Egoist-Communism: Insurrectionism, Illegalism, And The Union Of Egoists W/ Dr. Bones

Dr. Bones is an Egoist, Communist, Insurrectionary Anarchist, Conjurer, and Gonzo Journalist. He joins Brett on the podcast to discuss his philosophy of Egoist-Communism inspired by the works of Max Stirner. 

Topics Include: Egoism, The Union of Egoists, Insurrectionary Anarchism, The G20 riots in Hamburg, critiques of Marxism and Anarcho-Communism, an open invitation for Brett to come to Florida to eat Alligator and drink copious amounts of alcohol in a graveyard, and MUCH much more. 

HERE IS THE INTERVIEW: http://revolutionaryleftradio.libsyn.com/egoist-communism-insurrectionism-illegalism-and-the-union-of-egoists-w-dr-bones

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Here are some links to Dr. Bone’s work:

http://www.theconjurehouse.com
http://www.godsandradicals.org

Follow Dr. Bones on Twitter: @Ole_Bonsey

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This Podcast is Officially Affiliated with the Omaha GDC and The Nebraska Left Coalition

Random Song From Our Friends: “Wasted On My Time” by Gamble, Gamble, Die
gamblegambledie.bandcamp.com

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On Empathy and Radicalism

I feel empathy extremely deeply. I cry when I’m alone over the struggles and tragedies of complete strangers virtually every day, and that’s not an exaggeration. Anything can prompt this: listening or watching someone else cry, interviewing victims of a school shooting, hearing a news segment about poverty or war, a parent worrying about a sick child, a meaningful interaction with a stranger, etc.

During my last depression a few years back, which was existential in nature in that my depression was centered wholly around my obsession with thoughts of death for months straight, I had a moment of deep revelation right before I came out of it: I was driving alone, in that internal hollow meaningless emptiness that is depression, and I just started feeling (not thinking, but feeling) the pain and suffering and sadness of the whole world. My depression was no longer about me and my feelings, it took on this strange, almost Buddhist-like universality. I cried intensely, alone in my car, for the whole world and everyone in it. I had always been a very sensitive, compassionate person before then, but something clicked in me that day and took it all much further.

I soon came out of my depression, and recovered. But that deep, bottomless well of empathy for other beings established itself inside of me and hasn’t left to this day.

Some people see my politics, and they think its too extreme, too passionate, some even say too angry; people who engage with me online and don’t know me personally sometimes think I’m this bitter, violent guy; but those who know me know that’s the furthest thing from the truth; I am a gentle, sensitive guy. But insofar as I do possess some of those qualities, its important to know that behind that passion and anger is this inexhaustible well of deep, white hot, soul-crushing empathy; everything I believe and fight for is driven firstly and fundamentally by my wish to not see innocent people suffer needlessly. This translates into a hatred for those who make people suffer needlessly, which translates into a radical approach to politics and social issues.

At the end of the day, I hate bullies. I hate people who have all the advantages and weaponize those advantages to shit on people with nothing. I hate those who prey on the weak and the vulnerable, those who are motivated by ignorance and myopic greed, and who use the political and economic system as a battering ram to help them to get ahead, regardless of the cost to others.

Every ounce of political anger in my bones blossoms wholly out my intense, existential love for human beings, my realization that most people are fundamentally good and are trying their best, and my deep-seated wish to see a world where justice and equality and fairness and *true* freedom actually exist and triumph; as opposed to this vampiric, vacuous, death-spiral hellhole we find ourselves living in.

Some view this as sentimental (which it definitely is) and moralistic (which it sometimes is) and even weak (which it most certainly is not); but I view it as my deepest strength and virtue. Its my primary motivating force in life, and it keeps me tethered to humanity, which prevents me from falling prey to cynicism, selfishness, and nihilism.

I am an open wound because this world is an open wound, and I wish to be in it and to feel the tragedy of it so that when I am rolled into my grave, I can say that I lived, that I did my best, and that I left it just a bit better than it was before I came into it.

Six Ways of Approaching and Interpreting Marxism

Marxism, like many philosophical traditions, is a huge series of concepts and ideas with plenty of complexity and nuance. Too often discussions of Marxism are befuddled and unproductive because people are using the term in different ways than their conversational partner, and so they end up talking past one another. What I want to do here is propose six basic ways of approaching and studying Marxism in an effort to bring some of these complexities and nuances to light, and thereby, hopefully, increase clarity and understanding with regards to discussions of Marx and Marxism. I am motivated to do this because I think Marx, more than ever, offers an essential and important way of orienting oneself to current social, political, and economic events in the pursuit of understanding them fully. However, for a plethora of reasons, there continues to be a stigma attached to Marx and Marxism, and a large reason for this is because so much confusion exists as to what exactly it is; I hope this short essay will clear some of that confusion up.

Here are six general ways of understanding Marxism (in no particular order):

1) As a historical, empirical subject of study: If you were asked, for example, to do a paper on Marx in a college class, you would likely approach him in this  way; as a subject of third-person research or of a biography, in which the historical facts of his life and writings are explicated in as objective a way as possible.

2) As a doctrine: as a core set of ideas. This is done by extracting what one considers to be the central points of Marxism, and molding them into a coherent doctrine that can be subscribed to or refuted. This involves abstracting away from any changes in his thought over time in order to put forward a cohesive net of basic ideas. It is a rational reconstruction of Marx’s thought based on what one believes to be the most important, or most central, aspect of his thought. 

3) As a conceptual revolution: One could view Marx, fundamentally, as starting a *tradition* of thought; as re-conceptualizing capitalism and history, and thereby spawning a philosophical and political tradition. Much like Darwin and Freud re-conceptualized biology and the mind, starting long traditions which expanded on, edited, corrected, and carried forward those basic ideas.

4) As a branching-off: You could study the thought of *the people who called themselves Marxists* throughout history (Lenin, Adorno, Althusser, Gramsci, Debord, Kautsky, Luxemburg, etc.). So Marxism just becomes a loosely connected net of different strains of thought as represented by different thinkers after Marx. In this interpretation, Marxism becomes identical to the thought of historical figures who called themselves Marxist.

5) As a historical application: You could study Marxism merely by studying the ways in which his ideas were put into practice, focusing more on how they operated in the real world (Soviet Union, Cuba, China, etc.) instead of on the ideas themselves or the methodology he proposed. In this interpretation, Marxism most often becomes synonymous with Leninism and Stalinism. Many of Marxism’s opponents take up this interpretation as the ONLY valid interpretation for obvious reasons.

6) As a methodology: as an interpretive lens through which one can make sense of historical and political events and through which one can analyze the economic paradigm. It can be seen as a continuing project of consistently applying the methodology that Marx put forward. Under this view, it matters less what the exact ideas of Marx himself were, and instead focuses on the WAY in which Marx proposed we analyze the world.

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I study Marxism largely via #3 and #6. And insofar as I call myself a Marxist, I mean that I view him as a conceptual revolutionary who put forward an interpretive lens and a methodology (namely historical and dialectical materialism, theory of alienation, the critique of political economy, etc.) that I find particularly useful in analyzing current social, political, historical, and economic events. It is not a dogma or a doctrine to which I blindly adhere, rather its a general approach I take, fully backed up and informed by my own critical thinking, ethical values, and political / historical context. Beyond that basic orientation to Marxism, I also find #4 extremely important. Marx was just a human being, and as such he was wrong about a lot, and many thinkers that came after him took his thought in new and exciting directions, and expanded on his philosophy in such a way that it was improved and updated, and continues to be improved and updated. I place myself in that long tradition of people who studied Marx and his philosophical heirs, and who continue to update Marxism and apply it in new and unique contexts (as Marx himself would have wanted).

But NONE of these ways of interpreting Marxism are completely wrong. All of them are valid ways of studying Marxism, its just a matter of realizing that all these approaches exist and are valid in their own ways, and then being conscious about how you are using the terms involved at any given moment.

Lots of confusion stems from people talking past one another by using different approaches without being clear, in their own minds as well as explicitly, about which one they are using. I’ll often get into arguments with people interpreting Marxism STRICTLY as #5, when I am using it in the ways outlined by #3 and #6. Such discussions are bound to fail because we are literally talking about different things without realizing it, and no constructive dialogue can blossom out of that fundamental miscommunication.

So, whether you are sympathetic to Marxism or are firmly opposed to it, I hope you keep these distinctions in mind going forward, and do your best to articulate them explicitly when engaging in dialogue about Marx and Marxism. It’s not only an intellectual obligation, its also a moral one, because in these times of rapid change, ubiquitous corruption, and constant upheaval, understanding Marx, and what he had to offer, is more important than ever.

To My Fellow Americans, In Regards To The 2016 Election…

… by all means, vote against Trump.

But never forget that Hillary will intensify the very neoliberal economic policies (which essentially favors the interests of international finance capitalism over the interests of working and poor people in any given country) that ultimately gives rise to the reactionary, white nationalist backlash of which Trump is the current figurehead.

Fascism (as we see on the rise in parts of Europe) and it’s slightly more moderate, Americanized version: white nationalism, are a reaction against the economic conditions created by neoliberal policies pushed by the Establishment of both parties in this country. It’s the wrong reaction, to be sure; and it doesn’t understand the causes and effects at play sufficiently enough to solve the problems at hand. But voting for Hillary to defeat this movement, which is currently coalescing behind Trump, is like throwing gasoline on a fire to put it out.

And voting for Trump would be the equivalent of just starting a hundred more fires, of course. Both choices are bad in that fundamental way.

The sophisticated response to neoliberalism, to be sure, is the international and intersectional solidarity, the emphasis on economic and political equality, and the social and cultural progress pushed by the radical Left.

But since that option is unlikely to be taken seriously any time soon, it seems we are in a pretty shitty situation as a country and as a world. There’s not a lot of reason for optimism at the moment. But as long as we are trying; as long as we are standing up for what’s just; as long as we are fighting; and as long as we have each others backs; there is always SOME room for hope and optimism…

In Praise Of Idleness: Valuing Leisure In A Culture Of Accomplishment

I am not an “ambitious” person. I do not desire fame, wealth, or recognition. I do not want to spend 12 hours a day at any job, and I do not want to climb any professional ladders. I do not have a compulsion to achieve a prestigious professional title or to compose a great novel or album for which I will be remembered after I die. My interests are constantly shifting, and as such, I do not doggedly pursue any single thing in such a way that would make me an expert in that field or area of study.

In our culture, which values accomplishments above all else, saying what I have just said is almost taboo. It might even be seen as a clear sign by many that I am lazy. But this is not the case. I go to work everyday, I read multiple books a month, I am an attentive and caring parent, and I keep a very clean home. I am just not wired to seek “success” in the way that our society understands the word. Success, in our society, is synonymous with professional achievements, which in turn is heavily associated with wealth. Wealth is seen as an objective measure by which we analyze whether someone is successful or not. High level politicians with power and influence, highly regarded doctors who get 7 figure salaries, famous musicians who sell out huge venues, and professional athletes who spend hours every week working out; these are the epitome of success in our society. But what about those of us who aren’t wired that way? What about the introverts? What about the people who value leisure and relaxation over accomplishment? What about the people who would rather spend hours everyday building up their relationship with their children, instead of staying late at the office, trying to gain an edge on their coworkers for that promotion opportunity?

Well, I am just such a person.

I like lounging around. I like drinking good beer with even better friends. I like long walks alone in the woods. I like to read books for fun. I like waking up in the morning with nothing to do. I like to meditate. I like love to sleep. I like to go camping. I like to eat good food and then lay down for a nap. I like wrestling with my kids. I like going hunting for Pokémon. I like to drink red wine in a small theater while watching a film.

In short, I like to relax.
I like leisure.

I don’t like deadlines. I don’t like high-pressure situations. I don’t like *having* to do something. I don’t like stress of any sort.

What makes a good life? Well, people are different, and so there are lots of different answers to that question. There are people who think that a good life is one where they accomplished something great. For some people, having a PhD after their name is what drives them. For others, accumulating wealth is what compels them forward. For still others, achieving something that will outlive them is what motivates them. And that’s great! People are all different, and those sorts of motivations are wonderful. We certainly need those sorts of people in the world. But for me, what constitutes a good life is not achievements, but rather relationships. Relationships with my children, with my friends, with my family, and with my community are what motivate me. I don’t want to sacrifice a second of my time, that I could be spending with them, pursuing some professional goal. I want to live humbly, but happily; and for me that means not constantly stressing out about achievements or accolades.

When people on their deathbeds are asked what they wish they would have done differently in life, the majority of them answer that they wish they’d spent more time with their families, they wish they cared less what others, and by extension society at large, thought about them, and they wish they had spent less time at work. I take that to heart.

I won’t be a lawyer or doctor; I wont be a famous musician or artist; I wont win a Super Bowl ring or live in a mansion. I wont be remembered generations after I die. No statues will be made of my likeness, and no buildings will be donned with my name. But I will, hopefully, have the most wonderful relationship possible with my children, I will have friends who love me deeply, and I will have family who never question my priorities or loyalty. Ill have a garden, a humble home, some well-cared for cats, a library stacked with hundreds of books, a fridge full of craft beer, and a life that I can reflect on happily.

On my deathbed, I wont be surrounded with plagues and certificates, but I will be surrounded by people, by relationships fostered and carefully tended to.

In short, the goal of my life is not wealth, fame, or professional achievements.
The goal of my life is love, laughter, and leisure.

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“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
– Henry David Thoreau

Aesthetic Winter Solstice – A Poem

An old man with cold hands reaches out in embrace

and every leaf from every tree falls down right into place

Branches droop depressed under the weight of quiet snow

The river carries chunks of ice that bob in it’s pious flow

a soft violet glow emanates from the moon up above

and its light reflects off the snow: shiny diamond dust

an owl spreads its wings and leaps out of a pine tree

leaving a trace of color against the sky, so bright and so clean

Admittedly, Aesthetic pleasure this intense frightens me

Kantian Sublimity; and I know that I should just get up and leave, but…

but I just… want to stay here… I just. want to. stay here

The Winter of our Discontent – A Poem

Dark indigo snow packed tight on the forest floor

Tracks from an unknown creature are featured to and fro

Frozen branches in dead trees and they creak like old souls

A swirling cosmos that’s vacant, royal blue, and so cold

Black stratus clouds pirouette through the sky; silhouettes bold

Swept up by the wind, like waves that open up and then fold

The moon stands guard: galactic, crooked, gold

The stars are blurry and burnt orange wherever I Van Gogh

 

A chimney in the distance attached to a brick cabin

an old witch with white eyes and red lips like dragons

Sitting by a fire place, fucking with black magic

She looks up at no one, and mumbles something tragic,

She says: “there is no truth. There is no proof;

that you exist, We are accidents. Get over it.”

Then she tilts her head back and laughs

And the camera pans out…

 

There’s a wolf on a mountain, howling at nothing

A Fox eats a rabbit, tears out its bloody stuffing

A hawk swoops down, and snags a rat in its talons

A human starts a fire, wishing someone would see his talents…