I love freight trains. Freight trains are amazing creatures. They’re like living animals almost. They’re like giant snakes. There’s like something passionate about riding a freight train and being miles and miles and miles away from the interstate. And being way out in the woods away from everybody else. Just you and the train and the beautiful sites and the loud noises and like the small simple little noises that the train makes. Like the little screeches and the wheels and like you can hear the horn blasting when you go through a railroad crossing. It’s nice to go straight through a town, like see all the people in the town and wonder what they’re doing in the town for a brief second and then it’s over. It lasts like maybe thirty seconds and then you’re gone.

There are two ways out of capitalism, revolution or death. Anybody who tells you otherwise is simply wrong. The US based sub-cultural cult “Crimethinc” (CWC) who mix anarchism with bohemian drop-out lifestyles and vague anti-civilisation sentiment would have you believe that capitalism is something from which you can merely remove yourself by quitting work, eating from bins and doing whatever “feels good”… They are anarchists by name only with little relevance to the rest of the anarchist milieu and no class analysis…

… The call to transform everyday is a call to smash the current exploitative system, to participate in the class struggle, an ongoing historical conflict between the proletariat and the ruling class. Crimethinc substitute this class struggle with a teenage individualistic rebellion based on having fun now. Shoplifting, dumpster diving, quitting work are all put forward as revolutionary ways to live outside the system but amount to nothing more than a parasitic way of life which depends on capitalism without providing any real challenge. The arrogance of middle class kids (just like the hippies) supposing to change by world by roughing it as “poor” people for a few years is captured perfectly in the quote on the back cover of their book evasion.

"Poverty, unemployment, homelessness - if you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right!"

Condescending, privileged, middle class crap. The only people who could think that poverty is in any way fun are wealthy kids playing at being poor for a few years, the daily reality of poverty, unemployment and homelessness for the average person is very serious and something anarchists should always organise against rather than mock.

The reality of the situation is that you can’t boycott your way out of capitalism, dropping out of the system is never going to bring it down if anything you just re-enforce the system by recuperating people’s alienation and desire for revolution by selling them a new lifestyle under the same system. Capitalism is a system of coercion and control, we don’t work to support the system, we work because we need food and shelter and healthcare and the only way to get that under capitalism is with money. The only way we can get money is by selling our labour - the alternative is to rot, that’s Capitalism. I don’t want to feed my kids out of a dumpster or have to scam free healthcare if I get cancer, it’s not appealing or practical. There’s nothing revolutionary about using your white, middle-class, western privilege to remove yourself from the system at the expense of those who remain trapped in it. None of us are free until we all are.

— 

W - Rethinking CrimethInc: “Your politics are bourgeois as fuck”

An analysis of (mid 2000s) CrimethInc lifestyle politics by an actual anarchist.

"I’m getting high. Living here. Yeah I’m here getting high. I’ve been living here since 2004, 2003. I’m born and raised in Manhattan. I dunno. I’m a heroin addict. I just get high all day and drink and live to get high. That’s pretty much what I do. Actually I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s ridiculous. This life is shit. Not here. Look at me man. I haven’t showered in a week. I beg for money all day. All my friends get high. I don’t talk to my family anymore. At all. I’m twenty three and it’s been like nine, ten years since I’ve spoken to any of them. My life is going to shit. Slowly and it always happens when I come back here. I went to prison. I came back and I went straight here. And it’s just a circle of shit.

I probably should be in school doing something productive. Yeah I don’t have a lot of time left. I’ve just been doing this for so long it’s not cute anymore you know. It’s like a waste of time at this point. The same thing happens every day in this life. It’s risky. Im on parole. I’m on the run. I’m on the run hanging out in this park. There’s a warrant squad coming through here all the time. So I should probably be doing something else. Like school. I’m an artist. I’d like to go to school one day. I have to get clean first. That’s a problem. I just don’t know how clean I want to be. I just love getting high. Well I need to get high not because I’m just at the point where if I don’t get high I get sick. It started out as love. I used to love to get high. Now it’s a job. It’s a full time job. I gotta shoot like two bundles a day. And it’s like I’m not even enjoying it.

This is it probably. I guess I don’t even know where to start. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I can make it any other way. I don’t know if I can be happy any other way. Or maybe this is it. This is where I’m most happy. I’ve lived so many different lifestyles and getting high is the only thing that’s like really, you know like it’s worked for me. Even though it’s like pushed everybody and everything away from me. I just feel like it’s the only thing that’s ever worked for me.

No. How many people are happy? How many people can really say they’re happy. I mean I’m happy at times. But overall I’m not the happiest person. No. I’m not trying to sound desperate. Maybe a little bit. I’m not happy really anywhere. When I was in prison and when I was clean, I was not happy. I just wanted to get high all the time. When I go to rehab I’m not happy. I need like. I dunno, I guess I’m like um. I don’t know. I don’t even know what it is man. I wanna figure it out. But I just can’t.”


Crustypunks - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Harrowing portraits of homeless kids and travelers in New York City.

I can’t stop reading these tales of drugs and violence, ex-cons, drop outs, and the unwanted; people who are just socio-pathic enough to fall off the edge. Philosophically, they fall somewhere between Dharma Bums and Milch’s romanticized notion of the artist as psychologically damaged outsider.

It’s amazing how people can so thoroughly mess up their lives, rationalize those mistakes as virtues, and yet still be asking some of the right questions. Which is to say: what is the life that’s worth living? What is freedom? What is society? What does it mean to be true to oneself?

Wow.

Podcast of Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town [2009]

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36 weeks ago — give or take — I set out to read my 2005 novel Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town aloud, in installments, in my podcast. And now I am done.

Someone Comes to Town is my weirdest book by far, a fantasy novel about a man whose father is a mountain and whose mother is a washing machine, who moves from small-town Ontario to Toronto to help build a citywide meshing wireless network with a crustypunk dumpster-diver.

Reading the book aloud was enormously satisfying. I hadn’t read it through since I finished the final draft in 2004, and in many ways it was like coming back to it for the first time.

But even more satisfying was the participation from my readers. First there was John Taylor Williams, of DC’s Wryneck Studios, who volunteered to master the audio for me, adding bed-music, editing out the gonks, and making it sound really good — he started this around week 27, and it seriously improved the final 9 episodes.

Then Glenn Jones, a reader in the UK, decided to create a dedicated podcast feed for the book, with all 36 episodes, to make it easy to fetch and play in one gulp.

Im not sure what I’ll podcast next — I have a little more than a week to think about it — but I’m really looking forward to it.

Podcast feed for Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town

My podcast feed

Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town

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