topic of the week: Games and Anarchy

  • Posted on: 11 January 2016
  • By: thecollective

Games are ubiquitous, and, as they become bigger and bigger money-earners, they're gaining in social cred (here is a link to someone promoting games as a way to solve serious world issues although the idea of putting so much responsibility on fun seems contradictory). In species being, frere Dupont introduced the concept of Earthen Cup, a game played throughout life, and of course various anarchists have promoted a ludic lifestyle for decades (if not more), as the antithesis of the joyless work- and meeting-based theories of Marx and cohorts.
For us, what is the relationship of games to fun? What is the relationship of anarchists to games? (Are the games in which people play against a computer, or the game itself--as with Pandemic--more anarchist-y than PvP? Is it enough to play in teams? Or are the best games the ones with no losers at all?)
While not gaming, the podcast on anarchists-watching-movies is one approach: engaging in something that relaxes us, but then critiquing it as a way to pay attention to the effects of relaxing in that way.
Other people play games (first person shooters, gun construction and maintenance, etc) as a way to prepare for the revolution (or maybe just life), which is certainly consistent with what the psychs say play is for (less-stressful practice for reality).
(This is aside, of course, from the common reasons and ways that people play, to relax and get away from their lives.)
What games do you play? How do you have fun? What impact do you think your fun has on the rest of your life? And what does your anarchy have to do with it?

signed, chaotic neutral



That's what should be the name of the game. Dupont's earthen cup approach is right up my alley. The issues are not the Issue and The Issue is not MY issue.

I play a lot of in-browser games. Most of the time, they're not fun. There's something gratifying to the process of working out a game's logic and using that to advance in it, though. Except if the game's actually hard, in which case I'll go to another game. If I'm playing games, it's because they weigh nothing, unlike any significant activity in real life, and they fill time. This is probably the case for many people with shitty jobs behind a screen too (though this is not my situation). Also, often I find myself playing games with a friend of mine who is going through hell, and uses them as a distraction.

I presume most green anarchists are going to have some extra issues with games, regarding technology. This strikes me as the weirdest TOTW - when I think about games, ted talks, and the bay area (the place I associate this site with), I also get the slightest whiff of transhumanism coming from the cultural techno-bubble around there.
Recently though I thought about how interesting it would be to have a complex game where one was able to pick values and set up societies in a world who lived those values, where the game showed the sorts of people to emerge from whatever society. I suppose the main function of the game would be to show that other worlds are possible with other values, and to allow people to simulate those worlds themselves.

I don't particularly want to learn how to kill people through a first person shooter game - I don't want to go through the process of alienating myself from the process of killing. Computer games might help me learn how to put together a gun, because there's enough homogeneity in the process of putting together a gun, but as soon as I look at my (very specific, contingent) position in the world and ask myself, 'how do I make revolution in the way I'd like to most', I don't see any game being able to supply people with the answer to that. And isn't that the real question for most of us?

I think fun's important. Right now though everything I do affects in very intimate and immediate ways whether my friend lives or dies, so between the stress of that fact and the need to keep up the rest of my life, it's completely taken a back seat, and I don't have any sense of how to get it back. I've wondered often about the tension toward Joy that I subscribe to in my own anarchy, and how that seems impossible from where I am now, and if that means I'm doing it all wrong.

"I presume most green anarchists are going to have some extra issues with games, regarding technology. "

um... so i guess you are speaking solely of computer (etc) games? just fyi, there are a shitload of games that require no technology whatsoever. imagination...

as for fun, if one cannot find fun in their lives (at least a good portion of the time), and fun is something they desire, then it's probably time to change one's life. priorities, no?

I wouldn't call that nihilism.

No ... it's a "leftard" mocking you

lets all be friends here plzzz

if this suppository/supposition of a 'new nihilism' can be retroactively fit into a historical modality, what would be the 'game' that say the decembrists 'played'? points? stakes? objectivex? etc...

Appropriately puerile pursuits for a resolutely puerile subculture -- forward to dweeb-hood, anarchist subculture weenies!

You're the dweeb, nerd!

Playing games is human nature, that's how children build their personality, animals and humans when we are young, are living in the world of games and imagination.
I suppose anarchists would like some non commercial games, I like sport games, I don't play computer games, I played when I was young, pac man and super mario, before almost 20 years.

but human nature is misused y capitalists to make profit, to train people for war, etc. colonial politics and propaganda is including "space invaders" games, the same as the novel about robinson crusoe. all of that belongs to the war propaganda.

game manufactures are big business, almost like Hollywood, CIA and NSA are mixed in producing games, they also spy players.

in q tel is company created by the CIA to invest money in tech companies, you can see here the list of software they invested money:
there is also Destineer – games FPS training simulation: (Age of Empires III, Halo for OS X, Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45, and Starship Troopers)

I think people must have fun and relaxation, but as anarchists, we should take care to avoid commercialization of our life. unfortunately, many poor people in this world must run for bread, they work hard and they don't see any fun in this life. poor angry people make revolution, rich kids enjoy in capitalism. too much fun is not good :) who enjoys too much, he will not fight :( therefore Greeks burn, Danes don't burn anything.

Did any of you play America's Army when you were younger? It was an official recruitment tool of the U.S. Army. Very realistic, in a sense. Free download, multiplayer, well-engineered. I played it a fair bit as a teenager, along with all sorts of other vidya games.

Funny propaganda site (with link to a classic track):

Everyone wants to win this thing, right? Not lose? That's from games! So games are important to anarchy.

strife is the unum-in-opposition [civil war] that fuels relational transformation. in nature, there is no such thing as binary opposites. there is one thing which is trying to move in different directions.

the global social-relational dynamic belongs to the overall One-ness which polarizes relative to itself, generating strife that sources relational transformation. just because we call them two different names; 'european colonizers' and 'indigenous aboriginals' and depict them as 'two independently-existing entities in opposition' to construct a 'semantic reality' on that basis, ... does not 'trump' the physical reality of our actual, natural, relational experience in which one is all and all is one [quod sit unum].

the concept of one side winning derives from 'ego' and its religious belief in its 'independent being';

“Man is rational and therefore like God; he is created with free will and is master over his acts."

the secularized theological belief called 'scientific belief' follows the religious belief;

"man is an independent reason driven system with internal process driven and directed development and behaviour that resides, operates and interacts in a habitat that is [notionally] 'independent' of the inhabitants that reside, operate and interact within it"

both of these ego-based 'beliefs' are used to construct the popular Western 'semantic reality'. the construction of this 'semantic reality' is further facilitated by the subject, verb, predicate structures of noun-and-verb Indo-European/scientific language-and grammar which allows the ego to rob the habitat of all power and lay claim to it, itself, in what Wittgenstein calls 'bewitchment of understanding by language' as is also the view of Nietzsche;

“In its origin language belongs in the age of the most rudimentary form of psychology. We enter a realm of crude fetishism when we summon before consciousness the basic presuppositions of the metaphysics of language, in plain talk, the presuppositions of reason. Everywhere it sees a doer and doing; it believes in will as the cause; it believes in the ego, in the ego as being, in the ego as substance, and it projects this faith in the ego-substance upon all things — only thereby does it first create the concept of “thing.” Everywhere “being” is projected by thought, pushed underneath, as the cause; the concept of being follows, and is a derivative of, the concept of ego. In the beginning there is that great calamity of an error that the will is something which is effective, that will is a faculty. Today we know that it is only a word.” – Nietzsche, ‘Twilight of the Idols’

those 'realists' who see winning and losing as part of their 'reality' can, like the child-soldier, pick up their kalashnikov and take out 20 or more citizens of the evil empire they are 'at odds with', ... for every one of them the evil empire can take out.

those that understand strife, conflict and competition, not as abstract binary win/lose exercises [the war between 'egos' of 'independent beings'] but as relational engaging processes that transform, self, other and habitat, will be guided by how the habitat in which they share inclusion with their adversaries, is relationally transformed by their actions [e.g. how fit the post-combat transformed habitat that includes transformed self-and-other is for the continuing relational incubating of surviving loved ones]. [while mothers often sacrifice their lives to make conditions better for their children, Western fathers' egos may distract them so single-mindedly to defeating the enemy that the conditions that their children will have to live in, win or lose, will be intolerable].

some anarchists [e.g. indigenous anarchists] are not interested in 'winning' in the binary sense of 'defeating' their opponents. in fact, while their opponents [e.g. authoritarians] may be interested in imposing their will on them, they are not interested in imposing their will on the authoritarians [there is no binary opposite symmetry] but are simply trying to shake the monkey of will-imposing authoritarian adversaries off their back as they revive their non-binary, non-egotist, non-being-based relation with one another and the land.

just because a gang of monkeys is blocking your path and confronting you and telling you that you must do as they say, does not mean that the conflict that breaks out is a win/lose gaming exercise. in fact, from the anarchist point of view, it will aim to dissuade the adversary from attacking; it will not aim to defeat them. there will thus be no 'winner' in the binary competition sense since what is at stake is the restoring of man's relations with the land [the healing of a unum-in-opposition]. or, in other words, there is no 'clash of civilizations' here where two opposing factions [communist/capitalist, democrat/republican] composed of egotist 'independent being' collectives battle over which of their belief systems gets to be imposed on the lot.

one could say, therefore, that binary conflict does not arise in conflict involving [indigenous] anarchist collectives, so winning or losing is never an issue. [since most game technology involves winning and losing, it subverts the anarchist mind].

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