Revolutions And No Resolutions.
Good Morning Comrades and welcome back to this newsletter. There is going to be a little house keeping up first, tentatively. First and foremost I do hope you managed to hold on to that strain of sanity over the last few weeks, and then secondly thanks for sticking around. I usually do not check the statistics on here, in regards to readership but by the looks of it I am happy to welcome a few new people here rather than having to say good bye to more of you. That’s a nice start.
To you new comrades, welcome. This newsletter comes out 3 days a week, Monday through to Friday. If you are one of the amazing human beings that can and does support this work with a monthly or annual contribution, it pretty much works like Patreon, you get an additional email on Thursdays with more in depth essays as well as early bird links to any and all Black Lodges Merch drops and your never expiring discount code.
Whilst I am still struggling with the notion that this is a new week in the new year and work has to resume, obviously, since we haven’t overthrown capitalism yet and bills are rolling in as per usual, needs be what they are and all. With that, here is your new playlist for the week, in an aim to ease everyone into this fight. As a reminder these playlists exist purely for the sheer joy of sharing music. They are not in the slightest “curated” nor do they follow any reason. They simply are a weekly collection of music I listened to the week prior without any bias towards genre or any other factor. I did try to keep my obsession with metal out of these over the last two years something I have a feeling will go out the window going forward.
This week’s ‘Weekly Jams’ obviously is a record of what I listened to over the holidays. It’s all over the place, just as that time of year usually is. No more words needed other than here you go.
For housekeeping purposes I have put all of last years playlists into one playlist, outrageously long that it is, but thanks to the modern world without any repeats. You can find that below and follow it for your own enjoyment.
Now to housekeeping and the content you will find here. I have given what I do here quite a lot of thought over the last two weeks and there are going to be some subtle and possible not so subtle changes. Holding the bastards that run the world accountable and offering alternatives, both in thought and action, still remains the primary purpose of this work. Despite never having the ambition to become or identify myself as an educator this is clearly a path that I have been walking on for the past two years, here and in the Real World and one that I am enjoying. Offering perspectives and tools for alternative realities, irrespective of whether they benefit us immediately, with the intention of building a genuine elegatarian and sustainable world is how I make sense of my time on this planet.
"Service To Others Is The Rent You Pay For Your Room Here On Earth." -Muhammad Ali
This line from the late Ali has always stuck with me and I re-visit it every time I question my purpose and work, something that happens regularly, and that holds true to this tool here. May it also help you when the reality of having to exist in this capitalistic world gets a little heavy to bear.
As to the actual changes, you’ll see them as the roll out on here. There is little point in announcing anything until said ideas become tangible realities, but here is a little teaser of something I have been thinking about for some time.
Now, you all know how I feel about podcasts, and for those that do not, I don’t listen nor enjoy them to be perfectly honest. However, the feedback I received from so many of you from the most recent podcast I participated in with Joy Howard from Early Majority was significant enough to think about offering some sort of version of this format that I feel comfortable with. I do believe I have a solid enough idea going forward and time provided will be exploring the technical aspect of that this week.
In the meantime, if you haven’t heard this hour long conversation about Black Lodges, Communism, Mutual Aid and Feminism, here you go:
Unlearning Externally Imposed Activity
or Capitalisms Destructive Need for Productivity
It’s the evening of the 2nd of January as I am writing this. Considering my relatively quiet NYE, my plan for today was to get up early and get a bunch of work done, to get a head start on this first week of work. That did not happen and I write this with little regret. Admittedly, I do really well with physical rest, in the sense of not physically doing much. I greatly enjoy sitting around reading, thinking, talking, listening to music and what my parents used to call being lazy. As a matter of fact it brings me great joy but what I don’t do well with in the slightest is mental rest, on the contrary and I have had a few days of it. When I zone out intellectually the deeply rooted need for productivity raises its self-destructive head and almost immediately makes me questions all of my being. Sure, we can get into the psychological and medical symptoms of the ADHD that I have, in addition to a number of other neurodivergent “realities” but that is actually a side quest here and doesn’t play that much into this story.
No, mental rest really isn’t that good for me, it’s a cause of insecurity and self-questioning that does more harm than good. The obvious cause of this is the nurture and nature of the system that we grow up in. Especially coming from a poverty stricken background, productivity is akin to “pulling yourself up by the boot straps” and other bullshit lies imposed on us by a value system that can and does solely exist on imaginary/real crisis, insecurity, alienation, exploitation and most importantly, the continued existence of a class of people under duress.
I find it important to note that this existence is engineered and relatively new. This constant mental stress is even alien to my parents, who certainly never escaped the trappings of poverty in all its projections, mental and physical. No, the above in addition to an increasing medicated, dumbed down and divided working class is the ground from which neoliberalism, as a rebooted version of global capitalism works and lives. Historically, we can trace this back to the late 70s and early 80s obviously, with their refined version really hitting home when I entered the full time work-force by 1996. Rest is a luxury afforded after 50 years of backbreaking, emotionally crippling, alienating work only survivable through struggle, constant paid for self-improvement - a system that both creates the problem and then sells you the cure. This concept was even more refined after 9/11 when a global Shock Doctrine, perfectly analyzed by Naomi Klein was instituted, relegating us all to nothing but suffering reactionaries of forces so large that they remain beyond our scope of action, let alone imagination.
I fought this feeling all day, mostly successfully and also thanks to a comrade whom I am lucky enough to share time and thought with. I can’t say I feel entirely vindicated in my decision to not do all the work I had set out to do, I still did a few hours of housework, wrote this and will probably set out to do some more work after finishing this newsletter, amounting to around 6 hrs of work, but it sure was healthier than having done all of the above work as well as the good 9 hours of actual work I had initially set out to do. Concluding this train of thought are two actionable tips, if that’s what you want to call, and I am certainly lacking a better word for it presently: One, fight and resist the indoctrinated, engineered pressure for productivity that does not serve your material betterment. Secondly, don’t do this alone. Totally disregarding the dumbed down western concept of “humans are social animals”, something that is deeply rooted in US anti-communist theory of the 1950s, companionship, no matter how you define it, is key to surviving and beating the alienating forces of capitalism.
In any case, that about wraps up this first email of the year. A cold Guinness is waiting for me in my fridge as well as a little bit more of prep for this coming week. It’s nice to be back here and I hope the feeling is mutual. I am forever hopeful in the potential of our future and going forward I aim to transport that hope into plans for us all.
Until then, I remain yours and without compromise,