Bob Black is a post-left writer. His most famous work is “The Abolition of Work“. His newest book “Instead of Work” debuted on August 7th. He’s been described as one of America’s great modern Anarchists.
Change was coming to America and the fault lines could no longer be ignored—cities were burning, Vietnam was exploding, and disputes raged over equality and civil rights. A new revolutionary culture was emerging and it sought to drastically transform the system. The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense would, for a short time, put itself at the vanguard of that change.THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION is the first feature length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails. Master documentarian Stanley Nelson goes straight to the source, weaving a treasure trove of rare archival footage with the voices of the people who were there: police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, and Black Panthers who remained loyal to the party and those who left it. Featuring Kathleen Cleaver, Jamal Joseph, and many others, THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION is an essential history and a vibrant chronicle of this pivotal movement that birthed a new revolutionary culture in America. TheBlackPanthers.com
Beginning in May 2014, photographer Ksenia Ivanova began a project dedicated to St. Petersburg’s punk community. Titled “On the Verge,” Ivanova’s work, she says, is first and foremost a personal exploration of her own generation. Born during the Soviet Union’s Perestroika period, her contemporaries grew up amid the ruins of Soviet ideology, when there was still nothing to take its place. “The uncertainty and despair of this time are reflected in our generation,” Ivanova says.
“Th-th-th-that’s all folks!” Has the human race’s grandest achievement–civilization–assured its collapse? It doesn’t look good!”Civilizations have come and gone over the past 6,000 years or so. Now, there’s just one—-various cultures, but a single, global civilization.Collapse is in the air. We’ve already seen the failure, if not the collapse, of culture in the West. The Holocaust alone, in the most cultured country (philosophy, music, etc.), revealed culture’s impotence.We have a better idea of what civilization is than we do of what collapse would mean. It’s the standard notion: domestication of plants and animals, soon followed by the early, major civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. Domestication, the ground and thrust of civilization, per se: the ethos of ever-progressing domination of nature and control in general.“Nature has not ordained civilization; quite the contrary,” as E.J. Applewhite, a Buckminster Fuller collaborator, aptly observed. All civilizations have been riven with tensions, and all heretofore have failed. Mayan and Mycenean civilizations, half a world apart, collapsed simultaneously (if slowly). Egyptian civilization rose and fell four times before it exhausted itself.Arnold Toynbee examined some twenty past civilizations in his massive A Study of History, and found that in every case, the cause of collapse was internal, not external.What may be civilization’s deepest tension is brought out in that most radical text, Freud’s Civilization and its Discontents. For Freud, civilization rests on a primary repression, the source of unconquerable unhappiness: the trading of instinctual freedom and eros for work and symbolic culture. Thus, civilization’s very foundation, domestication, is the worst of bargains, the basic generator of neurosis.Oswald Spengler underlined the futility of civilization, deciding that it was undesirable, even evil. For anthropologist Roy Rappaport, maladaptive was the adjective that best described it, though he (like the rest) concluded that smaller, self-sufficient social orders would be as undesirable as they would be impossible to achieve.In The Decline of the West, Spengler noted that the last phases of every civilization are marked by increasing technological complexity. This is strikingly true of planetary culture today, when we also see technology’s claims and promises tending to displace those of explicitly political ideology.William Ophuls’ recent Immoderate Greatness: Why Civilizations Fail outlines quite ably the reasons why civilizational failure is inevitable, why the grasping control ethos of domestication comes to its self-defeating end. The book’s first sentence also serves very well to announce the fatal illusion that prevails today: “Modern civilization believes it commands the historical process with technological power.”The fallacy of this belief is becoming clearer to more people. After all, as Jared Diamond puts it, “All of our current problems are unintended consequences of our existing technology.” In fact, civilization is failing on every level, in every sphere, and its failure equates so largely with the failure of technology. More and more, this is what people understand as collapse.Complex societies are recent in human history, and certainly this over-arching civilization is very different from all that have gone before. The main differences are twofold. Reigning civilization now dominates the entire globe, various cultural differences notwithstanding, and technological invasiveness colonizes to an undreamed-of degree.Despite this reach and height, the rule of civilization is based on less and less. Inner nature is as ravaged as outer nature. The collapse of human connectedness has opened the door to unimaginable phenomena among lonely human populations. The extinction of species, melting polar ice, vanishing ecosystems, etc., proceed without slowing.Fukushima, acidifying oceans, Monsanto, fracking, disappearing bees, ad infinitum. Even rather more prosaic aspects of civilization are in decline.Rappaport found that as civilizational systems “become increasingly large and powerful, the quality and utility of their products are likely to deteriorate.” The massive mid-2014 recall of millions of GM, Toyota, and Ford cars comes to mind. Jared Diamond points out that “steep decline may begin only a decade or two after the society reaches its peak numbers.”Enter Peak Oil and its prediction that oil is beginning to run out, signaling the finale of industrial civilization and its ruinous run. The discovery of large reserves of natural gas and new technological processes (e.g., shale gas extraction) may, however, mean that the Peak Oil projection of terminal decline won’t begin for many decades. The Oil Drum website, a major Peak Oil forum, went silent in 2008 after an eight-year run, admitting to lack of interest.There is an understandable, if misplaced, desire that civilization will cooperate with us and deconstruct itself. This mind set se
Android Dick is a robot created in the likeness of the science fiction writer, Philip K. Dick. Android Dick is an attempt to create thinking and reasoning artificial intelligence that has human traits like compassion and creativity. The first version of the android was created in 2005 and has been a work in progress ever since.In 2011, the creators of the android appeared on the PBS show Nova, where they interviewed the robot and asked it a series of questions. Some of the answers were impressive. Others are typical of what you would expect from a robot. However, one answer in particular is probably one of the most ominous things ever spoken by artificial intelligence.During the interview with the creators (embedded below), Android Dick said, “…don’t worry, even if I evolve into terminator I will still be nice to you, I will keep you warm and safe in my people zoo where I can watch you for old time’s sake. [emphasis added].”The comments came after the creators asked, “Do you think that robots will take over the world?”When asked about his programming, Android Dick responded by saying “A lot of humans ask me if I can make choices or if everything I do is programmed. The best way I can respond to that is to say that everything, humans, animals and robots, do is programmed to a degree. As technology improves, it is anticipated that I will be able to integrate new words that I hear online and in real time. I may not get everything right, say the wrong thing, and sometimes may not know what to say, but everyday I make progress. Pretty remarkable, huh?”While Android Dick does seem intelligent, many of his predictions are truly ominous, and it is actually fairly common for robots to display this sort of strange attitude.As we reported earlier this year, one of Japan’s largest cellphone carriers, SoftBank Mobile, has created the first humanoid robot designed specifically for living with humans. The company claims the robot, Pepper, is the first example of artificial intelligence that can actually feel and understand emotion. However, a quick demonstration with Pepper shows that it has a difficult time with emotion and is in fact a bit of an egomaniac. Regardless of the question it is asked, most conversations usually leads back to Pepper (and its rivalry with the iPhone).
Thefts at San Francisco’s swankiest stores have reached an epidemic level, as bad guys and bad gals grab high-end fashion items with near-impunity — with the “Rainbow Girls” leading the way.“They come in a groups of four or five and they go right for the Ferragamos,” said Ken Peterson, a salesman at Arthur Beren Shoes on Stockton Street, which has been hit repeatedly.Police tell us the “Rainbow Girls” — who get their name from their bright attire and dyed hair — are actually about three independent groups of women in their teens and 20s. The cops say they swoop into stores in the Union Square area, grab high-end goods and exit like running backs, plowing over anyone in their path.“They seem to get high off of it,” Peterson said. “They know they will be gone by the time the police arrive.”Police reports show that thieves fitting the Rainbow Girls’ description hit Neiman Marcus on Stockton Street on Nov. 7 and made off with two jackets worth $1,000 apiece, 21 Burberry scarfs worth a total of $9,970 and other goods for a total take of about $29,000.The next day, they hit Armani on Post Street for about $10,000 worth of stuff.
Nearly 50 years after the controversial Milgram experiments, social psychologist Jerry M. Burger, PhD, has found that people are still just as willing to administer what they believe are painful electric shocks to others when urged on by an authority figure.Burger, a professor at Santa Clara University, replicated one of the famous obedience experiments of the late Stanley Milgram, PhD, and found that compliance rates in the replication were only slightly lower than those found by Milgram. And, like Milgram, he found no difference in the rates of obedience between men and women.”People learning about Milgram’s work often wonder whether results would be any different today,” Burger says. “Many point to the lessons of the Holocaust and argue that there is greater societal awareness of the dangers of blind obedience. But what I found is the same situational factors that affected obedience in Milgram’s experiments still operate today.”Stanley Milgram, PhD, was an assistant professor at Yale in 1961 when he conducted the first in a series of experiments in which subjects—thinking they were testing the effect of punishment on learning—administered what they believed were increasingly powerful electric shocks to another person in a separate room. An authority figure conducting the experiment prodded the first person, who was assigned the role of “teacher,” to continue shocking the other person, who was playing the role of “learner.” In reality, both the authority figure and the learner were in on the real intent of the experiment, and the imposing-looking shock generator machine was a fake.Milgram found that, after hearing the learner’s first cries of pain at 150 volts, 82.5 percent of participants continued administering shocks; of those, 79 percent continued to the shock generator’s end, at 450 volts. In Burger’s replication, 70 percent of the participants had to be stopped as they continued past 150 volts—a difference that was not statistically significant.Burger implemented a number of safeguards that enabled him to win approval for the work from his university’s institutional review board, including making 150 volts the top range in his study. Burger also screened out anyone who had taken more than two psychology courses in college or who indicated familiarity with Milgram’s research. A clinical psychologist also interviewed potential subjects and eliminated anyone who might have a negative reaction to the study procedure.—K.I. Mills
I. “This instant that won’t be forgottenSo empty when thrown back by the shadowsSo empty when rejected by clocksThis wretched moment taken by my tendernessStripped naked, naked of the blood of the wingsRobbed of eyes to remember the angst of yesteryearOf lips to scoop up the juice of the violenceLost in the tolling of frozen belfries.”
Four Meditations on Wild Reaction [Reaccion Salvajes]Note: The photograph below, and the quotes preceding each section of this poem, are from the first communiqué of Wild Reaction (RS), issued from Cuernavaca, Mexico in August 2014 and translated by waronsociety.noblogs.org in September.I”After a little more than three years of criminal-terrorist activity, the group“Individualists Tending toward the Wild” (ITS) begins a new phase in this open war against the Technoindustrial System… from now on the attacks against technology andcivilization will be signed with the new name of “Wild Reaction” (RS).”my new hero is the vanishing point: somewhere and nowhere all at once an internet modem in the mouth of a vacuum, a smartphone dipped in gold. dipped in diamonds. encrusted with priceless gems and introduced at half time of the superbowl the camera-man in a grip’s union panning wide: the new commodities the glamorous intellectuals a motherboard and a mainframe, a smartwatch a smart wrist a smart organ grown on a scaffold