[Noisebridge-discuss] Was My Life Worth Living? by Emma Goldman [Published in Harper's Monthly Magazine, Vol. CLXX, December 1934]

giovanni_re john_re at fastmail.us
Sun Oct 20 23:36:30 UTC 2013


See nb reference below.

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moxie 3 hours ago | link See: http://www.crimethinc.com

Also, it looks like you're in the Bay Area. You can stop by Bound
Together Books in SF, The Long Haul Infoshop in Berkeley, or The Holdout
in Oakland.

The East Bay Anarchist Conversation and Book Event is next Saturday at
Humanist Hall in Oakland:
http://eastbayanarchist.com/the-second-annual-east-bay-anarc...

As an entrepreneur, you might also be interested to read about the
anarchist community's overlap with the creation of projects such as
Twitter (see the Institute for Applied Autonomy), as well as the early
emphasis on self-publishing through projects like Indymedia.


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Was My Life Worth Living? (1934) (berkeley.edu)
http://ucblibrary3.berkeley.edu/goldman/Writings/Essays/lifework.html
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6580372
94 points by t0dd 6 hours ago | 49 comments

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javajosh 3 hours ago | link There is definitely a thick, deep, wide
current of "gov love" in pop culture, and it's good to question it. It's
expressed in movies (and TV shows) where government representatives
solve problems for the common people. Those reps can be cops, James
Bond, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, or what have you. They are the heroes, the
saviors. In these narratives, the government heroes swoop in to protect
the weak from being preyed on by the strong.

And yet there is no shortage of stories that highlight the incompetence,
corruption, and even out-right malicious intent of government, even
popularly elected ones. So it's not one-sided, at least.

In my view, what's missing from all such arguments is any kind of frame
of reference. The anarchist claim is unsatisfying, to say the least,
that the governments role is to maximize individual expression. To me,
the best possible world is not the one where people can express
themselves. Specifically, the best possible world is the one which can
colonize other worlds. And it could very well be that dictatorship would
work for that purpose (but I hope not).

Why is spreading life beyond earth so important? Because without doing
that, in the long run, life will end. And that is the closest I have
come to having an article of faith: that we humans are the stewards, and
the hope, of all life on earth. Unless we act, every living thing is
doomed in the long run. (Of course, the question arises: what if we
colonize other worlds successfully? What then? To which I answer: let's
cross that bridge when we get to it.)

With that frame, one can start to answer the question "Is Anarchy
right?" The answer that I come up with is: probably not. We have a lot
of problems with the way the US gov is structured, and particularly
problems with how the judicial branch oversees the executive and holds
it accountable. That important check seems to have degraded at virtually
every level of society, federal, state and local, and I believe
represents the greatest societal challenge we face. But is it a problem
that is inherent to democracy, and something only something like anarchy
can fix?

Society is a lot like a life-raft, making high density human habitation
possible. Laws are the framework that any government provides and
constitute the lowest level interface you must support to participate in
the maintenance and growth of the life-raft. Basically: Don't speed.
Don't kill people. Don't steal stuff. Pay your taxes. If you do these
things, you're mostly going to be okay.

The real craziness starts with regulation, particularly when that
regulation doesn't fit the popular view of what that regulation is or
what it's purpose is. The three big national regulators that people
think about when it comes to "government interference" would be the FDA,
the FCC, and the SEC. We find it problematic when these organizations
actively stop (and punish) small entities looking to compete with larger
ones, often for arbitrary and clearly corrupt reasons. There is a
revolving door between industry and government that is difficult for
non-specialists to penetrate. But it is my view that these battles must
be fought, and leadership (which starts with the President) must
pro-actively root out corruption and misapplication of the law. And the
best place to start with that, is simplicity. We need a profound
reduction in the size of the legal corpus. Adding a rule that, for the
next 20 years, Congress must repeal 2 laws for every law pass would be a
good start.

In any event, my point is that I don't think anarchy could lead us to
the highest goal of human society, the colonization of other worlds.
Authoritarianism, as distasteful as it is, is handy for large-scale,
complex tasks like that. I don't like it. But I don't see another
option.

reply

m



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ljlolel 5 hours ago | link Where are today's anarchists?

reply

moxie 3 hours ago | link See: http://www.crimethinc.com

Also, it looks like you're in the Bay Area. You can stop by Bound
Together Books in SF, The Long Haul Infoshop in Berkeley, or The Holdout
in Oakland.

The East Bay Anarchist Conversation and Book Event is next Saturday at
Humanist Hall in Oakland:
http://eastbayanarchist.com/the-second-annual-east-bay-anarc...

As an entrepreneur, you might also be interested to read about the
anarchist community's overlap with the creation of projects such as
Twitter (see the Institute for Applied Autonomy), as well as the early
emphasis on self-publishing through projects like Indymedia.

reply

cinquemb 3 hours ago | link I just came across iSee[0]. Do you know if
it has an API? It would be really cool to try to automatically plot
routes to places without surveillance cameras.

[0] http://66.93.183.118:8080/isee/s1?zm=0&id=5876

reply

thenerdfiles 5 hours ago | link I leave my books on Post-scarcity
Anarchism on the table when in public. I talk about Planned Economies
openly in public.

I decided not to pursue academia to show you what an Anarchist looks
like.

But a majority of society needs to feel validated by the exploits of
Miley Cyrus and needs to feel connected with the limits of Obama's
sermon-like ratiocinations or the GOP's economic exploitation
strategies.

reply

Joeboy 1 hour ago | link I don't know about today, but yesterday a
pretty large number of them were at the 2013 Anarchist Bookfair at Queen
Mary's College in London. http://www.anarchistbookfair.org.uk/

reply

anachrokate 1 hour ago | link There's a host of radical spaces in the
bay beyond the ones Moxie mentioned. But hackerspaces like Noisebridge
and Sudoroom have a large quantity of explicit and involved anarchists
as core members, as well as a long tradition of using anarchist
organizing models and even on occasion referring to themselves as
anarchist projects.

reply

angersock 4 hours ago | link Cataloged meticulously.

reply

rquantz 5 hours ago | link Right here.

reply

CitizenMe 5 hours ago | link We are all over the place. Uniforms for
easy identification aren't really our thing



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