On the Need for an Explicitly “Anarchist” Cinema

  • Posted on: 29 September 2012
  • By: worker

<table><tr><td>From <a href="http://dissidentvoice.org/2012/09/on-the-need-for-an-explicitly-anarchis... Voice</a> - by Denmark Vesey

<p>Almost since the birth of cinema, anarchists and anarchism have been a subject for exploration (and exploitation) on film. So much so, that films with anarchist protagonists or anarchic themes could literally fill a book. Indeed, such films *have* filled a book; Richard Porton&#8217;s <em>Film and the Anarchist Imagination</em> (1999, Verso) provides an exhaustive examination of the influence of anarchist ideology on this particular sector of the culture industry. As a self-identified anarchist and film producer, I would have to give Porton&#8217;s text much credit for inspiring this article, and my work in general. Though this is not a review or a synopsis of his text and anyone who desires a much more detailed discussion of the topics, that I merely graze here, should head immediately to his brilliant book.</p></td><td><img title="film isn't @ because film is made with gelatin which isn't vegan" src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2012/superioractors.jpg"></td></...
<p><iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/47385709" width="500" height="331" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe></p>
<p>What quickly becomes clear when one seriously studies the interrelationship of anarchism and cinema is that the relationship has largely been of a one-sided nature; with the most commonly noted &#8220;anarchist films&#8221; being those not created by artists who would self-identify as anarchists, but rather films that utilize a maligned and stereotypical image of the anarchist that shares many commonalities with representations of other marginalized social elements. A stereotyped image especially similar to all of those who have, at one time or another, posed some perceived threat to the hegemony of the plutocratic &#038; patriarchal status quo. In good company with libertine women, indigenous peoples, African-Americans, colonized nationals, the disabled, and the so-called &#8220;criminal element&#8221; in various &#8220;civilized&#8221; societies; anarchists comprise a significant part of a larger marginals milieu. A people whose value for the cinema often lies in sensationalistic and wildly inaccurate representations. At the turn-of-the century (not the last turning, but the previous one), anarchists appeared often in film as a social bugbear very much like the role that turbaned terrorists and violent Islamic jihadists have played for Hollywood since the waning years of the Cold War in the late 1980s.</p>
<p>Yet, as many of the other members of that marginals milieu have also accomplished over the course of time, sympathetic writers and directors in the cinematic tradition have (on occasion) allowed anarchist protagonists to perform roles contradictory to the typical black-clad bomb-throwing trope of the early 1900s. Even if merely by romanticizing the tale of the doomed rebel by creating essentially anarchist characters for the frequently recurring cinematic &#8220;antihero&#8221;. </p>
<p>One notable example from Hollywood&#8217;s &#8220;Golden Age&#8221; would be the screen adaptation of Edward Abbey&#8217;s second novel (<em>The Brave Cowboy: An Old Tale In A New Time</em>), which resulted in a classic Western titled <em>Lonely Are the Brave</em>, a film in which a young Kirk Douglas brilliantly portrays an unmistakable &#8220;individualist anarchist&#8221;, whose only strong emotional attachments are to his horse and his freedom, at a time when the Western United States was rapidly rushing headlong into the modern mechanized era. He is undoubtedly the protagonist of the story, yet his status as an &#8220;antihero&#8221; could not be more firmly established. All the cards are stacked against him and none of his actions could be judged as &#8220;right&#8221; from the perspective of mainstream mores. He doesn&#8217;t &#8220;get the girl&#8221;, he has seemingly even given up the hope of it without much regret. He cuts through fences to continue riding the open range. In one sequence, he essentially breaks IN to prison, in an effort to liberate an old comrade who disappointingly decides that he would rather just go through the system. So, Douglas then proceeds to break OUT of the prison that he had just managed to enter. At the risk of providing spoilers for a 50-year-old film, the movie ends with Douglas wounded and sobbing as his horse is hit by a heavy truck and then callously dispatched by a police officer&#8217;s revolver amid a curious crowd of onlookers who have stopped their cars on a rainy night to gather around this exotic relic of a past era while urging the agent of the state to put the poor beast out of its misery. The message is painful in its obviousness. The &#8220;wild&#8221; West is dead. The sacrifice of his horse, to make way for the automobile, is the end of the road for Douglas himself. The free-ranging cowboy now truly a thing of the past. Though the film was released only one year after playing his leading role as <em>Spartacus</em> in the Stanley Kubrick epic that was the winner of numerous Oscars, Douglas still attests that the much lesser-known <em>Lonely Are the Brave</em> is his best work and his favorite film.</p>
<p>Sympathetic depictions of &#8216;social anarchism&#8217; are so rare in the American cinematic tradition that I am actually at a loss in attempting to identify one. Perhaps if I fully re-read Porton&#8217;s analysis of anarchism in the cinema I could name one that he has found for us through his extensive research. Though, in speaking from my own experience, I would have to refer readers to a film adaptation of the novel <em>Los Vengadores de la Patagonia Trágica</em> (<em>The Avengers of Tragic Patagonia</em>), written by the Argentine anarchist historian Osvaldo Bayer. <em>La Patagonia Rebelde</em> (<em>Rebellion in Patagonia</em>) is a similarly romanticized film of a time gone-by. One where cowboys (or &#8220;gauchos&#8221;, as the case may be) could still flee to the wide-open wilderness when the pressures of civilized life became too burdensome. This movie, however, recounts the true story of a general strike that eventually expanded across several sectors of industry, and several provinces of the Argentine Patagonia, even into Chile, to the degree that national military units from both nations had to be dispatched to the area. If cinematographers in the United States ever saw fit to commit to film the epic and historical &#8220;Battle of Blair Mountain&#8221; &#8212; where 12,000+ &#8220;wildcat&#8221; strikers from the coalfields of five Appalachian states could not be deterred from their intention toward armed rebellion, even by exhortations from the inimitable Mary Harris &#8220;Mother&#8221; Jones, and thus precipitated the largest armed-insurrection in the U.S. since the Civil War and the first aerial bombardment of U.S. citizens by their own government &#8212; then it would have to be a movie similar to <em>La Patagonia Rebelde</em>. </p>
<p>Instead, Blair Mountain is unfortunately being forgotten&#8230; losing nearly every effort to gain the protections of a National Historic Battlefield; it is rapidly being reduced by encroaching mountain-top removal mining. Yet, while commemorating history to film in a laudable manner, <em>La Patagonia Rebelde</em> still portrays even one of the most social and organized variants of anarchism as an ultimately futile struggle. Though it provides Argentines with a radical history that Americans seem largely content to forget. (Yet as an American anarchist viewing the film, I could not help but to permanently retain the impression of a large memorial to the Haymarket martyrs, of Chicago, displayed in the most prominent position of the small meeting hall of the Argentine Regional Workers&#8217; Federation, at one of the southernmost extremes of The Americas.) Perhaps the results of this historical remembrance are evident in Argentina&#8217;s radical response to social crises in our own time, and it is likely little coincidence that the president Nestor Kirchner, who finally sated the public&#8217;s demands of &#8220;<em>¡Que se vayan todos</em>!&#8221; (&#8220;Out with all of them!&#8221;) in December 2001, was previously mayor of the city of Rio Gallegos; which 60 years prior to his term as mayor had been the epicenter of the Patagonia rebellion that only ended after the mass executions of over 1500 rural workers by the military &#038; police.</p>
<p>Cinematic examples of a social or cooperative form of anarchism that are not inevitably tragic are even more rare. Ed Abbey, again, has provided the material for an American classic along these lines; having specifically written <em>The Monkey Wrench Gang</em> with cinematic adaptation as a foremost consideration. For decades the public has been teased with rumors of its imminent production. Within the last 10 years we&#8217;ve even been given the names of directors and cast who are supposedly already working on the project. Yet, it seems that the time will never be right for a depiction of anarchist antiheros and antiheroines that are fun, witty, sociable, effective, and yet not inevitably doomed to suffer terrible repercussions for their illegal &#8220;direct action&#8221; at the hands of the state/corporate apparatus. The film is reportedly due for theatrical release next year. It&#8217;s being billed as a &#8220;comedy&#8221;, though I suppose something is better than nothing. In any case, I&#8217;ll only believe it when I see it.</p>
<p>In the documentary genre (aside from fiercely &#8220;independent&#8221; productions that rarely leave our activist ghettos), the dearth of positive portrayals of anarchism that could also ever be considered classics is even more striking. Anarchist documentaries are exceptionally rare. So much so that there are probably already more films made about the mystical/metaphysical ramifications of the year 2012 than there are documentaries that deal specifically with &#8220;anarchism&#8221; in any respect. Where they do exist, they focus solely on individual luminaries in the anarchist tradition; like the relatively recent PBS production that is solely a biography of Emma Goldman. More generalized explorations of anarchist philosophy tend to be extremely dated &#8212; shining their light on one specific instance of anarchist history. Naturally, several have been made about the Spanish Civil War era, but only one stands out for its focus on anarchism in America. That being the rather anachronistic, and unimaginatively titled, <em>Anarchism in America</em>, which focuses solely on a relatively small subset of the anarchist movement during the hyper-individualistic Reagan-Thatcher era of Anglo-American politics. The film is most notable for its significant lack of interest in the &#8220;social&#8221; aspects of anarchism, with the filmmakers spending an inordinate amount of time displaying public misconceptions about anarchism via &#8220;man-on-the-street&#8221; type interviews and traveling around the nation&#8217;s highways in a recreational vehicle, seeking the remote enclaves of anarcho-capitalists who only somewhat jokingly worry about the potential tax-burden of having the documentarians&#8217; RV in their garage, and who, by their own admission, came to Emma Goldman via Ayn Rand and disillusionment in their past affiliations with the Republican Party.</p>
<p>With social movements around the world currently experimenting in undoubtedly &#8220;anarchist&#8221; forms of resistance and organization (perhaps without even necessarily realizing it), the time has never been more ripe for a film that can reach relatively mainstream audiences with information about the ancient origins of anarchism, anarchist philosophy&#8217;s influence in all spheres of culture since its inception as a school of socio-political thought, the diverse and protean nature of the global anarchist movement, and its potential for helping humanity to create a future beyond the current capitalist model of production, consumption, and general social organization.</p>
<p class="author">Denmark Vesey is a producer &amp; researcher for the Anarkos Media Collective, currently utilizing the model of the Free/Libre Open Source Software movement to produce an anarchist/anti-authoritarian documentary series of unprecedented scope. You can learn more about the <a href="http://anarkos.info">Anarkos series</a> -- where contributions from innumerable anti-authoritarian academics and grassroots activists are being sought and compiled for a crowd-sourced and crowd-funded media project that will be released for free, online, with a Creative Commons license. <a href="http://dissidentvoice.org/author/DenmarkVesey/">Read other articles by Denmark</a>.</p>


Sympathetic depictions of ‘social anarchism’ are so rare in the American cinematic tradition that I am actually at a loss in attempting to identify one.

You might think I'm kidding but have you seen Saw 3?

FUCK I meant to say V for Vendettas, sorry, similar mask so I got confussed.

I lol'd

Meh, psychopathic murderer, anarchist terrorist, same thing.

In any case, you ever read the original comics? Alan Moore is an anarchist, and the comics were explicitly about the fight between fascism (statism) and anarchism. The movie watered it down into a more palatable form for their target audience, to the point that Moore demanded that his name be removed from all association with the movie, along with any other successive movies based on his work; which is why Watchmen also didn't have is name in the title or credits.

Point is, in one of the only movie adaptions of an anarchist story, Hollywood somehow managed to eschew the topic of anarchism in the entire thing.

Meh, anarchist terrorist, psychopathic murderer, same thing.

lol'd at that rollover

Yeah, it caught me off guard. It's not like worker to put such blatant critique in the rollovers. I bet you a dollar it gets taken down as soon as some vegan starts complaining. Here, watch:

Hey worker! As a vegan (the only true anarchism), I found your remark concerning gelatin to be oppressive, as "gelatin" is one of my trigger words.

anarchism [as opposed to 'protests by anarchists' trying to lift off hierarchical structure and make more space for anarchism] is about invisible harmonies. it is ‘free association’ and it permeates our society in spite of hierarchical ethics and institutions. if you want to see it by ‘subtracting it out’ then you would ‘work to rule’ and remove all those natural, spontaneous, free associating moves that are the real heartbeat of social organization. things would look very different if everyone did no more than execute, literally, instructions cascading down the 'chain of command'. in many cases the people above don't even know what the people below do or what challenges they are faced with.

that’s how hierarchical organization is said to work, and in its pure form without anarchy it doesn’t work because it is rigidly mechanical and therefore radically ‘fault-intolerant’. anarchist systems are resilient [fault tolerant] because people pitch in spontaneously whenever something unanticipated ‘crops up’ that needs to be dealt with [like, all the time]. it is something like ‘just-in-time inventory’; i.e. it’s ‘just as the need arises’. everyone is there for everyone when you need them. in a hierarchical system when something not in the plan crops up it is met with; ... ‘not in my domain of responsibility, ... nor mine, .. nor mine, ...nor mine.’

'anarchist protests' are film-ready spectacles but ‘anarchism’ itself, as free association, ‘gets the job done’ smoothly without ostentatious swagger and bravado, without frenetic politics or going to war or shitting on those ‘below’ you or making lots of noise to get status and recognition. chuang tzu’s comments about anarchism imply that, however exciting the escapades of the free-spirited adventurers within it, the social dynamic in itself does not deliver 'apocalypse now'/'grapes of wrath' filming opportunities;

“They were upright and correct without knowing that to be so was righteous. They loved one another without knowing that to do so was benevolence. They were sincere without knowing that to do so was loyalty. They kept their promises without knowing that to do so was to be in good faith. They helped one another without thought of giving or receiving gifts. Thus their actions left no trace and we have no records of their affairs” (Chuang Tzu, Ch. XII)

Tell us more about your fiance and bff in bed together

Emile, are you an anarchist?
Also, you want to take a crack at answering this: http://www.anarchy101.org/3749/what-is-emile-on-anarchist-news-dot-org-t...

Like all of us, I am a prisoner in a controlled space. It is controlled by a committee that is given supreme control over what people are allowed to do in the space [e.g. it is verboten to ‘not believe’ in the space-controlling system]. the committee is periodically selected/replaced by a voting process which is supposed to ensure that the programs and controls imposed by the central committee are ones that the majority of people would impose, if they were elected to the committee. At best, then, this space-controlling process could produce a ‘tyranny of the majority’.

Central control based governance only makes sense if the space being governed is ‘absolute space’ populated by notional ‘local, independently-existing ‘organisms’, notionally with their own locally originating, internal process jumpstarting behaviours. This assumption is the basis for assuming that if one controls the behaviours of the individual organisms, one controls the dynamics that go on in that absolute space populated by these self-starting, results-producing causal-agents aka ‘organisms’.

This is the same ‘absolute space’ model as in monotheism where God populated an absolute, empty space during ‘the Creation’. The religious belief ‘followed up’ on that notion with a system of governance based on the notion that the individuals that now populate this absolute space are fully and solely responsible for their own behaviours, and that therefore, the social dynamics could be governed using a set of rules/laws applied to the behaviours of these independent individuals; e.g. ‘rewards for those behaviours judged good’ and ‘punishment for those behaviours judged bad’.

So, central control based governance assumes an absolute space populated by local independent organisms where the behaviour of the overall dynamic in that space can be managed/governed by managing the behaviours of the individuals within the space. This is common to both monotheist religious belief and secularized scientific belief, and that is why both religious believers and scientific thinkers support governance based on central control of individual behaviours.

But wait. some scientific thinkers, like Ernst Mach, claim that absolute space is idealized Fiktion and that the physical space of our lived experience is ‘relational’ so that the relationship between people/inhabitants and space/habitat is INTERDEPENDENT in the manner of a storm-cell in flow-space [Mach’s principle]. In this case, all dynamics are ‘transformative’ rather than 'jumpstart-creative’ [constructing a housing development = killing a forest etc.] and individuals do NOT jumpstart their own behaviours.

In this view of space as 'relational', the web of spatial-relations one is in may inhibit or nurture one’s behavioural dynamics, so that while we can say that a person’s behaviour is ‘his/her own’, that is ‘after the fact’. His/her behaviour can be stifled and stunted by the web of spatial relations he/she is situationally included in, so while what actually transpires is ‘his/her behaviour’ the influence of how the spatial-relations the individual is situated in, in nurturing or stifling the blossoming of behavioural potentialities is not determined by the individual, but is determined by the web of spatial relations the individual is situationally included in.

Supposing the individual and his family and perhaps their whole social group is in a situation where their assertive potentialities are being stifled by the influence of a crony-collective within the matrix of spatial-relations they find themselves situationally included in. The crony group may be a bunch of idiots who are doing great because they are predominantly in control of the matrix of spatial-relations, and may even mock the ones who are being stifled and label them as the 47 percent who are not paying taxes.

If the stifled ones get angry and break the law, since the law assumes an absolute space populated by independent organisms whose behaviour is fully and solely their own, the law has no time for allegations of being stifled by invisible relational networks. The intellectual model the law and central governance is based on assumes that the behaviour of an individual can only come from the individual’s internal processes such as his own internal knowledge, intellection and purpose. This model says that if he is an inferior producer, then there’s no-one to blame but himself, since he is fully and solely responsible for his own behaviour. His allegation that he and his family’s behaviour is being stifled and their development stifled by the dynamics of the relational-space they are situationally included in [e.g. as with members of italian immigrant families whose development/behaviours were stifled by the crony influence of multi-generational americans within the relational matrix in the era of Sacco and Vanzetti and Giovanitti and Ettor], is not the business of the courts, because the courts and central governance operate on the assumption that space is absolute [no influences can come from an absolute space, only from individuals populating that 'containing space' since absolute space is just a fixed, empty and infinite reference frame].

Mach claims that modern physics supports the view that the physical space of our experience is ‘relational’ and that these relational dynamics prevail over the dynamics of the ‘objects’ and ‘organisms’ that are continually gathering and being regathered within the relational space. The dynamics of an ecosystem such as the biosphere thus prevail over the dynamics of the organisms that are continually gathering and regathering within the ecosystem [an ecosystem is firstly a web of relations in a relational space, and only secondly the organisms that are currently forming within the relational webs].

'Mach’s principle' is; “The dynamics of the relational habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the relational forms/inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the relational forms/inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the relational habitat”. Such a description captures a fluid dynamic and the forms within a flow, such as the dynamics of storm-cells in the atmosphere. This relational view of the dynamic world we live in, is the view of Mach, Poincaré, Nietzsche, Bohm, Schroedinger and others who have researched and reflected on the nature of the world dynamic from a physical point of view.

Meanwhile, the monotheist and secular view of space as an absolute fixed empty and infinite reference frame or 'container' populated by independent objects and organisms continues to dominate in our globally dominant Western civilization, and to be the basis for the organizational approach, an organizational approach that keys to the notion that the behaviours of the organisms are purely and solely ‘their own’ and jumpstart from their own local internal processes [e.g. knowledge-accumulating and purpose directed intellection]. Given this absolute space model, it makes sense to based governance on controlling the behaviour of the individual because the social dynamic is, in this model, seen as being constructed from the behaviours of individuals without any influence whatsoever from the space [seen as a separate 'container' or 'operating theatre'] that the individuals are viewed as moving about and interacting within.

But of course, in our 'real-life experience', ‘what we do’ is not the whole story, not when some of us are experiencing the stifling and stunting of the blossoming of assertive/creative/productive potentials because we are caught in a suffocating matrix of crony-controlled relations, so that what registers as ‘our behaviour’, some paltry, misshapen and snarly actualization, while it may be ‘our behaviour’ in one sense, is reciprocal to an invisible blanket constituted by the relations we are situationally included in that shapes and amplifies/attenuates the actualizing of our inside-outward asserting/creating/producing potentialities from the outside-inward. What is 'visible' in terms of 'our behaviour' is what is actually 'actualized'.

In a relational space, that invisible blanket is a physical reality. Our actions are not purely ‘genetic’ [=inside-outward issuing] they are more importantly ‘epigenetic’, orchestrated from the outside-inward according to the possibilities that the space we are situated in opens up for us. In a 'land of disopportunizing' our behavioural potentials are stifled, ... in a 'land of opportunity' our behavioural potentials blossom. That is, in a relational space, the primacy of epigenetic influence is a major factor [or more precisely; ... epigenetic influence is in conjugate relation with genetic influence; i.e. in a relational space genetics and epigenetics are conjugate aspects of the uni-dynamic of relational transformation]. This contrasts with absolute space where dynamics are purely and solely in terms of the constructive and/or destructive interactions amongst the independent objects and organisms that populate a fixed, empty and infinite Euclidian operating theatre or ‘reference frame’].

In the latter, absolute space mental model, central governance based on managing the behaviour of the organisms that populate absolute space ‘makes sense’ because the social dynamic in this case is understood as being FULLY AND SOLELY determined from the interaction of individual behaviours.

In the former, relational space mental model, the primary shaper of dynamics are the relations that constitute the energy-charged relational space. In this model, the dynamics of the inhabitant are conjugate with the dynamics of the habitat. If you are a black man or female situated within a relational matrix dominated by a crony collective of white male bigots, your assertive/creative/productive potentialities are not going to blossom unless they are violent ones that rise up against the suffocating influence of the relational matrix.

The law, meanwhile, is itself based on an absolute space model in which ‘influence’ that is ‘relational’ is impossible [absolute space is not responsible for any influence on the absolute beings that notionally inhabit it]. The law will judge you and everyone on the basis of ‘what you do’ as if your behaviour is fully and solely your own. And, indeed, your violence against a system that is suffocating you will be seen as ‘your own’, and the law will not listen to your talk of ‘being suffocated by a crony collective that is a dominating influence in the web of relations that nurtures or starves the blossoming of the assertive/creative/productive potentials of those residing within the space because, to the law, and to its mental model of an absolute space populated by independent organisms whose behaviours are fully and solely their own, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS OUTSIDE-INWARD INFLUENCE ON THE DEVELOPMENT AND BEHAVIOUR OF THE INDIVIDUAL deriving from the space they are situated in. how could there be? ... when space is an absolute fixed, empty and infinite container populated locally by independent material objects and independent organisms?

the judges and the politicians who manage centrally governed spaces will tell you that you are making this all up. that your failure to blossom is your own fault and no-one else’s [citing Ayn Rand], and that you are just jealous of those who have blossomed beautifully into superior assertive/creative/productive performers and who have become the rightfully respected pillars of our society due entirely to their own internal courage, vitality and competencies and all 'the right stuff'. and you, you poor wretch, who never had the ‘right stuff’ in you that these guys had, are whining about your different colour and/or gender and crony-power-class discrimination and their locked-in controlling power by way of monopolization of property and finances, and putting your energy into anger and violence instead of useful work.

In the final analysis, the judge will say; your behaviour is purely and solely your own, and could not be otherwise in an absolute space such as God has put his creatures into, and the laws of this controlled space govern behaviours and all this court is ever going to look at is whether the behaviours of individuals in this space conform to the laws governing individual behaviours.

Mach’s ‘relational space’ = an implicit declaration that; “governance by central control of individual behaviours is Fiktion-based incoherence”, and that, as Nietzsche says [whose experience has also informed him that space is relational], there must be a radical revaluation of values. The values we place on individual productive performance are misplaced. A person’s productive performance is predominantly influenced by the accommodating or disaccommodating influence of the matrix of relations he/she is situationally included in; outside-inward epigenetic influence is always there in conjugate relation with inside-outward genetic influence.

That’s why emile refers to Mach [and Nietzsche, Poincaré, Bohm, Schroedinger] so often, because emile does not want to be a supporter of a Fiktion-based incoherence otherwise known as ‘governance by central control of individual behaviours’. you can call emile whatever you like, but labels like 'anarchist' are ambiguous and this description of where emile is coming from is unambiguous; i.e. you can call it bullshit as all believers in the absolute space of Creation and the absolute space of mainstream [over-simplified, idealized concept based] science do,... that is your prerogative. there is no law against choosing insanity. it is in fact taught in all the best Western civilization schools, as the behaviour we must assimilate and impose on others through 'tyranny of the majority'.

I think you need to elaborate more than that, son.

hmmm. 'son', ... sounds a bit 'patriarchal'!

ok, how about this.

there is a built-in ‘patriarchal fascism’ in Western social organizing associated with the way it uses relational webs to humiliate those on the bottom and so set up a gradient for climbing to the top.

That is, those who are ‘in control’ set up an environment wherein those on the bottom have a miserable life and must ‘pay their dues’ in order to climb up through the ranks and into the privileged environment at the top. This ‘original sin’ and the associated ‘redemption’ that comes from ‘paying one’s dues’ is the organizing principle of the authoritarian social system that is now globally predominating.

The freshman or freshman-state must endure humiliation by the senior or senior-state as his incentive to work his way up to becoming a senior or senior-state.

This approach which sets up a gradient in terms of ‘the humiliated’ and ‘the humiliators’ is also used not just at the level of the individual and social collective but also at the level of the individual sovereign state and the nation collective. e.g. On May 16, 2007, the former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton, said that a U.S. military attack on Iran would "be a last option after economic sanctions and attempts to foment a popular revolution had failed."

That is, those in control at the top of the nation collective power-pecking order use economic sanctions to give the population of rogue nations an incentive to climb the ladder into the privileged environment at the top of the nation collective.

Once again, it is case of the God-like powers at the top and the ‘original sin’ of those at the bottom, that establishes the ordering principle. The kingdom of God is a place that relatively abounds in privileges that are denied the people way down there below on the ground. Since ‘God is in charge’ God gets to establish and sustain the humiliator-humiliated gradient. Economic sanctions are used to ‘steepen the gradient’ and make the ‘stairway to heaven’ look that much more appealing. The local rogue leader [Qaddafy, Saddam, Castro, Mossadegh, Assad, Chavez, Sandino, Allende] that has been blocking access to the stairway to heaven [viciously or otherwise] because it leads into a corrupt fascist modus operandi, is liable to be crushed and removed if the kingdom of God intensifies sanctions to the point of creating a hell-hole whose stairway of escape is looking more and more like the ‘dark stinking pit’ that is a refuge from the advancing heated walls in poe’s ‘pit and the pendulum’.

that is, stairway of escape leads through a familiar redemptive ritual wherein the rogue leader gently and respectfully takes the blessed cocks of the generals of the kingdom of God in his mouth, or falls on his knees, kissing feet, to position himself for receiving redemptive infusions from a long queue of ‘his betters’ eagerly unbuckling to prove their commitment to sustaining the time-honoured humiliator-humiliatee authoritarian ordering principle. If the rogue leader persists in standing in the way of this redemptive ritual, he will be roughly cast aside in the rush by others who anxious to do so. this is the tactic cited by John Bolton as being preferred to direct military action.

ah, the magnanimity of the powerful keepers of authoritarian fascist patriarchy.

I think you need to elaborate on that less, daughter.

would you like the next elaboration in B♭ major or F♯ minor, honourable director of dialogic norms?

Seriously, please elaborate more.

I generally think anarchists have to re inject themselves into the aesthetic sphere of expression and propaganda, I would much rather have more Alan Moore type anarchists then all those David Graeber politicos(not that there isn't a place for them). Why haven't there been more Oscar Wilde types in the past 50 years to properly compensate the classical past?

You also have increasingly low over head technology now available through 3D printing and other things which make a minimalistic sophisticated alternative to mainstream movies more then possible as far as far flung action and fantasy go. Also you might want to look into something like pornography as a base for story telling as well.

Well the influence of Communism in film and theater up until the 1950's didn't do much. Then again thanks Elia Kazan. And fascism in literature...again, didnt create a wave of fascists. I think Godard was an Anarchist. Id like films to take a radical stance but I can find a message worth backing in any well made piece of art. The day I decide to see a movie simply because someone calls himself an Anarchist is the day I just stop moving. Anarchists in cinema might do more than Anarchist cinema.

It would be interesting to see Anarchist themes out in a positive light, abtractly or blatantly.

Godard is more of a Marxist but his films could be interpreted as having an anarchist message sometimes. I think there's really quite a rich wealth of "proper" anarchist cinema out there that the writer of this article didn't mention or maybe didn't know about. A few prominent and auteurs who have been anarchists or rather close who made anarchist films (which haven't always necessarily portrayed anarchists) are: Jean Vigo, Rene Clair, Luis Buñuel, Dusan Makavejev, Jean Rollin, Theodorus Angelopolous, Rene Vienet, Raoul Ruiz, Nick Zedd, Jan Svankmajer, Koji Wakamatsu, Maseo Adachi, and Haroun Farocki not to forget Chris Marker who just had his obituary posted here recently. A few of these have been Left SR's or Marxists but they all have been sympathetic to anarchist ideas and have a good grasp of them at least.
Stuart Christie's website has a nice streaming video feature with loads of anarchist-oriented films and documentaries.

Indeed, and in fact many of the directors you've mentioned have attacked *the form* of the cinema itself, instead of simply inserting "anarchist" themes into forms that have been left uncriticized. Good job.

"Sympathetic depictions of ‘social anarchism’ are so rare in the American cinematic tradition that I am actually at a loss in attempting to identify one."
Red Emma (1974), about Emma Goldman isn't terrible, if I recall.

I thought this remark was spot-on: "Richard Porton’s Film and the Anarchist Imagination (1999, Verso) provides an exhaustive examination of the influence of anarchist ideology." Because that's all anarchism is, an ideology. How do you know? Because all this talk about anarchist films only concerns their content and whether that content is pro-anarchist or anti-anarchist. Not one single mention of *the form* that anarchist films would take. Just a concern with plugging anarchist content into this or that already existing genre of film.

"Denmark Vesey is a producer & researcher for the Anarkos Media Collective, currently utilizing the model of the Free/Libre Open Source Software movement to produce an anarchist/anti-authoritarian documentary series of unprecedented scope."

Making it all the way to the end of the page too much reading for you? Anyway, the form anarchist films would take is largely beyond the scope of this writing, imo, since the form is obviously part of the artistic expression of film, which the author largely leaves untouched. The entire thing was more of a small survey, rather than a type of postulation. Do you also hate on people who write histories because they don't posit the future? If you want more content on the form of anarchist films, *do* that.

This quote that you've regurgitated -- "Denmark Vesey is a producer & researcher for the Anarkos Media Collective, currently utilizing the model of the Free/Libre Open Source Software movement to produce an anarchist/anti-authoritarian documentary series of unprecedented scope." -- does not mention or even allude to the form that such films would take, and thus only reinforces my point: viz. anarchism = only content = ideology.

... are you a fucking marxist or something? You're arbitrarily separating means and ends. The way in which the film was created is most definitely part of its form. And you didn't even bother addressing my other point.

The technical means by which the content is created have nothing to do with the product's form. This is basic *aesthetic theory* and has nothing to do with your great bugaboo ("fucking Marxism"). I'll spell it out for you, since I doubt you'll understand otherwise (and even then I have my doubts.) It *doesn't matter* if a documentary for example is made by some fellow sitting in his basement with a computer running freeware or by a whole team of people with lots of funding and banks of computers running proprietary software: the form of the documentary as such, it alleged claims to *tell the truth,* that is to say its ideological relationship with reality, remains the same. In other words, plugging allegedly radical content ("anarchist themes") into an aesthetic form that remains uncritically accepted undermines that content.

Do try to keep up with developments that are outside the narrow confines of your meager education!

When all else fails, ad hominem away!
I appreciate your dumbing down of your lofty intellectual theory to the likes of us plebes. Unfortunately, it did nothing to make it more coherent or true.
For one, the line I quoted wasn't about using free software you fucking dolt, it was about the means of construction. It is "utilizing *the model* of the Free/Libre Open Source Software movement," which is something entirely different than using F/LOSS to make it. It's actually making the film in an open manner, as in all the footage is created and released under libre licensing, thereby making it so that anyone can not only help create the project, but fork it and make their own version of events. In fact, it's not just allowing it (as would be nearly meaningless to anarchist media production from a certain perspective), it's *actively encouraged*. This collectivizing (while simultaneously individualizing) of the creation of media runs entirely contrary to your view that documentaries are self-entitled with some form of "Truth." Interpret events in a different way than given? Make your own fucking version of it - they explicitly *want* you to. To say that it's "an aesthetic form that remains uncritically accepted" is not only a misinterpretation, it's the *exact opposite* of what is true.
And in any case, how something is created is undeniably and inextricably linked to how it was made. For example, would you dissociate an object made by warlord slave labor from said labor? (Your computer contains such items, but by your logic, it's simply a machine for computing.) Is all food the same, since it ends up as shit in the end anyway?
But more importantly, you continue to fail to address the fact that this *wans't the scope of the writing*. Your critique is analogous to me critiquing your responses for failing to address the gelatin content of film. TFA was on various examples of anarchism in cinema, not what form it should ideally take.
But hey, what do I know, I'm not some fucking grad student spending my time studying aesthetic theory, I'm just some random anon oti who only has "the narrow confines of [my] meager education."

Yup, something is definitely rotten in Denmark.

"For example, would you dissociate an object made by warlord slave labor from said labor?" WHAT ARE YOU, A FUCKING MARXIST?


"Do you also hate on people"

This is so typical of people who aren't used to speaking to people who are outside of their narrow social group. They are so used to feeling "love" which is actually uncritical acceptance from their peer group that anyone who disagrees or raises an objection is quickly labeled and dismissed as a "hater."

Some day, when you grow up, you'll see that the love/hate dichotomy you are so comfortable with is totally inadequate to the true emotional complexities of life. *Or maybe you won't.*

Lolwat? The critique isn't about hating, it's about *being irrelevant to the subject at hand*. And if you think I can't object to anything, then explain how I'm objecting to your dumb shit.

In any case, your characterization of me isn't even close. I have no friends, only meat shields.

Here's the exact passage I was responding to: "Do you also hate on people who write histories because they don't posit the future? If you want more content on the form of anarchist films, do that." If that was you (which I'm sure it was), then you are *a liar.* You can't talk about "hat[ing] on people" and then turn around and say it "isn't about hating," unless you want to reveal yourself as yet another person who can't argue with others without arguing from bad faith.

I'm not saying I'm a different person, idk where you got that from, I'm saying you're taking it out of context. That line was in reference to "the form anarchist films would take is largely beyond the scope of this writing" immediately before it, and was critiquing the content of their critique as such. Is it the verbiage you take issue with? "Hating" too hippie for you or something? Then how about this instead: "Do you also critique people who write histories for not positing the future? If you want more content on the form of anarchist films, write it." Again, it had nothing to do with his comment not being peace and love, it had everything to do with it critiquing TFA on points it wasn't addressing. You can see this in my other comment later in the thread, "you continue to fail to address the fact that this wans't the scope of the writing. Your critique is analogous to me critiquing your responses for failing to address the gelatin content of film. TFA was on various examples of anarchism in cinema, not what form it should ideally take." Again, if I was against critique, I wouldn't be writing these comments.

can we get over this whole 'label', 'image' 'scene' thing that we feel the necessity to champion. Its not like without it somehow people wont see that things need to change or that people will give up on trying new modes of change. Organizing around similar people and learning about the same ideas is comfortable and ok, but we need diversity and not dogmatic boxes to hide in. Were not smarter than everyone, we don't have all the answers, if we did shit would be fixed.

good point. if anarchism is the natural way to organize, then one can't put it in a box any more than one can put nature in a box. authoritarianism is an unnatural 'presence' in society, the absence of a presence is not some 'thing', it is just absence.

this story of anarchism as some kind of thing that is growing and evolving is a crock of shit. more people getting pissed off with unnatural behaviours being forced on them is more like it.

"... a film that can reach relatively mainstream audiences with information about the ancient origins of anarchism [how about 'the beginning of nature'], anarchist philosophy’s influence in all spheres of culture since its inception as a school of socio-political thought[when was that post-grad student's research funded], the diverse and protean nature of the global anarchist movement ['diverse and protean' describes the absence of a presence], and its potential for helping humanity to create a future [we're going in any direction but that fucking direction, ... does that help?] beyond the current capitalist model of production, consumption, and general social organization."

putting a label on anarchy is like putting a label on people who aren't a member of some particular set. if there was a trend in some rainy region for people to put their house up for sale so that they could move to florida, by the time 90 percent of the people were on that bandwagon, it would be those that had no such desires who would become notable by exception. they would become an oddball group who put 'not for sale' signs in front of their homes and interviewers would be going around asking them what they didn't like about florida, and various other questions in the attempt to categorize their heresy. but their heresy would not be 'something', it would be 'not something' [an absence rather than a presence], like the absence of advocacy of authoritarian controls.

but those who want to put a label on it will find some guy who claims he was the first to buck the trend, and another who is good at intellectualizing why moving to florida is not a good idea etc. etc.

And i definitely see the merit in trying to get marginalized voices into film, etc. But what if this unnatural "presence" we are facing is not unnatural at all, rather the learning process we as a species must go through to be able to deal with these "mad powers" we attained.Like the enemy is a crucial part of our being. So not so much as we are an unnamed y opposed to x, but rather we are all xy moving toward z. That even the most fanatical dictator and the most empathetic martyr share a common goal but must try a thousand different ways of change to actually figure it out.

Yay more anarchists in film! But also, for that matter, on stage - theater is a GREAT venue for exploration of radical themes, and totally accessible to most everyone from a cost/technology perspective.

For all its problems it would be fun if we had a "what to do in case of fire" (German) here in the US.

Was "land and liberty" a British film? Irish?

Literature to promote cinema? That's submission of the letters to the Spectacle, at its worst!

We don't fucking need any openly anarchist filmmaking, as all it's going to do is to KILL the movement and its insurgency through the spectacle!

Fucking dimwit liberal suckers...

THere's been already cinema with a strong anarchist critique and rhetoric, for about 80 years. The idiots who wrote this seem to be too dumb to see it, as much as they know NOTHING about filmmaking... that passing a message through filmmaking is NEVER about being obvious, but rather indirect and symbolic.

Otherwise, Luis Bunuel movies are among the most subversively anarchist movies ever, and it's violent antifascist/antistatist/antichristian diatribe, but even there, you don't have circled A's in the generics.

What about Beasts of The Southern Wild?

it was a good movie?

It wasn't explicitly anarchist but it was in sentiment and they do have a black flag at the end

That's the point... make a message explicit in a movie, and you just kill it from the start. THose who wrote this don't get anything about filmmaking. It's all about sub-levels of meaning behind the images, or else it's just a flat empty shell.

I agree. The subtle nuances of human relationships is lost on the modern impatient herd of revolutionaries.

And what's the fucking point to make movies anyways? Our riots became more popular and socially relevant than any fucking spectacle! Just an okay way to spend time when you got nothing better to do on a rainy evening.

Cinema = Non-Life

Yeah wandering around on a rainy afternoon down by the riverbank, waiting for some tourists in canoes like the hillbilly folk in 'Deliverance'! Yep, that's the life!! Hope it works out for you.

Film about Korean anarchists during the Japanese occupation: Anakiseuteu

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
Enter the code without spaces.