Insurrection In a Time Of Dystopia

“The neighbors truck got busted in, the windows smashed cause he left his wallet on the seat.” My grandma said, showing me surveillance footage taken from two different neighborhood houses posted on a social media website. It was clearly able to show the person in action and taking a step back, here was a non-governmental, non-official neighborhood merely organizing on the premises of surveiling and reporting on their own situations.

A Police State, so deeply embedded, that citizens are effectively operating their own Surveillance Society despite being seniors with nothing better to do outside of keeping tabs. When we think of Cyberpunk Dystopias, I don’t think we envisioned grandparents collaborating on social media trading surveillance with one another outside of the purview of the State, but I guess there shouldn’t be any surprises with late-stage capitalism.

Seeing this being produced so casually with the most rudimentary of tech, I thought, how the fuck is insurrection conceivable under a surveillance state that most revolutionaries can simultaneously fathom and not? The few safe spaces that exist either do so with either the consent of the State or in an illegalist fashion, and are always utmost temporary fixtures. Shit, there are lists and in places like Chicago, (this one is known as the Strategic Subject List) up to 400,000 (or nearly 15% of Chicagoans) which analyzes them using risk-assessment scores with regards to crime. The list is quite literally larger than my hometown. 

Thinking about this, while reading Che’s Guerrilla Warfare (which is a fantastic tactical read through an insurrectionary lens with some critiques), and seeing how some tactics couldn’t fundamentally work in numerous “developed” nations, I’ve been jarring about what concepts work. We live in a time where the conceivable old tactics may have their place, but many of them are significantly hollowed out. Mass movements turn into datafarms for potential threats against the State, none of the largest unions have the infrastructure nor care to develop one for a general strike, and any concept of Party, even if its “third” perpetuates the myth of needing a State.

The fact that our biggest actions are only in opposition to policies implemented by the State rather than actions at the State is a massive signal that the left, in its current incarnation, is incapable of resisting Empire. The tactics of the old have their purposes, but new tactics have to be reforged in the fires of now. It is not enough to be invisible, hidden from society, but we must additionally become wraiths and poltergeists. We must be indistinguishable and immaterial, yet we must haunt tyranny and oppression in a way they know the actions against it are by the people, but the hands the propel them are invisible.

In what forms do these take as we barrel into a Cyberpunk Fascist Dystopia? It becomes more diverse than we can potentially fathom. From something as basic as private torrenting and liberating files from behind internet paywalls for total access (free textbooks you know) to developing Electro-Magnetic Pulse Devices and weaponizing magnets against the Surveillance State. This isn’t just about the hitech, but the low tech. In the Millennium Challenge 2002 war game, Lt. Gen Van Riper of the USMC used old, rudimentary methods of communication and low-tech strategies to successfully counter the high-end surveillance capabilities of the United States. We’re talking bicycle messengers and using flash lights to signal over a distance, even the missile implementation wasn’t based on precision strikes, but rather flooding sensors with overwhelming “dumb” missiles. Insurrection, ultimately, has to become more erratic and fluid to counter the monolithic structures of Empire. Everything and our participation in it must be subjected to an analysis as whether to perpetuate what has continually lost against Empire or been co-opted. The wastes of Empire are the fertile grounds for new concepts of resistance, not because we willingly embrace it as such, but because we are provided no other alternative.

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We lost

 There was a point in our universal existence that we lost all opportunity for a better future. This is a statement of fact and a challenge to your conviction. Maybe it was the beginning of industrialization, maybe it was the beginning of agricultural societies, maybe it was the technological innovations of war, or maybe it was our collective incapability to stop climate change, but in any case, we’re afflicted with multiple terminal illnesses to which even if one miracle solved for one, the others would surely take us to our end. The powers that be gave us a fully loaded revolver for a game of Russian Roulette.

 The apocalypse isn’t the issue. In the way that death is inevitable, every indicator reveals that we will be the end of the mass extinctions we’ve perpetuated, and this doesn’t matter. I don’t mean this in the nihilistic sense. The value of our collective self interests are not contingent on existential threats or realities. If your ethical conclusions are shaken by the fact that none of us may exist any longer, it is both a question of your conclusions and your convictions. If you chose not to do good in the face of apocalypse, what substance is your “good” in any other case? A good action, committed in the absolute certainty of which you’ll receive no benefit, is evidence of conviction.

 So, the world is ending. Shall we stay idle as it does? Shall we stand aside? We lost, long before any of us had a say. We had as much say about our existence as we did about our individual birth. Which of us would’ve chosen to say yes if we had the option to be born? Despite this, I don’t think these are factors of importance. I’m rather hopeless and optimism seems like a sham, not only that, but even getting out of bed seems like a waste.. Yet there is not a single day I wouldn’t spend fighting for a world I thought we’d never have. The inevitable seeks to destroy us long before we’re buried and breathing itself becomes a continuous act of resistance. It is not enough for resistance to be inhaled and exhaled, however, my veins should bleed insurrection against the tyranny of fate dictated by those who came before.

 It is not enough to be caught between the superficial morality imposed upon us by every facet of society against the backdrop of an inevitable death that would deem us meaningless. We must resist all that came before, that is now, and that is inevitable. If we couldn’t break the chains that bind us, the next best thing would be to bleed in our struggle to break free from them.

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Let’s Talk Comsec

Download Tor, intall Tor (What is Tor), then close this page, and reopen it in Tor. We’ll consider this the 0 step.

I’m not a tech person at all and learning how to safeguard myself techwise has been an adventure. Okay, scratch that, I’m a small-scale tech person. I know enough about hardware to build a decent rig and I can haphazardly navigate most OS’s. I don’t even know if I’m using proper terminology at times or if I’m bastardizing my way through, so let me be clear: In this, I’m going to give a short explanation of different ways to communicate securely. This is going to just be a limited, straight to the point explanation of stuff I’ve kinda snagged around google in my own adventure. Shall we?

1. Let’s say you want a secure OS to write and talk to folks on.

Look, most operating systems are secure as long as you keep them up to date and shit. Your average every day person isn’t going to break into your shit if you are sensible. This isn’t about that. This isn’t even necessarily about your rando malicious attack or anything. This is about you being concerned that the government might want to look at whatever it is you’re doing and you’re concerned about having a secure way to communicate digitally.

Before we continue, we’re going to transfer the line of philosophical thought presented in the Hagakure. Bushido is a way of dying and it was argued Samurai should live as tho one was dead, you should live like your entire life is compromised. Assume everything you’ve done up to now is known by someone, somewhere. Many of us average folk cannot comprehend the intelligence gathering capabilities of the system and what we think may protect us from the average, does, but doesn’t protect us against this cyber leviathan. This doesn’t mean you should be reckless, I’ve been reckless to extents of regret, but it means you need to take a greater step into being secure. Check yourself constantly, check how you troll, check everything you do. Modesty is a form of security. I don’t think my telling you this will reinforce that mindset, but here’s a video from Jacob Applebaum where he pretty thoroughly explains how we’re fucked and the ability of groups like the NSA to completely compromise us. It’s a long video if you decide to watch the whole thing (probably not necessary), but the means of which I’m explaining to you provide an opportunity for security, not full or absolute security, and these forms of security are not enough.

So what should we do? These answers will be scattered and piecemeal, but I’m doing my best to write this in an order that makes sense while being deprived of.. I dunno. I’m out of it.

Get a 2 USB disk (more than 4 gigs, get two if you’re using Mac or Windows) for like 11 bucks each that isn’t SanDisk, maybe like Samsung or something, and clear a day to start going to work. Right now, your best bet is downloading something like TAILS. The Amnesiac Incognito Live System. It’s an operating system that forces you behind Tor (nifty way to mask your Internet existence, you could just get a nice browser for your OS to do that, but we’re talking next level right). Not just that, it only exists in your RAM since its run off a USB, so it doesn’t leave traces like normal operating systems. It’s a clean OS every time you boot it and since its in a USB stick… you can use it on just about any laptop or desktop (save some stuff like Chromebooks, ugh fuck that struggle). Walk into a school library with a USB drive, restart it with the USB plugged in, boot it up so you can access the USB, and start TAILS for secured communications. Convenient as hell. Just keep the USB handy. Since it does wipe clean on every start though, it is a problem of wanting to store anything significant, and you can use it for a persistent drive to some extent, but that kinda dodges why this system is secure. It’s a constantly clean OS where your traffic is in the shadows. You could’ve read all that stuff on the website itself, but I’m writing it here because I’m trying to tell you this is a long process that can be more difficult than it seems. I was able to use a single USB and did it through Ubuntu, but many of ya’ll might be on Windows or Mac and that makes it a bit longer.

2. Emails are about the most secure method of communication when done properly.

Check out secure emails that use PGP encryption (what is it), which is perhaps the safest way to do it, and google around for how it works (here’s one example, but things like mailfence have their own built in way). It’s not entirely complicated. I’d recommend riseup, which unfortunately is invite only, but autistici.org could be good and mailfence is my preference for ease of use. Emails sent PGP behind Tor and any other safeguard you can imagine is about as secure as electronic communications can get. Unfortunately, email isn’t always a preferable format, and you still need to be wary about how you talk, what you send, etc.

3. Next level under email is instant messaging.

Here’s what I use. I use Pidgin Instant Messenger, I create an account that uses XMPP protocol, and I pull a server (check out this list, always better to have your own server though) that force Off-The-Record Messaging and doesn’t keep logs. When you setup the account, use a server with a .onion address, giving it an additional layer of protection. When your account starts up and its functioning, test it with a comrade, and make sure you’ve enabled verification between each other. What does this end up looking like? Well, buddy, if you’ve used AIM, imagine AIM except that your chats are only logged if the other person is online behind a layer of onion circuits with no personal information attached. Don’t even try to keep the login info or memorize it. The Calyx Institute has a great screenshot set of drections for setting this up.

To Conclude:

Nothing is entirely safe, nothing will ever fully protect you, but these tools are better than nothing. Next time, I’ll try to talk about mobile communications.

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Milosevic Apologists in Syria and the Left’s Dichotomy Problem

Hello all,

If you’ve read my last two posts, here and here, you’ll see two specific individuals (Bartlett and Beeley) I’ve outlined that have been going on delegations spearheaded by the World Peace Council. They both (here’s Beeley) repeatedly addressed that they’ve been a part of these delegations, that allows for “independent” investigation into the Syrian government. These tend to feature a personal audience with Assad.(Vanessa Beeley, Assad, and the World Peace Council in July of 2016)
What is the World Peace Council? The WPC is a NGO of the United Nations, developed decades earlier with most of its funding from the Soviet Union (I’m not insinuating anything bad here, if the US regime can have NGOs serving as its foreign policy agents, it’s understandable the Soviets would do the same). Despite the Soviet Union’s collapse, it is still running today, but its finances have remained largely secret. The only source I have on their money trail happens to be from a Western source I find questionable, so I’m going to default to that there’s nothing on the internet I’ve come across about their funding. If you do, hit me up, I’ll update here.

The objective of the WPC is anti-imperialism, a noble cause I always advocate for, and it has largely resisted western imperialism ever since its inception. Most of this isn’t problematic. Until you understand they’re the type of anti-imperialist that refuses to say words like “Bosnian genocide” and consistently, up into 2014, expresses respect for Milosevic, and had former leadership even petitioning for his release. (funny enough, mentions New World Order again). These folks have headed multiple delegations of popular, established reporters that have celebratory dinners with loyalist politicians (as in my last post). This is a cut and dry situation for the WPC, it is no wonder they consistently have platforming opportunities with RT.. Or at least their journalists do.

Apparently, there’s no limit to what atrocities you can ignore to resist the (insert sarcasm) greatest atrocity of imperialism (end sarcasm) as if civilians aren’t being slaughtered either way. Why do I keep hammering on this, why? The US regime is killing innocent civilians, funding terrorists, and is focused on regime change.. Yeah, we know. We’ve always known this.

Does it absolve your ignorance? Does it absolve your siding with Milosevic apologists? Does it absolve you picking up any source, uncritically, and pushing it to make a point of anti-imperialism? Anti-imperialism, as its root, is about the right for people to resist and to directly counter colonial/oppressive powers. It is a moral position and one that quickly ceases to be any kind of high ground the moment you allow shit like this to happen.

You see, the current radical left has a problem. They develop meaningless dichotomies that are counterproductive. We live in a world increasingly becoming less about West vs East, especially with the Trump regime coming in. Simultaneously, they are developing a dichotomy that shouldn’t exist of anti-imperialism versus anti-fascism. Anti-imperialism and anti-fascism are hard lining pillars of our identity, but when we look at Syria, we are seeing a case of which in the name of anti-imperialism, the left is casting aside its anti-fascist absolutism.

Before, if a source had any remote connections with fascism or racism, it was cast aside, and rightly so. Now? Modern wars make for even stranger bedfellows. Even when you’ve got genuine left uprisings still strongly going, such as Rojava (if you’ve missed how far left and how antifa the situation is..), there are leftists willingly to completely trash it in the name of anti-imperialism. This article, phrasing it as the Red-Brown Alliance, paints a more in depth portrait.

If you know anything about Syria, historically, is that it was a fascist regime, which harbored Nazis, that essentially traded in its appearance for the look of a neoliberal reformer. Those that rose in 2011 had genuine reason to (I encourage reading Burning Country by Leila Al-Shami and Robin Yassin-Kassab). A few years later, what was of the uprising has largely died (it still exists), and extremists funded by the United States for purpose of regime change that took over. This is the extremely short summary. To disrespect the genuine elements of uprising, to absolve the regime of its crimes, to ignore the dying Syrian leftists in the name of retaining a fascist regime in neoliberal makeup for the sake of anti-imperialism.. is part of the dichotomy problem you all are facing.

A dichotomy that allowed for the relatively easy reflex of anti-imperialist tendency (as long as you opposed the west) is dying underneath ever ballooning complexities and anti-fascism has taken a back seat as the far right rises in power. This never had to be anti-imperialism vs anti-fascism. You can be against both regimes, you can be against intervention, you can be for the uprising, you don’t have to fucking source fascist bedfellows, and you could realize the world is infinitely more complicated in a way that your foundational theorists understood better than you currently do. Somehow, betraying the left in Syria for purposes of anti-imperialism and siding with an empowering far right is somehow doing not only the right thing, but the intelligent thing.
We’re fucked, aren’t we?

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Is your Syrian source a conspiracy theorist or disconcertingly problematic? Probably.

This is a part 2, tailing problematic journalists that are pro-regime. If you haven’t read the first post, I recommend it, otherwise I’m going to briefly go over the fact that as leftists.. We have to fundamentally do better in who we trust as our sources. Let’s investigate the bs, shall we?

  1. Vanessa Beeley. Beeley is an “independent journalist” in Syria, with a healthy critique on NGOs and their power complexes in the world… Despite having been sent to Syria by a NGO member of the United Nations. She’s a writer for 21st Century Wire, founded by Patrick Henningsen, whose an editor with Infowars. Not only is that suspect, but she’s also publishes for the Centre (another conspiracy website) linked in my prior post. She’s frequently given platforms with Ron Paul (really, the name alone screams conspiracy theories) and the British Constitution Party (imagine US Tea Party), a right wing populist group that is chaired by Roger Hayes, a former UKIP party member (to which UKIP MPs defended him upon getting arrested for refusal to pay taxes). Not just that, but as an independent journalist relying on Fares Shehabi, pro-Assad Syrian MP and head of Aleppo’s Chamber of Industry, who frequently funds and provides security for other independent journalists such as Eva Bartlett (who also went with Beeley’s NGO delegation). Here’s a photo with Beeley seemingly entirely objective with a regime politician about Aleppo. To add further intrigue to Beeley’s involvement is her accusations of Max Blumenthal plagiarizing her, Eva Bartlett, and Tim Anderson (the white nationalist friend, whom they seem to roll with) for his Syrian pieces. This is interesting, not only in that it puts her in complicity with journalists that get hosted by holocaust deniers, (Eva, shame) but.. What if its true? Blumenthal would’ve pulled from conspiracy theorists. If its false? It worsens their credibility. She even calls out Rania.

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    That leads us to our second “independent journalist” for the day.

  2. Rania Khalek. Khalek is a pretty reknown journalist with a diverse background, I’m in league with her support on Palestine. However, there’s some really problematic shit when we put the Syrian microscope on and what she has in common with white nationalists. Khalek came under fire, both necessarily and by opportunists, for her participation in a two-day event held by the British Syrian Society, an organization cofounded and led by Fawaz Akhras, Bashar Al-Assad’s father-in-law (a quick google search reveals), which is an apparent conflict of interest. She argues she was listed as speaker, partially her to blame because she hadn’t been actively engaging the conference.. But there’s a few questions to that. How does that just happen? Why does a pro-government NGO headed by Assad’s father-in-law see you as someone that could benefit their platform? Isn’t that a bit of a hint hint wink wink nudge nudge, they wouldn’t put you on there if they expected problems. Neither does it help when “terrorism expert” Max Abrahms, who continually derides Palestinians is also congratulatory on your Syrian work and you develop a friendly twitter relationship over it.

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    (What’s the correlation there, Abrahms..? What’s her being Palestinian have anything to do with it?)

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    Let’s also investigate her problematic af use of language when describing political situations. To start with, I can’t possibly be the only one who thinks this is problematic of her:

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    Really bad play on headline titles.

    She clearly understands this:Then she says stuff such as: Obviously a bit problematic, but does it mean shes something like antisemitic which is traditionally used by right wingers as a means for trying to undermine anti-Zionist? No-Look closely at her response. “but “Zionism in the Age of Dictators” is a completely factual book”. Okay, now check out this hate group real quick, the Institute for Historical Review. Nazis love sounding objective. Oh my, what is this essay? Sounds awfully Nazi-typical. I wonder what their sources are… Oh. The one Rania Khalek said is a completely factual book. That’s a bit of a problem..

Comrades, we’ve got to do better.

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Is your Syrian source a fascist, white nationalist, and/or conspiracy theorist? Probably.

One of the more divisive, recent issues on the left is the Syrian conflict. All sides will, for the most part, argue anti-imperialism, but take it a step further in how they view the situation or what sides they take. You’ve got the anti-imperialist, unbridled support of Assad and his regime.. You’ve got the anti-imperialist, yet anti-Assad.. Etc etc. One of the most significant problems I’ve seen emerge is pro-regime comrades explicitly cite sources that either have direct conspiracy theory backgrounds or even fascist associations. Disappointingly, many leftists don’t seem to be too phased when confronted with this reality, but here I’m going to provide a list of some popular sources and what’s problematic about them.

  1. Eva Bartlett. Bartlett recently gained a lot of traction for a YouTube video, of which she sits on a press conference organized by the Syrian mission to the United Nations (funny enough, the UN itself gets questioned, but not the people it offers a platform for ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ). She hammers in on western media bias and supporters rally behind her video. The problem? Bartlett is a frequent writer for a conspiracy website, the Centre for Research on Globalization which refers to itself as “a major news source on the New World Order” while simultaneously offering a platform to Infowars’ and Prison Planet’s alt-right (white nationalist) lead, Paul Joseph Watson. She’s just recently been hosted on Ryan Dawson’s podcast, a known Holocaust denier.

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    Not only does it host Watson, it is referenced by many alt-right figures and web sources. To what extent can we trust the legitimacy of someone openly working for a conspiracy theorist website that’s heavily referenced by white nationalists? Apparently, for some leftists, we can trust a western white woman as not being western propaganda (is fascist/conspiracy propaganda not considered western..? Food for thought)

  2. Tim Anderson. Anderson, also a writer for Centre for Research on Globalization, wrote the book The Dirty War on Syria. It’s been offered as a source on what happening in Syria, of which I’ll get back to after I reveal his white national associations and religious terrorism background. In this twitter link is a photo of Anderson, with Daily Stormer’s Nathan Sykes, Iggy Gavrilidis (Golden Dawn) & Dr. Jim Saleam (AFP). It may just be a photo, but coupled with The Australia First Party (AFP) making facebook posts about Anderson’s written works on Syria being important, it’s clear that there is a connection between the two not just in friendly commentary, but actual physical meetings.

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    Not only does it comment on his book, but the AFP Facebook page makes nationalist arguments as they reference Anderson’s facebook posts in conjunction. A problematic relationship to say the least for a quality “left” source. Never mind that Tim Anderson was a part of a fanatical religious sect that committed terrorist actions. I did say I’d get further into his book background, but all there really is to say that the reviews are only done by the Centre, which makes sense when you want a diverse opinion of a book.

  3. Nina Byzantina (Spencer). This will be short, she’s a twitter personality that either tweets or RTs pro-regime stuff, and she’s married to the head of the National Policy Institute, Richard Spencer. NPI is a white nationalist think tank and Spencer is one of the leading white nationalists in the US. If I must go further, we may have a problem. She also harasses leftists, makes Nazi Jokes, and is buddy buddy with Partisangirl.
  4. Partisangirl. Also known as Syrian Girl Partisan. She’s been a major source for pro-regime leftists, despite the fact she makes YouTube videos about the New World Order (dang Alex Jones hosting) and Rothschild conspiracy claims, which can only be anti-Semitic. She has been featured on David Duke’s (a white nationalist/supremacist) podcast to add on to her pretty horrid track record.

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    She also is anti-Rojava, to which of those of you who may not know, is a leftist revolution occurring within Northern Syria.

These are four popular figures on the pro-regime front, I’ll happily research into more individuals as are brought to my attention. With that said, how the fuck can my comrades casually follow and refer to sources that are not only white nationalists, fascists, work for conspiracy websites, and anti-Semitic, but offering such bullshit takes? Where is your critique at?

Edit: Added in the David Duke piece, revealed to me through Pinko_snob. Part two is located here. Since then, I’ve also been informed that Eva Bartlett was hosted by Holocaust Denier, Ryan Dawson, of which will be linked above.

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