June 18th, 1999: A Mourning Meditation from the Garden

June 18th, 1999:
A Mourning Meditation From The Garden

Twenty years ago today my life was changed.

About a year after arriving to Eugene, Oregon, a year of massive transformation for me, J18 (a global day of action against the G8) rocked that college town, and me…….changing both forever. June 18th, 1999, for all significant purposes, was the first day of my life as an anarchist in this world. I could go on for volumes about the events of that day, what led up to it, what would follow, and the changes over the next twenty years for both myself, that place, and the North American anarchist scene, but that’s for another day….a winter project, not one to burden myself with while the sun shines on me today.

It was a very inspirational time. We were at the beginning of a rebirth of anarchy, an anarchist renaissance of sorts. Over the next year Seattle would be our June 18th magnified times a thousand and the smashed windows would be heard around the world. Anarchists were beginning to attack everywhere. Even the infamously defiant Greek Anarchists were starting to look in our direction for MAKING TOTAL DESTRUCTION. The ELF would begin striking every week, and not getting caught. Industrial Collapse posters with Ted Kaczynski’s face adorned people’s walls. Anarchist spaces, houses, info-shops, events, gatherings, riots, publications, and media projects were popping up everywhere. And, anarchy seemed to really be going green. That was the context we would soon be publishing Green Anarchy in. And, Eugene was the supposed epicenter for this anarchist revival. Some of this had a grain of truth since we were insisting on a specifically post-Left, pro-insurrectionary, anti-civilization anarchy, and backing up our words with action, but obviously the significance and coherence of our scene was blown way out of proportion, sometimes by us. This, I believe, made us a bit overly-optimistic, self-righteous at times, perhaps more immature than was helpful, and definitely more ideological than most of us are now…..most of us (cough)….but we really felt that we were at the beginning of something huge, the momentum against civilization was growing, and we were right in the middle of it. This was obviously reflected in the pages of Green Anarchy. It was tremendously significant…..and, eventually heartbreaking.

But, twenty years later, I feel like the trajectory my life has taken has been far more interesting, fulfilling, and meaningful than what I have experienced in the anarchist arena since fleeing Eugene for the mountains well over a decade ago. Plagued with technophilic, moralistic, ideological narcissists, who clock in far more hours at their keyboards and gazing at screens than in real-life relationships of affinity attacking the deadness of civilization and swirling in the wildness of life, I have little interest in most of the anarchist realm. I have my crew of anarchists, which I am delighted to say is fairly significant in relation to our rural reality, and I meet new folks from time to time who inspire and ignite my passions, but generally, what constitutes an anarchist space in the larger context, is pretty disappointing, and perhaps, a gross reflection of this miserable world that is around us. Obviously, there are exceptions to this critique, projects I value, people I respect, but sadly, they are rare. I have not given up on anarchy, just anarchism, and most anarchists. I will be an anarchist until I reintegrate back into the soil and the cosmos. I will always swim against the tide of conformity to this horrific reality. I will always seek joy outside of this system’s confines. I will always view civilization as my enemy. And, I will always seek the path and accomplices of freedom. Eugene Anarchy was, for a brief time, one of the most potent experiences of my life, but sadly, it has long ago withered and died along with much of the North American scene. I live my anarchy elsewhere, with anarchists I love….in the mountains, in the shadows, right under your nose, on my terms, in my life.

NOTE: The following piece, “Black Blossoms At The End Of The World” is a (probably way too long) rambling piece I wrote to describe my overarching feelings about the world we now dwell in, anarchists’ response to it, and where I find myself. Do with it what you want…..take from it what you want, challenge it, pick apart an extracted phrase, read into it, re-read it, shit on it, pepper-spray it, put it away for a few decades then apply it opportunistically out-of-context……whatever you want……I don’t care. I’m just chummin’ the waters for you sharks so I know where you are. Good-bye!

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