Making Aragorn!’s Anarchism «Our Own»

As a way to remember Arargorn!’s writing at the first anniversary of his death, and using the ongoing “Constructing Anarchisms” workshop as a prompt, let’s discuss how each of us would make Aragorn!’s anarchism «our own».

As an author Aragorn! troubled many of the complex unresolved issues, tensions and contradictions that were being dragged into the 21st Century as part of the centuries long baggage of anarchist traditions and of stories of resistance from different traditions. In his work he addressed many difficult questions and topics considered taboo by others, which attracted and willfully provoked polemic and controversy, compelling others to discuss and engage in these points of conflict, leaving behind not only a body of texts, but also many podcasts and interviews in which he spoke, namely The Anews Podcast's TOTW segment, The Brilliant, and Anarchy Bang. How would we each pen an outline for a syllabus based on his ideas that would help us incorporate them into each of our own personal anarchism, whether as agreements, stepping stones, or interesting disagreements?

Going through the list of his texts that are readily available on the Anarchist Library, here’s an initial attempt to find some concepts around which one could organize discussion. I encourage you to add your own favorite quotes or links under each of the concept headers, as well as add your own concepts list. This is not at all intended to be a definitive "reader", far from it, but to encourage many readers to take on the unfinished task of articulating a coherent anarchist engagement with the existent by way of re-examining recent anarchist history and developments in anarchist thought as expressed by this contemporary author.

Nihilism

"Active Nihilism - As foretold by Raoul Vaneigem in Revolution of Everyday Life, “There is no consciousness of transcendence without consciousness of decomposition.” The active nihilist sees in the unknown future and despair at our current situation, a call to arms. An active nihilist finds energy, a will to act, in the hopelessness of the conforming, rigid, asphyxiation of our society. Meaning is found in approaching the void rather than in the false knowledge of what is on the other side of it.

Nihilist Anarchism - We are not drifts of snow moving through reality. Things have happened. Choices have been made. These choices can be evaluated, not from a timeless doctrine but from a human scale. By this human scale the size, the scope, of the choices made is beyond comprehension. This being the case, and as the desire of conscious bodies is to understand, a frame of reference to begin to impact the world can be based on one of two options. Either shrink the world that you desire to understand and touch or assert yourself onto a world gone mad in such a way as to transform scale. Institutions, ideologies, systems, schools, family, capital, government and revolutionary movements have all developed beyond the body. Nihilist anarchism isn’t concerned with a social revolution that adds a new chapter to an old history but the ending of history altogether. If not revolutionaries then possibly epochanaries, for the transformation of society without a positive program.

Philosophical Nihilism - The answer to the existential question about what is knowable is, nothing.

Passive Nihilism - If the future is unknowable we are confronted with a choice. When all we know is terror many stop making choices. People break. If you have ever been confronted by the alarm clock and just shut it off and pulled the cover over your head you know passive nihilism. The pain of resisting, of being the false opposition, or the purged, justifies a thousand no’s. A million. The passive nihilist no longer has hope that their participation is necessary for the world to keep spinning.

Existential Nihilism - An existential nihilist remains at an impasse regarding a variety of core issues. If we cannot know anything then how can we make choices? When Nietzsche talked of nihilism this is what he was referring to. The trajectory of Western thought leads to unknowable questions and paralysis.

Strategic Nihilism - Revolutionary programs deserve the snickers that they get. The idea that yet another manifesto (YAM) or mission statement or action plan is going to make the tired activism of a new generation smells less of the death it wraps around its neck is ludicrous. Strategic nihilism argues for a new approach to social transformation that resembles the burning of a field rather than building the new world within the shell of the old or one last push by the working class to seize the means of production. An approach that concerns itself with exactly what the forms of social control are and their suppression falls far astray from models of recruitment, education, progress, or the crossed fingers that the next riot will be the Big one." - from "Anarchy and Nihilism: Consequences"

"What Nihilism provides then is an alternative to the alternative that does not embed an idealist image of the new world it would create. It is not an Idealist project. Nihilism states that it is not useful to talk about the society you ‘hold in your stomach’, the things you would do ‘if only you got power’, or the vision that you believe that we all share. What is useful is the negation of the existing world. Nihilism is the political philosophy that begins with the negation of this world. What exists beyond those gates has yet to be written. [...]

Here is where nihilism can provide some new perspective. A definition of nihilism[2] could be the realization “that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake independent of any constructive program or possibility.” This exposes one of the greatest idealistic flaws of modern activism: The articulation of the specific world-to-be as a result of your actions does not guarantee that world’s creation. [...]

Nihilism can provide you a suite of tools. The first is deep skepticism. Every action, every meeting, is filled with politicians-in-waiting who are easy to discern, with their plastic smiles and fluency with ‘the process’. A strategic nihilism allows its practitioner to see these types for what they are; and the ability to do with them what is necessary by your analysis, and not theirs.

The second is a new eye towards history. Whereas before it may have been easy to get caught up in the details of the who’s, when’s and why’s of the Paris Commune, now it is easy to see the failure in the partiality without getting bogged down in the specific halfmeasures. Time devoted to arguing how many angels dance on the head of a pin is time away from the pursuit of anything else.

Finally, a strategic nihilist position allows for a range of motion heretofore not available. The ethical limitations of ‘doing the right thing’ have transformed movements for social change. From pacifists and ethicists who sanctimoniously wait for the club to fall or the strength of their convictions to shatter capitalism, to adherents of the Vietnam-era form of social protest, it is clear that the terrain allowed by morality is bleak and filled with quagmire. Armed struggle groups, who led non-existent masses toward their better world have shown similar failure. If these are not the models that frame your conception of change, you are free to make moves on a chessboard that no one else is playing on. You begin to write the rules that those in power are not prepared for. You can take angles, you can pace yourself, you can start dreaming big again, instead of just dreaming as large as the next demo, action, or war." - from "Nihilism, Anarchy, and the 21st century"

Terror

"The suicide bomber is the muse of our time. They do not inspire us to sing of freedom, justice, and dignity but of consequence.”
[...] Terror - The primary modality of class society, whether it is by violence, hunger, or the threat of the elements. If every object, person, and moment is for sale, if there is nothing outside, then there is abject terror. When living is a contemptible act, it is terror. What is the opposite of this?" - from "Anarchy and Nihilism: Consequences"

"To defend acts of ‘terror’ would be to choose to spend an endless period of time debating points of history, philosophy, and values — to what end? I am not convinced that lashing out against the State in media savvy public displays of violence has much connection at all to dismantling it. If I knew that it did, I would use this opportunity to beg your action along this line, or at the very least to ask you to tape me up for my run at the prize. Moreover I am suspicious that what is being presented to me as reality isn’t the half of it.

I may not be a believer, and will not be a beneficiary either way, but I also do not think that the conclusion to this ‘total war’ is going to be anything like we suspect it is going to be. Revolutionaries, of every stripe, have been remarkably, consistently, wrong about the consequences of their behavior. What I do believe is that the radical action taken by a very few individuals today strike more awe in me than terror. The cognitive, spiritual, and a-humanist leap taken on a train in Madrid, much like the one taken by 15 hijackers in 2001, has more value to add to an understanding about what a revolutionary practice is going to look like in the 21st century than a 1000 black blocs or a million demonstrations against the state and for the cameras." - from "Nihilism, Anarchy, and the 21st century"

Humor

“I am an absolutist about humor. I think humor is always appropriate, and it is a central part of what I think it means to be a human in a monstrous, horrific, and unassailable world. I think the funniest people in the world are the oppressed sitting around the kitchen table laughing at the futility of it all. I emulate that experience when I do my humor well. I used to put this into practice universally and suffered a great deal for it (the easiest examples involve being pilloried by the users of the news wire I used to run). I imagine over half of my self-described enemies exist only because they realized at some point that they were the butt of a joke (or ten).

I am exhausted by the hostility of others towards my sense of humor or towards humor in the context of Serious Anti-Authoritarian politics. I am currently re-assessing how I can be funny without the nasty consequences. I have looked into stand-up comedy as a possible solution to this problem, but I am not sure I have the talent to be successful at it. Improv seems more up my alley, but I have not found the time to find a way that would feed me. The internet is such a great platform for comedy while being an even better platform for misunderstanding and acrimony.”- from "Laughing at the Futility of it All: An Interview with Aragorn!"

"All can be boiled down to a simple maxim: radicals have no chill. It’s a big turn off that I have spent most of my adult life resisting, while at the same time being utterly captivated by. Recent writing on the topic has finally inspired me to write this but it’s been due for at least a decade as I’ve changed around these issues... as I have gained chill." - from “Whatever-Veganism”

Anti-politics

"Politics is a word that increases in complexity the more our world does. It means at least three different things which overlap in meaning, but also conflict with each other. The first is the classic war by other means and entails the manipulation of social relationships involving power and authority. The second is the feminist-influenced and commonly used “personal as political,” which implicates oneself and one’s actions in consequences in the larger world and in other people’s lives. Finally the third addresses the assumptions that go into both the previous two definitions.

The idea of anti-politics is to break out of politics (as defined above) by calling into question their presumptions. As Wolfi Landstreicher puts it, being anti-political means being “opposed to any form of social organization — and any method of struggle — in which the decisions about how to live and struggle are separated from the execution of those decisions regardless of how democratic and participatory this separated decision-making process may be.”

Anarchists who embrace anti-politics as a useful way to critique current events point to activists who work 60 to 80 hour weeks for non-profits in the name of political action, who police their own behavior but especially that of those around them — far more effectively than even surveillance society is willing to — in the name of “anti-oppression work,” and who evoke a world of danger — of general strikes and insurrections — but who almost always end up engaging in pale reflections of those situations: marches, protests, and hope blocs." - from "Have You Heard the News?"

Second Wave Anarchism & Post-left

"[T]he second wave line follows something started in an essay by John Moore (who I still consider a greatly under-appreciated anarchist) published in the Anarchist Studies journal as “Anarchism and Poststructuralism.” I am probably drawing the line more crudely than John did, as his goal seemed more scholarly than mine (he was referring to feminism’s phases and the article is about Todd May’s anarchist contributions). My motivation is to talk about how today’s anarchism has to be understood through the Situationist International (SI).

I have made this argument elsewhere, but I think the SI provide the best, most cruel, anarchist criticism of the first wave of anarchists. An anarchist who has not read chapter 4 of Society of the Spectacle (especially parts 90-94) and come away changed vis-à-vis the questions of revolution, timing, and politics is probably not capable of working with people in a contemporary context. I think these questions are central, even if they are not easily answered.

But there is an issue of framing here. I consider myself an ex-post-left anarchist (aka an anarchist) and am aware that post-left anarchists have also attempted to frame contemporary anarchism in their own image. I agree with them as far as their point goes (i.e. that there are issues with leftist understandings and tactics) but have serious issues with what appears to be their unstated assumptions about what that means. To whit, post-left means primarily a practice of criticism full stop, which means some version of egoism. What I like about a discussion that starts with the periodization of the second wave is that it is not doctrinaire (outside of citing the influence of the SI and the events of Paris 1968) and has plenty of room for post-anarchists, post-left anarchists, insurrectionary anarchists, green anarchists, etc. to breathe without the finger wagging of Black Flame-type criticism (i.e. that they are not real by Black Flame’s historically-fixed definition)." - from "Laughing at the Futility of it All: An Interview with Aragorn!"

Anarchism

"The answer I now give to this question is that anarchism is the start to a conversation. As someone who loves that particular conversation, I use the word freely, contradictorily, and in public places. I continue to find the implications of words – words spoken out loud, not hidden behind word-processing software – to be bracing. The power of saying “I am for a Beautiful Idea called anarchism” out loud still makes me feel something –something akin to how I felt at a punk rock show (where my politics did originate), something not jaded. [...] For me, the daily life of anarchism is one of conflict, of taking responsibility for the people you disagree with by being in that disagreement (versus pretending it does not exist), by not suffering fools, by honoring my hostility, and by being willing to admit when I am wrong." - from "Laughing at the Futility of it All: An Interview with Aragorn!"

“In this essay there has been no definition of anarchism itself other than to acknowledge the inadequate definitions that have preceded us. In addition, the positive anarchist principles[9] are an inadequate beginning to an anarchism of today; they are the elegant principles of another time. If anarchism is to face the challenging times ahead it must become the mongrel beast born of the disparate parts of its stately and negative origins. It must become capable of recognizing the complicated relationship between living in the world and against the world, and instead of erring in the direction of liberalism or asceticism. Anarchism must never become a contract between anarchists and a society that doesn’t exist, and it should never be a settled question. Anarchism is conflict without compromise, without rulers, and with the choice to engage with the world on our own terms. The fight is more important than the outcome.” - from “To Dance With The Devil”

Anarchy

“If anarchy does not have a road map then we (as anarchists) are free to work together. Our projects might not be of the same scale as the general strike, or even the halting of business-as-usual in a major metropolitan area, but they would be anarchist projects. An anarchy without road map or adjectives could be one where the context of the decisions that we make together will be of our own creation rather than imposed upon us. It could be an anarchy of now rather than the hope of another day. It would place the burden of establishing trust on those who actually have a common political goal (the abolition of the state and capitalism) rather than on those who have no goal at all or whose goal is antithetical to an anarchist one.

An anarchy without road map or adjectives does not ignore difference but instead places it in the context that it belongs in. When we are faced with a moment of extreme tension, when everything that we know appears about to change, then we may choose different forks in the road. Until that time anarchists should approach each other with the naïvete that we approach the world with. If we believe that the world can change and could change in a radical direction from the one traveled the past several thousand years then we should have some trust in others who desire the same things.” - from “Anarchy Without Road Maps or Adjectives”

(New Old) Green Anarchy

"For us green anarchism predates the term and is a way to talk about our politics (anarchist: no state, no exchange relationships, and a vigorous critique of daily life) and our spiritual life (green: earth-based, concerned with cycles not progress, not moral). For us green anarchism does not begin with a set of bearded European men but in the conditions of Turtle Island (North America). The turtle (Hah-nu-nah) is the earth, and is our life. A green perspective worth its name begins with the story of how humans came to this place. A place that was doing just fine without us. It begins with the stories that composed a social reality that was disrupted by visitors who have long outstayed their welcome. Black Seed hopes to be a place where those stories are remembered and shared.

A green anarchism set thusly in clay is about the direct experience of hearing a story, of being part of the continuing story. It prefers the face-to-face and the immediate. It does not process its relationship to small things (like the whole of nature) through the specialized jargon sets of the Western metaphysical project. Not biology or botany. Not anthropology or sociology. Not a history or historization of real living people. It can include the stories of those warriors engaged in the infinite war against the Great Black Snake of capitalism and the state, of colonization and genocide. It can also include the stories of our lives here on this Earth now. Those of us who live in the shadows of the Grey and the Black (cities, asphalt, and concrete), who root about in the weeds and offal of the shit-city, who survive.

This new old Green Anarchism, this elder god of many origins, is about survival in a world-not-of-our-creation, how to face its end, and how we would rewrite its story if we were to start over. To be clear, these are three approaches to a body of ideas we are calling Green Anarchism but we are only using that term to be generous about our own origins (and not because we think they are the best or most accurate terms to describe what we are talking about). In point of fact this new old Green Anarchism will be unrecognizable to others who have used and copyrighted the term. It attempts a base in and orientation towards Turtle Island (and not Ymir, Gaia, Yggdrasil, eight pillars, bhu, etc) and acknowledges its metis or amalgamated characteristics. This is not an exercise in a new geographical puritanism but in holding a position in a world that seems to have accepted a kind of postmodern pastiche that leaves out every individual experience." - from Black Seed—An Old Green Anarchy

Nihilist Animism

"That impossible task set I share with you is the closest thing I would put forward as a recommended practice. A world-weary rebuilding of the very reasons we should do things together at all. A practice I am myself incapable of participating in because I have been broken by the same things as you. My mind is no longer limber enough to learn a new language. My heart is too scarred to do something so honest with a group of new people and too experienced to do it with the monsters I surround myself with (for other reasons). To go deep enough to subvert the conditioning and violence of this world is just impossible enough that I can imagine the kind of person who would attempt it but I have no idea what will result, even in a best case scenario.

I dream of free actors who live without fear. I imagine words that speak beyond comprehension. I imagine the same goals that I have expressed lived by people who care for one another, who laugh at the empty sociability of our era, who are the anarchy unleashed unto the world. I imagine connections to the world that I am not capable of. This impossible set of conditions and potentials is why a nihilist animism appeals to me at all. It names capabilities I don’t have in a world I can’t imagine living in. That’s all one can ask of oneself." - from "Nihilist Animism"

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"Anarchists would do well to recognize liberal capitalism’s reliance on the social building blocks of principles (rights), negotiation (the social contract), and checks-and-balances (voting). Capitalism-as-exchange ends up being invisible in this definition of capitalism, and that is what makes this definition such an effective way to defend intellectually the relationship one has to capitalism. Unchecked domination, inherited power, and the irrationality of believing in the state’s desire to defend an individual’s rights are invisible here. Who could be against rights, the ability of individuals to enter into contracts with each other and the state, and our ability to keep the state in check? This is the way people can understand themselves within a functioning social order where their own invisibility within it is far less important than the obviousness of defending every aspect of it. Sometimes if it seems believable then it is believed." - from "To Dance With The Devil"

"As a way to remember Arargorn!’s writing at the first anniversary of his death, and using the ongoing “Constructing Anarchisms” workshop as a prompt, let’s discuss how each of us would make Aragorn!’s anarchism «our own»."

so basically, i read a lot of nihilism (boom!), stirner, nietzch, and I became a petty criminal nihilist. But then, i realized that if i didn't temper my nihilism a little bit, I would end up in jail.

being = nothing

so basically, I'm a typical american. I keep doing what I do until I not longer enjoy it, or I realize there's something wrong with it. I have not found much in the way of collaborators, and to stay out of prison i need to keep it this way.

Thank you.

February 13, 2020, Aragorn! passes away. A year later, the words are hard to find, but a provocation of Making A!’s Anarchism «Our Own», in life and death it might include the words captious, whimsical, and zoetic. A! was a friend I paid attention to and is missed.

Due to covid-19, the wake for A! in the Bay Area was put on hold. In remembrance, friends of A! sent along one of A!’s tactical bags to me, which he joked about owning so many of. I have since used it many a time for adventures, and it’s pretty sweet! It’s kind of like a fanny pack, but more tactical and less hipster. This is the incomplete story of how A!’s anarchy has become my own.

I think I first chatted with A! around 2004 or perhaps a little earlier, somewhere on the previous instances of the Anarchy Planet Internet Relay Chat (IRC). I had found the IRC via the Anarchist News dot org website or something after Infoshop dot org moderators destroyed their website. Reset, alas, computer memories to the wind, now the anarchist ID bracelet just says the most beautiful idea.

I will always remember our first conversation over the IRC, that went something along the lines of – What kind of anarchist ideas are you interested in? My reply back then was “anti-civ” and I would probably write something similar today, although so much has happened since. We chatted a lot over the years, coming and going over time and space, we also met IRL when they visited my home in New York on a couple of different occasions, stopping by to say hello as they traveled around North America on various adventures. The first time we met IRL, we made homemade pizzas and hung out on the porch chatting all night. I think we both agreed that the only real demand is that of a pizza party! A! had a refreshing sense of humor and welcoming take on anarchist ideas that is the kind of thing for friends.

Some have said – as in life, as in death A! was known to stir the muck and critique all the things to a point where it seems many people had a difficultly accepting a commentary or critique of their ideas. Here I would argue differently, if you’re one of the many anarchists upset by A! in life and death, it’s because of a lack of acknowledgment to accept, understand, and properly digest critique. Certainly they could be controversial, as with hope, any anarchist by definition is, but I think much of this, especially more recently, is simply people failing to have meaningful commentary with other anarchists that blow stuff out of the water.

For example, who could forget the 2019 radio episode by John Zerzan, where they attack A!’s relationship to Anarchist News dot org or previous episodes of Anarchy Radio where Zerzan is heard yelling about how terrible A! is. A friend of Zerzan, Kevin Tucker then continued to comment on A! over the past year regarding their relationship to anti-civ and green anarchy ideas over Twitter. And, of course, William Gillis rounds out this example triad by rewriting anarchist His-Story and eliminating facts from their discourse surrounding A! and friends via social media. These are just a few that stand out over the past couple of years that have been far-off the mark critiques of A! and their life project. A few years even further back A! declared it the year of antifa, before many would learn the word as events of 2020 unfolded and the anarchists once again became public enemy number one. Many of the popular culture antifa writers and other anarchist projects took to deplatforming A! and friends in the most absurd and terrible of ways.

And yet here! It’s so heart warming to see so many friends of A! share their own stories of paying attention to each others lives.

Cheers.

There are important ways in which "Constructing Anarchisms" has been a response to A!'s death and the ways in which doing the anarchy thing has changed in his absence. I never wrote for A!, as I sometimes do for other friends, but have generally written, published, translated, etc., for some years now, in the knowledge that he was doing his own thing as well. There was possible work that didn't have to be done, because there was enough common ground in our projects that I could feel like those bases were covered. We disagreed more often that we agreed on the details, I imagine, but shared, I think, a good deal with regard to the basics.

A! got the whole anarchy thing, understood its beauty, without shying away from the conflict and danger involved with attaching ourselves to a living tradition with uncertainty at least close to its heart.

"the ways in which doing the anarchy thing has changed in his absence."

Tell me more about it, plz.

Or do you consider thinking and at best writing comments as a "doing the anarchy"?

I'm not underrating the value of thinking and discussing ideas here, but that gets ridiculous if you consider these as a "doing".

Somehow, this feels like a less than adequate dismissal. Perhaps if it referenced praxis or a life of petty crime...

There's no big or petty crime in my book. These are just externalities... just moralist normie categorizations that lead to social dead angles of resignation and "God-fearing".

So you want this 15$ jar of organic almond butter? Why all the effort of robbing a bank truck? I could hack some major bank but I ain't no hacker and don't like coding too much. It feels pedestrian.

Same for crossing the street on a red light... Smashy-smashy & spraypainting... Fucking in a park... Going outside during curfew... All LAME petty crimes that are unsaviory to you, big bad intense-looking uncompromising omniscient lecturer.

"What is that... an insurgent army? HA! None of these ruffians shall stand tall to my multitudes of literary references! I have the power of so many boooks you ADHD inferiors!"

talking and thinking and teaching and conversing are indeed doing. without them, we merely run in circles--pretending or imagining that we're making changes to the dead material world that is ONLY A FIGMENT OF THE WESTERN IMGAINATION...
engaging in relations is not the only thing, sure, but to allude to it being nothing is ... so sad.

definitely running in little circles! couldn't agree more! type type, post! type type, post!

Teaching is doing, but thinking surely is not "doing". Talking is... commonly regarded as an opposite to doing, as in "stop talking and DO something, you lousy diletant", as calling for something vs doing.

I'm critical of this last dichotomy, as after all we are "talking" here and communication is the center of human relations, tho talking as in "lecturing", "musings", "preaching", "doing speeches"... I really don't think that's what's missing in our choir. You practice what you preach, or just quit fucking preaching.

Like A! would ask... Do you know where you are!?

This is the land of fucking Jerry Falwell!

"I'm not underrating the value of thinking and discussing ideas here, but that gets ridiculous if you consider these as a "doing"."

why the dichotomy? you seem to be defining "doing" as performing some particular set of activities that YOU consider to be somehow valid. is reading not an activity? is discussion not an activity? thinking?

if someone asks you "what are you doing?" when you are simply thinking about something important, would you "correct" them and say something like "i am not DOING anything, i am thinking". does that make any sense whatsoever?

I've been drawn by nihilism since I was 15, in 1996. But didn't come across an anarchist embracing it till I read A!'s zines in 2002 or so.
From then on I've paid attention to their reflections and it's helped my ability to discern.
I'd met A! four or five times and always found them very approachible, though "riendly" might be misleading.
I would chime in a couple times a year into some public conversation they were having or instigating and they'd almost always acknowledge my contribution as just as often refute it.
I expected no less than they gave.

"I may not be a believer, and will not be a beneficiary either way, but I also do not think that the conclusion to this ‘total war’ is going to be anything like we suspect it is going to be. Revolutionaries, of every stripe, have been remarkably, consistently, wrong about the consequences of their behavior. What I do believe is that the radical action taken by a very few individuals today strike more awe in me than terror. The cognitive, spiritual, and a-humanist leap taken on a train in Madrid, much like the one taken by 15 hijackers in 2001, has more value to add to an understanding about what a revolutionary practice is going to look like in the 21st century than a 1000 black blocs or a million demonstrations against the state and for the cameras." - from "Nihilism, Anarchy, and the 21st century""

...primarily because these "radical" actions are conveniently serving State authoritarian agendas and their narratives, which the Black Bloc isn't doing as much. From the IRA to Al Qaeda to ISIS to the J6 MAGAtards, this is just what happened. A bunch of fanatics got instrumentalized in doing terror attacks, killing plenty of random people in the process, thus to justify a White Knight State always with bigger repressive measures.

I'm weary of people describing Jihadists or Far Right fanatics as "radicals". This is a pretty bad tendency among part of the Western world, to equate religious fundamentalism with radical perspectives, and reflects perhaps a poor education.

I can only presume it's a received notion inherited from mainstream media rhetoric, found especially in UK media, that talks of "radical Islam". But what is "radical Islam"? It's vague. Same as the old mainstream tendency of equating anarchy with "disorder".

Approaching through the lens of political alignments toward social change, we got

- conservatism, who seeks either the reactionary maintaining of a status quo, or the return to a more traditional world...

- liberalism, who seeks to do a facelift-level of reform in order to superficially alleviate somes grievances, that will reflect each party's specific interests....

- radicalism, who seeks to attack the problem at its ROOTS (the root word of radical literally means "root"), or a level of going back at the source.

These alignments are found everywhere regardless of Left and Right, religion and other ideologies. Jihadists and Far Right tend to be more reactionary ultra-conservatives than "radicals", as they do not wanna change society, they wanna restore it back to "Great White America", or monarchy or want a Muslim caliphate. Such was the Imperial Restoration pipe dream of Italian Fascists and Nazis. It's not about addressing the social relationship. or abolishing the hierarchy, but to REINFORCE it.

So anyone, still alive or dead, that keeps pushing this view of fascists as "radicals" is, at best, misguided or ill-informed.

So as anarcho-nhilist I do not completely oppose the use of terrorism. I'm just for using it consequently, as I accept that just like in any strategy game, there's visible consequences for most actions you're taking. Anarcho-terrorists with a brain would likely not be carrying actions that equate to shooting themselves in the foot. Terrorism has always been of interest when it comes to take power away from the despots, not give more to them, idiots!

Examining this quote, which was placed before the on the one you discussed, should clarify your misunderstanding:

"The suicide bomber is the muse of our time. They do not inspire us to sing of freedom, justice, and dignity but of consequence.”
[...] Terror - The primary modality of class society, whether it is by violence, hunger, or the threat of the elements. If every object, person, and moment is for sale, if there is nothing outside, then there is abject terror. When living is a contemptible act, it is terror. What is the opposite of this?" - from "Anarchy and Nihilism: Consequences"

That “They do not inspire us to sing of freedom, justice, and dignity but of consequence.” is a critique, not commending them for that.

If it does not celebrate life and beauty and joy, but merely sees itself as mechanism for effects, then “ living is a contemptible act” i.e. “terror” and them immediately asks. “What is the opposite of this?”

I think A!’s project is one way of answering of how a project looks like when one commits to life and living, overcoming terror. That is also reflected in his other writings and quotes.

I just thought this quote is making terrorist fanatics look like the way to anarcho-nihilist action, or at least portraying them as the only effective insurgents (who were right about the consequences of their actions... not exactly, but somewhat), where in fact, as I already said and hardly can be questioned, all they been doing is serve harder authoritarian agendas. The "Black Bloc" aren't as good at it?

Well, THANKFULLY. Perhaps the "Black bloc" -which appears to have been a gross generalization here-
have been more consequent than A! and you think... regardless of how they win or lose at the game.

This whole point is clear when you read it in the context of the complete text.
It says things like: "4. How many lives are we willing to sacrifice for our moment? Shall we stack them for barricades? Fill the trenches with them after the tanks roll in? Use their blood to write the history books that tell of our glorious time? "

What it's doing is taking certain logics and pushing them to their limits to examine them, so we may see the faults of that thinking. So if one were committed to make a big impact, imagination and attempts would have to be much larger than the domain of rutinary activist imagination. Terrorists, whether state or non-state actions, have larger scale and surprising line of actions that shake up that comfort zone of the activist imagination. But that line of thinking has its own misery and limits. When reading it all together, it advocates for patience and engagement:

"The simple answer is that we have to be patient. We have to have an engaged patience that is incomprehensible to the lethargy of the revolutionary left. Our role should not be to lay in wait for some mark to come stumbling along because that is never going to happen. Instead we must have total engagement in the social and political processes around us. Nothing should escape our attention. This could look like, and is not limited to, attending church (especially politically active churches), going to shareholder meetings, attending city council, toasters, Elks lodges, civic organizations and even leftist meetings. The idea is not that our efforts should be particularly supportive or even destructive to these groups (although pushing the boundary in both directions should be part of the process) but to understand how it is that modern acculturated civil society works. What does a social group look like and how does it react to the kind of stimulus that can be brought to bear? If you play the game how easy is it to integrate into an organizational form? To what extent do these forms accrue power, negligence and momentum? We need more information. "

I choose to interpret this as a continuation of the same "long march" but after recovering from the "terrorist mistake". In other words, taking that same logic further, to an absurd and counter-intuitive limit.

My takeaway is, regardless of author's intention. based on my interpretation and how I make it my own, is that seeing oneself as a driver of macro social change in this or that direction by this or that means is absurd, accidental, chaotic and impossible. One can still love freedom, life, beauty, dignity, regardless of consequences. The nihilist leap is one way to lose fear of consequences, or to embrace some notion of acausality, though it is not the only way, nor is it necessary. Even believing in causality, one can see how the bouncy-ball trajectory of particles, actors, conflict, confluence, turbulence, and complexity in systems can be too much information to manage by a single brain. Navigating through this world is what our faulty faculties evolved to do, and these sense fail us, we can get lost and stranded. A certain nihilism can free us from delusions of controlling the fate of our species (what is a runaway chain reaction and what isn't?), but you can still enjoy your life, and that enjoyment may take the form of a futile struggle.

Aragorn and his buddies still have asserted an anarcho-nihilism that is innocuous to the State, yet one that is valuable, perhaps eve unavoidable.

Obviously THEY HAD to be innucuous if they wanted to do what they did, i.e. appearing on public platforms for talks, doing podcasts, publishing books, etc. It was wise on their part to take critical distance from 325 and other radical anarcho-Left types who're on the FBI blacklist. So let's not blame him for it, he was just being... consequent.

i think that aragorn! had an issue with the "left-type" principaled anarchism, as another effort to control desire, and yes in the end create some predictable pattern of behavior that the police can quash.

This post and comments are weird. It's like Aragorn has being beatified by some of you.

Taking one post to remember him on the 1st anniversary of his death, a out of the let's say around 5 posts daily throughout the year, is a far cry from that. Part of making something one's one is giving one's take, removing the parts you disagree with and replacing that with your own ideas. If you want to go accusing people of beatification, just go bark up any marxist's tree. You're a one pump chump, I bet you don't have anything to back up your one-liner.

I'll add my own heading, conflict, something he had quite the reputation for, and lead with a quote from the appropriately conflictually titled essay Why social war is a bad way to practice anarchy:

The new thinking, after WWII, is that we can wrap up total victory by way of annihilating the forces of state and capital but this is deeply naïve. There is no version of this story that would not require the equivalent destruction of millions if not billions of deaths in service of our better-than-what-came-before holy war. Social warriors do not desire the genocide of any particular people, and would probably be offended at the implication BUT would probably accept that the total destruction of bad ideas is worth doing and would like us to all join in the dice roll where the implications of what comes after isn’t just unclear but clearly war thinking and social in all the shallow, vapid, ways this entails today.

Part of my formative experience as an anarchist was watching projects and relationships fall apart and people walking away hurt and often angry because they didn't have the conflict they should have had with others because they didn't want to step on toes, valued consensus and friendships they assumed to be too delicate to handle serious disagreements more than risking what might happen because of conflict, and because they viewed some conflicts as a winner-takes-all situation where they had to win and others had to disappear. This last point is where the quote above comes in, which is, if we're not going to destroy everyone who disagrees with us or who we even might hate for reasons few would disagree with, what do we do with them, if anything?

Years before I'd meet A!, I asked the same thing to myself with regard to a friend who'd been involved, often on the giving end, in an abusive relationship (among other things). The answer I came up with was to not try to disappear this person (or let them disappear), but I was uneasy the alternative I found in continuing our friendship with a bit more openness between us,the rifts somewhat smoothed over by the fact that he was getting counseling and the people who came out of this conflict hating him had handled things badly in trying to eliminate him.

Post meeting A! and others around LBC and post my time at the compound, where the first and only rule I was given was no passive aggression, only attack, I (unfortunately) had another opportunity to have a similar conflict with this person. It fucking sucked, but I came out of it feeling much better because I engaged with it wholeheartedly without feeling I had to either tolerate or embrace him to avoid poisonous cancel culture or dismiss him because he was doing something terrible.

One of the things I was struck by in meeting A! was his wrist tats of the symbols from bolo'bolo, which both looked cool and I think communicated his own feelings on conflict - that there is no utopia where people you don't like don't exist, and that it's probably better to negotiate those relationships (even if that means staying far away from them) rather than engage in a war of elimination.

How come people come to the point of thinking about "eliminating" people they don't like is way fucked. Is this Nazis or what? Just like the conclusion of this text, people go the right to exist as much as you do. This right cannot be denied by any theory whatsoever. If you don't like some people -which is entirely natural- then just don't deal with them, take distances from them, that's all.

Hang on, "eliminating" people isn't an exclusively Nazi methodology, anyone and everyone living by a fanatical ideological agenda "terminates" or "removes" their opposition.

Animal rights... Gay rights... Native rights... Children rights... All these are pointless to you?

Perhaps because this is a way to limit or even negate external regulations and their repressive measures on living beings, or, better, as rationale to protect them against the abuse and repression from the majority groups?

Got better framing, or non-framing to propose?

I doubt it. But you got a shot.

there's a longstanding anarchist critique of the concept of "rights" as things that are only granted from on high, therefore a false form of liberation. something more akin to citizenship, selectively granted to some but not others.

So because to be supporting the (politically ignored) rights of, say, a refugee from the perspective of a citizen -like hosting them, giving them food and medical care- is "granted from on high", it is a false form of liberation. Okay, Adolf.

The very reason why people are fighting for minority rights is that they are in fact NOT being granted from on high.

Keep talking, I wanna hear more about your notion og "real liberation". This looks like another reactionary shitshow from a distance.

I don't think it's as simple as distance, though, especially when there are people who are hostile to you that won't give you that distance in the first place. I think the value of the question A! asks about how we deal with people we don't like is that it makes people think more critically about what the potential costs of utopia (there are no nazis, everyone's an anarchist) might be, and what life looks like if we don't live in that kind of utopia. If we're not willing or can't actually destroy people we disagree with, why have petty street battles with chuds made up so much of anarchist praxis over the last four years? At the same time I don't think the answer to this question means you should necessarily leave the chuds alone or start doing a YouTube series with self-described reactionaries with bad haircuts. It's more of an invitation to think critically and more creatively about how you relate to people you don't like, even if that might involve a bat to the head sometimes.

i can't help but get the sense that some/many here are trying to canonize the big a!

his words, ideas, humor and persona will live on through all those he has touched directly with them, as well as through his writings. the effort to amplify one's affinity with another because they have passed on feels shallow and oh so typical. i'd have thought more of those he influenced.

i can't help but get the sense that you already commented that here.

why don’t you go comment that on every post about kropotkin, prodhoun, stirner, et al?

if an effort isn’t made to read more contemporary authors, people will be stuck reading centuries old shit by the same dead white men for the next centuries.

an anthropophagic appropriation of writing does not canonizes, it makes it its food, nourishes itself with it and then poops the rest out.

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