Tag Archives: anarchy

Why 2016 is the best election year in modern US history

dontwanna
(Photo Source)

Never in my life has there been an election so full of potential to make the world better. This year, for the first time in my life, I’m excited about the election, and filled with optimism. At this point, you’re probably starting to think that I’m crazy, with words like “wall”, “scandal”, and “rigged” coming to mind. Let me lay out the key reasons I feel this way.

Communications Technology

Our communications abilities are greater now than they have ever been, meaning more people than ever are learning about the scandals, cover-ups, and lies (which are always present in elections). The great thing is that this facet of global affairs just keeps getting better every day. Just think (or remember) how difficult it was to get people informed and activated before cell phones and the internet, or even with the earlier versions of these things.

Bernie Sanders

I’ve heard quite a few people call Bernie Sanders the Ron Paul of the left, which I disagree with as far as their political or economic beliefs, though I can see the similar roles they have played in the political scene.
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In my travels, I can’t count how many times I’ve heard someone attribute their “waking up”, their knowledge of the underlying issues we’re facing, to Ron Paul’s campaigns and the way he was locked out. Bernie Sanders likely has more followers than Ron Paul did, especially with the under 35 crowd, the people most readily accepting of new ideas. Although Sanders wasn’t trying to spread the messages of freedom & peace like Dr. Paul was, his followers have still just seen the reality of the system laid out for them, are feeling disenfranchised with the system, and are more ready to hear about alternatives than ever before.

The TPP

This “trade agreement” is a shining example of the expansion of fascism in global politics over the last century. This document is a clear declaration of war against the human race and the Earth we live on. It’s having the amazing effect of uniting the environmentalist, labor rights, freedom of information, food justice, et al. movements towards a common goal. This is the perfect common ground to bring people’s attention to the inherent structural issues we are dealing with.
tpp
(Photo Source)

Hillary Clinton

Finally, we have the combination left-right ticket of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine. This pair was clearly chosen to lock Clinton in by getting the votes of right-wingers that don’t support Trump. What a perfect example of the oligarchy that is US government, as well as a great way to introduce people to things like the CFR. Best of all, this gives us a wonderful chance to (jokingly) ask for open & honest tyranny, a 1-party system, and the person who will take the most rights away. Talking about things like: “the best of both worlds, anti-abortion AND pro gun-control”, “supported by the universities & media AND the oil companies”, and “how divisive and frustrating the 2-party system was, how much simpler it will be just voting for the Tyranny Party”.
bird
(Photo Source)

How to capitalize on these opportunities

However you approach spreading the message of freedom & peace, here are a couple of the keys I’ve learned to avoid people’s cognitive dissonance and defensive responses.

  • Stick to the principles:It’s easy for conversation to get bogged down in the euphemisms, the drama, and the distractions of the political realm. An easy way to avoid this, and make sure you’re getting your point across, is to always bring it back to the principles and consistent application of them. The principles I most resonate with, and that nobody ever seems to disagree with (though they often don’t apply consistently) are:
    • You own yourself
    • It is wrong to use force, or the threat of force, except in self-defense
    • All agreements between reasoning humans should be voluntary
    • No group can have rights greater than the rights of the people who make it up
  • Ask Questions: Whenever you try to tell somebody anything that doesn’t fit their belief systems, you are going to hit a wall. If you ask them questions that get them to agree with you, all of a sudden you’ve jumped right past those defenses. Here are those same principles laid out as questions:
    • Do you believe that you own yourself, that you own your body, that you own your labor?
    • Would you agree that it’s wrong to use force, except in self-defense
    • Do you believe that a person should be subject to contracts they didn’t agree to?
    • If a group of people get together, does it give them extra rights? For example, if it’s wrong to use force, but 3 people get together and decide to use force against someone, does it become right?
  • Offer non-violent solutions & alternatives: For anything that the state handles, through it’s violent means, there is always a more peaceful, efficient, and high quality solution available. There is always an alternative that you can act on in your own life, a way you can take responsibility for the things you want to change, and BE THE CHANGE. Here are just alternatives for things that people often depend on the state for:

Thursday Thoughts: March 24, 2016

Alright folks, since it’s an election year, I am going to make one post addressing the idea of voting. I’ve already started having some of these conversations come up when I tell people that I do not, and have never voted. They like to come back with that “If you don’t vote, then you have no reason to complain” idea, which is just plain nonsensical. I’m not going to be delving into that idea too much, but there are 2 things I will be addressing:

  1. Your vote DOES NOT matter
  2. The state is institutionalized violence
  3. There is no way to accomplish a moral end using immoral means

1. Your vote DOES NOT matter

To start off, let’s ignore the fact that the state is completely immoral & violent; let’s pretend that “democracy” is an acceptable way of making decisions for 300+ million people, and simply look at the way the system is operating right now. I’m just going to run through a couple points that break down how much a person’s vote actually count in the USA.

  • The Electoral College:
    • The electoral college is basically a convoluted game that was created to keep the land-owning, white, protestant men as the only people able to make decisions for the US government.
    • Each state is given a number of representatives based on its VAP (Voting Age Population), meaning the number of representatives a state has comes from the number of people over 18 who live there, regardless of citizenship, eligibility to vote, or whether or not they have ever registered to vote.
    • When someone casts a presidential ballot, they are not actually voting for a candidate, they are voting for a party, and specifically for that party’s elector. The electors have no obligation to vote for the person people picked on their ballot either.
    • When votes are counted, each state tallies up theirs and has a “winner”, the person who will receive all of that state’s electoral votes, even if they only got a portion of the population’s vote.
      • California has 55 electoral votes (more than 10% of the total), and if someone receives more votes than any other candidate in California, they receive those 55 electors. Even if they didn’t even receive a majority of the actual votes (35% Candidate A, 30% Candidate B, 25% Candidate C, 10% Others).
      • Only Nebraska & Maine actually allocate electoral votes based on the popular vote instead of “winner-take-all”
      • Just as an example, if someone got the most votes (remembering that it doesn’t even have to be a majority, and this never takes into account all the people who voted for nobody), in just 11 states, they would have the electoral votes needed to win the election, even if they got zero votes in the other 39 states. (The 11 being California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey)
    • Because of the way that electoral votes are decided, the higher population the state you live in has, the less your vote matters. It takes almost 4 times as many people in California to get 1 electoral vote as it does in Wyoming.
  • The 2-Party System:
    • The false dichotomy of left-right keeps people trapped in a mental box, thinking that the world can be broken down into a simple A or B choice.
      • The parties create the illusion of a difference between them by focusing the debate on topics like gay marriage, abortion, religion, and other things that are 100% personal choice, and should have nothing AT ALL to do with government.
      • The parties completely agree and strive towards the same major goals: keeping the 2-party system, continuing the flow of tax revenue, expanding government power, and using their power to accomplish the desires of the agricultural-pharmaceutical-military-industrial complex.
    • The 2 parties control the debates, keeping anyone else from even appearing before most voters.
    • Both parties are owned by the same corporations & investors, including the 6 media companies, thus ensuring that they will have the money to overwhelm any outsider’s campaign
    • The parties “gerrymander” to create the districts in a state, manipulating things to control which party gets the representatives for a state. (See image)

gerrymandering

  • The Power of the Media:
    • Most people learn everything that they know about candidates, initiatives, and everything else to do with government from the media.
      • This means the average American’s opinion on Trump, Sanders, Clinton, etc. is based almost exclusively on what they have heard from that person’s (or their opponent’s) advertising campaign.
      • Groups like the GMA spend millions of dollars on campaigns to convince people to vote a certain way. In California in 2012, Washington in 2013, and Oregon & Colorado in 2014, this organization spent millions of dollars on widespread radio, TV, newspaper, and billboard ads over the week(s) before election day in order to trick everyone who wasn’t aware of the truth, that GMO labeling would mean terrible things for them personally.

2. The State is Institutional Violence.

Let’s say all the corruption & inherent controls in the USA & its voting system are gone. What gives someone the right to say, “I believe people should (or should not) do this thing, therefore I believe that a group of people should use violence and the threat of violence to force others to do (or not do) this thing”? If you think the state does not use violence and the threat of violence to accomplish everything it does, just ask yourself how it responds to something as harmless as smoking weed (in most places), not getting the proper “permit” or “license” to do or sell something, or not paying “property taxes” on land that you have bought and paid for, inhabit, and care for.

Let’s look at a hypothetical:

  • Contact you: “Hi there, we’ve decided that you owe us money for something you did (or did not do)”
  • Contact you again: “Hey, us again. We’re gonna need that money soon, or bad things may start happening. We’d really hate if you made us do bad things.”
  • Contact you again: “Hi. Bad things are starting now”
  • Do any number of minor bad things to you, including revoking your “driver’s license”, charging you “fines”, “garnishing your income” (read: forcing your employer to steal money from you, for the state), etc.
  • Contact you again: “So that was a little taste of the bad things we can do, how about you just give us our money and we can all move on with our lives in peace… because if we can’t all move on, things are going to get much worse for you”
  • Do any number of major bad things to you, generally involving some combination of: sending men with guns to your house, having those men violently kidnap you and keep you in a concrete box, going through all your personal belongings (and phone records, texts, and emails), stealing your property, convicting you of a “crime” (thus limiting your ability to find work, housing, or a loan)

This isn’t even addressing the violence that states commit against people outside of their boundaries through mass murder (which they call war), instituting puppet governments, setting “embargoes”, etc.
3. There is no way to accomplish a moral end using immoral means

I don’t really know how to explain this in a simpler way. You cannot get to a right by committing a wrong.

If you want to change ANYTHING in the world, the way to do so is by taking responsibility for your own life & actions, and CHANGING it. By voting, you are giving up your right to be heard, because you are making a choice to keep things the way they are. Once you’ve voted to keep things the same, you have no right to complain about things being the same.
How to actually change things (just a couple ideas off the top of my head):

  • If you want the world to be more peaceful, start meditating, stop giving your money to the most violent people on the planet, stop taking in propaganda that makes you think someone else deserves to die because they’re different from you, eat a vegan diet, use non-violent communication, and practice peaceful parenting.
  • If you want corporations to have less power, stop giving them your money, stop using brand names instead of the actual name of an item (it’s not Kleenex, it’s tissue; it’s not a Band-Aid, it’s a bandage), stop taking in their PROGRAMMING (television, radio, newspapers, magazines).
  • If you want the Earth to be healthier, to stop “Climate Change”, use transportation not derived from petroleum, stop buying packaged foods, stop giving money to the US government (the #1 polluter on the planet), eat a vegan diet, buy your clothes from the second-hand store (or make them yourself), grow food instead of grass, use as little electricity as possible.
  • If you want there to be less houseless, hungry, or other not-having-their-needs-met people, start giving people food, clothing, and bedding that you don’t need, grow your own food (you’ll always end up with more than you need), give (time, money, etc) to groups/organizations doing outreach work, stop giving money to the government so they can bomb more places into subsistence living.

Each of these issues the state will try to convince you they can “fix” for you, while generally being the greatest cause of the issue itself. Ever heard the quote “be the change you want to see in the world”? It doesn’t mean “ask someone else to be the change you want to see in the world”, it’s up to each of us to change our own lives, and thus the entire world.

Illusion of Choice

Anarchapulco 2016 Re-Cap

2 weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the 2nd annual Anarchapulco conference. Last year’s conference changed my life; I met some people who are now great friends, I heard Dayna Martin speak for the first time, which was no small part in my decision to have children in the near future, and when I got back to Portland from the conference, I knew I couldn’t continue working a job & paying rent.

This year, I knew I wanted to get even more out of the experience, spend more time with the community, and do whatever I could to make it life-changing for everyone else attending. To start my journey to Acapulco, 3 friends and I traveled to Guatemala, attended the Rainbow Gathering there, and spent some time visiting Lake Atitlan. At the beginning of February, I made my journey north, finding a ride with some friends on their way back to Colorado. Over the course of our 2 day drive from the lake to Acapulco, we managed to get to the Guatemala-Mexico border right as it closed for the night, and we were stopped about 2 dozen times at Policia Federales checkpoints. The first time we were stopped, all three of us were asked to step out of the car. I had been in the back of the van full of gear, wearing just a pair of shorts as it was ~90 degrees out, and when I got out, the female officer pointed at my chest hair and looked at her compatriots a few times before running her hands through it and making a purring sound. Getting sexually harassed by the police less than an hour into a country has got to be some sort of record.

Acapulco View

Upon arriving in Acapulco, I met up with Juan Galt, one of the local anarchists, who had been helping me find a place to rent, and offered to let me stay with him while checking a few out. Juan and his roommate Ryan are awesome guys, and starting that very night, we had many hours of wonderful conversation. Juan is working on a documentary series about Acapulco and its anarchist community, and Ryan is creating a wi-fi network to span the city. Since the guys had a blender in their apartment, I started making us all smoothies every morning, one of my favorite ways to start the day. After talking to Ryan about my plans for my website, he helped me set everything up and get started, and with the laptop that Juan let me borrow, I got to working. After a couple of days staying with them, I ended up renting the apartment downstairs for the rest of the month, so I would have a place for my friends to stay when they started arriving in town. As it turned out, the apartment across the hall from me was also being rented by Kurt, another anarchist in town for the conference, so we started getting to know each other as well. As people started arriving to stay with Kurt or myself, I kept making smoothies for everyone, a slightly bigger batch each day it seemed like. Just about every day there was some kind of meet-up, party, or adventure to go on with the community in town, and I took every opportunity I could to connect with these amazing people. As more and more people started arriving in town, I began making large meals and offering them to anyone who wanted to try my vegan cooking. Many of these folks gave me pesos when they would come and eat, and this allowed me to keep making more food for myself, my neighbors, and anyone else who was hungry. After my first two weeks in Acapulco, I mentioned to a friend that I already felt like I had gotten more out of my trip than last year, without the conference even having started yet.

As the conference drew close, I focused on getting my website to the point where I felt comfortable handing out business cards with a link on them. On Wednesday the 17th, the first day of workshops for the event, I reached out to my friend Alais, who was on her way down to headline the concert, and discovered she had missed her flight. After many hours of scrambling, we lined her up an alternative, which was more complicated, but would still get her to town a few hours before the concert was scheduled to start Friday evening. I spent much of Thursday cooking a huge dish of curry and putting it into containers to share with people. Friday I headed to the conference room and listened to Jeff’s opening speech, as well as the one after him (the only speeches I actually heard all weekend), before heading back to my place to pick up some meals to deliver, then catching a taxi to the airport to pick Alais up. The rest of the day was just a blur of talking to amazing people, giving out business cards, and re-connecting with friends I hadn’t seen since the 2015 conference. When the conference ended for the day, we brought the sound equipment out to the pool area and started setting up for the evening’s concert. Once it was obvious that the set-up was going smoothly, I went to wake Alais up from a nap, get a smoothie from Verde Vegan, and head to the concert. Things didn’t get rolling until a couple of hours after they were scheduled to, but when they did! Nadia D opened it up, and her voice was absolutely beautiful. She was followed by Jeff Berwick himself, performing a song from his past life as the #2 white rapper in 90’s Canada. Next up was my good friend Kurt, performing a few songs, including fan favorite “To Acapulco“. L-Dixon came on next, and While I had never heard of him before, I’m definitely a fan now. Finally, Alais came on stage and absolutely BLEW EVERYONE AWAY! You would not believe the amount of praise she got from the audience (and I did for getting her down there).

For the next part of my experience to make sense, I need to mention part of last year’s conference. Both years now, Dayna Martin has offered a full-day workshop on peaceful parenting & unschooling. Last year, since I had no intentions of having children, I skipped her workshop. I did, however, catch her 30 minute presentation during the conference proper, and besides bringing just about everyone in the room to tears, her talk was one of the major factors in my recent decision to get myself to the point that I am the kind of person I want to see raising kids. Getting ready for this year’s conference, I decided that I most definitely would be attending her workshop this time around. About a week before the conference, I sent out my most recent email update, and at the end of the email I mentioned that I wanted to attend this workshop (a $150 cost), and asked for assistance coming up with these funds. About a day later, I received a message that Dayna was hoping to have some vegan treats handed out at the end of her presentation during the conference, and if I would be interested in making & distributing these, I could attend the workshop. Of course I jumped at the opportunity, excited not only to attend the workshop, but also to be able to share some food medicine with all the attendees of the conference. I decided on making a no-bake cookie / bliss-ball mashup (recipe to be posted soon), adding a good bit of ginger and turmeric for immune system support as many at the conference had been coming down with various bugs. First thing Saturday morning, I headed up to the Freeman house, where Dayna & her family were staying, to prepare the treats. I was at the house until about 3 in the afternoon, getting to know Dayna & her husband Joe, and getting to observe their interactions with their kids. The cookies were extremely gooey at this point, as I had never made gallons of bliss balls before, and the amount of moisture was way off. We all talked about the possibilities, and let go of any attachment to the desserts being given out at 5:30 during her speech. When we left the house and their family all went to Verde Vegan to grab lunch before heading to the conference, I bought some coconut flour and headed to my apartment to see what I could do. I managed to get the moisture level a little more normalized, and my friends helped me roll up almost 300 balls just in time to get over about halfway through Dayna’s talk.

No Bake Anarchookies

Sunday morning, I headed out early to start preparing food for a post-conference party on Monday night that I was helping cater. We started the day with a trip to the grocery store, where we filled 2 entire carts (to the point of overflowing) with food, then got all that food, as well as the 4 of us, into a Volkswagen Beetle. From there we headed back to the villa, and I spent the next hours making huge amounts of hummus, guacamole, superfood pudding, chocolate dip for the fruit tray, and sunflower seed pate veggie bites. I caught a ride back to the conference and spent some time mingling & networking before calling it another early night. Monday I started the day with smoothies for the gang once again, then headed off to Dayna’s workshop (although I already felt like I had gotten more than I hoped for just from hanging out with her and her family). While waiting for things to get started, I realized it would be awesome if Alais could perform for everyone at the party, so I started reaching out to everyone who had some say in the use of the sound equipment. The workshop was great, offering quite a bit of insight and many stories of how the Martin family handles their lifestyle. I won’t go into too much detail here, as I’m planning to do a write-up about my take away once I finish reading Dayna’s book, “Radical Unschooling”. After the workshop was over, I went back to my apartment to freshen up, then back to the hotel to round up the sound equipment and head up to the villa. When I got there, Alais & Ryan took over setting up the equipment while I made ingredients lists for my dishes, leaving one of my business cards next to each one as well. Alais got a chance to perform about 3.5 songs before we started having some technical difficulties.

I spent the next week at a VERY low energy level, mostly just sleeping, listening to music, and smoking surprisingly stony Mexican weed. At the beginning of March, after spending my last evening in town with the Freemans, I caught a bus to Mexico City, then 2 flights to get my to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I am writing this.

Although I missed much of the “conference” in terms of the speeches, I can certainly say that my experience was even better than last year, the variety of topics being spoken about was much more widespread, and I met many more people I resonated with than the previous year. You can be sure I’ll be attending Anarchapulco again next year, and I know it will be even better than this year.

I want to give a huge thanks to:
-Nathan & Lisa, for all the opportunities & support you offered me. Nathan, I would especially like to thank you for all of your hard work putting together this year’s conference.
-Juan, for letting me stay with you, loaning me your laptop for a few weeks, translating, and helping me find an apartment.
-Ryan, for letting me stay with you, and helping me set up my website.
-Dayna & Joe, for working out a direct energy exchange for me to attend your workshop, and for being such an amazing example of what parents can look like.
-Alais, for letting me drag you thousands of miles to perform for 45 minutes.
-Michael & Candice, for letting me prepare food for your party.
-My parents, for supporting me in everything that I do!
-And everyone else who bought my food, welcomed me into their life, offered their support, and helped make February such an amazing month for me: Steve & Achara, Pontus & Ulrika, Linus, Steven, David, Kurt, Haji, Jennifer, Victor, Lil, Aaron, Leo, Pal, Gustavo, Adam, and many more…