An Antagonist’s Guide To Destroying The Surveillance State

From Tides of Flame

A bore, a paranoiac, a madman, a watcher with no one to watch him in turn, someone it’s going to be hard to get rid of.

-Roberto Bolaño, “The Secret of Evil.”

Head bone connected to the neck bone, neck bone connected to the arm bone, arm bone connected to the hand bone, hand bone connected to the internet, connected to the Google, connected to the government.

-M.I.A., “The Message.”

I: The Twitter Employee and the Airport

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My flight is delayed for two hours. The people around me text on their phones, update their Facebook status, use the Google search browser for their homework, and listen to music through tiny headphones. While I wait with them, all of us sitting in identical rows, I read over a hundred pages of Assata Shakur’s autobiography.

After the Boston Marathon bombing, the FBI had once again added her to their Most Wanted list, hoping to capitalize on the public hysteria and to remind the public that Assata is a “dangerous terrorist.” I brought her book into the airport in defiance of their media campaign, hoping to get into an argument with some official or other and learn exactly what they were up to behind the curtain.

For the past several months, my boarding passes have been labeled with “SSSS” in the lower right corner. In the Sea-Tac airport, I first learned that I had been flagged as a threat of some sort and was to be thoroughly searched. Thinking it was because my hair was curly and my skin was dark, I started antagonizing the TSA employees, asking them if all brown people were terrorists and if my beard scared them. Hitting a nerve, one of the employees pointed at the “SSSS” and told me they were only responding to my classification, that it wasn’t their personal decision. I asked them who had deemed me a Secondary Security Screening Selection, and he said that he had no idea.

After they swabbed my bag to test for explosives, an alarm went off. Magically, my bag had acquired trace amounts of explosive residue. After a second swab triggered another alarm, the airport bomb expert inspected my bag and found no secret explosive devices. I repacked my bag and they let me walk to my gate, no longer a potential threat, safe to board my plane.

At the Oakland airport months later I received the same treatment, but this time there were no explosives detected on my bag. A few months after that, again at Sea-Tac, explosives were detected once, twice, and then the bomb expert was summoned for another thorough inspection of my dangerous bag. Sea-Tac is evidently where I suddenly acquire explosive powder on my belongings. Every time I fly through its terminals, I have the sense that someone is behind a screen in an office pressing a button to trigger the alarm.

Back at the Oakland airport, reading Assata’s autobiography, waiting for my delayed flight to Seattle, I notice that I am one of a few people not using a computer or smart phone. When the staff finally starts the boarding process, I sit down near the line next to a young woman who is deeply mesmerized by the soft blue glow of her phone screen. As we wait for our turn to line up and board our plane, she sighs and anxiously looks at the long lines of upper class passengers boarding before us.

“Why is it taking so long?” she asks me.

“Don’t know. It just does.”

We sit silently for a moment and watch the other passengers.

“Do you live in Seattle?” I ask.

“No, I’m from there, but I live in San Francisco now.”

“It’s getting really expensive to live in San Francisco.”

“Yeah,” she nods.

“I know people who grew up there who can’t afford to stay. It’s Google that’s doing it, all their employees making the rent spike.”

“No, for sure, it is. I have rent control, though, so it doesn’t really affect me. But I’m all for it because I work for Twitter.”

The line of passengers sways back and forth. I have no idea how to respond to her statement and suddenly I realize that in the center of her black shirt is the little blue bird of Twitter. This was the moment when I began to discover the secret of evil.

II: Microsoft, Seattle, and the NSA

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Edward Snowden is one year older than I am. Thanks to the information he released, my SSSS designation has started to make far more sense within the context of the massive surveillance network we inhabit within the United States. Snowden’s leaks have revealed a network of contractors who can monitor every aspect of an individual’s internet activity and determine who is and who is not a threat. My own activity has brought me into a vast social network that is perceived to be a threat by the NSA and their employees.

I am clearly not a suicide bomber and will never hijack a plane, but the security system at the Seattle airport thinks that I might. There are a lot of reasons why Sea-Tac might be so jumpy. Microsoft is located 20 miles from the Sea-Tac Airport. This corporation also happens to be one of the main collaborators with the NSA.

Recently, I was sitting with some friends outside of the Black Coffee Co-Op in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. As we sat there, a Connector Bus drove past, carrying a single passenger. These green and white buses drive back and forth from the Microsoft campus in close-by Redmond, Washington, bringing the tech workers home to their condos and apartments. I see two more of these buses go by within half an hour, each carrying no more than three employees.

“Do you see these all the time?” I ask.

“Uh-huh,” my friend responds. “They all live here in the condos.”

“How many of these buses do you see in a day while you’re working at the café?”

“I lose count, I don’t even pay attention any more.”

We look across the street at the new condos, opened within the last year. Before the block was destroyed, there were some cheap bars that were part of the enjoyably scummy and depraved Capitol Hill that existed when I arrived over a decade ago. Now there is a large glass and metal box with expensive commercial space below. Block by block, the old neighborhood is being transformed into a streamlined, inexpressive nightmare.

Thousands of Microsoft employees have moved into Seattle’s neighborhoods and driven up the rents over the years with their high and disposable salaries. The average rental price for a one-bedroom apartment in Seattle is currently $1,600 a month.

At work, some of these employees look for the security flaws within Microsoft software that make users hugely vulnerable to having their entire operating systems open to surveillance. When a flaw is discovered these employees are required to inform their superiors, who then inform the NSA and FBI. Microsoft does not fix these security glitches until the NSA and FBI have been allowed to explore them. This is a standard practice within the corporation that was noted in the Snowden leaks.

Thanks to Microsoft, Seattle has been in a permanent tech boom for the past two decades. Over forty thousand Microsoft employees currently live in the Seattle metropolitan area. Just as the neighborhoods these employees inhabit become their off-work playgrounds, so to does the local environment become the playground of Microsoft. For example, there are several massive data centers in the region that support Microsoft’s growing cloud infrastructure and data storage needs. These data centers consume more electricity than several metropolitan neighborhoods combined.

A few data centers are built on top of the former site of the largest village of the Duwamish tribe in Renton, a sacred place that has long since been destroyed and now hosts several bland and monotonous corporate parks. It is nearly impossible to find any of these data centers on Google Maps, despite the fact that they are the very backbones of the internet. It is as if they are being intentionally hidden from the public.

Microsoft hides more than just data centers. Northeast of Seattle, in their sprawling Redmond campus, hundreds of foreign immigrants with H-1B visas work throughout the week, selling their skills to Microsoft for US currency. If a worker with an H-1B visa quits or is fired, they can either apply for citizenship (something unlikely to be successful) or they will be deported. A tech worker with citizenship is able to negotiate pay increases by threatening to defect to Amazon or Google, but the worker with the H-1B visa is forever bound to Microsoft under penalty of deportation.

For this reason, Bill Gates and the current leaders of the corporation want the federal government to expand the number of H-1B visas that can be issued. With the encouragement of Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and other tech companies, the Senate just passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act (S.744), a bill that will allow 20,000 more H-1B visas to be issued. The tech giants will have to pay $10,000 per visa, but that money will be used to fund educational programs that will train more US citizens for tech jobs in the United States. However, these tech giants will always pick immigrant workers over domestic workers. They work for less and cannot complain.

One of these workers, a man named Vineet Kumar Srivastava, was recently arrested for raping a janitor in Building 27 of the Redmond campus. Srivastava was a senior programming manager with a wife and children who worked diligently to propel the Microsoft empire forward. When the police detained him, Srivastava claimed the janitor had forced him to have sex with her. He is now out on a $75 thousand bail that is well within his financial reach.

The loneliness of many male tech workers, immigrant and citizen alike, brings them to spend their high wages on prostitutes. This phenomenon is widely seen from Seattle to the Silicon Valley. Every prostitute I have met in Seattle has worked for at least one of these men. For them, a prostitute is only a click away. It is far easier to pay for sex twice a week than it is to have a relationship that requires presence, time, and love. With most of their energy consumed by the company, these men gladly spend $300 an hour to release every manner of repressed emotion on these prostitutes.

On their website, Microsoft describes Seattle, its “headquarters for work and play,” as having “a dynamic urban culture, distinctive neighborhoods, great restaurants, a family-friendly atmosphere, world-class arts and entertainment, and endless recreation.” With large amounts of money at their disposal, these Microsoft employees want access to everything: land, neighborhoods, food, entertainment, drugs, and sex. If they cannot get these things, they will change the area around them to suite their increasingly luxurious needs.

In their perpetual quest for the perfect environment, these tech employees colonize “distinctive neighborhoods” and quickly render them into aesthetically homogenous blocks stripped of anything distinctive. It is as if they are terrified of authentic urban community because whenever they find it they do everything in their power to destroy it.

The Connector Bus brings Microsoft employees to Capitol Hill and drops them off in front of their condos and apartments. At work, some of these Microsoft employees may have been directly collaborating with the NSA. At night and on their days off, these employees can be party monsters, coke sniffers, yoga freaks, health food junkies, dancing queens, or whatever else they want to be. They have the money to do anything, but many of them seem content with the monotonous comfort of condos, expensive meals, and prostitutes.

For a moment, I thought maybe I would see Microsoft implode. Its Windows 8 product did not take off, nor did its new Microsoft Surface technology. CEO Steve Ballmer has decided to step down, the stock price for Microsoft keeps dropping, and in a desperate move the corporation purchased Nokia for a modest $7.2 billion. Now there are five main contenders in the fight for control of the US consumer electronics market: Microsoft, Samsung, Google, Sony, and Apple. It is still possible that Microsoft will crumble, that the forty thousand company employees will leave Seattle, that all of the upscale businesses they support will go bankrupt, and that a culture of freedom and radicalism will replace their corporate legacy. But just like the nodes of the internet, if one is destroyed, another one takes its place.

III: Amazon and the CIA

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The pinnacle of Seattle tech-gentrification is the South Lake Union neighborhood, now mostly owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Dozens of giant apartment and condo buildings all crowd around the Amazon campus, the centerpiece of the neighborhood. During the lunch break, Amazon vomits thousands of employees into the restaurants, the bars, and the nearby Whole Foods. Their money enters the Seattle economy, encouraging more restaurants, bars, stores, apartments, and condos. As a reward for contributing to the local economy, the city of Seattle built these employees their very own train line to take them downtown. Their lunch options are now vast.

This train line was a joke for many years, with journalists and websites referring to it as Paul Allen’s gift to himself. However, the same type of train lines are now being laid from downtown to Capitol Hill where the line terminates at the future site of the underground Light Rail station. When this is complete, a giant circuit will have been created, enabling Amazon workers to take the train directly to work and also eat an interesting lunch. Everyone else can take the bus or walk.

My mother and I currently have an agreement. In the near future, we will both give up two things we are addicted to. I will give up cigarettes on the condition she stops purchasing things off Amazon.com. So far, neither of us have given up our habits. When she asks me what’s so bad about Amazon, it’s easier for me to point to news stories about neo-nazi bosses at Amazon warehouses in Poland than it is to explain the intricacies of what the corporation has done to Seattle. However, another news story recently appeared that makes my arguments with my mother easier.

The CIA, those infamous supporters of fascist dictatorships and death squads, have recently hired Amazon to provide them with cloud infrastructure. Going against its own utopian vision of the grand public data cloud, Amazon will build a private cloud inside a CIA owned building in exchange for $660,000, 000. This private cloud will be one of several that Amazon has already built, including FinCloud, a system created for NASDAQ to help ease and expedite stock trading. Building off the success of this venture, Amazon is now going to help the CIA to be more efficient at what it does.

Keep in mind that this is the same CIA that currently kills innocent people with drones and collaborates with al Qaeda fighters in Syria. Amazon’s task is to organize the hive mind of the agency into a cloud of data, accessible only by their internal network. By doing this, Amazon will be directly collaborating with one of the main players in the surveillance state and any innovations they discover in the future will be passed on to the CIA.

To make matter worse, Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, recently bought the Washington Post. There are many reasons why he would have done this, and many of them involve the paper’s reputation for printing leaks and exposing corruption, including the recent revelations concerning the “black budget”. Of the 178 pages received by the Post regarding the secret multi-billion dollar budget, only 48 were released. The Post collaborated with the government in censoring specific documents, citing security concerns. Some political writers say Bezos wants to control the media and stop leaks, others say he is personally working with CIA, and others say he is just greedy and maniacal. Perhaps all these claims are true.

Bezos and the CIA have another mutual interest: quantum computers. They are both pumping millions of dollars into the development of machines that will open up new dimensions of technology and increase the speed of all computing. History tells me that whenever the CIA is involved in financing anything, whether it is art, technology, or grass roots political movements, it is always with the intention of using them as a weapon against their foes. The thought of what they will come up with terrifies me, especially right now, when the CIA already has access to nearly everything.

But I take comfort in the fact that at the heart of quantum computing is the great paradox: how one thing can be everything and nothing simultaneously. Qubits, the quantum units that make up a quantum computer, also happen to be impossible to predict. This quality of the qubit is what programmers harvest to solve problems quickly. The qubit can be everywhere at once or nowhere at once. If it is not contained, the data given to a qubit undergoes decoherence and leaks away. Data leaks and decoherence are part of this new technology that is built on the inherent unpredictability of its components.

When the sun begins to come out in the beginning of spring, I bike to the other end of Lake Union and stare at the Seattle skyline. The center of Amazon’s empire sits below the skyscrapers, along the water, quickly growing. The freeway begins to snarl as people get off work, buzzing back to their homes. From the other side of the lake, Seattle looks tranquil, perfect, serene. It surely has to be green city, the healthy city, the tech city. Everything functions smoothly and the Amazon packages arrive on time, although sometimes they are stolen from people’s doorsteps. Security cameras may deter a thief, but they can really only do so much.

IV: Silicon Valley and the Bay Area

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In July of 2012, a professor from the University of Toronto was with his family at the McDonalds on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. This professor was wearing an apparatus he had designed called Eye Glass that kept a computer screen and camera over his right eye. From this camera, the man recorded everything he saw. When he entered the McDonalds, the security guard immediately noticed the apparatus and asked what was on his face. After the professor produced a doctor’s note explaining he had to wear the camera, the security guard let him and his family proceed to the cash registers. Once they sat down with their food, another McDonalds employee began pulling at the apparatus on the professor’s head. When it did not come off, the employee and two other men started to attack the professor, leaving him with his Eye Gear broken and his pants wet with urine. The professor pissed himself in fear.

I thought about this story when I was in the Oakland hills some time ago. A group of us drove up there to see the view of San Francisco just as a bank of fog settled in over our heads. Staring at the giant gray cloud, we smoked a powerful joint and tried not to shiver in the cold.

“Yeah, we can’t live there anymore.”

“No, none of us can anymore. Both of us are living with our moms.”

“Are people you know leaving San Francisco?” I asked.

“Hella people,” she stressed. “I’m staying because that’s my home, you know, but what the fuck? Google and Facebook and all this shit fucked everything up. First the hipsters, then these rich fucks…man, they’ll be wearing Google glasses, I bet.”

“No!” I protested. “No one’s wearing those now, are they?”

“No, they will, trust me man,” she said. “We gotta destroy them, snatch ‘em off people’s faces and crush em on the ground. You know? Because otherwise people will think its okay to do that, to film everything, like it’s all a movie, all a fucking lie.”

We didn’t linger too long after the joint was gone. The fog got thicker and we drove back down into the long grid of Oakland. In my own fog, I imagined mobs of young men and women running through the Mission district, instinctually destroying these cybernetic glasses, following an urge to keep life organic.

My friend’s childhood city is undergoing rapid colonization by well-paid employees from Google, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter. The number of evictions in the city has spiked due to the Ellis Act, a state law that allows landlords to evict all tenants of a building if it is being taken off the rental market and turned into apartments for sale.

With more buildings becoming luxury housing, rent is increasing dramatically, and the neighborhoods are filling with expensive restaurants and luxury stores. The average price for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is now $2,800 a month. While hundreds of longtime residents are evicted from their rent controlled units, the Google Bus drives the sixty miles to and from the Googleplex, bringing employees from their Mountain View headquarters to the colonized neighborhoods of San Francisco.

When I type the words “san francisco google gentrification” into the Google search bar and press enter, it is clear that Google has accumulated quite a reservoir of anger and hatred around itself. Hundreds of articles detail exactly what is happening to the Fillmore or Mission districts, and hundreds more explain how no one can stop it. A strong reaction is taking place against the tech invasion, but the reaction is overwhelmed by the sheer amount of money flowing into San Francisco.

So when Google employees start walking around wearing Google glasses, I won’t be surprised when people finally snap and start physically assaulting them. Although I’m sure these victims will view the assailants as bullies from high school, these assaults will be more akin to a cat protecting her kittens from harm.

When I was in high school, the affluence of the late 1990’s was in full bloom and the first tech bubble had yet to burst. By the time I graduated in 2002, the World Trade Center had been destroyed and the media was revving the US population up for war. However, some people left my high school a few years before I did, when the US was far more stable. As it turns out, people from this age group are now in positions of extreme power.

Google currently employs a man named Jared Cohen, the son of wealthy Connecticut parents. He graduated high school in 2000 and then went to Stanford. After winning much praise for his brilliance, Cohen ended up at Oxford where he studied international relations and earned his MA. After interning at the State Department, he was eventually scooped up by then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice in 2006 as part of her Policy Planning Staff. He was 24 when he began working for them. Since then, he has risen to become a top counter-terrorism expert and was one of the earliest proponents of using social media to advance US foreign policy.

When an insurrection broke out in Iran against the government after the elections of 2009, Cohen famously instructed Twitter to not perform scheduled maintenance so that Iranian dissidents could continue to Tweet to each other. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton did nothing to discourage his activities.

In 2010, Cohen became a fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations and took part in their Cyberconflict and Cybersecurity Initiative. One month after joining this think tank, Cohen joined a more interesting one. Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, personally made Cohen the director of Google Ideas.

The organization describes itself as a “a think/do tank that explores how technology can enable people to confront threats in the face of conflict, instability or repression.” When I went to the website, I learned that their main projects involve building data maps of social networks, illicit activities, and tracing flows of subversive information. Right now, if you type “google ideas network mapper” into the Google search engine, you will find a network map for the Assad regime as the showcase of their project.

There is little difference between Google and the government at this point. They share the same interests and use the internet to manipulate and monitor different populations, whether foreign or domestic. Leaked documents reveal that in the midst of the Arab Spring, the private security company Stratfor was concerned that Google was “doing things the CIA cannot do.” In regards to Jared Cohen’s role in the whole affair, one Stratfor analyst wrote “he’s going to get himself kidnapped or killed. Might be the best thing to happen to expose Google’s covert role in foaming uprisings, to be blunt.”

Jared Cohen and Eric Schmidt co-wrote a book called The New Digital Age: Re-shaping the Future of People, Nations and Business. Disgusted by what he had just read, Julian Assange wrote these scathing words about the authors: “This book is a balefully seminal work in which neither author has the language to see, much less to express, the titanic centralizing evil they are constructing.”

The corporate slogan for Google is DON’T BE EVIL. I think about evil when I walk through the Mission District in San Francisco. When I see the expensive restaurants, the well-dressed techies, the luxury condos, the fancy cars, and the Google Bus, I am seeing evil attempting to spread itself like a computer program across physical reality. It is an evil the founders of Google knew would be tempting, but it is an evil none of them can resist. But unfortunately for them, Google carries the seeds of its own destruction within itself. Google it.

V: Burning the Man

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I currently live inside a squatted building in a major metropolis on the west coast of the US. To my dismay, one morning I came home to find my door locks glued. It turns out our immediate neighbor was very angry that my friends and I were attempting to live for free in a building that had been abandoned for a decade. All it took was one of us banging on his door and explaining that we were not interested in robbing him or cooking meth for him to calm down and accept our presence. Since then, we have become the beloved squatters of the neighborhood, having turned an urban blight into an oasis from rent and landlords.

A group of us were sitting outside in typical squatter fashion drinking 40’s and smoking weed when one of the neighbors came over with a beer in his hand in an attempt to make peace after the glue incident. We started chatting about random things before we finally got down to the heart of the conflict.

“Well, you know, my roommate has PTSD,” the neighbor said. “He’s a little high strung when it comes to stuff.”

“He seemed a bit high strung, yeah,” I said.

“Yeah, he was in Iraq for two tours, so he’s on edge. Plus, man, you know, he bought his house and is still paying it off.”

“What does that have to do with anything?” I asked.

“He’s paying every month for his own house and you guys just moved into this place. I think it made him a bit resentful, that you guys don’t have to pay anything and he does. That’s all.”

Towards the end of this conversation, I learned that their entire household was going to Burning Man, the counter-cultural festival in the Nevada desert. A few days earlier, I watched a video of Google CEO Larry Page saying, “I like going to Burning Man, for example. An environment where people can try new things. I think as technologists we should have some safe places where we can try out new things and figure out the effect on society. What’s the effect on people, without having to deploy it to the whole world.”

This might sound nice out of context, but what Larry Page is actually talking about is not a festival in the desert. Along with Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google is obsessed with plugging the remaining 5 billion people of the earth into the internet. To this end, Google will fill the upper atmosphere with balloons that emit wireless internet signals to the earth below. Their first mass application of this technology will be over sub-Saharan Africa. Google is eager to bring more humans into the network that it has built across the world.

Every year, thousands of people flock to Burning Man to create a fake city where there is no money. In this fake city, people take drugs and experiment with living differently than they normally do. Some people become addicted to this tradition precisely because it is the one moment where they can do what they are not allowed to do outside the fake city.

For one week, everyone forgets the sorry state of the world and pretends they are free. All of their repressed desires manifest in this rotten utopia that is built to be burnt. Within the giant crescent of tents and dwellings that wrap around the central playa, thousands of tech employees mingle with a dying counter-culture and extract the last remnants of its creativity and vitality, just as they do to every city they colonize. What they all build and then burn is for their own amusement, nothing more. Next year they will buy another ticket, build another city, and then destroy it. They can afford to do so.

The current tech bubble will not burst like it did at the turn of the twenty-first century. Information technology is far too enmeshed in daily life for the giant tech companies to quickly disappear. Thus far, these giants have weathered all the storms of the economy. With the aid of the federal government, the giants are hoping to live forever. In order to definitively stop their plans for a completely monitored and controlled population, it will be necessary to act. There will be no end to their expansion unless we stop them ourselves.

Like the Department of Homeland Security advises us, “If you see something, say something.” When your neighborhood starts to fill with these colonizers, do not sit quietly behind your computer screen writing angry blog posts. That’s where they want you. Instead, go outside and use your hands and your words to fight them. Cover the walls in anti-tech, anti-gentrification, or anti-capitalist slogans. If you see a group of them walk down the street, follow them while loudly yelling the truth about who they are and what they are doing. Cause disturbances outside their restaurants and condo windows. Stand by the entrance to their private buses and hurl curses at them. If there is no other option and they will not leave after this onslaught of negative reinforcement, get more drastic. I can’t recommend anything more specific, but whatever you do, make sure it has a high probability of success, otherwise it’s not worth it.

But it’s more complicated than driving the employees of these tech companies out of our neighborhoods. Almost everyone in the US is plugged into the networks built by these tech giants, and as long as the populations materially supports them as customers, users, and consumers, these companies will continue to expand their capabilities. The boycott of the big banks during the Occupy movement never took off, and the majority of the US population still deposits their money with them. It is the same with the tech companies. A boycott will not take off. As long as capitalist infrastructure is functioning properly, electronic commodities and the internet will be easily accessible to the population. It is the prerogative of capitalism for its commodities to be constantly available at the cheapest price and at the best value. A force antagonistic to capitalism cannot hope to defeat it unless they create something new that offers what capitalism cannot.

As I type this, I look out my window and watch my neighbor walk down his front steps and get on his motorcycle. It is a few days after he returned from Burning Man and already he is back in the rhythm, the routine, the long commute to work. A pile of desert stained bicycles sits in his backyard, not to be used until next summer. The wages my neighbor earns will be used to pay his mortgage, fill his gas tank, and distract him from reality. Every night he comes home and watches a movie with his girlfriend and roommates. Every morning he drives to work. This is the life capitalism offered him after he returned from Iraq.

Next door, we have built a solar-heated shower out of a black barrel and hoses. In our basement we have built a large social center for the neighborhood. Our squatted building provides housing for 6-12 people on a given day and no one works a normal job for more than three days a week. The majority of us do not need to work and have the time to build a world free from rent, bills, and monotony. In the surrounding neighborhood there are other squats, providing free housing for over a dozen more people. Sometimes the police destroy a squat and everyone finds another abandoned house to start rebuilding.

Ideally we would also have land in the countryside for growing our own food, but for now we are building an urban counter-network against money, capitalism, and alienation. We are doing it with our own hands every day of the week. We lack nothing essential in our lives and pass our excess to the other squats and friends that need it. Along with overt antagonism to the colonizers, building a habitable world against capitalism is the path to follow. We have something to offer other than rent, smart phones, surveillance, and misery.

Just as I am ready to finish this article, a Mercedes SUV pulls up outside. A woman with blonde hair and blue eyes emerges carrying a bag of groceries. On her head is a native headdress. She walks into my neighbor’s house smiling about something. In total disbelief, I walk into my friend’s apartment and tell them what I saw. They nod their heads and tell me a story I’ve never heard.

Right after the neighbors glued our locks, a couple of them came over. Both were already drunk. They all decided to go up on the roof and drink the bottle of whiskey the neighbors had brought with them.

“Were the people from next door cool?” I ask.

“Not really. No.”

“Why?”

“They said a bunch of stupid shit about the neighborhood, how better people need to move in. Plus they work for some fucking giant tech company, I don’t remember. I don’t know, they’re gentrifiers basically. They’re not cool. Not cool at all.”

Edward Snowden feared that the population of the US would do nothing after learning of the surveillance apparatus. So far, there has not been a mass uprising against the state and everything continues to function normally. But there is an old saying: “one does not defeat a lie with a truth. It can only be defeated by a world of truth.” The truth lives outside the range of their surveillance and to manifest a world of truth we must build it ourselves. Only a force can defeat another force, and every world of truth burns a hole in the fabric of lies we inhabit. Fill these worlds with beauty, joy, and light. Let them grow until the lie is defeated. Good luck, stay free, and remember, if you see something, say something.

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Comments

Anarchists are against rulers. Anti-authoritarians are against authoritarianism. Antagonists are against . . . agonism? Is the state the protagonist in your story?

Things do look different from different perspectives. nature doesn’t really care about the various different perspectives that people have, ... none of them are correct. Nature is aperspectival and we shouldn’t expect wolf or spider to share our pespectives or vice versa. As Howard Zinn pointed out, the ‘executioner perspective’ looks very different from the ‘victim perspective’.

The physical reality is not cause-and-effect ‘doer-deedery’ but transformation; i.e. the continually transforming relational spatial plenum. there is just one world dynamic but different people see it very differently. the colonizers perspective was that they were building a wonderful new world in American and the indigenous peoples perspective was that the colonizers were destroying a wonderful established world on Turtle Island, ... neither of these perspectives is the ‘physical reality’. both the colonizers and colonized shared inclusion in a common relational space which has always been relational spatially transforming. nobody can directly see the ‘transformation’ because we are all included in it and ‘made of it’. find someone born in 1913 who is now 100 and ask them if they could see what would unfold over this sort of span of time. they had no idea. nobody did. one can’t predict it. but there is no doubt they made projections that scared them and made other projections that gave them hope and lightened their spirits, ... and none of these ever came true. instead, they found themselves in a transforming relational space.

it always looks like we are going to hit the wall and be imprisoned in a global nazi regime etc. but the transformation of a relational space looks more like a fractal hologram than something that is going to culminate is some ultimate state of affairs.

i’m not saying that what is happening by the control freak networks in the world is ‘not happening’, only that our projections based on the nastiness we see are not reliable because there is so much we don’t know that is influencing the unfolding and so much we don’t know we don’t know (don't know enough to even contemplate not knowing).

the current surveillance etc. is a nastiness that we are physically experiencing, and we tend to make projections based on it that we then feel we have to mobilize to fend off. the fact is that our actions are not cause-effect but transformational and things could happen far in excess of our actions; e.g. one grain of sand can trigger an avalanche etc. a lot of little acts is a good idea and we cannot know what will come of them, but as 'chaos theory' aka 'nonlinear dynamics' aka 'self-organized criticality' shows, a very small difference in conditions can lead to a huge difference in how things unfold.

a lot of little acts can trigger changes that we have never contemplated.

please don't generalize

i´m no etymolologist but i venture to guess that the antagonist precipitates a sense of agony in it´s targeted subject, hoping that the subject might then rise to the opportunity and struggle to overcome their agony by contemplating and adapting to the newly altered reality which they are obliged to entertain. The antagonist is not necessarily the direct cause of agony in fact, an antagonist to the world of capitalism could very well also be a protaganist in the insurrectionary narration.

presumably an anarchist antagonist is intending to attack the dominate institution which has captivated the subject´s worldview.Thus, the aganoy involved would be the doubt and confusion surrounding the death of their chosen god and utter collapse of the world as they see it. One hopes that when taking action the antagonist will be conscious of any affinity shared by they and the host of their targeted agony,i.e;humanity, and intentional employ the according tactics to maximize the chances of success.

prostitutes, not sex workers, nice....

Is there some serious etymological issue with the word "prostitute" or are you just suggesting that substituting PC jargon will somehow change anything about what it means and feels like to sell your body for money?

we all have to sell our body for money, dolt. pretty much every sex worker i know prefers that term, rather than prostitute. is it so much to ask that people can choose the way they are labelled by others?

most and yeah but not like that

and yeah its too much liberal

"most and yeah but not like that"

who fucking cares. get over it. not every one attaches sentimental values to sexual acts.

sentimental values?... "that" is a poor word, that's why i said that, there's like a world of difference man... your the one generalizing here

That's true, sentimentality is a woeful word when applied to describing the action of giving head! Or have I taken this out of context?

Is there a serious etymological issue with the word stewardess? What about waiter or waitress?
Terms change, and respecting people's titles isn't always about being PC its more about being respectful and not sounding like some old dick wad straight out of 1975

they are all just euphemisms for a bunch of shit. some prostitutes prefer the term "whore". the point is that it doesn't really fucking matter what terms you choose to use, and insisting on certain "approved" terminology definitely is liberal and PC. people can choose to call themselves whatever the fuck they want but i think this insistence on using the terms "sex work" and "sex worker" is at heart a liberal attempt to rebrand a taboo form of exploitation as a legitimate job. who the fuck cares if a job is legitimate or not? you think the johns are going to treat "sex workers" better than "whores"? you want legislation protecting the rights of sex workers? or do you want to see an end to a world in which people sell their bodies and time for money?

the only issue i can see with the use of "prostitute" in this article is that focusing on the buying and selling of actual sex ignores the fact that there's this whole other part of the sex industry also used and exploited by techies.

Call me a liberal, but i would prefer to live in a world where sucking a dick for cash doesn't end up getting you on the sex offenders registry for life (as it does in california). This whole binary opposition between marginal improvements in daily life and the total, immediate annihilation of society as we know it is a false one, and usually comes from people basking in privilege. I think what matters is HOW we win these improvements (on our own, not having our rage and actions mediated by political institutions, etc).

Lloyd Demause would say that sacrificing ones dignity is equivalent to a psychotic act of self-mutilation for the tribal well-being. I'm not singling out sexual acts, they are petty, I'm referring to the total ideological sacrifice which people make to lose their individuality. Yes, you are a liberal unfortunately regardless of your myriad causes to overturn legislatures, which you thrive on secretly.

I mean fuck all morality, but nonetheless do you think giving head for money is not an occupation which requires a capitalistic society and a clientele who possess these inherent capitalist values? Necessity is not an argument in itself, it is more likely that the head giver is a petty capitalist entrepreneur themselves. Face reality and get off of your liberal high horse please! Marx would have condoned state prostitution as do the capitalist buddhists in Thailand.

quit fighting a strawman, i never said that it wasn't an occupation that requires capitalist society, of course it does. duhhh, i just don't think there is any value in trying to draw sharp distinctions between differnet forms of work in the way that was done above. you know, the whole "that KIND of work," shit. it's pretty degrading and misogynistic to assume that everyone involved in that kind of work does it because they have no other options. many folks choose the occupation because of the flexibility of schedule involved. Just because it disgusts you to imagine doing that doesn't mean everyone involved in the craft feels conflicted or dirty.

That's a good point, like 99% of the people I would find it disgusting to have man cum all over my face 5 times a day, but hey, I'm a twisted weirdo who likes working outdoors manually and interacting with clientele OVER A CUP OF COFFEE and not over an ejaculating penis 10 times a day, even if it means I clear $500/day, I have my values, AND THEY"RE THE RIGHT ONES! My daughter would never do that, and watch out anyone who tries it, I'll take anarchist law into my own hands!

"I have my values, AND THEY"RE THE RIGHT ONES!"

You're quoting somebody who believes in linear cultural progress, with modern Western Civilization at the apex? You are an ambitious troll, but a disgusting and despicable human being. The previous commenter is not a liberal, but an anarchist with two feet on the ground.

Lloyd Demause is not linear in his analysis, if one graphed psychological identity type to time, one would see an exponential acceleration towards a helping apex which is not solely of Western tendency, but certainly unintentionally initiated by colonialist invasions of the previous 200 yrs. Or would you prefer the linear tribal barbarity to have continued under the guise of indigenous autonomy?

"Or would you prefer the linear tribal barbarity to have continued under the guise of indigenous autonomy?"

I know you're just worthless troll trash, but white supremacy isn't funny. Hope someone can explain that to you in person one day.

OMG! We've got a live and kicking liberal do-gooder here who wants to return to baby sacrifice to heathen gods!

No, I prefer deep-fried foetuses. While they're still alive of course, so they taste much better!

Hope a tribal chief takes you for a wife and enslaves you to a lifetime of drudgery and patriarchal enslavement:) Remember, this is an anarchist site, against all hierarchy!

"White men! Protect your women from the cannibals! THE BROWN PEOPLE AREN'T GOOD ANARCHISTS!"

Furthermore just because something is made illegal by the state does not instantly make it worth overturning(the reflexive liberal methodology). You wont find liberals opposing gentrification very often, if at all, unless they're on a political salary which can swing votes against an opposing political party.

having a personal preference on whether or not a specific law that affects loved ones dearly (on a fucking internet forum) isn't the same as fighting for legislative causes. if hundreds of cop stations got burned by angry sex workers, and the governor decided to overturn prop 35, would that not be a win? Would it not be worthwhile?

also, tell me how you survive without "sacrificing ones dignity" which "is equivalent to a psychotic act of self-mutilation for the tribal well-being"?

mom's basement?

"a specific law that affects loved ones dearly"
Have you given any personal advice to "your loved ones" how the better get their act together and stop behaving like capitalist workerist whores!

lloyd demause would sound like a disgusting liberal, first talking about "dignity" and then giving as justification for not "sacrificing it" that its bad for the "tribal well-being". tch

What the hell do you know about dignity, its definition, without scrambling through the pages of the thesaurus, but off the top of your head. Because if you had to search for its meaning it means you haven't even understood a pride in ones individual sovereignty, to be a law unto oneself, to be true to your own values, right? And what is "tribal" other than a conformity to a totalitarian ideology, a sheepishness. So it seems to me you have a bit of soul searching ahead of you, good luck and TRY to be strong!

OK, I see where you're coming from. I agree with this, generally: "This whole binary opposition between marginal improvements in daily life and the total, immediate annihilation of society as we know it is a false one, and usually comes from people basking in privilege." But how does the policing of terminology factor into this? And I don't think you addressed what I said about legitimizing prostitution. Several forms of sex work are already legal, at varying levels, throughout the world. You don't want people on the SO list for sucking dick for cash; neither do I. But how does calling the dick-sucker a sex-worker instead of a prostitute make it easier to change this? And doesn't changing terminology in a way that essentially valorizes work--it is legitimate because it is work, after all--basically taking one step forward and two steps back? Marijuana is legal in Washington now, oh great, now eventually everyone is going to lose their illegitimate trim jobs. Less people will go to jail for pot-related former crimes, but new laws will be written to regulate and control this new legitimate industry. New laws = new crimes = new criminals. Reform is a way that the state acclimates to changing conditions and pressures--its structure bends and opens up to include more and more who would otherwise be antagonistic to it. How do we tackle this problem, when we can agree that people should not be criminalized for doing what it takes to survive?

Anyway, I guess I really feel like using euphemisms like "sex worker" is a coping mechanism. "No, I'm not an STEWARDESS, I'm a FLIGHT ATTENDANT--I deserve RESPECT as an FEMALE-BODIED, FEMALE-SOCIALIZED EMPLOYEE of AMERICAN AIRLINES." "I'M A TARGET TEAM MEMBER." "PROUD SEX WORKER, JUST SO YOU KNOW."

I generally avoid words originally intended to degrade specific oppressed identities, but people reclaim them and use them, whatever. But that's why I asked if there is a serious etymological problem with the word "prostitute." No one has explained to me why someone shouldn't use it (as it is more specific than the very general "sex worker"--which seems a fine term to use if you are trying to describe anyone who participates in the very large and multifaceted sex industry) other than that it is outdated and some people don't like it. But like I said, others call themselves whores. So what gives?

You're also a liberal PC workerist who has absolutely no idea about anarchist honor to the self! You sound like Dr Phil!FXZf8V

i love dr. phil. he is my client, how did you know?

Syntax! Easy really. I admire your honesty, work on originality!

the self is a social construct rooted in classical liberal juridical-political discourse. go back to 1890 and die, renzo... oh wait, renzo actually shot cops, you are just a fucking internet troll fapping to the past in the same way wobblies valorize the good ol' days of joe hill with their historical reinactment society. individualists are fucking morons. especially for the fact that anyone who isn't nihilist or egoist is a "leftist".

You are a cultural construct, a clone of sorts, with just the right amount of sheepish righteousness with a pinch of pacifist liberalism thrown in. OH! We're not allowed to call a spade a spade, people should not be confronted for their complicity?

k im the poster that originally started this shitstorm. yeah, i can't really disagree with that. it just irks me a little bit when i see the prostitute word sometimes.

by the way, i didn't call you a liberal. i said policing terminology in order to legitimize a certain form of work is liberal. we are all a collection of ideas and actions that can be described in several ways, walking contradictions. myself included. i think being honest and exploring the reasoning behind certain anarchist subcultural norms is useful and interesting.

I have agreed with basically everything you've said. However, so you know, using the phrase "policing terminology" seems to betray some sort of assholery disposition that I'm not sure if you mean to convey.

Policing is a specific activity that, I believe, involves capture, enclosure, abuse, prevention, and things of this sort. Asking people to use different words and being mad when they decide not to is not "policing." It's a discursive protest.

In fact, use of the phrase "policing" could convey that you believe in the "right" to speak however you please regardless of the inter-subjective implications. This, linguistic idealism, is quite obscene.

I don't think you mean to come across this way, which is why I am letting you know.

Regardless:
Linguistic meaning is determined inter-subjectively, between people in a historically specific context. Speech is an event, not an object. Words posses nothing in themselves. All speech produces certain affects and thoughts. Because this is the case, all discourse has a strategic disposition. I agree that the inherent strategic discourse of PC politics is the inclusion of criminal subjects and abnormal bodies/behaviors into a position of legitimacy. But all laws have their criminals.

Please don't generalize.

Yeah, you're right. Policing isn't the best word. Thanks for your thoughts. Is what you're saying in your last paragraph informed by any specific linguistic theory you could point me to?

liberal

it would be cool to figure out exactly how widespread the SSSS thing is within the community. seems like fall/winter 2012 there was a spike in travel complications for folks.

What community?

the community of people who read this and have SSSS on their boarding passes.

Present and accounted for. Actually, I know some people whose status shifted that fall, but it got "better," not worse (as in, their Quad-S status, which is what airline security calls it, was withdrawn). So I think they just did a shakeup then. I can't imagine them taking anyone OFF the watch list, ever, though, so my fear is that folks who lost their SSSSes may now be under new, subtler observation.

By the way, for the troll trying to interrupt a practical conversation to carp about the word community--when you're a real anarchist, you'll have real problems, and your priorities will shift.

"By the way, for the troll trying to interrupt a practical conversation to carp about the word community--when you're a real anarchist, you'll have real problems, and your priorities will shift."

I did have a mysterious sticker on my passport last time I checked in, though it was a US but European airport, and got denied of entry in the US a few times, a problem that now affects many many people of all kinds attempting to cross the US/Canada border. A women was recently blocked at the airport on the way to her vacation that cost her like 6000$, and no refund of course, just because of some medication she was taken, based on supposedly confidential medical records that the DHS had access to.

There's also tons of people who got physically abused by TSA for years as well, no matter how some liberals will diss that as "Alex Jones nutjob conspiracy theories", and some American citizens who were blocked from coming back to the US due to past militancy, or got their laptops and cell phone seized at entrance. I've read that you now can also get your mobile devices seized if you're anywhere within 50 miles from the northern border of something.

So I suppose this community is not just the "SSSS people", but the entire proles in -or coming in- the US, being the human cattle under increasingly hardcore DHS despotism. Why I was asking... so harsh feelings.

Separation is reactionary in itself. We are all, as proles, oppressed by the same system of terror.

I meant "no harsh feelings". Oh dear... that damn NSA keylogger is at it again, doing more than just keylogging.

That's a really funny typo!

My sincere apologies for going off on you. My patience for users of this site is perhaps unhelpfully low. I appreciate you earnestly expanding on the topic. I misjudged you.

"it would be cool to figure out exactly how widespread the SSSS thing is within the community."

"What community?"

"the community of people who read this and have SSSS on their boarding passes."

how widespread is the ssss thing in the community of people with the ssss thing on their boarding passes?

LOL!

A handful of folks in the NW picked up that flag by late spring 2013, who didn't have it winter 2012-2013.

"I read over a hundred pages of Assata Shakur’s autobiography"

bullshit liberal detected

So did you read any of the interesting facts about how tech companies operate in the neighbourhoods they are based in, interact with the government, foreign employees, everybody? This article is interesting for the insight into the culture of people who work for these companies and how they fit into state.

I don't really give a fuck what that guy reads, and I don't turn my brain off if it's something I wouldn't read.

being open minded about something and not judging it before you read it = bullshit liberal?

if they were reading some jargony Tiqqun text I'm sure you'd be creaming yourself

Bullshitter moron detected.

bullshit liberal detected

the bullshit liberal, hipster, or whatever you want to call it is the one who unquestioningly holds on to their smart phone, facebook, gmail, etc. and gets defensive whenever anyone points out the authoritarianism and oppression inherent to this technology.

By default, that "liberals" troll can't compute comments that are more than 3 words sentences without punctuation. I didn't see such processing power since my old Commodore 64!

Anti-"liberal" troll is having a field day on this site these days. Maybe we shouldn't feed him. Of course, if I ever meet him...

The fear of reading anything other than "pure" anarchist texts is a sign of fundamentalism and a distaste for critical thinking. Where do I sign up for your book-burning, you creep?

Where's the part about destruction?

Yeah, the title of this is really misleading.

what, you don't think that yelling at yuppies and painting slogans on buildings will destroy the surveillance state?

"But it’s more complicated than driving the employees of these tech companies out of our neighborhoods. Almost everyone in the US is plugged into the networks built by these tech giants, and as long as the populations materially supports them as customers, users, and consumers, these companies will continue to expand their capabilities. The boycott of the big banks during the Occupy movement never took off, and the majority of the US population still deposits their money with them. It is the same with the tech companies. A boycott will not take off. As long as capitalist infrastructure is functioning properly, electronic commodities and the internet will be easily accessible to the population. It is the prerogative of capitalism for its commodities to be constantly available at the cheapest price and at the best value. A force antagonistic to capitalism cannot hope to defeat it unless they create something new that offers what capitalism cannot."

and this is why the title is misleading. in this large paragraph, only the second half of the last sentence mentions anything to be done about the surveillance state, and really it's just talking about capitalism. is the title to be summed up as "yell at yuppies, paint slogans, oh, and 'create something new'"? the first sentence is correct, in that it is more complicated than this stuff, but then doesn't GUIDE the reader in any way as to WHAT IS TO BE DONE TO DESTROY THE SURVEILLANCE STATE.

"The truth lives outside the range of their surveillance and to manifest a world of truth we must build it ourselves. Only a force can defeat another force, and every world of truth burns a hole in the fabric of lies we inhabit. Fill these worlds with beauty, joy, and light"

Filling world with beauty, joy and light is what those manipulators -like that blonde corporate bitch who visited those people's neighbor, or the usual macho hippie/hipster- do all the time with people. Depends on the context where it's manifesting, the purpose...

But yes, it works. Light does blind people, that's the point. Thousands of preachers and gurus throughout history can testify. To some extent, the Spectacle of techno-industrial progress is a way to bring beauty and light (in the form of hype or hope) in the minds of people.

"Darkening darkness" is an old taoist principle that works very well too. Like bringing all those yuppies in the dark, the place they fear the most, as an instance.

Also what Snowden unwillingly did... spoiling the hopes of all those yuppies, showing them that the future doesn't have nice things in store for them.

Old taoist principle? You mean something like this

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.

Going from there, to "Like bringing all those yuppies in the dark, the place they fear the most, as an instance"...

No, I'm not following you... care to explain your last blurry sentence?

I was quoting the post above... Haven't heard of "darkening darkness" before, but I remember something about darkness from the beginning of a Tao Te Ching translation.

I feel like... that's not such an instance.

"and to manifest a world of truth we must build it ourselves"

w-w-what bullshit is this man

yeah coz you know the truth is so bourgeois and lies are sooo kewl! Especially when living in a Google/Apple-owned Matrix augmented reality with the robotized condo and Obama telling you the wise thought of the day...

naw... you niggas havent even dreamed bout the truth

The best part is the perfect summary of the rotting zombie-corpse of a counter culture that is burning man.

Come and twist the logic of capitalism in to knots as you rationalize why the mecca of the temporary autonomous zone (TAZ) party scene is in a fucking desert in the first place. (hint: its the last place the hippies went after the cops kicked them out of everywhere else)

Relentlessly refusing to fight means being exiled to the desert. Once there, anything that might of meant something will be commodified and mindlessly co-opted by yuppies who can't quite seem to figure out why it's so "edgy and cool".

Eventually, they'll restructure the way they do ticket sales so even the diehards will be replaced by more yuppie tourists.

Apparently this has all been happening in apocalyptic slow-motion since the late 80s

As usual, structures based on polar opposites are logical/conceptual do not exist in the real relational space of nature , so that the ‘what is going on here’ in this discussion could use some broader contextual framing. That is, on the surface it looks like ‘the new colonialism’ with the ordinary pre-gentrification populace being the ‘indigenous people’ whose ‘wonderful established world’ is being destroyed by what is seen by the colonizers as ‘the wonderful new world’ they are constructing.

In this ‘contextual framing’, it is first of all worth noting that the same principle is operative in this case; i.e. ‘colonization’. Colonization is a means of organizing that features a centre-of-reasoning that rolls out the reason-based narrative of those who are in control of the centre-of-reasoning. This is backed up by a ‘retributive justice’ system featuring laws that govern allowable and prohibited behaviours so as to pave the way for unopposed roll-out of the centre-of-reason driven narratives.

This organization is ‘psychological’ and not ‘physically real’. The concept of a sovereign state, an organization seen as an ‘independent reason-driven system’, is a ‘secularized theological concept’, which is backed up by biological science’s view of man, organism and biological organization as 'independent reason-driven systems'. It is not physically real. It is conceptual idealization.

The sovereign state is therefore an organization that exists in the minds of people as this particular secularized theological concept = ‘an independent reason-driven system’. naturally organizing people had to be forcibly ‘made into believers’ of this flag-worshipping theology, or at least humourers of it, by the violence of law enforcement. They thus become cogs in the centre-driven roll-out of the state’s reason-based narrative, out of FEAR. The state becomes firmly established when people rationalize the fear as love, as with God in the case of monotheism; i.e. ‘fear of God’ makes sense if God is seen as all-powerful, so why not ‘love’ the all-powerful and be one of his side-kicks?

This belief in the secularized version of monotheist theology is described as follows by Thomas Mann in ‘Mario and the Magician’;

“The capacity for self-surrender, he said, for becoming a tool, for the most unconditional and utter self-abnegation, was but the reverse side of that other power to will and to command. Commanding and obeying formed together one single principle, one indissoluble unity; he who knew how to obey knew also how to command, and conversely; the one idea was comprehended in the other, as people and leader were comprehended in one another.”

That’s right, fascism is a secularized version of monotheism.

Man describes how the magician brings up a volunteer onto the stage and ‘works the crowd’ so that the roar of the vulgar crowd urges the volunteer to do something gross that he or she would never normally do. As the mob’s powerful chant urges him/her to do this thing the individual’s pysche is experiencing an unstable equilibrium in resisting, like the sailboat that is being blown over by not heeding the wind’s instruction, and if one let’s go of the helm, the vessel will immediately point up into the wind as directed by the wind, like a horse trained to do its master’s bidding. One speaks of this point where the naturally free animal is domesticated and its hatred for those that would unnaturally restrain its behaviour is catalyzed by ‘fear’ into ‘love’, as ‘fear of the insuperably powerful’ is converted into ‘love of the insuperably powerful’.

It is important to realize that the power of the crowd comes from using fear to convert naturally free people into those who love the power of the crowd and who thus become part of the crowd solidarity. The woman who fights you off until you use your insuperable-to-her power and rape her, ..may flip to loving you, like the wild mare that is ‘broken’ into domestication. In physics, this is like flip of the weather vane from an unstable equilibrium where the tail feathers try to keep their back to the wind, and where the equilibrium is far more stable if the vane lets itself be turned around by the wind’s bidding.

This global surveillance that enforces compliance to the direction of ‘independent reason-driven systems’ is not a physically real dynamic. Reason-based directives only work on ‘domesticated units’. Cracking the whip only turns those horses that are domesticated to point to their master. The belief in imaginary line boundaries of the sovereign state that one must seek permission to cross only work on ‘domesticated’ residents. No naturally free animals or relational forms are going to pay any attention to such abstract directives. Indigenous aboriginals humour the sovereigntist authorities if/while they are being watched.

Resistance movements can be pockets of natural behaviour that exist within the authoritarian state because the state is not a ‘real thing’ but is an organization based on psychologically domesticated participants, the psychologically conditioned who snap to attention when the whip of the central authority is cracked.

‘Temporary autonomous zone’ is a fancy name for ‘suspending our psychological conditioning based domestication’ that inverts the physical reality, putting the psychologically conditioned reality into an undeserved and unnatural primacy;

“In the formation of a TAZ, Hakim Bey argues, information becomes a key tool that sneaks into the cracks of formal procedures. A new territory of the moment is created that is on the boundary line of established regions. Any attempt at permanence that goes beyond the moment deteriorates to a structured system that inevitably stifles individual creativity. It is this chance at creativity that is real empowerment.”

For all of the natural relational forms of the earth, the earth is a natural relational space and that never has and never will change.

Of course, if a Christian visited Mecca, the structures (mosques etc.) and customs (prayers five times a day, no pork etc.) would be alien to the Christian. Similarly, an indigenous aboriginal of Turtle Island, visiting Europe with its secularized theological structures and customs [based on belief that man, organism and organization are ‘independent reason-driven structures’] would find the structures and customs alien. This feeling of being in an ‘alien land’ is a subjective psychological impression. It is not a ‘physical reality’. Those who tie their identity to the structures and customs are fully ‘at home’ within it. [this is true whether one visits the alien land, or as in colonization, the alien land visits us]

Meanwhile, the beasts of the forest, the birds, insects, the rivers, the winds continue on without feeling that they are subject to the surveillance and directives of those creatures known as ‘humans’ that pay more attention to intellectual constructs than to their own natural experience. The colonizers brought their ‘secularized religion’ of centre-of-reason driven organization to Turtle Island, and five hundred years of violent force against the indigenous peoples has failed to secure conversion/domestication/belief in the indigenous population.

It is important to discern that this is a psychological conditioning game and not a physically real game. For example, Nazi occupation of Europe was the same sort of colonizing program that attempted conversion of the all people resident in the occupied space. The physical world itself is not involved in this ‘conversion’, it is a psychological game played by humans on/with humans. The rivers and winds, birds and insects, continue to pay no heed to authoritarian directives nor would they buy into stories about ‘what states do’ and ‘what corporations’ do, as if these were ‘real’ rather than conceptual entities whose ‘reality’ was a matter of secularized theological belief.

Under Nazi occupation, resistors lived natural lives in their homes (hiding fugitives from the occupational authorities) and where surveillance was spotty (where the searchlight exploring the prison yard was not currently pointed on them).

The Nazis, through quislings and collaborators, and informers aimed to achieve monolothic solidarity for a single regime with a single control centre in Berlin.

The U.S. administration [with the support of a lackey alliance or 'coalition of the willing'] is seeking this same monolithic solidarity on a global basis via collaborators on the scale of lackey sovereign states. Snowdon and Assange are hiding in the attic like Anne Frank since that global solidarity is nearly, but not quite, in place on a globally pervasive basis.

But we are not talking about Nazism here, so what are we talking about? The British and the French administrations want the same the monolithic solidarity the U.S. administration wants. The Nazis wanted physical control of the world by the Aryan race. So what do the administrations of the U.S., Britain and France want? It is not ‘the Aryan race’ in this case, but the secularized theological belief in man, organism and organization as ‘independent doer-deed systems’, a religious order that believes that organization must be reason-driven, which makes sense if one believes in the ‘independence’ of humans and organisms and organizational structures, but which is insane if one acknowledges that we live in a relational space, as is the findings of modern physics, which abandons the notions of ‘independence’ which came from seeing ‘structures’ as being built up from components/particles and residing within an abstract, notional ‘absolute space and absolute time operating theatre’.

The U.S. and its lackey state alliance want to operate as ‘independent reason-driven systems’ which is also science’s secularized theological model of man, organism and organization which can establish ‘it’s own reason-based narrative’, and ‘roll it out’ from it’s ‘centre of reasoning’. It is backing this up with a ‘retributive justice system’ which legislates and enforces allowable and prohibited behaviours. This package is called ‘democracy’ since one has periodic elections where the politicians with the ‘winning reason-based narrative’ are given access to the ‘centre of reasoning’ of the ‘state’ seen as a ‘independent reason-driven system’. Corporations are also created as ‘independent reason-driven systems’, licensed for operation in the state, by the state, and protected by the state and its standing police-force and armies which back up its system of retributive justice which enforces compliance with ‘centre-of-reason’ imposed directives as associate with the currently incumbent ‘reason-based narrative’.

One may get the impression that the rise of surveillance and enforced compliance with the current central authority imposed reason-based narrative is a ‘physical reality’ which it is not. We are still naturally wild and free people like the birds and animals who are undomesticated. No-one can take this from us while we remain alive. The whole world is an ‘autonomous zone’ and it makes no sense to invert ‘what is physically real’ and speak of ‘temporary autonomous zones’. The ‘reason-driven narrative’ we are barraged with daily in the media is not ‘physical reality’. For 500 years, the indigenous aboriginal who has resisted ‘domestication’ hears talk which speaks of ‘states’ doing this and that as ‘bullshit’. It is talk for the ‘believers’, those who have been psychologically conditioned to the point that their fear of an insuperable power has converted them to lovers of that insuperable power, and power that comes from nowhere else but such belief. The surveillance arm of the retributive justice system that enforces compliance of central-authority issued behavioural directives can collapse in an instant, the moment that ‘belief’ collapses. The power of the KGB derives from belief in it and when belief is interrupted, the KGB collapses like the magnetic force in an electromagnet collapses when the electrical power is interrupted.

We live in a free and natural world. That is the general case. We can experience it in the forest where the prison camp searchlight and surveillance system does not shine. We experience this free and natural world in an embrace with our loved ones, an embrace as free and natural as bears hugging in the wilds.

Our problem is not a physical problem, it is one of ‘psychological conditioning’ and associated ‘domestication’ wherein the secularized theological concept of man, organism and organization as ‘independent reason-driven systems’, the derivative of European monotheism, is built in to Western science and promoted as ‘reality’.

This whole system of global hegemony collapses with the collapse of belief in it. The more we promote belief in it, the more people fear it, and the fear of an insuperable power is an unstable equilibrium that flips peoples orientation like the wind flips a weathervane into the ‘stable equilibrium’ of pointing wherever the direction of the wind says it should point. The raped woman and the broken horse learn the love the ‘seemingly’ insuperable power that imposes its will upon them.

What we are struggling with today is ‘psychological conditioning’ and nothing more. The autonomous zones are not physically real zones, they are what happens when/where we suspend belief in the imposed secularized theology of 'sovereigntism' and resume our natural non-psychologically conditioned spontaneity. of course, it is wise to situate ourselves, in one way or another, outside of the scope of the prison yard searchlights to facilitate 're-assuming, with impunity, our natural way', but it is misleading to call this a 'desert' or a 'temporary autonomous zone' because it is like being in a plane and seeing a patch of earthly terrain through a hole in the clouds. the natural terrain is always there [it is not a 'temporary autonomous zone'] being hidden behind the pseudo-real cloud cover of collective, psychologically conditioned belief.

There is no 'us' and 'them' struggle going on. it is an 'us' with 'us' struggle.

thank you

'us with us struggle' too is 'illusion'

"This whole system of global hegemony collapses with the collapse of belief in it."
Stunning summary of the illusion of idealism. It's simply not true.

It is true from an active perspective. To stop believing means to reject or stop doing business with the institutions of Power, acknowedging in action that they are rotten and only deserve:to be exposed and trashed to hell.

What's idealistic is the demented notion that it'll automatically happen all of a sudden... just because you did that stupid march that convinced enough proles that yeah, austerity sucks and it's gotta stop.

But belief as a social value is what the capitalists and the social managers themselves call "confidence". Authoritarian relationships or hierarchies are themselves aimed at enforcing and maintaining confoidence intact.

What you've got here with the whistleblowers and defection of Snowden is shining manifestations of lack of confidence, coming from people inserted in crucial areas of the power structure.

To sum up your point, in hopes of elucidating for the previous commenter--what you believe is shown not by what you say, but by what you do.

Depends who is "you". Was just sayin' that idealists (such as the liberal/hippie/pacifist/Occupy idiot kind) don't have much of a pragmatic sense, so beliefs mostly translate only into words and wishful thinking. Can also apply that to the whole anarchist philosopher caste. In their case, the other commenter's critique applies.

Another way of saying this is that the REAL BASE CASE is ‘action’ rather than ‘stasis’. Only in the Newtonian view is ‘stasis’ seen as the base case, and Western civilization is a civilization whose members believe they are ‘independent reason-driven systems’ that live in an absolute space and absolute time ‘operating theatre’. This leads to the ‘offender’ – ‘victim’ dualism of Western retributive justice and to the view of community as ‘an organization’ of the ‘independent reason-driven system’ type (anthropomorphism).

In the understanding of modern physics and indigenous anarchism, we are included in a relational space. In this understanding, ‘community’ evolves as a resonance structure wherein our assertive actions are orchestrated and shaped by the opening of relational spatial needs,... call it mutual aid or ‘yin/yang’ dynamics or whatever. The base case is thus ‘relational action’. To roll over and play dead when the authorities arrive at an eruption of conflict and stand back while they beat up your brothers and sisters is an ‘action’ akin to dropping anchor in a sailboat for fear of colliding with something. It is NOT A NULL ACTION, it is an ‘avoidance action’ and it characterizes our everyday 'Western civilization' lives.

This is what comes of ‘belief in the secularized theological notion of the supreme power of the state’ and/or a fear of those who believe in it.

Restorative justice understands community as a relational resonance structure where harmonious relations are the base case, these being sustained by the continuing actions of the participants. The emergence of conflict is thus understood as a deficiency in the relational hitting-fielding dynamic [yin/yang dynamic] so that the entire community must take responsibility and thus participate in the restoring of harmonious relations. It makes no sense, in this understanding, to attempt to resolve the conflict using a ‘third party’ that comes in and makes ‘offender-victim’ judgements and deals with the ‘offender’ as if everyone he/she and everyone is an ‘independent reason-driven system’ outfitted with a common reason-based narrative [christian, muslim, jewish, carnivore, herbivore], where an outbreak of conflict is interpreted as arising from a faulty narrative in one or more of the ‘independent reason-based systems’.

No self-respecting indigenous anarchist would ever BELIEVE in this notion that humans are ‘independent reason-driven systems’ that live in an absolute space and absolute time operating theatre and that outbreaks of conflict are explainable in terms of having jumpstarted from out of a defective reason-based narrative in one of the ‘independent reason-driven systems’, so that they should just roll and over and play dead while the authorities, who are there for such things, send in a forensic team to judge which of these ‘independent reason-driven systems’ is operating with a faulty narrative that is causing conflict. For the indigenous anarchist, everyone is participating in sustaining resonance in a spatial relational context and the manner of relating is the source of resonance structure = ‘community’, and therefore, if the resonance falters and develops dissonances or wobbles, it is everyone’s responsibility to participate in restoring the resonance. that is what ‘restorative justice’ (indigenous aboriginal traditional justice) is all about. there is no ‘judgement' of 'offender and victim’ that isolates the ‘conflict’ as a notional cause-effect transaction and puts everyone else on the moral highground of zero involvement as if they lived in a fixed, empty and infinite operating theatre where ‘stasis’ is the ‘base case’.

The notion that protest building into revolution and physical overthrow of the structures of government is what is required (rather than a suspending of belief in secularized theological concepts) associates with those Western civilization mindsets, conditioned by noun-and-verb European language-and-grammar, who believe that;

1. Who believe that yang structures such as 'the river flows' represent reality, and NOT yin/yang relational structures such as 'the terrain is rivering' of the aboriginal language which DO NOT DROP OUT the orchestrating influence of the relational space [yin] that is conjugate to the 'yang' asserting.

2. Who believe that they themselves are 'independent reason-driven systems'.

3. Who believe that 'community' is Created by a multiplicity of 'independent reason-driven systems' like themselves, infused with a common 'reason-based community narrative' who do their stuff in an absolute space and absolute time operating theatre.

4. Who believe that protest has value in sofar as it contributes towards rallying the physical forces of people to rise up and physically overthrow the authoritarian system, ... rather than having value as a wake-up call to shed dysfunctional beliefs in secularized theological concepts such as the belief that man, organism and organization is an 'independent reason-driven system'.

5. Who believe that 'rolling over and playing dead' when the authorities arrive to judge, bully, incarcerate one's brothers and sisters is neutral since it does not constitute doing anything negative or positive, ... at least not if one believes the base case is stasis, in which case the actions of the authorities can be construed as 'negative actions' on the part of 'independent reason-driven systems', in which case 'rolling over and playing dead' when the authorities do their thing is correspondingly defined as null and neutral.

6. Who believe that it makes sense to DENY the need for the restorative justice of the indigenous anarchist, and to leave justice (the restoring of community harmony) in the hands of secularized theological authorities who seek to resolve disharmony by identifying 'offenders' causally responsible for conflict and injury, 'offenders' seen as 'independent reason-driven systems' sporting a flawed reason-based narrative in their centre-of-reasoning from whence their behaviour is jumpstart-driven and directed.

7. Who believe that the base case is stasis, zero action, so that actions can be categorized as EITHER positive OR negative and systems set up with an overall 'judge' who has an overall view and the authority to judge and reward positive actions and judge and punish negative actions, using an agreed reference template that keys to the independent behaviours of independent reason-driven systems.

* * *

indigenous anarchism can be described by its insistence on restorative justice which makes conflict resolution the responsibility of all and which takes the 'base case' of community to be relational resonance as in harmonious traffic flow where collective actions open up relational niches which orchestrate individual and collective assertive movements. When such yin/yang dynamics are reduced to the yang dynamics that jumpstart from people who see themselves as 'independent reason-driven systems', the 'community' dynamic becomes conflict and dissonance prone. That is, when one recalls the reality that one's actions relative to one another can be co-formed so as to open up passageways for one another, and that the co-opening of passageways for one another can be a more meaningful shaper of behaviour than individually jumpstarted pure yang 'independent reason-driven system' actions, the 'community' dynamic can be co-restored to a harmony-sustaining relational dynamic.

those who allow retributive justice to continue, who roll over and play dead when the authorities arrive to make their 'offender-victim' judgements, are the pillars of authoritarianism.

anarchism, as in indigenous anarchism, requires the implementing of restorative justice and the eliminating of retributive justice. while this can be done clandestinely in many different but not easily detected ways in the mainstream, as is done by resistance groups such as those in WWII Europe, the overt practice of restorative justice requires ground that is a no-go zone for authoritarian interventions. indigenous aboriginal reservations, secured zones such as the EZLN have developed in Chiapas, and other areas ignored by the authorities for whatever reason can provide such ground.

it is not that these spots of ferment will grow larger and begin to merge until the entire landscape is covered, it is that they will become platforms from which the heresies they represent will become more visible and audible so as to contribute to a more general collapse of belief in the secularized theological premises of authoritarianism/colonialism.

please don't generalize

I would really have liked to hear more on that squat, and its context. Part of building a struggle is about good storytelling on our past/current achievements, so it can inspire other people (who aren't in or around Seattle). But keeping it in the dark will make lotsa people just ignore its very existence.

Anybody knows if it's under threat of eviction too?

the squat is safe and sound. worry not!

So it's really really a squat... as in autonomous occupation? No slumlord, no rent, no taxes, no State? Endless joy and booze stupidity around the kitchen table with friends? Gosh, if I'm still alive on this continent it's in great part because I wanna live that on this DOOMED North American soil.

actually the "squat" is a walking house known as the moving castle and it travels across time and space. it is inhabited by creatures such as these:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVYTW41TFT8

This article is nice to read, and I'm happy to see thought concerned with this question of technology and more specifically cybernetic control. However I think the author falls into a trap of critique. I think squating and trying to find a life--or rather build it--outside of the watchful eye of surveillance is a nice step, but I think a strategy in accord with our time and with what's at stake would have to find a way to encounter these spaces where this cybernetic utopia is being built, and really split it's forces. It's a fair observation that no movementhas arrived that holds on to these weird truths of snowdens and wiki leaks super secrets, but I think we're not being ambitious enough or strategic with our visions of what would. We need a world--a force whose capacity and faculty goes well beyond our current limited practices. That is to say well beyond smoking weed, looking at the sunset. Right now we need cold strategic thought, deep humility, and experiments.

I agree and hope you will share some ideas, in writing or practice.

Did anyone made the relation with that CIA contract with Amazon mentioned in this text and the upcoming large-scale offensive of the Amazon drones?

So many new oppotunities for smashy-smash!

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