Topic of the Week: Millenarians

  • Posted on: 26 December 2016
  • By: thecollective

Anarchists have a long history of millenarian-type myths: from Ernest Coeurderoy's bloody visions of a cossack invasion to the modern-day peak oil/collapse theory.

In what ways have you internalized these myths, acted on them, or lived and acted alongside others who do? Since apocalypse fears have been present for a very long time in civilized human history (and so far none have fully fruited), and clearly have a role in the anarchist universe, are they to be viewed as typical, even for a subculture that should be bent on weirdness? Should this normalcy suggest we distance ourselves (or be above) these fantasies? Can we be above what inspires them in creating our relationships outside and against the mainstream? Or does the anarchist flare for the end breath life into our wildest, most innovative, most inspired eu/dystopian fantasies?



Peak oil isn't a myth, there is a finite amount of oil in the earth. At some point it will run out, and even before then, the costs for extracting it will make it unprofitable. The only thing in question is how long it will take to occur. Melting ice caps and drilling in previously inaccessible places will extend things some, but not indefinitely. Sure, we shouldn't sit around waiting for the collapse, but a time without cheap and plentiful energy is on the horizon and folks should be preparing for it.

There's a reason the middle east has the most jetsonian looking cities that are what the big north america cities were in century 20. There's a reason the post 1973 contractions happened. What I dispute is some of the worst case scenarios such as a horse and carriage future. I think there will be jet plane to glider adjustment with cities like Vancouver, San Francisco and the Scandinavian cities being the model. It will be an adjustment to be sure, communication technology will probably trump transportation technology. It won't be the end of the world however.

That's vague. There's also a finite amount of seawater. And a finite amount of dirt. And a finite amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Finiteness doesn't tell us about a nominal quantity, and projections vary wildly regarding the volume of earth's reserves. Consider why this story, which is hard to corroborate since the subject is underground, exists in the first place. There are advantages to a peak oil narrative: artificial scarcity would benefit the corporations, falsity of the claim would benefit the propagandizers in their political aims. Akin to climate projections, peak oil is a very politicized hypothesis. In both cases, reality is irrelevant.

Disaster mongering is what I might call 'negative optimism.' People don't so much want to avert disaster as secrectly wish it would happen. This is another connection to historical apocalyptic wishing, as a distraction from the horrifying mundanities of life, and as an afterlife-oriented mass mobilizing propaganda tool. If people really were concerned about a worst-case scenario involving oil, they'd be talking about how oil reserves are potentially gargantuan, inexaustable and being replenished in the subterranean via yet-fully-understood processes. i.e. your 'great devil' is not going to die anytime soon. In this sense, peak oil and climate change do seem like a propaganda narrative—they are veiled optimism.

Bob Black made a similar point in 'anti-nuclear terror'.

Notice how the above anon referenced unprofitability in their mentioning of peak oil. Oil "peaking" isn't about the world's reserves running out in their entirety, it refers to the easily-accessible and high EROI fosdil fuel reserves. There will still be immense amounts of gas and oil left undee the earth, but it will be poorer in energy and harder to extract than the bitumen sands of northern Alberta. The "liquid gold" that was extracted in the late 1800s would give you 250 times the energy it took to extract it, and modern sources usually sit somewhere between 10-30 EROI.

Sure but in at least one of your examples, the propaganda narrative is just tacked on to an actual phenomenon. Therefore, all you're really saying is that serious environmental/political issues get used as footballs by opportunists. Old news.

'Serious issues' & 'actual phenomenon.'

The individual has to take global warming & peak oil, among other apocalypti, on trust from experts, secondhand, via articles & video. Mass-scale, metasensory, heavily abstracted concepts will inevitably be hard to decouple from political misuse. I might call it a hallmark-vulnerability of mass society.

True but you wouldn't want to accidentally cultivate the kind of "radical scepticism" that you find with flat-earthers and lunar-landing deniers. Every person has to do their own research and of course, it will reflect their ability to do so.

Why though? Whether American astronauts landed on the moon in the 60s & 70s, or thoughts about the shape of the land beyond one's horizon, has little bearing on people's day-to-day decision making. You imply that there is a line in the sand in the desert of scientific consensus, beyond which we shouldn't cross. That scientific consensus is a secular religion which has converted much of the world's population, and stifles attempts to return to the diversity of origin myths which predated it.

Not really … I was implying that everyone who claims anything like objective truth definitely better put some work in to it.

i kinda like that (peek-a-boo 8:24)

peak oil 'mythology' was (and is) certainly a thing, particularly in the late 90s/early 2000s - closely related to y2k mythology ... calling it a myth points more at what stories people created (and in some cases lived by) as a response not specifically to the knowledge that fossil fuel resources are finite, but the conviction that the shortage was coming fast.

back then, a lot of people who invested in this mythology would have pictured a much different 2016 -- the peak oil apocalypse should have come and gone by now -- leading back to the question, how do these mythologies serve us, especially when they are so seductive (and though 'factual', so wrong)?

That's not how I remember the peak oil memes … there was a wide range of projections and we've seen pretty significant geopolitical manoeuvring to do with access and price since then. Maybe is more about the cottage industry of alarmist rhetoric (designed to sell shit to Alex Jones fans) that springs up around serious issues and clouds them?

You know, when you remove people from land, industry & facility, it's funny to see what crops up in its place.

Those who originally forecast Peak Oil shortly after 2010 were not expecting the Great Recession, nor all that (high cost, low return) fracked gas, fracked oil, and tar sands. The Great Recession put a cap on the value of oil beginning in 2008. As soon as it started, gasoline prices plunged. Everytime gas prices headed back up, the economy swooned, pushing them back down again.

The big investments in tar sands were made while oil was high, and although it was not at $140 a barrel for long, it stayed at $80+ long enough to really goose that toxic Mordor in Alberta, Occupied Canada. Were it not for the campaigns that stopped the KXL and several other pipelines this would have expanded to a far greater extent. At the same time oil fracking exploded in N Dakota, with catastrophic consequences for Native Americans. People were pushed off their land, women were raped and literally sold into slavery, and man camps spread like the settlements of old. On top of this was the gas fracking nightmare...

Then came a 2014 economic slowdown in China, where all that high-priced "unconventional oil" they were looking to buy from Occupied Canada and the US was just too expensive. The Chinese economy took a dump, and the Saudi royals pounced on the change to smash their competitors in Occupied N Dakota and Occupied Canada. They opened the tap wide, pushing their old wells so hard some feared permanent damage. With oil demand down, the combination of this Saudi output with the frack oil caused prices to collapse.

Now large parts of the fracking nightmare in N Dakota have been abandoned, but a suprise came: one area produced oil cheap enough that it only got unprofitable at about $20 a barrel or so. All the frackers went there, and thus we have the insane pressure for shit like the Dakota Access Pipeline. Tar sands, by comparison, requires over $70 a barrel to turn a profit, so the Alberta tar bosses have been producing at a loss for years. If this keeps up, the tar sands producers will eventually go belly-up.

The 2008-2014 combination of high prices and Great Recession left a lot of oil in the ground, so the peak for conventional oil was surely spread out and possibly lowered. It's also possible that this will cause a delayed, higher peak: you don't know where the peak is until you pass it.

The same geologists that expected Peak Oil in 2010 correctly predicted the peak of US conventional (drilled but not fracked) oil would be in 1973. A peak for ALL oil cannot be forecast without knowing all possible forms of oil that can be recovered, nor without knowing the maximum price oil will be worth. Oil prices higher than the energy value of the oil cause the economy to tumble until oil is affordable again, and future developments in cleaner renewables could do to oil what dirty fracked gas did to almost as dirty coal.

Peak Gas is another issue entirely, due to the social and property damage costs of fracking and due to the potential for brine gas recovery. We have no idea when the damage caused by fracking will force and end to it, or whether people will choose to put up with the damage (or more likely force others to put up with it at gunpoint). Brine gas is the real question mark: ten times as much as could ever be fracked-but the brine won't let go of the gas unless you saturate it with carbon dioxide. The CO2 could come from burning gas of course, but to do that you have to compress and cool the stack gases to the point that the CO2 condenses out, using up a good part of the energy the gas made. It works, but if solar and wind get cheaper it will stay in the ground. Possibly the same economics as "clean"" carbon capture coal plants, which can't even compete with today's wind farms.

Luke, as always, fantastic comment with actual analysis. Thanks for this. Haven't seen you in a few years but hope you're well!

- a comrade from the NE

logical propositions and linear logical projections are inherently subjective and incomplete. they are based on a simplistic 'cause and effect' model of dynamics and employ a small number of notional causal agents to compute the causally determined future state.

we believe it because we [Western man] have modeled our ego-self' as a simple causal agent that determines a future state of affairs. because we believe ourselves to be causal agents that determine and accumulate results progressively along the linear axis of time [rather than relational forms in a transforming relational continuum], we further believe that the world in general works in this same way: i.e. by causal agents determining and accumulating results progressively along the linear axis of time so as to deliver the future state.

Belief in apocalyptic myths associates with our [Western man's] egocentric, anthropomorphic view of the world. We are so convinced of our causal role in determining the future state of affairs that we feel guilty about it and want to change what we are doing [our perceived 'causal' role].

that is, even though our attempts to determine a revised future by 'eliminating bad causal agents' (like Saddam) turn into disasters because of the externalities we engender [in the real relational world of our actual experience and thus gives us a wakeup call to remind us that the logical space we model in is nothing like the real physical world of our actual relational experience.], we continue to believe that we can 'eliminate our bad causal, future-state determining behaviours' and restore climate change to 'normal'.

this confidence in our ability to deterministically change the world according to our reasoned plans [which blinds us to the externalities we engender in our interventions into the real relational world of our actual experience] is built into the basic egotist model of our 'self'.

if one believes this, then one will believe that one can predict the future state of affairs using linear-in-time projections based on a few notable causal agents [independent variables]. suspending belief in these linear-in-time projections of a future state of affairs would require suspending belief in the ego-self [the self as an 'independently-existing causal agent capable of deterministically shaping a desired future state of affairs.

Of course we can screw up what we call 'the climate' just like we can screw up the global social relational dynamic by believing we can 'surgically eliminate' politicians like Saddam who we see as fountainheads of bad results. Our intervention to logically eliminate Saddam engendered massive externalities since the relational space we intervened in was nothing like the logical space wherein a 'thing-in-itself' either 'is' or 'is not'. In other words, we can't 'back out what we did' in the case of climate change because we don't have a clue what we did [we should have to understand the real physical world of our actual experiential intervention to understand what we did.]. It would be like stirring cream into coffee [or india ink into clear treacle (Bohm)] and then, not liking the tone, setting out to unstir what we have stirred up.

There's this myth that there's something defensible about Marxism in Russia 1917 - 1921. When-ever a self-described anarchist does it, they look extremely silly imho.
Another Myth is Marxism has some economic-theoretical value. If there is then its taking its time getting here!
Finally the class-war myth. If there is anything to class analysis then we have to take the side of the peasant-class against the working-class.

Know the truth that sets you free

I would say for the last it should more broadly be called land based inhabitants. The less class(the original identity politics) the better.

"Finally the class-war myth. If there is anything to class analysis then we have to take the side of the peasant-class against the working-class."

Oh great, another seventeen-year-old who learned everything he knows from alt-right memes here to tell us all about anarchy.

Ageist sectarian bigot.

U mad bro?

Kulaks GTFO.

I think that "millenarianism" plays a role in the revolving door of young anarchists in the scene. Young people in their teens and early twenties discover anarchism, get super excited about it, join the subculture and base all their hopes for the future into it. The unconscious assumption is that an anarchist revolution will occur in their lifetime and solve all their problems. When their late 20's comes around and the glorious golden age of anarchy has not come about, then people give up on it and leave, making room for new people in their late teens and early twenties to come and take their place.

although i like the exceptions to this rule (many refer to them as wingnuts), and myself have a weakness for millenarian fantasy-spinning and modern conspiracy/the paranormal a la art bell ... of course for me these are exercises in imagination and playing with consensus reality -

i don't base my anarchism on these things myself although i did during my early 20s -- speaking for myself i've stuck around because i found anarchy to have other things to offer as well, but this is a question for another TOTW

When it comes to millenarianism, there are two important things to keep in mind:

1.) Millenarian craziness around a subject (climate change, peak oil, nuclear war etc) does not prove said issue isn't an urgent, global, existential threat.
2.) That some concerns about urgent, global, existential threats are totally valid doesn't mean that associated millenarian nuttiness is valid too.

I don't know that it's really possible to have this discussion without admitting the above, though ~99% of writing about the subject attempts to. The sad fact is that most dire and urgent issues are plagued by nutjobs who blow things out of proportion. As someone who got pretty deep into the peak oil stuff, I know I got really tired of trying to explain to people that this didn't mean the gas stations weren't all going to run dry tomorrow. The movement largely died out because of how much was based around apocalyptic alarmism (both on the part of leaders and followers), despite the fact that a good many of their predictions came true. The explosion in oil prices, the subsequent economic collapse and the global shift toward "unconventional oil" like tar sands, oil shale and arctic drilling all line up pretty damn well. Unfortunately, a lot of folks really didn't understand the scale and complexity involved or how markets work, and expected oil prices to just rocket up until we all drove horses and buggies again, presumably sometime around 2012. When, instead, those failing economies and new production forced prices down, they assumed the apocalypse had been averted. Three cheers for short attention spans.

Looking back, I'm glad I read all that stuff, and still definitely feel that (reasonable) apocalyptic concerns should be a priority for people fighting against the people causing them, but we shouldn't delude ourselves - it's a long game. Having analysis that is sharp enough to explain and predict this kind of thing looks great in hindsight. Jumping the gun, like Marxists claiming at the time that every single recession in the past 150 years was the end of capitalism, just makes us look like a bunch of knobs and fools. Collapses happen, but they take time, usually on the order of centuries.

Interesting comment. Perhaps in the end it will all be looked at as industrial civilization rising in the 18th - 20th centuries, and falling in the 21st - 23rd centuries.

That is an even greater energy returner. One thing's for sure, if humans ever construct a cybernetic civilization it will not be done on fossil fuels or renewables.

Good post. Got me thinking. Perhaps the reduced profitability of oil has been converted into US national debt, aka devaluation of the petrodollar. If we consider that our paper money, if tied to anything tangible at all, is tied to oil foremost i.e. the petrodollar. US debt increased from $10 trillion to $20 trillion over the past eight years. Thus 'peak oil' effects have been occuring but have manifested mainly as debt, which is less visible. Less noticeable.

Put simply: the reduced profitability of oil seen over the past few years can be quantified as a fraction of, or the entirety of, the $10 trillion US debt increase.

I offer up the terms 'stealth peak' & 'hidden peak' to name this hypothesis.


This would be similar to how the cost of the 2008 housing bubble was absorbed by, or converted into, the devaluation of banks, stocks, & 401ks; and the cost/debt burden associated with the bailout.

The profitability issues of oil are being managed better, or masked better, compared to the profitability issues of housing/banking (i.e. the aformentioned 2008 housing bubble).

These mass scale profitability issues are being converted into national debt. If I'm anywhere near accurate in this assessment, then the cost of propping up failing business models (banking, oil) is to be measured in trillions.

Might add silicon valley tech, social media & porkbarrel-earmarked-crony-capital military mega projects (F-35 scale) to that list as well, beyond those bigger ones of banking & oil.

I dunno if the debt-oil relationship is quite that simple, for a few reasons. For starters, the US is a net importer of oil (until recently, the world's largest), so increasing oil prices hurt them more than help. The reason the US dollar is known as the "petrodollar" is not so much because they produce oil, but because it's the default currency with which oil is traded worldwide. When you buy oil from Canada, Saudi Arabia or Venezuela, you pay with (American) dollars, which makes American dollars valuable worldwide despite the fact the US doesn't export much in general (at least compared to what they import), which allows them to maintain that massive trade imbalance. Every few years someone (Gaddaffi, Chavez etc) threatens that they're gonna get all of OPEC to shift to something else, mostly to antagonize the US, though this hasn't carried much weight since the EU and China's economies started to stumble.

So, while increased costs for extracting oil are going to eventually weigh everyone down, they're not necessarily going to cost the US debt directly, and in many ways will actually help reduce it (especially for their military, which happens to be the largest single consumer of oil on earth, and half or more of the US budget). That isn't to say that oil prices didn't play a big role in the market crash or disintegration of half the Middle East's governments, which obviously did impact the US debt, but I don't know that I'd risk positing a direct relationship. In any case (and I'm sure I'll catch hell for saying this, but...) the American debt really isn't as big or apocalyptic as people tend to make out, and debt scaremongering in general tend to be the domain of neoliberal austerity rationales and crypto-fascist lunacy.

What is a much bigger threat is what you allude to with the broader economic slowdown. Whether you wanna call it "peak everything", the "falling rate of profit" or whatever, there's an obvious drag happening on the actual productivity of the economy that goes way beyond oil. Dwindling resources, bureaucracy, financialization, corruption - they're all slowly putting the breaks on "progress" and will probably eventually crash the megamachine. Just not on a very reliable timescale....

of the U.S. stands at about 20 trillion dollars including intra-governmental debt.
Of course this a fraction of total physical and financial assets owned by U.S. governmental entities at all levels,
not to mention control over other assets through regulatory, military and fiscal capture. Like all debt, if sustainable and applied with growth inducing manners, it can propel any economy through
growth. The preeminence of the U.S. in these areas ensures its position in world affairs, like it or not .
None of this has any bearing on what society is more vulnerable to libertarian influences, which speaks more to the political situation and historical factors in each case.

"What is a much bigger threat is what you allude to with the broader economic slowdown. Whether you wanna call it "peak everything", the "falling rate of profit" or whatever, there's an obvious drag happening on the actual productivity of the economy that goes way beyond oil."

If I may indulge my desire to generalize, I'll give a name to this slowdown. The great meta-opiate of our age: the internet.

Would the slowdown not have happened without the internet, tho? The falling rate of profit theories have been around for a century, and resource depletion has been visible for a good chunk that time. DARPAnet was barely in its infancy at the time of the first oil shocks. As for bureaucracy, the digital technologies have made them more efficient in ways are hard to manage nowadays - ever done a record search without computers? It fuckin sucks.

I know its in vogue to hate on the net, but i just don't see it here.

I tend to agree, however... Every benefit accredited to the internet can be accompanied with a detriment. We can talk of efficiency & streamling, and I would agree with you, but what are we streamlining?

In a narrow sense, enterprises, production and profit are benefitted operationally by this tech automation. But the social, political & spiritual effects of the net are less well understood, or at least less discussed. To speak of connectivity & streamlining in this domain, we can neither call it good nor bad, but rather unknown. Accidental.

We have in the 'net access to memetic-infection by connecting the words & images of of everyone. The mind of a satanic pedophile rapist influences to the same degree as a liberal scientism-led feminist, and to the same degree as a conservative pastoral farmer, and to the same degree as duplicitous anonymous pranksters, and to the same degree as nefarious deep-state conspirators, and to the same degree as stoic ascetic monks, and so on & so on. We have a generation raised by limitless access to internet pornography, claiming to know who they are. We have no idea what we're in or what we're doing.

My intuition says there is an intellectual-spiritual rot occuring, perhaps not new but accelerated, and this saps the will, saps the passions, saps certainty. Saps productivity, saps the will to war, the will to conflict, and dissolves the horizon. Ignorance was a holy bliss, and understanding is a double-edged sword. But I'm only guessing.

I agree with your points. There is an aspect of addiction to this, though. I'm not sure if either of us are articulating it. Why is this language-machine, this noosphere, this internet, so addictive? It is the ultimate drug, because it can activate so much of the individual human's internal drug-factory. Thus anyone can become a junkie through their own neurochemistry. Getting our kicks through Comcast instead of the 'community.' And I mean kicks in a quite wide sense: intellect, discourse, discovery, comedy, amusement, drama, anxiety, sadness, commerce, sex. So much of previously social life can be artificially equivocated through the machine now, from the mundane to the sublime.

An aside- I was recently considering the origin of dependence upon language, and thought of nearsightedness. Sensory impairments (poor vision or hearing, etc.) were not necessarily less common in earlier eras. A person with bad vision, for example, can get by well without the technology of corrective lenses. Before their invention the nearsighted person's world would have been informed by what was within arm's reach, or within twenty feet of them, while their impression of distant things was more dependent upon imagination & secondhand experience through language—the statements & stories of others. The visually impaired's is a mind more heavily shaped by imagination & language than direct sensation. If a mind is not stimulated by sufficiently detailed sensory inputs, as in reduced-resolution blurry vision, then imagination picks up the slack. Thus, I wonder if the internet is acting as a sort of analogue to this example, addressing some form of sensory/phenomenological limitation in a subtle way. Instead of 'corrective lenses' to improve this limitation, people are relying upon an imagination informed, in part, by a language-based surrogate. The internet.

I think it's willing to give proportional space, which is not the same as letting you walltext all over the place.

I totally get what you're saying, and I don't disagree, I'm just not sure that it really fits in with the "broader economic slowdown" mentioned above, or with concepts like "peak everything" or the "falling rate of profit". Those, too, relate fairly explicitly to "enterprises, production and profit" - the problem they speak of is one which primarily afflicts the economy, and it poses some unique challenges to anarchists. On one hand, we fucking hate the states and corporations who are slowing down, and welcome their demise if it's caused. On the other, the people most likely to be affected by this are likely to be the most powerless, and many of the same problems are likely to dog any anarchist alternatives people attempt to build. Either way it represents an important avenue of critique and analysis.

Now, to be fair, there are a lot of ways in which the internet doesn't really aid productivity (the cost of systems, employees wasting time on facebook etc), and many more in which it may ultimately prove economically disastrous for capitalism (if we all lose our jobs and can't buy anything, or if it enables insurrections). It's just that from an organizational or informational point of view, the logistical benefits for capitalism and the state are unprecedented. It would take dozens of trained humans weeks to do the kind of thing that a few lines of code can accomplish in less than a second, and it used to. States and companies required armies of secretaries and file clerks just to keep track of basic records, and outlaws could often escape any serious consequences by leaving the immediate area. Nowadays we ain't so lucky...

good comment. Mechanization and deindustrialization have lead to a new kind of crisis mode in capitalism, where there is both massive unemployment and 'free' capital that gets invested in fairly rapid boom/bust cycles. It seems unlikely that anyone regardless of their promises to the contrary can reverse this trend as it is a global one. poses some interesting new challenges and opportunities. It's only the 'final stage' if we can figure out how to make it so.

Yeah, that was my read too. I'm also a media background so I understand why people use alarmist rhetoric to grab attention and end up shooting the discussion in the foot but it ultimately doesn't matter that much.

The whole praxis of persuasion on a mass-scale is a moot point without the follow-through by a serious resistance movement, akin to saying that the military hegemony of NATO is accomplished by media conglomerates like newscorp. Of course the propaganda machine doesn't actually do the work of domination, it only augments the work done by military forces.

A lot of activist praxis suffers from this myopic fallacy, assuming that all you have to do is persuade people. The reality is those people would then have to begin the long process of actual resistance, which makes the persuasion stage seem like child's play.

^this reply was to anon's "When it comes to millenarianism", appeared in the wrong place as usual

A hundred times this.

From nihilists to identity politicians, this obsession with ideas and symbols has neutered radical thought over the past few decades. While everyone was off tilting at conceptual windmills they seem to have given up entirely on the possibility of change in the real world. I guess perpetual intellectual masturbation is fun, but...

changing minds are separate from this so-called real world?

i'm kinda confused as to how humans and their minds are not already the world.

the world is made up of relations, continuum.

it's so strange to magic separations to make broad assertions about moments.

but i guess that's mediation: amplification.

Reading comprehension fail. What the poster actually said was opinions are very insignificant compared to actions and changing opinions is relatively easy compared to seriously impacting the power structures of modern capitalism (among other things).

There is not hard distinction. As Dupont would argue to change the world is simply to confirm processes already in motion. The Matrix movie provides a cruder example. All reality is made of language and there is not one that is more REAL then another. For anarchy what matters is self change and the the intercourse one makes with other unique ones.

Said the fool, playing the fiddle while Rome burned. Emperor ziggy has no clothes.

Try reading us again. Nihilist communism is entirely materialist.

My reading comprehension is fine, I'm just not one of these suckers you can lead in to the words with a bunch of relativistic nonsense.

Oh never mind, you were talking to the zig. PS. Why are we talking to him?

Frere in particular who, while he may be a materialist, is not a dialectical or historical one that thinks in terms of big C change.

His idiosyncratic communism and my conception of Stirnerian-Wilsonian anarchy are fairly similar.

I heard what you were saying! You know nothing of my work! You mean my whole fallacy is wrong. How you got to teach a course in anything is totally amazing!

I teach nothing my dear troll;)

shockingly the anti-semite misses a reference to a woody allen movie.

we are pro-revolutionaries, we are just pessimistic about their possibility. you are a self-involved new age goof.

Problem is it doesn't work on me for various reasons, your anonymity along with the fact the Dupont is not a perennial fav of mine. He has peripherally valuable analysis for me not perennial on the level of a Bob Black or Peter L Wilson.

I'm aware of your(I'll play along) prorev views. I don't care, I'm not prorev. In addition to being skeptical about it's possibility it's actuality does not do it for me either. As Stirner pointed out it's just power change after power change. Don't worry though, you got some things right.

Also, your anti-semite tag betrays your intelligence. You're either the dumber half or just another one of my low intellect trolls.

you write; (that Dupont says that;)

to change the world is simply to confirm processes already in motion."

if one assumes that the world is a transforming relational continuum [Bohm, Nietzsche, Schroedinger, Einstein], then there is nothing other than ONE PROCESS already in motion, call it a 'field dynamic' [fields are everywhere at the same time] or 'the Tao' or whatever.

an included EXPERIENT, in sensing 'change' in the world, does not have to make the split between 'self' and 'other', however, if an included OBSERVER is visually sensing change, what he is looking out at does not obviously include himself in it. as we know, we can be observers and not simple experients and if we use language to construct representations of what we 'see out there', we end up creating 'semantic realities' that are 'dualist' rather than 'non-dualist'; i.e. they fail to acknowledge inhabitant-habitat non-duality where 'subject and object are one'.

your comment seems to avoid the issue of duality/non-duality. an indigenous anarchist (with traditional values) would not hesitate to affirm 'mitakuye oyasin' (all is related) so that 'self change' can only be 'relative' as in relational transformation.

i.e. is 'anarchy' as you are intending it a noun or a verb; i.e. is it separate from the world as a whole or is it a process within the world process that is impossible to extricate as a 'process-in-itself'; e.g. we cannot extricate a storm-cell from the flow because of the inherent non-duality [the storm-cell is the flow].

the flow of the atmosphere or a water-based flow-field is replete with swirling features that are mostly transparent and the ones that 'get painted' with vapour or flotsam that makes them look like 'local features' or 'local things-in-themselves', are the ones we use semantics to portray as 'things-in-themselves' and animate with noun-and-verb grammar structures. these 'semantic realities are many and varied since they are inherently subjective and incomplete relative to the physical reality of the transforming relational continuum.

is anarchy a separable thing or process-in-itself, in your view?

clearly, for indigenous anarchists, it is a way of being and engaging in the world that respects our innate non-duality as strands-in-the-ONE-web-of-life, so is 'anarchy' as you intend it, similar, or is it a dualist concept?

Is ideological abstract intention driven change, something that I think you would agree is spooky. Quite often ideological driven change is tied to other enveloping factors. A good example would be 20th century women's liberation happening alongside structural changes in capitalist production that are driven by motives beyond a purely individual liberty.

To answer your question on anarchy, anarchy for me is a current like all the other currents but it is something that goes its own spontaneous way as opposed to being enveloped in some type of homogeneous wave structure(in this case change). I have no issue with what you see anarchy as. The thing about engaging in the world for me anarchically is to not lose a sense of context, oweness and specificity. Historical civilized big C change is usually based on this individual specific effacement.

S/o to anyone who remembers that epic "2012" discussion in the big tent at crimethinc. The further we get from 2012 the more I am convinced the rainbows were right, we all died on Dec 21 and this is hell or limbo, like in Lost or something.

Of course anarchism has its millenarian element. The insurrection is coming, just across the horizon; the insurrection is here, now, we are living it; there will be no insurrection.

Worse yet to consider this isn't hell.

At least with Hell you're quite sure where you are, and gonna be doing for the rest of your afterlife (moaning and screaming of pain). I really don't like this limbo made of pseudo-everything. Like anarchy into paid apartments; talking radical struggles in academic circles within corrupt universities run by neoliberal gangsters; upper-caste punks taking part in the colonial expansion where nobody's looking; anarcops cross-marketing for Fedbook... and plenty other spooky shit. Gotta thank all the Rightards and the crackers in muhricah for bringing us the Trump savior/anti-savior, making nonsense out of nonsense, so that things get to make sense again...

petroleum finally peaks around 2230 with antarctica's reserves becoming unviable ;~;

when i was 16 or 17 and first meeting anarchists who didn't live in the past, in lyrics, or on the internet, it seems liked everyone was a fervent believer in "the collapse": civilization was on a terminal course and some non-linear feedback would cause some catastrophic or apocalyptic event. We didn't call it the rapture but we already counted ourselves among the saved. My disillusionment with this line of thought pretty much coincided with the receding memory of the bush years -- perhaps a way in which the sort of sense of political futility and decline was masked by a sort of perverse hope in "the event". The ecological collapse became in this sense a sort of substitute for revolution (which a) wasn't going to come and b) I had already decided was a process and not an event).

Whatever hope people had in the ecological collapse in that milieu seemed to be throughly stamped out by Desert -- we were already living in the catastrophe and it would be a long slow process of decline. The anthropocene sort of seemed a way to understand and articulate this sort of subcultural post-milliniarianism and I turned to other forms of post-millinarian thought (Shabbatai Zevi anyone)

Anyway, it seems like a pretty regular situation throughout history that entire social orders loose their legitimacy, that people sublimate their sense of slow and ever-present devastation into some sort of imminent future event and even that actual catastrophes happen, which people then live in the wake of (every diaspora begins with a disaster, the spread of people across this earth a testament to the fact that the event has already come)

Anyways, thats all to say that I think millenarianism is going to come back with a vengeance in the trump era as the people seek to articulate in some other language than a political one the necessity that things change. our task will be to demonstrate another way here and now -- crafting livable worlds rich with meaning --- even as we find ourselves besieged by those who promise some sort of millenarian event that only serves to defer the form of life that such an event would usher in

As we've already seen, Trump is making anarchy great again. He riles the anarchists, big league. Anarchs, on the other hand... less concerned.

And have fun with your ayahuesca culturally-appropriated through colonial capitalist schemes.

So if I'm understanding your comment correctly, this is basically the position followed by various appelist groups in the US. I can completely understand the impulse, and I think the immediacy points are accepted by basically everyone outside of some very small holdouts in the form of (some) syndicalists and trots, but there are a few problems with what I see you saying:

1. The history you're providing is less than fragmentary. I appreciate a good myth, but there's still a sense of inevitability when you say

"Anyway, it seems like a pretty regular situation throughout history that entire social orders loose their legitimacy, that people sublimate their sense of slow and ever-present devastation into some sort of imminent future event and even that actual catastrophes happen, which people then live in the wake of (every diaspora begins with a disaster, the spread of people across this earth a testament to the fact that the event has already come)"

If our historical moment is indeed unique, which I believe it is in some ways (but of course not in others) we need to understand what makes it unique, and we need to soberly assess our possibilities for activity. If we are going to resort to a mythic narrative, it needs to have resonance beyond our subculture. In actual practice the critique of subculture, the collapse of the social movements around the financial crisis, and the rejection of 'politics' seems to have made many 'radical' social formations even more myopic and inward looking. The problem of course is:

2. The Sabbateans particularly, but most millenarian groups in general, have a privileged subject. By definition this makes their project incapable of generalizing. This is seen as a positive by certain commenters on this site, but quite frankly given the nature of the world system and our past examples I do not see any hope outside of that leap from particular to universal, whether we want to call it revolution, the human community, communism, anarchy, whatever. We should study past millenarian movements in order to better understand how they reached outside of their particular milieu, and also how they failed to do that. A close analysis of the current economic conditions of capitalism seems to reveal that the global labor market has created some unique challenges in terms of privileging (in the most literal sense) a specific historical actor. We need to overcome this (this does not mean preaching to the 'masses').

3. The Sabbateans and other millenarian groups did not produce their myths out of thin air, they were able to seize on the accumulated weight of hundreds if not thousands of years of collective memory. This memory and its power relied on a positive notion of identity. Because of work as a mediating activity, that positive identity in the context of capitalism is no longer possible (which is why we should reject workers parties and other similar formations). These identities in pre-capitalist social formations were also mediated by various other historical conditions, and we should take seriously the possibility that their affirmation of a positive identity that did not break with their present one helped contribute to their failure (obviously there are also examples of extreme military and political repression, the millenarian peasants of Germany that Luther helped repress are a fairly instructive case).

4. Our crisis is not and cannot be just about meaning. The world has been stolen from us and we need to steal it back, not because it is ours and we love it, but because we will deny our enemies the means by which they subjugate us. This will necessitate new forms of relating, but those cannot be tiny islands hidden in the present world (like the social center that tries to get people to 'join'). One doesn't need to be a marxist to accept that there is a material basis for our present situation. We need to develop ways of fighting and ways of relating to one another that will supercede the present order. Not as a task to be put off for a future event, but one born from the immediate struggle against the present. I am against representation and mediation, and when I used to say I was anti-politics this is what I meant. Spending lots of time around 'apolitical' artists, postmodernists, precarious workers, and individualists, has affirmed for me the importance of political action. Our politics (by which I simply mean our collective activity to make the world) will necessarily be reactionary in the sense that all things are reactionary because there is no independent actor divorced from the world which was already here when she arrived, but they cannot be strategically reactionary. This is the thing that should worry us in 'Trump's America.'

This is already a livable world, I want a different one.

(this was in response to counterapparatus)

thanks for the in depth response to a rather hastily written comment...

I. My "mythology" was really just a way of trying to articulate that all action doesn't necessarily have to be oriented towards a future event, a temporality I associate with the millenarian. Recognizing the catastrophe has already happened, that there are actually historically many catastrophes which have given a shape to our present (experienced differently by those who inhabit different social locations) suggests that the challenge of the present isn't to wait for some magical deepening of some crisis (ecological, economic etc.) but to look around, recognize we are living in amidst some sort of ruin or devastation (Sharpe's point in her book "In The Wake" but also the Sabbateans' realization after the apostasy of Shabbatai Sevi, Christians after Christ, Zapatistas and the long night and so forth) and seek to manner to reassemble what has been broken, to heal the world, to find forms of communion that allow for endurance. In other words, I wasn't attempting to subsume the particularity of the present into some sort of universal mythology of the post-lapsarian moment. Rather, I was suggesting that the way we should assess our actions could partake in an understanding of time that looks backwards rather than forwards. For me this entails attending with some specificity to the way in which our lives have been determined -- socially, culturally, materially -- by a these catastrophic events from the past and then also gleaning the practices and forms of resistance that have been able to allow life to endure. The idea then isn't to suffer as you build to some future event but to seek to practically confront the social, technological, material, ideological etc. conditions that allow the possibility of another life.

II. The issue of a privileged subject for millenarian movements seems like a pretty valid grounds for a critique. My move to looking towards the past rather than some future event means that identity isn't formed around some group of the "saved" to be defined by a future event but rather is the accumulated effects of the past. My interest in the Sabbateans, in line with the Scholem/Benjamin/Tiqqun line really begins with the apostasy and antinomian aspect. The desire that such projects generalize is relatively important if we aren't to have all this talk of building worlds be a code for building scenes and social centers (not that such spaces aren't important but they aren't enough). I think that a turn to the past -- not to restore lost greatness but to recognize our mutual imbrication -- might suggest a ground for some sort of practical unity that doesn't sacrifice the particular to the universal.

III. see above

IV. I really am on board with this analysis and can't tell if you think its somehow disagreeing with my position. The devastation of our lives cannot stop at a critique of a sort of existential impoverishment or alienation but must also be a material grappling with legacies of dispossession (the moment of theft -- of bodies, land, labor, and other means of existence -- when what was common became proper and the world, as you put it, was taken from us ). The urgency and immediacy of this are obviously evident -- the current situation is widely perceived as failing and unless we articulate some positive way of life, we cede the terrain of imagination and struggle to the forces of reaction. Here, our vision against the present isn't one to restore past greatness but to recognize our lives, our languages, our worlds as imbued with painful histories and experiments with modes of producing, relating, discussing, and circulating that will create something durable between us that can be the basis of another way of life. This world may be livable, but just barely and it seems that this sentiment isn't just something that lives in the enclaves of the perpetually discontent.

All that said -- probably with equal amounts of hasty handwaving as the first time around -- I am curious what this sort of project looks like if you reject the attempts to create social centers as subcultural and ungeneralizable but still believe in a shared worldbuilding activity. In other words, the appelista approach to building dual power seems like a compelling one to me -- especially because all the other promising autonomist projects like those in Rojava, Cherán, Chiapas or elsewhere seem to rely on precisely the sort of shared positive identity we either don't have or aren't interested in as the basis of our world-building activity.

Thank you for your response. I had mostly given up on this website as a place to actually share ideas.

My hastily written reply would be that the way I understand moments of possibility to occur is that they flash up in moments of danger, to use language I suspect you are familiar with. The experiments that you are pointing to, some of which I have far deeper critiques of that aren't just about positive identity but the actual material reality of those spaces, all happen in moments where it appears that all of the collective weight, or however we'd like to frame it, that prevents revolutionary possibilities in the present is lifted. This cannot be done by building the commune or sharing skills or however else we'd like to frame it. The failures of past revolutionary moments cannot be uniformly reduced to a lack of skills or a lack of organization. Each of these moments 'resurrects' the past into the present and opens up possibilities, etc, but it always happens in a historically specific way. I think that we should study history but be wary of course of the broad overgeneralizations that I am making here as well as the determinist ways of making these statements..

I think that we cannot build counter-structures outside of these moments, otherwise they immediately get drawn into the present configurations. Which is why the appelist vision in particular is unappealing to me, while the anarchist social center/infoshop model is somewhat confused rather than 'dangerous.' The counter-power structures tend to immediately replicate the current ones, and I don't mean that in the sense of everyone in them being a bad person or any other kind of moral judgement, but that we are deluding ourselves if we think that a bookstore doesn't operate according to market imperatives, that these art collectives aren't types of socialization for a different kind of commodity production, that the core group becomes another clique, etc. I think that the ultra-left line here is useful and worth repeating: there is not a 1:1 correspondence between form and content. Any coherent critique of self-management, as I understand it, is also a valid critique of most appelist projects.

But in response to your actual question, what do we do? I guess on some level the answer is always 'it depends.' But broadly I'd say there's a lot of putting the cart before the horse. We certainly need to act in the world, which means we need space, but for me this is not a question of building new structures, it's about finding and re-appropriating pieces of existing ones (this is the part of the appelist project as I understand it that I am fully on board with) in the moments that I was describing above.

Which is all to say, we will necessarily link up with each other in spaces when these unique moments of separation are overcome by historical factors and by our willful activity, but we cannot will it into being outside of particular moments. This is what is meant by seizing on the moment. As pro-revolutionary actors act, people will become interested in our projects and join up with them as this always happens, but to me that 'building the new world' can only have teeth if it happens in the context of rejecting the present one. This lets us overcome some of our current predicaments. I think this would also allow us to avoid the immediate co-option by leftists, and deal with the impulse that makes everyone think we need to have things that are specifically anarchist or communist or appelist or whatever. We don't need ideological purity, we need to act in ways that build our power without forgetting that the content of our project also has to have primacy. This also lets us get over the obsession with democracy which can sometimes throttle or neuter our attempts to move forward. I am still trying to work out whether we are thwarted by the forces of reaction or the forces of revolution. At this point I am generally inclined to think by the latter, that is our limitations are internal. If we bring our relational forms in embryonic stages, not as developed things to be 'plugged into,' they can stay more flexible and I believe we can make better usage of them. "If you build it, they will come" is a failed strategy. I am not interested in proselytizing or recruiting.

So the short version is we find the contradictions in existing struggles that are by definition limited, and we continuously push them until they become too much to bear and have the possibility of generalizing. Intervention, not entryism. Creative destruction of the present, not alternatives to it.

This critique is definitely valid, I've met plenty of those people too. It's certainly not unique to the anarchists and cases have been made that it's a pop-culture trope (apocalypse movies, etc) because it's inherent to the human condition, like a jungian archetype or something. An inverted rapture; plenty of catharsis as a thought experiment but just a quick death for most people if realized. The latent suicidal tendencies of an entire society, likely because of severe cognitive dissonance triggered by a less-than-satisfactory form of social organization.

But lets not pretend that's a valid dismissal of a serious insurrectionary praxis … or any anarchist praxis. It's more of an instant-gratification fantasy or worse, a very fucking lazy way of being an anarchist.

"I don't want to actually do any work, take any risks or make any sacrifices so uh … massive solar flare crashes the power grid? YEAH!" Wouldn't that be so convenient for a handful of able-bodied, primmie survivalist types who get to validate all that time spent learning how to sew their own leather pants?

But 99% likely; you're not going to be handed a get-out-of-jail-free card by hackers that cripple the stock market, or biblical floods when the magnetic poles of the planet reverse, or zombies or aliens or whateverthefuck! You're stuck here with the rest of us, under the boot-heels of petty tyrants until we get our shit together and make it way less appealing to be the fucker wearing the boot.

The other huge problem with waiting for the rapture/rupture is the assumption that anarchy will automatically fill the vacuum created by the state/capitalism/civilization. This kind of thinking thrives in eras like the 90s/00s when states seem all-powerful - people begin to define everything they don't like as extension of the ruling order, with the implication that it will all vanish as soon as systemic violence stops backing it up. Makes for great propaganda, but as anyone who's been to Syria lately knows, the kind of filth and dreck the state keeps at bay can be as bad or worse - foreign powers, religious extremists, state remnants - there's a reason tankies say the word "counterrevolutionary" with so much disdain (and why they have those tanks...)

that's precisely why we intervene. I would hope this is obvious to everyone. The question is not whether to get involved or not, it is fundamentally whether our involvement is an ideology to be handed down to the masses or is the natural conclusion of the limits within the struggles we get involved in. I do not mean this to be insulting, but I don't understand why this is still even an open question.

(OP here) It's not that it's an open question exactly, don't worry ... It's more like there's a very unfortunate tendency for folks to sit passively online and develop a lot of logical fallacies because of a deficit of exposure to real-world struggle. I'm attempting to counter some of these narratives of futility and relativism because I see many people, comrades included, being led down the garden path by self-aggrandizing, social media pundits and it irritates me enough to throw in my 2 cents.

People like ziggy and emile (the obvious examples around here) would have everyone staring at their shoes while the world burns and I fundamentally disagree with that sort of self-indulgent nonsense. Just my opinion!

Both involve alien none oweness based power. The real answer is to find anarchy in the ally ways of history regardless of what the revolutionaries and reactionaries are doing with belief contested power.

Scuse us if we're skeptical that you're the messiah with the "real answer"…

You've used this sort of language before. Have you not caught on that my posting here partly consists of anarchocynicalist shit posting on failed radical revolutionary currency. That's the very opposite of a wannabe messiah.

Absolutely I have and will continue to do so! You tirelessly proselytize against your "leftard" strawman and you sure as hell don't speak with any humility on the subject of revolution. Also, I'm just taking the piss because none of this matters.

Mass information highway has dispelled most myths. Stone age, bronze-age, steel, nuclear, then space all had/have myths associated with their particular continuum. Steel contributed some mythbusting with the printing press, but now the computer age nanotech masse transconceptualization has or is about to annihilate most myths. Good riddance.

you really don't see how the computer age is creating and propagating its own new self-serving myths? mass-disinformation highway to hell is more like it.

I'm looking at it more from the perspective of an empirical data overload toppling the dominant global edifice of mythological delusion, infallible 'in your face, seen it with ones own eyes' confirmation as opposed to the mass conjuring of the belief industry. Sure, there's going to be new forms and genres if that's the right term for mythological expressions, but the sheer overwhelming momentum of genuine evidence cannot fail to overturn the foundations of humanity's failure to attain a self-transcendent future.
R.I.P. George Michael

Print was really invented during Bronze Age in Mesopotamia with the cylinders seals. Was just one little step in evolution before they decide to use ink and paper-like sheets.

Mass digital media is going to exterminate mankind before that happens, idiot. It's already turning people into drones, just wait 'till it gets trendy to kill yourself. Oh and kill yourself btw.

Oh fuck, I'm possessed by by an evil freakin demon and gonna die. (In fact its bubonic plague, but I'm such a moron steeped in mythological superstitions that rather than read mass digital media and having an immunization {oh fuck, that's an industrial construct and evil in primitivist mythology haha duh} I'm gonna remain a modern moron who thinks drones are organic and can't grow into trees) The trendy Zerzan god has already entered your anus, guffaw!

Always great to come here and read about the importance of the anthropocenic subtext in Sabbatean millenarianist paradigm... keep posting! Looks like anarchy's finally on its way to get big and dangerous in North America...

(of course this wasn't a reply to LeWay, but to our *luminaries* like Counterapparatus and 10:03, who can't help shining out of their buttholes, Narcissist pedants are feeling less lonely thanks to you on this New Year's Eve)

I am 10:03 and I'm not sure how you think the conversation we were attempting to engage in was narcissistic? We were talking about the relationship between theory and practice in the current milieu of people who see themselves as interested in the world being different. Myopic maybe, narcissistic? Not so much.

Hint: Wall text? Check. Typing your stream-of-consciousness instead of thinking about what the fuck your point is? Check. Oblivious to why anyone would find this obnoxious in a public forum? Check.

09:36 here, I wanna kiss you on the lips this morning and probably we have this type of special connection!?

ok but I should warn you, I haven't brushed my teeth yet!

Hello 10:03... Yes, narcissism is also characteristically myopic.

You don't seem to have an idea, or even care about an anarchist practice in any milieu, as your discourse is more of that endless flow of brain-in-a-vat philosophy spiced with a few colorful yet irrevelant historical references we're usually having here, almost every fucking day of the week, more dedicated to encephallic masturbation or maybe also the holy edgelord's daily spew of obnoxious contrived -yet elaborate- sarcasm.

For more reality-focused posts that actually been bringing some worthy views on *today* milieu praxis, you might look at Luke from DC's, for instance.

tldr: More work creating a praxis in the real world, less work wasted at pomo textwalling.

This is probably a mistake:

I appreciate Luke's comments. I even posted a comment saying so. Luke's comment was also much longer than mine. Is that a wall of text? When does it become a wall of text? I agree, Emille's copy-pasting and other people's saying the same thing repeatedly is rather boring. Nothing I mentioned was post-modernism. I'm actually quite hostile towards post-modernism (I even referenced this in my comment!). Did you read my comment or just decide that it was annoying that it was long?

I think my points are fairly straightforward, but in the interest of making my line of reasoning more clear to the person I was engaging with (not you) I attempted to try to track my thought. I'm not sorry you didn't like that. The only thing that seems philosophical in what I wrote is a direct response to the person who brought up the Sabbateans, which was perfectly appropriate as this week's topic was millenarianism.

I'm not sure what you mean by praxis if you think talking about ideas is a waste of time. I specifically reference a practical question that basically all organizational forms come up against, identity, in my comment. I chose to remain at a more meta-level because that is the level we were discussing. Luke actually did the same thing. If my point was unclear, I'd be happy to clarify it for you. Based on the nature of your comment, I don't think you wanted me to, I think you just wanted to be hostile. I'm not sure why. As always, you have no idea what I do in the real world because I provided no biographical information. Where are you from? Maybe we can talk about this in real life?

I really hope you don't talk to people like this in real life.

"Where are you from?"

My mother's womb.

"Maybe we can talk about this in real life?"

Text me??? Duh. Occasions to have a honest conversation face-to-face are rare these days... value them.

Good one. I was being serious but hey whatever.

You mean handing you over my contact infos for real? You understand how easy that'd be for the Emile mafia to be taken down that way... or to take me down?

I dunno I'd really appreciate ANY serious conversation f2f on any topic related to building an anarchist commune/network/society, but some people in better position than mine need to take the initiative and invite, invite, invite.

the vagaries of region aren't what your attempt at humor would suggest.

I'm being very sincere here when I say that you need to work on your interpersonal skills. I know lol internet or whatever, but some of us think what we say to one another matters. Maybe I'm a dinosaur or something but being a dismissive prick hasn't done anything to help us.

Yes, my interpersonal skills suck ass. I can't barely manage to talk to women I like, in any manner that I can't feel ashamed about, and often find myself asking too many flat questions that are lacking direction...

But I guess you could say the exact same thing to about 71% of the population. And then again what are you really saying?

Telling a homeless person he-she should bathe more often and "get a jooob"... Some Ethiopian they should eat better... Some persons with Down syndrome that they should improve their math skills... But never being around for any help or even one single protip.

How about you first stop being a rhetorical prick yourself?

I'm not quite sure how telling you not to insult strangers on the internet who are trying to have a conversation around a topic designated in the title of the thread is the same as telling a homeless person to get a job.

My advice is to actually engage with the content of what people are saying instead of attacking them? I'm not sure what you're looking for here, but this whole exchange has made me pretty depressed, so thanks for that?

Different poster here. Turn off the computer, go outside.

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