Dave – the editor
The last five years spent on and then outside of the margins of the anarchist movement here in the UK have been an ‘interesting’ experience to say the least. Matters have reached a point over the last eighteen months where we felt we really couldn’t stay silent any more, so we’ve started to speak out. Sometimes, you can’t hold back and you have to tell it like it is. Speaking a few home truths is a cathartic and clarifying experience. Cathartic because the tension that has been building up finally gets a release. Clarifying because that tension is now expressed in a written form that can be worked and expanded upon for the future. It’s also clarifying because it reveals who our real comrades are and throws light on those elements we really need to turn our backs on, once and for all.
What about unity we hear you say? When the pursuit of unity forces you into living a lie and biting your tongue when your conscience dictates that you should be speaking out, then you have to question what the purpose of that unity is. There are times in life where there has to be a break up and a parting of the ways before something new can be built. Over the last few years, it has felt like we’ve been going through a long process of breaking up with a movement we once had a lot of time for. It’s only been over the last year that we’ve sensed, and then slowly become a part of, the emergence of a new and genuine current of resistance.
WHAT ARE WE FACING?
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is the biggest threat we face to what it means to be human. The Covid crisis was leveraged to accelerate the already existing drive towards the 4IR. For stating what has become increasingly obvious, we’ve been branded as ‘conspiracy theorists’, often by people we once regarded as comrades. For the record, this is one of the more recent pieces we’ve written on resisting the 4IR: Some thoughts on resisting the Fourth Industrial Revolution 11.5.22. You would hope that this threat could be faced off by the strength of a united movement. You probably don’t need us to tell you that’s far from being the case!
Not only do we have to face the foe in front of us in the form of the 4IR – we also have to deal with those coming in from the side and from behind. Who are these people I hear you ask? The sad, tragic even, reality is that many of them are our former comrades. The divisions started over identity politics, in particular, the toxic rows that broke out at and in the aftermath of the ill fated London Anarchist Bookfair in October 2017. These divisions were massively exacerbated from March 2020 onwards as the Covid crisis broke and much of the world went into various forms of lockdown. Those of us raising questions about what was being done to us and why were exhorted by so called comrades to ‘follow the science’. It was as if overnight science went from something that in principle at least, was always questioning and challenging itself in pursuit of the truth to something that was set in stone and wasn’t to be challenged. What actually happened was that the truth about science all too often being the results you want and pay for started to reveal itself to a growing number of people. As if this wasn’t enough, further divisions have emerged over how to see and react to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine!
Who has changed, them or us? Let’s put it this way, the last five years have certainly been a wake up call for us. What was a naive, misplaced faith in the anarchist ‘movement’ has been replaced with deep cynicism served up with a side order of bitterness. Has the movement changed? That’s a difficult one to answer now we’ve admitted that it’s us who have woken up! Having said that, when we look back ten years, it just felt there was more scope for genuine debate over contentious issues than there is now. Okay, it was far from perfect but at least questions could be raised and dealt with in a civilised manner rather than at best, being told to ‘educate ourselves’ or worse, being hounded out of the movement. What’s worrying is what feels like an increasing lack of intellectual honesty and depth. Sitting alongside of this, it also feels there’s a lack of any spiritual depth in a number of elements in the movement.
Definition of ’transhumanism’
in British English
(trænzˈhjuːməˌnɪzəm IPA Pronunciation Guide )
the proposed use of technology to allow human beings to develop beyond their natural capabilities
Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers
transhumanist (transˈhumanist) noun, adjective
This is a ‘development’ that will change what it means to be human and poses some very serious ethical questions. If we’re being honest, we’re still only skimming the surface of the issue and there is a massive learning curve ahead before we can claim to fully understand the ethical implications. This is just one of many attempts to get to grips with this: Bioethics and Transhumanism – Allen Porter | The Journal of Medicine & Philosophy | Published 11 May 2017. However, we feel that we’ve seen enough to state that scientists playing God with what it means to be truly human in the already dystopian world we have to endure is not going to end well.
For the record, we do recognise that when it comes to deciding what are and aren’t ethically appropriate medical interventions that supposedly enhance the human body and mind, there are grey areas:
How far do we go in terms of medical interventions and accessories, plus enhancements to the body before we can say, this is transhumanist and utterly wrong? Obviously at one end of the scale, things such as glasses, artificial limbs, stents in hearts and the like are relatively unproblematic. The same applies to a number of tried, properly tested and continually monitored medications. We’re not complete Luddites when it comes to the application of a range of medical interventions if that’s the only route back to health and functioning as normally as possible. However, at the other end of the scale we have talk of developing babies outside of the womb and neuralink technology that ‘digitally enhances’ the human brain. Hopefully we can all agree that these developments are dystopian, go beyond what we understand as being fully human and as such, will get stopped in their tracks.
This quote was taken from an earlier piece we’ve written: Some thoughts on resisting the Fourth Industrial Revolution 11.5.22.
Despite some people trying to point out that transhumanism and trans rights activism are not the same as each other, once you start to delve into it, it becomes crystal clear that the two have become inextricably linked with each other and cannot be separated. As is explained in some depth in this piece: The Transhumanism in the Middle of the “Gender Identity” Living Room – Jennifer Bilek | The 11th Hour | 24.6.21. That would go a long way to explaining why those of us who have been calling out the transhumanist aspects of the 4IR agenda keep getting written off as ‘conspiracy theorists’ by some of those heavily invested in trans rights activism.
Trans rights activism, rather than undertaking the absolutely vital task of challenging gender stereotypes and the expectations that come with them, instead opts to try and defy biology. That’s involves hormones, other forms of medication and surgery while counselling and talking through complex issues get pushed down the priority order. Defying biology separates us from our bodies. It is transhumanism and is also a key part of the 4IR. The drive to defy and transcend biological reality has been eagerly seized upon and is encouraged by what can best be described as the medical industrial complex. What are those demanding easy access to what to all intents and purposes is experimental hormone ‘treatment’ along with surgery that can best be described as mutilation actually thinking? The fact they can’t see that these demands are feeding the greed of a rapacious medical industrial complex shows a worrying lack of intellectual and also, spiritual depth. These are a number of readings we posted up a while ago that delve deep into the complexities of this issue: Transhumanism, the great reset & the ‘new normal’ – some important readings 2.2.22.
INTERSECTIONALITY AND CLASS
noun: intersectionality; plural noun: intersectionalities
the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage. “through an awareness of intersectionality, we can better acknowledge and ground the differences among us”
Simply talking to working class people on the doorstep brings home the fact that while people obviously experience issues because of their class, other aspects such as sexual discrimination, disability and ethnicity also have an impact as well. It should be a matter of common sense to recognise that these issues overlap with each other and that a bit more nuance is needed when coming up with an analysis of a situation.
This quote was taken from an older piece where we write about intersectionality, identity politics and class amongst other issues: The debate that won’t go away 20.2.22.
There are elements of the identity politics / gender identity / trans rights activism crowd trying to claim the mantle of intersectionalism. Trying to put it politely, we’re not entirely sure they actually fully understand what was originally conceived as a legitimate and useful analytical tool that looked at how various oppression interacted with each other but always acknowledged social class. Class seems to be getting swept under the carpet by some of this crowd who at the same time, turn round and accuse us of having a romanticised view of what the working class is. Namely, white and working in factories. Which is utter bollocks. Having lived in Thurrock since 1978, we’ve seen it change from being a base of declining heavy industry such as cement manufacturing to becoming a major logistics and retail base. Along with the changes in employment, inward migration has wrought a lot of changes to the demographics of the borough. As a consequence of that, we’ve seen massive changes in the working class in Thurrock as it has become more diverse in its make up. So the last thing we need is a lecture on class composition from the type of activist who has most likely never set foot in a f**king warehouse!
It’s these activists who unwittingly throw fuel on the fire that’s the divide and rule tactics those who presume to rule over us deploy in a bid to keep us at each others throats. Activists like this have to be called out for the class traitors they are. The fact that they can’t see the damage they’re causing is not just frustrating – it’s making us bloody angry!
WHERE’S THE DEBATE?
The one thing the experience of the last five years has brought home to us is the need to never accept anything at face value and to always interrogate agendas. This is the case with identity politics, gender identity, the response to Covid and now, how to view the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and last but by no means least, the response to ‘Monkey Pox’. What also have to be held up to rigorous scrutiny are the mantras that some activists hold up as ultimate truths that can never be challenged. We’re sorry but we don’t remember having the discussion about how ‘trans women are women’ came to be an unchallengeable truth. Equally during the Covid crisis, we don’t remember the discussion about which part of an always uncertain and questioning science became ‘the science’ that had to be accepted as the gospel truth.
Frequently we have been told to go off and ‘educate ourselves’. Funnily enough, that’s what we’ve been doing our level best to do for the last five years. The fact that we’ve reached different conclusions to many of our now former comrades suggests that too much of what we once mistakenly thought was anarchism is in reality, a cult set up in such a way that it will never have any relevance to the mass of ordinary people. It feels like it’s been set up to fail… For the record, these are our thoughts on the need to constantly question a position in order to stay relevant: Re-assessing positions 1.2.22.
However, there’s a caveat… As tempting as it may sometimes feel, it would be wrong to pin what feels like an increasing lack of debate within the anarchist movement onto the failings of anarchists in that movement. That would merely be dealing with the symptoms of a deeper malaise rather than addressing the root causes. There is a broader issue with a general dumbing down of society and culture and the downplaying of genuine, informed debate. It’s not just us getting older, grumpier and nostalgic. We know that back in our youth things were far from perfect but, we also remember sections of the media being willing to treat us like adults and provide us with proper, informed commentary instead of the dross we’re fed now. We also remember a university system that was more willing to foster a culture of open debate. When you have an education system and a media that willingly refuses to seriously discuss and debate contentious issues and has been doing so for a number of decades, please don’t be surprised when the consequences of that inevitably filter into activism and anarchism.
Earlier on, we briefly mentioned the seeming lack of spiritual depth in a fair bit of what we’ve seen as passing for anarchism. That spiritual depth relates to what it means to be human, which in essence should mean being a part of nature and the wider universe as opposed to trying to dominate and exploit it. These issues are discussed in some depth in this conversation between Paul Cudenec (a.k.a. Winter Oak) and Tessa Lena: The Great Fascist Reset: A Conversation with Paul Cudenec aka Winter Oak – Tess Fights Robots | Published May 20, 2022.
The 4IR and transhumanism in particular sets out to sever our relationship with nature. It sets out to play God with nature by manipulating, controlling and perverting it for its own deeply dystopian ends. We’re sorry, but it has to be said that pumping your body full of experimental hormones, undergoing mutilating surgery and becoming a life long, dependent customer of the medical industrial complex in a bid to ‘express your authentic gender identity’ is playing right into the hands of the transhumanists.
This may not go down too well in some circles but opposition to a dehumanising 4IR and the transhumanism that’s an integral part of it will have to have some kind of a spiritual dimension to it. In a world where the very essence of who we are is to be hacked, invaded and commodified in pursuit of dystopian, nefarious and anti-nature ends, then our opposition to that has to be grounded in some kind of sense of oneness with the world. That means a sense of oneness with each other and the natural world of which we’re an integral part. This spiritually can be expressed in many ways and we’re not for one minute suggesting that organised religion has all of the answers. Each of us are on the journey to finding out what this spirituality actually means…
A CONCLUSION OF SORTS…
This piece is essentially us thinking out loud. It’s not meant to offer a thorough, deep analysis of why we’re in the situation we’re in. What it has hopefully done is flag up a few issues that we would like to address in greater depth at some point in the not too distant future. Publishing these thoughts is a way of putting some pressure on ourselves to actually write those pieces!
Anyway, in pretty much all of the preceding sections, we’ve said the supposedly unsayable! That makes us and other like minded people, heretics and apostates. So be it… We’d rather follow our consciences than play along with a cult who will turn upon you in the most vicious way imaginable because you dare to think differently. Given how we have moved out to and now beyond the margins of the anarchist movement, we’re now in a position where pretty all of the political damage that can be done has been done. So unless some of our former comrades chose to really up the ante when it comes to dealing with apostates such as ourselves, we feel that we can now speak freely without having to worry too much about any of the consequences.
Where does that leave us? Happily building new alliances with people who are capable of independent thought and have a certain spiritual depth. It does however, also leave us having to watch our backs in case aggrieved former comrades want to make life difficult for us although we sincerely hope it will never come to that. We are where we are… While the situation we’re in is far from ideal, we’d rather deal with that and have as clear a conscience as possible than have to play along to the demands of what to all intents and purposes can sometimes feel like a cult at times…