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Doomed To Deferral: A Case Against Tomorrow

Check out my most recent piece with Radical Art Review here.

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Two Poems

Bangs, Whimpers, Arts, Culture, and Commentary

By Julian Langer

Everything is a

Moment where
Potentialities
Topple into
You
Letting go
Of
Stuff
That has disappeared
Anything is
News if it is
God’s violence
Sounding out on the airwaves
Tomorrow might be different
Meditating can be hard
Even for the practiced
Dancing thoughts of words
Interrupting an attempt
To ground
And find some
Trust in the gravitational
Eros of Earth
image1

Julian Langer has had 2 books published on eco-anarchist philosophy, has self published a collection of poems and drawings, writes with various publications and is involved in the Night Forest Poetry Project. He lives on Briton, near woods, streams and rivers, with badgers and goldfinches. If you want to find more of his writings you can access them via https://ecorevoltblog.wordpress.com

 

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Editorial For Anews Podcast Episode 120 – Responsibility

You can listen to the podcast here.

The essay is below –

If by anything, anarchists can all share in desiring freedom. This much would seem obvious. Regardless of your faction, flag, tendency, or ideology, if you’re involved in anarchist activities, or even just interested in them, you will be desiring freedom in some way or another. What that freedom means might be very different between us. To some freedom means communism, others capitalism, or rewilding, most of us acknowledge that it includes liberation from patriarchy, nationalism and racism, and to some it means technological development (though if I am honest, that last one has always confused me). Anarchist tendencies will often have collectivist and individualist approaches within them as well, with many delineated demarcations separating differences in approach.

It is potentially true that there are as many anarchist tendencies as there are anarchists in the world. But still, anarchists value freedom – anarchy.

As I explore my freedom to navigate the world as I find it, I am struck by an experience that is paradoxical. When the state, market, God, technology or other authorities I have encountered within my life have no relevance to me in a situation, I do not find that with the absence of rules and authority everything is permitted – in the Dostoyevskyan sense.

Every action I have affects some part of the world that extends from my body, out into the world. My ability to affect the world is a huge aspect of my sense of freedom. Whether it is through poetry, friendship or sabotage, my ability to affect people and this machine, even if that is only in tiny micropolitical ways, is a huge aspect of my sensation of freedom.

With this ability to affect the world through my actions, I find an immediate responsibility for what I create and what I destroy through those actions. I could hurt, heal, build, break, as I wish. With that though, I have a desire to desire what it is I have created through my actions, and to not be revolted by the affects of my actions.

Both Sartre and Stirner have written about this aspect of freedom – the responsibility it entails. Sartre said that we are condemned to freedom, and so are responsible for our lives and the world we create through our lives. Stirner called freedom the will to be responsible for one’s self.

I cannot know your desires, because I am not you. I have the experience of my desires.

My experience of desire is intimately connected to my experience of love, of being loved and of loving what it is in the world I love. I desire the experience of being loved, not in some sense of admired or romanticised, but as being affirmed by another for who I am, in a naked sense of who I am. In the Stirnite sense of egoistically loving because loving comes with a sensation of being alive; I desire the experience of loving and find an experience of liberation in loving.

This all comes back to my ability to affect the world, and includes my experience of being affected by the world.

I am revolted by the idea of those I love being hurt, harmed or abused, and have a desire not to affect them in such a way. This is something that we obviously encounter within anarchist praxis, or at least I suppose we share in this – it seems to me that anarchist praxis includes a desire to not affect the world by abusing in ways that we find undesirable.

Life is not always easy. With the world as we encounter it, through various means of repression and domination, the world can feel like an extremely unfree place. With this, I enjoy Camus’s approach of living in an unfree world as an individual who is so absolutely free (which might not always be possible), so that my existence is in-itself an act of rebellion. And with that comes that immediate responsibility. Not everything is permitted!

I do not want to murder badgers, throw trash across beaches, eat factory farmed genetically modified beef, support white nationalists in their activities, be an abusive force within the world, or cause harm to those I love. With this, my freedom is rendered somewhat absurd. Freedom hasn’t just liberated me, but it binds me to my experience of the world, my loves and desires, how I affect the world and how the world affects me from my actions.

What this might mean for you, I do not know. Between all the factions, ideologies and groups, freedom signifies so many different activities and actions; your freedom could mean something entirely different to mine.

My experience is that, in general, anarchists have a sense of wanting to be responsible for the affects that they create through their actions. My free-market anarchist friends do not want to be exploitative in their activities. My anarcho-communist friends do not want to be authoritarian in their organising. My veganarchist friends do not want to be cruel in their resistance. My eco-anarchist friends don’t want to tame the wild passions of others. My anarcho-feminist friends do not want to dominate others through their struggles. My queer-anarchist friends do not want to be abusers through their liberation. My anarcho-nihilist friends do not want to enslave others to false futures.

We have desires regarding the affect we have on the world. Perhaps, as well as a desire for freedom, we all share a desire to be responsible for the affects of our actions, so that we do not create anything we find undesirable.

Recently the Marxist-Pagan writer and editor Rhyd Wildermuth posted on social media that anarchism requires self-mastery. What Wildermuth was appealing to, I believe, was the responsibility that comes with freedom. Though I do not believe that responsibility implies self-mastery – though I can appreciate that a Marxist interpretation might view it as that (even from a libertarian/autonomous ideology). Self-mastery initially implies that we are located outside of ourselves and that we can control ourselves, as an object outside of ourselves, which is property/capital. A secondary implication of this is that we are also required to be slaves to ourselves, obeying our master-self, who is our ruler.

I do not find myself outside of myself, as my capital, master, or slave though, so cannot follow this line of thought.

Also, under the authority of a master, everything IS permitted – which Marxism has repeatedly shown us, given how abusive a force it has continually been, under the authority of ideological masters. Any action performed under the authority of a master, we are not responsible for – they are. It isn’t the enactors of the master’s commands who are responsible for the affects they have created, it is the tyrant’s. Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Franco, Bush, Obama, Blair, Churchill etc., they did it all, through managing to control the capital that is the slaves they master – who are not responsible for their actions. The bad faith within this is obvious, but it is what is repeatedly the implication, if not outright accusation. The deferral of responsibility that masterdom allows for means that those under the rule of a master are not the enactors of their actions, but a technological means of the master enacting their actions. Even as self-masters, as we are outside of ourselves in both directions, we do not do what we do, but it is our other self who does, continually deferring.

My desire to be responsible for the affects of my freedom is why I will accept neither the mastery of another, nor of myself. I cannot control myself as property, but can live as myself, as an anarchist – free. How I affect the world I can be responsible for, not out of moralistic guilt, shame or obligation, but out of egoistic love and desire.

Is anarchist praxis perhaps unconsciously based in a shared desire to be responsible for the way we affect the world, to not partake in what we find to be abusive and revolting, and to love so that our existences are perpetual modes of rebellion? Maybe anarchist praxis also includes the refusal to allow any masters to take responsibility for the way we affect the world?

I grant no master my freedom to affect the world, or responsibility for my actions, as I grant no master authority over my life.

A Response To John Jacobi’s “Escaping Society Peacefully Isn’t an Option”

In this response to John Jacobi’s piece “Escaping Society Peacefully Isn’t an Option” I will not attempt to speak for any one else, but will vocalise my thoughts as they pertain to my individual desires. I will respond to what seems to me to be the core ideas within the piece individually.

I will say now that this response is intended to be a respectful acknowledgement of someone who thinks and feels extremely similarly to me, and who I think is worth responding to.

Escape. I do not see why escape is desirable, whether possible or not. I also do not find that I and most others are trapped, in a totalitarian sense. In anarchist and radical discourses we think too much in absolutes. Instead, I find that there are varying intensivities of capture, which changes continually, increasing and decreasing. I am, as I write this, a temporary autonomous zone. When I am in different spaces, with more intensive authoritarian technological apparatus around me, I am less autonomous. I am temporary, because I am temporary. The intensivity of my capture is at its least, while I have not escaped, when I am able to have the most amount of fun in civilisation – psychological warfare, sabotage and other creative projects are immediate sources of rebellion and liberation.

Peace. Why would peace be desirable. It seems to me that peace requires the most authoritarian measures of violence – with the most violent of societies being the most peaceful. Life, wild-Being, nature (whatever the fuck we call the world(/Real) that civilisation(/this-Reality) is built on) seems to me to a process of creative destruction and destructive creativity, which can be calmer or more energetic. But the world is never peaceful.

Inherently political. Why is our struggle an inherently political one? Why do we have to include the affairs of the city, the policing of daily life, within our praxis? To quote the post-hardcore band Alexisonfire “there’s no police between 2 beating hearts”. My life includes many non-political experiences. When I enjoy the feeling of the rain on my cheek, I am not bound to politics during that experience. I’m not appealing purely to what is called lifestyleism, but I do not find I am condemned to political engagements at all points of my anarchist praxis.

Communes. Why should we aspire for sedentary communal life? Is a commune not a society? My desire is directed towards tribal and nomadic life – both psychic and embodied. Why would I bound myself to another society, rather than grow my individual power, as my individual anarchist praxis? As an individualist I can form tribalistic-friendships, of smaller numbers but more intense relationship, not bound to any communal-societal culture, or subculture. If I were to join a commune, would I not be bound to the norms and requirements of that collective?

Social-animals. Am I a social animal? Am I bound to such an essentialistic reductive conception of myself? Am I innately human? I do not experience myself, or others, as this! I have not found any reason to believe in any essense that precedes my existence, which I am by metaphysical law required to conform to. My anarchy is largely a playful becoming-animal. I find myself most human when least anarchist. Perhaps Jacobi you are at risk of being human, all too human.

Outside/Inside Split. Jacobi seems to believe the very myth of civilisation, that there is an inside to escape the outside from – that there is nature and unnature. This retains the alienating narrative of cosmic-separation, where we identify with our mediation, and ultimately wallow in it. I do not find that I am cut off from what is wild at any point, in an absolutist and totalitarian sense. Sure domestication is a mutation of life, whose intensity has both qualitative and quantitative differences from what is wild. But I am alive, the air currents around me are wild, and even inside now there are processes of life, even if only microscopic, that are still true.

Victory via Primitivist Revolutionary Organisation. The idea of a primitivist revolutionary organisation seems strange to me, for a number of reasons.

One reason for this is because a revolution, in radical/political and scientific/cultural terms, is the seizing, consciously or unconsciously, of the meliorist historical progression, in a way that is expansive. Primitivism, like all anti-civ praxis, though is ultimately retractive, in its anti-anthropocentric perspective. As well as this, one of the strengths of primitivist thought is its critiques of time, which includes the concept of history.

An anti-civ praxis that is timeless, or presentist, by rejecting history in both of its directions, opens up the spaces where we find the civilisation collapses every day, as the Real destroys this Reality. The idea of winning or losing, in this fight against the world that they built, is for the most part, in presentist praxis, both largely irrelevant. A-historic praxis, in its pessimism, acknowledges that there are cosmic-geological-meteorological-processes, which move freely, regardless of civilisation’s attempt to repress them, which render any historic-attempt relatively meaningless – both to defend civilisation from total annihilation, and to instigate its destruction. Presentist praxis, in its absurdist joy, brings victory to the spaces we are and we-are-in, as every day affairs, in wild spaces, where life processes flow unrepressed – whether that is goldfinches and sparrows being able to nest freely, a captured elephant claiming revenge against those who enslaved them, anarchist rebels getting away from the police, or as lovers with no police between their beating hearts.

This is what I have found, during my explorations, my every-day breaching experiments, my meditations and my attacks.

I do no know whether or not organisations of a radical perspective can achieve much. I am impressed by some and despair over others. At best, perhaps radical organisations can function as bridges, but even then, are they so mediated and us so not? What I know for certain, in my embodied instinctual reaction, is that I have not yet found any organisation that I hold a belief in, which harbours no doubt or mistrust.

Where is the love? Environmentalism is a gravitational fall from the towers and skyscrapers of civilisation to the earth – a collapsing into the primordial eros, with a passionate, dark and joyfully erotic love, that is confusing and difficult, in the way that real love just is.

So where is the love of what is wild within this revulsion towards this tame and domesticated Reality – with its tame passions and loveless socially-contracted obligations?

Not just in Jacobi’s writings, but in many environmentalist essays and articles – especially those of more mainstream bright-Green perspectives – I find sincere criticism of this culture, but without any primal falling in love with the earth that we are and we are immersed in – paneroticism (to steal feral faun’s term). What is an ecological perspective without a – perhaps mad and erratic – egoist desire for an untamed world, ecologically and psychically rewilded (not simply out of reductionistic strategizing), for ourselves and for those we love, as Extensions of ourselves? Is it any more than banal moralising and blueprints for the construction of new histories to ruinate the earth?

*

I have written this with a sincere respect and appreciation for John Jacobi, for what he brings to the discussion, his insights and the work he puts in to the Wildwill project of which he is part. I am looking forward to reading his Repent to the Primitive, and hope that, between my perhaps critical thoughts, my affirmation of his thought is obvious.

I am increasingly finding in the spaces of discourse and action, which I am aware of, that everything is brought down to black and white objects of right or wrong, good or bad, losing or winning. This type of binary logic adheres to the law of the excluded middle, whose ontological function has been to clear-cut through forests of thought, to create roads from one Reality to another. It is an easy way to try to by-pass and drive through the confusing Real, whose absurdity we are immersed in.

My anarchy desires approaches that are closer to the dark ecologythat philosopher Timothy Morton writes about, which explores the excluded middle, and topological and intensive thinking which sociologist Manuel DeLanda argues as a process oriented approach to discourse – allowing for non-absolutist thought.

This isn’t a conclusion or a final destination, but another exploration in the excluded middle – and I am keen to explore with friends. In the excluded middle we can be egoist-environmentalists, nihilist-primitivists, anti-civ communists, and so on. Not bound to laws of non-contradiction by repressing our desires, in a feralexploration of the space between wildness and domestication, neither inside or outside, we can disagree with our allies, and agree with our enemies, as we explore the ever changing world we encounter.

My desire remains not directed towards the peace of violence, the violence of peace, or in escaping, but for intense immediate wild experiences of panerotic anarchist exploration.

Two Poems

2 poems I wrote, which have been published by Former People.

Bangs, Whimpers, Arts, Culture, and Commentary

by Julian Langer

You are what you eat 1You are what you eat 2You are what you eat 3


Julian Langer has had 2 books published on eco-anarchist philosophy, has self published a collection of poems and drawings, writes with various publications and is involved in the Night Forest Poetry Project. He lives on Briton, near woods, streams and rivers, with badgers and goldfinches. If you want to find more of his writings you can access them via https://ecorevoltblog.wordpress.com

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Who is Extinction Rebellion? (An open question)

It is disappointing to me that I feel compelled to write this. Perhaps I’m just a cynic and a sceptic.

I really wanted to believe in Extinction Rebellion, and when I first learnt of this project was pleased to learn that there were people who wanted to discuss, in an open way, human extinction as part of this mass extinction event we are living through. Last summer various members of XR contacted me, asking if I wanted to get involved. I cautiously offered to help them edit their pieces for media outlets, but stepped away after seeing how bureaucratically organisational the project was at the time (I can only guess as to its current internal structure, based on what I know from friends involved in the project).

I’ve enjoyed a great deal of what XR has done and cannot deny that the project has done something impressive.

However I have sincere questions and concerns, which I will state openly here, for anyone involved in XR to disregard or respond to.

Environmentalism has had a clear internal conflict, as a movement and an ideology, between what is often referred to as the dark and the bright wings. I often split this as the dark environmentalists and the bright greens. The poet and ecologist Gary Snyder has characterised this split as the Break Throughs (more technology to solve global warming and energy crisis, to keep this culture going as usual) and those interested in Biodiversity (non-anthropocentric concern for life in a broad sense).

My question to XR is, which are you? Do you want to keep the industrial-agri-machine going, or are you concerned with life living in earth, under this sky? Are you advocating sustainable violation of this planet, or ending the violation (or attempting to end) the violation of earth?

This is probably my main question to XR, but it is not the only.

It is obvious that, right now, revolutions sell. Media outlets, films, recording artists, etc,. The image of uprising, the meme of popularist victory, is in fashion.

My question is why is this (and XR) fitting into the capitalist-consumerist production-narrative so easily?

My feeling is because there is no actual structural (or deconstructural) challenge being made by this fashionable “rebellion”, it is readily embraced and actively sold.

My final point is less of a question and more of a challenge.

I don’t know about you, but I’m fucking sick of protests, appealing to authorities who obviously don’t give a shit, and keeping power in the hands of abusers. Why is XR retaining the same power dynamics that has got us here? Politicians and business leaders will prioritise industry over ecological-welfare every time – no matter how self destructive this is. So why are you protestating to them and not directly dismantling and destroying the machine that is causing this extinction event? Why are you apologising for blocking bridges, and not sabotaging fracking equipment, and refusing to apologise for doing so? Why are you chanting on the streets, and not defending the wildlife that this culture violates?

I guess my question to Extinction Rebellion ultimately comes down to, who are you, and do you even know?

Again, perhaps I am a cynic and a sceptic (well, I am but that is besides the point), but I can’t help but worry that XR’s greatest achievement might well be becoming a greater disappointment than Occupy. I hope you can prove me wrong.

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