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Episode 53 – A Round Table discussion I

The Brilliant Podcast
The Brilliant
Episode 53 - A Round Table discussion I

As most listeners know The Brilliant is related to a few other public projects, namely Little Black Cart (LBC) a publisher and distributor of anarchist books and material. Recently LBC has been called out and generally indicted by a host of individuals and projects for publishing texts by and about with the Mexican group ITS (individual tending to the wild), in particular the eco-extremist journal Atassa. This indictment reached a fever pitch when a few motivated individuals approached the LBC table at the Seattle Anarchist Bookfair to castigate them for the publishing and punctuated this by tearing a book apart. Around the same time an article was released saying that this publishing meant that LBC was not an anarchist project. Here is the LBC response.

This week something like a reportback of the kerfuffle happened. Alongside a great conversation on there have been several, fairly specific, threats made against LBC, its people, and promises made about next weeks Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair. While camping (and practicing what I believe will be the shape of future anarchist events) a group of us got together to discuss recent events, strategize next weekends events (which will include the 2017 BASTARD conference), and discuss the current way in which anarchist disagreements are performed. Enjoy the conversation.

Thanks a ton to the participants and especially to Linn O’Mable who turned this episode around in a heartbeat.



  1. Anon Anon

    To summarize all this drama (and a whole lot more)…
    Here are some ways LBC/FRR/TheBrilliant/AnewsCollective are different from almost all other anarchists:
    -against humanism
    -against moralism
    -against leftism
    -against mass societies and mass movements
    -believes revolution is both impossible and probably undesirable if it would bring about a new mass society or societies
    (These are all closely related; I could have probably just said they’re not humanist and that would have covered it.)

    And basically LBC/FRR/theBrilliant/AnewsCollective likes talking about EcoExtremism because their willingness to talk about it distinguishes them from all other political brands. EE and talking about EE easily induces moralistic, condemnatory reactions that are easy to laugh at and say “See this is why social anarchists are stupid. Look at their moralism, their humanism, their leftism and see how stupid it is.” Same with Atassa and the people behind that project. Nobody is pro-ITS, like advocating for people to become EEs, they just like talking about it because it makes a point: that humanism, moralism, leftism, etc. are stupid.

    Cool. Good for them. I agree. I’m glad they do what they do.

    Interesting that “Derrick Jensen is bad because he’s transphobic” was included in this episode.

    • shock troop shock troop

      Derrick Jensen is bad because he’s transphobic.

      True. hes a fucking douche about it and cried when people didnt want to be around him.

  2. shock troop shock troop

    I’m one of those doesn’t wanna be around fist fight types and I don’t wanna be called the shock troops of the people who are being agro about the decision to publish atassa.

    I also dont wanna be around people who go up and tear up a book at someone’s book fair table, especially if they whine about the fallout.

    but like please dont call me their shock troops. I like the critiques of ITS yall put forward and can see why you think its mildly interesting.

  3. Non Serviam Non Serviam

    It is not possible to discuss this subject without talking about the practice and ideas of eco-extremists and the content of Atassa. By refusing to do this you are basically taking a liberal “free speech” position. For example, everything you said could also be used to defend a right of a group to have fascist material in the form of so called “national-anarchist” propaganda at their table on an anarchist bookfair, or any other horrible shit.

  4. shadowsmoke shadowsmoke

    Listened to this the other day at work finally. I am now perhaps forgetting the deets, and not interested in listening to the file and taking notes, but we can start anyway:

    There is some fairly bullshit characterization of the Other going on here. Let’s call it micro-orientalism… You make your identity in contrast to others. It borders on conspiracism, especially in the context of the 38th minute – Submedia and IGD get together and have a plan, they talk to each other, they are operating on some Marxist logic, blah blah blah. So we have here a fronting of a good analysis of what other people think and say to each other, and a lazy and unqualified use of loaded epithets (which, I don’t know, maybe think a little more about the next time Campbell or ARR calls y’all fascists).

    I don’t know the details, in your case, but I am constantly impressed by how possible it is to create a worldview that is emotionally convenient for those who hold it. I suppose this sort of thing could be fine, except that it usually results in strategic blunders. Two fun examples, from the Cold War and my high school years respectively:

    – it took many years for the U.S. government to recognize the reality of the Sino-Soviet split, because they simply couldn’t fathom this division between something they imagined as a single evil bloc;

    – one sad fuck I used to know constantly talked about his theories of what his ex-girlfriend was doing when she hung out with this person, or that person, and that she was probably poisoning his social life… but really, he was poisoning his own social life; I stopped talking to him becuz my subjective experience was that he had become boring and resentful as shit became boring as shit, not becuz anyone had a convo about him with me.

    I am sure this is broadly true of some folks in the other camp, too – for example, bookripping types, probably? A theme of the world right now is people reinforcing the walls of their own little reality tunnels, such that nothing else can come in. But it’s fucking idiotic. I worry about y’all.

    • thebrilliant thebrilliant

      I don’t want to be too brusque as I kind of like you but have you checked out the RAM document? How can it not be read as near-Maoism? It is also rather explicit what kind of politics has been left out of the channel zero network. I kind of agree that it is not a conspiracy but it’s what different political factions look like IRL.

      I agree epithets shouldn’t be used as arguments but let’s do a compare and contrast of the volume of who is doing what to whom.

      • shadowsmoke shadowsmoke

        I went into the RAM manifesto in good faith, because someone I didn’t expect to recommend it to me, did so. But it was boring as fuck. I saw it as more or less earnestly democratic confederalist, and simultaneously in the tradition of U.S. black power movements and attempts at regional anarchist organizing. All that is not “near-Maoism” for me, and here we could have a discussion about this particular epithet, which I think has become sort of an all-purpose word, indicative more of some kind of rivalry-with-anarchy than anything to do with Mao. But I speak as a person who lives in a city with, more-or-less, “real” Maoists who don’t fit neatly into many of the stereotypes (for example, by being critical of idpol, which seems to be a major reference point for what-gets-called-Maoism in the Bay Area…)

        Anyway, yeah, Channel Zero has been exclusionary towards certain tendencies/people… because certain tendencies/people are presently involved, who have whatever kind of beef right now, and whatever concerns about others’ associations. I think we can all speak to the level of real association that exists between @news/LBC and various other factions, with accuracy, but it is not surprising that those who don’t do the investigation and don’t maybe care much for y’all in the first place, will not do so. For the same reason that you might call RAM stuff near-Maoist, or why I will call KKK members “Nazis” even though they probably don’t much care for Hitler and all that German nonsense like a “real” Nazi would.

        It sort of all sucks, this whole… dynamic. But I think that y’all are part of this dynamic, not just the other side. I would genuinely, egoistically (i.e. for my own reasons) like @news podcast and The Brilliant to be on Channel Zero, in the same place as other stuff I want to listen to (and a bunch of stuff I generally don’t, but that’s okay). Factions are getting in the way of that happening, and belief in factions is making those factions real, to at least some degree.

        Obviously, at some point, there is “irreconcilability”. I do not think that has happened yet, at least not with y’all – maybe with Abe Cabrera, haha, or maybe even (for sake of argument) up-and-coming Maoist vanguard RAM. I understand there is some personal beef with some people o’er in the Bay Area, but Channel Zero also includes people at a distant from that shit, who might be inclined to cooperation and collaboration (if y’all genuinely wanted that) if, I don’t know, you didn’t just insult their projects all the time (which at least one friend of mine involved in Submedia feels is the case with A! on Facebook, rightly or wrongly, which ends up becoming all of y’all, rightly or wrongly).

        Anyway, that’s it! Count me as in major favour of counterbalkanization. Do not go quietly into that abyssal entropy, etc.

        • Frederich Stirnerius von Deleuzenstein Frederich Stirnerius von Deleuzenstein

          Um… for the edification of the uninitiated… what exactly is the “RAM Manifesto?”

          • shadowsmoke shadowsmoke

            Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement. In the podcast, Aragorn! associates them with The Base, an anarchist space in Brooklyn NY. Which is accurate, as far as I know.

            The book talks about black people as a sort of revolutionary subject, makes reference to Rojava as the place with the most advanced politics in the world right now (in more or less those terms), and that’s the most Maoist-perhaps-sounding stuff I can think of with regards to it.

    • Frederich Stirnerius von Deleuzenstein Frederich Stirnerius von Deleuzenstein

      “There is some fairly bullshit characterization of the Other going on here.”

      Who exactly is “the Other” in this case? The anarcho-lefty subcultural echo chamber? There’s a fine line between not overgeneralizing about them and pandering to their sensibilities. In your estimation, how does one *ride* that line instead of falling on one side or the other?

      • shadowsmoke shadowsmoke

        This is a question that, admittedly, I don’t how to answer. I think what I took issue with was, say, some theorizing about info that is more or less not knowable with regard to the folks – and maybe even the assignment of all of them to that category of “anarcho-lefty” etc.

        But yeah… Riding the line. I do not know. I am sure I am stumble frequently – though maybe I have experience stumbling towards both sides, not just my dominant side, ya know?

  5. member of thecollective member of thecollective

    i appreciate your commentary here, SS, even though i feel like your rsponse to stirnerius is … aggravating.
    but it’s easy to read you here as being in good faith, even if your “solutions” (that’s my short hand, i know) are not solutions in any real way. and your bigger point, that we’re all getting into tighter boxes, is undeniable.
    fwiw, you should know that the brilliant reached out to scott campbell to talk about stuff, and that i reached out to two of the participants of channel zero to include at least the anews podcast, and they both said no, even though one of those projects is regularly featured on anews.
    i guess i’m just saying that yes, we’re embroiled in some shit that we participate in, but the overtures we make are rebuffed, and i for one don’t see overtures coming from The Other Side.

  6. Isnotimportant Isnotimportant

    On the topic of comments section/ I think it would be very interesting to explore a sort of self sorting process to enter a thread. Rather than this name email website Bs- why not just have a set of prompts.. “is this comment related to the article, or another comment; if this is related to a comment, which comment is it related to?; would you consider this a long form comment, a short form comment, or other?”

    I mean we are all generating A LOT of content, and I dont think it’s unreasonable to ask someone to take responsibility for the content they are creating.

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