DAYS OF WAR, NIGHTS OF LOVE – anonymous (crimethinc)

1. Today there is a booming discontent industry, consisting of entrepreneurs who cash in on your misery by selling you products that describe and decry it. Thus the exchange economy finds a place even for its enemies: perpetuating both industry and discontent as we struggle to fight them, we keep the wheels turning by selling more merchandise. And as in every other aspect of your lives, your real desires to make something happen are channeled into consuming – and your own abilities and potential are displaced, projected onto the ‘revolutionary’ items you purchase.

This book could be part of that process. While we hope we are using our product to ‘sell’ revolution, it might be that we are just using ‘revolution’ to sell our product. * The best of intentions can’t protect us from this risk. But we’ve undertaken this project because we felt that, in addition to our other, less explicitly compromised activities, it might be worth giving the old experiment one more try: to see if a commodity can be created that gives more than it takes away.

For this book to have even the smallest chance of succeeding in that tall order, you can’t approach it passively, you can’t expect it to do the work. You have to regard it as a tool, nothing more. This book will not save your life; that, my friend, is up to you.

* – After all, in this society, if something isn’t for sale, it might as well not exist – and it’s almost impossible to think of anything to do with something of value besides market it. (p.1)

2. If your life was made into a movie, would it be worth watching? (p.3)

3. English language (and all applications thereof)used without permission from its inventors, writers, or copywriters. No rights reserved. All parts of this book may be produced and transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, especially including photocopying if it is done at the expense of some unsuspecting corporation. Other recommended methods include broadcasting readings over pirate radio, reprinting tracts in unwary newspapers, and just signing your own name to this and publishing it as your own work. Any claim relating to copyright infringement, advocation of illegal activities, defamation of character, incitement to riot, treason, etc. should be addressed directly to your Congressperson as a military rather than civil issue.

Oh, yeah…intended ‘for entertainment purposes only,’ you fucking sheep. (p.4)

4. Warning: The word ‘revolution,’ which is used constantly throughout these pages with an unironic naivete, may be amusing or off-putting to the modern reader, convinced as he is that effective resistance to the status quo is impossible and therefore not even worth considering. Gentle reader, we ask that you suspend your belief long enough to at least contemplate whether or not such a thing might be worthwhile if it were possible; and then that you suspend it further, long enough to recognize this disbelief for what it is – despair! (p.6)

5. Heaven is a different place for everyone; hell, at least this particular one, we inhabit in common. (p.11)

6. It is more likely that the ‘normalcy’ that these people hold so dear is rather the feelings of normalcy that result from conformity to a standard. Being surrounded by others who behave the same way, who are conditioned to the same routines and expectations, is comforting because it reinforces the idea that one is pursuing the right course: if a great many people make the same decisions and live according to the same customs, then these decisions and customs must be the right ones. (p.12)

7. Are there ways of thinking, acting, and living that might be more satisfying and exciting than the ways we think, act, and live today? (p.13)

8. …to live as the subject, rather than the object, of history – or, better, as sovereign rather than subject… (p.14)

9. Nothing could be more heartbreaking than to fail when such success is actually possible, so we do everything we can to avoid trying to the first place, to avoid having to try. (p.16)

10. What I am begging you to do here is not to put faith in the impossible, but have the courage to face that terrible possibility that our lives really are in our own hands, and to act accordingly: to not settle for every misery fate and humanity have heaped upon us, but to push back, to see which ones could be shaken off. Nothing could be more tragic, and more ridiculous, than to live our a while life in reach of heaven without ever stretching our your arms. (p.16)

11.  God is dead – and with him, moral law.

When two people fundamentally disagree over what is right or wrong, there is no way to resolve the debate. There is nothing in this world to which they can refer to see which one is correct – because there really are no universal moral laws, just personal evaluations. So the only important question is where your values come from: do you create them yourself, according to your own desires, or do you accept them from someone else…someone else who has disguised their opinions as ‘universal truths’? (p.25)

12. There is no universal moral code that should dictate human behavior. There is no such thing as good or evil, there is no universal standard of right and wrong. Our values and morals come from us and belong to us, whether we like it or not; so we should claim them proudly for ourselves, as our own creations, rather than seeking some external justification for them. (p.26)

13.  But if there’s no good or evil, if nothing has any intrinsic moral value, how do we know what to do?

And the fact that there is no God to demand that we love one another or act virtuously does not mean that we should not do these things for our own sake, if we find them rewarding – which almost all of us do. But let us do what we do for our own sake, not our of obedience! (p.27)

14.  But what would happen if everyone decided that there is no good or evil? Wouldn’t we all kill each other?

Isn’t freedom, even dangerous freedom, preferable to the safest slavery, to peace bought with ignorance, cowardice, and submission? (p.30)

15. The idea of moral law doesn’t help us get along, it turns us against each other, to contend over whose moral law is the ‘true’ one. There can be no real progress in human relations until everyone’s perspectives on ethics and values are acknowledged; then we can finally begin to work our our differences and learn to live together, without fighting over the absolutely stupid question of whose values and desires are ‘right.’ (p.30)

16. Do you enjoy being controlled by others who don’t understand or care about your wants and needs? Do you get anything out of obeying the instructions of employers, the restrictions of landlords, the laws of magistrates, people who have powers over you that you would never have given them willingly?

How is it that they get all this power, anyway? The answer is hierarchy. (p.31)

17. Resurrecting anarchism as a personal approach to life. Stop thinking of anarchism as just another ‘world order,’ just another social system. From where we all stand, in this very dominated, very controlled world, it is impossible to imagine living without any authorities, without laws or governments. No wonder anarchism usually isn’t taken seriously as a large-scale political or social program: no one can imagine what it would really be like, let alone how to achieve it – not even the anarchists themselves.

Instead, think of anarchism as an individual orientation to yourself and others, as a personal approach to life. That’s not impossible to imagine. Conceived in these terms, what would anarchism be? It would be a decision to think for yourself rather than following blindly. It would be a rejection of hierarchy, a refusal to accept the ‘god given’ authority of any nation, law, or other force as being more significant than your own authority over yourself. It would be an instinctive distrust of those who claim to have some sort of rank or status above the others around them, an unwillingness to claim such status over others for yourself. Most of all, it would be a refusal to place responsibility for yourself in the hands of others: it would be the demand that each of us not only be able to choose our own destiny, but also do so. (p.34)

18. So if we are all anarchists by nature, why do we always end up accepting the domination of others, even creating forces to rule over us? Wouldn’t you rather figure out how to coexist with your fellow human beings by working it out directly between yourselves, rather than depending on some external set of rules? The system they accept is the one you must live under: if you want your freedom, you can’t afford to not be concerned about whether those around you demand control of their lives or not. (p.35)

19. When you are acted upon violently, you learn to act violently back. (p.36)

20.  And what about government control? Without it, wouldn’t our society fall into pieces, and our lives with it? Certainly, things would be a great deal different without governments than they are now – but is that necessarily a bad thing? Is our modern society really the best of all possible worlds? Is is worth it to grant masters and rulers so much control over our lives, out of fear of trying anything different? (p.39)

21. Of course, even if a world entirely without hierarchy is possible, we should not have any illusions that any of us will live to see it realized. That should not even be our concern: for it is foolish to arrange your life so that it revolves around something that you will never be able to experience. We should, rather, recognize the patterns of submission and domination in our own lives, and, to the best of our ability, break free of them. We should put the anarchist ideal – no masters, no slaves – into effect in our daily lives however we can. (p.39)

22. If you need an example closer to your daily life, remember the last time you gathered with your friends to relax on a Friday night. Some of you brought food, some of you brought entertainment, some provided other things, but nobody kept track of who owed what to whom. You did things as a group and enjoyed yourselves; things actually got done, but nobody was forced to do anything, and nobody assumed the position of master. We have these moments of non-capitalist, non-coercive, non-hierarchal interaction in our lives constantly, and these are the times when we most enjoy the company of others, when we get the most out of other people; but somehow it doesn’t occur to us to demand that our society work this way, as well as our friendships and love affairs. Sure, it’s a lofty goal to ask that it does – but let’s dare to reach for high goals, let’s not settle for anything less than the best in our lives! (p.40)

23. It means not valuing any system or ideology above the people it purports to serve, not valuing anything theoretical above the real things in this world. It means being faithful to real human beings (and animals, etc.), fighting for ourselves and for each other, not out of ‘responsibility,’ not for ’causes’ or other intangible concepts. (p.41)

24. It means not forcing your desires into a hierarchical order, either, but accepting and embracing all of them, accepting yourself. It means not trying to force the self to abide by any external laws, not trying to restrict your emotions to the predictable or the practical, not pushing your instincts and desires into boxes: for there is no cage large enough to accommodate the human soul in all its flights, all its heights and depths. (p.41)

25. It means refusing to put the responsibility for your happiness in anyone else’s hands, whether that be parents, lovers, employers, or society itself. It means taking the pursuit of meaning and joy in your life upon your own shoulders. (p.41)

26. Should we serve employers, parents, the State, God, capitalism, moral law, causes, movements, ‘society’ before ourselves? Who taught you that, anyway? (p.41)

27.  The myth of the mainstream. The bourgeois man depends upon the existence of a mythical mainstream to justify his way of life. He needs this mainstream because his social instincts are skewed in the same way his conception of democracy is: he thinks that whatever the majority is, wants, does, must be right. (p.50)

28. They must be part of the silent majority, that invisible force that makes everything the way it is; one assumes that they are the same ‘normal people’ seen in television commercials. But the fact is, of course, that those commercials refer to an unattainable ideal, in order to keep everyone left out and insufficient. The ‘mainstream’ is analogous to this ideal, as it keeps everyone in line without ever actually making an appearance, and possesses the same degree of reality as the perfect family in the toothpaste advertisement. (p.50)

29. They would do better to cut their ties to the bourgeoisie entirely by feeling free to act, look, and speak in whatever ways are pleasurable, no matter who is watching – even when they are trying to advance some political cause: for no political objective reached by activists in camouflage could be more important than beginning the struggle towards a world in which people will not have to disguise themselves to be taken seriously.

This is not to pardon those insecure bohemians who use their activism not as a means of building ties with others, but rather as a way to set themselves apart: in their desperation to purchase an identity for themselves, they believe they must pay for it by defining themselves against others. You can recognize them by their self-righteousness, their pompous show of ideological certainty, the ostentatious way they declare themselves ‘activists’ at every opportunity. (p.51)

30. Marriage…and other substitutes for love and community.

Marriage and the ‘nuclear family’ (the atomized family?) as chain gang have survived as a result of this calamity, much to the misfortune of potential lovers everywhere. For as the young adventurer, who keeps her lusts strong and her appetite whetted with constant danger and solitude, knows well, love and sexual desire cannot survive overexposure – especially in the dull and lifeless settings that most married partners share time. The bourgeois husband sees the only lover he is permitted under only the worst possible circumstances: after every other force in his world has had the chance to exhaust and infuriate him for the day. The bourgeois wife learns to punish and ignore as ‘unrealistic’ and ‘impractical’ her every desire for romance, spontaneity, wonder. Together, they live in a hell of unfulfillment. What they need is a real community of caring people around them, so parenthood would not force them into unwanted ‘respectability,’ so they would still be free to have the individual adventures they need to keep their time together sweet, so they would never find themselves so lost and desperately lonely. (p.52)

31. Constant access to sex, food, warmth, and shelter desensitize a man to the very pleasures they afford. The bourgeois man has given up his chance to pursue real stakes in life for the assurance that he will have these amenities and securities; but without real stakes in his life, these can offer him no more real joy than the company of his fellow prisoners. (p.53)

32. The joys of surrogate living!

And as long as he accepts the displacement of his desires into the marketplace by paying for imitations of their fulfillment, he will be trapped in the empty role that is himself. (p.53)

34. The closest he seems to be able to offer to an expression of free, liberated desire is the fantasy of all-consuming destruction that appears again and again at the black heart of his wildest cinematic fever dreams. This makes sense enough – after all, in a world of nothing but strip malls and theme parks, what honest thing is there to do but destroy? (p.53)

35. The bourgeois man is not an individual. He is not a real person (although if he was, he would probably live in Connecticut). He is a cancer inside all of us. He can now be cured. (p.54)

36. What is capitalism anyway?

And capitalism is, in fact, one of the least democratic economic systems. In a ‘democratic’ economy, each member of the society would have an equal say in how resources are used and how work is done. But in the capitalist economy, in which all resources are private property and everyone competes against each other for them, most resources end up under the control of a few people (today, read: corporations). Those people can decide how everyone else will work, since most of the others can’t live without earning money from them. They even get to determine the physical and psychological landscape of the society, since they own most of the land and control most of the media. And at bottom, they aren’t really in control, either, for if they let their guard down and stop working to keep ahead they will quickly be at the bottom of the pyramid with everybody else; that means nobody truly has freedom under the capitalist system: everyone is equally at the mercy of the laws of competition. (p.59)

37. Capital: wealth (money, property, or labor) …which can be used to create more wealth. Example: factory owners who profit from selling goods created by the labor of workers in their factories are able to purchase more factories.

Capitalism: the ‘free exchange of good and services’ … in which those who have capital are able to collect more, at the expense of those who do not. (p.60)

38. How does capitalism work? Here’s how the free market is supposed to work: people are free to seek their fortunes as they choose, and the ones who work the hardest and provide the greatest value to society are rewarded with the greatest wealth. But this system has a crucial flaw: it doesn’t actually offer equal opportunities for everyone. Success in the ‘free market’ depends almost entirely on how much wealth you already have. (p.61)

39. (…) for although they pay you for your work, you can be sure they’re not paying you for its full value: that’s how they make a profit. If you work at a facotry and you make $1000 worth of machinery parts every day, you probably only get paid $100 or less for that day’s labor. That means someone is cashing in on your efforts; and the longer they do that, the more wealth and opportunities they have, at your expense. (p.61)

40. How does this affect the average guy?

You end up spending the greater part of your life doing whatever you can to get paid the most for, instead of what you really want to do: you trade your dreams for salaries and your freedom to act for material possessions. (p.62)

41. Rather than all competing to be the one at the top of the corporate ladder or the one in a million lottery winner, we should be trying to figure out how to make it possible for all of us to do what with our lives. For even if you are lucky enough to come out on top, what about the thousands and thousands who didn’t make it – the unhappy office clerks, the failed artists, listless grill cooks and fed up hotel maids? Is it in your best interest to live in a world filled with people who aren´t happy, who never got to chase their dreams…who maybe never even got to have dreams? (p.63)

42. What does Capitalism make people value?

Those who have wealth have it because they spend a lot of time and energy figuring out how to get it from other people. Those who have very little have to spend most of their lives working to get what they need to survive, and all they have as consolation for their lives of hard labor and poverty are the few things they are able to afford to buy – since their lives themselves have been brought from them. Between those two social classes are the members of the middle class, who have been bombarded from birth with advertisements and other propaganda proclaiming that happiness, youth, meaning, and everything else in life are to be found in possessions and status symbols. They learn to spend their lives working hard to collect these, rather than taking advantage of whatever chances they might have to seek adventure and pleasure. (p.63)

43. “But doesn’t competition lead to productivity?”

Yes – that’s the problem. The competitive “free market” economy not only encourages productivity at all costs, it enforces it: for those who do not stay ahead of the competition are trodden under it. And what costs, exactly, are we talking about here? (p.64)

44. There’s a word for those long hours and unfair wages: exploitation. But that’s not the only cost of the “productivity” our competitive system encourages. Employers have to cut corners in a thousand other ways, too: that’s why our work environments are often unsafe, for example. And if it takes doing things that are ecologically destructive to make money and stay productive, an economic system that rewards productivity above all else gives corporations no reason to resist trampling over wildlife to make a buck. That’s where our forests went, that’s where the ozone layer went, that’s where hundreds of species of wild animals went: they were burned up in our rat race. In place of forests, we now have shopping malls and gas stations, not to mention air pollution, because it’s more important to have places to buy and sell than it is to preserve environments of peace and beauty. In place of buffalo and bald eagles, we have animals locked in factory farms, turned into milk and meat machines… (p.65)

45. Our competitive economic system forces us to replace everything free and beautiful with the efficient, the uniform, the profitable. (p.65)

46. The wealth that their labor creates is sucked out of their communities into the pockets of these companies, and in return their unique cultures are replaced by the standard-issue monoculture of Western consumerism. By the same token, people in these countries can hardly afford not to seek to be competitive and ‘productive’ themselves in the same ways that those exploiting them are. Consequently, the whole world is being standardized under one system, the capitalist system…and it is getting hard for people to imagine any other way of doing things. (p.66)

47. So – what kind of productivity does competition encourage? It encourages material productivity alone – that is, profit at any expense. We don’t get higher quality products, for it is in the manufacturers’ best interest that we return to buy from them again when our cars and stereos break down after a few years. We don’t get the products that are most relevant to our lives and pursuit of happiness, either: we get the products that are easiest and most profitable to sell. (p.66)

48. So…who exactly is it that gets power under capitalism?

In a system where people compete for wealth and the power that comes with it, the ones who are the most ruthless in their pursuit are the ones who end up with the most of both, of course. Thus the capitalist system encourages deceit, exploitation, and cutthroat competition, and rewards those who go to those lengths by giving them the most power and the greatest say in what goes on in society. (p.67)

49. The corporations who do the best job of convincing us that we need their products, whether we do or not, are the most successful. That’s how a company like Coca-Cola, which makes one of the most practically useless products on the market, was able to attain such a position of wealth and power: they were the most successful not at offering something of value to society, but at promoting their product. Coke is not the best tasting beverage the world has ever tasted – it is simply the most mercilessly marketed. (p.68)

50. The ones who are the most successful at creating an environment that keeps us buying from them, whether that means manipulating us with ad campaigns or using more devious means, are the ones who get the most resources to keep doing what they are doing; and thus, they are the ones who get the most power over the environments we live in. That’s why our cities are filled with billboards and corporate skyscrapers, rather than artwork, public gardens, or bathhouses. That’s why our newspapers and television programs are filled with slanted perspectives and outright lies: the producers are at the mercy of their advertisers, and the advertisers they depend on most are the ones who have the most money: the ones who are willing to do anything, even twist facts and spread falsehoods, to get and keep that money. (Do a little research and you’ll see just how often this happens.) Capitalism virtually guarantees that the ones who control what goes on in society are the greediest the cruelest, and the most heartless. (p.68)

51. You are a target audience.

Youth is a time when you should be reevaluating the assumptions and traditions of older generations, when you should be willing to set yourself apart from those who have come before and create an identity of your own.
But in our society, ‘youthful rebellion’ has become a ritual: every generation is expected to revolt against the social order for a few years, before ‘growing up’ and ‘accepting reality.’ This negates any power for real change that the fresh perspective of youth could have; for now rebellion is ‘just for kids,’ and no young person dares to maintain their resistance into adulthood for fear of being thought of as childish.
This arrangement is very much to the advantage of certain corporations who depend on the ‘youth market.’ Where is your money going when you buy that compact disc, that chain wallet, that hair dye, leather jacket, wall hanging, all those other accessories that identify you as a rebellious young person? Right to the companies that make up the order you want to stand against. They cash in on your rebellious impulses by selling you symbols of rebellion that actually just keep the wheels turning. You keep their full, and they keep your empty; they keep you powerless, busy just trying to fit the molds they set for you. (p.68)

52. Those who dare to spend their lives doing things that are not profitable generally get neither security nor status for their efforts. They may be doing things of great value to society, such as making art or music, or doing social work. But if they can’t turn a profit from these activities, they will have a hard time surviving, let alone gathering the resources to expand their projects; and, since power comes first and foremost from wealth, they will have little control over what goes on in their society, as well. (p.69)

53. OK, OK, but what’s the alternative?

The alternative to capitalism would be a consensual society in which we could decide individually (and, where necessary, collectively) what our lives and surroundings would be, instead of being forced into them by so-called laws like ‘supply and demand.’ Those are only laws if we let them be. (p.74)

54. To escape from the fetters of competition, we need to develop an economy that is based on giving rather than trading: a gift economy, in place of this exchange economy. (p.74)

55. ‘Work’ itself would be a thousand times more pleasurable, without tight schedules or demanding bosses constraining us. And though we might have a slower rate of production, we would have a wider array of creative pursuits in our society, which could make life fuller and more meaningful for all of us… (p.75)

56. Whenever a knitting circle meets to share friendship and advice, whenever people go camping together and divide up responsibilities, whenever people cooperate to cook or make music or do anything else for pleasure rather than money, that is the ‘gift economy’ in action. One of the most exhilarating things about being in love or having a close friend is that, for once, you are valued for who you are, not what you’re ‘worth.’ (p.75)

57. sfdfds


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