Tag Archives: anarchism

organized autonomy

Carlos Cortez

Viva La Huelga - print by Carlos Cortez

¡Viva La Huelga! Carlos Cortez
1993 Linocut, 89×58.5 cm

“When you do a painting that’s it, it’s one of a kind. But when you do a graphic the amount of prints you can make from it is infinite. I made a provision in my estate, for whoever will take care of my blocks, that if any of my graphic works are selling for high prices immediate copies should be made to keep the price down.”

— Carlos Cortez, 1923-2005

Doing research, I found that Carlos Cortez passed away in January. I first saw Carlos Cortez exhibited in Chicago in the mid-1990s, and had the honor of meeting him and his partner, Mariana. A real loss but he is well-remembered.

More info:
biography at March Abrazo Press
Carlos Koyokuikatl Cortez: A Printed Legacy (1923-2005) by Jesus Macarena-Avila [subaltern.org]
An Interview with Carlos Cortez by Christine Flores-Cozza, at Drawing Resistance.org
Political Graphics.org
– IWW Obituary
– Many of his works illustrate Charles H. Kerr press books

“These people have not the principles of government amonst them…”

The Ludwig von Mises Institute has published an excerpt from Murray Rothbard’s Conceived in Liberty, a Colonial history, on “Pennsylvania’s Anarchist Experiment: 1681-1690”.

Not an anarchist experiment I would want to live in, but some interesting features: religious freedom for Christians (ahem) and Quaker-Native American relations. The essay charts William Penn’s annoyance that the people of Pennsylvania kept taking freedom farther than he intended. Penn established the colony, intending to grant certain liberties. But given the opportunity to govern themselves, the people of Pennsylvania granted themselves more freedoms than Penn et al would have liked. It started with tax resistance — here’s William Penn complaining about the difficulty he had enforcing taxes:

The great fault is, that those who are there lose their authority one way or another in the spirits of the people and then they can do little with their outward powers.

Penn swooped down to the colony to try to work on the tax issue for a while, but eventually had to go back to England. In the interim, he established a governing council for Pennsylvania.

After Penn returned to England in 1684, the Council virtually succeeded him in governing the colony. The Council assumed full executive powers, and, since it was elected rather than appointed, this left Pennsylvania as a virtually self-governing colony. Though Thomas Lloyd, a Welsh Quaker, had by Penn been appointed as president of the Council, the president had virtually no power and could make no decisions on his own. Because the Council met very infrequently, and because no officials had any power to act in the interim, during these intervals Pennsylvania had almost no government at all—and seemed not to suffer from the experience. … The councillors, for one thing, had little to do. And being private citizens rather than bureaucrats, and being unpaid as councillors, they had their own struggling businesses to attend to. There was no inclination under these conditions to dabble in political affairs. The laws had called for a small payment to the councillors, but, typically, it was found to be almost impossible to extract these funds from the populace.

Of this period, Rothbard concludes:

[T]he reality must be faced that the new, but rather large, colony of Pennsylvania lived for the greater part of four years in a de facto condition of individual anarchism, and seemed none the worse for the experience.

Eventually William Penn appointed John Blackwell as deputy governor to reign in those damn Quakers. Blackwell also rapidly “lost his authority” and could “do little with his outward powers” in the face of passive resistance, ultimately complaining to Penn:

“These people have not the principles of government amongst them, nor will be informed…”


the protocols were followed

in the recent governmental panic attack about the cessna, White House Spokesperson Scott McClellan says that there was no need to notify Bush because “the protocols were followed”.

so … we get a glimpse into the fact that we don’t actually have a Glorious Leader. and it turns out that we don’t actually need a Glorious Leader, either — just “the protocols”, which were probably drafted by a functionary or perhaps a committee, and were carried out by “highly skilled professionals”.

derived from: editor & publisher 5/12 (hilarious) [linked from the light of reason] & sat a.m. news-in-bed with the semi-lawfully wedded

emma goldman documentary

A good friend taped the Emma Goldman documentary a few months ago, but I hadn’t watched it until this weekend — I was captive in a TV room while packing, and didn’t want to take a VHS tape to my new home which will have neither a VCR nor a TV.

A few nits to pick:

  • One, no anarchists interviewed! Nice to have some social activists (velvet revolution guy) and commentators (Tony Kushner, playwright) interviewed, but no self-defined anarchists?
  • Two, so funny how they have to do the free love re-creation with actual nekkid sex.
  • No discussion of Emma’s visit to Spain during the Spanish Civil War and revolutionary period. Which impressed her and, I think, rejuvenated her spirits in the post-Bolshevik disappointment.

Still, though. Emma Goldman documentary. Cool.

open source gaming

open source gaming: Wired News: Gamers Eye Open Virtual Worlds

Lots of interesting implications:

  • May solve the problem of over-reaching EULAs that ban all kinds of lawful & fair uses
  • May stop the kinds of top-down censorship and controls that are characteristic of the EA / Peter Ludlow / Sims story
  • A perfect example of DIY activism in action: not wasting time trying to reform the old system or rebel against it, but just making your own system … and trusting that if it’s good it’ll change the world.
  • ever closer to virtual reality …

    “Inevitably, there would have to be certain protocols that people would have to adhere to to fit into this space,” Ludlow said. “Maybe there’re portals between them. Maybe you could walk between them.”

  • All the problems that Peter Ludlow was reporting in the Sims games (e.g., the online brothels) will re-appear … and isn’t this just like real life? With top-down control [EA/Sims] you have brothels. Without top-down control [open source gaming] you’ll have brothels. It’ll be up to people who don’t like them to stay out of them.
  • All of the academics who jumped on the virtual reality, virtual communities stories back in the late 80s, early 90s will be back in force. (Or maybe they never left: maybe I just stopped paying attention to that literature.)

[linked from terra nova 12/2]

everyone’s a radical / ends & means

We are all anarchists now – Siva Vaidhyanathan – openDemocracy.

Ah, Siva, if only it were true. At any rate it reminds me of one of my mantras in earlier years: everyone is a radical if you dig deep enough.

Meaning, that if you dig, everyone will agree that people should not be killed, that people should have life, that society should be structured so as to maximize fairness … Folks disagree on how to get there or if it’s possible. Or sometimes on what constitutes rights or fairness or equality. (Equality of opportunity versus equality of results.) But, at the time, anyway, I felt that most people ultimately share a common sense of core beliefs. People might disagree, or be too afraid or too cynical to believe it openly, but it was there deep down.

Now, it’s not so much that I have changed my mind, as that I no longer necessarily believe there is any deep down for folks. I’m not sure that people have cores. Are we not all just onions? Every one of us? Growing onions? Where if you scrape away a layer and think you’ve achieved something, in the meantime more stuff is growing up from the center?

And most relevantly, all the little surface beliefs that I dismissed as mere conditioning or tactics–maybe after all, maybe those little surface beliefs are the real thing, or as near to it as one gets. Fighting & quarreling over tactics is even more important–because tactics are the struggle. The means are the end.