Anews Podcast 185 – 10.23.20

From Anews Podcast

Welcome to the anews podcast. This podcast is on anarchist activity, ideas, and conversations from the previous week on

Sound editing by Greg.

What’s New written and read by Chisel and Greg.

Thanks to Ariel Prime and Nettle for talking about the topic of the week: morality

1. Rapeman – Just Got Paid Today
2. Respect Song

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I think the answer is not to retrench around “Duty” or “morality” or re-appropriate those terms. A distinction can be made between personal desires & values, those shared by a specific group of people, those codified into a moral code, written into law & enforced on others. There is even at its base a distinction between desires & values, each can be at times fleeting or lasting for some duration, & they may contradict each other. Some people are characterized as slaves to either, so navigating what’s wise in each specific circumstance & context is key to living freely.

Words like affinity, desires, instinct, empathy, love, & hate feel more anarchist & may be apt to navigate these scenarios instead of duty or requirements. Is it that you’re required to help others, to save the planet, or is it that feel an urge & you’re drive by love, empathetic to suffering & hatred for those who abuse & oppress? Morality implies a certain discipline of behavior, while rewilding would imply reconnecting to & disinhibiting from instincts. If people were unrestrained from upbringing, some people might be nicer while others would be meaner, while others wouldn’t change at all, depending on how aligned or divergent their culture’s morality with their own desires.

The pitfall here would be to code “the natural” as wholly “good”, to code anarchists & anarchy as “good”, in a Manichean framework that some primitivists embrace.

An alternative to that would be to embrace the good & the bad of anarchy. Not to hide one aspect in order to appear more photogenic for the press, eventually anyone can easily expose the inconsistencies & the hypocrisies. So much talk about “the lesser evil” in terms of voting, liberals & rightists openly embracing it, but in reality, according to anarchists, anarchy is the lesser evil, unless they’re so naive to think anarchy is a heaven on Earth where are problems & conflicts disappear, only peace, harmony & bliss. Anarchy is not the movement towards a world of saints. We can look at the animal world & see “mutual aid” as well as “survival of the fittest”, & all that we can see as good or bad, acceptable or unacceptable behaviors . Other species have been responsible for extinction events in the past. Ultimately there is a limit to this good & bad vision that is very particularly human.

In the end, a lot of the confusion around this topic is the varieties of scenarios & problems anarchists face, & the varieties of (constructive, problem-solving, destructive) approaches & desires. There is no agreement of what is the way to solve x or y local or global problem as anarchists. There’s no restating of anarchist values that would eliminate conflicts across the board. Agreeing on “not ordering, not obeying” does not imply an agreement on anything else.

Like with the examples of technological imperatives, humans thinking themselves superior to other lifeforms, with knack for problem-solving with tools, being able to & currently in process of destroying a great deal of habitats. Those that would oppose that & also consider themselves anarchist, would not order them to stop, will they ask nicely? How much encroachment will they tolerate? The rhetoric of treating “the enemy” meaning some State as completely different from anything or anyone you may come into conflict with makes sense to a certain degree of acknowledging differences & particularities. But the limits are that you don’t owe any deference or loyalty to any r&om person just because they describe themselves as anarchist, or just for being a mere living thing. [to be continued]

Not all Christians get along (not even all dogs get along, but at least they don’t commit genocide), & those that commit vile acts are not excommunicated (a lot are praised). A Christian in death row can repent before being executed & ask the priest for a prayer, & for God’s forgiveness. Similarly anarchists can condemn & denounce other anarchists & their acts without necessarily that implying that they’re “excommunicated” from anarchy as long as they did not order or obey, coerce or oppress. Following those bare principles still leave plenty of room for evil & fucking up badly, & we don’t have to st& by those actions, but recognize that anarchy, that the real world under any circumstance, allows for these terrible, horrible & tragic things to happen, for people to actively do them to each other. Not all good anarchists are good people, not all bad anarchists are bad people. Are most church-going law-abiding citizens good people? Are they anarchists? What’s more important: to be good or to be anarchist? Each will tell.

Some people make clearer demarcations against Christian morality and liberal humanism, such as Gustavo Rodríguez expresses in this interview and elsewhere:

"The pitfall here would be to code “the natural” as wholly “good”, to code anarchists & anarchy as “good”, in a Manichean framework that some primitivists embrace. "

What are you some kind of eco-fascist? Anarchists are of course wholly good. We will save the world and build our utopia and afterwards there will be in in the sky!

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