Background Propaganda

Dearest Reader:

So i got this shiny new blog.  Not to be confused with my largely functional old blog at This new blog will one day be a proper superset of the old blog starting from now.  So if you want it all from me, come here.

To be completely frank i am moving to wordpress mostly because Robin from Casa Robino in Am*dam sort of suggested it.  Robin is clever and i love my interpretation of his digital nomadism And it is probably better to move away from a Google format.  And i love the that the reader counter is built right into the dashboard.

I thought i would include in this initial post an old piece of writing of mine, which the Commonwealth Attorney in my trial last month tried to use as evidence i had terrorist inclinations [hey and that is after i edited out the really dicey stuff.]  If this does something for you than i would invite you to comment on this post and come back regularly.  if you read this and feel weird and uncomfortable, then i am happy.  But you should probably not bother to return.

Paxus at East Wind

26 Winter Wonderland 10

why i am an anarchist

anarchism is the ultimate intellectual and ethical high wire act without a net.  it starts with rejecting the principle extant political institutions and dominant paradigms – but to get very far you need to build something. you need not build based on great thinkers of the past (tho some are available).  you can go where you find your passion and create something based on what you experience as true.  it is a broad anti-orthodoxy and thus everyone has their own slightly different personal flavor.  this is mine, i hope you like it.

i share.  perhaps the greatest challenge to the dominant political models is the idea that you do not have to possess things exclusively. widespread change in only this cultural value could result in a far more economically just world, using the same or fewer resources. i own little myself and live in places where material things are held in common.

anarchism deals with more than just the physical. feminism is about sharing power. it is training people to listen, helping the quiet find voice, flattening hierarchy and finding consensus – this is the beginning of building justice.  i like the adage that anarchism is the philosophy and feminism is the practice.

polyamory is sharing lovers – i do not claim sole rights to my intimates, and they as well have other lovers. i find it a great poison that intimacy should be locked up and made exclusive. it is the commodifcation of love. some of the hardest work of my life has been moving thru jealousy,  balancing time and establishing clear communication.

radical spirituality is about sharing the planet with all of its life forms and respecting their rights.  as pagans we seek to build relevant rituals. we explore how to move symbols and create meaning.  this is the reclaiming of magic from the scientists and spirituality from the church. it also dovetails with environmental politics and the development of the connection to things greater than the self. these are the critical extensions of our language and culture we need to evolve.

i am a communard – i choose to live in an intentional community, where we work and live together, sharing income and resources, we build our own buildings, grow much of our own food organically, we don’t use money internally. there are basically no locks, no tv and virtually no crime. it is far from utopia – we have little shared vision, for example – but it is working model of what can be.

anarchism is embracing flexible strategies in face of structural dilemmas. a central example is the prefigurative politics versus the “length of the fuse” debate.  it is intellectually attractive to say “we will limit the tools we use now for social change to the ones we want to still have in our new society.” violence and property destruction are the tactics most often excluded by this reasoning.  the length of the fuse argument is “if you are running out of time to change things you need to use fast tools”. sadly, prefigurative approaches are generally slow.  the resolution is that there is no fixed strategy – the workers (or activists) decide, the people who are on the scene  at the relevant time make the choices. it was a pacifist who convinced me that violence played a central role in ending nuclear construction in Germany. when you are looking at preventing thousands of years of uncontrollable toxins, can you risk failure because you could not reach consensus on strategy?

i smuggle – borders are perhaps the most offensive static structure of the state.  i had the good fortune to help smuggle 3 tibetan monks across a thousand miles of the himalayas and into Nepal to see the Dalai Lama. i have carried banned documents and other contraband.  i’ve gotten caught a few times, but i’ve been lucky and made it thru basically unscratched.

i am a lobbyist – i have run thru the halls of parliament and congress trying to get elected officials to behave as i thought they should.  i am not especially good at it, but i have been the best available. simply because we can see that a governmental system is corrupt does not justify failing to engage with it. we have more tools than protest.

i am a propagandist – i don’t believe i or we have any monopoly on the truth – i have debated ideologues and i know they are sure they are right as i think i am in my most arrogant moments.  we have an obligation to put out our beliefs brilliantly and we need to remember that we are trying to sway people to think like us, not because we know we have a better way, but because we believe we do.

i’m an outlaw – i shoplift, counterfeit, trespass, destroy property, break and enter, hop trains, panhandle, violate curfews, copyrights and security clearances, trade on the black markets, tax resist, enter and exit countries illegally, black ride (ride without a ticket), lie to the police, default on credit cards (for $50K), forge signatures, falsify visa’s, hitchhike, cut handcuffs, leak state secrets and don’t wear seat belts (for somewhat crazy reasons). i wish i could say all of this has been done for the greater good and to advance the revolution – in fact some was self serving and some just frivolous. But i certainly don’t start from the place of assuming laws are right – this is the anarchist prerogative.

i am a life style terrorist. someone who asks uncomfortable questions to people who are comfortable, about what they really need and what they can contribute.  of course this is only credible from a place of doing it yourself and is best served in a humorous and non-dogmatic way. when visiting people we don’t really know my dutch lover Hawina and i try to be “ambassadors from where we want to come from”. this is about pushing the positive aspects of our lifestyle choices, hoping to inspire folx to try to do more progressive political work.  This can be as small as recycling and using mass transit to as large as quitting your corporate job and running campaigns or moving to a commune.

i am a clown – my favorite fairy tale ends with the line “don’t take yourself too seriously”.  i make a point to remember jokes and riddles and try to make people laugh.  i don’t believe things are so bad we can’t make it without humor. similarly, one of the things i like the most about my community is that we strive to be a great audience – anyone willing to get up and perform is highly appreciated. i have watched it change the self confidence of our kids and improve the overall quality of our cultural life.

i travel. i have hitchhiked on sail boats from mexico to australia, trained across europe and asia, crossed the atlantic on a polish tramp ship, worked briefly on the north slope of alaska and the bottom of the ocean near hawaii. years ago i quit flying, for energy and environmental reasons, but i continued to travel more than most people i know – i am writing this on the train across the US. i have had to change my perception about the importance of the time spent traveling – correspondingly, i make fewer but longer trips.  but i have basically stopped going to places where i don’t know anyone – this is the difference between tourism and traveling. i strive to  discover the culture thru the eyes of people who live there, rather than a guide book.

i raise funds – money is an oft necessary great evil. i learned how to make it come towards projects and campaigns which were important.  i never escaped the feeling that there was something wrong with this solution, and my ego did unhealthy flops around successfully finding money.  when i was doing this a great deal, it felt best to be homeless, without salary and living very cheaply.

anarchists seem to be either of the individualistic/loner type or cooperators looking for allies.  i am always looking for allies. the success of the recent World Bank and WTO protests has been the ability of divergent groups to put aside their differences long enuf to come together to make an effective mass protest.  globalization and these oft media-invisible institutions which drive it are now the subject of popular debate and they can not continue unchanged. we are a long way from closing them, but debt cancellation is gaining momentum and the WTO fast track seems derailed – both good things.  anarchists were central in organizing these actions and building these broad coalitions. and there are lots of other types of alliances – my wordsmith lover jazz edited this piece … almost every project of significant scale is a collaborative effort, and many which fail simply did not gather the right allies.

i am an organizer.  there are several key differences between an organizer and a leader.  the first is that no job is too low for an organizer. they are self aware enuf to know what they can teach and humble enuf to know there is still lots to learn.  always pressed for time, good organizers don’t get stuck and don’t overwork problems. they replace themselves before they leave work undone (something i have often failed in) and they are most generally invisible to the eye of fame.

in a tiny train station in Czechoslovakia i helped a man buy an international ticket and we got to talking.  he told me he had the best job in the world, traveling from place to place telling stories.  After listening to one of his stories and thinking about this for a while, i decided that it was a wonderful and important job and have been working on my storytelling ever since.

i am an optimist – if the anarchist principle is that “you can do what ever you want, but you must take responsibility for it” and you believe the new age principle of “we create our own reality”, then we have an obligation to be optimistic – or else we are creating the wrong reality.  For seven years i lived in eastern europe working with small anti-nuclear groups against the most powerful corporations and the state.  i was constantly reminding them that it was groups exactly like theirs which had stopped reactors around the world.  it is as papa chomsky so well put it

If you assume there is no hope you guarantee that there will be no hope.  If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, that there are opportunities to change things, there’s a chance that you may contribute to making a better world.  that is your choice.

i am in the hope business. and that is why i am an anarchist.

[this article has been edited]

About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

9 responses to “Background Propaganda”

  1. Arjen says :

    I like it, except the “hope business” part doesn’t really work for me. I like what Derrick Jensen writes about it (even though I have some issues with the guy): “Hope is what keeps us chained to the system, the conglomerate of people and ideas and ideals that is causing the destruction of the Earth.” It is elaborated on here:

    Personally, I believe that hope can be a useful motivator for people, but it doesn’t work for me. I find it tends to keep people delusional (e.g. the hype around Obama); it works a lot better for me to just act from my morals, whatever the perceived consequences might be.


    • paxus says :

      Dearest Arjen:

      Certainly hope keeps many people chained to the system. People hope vainly that things will improve without them doing anything to make things improve, or simply complaining about things. In fact the full name of this blog (which i will get int he right place once i figure some more things out about wordpress) is”Your passport to complaining is your willingness to do something about it.” The hope that keeps one chained to a system is an empty or false hope. The type of hope i am in the business of hustling is the type where people et up and try stuff. Sometimes dangerous or wild assed stuff, but i promise this type of hope is not at all the friend of the status quo or the system which many hope with change without action.

  2. burkie says :

    i don´t agree with you in every single point, but i like it. especially the “hope business”.

    ps: actually in the major parts i do agree with you….

  3. Kenna J says :

    This is lovely. I hope you live forever.

    Arjen, I agree; hope is not that great for me, either. But I think there are people, such as Pax, who could not function without hope. Hope is their fuel.

    None of us alone is a complete system; we all desperately need each other. To the hopers, may they never run out of hope. To the mes and yous, may our morals never fail us. May those who need to be needed feel needed. May those who want to perceived as successes succeed. May those who need to feel dependable and loyal be these things. May those who need to leap forward without fear find many opportunities to do so.

    And may we all think for ourselves, please please please.

  4. Keyvah says :

    Shouldn’t it be “Dearest Reader”?

    I’ve been cutting blogs by the dozen from my google reader, so only for you will I add another in. When we first started dating you sent me this article, and I thought you were either incredibly motivated or completely insane. Turns out I was right!

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