Starting Your Own War To Get Free (excerpt from Curse Your Boss...)
“So the patient advocates of ‘free states,’ ‘free speech,’ ‘free assemblage,’ what are they but deluded children in the vicinity of forces they do not comprehend? If they want to assemble and speak without let or hindrance, let them increase their own power, their strength of arm until they can speak and meet as they will. But to ask for free speech and free meeting, what is it but an acknowledgement of tutelage, inferiority…There is only one thing the down-trodden with retained dignity can do, and that is to Get Up.” --Dora Marsden, The Freewoman, Volume 1 Number 1, June 15th 1913
THE FOREIGN GODS of State and Capital have cast you into a world where their word is law. You are enshrouded by the edicts and norms of a society for which you feel nothing but revulsion, and the nice voices on the commercial all remind you how worthless you are without their products. Everything is horrible, everything is built on mind-numbing layers of cruelty.
All these things must be destroyed. Destroyed not out of duty, not out of same grand religious ideal that the Revolution is on the way; they should be destroyed the same way you would take the whip out of a slavemaster’s hand. We must put an end to that which seeks to put an end to us, that true and Unique part of us that screams we deserve much more than this wretched existence. Everything inside you yells to fight back, to strike out, to rabidly rend and gnaw the throats of the predators that have spent your entire life peeling the flesh from your bones.
How can we put an end to this? That’s the real question, isn’t it? Until now everything has been theory, nice ideas to bat around or to clear the cobwebs out of your head. A lot of so-called “revolutionaries” never seem to move beyond this stage, content to get high off the piddling fumes of revolutions long since past. Book clubs are good, meetings are fine, but none of these things bring you any closer to freedom. There’s something strangely religious to it all, isn’t there? These people with their chosen book getting together to talk about how good everything will be when justice finally sweeps down and fixes everything. They flip pages, or gab endlessly, sure that if just enough people heard the “good news” of one theory or another everything would change. What’s a protest but an old school Protestant revival dressed up in red and black?
The activists and theoreticians seem to believe, much like their Christian brethren, that they battle not against powers of flesh and blood but principalities, etheric symbols, issues that are either good or bad. They fight against the Bourgeoisie instead of actual, real rich people; they are against all “structures of oppression” instead of the steel and brick buildings where the people responsible for them live, breathe, and eat. Is it any wonder modern Leftism has been so toothless, spending its time chasing ghosts and abstractions instead of actual enemies? Class War can be a fine symbol to rally around provided it generates actual conflict. Beyond that it is useless.
As In Ritual, So In Revolution
When we cast a spell we are shifting the writhing realm of possibility into physical shape to suit our interests. We put out sniper rounds of Will and Intent until that which we desire either falls dead or joyously surrenders itself to us. Why shouldn’t our politics focus on the same principle, the same action-oriented praxis that makes practical sorcery so much more effective than prayer?
Magic is about doing. You can read every book about sorcery you can get your hands on, but unless you do the rituals you’ll never really know what sorcery is. Revolution is much the same: you’ll never really learn anything until you actually do it.
The priests of the Leftist cults, highly suspicious of any individualistic tendencies that might lead followers to think on their own, have called individual action against the Spectral Cage as “adventurism” and “ineffective.” Their choice of words betrays them.
They do not want you to act because they are themselves afraid to. They prefer to believe that their inactivity is justified and morally righteous. They see activism as a career, a lifestyle, and fear the day the mysterious and abstract principle they seem so against disappears. They need it to help define who they are. Why shouldn’t our lives be adventurous? Wasn’t that what doing magic was about? We got into the occult not to simply speak with the Dead or invoke goddesses but to get shit done. The process of changing our existence and liberating ourselves is perhaps the greatest adventure we can undertake.
As for “ineffective,” this is simply a lie meant to protect them from the truth: the party is ineffective, the organization is impotent. Even the Hells Angels and the Italian Mafia have been infiltrated by the government and thrown in jail, organizations that will kill any member who dares to turn informant. Individual action isn’t ineffective; hierarchical, large scale organizations are. Individual action, or at most informal groups of self-acting individuals, have so far been the only thing that’s worked.
In a report for the Department of Homeland Security titled Countering Ecoterrorism in the United States: The Case of 'Operation Backfire,' the forces in charge of maintaining state power noted:
Radical environmentalist groups like ALF and ELF have adopted a leaderless resistance model, in which autonomous subgroups of trusted confidants form cells for the purpose of carrying out illicit actions based on a set of guiding principles (Joosse 2007, Leader and Probst 2003). New recruits are warned not to join existing cells, but rather to start their own cells with trusted associates (Joosse 207). Regional and national press offices, which claim no official affiliation with the individual cells, post communiqués from the cells. The lack of a structured hierarchy and clearly identifiable leaders makes it difficult for law enforcement officials to infiltrate the groups. The leaderless structure also guards against the type of ideological fracturing that often plagued earlier radical environmentalist groups like Earth First! (Joosse 2007). The net result is an amorphous organizational structure of loosely bound illicit actors who are able to persist over time and across vast geographic areas, posing tremendous challenges to the law enforcement community at the federal, state, and local levels.1
Comrades within ALF and ELF were very aware of this strength, saying in an anonymously authored FAQ:
Law enforcement, particularly in North America are trained to recognize and deal with organizations that have a leader, a hierarchy and a central headquarters. The ELF does not contain any of these. Due to the autonomous and underground aspects of the ELF cells, an infiltration into a cell by no way means the entire movement will be stopped. If one individual or even one entire cell is captured by authorities, other individuals and cells will be free to continue their work as they operate independently and anonymously from one another. The cell structure is a type of guerrilla tactic which has been successfully employed by various movements around the world for ages. It can be a successful tactic when used properly against a greater military power.
The ELF does not have any sort of physical membership list or meetings you can attend to become involved. Remember, the ELF revolves around not a physical base or classically designed structure, but instead an ideology. If you believe in the ELF ideology and you follow a certain set of widely published guidelines, you can conduct actions and become part of the ELF.2
This is a point echoed in a WW2 sabotage pamphlet circulated among citizens of occupied Europe by the allied powers:
It does not require specially prepared tools or equipment; it is executed by an ordinary citizen who may or may not act individually and without the necessity for active connection with an organized group; and it is carried out in such a way as to involve a minimum danger of injury, detection, and reprisal…
Acts of simple sabotage, multiplied by thousands of citizen-saboteurs, can be an effective weapon against the enemy. Slashing tires, draining fuel tanks, starting fires, starting arguments, acting stupidly, short-circuiting electric systems, abandoning machine parts, will waste materials, manpower, and time. Occurring on a wide scale, simple sabotage will be a constant and tangible drag on the war effort of the enemy. Simple sabotage may also have secondary results of more or less value. Widespread practice of simple sabotage will harass and demoralize enemy administrators and police. Further success may embolden the citizen-saboteur eventually to find colleagues who can assist him in sabotage of greater dimensions.3
And also a point lamented by modern military strategists today:
Insurgency undoubtedly presents a serious asymmetric challenge to even strong conventional military powers such as the United States. The strategy is asymmetric, according to our definition, in that it seeks to transform military advantages in mass and firepower into disadvantages by exhausting the foe in a protracted campaign while goading or misleading him into misdirecting force against the civilian population. Conventional military forces tend to orient on seizing and holding key terrain, and to focus their destructive energies on the dispatch of the opposing military force; meanwhile, insurgents orient on the population and their conventional opponents, routinely yield key terrain, and tend to focus their efforts on symbolic acts of violence that shift the balance of political power in their favor. In most formulations, the insurgency then capitalizes on favorable shifts in the political balance to alter the balance of military power to its advantage. If it is unable to accomplish such a shift, the insurgency simply continues to survive while draining its opponent’s will to fight, until the bloodied and dispirited conventional military withdraws from the conflict.4
In short the same actions the Lords and Ladies of Inaction decry are often the kind playing hell with some of the most powerful nations in the world, Benjamin Locks in Bad Guys Know What Works: Asymmetric Warfare and The Third Offset went so far as to say that “the insurgents’ strategy was to use small-scale attacks… against allied forces in order to slowly bleed us until we packed up and left. Our most advanced technology could not change this basic strategic fact."5
These kind of direct attacks against the demiurgic grip of the Spectral Cage can vary in size and scope: they can be intensely local and carried out by a lone individual or part of a larger campaign by a group of comrades. The writings where responsibility is claimed for these attacks serve not only to allow active cells to spread awareness but to engage with other groups involved in similar actions without ever meeting, a conversation happening in-between explosions and never characterized by uniformity or ideology, a truly Anarchist method that can allow global coordination. Attacks can orient around aspects of society rather than location-driven coordinates, allowing members to strike in any way they deem feasible:
Using specific campaigns as a strategy (for example against the prison system or the plunder of the earth and of animals) we can easily cause a short circuit to the normal functioning of society. For example, a campaign against prison that includes posters and leaflets against prison, sabotage and arson against the companies that build prisons and/or get rich with their management, letters to imprisoned anarchists, attacks on jailers and prison governors, explosive attacks on judges in solidarity with anarchist prisoners, would unquestionably be a strong campaign that would cause cracks in the prison walls. This kind of mobilization can strike the prison regime and create unpredictable situations inside the prison, and even help the comrades who want to escape.6
The more widespread such attacks are, the more the system weakens and grows fearful, a wounded animal smelling its own blood. An increase in fear usually results in higher repression, which can still be of advantage to the Insurrectionist.
This effect is particularly problematic for American leaders when the United States is engaged in armed conflict with a weaker opponent, a situation that America’s superpower status makes extremely likely. The problem is that a pronounced imbalance in strength produces serious moral and ethical issues for the stronger belligerent, whose strength, self-confidence, and will to fight are continuously eroded. Martin Van Creveld memorably compares this “paradox of strength” dynamic to a grown man confronting a small child who is attacking him with a knife—virtually anything that the adult might do will appear to be either weakness or atrocity to an observer. When the American people observe their own military in such situations, they tend to react negatively.7
Ritual Always Ends In Manifestation
All the talk, even in this book, is cheap and meaningless unless wedded to real action.
We have been told that to do anything is useless, that the time isn’t quite right for the exploited to rise up and take what they need. Well, when is the time? Because there is an essential economic infrastructure that any State needs to function, that Capitalism and Society require to exist, which can easily be disabled and even paralyzed without the use of armaments and costly equipment, all for the small investment of resources and time.
People have done and are doing these things, right now, and winning. They are living as writhing flames of spirit, free to pursue and fight for the kind of freedom so far from our own shabby lives it appears beyond comprehension. The “Comrades” that would dare call such unbridled and exuberant individuals with the courage to live life as they desire anything less than heroic only do so to hide their shame.
They accomplish nothing and will walk back across the Veil broken and disheveled. They know it, but are afraid to lose what small privileges they’ve been gifted by their jailors. The goal posts always seem to shift, always seem to move just a little farther ahead. They want plans, blueprints, fool-proof layouts for the kind of world they wouldn’t risk an arrest for. Frankly put, they are waiting to be led, to be carried to the promised land, and we’ve seen where those revolutions have gotten us: new leaders, new cops, new prisons, and new spooks for us to bow before in eternal submission. The choice is simple: wait for a new hierarchy to fool enough people to serve its interests, or begin to strike out for your own. A liberated future is unknown and unpredictable by the very fact of it being liberated, and the only way it can be fine-tuned to suit you is to take part in its creation.
Each spell we launch, each ritual we chant, offers no guarantees yet we fling ourselves into it with wild abandon. Is life any different? Those who wait for certainties still find their chains comfortable enough to keep.
Magic alone will not be enough to free the Witches of the World, but it might be enough of an edge if we become committed to our own liberation. To have a group of like-minded folk doesn’t draw you money, doesn’t protect you from negative influences. We’ve made the great mistake of believing if we just surrounded ourselves with enough people like ourselves, some magical transformation will bring down everything we despise.
We’ve forgotten that every conjuration involves the seizure of very real ingredients and the chance that something very bad might happen along the way. We do them anyway, because they will bring us the world we desire. Remember that first spell, the first evocation, an act you were told would instantly damn you to eternal hellfire? Where has that Witch gone and how can we bring her back?
I can tell you how to do folk magic, show you how to dress a candle for Boss Fix or Crown of Success, but if all you do is learn about how to do it instead of actually doing it, you get no closer to your desires. If you wait to light a candle until being told exactly how a spell will manifest, you’ll be left holding the match forever. We must act, we must attack, with magic and physical might; by hook or crook, guile or sheer guts, the time for foreplay is over.
Do you want to be exploited forever, to die a beautiful soul trapped in a body-turned-machine, or will you rise in armed joy?
Curse Your Boss, Hex The State, Take Back The World is now available in Print or Digital.
1Nick Deshpande, Howard Ernst, Countering Ecoterrorism in the United States: the case of 'Operation Backfire,' (College Park, MD:START, 2012). http://www.start.umd.edu/pubs/START_EffectivenessofLECountermeasuresOperationBackfire_Sept2012.pdf. Accessed 3 May 2017.
2http://www.zinedistro.org/zines/3. Accessed 3 May 2017.
3https://www.cia.gov/news-information/featured-story-archive/2012-featured-story-archive/CleanedUOSSSimpleSabotage_sm.pdf. Accessed 3 May 2017.
4Michael Breen, Joshua A. Geltzer, “Asymmetric Strategies as Strategies of the Strong.” http://ssi.armywarcollege.edu/pubs/parameters/articles/2011spring/breen-geltzer.pdf. Accessed 3 May 2017.
5https://warontherocks.com/2015/06/bad-guys-know-what-works-asymmetric-warfare-and-the-third-offset/. Accessed 3 May 2017.
6http://actforfree.nostate.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Conversation-book.pdf. Accessed 3 May 2017.
7Breen, “Asymmetric Strategies.”