Archives For Capitalism

We are From There

October 19, 2015 — 1 Comment

Haven’t put many words out lately, or at least my own for awhile.  Strange state of affairs, one which is about to change quite soon.

What have I been up to instead?

A Beautiful Resistance. The first journal from Gods&Radicals.  The last 5 weeks have found me growling, screaming, laughing, and drooling over the works of 30 other writers, weaving them together into something new.

I’m gonna write about the process of creating the thing soon, because it was a lot of threshold work.  By which I mean, dead everywhere, and an unfolding of another aspect of the Divine Twins mystery.  All that’s worth quite a few words, and I’ll write them soon.  But in the meantime, wanna read my introduction to the journal?  It’s in this week’s Gods&Radicals update (as well as a link to order the journal).

In the next two months, I have several other writing projects.

What They Do Not Tell You, a poetry compilation. This won’t be offered for sale for awhile; it’s a special perk for patrons on my Patreon channel, and I’ll be printing up extras to donate towards The Wild Hunt’s fundraising campaign.

The Voice In The Brambles, my next collection of essays, poems & prose.  This should be available late November, and will be listed on Lulu alongside Your Face Is A Forest.

I’m also still working on The Spectre &The Whore, albeit quite slowly on account of these other projects.

Future plans

I’d intended to submit a presentation to Pantheacon again with Alley Valkyrie, but something kept telling me not to.  Part of this–I’m sure–was my general reluctance to travel into a wasteland of concrete on my birthday weekend to talk about how Pagans should overthrow Capitalism.  But I had fun last year (despite, you know, getting aggressively harassed by someone for my lack of formal education while he expounded his grand vision of Pagan governance).

Something else has come up, though.  I mentioned there was lots of dead-work involved with putting together the journal, and I’ve previously mentioned I intend to be on another pilgrimage next year.  The pilgrimage has gotten bigger (they do this)–I’ll be visiting not just sites of worship and magic, but the graves and death-sites of revolutionaries, too.  And, of course, writing about it.

I’m currently attempting to figure out whether I’ll be staying in Seattle much longer.  I do rather love this city, though I do rather dislike its costs.  I have the opportunity to stay in Wales for a few months, and I’m leaning quite heavily towards such a thing since it’d be easier to make the pilgrimage if I’m already there. Of course, since I’ll be handling all the distribution for A Beautiful Resistance, I’m not sure I’m quite able to leave yet.

Either way, I’ll be in the UK in early January for a visit and to help with UK distribution and to meet some fantastic people.

Reflections on crowd-funding and artist-patronage

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve a Patreon channel.  It took me an awful long time to get up the nerve to launch that–it’s damn hard to ask for money.

At some point it’d be worth writing about why it’s hard to ask for money.  For me, at least, I grew up in abject poverty and learned very quickly I’m supposed to be the only one to take care of myself, because no one else will do it.  Which is true when you’re poor–even though you can appeal to charities (usually churches) and thin social programs, as Oscar Wilde points out in The Soul Of Man Under Socialism, charity is degrading. Waiting in a line to get food benefits is depressing. Filling out forms to prove how poor you are is horrible.  Getting lectures from well-meaning people about why you’re poor turns you off from the whole thing.

Social workers know that, at least the ones who work with the homeless.  Getting people who’ve been homeless for a long time engaged in housing programs is actually really difficult, especially if those programs (shelters, treatment, or housing assistance) come with rules attached.  When someone tells you they’ll help you out but only under certain conditions, the one thing you have left when you have nothing–your sovereignty–becomes threatened.

There’s also the fact that Capitalism isolates people into individuals& families, rather than communities.  There’s incentive to ‘cheat’ against the community by taking buy-outs or getting-ahead, rather than seeing oneself as a part of a larger interconnected being.  The Tragedy of The Commons is only a Capitalist problem, as it introduces the imperative to compete.

So we’ve collectedly accepted the notion that each must support self alone, which is never how the world works.

The only way I was able to have the time for A Beautiful Resistance was the support that others gave me for my writing.  Though we’ll be paying the writers, I’m currently unpaid, and would otherwise have had to work full-time to support myself.  Because I didn’t need to, I was able to give my time to another group project as well as my own writing, making it so others can be paid for their writing.  That is, the support multiplied.

The Capitalist ethic actually invokes this sort of multiplication to defend itself.  Industrialists and corporations call themselves ‘job creators’ to justify their massive profits–the so-called trickle-down effect.  The difference is pretty obvious, though–rather than being a community project where people share in collective abundance, Capitalists let a little bit of their wealth rain-down like crumbs from their table.

I almost suspect that crowd-funding, if it ever becomes popular enough, would become a threat to Capitalism, except for two reasons.  One, it’s being mediated by capitalists (Patreon, Indiegogo, Gofundme are all businesses who skim from donations).  Secondly, it currently relies on people who are working within Capitalism to fund people who are trying to do something outside of it.  The way around both of those problems would be seizing the ‘means of production’–creating non-corporate crowd-funding sites and, of course, ending Capitalist exploitation of work.  In short–a large-scale return to the Commons.

By the way, I’m not the only one using Patreon (I’ll be adding a new goal soon), once I’ve caught up with my current patron obligations, likely this weekend.

Others you might also consider supporting include Lupa Greenwolf (who’s early adoption helped inspire me to try), Galina Krasskova, and now T. Thorn Coyle.

 

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A litany of fantastic things.

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View from the window

View from my window in 2009. Yes, that’s a disco ball.

 

My first original essay for Gods&Radicals was posted today, entitled The Roots of Resistance:

Capital requires new markets to expand, but the earth is limited and we only need so much shit.  Enclosures are an old trick, and the displacement they cause generate both more profit for the rich, but do something even more vital for the smooth running of Capital: displaced peoples lack community, become desperate, and most significantly of all, have no access to their history.

Slaves hauled across oceans cannot visit the graves of their ancestors; peasants forced off land cannot visit the old wells and stones which rooted their world firmly in the other.  Old contracts with the land are broken, old gods forgotten, and the standards once used to judge if an act would serve the community or damage it fall away.

There’s a lot there.  One of things that has been missing from so many conversations about Gentrification is how it’s not precisely a new form, but is a hyper-efficient process developed by early Capitalists in the British Isles.

And one of the things that’s been missing from a lot of Pagan discourse is how disenchantment springs from the soil of uprooted peoples, a point first brilliantly made to me by my friend Sarenth Odinsson.  The uprooting of peoples has had a primary cause in the last 300 years–Capitalism.

And it’s precisely the intersection between Capitalism and Disenchantment that I’ve been trying to unravel for people over the last few years, that Capitalism and Pagan belief are forever at odds, and that you cannot hope to world back the gods when everything you plant becomes uprooted by the profit-seeking of the powerful.

Other things of interest:

That piece is part of a longer chapter of the book on Pagan Anti-Capitalism I’m finally turning my (very limited) attention towards.  I’m tentatively titling the book Throwing Open the Gates, but this may change.

It appears I’ll be speaking at Many Gods West on top of co-organizing.  We had an early cancellation (one I’m really bummed about, though I understand their scheduling difficulties).

Speaking of scheduling difficulties–since January, I’ve been working full-time, and since March I’ve been putting a lot of effort into Gods&Radicals.  On top of co-organizing Many Gods West.  On top of writing monthly for The Wild Hunt.  On top of working on the book.  This…hasn’t been easy, and I’m actively looking for ways to reduce the amount of time I spend selling my time as a Social Worker.  I have about 2 hours during any day when I’m not working on something, and I don’t think I can keep up such a state for much longer.  And as waged work is the least meaningful (to me) of everything I’m doing, it’s gonna have to go somehow.  Not sure how yet, because Capitalism.  But Capitalism never stops me for long.

Be well, dear people!

 

 

Reflections on two years of being a ‘Pagan’ writer

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