Okay, here we go. I have been focusing a lot of my effort on art lately. I have my children now full time so being a full time stay at home Dad had taken up a lot of my time. I am working on some new posts for Gonzo Times and am going to be looking for some new writers to come on here and help take Gonzo Times to it’s next phase. So, what is going on with all the art lately?
The Anarchist Portrait Project is under way. So far there are some completed but the support has not been the greatest. I am still going forward with it and pushing through. You can donate to help support the project here. I am doing a plethora of anarchists of a variety of beliefs, not all may get along all that well.
I am also selling some merchandise on Cafe Press. I am trying to post a new painting on there every week for a while. So far there are two. Please take the time to purchase a mug, coaster or t-shirt with one of my paintings. I only get a fraction of the price, but every bit helps.
I am also currently running a contest on my personal site where I promote my art, shanethayer.com. I am offering a free portrait or commission for the blog post that can bring in the most traffic. So, please take the time to check it out and help me out a bit with a post on your blog.
There are still prints of paintings available on saatchi online. So, any support with donations, helping to get the word out on the anarchist portrait project or any purchase of merch on cafe press or of prints helps me to be able to continue to afford to keep painting. Thanks for all the support.
The US military put up $3 million to research an anti-suicide nasal spray. The important thing to see in this is the reality of how the state is handling a real crisis. The problem is the mental health of the troops. The solution is to address what is driving so many people to take their own lives. The problem with the state addressing this is that it would have to confront the violent reality of what it is. The real solution would involve a drastic change in the violent power of the state. Instead of addressing the mental health of people it is exploiting to take lives and oppress the state is looking for a magic drug.
This is the equivalent to addressing the depression of an abused woman with anti-depressants and telling her to stay in the abusive relationship. The problem is that these people will never heal and will continue to have the psychological damage brought on by the aggression of the state. In fact if these people are mentally ill and the state is using a band aid to try and cover the symptoms this will lead to further trauma and further mental damage of these troops. In the attempt to prevent suicide the state is bringing on further damage to these people.
The only goal seems to be to prevent the suicides. The goal of creating an environment where people are driven to suicide wasn’t the option. The problems that lead to this are not addressed. One symptom is being addressed by trying to prevent it or prolong it until the troops are no longer in the military. This shows great irresponsibility and an unwillingness to address the problems they have brought upon these people.
I grew up reading comic books. I get excited when comic movies come out with the characters I grew up reading. I remember the anticipation for the Tim Burton movies. They were a monumental event for my younger self. My identity was defined by the myths of superheroes. I loved the Christopher Nolan Batman movies. I was really looking forward to the release of The Dark Knight rises for many reasons. First because I always get excited for superhero movies. Second because I wanted to find some kind of ending or closure. I have grown weary of American cinema and am ready to just walk away from it. I wanted to see the last and final Batman film. I wanted to close the book on that chapter of my life.
When I got rid of my television and started to read more and embrace a stance against violence it became more difficult to watch films that use violence in a glorified manner. Watching violence for the sake of violence as entertainment began to increasingly bother me. I grew up with fantasies of kicking ‘peoples asses.’ I grew up with a desire to hulk out. I had fantasies where I had wonderful powers and when ‘bad guys’ came around I would hulk out or morph into a powerful hero who would beat up or physically demolish the ‘bad guy’. Of course these bad guys took many forms in my juvenile fantasies. They would be armed villains, mass murderers or even the kids that bothered me or picked on me.
When I grew older I did act out aggressively. I was expelled from many schools because of violence. I went on to become an adult who would go to bars and get in fights. I didn’t ‘talk trash’, I just went off heat butting or throwing punches, physically attacking whoever it was that confronted me in an aggressive manner. The milieu I had found myself in was one that was drawn to extreme violent and aggressive media. We embraced an era and genre of cinema that was excessive seeking the most brutal and disturbing depictions one could imagine.
As life went on I was immersed in many forms of violence in music, comics, cinema and more. And as life went on I found myself experiencing on many levels forms of violence. Living in an urban environment, being in the USMC and other experiences placed the reality of violence right in front of me. It began to bother me. As I examined myself and grew in my ethics as an anarchist, I could not watch military movies anymore. They would upset and disturb me bringing up many difficult emotions. I had taken away much of the media I was absorbing when I got rid of my TV and I began to feel impacted when I would see these images. I began to heal and I began to see these images in a different light. Much of the joy I found in these out of my innocence was gone. Through life I had been confronted with the reality of what was being depicted on screen. I could not watch without seeing the problems of what was being shown. It was not as simple as just seeing the movie. Now they made me uncomfortable. I began to see the ideas that I see as problematic in our society being reinforced in these films.
I went to the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. I was excited to see the movie. Throughout it I saw the myth that violence is the answer to our problems reinforced. I saw person after person terrorized, brutalized and murdered on screen for entertainment. The antagonist was the socialist who was just seeking to kill while claiming he does it in the name of the people. The protagonists were people who used force and violence to save the day. The whole film went against everything I am trying to oppose in what is wrong with how our society is structured. When I got home after watching violence, brutality and murder on screen I got online. Google news was reporting on the Dark Knight shooting. James Holmes walked into a Colorado theater and started shooting and killing people. The first thing that I thought of was how I just got home from watching the very behavior on screen for fun. Here we see it happen in real life and it is a tragedy. It wasn’t happening during a film about peace or love, but at a film that depicts the very behavior that is going on here in real life.
I am not writing to address censorship of media or to address gun control issues. The important part of this to me is to open dialogue about this violence. We watch it numb to the reality of what we are seeing. How much of this is inspired by what we see in life? How much does the messages in these films reinforce our embrace of violence? The heroes and the villains look cool while murdering people. The Colorado gunman took on the persona of the Joker a character from the previous Batman film. We need to discuss the messages we get about violence in these films and we need to discuss how much this impacts people. For many these messages reinforce an acceptance of violence. For those who oppose violence we should be asking just exactly what messages this gives others and ourselves. We need to stop blindly accepting violence and begin to have real discussion about it. It is not enough to say we oppose it. When we embrace it in culture we see those messages seeping out of the screen and infecting countless minds who have not evaluated the ethics of the use of violence in our culture.
This is from Division 48 of the APA The Society For the Study of Peace, Conflict & Violence Spring/Summer 2012 Newsletter.
Prof. Dennis Papazian, PhD, noted expert on genocide, Professor Emeritus of the University of Michigan Founding Executive Director of the Armenian Assembly of America in Washington, D.C., Grand Commander of Knights & Daughters of Vartan, emphasized three elements that allow or encourage genocide among any people: sovereignty, nationalism and language. He elucidated that the concept of sovereignty is related to the idea of the “divine right of kings,” a concept well established in history. The king, as representative of the deity, has complete power over life and death of his subject. The king can kill with impunity, having the ultimate right of life or death over his subjects. It is because of the idea of sovereignty, total power within the state, that post-medieval states have legally been known to deal with inconvenient minorities by slaughter and massacre, an act that was not punishable until recent times.
In modern times, nationalism, pre-nationalism, and religious exclusiveness have been some of the drivers of genocide. States kill minorities in part because they are recognizable, they are different, and they are the “other,” not forming part of the predominant group which has the power of the state in their hands. He suggested that nationalism and racism are often closely intertwined. He reminded the audience that in certain times and places white people mistreated black people, and in far fewer instances black people have been known to persecute white people, such as in Zimbabwe. But nationalism goes far beyond color racism; it can include various forms of mythical racial purity and the division of people by religion. He offered several examples including Egypt today where the Christian minority is persecuted by the Muslim majority; however, if it were not for the numbers of Muslims they might have become victims of genocide. Language can also be a divisive factor. Often, a linguistic minority can be despised by a linguistic majority and thus persecuted, but more often there must be other distinguishing factors involved that can lead to genocide. Those distinguishing factors are either racism, nationalism, or some combination thereof.
I am going to point to a problem with capitalism and the Non Aggression Principle(NAP). I am going to point to a simple situation that comes from this. The NAP is an idea many libertarians and anarchists build their philosophy upon. It is an idea stemming from Ayn Rand who was a capitalist and abhorred anarchism. It was taken to another level by Murray Rothbard who painted a picture of stateless capitalism. The NAP states that it is wrong to initiate force upon a person or their property. In this property is perceived as an extension of the person. Property is often perceived as a synonym for liberty. Yes, property can be liberty but liberty is not property. Companies are also considered property based on investment, so the capitalist concept of property is ownership of the collective.
The non-initiation of force is something I support. The concept I do not support is that it is justifiable to defend property as dominion with violence.
The situation that divides
The Business owner sit in his office watching the workers down on the manufacturing floor. The boss makes one dollar a day for every worker producing on the floor. Each worker makes one dollar a day also. There are one hundred workers. This means the boss makes 100 dollars a day or five hundred in a work week while the workers make one dollar a day or five dollars in a week. The workers decide they want to keep all the profit they make. The workers claim control of the means of production so they can keep their two dollars a day.
The dividing line is this. The definition of property by the capitalist and the definition of initiation of force the very act of claiming the product of their labor is considered the initiation of force. The capitalist is now justified in the use of force to maintain dominion and control of the working collective he maintains power over. This is property as theft. This is why a state exists, to insure the capitalist maintains property of this sort. This is property as theft, property as dominion and property from a state or a private institution that can take the place of the state.
I am more inclined to support the worker ownership of the means of production, because the workers can claim the full product of their labor. With an authority over a collective we see rulers claiming the product of the workers labor. The capitalist needs the state so that he can continue to claim the product of the workers labor.
I have a feeling a lot of people won’t like this, but I hope it opens up dialogue.
Rape denial is common in a rape culture. Perpetrators are often aided by silence or denial. The victim is kept in hir place by siding with the perpetrator. We side with the perpetrator directly or indirectly. Silence is easy because we do not address the difficult situation of rape. It is a way to side with the perpetrator. Nothing benefits the perpetrator more than silence. Silence is empowering for the perpetrator. It allows the perpetrator to victimize while society responds as if it is not happening.
In the case of Junian Assange I have found that I want this man to be the hero. I am excited when I see what he does and I have chosen to remain silent and not to address the issue of rape that is being brought up. I have chosen the easy path that empowers the rapist. I find that I quickly dismiss any accusations pointing to the state as a villain. I find that I am quick to dismiss the charge of rape. I realize that if this were a senator or a president I would be the first to crucify them and jump on with attacking them and siding with the victim, but when it is someone I respect I have turned a blind eye.
Silence is only one way we empower the perpetrator. The other is outright defending the actions of the perpetrator or denying the claims of rape which is defense. I am quick to side with short denials and have not chosen to further challenge them. I now see that my choice is problematic. We are quick to throw out the claims completely. I see that I am also still being hesitant to claim Assange is a rapist because my resistance is strong in this. All of this is problematic. It all reflects the reality of how we empower rapists and support a rape culture.
Many of us anarchists, socialists, libertarians and radical politicos seem to be responding in a text book manner to rape in this case. We seem to not want to hold someone accountable and we seem to be quick to deny any wrong doing. We are taking the easy way out and avoiding the difficult path that we need to be walking. This needs to be challenged and we need to really look at this much more seriously than we have.
It was easier for us all to say that he’s being persecuted by the state. In the long run we have chosen to not go down the path of looking at sexual assault. I think it’s time we re-examined how we are responding to this situation.
This is simple and short. I am asking you all to take time today, July 4th, Independence day to mourn lives lost. Mourn the civilians slaughtered in our senseless wars. Mourn the lives of those we sent over seas. Mourn the loss of lives within our borders taken by police and the so called justice system. Mourn for those who are locked in cages by the United States. Mourn the lives lost in border wars and the war on drugs.
If you celebrate patriotism or not, I ask all of you to find a meaningful way to express grief over all the loss that has been brought by the United States. I ask you to take a few minutes or longer if you feel so inclined to reflect and mourn. Perhaps you can create a new ritual that you practice every year.
I have gone through a philosophical journey of self discovery and exploration here on Gonzo Times. I started the site a capitalist libertarian party libertarian. I evolved from there to a rothbardian anarcho capitalist and then on to rejecting capitalism in favor of socialism and anarchism. Much of this journey I was reading and operating in a realm of economics and logic. Through the journey I picked up other issues I stood for such as the liberation of the LGBT community, feminism and the plight of the migrant. In the realm of feminism I was exposed to types of intelligence that may not necessarily fit nicely with those of economics and all so called logic. Emotional intelligence I have learned is a valid form of intelligence that I am sadly lacking in.
I hope that I can delve further in my emotional intelligence, nurture it, feed it and grow more attached to it. I have seen that often men are socialized to reject emotional intelligence. I believe this is an element of gender dominance and often feeds into the mindset that perpetuates forms of hierarchy within society. Emotional responses and reactions or understandings can be seen as less than or just naive. I now see that the rejection of emotional intelligence is done out a lack of intelligence. What is an emotional anarchist? I want to understand anarchism through the lens of emotional intelligence and begin to embrace it through a new perspective with a new knowledge.
I am now asking myself what Emotional Anarchism is and what it looks like. I am now wanting to see anarchism with a new set of eyes to examine it and pick it apart through new forms of intelligence. Howard Gardner proposed the theory of nine types of intelligence:
- 1 The multiple intelligences
Can we look for anarchism in each of these types of intelligence? How can someone who is stronger in one specific area here begin to frame and understand anarchism? I would love to hear from some who are stronger in specific areas of intelligence and how that intelligence may impact anarchism for them. How can we frame anarchism within emotional intelligence as well as the nine types of intelligence? Are there still many new approaches to take to reach our conclusions?
Lately I have been reading more Kropotkin and Bookchin. Both of them have elements of post-scarcity found in their visions for anarchism. I have always perceived this as a utopian ideal that I liked. Post-Scarcity: is a hypothetical form of economy or society in which goods, services and information are free, or practically free. This would require an abundance of fundamental resources (matter, energy and intelligence) – Wikipedia. In looking at the concept I have been trying to understand it on a level I find real and practical. I have been trying to see how this non-market system would work, how it is implemented in a real world situation. I am, not rejecting it, I am not claiming it is possible, I am simply trying to gain an understanding of it and see how it might be possible.
Saturday was hot. I don’t have central air and it has been getting into the hundreds around here. My spouse and I decided to get out of the ghetto and go somewhere there is air conditioning so we drove out of the city to the exurbs to walk around the mall. I have not been to a mall in years. As we walked around this vast structure of non-essential commerce we grew jaded. Store after store of the same crap. I could not believe how much stuff there was. There was stuff made for the sole purpose of selling stuff. Most of it served to fill no real need whatsoever. This massive monstrosity of mindless shopping and endless commerce just got under my skin. Nobody actually needs a misogynist t-shirt that says ‘I have the dick so I make the rules’. Everything being bought and sold was surplus. It was all non-essential goods being marketed to create a need within the mind of the consumer. As much as I love books and I love to read I walked in to the book store and saw the very same thing. It was discouraging.
As I looked around I began to see something I have not seen before. I began to see potential in all of this. Lots of mass manufactured crap made in China and sweat shops by slave labor I saw as potential. It began to become painfully obvious to me that this much surplus production has potential to lead to a society of post-scarcity. The problem I started to see is a problem of property and ownership. It became more clear than ever just how capitalism as the ownership of the means of production was blocking access go goods while claiming the wealth and paying workers nothing to perpetuate this mindless consumption. Holy shit. I saw the potential of post-scarcity in the suburbs.
I saw that supply and demand was not actually working. It doesn’t work in the ghetto and it is obvious. Take housing. There is supply and demand but the supply is not getting to the demand. If it were there would not be people sleeping on streets while so many houses and buildings sat unoccupied. Go to this middle class neighborhood and the real illusion is present. Everything is okay, buy this popular item. Capitalism has become the opiate of the masses. Endless bikini women, rock stars and cell phones serve to distract as we piss away the product of our labor so that the capitalist can buy a second home in the Hamptons. The private security worked with the police to keep out the desperate and to keep the peaceful illusion that everything is fine so that you could go about your way consuming and throwing wealth to the capitalist.
The production that occurs is surplus. The labor is non-essential except for the fact that those who do labor do so out of desperation so that they can attempt to meet basic needs because the product of labor is owned by another. I began to see quickly that this amount of surplus production could easily be redirected if it were no longer hindered by the rule of the capitalist. I began to see exactly where we could begin to build a society of post-scarcity.
My neighborhood always has colorful people and just as colorful incidents. The cops like to swarm in here like we are some kind of war sieged country. I don’t smoke in the house so I head out to my front porch to smoke. I come outside and yell conversations across the street to my neighbor Frank while the neighborhood kids play basketball in my front yard. I stepped outside to smoke as I saw three cops running from their car back behind the houses. One had a shotgun with a little orange flag on it. The other two pistols drawn. Oh boy I thought. They are after someone again. I always get nervous around cops. I get even more nervous when they are running with guns drawn. I went right back inside to hide and listen for gun shots.
As time progressed more showed up. One was running behind the cops with guns drawn carrying a medical kit. All I could think was ‘well if you don’t shoot anyone you might not have as much need for your medical kit’. The drama unfolded mostly out of my sight. I had no idea what was going on until the neighbor started talking to me after it all cleared. I found out that they were here for a suicidal man who was cutting himself. The absurdity of pulling all these guns and a shot gun on a suicidal man struck me as being possibly one of the worst ways to deal with the situation. But! They are cops and they are trained that pulling a gun and using aggressive force is the way to deal with any situation.
Stressed, broke living in the ghetto. Yeah the guy is suicidal. While the bourgeois sit in their suburban paradise the workers commute from the ghetto to the wealthier neighborhoods. We clean their houses, do their lawns, serve and prepare their food and work on their houses. All the while seeing the same people who own our houses, have control of the banks and flow of money as we do what we can to get a few table scraps thrown our way. Submit and play the game! Akerika is a meritocrcy. If you are rich you are better and more deserving of wealth. They won’t acknowledge the priveledge wrapped up in this. The priveledge of race is ignored and even denied. The priveledge of investment and control of the flow of wealth is also denied. We just keep on denying priveledge while compounding the pressure on the have not’s to pay the rent.
The power of investment is the most wonderful priveledge of the bourgeois. Those who have can invest in property and ventures that can accumulate wealth. Those who have not are stuck spending every last dime trying to get caught up on basic needs. We throw our money at the bourgeois just to keep a car or keep a house or feed our bellies. The generations of priveledge are sheltered from this. They have needs met so any money that is accumulated can be put towards further luxuries. It can be placed towards investments to claim ownership and property placing them in power over the have-nots. The ghetto is full of people just trying to scrape enough money together just to have a roof over their heads and a decent dinner.
The one thing that I’m completely fed up with is the meritocracy mindset of the middle class in the United States. This complacancy out of comfort and priveledge not ever leading to questioning the disparity that exists. It leads to justifying the inequality. They praise the property owner and defend the capitalist who claims the labor of the worker. They stand strong for their rulers and human poverty is not something that we have to deal with on a daily basis. They jump in their SUV and drive from their work to their suburban home with their central air barely ever worrying about how the other half lives.
Posts are always one of us anarchists or communists telling you what the problem is or what the solution is. I want to know from our non-anarchist readers why you are not anarchists. I thought of asking the same of the non- communist, socialist, syndicalist etc… but I am scared that will become just another ‘voluntary’ discussion. I want to know what objections many have to anarchism.
I am not asking to teach, respond or school you. I simply wish to know why you might reject the ideas of anarchism, a stateless society or an egalitarian society.
So please leave comments that might help me understand why you are not an anarchist. It is my asumption that if you read Gonzo Times you grasp concepts like anarchism, communism or property rights etc… So please help me understand your view.
The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man’s self-defense, and, as such, may resort to force only against those who start the use of force. The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breaches or fraud by the others, to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law.
I have touched on many reasons part of this quote from Rand is wrong on many posts, but I wish to point to the area that this quote is right. ‘the courts, to protect your property’. Rand disdained the state for it’s intervention in her vision of unfettered capitalism. Throughout her writings she never seeks protection or answers for much violence or ‘crime’ outside of the state. In her world it would be near impossible to find such outside of a state, so under the conditions she proposes the entire paragraph is correct.
To maintain property you must maintain a state. If the state is abolished you can only reach this unfettered capitalism by abolishing the state in name alone. You must privatize the functions of state. This simply is renaming the state and allowing various land lords or property owners to to have the dominion of these arms of the newly privatized state.
The debate over property can only be ended once we have reached a pure anarchist communist society. Until then there will be a debate. Property will continue to be maintained by either a state or a state cleverly disguised as a ‘free market’ state. Ayn Rand realized that property is defended by the state. She repeats this over and over. While property is considered an extension of the property owner the other problems that rise in this paragraph will be intertwined with the issue of property. This will mean that at the least a minarchist or pseudo state will be required to enforce the concept of property of the ruling class. The power of this ruling class over the worker is the power of the state.
The proper use which protects ‘mans rights’ is the right of the property owner or the ruling class. The rights the state protects are the right of dominion of the ruling classes. This physical violence is the physical violence that is not really physical violence. We have options to deal with that in reality. The physical violence is the violence invented by the capitalist which is infringement on property. The retaliatory force can then be used against the worker who tries to claim the bread they made because the bread is the property of the capitalist. It is the right to deny resources or even the product of ones labor.
The anarchist portrait project is underway, and I am excited to show off the first round of portraits. I am planning on revealing the first round in July. Until then we need support. You can help the project by purchasing a painting or donating. You can donate here. Or scroll through the paintings below and click on the one you want to purchase it. The money from the paintings will be going to the project. We need studio space and a great deal of materials to move forward. Please help by purchasing a painting or donating today.
So far We have started on Kevin Carson, Paula Carter, Punk Johnny Cash and Matt D. Harris.
We have many other anarchists who are going to be started soon including Gonzo Times own Jehu.
There are many who are still up in the air. I have contacted Noam Chomsky and Starhawk also. Both have responded, but neither has confirmed that they are in yet. There are many other names to be added to the list officially soon though and hopefully Noam Chomsky and Starhawk will be listed among them. We have IWW members, Catholic Workers and more. If you are interested in being in the project please contact me.
An exert from her essay Anarchism:
Property, the dominion of man’s needs, the denial of the right to satisfy his needs. Time was when property claimed a divine right, when it came to man with the same refrain, even as religion, “Sacrifice! Abnegate! Submit!” The spirit of Anarchism has lifted man from his prostrate position. He now stands erect, with his face toward the light. He has learned to see the insatiable, devouring, devastating nature of property, and he is preparing to strike the monster dead.
“Property is robbery,” said the great French Anarchist, Proudhon. Yes, but without risk and danger to the robber. Monopolizing the accumulated efforts of man, property has robbed him of his birthright, and has turned him loose a pauper and an outcast. Property has not even the time-worn excuse that man does not create enough to satisfy all needs. The A B C student of economics knows that the productivity of labor within the last few decades far exceeds normal demand a hundredfold. But what are normal demands to an abnormal institution? The only demand that property recognizes is its own gluttonous appetite for greater wealth, because wealth means power; the power to subdue, to crush, to exploit, the power to enslave, to outrage, to degrade. America is particularly boastful of her great power, her enormous national wealth. Poor America, of what avail is all her wealth, if the individuals comprising the nation are wretchedly poor? If they live in squalor, in filth, in crime, with hope and joy gone, a homeless, soilless army of human prey.
It is generally conceded that unless the returns of any business venture exceed the cost, bankruptcy is inevitable. But those engaged in the business of producing wealth have not yet learned even this simple lesson. Every year the cost of production in human life is growing larger (50,000 killed, 100,000 wounded in America last year); the returns to the masses, who help to create wealth, are ever getting smaller. Yet America continues to be blind to the inevitable bankruptcy of our business of production. Nor is this the only crime of the latter. Still more fatal is the crime of turning the producer into a mere particle of a machine, with less will and decision than his master of steel and iron. Man is being robbed not merely of the products of his labor, but of the power of free initiative, of originality, and the interest in, or desire for, the things he is making.
Real wealth consists in things of utility and beauty, in things that help to create strong, beautiful bodies and surroundings inspiring to live in. But if man is doomed to wind cotton around a spool, or dig coal, or build roads for thirty years of his life, there can be no talk of wealth. What he gives to the world is only gray and hideous things, reflecting a dull and hideous existence,–too weak to live, too cowardly to die. Strange to say, there are people who extol this deadening method of centralized production as the proudest achievement of our age. They fail utterly to realize that if we are to continue in machine subserviency, our slavery is more complete than was our bondage to the King. They do not want to know that centralization is not only the death-knell of liberty, but also of health and beauty, of art and science, all these being impossible in a clock-like, mechanical atmosphere.
I have been working as a graphic designer for a decade now. I have been doing art for much longer. I recently wrote on why I am doing what I do in my art lately and figured I would share here.
People are splintered by gender roles, class, oppression and dominance. Walls have been built that must be broken down. Language is not always the best tool to approach this with because language is subjective. Art can be a powerful tool in reaching out and breaking down hierarchy while liberating the oppressed. The battle for liberation is one that is fought in the mind, both the minds of the oppressed as well as the mind of the oppressor. The single most powerful way to alter society is by altering the perception of the individual, opening their eyes to realities that one can often be blind to. Art has the power to reach people on both a logical and emotional level. Art can provide an experience that one might not otherwise experience in their daily lives which can push for a radical change in society.
One may create a verbal response to language to deny and reject what is said. Art can leave an impact on people which can vary according to where they are in their own personal journey. This is why art has the power to reach across barriers of gender, class and hierarchy.
I wish to go to school because I am struggling to liberate society. The type of systemic change I wish to see can only be done by deep healing and alteration of the deepest parts of people. I wish to have a hand in liberating hu(wo)man kind from the oppression of violence which is deeply embedded in many cultures throughout the history of (wo)man.
Rigid gender roles, stigmas on sexuality, acceptance of institutionalized forms of violence and capitalism are all deeply rooted in acceptance of oppression and violence. I am seeking not to attack violence, but to heal the wounds of violence and help direct people towards alternatives to accepted forms of violence.
As a Combat Illustrator in the United States Marine Corps my eyes were open to realities of violence and oppression which I reject. I wish to push my career forward in opposing all forms of violence. I wish to learn more about art as a skill, as history, its role in society and technically so that I can reverse the foundations of art to be counter to the type of society that it has supported or reflected in the past. I am struggling to create art that will support in the building of a new society within the shell of the old.
In the United States and throughout Europe society has grown to reject the commonly accepted practice of slavery. One day the same will be said of violence. It is my goal to build towards this shift of attitude in society by pushing people towards it on a personal, interpersonal and communal level through art.
Marshall Rosenberg has taken language and communication towards this goal. Ernest Becker has taken psychology and created a new science which these dynamics can be viewed through. Art must reflect the work of these great minds and help to mold society towards a new level of evolution.
Society must be reached on many levels. Economics, class, religion, government and patriarchy of all forms must be challenged. This is not a struggle for homogeneity, but the effort to bring wholeness to (wo)mankind. Environmentalists, Feminists, Communists and Anarchists all seek a radical evolution of society towards our next level. A radical shift must be supported through art that challenges society absolutely. This is my part.
I have begun a project to paint Portraits of Anarchists in front of the Red and Black (Colors may vary) I will be attempting to put up to 40 hours a week into this project. It will depend on how much support it gets, so please donate or help promote this on your social media.
UPDATE: It looks like we currently have Noam Chomsky, Steve Ignorant, Kevin Carson, Chuck Munson, Punk Johnny Cash, Paula Carter, and Pete Earle who have agreed to be subjects for the portraits. There are others, but I am still uncertain to which ones will stick with it, so I will announce more names later. The first painting is hanging at that Artmoshphere gallery on Troost in Kansas City. I am trying to get a more diverse group so we are seeking more women and trans people. We have had some donate various art supplies. You can also donate supplies, visit the Anarchist Portrait Project Wish List on Dick Blick. We have talked about compiling a book with the paintings, it may be something more than just paintings. More details on that in the near future. We really need any financial support we can get also. I am still working without any studio space. You can see my art at shanethayer.com
Why it needs to be done.
Through history we have recorded the images of the wealthy and powerful rulers of society. Those who have ties to the state and church were traditionally painted. Art was funded by the church and the rulers of society. Museums are mostly owned and run by the state. I wish to crowdsource the project as opposed to looking towards one powerful ruling entity to make this happen. This is an attempt to add to the paintings that exist in museums around the world. I want to create a body of work that records anarchists. I am using high quality materials the paints are Williamsburg handmade Oil Paints which are made from pigments that have proven to last the test of time. The initial financial asking is to secure the studio as well as materials to support the project. It does not pay my basic need like gas, rent etc… It is focused on just funding the production of the art.
Art for anarchist museums.
The reason I want the materials to be so high quality is so we can create a body of work that will last the test of time, so that if an anarchist society is not achieved for another 500 years these pieces will be around to hang in anarchist museums when we have reached our goals.
I wish for this body of work to go down in history. We visit museums and see the powerful rulers of a time past. One day our ancestors can visit a museum and see us. The anarchists that opposed a new society, those who stood for what was right in the face of the violent rulers of the past.
Please, help financially if you can. If you can not, then you can help us by sharing this project and helping it to get attention. Share through social media or through e-mail. Help by posting the Chip-in widget on your site. You can blog about it and help get attention and link back to this project that way. Any help is appreciated.
What Will Be Done With The Paintings?
The paintings will be available through different forms. I will make prints available as cheap as possible. I will be working on putting together a gallery showing for the collection. What galleries and cities? I don’t know, that will depend on how much support they get, so your support is important. Depending on support we will also attempt to eventually put out a book. The funding and specifics will all depend on the support it gets. It may just be on a print to order place, or more all depending on the support this receives. So what happens to the work will depend on the support it receives. Some of the paintings will be up for sale to help me break even on this project.
What Do You Get for Financial Support?
$10 A thank you listed on the website and access to members only blog giving regular updates on progress.
$25 A link to your site on Gonzo Times on posts about the Anarchist Portraits Series.
$100 Listed as Financial Support online and at any show that is set up for the Anarchist Portrait series.
$500 An original Oil Painting 12×12 of Emma Goldman
$1,000 I will paint an original portrait of you, or of your choice. 24×36 aprox.
$2,000 You can own one of the original Anarchist Portrait paintings in the series 36 x 46
$60,000 You get over 1,000 hours of work over a 52 week period. This covers hourly labor and materials for paintings. That can be a lot of paintings over a year. This ensures I have a studio and materials and gives half of the studio time during a work week to building up art for you or your organization. This covers my basic necessities and gives you the art you want as half of my time in studio will be focused on your art. This can equal a lot of paintings depending on the size and complexity. To give you an idea, the Emma Goldman piece took about 3 hours, the Anarchist Portraits have been taking about 40 hours.
Recent discussions I’ve had have brought up something I wanted to clarify in regards to gender and sexuality.
Genital sex, sexual orientation and sexual identity are three separate things. The common perception of homophobic beliefs is that there is a paradigm of straight vs. gay. This is not true. Orientation does not dictate behavior, and behavior does not define orientation. Gay men through history have fathered children with women. This is a common and specific example of behavior not defining orientation. A straight person can have genital sex with someone of the same gender and a gay person can have genital sex with someone of the opposite gender. This is behavior or action. This is not orientation.
Gender identity can be fluid. The rigid male female dichotomy is a societal construct. Gender is on a continuum not a male female paradigm. Gender roles and definitions are often rigidly structured by culture. Reality may not always fit those rigid cultural constructions.
When Proudhon, Bakunin and Kropotkin were writing the beginning writings that anarchism would grow to follow there was no acceptance of capitalism. Capitalism was not an option for anarchists. Anarcho-Capitalism is no within the scope of these philosophies nor is it anarchism by those original definitions. I have a laundry list of issues with Anarcho-Capitalism.
All of this aside, I realize once we have achieved some form of large scale functioning anarchism I do not believe these people will vanish with their ideas. The question is often asked if anarcho-capitalists are anarchists. My answer is yes. I know many will not like that. I do not see Anarcho-Capitalism as anarchism, but I will not deny one their claim to being an anarchist if that is how they define themselves.
I believe Anarcho-Capitalism clings to many forms of hierarchy and privileged and forms of rule that I reject. I also believe that we are all blind to the privilege we do hold, all of us, even myself. I do believe there are forms of hierarchy and privilege we all have that we can not see. I will not rule out other anarchists because they may have some beliefs or assumptions based in this unseen flaw therefore I will not rule the individual anarcho-capitalists out either.
While looking for patriotic images to use for reference for my blasphemous paintings I ran across some old American Heritage Magazines. I stumbled upon an article that I found fascinating ‘The Tyranny of Oil’ by Carl Solberg. What really fascinated me about the article was that it seemed straight forward. It was written before the embassy attacks in 79 so it seemed to be summing up the situation and villainy of the U.S. before the situation became politically charged here in the United States.
The United States involvement in the middle east was born out of the need for oil to wage war. It was Churchill who first realized that petroleum was vital in waging modern warfare. In response to this a handful of companies with the might of the United States empire undertook the task of controlling the flow of oil in the middle east. This began our current cycle. Must have oil for war, must wage war for oil.
In 1943 Secretary of State Edward R. Stenninius said “I hereby find that the defense of Saudi Arabia is vital to the defense of the United States.” Keeping tight control of these resources became the priority of the U.S. Empire. This included stationing troops to protect the oil we were taking as well as filtering enough money to the more wealthy and powerful both in business as well as heads of state.
I wonder how Americans would feel if a foreign country were to establish military presence and claim control of natural resources and businesses here on U.S. soil. I’d imagine a great deal of people would find this upsetting.
The conflict over oil was one the citizens of the U.S. were mostly blind to. It wasn’t really until the embassy attack in 79 that most people would really hear anything. Our deeds over the last hundred hears are often ignored.
Oil As Property
What I find fascinating about the article ‘Tyranny of Oil’ is that it exposes the nerve of property. The article never directly addressed property as a concept, but if one reads the article they can begin to see my opposition to property in it’s purest form. Here we see property as right to resources based on military might and the aggression of the state. We can also look and see how this claim to property has escalated in today’s world.
Even Lew Rockwell can see and admit that there is an issue with military might and their involvement with laying oil pipeline in Afghanistan. The Lew Rockwell article “Is an Oil Pipeline Behind the War in Afghanistan?” points out how ‘human rights for women’ as well as Osama Bin Laden was used to justify the war for pipeline.
This battle is nothing new, it is just one of the many aggressions in the middle east that occurred in an age of which those in power have been under more scrutiny in the Middle East. Here where a handful of corporations were given the power and role of states using the might and military of states we see property as theft. We see that this form of property can not exist without either a state to flex it’s muscle or a privatized aggressive force to take the role of the state.
Our initial interest in oil from the middle a hundred years ago was driven by the desire to fuel armies. Resources for warfare perpetuated warfare. By the late 40′s The united states made a shift from coal to Oil as the major source of power had been established. When countries like Iran attempted to gain control of oil production we simply overthrew regimes to claim ownership of resources. Countries that played by the rules were aloud to continue to hold power and the wealthy and powerful were paid well.
OPEC was established as a response to a drop in price of oil. The rich and powerful ruling classes would not allow their profits to drop.
Lifestyle of Oil
As the United States left WWII wealth seemed to flow like honey. Growing up I knew other countries always had to pay more for oil. I was told it was because ‘America was prosperous.’ This was somehow the benefit of capitalism. While in reality it was the benefit of capitalism, just not in the way I was lead to believe. This was capitalism as force and aggression. This was the U.S. using military might to support large corporations in their takeover of other countries while I was being driven around in cars fueled by oil we claimed as our property through might of the state.
The highway acts and shift towards suburban living and 60mph architecture vs. 3mph architecture was fueled by military might that supported corporate interests overseas. Public transportation was fading as we built a society on oil in ignorance of the reality of what it was taking to create this society as well as blindness to the violence on the horizon.
The catch really is now, how does one survive in a world where to meet your needs you feel trapped to continue driving and using the fuel that was brought to us by blood. Getting to work, seeing your family, going shopping all brought by the convenience of oil, endless cars and communities designed around the speed and convenience of cars, the 60mph architecture. We all pay into the pockets of the rich and powerful who will stop at nothing to perpetuate their wealth just as they have done here in the middle east for the last hundred years.
Anarchism, my beloved anarchism. Will it exist in my lifetime? Yes. Does it exist anywhere? Yes. It is everywhere. Many start to tell how we can’t have anarchism because the biggest meanest gang will take over and hold power. No. That is what has happened. It’s not why we can’t have anarchism. Anarchism is the most natural state. The idea that the biggest group will bully everyone around and take power has happened. It’s not a fear of it happening. Anarchism is the idea that we need to stop the biggest bully with the most guns from taking power. It’s that simple.
The strength of the state is the gun. I finished this piece last week. It is 24 x 48 in. This highlights a problem we see in the media and more importantly one that is overlooked often by the media. The use of violence and it’s relationship to racism within police departments all across the United States.
You can purchase prints here on saatchi. Please help keep me painting by buying prints. What I make off them goes right back into canvas and paints so I can continue to paint. Any help is appreciated. This was originally posted on my personal blog here. And any help reposting and spreading this is greatly appreciated. I ask if you use the image if you could link back either to the saatchi page it is for sale on or the original post on my personal site. Thanks and enjoy…
President Obama is offering Israel bombs to not attack Iran in 2012. Let me rephrase that. The U.S. is giving Israel the bombs they can use to attack Iran next year. This action is less of a strive for peace and more of a call to prepare and gather weapons before they invade. It is likely that war with Iran is on the horizon. The people of Iran will be forced to pay for the sins of the rulers of these powerful countries.
Giving bombs to the country that wants to invade and start a war is not a way to bring peace, it is a way to prepare for war. The double speak is seen in the idea of ‘not to attack in 2012′ as if they are preventing conflict. The sad reality is that this is not the case however much some would like you to believe it.
Is this the U.S. saying we’ll arm you and help you but it can’t be done until after our elections? Are there people gullible enough to see arming the country who is begging to aggressor on another as an act of peace?
Please feel free to repost this image. I do however ask that if you do you could link to the original post on shanethayer.com so it will help get some attention for my work.
Please purchase a print so I can afford to continue to buy canvas and materials for the rest of the series. The original picture is for sale on Saatchi Online here. You can also buy prints of the image starting at $25.00 here also.
As I was painting the picture of the CEO of McDonalds eating his hamburger in front of a starving child I stopped for a bit to talk to my parents. My father asked what I was doing. I simply replied “painting a picture of the CEO of McDonalds eating a cheeseburger in front of a starving child.” His response was “That’s ridiculous! He probably gives so much money to charity.” So when I got off the phone I went inside and gave him a halo.
There is no liberal or conservative conspiracy to rule the media and brain wash us. There is a common interest that media and the politicians share which impacts the direction they go. It’s simple. The news is not the product that’s being sold. The viewer is the product being sold. The customer is the capitalist corporations, the advertisers. This is where the paycheck is.
On the other hand the politician is also on the same payroll. Their campaigns and careers depend on the wealth of these companies. This gives the capitalist ruling class the upper hand across the board. This is what impacts the slant of media and the slant of politics. It is a major pivotal point in our daily lives in the United States.
The government and the popular media serve the interest of the ruling class because of this dynamic.