Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Like An Against Me! song that has lost its feel...

What drives me to drive, for ridiculously long hours, spend a couple hundred on a trip that almost guarantees no return of funds, and cramp myself up with people I could generally see on a day to day basis? Don't know, a desire to travel, to meet new people, to have fun, to spread ideas?

The Seattle Anarchist Bookfair didn't disappoint me because I had hardly any expectations of it. I see generally the same people each time I go out to a bookfair, at least the ones on the West Coast. The people from Little Black Cart, Eberhardt, AK and PM Press. We are part of this weird circus, that I think Aragorn! termed, "the traveling anarchist flea market." What is certain, there seems to be less and less NEW things coming out at bookfairs, and we all seem to have the same SHIT. Seriously, How exciting is it that half the tables have the same AK Press shit? Also, it's cool to bump into insurrectionary kids who are starting their own distros and getting stuff out there, but I'd really like to see stuff that they are working on. I didn't pick up one local publication while I was at the bookfair. The only group that I met at the bookfair that seemed to be engaging in any activity based on the street was the Seattle Solidarity Network. I'm sure there were other groups out there, but I didn't meet any. I had come to the Northwest to see what was happening; I found little.

I stopped in Eugene, to pay respect to one of the parental units of the new wave of anarchy, but found nothing happening in their town. I went to Tacoma, and heard about some projects in the works, and more ones that had fallen through. They have a new publication out entitled, Autonomy 253, which is interesting. It seems to be taking a local focus in the Modesto Anarcho vein, but needs some more work in presenting it to the reader. Perhaps an editorial column and some introduction paragraphs about each piece are in order? The design is nice though. The inside cover looks like a scene from Back to the Future. "Where we're going, we don't need zines." Olympia I didn't spend much time in, and I didn't get a chance to check out the infoshop, which looks interesting. I did speak at the University there, Evergreen. The talk I thought went ok. I really want to spend some time in the future writing some stuff out to read or go off on, not rely on notes. The other presenter from Fire to the Prisons did much better than I, but still, I thought that our presentation was engaging and good.

At one point one person in the audience stated that no female bodied people had spoken, and commented on the fact that both of the presenters (myself included) were male. One person in the audience then stated, "Dude, you've been talking more than anyone." Anyway, I guess the kid had a bad time, left with a friend, someone said he was crying, and came back and told me later that he felt that the event was not a safe space. I replied that maybe the person was just an asshole and that he should go talk to them about what they said. They said they didn't feel comfortable doing that. They then replied that we needed some sort of facilitation in the Q and A, I replied that was unneeded because Q and A is already facilitated. Anyway, that's what went down. There was a long discussion about the piece, "She Doesn't Give a Fuck About Your Insurrection," which was interesting because almost no one in the audience appeared to have read or understood the piece (myself being the latter), thus making the conversation one of generalizations and bickering about back and forth shit.

Picked up some good stuff though. The Bash Back people are awesome, check out Pink and Black Attack, Letters Journal #3, and thew new Politics is Not a Banana.

Also, check out www.modestoanarcho.org for massive updates.


  1. i totally feel ya.
    fuck the flea market, build the insurrectionary anti state commie momentum in cali. i am convinced it will have much better widespread effects than participating in a traveling spectacle or identity politics in any form, including the anarchist identity. "revolutionary movements do not spread by contagion, but by resonance". hence we will create something dense and diffuse rather than dispersed and fucking contrived.

  2. oh yeah... and eugene? jz is a nice guy and all, but primie-ism is kinda dead.

  3. I was not under the impression that the folks in Tacoma want akin to Modesto Anarcho. They seemed to want to write about Tacoma, in an anarchist or situationist dervived theme but not to appeal to "people" in Tacoma necessarily. As in, not writing to a specific "class" audience. As in, not constraining to appeal to a certain constituency for the sake of appealing.

  4. I stated that the new magazine seems to be something aimed at a localized audience, like Modesto Anarcho. If you're trying to speak to people outside of the working class - have at it.

    I'm not interesting in speaking to a "specific class" for the sake of being "appealing" - I'm interested in speaking to those in my class who are faced with a similar set of conditions (which is a very vast and wide audience) for the sake of giving confidence to certain elements within the class, denouncing the recuperative and political ones, and generalizing struggles which are are considered isolated from others.

    I ask, what is "wrong" or "bad" about speaking to a class audience? When the problems that face largely working class communities hit hardest by the times like Tacoma and Modesto are so clear?

  5. Also, when you write about public space from a situ perspective (wasn't it the situationists who wrote that their texts were weapons for the working class?) about gentrification, lack of public space, the drug war, etc, what do you think you're writing about besides class antagonisms? It's the middle class that is the social managers: the urban planners, the architech's, the developers, etc. The working class is the one that is feeling the effect. Maybe you're not "writing to them," but you're still writing about their struggle.


  6. Not writing to them or for them, but because one may be in the similiar objective position then one is writing about the same "struggle". But, not writing it for anyone but themselves.

  7. Yeah, we're not writing "for" people, we don't want to act as specialists and represent them, or their struggles.

    Yeah we write for ourselves, but obviously we're also writing because we want people to read it. We're hoping to share a perspective with others and see if others are interested in that as well and where we can go from there.

    When you write about Tacoma being taken over "by the rich" in the favor of certain elements (which are middle class) and pushing out the working class elements, then you're writing about working class people and their struggle against the commoditiy. If you're doing it in a way that is exciting and interesting to people, then they're going to check it out. I think that cool, not a bad thing.

  8. thanks for posting... here is the latest issue of autonomy//253