@ Gallagher

Given the severe under-representation of the nihilist tendency at NAASN, I have come to a firm conclusion: in all future conference talks, I will forgo all attempts at argumentation and just start smashing things. Y / N ?

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Escape: A Talk

Chisenhale Road 1951 by Nigel Henderson 1917-1985This following talk was presented last week at the 2012 North American Anarchist Studies Network conference. The Q/A period was perhaps more interesting than my talk. If you look around, you’ll find the videos.

Today, I will do three things:
1) Sketch a model of the State
2) Outline our terrain of struggle
and 3) Fill your arsenal with a few political weapons

This paper is a gloss of my current writing project, which is entitled Escape. Like many, I love stories of leaving it all behind, whether those are tales of fed-up employees quitting their jobs, restless romantics hitting the road, or the enraged laying waste to the civilization around them. Yet my thinking about escape originated from an academic interest that began after reading a curious comment early on in the popular book on “running to the hills,” James C Scott’s “The Art of Not Being Governed.” Continue reading “Escape: A Talk”

Politics Is Dangerous: Against Innocence

goodbyeinnocenceThe recent LIES: a journal of materialist feminism is an excellent collection of critical essays, reflections, communiques, and other writings. Despite its obvious roots in ‘zine culture, it rises above such classification; perhaps what I like best is that the collection presents things to disagree with. Many of these authors have certainly spent time in the world of the personal essay, which puts most writers in a position too vulnerable to propose anything worth disagreeing with your friends about – ‘recognize my experience or fuck you,’ – yet these authors reinvigorate the true meaning of the phrase “the personal is the political.” This isn’t a dumb boys club that starts the night with a good argument that is only to be forgotten  after a few slaps on the back at the bar. This is the lived realization that friendship is political, which is now understood as the politics of struggle built on intimacy but hidden by the seemingly-innocuous cover of “friendship as a way of life.” Yet friendship here is neither an underground network of subversive cells nor a support group turned family, it is the way we make it through our miserable lives by being political. They’re not looking for reform, rights, recognition – they’re laughing at Andy Warhol selling pictures of his mangled chest, they’re eagerly sharing diary entries about cheating the boss and getting back at bad boyfriends (aren’t they about the same?), and they’re trying not to gloat about having their finger on the pulse of the struggle way before everyone else.

But for me, the real gem of the journal is Jackie Wang’s “Against Innocence: race, gender, and the politics of safety.” Continue reading “Politics Is Dangerous: Against Innocence”