Confessions of a Mild-Mannered Enemy of the State — Ken Knabb Sep 18, pp. The Joy of Revolution — Ken Knabb Sep 18, pp. Public Secrets has 18 ratings and 3 reviews. Dave said: The Author, Ken, donated a number of his books to an anarchist bookstore in the bay area. From th . 4 quotes from Ken Knabb: ‘When the machine grinds to a halt, the cogs themselves begin wondering about their function.’, ‘Beauty, when it is not a promise of.

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Unavoidable hierarchies and specializations Wilhelm Reich Peak Oil? Liberating technology and alienated labor Is Rexroth a utopian? Facebook and the Occupy movement Some common questions about the situationists How do you run a book group? I read Entering the Realm of Reality when it first came out, but was disappointed with it.

Not wishing to interfere with an encounter that might be significant for some of the participants their chance to talk with each other or with the book editorsI sat quietly through the readings from the book and the brief discussion. Then, upon hearing that the meeting would now wind to an end, I decided I really should say something. Actually not so surprising given the mixture of people and the brief time allotted. I continue to be astonished at how myopic the entire engaged Buddhist scene is.

This latter aspect, however, has remained mostly lip service. Almost never does one hear, or read, any EB saying: Even though they may be mistaken in some regards, there are probably some things we can learn from them.

The only social movements that the EBs actually study or refer to are utterly predictable things like Gandhiism that are guaranteed to reinforce their Buddhist prejudices.

Engaged Buddhism at an Impasse. My question to you is: Or, perhaps more properly, what would you do in my situation? The latter found themselves in an official position as elected leaders of several thousand students.

Nobody is going to pay any more attention to what you say or do merely because you have such a fellowship. On the other hand, the fellowship puts you in a relatively comfortable and flexible personal situation. If I were in your position, I would use the time to learn and explore and experiment. Learn at least French, and maybe one or two other languages if you find you have the knack and inclination. Read the situationists, of course, and their various forebears Marx, the classic anarchists, utopians, etc.

This will provide a good background for whatever you decide to do, and is likely to suggest personal tangents for further exploration and various experiments to try. To put all this knowledge in perspective, mix it up with camping out and traveling to other countries.

My point is simply: By all means speak out, or write critical texts, or carry out individual or collective actions if you feel sincerely inspired to do so. Just use the opportunity to have fun. The latter two deal with many of the very best works. Virtually each of them offers some pretty vital, sometimes unique, slant on what it means to be human, what life is, has been, or could be, new conceptions of self and world, etc.

And Rexroth gives a better hint, in fewer words, of what those key aspects are than any other writer I know of. You might keep his list in the back of your mind and check out one or another item from time to time. Just glancing through his tables of contents, here are a few of my favorites: Gateway to the Vast Realms: Recommended Readings from Literature to Revolution.


Personally, I might consider suicide if I was faced with torture or life imprisonment or a painful terminal illness. Otherwise I see life as continually interesting, though often difficult and upsetting. Have something happen in your life. She is a scarcely literate Irish woman. Her husband is an alcoholic. One son is feeble-minded. Another son is a tail gunner flying out of North Africa. The other son is a rifleman with Patton, who believes in killing as many people as possible on both sides.

Her mother is senile and incontinent. You need something to happen to you. The fact that your mother did not improve like you had hoped does not mean that people cannot fundamentally change their lives. Many do, every day.

Ken Knabb – Wikipedia

A lot of possibilities are much simpler, but they get drowned out by the spiritual melodramas that people create for themselves. Have you tried Zen practice, for example? What am I doing here? What are my real choices? What things are important, what not?

Well, start with your own. The largely ideological character of anarchism fixation on one-dimensional Manichean oppositions between absolutist concepts like Freedom vs. A movement that can only endlessly rehash musty councilist or anarcho-syndicalist dogmas however many kernels of truth the latter may contain is not enough.

If for no other reason than the fact that any primarily defensive movement has kjabb conceded the terrain and the initiative to the enemy and therefore generally loses the battle like the people who focus obsessively on combatting neofascists, and end up accomplishing little more than giving the latter more of the publicity they thrive on. However Ien would be pleased to be informed of any new developments copies of critiques you publish or of notable primitivist responses, etc.

The most notable criticism I have is that the last chapter is sometimes rather simplistic.

Similar authors to follow

But you have to be careful not to be too rigid in your recommendations. This amounts to an inverse economic fetishization, a sort of anti-economic puritanism, as if enjoyment was always inversely proportional to the degree of economic taint. Actually, of course, in many cases an activity that creates profit for someone may nevertheless be more enjoyable than another activity that puristically avoids the market.

If you frequently present this kind of over-simplified formula, people with enough sense to know better will not take you seriously regarding the many other areas where you have valid points to make.

Ken Knabb on Shunryu Suzuki and Zen

Many of our problems do not have easy solutions. One person in one situation may be better off to quit his job and try to get by in a different way. Another person in another situation might be better off to get a job rather than spending his life half starved scrounging in garbage cans and living in the streets. The choice involves a lot of factors does he have a family? Try to resist the temptation to rigidly separate things into Good and Bad.

Most things are much more subtle and complex, they contain different aspects, they may even become transformed into their opposites. Have the faith that if you have really said something relevant to their lives, they themselves will figure out some appropriate conclusion without having simplistic formulas shouted ien them. I realize that in other parts of keb pamphlet you do go into many of these issues in somewhat more nuanced detail. But I think you will see what I mean about these general tendencies.


When I replied, I was under the erroneous impression that the guy who sent it to me was one of the authors. Thanks also for the CrimethInc book.

On the positive side, the book is well written and communicates a number of good points. Despite your cautions against ideology, your book is riddled with simplistic, unqualified declarations.

In some places you are admirably open and modest, but in others you come knavb like you have definitive answers to practically everything from the meaning of life to whether people should wear deodorant or not.

Many of your descriptions of radical struggles are rather simplistic. One minor example out of many: Even if there was a festive aspect that it is important to acknowledge, the Nkabb was also filled with suffering, self-sacrifice, patriotism, compromises, confusions, betrayals, sordid political intrigues, conflicting ideologies.

Kn reality, just as most revolts and radical movements have been full of mistakes and limitations, many aspects of the present society are positive, or at least potentially so. The very fact that humanity has survived to this point demonstrates this. We all have a natural tendency to define our perspectives in these good vs. There is also a recurring moralizing simplisticness. It is good that you recognize the element of necessary hypocrisy and compromise in our lives. But a lot of your agonizing over whether this or that practice is hypocritical is, to me, a phony, nonexistent issue.

Nor, conversely, do I consider len I am accomplishing anything very notable if I avoid some such compromise, as if radical struggle were a matter of more and more people gradually becoming less and less implicated in the knwbb system. While I salute the sense of experimentation of your friend who tried to live off garbage pickings instead of buying food, it does not seem to me that such choices have much to do with radical strategy. If you take May 68, for example, the outcome hinged almost entirely on whether or not the workers occupying their nkabb would take that one additional step of restarting up necessary production ekn distribution under their own control.

I think that you could have made most of your points in far less space a pamphlet rather than a book. There is also an impression of excessive self-importance. I apologize for not giving more detailed examples of what I mean. But I think that this should suffice to give you a general idea. Although you will no doubt find some differences between yourselves and them, I think there are also a number of commonalities. In any case, I am appending my remarks to them because I kfn that some of the more general points also apply to your book.

It has also been reproduced at the libcom website. It does make some difference which performers. But most of the ones you will come across should be pretty khabb. Eventually some of it may grow on you as you get more familiar with it. I am not saying that such efforts are not worth engaging in. I am simply pointing out that by themselves such changes will not suffice. In Chapter 2 of The Joy of Revolution I tried to examine the pros and cons of various types of reformist kwn.