Activism, opposition isn't everything. At home I'm plagued by indecision about what is my home and what is the life I want. I want to go all the way with the communities side but it causes me suffering because I know anarchy is just another political system which if taken to the extreme is just as bad as any other. It's based on means and methods, structures and theory. Still it's strange to think about the left wing now that I've learnt about anarchism.
In that sense it's about giving everything to the state, rather than in capitalism where private owners control everything. And neither of these is as free sounding as anarchism's communities, collectivisation and opposition to all kinds of power structures. I know though that the left is more permissive of anarchism, and my cousin Muchy from Cuba, in her descriptions of life there showed that the state provided for about 75% of what was needed each month, and the rest is up to your own initiative. This initiative was a mix of stealing, scavenging, odd jobs and community strength. It works because everyone knows each other and takes care for each other. But at the back there is state authority. And that's where Anarchism comes in.
I wonder how it proves it's basic premise, if there is anyone who has written about this in detail. They say it's reflected in tribal systems dating back to the ancient civilisations whose workings and reasons we've forgotten, via Taoism and the various revolutions squashed by both Stalinists and Capitalist states. And I've an inkling that at a small level - kibbutz-sized, it can work, whereas at a higher level you need something else, more formal and structured, but still transparent and not based on power - maybe more like the UN in theory?
How does Buddhism fit with this? As a soka gakkai member this is really important to me. We have a supposed structure which is bottom-up, and yet there is so much stuff about Sensei - which is what I've had a problem with for so long and really want to get to the bottom of. Districts are the basis for this: a basic unit of maybe 10-20 people in a local area. This is where real activity is based. And where buddhist sociologists like Jim Cowan apply comparisons with local councils - the real power is at this level, and everything above it should only function in bringing districts together and allowing large scale decision making. But if this is the case, why doesn't most of our guidance and study material come from other members from other districts around the world? I really want to work towards this being the case. But the truth is I'm an example of the laziness in many people where yes, I can learn from Sensei so he's still up there and so are the top leaders giving guidance and dashing about on planes everywhere.
I need to gain the same experience through buddist practice. I'm also so interested in organisational methodologies though. So I need to read studies on the district in buddhism and draw comparisons to maybe collectivised farms in republican spain during the civil war or other large anarchist controlled systems and see how this can form a part of society. Ultimately we work towards the best society we can and by practicing buddhism I can stay on a realistic path and not get caught up in means and methods, or in vegging out in front of the tv. Kosen rufu and chanting each day for no more Soka Gakkai. One day it won't have to exist anymore because we'll be there with things in our hearts and in our trust and we won't need these structures. In my lifetime I hope!
In October there's the next gathering of Radical Routes. A weekend dedicated to meeting with other members of housing coops and communities working for positive social change. But Bush would say go work for halliburton. Positive social change is in the eye of the beholder. And Trets. Both really important.
For our little co-op - renewable energy - a small wind turbine providing elecky in winter, coupled with solar panels for summer - would we maybe be able to light a small part of the house with it? Would it make a good investment, in a place like Britain? In Italy, Duino - where the Bora blows hard, cats go flying past, wind turbines over cooperative communities would make the communal experience very satisfying - even allowing for generation of enough wattage for a small band to play!
But hold on to your hat.
And the fiesta system. I would put together the fiesta system for all the communities strewn across the UK if I had the time and dedication. Maybe that is this elusive dream job. Do I want to be renowned for my creativity only, or actually do something more menial yet actually of practical use? Setting up the systems to allow for large spending - bringing people to sell their goods periodically - for maybe 2 different seasonal festivals for each town. Travellers would then become market people moving between communities following the fiestas to sell their produce or move it between different places and you'd have a low cost distributed commerce system - perhaps independant of any non-local, unethical or consumerist produce. Of course, there would also be music, and arts - and rituals! modern post pagan rituals would probably be the most used as it's the tradition in alternative britain.
And the fiestas themselves would be like festivals - a time to bring more people to their area and sell what they make or bring publicity or other benefits, although they would also be an expense: although I'm not against any form of charging outright - in the andean allyu this works because each place puts down the resources for it's own festival, but then expects each other area to offer their own resources when it's their turn - so you gain the rest of the year, but have to work hard when it's your turn. Larger scale fiestas might be a problem - some festivals will undoubtably be more popular. I don't know how this problem was balanced in the time of the Aymara kingdom - but I imagine the Andean Ayllu was always of a definite small size - a few families, and had systems for splitting when they grew too much, so no fiesta would have been beyond the means of a single or a couple of local Ayllus.
On my way to work and I'm walking down the hill having said goodbye to Andy, my new neighbour who takes the train with me and will live to the left in our new Daisy road house. I think about Matthew from Exeter with his improvising ensemble meeting in that echoey church and going to work every day to do stuff with Maths when he dreams of caravanning around ireland with a troupe of radical farmers or whatever it was. And yet as strange and unique he is he fits into normal society only in that abstract way - the maths he shares with us normal people.
Lunch break and I go to Fresh and wild. Also a conglomerate but if the people that I'm meant to be protecting with that reasoning are people like the "clifton health food shop" with their terrible staff and service then I'm sorry I'm with dr evil. But evil is not good for messing with and I pay 3.38 for a crappy but tasty malaysian chicken curry in a cardboard container with loads of free lettuce, which I consume to great pleasure with my rice from before. Still some left for tomorrow. At least there's something to look forward to at work. Also at work I organised the Cube Cinema rehearsal before going down to buy food - the Improvised orchestra that I take such an active part in cos I just want to be able to work with that amount of improvisers at a time, and especially at a time like now when improvisation in bristol is starting to get known by musicians. The cube sees us as their mascot band so we have to march from the cinema to the malcom X centre in June for the Venn festival, composing and assembling some kind of moving improvising setup.
And then there's the possibility of playing at Ashton Court in the cube's blackout tent. Maybe to a film. Team brick has invited me to play a gig too - although I can't remember the name of the gig or the same gig but different event that I was supposed to go to to get an idea of the vibe. And I have to play mandolin on it.
Out from work and it's a run to the train and then to Besley Hill, estate agents where our cooperatively bought house is slowly churning in the throes of acquisition. It's 4th time no less. Fourth time it changed hands. And the only slightly tarnishing thing is that it used to be owned by an executioner. After that it's just the beauty and quaintness of living with such active and aware people - although I'm already aware of a certain discomfort at being the only man in the house - A project being done together with E, a lovely irish lesbian organisation-motivation head who is also organising a worker's cooperative to take over the beleaguered Easton community centre - against the evil bid of the city academy and all the labour bureomonstruosity that that implies. She is so confident and interested in the way to be leaders in this world, our little bristol niche of recyclers and fair traders, where cycling and going to the g8 is a regular event. And outside of this haven we have to explain, and we can't even explain carshare. Utopia in inner-city red. Red of the knife in the mugger's hand.
They end up taking the house for 135 - our first offer, so the survey doesn't need re-doing, the numbers don't need re-jiggling, and we can go ahead from here in all the getting together of mortgage and other legal bits and pieces. We all got a marshmallow from Gareth too. This kind of thing wouldn't happen in Spain. I was at my estate agent's office once and some Okupas passed by. He rushed outside to them, but they had gone. He said when they passed they would grab all his flyers and throw them on the ground. I ran into a g8 protestor. His face was covered with a handkerchief. They were setting bins on fire, in our poor Barcelona neighbourhood. THey were turning them over. The police were chasing them with batons and we were running through town to get home. Our portinaia, Nuria? Went to the market and narrowly escaped being beaten in the violence that ensued. We all ended up in a heap at the foot of our outside door. But I remember that boy's stare. I looked at him with a scowl holding my daughter - as if to say - why did you come and burn our bins? We were on your side. Don't you see this girl in my arms?
They must get all caught up in the camaraderie.
Up this morning after 5 postponements in the new downstairs bed, upstairs being occupied by K's mum and here already I don't know if we'll be going with pseudonyms, but well let's say you never know if I've amalgamated two people into one or anything like that, cos for example catso-fatso is a real living thing/person/concept.
So instead of chanting I made for the prospect of mocka or whatever - "macchinetta" coffee and cheddar cheese on toast. And then a cycle down over streets and past Easton houses on my crappy bike with no wheel-guard bits and a big bell in the wrong bit that doesn't ring. Down home to Foster St to make a pot of rice to take to work as a half-meal. I'd buy something to go with it and have a really cheap meal. Like bhajis from J Sainsbury, but Sainsburies is horrible and is a member of the supermarket oligopoly that exploits workers in the third world and producers all over the place so by the time lunch came. Ok and here's a whole morning gone but it's just work. On my way to work on the little train that takes us into town - where Claire, who took our tickets for over 2 years is now gone for good. I overheard another passenger telling her "have a nice life!" but felt too tired or shy to go over and find out if she was really leaving. The commute leaves me mindless. On my way I thought about last night's show and the impro jam with Hugh on transparent plastic orange square guitar and Tim on his stonertronic with pedal effect whilst I accompanied with Tabla worrying about the crowd. But I wasn't worrying about that. Last week we'd done it too. I'm starting to figure out some showpieces. First the rules of free impro and how the show should look. We resolved to take on the task of filling in next week's full slot - there is no headlining band so our usual jam from 8:30-9:15 is going to have to triplicate. I proposed adding 20 minutes of solo set each, perhaps with a couple that can be performed together. I only have one of that kind. It's backwards mandolin and percussion in that one, but it could as well be 2 freely improvised sound sources from tim and hugh, and we could drag it out for another minute as we have the chance of dragging something more out of it. And then Paris/Eskimo Cabaret, which I practiced today. That can give another 7 minutes, but I need to practice it again. And finally that country death song about the superhero and let go and andana3 to appeal to the masses. Not that the masses care. A violinist got up last night after our freaky set with casio toy keyboard and 2.5 in a bar antics. A girl shouted from the audience after he'd got the whole place stomping to folk ditties - can you do amazing grace? And then she got up and sang it, and it was really beautiful. My flatmates had a chat with her after that. Anyway.
The purpose of these effects is to create source materials for live visuals that use lo fi or real life materials for moving visual reasons. 1960s psychedelic screens a la early pink floyd need only be the start. All people can join in just learning different ways of producing DIY video effects. Try it! You can do it. Anyone can.
Instead of treating a prison as a punishment, it should be a place of rehabilitation. Of renewal and rebirth into society cured of all evil. The convicts should enter into a complex social system - a heirarchical team based game of points to score freedoms with each good trait or learned positive behavious rewarded by the other prisoners in a collective team based big brother futuristic nightmare. It would be a bootcamp. A rough place but which instills cameraderie, and social values. Convicts would have their own television stations and would have to gain popularity votes to get the best positions, at all times aided by teams. Or teams can set up businesses and an entire small market system is put in place whereby they can actually make money - perhaps valid outside the prison walls as much as inside.
Users voluntary register on an independant ID registry whereby anyone on it is in a web of trust that builds up and dissolves temporarily. They register to have their ID implanted or even just worn on the body as a label - on a piece of jewellery for example. All this contains is a tag. We create a binding legal place for this piece of hardware to exist so that research in this area can never be held privately by an organisation. All uses must be available and accessible to all users of the system. Encryption programs would be the most obvious possibilities, or monitoring systems, even trust networks identifying where someone is at any one time (to allow tracking of an elderly person in a house or for artistic theatre purposes).
The reason is not some underlying commercial gain or future takeover by some archevil nemesis. It's just doing it ourselves before they do it to us anyway.
So this never materialised as a flash animation, although I did storyboards for it. I never wrote a song about it, but I wrote a text and a legend behind it where the pipes are actually tiny veins in the eyes of the enemies of some really forgotten king. The enemies walk forever in the maze of veins, but one day the incantation might be broken and these monsters would be set loose on the touristic city (I imagine a version of venice) where the hall of eyes exhibit was housed. One day a monster would find himself in this strange place with a guestbook on a plaque and tourists walking around with cameras and children. And maybe would berserk or would fade into a dream again.
And I tried to do it as a dhtml nightmare back in the nineties.
But Half life 2 is the best outlet for it. Again a distorted deathmatch map: the only weapon you're given is the crowbar, you seldom meet other wanderers, the tubes are randomly generated, go on far too long and small bugs run around giving 1 health each time. The tubes are also a boy's height. So you have to crawl at all times. And then there's random teleporting going on. One random teleport that happens rarely will take you to a museum, where a hall of eyes lines the side, where you can go on a rampage and kill tourists, but with some physical constraint to make it harder (like guards with actual guns). I think the experience of someone using it would have to usually be just the cramped sensation of wandering around in the dark in a tube, which sometimes goes underwater and where you sometimes find bugs, and it's never the same and then you get bored and leave. But if you stay in it for a really long time, you might find another wanderer (and both die from the ensuing crowbar fight) or you could get teleported to another part of the tubes or if really really lucky to the outside tourist world. But most people would just get bored and leave. And a few people would hopefully get claustrophobic and related emotions to do with confinement and dark tunnels up ahead.
text on screens all divided and growing pulsating with text being written by furious typers flaming nine geese a braying writing up validating working pushing papers on their desk. Random channel terms grabbed from
Prisoners have no weapons. Guards could have tasers or machine guns. Period stuff would be best, but actually feel is what I'm after rather than authenticity. Every game is team deathmatch mode. You can have guards with the "not-damage-each-other" bit set so the only thing you can do is kill prisoners if you're a guard. Every prisoner dies if map is run to completion. Objective for guards is to herd prisoners into gas chamber. Objective for prisoners is to stay alive as long as possible.
Could be extended to allow graffiti-ing, or game could be modded to do more with bodies once players are dead. Could be videoed for a machinima event and destroyed.
Silence, buffoons! He said: "Thank you past, you knew my future".
But what I am about to say is not for you to know.
It rides unworthy in the tide.
There is that certain ghoulishness, that feeling that something is not right in the kitchen. Something is not right behind the wiring and the walls. It is the feeling that all kinds of sofas, be they IKEA, or old mouldy things left outside by our neighbours, are the most useless and uncomfortable things know to humankind.
I want to create a better future for all you people. But alas my mind is lost like yourselves and I can't keep it together in my head. Repeat after me: "Take responsibility! Admit that everything about all your problems is because of you! You yourself are the one who should change!"
And they demanded that all people immediately take responsibility for their lives, chasing people down streets and subjecting them to torture until they could convincingly prove that they were making positive change happen in their lives.
And then they said. Americans! Yes, you people who take even in your name, possession of an entire continent not all of which is really yours. I am an Aymara, standing on my pachamama and I am more American than you. Americans! I know that you are sorry, but this isn't some stupid thing to send your photos around for. Why don't you spend your time campaigning for this to end? That is why we are still in this mess.
They seemed to blame everyone but themselves.
You belligerent swine!
Soon however, desperation drove them insane, and we instituted the barriers, and we humanely began to feed them, on condition that they control their population and keep good ties with us. After some misunderstandings, they caught on to the benefits of living peacefully with us. Although by that time their numbers were dwindling.
It was then that we took off for another plane. We had understood that our mission here as a race was over, and we had discovered a technology that could catapult our brains across the planets, always aware as long as our silicon vessels could absorb the stars and feel the winds, propelling themselves along on the tails of comets.
But to die on earth, once our minds had been copied, was something many of us were not prepared to take. The starvation we had been put under by the predator race. Those snarling mobs of fat angry drunken monsters. They would come in to kill us for fun. They would video the killings. There was even a sizeable population of predators already living within our confines, which had been halved during the repercussion slaughter of a war.
We just knew now, that we could not lose, and now we were going to give them a good whipping. We were not without the same powers they themselves had. Did they really believe we were so backwards, because there seemed to be so few of us? They could not control us, because they would not venture into the area we lived in because of the radiation and the diseases. But we lived quite fine with those diseases and treated them like you treat anything. We would stir ourselves in one single blow, to show those monsters what was going to happen. We were going to fry every single chip on their energy grid.
To do this we began to use them against themselves. But of course, our feelings of brotherly love made us welcoming to those of the predators that had forgotten the wars and ventured out in a spirit of friendship. So if they seemed friendly we would meet them, and talk to them about the pachamama.
[Follows song about pachamama]
But for us it started long before that. It started when we moved house and ended up living in a rural part of the united states, by the mountains where no one knows if you or a bear will be their next visitor. And in there, there was a place that was incredible and known to few. Such a beautiful unique place.
Outside the streets were washed with rain, lights rarely lighting up the puddles in powerful neon designs. There was a stillness in the air even though everyone was out for the morning commute. Sandwiches were bought and sold, coffees were carried on to trains and left for the next person to look at all the way to Preston.
"We'll just do what we always do, man" - said Nick, who was a tired little south Indian Sikh with a turban, who nevertheless got into all kinds of mischief stuck in a kind of vortex of aggression that led him to various crimes committed around the parks and footpaths of the inner city. It was the raging twenties. Survive this and you'll have survived hell. Suddenly drawn from your privileged life as a child, into manhood, in the big bad world, where people bump into you then call you a prick just for being in their way.
"Turn that damn radio off!" - Roared Joan to her daughter, afraid that she might damage her eardrums and finding the invasion... "...of space infuriating. Mental space, emotional space, and just simply territory. Now back to homeopathy: I'm going to be putting one of those ads in the paper and getting an 0845 number - no-one ever thinks of doing that. With the resulting exposure I'll put Amanda into a private school where they're going to really give her the attention she deserves..."
In reality though, Amanda was killed at the age of 57 by cancer, but in all her years - her fight with cancer being only the last of a series of great struggles that had left her with the wisdom of the ancients - she never learned a thing from her mother's harsh self-conditioning. None of Lady Amanda Pie's wisdom was gained in private schools - which happily bounced her around as she was expelled and suspended regularly through high school. She had already been through two terms in one, the previous year to the year when these events take place. Her mother could only but hope, concerned as she was for her to be able to avoid the surrounding slums.
Huge long skyscraper - towering above, almost swaying with pride at your smallness. You look up and all you see is white paint cracking in the distance on a huge mass of grey stone. In that last term, she'd seen a girl get raped, when she was out camping. They slashed her in the face with a knife after that. Why did they do that she thought. What bastards.
She lies gazing at the same spot of plaster on the wall, for minutes at a time before shifting and getting back into her magazine. But look into her eyes and maybe catch a glimpse of the colourful world inside. Words melting and abstract forces clashing and flowing alongside each other. Music, movement, muscles and dancing were her way of talking and breathing. Charlotte was still on her mind, but that book and it's visions were convincing her that she would not be the only one to dream up such situations.
Sunday, October 24, 2004 1:41:00 PM
They were sort of covered in this very light, thin layer of fur. Almost invisible. They were stupid.
They did the most menial of tasks in Guinea. After the infighting wars like this, Guinea was one of the only places where it was possible to set up a scientific lab, although with great difficulty, but Dr Thorton had managed it. Living like any other of his line of thinkers and aristocrats, on the luxuries of the new age, he had set up a thriving business in catering.
The work he did outsourced the virtual enjoyment of thousands of rich people all over the world, in their various enclaves and rich cities. We didn't really spend too much time finding out about it, but it was Dr Thorton's world and as far as they were concerned, it was the only world that existed. We were outsiders. We were able to be free, maybe more free than they were, although we never knew what tomorrow would bring and sometimes worried about our livelyhood. And they didn't care about us.
I once saw two of them fighting over a piece of bread. They really fed them badly, but managed to work them out so that they put loopholes through any animal rights laws. They didn't actually contain any human genes, but more the reverse engineering of the bits that make us able to work hard together with a complex social structure that artificially gave exponential growths in data retention with each passing year. The memory of an elephant, although it was actually kept in chips manufactured where Elephants had once lived. But in Guinea, life changed with the introduction of these simple self procreating animals. This is why our parents used to kill them and were ousted from the city. They used to go on shooting sprees at night just picking them off. No rights but those of their owners meant it was only slightly more punishable than killing animals or vandalism. And who knew if the judge was just jealous of his outsourcing from the cases that actually made money.
Stupid hairy yellow diseased faces. Dependence on oil based technology. Their existence depended on their profitability. If they didn't work, their chips would not be renewed.
When I was nine I first heard about it. They were going to pilot them in a factory. We all went to see them arrive. But they arrived in a posh bus and went right in. They were herded in with electric shock poles.
A lot of regular, human workers were usually herded in like that though too, so it was no different. They would use satellites or some technology to look through the wasteland that used to be government rubbish tip, now melded with the rest of the countryside in a giant expanded moving trail of rubble progressively closer to the city.
They would go there and round people up, because it wasn't legal to get people to do what they did to you. And people wouldn't remember either. But if they actually hired people, the queues had a great tendency to turn into riots. People were too hungry, too desperate in the city to act with restraint before they were fed.
They would instead take you and do whatever torture it was on you for brief moments at a time. A day, a week, or permanently, meaning you disappeared.
But this forced labour was probably not paying off enough. And that was when even the more priviledged of us couldn't work anymore. When the mutants became mainstream, we just turned to counter culture, those of us who could.
And counter-culture welcomed us.
Although it meant being good at guarding from scavengers. We'd just take off in convoys to escape the cities. Now our dreams of somehow surviving there were gone. The old western dream.
The cities reduced to working and killing grounds for the quickly reproducing mutants, stupid obstinate mutants who never dreamed of anything. Us, we lived back with our grandparents and parents and plenty of other people in the countryside. When I was 15 we went to town though, a cousin had died and we all went for her funeral. A huge display was in the sky to mark her passing. She had been someone important. As the gliders surfed the sky above I saw a dead mutant in the side of the road. I was 15 and I was glad they were starting to be treated like we once were.
All Finagle Laws may be bypassed by learning the simple art of doing without thinking.