The Fall of the House of Labor

Since the last issue of this zine, in which I critiqued labor unions, these organizations have been prominently in the news again.  The biggest stories have been about the passage of a “right-to-work” law in Michigan and the Hostess bankruptcy, which many have blamed on greedy unions.  Labor is clearly under attack from business owners and politicians, and these two events, happening so closely together, have prompted me to once again devote most of the space in the December 2012 issue of anchorage anarchy to a consideration of the labor movement. Continue reading

The Geopolitics of Dead Children and Guns

Seemingly unending coverage in the establishment news media.  Flags at half-mast.  Crocodile tears from the hypocrite-in-chief.   Millions of dollars in charitable donations to the families and friends of the victims.  It is as if the killing of a group of children and their keepers in a Connecticut school is a uniquely tragic event—one that not only is presumed to touch us all on a visceral level but also justifies a re-examination of how the government regulates guns.  The question for me, however, is: what is it about this massacre that makes it more heinous than so many other instances of the murder of innocents?

The main reason appears to be that these were americans.  When a united states soldier murdered 16 non-combatants in afghanistan earlier this year, the president shed no tears and people in this country were largely untroubled, even though nine of those victims were children.  Continue reading

Union of Egoists

Individual anarchy has often been treated as an interesting idea, but one with little bearing on practical group work.  However, during the late sixties in San Francisco, an individualist anarchist labor union (or “non-union” as it was later called) was organized with features unique in american labor history.

Initially, we were a small group of social workers who revolted against an AFL union, local 400, after repeated instances in which the AFL failed to act on issues.  These issues included firings without pretext with five minutes notice, refusal of the labor council to fund publication of the social services newsletter, DIALOG, and the dismissal of a worker for visiting North Vietnam during personal leave.  Continue reading

Letter to anchorage anarchy

Good article on unions.  I agree—and have been a member of several over the years, including a short-lived IWW Arts Branch in NYC, with members of the Living Theater and WBAI (Pacifica).  It’s no accident that Stirner spoke of a union of self-owning ones as the only possible strong (or even militant) organizational form for individualist anarchists.  Our Italian Leftwing Stirnerite guru “Brand” Arrigoni used to say the same, as did George Sorel (before he lurched to the Right).  See also Bob Black’s excellent article on the IWW in the new magazine Modern Slavery.   Unfortunately we now seem to be nearly as far removed from the possibility of a real radical labor union, as from Proudhon’s Mutualism or Landauer’s version of Kropotkin’s anarcho-federalism.  As the whole Movement of the Social appears moribund, no other organizational form seems possible for us but the “gang”—or as I once tried to put it more elegantly—the Tong.  But how to organize a “secret society” in an age without secrecy (a.k.a. privacy)?  Anarchist anthropologists like David Graeber and James C Scott talk about reversion to “earlier” economic forms such as swidden gardening—or even “the Gift”—but I sense no willingness amongst modern anarchists to embrace the luddism which would be required to “leave Civilization behind” to any real extent.  Individual revolt alone seems to remain possible—every moment lived outside the Technopathocracy is an act of propaganda by the deed.

Desperate Times,

Peter Lamborn Wilson