CrimethInc. - (2007)
The revolution is not going to happen tomorrow
it's never going to happen.
It's taking place right now.
It is an alternate universe
that runs parallel to this one,
waiting for you to switch sides. (frontis.)
Ten thousand generations had dreamed of flying, and we needed movies to numb our boredom in the air! (23)
Ten years ago, a summer had been an eternity; now entire years were flying by in a blur interrupted only by deaths, marriages, and other catastrophes. There is no more commonplace observation than this, but to my knowledge no one has yet set out to study why children and adults experience the passing of time differently. (30)
The first time I stole a pair of shoes, I was so conditioned to my place at the bottom of the social ladder I stole the cheapest ones in the store. (37)
After the first few arrests hit home, we had to look for a more sustainable approach. A couple broke off to pursue careers as hardcore criminals; the rest of us scaled back the more hazardous activities and stepped up everything else. We focused more and more on the surplus of our societyit was less carefully guarded. And what bounty! Why fill our pockets inside the store with one eye on the security guard when we could fill up a whole pickup truck out back? (38)
The accountant regarded with such pity by runaway teenage lovers may in fact be happy when he arrives home from work in time for his favorite sitcombut it is a very different happiness than the one they experience on the lam. (41)
When it comes to dodging the imperatives of your conditioning, you'll find that indulge and undermine is a far more effective program than the old heritage of "renounce and struggle" passed down from a humorless Christianity. (42)
And yet I was determined that my life would be something out of the ordinary; if I could not undo Daniel's death, at least I would avenge my own. I counted the days, my savings trickling away as I waited for the right opportunities and compatriots to come along. Based on my experience leaving the office, I surmised I'd be able to recognize them by the terror they would inspire in me. (43)
It used to be said that the only free men are the hobo and the king. They are indeed the only ones who can claim to be lords of all they surveythough for utterly different reasons: the former possesses the entire world by releasing it, while the latter still owns only what he can conquer. Here we can see the paradigms of abundance and scarcity in action as philosophies of life. (54-5)
What about your wages at work, or how much money the lRS takes from you? These aren't just inevitable "facts of life"they are the manifestations of conflict as the system of human relations, every man for himself and force against us all. (65)
"Is that what you think? No wonder you're a reporter."
This was terrible form for anyone hoping for sympathetic coverage; we journalists are notoriously thin-skinned and have the instruments of revenge continuously at our fingertips. Could it be that these savages truly didn't give a damn about good press? (71)
Real freedom has nothing to do with voting; being free doesn't mean simply being able to choose between options, but actively participating in establishing the options in the first place. (82)
Politicians make careers out of claiming to represent others, as if freedom and political power could be held by proxy; in fact, they are a priest class that answers only to itself, and their very existence is proof of our disenfranchisement. (83)
To be free, you must have control over your immediate surroundings and the basic matters of your life. No one is more qualified than you are to decide how you live; no one should be able to vote on what you do with your time and your potential unless you invite them to. To claim these privileges for yourself and respect them in others is to cultivate autonomy. (84)
Autonomy is the antithesis of bureaucracy. There is nothing more efficient than people acting on their own initiative as they see fit, and nothing more inefficient than attempting to dictate everyone's actions from abovethat is, unless your fundamental goal is to control other people. Top-down coordination is only necessary when people must be made to do something they would never do of their own accord; likewise, obligatory uniformity, however horizontally it is imposed, can only empower a group by disempowering the individuals who comprise it. Consensus can be as repressive as democracy unless the participants retain their autonomy. (84-5)
In a social arrangement that is truly in the best interest of each participating individual, the threat of exclusion should be enough to discourage most destructive or disrespectful behavior. Even when it is impossible to avoid, exclusion is certainly a more humanitarian approach than prisons and executions, which corrupt police and judges as much as they embitter criminals. Those who refuse to respect others' needs, who will not integrate, themselves into any community, may find themselves banished from social life but that is still better than exile in the mental ward or on death row, two of the possibilities awaiting such people today. Violence should only be used by communities in self-defense, not with the smug sense of entitlement with which it is applied by our present injustice system. Unfortunately, in a world governed by force, autonomous consensus-based groups are likely to find themselves at odds with those who do not abide by cooperative or tolerant values; they must be careful not to lose those values themselves in the process of defending them. (86-7)
In consensus-based structures, there are no fake solutions, no ways to suppress conflict without resolving it; those who participate in them must learn to coexist without coercion and submission. (87-8)
The point is, I'm warning youyou're dealing with fucking ANARCHISTS! We didn't sign your social contract! If you're willing to coexist with us, we'll share everything we have with you, we'll go to any length to work out conflictsbut if you want to be the boss, if you want to give orders and always be in the right, then whether you have a security guard or a whole civilization behind you we're going to have to FIGHT until one of us is DEAD, because one thing we will NOT do is BE RULED!!! Are you listening to me? (92)
EXPECT RESISTANCE (93)
Becoming a specialist is a self-selecting process: only those willing to concentrate on one subject to the exclusion of all others can excel at it. Thus engineers and computer programmers are willing to build weapons of mass destruction and crack the codes of "subversive" groups for the government, for they have never taken the time to reflect seriously on the effects of their effortsthey simply do what they have learned to do for whoever provides them the opportunity and salary to do it. An expert who does his job well without ever reflecting upon how his work impacts the social whole is potentially extremely dangerous; without such men, there would be no nuclear weapons. At the same time, without an analysis of the part they play in society, each of these experts experiences society as an external force acting on him without his participation, even though it is comprised of people like himself. (99)
The world of political theory is rife with abstraction and one-dimensional thinkingthe words you are reading right now, for example.*
* Intellectuals have quite an aptitude for displacementwhen they suffer from the ennui of their dry, disembodied existence, they respond to this suffering not with action but with more desiccating and disembodying. All too often their real discontent is diverted into theory and abstract analysis, and thereby into career and status … and thus, more status quo.
Ideology creeps quickly into any language, languages that seek to oppose it no less. If you want to experience passion and liberty, the last thing you should do is make up slogans about them. This footnote itself is a pernicious little thing, just more abstractions about abstractionsput the book down, stop conceptualizing, get out there and live, whatever that means! Enough expounding, rationalizing, glorifying ... distrust any words or symbols intended to capture the things that make life matter, political pomposities above all! Words can only express reality accidentally, and then only briefly. Cornered by the inertia of our own rhetoric, we must finally take a stand against speech itselfand for expression, but in action alone, the only place where it can avoid being burdened by the dead weight of ideology. That is to sayit is only sufficient to speak when, in speaking, you are acting. So unless you have hit upon a way to turn all this theory into actual lifethrow this treatise aside!
[The treatise, of course, goes on undaunted, forgetful of its own demands, as ideology always does and is.] (127)
As the masked window-smasher yelled at the law-abiding liberal protester who tried to restrain her, "It's not your job to stop me from 'making your cause look bad,' but to distance yourself from my actions as much as you have to to keep the respect of the demographic you're trying to reach! It's my job to make something happen here so they'll have to listen to you in the fucking first place!" (157)
War, in particular, is a safe ritualit is the protector of the status quo, the reassertion of normality. It is no coincidence that the runaway disaster of September 11, 2001 was followed immediately by a series of warsand which calamity has ultimately been bloodier, especially if you count foreigners as human beings? (191)
Perhaps we have everything backwards heremaybe disasters aren't so great after all, but the real Disaster, the worst one, is, the Disaster we live every day: the emptiness of our full schedules, the trivia that trivializes us, the machinery that runs on rivers of blood. That would explain why we feel so free whenever something, anything, however dangerous or difficult, interrupts all this. Perhaps the excitement and immediacy that break out in emergencies are simply indications of a return to our natural state, in the break they herald from the full-scale slow-motion train wreck that is our society. If that is the case, then it is not disasters per se that are liberatingit is, rather, a question of perspective: a "disaster" that disrupts a life of constraint is experienced as a moment of liberation, when that normal life" is actually Disaster in disguise. (193)
If you want to subject yourself to a real test of mettle, try failing. Struggling to succeed can be demanding, but failure is trying like nothing else. Attempt an impossible task everyone around you considers senseless and stupidyou'll be surprised at what a challenge it is to exist in exile from the world in which people can make, sense of your actions. Commit yourself to a project you know to be beyond your powers; note how hard it is to bear your own hurt pride when things go awry, even if you knew from the start they were bound to.
Failing that, start out small: make a habit of telling jokes that fall so flat people flee your company, announce in a public square that you are a juggler of great expertise and then try to juggle for the very first time before the crowd that gathers. Even frivolous exercises like these, which sound like mere child's play on paper, can be excruciating in practice. This seems senselessfailing should not be difficult, unless one is invested in success. That it is so hard for most of us to fail even in meaningless ways reveals how much we covet success for its own sake. Being able to fail fearlessly before others is one of the hardest skills to master; being able to fail before yourself without shame is harder still. (205-6)
Remember, our species has been around for hundreds of thousands of years, but the kind of centralized power and social control we see today is only a few thousand years oldand only became globalized in the last few hundred. (277)
There used to be as many human beings in the world as there are avowed anarchists today. (284)
It's not too late to live like there's no tomorrowall hope for the future depends on it. Say your last words now, and start from there with whoever joins in. Dreams do rebel and come true. (306)
Perhaps you'll want to meet us; unfortunately, that's not possible. You can never meet the characters in a book, even if they are real people. Better you get to know us here and real people in real life than conflate the two. (314)
We'll tattoo our faces to celebrate that there are no more borders to cross, that we can meet our oppressors in open war instead of having to smuggle ourselves through their checkpoints. Police stations will be evicted wherever they appear, officers will walk the streets in fear of being picked up and taken to squats, and the next time terrorists fly airplanes into office buildings, no one will be working in them. (339-41)
Driving through the wilderness across overgrown freeways on our species' last tank of gas, we'll see fireworks shooting up into the night sky on the horizona flare saying "don't rescue me!"
A decade to track down technicians to disable warheads and deactivate nuclear power plants; a generation to replace grocery stores with gardens and cough syrup with licorice root; a century for dairy cows and toy poodles to go feral; five hundred years to melt down cannons into wine goblets, water pipes, and sleigh bells; a millennium for the dandelions growing out of the sidewalk to become redwoods.
Or else none of this will happen, but we will have the adventure of our lives; and if we meet again, we will build another castle in the sky. (342)