The Black Flag of Anarchy Revisited
<table><tr><td>The article in the National Review, ‘Black Flags Spell Trouble’, reprinted on the anarchistnews.org website <a href="http://www.anarchistnews.org/content/black-flags-spell-trouble">here</a>, limits discussion by starting from the point of view of ‘what anarchism is’ in narrow ‘Western civilization’ intellectualizing terms. The topic, deserves another, fuller airing that casts off the artificially constrained ‘Western’ framing used in the National Review.
The author, Charles C. W. Cooke, kicks off the article with;
<em> “Black flags are harbingers of chaos. ... The barbarism in Egypt and Libya pushed back into view the nefarious purposes to which black flags are most commonly deployed.”</em></td><td><img title="I fucking wish" src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2010/somberblackflag.jpg"></td><...
Cooke gives the topic a ‘Western’ stage setting that is far too narrow for the subject material. Black is the colour of ‘is not’ in the sense of ‘pre-being’ and not as, in common Western thinking, where 'is not' is a simple opposite to ‘is’ [the mistake that leads to ‘nihilism’]. The black of the pirates’ flag is symbolic of the ‘death of “is”’, not by having to ‘kill off’ what ‘is’ but by exposing its ‘emperor’s new clothes’ [sinking of the imperial flagship]; i.e. by stripping off the cloak of ‘being’ beneath which resides the continual becoming in which it is included. ‘Black’ was here before the arrival of the variously coloured nation flags that each proudly claim the deference of others on the high seas. Pirates reject the flags of nations and use the black flag to signal that you are now going to return to the fecund blackness out of which all that self-aggrandizing, poseur colour-clutter was born.
The old indigenous tribesman hoists a black flag in the middle of the new intellectual concept of the sovereign state that was plunked down over top of him. The black flag signals that nothing has changed, nothing has ‘really’ come into being [except in the unbounded-by-reality intellectualizing of crony-believers inspired by the lust for possession and ownership that they conveniently bundled into their intellectual invention]. The old indigenous tribesman was not going to let himself be redefined in terms of some intellectual political concept. He was not going to respond to calls to go to war because others in a ‘different’ intellectually-invented nation had drawn a moustache on a picture of their Queen. He was not going to respond to appeals to ‘national pride’ or pay heed to taunts of ‘if you’re not with us you’re against us’. Like others of his noble savage brotherhood, now a small minority, dispersed over the old common ground which was now displayed on public-media pushed maps as a patchwork of ‘independent nations’, he flew the black flag to signal that he would continue to define himself and his family by his relationship with the continuously unfolding ‘world-that-was-always-there’, the uni-dynamical relational world that he and his ancestors help to shape.
Black is the colour of pre-lingual and pre-civilization allegiances and attachments. Black is the colour of the true path. Black is not nothing but the source of everything. The black flag society in Taoist China was ‘Weng chun’ and it met in ‘weng chun dim’ “hall of forever spring”. The black belt skill is the source of the skills of all colours.
The notion is that the flow [tao] in which we are included is purely relational and thus non-local, non-visible and non-material as symbolized by the colour black;
<em> "The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.
The unnameable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.
Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.
Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding."</em>
The flow is the one continually transforming relational spatial-plenum. The forms that are continually gathering within the relational flow are not ‘the physical reality’ they are the ‘appearances’ that we play language games with by defining and naming them, which synthetically splits us apart from them so that we can ‘possess them’. The woman who is a sister-feature in the flow with us, when we define and name her and intellectually give her ‘her own independent being’, becomes something ‘out there’ which we can desire and possess, rather than loving as a companion navigating passage in a common flow.
The black flag is a protest against elevating intellectualized ‘beings’, ‘figures’ split out from the One dynamic ground, into an unnatural primacy over ‘the flow’ of pure relational potentialities that resists definition.
‘Patriarchy’ and top-down pyramidal hierarchy in general goes hand-in-hand with the intellectual synthesizing of beings. Patriarchy is the imputed ‘centre of authorship and behavioural control’ in a notional ‘thing-in-itself’ that is logically necessary if we are to accept such an intellectual language-based game-play. The sovereign state is a classic case of elevating intellectualized ‘being’ into an unnatural primacy over ‘the flow’ of relational potentialities that resists definition [“This source is called darkness.
Darkness within darkness. The gateway to all understanding.”]
The black beret of Che Guevara recalls the black beret of the Basque people and with a non-belief in the imposing of borders and the confinement within patriarchal states as in colonized South America and Europe.
In the video clip <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAVVWlUywO0">‘Poland’s Changing Borders’</a>, one can imagine what indigenous peoples in the region [with early Basque-like matriarchal leanings] may have felt about such continuing attempt to impose patriarchal states.
This visual history of growth and decline of a patriarchal state is total Fiktion to an indigenous person. Such states existed only in the minds of the believers in such states; i.e. in the believers in patriarchy and the abject abnegation of self that patriarchy entails.
School children studying history will be shown <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAVVWlUywO0">‘Poland’s Changing Borders’</a> as if it is a not-to-be questioned reality, rather than an artefact of a system of political belief that holds true only for those believing in it.
The black berets and black flags are worn by those who believe in the naturally unconstrained potentialities of people-in-the-flow of nature, ‘los in dios’. The black beret of Che Guevara signifies the unlimited potentialities of indigenous peoples that have been stifled and stunted if not crushed under the jack-boots of the bully gangs that forcefully imposed this intellectual concept of the patriarchal state on the indigenous peoples who identified themselves first and foremost with the darkness of pure relational potentiality of the flow of nature.
Why should these people, any people, accept as the base case, the ‘existence’ of these patriarchal states, at which point the ‘black flags’ and ‘black berets’ of ‘revolution’ become a ‘destructive symbol’ as the author of ‘Black Flags Spell Trouble’ suggests? Why should an intellectual Fiktion be accepted as the base case? ‘Black’ speaks of the formless relational potentialities that have been squashed by those who have foisted patriarchal states on the indigenous peoples. These intellectual concepts can only be foisted by way of propaganda and indoctrination because they only exist in the conditioned beliefs of the people who subjugate themselves to such ideas.
And yes, belief in the patriarchal state is a belief in a simple bully game, as Russell Means so patiently describes. This bully game has been previously documented by writers such as Thomas Mann, as ‘fascism’ which involves the abnegation of the self to accrue power at the apex of the pyramid. The defining relation for patriarchal states is captured by Mann in ‘Mario and the Magician’, as follows;
<em> “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.” ---Thomas Mann, ‘Mario and the Magician’, 1929</em>
The patriarchal state is a form of social organization wherein the participants let themselves be defined by the intellectual invention of an imaginary line bounded entity designated [usually in legalese on a piece of paper] as a ‘sovereign state’ which is administered by a patriarchal control structure. The notional borders of such a state change with the changing beliefs of people in the region, giving rise to the state as a kind of ‘organism’ that grows stronger and weaker and larger and smaller in cycles [<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAVVWlUywO0">‘Poland’s Changing Borders’</a>], but it only does so in the political discussion and politicized actions that goes on amongst those who are politically-minded in the region. The indigenous people in the region are certainly caught in the cross-fire, but they are not obliged to believe in any of these ‘histories of Poland’ or ‘history of France and Spain’ since they are not ‘physical reality’, but are instead psychical dynamics that go on in the mentally modeling heads of the believers in patriarchal states.
Black flags and black berets are indeed a threat to the believers in patriarchal states, not because these ‘revolutionaries’ are going to destroy the patriarchal states, something they cannot do because the patriarchal states do not physically exist; they are artefacts of intellectualizing minds. The black flags and blag berets are a threat because they threaten to dissolve belief in patriarchal states.
Charles Cooke claims that;
<em> “Black flags are harbingers of chaos. ...[and] nefarious purposes </em>
But he has it exactly backwards. The chaos we are struggling with is the chaos identified by <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQI57thNjRU">Russell Means</a> that accrues from competition between ‘stinky cave men’ [patriarchs], and the nefarious purposes are what we are perpetrating on ourselves through our support for these ‘stinky cave men patriarchs’ whose egos are such that their only means of settling understandings is with a club;
<em> “Why anyone hasn’t woken up to this fact, ... it’s beyond me.”</em>
But Russell Means is permeated with the indigenous wisdom of the ‘zero chiefs’ that see ‘zero’ and ‘black’ as the source of all things.
<em> "The Medicine Wheel is the shape of the Zero. The Zero is the symbol and fact of Creation. The Zero Chiefs say that the Zero is not nothing, but is instead Everything. . . . Creation, the Zero, is perfectly balanced. The Zero is Female (WahKahn) and Male (SsKwan), and has designed and birthed all of life." </em>
And people who are brought up thinking that zero [symbolized by ‘darkness’ or ‘black’] is ‘nothing’ as in empty space [Euclidian] instead of a relational ‘spatial-plenum’
<em>“To the Chinese what is highest, the origin of things, is nothingness, emptiness, the altogether undetermined, the abstract universal, and this is also called Tao” ... “the nothingness' of which Eastern scholars are fond of alluding to is not a nothingness relative to the fullness of being, but a positive, fecund and pro-generative emptiness in which something and nothing, subject and object emerges. This is entirely different from the negative' form of nothingness, a nihilistic mood, that would result from the insistence on remaining silent or a refusal to engage. Heidegger's conversations' with a Japanese friend revealingly shows the metaphysical gulf' separating Eastern and Western attitudes towards emptiness and nothingness when the Japanese expressed amazement at Western reactions to Heidegger's work. We marvel to this day how the Europeans could lapse into interpreting as nihilistic the nothingness of which you speak To us, emptiness is the loftiest name' (Heidegger, ‘On the Way to Language’). Yet, this state of absolute nothingness' (What Nishitani, ‘Religion and Nothingness’ calls `sunyata') cannot be reached through premature abandonment.” – Robert Chia</em>
[N.B: <em> "In the Mahayana tradition, the principle of pratītyasamutpāda is said to compliment the concept of emptiness (sunyata). It is said that because all things arise in dependence upon causes and conditions, they are empty of inherent existence."</em> [e.g. 'Poland' as the hollow thing inside the changing borders]
‘Black’ is the not-colour of that which is the fecund and pro-generative relational flow; <em>“This source is called darkness. Darkness within darkness. The gateway to all understanding.”</em>
In conclusion, Charles Cooke needs to be corrected, the ‘nefarious business’ is coming not from the carriers of black flags but from the stinky cave-men patriarchs whose only method of settling disagreement is by the club. The black flags are harbingers, all right, not of the coming of chaos, but of the dissolution of unnatural and dis-spiriting patriarchal order that has been suppressing the free association based cultivating of relational harmonies.