BASTARD Workshops 2013
The 2013 BASTARD Conference – Theme: Ethics & Aesthetics
Workshops and Schedule
The Genetics and Plant Biology Building on UC Berkeley Campus
March 17, 10am – 6pm
A Communitarian Anarchist Ethics John Clark
A communitarian anarchist ethics is proposed that is founded on a concept of freedom and a critique of forms of domination. Such an ethics investigates the precondition for a decisive break with the system of domination, based on a theory of social determination that encompasses the social institutional structure, the social imaginary, social ideology, and the social ethos. It is suggested that communitarian anarchist ethical practice should be guided by a “Third Concept of Liberty” that synthesizes negative freedom as non-coercion and non-domination, positive freedom as social and ecological self-realization and flourishing, and positive freedom as social agency and
self-determination. It is proposed that the creation of basic communities of liberation and solidarity is the most decisive moment of practice. Historical and contemporary inspiration for such a practice is investigated.
The Unique or the Universal: Anarchist aesthetics vs. moralist visions of anarchism
Why are anti-ideological aesthetics supplanting ideological forms of anarchism? What makes dialogue, recognition and mutual understanding so essential for the creation of anarchy? How can we better explore phenomenal anarchism? What does the non-ideological critique of ideology entail? Come prepared for participation please.
This workshop is organized by Jason McQuinn — currently an editor of the journal Modern Slavery ( http://modernslavery.calpress.org ). Formerly am editor of Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed and Alternative Press Review and the North American Anarchist Review.
Nobody Owes No One Nothin’: Amoral egoism as an anarchist outlaw ethic Wolfi Landstreicher
After a brief examination of outlaw aesthetics as expressed in the fashion of outlaws, I will go into alegalism, amoralism, egoism, the difference between an ethic of one’s own/principles of one’s own and morality. I also want to look into matters of silence, anonymity, invisibility and audacity in relation to these matters and to certain recent events.
Bread Riots Down Global Supply Chains: From Cairo to Longview Gifford
The world’s most bountiful wheat harvest ever was in 2008 yet bread riots broke out in 33 countries — adding that year another 250 million to those without enough to eat everyday and pushing the world’s “food insecure” to over 1 billion. Food as a percentage of total household consumption costs has reached 73% in Nigeria, 63% in Morocco, and 61% in the Ukraine. Bread riots in Egypt were preceded by the April 6, 2008 general strike of textile workers who demanded higher wages to cope with wheat prices that had risen 130% (rice also went up 74%). Egypt is the world’s leading wheat importer; the U.S. is the world’s top wheat exporter. The Goldman Sachs Commodity Index of 18 foodstuffs was created in 1991 to allow specula-tors to invest in financialized futures on ingredients like hard red spring wheat, the world’s most popular high-protein ingredient in bread. After the 2008 food bubble collapsed, 200 million bushels of wheat were sold for animal feed while hundreds of millions went hungry. As Asian countries become more affluent, they eat less rice and more meat and bread. EGT Corporation in Longview, Washington has built a portside just-in-time delivery system to allow speculators to move wheat, corn and other grains for food and animal feed down global supply chains to growing markets in Asia. Japan is the world’s #1 corn importer; the U.S. is #1 exporter. EGT is doing what Wal-Mart does, but in reverse. Multinational food giants like EGT monopo-lize commodities from the farms of North America to food consumers across the planet.
The Whole is Worse than the Sum of its Parts Isaac Cronin
Everything begins and ends with theory, practical criticism, weaponry, consequential radical ideas, consciousness. To take on any topic separate from how it plays a role in the ongoing process is to create an opening through which posturing and manipulation can enter. I have never met a colleague who contributes to the radical dialogue who is not honest, compassionate, playful, creative and striving for self-awareness, whatever his/her character flaws. Outside of this process ethics and aesthetics are the playground of specialists and cops. Behavior is always good behavior unless it is very very bad. And beauty is marketable unless flammable.
We have to search for a way to fully realize that we need history as much as history needs us. A discussion could begin here.
The Other Anarchy Experimentation Committee – CrimethInc. Imagine that there are two ways to understand anarchism. First, as a value system rejecting all hierarchies; second, as a practice of disrupting value systems and everything else, a negation that opens up a space of Terrible Freedom. The former is an ethics; the latter, insofar as it is possible to embrace it at all, is closer to an aesthetic preference. This presentation continues the discussion begun in VORTEXT and TERROR INCOGNITA about the contradictory implications of our longings for freedom and anarchy. Can these conceptions of anarchism be reconciled? How can they inform our practice? And what disasters do they propel us towards?
PRDM and the Critique of Consensus Aragorn!
Consensus decision-making has been the de facto method by which anarchists have performed decision-making for a few decades. Uniformity (of thought, dress, and culture) has become an anarchist ethic as a result. When anarchists were small, in numbers and impact, consensus made a great deal of sense. We are among the few were willing to stay until the end of the meeting, which is how consensus is often determined.
As anarchists begin to eschew consensus a number of questions arise. Are we looking for another model by which to frame decision-making? Are we looking to break away entirely from the scale of decision-making that necessitated formal consensus? Is informality the superior form of anarchist decision-making?
These questions will be toyed with and a small proposal based on my projects of the past few years will be shared in detail.
You Look Like Shit: Fashion and Etiquette for Anarcho-bros Ada
How are we supposed to trust our comrades when every day they are shoving cargo shorts and ill fitting t-shirts in our faces? In this presentation, we will be looking at one of the pillars of femme methodology—fashion—in order to critique some of the invisible authoritarianism inherent in typical anarcho-bro styles. In particular, we will discuss the black bloc and imagine alternatives to the supremacy of the all black uniform as the image of global anarchism. It is apparent that the black bloc has almost entirely eclipsed its role as a tactic and become nothing more than a symbolic gesture or a sign of affiliation and in this way is indistinguishable in its usage from any other nationalist uniform. How can we move away from these symbolic fetishes and apply the concept of direct action to our fashion choices? And is it necessary, as some have claimed, to hold a temporary moratorium on the black bloc in order to allow new innovations in anarchist resistance? Far from mere frivolity, we will see how fashion plays a critical role in the efficacy of your projects, actions, crews, collective houses, romances, etc and is imperative to the goal of abolishing capitalism and the state itself. A solid grasp of fashion will offer anarcho-bros a path out of perpetual douche-baggery and can potentially guide you from bro to boulevardier. I repeat, this event is a truly bro-friendly safe space; you will not be shunned, spit on, or scratched at any time during this presentation.
The History of Dialectics: the case of magick — or — Occultism, Friend or Foe? Lew
Aleister Crowly says magic is good. Representing the antithesis will be Žižek and Frank Zappa.
How Do We Create the World?: Exploring Anarchism and Spirituality J. Woodsman
The theme I wish to explore loosely, of course, is anarchist spirituality, a topic which I have explored extensively both in letter and in life. I don’t plan to give any kind of presentation, but would rather guide a discussion meandering around the following topics:
- What different roles has religion played historically throughout the spectrum of human experience and culture? How does it present itself in the modern world? What is the definition of religion? What roles does it play in ordering society, addressing hardship, keeping wisdom, or orienting the individual in life?
- How does religion offer itself to anarchists and their understanding of the world? What can it NOT offer? What dynamics which are present in religions should anarchists universally reject? What is alienating about religions and what is wholesome about them? In what ways does anarchism as an ideology emulate a religion, for better or worse?
- Is there a discrepancy between those anarchists who affiliate with specific religions (whether pagan, Christian, or atheist) and their anarchist beliefs? In what ways do many religions disagree, but find common ground in anarchist ethics?
- Who are we really? How do cultural constructs of the self define and limit the quest for liberation–both within ourselves and in the greater community of life? How might spiritual interpretations of the self further our struggle?
These are just some general themes along which I would like to hold a discussion. How deep we scratch and where on the nose (so to speak) would be up to those attending.
The most perilous element in such a discussion is zealotry, so I will not be addressing dogma in any sense, except as a general concept. I do not intend to promote any one religion or spirituality, but rather to examine the psychological, social, and cultural dynamics of religions in relation to the practice of anarchism.
In a similar vein, I intend to avoid such over-burdened subjects as the legitimacy or necessity of violence, property damage, or militant tactics. I’m not opposed to discussion these things if they come up in context, and indeed they represent a crucial ethical and spiritual concern for the anarchist community, but they are so over-saturated in the anarchist dialogue that I hope we can focus on other subjects in the limited time available.
Its Core is the Negation Alejandro
An experiment in the clarification of language and an exercise in critique: setting out from the premises that ethics and morality are different, and that anarchists reject the latter while embracing the former, we will define a nihilist approach to ethics. Along the way we will clarify the triplicity of ethical universalism, relativism, and nihilism, sharpen our critique of liberalism and pluralism, and discuss the rela-tion between nihilism as a declared position and as the diagnosis of a condition.
10:30 – 11:30am
You Look Like Shit 100
11:30 – 1
Its Core is the Negation 103
The Whole is Worse than the Sum of its Parts 104
The Other Anarchy 105
1 – 2pm
2 – 2:55pm
PRDM: the critique of consensus 103
Bread Riots Down Global Supply Lines 105
3 – 3:55pm
A Communitarian Anarchist Ethics 103
The Unique or the Universal 104
Nobody Owes No One Nothin’ 103
How Do We Create the World? 104
The History of Dialectics: magick 105
5 – 6pm
snakes and ladders: breakout from the crystal palace 100