Fighting for our Lives!

Fighting for our Lives

Fifteen years ago, we published the following text introducing anarchism to the general public as a total way of being, at once adventurous and accessible. We offered the paper free in any quantity, raising tens of thousands of dollars for printing and even offering to cover the postage to mail copies to anyone who could not afford them. In the first two weeks, we sent out 90,000 copies. It appeared just in time for the “People’s Strike” mobilization against the IMF and World Bank in Washington, DC; the pastor at the Presbyterian church that hosted anticapitalist activists in DC preached her Sunday sermon from the primer as she spoke to her congregation about the demonstrations. Over the following decade, Fighting for Our Lives figured in countless escapades and outreach efforts; read this story for an example. In the end, we distributed 650,000 print copies.

Fighting for Our Lives has been out of print for several years, as we’ve focused on other projects such as To Change Everything. We’ve now prepared a zine version for our downloads library. From this vantage point, we can appreciate both the text and the project itself as ambitious and exuberant attempts to break with the logic of the existing order and to stake everything on establishing new relations. We’ve learned a lot in the years since then—but we haven’t backed down one millimeter.


#636 Smash the State!

22″ x 20″ Black acrylic, white gouache, watercolor, pen and ink on 140 lb cold press Fabriano paper .
I’m turning to the idea of titles that simple reflect my mood, or extraneous thoughts at the time; these may or may not be descriptive of the work. In this case, the title appears in the painting, but so does ‘Train Wreck,’ ‘Sing,’ and several letters and numbers. As long as Trump is in the White House, and until we have a real revolution — I might name all my pieces, “Smash the State.”

Black Block!

proxyBreaking windows and burning limos isn’t in itself, revolution, but those humans out there on the street, those multi-pronouned humans all in black, with their AntiFA flags, were doing important work for the revolution to come. That kind of action doesn’t build alternative structures, but they demonstrate what courage looks like, and their actions FUCK the taboo around property. How do we destroy capitalism if we are horrified at breaking a fucking window!?!

We can’t build a new world, the world we want, with the old rules and laws and taboos. Those are all there to protect the wealthy, to suck wealth from the masses, to oppress and destroy marginalized people and all who oppose them.

Fuck their rules! Fuck their taboos, their laws–all of which must be be judged by their consequences, and by nothing else! The rules and laws were made by humans; humans can accept or discard or make them new, as is fitting and just for all!

The Black Block today were out there breaking, not just windows, but the cordons of our thinking, of how we perceive our present world, burning the effigies of Property! I tip my hat to them–and thank them. I call them, Comrades!

Solidarity! Love! Imagination! RESISTANCE!


This is my faith: bones of a Radical Manifesto

Nothing here about petitions, phone calls or emails to “leaders” begging them to do something for us. Or supporting candidates. Or elections. This is a radical agenda. The simplest outline of a Radical Manifesto. The basics. No NGO’s. No Gov. approved non-profits. Go where permit and license not needed–or if they are, do without, and call it Resistance. Start with the basics. The foundation. Work for change from there.
In these dark times–what can we do in the world?
Ask … what matters, always, everywhere?
Medical/health care.
Education (in the broadest sense)
… and the arts: poetry, dance, music, the visual arts… because without language that has the power to remind us how to be human–we are lost.
Imagine, then, what each of these might be in the world we want to live in.
Join hands with someone. Together, begin to clear some space, small or large, for that to happen. To plant the seeds, that will become our garden… the garden we thought had been lost to us forever.
If your hand is empty now–if you are not within reach of someone whose hand you know you can grasp–acting in resistance and solidarity to make that world… how could one not but feel helpless? And if you feel helpless–so does someone else.
Find them…
They need you, as you need them. Believe in yourself–that they need you, as you need them!
Speak up. Reach out. When we find one another, we will know what to do. Trust that this is so.
That is my faith.

The Neoliberal/fascist War Machine

When we think of the war machine, the focus tends to be on the horrors of war itself, on the cost to social programs when so much of the national budget goes to military and arms makers, of our treatment of veterans… but these are only parts of the machine, and not the machine itself

When you see the figures for contributions to candidates and political representatives, the larger structure begins to emerge. Isn’t this the very heart of 21st C. neoliberal/fascism–that the war machine has become the real owner of the State, that the oligarchs we want to see as our owners and rulers, have themselves lost power over the War Machine–that to maintain their wealth and the illusion of influence, they are free only to act as operatives of and for the War Machine?

… a machine that has no goal but increasing destruction–of everything subordinate to it, until there is nothing left to destroy but itself… and all human life with it?

In the long run, all the Presidential candidates, are servants of the War Machine. There is no hope for survival, or significant change, within the orders of established power. We need to find the fissures in the walls, the cracks in the foundation, to build in spaces still invisible to The Machine–alternative lives, organizations and relationships in what, from within the orders of power, are but figments of the Unreal. Microspaces of imagination, resistance and love.

The American Hologram! Playing Everywhere–NOW!

Obama would have been a great president in another America, of another time. An America that never existed and a time that never was. But he believes in that America. He believes in its essential decency, in the fairness of its rules. He believes whatever problems and failures exist are best remedied by following those rules, that in the end, we all really want the same thing, and if you are willing to give and take, give and take, it will all work out for the best. Obama believes with all his heart that he is in a Frank Capra movie.

That if you persist–all those bad Senators will eventually see that Mr. Smith was right all along, and Mr. Potter, like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, will carry Tiny Tim on his shoulders and give poor Bob Cratchit the fattest Christmas goose in London…er, America.
Obama lives in an impermeable bubble made of money. Made of people with money. Nothing will ever pop it. But he is a good and honest man. Really, he is.
Ms Clinton, on the other hand–has no illusions about what that bubble that protects her, that has lofted her to power, is made of. Otherwise–she will do pretty much what Obama has done.
Preside over a country ruled by a tiny elite, overseeing the perpetual flow of wealth from the bottom to the top.
Senator Sanders, however, has glasses, with one glass sort-of clear, and the other (the far-seeing glass–the one sees across the wide wide seas that surround us)… with the same movie playing as all the rest of them… the American Exceptionalism movie, with John Wayne saving the world for Democracy…er.. for American investment. The other eye, the Roosevelt eyeglass, understands, that to save Capitalism, you have to be brave, you have shuck off the taunts of “Socialist!” … just like Franklin did.
Oh and there’s a little Eleanor in him too! He has a fierce belief in justice! There are some Bad Things about America, like racism. He did what was right when he was young (and I say this with all due respect… no irony here), but of course, the way to fix it is to put those Bad Bad Bankers in their place! To get the economy turned around and money in the hands of those who actually work for it. That will take care of that Bad Racism for sure! The racists… once they see they have equal access to the American Pie, will become as pure in heart as Young Bernie ever was!

And there we have it… the American Hologram. Which projection do YOU live in? Whose happy delusion make YOU happy, when you think — how wonderful it is to be able to vote for your very own Moviedream!

Life Drawing–that erases the received reality

I’m convinced that drawing is the mother of all the visual arts, and while that usually entails, figure, landscape… representational work. I’m interested in working outside of those boundaries. What we’re trained to see–is too politically constrained, that artist’s renderings of ‘realism’ recapitulate and reinforce multiple levels of the status quo, & claim by default to being the one and only and forever reality. When the ‘IS,’ when what we have, our political status quo, is hell bent on the way to ending human life on this planet.
I’m thinking… how to explore different modes of drawing–life drawing, that don’t ‘draw’ on geometric space or figurative realism… yet are as intensely involved in that visual transformation from eye to paper as traditional techniques?

This is an aesthetic dimension of my interest in the place of art in late capitalism. How… is something I’m working out my art, rather than theory.

End of Sovereignty: Bare Life and the Coming Civil-War?

This speaks to my anarchist heart. Yes and yes and yes–oh, and so much more! (see my comment following this post, for how this connects with my art!

Agamben at one point choses to explicate this notion in reference to the included/excluded people within and outside politics:

It is as if what we call “people” were in reality not a unitary subject but a dialectical oscillation between two opposite poles: on the one hand, the set of the People as a whole political body, and on the other, the subset of the people as a fragmentary multiplicity of needy and excluded bodies; or again, on the one hand, an inclusion that claims to be total, and on the other, an exclusion that is clearly hopeless; at one extreme, the total state of integrated and sovereign citizens, and at the other, the preserve-court of miracles or camp-of the wretched, the oppressed, and the defeated.6

Isn’t this the state of exception of migrant immigrants everywhere, a multiplicity outside the law, outside sovereignty, the inclusive excluded of the wretched, the oppressed, and the defeated?


“And in a different yet analogous way, today’s democratico-capitalist project of eliminating the poor classes through development not only reproduces within itself the people that is excluded but also transforms the entire population of the Third World into bare life. Only a politics that will have learned to take the fundamental biopolitical fracture of the West into account will be able to stop this oscillation and to put an end to the civil war that divides the peoples and the cities of the earth.7”
And THIS is why NONE of the candidates, of either party, will move us one footstep beyond square zero!

…is why not one of the U.S. presidential candidates, of any party, will move us one single step past ground zero!

The Dark Fantastic: Literature, Philosophy, and Digital Arts

…the sovereign is the point of indistinction between violence and law, the threshold on which violence passes over into law and law passes over into violence.
– Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer

When one actually thinks about it, rather than just spouting rhetoric from some ideological mythology of the Left or Right the problem of immigration in our world is about Sovereignty. It’s about the emerging war against boundaries, limits, and finitude in politics, science, philosophy, the arts, and gender. In politics it’s about immigration, migration, and the sense of breakdown of nations and their paranoiac reactionism against imaginary and perceived threats to their own integrity and sovereignty. Same in the sciences we see explorations emerging in biotechnology, nanotechnology, and information and communications converging to form a global network society that will break free of political and social constraints and provide a larger framework and platform for such politically motivated notions as transhumanism that…

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Once more: art and capitalism

This is a post I left on Wet Canvas– a great resource if they confined themselves to technical questions, or were free from beholden to the status quo when posts ventured into more substantive questions about “Art” I think my welcome on this webpage is likely going to be short lived.

I know I have to tread carefully here. We have to live, to find a way to support our art. That’s a given. What’s not a given, is how we go about that, and–living in this Empire of Money and Death–what that means. And what it means to be dependent on utterly corrupted and corrupting gallery to investor pipeline.

There have to be other ways. Especially when you think of how that has come to define “success.” A form of success guarded by a system of gatekeepers, programed to exclude all but those deemed, first and foremost, most likely to produce work that will accrue in monetary value–as a commodity. Aesthetics comes in second.

How can one blame the gallery owners? They have to play the game–attract people with the money, the “investor class,” and are pressured to select artists they think will pass that test.

And for artists, the pressure begins with the first sales. What if they want to change course? To experiment? Bring something so unlike what has passed the market test that the gallery has no choice but to politely suggest they do more of … you know, what they’ve been doing.

Unless, for the very few, whose names have become the brand, the commodity.

All of which leaves art as entertainment for the oligarchy that’s won its wealth by exploiting workers, stealing the raw materials from “underdeveloped” nations, and by the profit of endless war. I mean really.. what does it mean to earn one’s living producing work to decorate corporate Human Resources waiting rooms… other than to have submitted to being nothing more than another something-less-than human resource?

Is art only to provide decor to the killer class? And ‘success’ reserved only for those who are willing slaves to their masters?

How do we defy the gatekeepers–all of them? The critics who are no more than servants to this same predatory system? Who have so successfully restricted women, blacks–anyone outside the presumed Western canon?

Capitalism destroys art. Capitalism corrupts and destroys artists. How do we find a way out of this?

Why can’t we pool or resources–draw on, encourage and help to develop the artistic aspirations of our communities? Create collectives where we can control how our art is used, and provide mutual support as we develop alternative ways to distribute our work, and alternative ways to support us?

I have a limited interest in arguing these issue, though I will be patient to explain them. What I would like, is to find artists who get it: who know that the whole “success” system is rigged (like the American USA election process), and any one artist, no matter how talented, has about as much chance of being one of the ‘winners’ as wining the lottery. And the effort to be one of those, means making oneself into a brand, and one’s art into a commodity. A total betrayal of everything that it means to make art.

The only existing alternative.. is… to go commercial.

I would prefer to give my work away to whoever wants it. I can’t. So I offer it on a sliding scale. Art that is only available to the privileged is a perversion. Thing is, can’t do this one by one. We have to create collectives, work together to create a wholly different mechanism. To become a part of the revolution. Cause if we can’t replace this late, zombie capitalist system… we are doomed to extinction. Cause they are hell bent on destroying as much life on this planet their power permits.

What are your thoughts? Again, I’m not into arguing this. If your only take is defending the status quo–pass go, go directly to EXIT. But if you have some inkling of what I’m saying here, and share my discomfort… maybe we have stuff we can talk about.