An Open Letter to the Sacred Order of RAAN
"Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration - that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There's no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we're the imagination of ourselves. Here's Tom with the weather." - Bill Hicks
This is a really tough one to write, y'all. It's tough because it's been a long time coming, and I'm going to really just put myself out there. It's tough because I'm not sure if anybody's ever thrown around the ideas I'm about to throw around like this, and there's a good chance that a lot of people are just going to call us batshit insane. On the other hand, this has been pretty easy to write because it's all that I have left to say. It's easy, because this is all I can ever talk about anymore, and I'd be lying to myself if I claimed that I was willing to go on with any level of involvement in the radical milieu without first coming to a firm understanding of what all this means. Of course, I'll always be a communist - a true communist. I can "feel" communism every time I make someone smile, or help a friend accomplish something that was important to them. Communism is sharing time with children, finding moments of perfect silence, and thoughtfully preparing a delicious meal. Communism is present in our lives whenever we ourselves choose to be present in our lives; whenever we "lose our mind and come to our senses". But do I need to keep "trying" to be a communist? Is there some set of motions I can go through that will actually enhance the revolutionary content of my life and those of others, or is it all just a distraction that keeps me chained to the endless cycles of radical politics?
Like just about everything I write, this is intended specifically for those of you who consider yourselves to be part of the tendency established by the Red & Anarchist Action Network (RAAN). However as with most of our texts, there will be things in here that might appeal to those with a mind towards liberation in general. But I do want that focus to remain clear: I feel like RAAN is the only group in existence today with the culture and self-awareness to adequately absorb what I'm about to say, and do something meaningful with it. More importantly, when it comes to self-identified radicals, my fellow RAANistas are the only people I really care about.
I don't think I've ever been able to find much of anything resembling a valorizing "social life" in the radical milieu, but the one exception to this has actually (unsurprisingly) always been the network itself. For whatever reasons, the people who are attracted to RAAN seem to be wholly different in make and model from the people who get sucked into the wider cultures of anarchism or anti-capitalism. Maybe that's why there have always been so few of us? But quality over quantity, I always say. RAANistas are like this whole other breed... magnetized into action based on a sensory rather than intellectual comprehension of the need to destroy class society so as to better bathe in the sunlight that it blocks out. We've been repeatedly accused of incoherent politics, yet somehow there has never arisen a contradiction in our theory and practice (not one that ever bothered anyone who wasn't tied up in an intellectualized definition of what "correct anti-politics" are, anyway). I love my fellow RAANistas because they are the ones who have seen that you don't need a founding conference or endless meetings to hammer out the fundamentals of how to get the ball rolling. They're the ones who understand that empowering yourself and your friends is more important than empowering some vaguely-defined "community" that you are, from the outset, considered to not be a part of.
So what next? There is no space or reason to further develop these ideas here, as the built up elaboration of our network's identity has now reached a point where more and more people are consciously able to engage in it and see the implications for themselves. What I would like to do in this text is to add another, altogether new layer of analysis to our understanding of how the network functions as part of an objective reality that we are all embedded in. I will not even attempt to make any definitive claims here, simply to widen the boundaries of what people conceive of as RAANismo, opening up ever more space in which for new things to grow. This will be a risky business, but it is my hope that many of the concepts I'm about to present shall in time become taken for granted as part of our discourse.
DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE
"Human beings are nothing but sheep. I used to be in the flock of sheep, but I ran away, so it's no surprise that everyone else, all the so-called normal people, thinks I'm insane or, at the least, abnormal. And I think the same about them. Only one of us can be right." - Vimalananda
"All science appears as magic to the ignorant." - Glenn Morris
Let's just cut right to the chase: I want to discuss "spirituality".
Not religion, just spirituality. Whether we like it or not, that nagging awareness, that "splinter in your mind" that in specific moments gives you the tiniest inkling that perhaps there is more to life than what we are able to immediately perceive, is a major part of many peoples' daily realities, including mine. This isn't some organized belief system, and it's certainly not the opium of the masses; it's more like a realization one comes to that forces them to question everything they had previously taken for granted. In fact, let me take a step back and suggest that perhaps the word "spiritual" is too problematic a term for what I'm trying to get at here. From the time I was a small child, I had always been an atheist (though I no longer find the label adequate) and was turned off by what seemed like wishy-washy hippie-dippy explanations of "the spiritual".
Spirituality to me seemed to suggest some sort of magic fantasy land divorced from where we are right now, a surrender to higher powers and eccentric behavior that usually boils down to the bullshit ramblings of someone who only wishes they knew what they were talking about. Therefore I understand that the connotations of the word "spiritual" tend to make its use wholly inappropriate for the audience I'm trying to reach with this.
So what about, metaphysical? Metaphysics as a concept has already made some inroads in the radical discourse, though I won't pretend to have the slightest clue what any French theorist is actually talking about when they say it. It also sounds a lot more "scientific" and official, hence more palatable to those who expect the revolution to be as sterile and rational as the society it destroys. Insofar as what I'm aiming at here is an attempt at a closer understanding of the ultimate nature of reality, the term would fit. Let me just be clear however that nothing I intend to discuss could truly be considered "beyond" the physical: I believe that the nature of what we call existence is intensely mechanistic and governed by certain "laws", and that in fact rational thinking will always lead one to the right conclusions, if you're honest enough in your inquiry. Whether or not the spiritual paradigm is "physical", it is most certainly a real thing with an independent existence irrespective of our attempts to classify it.
For this reason, I'd like to request that you consider this essay not as a treatise on spirituality or metaphysics (though I will almost certainly return to those terms) but rather as the work of a crazy person. To begin with, the Red & Anarchist Action Network has always had its fair share of detractors in the form of orthodox ideologues for whom nothing we do could ever be right, so in the past we've found that the most effective means to sidestepping their objections has been simply to revel in our own incoherence, symbolism, and myth. When we describe ourselves as "fucking maniacs hell-bent on the destruction of civilization", we quite effectively dodge the reasoned arguments of any number of vested interests who might wish to negotiate us into some less cataclysmic vision vis-à-vis capitalist society. Likewise, by coming right out and saying that I am totally insane and that these are just the ramblings of a madman, I am now free to disregard anyone who feels like it is more important to prove me wrong via logic than it is to apprehend the narrative I will be laying out.
I will qualify the ideas I'm presenting here as being 100% rooted in my own personal experience. This is my view of the world, based on my own observations, and there's no reason for you to think of it as anything other than that. If any of this makes you dismiss me as a wingnut, then just keep in mind that I already admitted as much and it's your own damn fault for trying to follow what I have to say, isn't it? Several of my conclusions will be perfectly capable of being presented as shrewd revolutionary strategy, but for various reasons I'm finding it more satisfying to present them as the logical consequence of a spiritual consciousness, itself the logical consequence of communist thought.
The actual scientific authenticity of anything I say is wholly unimportant; the only thing that matters is that you should find it useful in framing your patterns of thought and finding new questions to ask yourself when considering if a given action is going to have the affect you'd like it to. This text is meant to encourage understanding and a new perspective on things, not to dictate what anyone should believe. Joseph Campbell explained Myth as the search for meaning to the experience of life, a collection of symbols that might help to illuminate the fuzzy area between what we know and what we cannot possibly explain. What those symbols are is less important than their effectiveness in reconnecting us with what he called "the rapture of being alive".
In the days before Leviathan, before "time" and money, shamans would attempt to portray the ultimate nature of reality using symbols that the people of that period would recognize - the stars, animals, plants - in stories that to civilized man nowadays seem painfully simplistic or even cartoonish. Over 2,000 years ago, Plato came a little bit closer to creating a mythology that the modern mind can still understand when he spoke of a cave in which people were kept shackled together all their lives, staring at a wall onto which were projected shadows of their captors, never suspecting that their entire experience was only a hopelessly distorted representation of what was actually there. When one of the prisoners manages to escape and discover the real world outside of the cave, his fellow captives refuse to believe his wild tales and call him insane, so limited by their immediate perspective was their perception of reality. Recently, we've been somewhat blessed in that when talking about these things with people, all we have to do is say, "you know, it's like in The Matrix". And as in that film, "unfortunately, no one can be told what The Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself."
So... you can read this essay as fiction, as pseudoscience, allegory, conspiracy theory, or as gospel truth - it really doesn't matter to me. RAAN seeks to mythologize itself, and as a series of of movements aimed at revolution, is not bound by the "revolutionary movement's" definitions of anything in particular. We have always had a proud tradition of simply giving no fucks: maybe that's why RAANistas have quoted Pat Benatar lyrics in communiqués about smashing up Air Force recruiters, or boasted of smoking "victory joints" after firebombing cop cars.
If anything in this text resonates with you, then it must be true. If not, then oh well.
THE GAIA HYPOTHESIS
"Communism puts an end to castes, classes and the division of labor (onto which was grafted the movement of value, which in turn animates and exalts this division). Communism is first of all union. It is not domination of nature but reconciliation, and thus regeneration of nature: human beings no longer treat nature simply as an object for their development, as a useful thing, but as a subject (not in the philosophic sense) not separate from them if only because nature is in them. The naturalization of man and the humanization of nature (Marx) are realized: the dialectic of subject and object ends." - Jacques Camatte
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius, and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - Albert Einstein
Let us begin with this one simple assertion, which I'm sure will be more than enough to scare many of you away: the Earth is our mother; the universe itself is our father.
I am well aware that many self-described "communists" and those who claim the inheritance of the historical anarchist workers' movements feel that the only plausible standard by which to measure human progress is the one established by industrialized class society, but I don't buy it. If we want to talk about the ultimate nature of reality and how to more effectively orient ourselves within it, we have to begin with what was here first - and an entire civilization that replicates itself solely through the use of petrochemicals is not a solid basis from which to do that.
Whether or not you believe that the only logical conclusion of such a sentiment lies in some sort of apocalyptic primitivism (and I certainly don't), you have to admit that neither skyscrapers nor suburbs - nor the mode of production that gave rise to them - are a good standard by which to study the hidden metaphysical processes of the natural world and human relationships. The fact of the matter is that Gaia was here first. She will always be here, and it is only the most insane arrogance to think that we could ever improve upon her chaotic complexity and effortless interdependence. It's insane to think that we could ever even quantify it all by modern standards or replicate the same level of detail in social planning. No, nature is the base unit of perfection from which we draw all authentically human experiences. For anyone to suggest otherwise is simply an indication as to how alienated we have become from our true original selves.
Before going any deeper, it might be useful to briefly explore the possibility that this nature consciousness is hardly a deviation from the communist analysis but rather indeed the inevitable result of communization and the end of class society. In this, I have found nothing so inspirational as the late Franklin Rosemont's incredible essay Karl Marx and the Iroquois, from which I now quote:
However, if our reading of Marx's notes is right, he found things in Ancient Society infinitely more valuable to him than arguments for or against any mere classificatory system. The book's sheer immensity of new information-new for Marx and for the entire scientific world, demonstrated conclusively the true complexity of "primitive" societies as well as their grandeur, their essential superiority, in real human terms, to the degraded civilization founded on the fetishism of commodities. In a note written just after his conspectus of Morgan we find Marx arguing that "primitive communities had incomparably greater vitality than the Semitic, Greek, Roman and a fortiori the modern capitalist societies?" Thus Marx had come to realize that, measured according to the "wealth of subjective human sensuality," as he had expressed it in the 1844 manuscripts, Iroquois society stood much higher than any of the societies "poisoned by the pestilential breath of civilization?' Even more important, Morgan's lively account of the Iroquois gave him a vivid awareness of the actuality of indigenous peoples, and perhaps even a glimpse of the then-undreamed of possibility that such peoples could make their own contributions to the global struggle for human emancipation.
This perspective on Marx's method completely validates the later work of those such as Camatte and Perlman, who understood that the communist process implies not a new stage in human civilization but rather the complete rupture of humanity from civilization, and back into Campbell's "rapture of being alive".
Thus the destruction of nature and any remaining cultural expressions of a time before the systematic division of labor isn't just a casual side effect of capitalist development, but a major pole in the logic of domination that actually cuts us off from one another and from our greatest source of energy and wisdom - the living biospehere itself. Simultaneously, the colonization of every aspect of daily life by oppressive forces increases in direct proportion to the loss of primeval physical territory, as does our dependence on the capitalist Spectacle for any sense of reality. We have to come to the conclusion that we are not materially separate from nature; that perhaps we have forgotten this fact, but that this forgetting may itself have only been the prerequisite to a great remembering.
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
"A universe in which space and time are malleable, a universe with more dimensions than we see, a universe in which the fabric of space can rip, a universe in which everything might be composed of the vibrations of ultramicroscopic loops of energy..." - Brain Greene, The Elegant Universe
"Our practice is not to clear up the mystery. It is to make the mystery clear." - Robert Aitken Roshi
So if we are a part of nature, perhaps even one with the universe, let's develop a better understanding of what that means. Better yet, let's tease out some of the conclusions from that understanding. Almost all systems of ancient wisdom and esoteric knowledge across geography, language, time, and culture have a root in some form of the shamanic tradition. The symbols and stories handed down to us from these cultures are remarkably similar, a fact that no honest mind would ever be capable of dismissing as mere coincidence. Is it not possible, indeed rather likely, that mystics have always been dealing with an objective, sovereign spiritual reality the direct experience of which is the birthright of every human being? If so, then what does the nature of that realm indicate to us about revolutionary praxis?
What do the ancient traditions tell us? They almost all speak of the need for compassion and the golden rule of "doing unto others as you would have done unto yourself". Why is that? Is it just common sense, shrewd politics, or is it the inescapable conclusion of a rational analysis? Traditional wisdom also tells us that time is an illusion, that the world itself is a conscious organism, that this consciousness is infinite, that the spiritual realm expresses itself through symbols and that everything - everything - is communication. Supposedly, we're also all connected: not just you and me but, you, me, that tree over there, and the birds nesting in it. How is this possible? What does it mean?
There's a couple different ways to structure our understanding of the world so as to account for these possibilities, but what's interesting is that they all find some form of corroboration from cutting edge research in various scientific fields. And yet, I am extremely hesitant to try and present any evidence of the most relevant studies that might reasonably point to the existence of a spiritual dimension, since this would only provide those wishing to tear this essay apart a few easy points of focus from which to do it, inevitably by referring to more "reliable" sources. Leftists (and I do use the term pejoratively) have long been some of the blindest followers of popular bourgeois science. It's incredible because they will always rail against how badly we've been controlled and manipulated by what we're taught in schools and popular culture, but then they end up being the most rabid defenders of sanctioned (read: profitable; capitalist) scientific advancement, to the exclusion of any perspective or research that suggests there might be more to see than that limited view which the ruling system has presented us with: most people won't even believe anything unless an "official" source tells them that it has been proven.
What I want to be very clear in avoiding here, is the ire of intellectual know-it-alls who went to a couple University lectures on quantum physics and now think they have the keys to the universe. If you try to bring up shamanism to these people, they'll practically spit in your face for trying. How silly. Quantum physics is not in any way a validation of shamanism, and should never be used as such. Rather, it's quite the opposite: the existence of at least tens of thousands of years of shamanic tradition as a global phenomenon and part of the shared human experience is proof that perhaps quantum physicists might have some clue what they are talking about (though of course, they still have a long way to go).
So! Following the thread of communication with the natural world through symbolism, we know that many native cultures have extremely complex belief systems related to "animal medicine", or the idea that to encounter a specific animal at a certain point in one's life can be an important message from spirit. In my experience, this system of belief is absolutely backed. This ancient method of analysis is so well developed that cultures in a certain part of the world will have amazingly detailed information about the medicine meanings of a type of animal that has never even existed in their bioregion (in many cases so too do medicine meanings exist for different plants, colors, and even directions of the compass). It gets stranger: normally I have absolutely no idea what my dreams mean, but if an animal pops up in one of them I immediately begin to research the message of that animal in terms of the traditional shamanic construct, and it all becomes very clear. Sometimes things are even more obvious: a Cardinal lands right in front of you while you're with your partner, symbolizing monogamy or commitment. A Steller's Jay bothers you all day with its constant squawking - it's a message that you are abusing your power, or that someone else is abusing power over you. Remedy the situation, and the Jay will go nest somewhere else. It's really that simple, everything is communication - if you choose to be aware of it.
I've seen this happen too many times for it to be some stupid coincidence or just the delirious invention of a mind looking for meaning in a heartless world; the preservation of nature and our access to it in daily life is inseparable from the idea that we might actually be able to achieve some qualitatively higher standard of life as a species. Neither does the use of pre-existing belief constructs as reference points amount to cultural appropriation, for these experiences are common to all humanity.
But even if you already believe in animal medicine, totems, the medicine wheel, etc. it is good to try and come up with some sort of conceptual understanding of why these things might be true, and what they mean for those of us looking to create libertarian communities.
The well-known astronomer and astrochemist Carl Sagan once used a Tesseract, or three-dimensional representation of a four-dimensional "hypercube", to demonstrate how just as one can draw a "cube" on a sheet of paper, so could one sculpt a four-dimensional object in three-dimensional space. The implication of course, most famously elaborated in Edwin Abbot's brilliant novel Flatland, is that when one is only immediately capable of perceiving a certain number of dimensions, anything possessed of a higher dimensionality that passes through your view will be seen only as a cross-section of its true self - a symbolic representation of the greater whole, if you will. Wrap your head around that one.
A competing but perhaps not altogether incompatible theory of the underlying nature of the cosmos calls for us to posit that "reality" as it is perceived, much like in The Matrix, is just a holographic projection of a single underlying energy field. I realize that sounds like absurd jargon, so I'll try to explain as best I can (keeping in mind of course that I'm neither telling you what to believe nor claiming to have any damn clue myself, just searching for a framework): holograms are a technique by which light scattered from an object is reconstituted into an image that appears three-dimensional when in fact it is only a complex representation of something else (remember Plato's Cave).
This underlying energy field is mechanistic; its structure determined by geometry and waveform vibrational frequencies, which can also be understood simply as "information". At the risk of perhaps sounding too New Agey, I would suggest that one can determine various things about the different actions, attitudes, and thought patterns displayed by individuals and groups - including their concentric effects - based on the density of the vibration that they put off. This conceptual framework allows us to get a grip on the idea that all of us are actually the same, infinite consciousness - just different projections of the base reality, decoded by our Left brains into seemingly separate physical objects.
One of the interesting and perhaps frightening questions we now have to ask ourselves is: if what we think of as the physical world is just a projected representation, then is it truly possible to change the physical world by changing physical things? Is it possible that capitalism and other systems of domination, as well as our own struggles against them, can be seen as energetic constructs? What would that tell us? Would such an analysis be incredibly empowering, or laughably disempowering?
WELCOME TO THE FREQUENCY WAR
"But for me communism means a complete community. It does not mean a community that is complete because everyone in it thinks the same or because one kind of division has been overcome. It means a complete community that is complete because no one is excluded - a community that is open to all. It means a very active and proactive community - a community that thinks and debates and demands. It is the universal spirit of humanity. Obviously this starts with one human life. We know that if we do not value every human life then we would be deceiving ourselves if we say that there is a community at all. We are communists here in the mud and fire but we are not communists because of the mud and fire. We are communists because we are human beings in the mud and fire. We are communists because we have decided to take our humanity seriously and to resist all degradations and divisions." - S'bu Zikode
Destroy what destroys you, sure. I can agree with that. But... what if destruction is what's destroying you?
It's a well-known self-help cliché that the basis for all emotions can be found in either Fear or Love. This characterization seems overly simplistic, and I myself would never use those exact words, so hopelessly dopey do they sound. But let's take a closer look:
At the biological level, each cell in our bodies represents a singular unit of intelligence that has banded together with other intelligences to more efficiently create a complex organism. And every cell, specialized as it may be, is remarkably similar in that as an autonomous entity it only has two operating modes: growth, and defense. Growth is of course the desired state to be in; all the cell's energy is going toward regeneration and replication, as well as the functions it is intended to carry out as a specialized unit of the greater whole. Defense, on the other hand, is a response to a perceived threat in which all the cell's energy is turned inward and "clenched", putting vital functions on hold while the cell tries to ensure its basic survival. When cells get stuck in defense mode for too long, they begin to decay and will eventually die not necessarily due to whatever had been attacking them, but because of their own anxious paralysis and inability to create new life.
If you haven't guessed already, I see this as being a useful system by which to understand our emotions; Love represented by growth, and Fear by defense. Insofar as our tendency is just one complex organism made up of countless "cells", we also display the same patterns.
When our projects as pro-revolutionaries are driven by Love, by the positive desire to affirm and support each other, lead fulfilling lives and create meaningful experiences to be shared and enjoyed, we grow both physically and spiritually.
When our projects are driven by Fear, we remain focused only on that which we oppose, and our (anti)politics become guided by the principle of aversion. Understanding the old dictums that "energy flows where attention goes" and "what you resist, persists", we can see how a practice of aversion is actually going to break us down over time, and only strengthen that which we oppose: it's fine and right of course to wish for the abolition of work, but when you focus more on avoiding a job than on living a positive life in service to others, you really haven't escaped anything (and if you focus only on organizing people in the workplace, it is again only "the workplace" and our identities as "workers" that are strengthened as constructs). Likewise I would never recommend that anyone engage in institutionalized politics, but when one focuses one's intentions on "not working within the system" rather than on the positive creation of spaces outside of the system, it is the system itself that becomes stronger (the same is of course true for those who foolishly think that they're going to "work within the system" - their focus remains on the problem rather than the solution, and they will be easily recuperated).
So what we see is that "Fear", or aversion, actually gives power to the things we are trying to avoid. "Love" on the other hand, perhaps better understood as compassion, creates the energy we need to supercede all control systems.
This can be seen as a final and irrevocable break from the Leftist movement with its set-in-stone categories of what is and is not appropriate revolutionary action. By insisting that we always be "organizing", selling newspapers, and engaging in other cyclical activist activities such as protests, the Left actually grinds down its membership by keeping them locked into a negative politics of aversion.
It is impossible for me to continue my life without saying these things, and I do not think it will be possible for the Red & Anarchist Action Network to achieve its goals unless we can embrace, at least in certain important moments, an awareness of the need to be guided by love and compassion in all that we do. Unlike every other essay that tends to get spat out by the anarchist milieu, this one isn't "pointing in a general direction", nor is it "only the beginning of a larger discussion". This, like all of the network's literature, is actually a solid proposal for specific actions to be physically taken by pro-revolutionaries in the here and now. The gestalt of this awareness is embodied in RAAN's DNA, and it seems increasingly unlikely to find an avenue for its expression through any other form.
TURNING AWARENESS INTO ACTION
"The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings." - Masanobu Fukuoka
"If there is no sense of rejoicing and magical practice, you find yourself simply driving into the high wall of insanity" - Chögyam Trungpa
So if we are able to integrate a "spiritual" awareness into the everyday recreation of the network as a presence in the street, what does that mean in regards to the question of violence, or to the insurrectionary philosophy of "attack!" in general?
To be clear, RAAN has never embraced violence and in fact our Principles of Action state that the network "rejects the fetishization of violence and violent activities as an alienating and ultimately ineffective culture". But we also clearly understand the need for a flexible praxis and the diversity of tactics inherent to autonomism. So, refusing to either condone or condemn violent actions, what can we say about them from the perspective of a group of revolutionaries trying to more consciously direct what kinds of energy we put out into the world?
It is said that any actions that add confusion to a person's life will exhibit negative wave-patterns. These do not have to be violent: they could include such common activities as selling drugs or talking behind someone's back. In fact, I was once told that the Iroquois definition of "black magic" was nothing more complicated than talking about someone who was not present at the time. Needless to say, "violence" - even against inanimate objects - is not something to be taken lightly, for legal as well as spiritual reasons.
But any mature appreciation of the present situation and the flow of natural forces demands that we respect and understand the place of violence in the context of movement towards a better world. In particular, self-defense is always justified, as is the defense of all other life, and the extent to which these categories extend into the realm of "pre-emptive" attack can only be accurately judged by those who will be affected by the choice. It is our responsibility to provide a culture of discussion and support around violence so that it can never be abstracted as something that does not have very tangible metaphysical repercussions. If our community is to engage in violence, it must be mandated by the culture as a whole, with nurturing support given to those who must put their bodies and souls at risk for the defense of all.
There is a certain philosophy that states that in order for justice to be ensured, some may have to sacrifice their own spiritual progress by engaging in violence against oppressive forces. However, "spiritual progress" aside, it is highly doubtful that compassion towards the oppressor ever means that one should not resist them; on the contrary, stopping them in their depredations and making them conscious of their actions towards others, including beating them physically, often seems to be the road of compassion. As a friend recently said to me, "Sometimes, putting an end to tyranny involves a lot of force and violence. In such cases, the most spiritually corrosive and poisonous thing to do would be to let such tyranny go unopposed". We can only say this with certainty: all violence consciously used by affiliates of our tendency should be quick, strong, and decisive. There is no room for half-measures or doubts.
But we must always remain focused on the positive side of our activities. I do not use the word "positive" to indicate a subjective good, but rather a quantifiable "constructive" quality. The movement for autonomy takes as its basis for existence the mutual aid displayed naturally between neighbors who are co-creating their lives in cooperation with each other. As soon as it becomes focused on excluding the enemy, or on mounting offensives against oppressive forces, a paradox is entered into wherein the movement for autonomy cannot continue without the existence of an identifiable oppressor. This should clearly be avoided at all costs.
Because of this paradox, our most powerful weapon as an organization is not an assault on the ruling order but rather total non-cooperation with it. It is true that the breadth of refined exploitation faced by humanity in the day-to-day is often enforced via implied, rather than direct, violence - as we begin to organize more effectively and assert our autonomy, we open the possibility of collectively ignoring the bill collectors, the taxman, and the landlords. In so doing, we create the space for others to do the same.
This is only possible within the framework of a conscious association such as RAAN, organizing itself as a cultural meme replicated from person to person, expressed as seemingly unconnected moments of joy and struggle, but slowly building a collective momentum that is identifiable in the public consciousness.
What do we need? A movement of blind nihilism will not suffice - the clenched anxiety of "attack!" will never achieve by itself the community of caring, compassionate human beings who will be needed in order for us to cradle and nurture each other into the new world we wish to create. If we were to go purely off of a sensory appreciation for the kind of vibrations put off by certain actions and use that to try and strategize for what RAAN should move towards, my opinion would be that we need more healers and teachers... actually, neither healers nor teachers, but simply healing and teaching (that is, sharing of one's experiences). It is the act itself and not the social status associated with its repetition that creates the positive energy. We should all teach each other, we should become a community of healers, and we should work to establish other such communities in as many places as we can.
We should become better-acquainted with the still-developing practices of permaculture, and in particular those who are finding ways to do large-scale urban organic farming and perennial "forest gardens" that mimic natural systems in the complex interactions between different layers and functions of the edible landscape. Far from allowing permaculture to become a plaything of the rich - another buzzword in the lexicon of green capitalism - we should study it for ourselves as a wide-scale solution to the world's problems, and draw the necessary conclusions about what radical changes will be necessary to our social system in order for it to develop towards that logical culmination. We should study the unappreciated agroforestry of tribal cultures, technologically light years ahead of anything we have come to recognize as "agriculture", and yet still in perfect balance with and even significantly regenerative to the ecology of the natural forest. We must rediscover what is spiritual about every moment in which we are alive, and share that with each other; we have to rebuild both the soil and our own human community.
These tactical suggestions obviously deserve a more thorough development - in practice. For now I will not attempt to take them any further than I already have, in the hopes of preserving as much space as possible for others to find room for entry in this discussion and contribute their own visions of what a spiritually-aware Red & Anarchist Action Network will look like.
So whatever conclusions you or I wish to draw at the end of the day, I want to send out a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has thus far participated in the RAANista Tendency for making it a wholly different and qualitatively more enjoyable experience than anything I have seen anywhere else in my time as a conscious radical. Your warmth, your humor, your instinctual ability to effortlessly avoid ideological quagmires in the interest of actually getting shit done has just been amazing to me. Even in my darkest moments, when I feel like it's totally pointless to try and organize anything, I know that I still want to be around RAAN. Y'all are the chillest, most clear-headed motherfuckers I have ever met, and as the capitalist infrastructure starts to crumble around us, a crew like you is always going to be at the top of the list of things I'll need to survive. Big ups.
ADDENDUM: SOME BREADCRUMBS
Perhaps you may have sensed some essential truths in the things I have tried to point out, and might be interested in what has been inspiring me lately. So here, in no particular order, is a list of books and other materials that might shed some light on where I'm coming from. I do not offer these without criticism: first of all, there is no guru or source of wisdom that will explain life for you; everything you need to know, you already know or will discover by just being honest with yourself. I have found it helpful to draw on the observations of others for a corroboration of my own experiences, but that's about as far as I take it. Undoubtedly, somebody is going to point out that one of these books is unscientific, or that the author of another worked with law enforcement, or any number of other things to try and de-legitimize them. I don't take any of this stuff as canon, and neither should you. You should certainly not approach them with any attitude that might stress you out or jeopardize your ability to enjoy them either as works of fiction, or otherwise. To my knowledge only one of them was even written by a communist, so it also makes no sense to advance on them with the attitude of a cynical theoretician. Though almost all of them were written by men, I can tell you that my most powerful teachers in life have always been women. Just enjoy the ride and see where it takes you. Namaste.
The film Collapse featuring Michael C. Ruppert
"The world is like a ride at an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it, you think that it's real because that's how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills, and it's very brightly colored, and it's very loud and it's fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question - is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us. They say 'Hey! Don't worry, don't be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride.' And we... kill those people." - Bill Hicks