We need mutual now, and tomorrow, too. So I talked to mutual aid, anarchist, trans activist Dean Spade on AEWCH!

10 Nov

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercast Soundcloud

This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you very much, friend.

Want tobuy the books mentioned on this ep? For the books mentioned and some related to what we discuss, please go to my booklist for AEWCH 131 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,
I used to say, when people asked me what my best political tactics were: that they were like the moment in a Bugs Bunny cartoon when Bugs Bunny is chased down a dead end alley and finds himself against a brick wall.
What does he do?
He pulls out a piece of chalk and draws a door and then walks through it. In other words, it’s not a compromise or a pleading with the apparent conditions, or begging his abuser not to harm him. He realizes he has the tools to walk away and out of the situation he’s in.It’s not a perfect metaphor of course, but this is what mutual aid offers, the tools to achieve the impossible.
And now is a moment of mutual aid. People helping each other. People forming community groups to tend to each other’s urgent needs. Networks that help the shut in and elderly get food. Ride shares. Local market pop ups. Checking in on your neighbors. Rent strikes. Protests against the murder of black people. Solidarity groups.
That is what I wanted my politics to be – a complete contrast to the luxuriant parties inspired by phony savior governments. I knew I needed to talk about mutual aid, and I knew that Dean Spade was the person to talk to.
Dean Spade is the author of the new book, Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (And the Next). He’s the founder of the founder of Sylvia Rivera Law Project which works to help create conditions to help people thrive while self-determining their gender identity and expression, and his other book Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of the Law, which identifies the many ways in which rights struggles that look to permission from the state and law fall short. He’s also a professor at Seattle University School of Law.
We go deep into why mutual aid matters, what it means, why we need it right now, and how to start mutual aid projects with people who are difficult to organize with. You know, those people you find political objectionable but who live nearby and aren’t going to simply disappear!If you want a quick primer on mutual aid, check out the short animate film Dean made with Ciro Carillo, “Shit’s Totally Fucked! What Can We Do?: A Mutual Aid Explainer.” Even just that 8 minute long video is inspiring!
The conversation goes into many surprising and challenging places, like, should leftists critique drug companies? Do we own our bodies? Why are US politics so dependent on keeping people anxious? Why does the left always seem so miserable and can we bring joy and pleasure back into organizing? How is mutual aid a form of practicing utopia? What are we talking abut when we say freedom and does that have a spiritual component?
I’m so happy to share this (great!) conversation with you.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • How to organize with people who have completely different world views
  • The reason we need pleasure as a call to activism
  • The difference between displaying happiness and happiness itself
  • What is freedom, and how do we know it when it’s happening?
  • Can we become free with materialism in place?
  • What are the limits of mutual aid?
  • How Democrats (*ahem* Kamala) exploit LGBT, black and non-black PoC suffering to recuperate power where it’s lost
  • The stunted emotional development that is part and parcel of American politics
  • Why we need to develop morality
  • Why tautologies like “love is love” “sex work is work” and “trans women are women” are helpful but often end up hitting a wall
  • The power of sex and the construction of masculinity
  • The ways people are signaling I LOVE SCIENCE and why the left has no lens for it

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Dean, check out his website, which has tons of great stuff on it, including this excellent lecture, “When We Win We Lose” and his documentary about the ways Israel tires to cover up some of its crimes against Palestinians by exploiting LGBT rights: Pinkwashing Exposed. If Mutual Aid is sold out on bookshop.org, you can get the ebook directly from Verso.
• A lot of my other conversations come up on this episode. Including AEWCH 120 with political theorist Michael Hardt, AEWCH 15 with antifascist Mark Bray, and about the problems with identity politics on AEWCH 26 with Asad Haider. Also, I talked about the problems with fighting to let trans people in the military with trans author and activist Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore on AEWCH 57.
• Want an intro to wild utopian thinker Charles Fourier? Here’s my easy to read essay on his work.
• Mutual aid is a term that probably predates Peter Kropotkin – late 19th/early 20th century anarchist – but he’s a good start. His book Mutual Aid can be found in this collection of his work.

• I haven’t yet read organizer and philosopher Cynthia Kaufman‘s Ideas for Action: Relevant Theory for Radical Change, but it looks awesome. Let me know if you read it before I do!
• You can hear David Graeber and I talk about supernatural politics (though not so much the bit I bring up on this episode) on AEWCH 99.
• I’m not familiar with Jem Bendell’s work about environmental concerns, but it had an affect on Dean, so here’s a link to his paper, “Deep Adaptation.
• Here’s a round up (and thankful repudiation) of the stupid “gay bars are sites of violation” articles that came out when gay men were clambering to be part of the #MeToo movement.
• I wrote about the origins of masturbation shame way back when I thought Vice was cool (phew!).
• If you’re worried about the virus, here’s that WIRED article about why surfaces are safe.
• The Jane Ward book Dean mentions is Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men and gosh, I’ve just got to read it.
• The organization I was Vice President of for two years is The Adult Performer Advocacy Committee. It’s still around and just saw some tweets from them today about mutual aid, of all things!
Until next time friends, take care of each other!
CH

I explain why the occult+new age+witchcraft can help leftist projects on Pod Damn America!

5 Nov

Friends,

You know how I hate when people falsely claim that the occult is a fascist or new age project. Since…well…it isn’t. But the left is woefully unequipped to explore or understand why, so they often just say dumb stuff.

So when my buddy Jake Flores made inaccurate comments about theosophy on twitter, I corrected him and, well, he invited me onto his leftist podcast, Pod Damn America!

The results were pretty great. I got to talk about Pascal Beverly Randolph, diss Sylvia Federici, and defend homeopathy all on one podcast! We start around 38:00, and have a pretty substantial conversation.

Listen by clicking above or here.

Enjoy,

CH

The folks stories, medicine, and spirits, of Irish Travellers. Traveller author and activist Oein DeBhairduin on AEWCH!

2 Nov

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloud • Patreon

This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!
Thank you so, so much.
Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? Oein’s amazing book, Why The Moon Travels is only available in the US via the publisher, but I strongly suggest you get it. It’s wonderful. Here’s a link.
For the rest of the books mentioned and some related to what we discuss, please go to my booklist for AEWCH 130 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,

I wrestled over whether or not to post an episode about the election tomorrow, but one of the things I kept thinking about was: when we contract our view of the world into political forces and events, what and who get neglected?

In 2004 when George W. Bush won a second term, my friend called me, frantic. I told her to go outside, look at the trees. What were they doing? She told me they were still and swaying with the wind. And the birds? Moving from branch to branch. And the sky? A calm came over her.

What dimension were those beings in that they could stand still, that they could live without the same sort of fear so many were in? Perhaps you could argue that it was merely that they hadn’t the capacity to fear. But then, what did they have the capacity for, and what could we learn from it?We have to remember that the world is big and waiting for us to listen. Or, in the words of Yeats:

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

So this time of this year I was thinking about what we neglect in narrowed vision of the world. And that leads to the question of who are the human beings who are forgotten. And finally, as an interweaving of the two: who is forgotten who can give us a different sense of connection to what is forgotten?

A lot of you probably have never even heard about Irish Travellers, an indigenous minority here in Ireland. But they have their own language, traditions, and culture. As the name Travellers implies movement and a nomadic aspect of life plays a part in all that.

I hadn’t known anything about Travellers until I moved here in 2019. But I have to say it’s dismaying how few people in Ireland know much about Travellers. So as I was trying to learn more about Travellers, I turned to twitter, of course. It’s still good for that if you use it that way. And many people recommended Oein DeBhairduin’s new book of Irish Travellers folk tales, Why The Moon Travels, with illustrations by Leanne McDnoagh.

Oein is an author, herbalist and Travellers’ rights activist. In his book, there are stories about spirits, animals, giants, plants, and medicine. It’s a great book, and it’s my hope that this is a great episode as an introduction to non-Travellers about the multi-layered lives and experiences of Travellers, beyond just their struggles under ignorant or deliberately racist and imperialist legislation here in Ireland.

As a great bonus, Oein reads two of the tales in the book he reads “The Birth of the Rivers” and “Airmid’s Voice.” I’m so happy to share this with you.

Remember, the world is big, and there are many friends you haven’t yet met.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Are myths and folktales merely just-so stories?
  • Are stories alive? If so, what are they, anyway?
  • The way Christianity (specifically Catholicism) intersects with Travellers stories.
  • The way the landscape comes to life when you start relating to its beings by name
  • Getting in touch with city spirits
  • The way that spirit wants to involve us in its action
  • On not believing in fairies (but not wanting to piss off the fairies)
  • Challenges Irish Travellers face under deliberately racist or otherwise ignorant legislation

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Oein, here’s an interview with him about his developing spirituality. And here’s a good interview with him (done by Irish mythological writer Deirdre Sullivan) just after Why The Moon Travels came out. And here’s a link to the Parish of the Travelling People, which Oein is involved in. Also, buy his book!

• For more on Irish Travellers in general, here’s the Irish Travellers Movement website. And here’s the Travellers’ organization, Pavee Point. Here’s a great article, “A Brief History of the Insitutionalisation of Discrimination Against Irish Travellers” by Dr. Sindy Joyce.

Karl Kroeber‘s wonderful Native American Storytelling: A Reader of Myths and Legends isn’t available on bookshop.org except as an extremely pricey hardback, so I’m posting it here in a link via amazon. And here’s a photo of Karl.

• I talked about the “positive void” of language and its relationship to occult practice, with Scott Elliot Hicks on AEWCH 122.

• Actually the story about the witch at Lough Derg is a story about a sorcerer at Lough Gur, Conner.

• Here’s an essay about the Lough Derg pilgrimage by Manchán Magan.• Here’s the road (or one of them anyway) that got moved to accommodate the fairy bush. And here are stories of the “hungry grass.”

• The “Twelve Doors to the Soul” are all places where you could strike to kill someone because an opening wound would create a sort of door through which the soul would leave. They are: Top of the head, hollow of the occiput, the temple, Adam’s apple, suprasternal fossa, the armpit, the breast bone, the navel, the bend of the elbow, the bend of the legs, the bulge of the groin, the sole of the foot.

• Here’s the actual Paracelsus quote: ““…all our nourishment becomes ourselves; we eat ourselves into being… For every bite we take contains in itself all our organs, all that is included in the whole man, all of which he is constituted… We do not eat bone, blood vessels, ligaments, and seldom brain, heart, and entrails, nor fat, therefore bone does not make bone, nor brain make brain, but every bite contains all these. Bread is blood, but who sees it?”

• “All the things that people say they hate about Travellers are things they say they love about culture.” – Oein

Until next time friends,
XO
CH

Irish Travellers in 1950s Ireland. Photo by Tony Whelan

Health in a time of crisis: Legendary fitness and health teacher Paul Chek on Against Everyone With Conner Habib

20 Oct

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloud
This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.
Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep, including Paul’s game-changing book, How To Eat Move and Be Healthy? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 129 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,

We’re heading into another lockdown here in Ireland, and Europe is returning to conditions of earlier this year. The US is heading towards its election and people are being banned on social media and other people are gaining power and everyone is just trying to cope.

Amongst all of this, I’ve spotted a problem, or should I say the spiritual challenge, of the current crisis which is largely un-talked about and quite dangerous: the state of absolute yet unearned certainty which is accompanying so much of the way we talk to each other, the way we think about others and the way we form our lives and responses.

I’m not talking just about the mainstream narrative here, either. I’ve noticed that many of the most spiritually evolved and politically active and intellectually developed people – the people I love and trust for solid perspectives on most things – are all putting forth their various narratives with a sense of total certainty, accompanied with a sense of intense emotion. And I see them trying to dominate each other. It’s almost as if anyone not believing what you believe about this crisis is unbearable, that anyone and everyone must be pulled into our own dimension of intense feeling and righteous certainty to be heard.That means that no matter what the content of the narrative we have is – the gesture is the same. In other words, even if you think you believe in something different, this act of emotion-filled certainty is leading to the same consequence and action. This holds true for conspiracy theorist and mainstream liberal, spiritually advanced teacher and atheist materialist. All in the shadow.

In fact one of the most difficult things to do in this crisis is to look through to see what we actually know and to separate it from what we don’t know. So we need to come up with a counter-gesture – and it can’t be the completely disingenuous and ineffectual “well, I don’t know!” That’s completely impotent, it’s a failed attempt at inaction, and a totally smug posturing.

Instead, we have to find a way to meet each other in our conflicting certainties.

Certainty is a deadness. It’s a kind of dead knowledge that acts as if it’s an object (objective thinking some like to call it). There’s nothing wrong with dead knowledge, exactly. In fact, its deadness is what allows us to hold it, interpret it, examine it from different angles. We can reject or accept it. But holding the dead form of certainty only takes us so far – because we don’t have a question of what the right knowledge is here. And it’s becoming increasingly clear – just look around you! – that there will forever remain differing certainties of what’s right.

What the question is, then, is: How do we come into relationship with each other?

We don’t need a fixed type of knowledge, we need a living relationship to the truth that we’re all creating.

That’s the counter gesture to the certainty: finding a way to interact with others that helps us come together no matter what their narrative is.

How will the ant-mask person get along with the person who needs to wear a mask? Where’s the meeting point that’s not just the screaming fit in the Trader Joe’s or the histrionics of photographing people in the park who aren’t wearing masks? How do we find common ground between the person who wants to protect their grandparents and the person who wants to protect their business? How do we come to wholeness with one another?

Wholeness is a kind of health; the word health comes from the word meaning “whole!” So I knew I needed to talk with someone about this on a wholistic level.

Paul Chek is one of the most respected health professionals in the world and the founder of the CHEK institute (which shares his name but stands for Corrective Holistic Exercise Kinesiology). He’s done health consultations for professional golfers, the Chicago Bulls, and many many more elite athletic clients. His book How To Eat Move And Be Healthy revolutionized fitness and personal health and wellness. He’s also the host of the complex and detailed and engaging podcast Living 4D with Paul Chek, on which he talks to health practitioners and experts from all modalities.

I found Paul’s work shortly after I’d moved to San Francisco, when I decided that I wanted to create a new kind of body for myself. I didn’t want to knock myself out of balance by doing what I saw many others doing – taking chemical steroids, eating whey protein, working out in haphazard ways.

Paul’s work is the opposite of all that. It’s layered and profound – He talks not just about how I should eat this much protein and carbs and calories or whatever, but about, diet, happiness, quiet, movement. And most importantly, how they interact with each other. How does sleep affect diet? How does moving the right way affect my ability to be happy? How do my relationships affect my posture? Over the years, Paul’s public output has grown even more wholistic and more comprehensive – I heard him talking more and more about spirituality and capitalism and God and sex (not to mention Rudolf Steiner!). You’ll hear it on this episode – we start to talk about health, and we end up talking about God and reality and death and listening to your soul – and in the course, I hope you as a listener can recognize that these are the questions of health – that questions of health are extensions of questions about reality, God, death, creativity, and paradoxes.This is a dizzying conversation about health and wellness.

And because Paul is funny, we start and end with dick jokes.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The options available for health, including doing nothing
  • The importance of webbing together concepts of health
  • The individuality of health and how to chose between experts
  • “It’s not a crisis, it’s an awakening…If you’re running away from a lion, it’s a bad idea to throw in a cartwheel!”
  • Why we need to be “world-centric”
  • The reason why the world absolutely depends on your existence
  • How realizing you can’t see your own face gives you a reality
  • God witnessing itself through us
  • The importance of reptiles for consciousness
  • The hijacking of alternative health modalities by fundamentalists and racists
  • Vegetarianism as a natural principle, not a rule
  • The world as a schoolyard of souls
  • Why we’re not actually afraid of death

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Paul, visit the CHEK Institute, of course, where you can sign up for courses, find practitioners in your area, and look into Paul Chek’s media. A favorite episode of mine for our moment? “Creating Stability In A Time Of Crisis” Also, Paul does a multilayered Q&A on his show every few episodes. They’re great introductions to his work and thinking. Here’s his second Q&A which I particularly like. You can also read the sporadic entries on his blog.

• My two essays on the difficult time of my life are here: on being assaulted by my then-boyfriend and getting a lymphoma diagnosis.

• The quote, “God sleeps in the rock, dreams in the plant, stirs in the animal, and awakens in man,” is attributed to Rumi, Ibn Arabi, Madame Blavatsky, and more. Anyway, it’s good.

• For more on the creation of elementals, listen to AEWCH 67 with Daniel Joseph. And for a bit on being the universe witnessing yourself, listen to AEWCH 116 with Are Thoresen. And here’s my conversation with Mona Eltahawy who says, on AEWCH 121, “If your community is ready for you, you’re already too late.”

• If you’d like to learn about Ian Stevenson’s reincarnation research, here’s a good resource.

• Here’s a lovely picture of Shankaracharya for you to put your attention to.

• My friend Mira Bartok is the person whose brain was damaged and suddenly got more input. She wrote about her brain damage in the bestselling memoir, The Memory Palace.

• I wrote an accessible intro to the work of French psychoanalyst and philosopher Jacques Lacan as part of my “The Sex Radicals” series.

• I talked about the changing nature of archetypes in relation to consciousness on AEWCH 112 with Peter Berbegal.

• To get an intro to biogeometry, you can listen to Paul’s conversation with Dr. Ibrahim Karim, and also this great intro to biogeometry with Dr. Karim on Nick Penault’s podcast.

Friends – stay whole and stay healthy.

Love,

CH

Talking about people who murder by policy – the lives of the desk killers with author/activist Dan Gretton on Against Everyone With Conner Habib

13 Oct

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloud

This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.

Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep, including Dan’s book? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 128 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,

Albert Speer – who was a close conspirator of Hitler’s said of the process of Nazi-fication that, “Each man should only think about his task and not be concerned with that of his neighbor.”

This was right down to the most menial functions – that each person would carry out their own labor without creating a networked understanding of what was going on.In other words fragmentation and compartmentalization are key for mass atrocity.

This is, potentially, bad news for us, as we seem to live more and more fragmented and compartmentalized lives. Fragmentation and compartmentalization is a kind of swaddling that keeps us safe from understanding what we’re doing to others. It shelters us from the harm our lives are doing, and also keeps us from seeing what others are going through. And this sense of safety can breed a sort of calm apathy.

“Wherever people feel safe (…) they will be indifferent.” – Susan Sontag

Another way of saying this is that we feel safe because we lack compassion. Compassion means, literally, to suffer with. If we were to really enact compassion, if we were to allow our lives to intersect with the suffering of others, could we ever feel safe? How could we bear it? Instead of ignoring the suffering of others, we need to look directly into it.

I invited author of I You We Them: Walking Into The World Of The Desk Killer, and cofounder of the artist activist group, Platform, Dan Gretton onto AEWCH.

Dan’s book is all about people who murder by policy – people whose participation in compartmentalized and fragmented work have permitted them to engage in murder while feeling safe. And through that safety being permitted a luxurious indifference.You may be one of these people. Or you may become one if you’re not now.How do we commit ourselves to atrocity? Could you do it? Could I?

Here are 10 points Dan identifies – a list of factors is an inverse of spiritual development, a sort of path of black magic: 

Have you engaged in any of these? Has your company? Your family? Your loved ones? How easy would it be to absorb you into a structure that required any of these and would you even know if it were happening?Furthermore, is your activism, your attachment to your own suffering, occluding the suffering of others?

If you want an intervention, I suggest you read Dan’s book. It is one of the only books of which I have ever said, everyone should read it. Everyone.

It is a voluminous book detailing genocides and murders – in Nazi camps, but also via the executions of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni men by the then Nigerian military government through their entanglement with Shell oil, in colonial Ireland and at Kenyan airports. Dan talks to the relatives of Nazis and people who work for corporations who kill. He seeks out the truth behind the desk killers – people who kill from their desks, whose murder weapon is not a gun or a knife, but a pen or a computer.

These are the killers that are most abundant.

At the end of the episode, Dan reads an unpublished letter to the future – it’s a beautiful moment, full of sorrow and hope.

Listen. Breathe.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Why we focus on serial killers but not desk killer
  • How we pay attention to certain forms of activism to avoid bigger atrocities
  • Where some people who we think are progressive draw the line at human rights
  • Voting and not voting based on purity politics
  • The failure to reckon with national pasts of genocide and colonialism in America and the UK
  • Can we kill without reservation? Are we capable of killing? What stops us (and when will it stop stopping us?)
  • How do we allow such pain and suffering of the world in and then breathe
  • Who keeps their humanity in the midst of atrocity

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Dan, here’s a great interview with him on the BBC with Nihal Arthanayake. And here’s the art and activism group Dan founded, Platform. Here’s the link to a review article of I You We Them, “The desk killer and the spider” in Race & Class. (It’s behind a paywall!)

• Here’s the trailer for the serial killer series Dan mentions at the top, Des.

• There’s still not enough information on the Herero and Nama genocide, but here’s a very short article to get you started.

• Here’s a short video of Jan Karski talking about what he witnessed when Jewish people were being herded into trains like animals.

• My essay on anti-sex worker feminists, “If You’re Against Sex Work, You’re A Bigot.”

• I mention the Democracy in Europe Movement or DiEM25. They’re doing good work, check them out.

• Below is a great photo from Joseph Beuys’s exhibit, “I Like America and America Likes Me”. If you’d like to learn more about Beuys and his work, go to the booklist at the top of this page.

• If you don’t know about human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa’s execution at the hands of the Nigerian military government, spurred into action by Shell Oil’s policies, you should learn more. Here’s a documentary (in parts) on YouTube.

Friends, one last push here: Buy and read Dan’s book, I You We Them. It is absolutely essential and it will make you a better person.

CH

Gitta Sereny and Franz Stangl

The Witchcraft at the End of the World. Peter Grey & Alkistis Dimech of Scarlet Imprint on AEWCH!

6 Oct

LISTEN HERE OR ON: iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloud

This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.
Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? To buy books from Scarlet Imprint, go to their website and buy directly from Peter and Alkistis.

To buy the other books, go to my booklist for AEWCH 127 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,
For a time now, we’ve been walking around with a stone in our shoe – an unavoidable feeling throughout the day. And that feeling is: it’s the end of the world. The end of the world shows up again and again in history, and we’re in one of those end times, it’s risen into public consciousness. That’s why I write it’s the stone in the shoe, we’re aware of it even when we’re not aware of it. How does this new presence change the way we walk, the feeling we have about the day and have about each other? How do we walk with the minor and major imbalances it creates? If something permeates the general consciousness, it has a different effect on us; it becomes a companion. So what does it mean to not just intellectually or creatively entertain ourselves with the apocalypse, but to actually experience it in our daily lives?

And there is, to paraphrase Marx using his own supernatural language, a spectre haunting the end of the world, and that spectre is witchcraft. It’s magic, the occult. Whether it’s the symbols of the political elite, the black magic conspiracy theories of Q Anon, the presence of new thought and new age in the US democratic primary, the resurgence in the interest in tarot and astrology, the aesthetics of witchcraft on Instagram, we see again and again the presence of a new and old version of looking at the world, paired with the constant presence of its end. The end of the world and witchcraft are siblings this time.Maybe it’s not surprising, since the end of the world is always brought by prophecy and oracles, always seen by the knowing in its portents. And the end is always changing the way we relate to time; when we think there’s an end of the road, so many of us move away from linearity and start to think in layers of time. In synchronicities and correspondences. In creative ruptures outside of the normal flow of things.

We think in witchcraft.

So, I needed to discuss all of this, and give it flesh. I invited two people I know working with witchcraft and art in the apocalypse – Alkistis Dimech and Peter Grey. They’re also authors, performers, and the founders of the occult/witchcraft publishers Scarlet Imprint.One of the most interesting aspects of this conversation is that Alkistis and Peter and I come from differing traditions – they’re working with Babalon – the being that appears in Revelations, in thelema, in enochian magic and more.Whereas I am working with The Christ and the Archangel Michael via anthroposophy.So there’s a tension between our traditions – almost a sort of antagonism. What’s important to remember here is that through me and through Peter & Alkistis, a conversation takes place between these end of the world and beginning of the world beings – through Christ and Babalon. Conversations – real ones – become sites for the interaction of spirit as well.It is through that that tension found only in friendship that we ask a lot of big questions for our big time.

ON THE EPISODE

  • The rise of apocalypse in consciousness
  • The way the spiritual world selects or discards people to give itself life
  • What to do when we notice what we’ve lost and what we depend on
  • Why to look for spirits in experience, not books
  • The way location interacts with spirituality
  • The nature of spirits, the spirits of nature
  • How spirits get crowded out by other spirits that live with electronic devices
  • How do we differentiate between spirits (and which ones to not mess with)
  • The problematic view of Babalon and Christ versus the ones that creates a real view of humanity
  • Encountering a Christian sex riddle in Vietnam
  • The importance of sex in spirituality

SHOW NOTES

• For more Alkistis & Peter: here’s Peter’s talk, “Becoming No-Man” and here’s Alkistis’s talk, “Where the Daimon Dwells,” both from the Trans-States conference in 2017. Here’s Alkistis’s performance, “The decollation of flowers” and another, “Visitation.” Both of them have been on the Rune Soup podcast multiple times, and here’s the latest (and I think greatest, so far).• Scarlet Imprint has published the work of other AEWCH guests, including Phil Legard and Gordon White.

• I talked quite a bit about apocalypse with Mark O’Connell on AEWCH 105.

• Here’s a short article on the style of dance that has influenced Alkistis, butoh. Pictured below is a performance of one of butoh’s most profound elaborators, Tatsumi Hijikata.

• As Peter and Alkistis and I try to define what spirits are, I am reminded by Alkistis’s comment about spirits being “semi-material” of Valentin Tomberg’s passage in Meditations On The Tarot about ghosts: “Ghosts exist. This is not a question of belief; it is a matter of fact. There is an immense literature, without speaking of facts that one can find in the sphere of personal experience, which bears witness to the existence of ghosts. Now it is no longer a matter of believing or denying; now it is a matter only of understanding and explaining. Ghosts exist therefore. Thus it happens from time to time after someone’s death that this person or “something” of him or similar to him manifests in an outward and physical way (noises, movements, etc.) in the guise of an active energy. It is as if a certain quantity of energy, freed through death, but remaining condensed and not dispersed, manifests as an entity or as an individual “body”. … (p. 358)What, then, is a ghost?A ghost is always constituted as a consequence of crystallisation, i.e., crystallisation of a desire, a passion, or a purpose of great intensity, which produces a complex of energy in the human being.”

• To understand what spirits are, you can find a good and easy picture (not definition) of them in Lon Milo Duquette’s My Life with the Spirits: The Adventures of a Modern Magician.

I talked about Wilhelm Reich on an “Against Saturdays” episode. And my saying about sex and individuality is “If you ever want to know how someone feels about freedom, start talking about sex.”

Until next time,
Love
CH

Meeting The Archangel Michael.

29 Sep

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloud
This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.
Want to buy the books mentioned on/related to this ep? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 126 at bookshop.org.
It will help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,On Michaelmas, the celebration of the Archangel Michael, I wanted to present what I think is the most urgent task of our moment: aligning ourselves with the Archangel Michael.

SHOW NOTES

“Lily” by Kate Bush evokes the four archangels. And it’s a great song, isn’t it?

I talked on Rune Soup back in January about 2020 as the most Micahelic year we’ve ever experienced.

• The illustration of the adversarial forces on this episode is detailed at great length on other episodes, especially the most recent episode, AEWCH 125 with Doug Rushkoff. See also AEWCH 114 on how to abolish Silicon Valley with Wendy Liu, AEWCH 115 on the inner experience of the internet with Joanne McNeill, and AEWCH 105, talking apocalypse and AI with Mark O’Connell.

• Peter Roth’s beautiful book, Worlds In The Mirror, is only available through the Camphill Books.

• I wrote about helping stop suicide by the Liffey and sharing the burden of suffering here.

Love to you friends.
CH

How to be human in an anti-human era. It’s Doug Rushkoff on AEWCH!

22 Sep

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercast  • Soundcloud
Friends, does this show have value to you?
If so, I ask that you support it on Patreon! The show is funded exclusively by listeners like you, and your contribution is vital and deeply appreciated!
Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep?
Go to my booklist for AEWCH 125 on bookshop.org! It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,
Fascists, intense weather, immigration panics, global health crises, authoritarian governments, ideological divisions, conspiracies, fake news and fake experts and fake press conferences, the singularities, the doomsdayers, the white power psychopaths.
What do we do?
I draw inspiration from my long time pal and this episode’s guest: media analyst, prolific author and the Team Human podcast host, Doug Rushkoff!
What do we come up with?
Well, that being human is the most radical and subversive strategy in an anti-human era.
And what does it mean to be human? Finding the others, of course. But also seeing the others, and seeing the other in yourself. This might sound like a simple answer, but getting there is complex. Also? It’s exciting and bizarre and intense.
In case you’ve been missing out all this time, Doug is the author of a whole shelf of books; my favorite of which are his latest, Team Human, a manifesto based on his podcast; and Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now.
Doug is always one (or five) steps ahead of everyone else. I’m so happy to have had this conversation with him, and to share it with you. It’s warm and full of laughter and connection.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • What is the anti-human agenda, and what does it mean to be human?
  • Why Malcolm Gladwell, Steven Pinker, and Richard Dawkins are, uh, a problem, and emergence is stupid.
  • “Systems theory is spirituality for misogynists.”
  • Why localism still matters
  • How (and why?) to organize with oppositional people
  • The particular failure of straight people in dealing with coronavirus
  • Drawing on a commonwealth to meet with each other
  • Whether or not conservative conspiracy theorists are Very Online or not
  • Why being bullied helps us in later life
  • How to do judo with QAnon
  • The benefit of becoming an outsider to every group you’re in

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Doug, visit his website; and for a sampling of his podcast and its range, I recommend the episodes with Richard Metzger, James Lovelock, and Astra Taylor. All the intro monologues to Doug’s show are available as medium.com articles, too, which you can find here. Since so many episodes of my show focus on anti-work politics and postwork worlds, you may also enjoy Doug’s 2011 article, “Are Jobs Obsolete?” You can also find (most of!) his books available via the bookshop.org link!

• In some ways, this episode is a follow up to the run I did on the challenges of technology: AEWCH 112 on occult tech with Peter Bebergal, AEWCH 113 on the mysterious magical technology of radionics with Duncan Laurie, AEWCH 114 on how to abolish Silicon Valley with Wendy Liu, and AEWCH 115 on the inner experience of the internet with Joanne McNeill. (And the forerunner – on AEWCH 105, talking apocalypse and AI with Mark O’Connell.)

• Okay, I keep sharing eps of my show in the show notes, but I talk a lot about the idea of creating a heart for the machine being with Scott Elliot Hicks on AEWCH 122.

• Doug gives a soft shout out to EF Schumacher and his “small is beautiful” ideology. I’m on board. Check out the Schumacher Center for New Economics, they do good stuff.

The Social Dilemma is out. Haven’t seen it, but I guess I will, keeping in mind that they ripped off Doug.

• Doug brings up democracy and it ties into his conversation with Astra Taylor, who writes about politics and philosophy and collaborated with David Graeber.

• I talk about the wage labor relationship and sex work with my friend Dr. Heather Berg in the article “The Problem with Sex Work Is Work“\

• Tony Norman has written a short article on the crossover between Q and antisemitism.

• Here’s the Grant Morrison’s amazing presentation on sigils, magic, and how we’re all time-larvae. (And yeah that’s a picture of him when he was a young lad with a mop of hair.)

• In spite of my joke about Richard Metzger being a liberal, it’s difficult to overstate how influential his work has been on me, as well as attending the Disinformation conference at the Omega Institute in 2005 (NOT 2003, Conner!). Here’s Richard’s blog, Dangerous Minds. And here’s Doug’s talk at the conference (and links to the other talks except Paul Laffoley’s for some reason). And Lynn Margulis becoming my mentor was the other mindblowing event around that time.

Byron Katie is still very important to me, for her ability to separate thinking from feeling and also her lived experience of the Tao. She’s incredible. Plus, she wears cool lady scarves.

Until next time, be more human than ever,

XO
CH

Leslie Marmon Silko

My first scene (er, podcast) with Ty Mitchell! AEWCH 124

16 Sep

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercast  • Soundcloud

Friends, does this show have value to you?
If so, I ask that you support it on Patreon! The show is funded exclusively by listeners like you, and your contribution is vital and deeply appreciated!Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 124 on bookshop.org! It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,
It’s been a long time since I made a porn scene for public consumption that I got paid for and so much about production has changed since then. I was used to doing studio scenes for Raging Stallion and Hot House and Falcon and Joe Gage, but now things have shifted over to an Only Fans performer-produced model.
And while I’m so happy that workers have partially seized the means of production, so to speak, I’m not so sure I want to, uh, seize them myself.
I’m focusing on other things, and I’m also expressing myself in ways that are a bit more interesting to me.
But the fact remains that it is the most widespread and available medium for performers and viewers now. Because I stopped my just over 7 year porn career before these platforms existed, and because the world is changed, there are so many new challenges and enthusiams and tactics navigated by performers now.
So I asked adult performer and writer Ty Mitchell onto the show. Ty is a brilliant performer and an articulate and thoughtful writer. His scenes give you the sense of an immediate quality of performance, and his essays, including the now classic “Boy Problems,” about navigating age and power differentials in gay experience, have given so many of us so much to think about.
This is a long episode and for good reason: there’s SO much to talk about when it comes to sex, especially in our moment.Ty has emerged as one of the most thoughtful voices on gay sex & culture; and I’m so glad he has because we need people that can take this movement, and conversations that come out of it forward.
This will give you a glimpse of where he’s going and the fact that he’s so articulate that many will join hands and follow him there.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The guilt and doubt that follows pleasure
  • The mystification of porn production
  • The exploitative practices of self-produced scenes
  • The intensities of power differentials in sex
  • The reasons why women and gay men have trouble seeing eye to eye
  • The constitutive elements of homophobia
  • How should we view incest arousal?
  • Working class men in adult scenes
  • Joe Gage’s directing style vs other directors, and why the aesthetics matter
  • The expressiveness in performed sex
  • The benefits and perils of repetitive sex
  • The “mystery date” aspect of escorting
  • Queer freedom through blundering
  • The difficulties of rejecting and being rejected

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Ty, including his adult work, here’s his (SFW) account on twitter. Here’s his excellent essay on gay sex during the global crisis, and his essay on cruising basements, both for his column at MEL Magazine.

• I’ve talked about sex directly on the show many times, including about consent with Katherine Angel on AEWCH 101, about the good of adult work with Missy Martinez on AEWCH 38 and the not-so-good with Johnny Hazzard on AEWCH 88. About sex addiction and the problem of sex & culture on AEWCH 56. And with Whores of Yore historian Kate Lister on AEWCH 102 among others!

• I talked on a panel with other performers about consent in porn years ago.• Stoya’s disclosure that James Deen assaulted her was an intense but necessary event for the adult industry (and all involved, of course). It was also a forerunner of the #MeToo movement.

• Remember when Homeland Security raided the escorting hub rentboy?

• We talk a lot about Joe Gage on this episode. If you don’t know him, he’s a revolutionary director, and you should check into his work, whether you watch gay porn or not. Here’s a thorough interview with him in BUTT Magazine. Also, you can watch me watching one of my own Joe Gage scenes (from After the Heist which I had three scenes in and which became Joe’s best selling film ever for Dragon Video) with a straight guy from Buzzfeed. It’s funny, gotta say.

• Probably the best-known thing I’ve written so far is “What I Want To Know Is Why You Hate Porn Stars,” about the challenges of navigating a relationship while making porn and how that relates to anti-porn sentiment in culture.

• I talk about the intensity of desire and repetition with Maggie Nelson (still can’t believe I had that conversation!) on AEWCH 95.

Until next time friends,

XO
CH

Joe & Sam Gage

Dreaming of post-work utopias with Kathi Weeks on AEWCH 123!

9 Sep

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercast  • Soundcloud
Friends,
Does this show have value to you? If so, I ask that you support it on Patreon! The show is funded exclusively by listeners like you, and your contribution is vital and deeply appreciated!
Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 123 on bookshop.org! It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,
As so many people face unemployment and uncertainty, many are also asking: how did it get to be this bad?
Instead of only scrambling for jobs – which many no doubt have to do in this time anyway – can we also take the time to reflect on the role of work and its function in our lives? How did we get entrenched in this insidious wage-labor relationship, where we are servants to that most repulsive of phrases, “making a living.” We have a living, we have lives, how dare tis relationship between wages and labor overlay itself onto life and pretend it is life?
To talk about all of this, I invited political theorist, feminist, author, and philosopher Kathi Weeks onto the show. Kathi is the author of two short but profound books: The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries and Constituting Feminist Subjects. The former elucidates the entire anti-work ethos from a Marxist feminist perspective, and uses a tactic to dismantle the crazed attachment we have to a “work ethic”: utopia. What if we employed utopia as a tactic against work to open new ways forward. And the latter shows how we can find solidarity and generate new tactics that we learn from our differing standpoints.
This is a great anti-work, pro-utopia episode, friends.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The way a “sick day” enforces an identity
  • The problem of “just do what you love”
  • The problem with (sex work is) work
  • Making sure we critique work without dragging everything into class reductionism
  • How post-work politics come from work
  • The uses of utopia (and where Kathi and I limit our ideas of utopia)
  • Why the demand to know the future is counterrevolutionary
  • Living in a time of critique without proposition
  • The promise and pitfalls of universal basic income (UBI)

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Kathi, here’s her great essay, “Down with Love,” on how our views of love inform our views of work; here’s Kathi’s spirited defense of universal basic income as a PDF; and you can watch her on a panel with AEWCH 120 guest Michael Hardt, Peter Frase, and Charles Mudede here.

• For more on postwork and anti-work action/theory, well, I’ve talked a whole lot about it on the show, and from many different angles: including talking about idleness AEWCH 89 with philosopher Brian O’Connor, a solo episode – AEWCH 85 – Abolish Work,” AEWCH 83 with Franco Bifo Berardi, AEWCH 69 with Sovereign Syre and Dr. Heather Berg, and briefly on AEWCH 99 with the late and great David Graeber.

• For some reason, Miya Tokumistu’s book, Do What You Love and Other Lies About Success And Happiness is not on bookshop.org, so I’ve linked to it here for you. And here’s her article, “The United States of Work.”

• For more on lines of flight, check out the work of Felix Guattari (pictured below), particularly the book entitles, aptly for your purposes – Lines of Flight.

• Here’s a short essay on the Wages for Housework campaign in the Nation. And Sylvia Federici’s great (but also for me challenging) quote is, “We want to call work what is work so that eventually we might rediscover what is love.”

• For more on problems with the family, check out AEWCH106 with Sophie Lewis!

• Here’s my essay on anti-work/sex work with Heather Berg, “The Problem with Sex Work is Work.” And here’s my introductory essay to utopianist Charles Fourier.

• I love Kathi’s quote here – “The utopian practice is…a practice of expanding time.”

• A great Wittgenstein quote about the future: “When we think of the world’s future, we always mean the destination it will reach if it keeps going in the direction we can see it going in now; it does not occur to us that its path is not a straight line but a curve, constantly changing direction.”

• For more on prison abolition, you can’t do much better than following Mariame Kaba on twitter and checking into the resources she shares.

Until next time, friends, don’t work too hard!

XO
CH