IGD interviews Peter Gelderloos on Trumpism, Robots, and Trade War

  • Posted on: 2 March 2017
  • By: thecollective

In his recent essay on IGD, Peter Gelderloos argued that Trump isn’t a departure from American democracy, but is simply its latest, most vile creation. While Trump is not a strict fascist, contends Gelderloos (a long time anarchist writer, organizer, and thinker), part of Trump’s appeal is that he seeks to re-strengthen white supremacy at a time when many people are losing faith in the State and the economic system, while offering ready-made enemies and easy answers to complex problems.

Wanting to know more about how Gelderloos sees the Trump administration and what this means for anarchists and autonomous anti-capitalists, we picked Peter’s brain about everything from robots (not immigrants) taking your job, Bannon’s “economic nationalism” and how it relates to the failure of neoliberalism, what he would tell Trump supporters about how Trump’s talk of creating jobs is total bullshit, anti-fascism, the need for anarchists to put their ideas into action and build alternatives, and the real threats of world war and mass repression.

This interview isn’t puppies and rainbows, but Gelderloos’ sobering analysis of the situation leaves us with a much clearer idea of what we are up against, what is at stake, and ideas for action in the coming terrain.

Music: Dave Hause covering Dillinger Four



I would love to see some smart anarchists have a nice long panel discussion about Gelderloos' points about not letting the left or Democrats recuperate our struggle to get their own political power back.

He says we can't fall into the shallow criticisms against Trump, that he is an aberrant event and not just a particularly ugly part of the real enemy, the system of capitalism and the state. I totally agree, but when you get on the ground and start organizing or participating in resistance and protest, it is impossible to build a large movement without making a big tent. Which I think is okay, that we could just stick to organizing smaller scale things that have been politics.

The problem comes in when the point the host makes is brought up: that repressive movements, paramilitary rightwing people as well as repressive parts of the state, can destroy us and they are growing stronger right now. Fighting back on our own leaves us much more vulnerable to their attacks than a popular-front type resistance.

I think many anarchists agree with Peter's points about not being able to be used by the left, but feel very powerless when we stick to fundamental criticisms, which leads to only organizing and acting with other anarchists, or not doing anything at all but having a fierce critique of the system. But maybe that is enough? I know I feel like if we had 100 writers as talented as Peter we'd be a lot closer to overthrowing this motherfucker.....

eternal paradoxical questions, I know.

same argument made in 2011, during occupy. court leftist activists. protest.

we've done all of that. rinse, repeat. and we've realised riots don't even get people reforms now.

we offer these tired, banal rituals when there's a whole of life (which includes all organisms, not just human) to be lived, and politics has decentered into entertainment, performance art. catch up!

this cause, 'humanity,' is a strange phantom, where there are worse things than being alone. as we are already a part of the relations that make up earth, alone is a silly delusion. we share space, what we call earth, with all other lifeforms.

i suspect that what leftism will have on offer is preparing the controlled behaviors, speech, and thought processes this next period of exploitation will have unleashed as grounds for automation. human contact will be ironed out, pharmaceutically induced fake niceness. <----- the system doesn't give a shit about which groups of marginalized want to participate in a piece of the economic pie, but that people behave as per keeping this new level of scale in social complexity functioning. more important than it function but that it appears to in all of our perceptions.

we have to come up with own thinking now. perhaps that's scary, and makes us feel alone. but, it means an openess, an attempt at maturity. it's complex, and not easy.

all things considered: it is rather amusing to see radicals desire a technique of accelerating change, of expediency, which is exactly what this techno-indistrial system does. efficiency is not a human value. it is abstraction that replaces all human values. this is also what i meant above about what the leftist response to this period of techno-industrial acceleration/exploitation would have us all conditioned for. god's perfect little assholes. efficient. automated.

occupy was/is not a thing. rioting isn't typically done for reform. humanity is not a general cause .
protest is performance art, a part of the whole of organic life.
are you an alt-rightist, per chance?

except -of course-our almighty god, The Tao, and perhaps one's damn-self
or whatever-other categorical abstraction one prefers to objectify but;
what is real?

Trump is not a creation of our "democracy" but the US republic. That's why POTUS get elected by Electors and not "the people". There's no such thing as democracies.


It offends our specificity. Thank you and may clod bless.

Diagnosis without remedy is endemic on the left - which makes us appear as a circle-of-eunuchs.
As for this anarchist, Geldedgoose, if he honestly believes CAPITAL is the main enemy then he should go join the Marxist's.
What's left of those dinosaurs, anyway.

But Marxist or not, the dominance of unregulated Capital makes it the main enemy.

I wish it were that easy, anon. But most people are pseudo-content to spend their lives earning wages that pay for rents, fees, taxes, and inflations. A way of life which is as bland as the pablum that their dinner chickens & cattle eat to produce bland nutritionless meat.

Even if they did work up the nerve to stop making monthly payments (the horror, I know...) to their debt holders & landlords they would still be infantilized cyborgs incapable of building nor maintaining their own shelters, or growing or foraging their own food. And even then, billions of people suddenly reliant upon small farms of foraging would decimate the remaining forests, wild land & game stocks on planet Earth. We should ask ourselves what prevents millions of people from making the huge cognitive leap toward pondering the thought: "maybe I shouldn't pay rent this month."

Given such circumstances, what great evil is the capitalist committing, when the proletariat are committing the equal or greater sins of cowardice & laziness. *cue hand waving about class-consciousness evangelism*

Truth is, it all goes way beyond capital. The population was born because of, and remains dependent upon, industrial agriculture & its domesticates, and specialized divided labor. Attempts to sudden-change this situation has its names: genocide, revolution aka war, famine, depression. Attacking a scape-goated section of a population, capitalists in this specific instance, produces these results via destabilization. Because they've gone and destroyed the structures & institutions that propped up their weak, dependent bodies, whilst chasing ghosts, witches & other superstitions. Often the blame for conditions rests upon both sides of a purported oppressor-oppressed binary. Responsibility & self-reflection tend not to be the practices of Marxist lynch mobs, however.

how have industrial agriculture and it's domesticates been established?
anyway, fuck you and please, don't generalize.

Now, can you say it again in your grown-up voice?

So capital created industrial agriculture. Simplistic narrative, but let's go with it. You're a very bright boy! Look at you. Typing all by yourself. By extension we can also say it created various forms of slavery, and by further extension, you. Now, as de facto offspring of, and dependent to, capital, how do you purport to survive in its absence or disruption? Or framed as a master-slave dialectical proposition: if massa don' bring yo food, how you gon' eat?

um, i'd asked you how it(industrial agriculture/civilisation) started...

are we so acutely attached to a specific sense of self and the general population?

the actual physical world continues it's cosmorganic fluxuation without the meddling of rational hyper-intentions.
so, what of an instinctual will to FIGHT for a life-worth-living where the techno-industrial slave-society is so pervasive?

i said "fuck you" for your blaming of folks like my neighbors and me as consensual participants in some imagined category on a statist spectrum -"The Left" - when we've actually been quite severely conditioned into slavery -against our will!-.

the war is on, whether one admits or denies it. so, what kind of weapons are at our disposal to effect-against, for the balanced dynamo of life which so graces us? yes yes nomadism and foraging and food-forestry, but where is the fight?

where do miracles happen and how do angels get there wings?

as Nietzsche predicted, the belief in 'truth' is collapsing, as it should. We are moving into a post-truth world where we have to acknowledge that everyone is uniquely situationally included in a transforming relational dynamic where one’s experience is unique and so is one’s perspective. truth is thus one's personal perspective semantically crafted in terms of logic, and logic is inherently subjective and incomplete.

The ‘learning circles’ of indigenous peoples tradition acknowledge the relational (holographic) nature of the world we are living in. The idea of the circle is to accept that we all have unique and differing experience-based perspectives, all of which have a piece of the [holographic] puzzle in them. it follows that we must ‘accept all of the differing yet valid experience-based perspectives’ and bring them into connective confluence to ‘image’ a ‘synoptic’ or ‘holographic’ understanding of the world we share inclusion in.

Gelderloos doesn’t question the orthodox Western belief that there is ‘objective truth’ out there that can be scientifically investigated, discovered and captured in steely logical terms; i.e. he sees the problem as biased reporting that steers us away from the 'truth', whether it be the bias of politicians like Trump, the echo-chambering bias of social media or the institutional support oriented bias of mainstream media.

The collapse of belief in the existence of ‘truth’ is a radical game-changer that overshadows Gelderloos’ ‘decentralizing of media influence’.

As philosophers who ‘see this’ observe, it leads us directly towards the kind of ‘learning circle’ approach of indigenous anarchists adopted for this very reason [everyone's experience-based perspective is valid and none is 'the truth'].

Essays such as this one by Alexis Papazoglou (Univ. of London) expose this 'collapse of belief in 'truth''; ‘The post-truth era of Trump is just what Nietzsche predicted’

”Nietzsche, German counter-Enlightenment thinker of the late 19th century, seemed to suggest that objective truth – the concept of truth that most philosophers relied on at the time – doesn’t really exist. That idea, he wrote, is a relic of an age when God was the guarantor of what counted as the objective view of the world, but God is dead, meaning that objective, absolute truth is an impossibility. God’s point of view is no longer available to determine what is true.
Nietzsche fancied himself a prophet of things to come – and not long after Donald Trump won the presidency, the Oxford Dictionaries declared the international word of the year 2016 to be “post-truth”.” – Alexis Papazoglou

Gelderloos did not say that capital is the only driver of modernity. In the article he said we are living under the "dictatorship of capital,of progress,and of technology."Gelderloos is an anti-left anarchist; he is in no way a Marxist. His "Anarchy Works" and his latest book "An Anarchist Perspective on Early State Formation" are clearly neither leftist nor Marxist.As for all of you who don't believe that it is possible to examine a situation and arrive at something that at least approaches the truth, then what are you left with?Do you deny there are facts? If there are no truths,then there are no falsehoods.If you don't try to make a distinction between the two,then you are living in the land of the lost.

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