At War With Calendula

  • Posted on: 31 August 2012
  • By: worker

<table><tr><td>From <a href="">Recompositi... - by Peter

<em>Small businesses are widely believed to be better places to work or better for the planet or both. They’re not. Small businesses are just smaller, less successful versions of large businesses, and they’re often as bad or worse to work for, as this story illustrates.</em>

A call came into the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Hall in Portland. The front-end staff of a small, recently opened restaurant had struck the week before. The owner’s immediate response was to fire all four of the strikers. Although this was the IWW’s first contact with these workers, the union decided to support these workers in negotiating a settlement to the strike.

The negotiating committee of four workers and union representatives arrived at the restaurant at 9:15pm on a Sunday, approaching the owner on the sidewalk as he returned from taking an order on the patio. Catching his attention, they waited until he was through taking his order, and notified him that the IWW would now be representing the fired workers. When the union representatives requested a meeting be set up to discuss resolving the strike, the owner replied, “You are trespassing. If you don’t leave my property right now, I’m calling the police.” Although this response may seem typical, this was not your typical employer.</td><td><img title="But if DGR opened a restaurant I'm sure it would be totally different." src=""></td></...

Revolutionary Adventures in Petit-bourgeois Capitalism

For those who are not aware of him already, Craig Rosebraugh has made himself into a household name in the Pacific Northwest. About the same time the Portland Police department broke his arm during a rally to free political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, Craig was the press spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front-Earth Liberation Front. For years, his house was regularly raided and openly surveilled by the FBI, and he was eventually subpoenaed, first to a federal grand jury in Portland, and later to testify before Congress, both times regarding ‘ecoterrorism.’ A number of local organizers, (including myself–a member of the IWW assisting the striking restaurant workers) supported Craig, organizing a local support committee to combat the grand jury. Craig took a principled, political stand in the face of the attacks against him from the state, refusing to testify before the grand jury, and openly defending actions against property in front of Congress. Although always controversial both personally and politically, his principled stance won him the respect of many local revolutionaries, even if there were numerous disagreements with his understanding of revolutionary politics.

Most recently, Craig himself decided to launch a small capitalist venture to continue to fund his ‘revolutionary’ projects. His upscale vegan restaurant in SE Portland was billed as Portland’s progressive eatery, with the menus and ads touting organic food, recycling, and well treated workers as the base of the business. The workers who appeared at the IWW Hall soon after the strike told another story, however. They had applied at Calendula excited at the idea of helping to promote healthy, vegan food. After working for eight months to build the business, they repeatedly found the promises made upon employment primarily health care and a respectful work environment—unfulfilled. After two rounds of wage cuts left them back at minimum wage, the workers decided to act. The striking workers made it clear that their primary issue was not wages, but the lack of respect for the workers within the restaurant.

Abigail, was one of the striking waitresses. She posted this to Portland’s Indymedia site in response to attacks from the owner and by other Rosebraugh supporters, “There is no doubt that Craig worked hard, he did, however it often felt like he was working against our collective flow. His ego often blocked communication, when our lead server voiced our collective concerns he pronounced that if we were not happy then we should all leave, and she was sent home on one of our busiest nights. We had to cover for his egotistical decisions always. He made rash decisions like laying off our awesome busser, while lowering our wages and changing the menu. So that we were working harder, with lower morale, with less wages. Instead of lowering prices and seeing results first.”

Jimmy Ray, another striker, responded to criticisms of the strikers on Indymedia in this way, “As an employee on strike from Calendula, I would first like to state that this entire debate is not about money. In Craig’s advertisement he rants on about the mad cash we were making at his floundering business. The issue at hand is not about Craig lowering our wages, but is about respect and a concerted desire to retain our dignity. Furthermore, the issue could have been quickly resolved had Craig agreed to listen to our grievances. Instead, he chose to treat us with disrespect, accusing us of trespassing and calling the police when we peacefully approached him to negotiate. In the long run, this has forced him to take out expensive full-page ads and hire high profile lawyers to speak on his behalf. Ironically enough, had Rosebraugh simply listened to us and responded tactfully and with respect, his money could have been saved. Additionally, after free meals and beverages were eliminated, the floor manager attempted to discuss the staff’s grievances with Rosebraugh, only to be sent home ‘for having a bad attitude’ on the night of our extremely busy grand re-opening party. That set precedence for the rest of us, and we became fearful of discussing our concerns with Rosebraugh. Indeed, when I did attempt to discuss my own issues with Craig (being passed up for a promotion which had been promised to me), he accused me of having a bad attitude and insisted that, unless it was ‘in my heart’ to work for him, we’d separate. If Rosebraugh believes these conditions constitute a “respectful work environment,” he has a very skewed definition of the term.”

Recognizing that Craig was a favorite target of the boss’ press, right-wing groupings, and the state itself, the IWW approached the strike at Craig’s restaurant carefully. The union decided to withhold publicizing the struggle, denying press interviews and attempting to persuade the owner to negotiate through contact with various members of the local left, rather than using the more common approaches of pickets, media, and bad publicity—thus avoiding giving right wing groups, the press, and the state more fodder against an individual who had taken brave stands against them.

Rosebraugh Counterattacks

For three weeks, the union attempted to get Craig to negotiate. During this time, both the striking workers and the union denied the press interviews or information, not wanting to play into right wing blood lust for the former ALF/ELF spokesman on the other end of the dispute. Craig’s response was to hire a lawyer, and in conversations with community members attempting to mediate he declared he would “close the business before he would hire those workers back.” Finally, after three weeks of stonewalling from the owner, the workers went to the press. Three local papers covered the story, and Craig responded by spending almost $3000 on a full-page ad in the two local weekly papers. His advertisement names the four workers and one IWW representative with full legal names, and accuses the IWW of trying to shut down Portland’s “Most Progressive Business.” In a string of lies, the ad accuses IWW representatives of bringing a mob to intimidate and harass Craig during his peak business hours.

The most visible gauge of the debate within the “activist community” in Portland revolved around the Portland Indymedia site. From accusations of the IWW being a part of a COINTELPRO operation (carried as far as naming specific striking workers as cops) to condemnation of the IWW because it allows its members and organizers to eat meat, a rather entertaining discussion ensued.

ARISSA is an organization launched by Craig a few years back, ideologically driven by Craig’s first book, “The Logic of Political Violence.” Rosebraugh’s supporters and members of ARISSA went on Indymedia to post numerous accusations of police infiltration and state collusion, specifically naming the IWW and striking workers as provocateurs and agents. The posting of unfounded and unverifiable accusations in a public forum goes beyond the obvious attempts at displacing responsibility for the strike on Craig’s behalf. It enters the dangerous, irresponsible realm of snitch-jacketing: opening those truly struggling for a better world to manipulations by the state. Following the thread of debate on Indymedia, the accusations quickly became picked up and repeated as fact, although no individual or organization had produced a shred of evidence to verify them.

Where Does the Activist ‘Left’ Stand on Class?

Craig himself has been a very visible and vocal name within Portland’s activist community. Because of this, the Indymedia debate was largely split along two lines. In the minority of those posting, there were those who recognized that workers’ struggles against boss-imposed direction and discipline against the alienation that capitalist work relationships foster, regardless of good intentions, is at the base of the struggle for the new society. These folks supported the IWW and the strike. On the other, there were those who argued that for a broad range of reasons–Craig’s past work, the media’s blood lust for him, the fact that the restaurant was all organic and vegan and locally owned, or that Craig’s intention with the restaurant was to, “fund social change ventures”—that the union should not have involved itself in the strike. To those on Craig’s side of the fence, the IWW was guilty of undermining the community, the struggle, and the revolution itself by supporting these workers. A number of people, Craig included, even argued that the workers had no right to protest because with tips they were making a better wage than other workers in the area.

These responses from Rosebraugh, ARISSA, and the Portland activist community provide an excellent demonstration of a number of limitations of a class-less “progressive” politics. Even when playing lip service to worker’s struggles, to liberation, and to revolution itself, the “activist” left is dominated by petit bourgeois voices. This is not meant as a simplistic assessment of individuals based on class background. What this actually reflects is how the activist left, which has often the people who have the most access to resources. Because class and class interests have not been at the fore of the “new anti-globalization” activist movement, it has not been capable of developing a politic capable of assuring that leadership and voice will be given to social groupings currently disenfranchised within this system. In missing this critical understanding—an assessment of which class and which portions of that class are most likely to push struggles into revolutionary directions—this movement has missed the target entirely. The voices currently dominating the discussion have class interests incapable of bringing a meaningful criticism of capital and the social relationships that result from capitalism.

This is a significant reason why this “new activist left” does not have a mass base or appeal within the working class. Due to its lack of class position, it is those who have access to resources that get to define the politics of this movement. When those resources and the privilege that come with them come are questioned in struggle (no matter how small), real principles go out the window. It’s fine to talk about saving forests, monkeys, and fighting imperialism outside of the Empire itself. It is also tactical to host, “Ending white supremacy” trainings and sessions deconstructing privilege. But when real struggle comes to these leaders’ own backyards and they find themselves in a position where their own relationships to capitalism are seriously questioned, class interests themselves speak louder than revolutionary sloganeering.

This small strike brings to the fore why the “activist left” has little interest to that broad, stratified and diverse mass we call the working class. In challenging the alienation that is a necessary by-product of work under capitalism, the struggle against that alienation is the actual basis of struggle for a new world. The voices leading the “activist left” are incapable of allowing a criticism that answers to the daily struggles of workers and to their alienation. This is in part because they cannot grasp the real meaning of these struggles but even more, they can’t grasp the actual experience of that alienation. Their class positions guide their actions, regardless of their theoretical understanding (or misunderstanding) of the struggle we face.

Particularly telling are some of Craig’s arguments in his paid advertisement: that the workers were well paid (a debatable assertion), or that his actions in the restaurant were justified because the restaurant was going to fund his “social change ventures.” The statements made on Indymedia by the workers themselves are arguments that a meaningful revolutionary politic must be based on the rejection of capitalist work models themselves. This politics is a yearning for worker control and not simply a struggle for wages. It’s a struggle to reclaim that large portion of their lives working for someone else and to reorganize it in a manner that suits their own inclinations, regardless of the “revolutionarily consciousness” of their boss.

Workers’ Struggles are Struggles Against Work

It is the struggle and rejection of work itself, and the alienation that is inherent in wage labor, in which the seeds of the new world lie. Any “revolutionary” movement incapable of seeing the rejection of work itself as the basis for struggle will find itself unable to relate to the daily struggles of the only class of people who are capable of bringing this decrepit system to its knees, regardless of whether the facet of struggle is against police brutality, environmental devastation, prisons, poverty, or any of the other potentially explosive contradictions that our society confronts. It is within the struggles workers are constantly waging to reclaim control of the workplace itself that revolutionaries must learn to recognize the potential revolutionary force in those portions of the population so often dismissed by activists as “backwards” and inept.

Lessons in Intersections

The situation with Craig Rosebraugh and his little adventure in petit bourgeois capitalism have only brought a suppressed contradiction within this new activist left to the fore. The activist community is comfortable fighting for rights for animals, for an end to clear cutting, for more bikes, and even sometimes advocating armed struggle as an avenue for social change. As a white-led and largely privileged strata, there is a massive disconnect between reading Ward Churchill and writing your thesis on armed struggle and actually being a part of organizing a movement capable of asserting its own power and defending itself. Craig’s inability to recognize how truly relinquishing power and privilege are necessary in creating the space for revolutionary leadership is an excellent example of this stumbling block. This same political trend is good at holding trainings and workshops on deconstructing privilege and speaking the language of “communities of color” and ”revolutionary feminism,” but as a movement it is incapable of opening spaces where theses communities and perspectives can actually lead a movement. It will continued to be incapable until it not only speaks of, but puts into play a recognition of class, and how it interacts with racism, sexism, and all of the other destruction reaped upon our planet and our lives. This is not an argument that the long sought after unity of the working class across racial, sexual, and other boundaries will simplistically come about as a result of workplace struggles. It is simply an acknowledgement that to even begin to confront the central questions of race, class, and gender in building a revolutionary movement, a recognition of the limitations and misleading nature of the activist left’s politics must be given.

What happens when the interests of those truly disenfranchised (and the only class capable of making the revolutionary change we envision) come into conflict with a fearless leader who is using a capitalist enterprise to further his revolutionary projects? There is no longer a fence for “anti-capitalists, anarchists, radicals, or progressives” to sit on when it comes to class.

The activist left’s defense of Rosebraugh’s actions against wildcat activity by workers within his restaurant provides a long-needed clarification of the position of a number of organizations and individuals within this milieu. Craig’s thousands of dollars of advertising are a great opportunity for the IWW to define itself as clearly committed to a revolutionary model that is led by workers themselves. In doing so, it has placed the IWW in a position of alienation from portions of the activist left but opened itself to an explicit commitment to supporting workers in their struggle to regain control of their workplaces and their lives. (Four new workers called to join the union in the two days after Rosebraugh’s ad was published.) Not only is this clarification useful, it is necessary if we are to build a mass movement with class and race at the fore. What this small struggle has done is force the activist left to declare its alliances–on one side the workers, and on the other, an opportunist, underdeveloped politic. This opportunistic side of the left’s own class interests leave it unable to see how the struggle of workers against not only poverty but for control of the production process itself is the only basis on which we can begin to build a new society.

For those not in the IWW, or not engaged in organizing around workplace struggles, this is an opportunity to reflect on how we must break with this class-less left if we are to develop organizations capable of interacting with the real struggles of oppressed and potentially revolutionary strata within the United States itself. There is a massive segment of the population forced to struggle daily against numerous contradictions, which threaten to open this state to a real revolutionary upsurge. A movement led by petit bourgeois class interests will at best co-opt these upsurges, and at worst be entirely incapable of engaging them. If we plan to be a part of those struggles, to engage with them, or to work alongside them, we must drop the baggage of the existing left, and forge a new movement with an explicit commitment to developing leadership and analysis outside of that milieu.

This article first appeared in the Industrial Worker newspaper.



The worker have long since personally apologized to Craig and blamed being instigated by that super sketchy Katherine girl who disappeared afterward just as suddenly as she had shown up. This involved only 3 people out of a staff of 20 who did not have ANY problem with Craig and issued public statements defending him throughout this incident. This whole thing was very sketch. Shortly after this happened his dumpster was set on fire and another activist's flier (who had been arguing with Craig) was stuck near it to frame them. The activist immediately made up with Craig and denies setting the fire. The next day, the Federal agent who had been following Craig through out all of the Grand Jury resistance showed up for dinner & implied involvement with the upset. A few months later Craig was again subpoenaed for ELF Grand Jury (which he again resisted!). Craig is about to release a well funded documentary about the Gulf oil spill. It seems a very convenient time for an oil company PR firm to search for anything to discredit him and use grass roots activists to do their dirty work for them. Anyone who has read his autobiography or attended his lectures on FBI and Private I/PR Firms targeting activists would know this is not the first time this has happened. The FBI has regarded Craig as a top domestic terrorist threat. It is not paranoid or unrealistic to think this reappearance of this article all over activist sites is orchestrated.
The following is a statement issued by Craig several YEARS after this incident:

April 15, 2008

Today is my 36th birthday. For the last twelve years I have been subject to a wave of severe governmental repression as a result of my political beliefs and activities. From surviving a ten year FBI, ATF, and US Justice Department investigation, which consisted of constant monitoring, two raids on my homes and businesses, thousands of dollars in property stolen, car chases, psychological harassment, eight federal grand jury subpoenas, and constant attempts at questioning, to physical assaults including surviving a broken arm attack by the Portland Police, to hundreds of death threats over email, telephone and direct mail, to being forced to appear in front of Congress, to facing dozens of years in prison on multiple occasions, to being befriended by undercover private investigators with ties to the CIA, to surviving an incredible misinformation campaign that has continued through to this day, I have not only survived, but put up with sheer hell the last twelve years all for one reason: I believe our government is unjust, I believe our country was founded upon principles and practices of injustice and that it is all of our responsibilities to do whatever we can in our lives to create justice, to put an end to human right abuses, environmental destruction, and animal exploitation.

The misinformation campaign surrounding my business practices at Calendula Café in 2004, was just the latest example of rumors and gossip purposely spread to shadow and negatively impact my credibility both locally and nationwide. This was not the first, and I am positive it will not be the last time individuals have attempted to spread untruths about me in hopes of creating further divisions among us, a methodology that has been used for decades to render social and political movements to the brink of collapse and failure. The fact that the activist community at large has, and continues to be, so eager to spread gossip, rumors, and misinformation before, or most often times instead of, seeking the truth, serves to tear apart the very efforts that many of us have and continue to risk our lives for.

The following are facts documented by eyewitnesses and/or court documents:

1) As I mentioned before I have been subject to misinformation campaigns for the last twelve years resulting from my political volunteer work – from being an political organizer nationwide to taking part in over a dozen civil disobedience actions for justice issues, to being the spokesperson for the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front. In the late 1990s, a misinformation campaign began against me and a couple of other organizers locally that ended up driving a wedge in a local grassroots nonprofit organization leading to its demise, while simultaneously leading to me being discredited nationwide. Court documents have shown that the organization was infiltrated by one or more individuals who were government agents, the same individuals who were responsible for starting and spreading the lies.

2) Calendula Café was started in 2003 as a fundraising project to raise money for a social justice community organization in New York. It was determined that because of the political beliefs and practices of myself and colleagues nationwide, we were not able to receive funding from the traditional means of grants or donations, and we collectively decided – just as was the case in past movements and groups such as the Panthers – that we would try to start some businesses to raise money that we could not elsewhere obtain. I tried to open and operate the business as ethically as possible, while still holding true to its one and only purpose, to raise money for the community based justice organization in New York. The food was entirely organic and all vegan. All of the paper goods were 100% recycled. All of our food scraps both pre and post consumer were composted. We donated to local justice causes. Most employees began at Calendula at above industry standard wages. I had even wanted to provide healthcare options and gym membership availabilities to employees (something unheard of in most small start-up restaurants and businesses), but couldn’t until we were actually making enough money to afford it. Because of the lack of money I wasn’t able to pay myself anything for the first six months of the restaurant’s life, even though I was putting in 80-100 hours per week of work.

3) As the cost of running the restaurant mounted (high start-up costs, very high organic inventory costs) it was clear the restaurant had to either cut back some hours and wages or go out of business. At the time, the average server was making over $20 per hour after tips were factored in. I know this because I maintained the financial records daily (in addition to cooking, waiting on customers, managing, cleaning, etc.). I made the decision to cut back the servers base wage (before tips) to what the industry standard was, so the restaurant could stay open. This meant servers were still making $18 - $25 per hour including tips. Even when I was able to pay myself a meager wage at the restaurant, the servers always made more money than me, the cooks, and the dishwasher. Yet, some of them were upset by this, viewing it as a lack of respect for them.

4) A short while later one individual in particular, Katherine Atkinson, simply refused to do her job. After asking her repeatedly she continued to refuse so I fired her. Three more servers who were close friends of her also refused to work and were let go a short while later. They refused to do side work, believing it was above them. Yet, including myself, everyone in the restaurant had side work – something quite common in restaurants – including cleaning, resetting tables, cleaning silverware, etc. There had never been any talk of unionization among these four employees, and neither myself nor any other employee at the time heard anything about them attempting to unionize.

5) What one employee did hear gets to the heart and truth of this whole misinformation campaign. One of the longest term employees, who had been there from the opening and remained almost to the closing, was told by Atkinson, the one it turns out that talked the other three into refusing their work, that she was going to “bring Craig down” and that she was “going to have Craig wrapped around her fingers.” On her very first day of work, months before her refusal to do her job, she vocalized this to the long-term Calendula employee. I did not find this out until after the four were fired and after the situation blew up.

6) After the four were fired, they went to the IWW office and had a meeting with Pete Beaman, who without question and taking their word as truth, agreed to try to help them. Of course, since they were not unionized while working at the restaurant, all they could do was try to cause as much trouble as possible for me – and initiate a campaign of misinformation that would serve to eventually close the restaurant and discredit me and my political work nationwide – a mythology that obviously continues to this day.

7) Along with their newly found representative Pete Beaman, the four tried to contact me to get their jobs back. Their methodology wasn’t a phone call or email to set up a meeting but rather they purposely waited until the busiest evening of the week and approached the restaurant during the peak dinner hour to make a scene. If that wasn’t enough, Pete Beaman, leading the group, approached me in a muscle shirt, in an aggressive stance attempting to intimidate me. I refused to talk with them and they refused to leave and began harassing customers. I finally told them I was calling the police (which I never do on principle and didn’t that night – I called a couple of friends who brought weapons over to defend the building.)

8) If that wasn’t enough, Pete Beaman, seeing an opportunity to use my name and credibility to make a name for himself and his local IWW chapter, continued to push the issue, contacting the local newspapers and writing a slanderous article published on the internet, full of misinformation. Within a matter of days, the story of Craig Rosebraugh being a union breaker and a strike breaker went national and still to this day people, like yourselves, believe the lies without question.

9) The servers claimed that I treated them poorly – I never yelled at them, called them names or insulted them. The only thing I did do was expect them to work, and when they didn’t they were fired. I will admit openly as most of my closest friends will attest to, that I am not the easiest person to be around or work around sometimes. You try living through what I’ve lived through and see how it affects you. I did the best I could. I never set out to be anyone’s best friend in the restaurant endeavor. I set out to try to open as ethical of a restaurant as possible, treating people the best I could, while making money for justice causes.

10) In the end I was only subjected to another misinformation campaign that has affected the political work that I have risked my life and freedom for during the last twelve years. These following things are for certain:

A. Katherine Atkinson, on her very first day of work – told another long term employee that she was going to “bring Craig down” and have me “wrapped around her fingers”
B. A few months later, Katherine Atkinson was fired for refusing to do her work
C. Katherine Atkinson immediately called three other servers and convinced them to refuse to work, which led to them being fired (something one of these servers admitted later they regretted)
D. After being fired, Katherine Atkinson organized a meeting with IWW representative Pete Beaman, who eagerly agreed to try to help the four
E. Peter Beaman, seeing the opportunity to make a name for himself and his IWW chapter, assisted Atkinson in spreading a misinformation campaign against me locally and nationwide
F. I have never been and am not anti-union. I actually have supported the IWW and have played benefits for them, well before Pete Beaman was ever involved.
G. I, nor my close colleagues, still do not know who Katherine Atkinson really is, but we have our suspicions.
H. This was just the latest in a long line of examples of repression against me as a result of my political beliefs and work.

I get tired of having to defend myself and reputation for something I didn’t do. It takes physical and mental energy away from the political pursuits I care deeply about. All the spreading of misinformation does is serve to create divisions within the movement, weakening the movement, and rendering it ineffective. This is exactly what the federal government and its corporate leaders want. When you spread misinformation you are not only affecting the personal lives of people like myself, but you are doing the dirty work of governments and corporations who sit back and laugh, watching us continue to fight among ourselves. Please think before the next time you spread rumors, gossip, and misinformation. If you care about justice in the world, you owe it to your family, friends, community and yourself to find out the truth.

I believe my political history and testimony from my closest friends as to my nature as a compassionate, caring and dedicated person speaks for itself. Whatever you believe, I will still be out there dedicating my freedom and life to trying to make the world a more just place. I sincerely hope you will join me.


Craig Rosebraugh

BTW, this is 8yrs old. This fight at the restaurant happened in 2004 or 05ish.

bahahahaha pathetic leftist battle.

nice analysis bro



Businesses, of a purely mechanistic type, whether small or large, are what ‘disconnects’ people from community. As John Locke noted in his ‘Two Treatises of Government’ back in 1689, the common use of money enabled the concept of ‘wages’ which ‘intervened’ in the web of relations that constituted ‘community’. The amount of land or producing capital that a man could handle could now, with the advent of ‘money’ and ‘wages’, be greatly amplified by pulling apart the relational web of community and reconstituting the community dynamics in terms of business operations. This opened up the potential for a community to be ‘bought out’ from under the feet of the community participants by one person or a few persons, reducing them all to ‘workers’.

What is going on here is the reduction of a natural web-of-life, as communities-in-nature, to ‘machinery’ and the global community continues on the mechanization of itself. Of course, ‘machines’ need to be ‘driven’ and what we are seeing is increasingly fewer drivers of ever-larger machines, and increasingly more people taken out of the relational web of community and made over into ‘workers’ or ‘cogs in the machinery’.

Our esteem for ‘individualism’ tends to give us more empathy for the ‘small business’ [the ‘mom-and-pop’ business] that the larger business, but the difference that annoys us is not really the ‘size’. The family that employs its own family members and fellow community members to provide a needed service to the community [developing as a node in the relational web of community] is very different from a small business that is started up by an MBA from somewhere else who ‘spots an opportunity’ to blow some mom&pop coffee shop out of the water, by hiring cheap labour and operationalizing smoothly oiled machinery, where there are no free ‘second cups’ etc.

The ideal of a organic mixing of labours within the relational web of community, which Locke saw as being undermined by the invention of money and wages is what differentiates the small businesses born in the community [which elicit our empathy] from the small businesses born from a mechanist world view.

Since ‘economics’, being purely profit-based, will opt for the most efficient machinery, we have been steadily ripping apart the organic relational web of community dynamics and replacing it with steel-gated machinery, reducing community members to ‘workers’, ... ‘workers’ who are no longer viewed as being member-contributors within the relational web of community, but as ‘market commodities’, that can be used and disposed of. Our participation in the global monetary system based economy is a recipe for continued dissolution of organic community and the substitution of heavy metal machinery.

do you write anywhere else, emile?

I am sometimes in a ‘different place’ when I write, if that qualifies as an answer. For example, my personal preference would have been to write the above coming from Machean physics, which sees ‘dynamics’ in terms of the transformation of relational space. This can explain the difference between different types of ‘small businesses’ but many people [like my former self] have difficulty breaking out of their habit of thinking in terms of ‘absolute space’ and so are unable to 'see' relational space based views. If we call the system that the small business is 'operating within' the ‘suprasystem’ or SPRS and the small business SB, then the question arises; ‘what is the relationship of SB to SPRS.

1. Machean physics says; SPRS transforms into SPRS-T which includes SB. But since SPRS is the continually transforming relational spatial-plenum, SPRS-T = SPRS. The atmosphere-as-SPRS is transformed as hurricane Katrina gathers within it and the atmosphere is still the relational space we call the atmosphere. Katrina is a dimple in the continually transforming SPRS.

2. Conventional [pre-modern] physics, that is still the mainstream mode of ‘scientific thinking’, says; SPRS is transformed by SB to become SPRS-T, therefore SPRS-T = SPRS + SB. In other words, mainstream physics uses Aristotelian logic that regards the SB and the SPRS as ‘two separate things’. This implies that SB is a ‘thing-in-itself’ that has its own identity regardless, even, of where it will be implemented.

[[The implication in this conventional view, 2., is that the observer is outside of the SPRS and can see and measure 'its' change over 'time'. In the Machean view, the observer is included within the SPRS and change is relational transformation rather than some 'thing' that 'changes' over 'time'. In other words, the view in 2. objectifies the world we live and claims to be able to see 'IT' change over 'time'. This is nonsense, of course, but it is nevertheless foundational to the worldview of globally dominant Western civilization.]]

In the Machean view, one cannot simply ‘create a small business’ and ‘plunk it down’ in the middle of the community/SPRS. The only way the business can become part of the SPRS is by transforming the SPRS. The SPRS is the physical starting reality. After all, we are not starting from absolute fixed empty and infinite Euclidian space and constructing the business firstly in a void and them dumping it from there into the SPRS. The SPRS is the physical reality in which we must intervene to warp the SPRS dynamic so as have included within it, the resonance feature SB.

‘Location, location, location’ is a phrase that says that it is not the fine-precision of the business machinery that is the most important factor, but how it is situated with the SPRS; e.g. the potential supply channels and the potential distribution channels. If the products and services are to attain ‘resonance’ [sustainability], there must be paths for the supply of inputs to branch into the SB and for distribution channels to carry products and services out of the SB. Without these, the SB as a machine-in-itself means nothing.

There must also be a ‘potential difference’ [tension] between the input channels and the distribution channels that the products and services of the SB must satisfy, if it is to attain ‘resonance’ [sustainability].

Analytical science inquires into SBs or ‘local systems’ as if they are ‘things-in-themselves’, ‘machines’. However, if they are in sustained operation, they must be supplying needed ‘agency’ within the SPRS like hurricane Katrina supplies ‘needed agency’ within the transforming SPRS. As meteorologists say; “the only reason for a hurricane to exist is to transport thermal energy from thermal-energy-rich equatorial regions to thermal-energy-poor polar regions.”

Resonant features such as SBs attain resonance or ‘sustainability’ when they supply needed ‘agency’ within the SPRS. But analytical science considers the SB as a ‘local system in itself’ and will describe it in terms of its internal components and processes as if it were a ‘machine’ in its own right.

As Russell Ackoff [systems sciences pioneer] observes, the ‘university’ can be understood in its largest sense, as an organ within the suprasystem of community, and it developed as a ‘needed agency’ or ‘organ’ before it was finally given a name. Analytical inquiry will seek to understand/explain it as if it were a local system-in-itself, driven and directed from its own internal components and processes. This standard form of inquiry, which Ackoff calls ‘inside-and-back-out again’ inquiry is radically incomplete; i.e. it is oblivious to the role of the university [local system] as an ‘organ’ within the suprasystem of community. It is therefore essential, according to Ackoff, to ‘ground’ analytical ‘inside-and-back-out-again’ inquiry in ‘synthetical ‘outside-and-back-in-again’ inquiry’. The relational space of community is continually transforming, and as with the atmosphere and Katrina, resonant features develop and are sustained as needed agency within the transforming community/suprasystem.

Analytical inquiry notionally splits the local system out of the SPRS and regards it as a ‘thing-in-itself’, a ‘machine’, which can be ‘optimized’ as a ‘thing-in-itself’. This leads to the dreaded [by systems sciences] ‘optimization by parts’. The ‘improvement’ to the local part or SB is illusion. The real physical effect is in terms of transformation of the SPRS, the ‘changes in the flow’.

This ‘reality’ crops up in comments on ‘Ryan’s lies’. Paul Ryan is a follower of the ideas of Ayn Rand, and Rand treats analytical thinking and Aristotelian logic of the excluded third as ‘gospel’. Therefore, the individual that creates the ‘small business’ is fully and solely responsible for its production. The reality is that the ‘local system-in-itself’is merely an artefact of analytical thinking and the small business 'could not be a small business' without the supply arteries and distribution veins that it is situationally, inextricably included within. As Juan Cole says in ‘Paul Ryan's Repeated Top Ten Lies’ [btw. I am not into sovereigntist politics per se, period. This quote is just to point to these different interpretation of ‘small business’];

“Ryan continues to claim that President Obama said business owners did not build their own businesses. Obama said that business owners benefit from government infrastructure and programs, which they did not build. No small business owner has built an inter-state highway or bridge, but those are the means whereby their goods get to market. Ryan's (and the GOP's) talking point in this regard is a typical Karl Rove Big Lie, and among an informed electorate it ought to discredit them.”

This comment by Juan Cole implies that inquiry into small business must start from, as Ackoff says, ‘out-and-back-in-again’ [synthetical inquiry]. Most people naturally prefer be ‘suppliers of agency’ to the suprasystem of community they are situationally included in; i.e. they do not prefer to be commoditized cogs in a ‘local system’ aka ‘machine’. Member responses to the need for supply of agency of various types is how community naturally forms, as a relational dynamic wherein needed agency is supplied by members of the collective. A survivor collective in a plane crash or some natural disaster would organize by supplying needed agency to the suprasystem of community they are included in. Who will attend to the wounded?, who will build the shelters?, who will build the fire and keep it going? who will gather food? who will tend to the children, who will entertain and lighten the spirit? It is not 'what people do' as local 'things-in-themselves', but their supplying of agency to the suprasystem they are included in.

Analytical inquiry that defines everything as a local system with its own local component and processes-driven and directed development and behaviour is what Ayn Randism is all about; it is what capitalism is all about, and it is what ‘capitalist businesses’ are all about. This sort of thinking, because it sees ‘businesses’ as local systems or ‘machines’ [things-in-themselves], reduces the worker to a labour-commodity. The community member, who wanted to rise to the occasion and become a supplier of needed agency within the suprasystem of community, is by this reduction of ‘the business’ to a ‘local system/machine-in-itself’, reduced to a commoditized labour source and cog in the machine.

This point is being missed by the author of the article, though it is implicit in his discussion;

“Even when playing lip service to worker’s struggles, to liberation, and to revolution itself, the “activist” left is dominated by petit bourgeois voices. ... This small strike brings to the fore why the “activist left” has little interest to that broad, stratified and diverse mass we call the working class.”

What is true is that the ‘activist left’ sees the problem as a ‘money problem’; i.e. inequitable distribution of money. Therefore, the petit bourgeois capitalist, in the case discussed in this article, thinks it is ‘Ok’ to be a capitalist if he is a ‘socialist’ with respect to the allocation of money. He could chain his employees to their machines, whip them to make them work harder/faster and then give 90% of ‘his’ earnings back to society, to the families of his workers, and give the workers a first class medical plan that would pay for therapy for their physical and psychological trauma. The boss would become an icon of virtue by comparison with the other capitalist bosses. It is like Marx said of 'free trade'; this is a misnomer since unrestricted trade is the natural case and what we now call 'free trade' is a moderating of restricted trade. One can say that same about the Western concept of 'freedom'. Free association is the natural case, and what we now call 'freedom' is a moderating of absolute control of the central authority of the sovereign state, ... a moderating of control given only if we agree to swear to bear arms and give our lives to assure the persistence of this central control based sovereigntist statism.

When the ‘entrepreneurial class’ uses capitalism to generate funds for socialist monetary allocation, people continue to be deprived of their relational membership in community. They are deprived of their natural role as suppliers of SPRS needed agency. Those natural relational niches are no longer available. There is now an intermediary, business, in between them and the community. They are offered, instead, row upon row of commodity labour slots, where their contract is with a ‘local machine’ [often remotely owned and controlled] and where, at the end of the day after the worker has been paid, he owes nothing to the company and the company owes nothing to him. This is a far cry from answering the natural call and letting oneself be woven into the web of relations that is ‘community’ so as to supply needed agency within the suprasystem of community.

You can see here that there is a problem when we use scientific-analytical inquiry on its own [without ‘synthetical inquiry’], since it reduces the business understood more comprehensively as a 'dimple in the flow' to a notional 'local system' or 'machine'. It is a problem that lies in the foundations of Ayn Randism, capitalism, sovereigntism and the institutions of Western civilization such as Justice, the latter which sees and assesses the behaviour of individuals as ‘local systems’ aka ‘machines’, out of the context of how the SPRS is shaping the development and behaviour of the inhabitants included within it.

Mach's principle summarizes all of the above: "the dynamics of the SPRS are conditioning the dynamics of the SB at the same time as the dynamics of the SB are conditioning the dynamics of the SPRS."

We can either answer the call of the SPRS to supply it with the agency it needs as the mom&pop SB may do, or we can treat the creation of an SB as our own independent act and take credit for its production ignoring the 'transforming SPRS infrastructure' that makes it all possible.

yea, thats what i was thinking too.

Let me guess: Single?


I am an individualist againts markets and i am not that much sympathetic for small businesses either. Commercialism is clearly an obstacle to sincere self expression and an bad mediator between relationships. For some reason in the US people over-associate individualism with markets and commercialism. This seems to be a legacy of anglo liberal pro market post Locke thought and the political program of right wing "libertarianism". Individualism a la Henry David Thoreau or Friedrich Nietzsche is really not as visible since clearly it ends up oppossing commercialism in all its forms.

Like Oscar Wilde said "For the recognition of private property has really harmed Individualism, and obscured it, by confusing a man with what he possesses. It has led Individualism entirely astray. It has made gain not growth its aim. So that man thought that the important thing was to have, and did not know that the important thing is to be. The true perfection of man lies, not in what man has, but in what man is...Private property has crushed true Individualism, and set up an Individualism that is false. It has debarred one part of the community from being individual by starving them. It has debarred the other part of the community from being individual by putting them on the wrong road, and encumbering them. Indeed, so completely has man’s personality been absorbed by his possessions that the English law has always treated offences against a man’s property with far more severity than offences against his person, and property is still the test of complete citizenship."

Oscar Wilde "The soul of man under socialism"

Iconoclasta against Bourgoise Individualism

“For some reason in the US people over-associate individualism with markets and commercialism.”

Individualism can be ‘arrived at’ in two different ways;

(a) by scientific analytical inquiry that assumes that dynamic forms in the flow are ‘local systems’ with their own locally sourced development and behaviour. This is what has been built into the biological sciences definition of an ‘organism’ and also into Darwinism.

(b) by our real-life physical experience of being inextricably included within a dynamic larger than ourselves, so that our ‘individuality’ derives from our unique situational inclusion within that dynamic.

The person who sees their individualism as being the (a) type, sees himself as a ‘powerboater’ who sees his development and behaviour as ‘fully and solely his own’, coming from his own internal components and processes [e.g. from his own knowledge, intellection and purpose].

The person who sees their individualism as being the (b) type, sees himself as a ‘sailboater’ who sees his development and behaviour as being relative to the habitat-dynamic he is inextricably, uniquely, situationally included in. The same individual will do better in a free space than in a prison.

Since the (a) definition of the individual corresponds to the biological sciences definition of the ‘individual organism’. It is a popular choice in the strongly scientific-thinking populace of the US. In this view, one measures oneself by what are perceived to be ‘one’s own achievements’, even if their parents brought them out of their situation within a ‘land of no opportunity’ and resituated them within the US ‘land of opportunity’ when they were five years old, leaving their twin brother back in his life-sentence in the gulag, where he ended up as an 'under-achiever'.

The (b) understanding of the individual is more popular with minorities such as aboriginals and Buddhists and post-mainstream science physicists such as Mach, Poincaré, Bohm and Schroedinger [also Nietzsche, Jungians etc.]. The measure of the individual in this case is how well one sustains balance and harmony with the dynamics of the habitat one is situationally included in. In this view of individualism, there is no sense of ‘his own achievements’; i.e. he acknowledges the accommodating/disaccommodating role of the habitat dynamics that he is uniquely situationally included in, in shaping ‘what looks like’ ‘his achievements’. The achievements of a man stuck in the gulag are not the measure of the man.

When a man is measured by ‘his’ achievements as in (a), which is the most common view of 'individual' in the US, and when ‘his achievements’ are assessed in terms of how much money he makes, his ‘commercial orientation’ should come as no surprise.

but, what it do?

as taiaiake alfred says in 'Peace, Power and Righteousness', the number one action to take is to erode the intellectual foundations of colonialism. The (a) view of individualism is foundational to colonialism.

i suggest the (a) type is also bad biology.

The (a) type of individual, as captured by the biological sciences in its definition of ‘organism’, ... may be ‘bad biology’ but it is ‘orthodox biology’; e.g;

“organism: - An individual form of life, such as a plant, animal, bacterium, protist, or fungus; a body made up of organs, organelles, or other parts that work together to carry on the various processes of life.”

The (b) view of the individual of Mach, Schroedinger et al, is like the convection cell in the continually transforming relational space flow. Of course Mach understands and accepts the utility of analytical science which isolates an apparently ‘local’ visible, material form, whether it be a hurricane or a human, and develops an ‘understanding’ of it as a ‘thing-in-itself’ as if it can be understood by inquiry into its internal components and processes.

The error of analytical science is that it attributes the source of development and behaviour of the ‘individual’ dynamic form e.g. ‘organism’ as ‘thing-in-itself’ to ‘itself’, when the physical reality is that the source, not only of its development and behaviour, but of its transient ‘life’, is the continuously transforming relational space it is included in. It’s individuality derives from its unique situation and unique contribution to the transformation of the relational space-plenum it is included in.

Science likes to separate the dynamic form [be it hurricane, organism, human-organism] from the relational space within which it is a flow-feature [an agent of transformation] because of the convenience of how it simplifies the inquiry. Galileo pointed out how much easier it is to formulate laws of motion when focuses in one-sidedly on the dynamics of ‘things-in-themselves’, by assuming that the things are moving within an absolute space void. The law of gravity then applies to a feather as well as it does to a cannon ball. The organization of the fluid medium can then be forgotten and if the feather is, in the actual experiment, blow upwards, instead of falling down, we can say it is ‘experimental error’.

Colonization uses the same over-simplified scientific-analytic mindset and so does business. When you decide to ‘plunk down’ a new state somewhere [Israel, the U.S. etc.] these plans consider only what is being constructed, otherwise they would not meet the objective of the final, completed ‘structure’ [who know what in hell happens to what is already ‘in place’, in this process?]. The physical reality in the relational space we live in is that there can be no construction of new organization without destruction of established organization. In other word, the real dynamic is neither ‘construction’ nor ‘destruction’, it is transformation of the relational spatial-plenum, as captured in Mach’s principle; “The dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat.”

We get all pumped up about constructing a new world for our unfortunate European brothers; “your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore”, and our pie-in-the-sky vision does not include the destruction of the established organization in the existing space where this is to happen, because our analytical constructs are only in terms of the ‘new construction’ as if in a void [absolute fixed, empty and infinite Euclidian space].

We perceive new businesses in the same way, focusing only on the completed construction. What the hell happens to the established world, its creatures and organization, is not captured in the enthusiastic rendering of the new construction.

Evidently, we value ‘some individuals’ more than others [our ‘own kind’ in particular]. As Churchill said in giving testimony to the Peel Commission on Palestine;

“I do not admit that the dog in the manger has the final right to the manger, even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit, for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race, or, at any rate, a more worldly-wise race, to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.” – Winston Churchill

As Ayn Rand similarly said;

”They [the indians] had no right to a country merely because they were born here and then acted like savages. The white man did not conquer this country. And you are a racist if you object, because it means you believe that certain men are entitled to something because of their race. You believe that if someone is born in a magnificent country and doesn’t know what to do with it, he still has a property right to it. He does not. . . .Any European who brought with him an element of civilization had the right to take over this continent, and it’s great that some of them did.” – Ayn Rand.

All of this sort of thinking, that reduces the living space to ‘a manger’ or ‘a magnificent piece of property’, stems from conceiving the individual in (a) mode, as a ‘thing-in-itself’, split off from the relational space in which he is included. Only then can the debate shift to ‘which category of humans is more entitled to feed off this manger’. In the relational space view, the view of ‘new people moving into the land’ is too small a view. The physical reality is the transformation of relations within the space. Jews moving out of Europe are transforming the European spatial-relational dynamic at the same time as transforming the Palestinian spatial relational dynamics. The space on the surface of a sphere is all one and the same space. The notion of ‘moving from here to there’ is ‘Euclidian’ abstraction; i.e. there is only relational re-arrangement [e.g. see ‘Geometry and Experience’ by A. Einstein].

All we think about in the (a) mode is ‘people moving’, as if into ‘empty space’ [the creatures of the forest do not regard their living space as ‘empty’]. We can think of things this way because of the scientific-analytic model of humans as ‘things-in-themselves’. This allows us to talk about ‘them’ and ‘what they do’ as if they were ‘independent’ of the space they are included in. The hurricane may appear to be independent of its living space, but it is in fact a dimple in that continually transforming relational space, rather than an independently-existing ‘thing-in-itself’. The movement of men from ‘here to there’ is, in physical reality, as with the movement of ants in the space on the surface of a sphere, transformation of the relational space they are included in.

In the ‘figure and ground’ of gestalt psychology [pioneered by Ernst Mach], the (a) version of individual is ‘all figure and no ground’ while the (b) version of individual is ‘all ground wherein the figure is the ground’ as the convection cell is the [transforming] flow-space it is included in.

In the (b) view of the individual as a dynamic form within a transforming relational spatial-plenum, movement from here to there constitutes transformation of the relational space. There is no such thing as ‘empty space’ aka ‘absolute space’ [e.g. see The Relativity of Space by Henri Poincaré]

The biological sciences build their models of individual organisms in the (a) mode of ‘all figure, no ground’. This is where scientific-analytic inquiry takes one. After one has decided that people are ‘all figure and no ground’, one can conceive of them moving into ‘empty land’. As the popular slogan in support of a homeland for jews in Palestine put it;

“A land without a people for a people without a land”

And as historians have noted, many people thought of the ‘savages’ in the Americas attaching the same sort of value as they would to insects. Thus the land of the Americas is ‘empty of humans’.

The ‘all figure no ground’ (a) concept of ‘individual’ comes bundled with the concept of ‘empty space’. A land empty of civilized people is thus an ‘empty land’, ready for civilized people to do something with, ... to construct and develop in a net positive fashion, without destroying anything, in effect denying that construction and destruction are conjugate aspects of the one dynamic of transformation of relational space.

The (b) concept of ‘individual’ conceives of space as a web-of-relations in which the individual is a node-in-the-relational web. This view is ‘all ground that includes figure’. Who deserves to ‘own’ the land is nonsense in this view since the habitat is the web of relations and the inhabitant is the strand in the web. As Mach’s principle says, “the dynamics of the strands are conditioning the dynamics of the web at the same time as the dynamics of the web are conditioning the dynamics of the strands.”

There’s nothing wrong with the simplified [for discursive convenience] view that scientific-analytical inquiry gives of ‘individuals’ which reduces ‘strands-in-the-web’ [all ground including figure] to ‘things-in-themselves’ [all figure no ground]. What’s wrong is to confuse that simple view for ‘physical reality’. This confusion occurs when individual humans start believing that they ‘really are’ things-in-themselves, and/or where individual entrepreneurs start believing that their businesses ‘really are’ things-in-themselves.

In physical reality, the ‘machine’ or 'local system' aspect of the business is less significant than the infrastructure [supplying veins and distribution arteries]; i.e. the local business is a node in the relational infrastructure web. Businesses come and go while the relational infrastructure persists and transforms. The animating source of the business activity is not the ‘business’ [the business is not an all-figure-no-ground ‘thing-in-itself’], it is the continually transforming relational infrastructure web.

Similarly, the hurricane is not the pump that sources the flow of the atmosphere [type (a) conception of individual], the flow of the atmosphere is the animating source of the hurricane-pump [type (b) conception of individual]. To paraphrase Emerson in 'The Method of Nature'; 'the flow not only inhabits the organism/pump, it creates it'.

Aside from the word "leadership" being thrown around all willy-nilly (without a qualification by the author by what exactly he means by the term) I think this is a pretty outstanding article. I do agree with worker though, if this was DGR it would totally be different. If DGR were to open a business and fire striking workers I don't think that like half the anarchists in Portland would defend DGR (like they did with Calendula and ARISSA) it would only be liberals and few primmies who would defend it.

The poll question should have been: If DGR was to open a cafe, what would they name it?

Derricks Jensen Steakhouse

Derrick Jensen's Salmonhouse

Dickheads making food!

The Hatchery


There menu would serve salmon and pie.


Here's a youtube clip (sorry it's really shitty quality) where within the first 5 minutes Derrick Jensen advocates for both class collaboration with small businesses and hierarchy. The idea of DGR starting up small businesses doesn't really seem to off the wall.

The above youtube link I think also exemplifies the relevancy of the original article. Although all this shit with Calendula went down years ago, the petit-bourgeois tendencies that led to projects like Calendulas starting in the first place are unfortunately alive and well (especially in the wake of Occupy). Also DGR is basically ARISSA 2.0, except DGR is even more liberal in alot of ways.

Wait so if Derrick Jensen is a salmon fucker, then what would does that make Craig Rosebraugh?

salmon forker


And what have we learned from this? Capitalism is capitalism is capitalism. Material interests wins over romantic idealism everytime. There is no such thing as a "progressive business"; they all have to go. Its not about altruism against greed. Its a crass material struggle between work and labor, in other words between the exploited and the eploiter. It doesnt matter how "good" or "progressive" the owner is when the crass material fact is that he needs to keep his business go around, i.e make a profit.

I don't entirely disagree but I also have a good friend who isn't a narcissistic authoritarian douche and she runs a progressive business and employs a few of our comrades and pays them a good wage and they love working for her ... so it's possible. I still can't believe it but it does exist out there somewhere.

Anyone who "loves working for [someone else]" is a fucking idiot

those not working "for" someone are still working "for" something. people who work for themselves just internalize the same dynamics onto themselves. you just end up with the profit motive in your head fighting your other desires.

Well said.

since the laws of the sovereign state preclude free association based community [decolonized society], those who would prefer decolonized community but cannot get to it have in the interim a choice of either 'working for someone else' or 'working together'. the format for 'working together' often has to be structured in the legal terms of 'working for someone else' [e.g. for legal liability etc.]. there is no reason why there should not be people out there 'working together' within 'working for someone else' structures and preferring this to being used as commoditized labour within a machine-like 'working for someone else' structure.

Didn't all of this go down several years ago? Is anyone shocked by any of this? Yawn.

Yeah this was a couple years ago. Craig Rosebraugh is totally irrelevant to anything going on in Portland these days. He's not involved in any of the grand jury resistance stuff going on at all. Fuck that guy, fuck all capitalists.

I'm not a wobbly but if you actually read the fucking article the author claims that the rejection of work is the only meaningful idea around which to organize in the workplace.

I think that's legit and represents a more reasonable analysis than most IWW folks I know IRL.

No. Actions and ideas aren't what matters. It's whether or not people have the right brand! If this person had slipped in an "egoist" or "nihilist" something something in there instead of the IWW, this piece would have been perfect!

no, if people would have slipped 'nihilist' or 'egoist' in this piece it would have made absolutely no sense.

Your comment makes no sense.

your mom makes no sense.


Portland’s “Most Progressive Business.” huh?

That's reason enough to burn it to the ground. A former spokesman for the ELF who advertises a business in the lefty vernacular of 'progress' is either a wholly disingenuous individual or really fucking dumb, or more likely both.

Oh wait at least Craig pays for his workers. Unlike CrimethInc or most anarchist projects.

oh BURN!

go masturbate with your cop-calling boss-man

Yes, yes, attack other anarchist projects! That will bring them around!

Our town recently got a few wobblies moving in, then they just talk shit about current anarchists projects and don't do anything themselves.

If only the wobblies could 'lead by example' how to 'destroy capitalism', that'd be nice, but it seems they really do just want to integrate us into it even more.

The revolution won't be stopped by the Republicans, or Democrats or cops, people will heed the words of other "revolutionaries" and keep trying to climb that economic ladder and make the middle class strong again. At the expense of other workers, of course!

The IWW doesn't advocate climbing the economic ladder nor does it advocate for "a strong middle class". Your a fucking idiot.

"It is the struggle and rejection of work itself, and the alienation that is inherent in wage labor, in which the seeds of the new world lie. Any “revolutionary” movement incapable of seeing the rejection of work itself as the basis for struggle will find itself unable to relate to the daily struggles of the only class of people who are capable of bringing this decrepit system to its knees, regardless of whether the facet of struggle is against police brutality, environmental devastation, prisons, poverty, or any of the other potentially explosive contradictions that our society confronts."
Imagine if you actually read articles before commenting on them.

What do you call an anarchist boss? A boss.

This publication actually refers to itself as workerist. Ugh. I thought that was just a slur people used against workerist types. I can't imagine why anyone would self-identify with that label. Fuck work.

I can't let this article pass without saying that it is a very thoughtful article. The IWW has their finger on a fundamental logical-inference flaw built into Western civilization right here;

“the struggle of workers against not only poverty but for control of the production process itself is the only basis on which we can begin to build a new society”

I would only change “control of the production process” to “liberation of the production process” since natural, free associating community IS a production process.

Western civilization teaches one to think of everything in terms of a ‘machine’, from a cell to an organism to a business to a sovereign state, reducing natural free- associating relational flow to ‘things-in-themselves’ and ‘what things do’. The women who chew hides to make Mukluks in an Inuit community will be spotted by the ‘entrepreneur’ as an opportunity for a ‘business’. By the use of scientific-analytic inquiry, we can ‘break out’ this activity, which is like a turbine moving within the flow of community, and, with bullshit rhetoric, portray it as a ‘thing-in-itself-machine’ that ‘produces stuff’ as if the movement of the turbine starts from the machine-thing-in-itself. Instead of being an ‘organ’ within the larger body of the dynamic [the relational flow of community], the 'business' presents itself as a self-starting source of production. As Ackoff observes, every apparently 'local system' is included within a larger suprasystem and analytical inquiry must be grounded in synthetical inquiry in order to get the full view/understanding.

That is, the flow the hurricane is included in is the source of the apparently 'local' swirl of activity, but Western civilization with its scientific-analytic thinking and ‘what-things-in-themselves-do’ language architecture, habitually ‘inverts’ this and portrays the hurricane as being a ‘thing-in-itself’, notionally with its own powers of sourcing ‘its development’ and ‘its behaviour’. This is Fiktion. The power belongs to the flow it is included in.

How many businesses can you reduce an Inuit community to? As many as you can get away with. After you do this, the CEOs of the businesses will claim that they are the pillars of community; i.e. that power comes out of their entrepreneurship and business productivity that feeds and clothes the community. And if the community council members are mesmerized by such inverted Fiktional thinking, which is the norm in Western civilization, they will come to feel ‘dependent’ upon the businesses. The business managers will shift the allegiance of the Mukluk-workers to the company as the workers become addicted to the wages, pulling them out of the web of relations of community to become the concubines of business.

Of course the average guy on the street is not going to ‘see things this way’. You don’t change a whole civilization and its belief system with a few statements. The indigenous peoples of Turtle Island tried to tell the colonizers that they were nuts with their habit of breaking the world up into parts and declaring the parts to be ‘independent’ ‘things-in-themselves’ and mentally animating them from the insides of their notional 'independent-being'; ‘Katrina is intensifying and getting larger, ... Katrina is moving north to the Gulf Coast, ... Katrina is wreaking destruction on New Orleans, ... Katrina is dissipating’. ‘Joe’s Mukluk business is getting busier and growing larger, ... Joe’s Mukluk business is moving to a new location, ... Joe’s Mukluk business is wringing massive profits from the Inuit community, ... Joe’s Mukluk business is going into bankruptcy and dissolution as Fred's double-chewed Muqueluque business outmaneuvers him’

Isn’t the power of the word fabulous? Talk about 'the spectacle' it spawns. One can make the relational flow fully disappear while re-rendering the world dynamic in terms of ‘things-in-themselves’ and ‘what things do’, rewarding and raising up on our shoulders those 'grand doers' who are screwing us. That is where the true brilliance of the now globally dominating Western civilization lies, in employing the power of the word to screw one another. The title ‘people of the forked tongue’ was not earned without a lot of hard work, sweat, blood and tears to back it up.

re '66': ...The swirling storm-cells in the atmosphere are like the stars in Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’, the ‘dynamic figures’ derive their life from the ‘dynamic ground’, ... they are not ‘local things-in-themselves’ with ‘their own locally originating, internal process driven and directed development and behaviour’ as we make it appear with our language games. Of course we have our scientific-analytic inquiry that treats everything as a ‘local system’ and explains it in terms of ‘its internal components’ and ‘its internal processes’ in implicit denial of the fact that this local, visible, material system is a resonance-feature or recurring pattern of relations within a suprasystem that includes it and other such systems. Scientific-analytic inquiry applies ‘measurement’ to these local systems [hurricanes, organism, humans, sovereign states] to define ‘their extent’. The innate uncertainty of where their ‘inside’ or ‘self’ stops and the ‘outside’ or ‘other’ takes over, is resolved by our act of measurement, height, width, depth, the three dimensions of Euclidian space, a notional absolute fixed, empty and infinite reference frame. In order to ‘measure’ a ‘thing’, one has to believe that it has limits. The hurricane has visibility limits and tangibility limits but it has no limits. The atmospheric flow wraps over and around the surface of the sphere of the earth; i.e. it is an ‘unbounded flow’, and it contributes in its entirety to the visible, tangible convection cells that gather within it, as is also the case with the ‘stars’ in the ‘starry night’.

Sure, the Creation myth of Christianity, Judaism, Islam features a God who delivers ‘things-in-themselves’ to the world, local ‘machines’ powered by a God-given soul [i.e. God-powered machines]. To further emphasize the ‘self’ – ‘other’ split of those ‘things-in-themselves’, the myth of the great flood and Noah’s Ark portrays these ‘thing-in-themselves-organisms’ called ‘men’ to be in a struggle for survival with n.ature, ... hardly the view of the aboriginal culture and quantum physics where N.ature is the continually transforming relational space, the dynamic ground, which gathers and regathers the dynamic figures within it. But religious myth comes from mere mortals debating the nature of habitat and inhabitant and the relation between the two, or is it the One. And they differed in their views. The Gnostic Christians “had a system that made any hierarchy impossible” ... “included women as peers” ... “saw the Creator of the Old Testament as the Demiurge or King of Darkness ... who, in his ignorance, thinks he is the only God there is, conceals the existence of a divinity higher than himself and tries everything to keep man in a sleeping [numbed, drunk] state of mind.” The Gnostics, like the Sufis, deny the self-other split ["I, you, he, she, we. In the garden of mystic lovers, these are not true distinctions." – Jalaluddin Rumi]. Just as in any ‘political debate’, one side wins and the Gnostics got kicked out of orthodox Christianity in the 2nd century, and burned as heretics etc.

No, I am not ‘coming from any religious dogma’, ... the point is simply that the nature of ‘light’ and ‘darkness’ is certainly tied up in our modern debates, because we build it into the foundations of our inquiry. Are the stars ‘connected’ to the darkness they are in? Are the stars ‘powered’ by the darkness they are in? Are the stars resonance features in the energy-charged spatial-plenum, in the manner of the hurricane in the atmosphere, an agent of transformation rather than a ‘thing-in-itself’? [stars come and go from and into something; i.e. the energy-charged spatial-plenum].

The libertarian and the Ayn Randian embrace a particular view of the connection between their own ‘dynamic figure’ and the ‘dynamic ground’ they are included in. They believe that they are ‘things-in-themselves’ with their own locally originating, internal components and processes-sourced development and behaviour. This could come from either scientific-analytic inquiry or it could come from their belief in monotheist Creation myth. To the Gnostic, these people would be followers of ‘the King of Darkness’ and they are being kept in ‘sleeping’, ‘numbed’, ‘drunk’ state of mind, failing to see that the ‘kingdom’ spoken of by Jesus is the spatial-plenum, the dark and invisible [relational] divine space they are included in and made from.

These are all ‘different views’ based on different modes of inquiry and different belief systems. But our choice here makes a big difference. Van Gogh may have painted his ‘starry night’ looking out from the window of the asylum the ‘normals’ put him into, but his representation of the stars as being swirls of light in the darkness [rejecting the notion that darkness and light are absolute opposites] is the same rejection as Mach et al make with regard to ‘matter’ and ‘space’ and ‘self’ and ‘other’ and ‘habitat’ and ‘inhabitant’.

The nature of a ‘business’ and ‘hosting space/community’ and the relationship between the two is another case, which attracts two very different views. Is the ‘business’ a machine-thing-in-itself with its own internal component and process sourcing of development and behaviour/achievement? That is the view of a business using scientific-analytical inquiry WITHOUT grounding it in synthetical inquiry [such grounding would ‘show it up’ as a resonance structure within the community dynamic]. The only space we have to work with in real life is not Euclidian space, the space we use to measure things in and make them into beings of finite extension, it is the continually transforming relational space of our real-life experience. Joe’s Mukluk business is not a ‘thing-in-itself-machine’, it is a transformation of relations in the relational space of community. The women who were making Mukluks as a matter of course within the relational flow of community, start doing it for money, for wages, under the direction of Joe rather than according to their free association within the relational flow of community. If Joe is a libertarian and Ayn Randian, he will believe that he is the sole source of the production of Mukluks, that it is him that is clothing the people. He believes, with Paul Ryan, that it is entrepreneurs that make the community strong and healthy. He sees business in the same way as we talk about hurricanes, as if they are local things-in-themselves with their own local, internal powers of development and behaviour/achievement.

Marx and others see the relation between ‘business’ and ‘hosting space/community’ in ‘the other way’, as deriving its powers of development and behaviour/achievement from the continually transforming relational space it is included in.

Ask yourself whether Joe Mukluk, or any business, drops its waterwheel into the flow of community to extract the power to drive its business-mill, or whether it drops its own self-powered propeller in to power the flow of community.

Our official, institutionalized Western view is the latter, that ‘the community depends upon business’ to sustain its health and viability. But that is only after Joe Mukluk has interposed himself and his ‘business’ of pimping the services of the hide-chewing, leather-stitching women, and others have done likewise, ripping the natural relational flow of the community apart into machine-like components. If Joe Mukluk adds some whale-bone to strengthen the soles and gets a patent on it, moves from Inuvik to New York and lowers his water-wheel into the flow of community there, he is going to have get some stainless steel bearings because his wheel is going to spin like a Dervish and make his mukluk-mill workers dance around frenetically like an old keystone cops flick.

In other words, the flow of the atmosphere is where the hurricane starts and the flow of community is where business starts. Our common mental model of ‘business’ is a tail-wags-the-dog view.

But that is the hallmark of the Western civilization belief system; i.e. instead of seeing man as a resonance-feature that drops his water-wheel into the flow of nature to power his internal workings, ... we have conditioned ourselves [our ego has] to see ourselves as self-powered machines that are re-shaping the habitat we are included in. This is the Oedipus complex where we get rid of our father so that we get to rape our own mother. [We split apart nature as a conjugate habitat/female – inhabitant/male relation, see the land as purely an accommodating receptacle for us, and, ... fuck its brains out].

The latter civilization is the one that raises the ‘66’ to warn of the heresy that speaks of the powers of the visible deriving from the powers of darkness [the visible dropping their water-wheels into the darkness to power them, as with the hurricane in the dark flow of the atmosphere]. These are the ones who spread the notion around that the organism and the business are thing-in-themselves machines that drop their propellers into the waters of community to ‘source its dynamic’. We need a ‘99’ sign to tell them they have got it ‘upside down’; the non-visible flow aka ‘darkness’ not only inhabits and empowers the visible figures or ‘lights’, it creates them.

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

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

Plain text

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