What Is A SteamPunk? A Definitive Answer.

I’ll ramble more about Eccentrik Festival in the near future. In the meantime, I would like to share this groundbreaking revelation that swept over me during the set of Hellblinki Sextet (due to a intelligent comment by their bassist Brad): we can, in fact, define what a steampunk is. A steampunk is someone who curb-stomps steamnazis. Ideally, a steampunk curbstomps steamnazis against tesla coils. This begs the question, of course, of what a steamnazi is. Neo-victorian-colonialists come to mind.

No Media Kings

I’ve been buried 10 tabs deep into No Media Kings, the self-publishing resource site run by Jim Munroe, an anarchist sci-fi author from Canada who I am embarrassed to have not heard about before now. There’s tons of information on here about self-publishing and writing, from a really awesome perspective. (including a freely downloadable how-to comic book, Time Management For Anarchists). Of particular interest is a project he and others undertook in Toronto a few years back in which they wrote one-page SF dystopias about local gentrification and posted them to poles around town!

what I’ve learned from MythBusters

I’ve been watching too much mythbusters recently. Anyhow, a recent episode taught me things I’d always wondered about (for no good reason, of course): how to get past a trained guard dog, and how to evade a bloodhound.

with the guard dogs, they tested two things that worked: distracting the dog with raw meat, and distracting the dog with the piss of a bitch in heat (works only on male dogs).

For the bloodhound, they busted a lot of theories, including the old “pepper” trick (although they only tried black pepper, not cayenne or anything hotter). Crossing streams, walking up streams, zigzagging, none of those worked at all. Changing clothes distracted the dog for only a moment. The only thing that did any good was getting to an urban environment.

the real news usually isn’t on page one

So I found out today, after sorting my way through election nonsense, that illegal immigrants swept up in ICE raids are facing ridiculous charges.

The illegal immigrants arrested must plead guilty to lesser counts or face indictment on charges of aggravated identity theft and possible mandatory two-year prison terms.

That is to say that immigrants, who often use fake SS numbers, can be treated the same as someone who steals someone’s SS for the purpose of emptying their bank account. There is clearly a quantitative difference here.

As for the immigration issue itself, for anarchists it plays out fairly simple: we don’t respect the right of the nation-state to exist, let alone enforce arbitrary, war-won borders (most of the places inhabited by Mexicans, for example, are places that were historically part of Mexico). But let’s take it in a modern context… the anti-globalizationists problem with this insane level of immigration enforcement is the hypocrisy of opening borders to resources but not to people.

Immigration exploded after NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Act, which “liberalized” our monetary exchanges with Mexico. Basically what happened is that we, as the richer nation, gained the ability to extract resources from Mexico without paying tariffs or other fees that are used to insulate an economy. Within the USA, we can see how this plays out in ghettos: by putting in a McDonalds, we are essentially siphoning money out of the local neighborhoods.

So we’re able to take Mexico’s wealth, but when Mexicans come to the USA for a chance to earn a decent (hardly decent) wage, we throw them in jail as if they had stolen all of someone’s money?

A Magpie’s Guide to Busking

[Busking is street performing]

I first busked about seven years ago, in NYC subways with my friends. But I’ve only been busking with any real frequency for about the last four years. From time to time, it’s been my main or only source of income.

Of course, since I was usually living in squats and eating out of dumpsters, I didn’t need much money. Regardless, these are some of the things I’ve learned. Nothing particularly groundbreaking, but this is my advice:

Continue reading A Magpie’s Guide to Busking

Ah, the elections.

It’s like a car wreck: anarchist or no, you can’t help but pay attention to some degree to the upcoming election. But what I like to hear is anarchist strategy in regards to the election, and the good old Center For Strategic Anarchy has offered up an analysis of the election from an anarchist point of view.

we are far better equipped to take advantage of liberal disillusionment than liberal outrage. The last four years have been a testament to this, with the clearest beneficiaries of outrage being the Democratic party and the authoritarian Left (see: the anti-war movement.) Liberal disillusionment has been far kinder to anarchists. The C.S.A. is of the opinion that it is no accident that the surge of anarchist activity in the late ’90s overlapped with a Democratic administration in the process of moving to the right.

Four years ago, I put it to my uncle, a concerned and politically aware liberal. I asked him how he would convince me, an anarchist, to vote for president. And his primary response was that while yes, the president has little power to change things for the better, the tone they set “trickles down” (yes, my uncle intended that irony) to all levels of the system.

I’m certainly not of the opinion that anarchists need to rush off and go vote (except for in local elections… Oregon has got some seriously racist and classist initiatives that need shooting down), but there’s no denying that what happens in a couple weeks is going to affect everyone, probably everyone in the world.

What anarchists actually want, and our problems with the “democratic” system as stands, are pretty well summed up in this new zine by crimethInc: The Party Is Over.

And, of course, Bill Hick’s little speech still rings true:

Ah, insurgents. The PKK

This video is really interesting. It’s about the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, an insurgent army in Turkey that’s been fighting since the 70s. In this video, a CNN reporter is hanging out at one of their camps that reminds me quite a bit of a forest defense camp. There’ve been a few articles in the news recently about clashes with turkey, and more interestingly about the important role of women in the PKK [infoshop.org discussion].

Are these people freedom fighters or terrorists? The age-old question, right? They formed under marxist and maoist ideology, fighting for the freedom of kurdistan, hoping to form a socialist republic. Later, they stepped back a bit from communism and adopted more nationalistic and, it is argued, islamic beliefs. However, these days it looks like their main stance is actually a fight against the patriarchal world. Really quite interesting. Historically, however, they’ve been kidnapping tourists, utilizing suicide bombers on non-military targets, and generally being the kind of bastards that so many guerrilla groups are. If the wikipedia article is to be believed, a large number of their militants were given false promises of having their families taken care of. It’s harder to get a grasp on their modern ideology (at least for me, thousands of miles away and just looking at the internet as of this morning).

I always get my hopes up when I see videos like these. Here’s a guerrilla group that is dedicated to fighting for cultural independence, social reform, and gender equality. I want to like them, I really do. Turkey has pretty much wholesale banned speaking in kurdish, singing kurdish songs, really having any kurdish identity, despite 20% of their population being kurdish. But apparently there are reformist kurds attempting to work for greater kurdish representation in turkey’s government, and the PKK have assassinated a few of those people. The comparison in my mind would be if the ELF burned down the house of the president of Sierra Club.

And the PKK have apparently bombed shopping centers and other civilian targets, something which there is really no excuse for. There’s a 1998 documentary about the PKK and their old leader on youtube, 19 minutes long.

Every time I get my hopes up about a group like the PKK just to have them shattered I remember how much I love the EZLN.

New Zine at Strangers

The anarchist publishers I work with, Strangers In A Tangled Wilderness, just finished work on their latest theory zine. Written by a certain ms/mr Usul of the Blackfoot, this zine is wonderful. Post-Civ!, a deeper exploration. It’s a nearly 40 page exploration of why civilization is terrible and why primitive societies weren’t usually that much better (despite the claims of primitivists) and it lays out a great framework for building towards a post-civilized society. Really, I can’t recommend it enough.