Archive for December, 2010

What is the Totality?

Posted: December 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

There’s a great discussion going on over at the new Jesus Radicals website. I know the name is scary, but it’s totally legit. An article was posted about a week ago that sort of sets up this “Anarcho-Primitivism” versus “Peace and Justice Leftist” dynamic, which in the context of the discussion is essentially the same as a “revolution” versus “reform” debate. The following comment was outstanding, in my opinion, and needs to be shared. It has some wholes and needs work, but it’s a blog comment not an essay, so give it some slack. Here it is:

There are a few homeless individuals whom understand the anarchist critique (people who were made homeless by social structures not their own will… not that their is anything wrong with that). So, my question was to them… “Is homelessness a problem?” They answered, “of course not.” As Quinn puts it in Beyond Civilization (which isn’t very anti-civ despite it’s title), we need to help the homeless be better at being homeless. A month ago, a homeless friend and I walked up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (I’m from Philadelphia). I was showing him the different varieties of crab apples, walnuts, rose hips, garlic mustard, gingko buts, and all sorts of other edibles. Sure, the city could not provide enough “naturally” growing food to support the homeless community, but there is something more in this. It’s a move beyond a reliance on civilization and it’s (often) garbage food. It’s not relying on civilization, which is an amazing feeling for anyone (I recall learning to forage, prior to identifying as an anarchist, it’s an amazing feeling). There are maps I have printed (which contain locations of edible wild fruit in the city; granted, the map does’t contain much but it’s growing) from the Philadelphia Orchard Project’s website and have distributed these to interested homeless individuals. Maybe if the cops left them alone and they were able to develop their “tent cities” further, we would see the development of an interesting society. What if they learned primitive skills? What if they denied the “city” as an institution and left for Fairmont Park? What if the local wealthy communities and government let them inhabit Fairmont Park? It’s so interesting to think of. What’s more unrealistic: the homeless forming a “anti-civ” society in the forest outside Philadelphia or the wealthy families on the main line escaping their culture to dwell in God’s creation? I believe Stephen Biko said, “The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the minds of the oppressed.” It’s hard to overcome a situation like homelessness. So many things that the “oppressor” (civilization) feeds them legitimates their homelessness, especially religion. Why is the religious tradition of Paul the Apostle, Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, the Prophets, and Moses so destructive towards their physical earthy selves? It doesn’t have to be, clearly. Of course all my rambling, is mostly thoughts and questions which I have been discussing with many, homeless and not. My liberation is intertwined with theirs. We have to seek to escape this monster called civilization.

However, I don’t know if I can entirely reject the work of “leftist.” I do 100% disagree with their views on society, also, I don’t think their work is going to solve the epidemic of “homelessness” like so many of them believe. Yet, I can relate. I have a 70 year old homeless friend who fought in the Vietnam war who doesn’t receive any aid and was literally dying on the cold streets. A so-called “leftist” organization took him in and provided him with his own apartment with heat. I am so grateful for their actions. So, I do thing “peace and justice” groups are needed. However, I would love to see them address the “roots” of homelessness. But, I have a feeling that it’s in the nature of leftism to not address the deep roots of so-called social problems.

So, this article really got me thinking. Within a micro-view of society (the faces of my homeless friends), I see the necessity of some leftist groups to “help” some individuals. Within a macro-view of society, I see leftism as denying there is a deeper problem that must be addressed and allowing for the continuation of many deep issues. This is all a struggle for me. In my opinion, we need to keep sheltering and feeding our homeless sisters and brothers but we need to work towards something new, yet old. What does it mean to help the homeless community be independent of civilization? To what degree is this even possible? This opinion is rocky at best, but like I said earlier, this article got me thinking about my involvement in the homeless community.

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Art Basel Miami

Posted: December 6, 2010 in Uncategorized

I just came back from the craziest event that I have ever been to. A mecca where the alcohol flows freely like water, where food and coffee is free, and where even crust punx can be put on the guest list of a prestigious art gallery opening. Art Basel Miami is an annual world-renown gathering of the most well-known artists. The entire city over-taken by art. Graffiti and open containers are legal for the weekend. Gallery owners buy TONS of the best liquor to lure potential buyers and no one is questioned or carded at the door. Hundreds of people (like me) get ‘jobs’ for the weekend pouring drinks or working security, and since this gang of lower-class temp workers are in charge, it’s pretty easy to get drunk.

I am attempting to write my first comic about this bazzle of a weekend! I did some sketches that I impressed myself with, and I feel like I am ready to try to make a comic, finally! I’ll keep this blog updated about it’s progress : )