Friday, November 30, 2018

The path of the Kami

“Shinto” by Paula R Hartz exists in several different editions. I have the third edition, which is more colorful than the first one. It´s also grossly overpriced at all vendors I´m familiar with! Thank god for Black Friday…

While Shinto´s earliest written sources or “sacred scriptures” are from the 8th century AD, the religion itself is probably much older. Indeed, in a non-imperial variety, Shinto might be the ancient pagan tradition of Japan, or at least of the ethnic group today known as the Japanese. It certainly incorporates ideas often considered “primordial” or “primitive”, such as ancestor worship, shamanism and animism. Originally, there were probably no Shinto temples either, worship taking place at particularly stunning places in nature. However, when Shinto was first codified, it served to legitimize the imperial power and the imperial line, notoriously claiming that the Japanese rulers are descended from the sun goddess Amaterasu herself.

Throughout its history, Shinto has been combined with other traditions, Confucianism and Buddhism in particular. Today, many Japanese adhere to both Shinto and Buddhism, which often baffles causal Western observers for whom only one religion can be True (read: Christianity). During some periods, Shinto and Buddhism were in fierce competition rather than harmony. This was the case after the Meiji Restoration until the defeat of Japan in World War II. During this period, Shinto was a state cult of the emperor, his regime and “Japan” (really the Japanese Empire). Apart from State Shinto, there are other manifestations of this tradition, known as Shrine Shinto, Folk Shinto and Sect Shinto. I previously reviewed a “Sect Shinto” book, written by Motohisa Yamakage.

Paula R Hartz´ book is a good overview of Shintoism, chapters dealing with everything from its history and mythology to basic temple ritual. Various colorful festivals are also covered. And yes, those strange antics of Sumo wrestlers turn out to have a religious explanation. The author is broadly pro-Shinto, and perhaps takes a too romantic view of Japanese history, or at least tries hard to do so! If she succeeds is perhaps another matter. The book also briefly discusses Japanese Buddhism and the so-called New Religions, inevitable when writing about a country where a single person can belong to several different religions or even syncretize them.

In a daring move, Hartz tries to explain what “Kami” actually means… 

OK, that was a joke, but to a modern or Christianized Westerner used to easy definitions or very personal gods, it *is* difficult – at least initially – to understand the concept of mostly nameless, faceless “spirits” who somehow also double as “forces” and even physical objects…I think!

“Shinto” is part of a series called “World Religions”, although it´s difficult to see how an almost exclusively Japanese phenomenon can be called a “world” religion. That being said, I nevertheless recommend this book for people completely new to the subject, although finding it in a library might perhaps be a better idea than buying it outright, unless the Kami recently blessed you with some extra funds...

The pagan C S Lewis

“The Weird of Hali: Innsmouth” is a peculiar novel by John Michael Greer. It´s the first in a projected series of seven Lovecraft-themed novels. I think two volumes have been published so far. “Innsmouth” is the only one I´ve read. It´s not a horror story, nor is it a Lovecraft pastiche or ditto parody. In fact, there is very little H P Lovecraft in this story of the return of the Old Ones, the whole thing rather smacking of a certain John Michael Greer. But then, that´s the point somehow!

Greer´s blog has often criticized Lovecraft´s racism and general fear of “the biological”, and “The Weird of Hali: Innsmouth” could be seen as an extended polemic against the creator of Great Cthulhu. Notoriously, Lovecraft didn´t really believe in the occult. Greer, by contrast, does. The novel is imbued with a “pagan” perspective where the world is inhabited by countless of spirit-beings and intelligent creatures of various shapes and forms, many of whom want nothing to do with humanity, and some who are more advanced. The latter could be seen as “gods” from a human perspective. The cosmos and nature are cyclical, with alternate phases of creation and destruction, and this “crawling chaos” is something to be affirmed and embraced, not shuddered at. No transcendent personal creator-god of the Biblical type seems to exist, everything being a product of an impersonal life force, called “voor” in the novel. Humans play only the smallest part in this scenario. Greer rejects both the Christian notion that we are “the crown of creation”, the Renaissance claim that humans are the measure of all things, and the modern idea of unlimited “Progress” (usually thought of in technological terms). He uses Lovecraft´s fear of degeneracy and the biological to launch a general critique of the Western fixation with (supposed) “rationality” that ultimately leads to the annihilation of Nature and the Earth itself. (If this makes any sense as a criticism of H P Lovecraft in particular, I leave to Lovecraft scholars to decide.)

The plot of “Innsmouth” is set in an in-story universe which combines our reality with the Lovecraftian universe. The main character is one Owen Merrill, a former soldier and current down-and-out scholar at the Miskatonic University in Arkham. Unsurprisingly, he is writing a doctoral thesis on Lovecraft from a vaguely postmodern perspective. Arkham has so much local color that I had to double-check that the place really is fictitious! One day, Owen (who is vaguely based on Greer himself) discovers an unknown letter in which Lovecraft admits that the Eldritch are real, and soon thereafter the wild hunt begins. Owen is contacted by both the Old Ones and their opponents, a mysterious scientific brotherhood known as the Radiance. The twist in the story is (surprise!) that the Eldritch horror figures are the good guys…

In the novel´s universe, Innsmouth used to be a thriving community of human-fish-octopus crossbreeds (perhaps a metaphor for mixed race people?). When they tried to initiate Lovecraft in the ancient lore, the conservative racialist got cold feet and left in a hurry. Even the Orcs (called Voormis in the story) turn out to be good. Owen´s mentor is Nyarlathotep himself, who turns out to be none other than the Egyptian god Anubis. The Radiance are the bad guys. Their scientific rationalism or "noology" is a form of psychotic social engineering, perhaps even fascism, complete with long-distance mind control, paramilitary units and robotic slaves. Fear of the biological at its finest! 

Greer, who doesn´t believe in conspiracy theory, draws heavily on such lore when describing the Radiance: they were formed in Babylonia 3,000 years ago, are also known as the Illuminati, and deliberately staged industrialism, environmental destruction and so on. Despite their avowed atheism and materialism, the Radiance try to use Eldritch curses to its advantage. A curious twist is that the rationalist conspirators, but not the Old Ones, know when “the stars are right” and Cthulhu will awaken, a moment they anticipate with intense dread.

Greer has drawn inspiration from a variety of sources for “The Weird of Hali: Innsmouth”. Apart from H P Lovecraft and his colorful adjectives, also Robert W Chambers, Arthur Machen and C S Lewis, although the latter influence is unacknowledged in the author´s afterword. I think it´s obvious that the Radiance is based on NICE in “That Hideous Strength”, a novel imbued with magic and paganism, but always subordinated to the true god of Christianity. The novel also contains more humorous references to Tolkien´s “Lord of the Rings” and perhaps even to Marvel Comics superheroes – Anubis is driving some kind of Batmobile! 

However, the main source of inspiration seems to be John Michael Greer himself. The Old Ones turn out to have a pantheistic pagan mystery religion based on magic and the life force, not unlike Greer´s own combination of Druid Revival and Golden Dawn esotericism. They even meet in an old Masonic hall – Greer is a Mason. Innsmouth, despite its location near the sea, is probably based on the small town in the Appalachians where Greer lived before he moved to New England. I already mentioned the similarity between Owen and Greer – both men seem to have roughly the same pastimes. And while Greer isn´t a former soldier, he apparently did train swordsmanship when he was younger. It´s also intriguing to note that Greer now lives in Rhode Island, which I believe was the home turf of both Chambers and Lovecraft…

I liked the novel. In fact, I read it in two days. Just like Greer when writing it, I had no problem accepting the absurd plot as really real. Ironically, this could be a slight problem if you´re the author, since the reader is presumably supposed to be shocked or deeply disturbed by the revelation that the Ancient Ones are real and never really left. The characters, including some of the Eldritch-related ones, feel realistic. (Are they based on actual living people?) Many other Eldritch are perhaps too cartoonish, but then, that might be part of the comic effect. 

That being said, I nevertheless don´t vibrate with the “pagan” message of this oeuvre. This cyclical world is filled to the brim with suffering and outright evil. The Eldritch are part of this cycle. Why should we worship fallen gods of a fallen world? I´m not a Christian, but somehow, C S Lewis´ solution feels more appealing. The creation is awaiting its redemption, not “the awakening of Great Cthulhu”…

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The real tiki

This is the original “Kon-Tiki” documentary from 1950. It was released in the United States in 1951, and won an Academy Award the same year. Most of the documentary is shot onboard the Kon-Tiki itself, and I have to say that the quality of the footage is surprisingly good, considering that it was made under somewhat unusual circumstances over 70 years ago!

It was in 1947 that Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl and a small Norwegian-Swedish crew built a primitive raft, called Kon-Tiki after the Peruvian sun god Kon-Tiki Viracocha, and set sail from Peru with the goal of reaching Polynesia within 100 days. The raft traversed an enormous distance at open sea until finally running aground a reef at the Polynesian atoll of Raroia. The purpose of this daring, perhaps foolhardy, journey was to prove Heyerdahl´s speculations that Polynesia had been settled from South America rather than from lands to its west. Later, Heyerdahl would carry out similar spectacular journeys across the Atlantic and Indian oceans with the hope of demonstrating that ancient civilizations used the sea more often than mainstream archeology would allow for. A controversial aspect of Heyerdahl´s speculations was the idea that Kon-Tiki, the Peruvian sun god, was a real historical person…and that he had been a White European king. What a White man was doing in ancient Peru long before the Spanish conquista is, of course, an interesting question.

Personally, I consider Heyerdahl´s experiments inconclusive. However, I don´t think the matter of South American-Pacific contacts have been completely settled yet. For instance, Australian Aboriginal DNA was recently found in samples taken from a South American Native tribe. And what about those famed Peruvian mummies, which contained traces of a resin from New Guinea? There are also claims that Japanese Jomon pottery has been found in Ecuador. Note, however, that the trans-pacific contact in these cases must have gone in the *other* direction than the one postulated by Heyerdahl! The matter of trans-atlantic contact between the Old and the New Worlds probably haven´t been settled either (despite constant claims to the contrary by the All-Knowing Skeptics) and then there´s the entire Atlantis-Lemuria problem complex, reopened recently by the sensational finds at Göbekli Tepe in Turkey. Heyerdahl may have been wrong about a White sun-god braving whale sharks and coral reefs to get to hula-hula dancers at Tahiti, but I think our prehistory really isn´t as well known as some people like to imagine…

Freely based on a true tiki

Watzinger (the real one)

“Kon-Tiki” is a 2012 Norwegian historical drama film about Thor Heyerdahl´s famous Kon-Tiki expedition, which took place in 1947. The film exists in two different versions, one with most of the dialogue in Norwegian, the other with dialogue in English.

Both Heyerdahl, the journey of Kon-Tiki and his later expeditions were world famous in their day, Heyerdahl becoming a virtual national hero in Norway. He was of course well known in Sweden, as well. I heard about the Kon-Tiki and Ra expeditions already as a kid. Ironically, Heyderdahl´s theories about trans-oceanic contact between ancient civilizations were rejected by the scientific community and remain so to this day. I also remember how Heyerdahl was dethroned a few years before his death when archeologists and others attacked his latest project, which was to prove that the Norse god Odin was a real historical person, hailing either from Azerbaijan or the Russian region around Azov (unless I´m mistaken, this is freely based on medieval Icelandic chronicler Snorri Sturluson´s claim that Odin came from Troy in Asia Minor). Heyderdahl´s idea that some of the ancient navigators were White Europeans ruling over Natives doesn´t exactly chime with the present ideological climate, either. Interesting fact: Graham Hancock claims to have known Heyerdahl…

Heyderdahl set out to prove that Polynesia was settled from South America rather than from Asia. To this end, he built a raft christened Kon-Tiki and recruited a small crew. The primitive raft then sailed from Peru all the way to French Polynesia. In 1950, Heyerdahl released his own documentary about the Kon-Tiki journey, which went on to win an Academy Award. Ironically, this old documentary (available on YouTube) is actually more interesting, and in its own way, more dramatic than the quasi-Hollywood drama “Kon-Tiki” from 2012. Some of the real action isn´t even included in the 2012 film, while other details are simply wrong (as in made up). In the film, Heyerdahl´s second-in-command aboard the raft, Herman Watzinger, is depicted as a cowardly fool who constantly disobeys direct orders, something which led to protests from his family in Norway. In reality, Watzinger was a stereotypically Aryan-looking former elite soldier and athletics champion. (If Dolph Lundgren had been younger, he could have starred this man in a flick!) Another difference between the film and real life is that Heyerdahl had considerably more support IRL.

While “Kon-Tiki” (2012 flick version) does have its dramatic moments, most of the film feels dragging, and it also has that slightly annoying low comedy factor typical of American releases (which the Norwegian film-makers clearly mimicked). By all means, watch it if crazy exploration is your thing, but then, turn to Heyerdahl´s own “Kon-Tiki” from 1950/51. As for the ancient Polynesians or All-Father Odin, who knows…?

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Our racist hockey song

I can´t say I liked this book. Sure, “Du gamla, du friska” by Eva Danielsson and Märta Ramsten does contain interesting facts about the Swedish national anthem “Du gamla, du fria” and its surprisingly complex history. The problem is that the book is written by two globalist left-liberals who quite simply hate the anthem, nationalism and the nation-state. This makes for some bizarre reading.

Thus, the authors (who are – surprise – ethnologists) spend considerable time debunking various far right myths about the anthem, for instance the claim that it originally had four verses, and that two of them have been intentionally suppressed for being too patriotic. However, they then end up peddling their own propaganda, claiming that the anthem has never been banned in Swedish schools “by the government”. But the bad-thinkers quoted in the book do *not* claim that the government banned the anthem – they make the *correct* observation that the anthem has been banned at certain public schools by principals (cuz racist). 

The mainstream media reported several such cases during the 1990s, giving the names and the locations of the schools and the names of the principals. Perhaps this was all fake news? In liberal-globalist newspapers, to boot? Somehow, I find that very hard to believe! Eventually, the authors are forced to admit that principals do indeed have the jurisdiction to ban the anthem in school, essentially conceding the point of the nefarious dark racist forces (actually, ordinary Swedes).

Another absurdity: the authors constantly attack the Sweden Democrats for thinking that all national anthems except the Swedish one has been officially adopted by law in their respective countries, when the SD motion proposing such a move says “many”, not “all”. Once again, the author team then concedes that many anthems around the world indeed *have* been officially codified by law! So what on earth is the prob then? The low quality of the polemics in this work suggests that we are dealing with some kind of hot button topic here! Of course, if “Du gamla, du fria” (the two-verse version) would finally be adopted by law, we could perhaps sack the school boards who ban it in “their” school districts…

By all means, buy this book if you can read Swedish and know next to nothing about the National Anthem of Sweden, but take the political stuff of these two ethnology majors with a large grain of salt.

There will be piracy

“Kapare och pirater” by Lars Ericsson Wolke is a Swedish book about piracy and privateering. The author is a professor of military history. 

The book is divided into two sections. The best written one deals with pirates and privateers in general, giving a broad historical (and legal) overview of the phenomenon. Short form: piracy has always existed, and can be effectively countermanded only by strong empires or strong nation-states working in unison. Absent this, piracy is ubiquitous, and the demarcation between it and privateering not always clear. Privateers are "legal" pirates and are therefore used by strong empires and nation-states, too, as auxilliaries to the regular navies. Only international agreements can stop privateering, and they were non-existent before the 19th and 20th centuries. 

The second (and larger) part of the book is a detailed history of piracy and privateering on the Baltic Sea from the 12th century to the 19th century. Unfortunately, it´s less well written, with the author constantly making jumps back and forth between the centuries. But then, the history of banditry at sea *is* incredibly complex, with many bands of pirates constantly shifting their allegiances. The book also contains information on piracy and privateering in the Atlantic, when it was directed against Swedish ships.

After the Viking Age, the newly Christianized Scandinavians found themselves at the receiving end of Viking-style attacks by Estonians, Vends and other still-pagan peoples. This triggered the so-called Northern Crusades. After centuries of warfare, the nefarious pagans were brought under control and the Baltic Sea was once again safe for commerce…not! It could have been, had it not been for the constant wars between the Christian polities themselves. Some of the pirates mentioned in this book also show up in more general historical overviews of Swedish history. There are the notorious Victual Brothers, allied to Swedish king-usurper extraordinaire Albrekt of Mecklenburg, who almost made trade on the Baltic Sea impossible due to their activities (14th century). The motto of the Vitalienbrüder is said to have been “on the side of God, against the rest of humanity”. Another old favorite is deposed Swedish (and Kalmar Union) king Erik of Pomerania, who established himself as pirate overlord of Gotland after being forced from power (15th century).

However, it´s patently obvious from this book that everyone was encouraging pirates and privateers, as long as they were willing and able to fight for the “good” side. (Perhaps the Teutonic Knights came close to being “sinless” in this regard. Of course, the knights had other foibles.) Another thing that struck me was that the dividing line between piracy and trade isn´t entirely obvious. Pirates, after all, have to sell their contraband. Medieval and early modern merchants certainly wanted profits, but “free trade” or legality weren´t the top of their priorities. All in all, it´s a dismal tale of human greed, violence and misguided ambition that meets us in the pages of “Kapare och pirater”. In the modern world, the Western nations no longer use privateers, but submarine warfare comes close to the original concept, except for the little detail that submarine crews can´t capture and sell the cargo of sunken ships!

If you´re Swedish and want more detailed information on pretty much every war involving Sweden, Denmark and the Hansa since the end of the Viking Age, at least as pertaining to banditry on the high seas, this book is probably a must. However, it´s not a pretty story. There will be war…and there will be piracy.

The Kindred of the Kibbo Kift

“Designing Utopia: John Hargrave and the Kibbo Kift” is a colorful book about a colorful organization, the Kindred of the Kibbo Kift. I admit that I bought it mostly because of the strange name of the organization (which is never really explained). Almost forgotten today, the Kibbo Kift was one of several “alternative” groups active in Britain during the interwar years.

Formed in 1920 and originally projected as a broad, progressive alternative to the Boy Scouts, the Kibbo Kift quickly became the private turf of John Hargrave. Socialists, pacifists and Theosophists left the movement, and around 1924, Hargrave was the undisputed “Head Man” of the Kindred. The supreme leader´s eclectic personal philosophy makes it difficult for an outsider to fully understand the purpose of his activities – this book emphasizes Hargrave´s artistic contributions. His aesthetic strikes me as a combination of William Morris, medieval LARP-ing and fascism. But then, many movements both left and right had a “fascist” aesthetic during the interwar years, so the Kindred were hardly unique in this regard. Indeed, if looked at in context, the Kibbo Kift probably didn´t stand out as much as they do today – the early 20th century was the high tide of innovative utopian schemes of various kinds.

What perhaps makes Hargrave´s brainchild different is the bewildering mix of many seemingly disparate elements, from Anglo-Saxon pageantry and Nature-worship to “globalist” dreams of universal peace and a fascination with modern technology. Add to this secret lodges and an interest in esotericism! But then, with the exception of the universal peace and brotherhood thing, nationalist and fascist movements probably came pretty close even to this eclecticism. Had I been a Marxist, I would mockingly accuse Hargrave of a “typically petty-bourgeois belief in Socialism without Workers, Equality without Feminism, Modernity without Industry, and indeed, Fascism without the Fascism. Like all petty-bourgeois, he `solves´ and then reproduces all societal contradictions in his abstract mind, being unable to solve them through concrete praxis”. Most members of the Kibbo Kift were lower middle class by today´s standards, while some were workers. Most were men (the KK was explicitly patriarchal and anti-gay), but women were allowed to join, and in practice seems to have had as much freedom as the male members, including leadership roles in women-only activities.

Originally, the Kinsmen (and women) resembled a re-enactment society with a strong interest in scouting and woodcraft. One of their more original acts was a “pilgrimage” to Piltdown in honor of the Piltdown Man! An inner core probably studied “Rosicrucian” esotericism. During the Great Depression, Hargrave radically changed the movement, making it more obviously political in nature. Under the new names “the Green Shirts” and “the Social Credit Party”, the Kibbo Kift embraced the theories of C H Douglas. I admit that I haven´t studied Social Credit, but judging by this book, it´s a utopian quasi-socialist panacea based on ideas about cheap credit, anti-banking legislation and a “national dividend” made possible by complete automation of production. It was never embraced by the socialist labor movement, and represented a kind of farmer-based populism with Christian traits during its brief hay day in Canada. In Britain, Social Credit was promoted by several “alternative” groups and publications, most notably A R Orage´s “The New Age”. 

Hargrave´s version was more unabashedly activist, with Kinsmen dressed in green uniforms taking to the streets, sometimes even vandalizing property and clashing with fascist Black Shirts and Communist Red Shirts. Several times, they tried to interrupt the deliberations in the House of Commons by shouting about Social Credit from the public gallery! Hargrave´s views on the fascist threat isn´t entirely clear. The book claims he hotly denied any association with Mosley or Hitler, but his movement nevertheless paid tribute to the Duke of Windsor (the former Edward VIII), often accused of having pro-German sympathies. The Kindred of the Kibbo Kift disintegrated during World War II, ironically because many members were drafted into the military! After the war, Hargrave returned to his more occult interests, apparently becoming a faith healer.

I´m not sure if “Designing Utopia” really clarifies the mysteries of Britain´s most peculiar youth organization, but at least it contains a lot of colorful artwork and handicraft…  

Friday, November 23, 2018

Wtf, I love Åsa Linderborg now

Jag är inte Åsa Linderborgs största fan, men i den här artikeln har hon ju faktiskt en poäng. Jag har också velat kommentera den här incidenten (på mitt eget sätt), men tills vidare kan det här faktiskt få duga...

DN sprider lögner och propaganda

Hillary Clintons väg till makten

Jag vill att Martin Gelin (DN:s resident Clintonista) kommenterar nedanstående nyhet. Fast vi vet egentligen redan vad han tänker säga. "Det här gynnar bara Sverigedemokraterna". LOL!

Hillary Clinton vill stoppa invandringen

Sunday, November 18, 2018

We saw the Werewolf

I just found this clip on YouTube. It´s a documentary, or perhaps part of a documentary, titled “Elusive: British Cryptids”. The end credits say the official release will be on December 7. I´m not sure how long this sneak peak will be up, so if interested you should perhaps watch it ASAP. 

To be honest, “Elusive” is extremely dragging. It lacks the dramatic-entertainment feel I´m used to from American documentaries. But then, perhaps that´s not so surprising, since this is a British production. The producer has interviewed four witnesses who claim to have seen “Bigfoot” on British soil, or at least something similar. A fifth interviewee researches Werewolf observations.

I previously reviewed Nick Redfern´s book “Wildman” about the British Bigfoot, and admit that I´m somewhat skeptical to the idea of a breeding population of huge hominids (other than Celts or Englishmen!) living in Britain at the present time. Indeed, the bulk of Redfern´s book consist of ghost stories. Of the cases featured in “Elusive”, several have typical paranormal traits (the red glowing eyes). The producers are brave enough to discuss the paranormal angle, although their favorite explanation is that we´re actually dealing with an ancient population of Bigfeet, stranded on the British Isles. One of the researchers claims that the howl of the Werewolf is identical to the call of the American Bigfoot. 

To make the theory stick, “Elusive” assumes that all of Europe was once inhabited by the Wildman (there are Wildman legends from the Middle Ages), with the British cryptids being a relict population left behind when the North Sea rose and made contact with the European continent impossible. The witnesses, some of whom seem to double as cryptid researchers, claim that there are still large wilderness areas in Britain where large creatures could hide. Maybe, but hiding isn´t enough. What do they eat? Where do they go during the winter?

The biggest disappointment in this sneak peak (?) is the supposed footage “proving” the existence of the Albion gorilla. I think a disinterested observer will concur with me that it´s just a bunch of leaves swaying in the wind…

That being said, it seems a new front has been opened up in the “cryptid wars”, or at least cryptid research. It´s interesting to speculate why. Is the public simply getting bored of US squatches? Or is it easier today to accept that there might actually be real hairy ape-men (or real ghosts) even in the backyard of some sleepy British manor? Who knows, around 2025, maybe we´ll get a documentary about Swedish Trolls!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Let´s welcome our brothers from outer space...or at least their light-sail

I´m surprised there isn´t more hysteria (or exultation) around ´Oumuamua, the mysterious object which recently entered the solar system from outside, only to leave it shortly thereafter. Two Harvard scholars recently claimed that ´Oumuamua may be an alien space probe. You know, a UFO…? Wow! The clip above is an interview with one of the Harvard scientists. He manages to explain the issue eminently well.

Personally, I would argue, on purely philosophical grounds, that it´s probably a very exotic comet – not because I don´t believe in “aliens” but mostly because the number of bizarre natural objects out there must be truly staggering. That being said, it would be fascinating if The Scout was really built by an advanced alien civilization somewhere in the constellation of Lyra (as seen from Earth). 

Note especially that the probe doesn´t seem to be manned. Also, why sent it here in particular? And how do “they” look like? Like highly evolved crows or raccoons? (My favorite proposals, LOL) Note also that the probe might have been on its way for so long that the Lyran builders, for all we know, have all disappeared…

Perhaps we´ll never get the answer. But then, so what? The cosmos, for all we know, is simply infinite.

En liten påminnelse

Arbetarepartiets ordförande sonderar hos talmannen 

Jag antar att ni fattar hur regeringskaoset kommer att sluta, va? 

The Great God Mystery

“The Great Math Mystery” is a PBS NOVA documentary about the nature of mathematics. It´s obviously quite basic, but still a good introduction to the subject. Mario Livio, who has written several books on the topic, is prominently featured. Roger Penrose and Max Tegmark are other well known scientists interviewed. Most of the documentary explores the “essentialist”, “realist” or “Platonist” idea that mathematics is an objectively real phenomenon “out there”, independent of our puny human minds. Indeed, the narrator – taking his cues from Tegmark -  suggests at several points that the world simply *is* an intricate web of mathematical properties and relations. 

“The Great Math Mystery” does dare to mention Pythagoras, and even interviews a female jazz musician who defends his ideas. Two ideas studiously avoided, however, are God and Intelligent Design. This is almost comic since, of course, the realist position is a strong argument for God´s existence. Indeed, one of Livio´s books is titled “Is God a Mathematician?” 

The latter part of the program explores the opposite idea: that math is a construction of our minds. Some humorous experiments with human child prodigies and lemurs (yes, lemurs) are featured, but they prove neither position – even if math comes von oben (or von Demiurgos), our brains must obviously be adapted to receive the information. A better argument is that engineers frequently *don´t* use exact math to build new gadgets. I think the Egyptian and Muslim high cultures had the same approach to math – only applied math counts, actually building pyramids is more important than Euclid´s axioms. Perhaps math works so stunningly well because our scientists have chosen to concentrate at (and marvel at) those parts of the universe where it does work? But what about psychology, sociology, meteorology and large chunks of biology, where math doesn´t seem to work just as good? (Not even ants seem to care about Hamilton´s equations!) 

I admit a certain sympathy for both positions in this debate. On the one hand, mathematics does seem to have curious properties which make it difficult to believe that it´s just some kind of clever contraption made by a distant relative of the lemurs known as Homo sapiens. On the other hand, it´s equally difficult to believe that this half-lemurian has managed to solve all the questions of the cosmos by discovering pi, Fibonacci numbers or the googolplex. I get the feeling that the “Platonist” position, while intellectually appealing, is really connected to Western scientific hubris. 

Yes, God might indeed be a mathematician, but I suspect he-she-it is many other things besides…

Available on YouTube. 

The Wiccan experience

This is an interesting clip I found on YouTube. Austin Shippey has edited the old documentary  "The Occult Experience" from 1985 and what you can access above are the parts dealing with Wicca and Goddess-worship. (The full documentary is also available at another channel.) 

What surprised me was that the actual rituals of Gardnerian Wicca are shown at some length, the only exception being the sexual intercourse between priest and priestess (which is only hinted at). Thus, we get to see an actual initiation into a coven, during which a sky clad young man is subject to a variety of trials and ordeals. There is also a “handfasting” ceremony, once again with almost everyone present being in the nude. A funny detail: the male Wiccan priest, who plays the role of the horned god, looks like Gerald Gardner! Is this some kind of shtick among 50+ male Wiccans? Another thing that struck me was the only Black Dianic Wiccan (Black as in African-American) describing her experiences of folk Catholicism in Louisiana. Wow. Even crazier than some Neo-Pagans, if you ask me. 

“Wicca: The Occult Experience” also features Modern Pagans, including Wiccans, gathering on a street in New York City, carrying out one of their rituals quite openly. They sure seem to have a lot of fun! 

In a final segment, we meet three groups which are not Wiccans, including the non-sectarian Fellowship of Isis (FOI). The Fellowship initiates new priestesses at a mysterious castle in Ireland and we get to see the initiation ritual (including the presumably “secret” part). Btw, one of the people commenting here is apparently a member of the FOI… 

I admit that I got a bit more respect for Wiccans and Neo-Pagans after watching this, mostly because the rituals seem “really real” and the practitioners serious, in contrast to the more stereotyped witches and confused college kids I´ve seen in other corners of the media & entertainment industry. That being said, ritual sex with a Gerald Gardner lookalike really aint my thing, so I hope they never try to pull that stunt in *my* Scytho-Hibernian city-state, LOL. 

Otherwise recommended.

Whipping boy

“Britain´s Wicca Man” (or "A Very British Witchcraft") is a surprisingly sober, even boring, documentary about Gerald Gardner, the controversial founder of the Neo-Pagan religion known as Wicca. As a teenager, I read about Gardner´s exploits in Poul Fersling´s book “Naturligt Övernaturligt”. Fersling didn´t seem to like the old man, and I believe he described him as a “sadist, masochist and voyeur”. For years afterwards, I wondered what the hell a “voyeur” might be! 

This documentary goes much too far in the other direction, never mentioning the ritual sex and only hinting at the sado-masochistic element (here called “flagellation”, a more respectable term apparently). Perhaps this pro-Wiccan approach was needed to make Wiccans come out of the woodwork and be interviewed. A bizarre detail is that one of the non-Wiccans featured looks like Dumbledore from “Harry Potter”, while a male Wiccan talking about Gardner *looks like Gardner himself*! 

While “Britain´s Wicca Man” does contain some interesting material, including Gardner´s classical appearance on BBC´s Panorama, it really only skims the surface. The name Margaret Murray is never mentioned, and we are left pretty much in the dark about the exact nature of the folk magic and shamanism Gardner supposedly draw from for his new religion, described as “the only originally English faith” (which seems to be correct – unless you count the Church of England, LOL). I also found the British accents bloody annoying, but that´s me. 

Ultimately, this production (available on YouTube) is mostly a kind of teaser trailer. I admit that I find it difficult to take “feminists” being whipped by a horned (and horny) god in the forest difficult to take seriously, so I probably won´t be reading up on this subject any time soon, though. Oh, and “voyeur” means…never mind.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The return of the Aurochs

“Beasts of the Southern Wild” is a curious film starring Dwight Henry and 9-year old Quvenzhané Wallis (the youngest person ever to be nominated for an Academy Award as best actress). The plot, while generally realist, perhaps even “kitchen sink realist”, also contains elements of fantasy. Perhaps it could be seen as a kind of folkish or quasi-folkish Americana? While it´s presumably set in the present day, it might as well symbolize a future United States around 2050 or 2100.

The main characters live in “the Bathtub”, a poor and isolated community off the coast of an anonymous US state (usually believed to be Louisiana since the film was made there). The community, which is multi-racial and slightly counter-cultural, clearly resents wider society, symbolized by a distant city with sky scrapers behind a huge protective wall. It´s not entirely clear whether the Bathtub people are forcibly segregated or have chosen to live isolated. Probably the latter, since they refuse to evacuate the area when ordered to do so by the “proper” authorities.

The seaside squatters have developed their very own mythology, which claims that an ancient breed of monstrous beings, the Aurochs, are set to return and wreak havoc on civilization once the Antarctic icecaps melt due to climate change. Indeed, the Aurochs (who look like huge boars rather than real aurochs) do return, but it´s not clear whether they are real, ghostly or simply a figment of the main character´s vivid imagination. The message of the film is “Green” and quasi-Buddhist, and Hushpuppy (the name of Wallis´ character) is frequently too philosophical for her young age.

Otherwise, the plot is actually quite uninteresting, focusing on Hushpuppy´s troubled relationship with her parents, an epileptic father and a mother who is a hooker, but the whole thing never becomes properly tragic. Indeed, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is actually quite romantic. 20 years ago, I would probably have condemned a film like this as “reactionary” since it “romanticizes voluntary poverty”, stereotypes Blacks, or whatever. I suppose I´m more laidback these days. That being said, this isn´t my favorite flick, but I´m willing to give it the OK rating (three stars).

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Midnight Run

“Strange Victories” is a famous underground pamphlet about the anti-nuclear movement, published in 1979. Strictly speaking, it´s an issue of “Midnight Notes”, a magazine or perhaps pamphlet series published by the mysterious Midnight Notes Collective, of which very little else is known. They seem to be anarchist, but avoid the typical anarchist jargon in favor of one which sounds more Marxist. Sometimes, the collective is described as “autonomist” but I admit I know very little about the autonomist current within anarchism (it´s distinct from the milieu usually known as Autonomen, although there may be some overlap). “Strange Victories” has been promoted as a pro-violence pamphlet, but while the Collective doesn’t shun violence as a means of struggle, most of the publication deals with other issues. The main point is to criticize the anti-nuclear movement (which was particularly strong during the late 1970´s and early 1980´s) for being dominated by the middle class. Instead, Midnight Notes wants an anti-nuke movement of working class people, a movement directed directly at capitalism, rather than simply against “nukes” which threaten “all of humanity”. There is also an implicit criticism in the pamphlet of Green movements overall.

Midnight Notes regard the 1970´s energy crisis as a hoax. There really was no crisis – the monopolistic energy companies raised the prices simply because they had the power to do so. Indeed, there are no shortages of energy and other resources at all. Everyone in the world can be clothed, fed and get a high standard of living, if only resources would be more equitably shared. Coal in particular is a cheap and good resource. (Today, this ideas sound awfully naïve, but there was a thriving ecologist movement already back in 1979, so I´m not sure if the Collective really has any excuses here.) Thus, the energy crisis is simply an attack by capitalism on the living standards of the working class. The nuclear power industry takes this one step further. It represents the fusion of capital and state power, and plays a generally repressive role in society with its tightly regimented labor force, police and military protecting it, fear generated by it, etc. Also, nuclear power is an attempt to break the power of unionized labor in the coal and oil sectors. As for solutions to the “crisis”, while nuclear power has to go, there is nothing in principle which could stop capitalism from using solar power against the working class, perhaps by hiking *those* prices too. Thus, workers´ management of production and distribution is the only way to deal with the “energy crisis”.

Midnight Notes then point out that despite all the above, the movement against nuclear power isn´t working class in character. Rather, it emerged in rural areas, usually in the immediate vicinity of the nuclear power plants themselves. The Collective reveals that if looked at closely, the “rural” movement is actually made up of back-to-the-land middle class people from universities and colleges. (I suppose a less sympathetic observer would call them “hippies”.) While they do enjoy the support of farmers, local small entrepreneurs and such fundamentally conservative sectors, the organized movement – in this case, the Clamshell Alliance – is fundamentally urban middle class and faux leftist. Or rather rurally transplanted urban middle class. This creates a strong tension between the anti-nuclear movement and the working class, which is usually conspicuous by its absence. 

The Midnight Notes Collective are scathing in their criticism of the “leftist” intellectual types dominating the Clamshell Alliance. Being discarded parts of the “educational”-propaganda apparatus, they have no direct relationship to capital. They can´t protest their condition in any other way than to pretend to represent “humanity as a whole”, but this really reflects a relationship to capital at its most general level. The middle class hippies are really positioning themselves as the future professional and intellectual planners of generalized capital, a form of planning which will usher in a more “rational” form of state capitalism. Even their seemingly radical back-to-the-land philosophy does service to capital by experimenting with new ways of “labor intensive” production (i.e. more exploitation, but of a “classical” sweatshop labor kind). By contrast, ordinary workers have a direct relationship to capital, and hence no other choice than to identify with their own “special interests” (really class interests). They don´t really care, except in the abstract, about whether or not nuclear power is a threat to “humanity” for the next 500,000 years (one of the talking point of the Clamshell). No, they are threatened by the energy crisis and its nuclear component *in the here and now* on the basis of their proletarian position within capitalism.

The pamphlet also criticizes the concrete structure of the Clamshell Alliance. Decision-making was based on consensus, which according to the authors really means that the privileged and well-educated take command. The “Clams” were organized in affinity groups, really a kind of cliques based on personal friendship, and hence excellent for creating social cohesion within the hippie subculture, but excluding everyone else. Pacifism is disparaged by Midnight Notes as an elitist tactic. Only people with long training in peaceful civil disobedience can effectively execute pacifist actions. The actions are presupposed on the notion that the participating privileged elements are “valuable” to society and hence can´t be touched by the police or National Guard (seen as “lower”). If all forms of violence are rejected, the only alternative to elitist peaceful disobedience is sheer legalism, perhaps backed up by strictly non-confrontational protest marches at designated places. These can mobilize the broad masses, but only as subordinates to legalist politicians. (Shortly after the pamphlet was written, an anti-nuclear political party was indeed formed, the Citizens´ Party.)

Despite their “working class” perspective, I think it´s obvious that Midnight Notes Collective were really part of the same milieu they are attacking. A “collective” is, of course, an affinity group. How do they know so much about the Clamshell Alliance and various “progressive” farms in New England? Because they have enough spare time to join or visit. Why the strange poetry and obscure references to “Alice in Wonderland”? Because they have college education. Also, note the strong hippie flavor of the criticism against nuclear power plants at the end of Section II. Nuclear power plants are said to be symbols of psychological repression, they are built to suppress “obscure wishes and desires”, and so on. Of whom? Hippies, of course. It seems Alan Watts (or was it Wilhelm Reich) was the man even in the Midnight Notes Collective…

My main problem with all this is something else, however. While I do sympathize or empathize with the ecologist movement (or sections of it), their demands were quite simply unrealistic. Without nuclear power, no nuclear weapons. Without US nuclear weapons, Nazi Germany would have won the war. That would be a “strange victory” indeed. During the Cold War, depending on which side you support, either the US, the Soviet Union or China clearly needed nuclear warheads. Unless you think anarchist “workers´ militias” work against Soviet Russian tanks…or nukes. Today, the problem is the exact opposite: no, there aren´t “enough resources” for everyone, they are shrinking, and due to climate change (the coal!), they will shrink even more in the future. Who knows, perhaps the hippies will turn out to be the real victors in this ideological confrontation. Before they get eaten by roving packs of feral dogs emerging at midnight…

O Oysters, said the Carpenter,
You´ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?
But answer came there none –
and this was scarcely odd, because
they´d eaten every one.  

Friday, November 9, 2018

Meeting the other crowd

“Meeting the Other Crowd” is a collection of fairy lore collected and edited by Eddie Lenihan, an Irish lore-master or story-teller of some standing. Yes, it´s Lenihan who is the “activist” I mentioned in a previous review who tried to save a tree from being cut down by the Irish authorities, in the un-ironic belief that said tree was a “fairy fort”.

I read about half of “Meeting the Other Crowd”. I think Lenihan wants the tales to be as timeless as possible, and the book therefore contains little information on where, when and how they were collected, or what exact time-period they are from. Some mention the potato blight, while others seem to be set during the 1950´s. The oldest story-teller is said to have passed away during the 1990´s. Most of the stories were collected in southwest Ireland: Clare, Limerick, Kerry and parts of south Galway.

The fairies are described as human-like, but usually of smaller stature. Sometimes they are distinctly uglier than humans. However, there seems to be a caste of fairies which are tall and very attractive. The fairy are not the cartoonish and sweet characters we remember from a childhood of watching too many Disney films. Quite the contrary, they are dangerous, frequently abduct or attack humans, and their “forts” and paths are forbidden territory for us. Many of the stories collected in this volume are disturbing. In one, a fairy learns that he will never be saved (i.e. saved by God on Judgment Day) and reacts in a very bizarre manner. In another, a man who accidentally shot a fairy is almost abducted by human-sized fairies dressed as undertakers, complete with a huge coffin! He eventually has to leave Ireland altogether. Building a house across a fairy path can lead, at the very least, to a severe case of poltergeist-like haunting. Cutting down hawthorn bushes (believed to be sacred to the fairies) can lead to the guilty party dying. Another consequence could be nasty traffic accidents, if a highway is built where the fairy fort once stood.

The Irish fairies are divided into tribes or nations, and fight frequent wars against one another. They travel at night with their fairy horses at a lightning speed (compare Odin´s “wild hunt”). I already mentioned the existence of several castes. The fairy queens belong to the higher one, naturally. And yes, they really do dance in circles. Some of their pastimes are more unexpected. Thus, two of the stories in the book are about humans who were temporarily abducted by fairies who needed a referee to their hurling games! (Hurling is a traditional Irish team sport. Think field hockey combined with rugby. Apparently, fairies take it very seriously indeed.) Clearly, these are not the Celtic cousins of Tinkerbell, that´s for sure…

If something “objective” is behind all these observations is another thing entirely. A few stories mention strange lights in association with fairies. Many other stories could perhaps be given a psychological explanation. They are attempts to explain sudden death or paralysis, or cautionary tales about not going out late at night. The jealousy typical of poor peasant communities form the subtext of many tales. Riches are due to luck (“from the fairies”) and the money soon turn out to create more problems than they are worth (once again, due to the fairies). If anything objective is left after all these interpretive layers have been peeled off, is left for the reader to decide. One thing I noticed is that the fairy don’t act as “pure” spirits or ghost, but rather like a race of little people living in our dimension of reality, albeit with unusual abilities. Unless I misunderstood the book somehow, it claims that fairies are mortal: they are born, and they do die. As already mentioned, they live at actual physical locations in the landscape, usually Bronze Age burial grounds or hawthorn bushes. They are also strongly connected to the country of Ireland, and apparently cannot leave it (or don´t want to), since one way of escaping them is to buy a one-way ticket to Ellis Island. I´m almost tempted to call them cryptids…

Recommended, if folklore and fairy-lore is your thing.

Taylor Swift update

One: Swedish globalist-liberal daily DN claims that Taylor Swift was behind the blue wave in the US midterm elections. Taylor...who? And what blue wave???

Two: Taylor Swift is silent on the recent sensational theory that ´Oumuamua is an alien space probe. 

And now, a weather forecast... 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Betwixt and between

“The Fairy Faith: In Search of Fairies” is a Canadian documentary about modern belief in fairies. It´s available on YouTube. On the negative side, the documentary is incredibly dragging and somewhat badly edited. Another problem is that many of the persons interviewed speak with heavy Irish accents – at least, that´s a problem if you live outside the Green Island or some of it expatriate communities. Part of the documentary was therefore near incomprehensible to me. On the positive side, the topic is interesting, even somewhat fascinating. The people interviewed are British, Irish, Anglophone Canadian and Mikmaq (a Native people in Canada). It seems the belief in fairies haven´t changed much since the good old days. It´s intriguing that it even exists today!

Non-believers usually picture fairies as sweet little girls with angel wings (think Tinkerbell), but this is about as far as you can get from the traditional beliefs. “Real” fairies are believed to be small and human-like, but there the similarity to petit angels ends. The fairies are often dangerous. They can abduct people, cast spells on them, or cause car accidents. They do dance and have fun, but usually don´t want to be seen by us ordinary mortals. The fairies are associated with certain places in the landscape, such as sacred trees, Bronze Age burial grounds, and the like. The documentary interviews an activist in Ireland who tried to stop the local authorities from cutting down a tree he believes is a “fairy fort”! While most eye witnesses describe the fairies as humanoid (some look like nude girls), the documentary also features a painter who sees them as more monstrous and vaguely animal-like. A few benign encounters with the little people are also recounted.

But are the fairies really real? What is the epistemological status of fairy encounters? The interviewees who reflect on this argue that they are neither “objective” nor “subjective”, but somewhere in between. The fairies live in the realm of imagination, the same realm where poets and painters dwell. Presumably, “imagination” here refers to something like Coleridge´s conception of it, or perhaps to Harpur´s notion of a daimonic reality. One of the witnesses claim that she lost her ability to see the fairy around the time she was 19 years old, while another says “you see them through your heart”. A surprisingly large number of the true believers haven´t seen fairies at all. However, I suspect that the imaginal explanation is modern, “Western” and somewhat intellectual. The Mikmaq retell uncouth fairy stories which certainly sound objective in character. An occultist would probably explain fairies in terms of the astral and etheric dimensions of reality, and their shape shifting as a kind of astral glamour. In other words, fairies are really real. So, apparently, are leprechauns…

Personally, I find the idea of having to share this planet (or the Green Island) with a race of dangerous dancing abductors downright intolerable, so I can´t say I turned into a true believer in the phenomenon just yet. And if I ever see them, I´m going to stash large amounts of iron and silver at my bug out location. 

Let´s hope “the little people” really are imaginal.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

An old believer

“Agafia” is a RT documentary about Agafia Lykova, an Old Believer living an isolated life in the Siberian taiga, more specifically in the Russian Federation “republic” of Khakassia. The Old Believers are the result of a split in the Russian Orthodox Church during the 17th century, the famous Raskol. During the Soviet period, Orthodox believers of various stripes were often persecuted by the Communist-atheist regime. The Lykov family fled to the wilderness in 1938, and although they were technically still on Soviet territory, the authorities didn´t find them until 1978. Then, a team of Soviet geologists accidentally run into the family in the taiga. By that time, dissenters weren´t shot on the spot as in the good ol´ days of Joe Stalin, so the Lykovs instead became national and international celebrities. (They were presumably politically harmless.) This has continued during the post-Soviet era, with Agafia – the last of the Lykovs – still being fêted by international news networks.

The shtick that Agafia Lykova is a completely isolated hermit turns out to be problematic at second glance. She lives in the Siberian wilderness, to be sure, but the RT documentary reveals that she receives substantial amounts of aid from the outside, sometimes by chopper, and often puts people who come to visit her to work on her farm. Some of her apocalyptic ideas are strikingly similar to those of the Protestant fundamentalists in the United States – thus, Agafia is afraid of perfectly ordinary bar codes, seeing them as “the mark of the Beast”. Where did she learn this, I wonder? (Guess: Seraphim Rose´s books!) The documentary also reveals more disturbing things, such as incest in the Lykov family and a relationship between Agafia and one of the geologists (who stayed behind in the taiga). Agafia´s religious ideas come across as weird and cultish, and I´m not sure if she is an orthodox Old Believer (pun intended). At one point, she claims that our calendars are 8 years too short! I admit I failed to find information about *this* particular conspiracy theory on the web…

Apart from this documentary, which I think is Russian-French despite the English voice over, there is also a VICE documentary available on YouTube about pretty much the same things (it´s shorter).

Be careful what you wish for, gringo

Globalist-liberal daily DN supported the "constitutional" coup against the Workers´ Party. Indeed, they denied that it even *was* a coup. Now, they go ballistic over Bolsonaro winning the Brazilian elections. 

No, DN, it doesn´t work like that. You own it now. Or rather, he owns you. You are all Bolsonaro´s bitches. 

In the real world outside Telefonplan, actions have consequences. Be careful what you do! And what you wish for...

Friday, November 2, 2018

The bankruptcy of ultraleftism

This is a very obscure pamphlet which I review mostly to show that I´m Number One when it comes to obscure pamphlets. Trust me, not even Amazon sells this one! 

“The Bankruptcy of Syndicalism and Anarchism” was published in 1979 by Workers for Proletarian Autonomy and Social Revolution. It was distributed in the UK years later by a mysterious outfit codenamed BM Blob. The pamphlet is very “in house”, even for yours truly, and deals with internal conflicts within the CNT, the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist labor union resurrected after the death of Franco and the reintroduction of democracy in Spain. The CNT split soon after its resurrection (the defectors later adopted the name CGT). 

The authors, an otherwise unknown group of anarchists or Left Communists, oppose both factions. They describe the CNT as a chaotic mayhem of petty bureaucrats, careerists and competing cliques. The intramural CNT polemics seems to have been very acerbic. Factional opponents were accused of being “former” fascists, Trotskyites or “former priests” (sic) as a matter of course. Well, one CNT leader in Catalonia apparently *was* a priest! Little of substance is said about the CNT-CGT split, which concerned whether or not the anarcho-syndicalists should stand in the so-called union elections. CGT was for, the more orthodox anarchist CNT was against (and hence couldn´t really function as a union in the first place). 

The ultraleftists who published this pamphlet might be excused for thinking that Spain would soon see another revolution – I assume the political situation in the years immediately after Franco´s death was still unstable (think ETA and the attempted coup in 1981). Today, ultraleftism is even more bankrupt than syndicalism and I wouldn´t be surprised if these merchants of the ra-ra-revolutionary word are themselves standing in union elections. Or, more likely, work at some college…

En oväntad allierad

Hade jag fel om DN och Wolodarski? Hmmm...

DN vill ha en socialdemokratisk regering

Hippies with a gun?

“Towards a Citizens´ Militia: Anarchist Alternatives to NATO and the Warsaw Pact” was published in 1980 by Cienfuegos Press, associated with British anarchist radical Stuart Christie. At one point, Christie was prosecuted for involvement in the Angry Brigade, a group of domestic terrorists in Britain, but was acquitted. Already as a teenager, Christie tried to assassinate Spanish right-wing dictator Francisco Franco! 

“Towards a Citizens´ Militia” gives the International Revolutionary Solidarity Movement and the First of May Group as authors. It could be two different names for the same group, a clandestine anarchist resistance group against Franco formed by Spanish exiles. It´s not really clear whether they are behind the pamphlet, though, or whether this is some kind of mystification. The publication argues that Europe is on the brink of either authoritarian coups or a Soviet invasion, and that it´s therefore imperative for anarchists to learn the tactics of guerilla warfare. Then follows an overview of such tactics (and of government counter-measures) in very small print. 

Not being an expert on things military or martial, I have no idea whether the IRSM-First of May Group´s advice makes any kind of sense. Topics covered include roadblocks, sabotage against power lines, how to blow up railway tracks, where to get fake IDs, etc. I´m somewhat surprised the authorities didn´t clamp down on this material! Maybe they did – I bought a copy years later in Sweden, not in the UK. 

Politically, “Towards a Citizens´ Militia” is very naïve. It does emphasize that the guerilla need the support of the general population, but how is this to be accomplished? Obviously, some kind of *political* preparatory work is needed long before the war. Essentially, the authors want to “prove that anarchism works” by establishing “libertarian communities”. In other words, the usual network of hippie communes, alternative presses and vegetarian cafés. Or am I wrong? How this is supposed to make the broad masses more sympathetic to an anarchist urban guerilla squad in the event of a fascist coup or Soviet invasion is, alas, less clear. 

Somehow, I suspect most people would line up with NATO or even with the Warsaw Pact…

Chairman Hua has a problem

“Kinas brytning med Albanien” is a book in Swedish published in 1978 by the local Maoist faithful, the so-called Communist Party of Sweden (SKP). It deals with an event which rocked the Maoist “world movement” a couple of years earlier: the split between post-Mao China and Enver Hoxha´s Albania. The Albanian Communist leadership, probably due to China´s pro-American foreign policy course and the vagaries of Balkan power politics (with the Chinese cozying up to Tito´s Yugoslavia), had broken with Beijing and embarked on a more “leftist” course, verbally attacking both the United States, the Soviet Union and China as “imperialist”. While this gung-ho isolationism attracted hard line Marxist-Leninists fed up with both Soviet and Chinese “revisionism” (and Realpolitik), it repelled pretty much everyone else, soon forcing the Hoxha regime to make some tactical adjustments, usually in the direction of pro-Soviet regimes in the Third World, but also Khomeini´s Iran – regimes Hoxha should logically have opposed if adhering strictly to the anti-Soviet (and anti-everyone) line. But this was still in the future when “Kinas brytning med Albanien” was published.

The book is divided into three sections. The most voluminous one is a collection of angry diplomatic (or not-so diplomatic) notes from the Albanian and Chinese Communist governments regarding the Chinese decision to break off its economic aid to Albania. I only skimmed this section. Please note: Albania was so backward that *Mao´s China* (hardly a power house of advanced technological development) could give it economic aid! This section ends with a sarcastic comment (funny when coming from Maoists) about how Albania sent a delegation to India to request economic aid from them instead… But sure, maybe India was more backward than China back in 1978? The second section contain the famous editorial “The Theory and Practice of Revolution”, published in the Albanian Communist organ “Zeri i Popullit”on June 6, 1977. This, then, gives the official Albanian position on the ideological rift with the Chinese. The final section is a response from the SKP to the Albanian polemic. The SKP doesn´t really argue its pro-Chinese line (really pro-Hua Guofeng and Deng Xiaoping), essentially just repeating all the usual “Three Worlds Theory” talking points. What struck me when reading the article was how brazen it was – the SKP freely admits that in the event of a Third World War, they would support the United States and NATO against the Soviet Union! And the SKP regarded a third world war as inevitable…

Of course, SKP´s weird blend of Stalinistic Maoism and Swedish anti-Soviet nationalism didn´t pay off (as far as I know). The proper Swedish authorities still regarded them as unreliable reds. Today, the ex-SKPers have change their line again, now supporting *Russia* against the Western alliance, presumably confirming the deepest fears of the Secret Service. I suppose the left behind Maoists might still be taking their marching orders from oblique editorials in “People´s Daily”, although I suspect the Chinese no longer give a damn. And I frankly wonder if they gave a damn even back in 1978!