Anews Podcast 137 – 10.25.19

From Anews Podcast

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

TOTW-speaking tours, with Aragorn! and friend
sound editing by Linn O’Mable
reading excerpt from Braiding Sweetgrass, by chisel (ends at 40.00)
what’s new was written by Jackie and Greg, and narrated by Chisel and Greg
1) Marsen Jules – Kundera’s Dream
2) Marsen Jules – Sleep, My Brother, Sleep
3) Marsen Jules – Endless Whisper Of The Old Brigade

There are 43 Comments

utterly excellent program from start to finish. inspired selection and reading of that excerpt (i gotta read that book now). ya'll got this down to a t.

Chisel, I liked your reading a lot. I am weeping over lost salmon, feeling the desire for ceremonies. Gosh, that book is so nourishing & delicious.

On the totw: gotta say the language of winning is beginning to sound inadequate. Why is winning even a goal? I mean that in the sense of -- anarchy cannot be a final, static condition. There has to always be renewal, returning, like the salmon, and we must coax and sing anarchy into being each day or else it coagulates and dies.

I agree with Nettle. I really enjoyed your reading Chisel.

It has moved me to find and begin reading a pdf of Braiding Sweetgrass I found online, though I am still compelled hard to seek out the book for my hands. I have heard the story of Skywoman before, and feel I would like to know the sister who danced where I am. I'm sure I've felt the tips of her fingers and the indent of her knees reflecting my own in the soil.

I sense I really need this harmony at the moment.

Thank you

On the TOTW I’d also say that (at least here) there are less bookstores (than in the 90’s, post-Internet, post-Amazon, post-Borders bankruptcy), which are ostensibly places of discussion of ideas as ideas (not weaponized). Even then, not all kinds of bookstores or libraries have anarchist books or host discussions of anarchy. Public spaces are increasingly privatized and commercialized.
Heavier controls against public assemblies in streets and sidewalks and loitering. Streets back then belonged more to the people on foot, now cities are moulded by the car.

Hosting spaces where people (those not near a hip café/bookstore, an adequate library, or in university) can discuss these ideas comfortably and regularly could help. How? It’s harder than it sounds, you can’t just set up a table and bookshelf at a random spot everyday and expect people to show interest and congregate. It’s also not viable to all to bring a lot of @ curious people back to your home for chit chat.

obviously i was touched by it too. ha. the book has many really good aspects, not least that it points very specifically to ways of measuring whether something meets our needs or not (hence the list of things that don't work because of commericialism, etc). i should point out that i cut out a bit (my voice was failing), and so i screwed up her message in maybe a small, but definitely significant way. after she writes about individual celebrations (birthdays), she brings up graduation ceremonies. so the message about the ceremony of the community (no hate for the ease of that word? not the time or place, i guess ;) ) was in *that* context, not about individuals or families. it's a significant point--about the size of the connections that are relevant to what she's talking about. sorry for the misleading cut. i will be more careful when i do this again.

excellent episode! tremendous reading! a really enjoyable experience. definitely looking forward to more.

also remarkable was hearing the gloom hammer come down in the totw! :D

like the salmon need the humans to find their nesting waters; how did the salmon cope without us? Emotion was/is used by many a would-be dominating. Why not leave the salmon alone and let them die their life... just like humans wish for ourselves? Or is the 'noble savage' bollocks? Come on Chisel, you're better than this, right?

much more what i was expecting from the comments, yes.
ok - first of all, don't tell me i'm better than something, dear person who doesn't know me at all. so patronizing.
second, i don't want "to be left alone" in some existential way. i want to have choices about who i interact with and how. i want to be able to do things that i have heard other people can do, however mythical the stories (yep, even including jz's stories of pre-civilization telepathy). i want to do things that seem impossible in this world, and so i try imagining different worlds. i am more intrigued by the possibilities of a world that includes other sentients, broadly known as plants, animals, stones, etc, because that fosters a feeling in me that i appreciate, could be called humility, or perspective, or connection, a kind of safety (safety from being too important?) (all or none of those things sometimes).
kimmerer notes that the salmon don't need us to find their way. that is in fact demonstrable. what she argues (and i find compelling) is that the world needs from humanity that sense of place, relationship, the thing that reminds us that we are part of something, not all of something (as christianity would tell us) nor nothing (which leads us to destroy everything around us like abused children, which, in fact, you know...) another kimmerer anecdote was her asking a class of hers what they see as beneficial about human interactions with nature, and not one student had anything positive to say. that is some deep shit, and gives us whiteys (to accept a term) nowhere to go. i guess i'd like to go *some*where. you?

"what they see as beneficial about human interactions with nature, and not one student had anything positive to say. that is some deep shit, and gives us whiteys (to accept a term) nowhere to go. "

wait. human interactions with nature... gives whiteys nowhere to go. what am i missing? why does race even factor into that comment? seriously wondering...

are you implying that non-whiteys have inherently different interactions with "nature"? (and why the distinction? humans are part of nature, regardless of skin color). the fact that nomadic h/gs likely have less destructive interactions with their environment than settled folks in the capitalist world, has nothing to do with skin color and everything to do with the practical realities of living their un- (or at least far less) mediated lives.

jeezass, the white guilt still dominates.

that many species were made extinct by the lauded tribes of Uncle Sam. Does Kimmerer write so movingly about this? All this brotherly/sisterly connection with Nature (back in the day) is propaganda. Zerzan could have this read and he would have been mocked by those of the Anarchist News site. However, add some emotion and tears all of a sudden becomes something else...maybe JZ ought to cry on his show to gain plaudits?

The flora and fauna was well under the boot (aka moccasin) when Whitey hit the shores of the New World only Whitey did not know it then?

I am intrigued though as to what prompted this emotional outpouring from someone who is often snarky on ANews?

Re the anarchist tour: that sounds like a great idea. What do think about anarchists writers and theorists appearing in the flesh on YouTube: to put a face to the writing? Much of anarchist writings are by pseudonyms and/or anonymous by faceless people which alienates anarchy even more. We know that the face of anarchism (presented by the media) is White teens/early twenties dressed in black. Sure, these people need to remain anonymous but do writers and theorists?

thanks. someone's tears don't necessarily mean anything at all, and maintaining your skepticism is definitely a survival tactic.
on the other hand, your premises about how "nature" or "flora and fauna" were treated before whitey, by the "tribes of uncle sam" is all a) confusing/un-explained, b) presumptive, c) lacking in exactly the examples and explanations that some people appreciate about kimmerer.
(i personally mock jz because i know him and have plenty of history with him--so i see many holes in his thinking and presentation--not because of any single thing he does on a show.)
some people find it interesting, perhaps, when a normally prickly and sarcastic voice puts aside some of that, perhaps some people identify with putting such a persona aside for this particular topic. you are not one of them apparently, and good for you. i hope you have such a topic though. it makes life less predictable.
note: i should probably challenge your binary of snarky vs emotion. surely laughter and tears are both part of the same release? ;)

"...someone's tears don't necessarily mean anything at all" so why cry and why cry when reading this particular text? for no reason: "The tears appeared what more can I say?" You cried because the words presented you with an imagined scene, right? There really is no need to be so evasive: you read the piece and you got upset..because of possibly you're own assumptions of what once was Not idyllic for the salmon though, eh?

Being a skeptic/not being a skeptic are two sides of the survival coin?

I don't think what I've written to be confusing or poorly explained as you're well aware of the many versions of history: in this instance the arrival of Columbus and those who may have come before and definitely after. You know what I'm getting at in my post re the whole story so please don't insult me by playing the naive card.

Of course, all history could be called presumptive? And this is what ANews likes to do: go into it's 'post-modern' slippery spiel.

I was also presenting a possible voice from the salmon perspective as you read aloud a voice from the human perspective.

Re JZ, instead of mocking him, why don't you enlighten us all by highlighting and then explaining the 'many' holes in his thinking and presentation (whatever that means?). Clearly, YOUR assumptions are correct and JZ's are incorrect filled with many holes.

Yes, I look forward to the first of Chisel's books on the " Correction of John Zerzan; His Thinking and Presentation?"

Much Luv ;-)

but he's a tagline, not worth more (at least to me) than i give him already.
yes, both skepticism and lack-of-skepticism make for a more interesting life, right?
there is nothing naive or postmodern (are you jz? or do you just listen to him too much? or both?) in asking for examples and more explanation on your empty declarations about pre-whitey history.
the rest of your response is empty words, afaict. so no more from me until you actually say something.

shade on anthropology, right? There's plenty of work out there on pre-Whitey history. However, you could write your own work as what's out there doesn't live up to your expectations: too many holes no doubt? I listen to JZ's show from time to time and read some of his that allowed?

Pre-whiter was wrought with danger, cannibalism, early death, slavery by waring tribes, slaughter, rape, pillage, patriarchal rule, sexist work roles and domestic duties. Lets admit it, the Romans gave us toilets, hot baths, law and order, paved roads, takeaway food, leisure time, books to read, entertaìnment, bisexual relationships, satire, etc

Then they got fat and stupid, playing the fiddle while their empire burned down, dumbass.

Why leave out the best part of the story?

But when an emperor's aesthetics include the burning of cities, well, that's brilliance! Nero was an anarcho-nihilist of the highest order who was born into the emperor role, he didn't actually embrace it, he loathed the power in fact.
If a civilization can create a turnaround on its own foundational values, it has reached the heights of societal evolution.

"the Romans gave us toilets, hot baths, law and order, paved roads, takeaway food,..."

and you see this as a "good" thing? law and order? toilets (and the insane water waste that entails)? paved roads? takeaway food? seriously?
and fyi, hot baths have existed for as long as there have been natural hot springs.

oh wait, after rereading your comment, it looks like you are being completely sarcastic. if so, right on. if not, reread my above sentences.

In a way Zerzan & co. seem to be say humans are only in their correct place when what makes us human is jettisoned. No language, no tools, no fire, etc. Hmmm.

After reading Braiding Sweetgrass and this essay
I think Kimmerer is saying humans, particularly whitey, have forgotten our place in the world. Our place as one of the beings, not the pinnacle being. in symbiosis, in reciprocity, our place as younger brother. A wolf is useless if she is not allowed to be wolfish. Likewise, a human if we are not allowed to be human.

In the corn essay she points out corn cannot grow without humans. Humans change our world, but so does everything. It's about proportion, timing, balance & listening to other beings.

Meh. People who refuse to allow the beauty & sorrow of the world to affect them will not be convinced by beauty or sorrow.

was opened. "A wolf is useless if she is not allowed to be wolfish. Likewise, a human if we are not allowed to be human." So Nettle what is a human? Isn't it human to technologise? Isn't it human to dominate?

Indigenous peoples dominated the land too: decided who was to live; who was to die; who was for food, right? This whole 'romantic' perspective of human (particularly "indigenous" humans) is just that romanticising. Also, a wolf doesn't (to my knowledge) dominate other species, like a shark doesn't dominate?

Who were the indigenous before humans? Humans have, arguably, othered the pre-human indigenous as 'its' and categorised as property. Hence, indigenous humans even call the land their land. For example, there is a map of indigenous lands of what is the USA; so pre-Whitey, this continent was already colonised, right? It is fascinating how claims are made that the humans and non-humans shared (lol) the land which is complete bollocks as Kimmerer et al know all too well, no doubt. Denial is very potent.

So please do tell us what it is to be human? Is a human still a human without the use of fire or domesticated fire?

Are we (right now) not humans, being humans, doing what humans do; how can we not be, for we are human, right? Humans are many ways of being for sure. However, domination (to be in control) is present in everyone of us. We would control the weather if we could. Anarchists know this and try to autonomy from the domination of others, including other anarchists.

For humans to share the land, we would have to be prepared to be eaten by others, tear down the walls, the fences, no more fire, no more clubs, spears etc, but those days are long gone.

It's easy to cry over a false narrative (as Chisel did) when sat in the comfort of protection from the elements, a full belly, drinking water on tap etc.

Richard Wrangham and James C.Scott (as well as many others) both acknowledge fire and how it shaped things to come.

i can do that without assuming that it ever existed. far from understanding or even approaching my comment that someone's tears don't necessarily mean anything, you have decided what they mean with no evidence except your own preconceptions. i appreciate that you've made that explicit.
the maps were not made by indigenous people. naming the territory where grizzlies live hardly means that grizzlies colonized or owned a space. not saying that grizzlies are the same as those nations, just pointing out a sloppy and inaccurate association.
ugh. what is human. you're replicating the anecdote from the kimmerer book that i already referenced. is it possible for people to have a good/appropriate/better relationship with the world than we do now? the entire book (and there are many more, though some work better than others) is about exploring that possibility. you say it would take going back in time. that's an interesting premise. perhaps you'll flesh that out more in some way.
i don't know, or pretend to know, what happened before the colonizers were here. i do know that a beautiful vision will sometimes make me cry.

" no more clubs, spears etc,"

so it is ok for non-humans to use tools (we all know that happens), but not ok for humans?

land: the grizzlies don't. I wasn't replicating Kimmerer; I was replying to Nettle. For some people on this earth, this is a great world with a fantastic relationship and with more tech, it's going to get even better! I say this because you wrote 'we'...who is 'we'? I am not convinced that there was a time when humans and non-humans (except pre-fire perhaps) shared space. Layla AbdelRahim speaks to this by saying what are humans prepared to give up. Obviously she speaks and writes in way detail concerning matters of who decides to eat who: hierarchies etc. Tears are one thing, the non-humans may reply, what fuckin' good do tears do for them? Just sayin.' Put away your fire and come and join us is something else they may say?

" I am not convinced that there was a time when humans and non-humans (except pre-fire perhaps) shared space. "

there was and is. i have lived -and still do- on the same land where many other non-humans live. we co-exist just fine. we share the land, in that we both inhabit and thrive on it, and do nothing to prevent each other from doing so.
if you mean something else by "sharing" space, please explain.

From the other perspective, the animal's Ria-esque counterpart may be say something like Jeez I wish I had a freakin gun and fire so I didn't have to hibernate half my freakin life!

will eat me when I'm dead, mushroom & fungi eat everything. Are they the dominant species after all? god i hope so. If "dominant" is your paradigmatic choice.

Language, tools & fire are human things. We have these because we are younger brother, a late arrival who came here more naked than everyone else. Wielded with respect and humility and timing, these things assist us in our walk toward becoming-human-animal.

Yes, used unwisely these same implements cause untold catastrophe, genocide and horror.

I submit, our task moving forward is not to jettison our toolbox but to learn (re-learn?) how to listen to everyone else here, to embrace humility, tact, timing and proportion.

To be human is to be one animal among the ten thousand other animals & plants & fungi. But of course, this can be expressed in myriad ways, depending on who is expressing.

" embrace humility, tact, timing and proportion."

this also applies to the accountability topic in the other thread.

i agree with what you and Chisel say so much.

If you are " not convinced that there was a time when humans and non-humans (except pre-fire perhaps) shared space" I don't think anything I say will convince you of the possibility.

Pre-fire is a long way away in space and time, i am unsure how anyone can claim to know anything about that timeplace. Regardless, here and now cats and dogs seem to enjoy our fire and I'm willing to start from that relationship and move toward similar mutually respectful relationships with all beings.

Edit: this is in reply to anon 9:31, of course.

good trolling mixes valid points with specious and aggravating assumptions. you are an example to us all.
what " 'indigenous' make claims that the land is theirs"? and under what circumstances? and speaking to whom? and who attempts to represent a whole mix of conflicting opinions? and who attempts to nail down such representation in a way that impugns a whole conflicted group?
i agree to some extent that naming a perspective after a group of people that right now has mutually exclusive, contradictory, and sometimes awful/sometimes excellent goals and methods (like "indigenous") is a kind of romanticizing.
but naming a position after a relationship to land seems like a different (if related) thing.
regardless of either of those, we communicate in poor words our poor understandings to poor listeners. do you want me to try to talk to you in a language that i make up that has no colonial baggage (except what is part of my mindset that i can't avoid) and that you won't understand in any way? esperanto for the win, yea?

(i'm no longer sure exactly what i'm trying to get at with you, maybe i'm seeing if i can crack what seems like a hard shell around your ideas, for the fun of seeing the interesting squishy stuff you might be protecting. sea otters and urchins, yea? :D)
maybe there is something to talk about here about the mutually exclusive tactics of 1. responding to this terrible world by trying to get bigger (to fix the problems), and 2. trying to get smaller (to stop creating the problems *and* get out of the way of others who might fix the problems better).

Cats and dogs get food by humans and have been bred by humans for humans: just look at how disfigured many dogs are with hardly any mouth: their nose/mouth been bred out for a look foavoured by humans who will pay plenty of dollars for such property. Dogs and cats are human property after all. we can get rid of them whenever we wish and many do end up dead or in kill shelters. Look at a wild wolf and a dog: a dog is pathetic by comparison.

I feared that mushrooms etc may come back as some form of argument: the circle of life thing. As I said, read and/or listen Layla AbdelRahim as it saves me time having to go through it. By no means, do I agree with all Layla claims: she has nothing to say about fire which is strange.

You see, Netle, what you and Chisel want is a future/ a world where humans are basically still in charge/ in control and so, there is no way such a wonderful world Chisel cries over will ever be. Arguably Chisel has reified her vision of a world through the words of Kimmerer: Chisel is crying over a spectacle...maybe a phantasm (it is Halloween after all)?

Nettle, I don't imagine you want to be sleeping with one eye for fear of a predator wanting to cart you off? Yes, you want to remain in control just like the man-apes Moon-Watcher in 2001 A space odyssey. Once, the control is felt and the contentment that brings, there's no stopping us humans it would appear. No more hunger (for some of us) and down the years we'll have 'Friends' (the sit-com). Great!

This is weird: Two people: Nettle and Chisel: both friends of Aragorn! and yet, here they both are presenting a positive outlook..deluded but positive.

Nettle and Chisel please elaborate on this world where humans and non-humans actually share space without humans changing the 'contract' at our choosing? It's never happened. If it has, please inform me.

I think it is fascinating how most humans will not accept fire as a game changer: perhaps, it is because it was and still is a game changer.

Fire and surplus are two 'tools' in the toolbox we won't give up and so there appears to be a cost to that. Look at all the lights and imagine them to be fires for that is what they are basically.

Looking to indigenous life-ways is not going to help much as it is a life based on domination all be it, a Greener way domination (cue Greta Thunberg). I mean, when rifles and domesticated horses came their (indigenous) way, they took both up quick smart. Just like the Yanonmami who took up the machete. Why? because it made their life easier and it gave them greater control.

I'm about to get kicked out of my local library so I'll have to it here. Good discussion though. Thanks to you both.

"Imagine there's no Heaven, it's easy if you try"

so you're Ria then?

you always have very interesting things to say with that whole "controlled fire" meme


i have nothing of value to say...but...

what if fire is uncontrollable and has always been out of our control? what if this is just what fire does, to us and to the world, in a world where spontaneous sustainable combustion and over-abundant combustible substances, mainly oxygen, are inherent to it since its inception ?

what if the happy accident was that we would come to understand combustion?
what if the most precious thing to emerge from this Earth is not consciousness, nor tech, nor life, but fire?
in a mostly dark universe full of black matter, black energy, and black holes, only combustion shines brightly, all of the stars, and the Earth on fire...



"I think it is fascinating how most humans will not accept fire as a game changer: perhaps, it is because it was and still is a game changer."

*Picard facepalms* Oh my... here we go again.

Okay so then let's assume that screens like the one you're looking at right now are "controlled fire".

Because you must... otherwise your absurd theoretical mountain collapses on its own.

is i feel like they are trying to find the root of all evil, look to meat, look to men, look to fire, look to "violent communication", i mean sure there's destruction inherent in all those things but, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT THAT? Lots of people weren't able to survive without meat and fire, now the landscape of the planet is completely different because of all the activities that anarchists/primitivists abhor and it just feels like it's even more inappropriate now to think of things in moral binaries and "fall from eden" scenarios.

There was never a reason to have expectations or to take yourself very seriously.

"Fire and surplus are two 'tools' in the toolbox we won't give up ..."

interesting grouping of "tools".

fire is a natural phenomenon that has nothing inherently to do with humans. and humans have never been able to "control" it like most tools. having lived in the southwest for decades, i can assure you humans cannot control fire. but they sure can start it.

surplus, on the other hand, is a completely economic phenomenon. and economics are absolutely a human concoction. but i guess i'd need you to define "surplus" more clearly. is obtaining enough food to last through a storm - or even, winter - considered "surplus"? if surplus is something like "more than enough to survive", who decides what is "enough"? what if someone has a super high metabolism and therefore needs to eat twice as much as someone else their same size? that is not some outlier situation, either. i have known at least a dozen people in my life that literally could not put on weight no matter how much they ate.

fuck everyone that thinks they have "the answer".

In a way chipmunks and squirrels who horde acorns are monopolistic sexist capitalists because they use their surplus for leverage in getting sexual partners and building family dynasties.
This is why I follow the philosophy of natural individualist supremacy and instinctual intuitive phenomenology.

At least when I try to make points i don't put words and ideas into other's mouths.

If you cannot argue with your own thoughts, please refrain from telling me to read someone else's ideas as a substitute for your thinking.

But hey, look this is a fine discussion here on anews, thanks everyone!

(my edit to my other comment should read anon 9:51, lol!)

Here is the anon from the library. The library was about to close so I had to leave so I couldn't reply until now.

Nettle, I don't see the point in repeating via text (laborious to say the least) the perspectives of Layla's work regarding predatory the mind-set. Her work is not substituting my ideas; they reflect my thinking too and you could listen to that perspective at your will? And..whether or not I'm putting words into your mouth is not my concern but, rather, how do 'we' get to the 'better' world Chisel mentions. Chisel has picked up on this from what I can infer from their post "aggro anon" which I've just read.

Chisel, none of us communicate with perfectly logical non-fallacies so none of us need explain and/or apologise for that, I hope you agree; let's just communicate. I have read and listened to many a 'tearful' account of the state of things on planet Earth and so what of it: it is getting worse (for many, maybe more than many?) if what is being communicated is true: species extinction, anthropo climate change, pollution, water scarcity... the list is growing daily.

As Layla says and I have emphasised (by agreeing with her point and repeating it on this thread) what are humans willing to 'give up' to achieve this better world? I would ask Chisel, if they feel comfortable in doing so, is to describe this better world and how they envisage 'we' get there? Layla, again, in another interview I heard, explains that she is unsure it is even possible to achieve this better world as 'it' can sometimes appear to be out of our hands: that what is happening on Earth has taken on a 'life' of its own (we're in the lap of the gods so to speak).

As Nettle said, humans are not the same animal as we once were. JZ claims we are the same animal, which is ridiculous to me. For one thing, once upon a time, humans supposedly didn't see themselves as any different from other beings and the space was shared which is certainly not the human thinking of today.

With fire and surplus (regardless of what economic spiel), I just don't see how this better world can ever be. The human predatory mind-set is real. One only has to just look at the human population increase as just indicator of domination.

We (most people) will not even live a life similar to the low-tech (pre-industrial) days. Being forced to live in such a way will encourage some form of escape. So even if there is a collapse, that collapse will be fought as Nature has been fought and the fight will continue until the end, what do you think? What is the ratio these days: 98% human domination with 2% wildlife where it was once visa-versa?

Can you imagine JZ living a simple life; the guy is submersed in stimulation. His mind would breakdown if he were to live life-way of traditional indigenous. " Books! Books! I need fuckin' books!" "Get me the fuck outta here NOW!" So yes, along with fire and surplus, I would the hyper-stimulated of the human psyche today.

Personally, I have given up conversations with 'mainstream' folk as having a 'deep' open conversation of the state of things today is a turnoff for them, preferring to live in denial until the shit turns up at their door, so to speak; part of the rolling juggernaut Layla alludes to?

Chisel, is your better world just wishful thinking as a child wishes it to be Christmas everyday?

I'll leave it there. Thanks to again for taking the time to text-chat. I am not proficient at this and thus it takes me ages so I'm not intending to add more content to this thread.

Why is it okay for every animal but humans to evolve into predatory behaviors? Some of us are predators. Deal with it, snowflake. Kill or be killed.


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