to sacrifice one’s body.

Addictions are undoubtedly detrimental due to their health effects, but they are even more so individually and communally. When an individual numbs his mind with smoke or projected images, it disallows itself the ability to educate itself during its recreation. When a community numbs its collectivity, whatever that may be, by collectively partaking in distraction, it disallows itself the ability to spread ideas, educate each other and guide the young. When an individual or community impedes its functions they prevent themselves from destroying or creating, and in so doing allow for the consolidation of State power and the masses’ increased addiction and decreased self-determination. Addictions are direct barriers to revolution because they impede an individual from bettering itself, and therefore impede a community of individuals from progressing. This also prevents the free construction of communities, which allows for the perpetuation of the permanent Society and its increased stagnation. This itself is the basis of the State’s power and the influence of Capital among individuals and communities, and this is why anarchists must oppose all forms of dependence because addiction is itself an institution that facilitates the continuance of authority.

The State’s use of institutions such as the police, military, education, marriage, family, etc. as a means of oppression and maintaining its authority has always depended on addiction. The institutions themselves are designed to perpetuate reliance on the State, which itself is a form of dependence, and the members are drawn from various addicted demographics. The addiction to money breeds capitalists and necessitates banks. The addiction to sex breeds prostitutes and necessitates brothels. The addiction to abuse and violence breeds police and soldiers and necessitates war, at home and abroad. The addiction to arbitration, control and punishment breeds judges, bureaucrats and legislators and necessitates courthouses, prisons and governments. And, the forced addiction to being controlled breeds weak-willed, apathetic individuals and compels them along the rat race, into institutions of addiction, and eventually into their allotted graves. The cycle of addiction and dependence must be shattered in order to do away with oppressive institutions, Capital, the State and Society. The addiction to comfort, ease and convenience naturally leads to the permanence of Society, which necessitates the rise of Capital and governance in order to ensure the smooth functioning of social interactions. Permanent Society and the establishment of Capital and the State in turn allow for the oppression of the majority by a minority. Ultimately, oppression and its accompanying privation lead to addiction, which in turn perpetuates Society and all forms of authority and even necessitates their maintenance. This is due to the fact that the more an individual becomes dependent on a substance, be it marijuana, a cellphone or the police, the less able they are to become self-reliant and independent from the State and authority because they count of the constant availability of their specific substance. This empowers governments because an addict will not readily break from his dealer, and empowers capitalism because an addict will pay any price for his addiction. The State depends on addiction because it makes the masses dependent on them. Initially it was for what one could call “natural addictions,” like food, water, some time off, whatever an individual desires, which are not so much addictions as they are obvious desires. But now, in the post-modern age, things like rapidity, technology, protection, even good feelings – things that are not normally considered consumables – have been commoditised and substantiated into something that a person can become dependent on.

The State’s method of manipulating substances, whether physical like cocaine or more ethereal like the distraction a computer provides from reality, is not fresh and has not changed over the years of social struggle. It is instead the addictions that have changed according to the tastes of the addled masses. Some substances have remained as a constant tool of distraction and oppression – sex, alcohol, wealth, the ideals of comfort, luxury and leisure (all false) – while new addictions have been born along the way. Technology, especially the television and internet, have replaced the spectacles of public punishment, gladiatorial games and other similar distractions, barbarous or just lewd, from reality where one can watch, read, write and film whatever makes them cry with joy, cringe with horror or wet with lust and perversion.

It is not enough to assume humanity is simply a species of addicts, or that because of our intellect we are condemned to seek an escape from real life. There have been “savage” tribes that have existed beside forests and fields of psychedelics, and within the situations that could give rise to debaucheries and perversions, yet were never once tempted, never once desired, the use of such substances beyond their obvious benefits nor the creation of exploitative institutions. This must be due to the lack of oppression, the lack of inequality and privation, the lack of antagonism among such peoples. Therefore it is the omnipresence of such misfortune, disparity and savagery in modernity that has created the Society of addicts existing today. Nowhere on earth can you find an individual not addicted to caffeine, painkillers, or recreational drugs of some sort, nor a community not addicted to technology, electricity and machinery at least in part if not in whole.

The entire world is tainted by the addictions and substances needed to maintain Capital and the State, but these are nowhere more prevalent than in the West. The masses’ addiction to the ideas of comfort, wealth and leisure have manifested with the unconscious realisation that these are undoubtedly unattainable for the majority into physical addictions to drugs, which make us relaxed and apathetic, to technology that keeps us distracted and lazy, to institutions that keep us down. Even the wealthy classes are not free of addiction. Indeed, they can be credited as the engineers of not only the misuse of distracting substances, but also of the institutions that perpetuate them. It is not surprising then that the West is the centre of addicted Society, for it is to the rest of the world what the rich are to the poor in wealth here. The West is the propertied segment of the property-less, addicted earth. We consume drugs and the notion of comfort with the rapidity that the wealthy eat the realities of such ideals because we have facilitated the privation of the globally deprived in our perpetuation of and addiction to depravity.

So, it falls naturally to the anarchists – the desperate renegades and rebels – to shatter the cycle of dependence, to burn all distractions and addictions, in order to abolish Capital and the State. Authority will unceasingly exist as long as humanity is subject to the power of external substances, as long as humanity still seeks escape from reality instead of confronting oppression with all its strength and resolve. It is up to the free women and men, humans who acknowledge no authority and disrespect all superiors, to quit the contemporary Society of addiction and form new communities of self-reliance, mutual aid, solidarity and universal respect. Anarchists must perpetuate the eternal revolution, which is the constant battle against all oppression. Anarchists must not only advocate and propagate the ideal of anarchy, they must realise it and live it to avoid the notion of a libertarian socialist world becoming just another distraction. Anarchists must seek the destruction of Society and the establishment of permanent revolution in order to prevent anarchy becoming another smoky substance of addiction.

Indeed, the ideal of anarchy – that is the existence of a freely organised, peaceful and egalitarian world – has always been used by the State to distract the masses from the dystopia they are confined to. What is democracy if not the formal, promised power of the people? What is the wage system if not an incremental step from slavery towards complete emancipation? What is republicanism if not the lessening of disparity between the superfluous and the deprived? This is why anarchists must avoid the idealisation of anarchy as opposed to its realisation: to repossess the idea, and reality, of liberty from the exploiting classes, and to disallow it from becoming a means of distraction and, therefore, stagnation.

Anarchists have always had an overwhelmingly difficult task before them. It is much easier to manipulate the masses, including oneself, with distractions, promises and substances than to repudiate addiction in all its vile, paralysing forms. It is much simpler to make one’s life more comfortable at the expense of others, or to bow one’s back before the godhead of authority and power, than to cast off all comfort and privilege in order to lift up one’s contemporaries at the expense of oneself. Despite the hardships, this is the lot of the anarchic individual. We must deride all means of oppression, self-induced or coerced. We must inspire the addicted masses to social insurrection through our personal prohibition of all distractions. An individual is not truly free until it is free of all forms of oppression, internal and external. It is up to the anarchists to influence the masses positively, as the elites continue to do negatively, in order to instill in them an appreciation of reality and all it entails, instead of desiring to escape it. This cycle – of addiction breeding dependence and in turn perpetuating reliance on the State – can only be broken through the manifestation of anarchy as reality, not as a distant utopia to be waited for expectantly and obediently like some heaven, pension or other reward after a life of subjugation and slavery.

Anarchy is, therefore, the antithesis of addiction. It is rehabilitation free of professionals and prisons. It is freedom from not only Capital, the State, Society and their institutions, but also from all constraints and restrictions. It is unlimited liberty that cannot be promised, guaranteed or expected, but which must instead be striven for, envisioned and realised through constant struggle, perpetual revolution, and the abolition of all distracting, addicting forms of oppression and power. Anarchy is the negation of distraction and the affirmation of self-determination and self-reliance. It is the unconditional escape into reality from the surreal lives of misery and dejection we lead. Anarchy is individual empowerment and communal attraction. It is the enemy of Society, because Society is the despotic nemesis of individuality. Anarchists are the predators who attack sheep and shepherd alike in order to take a snap at the staff dividing them…



-Louis Redd, just one anarchist (Mississauga Territory – February 2, 2013)



I quit drugs and now I'm addicted to self-righteousness. I'm high on the pain of slavery. Join me and we'll revolt any minute now.

aw yeah I'll drink to that

Choose life, choose being a self righteous straight edged dick who tells people how they should act.

Give that fellow a big spliff

Back to the morality of the ascetics!

As an anarchist he adamantly opposes the use of recreational drugs, pharmaceuticals and all forms of addicting, damaging distractions.
But as an anarchist he isn't going to inflict those puritanical ideas on me K?

as an anarcho-hedonist, responsible drug user and promiscous libertine i have to confess that i am still drunk and happy. parties are anarchy. visionary drugs like marihuana, mushrooms and ayahuasca can project worlds and thoughts which can point to paths outside the medicrity of contemprary society (check "The doors of perception" Like Aldous Huxley quoting William Blake said "If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is- infinite."

for a good argument for hedonism check

ahhh...i thought i was alone as an anarcho-hedonist...we need to get a good summer bash on!

"Hedonism in some sense of the word has always been common ground for almost all anarchists. Rudolph Rocker attributed anarchist ideas to the Hedonists and Cynics of antiquity (1947: 5). Back before he lost his groove, the Dean praised the utopian socialist Charles Fourier for “envision[ing] new communities that would remove restrictions on hedonistic behavior and, almost embarrassingly to his disciples, sought to harmonize social relations on the basis of pleasure” (1974: 112). As that “most unsavory” (20) of lifestyle anarchists, Hakim Bey, put it, “your inviolable freedom awaits to be completed only by the love of other monarchs” (22 [quoting Bey 1991: 4]) — “words that could be inscribed on the New York Stock Exchange,” grumps the Dean, “as a credo for egotism and social indifference” (22). Decadent degenerates that we are, lifestyle anarchists tend to favor “a state of things in which each individual will be able to give free rein to his inclinations, and even to his passions, without any other restraint than the love and respect of those who surround him.” Presumably this credo, a more overtly hedonistic version of Bey’s socially indifferent egotism, is even better suited to decorate the Stock Exchange — which would probably surprise its author, the anarcho-communist Kropotkin (1890:15). We think love and respect could be forces as powerful as they are wonderful. Even Bakunin on occasion sounded more like Raoul Vaneigem than Jean-Jacques Rousseau, as when he wrote that the anarchist is distinguished by “his frank and human selfishness, living candidly and unsententiously for himself, and knowing that by doing so in accordance with justice he serves the whole of society”. "

Bob black "anarchy after Leftism"

Yo son, put down the Chokehold record and breathe for a minute...

Not in my neighborhood motherfucker!

i'm addicted to anarcy

"Anarchists must seek the destruction of Society and the establishment of permanent revolution in order to prevent anarchy becoming another smoky substance of addiction."

Actually, accordion to legitimate anarchists, the result is perpetual revolt not permanent revolution or whatever. That's probably a misappropriated concept and probably being misused anyway.

Anarchism is, essentially, radical anti-imperialism. It attempts to employ the tools of oppression, such as for example, the petty bourgeois gentrificators, and turn them against the bourgeois itself. It isn't always successful, I'll attest to that.

But it must be understood that fundamentally, anarchism is anti-imperialist as resisting the expansion of nationalist capital into global capital, or rather, aggressive expropriations.

"legitimate anarchists"? well we know that this guy's high.

"accordian to legitimate anarchists"

You used an awful lot of words to describe absolutely nothing!

What authority decides who are "legitimate anarchists?" From here on out I am identifying as an illegitimate anarchist. I'm pretty sure the legitimate anarchists are all at AK Press creaming their pants over the next reprint of Noam Chomsky essays about Indochina in the 70's.

If anyone else was with me I would have been all like OOOOOOOOOH!

To each his own, but mushrooms brought me out of a serious multi-year depression overnight. I quit taking my meds and everything. I would even say they saved my life, and in some ways helped me develop the state of mind that lead me to anarchist tendencies. But that's just me.

Same here. The culturally conditioned illusions fell apart after taking psychedelics. Diversions no longer satisfy. I probably wouldn't be here without those boundary dissolving substances: mushrooms, lsd, salvia.

I do see what the author is saying, however. Ellul has written about similar topics in works like Propaganda. There is a desire for clarity of mind in this piece. I've seen a lot of rebelious people drown in substances and other distractions in my short life so far. It's hard to act and think clearly in a world so mediated, opiated, numbed.

Still, I wouldn't say people are apathetic so much as feeling helpless. And they seek out things that numb the feeling and make them forget for at least a little while...

Stop trying to see nuance, you ass! It's true til death or infinite buttflap scumfuckery!

GRAY: Don't wear it! Don't see it!

Maybe I missed something in this article since I only skimmed the rest after reading the first couple of repetitive paragraphs, but I think what's being criticized here is addiction, not just use. The fact that everyone is missing that obvious distinction may be telling.

Personally I've never had a good experience on mushrooms, but if you did then that's good. If your good experiences became an addiction and way out of struggling to improve your life, then that would be bad.

Personally, I've had some amazing insights from weed as well as some good times and don't see any argument for never smoking at all. But I do see how easily it becomes a habit and an escape and think that's a danger every one of us has to guard against.

Have you ever considered that addition is a fixed idea created by individuals who seek to maintain their control over us?

Have you ever considered the comment section is a way of co-opting intelligent thought set up by some fabled... "worker". Let's get high and think about this crazy shit huh?!

"Nowhere on earth can you find an individual not addicted to caffeine, painkillers, or recreational drugs of some sort,"

The author is either an enthusiastic yet frustrated nineteen who really really wants to get the rev going but is in a social scene where everyone just drinks and parties, or they are a total fucking wingnut. I wouldn't have been surprised to see a line follow the one above that said "and nowhere on earth can you find a fifteen year old girl who hasn't had an abortion" or something.

If there were a Leftism - Christianity venn diagram this essay would be in the overlappy part

Take recreational drugs now before it's too late! (btw fuck the state enjoy yourself!) unless you're some sort of revolutionary general and all that shit with big things going down ... (A)

Hope you OD motherfucker.

Ain't that sweet? Some random person said something mean to me. Awwwww. . . .

Bet the writer turns Republican in about a decade...

I find myself in agreeance with unhealthy addicitons being a form of self treachery. That is something that has been a struggle that I desire to eliminate from my life once and for all. However, to say that all "distracting" addictions are harmful, does exhibit fundamentalist traits. So that is a point I'll have to disagree with. I'm addicted to wandering through the wilderness to meditate and find solace from the constant "smashing" of common-harmful paradigms of the population at-large. My desire for distraction is for good reason. If we let revolt* become our addiction. It too, can be harmful to the psyche. A balance should be stuck whenever we find ourselves exhausted. Not everyone can be in perpetual struggle.

We shall kill all "legitimate anarchists" with the power of Agent Orange! For they are the weeds that must be pulled from the gardens of liberty. ~This message is brought to you by Dow~

Nothing is wrong with responsible use of recreational drugs, in whatever form. We're anarchists, not purists. Part of Anarchism is taking responsibility for your own actions.. Meaning we should be capable of responsible use of recreational drugs. Recreation shouldn't be demonized! Some of us, (not just anarchists, but the entire working class) really benefit from a responsible release of the tension that our society creates. Put simply, we burnout to keep from getting burnout from our organizing, or the job, etc.. etc..

It would be really terrible if we had some sort of .... "irresponsible" release and started destroying shit.

Destruction is liberation, rioting is a useful tool. However, mindless destruction is pointless and is a characteristic of capitalism rather than Anarchism. We organize to destroy the system, you can't destroy the system with a brick.

Organization is a chararacteristic of capitalism rather than autonomous, desiring Minds.

This is the worst comment that I have read today.

"We organize to destroy the system"

Please take the time to understand what living without authority means before you erroneously claim to be an anarchist.

I am responsible for creating my own life as I see fit. Not for submitting to your idea of " responsible use of recreational drugs." You sound like a liberal not an anarchist.

I don't care if you fall for the seduction of commodities and consume until you die. Nothing is going to happen until something happens anyway and you can just go cold turkey when the shit's not available. I agree with the writer in principle but that's for me not you. Get free or die trying.

Against intoxication....for drunkenness!

I am embarrassed by this article.

"I am embarrassed by this article." I am too. I'm sick of coming to "anarchist news" and reading moralizing BS like this.

This is the most fascistic tripe I've read on this site in a long time. All black and white, no shades of grey for this guy! Here's hoping the author quickly returns to his imaginary primitive straight-edge society and GTFO our internetz.

As someone who goes on self-destructive/self-preservative drug binges every few years, but has never been a lifer drug or alcohol addict, I still totally support this as an anarchist/individualist ideal.

I was once addicted to booze. But regular controlled doses of psylocibin helped me get off the wine-bladder.

Signed pro2rat

It all depends on how and which drugs you take... i mean yea shooting up and sitting around nodding out all the time is not my idea of educating yourself or bettering any community. But if you are productive while on say hallucinogens than I see no harm in broadening your perception on reality. Everyone works differently Ya know.

Bettering a community? That's what Christians do. Fuck the community.

yeah, if you're going to take mushrooms at least get some fliers printed or some meeting notes emailed out or something while you trip.
Be productive, be-e productive, B-E-P-R-O-D-U-C-T-I-V-E

I used to get drunk a lot. My life was a lot more fun then. Now I'm addicted to the internet and netflix...

What about addiction to writing lengthy bullshit on the internet? Addiction only occurs because the state has made certain substances illegal, and they control the substances - both the illegal and legal ones. Get off your fucking high horse, you are obviously addicted to writing communiques - should we fight against that too? Stop looking at points to divide and look to points to unify!

"Addiction only occurs because the state has made certain substances illegal, and they control the substances"
I don't think you understand how bodies work.


I don't care that you don't care and that's why I'm going to tell you all about it. I might even start a zine called "I don't care" to prove the indomitable power of my own not caring.

Don't forget addiction to pornography!

Don't tell me what not to forget!

oh fuck, we're all going to become addicted to gang rape porn after the sf bookfair next month, the thought of it makes me so anxious i'll need to inject a speedball just to walk to the beer and lube store

cigarettes suck and smoking is a retarded thing to do. they cause all the shit they're supposed to alleviate - anxiety, difficulty concentrating, boredom, etc. i like this article

As an Anarchist, I must disagree. Seeking altered states of mind is as old as man. Its a personal choice, and while some substances are for sure an obstacle to a productive life, the larger untold story is for most, recreational substances at particular times is a positive & very social & positive element of their life. Opinions on the subject can be very subjective, and even redundantly mis-informed.

I would also say that a "productive life" is the last thing I as an anarchist want. I want a life of play, not a life of production.

As an Anarchist, I must disagree. Seeking altered states of mind is as old as man. Its a personal choice, and while some substances are for sure an obstacle to a productive life, the larger untold story is for most, recreational substances at particular times is a very social & positive element of their life. Opinions on the subject can be very subjective, and even redundantly mis-informed.

"As an idealist and an anarchist, I must adamantly oppose the use of recreational drugs, pharmaceuticals and all forms of addicting, damaging distractions."

The author sounds more like a 12 stepper or a jesus freak than an anarchist. He/She is trying to impose their fetishized values on the rest of us. The author is an authoritarian not an anarchist.

The author is an authoritarian not an anarchist.

Unfortunately, the two are not mutually exclusive in practice.

recreational drug usage == addiction?

get a grip, and lose the myopic blinders. yes, people get addicted to "recreational" drugs, just as they get addicted to almost anything on the planet.

what is a "recreational" drug, anyway? doesn't "recreational" refer to the way it is used, and not the type of drug per se?

i'm fucking sick of these narrow-minded moralists that take their own perceptions and/or experiences (or even those of folks they know) and extrapolating them onto everyone. where is that "individuality" i see mentioned? does it only apply to those who think/act like themselves?

thanks for contributing to a conversation that i wish we had more. However, moralism and leftism are a bigger hindrance to anarchy than substance abuse and this essay stinks of both.

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