Read Indigenous Cultures Take Root in New York
The traditional systems of mutual support that undergird many Indigenous Central and North American cultures have formed a safety net during a very dark time in New York City’s history.

This is an amazing series of photographs and piece of journalism. I, and many Indigenous peers, have been dismissed as “racial supremacists” in the past for our belief that it is Indigenous cultures that are capable of surviving, not kyriarchists.

It’s difficult to tolerate such hateful misrepresentation, but made easier by two things: an understanding that the kyriarchists’ whole worldview is a misrepresentation; their view of me is nothing personal. And, regardless of what the kyriachists think or how they act, it doesn’t change that it is Indigenous ways of living that are bringing human people into each new day, far safer than the kyriarchists ever have.

The Groundhog Autonomous Zone (GAZ) is a non-contiguous confederacy of human people acting as mutualists toward the goal of extracting and resources from the contemporary colonial kyriarchist hegemony for the development of non-kyriarchal assets.

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Land back. Water back. Medicine back. Ceremony back.

  1. Land back. Return control of the material world to all those existing in it. No more rulers, no more prioritization of human needs. Mitakuye oyasin: we’re all relatives, all of us on this Earth, and it’s only by establishing that as our explicit relationship that we’ll be able to adapt.
  2. Water back. Once we’ve taken control of our material world, we have the freedom to shape it in ways that benefit us all. The ecological projects of Indigenous peoples dwarf the engineering of colonial cultures in longevity and scale: let’s get back to actually developing our planet as a home.
  3. Medicine back. With control of our material world and the ability to change it, we can finally start working to build up “medicine:” for our physical bodily health, but also all things we might need medicine for. In some implementations of Lakota belief, all things are medicine: they help or hurt our health, as a person and as people. This doesn’t clash with many colonial philosophies, which say that all that happens in a world, and all the actions a person takes, helps shape that person’s identity. But unless we’re in control of our world and actions, we can’t really start to shape our own identities. Without land and water back, we can’t really make good medicine.
  4. Ceremony back. Sometimes when talking to despondent colonists I’ll highlight that in some ways, it’s never been easier to be a human person: with the human-caused collapsed of our climate, the “meaning of life” is self-evident: mitigate that disaster. Even the most anti-human humans are motivated to act against it, enough to prevent the extinction of all life on Earth, and most of us are motivated to act against it because we think human life is worth continuing into the future, for various reasons. But this “meaning of life” is hopefully, temporary: it can be fulfilled by the return of indigenous ways of handling land, water, and medicine. With its fulfillment, we’ll again have a terrifying freedom to seek out our purposes, as individuals, community-members, and a species: to develop our own ceremonies that impart meaning into our lives, based on our lives, not (once again) the needs put on us by either an exploitive group or their emergencies.

 

Listen to your elders. Before I go further into the above, I want to pause and offer some words of caution, for those who are preparing to start performing some form of one of the four actions above. That is, if you’re, today, starting to change your relationship with the kyriarchy: listen up: listen to your elders.

There are a lot of people in the same position as you, who are going to reach that same conclusion, today or sometime this week. And with the exact some confidence as they endorsed things like electoralism and reform, they will now endorse radicalism. They won’t stop and talk about how they’ve changed their mind, because they probably don’t see it as a change of mind: they see it as the external world having changed.

I’m afraid that wasn’t expressed clearly, and it’s an important notion for me to convey here, so let me try again: People who are radicalizing this week believe that the world has changed, this week, in some way that means reform is impossible and radical action is what can work. This implies that all existing radicals are still wrong, because they radicalized “too soon,” and it doesn’t consider what’s far more likely: we all have different knowledge and experience that informs how we view the world, and there’s no real “too soon” or “too late” to radicalize.

Unfortunately, these new radical folk are going to be very enthusiastic, the same way almost everyone who’s discovered a new trendy hobby is. Their approach to discussing this issues is likely going to treat everything as new and surprising, and will erase the perspectives of others, that these are just continuations of systems that have been in development for centuries.

Try… not to give them too much of your attention, as loud as they are. Listen to the folk who have been rejecting reform and working toward radicalism for decades: they’ve got experience and knowledge that y’all, no matter how enthusiastic, aren’t going to have. I don’t necessarily even mean stuff like how to treat tear-gas; that stuff can be learned from a pamphlet.

I mean how they choose to frame the contemporary events in their town; how they talk about the new buildings, how they talk about TV shows, all of it is going to be fundamentally scoped by their experience that means it will all be… different than what new radicals are saying, which is, despite their sudden shift in opinion, still coming from a person informed by years of active Collaboration.

And beside: these new radicals who were advocating to vote yesterday… were wrong. They were consistently wrong about many fundamental claims about our world, down to the legitimacy of the U.S. as a government. And now they want you to listen to them like they weren’t loudly wrong just yesterday.

Anyway: I’ve been an on-the-ground radical for like, three presidents, and I see this every time there’s some push into fascism that even the most patriot American can’t help but feel funny about. Folk who were so adamant that they were right about reform are now going to be very adamant they’re right about shit like y’all getting mass-arrested, or some other nonsense. They’ve made their persona or career around being loud, not right: tune out and pay attention to who’s been calling this shit the longest. (Hint: it ain’t me, I can just type fast and turn a phrase. Seek out and listen to Indigenous Elders, especially women: they’ve been actively tasked with keeping their heads on straight no matter how wonk our society gets.)

Now, back to the topic-at-hand: a step-by-step guide for going into our future.

I know it might seem silly to say that there’s a four-step plan we can follow to fix the world, but… I don’t think it is: the world is… if not simple, it is finite. In truth it’s actually just two steps: fix the Earth and fix our relationship with it.

And thanks to the anthropogenic dissolution of our climate, fixing the Earth is… if not easy, it’s hard to do wrong, and we have a convenient step-by-step for getting started there, too: 1) Reduce, 2) Reuse, 3) Recycle.

But that’s only half the picture: to reduce material use, we have to innovate new ways of using what we have; to reuse waste we have to innovate new ways of repurposing scrap, and to recycle we have to innovate new ways of deconstructing materials, which might mean innovating new ways of constructing things. (And I’m looking at genuine reuse here: using produce crates to hold dirt in place, , not taking an old hubcap and turning it into a clock that requires a new little plastic and metal timekeeping mechanism.)

So, let’s bring it all back together:

How can you work to take or return control of the material world to its peoples?

If you’ve got land, give it back. If you’ve got money, gift it back. If you’ve got hoarded wealth, relinquish control. It is time y’all reckon with that shit. I know white queers looking to buy land; Looking to buy more homes. Y’all better be turning around and giving y’all’s other homes back to the folx whose land you’re occupying. If not, you’re trying to make a profit and keeping access to housing away from those who can’t afford housing. If not, you’re keeping land and housing away from Black and Indigenous people. And y’all have excess money. Y’all have excess land and homes. Excess is capitalism. Hoarding resources is colonialism. Take the financial hit and gift land and homes to community. We know y’all will be fine without that money. And even if you’re not, you’ll be fine long-term becuase you still have acess to jobs, land, housing, healthcare, and resources that we (the queer BI people) would never have. So y’all better re-think putting that house for sale. Y’all better rethink buying that other house on stolen land. Y’all better rethink buying stolen land. Y’all better rethink that savings account. – @phaggotplanet@Instagram.com

And to cut off the people who read that and immediately go “I won’t put myself in poverty for social justice,” here’s an anonymous quote:

“This is about reparations and understanding that the comfortability afforded to you by your savings account is not about you pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and then donating to “marginalized communities” (as if we depend on you to donate to us to keep us afloat) – but that your ability to save and hoard wealth, while not the same as the ultra-rich, is still part of a settler colonial framework that is built on stolen land and labour and ultimately protected by violent forces such as the police, borders and military. If you can’t understand that your hoarding of wealth is not benign but rather a part of an overall project, then I’m not sure where to begin. No one, I assure you, is asking folks to enter willingly into poverty. What is asked is simple – to examine the ways that you are able to build wealth on the backs of others & recognize that if you are truly in this for change and not just talk, then that comes with relinquishing of comforts that you may take for granted.”

Now, I recognize, a lot of people reading this probably don’t have much, if any, hoarded wealth. But some of y’all do, and a lot of y’all are living lives that are set up to protect you from poverty only by participating in a system that lets others hoard your wealth.

But to the rest, “give up your excess” borders on a rude suggestion, I think, so thank you for bearing with me while I got it out of the way. (If you do have some excess, I’ll happily take it.)

A lot of y’all are trying to figure out how to build wealth, not just without choosing to build it through the exploitation of others, but because you cannot access those opportunities. I’m in a similar position, but I’ve been in it for, well, two presidents, so I think I can help. I think I know a lot of things y’all should be learning to do, if you want to take control of the material world around you, regardless of what control others give you. Learn to make fires, clean water, save seed, make dirt, cook a meal for a hundred people, tell stories, keep a child company while others look for their guardian. I’m working to create resources that will encourage the development of that knowledge.

But, I’ve been in this position for two presidents: I’ve lost a lot of that novice perspective, and I’m not sure what else folk might need to know that I’m forgetting. So, I’m asking all of you who have the energy: think about what you reckon I might know, that y’all might want to know to improve your future. And let me know what you come up with.

This email is for folk who, so far, have experienced most of this year through headlines and social media discussions.

Things are worse than it’s easy to believe. Unemployment is worseDeath tolls are higher. Anecdotally, there are four new homeless camps within a half mile of me, all bigger than the one that existed before COVID, and more than a dozen people have died in these camps. (Reminder, I live in a very prosperous neoliberal university town.) I distribute now a couple hundred pounds of food a day, and it still isn’t enough to make a meaningful dent.

If you don’t feel, acutely, the rapid slide into poverty that has occurred for most of our nation: congratulations, you have more time to prepare. Please, I’m begging you: take advantage of it to by listening to your impoverished neighbors and community, and taking steps to work with them directly. Regardless of who wins the election, there are many million new Americans existing in a state of subjugation. If you aren’t one of them, you’re the subjugator, and I implore you to do everything you can to change that relationship.

You all have a week to figure out how you’re going to react to the various possible outcomes of the U.S. elections. You’re probably waking up to news about a new Supreme Court Justice, and that the Senate went on recess before passing additional relief. Social media discussion about how this threatens reproductive rights, and puts people on the precipice of eviction.

Please try and understand: most of my friends weren’t able to access reproducive healthcare, before COVID. Even before Trump. It’s never been available for them. (I am the healthcare available to many of my peers.) Most of my friends can’t qualify for leases because they’ve been evicted too often. don’t have healthcare, or the means to qualify for a lease, and haven’t for almost a decade. (It’s only in the past five years that I’ve had any sort of stable housing, and at the moment it isn’t stable at all; my landlord/boss is actively trying to convince the sheriff to ignore the eviction moritorium because they dislike that I distribute free food.)

The things you’re scared of, the risks you’re facing, have been here for years for some of us: and not distant abstract “other Americans,” but like, me and my friends. People you know. People whose efforts you benefit from: not just in that we keep providing the services that maintain your society, but we keep providing words like this, that help alleviate the ignorances y’all hold around your privilege.

These consequences you’re waiting on, to motivate you to action, have already come for the majority of your fellow citizens, and it is your continued support of our oppression that inhibits our ability to organize.

I’m not going to spend much time guilting you for relaxing into the stability that Collaboration provided so far. There’s enough of that in my other writings, and from other people. What I’m going to challenge you to do is make clear plans about how you’re going to make this world better, regardless of how the election goes. Come Wednesday morning, are you going to fight your HOA to allow gardens to be set up? Are you going to go talk to a restaurant about donating waste food? Reach out to local mutualists and ask if they need help?

Do real things that directly challenge the many mechanisms of oppression which you’re currently cooperating with. “Releasing an open source blog engine” or “boosting some non-white social media posts” shouldn’t count. This is real shit, and it requires real action.

A couple days ago, people who follow certain events all woke up to headlines about a DMCA takedown that GitHub received for hosting copies of Youtube-DL, a command-line script that lets you download videos off Youtube. (The DMCA, or Digital Millenium Copyright Act, is a U.S. law that says folk can’t host material that infringes on copyright or is primarily for infringing copyright.)

The notice came from the RIAA, Recording Industry Association of America, because they feel that by hosting Youtube-DL, Github is hosting material that is primarily for infringing on copryight.

There are a lot of good arguments about why that claim is bullshit, even assuming the legitimacy of “intellectual property,” made by people with state-granted privilege to issue opinions. So, I’m not going to talk about that.

Instead, I’m going to repeat a point I’ve made often to people elsewhere, but not yet through this newsletter:

Those who operate computers for commercial organizations in exchange for funding (“developers,” in a word) fill a role similar to religious officials in our society, going far beyond the concrete actions of their role: due to computer operations being incorporated into nearly all forms of labor, this developer class has authority over nearly all facets of human life, at a very individualized level.

This social position lets “developers” have a massively disproportionate effect on our popular culture: their values are mimicked throughout the world, in big and small ways.

It’s those developers I’m talking to.

What in the fuck are y’all doing? Look at my newsletter from yesterday. Your society is on a genocidal rampage right now. Let’s take a breath together, and consider: is the RIAA sending Microsoft a letter really that important?

(Spoiler: my answer is actually, “yes, kind of.”)

So, from my perspective, the RIAA and Microsoft are both basically denominations of the same death cult, and what they’ve done is they’ve exchanged a magic letter that adds to the Litany of the latter denomination, giving it just cause to excommunicate certain members and burn their contributions to the community.

Put another way: the Church in Spain has some nascent anarchists in some rural parishes, so the Pope signs a letter clarifying that “yes, that’s not good,” and so now those rural parishes stop letting in the anarchists, and burn down the anarchist’s patch of tomatoes growing next to the cemetary.

Put that way, to me, this seems really important. Whether it’s viewed as economic, political, or spiritual, it is destruction with the intent to repress. And I honestly can’t think of many things more harmful to our ability to survive than repressing our ability to create new solutions to problems we encounter.

But, put this way, it begs the question: are there other ways we’re repressing our ability to create that are more urgently harmful?

A photograph of some field peas growing out of milk crates, also some lemon balm and a few varieties of succulent.

The majority of our food comes from, or is fed by food that comes from, proprietary seed: vast libraries of magic scrolls chain together to bind your wrists against replanting the seed you buy routinely at the grocery store: bean, corn, tomato, squash, pepper. You probably have at least one seed of one of those somewhere in your kitchen. You might have hundreds, or thousands.

And if you were to plant them, and the Church find out, you would be asked to pay your Indulgences, and the plants you grew would be destroyed.

It doesn’t stop at the illegal gardening (or piracy), though. Most of y’all probably stream your TV and movies and music, but was that a choice you made or a consequence of the abundances and scarcities within you culture? Most of y’all probably don’t save seed: is that a choice you made or a consequence of culture?

What I’m trying to say is, even ignoring the direct repression, we have had our ability to create repressed for so long that most of us don’t even feel the ability. The “real world” that most people live in is one that’s interacted with via magic scrolls like laws and currency, not one of life, air, and water.

…Which is probably why people love to get interested in dramas like the RIAA/Github thing: if they live entirely within the constructs of kyriarchal society, of /course/ the machinations of kyriarchal society are the most interesting thing in the world.

And it is interesting. I agree. But… as an analogy for the massive harms we’ve already let happen to us, when we let our ability to create in the material world get repressed. It is such a valuable story, in that way.

But, on its own, the only repression at hand is our ability to create within kyriarchal society, and if the threat of that repression greatly threatens you: again, breathe. And recognize you’re saying you need the kyriarchy to be creative, and start exploring how you can change that.