a particular anarchist's breakdown and explanation of theory and thought.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Letter to Tim DeChristopher

What follows is a letter to Tim DeChristopher. If you haven't heard of his case, I recommend you look through the news. I also suggest that, in solidarity, you write a letter to him as well.

Dear M. DeChristopher

I have loosely been following your story in the media. I think it is amazing what you have done. I am also facing some legal troubles. I was arrested with the Drone Resisters in Syracuse, NY 22 April. That was my first “real”1 activism outside of local issues and High school organisations. I want to assure you, as I'm sure it's already very clear to you, that there are many people out here in support with you.

The Anarchist Recipe Book (Crimethinc) states that all who face arrest or jail are heroes. They are the Joe Hills, Saccos, Vanzettis, and Haymarket martyrs of our movement. Luckily, martyrdom these days doesn't usually entail execution. Just reminding you that you are indeed a hero.

In his book We Have Been Invaded by the 21st Century, David McReynolds writes that “every last mother's son and daughter among us, rich or poor, wise or foolish, has the inalienable right to be jailed for his beliefs.” With that understanding, I'd like to thank you for your will and your boldness to defend the Earth and protect the human species from the dangers our society is creating.

Reminding you that you are a hero,

and in Solidarity,

Ian William Schlom

1Viz. national.

More notes on Proudhon

I went back to the library after I had returned What is Property?, and transcribed all the notes I had made in it. For some reason I am going to post it up here. While I was scanning it, I forgot to make a picture scan, so it's just a pdf and available here. So that's that.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Notes on Proudhon

I had to give back What is Property? to the library, and thus tear out the notes I had put on the pages. In an effort not to lose them, I am posting them here.

Then Proudhon was not free, for he was a "victim of erroneous opinions."
This is about Proudhon being racist. In What is Property? he says that people with an erroneous opinion are not free, ergo Proudhon is not free from his Anti-Semitism, not to mention all the other European Chauvinisms.

The capitalist is stealing the value the laborer created... Property is theft.
This is about the part in Chapter 3 where Proudhon creates the picture where by calling wages a proper exchange for the value that workers create, the capitalist steals from the workers the values they had added to whatever substance they labour on. Thus while it is not exactly accurate to say that Property is Robbery, the contemporary system of property is indeed theft.

St. Simon coined this maxim!
This refers to where Proudhon quotes a version of the popular maxim "to each according to his capacity; to each capacity according to its results!” Of course, this is not the Socialist form of "From each according to their ability; To each according to their need." It caught my eye nonetheless.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chomsky - [On] The IWW and Anarcho-Syndicalism

This is some email communication I had with Mr. Chomsky. I'm putting it up here because it ought to be up here. I sent this while I was reading the Industrial Worker, and also wondering about the Cornell ISSE and if it could play any role is actually contributing to any change in workers' rights in Ithaca NY, or just be another college reading circle. Chomsky's response follows.

Ian Schlom ... Sun, Aug 7, 2011 at 5:23 PM
To: Chomsky...
Dear Professor Chomsky,
I've heard rumor (Wikipedia) that you are a member of the IWW.
Do you think that the IWW is a viable means for bringing worker justice or even anarcho-syndicalism?
If it's not too much, I'd also love to hear your position on strategies that are openly socialist, like Socialist parties or organisations, if those tactics are "too early" and put off people.

Thank you,
Ian Schlom

Noam Chomsky Sun, Aug 7, 2011 at 5:51 PM
Reply-To: chomsky...
To: Ian Schlom ...

Yes, I’m a member. The IWW was quite significant a century ago, before it was wiped out by Woodrow Wilson. It’s be slightly resuscitated in recent years, and is doing some good things, but it’s a collection of very small groups.

The problem with Socialist organizations right now is not choice of strategies, but bringing them into existence. Right now most of the battles are defensive: trying to preserve what was once achieved. If that doesn’t change soon, it will be too late.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

The New Age and Sherman Alexie's Reservation Blues

I have endeavoured to make a post every month for this blog. Today, I have finally gotten around to picking something up to publish on this blog. This is an essay I wrote in an independent study. Since I don't really make a distinction in my school work and my political activity and thinking, I think it's be fine if I published this here.
I was once part of the New Age movement. I was a Wiccan and performed rituals (Mainly sabbats at the end of the year). I then became Asa Tru and believed in my interpretation of the Norse Gods. I then became a materialist, first a deist, then what I called an Apatheist - convinced that spiritual beliefs are purely cultural and psychological, and that the existence of a spiritual being didn't matter to anyone. I now identify as a Secular Humanist. Since the cop didn't know what a Secular Humanist was, it says on my first arrest report than I am an Atheist.
So, in writing this, I was casting away the New Age that had made a strong impact on my development.
P.S. I still am interested in Norse mythology and the allusions to it in poetry are very easy. I recommend the Poetic and Prose Eddas, as well as the sagas and lays that form the litereary manifestation of the Norse. It's good reading.

The New Age and Sherman Alexie's Reservation Blues 28 March 2011

By Ian W Schlom

Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie has a theme that addresses the New Age movement. In it are Betty and Veronica, two white women from Seattle who are obsessed with what abounds in the New Age movement – an Indian Fetish.i This can be very insulting and harmful to Native Americans. For instance, in one point of the book, Thomas Builds-the-fire, after hearing a song by Betty and Veronica, collects all that he has in his house and puts it in a pile to watch and make sure no one else steals anything from him any moreii (Alexie 1995 pg.296).

Walking in a New Age aisle of a book store one can find a shelf of prominent New Age gurus discussing the deceased tribes and how the special wisdom of those Native Americans can enhance your livelihood, power, finance, sexual prowess, and save the world as we know it. This is often condescending, as if selling the idea of their culture and establishing an 'Indian' idol,iii as if forming a new New Age cult stealing from tribal customs can be considered reparations or earn forgiveness. Stereotyping of Native Americans began with the first encounters. First the Puritan conception of the 'Ignoble Savage', the barbaric murderer who scalps women and children and burns the villages of innocent whites. Then with the wave of European romanticism came the 'Noble Savage', who's intimate knowledge of the wilderness gives him a spiritual connection and becomes the first conservationist.iv Respectable yet dumb, the noble savage usually plays the side-kick to the white hero who gleams the info from the noble savage's interesting lessons from the tribe.

Trying to assume the identity of the idolised Native Americans is a failure at the beginning. Many whites find out they might have had Native American ancestry and spend a vacations at reservations, calling themselves Indians.v As Sherman Alexie remarks through several of his key characters, “You can't be an Indian unless once you wished you weren't.” This suggestion strikes the heart of the 'Indian fetishist' tendency in the New Age, which proclaims as Betty and Veronica did “My skin is white/ But I'm Indian in my bones.” (295) This movement that acknowledges the genocide against their idols ignores the insensitivities of its worship, putting forth the idea that 'anybody can be an Indian', just as anybody can be an ancient Celt or German, assuring New Age customers of their legitimacy and authenticity.

This brings me to the quote of the 'Cavalry Records' businessman, which exemplifies the propellant of this Indian Fetishism: “...There's been an upswing in the economic popularity of Indians lately...” (92) With large companies recognising the genocide that took place, and the rediscovery of their cultures, they capitalise on this opportunity and give consumers a chance to give their lives meaning by supplying the 'Tool-kit to be Like the Hopi' and the 'Little Big Book of Indian Wisdom'. Given the unfulfilling lifestyles of today, access to an alternative lifestyle for a short time supplies the illusion of meaning and the impression that your life is interesting and worthwhile. Thus Indian Fetishism is used to escape from and invent meaning within Capitalism, which has in general alienated its members, instead of directly challenging the system and raising the Social Question. Indian Fetishism, along with other currents that exoticise foreign cultures, presents the façade of anti-capitalism because it is alternative.

This industry fuels and solidifies the cultural colonialism that is Indian fetishism. Idolisation and fetishism is still part of the colonial enterprise to destroy and assimilate Native cultures, perhaps inadvertently, by generalising, glamorisingvi, as well as inventing Native cultures, the truth of those cultures becomes twisted. Also, making these generalisations allows for a fabrication of myths and imposed culture, for both native Americans and New Ageists to enter and adopt, for instance Builds-the-fire and Victor's attachment to an eagle feather when boarding an aeroplane. In an article, Sherman Alexie writes that “after reading such novels, I imagined myself to be a blue-eyed warrior nuzzling the necks of various random, primitive and ecstatic white women. And I just as often imagined myself to be a cinematic Indian, splattered with Day-Glo Hollywood war paint as I rode off into yet another battle against the latest actor to portray Gen. George Armstrong Custer.”vii The loss of true and original cultural traditions are replaced by the mythical/stereotypical and fabricated traditions. It is in this way that the New Age Indian Fetishism assimilates Native Cultures.

Throughout the novel the characters are harsh towards New Age believers. Both Chess and Builds-the-fire repeat “You can't be an Indian unless once you wished you weren't,” and other characters also repeatedly make fun of Betty and Veronica, asking where their crystals were, exposing the general hostility towards the New Age movement. This may be just ridicule of the New Age movement, not exclusive to those Native Americans, but the antagonism is made clear the way Sherman Alexie crafts the story. Take the above mentioned part, where Builds-the-fire collects his things to prevent them from being stolen. When the band and Betty and Veronica meet, Veronica is surprised to find that the idol she'd been praising as an holy or grand thing, coerces her into performing a sexual act (43). Veronica's case can provide the omen that the Indian Fetishism does not provide the meaning or satisfaction it's supposed to for those in the New Age movement, and obviously provides inaccuracies through stereotypes.

Ultimately, this Indian Fetishism is harmful and insulting to Native Americans, and it does not serve to actually give meaning to those who would seek it through Indian Fetishism. This is one of the points provided in Sherman Alexie's Reservation Blues. The best way to go forward from here would be to stop searching for meaning through sensational avenues, cut off the demand for those sensational avenues, and harness some manner of sensitivity and awareness of how behaviours and actions can effect the flesh behind the idol.

iI will be referring to the New Age stereotyping and idolisation of Native cultures as Indian Fetishism and actual American Indigenous peoples and cultures as Native Americans.

iiAlexie, Sherman. Reservation Blues. New York, NY: Grove Press, 1995. Print.

iiiBy which I mean an idol to the idea of their culture.

ivBarnes, Michael. "1665-1860: The Development of Two Savage Stereotypes." Authentic History Center. The Authentic History Center, 17 Sep 2010. Web. 27 Mar 2011.

vOne website declares the benefits of Native American ancestry, taxation exemption. "Uncovering your Native American Ancestry Entitles You to Tribal Benefits." Native Net. Native-Net.Org, 2011. Web. 27 Mar 2011.

viThat is by making the human “Indian Chief” into some kind of messiah.

viiAlexie, Sherman. "I Hated Tonto (Still Do)." Los Angeles Times 28 Jun 1998: n. pag. Web. 24 Mar 2011. .


Alexie, Sherman. "I Hated Tonto (Still Do)." Los Angeles Times 28 Jun 1998: n. pag. Web. 24 Mar 2011. .

Alexie, Sherman. Reservation Blues. New York, NY: Grove Press, 1995. Print.

Barnes, Michael. "1665-1860: The Development of Two Savage Stereotypes." Authentic History Center. The Authentic History Center, 17 Sep 2010. Web. 27 Mar 2011.

"Uncovering your Native American Ancestry Entitles You to Tribal Benefits." Native Net. Native-Net.Org, 2011. Web. 27 Mar 2011.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Proudhon - 1840 - What is Property

Proudhon is the philosopher who coined the term "anarchy" as most anarchists today understand it. Although Godwin founded the tradition of political anarchism, Proudhon gave the movement its title and its socialism.
So although he says "I can claim no merit save that of priority of utterance," he cannot even claim that. Nonetheless, his book, What Is Property?, is worth reading, especially if one would like to be well read in the anarchist tradition and history. Since prior formatting is annoying, with horizontal lines in the middle of a sentence, or the pains in reading a Google Book (although they can be cool! what with being scans of ancient books stuffed in old libraries), I have decided to format a PDF of this book. It's uploaded in my files and available for viewing here.
In chapter five, he discusses anarchism, and defines the new term.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Nestor Makhno Addition to the Burning Library

I just finished formatting another PDF. It can be downloaded here and of course is available in Makhno's own aisle of the Burning Library.
The PDF is My Visit to the Kremlin. It's his account of interviews with Lenin and Svernlov, two important Bolshevik leaders. The eBook is quite short, only 23 pages - good for summer reading.
I'm not certain why I am making so many PDFs all of a sudden... Oh right - it's less trying than actually writing.

Hancock 38 Drone Resisters

Just let me waste some time and distract myself from homework.
37 people were arrested in civil disobedience to the use of drones in warfare. They did this because the use of drones in combat and surveillance scenarios is real fucking illegal. Really, 38 people were arrested, since someone's truck left tire tracks on Hancock airfield's lawn - even though he was advised to park their by the authorities for the demo.
I am going to be finishing and hopefully publishing an article about drones in war. When I am finished, I will post a PDF or links on this blog.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Conquest of Bread

I just finished formatting a PDF of the Conquest of Bread. It's available here and in the Burning Library for download.
This is a very quick and inspirational little book.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Noam Chomsky Page Added

Check it out, the Noam Chomsky Page!
I will soon add the few RSS links I have related to Noam Chomsky, so, be ready to have fun with that...

Noam Chomsky has written so much, it fills up too much of the page on the Burning Library, so I decided to create a page dedicated to his works alone. Hopefully, if anyone reads or uses this site, they will find this helpful.
note: right now it's just his bibliography from his page, but I am slowly going to start building it up, starting with what's in the burning library.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Walk-Out and March in Ithaca NY

students from the Lehman Alternative Community School walked out at 2p.m. in solidarity with Wisconsinites and democracy, and in unison with students in Portland. During lunch the protesting students made signs for which to carry while marching. At 2p.m., teachers gathered to see off the high school students, and after hearing a speech by the principal Joe Greenberg, telling them that those who signed out to protest would be getting community service credit, the students left.
They marched down State st. to the Commons to gather, in which two students spoke on why they were there. They decided to march the entire commons chanting their chants: "We love our teachers, and their union too!", spelling UNION, "Ithaca Fights for Union Rights", "Ithaca Fights for Teachers' Rights". After, they chanted at the Ithaca Journal, trying to get media exposure. Then, went to New Roots charter school to get anyone who would come out, marching then down to Ithaca High School (IHS), chanting all the way (although the back of the long line was less intense in chanting). When they got to IHS, chanting on campus while the school was in session made officials come out telling the protesters to come back after school was over, at 3:32.
The protesters retreated to the bridge. Three IHS students joined them on the bridge. In total, according to a count by a member of the protesters, there were roughly 95 students there. At 3:32, the protesters came to the bus lot, and chanted on their lawn, in accordance with ICSD officials. As it was disbanding, students with signs met with IHS students and asked them if they would like to know why they were protesting.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Direction

With the additions to this blog's capabilities, the pages that can be added and my crude news analysis, I am thinking about what the direction of this blog will be. Given that I have an extremely small readership (although blogspot tells me that I have a mini readership in Russia... how strange) I am thinking about what direction I want to take this blog. I have put up writings, given my not so well-thought out opinions, and provided some of my well-thought out opinions. But on this blog, I've written about what I've done enough. I'm gonna write about this blog's future. I've been busy. I've been thinking of utilisation and purpose. Combined with this, I am thinking about how useful this blog is to the success of my purposes. Among my goals, both long- and short-term, are campaigns on utilising a listserve for an LACS family group and creating a student group at LACS to help with community outreach for the IC Living Wage Campaign, broadly finding fundraising opportunities for an LACS Family Group, getting signatures for a petition, popularising the Anarchist idea, and in general disseminating information and resources for those who would like to read about anarchism or what it is. The Burning Library has accomplished some of that. This blog would not help with the listserve situation, although if you would like to see any posts from afar, you can subscribe to the RSS here, and if you have any ideas on fundraising in Ithaca or the surrounding area, please forward me and my FG any info. To popularise the Anarchist idea, you need to first have an arable soil, there is little that my blog can reach. Dissemination is what the Burning Library and part of what the blog is about. The Living Wage issue, however, might be something I can use this blog to help with. I'm just not sure how this blog will help with that.