“The Appeal of Anarchy”

Sunni's picture

I’m finding some interesting, er, artifacts as I sift through stuff I’ve been carrying around for years. One thing that caught my attention last night is a copy of Fifth Estate’s spring/summer 2005 issue. I believe it was an essay—the title of which I’ve used for this ramble—that sparked something within me.

Under the title, it says “by John Moore”, but in smaller print after the essay one finds this note: “The text has been adapted from renderings of ‘The Change of the Goddess’ by Starhawk and Charles G Leland. And—amazingest of all—the link given is still good! Even so, I want to put it here, so I shall.

Amidst ecstatic visions, Anarchy appears. She says:

Whenever you need anything, once a month at the full moon, assemble in the wilderness—in the forest, on the heath, by the seashore—for the state of nature is a community of freedoms. Recognize the imminenece of total liberation, and as a sign of your freedom, be naked in your rites.

Dance and sing, laugh and play, feast on the fruits of the earth, the delights of my body, make music and love—for all acts of pleasure are my rituals. And I am that which you find in the fulfillment of desire.

Abolish all authority, root out coercion. Share all things in common and decide through consensus. Shake off the character armor which binds and constrains. Let the wilderness energies possess you.

Cast the magic circle, enter the trance of ecstasy, revel in the sorcery which dispels all power. But commit no sacrifices. Repudiate harmfulness, exploitation, and slaughter. Rather venerate all creatures and respect them as different but equal to you.

Total transformation thus becomes possible.
This rite shall continue to be celebrated until Anarchy becomes universal.

At the time this magazine came into my possession many elements of this piece did not resonate with me. Yet I kept it. And today, nearly all of it does (it may in fact be all; I haven’t enough spare brain cells to ponder on that at the moment).

Sounds "appealing" to me...

And under the link "Anarchy becomes universal", he says:

CONTROL FIGURES arise when anarchic communities, immersed in beatific dreams, visions and vocations, inadvertently delegate too much authority to an individual who is temporarily assigned the task of maintaining the (to them) subsidiary and trivial apparatus which sustains material life. The distracted community does not realize until too late that the strong individual gradually accumulates power through continuously performing the disparaged maintenance duties. The individual constructs a hierarchy to facilitate his responsibilities, and this hierarchical institution is eventually employed to enslave the free community. As the institution expands and becomes more impersonal, it gains a momentum of its own and becomes unmanageable, even by its ostensible rulers. Hence, its deistic, absolute powers, which are then projected or displaced onto the cosmos itself.

As opponents of control, we should not assume an adversarial position (like the forces of counter-control), nor identify ourselves with the oppressed (the controlled); rather, we should situate ourselves within the matrix of anarchy, and become uncontrollables. Only then can we develop a liberatory praxis, which simultaneously promotes the disintegration of the entire control complex, and facilitates others to reintegrate within the creative potentialities of anarchy.

Rebellion of the counter-control type is not inimical to the control forces: it is allowed because it actually reinforces the power structure.

This entire quote reminds me of Butler Shaffer’s observations in “Calculated Chaos.”

BTW, Sunni, how much cleaning out are you getting done? :-) When I stop to read and muse, I’ve found that productivity gets lost in the shuffle.

Good stuff.

I hope to have time to think on it more deeply later this week. Thanks, Pat.

BTW, Sunni, how much cleaning out are you getting done? :-) When I stop to read and muse, I’ve found that productivity gets lost in the shuffle.

Believe it or not, this is the first thing I paused in my work to read. I don’t have the entire magazine, just the cover, and by itself it looked like junk. I opened it to try to see why on earth I’d kept such a beat up scrap of paper; and of course I’m glad I did instead of just tossing it. Othewise, I’ve been quite ruthless in pruning ... although more will be done once we’re settled in at the new place. No time at the present to take photos for Craigslist offerings.

Sounds oddly familiar

"CONTROL FIGURES arise when anarchic communities... inadvertently delegate too much authority to an individual who is temporarily assigned the task of maintaining the (to them) subsidiary and trivial apparatus which sustains material life."

Egad! That's the rise of the hydraulic state, all over again.