Episode 49 – Abe Cabrera (Atassa)

This is an informal conversation between Aragorn! and Abe Cabrera the primary editor of the Atassa journal. It is not intended to be a defense of ITS or a serious attempt to engage in the criticisms towards us (Atassa, LBC, and me personally). It’s intended to sound like a conversation between people who share some similar perspectives. Obviously those who don’t share those perspectives are going to feel less comfortable and perhaps feel misrepresented.

Tick Tock

1.00 definition of eco-extremism as practice, splitting hairs
2:30 abe’s history
8:15 activism in berkeley in the 90s
12:15 eco-extremists moving away from ted k
12:30 early indiscriminate violence tendencies in E-E
15:15 breaking into different groups
16:35 is it a hoax?
21:00 tactics similar to ISIS, from nechaev
22:00 formation and reformation of various groups
27:45 reaction of NA anarchists
33:00 significance of anarchist label
34:30 types of allies
38:10 non-attraction of these ideas
40:30 theology, thinking in eons
42:00 abe: anarchists are irrelevant
44:00 a!: types of anarchists
44:30 the light of hatred
45:20 the challenge of ITS to anarchism
47:50 terrorist tactics are what is required now to do violence at all
50:35 talking about pieces vs the board and context of the actions
53: marx and the bible, st paul = first anarchist

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26 June, 2017

6 thoughts on “Episode 49 – Abe Cabrera (Atassa)

  1. A little clarification of the reasons why anarchists and eco-extremists feel the need to talk to each other in the first place is, I think, very much in order. Aragorn! alluded to this question when he suggested at 51:10 that maybe we’re just talking past each other, at which point Abe conceded that his subsequent response might not directly address the matter – which, in fact, it didn’t. Instead, he basically says that he realizes anarchism isn’t monolith and maybe what he means when he uses the word “anarchism” doesn’t account for all of its heterodox permutations, but then goes on to cite Bakunin and Kropotkin as the archetypal examples of anarchist thought (both of whom, I would tend to agree, aren’t particularly interesting or relevant in a 21st century context).

    Don’t get me wrong, as someone who tends very strongly in a post-anarchist direction, I am certainly open to non-anarchist critiques of “anarchism” as a historical enterprise but, when you say that you aren’t really interested in exploring ways that individuals can attain their liberation here and now, my inner egoist has to wonder why we should even bother talking in the first place. I’m all for thinking in terms of eons rather than decades but see no reason why the pursuit of some insurrectionary Long Game should come at the expense of individuals acting on their desires in the immediacy of their daily lives. With all due respect to Abe, his fascination with Christian theology isn’t particularly surprising in light of such an eschatological perspective.

    The sacrifice of present enjoyment in favour of future salvation is not a game that I am interested in playing – and it certainly isn’t something that, if we’re being honest with ourselves, can aptly be described as “individualistic.” If the critical encounter between the anarchist and eco-extremist milieus is to be put to maximum use by those who think it might actually be worth the time, then it is necessary to clarify why we feel compelled to speak to each other at all and identify the precise areas of incommensurability that cause us to continue skirting around the actual meat of our disagreements.

  2. The way that you, Aragorn, characterized whatever IGD PSA-genereated controversy seems, to me, to have been pretty bad faith – or, otherwise, an indication of a very off-from-the-reality reading of what the conversation about ITS/eco-extremism really is.

    There isn’t anything “sudden” about any of this. Lots of people have thought ITS were garbage for a long time. People thought this before the Campbell piece. I really think you’re giving too much credit to Campbell, actually, for actually having any type of capacity to change anyone’s opinion about anything. I didn’t read it, and don’t care to, but pieces like that tend to speak to the emotional need of the author, and resonate with those with similar, already established emotional stances on the subject.

    All that said, there is, like, a discussion happening about drawing lines in sand and whatever. In my context, it predates the Campbell PSA, and concerns no-platforming Atassa, ITS communiqués, et al. I have been provisionally against this (and in a position, on certain collectives or whatever, where my opinion might actually matter), but I need to ask myself, Do I actually care about defending this position? Maybe I ought to put my energy elsewhere.

    I generally didn’t appreciate Abe, but he said that anarchists (and what they think) literally don’t matter to him. Fair enough. But you do care, I am pretty sure. It’s weird: you are willing to be sympathetic, on at least some level, to the person who argues “black bloc is a racist tactic” (the article from a few months ago) and see from her perspective, make the case in the @news podcast that you wish there had been a better discussion in the comments or something, but hahahaha, anyone who has an issue with promotion of ITS or whatevs is “moralistically hand-wringing” and necessary to characterize as some loser archetype (i.e. the dressing down of Campbell). So, it’s like, if you DO care what anarchists think of you (including this anarchist, known to defend your projects in casual conversation with people who definitely hate you, lol), then uh, get your priorities straight?

    Easier said than done, obvs.

    • There are two aspects of my issue with IGD. The first is political. I disagree with their activist and/or lowest common denominator version of anarchism. Second there is a personal side to this where some nasty slanderous stuff has happened “behind the scenes” but boils down to a ton of shit talking in both directions (but there are a lot more of them than me). What you read as bad faith has to be seen in this light.

      I don’t like ITS because I’m involved in team sports and they are my team. I like interesting and provocative critiques of anarchism. I read ITS as having one (just like I read the bb as racist as having one) but their actions lately (and in C29) clearly mean that whatever is interesting about them has to be tempered with the obvious proviso that killing random people is stupid and, if it true, not something that is interesting to me. But because they were never my team I do not have to denounce them, just as I don’t feel the need to defend their stupid, fucked up, behavior.

      I do care for anarchists and the anarchist project (as I understand it) which means I will not be paying much more attention to ITS after these podcasts are released. They are my attempt to close the door on a topic. That said I find the moral flag waving around them to be a continual source of interest. I don’t understand what people choose to spend their time on.

      • Seeing as this question was addressed to Shadowsmoke and not to me, I’ll let him respond if he so chooses. Besides, I’ve already said everything I have to say on the subject and don’t really feel like continuing to beat that dead horse. I understand Aragorn!’s rationale for raising this discussion in the first place and agree that the existence of groups like ITS, lame though they may be, pose some interesting questions for anarchists to grapple with. However, I also tend to think that the discussion has outlived its usefulness and that it’s time to move on. Anyone who’s interested in my thoughts on ITS can scroll through my comments on Episode #41 of The Brilliant.

  3. During the primary season last year,JZ compared Aragorn with Trump in a broadcast of Anarchy Radio,suggesting that Aragorn like Trump is postmodern,with little regard for facts,knowledge and truth.To say the least,this was a low blow. In another broadcast of Anarchy Radio last year,Zerzan had a guest who described himself as an Anarcho-Primitivist with a streak of nihilism. JZ did not ask a single question about his guest’s nihilist stance. Perhaps there is a little nihilism in most varieties of anarchism,including back to the Stone Age or Bust anarchists.

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