Submitted by Ishkah in Anarchism (edited )

This is an excerpt from the book The Ultimate Ted Kaczynski Research Document


At the very least, one goal I hope to achieve in writing this book and collecting these quotes together, is to provide a cautionary warning, mostly for young people, about the importance of approaching political philosophy with careful consideration.

I think polarization and passionate polemical arguments for the direction and focus of the any political or philosophical movement should be encouraged as it can be a vibrant discourse that inspires someone to join.

However, the two foundational issues any group must worry about are firstly becoming defined too broadly such that the philosophy just becomes a weak cultural disposition. So, for example, the way in which you have Christians on every side of every political issue today. And secondly, the group’s members defining the project in a rigidly narrow way, such that the group splits into factions, with each faction calling the other fakes, or abandoning the project entirely.

The obvious ideal is to maintain lots of specialized philosophical platforms within any movement, whilst maintaining coherence as a unified force. I’ve only written about this first issue in passing in an essay called On the Far-Left, Effective Activism & Violence,[955] but I plan to write about it more in the future.

For now, I’d like to address this second issue of factionalism.

Disclaimers galore

A while ago I was told by a Kaczynski fan that anyone who doesn’t want to destroy all electricity grids is a reformist. So, I simply think there’s a danger in traveling down the purist anarchist rabbit hole of more and more rigidly dogmatic political theory, where you begin to believe it’s only worth reading the way a few authors view the world.

One obvious critique of the way I’ve formatted this chapter, is that I open up anarchism and its many specialized philosophies, to a charge of being solely irrational steps along the road that people adopt for reasons of personal purity. Also, that the same could be said of people adopting center-left liberalism as opposed to status quo centrism.

I believe, however, that the desire to take on political identities for personal purity or the need to view the world in rigidly fundamentalist ways is willfully self-limiting. I’m not saying the only way a person could arrive at all the philosophies that I’m going to discuss is through a desire for personal purity. So, although I think this is an important critique that can be leveled at some niche ideologies participants, it certainly isn’t a perfect defeater to all the ideologies.

I really value debate between various specialized political philosophies and strategies, and I have nothing against for example, green anarchism as the promotion of a style of critique not often seen, like black-anarchism and anarcha-feminism. These can help identify you as someone who has had the time to research the ways in which expertise in building democratic institutions, green architecture and rewilding will help get us to a better world.

In using the term pipeline I’m not making an absolutist factual claim, that if a person reads x thing, they are on their way to becoming y thing, always and definitively. I am saying there is a clearly observable psychological crossover among some people from these niche ideologies who move down them in a pursuit of viewing the world in more fundamentalist ways, and who also attempt to move others along in the same direction as them, and finally that it’s more common the further down you go.

Obviously, someone can travel all the way down to the level of a Satanist death cultist and only have been able to encourage one of their former friends to move down one level, thus spitting them out at only one level lower, but it’s still a concerning phenomenon, both for the few who end up at the very low levels, as well as the many who just take on a more purist gatekeeping form of anarchism.

Also, I will quote one example of a group later, ITS Mexico (Individualists Tending to the Wild), who started out at one end of the pipeline and moved all the way to the other end, but just for now to have something concrete to hold onto, here’s an example of how this shift can happen explained by a purist anarchist expressing what it felt like to move down the levels:

A zed: Just finished reading Atassa. Has anyone else had a chance to read it? I thought it was extremely fascinating … something about EE and Atassa just feels like such a drastic shift in the discourse and reminds me of the importance with which individuals read and shared Desert.
Ishkah: Say you were blown up by one of ITS pipe bombs after walking down the street, such that you were paralyzed for the rest of your life and sitting in a hospital bed, tell me what would be your feelings about the person who did that to you?
A zed: … I do not condemn the actions taken by ITS for the same reasons they give for not condemning rape, if you condemn it you should do something about it. So while I have theoretical disagreements with ITS, I don’t condemn them, even if they were to attack me, I for the most part, agree with who they have chosen as targets.

The issue

I think it’s inarguable that some people will take a bunch of contradictory twists and turns down a list of more and more fringe ideologies, in pursuit of the most rigidly simplistic way of viewing the world, in searching for ‘answers’ to reduce anxiety in a seemingly chaotic world, to provide a navigable route in a world which can feel terrifyingly uncharted. In this way they come to believe they have the answers to almost all life’s questions. What is arguable is how common this phenomenon is depending on the ideology.

A comparison

I’m going to make a comparison between elements of two situations now, but I want to be clear that I’m not equating the two, and the element I’m comparing is not how similar the ideologies are to each other. I’m comparing a dynamic of how participants may move through the ideology.

A person might move over to the far-right in stages which incrementally take them further away from their initial views. For example, firstly believing that: Slavery is bad and also that the US civil war was more about the economic disparity between North and South. Then moving to a position, that slavery, understood in the context of the time, was a necessary evil. And from there to a position black Americans have benefitted from being brought to the US and are ungrateful for the opportunities afforded them.

A similar dynamic can happen for people moving away from identifying with green anarchism. A person could first be convinced that they should stop supporting a variety of direct-action campaigns, in order to focus solely on being against technology, and in this way to reach the maximum people with a clear message. However, in consequence, significantly reducing the amount of people they’re trying to coalition build with. Then secondly that, in the absence of fellow activists to spread the message to a wider population, that killing and terrorizing people is a necessary evil to draw maximum attention to the direction society needs to be heading in. Reducing further the number of people they’re trying to recruit. Then thirdly, thinking that hope for changing people’s minds is pointless, and that we should just take pleasure in embracing our violent hatred for all things ‘unnatural’. And that recruiting is meaningless.

An analogy by way of a diagram

I’d also like to offer an analogy that someone could go from desiring a ‘libertarian socialist revolution’ to a ‘vulgar anarchist insurrection’[956] because people can buy into anarchist ideology for all the wrong reasons the same way a person with an eating disorder could just be using veganism as a way to restrict their diet on the way to raw veganism, etc. So, just keep in mind that the diagram text is not meant to be a perfectly summarized version of each ideology.

Finally, I neither claim all the ideologies listed are anarchist, nor that I would personally desire to see a libertarian socialist revolution end at worker control, but I do see anarchists as part of a big-tent leftist movement, where securing workplace democracy would be a massive improvement in society.


Various ideologies

I’m going to quote a ton of essays from a bunch of ideologies in the order I’ve seen people travel down them, along with quotes from a ton of critiques, then end on two possible ideologies that could work as a useful force in disrupting a person’s journey down the pipeline.

I’ve unashamedly chosen various critiques with prescriptions which at times contradict each other, as the aim is to find some critiques close to each specific ideology in order to have the greatest chance of relating to the person’s way of thinking intuitively.

Post-Left Anarchism

The narrowing of approaches

On two fairly popular anarchist forums, they summarize post-left anarchism like so:[957]

What Post-Left Anarchy Critiques:

  1. The Left
    Critiquing the Left as nebulous, anachronistic, distracting, a failure & at key points a counterproductive force historically (“the left wing of capital”).
    Critiquing Leftist activists for political careerism, celebrity culture, self-righteousness, privileged vanguardism & martyrdom.
    Critiquing the tendency of Leftists to insulate themselves in academia, scenes & cliques while also attempting to opportunistically manage struggles.
  2. Ideology
    A Stirner-esque critique of dogma & ideological thinking as a distinct phenomenon in favor of “critical self-theory” at individual & communal levels.
  3. Morality
    A moral nihilist critique of morality/reified values/moralism.
  4. Organizationalism
    Critiquing permanent, formal, mass, mediated, rigid, growth-focused modes of organization in favor of temporary, informal, direct, spontaneous, intimate forms of relation.
    Critiquing Leftist organizational patterns’ tendencies toward managerialism, reductionism, professionalism, substitutionism & ideology.
    Critiquing the tendencies of unions & Leftist organizations to mimic political parties, acting as racketeers/mediators, with cadre-based hierarchies of theoretician & militant or intellectual & grunt, defaulting toward institutionalization & ritualizing a meeting-voting-recruiting-marching pattern.
  5. Identity Politics
    Critiquing identity politics insofar as it preserves victimization-enabled identities & social roles (i.e. affirming rather than negating gender, class, etc.) & inflicts guilt-induced paralysis, amongst others.
    Critiquing single-issue campaigns or orientations.
    What Post-Left Anarchists Value:
    Moving beyond anarchISM as a static historical praxis into anarchY as a living praxis
    Focusing on daily life & the intersectionality thereof rather than dialectics / totalizing narratives (except anarcho-primitivists tend toward epistemology)
    Emphasizing personal autonomy & a rejection of work (as forced labor, alienated labor, workplace-centricity)
    Critiquing Enlightenment notions of Cartesian dualities, rationalism, humanism, democracy, utopia, etc.
    Critiquing industrial notions of mass society, production, productivity, efficiency, “Progress”, technophilia, civilization (esp. in anti-civilization tendencies)

What is Green Anarchy?:[958]

Unfortunately, many anarchists continue to be viewed, and view themselves, as part of the Left. This tendency is changing, as post-left and anti-civilization anarchists make clear distinctions between their perspectives and the bankruptcy of the socialist and liberal orientations. Not only has the Left proven itself to be a monumental failure in its objectives, but it is obvious from its history, contemporary practice, and ideological framework, that the Left (while presenting itself as altruistic and promoting “freedom”) is actually the antithesis of liberation. The Left has never fundamentally questioned technology, production, organization, representation, alienation, authoritarianism, morality, or Progress, and it has almost nothing to say about ecology, autonomy, or the individual on any meaningful level. The Left is a general term and can roughly describe all socialist leanings (from social democrats and liberals to Maoists and Stalinists) which wish to re-socialize “the masses” into a more “progressive” agenda, often using coercive and manipulative approaches in order to create a false “unity” or the creation of political parties. While the methods or extremes in implementation may differ, the overall push is the same, the institution of a collectivized and monolithic world-view based on morality.

The expanded limits of violence

Against the Corpse Machine: Defining A Post-Leftist Anarchist Critique of Violence:[959]

… in his classic anarchist book, Bolo’Bolo lays out a vision of a future anarchist society. In it he not only acknowledges the reality of violence, he incorporates it directly into the society by reviving the notion of the duel as a dispute resolution mechanism. Interestingly, P.M. also makes another case for the continued existence of violence in an anarchist society.
There are no humanist, liberal or democratic laws or rules about the content of nimas [common socio/political/cultural backgrounds] and there is no State to enforce them. Nobody can prevent a bolo [community] from committing mass suicide, dying of drug experiments, driving itself into madness or being unhappy under a violent regime. Bolos with a bandit-nima could terrorize whole regions or continents, as the Huns or Vikings did. Freedom and adventure, generalized terrorism, the law of the club, raids, tribal wars, vendettas, plundering — everything goes.
This vision perhaps goes a bit further than many anarchists would be willing to concede, but P.M. clearly has a realistic appreciation for the fact that in a truly anarchist society, not all anarchist values will be universally adopted, whether because the revolution will not occur simultaneously everywhere, or in the same way, or because some people may decide simply to opt out of an anarchist society (blasphemy, I know). Pre-State societies have shown a wide range of attitudes towards violence: from human sacrifices, warfare and cannibalism on one hand to raw foodism and peaceful co-existence on the other — it is unlikely that an anarchist world would ever settle on just one standard (and what a bland and boring world that would be if they did).

Various Critiques

Anarchists in Wonderland:[960]

[Reached the character limit for raddle, read the rest by clicking here]



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Fool wrote

Potentially the best part is hidden in the foot notes.

The primary meaning of vulgar is a kind of less complicated copy of an original idea/object where some of the original important nuance is lost. So with anarchists who treat insurrectionairy anarchism as the strategy which is of primary importance, I think some nuance is lost. Like what Cells of Fire said about people fetishizing illegalism and voluntarily going underground. Maybe they respected people who talked about having to go on the run to live by their principles after the cops got wind of who they were, but then the people who thought they were copying them mistakenly imagined they were following in their footsteps by going underground even when they didn’t need to.

“You see, Ricks — they get lazy. There’s always a shitty decoy towards the end. But those decoys made decoys too, and got lazy themselves. And far enough down the line… There be monsters.”

Overall, I believe that your vulgar Anarchism does not connect to the vulgar Anarchism you're trying to denounce in a manner that bridges the gap in understandings, however I do believe that there is less of a gap than I am inferring that you believe there to be.

Overall the quote that comes to my head when reading is, "won't someone think of the children".


veuzi wrote

"Pragmatic" vs "purist" anarchism is such horseshit. A completely invented conflict, just like "utopian" vs "scientific" socialists.