TOTW: Islands in the Stream

  • Posted on: 8 December 2019
  • By: ingrate

My entry to anarchy had everything to do with attraction to the people I met who shared core values, and to whom I was personally attracted, sometimes romantically, sometimes just by affinity, often it was all mixed up.

I recently had the opportunity to see a screening of the film Animal People, a documentary about the SHAC USA campaign, which was, arguably, organized on anarchic, decentralized methods. I was reminded of how much face-to-face interactions played a critical role in finding my comrades. In particular, I was struck b the way face-to-face relations led to the SHAC 7 not snitching eachother out, which was not universal to the Green Scare.

Members of SHAC USA present for the panel discussion spoke to why they didn't turn on each other. It seemed both intuitive to me, and also like an echo of some nostalgic memory. This type of (counter?) socialization now feels largely moribund, and I wonder how younger anarchists today make those same connections.

I am an anarchist of a certain (middle) age, and a lot of the anarchists I found initially are now socialists, democratic socialists, or just boring liberals.
This Topic of the Week is geared towards younger set: How do you find your Islands in the Stream?


I feel you. My introduction was absolutely someone taking me by the hand and saying, we're going to wheatpaste this upcoming protest poster, spraypaint that wall, paintbomb this billboard. It was only that face-to-face that made it real for me.

Sure, there were other inlets into those ideas that made me want to do those things to begin with but, it was the act of doing them with actual humans (not lyrics from a Conflict song) that made them stick.

If a sense of hyper security culture existed where I was living when I was introduced to these concepts then I would never have been so affected (changed, radicalized, etc) by the beautiful idea.

Ok crustie

Fuck this meme is SO tired already

To my knowledge coming from ex-buddies, SHAC was also half-admittedly working as mating groups where you could easily find sex/love partners that also were comrades. They way it was happening seemed to be pretty fluid and effective, while serving as a cohesion multiplier for the militant collectives. As a matter of fact, SHAC would like have been a pretty lame and snitchy operation without the sex in the background, and the Wilhem Reich in me is wondering whether that wasn't a primary weakness in many anarchist milieus in North America. So it appeared to have been a perfect balance of sex and militancy; not too obvious so that those getting involved don't just do it for the sole interest of getting laid, while being open enough for everyone to feel included. Only thing is that not everyone could get involved into SHAC and it seemed to be a right person at the right time kinda recruitment cycle (due to same old crowd-sourcing in academia?). On my part, when the movement got really big I was either stuck with leftoid fools at university or just out of the loop in the hellhole of wage slavery.

I'd like people who've been involved to validate/refute that. Or anyone involved in different, other big campaigns such as XR for comparison.

this reads like a parody

I came here to do the exact opposite and be like "hey … maybe don't confuse having crushes and seeking sexual partners for motivation to do rad shit because it'll mean there's no real substance to anything you're doing?"

on an anonymous platform used by a few dozen nerds. seriously, get out more.

Religious congregations gotta start somewhere... ;)

"Get out more": let's look into the meaning of that sentence.

Yes, being more outside instead of spending hours a day on your computer is a good, healthy thing, yet in the current world that doesn't mean gaining a better social life, in itself.

step 1: turn off device
step 2: "get out more"
step 3: ??????
step 4: all the social

But seriously though, isn't it implied that you should put thought in to step 3?

Pay no attention to that ancillary tiqqunery, nor to the misappropriation of winky-face in reply to it.
Do not encourage such foolish behavior of these sheepish voluntary servants by adding more steps for them to follow.

Here are some insightful, detailed and thorough(ly boring) thoughts relevant to this TOTW:

But if you're truly isolated, let us not ruin your bliss.

Anyone who renounces life because he feels that it is nothing but pain and sorrow and doesn’t find in himself the heroic courage to kill himself is — in my opinion — a grotesque poser and a helpless person; such as this:

Find the courage!

sigh … must you always bring tiqqun in to this? it's just a fact of the times that a vast majority are unwittingly sealed in their cyberpods. once you pull the plugs and wires out of your brain, where you go is up to you

23:14 and the tag on the TOTW "find each other" first step in "Inhabit" pamphlet which i'm calling ancillary tiqqunery

beware the tiqqun! every infoshop is infested by tiqqun! protocols of the learned elders of tiqqun! tiqqun this! tiqquen that! ;)

i wouldn't know. are they really? you know it's just a pose XD
they aren't that relevant, and i'm not that vehemently against them
you know i'm spineless. i wouldn't take a stand in a urinal!...or a shopping line!...which works best?

i hope you know that's not me.
ps. come back to irc sometime. we miss your oldness.

oh come on! you need not worry about that!
we all think much more highly of you.
no one in their right mind would dare assume you'd cheapen the value of the texts you've curated by posting them in a badly put together shitpost. but if it exists, as with anything, others will, if only to shoot the breeze (or make a point or create senseless discord?)

Hey rfa! I just need to buy a new computer and then I'll come argue with the abyss again.

Miss you weirdos too! <3

You wrote "ancillary" and I went drooling like a young girl laying down with her chad for the first time! Write more like this, astute genius pedant for I am so dead inside!

it’s a fun word huh
rhymin’s fun too

It's your ancillary again, wise ascended master... Please enlighten me with your wisdom explaining me how a person who "renounces life" would not want to commit suicide. I haven't met many lovers of life who want to end their own...

yo, it’s a renzo novatore quote
what are meaning?
i only do plagiarism and shitpost

wait til i drop da real shitpost tho
finna be 12p long turd

Yes, but step 3 is the trickiest part for many people out there. You don't get to step 4 just coz you went through step 3.

I go out there frequently, too. I see a lot of people who don't talk to each other, and rather interact with screens. Then there's the socially-affluent people, often seen as talking to each other all the time. Yet how the latter are meeting and building ties? Through established institutions, maybe social media and sometimes there may have been some magik like random encounters that due to very good social skills or affinity have evolved into something more permanent.

Personal psycho-affective factors like social anxiety, stress or depression may cause severe inhibitions keeping people from continuously expose themselves to being shunned, ghosted, ridiculed or judged negatively, and these traits may have arisen from being too sensitive to these patterns, Often in more populated environment this anxiety can make someone turn "insane" and/or sexually predatorial or abusive, like these homeless guys that keep shouting violent incoherent rants to imaginary characters, etc. So let's look at the reality of what a person with poor social skills needs to meet new people.. they need facilitating devices of sorts. Or rituals. Or infrastructure.

we've all been "shunned, ghosted, ridiculed or judged negatively" countless times. hell is other people, etc.

lower your opinion of your own species until these things don't affect you, thats my method lol

there are no steps
just the present moment
~ j u s t ~ v i b e ~

in this urge to meet new people
that may stem out of FOMO or socialization and other social or economic pressures
this potential "new" or "special" other is idealized and somehow placed as the solution to your woes
the standard for a person becomes stringent; everyone is discarded as "a normie"
just learn to be self-reliant and dwell in silence
if you're wherever you are, and you are present in the moment, and open to possibilities
you're in a better position to engage with anyone/everyone you come across

"But them chicks are hot, I feel like getting cozy with them!"

Jedi Master anon: "just learn to be self-reliant and dwell in silence
if you're wherever you are, and you are present in the moment, and open to possibilities"

anon: *tries hard to be present in the moment where they are, already"

but not so strained like that
ur turning blue

Discussion is being derailed by snark as usual... I agree there's big psycho-affective factors, it's not so easy to just "get out", and once you do, the social spaces are fucking hostile. In my experience, anarchist/autonomous spaces used to be a bit of a refuge but they aren't any more. Not sure if this is cause or consequence.

As cause: there's too much joyless politics, "hard work", procedure, idpol, and yeah - shunning judging etc (there was always some but it's insanely epidemic now); there needs to be more fun, solidarity, practical support, empowering actions, and tolerance for *real* difference i.e. individual eccentricities and subcultures.

As consequence: people are nearly all struggling with too much stress and being recomposed as a type of person among whom it's hard to tolerate one another. Current educational, parenting, policing, and management methods are converging to produce people who are nearly incapable of pleasure, hypersensitive to perceived attacks, passive-aggressive and lost without rules and institutions, and both extremely demanding on others and extremely averse to helping or even tolerating others. Put these people in a room together and they relate through personas, start using behaviourist nudge/signal/conditioning techniques on each other, start threat-profiling each other, then start shunning, ghosting, ridiculing and judging on an epic scale. More on this below. If I'm right about this, then the scene-as-problem aspects might be stickier than they seem.

Anyway... wanted to say thanks, Anon 10.38 for raising the psycho-affective stuff.

"In my experience, anarchist/autonomous spaces used to be a bit of a refuge but they aren't any more. Not sure if this is cause or consequence."

My limited experience of anarchist spaces is that they can be often run from behind by highly suspicious people and also, indeed, had been serving as honeypots for hostile authoritarian interests (not just the cops). Such was the case of a now-defunct space in East Montreal that was a cramped up, stressful hotspot where you had no choice but to been seen by everyone when entering, and some of the people running it were suspicious for anyone who ain't some first-level libcom or something. So it's more up to who's behind it. Too bad, coz at least they had a free fridge...

Then when it is openly asserted that a place can be a snitch spot, well, it won't make anyone exactly comfortable to hang out there. This, I think, is LESS due to the suspicious character of those involved than this tendency at being so open about the radical ideas or pretenses that attract the ants to the pot. In the age of mass surveillance and personal snitch devices, the moment people are putting up clear signifiers or even their obvious referents for radical ideas that may be used to incriminate people, The marxists' old pattern of politicization becomes a way of putting tags on people as persons of interest. Not saying this is what happens, but it is what happens into people's minds, at least. It's a vector of more socio-political insecurity, not social relaxing.

Stress, in general, should be seen as a thing, and a thing to relieve from, not encourage by things like allowing hectic activists with inflammatory big egos take over the place. Relax spaces, not spaces tagged by an paradoxical illusion of safety ("safer spaces"), are what we need as anarchy spaces. Above that... not having them known as anarchist/autonomous spaces should be a key.

I agree about stress and tendencies to toxic socialization, which I personally correlate with us all becoming cyborgs but why link that to explicit radical politics for a space? you launched that baby with the bathwater! look at baby fly! wheee...

if shitty people entrench themselves, it's about their individual shit. if the space is targeted for repression, then it's about that but trying to have public spaces that aren't explicit is just part of the current problem where over time, it's a net loss of new people and visibility for radical politics.

if someone wants to meet people IRL then surely it's more likely they'll meet those people IRL than on the internet?
- I really wish I could get off the internet and meet new people...
- have you considered this awesome new internet platform?

don't fugging tease me with a fuggin lone "if" as subject for the comment...
i was expecting a well placed one, a fuggin smooth comeback, where the context would make it sizzle.
but it's just the first word in your sentence, disappointing. a valid point nonetheless.

This is where a familiar historical event occurs within all collective rebellions, a call to put aside differences and come together as a unified core in a human democratic social order. Everyone begins to tolerate sins and the acts of evil people within the collective. They forget that behind every fortune there is a crime. Alas, I must return to my unique individual idea to survive this.*sigh*

Newbie here, doesn't this whole idea of "CONGREGATION" is the religious version of COMMUNISM" and "SEGREGATION".
remember folks, authority has two arms to control the body and the soul.
These 3 toxic formations of authoŕitarian design and mobilization are for the purpose of brainwashing and manipulating the people.
Maybe I'm being the raw new purist recruit to the anarchist cause, oŕ idea would be a better word to describe it, but from my reaďings of the masters, or for a better word, the thinkers of anarchism, I thought that it was against the idea to obey someone commanding them or corralling them into halls or rooms to elect representatives, it was against the founding father's, or for want of a better word, the old sharpest anarchist thinker's ideas, to group people like that into uniform gangs? Any ideas?

Maybe you'll find that if you're going to oppose power in any meaningful way, it's already tricky enough without being completely alone. Plenty of old, sharp anarchists would agree. This lesson correlates strongly to those who did more than just write about things.

I found this a very useful article about shifts in subjectivity.
Basically, most millennials have been conditioned to be intolerant of other humans, and this is why social relations are now so difficult to establish.

There's been big social changes since the 1990s. The generation coming up, are not “raised” by Oedipal families in the old way. They're “raised” by a combination of TV and computers, and schools and parents using behaviourist/cybernetic social control methods. They are thus growing up with superficial cybernetics and behaviourism as the normal way of relating to other people. And they are applying this in their personality-formation and their social lives. They've grown up without unconditional love, and subject to conditional love and isolation regimes (time-out, solitary confinement in schools...) so they grow up insecure and needing affirmation, and afraid of social punishments (shunning, judging etc) which they experience as if they're newborn children afraid of annihilation or abandonment by parents they depend on. They have repressed and are alienated from their inner flows, or channel these flows directly into the cybernetic machine. They relate to others through an artificial persona, a social surface – this is what they've learnt “works” as a way to survive and get what they want. This persona interacts with others as if it was a node in the computer network – sending out signals, nudges, feedback. (Social credit China-style is the next stage of this.)

So... basically we have a generation of cybernetic authoritarian personalities. This makes anarchism, or even everyday reciprocity, very different. Behaviourist conditioning is a hierarchical relationship – there is asymmetry between nudger and nudged, conditioner and conditioned. Cybernetics may flatten this relationship (everyone nudges everyone), but this does not make it horizontal – it is still intensely authoritarian. There is a constant fight to occupy the position of nudger/conditioner and not nudged/conditioned. Power is volume. My signal is your noise and vice-versa. The context becomes horribly power-laden and power-scarce. Relating this way is hard work and very traumatic. Being cybernetically conditioned by others usually feels like erasure or abuse, especially if someone's terrified of isolation. Everyone knows everyone else is trying to nudge them, so nobody trusts anyone. People have also been brought up in risk-analysis, with heightened threat-perceptions linked to cybernetic profiling (think of the lists of “10 signs of an abuser” or whatever). The net effect is contradictory. One, people are extremely needy and demanding. They feel the need to make others avoid upsetting them in ways which trigger intense feelings of ego-decomposition, annihilation, nonexistence. Two, people are extremely averse to making allowances for others – even at the level of basic tolerance, let alone solidarity or practical support. 1) because they are in victim mode and 2) because they are terrified of being emotionally vampirised, having their “emotional labour” exploited and so on. So if people get together, right away they don't get along, there's no way to reconcile the demands and what people are prepared to give. Aggression is also taboo but in a disavowed way, there's actually a lot of aggression in society. But because yelling at people and fighting are not allowed, the aggressive energies get channelled into passive-aggression. Hence the current epidemic or shunning, shaming, judging, ghosting, direct bullying, and crybullying. Because people think cybernetically, their response to this is also cybernetic: create rules or system-mechanisms (“cultures” in current jargon) which punish it. But the mechanisms just become means for further passive-aggression.

And all of this is hard to challenge because people don't want to dig beneath the surface self and relate in other ways. This is the main difficulty today. People spontaneously relate in ways which are incompatible with anarchism, or even with Wardian/Scottian “everyday anarchy” or conviviality.

My suggestions for ways to deal with the problem:

1. We need more pleasure, more opportunities for social interactions which are pleasurable and which don't encourage the mutual competition/social performance complex.
2. We need to look into creating networks of subsistence or ways of meeting our own needs (individually or collectively) so as to offset the abandonment-anxiety.
3. We need to develop new kinds of Reichean/Deleuzian psychoanalysis which dismantle or loosen the currently prevalent kinds of armouring (which are NOT the same ones we were facing in the 60s). Corresponding to this: we need to decisively reject cybernetic-behaviourist psychology (which is the current dominant model even in anarchist circles). Ironically, anarchist spaces have become more open to psycho-affective issues just at the time when these issues have become vectors for insidious forms of social control. A position of “no psychology unless it's anti-cybernetic psychology” would be a good one.
4. We need to find ways to form deeper, more intimate connections – short-circuiting past the persona/nudging matrix.
5. We need to discourage cybernetic responses. We should refuse all attempts to formalise these types of responses in things like conduct codes, safer spaces policies, accountability processes, etc. Basically, if an intervention isn't challenging the cybernetic way of relating, we need to “veto” it as best we can.
6. Following from the above – we also need to learn to identify and reject the everyday manifestations of cybernetic personalities/thinking... attempts to enforce behaviour change through conditioning, demands of the idpol type, pressure to “not enable/facilitate”, feelings of collective responsibility for the “culture” of a “community” or for “behaviours” which happen in a “space”, etc. We need to start reacting to these kinds of control the same way we react to direct commands, i.e. “fuck you, I won't do what you tell me”.
7. On the same note – we need to think about ways to talk (or not talk) about everyday needs, psychological issues, prejudice, etc, which do not embed cybernetic assumptions. For example, the idea that people can talk to complete strangers about how they're complicit in invisible systems of domination is inherently dangerous; so is the current pop-psychology where people talk about their “needs”, triggers, etc without any consideration of the unconscious or the possibility they don't understand their own motives. Another example: anarchism is not about redistributing power in everyday settings which are “necessarily crisscrossed with oppressions we can't eliminate”... it's to create non-dominatory ways of life. The “power is everywhere” model naturalises cybernetics.
8. Those of us who are NOT cybernetic personalities need to regroup in spaces (ideally offline, though online works too) which are constructed so that cybernetic personalities self-exclude. We want these people to feel so alienated by our spaces that they just stay away, because none of their usual strategies work and they can't control us the way they want. Corresponding to this: our response to idpols calling out our spaces as having this or that “problem” must not be kneejerk compliance or self-questioning, but “fuck off” (we only recognise there's a problem if something is openly promoted in the scene; there's no collective responsibility for “behaviours”, people “feeling included”, etc etc).

I'll finish with another useful link, this time on recomposition:

Right now I can't even find a bee or a tong, because all the little hobby and interest groups assume cybernetic common sense. We need to recompose from the base-level up.

I love this post! Another high-effort gem from the usual suspect.

This could be what "the work" of running explicitly radical spaces could look like and unfortunately, this kind of stuff often barely gets touched because more mundane problems like "how do we pay the rent or fight eviction?" suck all the oxygen out of the project.

I mean @critic is casually prescribing many many years of toil here lol

EASIER SAID THAN DONE ASSHOLE but yeah, great post.

^PS I realized as I read further that what I call #cyborgproblems was your point as well. We could probably throw walls of text at each other for hours about this

lucky for you Le fool, I don't walltext!

Member when @critic and emile had a highlander duel for who would be the resident walltexter of @news?

The immediatism described in the link is a parallel set of values and attitudes mirrored by spontaneous living processes. Immediatism is an appropriate name by avoiding the religious overtones and baggage which comes with zen. Immediatists FTW!

This immediatism series is on its 26th ep already!

I've only heard the first one, yikes. It piled up quick. All titles sound interesting.

Thanks, I'm getting into them immediately, should be more of this for the anarcho appetite. I had totally forgotten about this field.

We may as well hold hands and be nice to eachother, put all petty differences aside whilst drifting down the stream, because there's a big waterfall approaching.

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