TOTW: No Fly Zones

  • Posted on: 4 November 2018
  • By: SUDS

Today’s political landscape is becoming increasingly polarized. The subject of identity continues to dominate the narrative, urged on perhaps by our new augmented reality. Yet, where exactly do we map those lines in the sand?

In localized communities of yore there may have been more incentive to look beyond the tunnel vision of our personal narratives, because if we couldn’t navigate civil discourse with our co-workers, families, and neighbors, there was simply no one else around.

Today we are counting coup and reporting back to our rigidly defined tribes online. Rarely does it seem like we can escape the dichotomy gold mines. One team seeks to dominate or humiliate another and reports their victory back to their chosen camp, furthering a bias of confirmation, even if offline they find themselves celebrating utterly alone.

Where do we set our ideological benchmarks? What lines are too precious to cross when we might ordinarily seek a full prism of perspectives on a particular subject? When does integrative complexity shrink back to the binary, enforcing an “us vs them” or “our way or the highway” mentality?



I see our borders forming a virtual Maginot-Line across the Right and Center. Then I look out to the Fringe and Left and there are no defenses worth anything! The practical effect is immediate as we are enjoined to scorn binaries like " active anarchist' and ' paleo-nihilist ' or " paleo-anarchist " and ' libertarian-communist '. Newbies and Joe Publican can look at us and then look at the feral pigs (and the left-fascist swine) not be able to tell the difference!
If you agree with what I'm saying then make nyms compulsory here.
That way, at least we can self-select the sheep from the goats.
Otherwise this mess is just going to keep dragging on with known fringe crackpots ( the Unabomber crowd) spamming and trolling us along with a bunch of idiots whose boilerplate dogma is indistinguishable from moronic Marxism ( esp ' left-communism' in all its entryist guises, lately ' communizers ' )
I have my differences with Sir Real and Le Fuckface, but at least those two spamming trolls use a fucking NYM!
Thank you for your attention to this at your earliest convenience
Yrs in militant, activist, revolutionary anarcho-anarchism. Pro2rat.

I just want to make sure I understand what you're saying here.

First, what's a nym?

Second, are you saying that it's important to consider the practical outcome of embracing 'trolling' which prevents n00bz from telling the difference between 'us' and 'the feral pigs' , and that this is bad and therefore should be avoided? That it's even worse than the bullshit Sir Real and Le Fuckface subject us to on the regular?

yrs in building burning bridges, nn

nyms are for noids

In living in "The Now" in the fullest sense, this immediacy of beingness, implies the presence of "The Here", these two properties are complementary.
Space, time and being, Heidegger's Das Man, the state of perception of existence, Dasien, or the Zen nirvana, is our condition of equilibrium to our relationships within the space of our reality.
To journey away from ones source is imbalance, just as the affluent jetsetting celebrities going to Paris, or workers on package tours to Disney, at the other extreme the refugees displaced by capitalist ideological war.
Only the nihilist sits stationary immersed in the immediate reality of his own regional plenum, realises that to leave is to sever connection to being.

Elaborating on the theme of faith and trust in others and how far out one will venture into unknown customs or practices, the nihilist's parochial immersion absorbs all of them and has no ideological or moral benchmark or compass to restrain communication lines from relating to others, like the centre of a circular web with spokes radiating outwards to all others who are seen as fellow individuals with equal power. The nihilist just sits and the world rotates around and it knows that everywhere is nowhere, whether on the presidential chair in the oval room or under the bridge on the fringes of a ghetto, there are no precious lines to cross, no us vs them with a line drawn by the head clerk of the Company, the leader of the government.
Thus the empathy also radiates outwards in calm uneventful tedium ( in what appears to be a very very boring existence to the consumerist addicted to fetishes, drugs and wild spectacles and holidays dressed in fineries and gorging themselves with extravagant calorie overdoses) from the cheerful nihilist abode echoing with laughter, banal conversation or vehement tirades, and dining on bland vegetables and occasional morsels of carrion and eggs.
They must all leave the binary warfare they are engaged in!

is a classic. Sublime.

He has come back just for Ziggy and hopefully he will take Ziggy back with him. This Luddites documentary is apt given where we are today. What is to be done?

that appears to be dominant now. The IdPols are winning: race war/IdPol culture wars.

That movie was about the beginning of the industrial/techie capitalist disease.
We are entering its End Times: Great Depression 2.0 (when $$$-printing and negative interest rates no longer contain coming financial crises), a deepening techie/cyber-war dystopia, and the converging results of biosphere degradation. No need to smash the machines, just unplug and "revert to savagery". The disease will DESTROY ITSELF. You need not go down with it.
(Even Joseph Stiglitz, one of America's most esteemed Tasteful Social-Democrats, has THIS to say: "It reminds one of Jared Diamond's story of collapse on Easter Island. . . . We're doing the same. The magnitude of the dysfunction is unbelievable.")

I'm just like those skilled workers. Demand for skilled/talented landscaping collapsed in 2008 (for a number of reasons), and only now have I had my first year with near-normal work. Had I continued "reverting to savagery" when I still had my original Land in the backwoods, I WOULDN'T HAVE the problems I've had in the last 10 years (and their consequences). ANY dependence on the capitalist economy (even if you don't have a boss) is a life based on quicksand.

What "integrative complexity", and how does it related to simplified binaries? It's the first time I'm reading that notion.. but furthermore I'm wondering what question you are asking here.

22:13. You have to imagine yourself as the spider with the complex web connecting it through space, through living socially, with the anchoring points, integrating you into a system of relationships, and then the interrelating web of communication being destroyed, leaving you alone, on the wall, looking out, just you and the insects, nothing more, the binary, spider vs insect, so simple.,.

A few years ago, a coroner in the UK remarked that there was an increase in the elderly dying alone undiscovered for some time, and called it "a sad reflection on the society that we live in that elderly people who live alone, and die alone, are only discovered when neighbours realise that there is a bad smell coming from the property."

And you've read the stories. A 70-something woman, Anne Leitrim, wasn't found until six years after her death because her car had disappeared and neighbors thought she'd moved. Joyce Carol Vincent, 38, wasn't discovered for two years postmortem, then surrounded by the Christmas presents she'd been wrapping while watching television.

The eventual discovery of these tragic deaths — called kodokushi in Japanese for "lonely death" — only occur after a bizarre set of missed cues add up. Take Pia Farrenkopf, a Michigan woman in her late 40's who was found six years after her death, in a mummified state. According to reports, it was a "perfect storm" of slipping through the cracks. From a Gawker post on the events:

She lived alone, a neighbor mowed her lawn every so often, her mail was returned to senders or sent to a P.O. Box, and all of her bills, including her mortgage payments, were automatically withdrawn from her bank account each month.

"[Her yard] was pretty manicured," a neighbor told the Detroit Free Press. "There was no indication there was a body in there, at all."

When the approximately $54,000 in her savings account ran out, her home was foreclosed on by her bank, who sent a contractor to evaluate the property. That's when her body was found.

Farrenkopf was believed to be murdered — which at least explains some of the circumstances of her disappearance, yet eases the average person's fears of such things happening approximately zero percent. Proof of this is in a recent Reddit query asking, Forever alone Redditors: If you were to suddenly die in your sleep at home, how long would it take for people to start looking for you?

BRiANtastyCAKEZ wrote what many of us have probably cringed at the thought of at some point or another: "My family would probably wonder why I wasnt at Thanksgiving, fuck they might not notice till Christmas."

This scenario is just one of a few reasons people aren't discovered quickly upon passing, according a site that polled British folk on their biggest death fears (Hint: The top one is dying alone). They are:

Children live far away
Live alone
Physical/mental impairment
Rural area
Loner type/small social network

And like any condition only made worse by Googling, the stories don't stop. A NYT piece on fear of dying alone merely produced more worst-case scenarios, like:

In February, a 45-year-old woman and her mentally disabled four-year-old son were discovered dead in their Tokyo apartment. Authorities believe the mother passed away from a stroke a month or two previously, and the boy, emaciated when recovered, had subsequently starved to death. Last month, an 87-year-old woman living in a private apartment in a retirement complex was found collapsed and dead in her bathroom an estimated one week after her demise.

Of course, most people are discovered eventually. Then there's the clean up — its own eery next level of death-related concern, particularly when the death is the result of a crime. And next is perhaps, the greatest tragedy of all: When you are found eventually but there is no one to claim your body.

1. There's a huge increase in bigotry and prejudice today, across a whole range of axes, e.g. misogyny, anti-Semitism, anti-immigration racism, anti-black racism, homophobia, ableism, anti-poor prejudice;
2. There's a huge increase in intolerance and hatred among different strands of radicals/activists, even those who aren't affected by the wider increased prejudices – to the point of activists shutting down and disrupting each other's events, calling each other fascists, doxxing each other, etc;
3. There's an associated polarisation of left v right, or left v right v authoritarian centre which become groupthink clusterfucks as a result;
4. The same thing happened in the 1930s, but for some reason didn't happen so drastically in various other periods (1960s, 1990s) although the same underlying grievances and drivers of prejudice and of intergroup conflict were always there (e.g. latent racist beliefs, conflicts over social roles, high levels of social deviance, existence of different strands of radicalism). Even though political struggles in these periods were often just as militant and had just as high stakes as today.

So the question for me is: why do discourses polarise and become so threat- or other-focused in certain periods and not others?

I've been criticised for too much academic detail before so people not wanting this can stop reading now. Also it would take awhile to find all the citations but I can look up and post details if needed.

For starters, there's academic studies of social media which suggest the algorithms encourage clustering of users around similar views. This is because the algorithms provide content and friend suggestions which reflect existing preferences. This seems to have a “radicalising” effect, i.e. people within each social circle come to believe the things they already believed in more extreme, uncompromising, and uncritical forms. There's also studies which suggest that the algorithms, combined with the ways users react, encourage negative and even abusive interaction. This is because people are more likely to click on/react to emotive content to neutral or rationally argued content, and negative content in preference to positive content. Short attention spans and heavy use of images also contribute to these tendencies. But that doesn't explain why people keep using social media instead of (say) Indymedia. And it doesn't explain why the same things happened in the 1930s.

Why do people sometimes feel threatened by difference and sometimes not?

We often get stuck here, because we don't think at the same time about the ways WE and people like us feel threatened, and the ways normies and bigots do.

There's been a lot of studies of why people support far-right parties. One study found that far-right voters are basically conservative voters who normally vote centre-right. The only way they differ from centre-right voters is that they're more pessimistic. In other words, if people with right-wing views start to feel threatened or depressed, they go far-right. Other studies show a close connection between far-right voting and hostile media coverage of immigrants. If there's a lot of stories about immigrants and crime for example, a particular section of voters turn far-right. But this only affects people who are already authoritarian on both issues. Interestingly, the immigration rate, crime rate, local ethnic diversity, and proportion of immigrants as a proportion of criminals have NO influence on far-right views, racist views, or anti-immigration views. People don't respond defensively to real changes, but to media images. This seems to disprove the idea that prejudice stems from threats to privilege, and support a view that prejudice is a kind of false consciousness encouraged by the media and politicians. People already hold views which frame certain social trends as potential threats. But the sense of threat is activated by the media.

There was also a study a long time ago by a historian named Skinner, about Chinese peasants. There was a stereotype that Chinese peasant communities are very insular and closed. But, he found that these communities seem to be more open at some times than others. The more scarcity there is and the more threatening the context is, the more closed they become. On the other hand, if conditions are better, they become quite open.

And these, I think, are key to understanding why we see these tendencies today and in the 1930s.

I think the general story goes something like this. When people are relaxed, enjoying life, or generally contented, they become more open-minded. This is because their mental processing systems aren't scanning for threats. When people are anxious, afraid, frustrated, over-stressed, or their fight-flight reaction is triggered, they become more closed-minded. Bergson calls this a “contraction” of attention. Attention is more focused in line with existing categories. So if there's a high-stress social context and a lot of scarcity and competition and distress, there will be bigotry, polarisation, and closed social groups. If there's less stress in the social context, these tendencies will recede.

According to studies, “conservatives” (including far-right and hard-right) are more closed-minded than “liberals” (including anarchists, socialists, etc) because they process politics more through their threat-assessment system. They also tend to be less intelligent and thus less prone to make sense of difference and more prone to process difference as a threat. And they seem to process ANY novel experience or unexpected action as a threat (think for instance of how they react to new subcultural fads, new technologies, and new social trends).

However, I think there's also a pattern that left and right feel threatened by different things (e.g. anarchists feel threatened by pigs and Nazis); and different social groups/positionalities also sometimes feel threatened by different things. Sometimes we feel threatened because something really IS a threat. Other times, it's a cultural or political belief. In political compass terms, I think the threat/relaxation variable might relate to the up-down rather than the left-right axis. In other words, when there's a lot of threat-sense activation, left-inclined people become more authoritarian-left (e.g. Stalinist, idpol), and right-inclined people become more authoritarian-right (e.g. fascist or hardcore conservative, rather than ancap or liberal or “moderate” conservative). So I think we see the dual tendency that, when there's high stress, people move right instead of left, and people on the left as well as the right become more authoritarian.

And the thing is, the current period is VERY high-stress. The main reasons being: precarious work, scarcity of work, lack of a social safety-net, securitisation, performance management, a repressive political context, and instability in everyday relationships. Think how hard it is to create moments of release and experiences of collective joy nowadays, compared to (say) 20 or 40 years ago.

A lot of what we're seeing at the moment is exaggerated threat-sense towards other radicals, accompanied by rigid categories tied-up with this threat-driven perception. For example, we see an anarchist threat-sense directed towards hunting for abusers, latent racism and sexism, or tendencies such as TERFs. We see an increasingly intolerant stance towards naïve middle-class activists with illusions. We see people portraying ITS as fascist and trying to dox them.

And the process is self-reinforcing. People who feel threatened often respond more aggressively or punitively. This in term makes their own “profile” more threatening. I have a gut aversion to idpols nowadays, just because so many idpols have bullied me in the past. I didn't have this gut aversion before.

Another factor is, the current social control regime is geared towards coercing people into “acceptable behaviour” rather than persuading them. So the first recourse when faced with a view is to think “is it dangerous?” and if it is, to sanction it in some way (ban, censor, call-out, dox, verbally abuse, etc). Latent unexpressed aggression feeds into this, because punishment provides a way to let loose this aggression in a morally “acceptable” form. And it also makes life easier because people don't have to TRY to understand others' point of view or to debate or persuade them. This stance has reactionary origins, there's little evidence it “works”, and it certainly isn't the only way of dealing with “dangerous” opposing ideologies. There's plenty of examples of people being reasoned or debated or NVC'd or attracted out of bad ideologies, and people being “radicalised” by ostracism and punishment. But again, this response goes with the context. A focus on threat, rather than difference and causality.

So the solution, basically, is that we need to find ways to reduce the overall stress level or provide havens from stress where people can let their guard down and turn their hyperactive threat-perception system off, or turn it down at least. And there's a few aspects to this. Providing social support infrastructures which everyone can use (e.g. FNB or urban farming; solidarity economy). Providing opportunities for people to work together “convivially” on projects, in spite of their difference (e.g. actually doing the farming together, or raving together). Creating moments of joy, or at least of relaxation. All of this rests on finding ways to get people who see others as a threat (including ourselves) to relate to each other in non-threatening ways, or (if this doesn't work) to just avoid each other.

I think new tribes are here to stay. The “big” social system is not very good at providing subjective meaning. As a result, people find subjective meaning in small groups – affinity-groups, gangs, friendship networks, social media circles. The question is how thousands of tiny self-selected tribes can coexist and survive, or flourish, as much as possible, without being in an endless war with one another. How we can get from closed to open in Skinner's terms. There's lessons here from anthropology, and it's interesting to look into systems of feuding and peace historically among the Berber, Guarani, Nuer, Somalis, Papuan peoples and so on. (Roughly, peace was kept through balance of power plus conflict avoidance plus preventive diplomacy plus a face-saving version of restorative justice). I think today there are two big drivers of tribal war among new tribes. The first is the coercion (economic, political, social) of people belonging to different groups to coexist in social space. The second is political competition to capture centres of power which are arranged on a competitive, zero-sum model. The path to peace is something closer to bolo'bolo, where one group's difference isn't so much of a problem for another group's threat-perception.

I'm impressed by how you can consistently write huge walls of text in the comment section.

damned trolls, Shoo!

@critic, you ignore those @critic critics because your critique is usually better than half the things @news publishes!

Oh, wait . . . anarchists aren't supposed to vote.

What I would add are the variables of terror management theory(TMT) In group out group preference and a high sense of honor. These are things more associated with right wing conservative thinkers then left wing ones and they flare up when you are at the dead end of a human collective lifetime saeculum(Strausse and Howe). This can explain why the teens to 20s period is so similar to the historical structure of the 30s-40s. Indeed when you do deal with historical stressors these conservative right wing flair up factors do pipe down over time.

The last time we had a time like this there was a trade and shift with a left leaning economy(FDR) and a right wing culture. The neo liberal age came right on the heels of the counter cultural epoch with the left sublimating into culture and the right gaining economic power starting with Nixon and and culminating with Reagan. I think it's about time for a switch back. The leftist Justice Democrat types will probably eventually assume economic hegemony again inside the next ten years but the right will probably regain some mainline cultural power(the red pill rightist masculist types). It won't be a return to the 50s as much at it will be a relative swing which will include trans Trump fans and other non-traditional conservatives. Hopefully this will lead to a new left new radical structure that pushes some body behavior frontiers again. The post-45 pre-68 period actually did comensalize a lot of mainline left wing demands like the 8 hour work day and it wasn't a conservative dark age if you look at it in a big picture way comparing it to greater 19th century mores. The mid point of the 21st century when things are preferably calibrated is when leftist/radicals can take a new form that begins to rock the boat on some social cultural issues, you can probably guess what some of them are.

My hope is that whatever new deal does come about is not as as statist and corporatist as the last one which really did make things hard for 68 radicals in terms of taking on state apparatuses. Things like drug laws for instance were based on populist minded people wanted back in the 1930s. The green smart new deal apparatuses that neo-progressives unleash could well fuck over libertarians anarchists and anarchs of the 2048 future. Thaddeus Russell does a good job talking about the bad side of the 30s 40s new deal(though he's a little too much of a fan of neo-classical analysis for my taste). Hopefully the bloc that we like can mitigate some of this going forward. As you said have some parallel federated mutual aid structures that are an alternative to whatever smart substitutionalist welfare structure the neo-progs come up with. It didn't help that anarchism contracted after ww1 and it was not in position to do this leading up to and after ww2. This time anarchism has been on a post-89 interregnum incline not a decline. Hopefully this continues with no return of that hammer and sickle bullshit to obstruct things which there are signs of as you might know via the chans and other areas.

Like I said, I hope the 21st century is more like the 19th and not the 20th century.

to the Anarchist Library? Also, there are too many humans all wanting a life way beyond what makes us happy and there are just too many of us.

this is rather cliche, but i'm not sure it's more complex than this... i can think of two things that make me (personally) say gtfo to another person:
1. an insistence on telling me what to do (cops and the wannabes)
2. stepping up to enforce/defend/assert intellectual property ( cops lol)
there's a lot of other stuff that i roll my eyes to, have little sustained patience for, or criticize harshly, but if i look at my history and soul search a bit, those are the two that prevent me from co-existing immediately. and i'd have to actually be more specific. it's not the issues themselves, but a feeling i get when i'm interacting along them that if some invisible line is crossed, it's over. it's not a static represented view, more of a feeling i get connected to a node of things where apathy doesn't cut it as a coping mechanism anymore.

the reason i find the question interesting is it implies that for the rest of the liberation "program," or even my own idea of the above, (just interpret that how you want) i'm probably on board, but comparatively a pushover. i imagine it's a similar formula for other people with their own personal issues substituted.

in another light though, those two original points kinda connect to everything somehow eventually...

Well it sounds like physical violence isn't a primary concern then, so that's good!

"Counting coup" is ritualized conflict, which was always about letting our darker impulses vent a bit, in a controlled setting.

This is clearly also the case with most social media "conflict" and all of it is just spectacle, a sort of group therapy.

Nothing wrong with that but I suppose the problem arises when some or all of the participants make the jump to real conflict while still imagining themselves to be in a therapy session?

won't choose it due to being indoctrinated into democracy and hierarchy. I have listened to Aragon! state that many of the projects he is involved with end up being him doing all the work as others drift away. This is so true. And here, we are talking people who ares supposedly interested and motivated by anarchist spaces! Most people are leftist in that they are too lazy too be anarchists. Aragorn! you are not alone in your assertion; I have been there too and one has to wonder just how widespread this is?

There are different reasons people “drift away”; sometimes they are chased away or excluded. That is a dynamic that seems to follow Aragorn no matter the project. Too many times some project ends up in the hands of one or two people because they are being unconsciously elitist or patronizing. With all the bridges Aragorn has burned over the years, one might expect a little more introspection instead of just dismissing others as lazy or less committed or stupid...

If you go

It’s normal to encounter one asshole in the course of a day. But if you go through your day and everyone you meet is an asshole, maybe it’s you who’s the asshole.

I'm a generally disagreeable @hole and I've been involved in dozens of anarchist projects, some of which enjoyed a bit of success over a long enough time to feel pretty confident that flaky anarchists are a bigger problem than the stubborn ones who stick around.

I have my theories about why, basically that we live in a time where we're emerging from a very soft, decadent age in to some very grim new normals. But whatever, the simple true-enough thing is that you don't have to work with stubborn, unpleasant people. You can always go do something else with different people but when you look around today, that's clearly not what most people are doing.

Rather, they're looking for excuses to rationalize why they aren't doing much of anything, which is why we hear so much "critique" online about the few people who stay busy. You can be at home, in your pjs, making all the valid points, right? Actions > words.

I can see why people left projects you started, this is the whole problem with anarchist projects, its self-explanatory, its an organized hierarchical collective with an @hole at the top!

You're not speaking to Aragorn dumbass. There's actually at least 2 old anarchists on the continent.

wait a minute… you mean to tell me that all these "other accounts" are not all Aragorn too? yeah… i'm not buying it.

what's next you're gonna try to convince me that "chisel" and "SUDS" aren't really just Aragorn using different voices to throw us off? nice try!!!

*punches self in groin*

In my experience, there are very few people who can be bothered to take responsibility leading to so much disappointment. There is the initial energy (which maybe just novelty) which dissipates and fizzles out. When food isn't on the supermarket shelf etc, only then will the drifting in/out have to end because shit has then got to be carried out. Right now, for so many, anarchy is just a 'phase.' Right now, a loner has more opportunity to live a more anarchist way and only when the shit hits the fan, will people really begin to focus on living as an all-out anarchist. Too many think of anarchism as being a life of drugs and lounging around which couldn't further from the reality; no way would I want a scrounger around me: you pull your weight or you're out. Sooner or later, it all gets real.

Hey, some scroungers are real go-getters! I know this freegan who just randomly gives out the coolest shit to their friends. But it's admittedly the exception to the rule ;)

financial landscape, let's face it. Any politician (or any one) can promise this that or the other but without resources, forget it. It is the money lenders who say what goes. Remember, money is a construct and what is really being spent is the flora and fauna. So when you hear the billions it will cost, what are we really talking about? Also, USA, as global reserve currency, is used to dictate what happens as the money printing press goes into action creating other 'money' out of thin air to purchase stuff in the real world. The global debt being generations long. What is to be done? Could all the doom and gloom being published be a conditioning technique to make people feel so powerless and fighting back to be so pointless? Can we really know 'the truth' of the matter?

Is it a nice mine? Did you address that list of safety concerns I left on your desk??!

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.
Enter the code without spaces.