#185 | The Gods Have Fled: The Home As A Site Of Defiance Against Modernity w/ Ramon Elani

In this episode, I speak with heathen writer and poet Ramon Elani — frequent contributor at Gods & Radicals. In exploring his unique prospective on how to address the converging social, spiritual, and ecological crises on this planet, we examine three essays published for Gods & Radicals, which include ‘Land, Home, and the Gods,’ ‘World’s End,’ and ‘Our Rage Against The Modern World’ — the last of which was co-written with Gods & Radicals co-founder Rhyd Wildermuth.

“Let the home and the idea of the home become a pillar of strength. Let the home become a site of defiance, a bold denial of industrial society. Let the home be made into a bulwark against the modern world.”* Often, when I try to get at the vast moral dilemma we are forced to address in the face of the global climate crisis, the extinction of human and non-human life, and the hollowing of community and connection to the land implicit in the “progress” narrative of industrial civilization — the notion of addressing these converging crises on a collective level seemed apparent and obvious. While that may be true, another truth emerges from the prose of Ramon. In this interview, I ask Ramon to expound on the themes he’s presented in three essays on the subject of modernity, and that to “reestablish humanity’s relationship with the gods is also to reconnect with the land, for the land is the gods. The present crisis, which devastates humanity and the biosphere, is defined in both material and spiritual terms.”** Ramon’s prose is intoxicating, blunt, poetic, beautiful, heartbreaking, and clarifying. Ramon doesn’t shy away from obvious truths implicit in modernity and the reality it has forged in its attempt to subject the Earth and its living systems to the logic of “progress” and endless growth. In Ramon’s work, the home and our relationship with the land becomes the center of our resistance to the life destroying forces that are despoiling the planet. Modernity is reckoned with in these terms, as Ramon has thoroughly and lucidly explored in his writing, which I have delightfully read and incorporated into my own worldview. “For hundreds of years, humanity has expanded its domain over the earth, at the enormous cost of non human life and human spiritual and physical well being. Every moment that this world continues to exist means suffering and extinction for non human life and soulless misery for humanity. We cannot stop what’s coming and it best that we do not try, for only in the death of this world is there hope for a new future to bloom.”**

Ramon Elani is an acausal, anti-modern, heathen poet and author. He holds a PhD in literature and philosophy. He lives with his family among mountains and rivers in Western New England. He follows the way of wyrd.



Episode Notes:

- The essays featured in this episode are ‘Land, Home, and the Gods’ (http://bit.ly/LandHomeGods), ‘World’s End’ (http://bit.ly/ElaniWorldsEnd), and ‘Our Rage Against The Modern World’ co-written with Rhyd Wildermuth (http://bit.ly/RageAgainstModern), published at Gods and Radicals: http://bit.ly/GRelani

- Ramon’s other work can be found at: https://thetigersleap.wordpress.com

- Support Ramon on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/runewhisper

- The songs featured in this episode is “Uk,” “Shell of Light,” and “Ghost Hardware” by Burial from the album Untrue.

#162 | This Is Not Your Revolution: Beyond Les Gilets Jaunes w/ Alley Valkyrie & Rhyd Wildermuth

In this episode, I speak with Alley Valkyrie and Rhyd Wildermuth — co-founders of Gods & Radicals Press and the hosts of the Empires Crumble podcast. We discuss the recent widespread unrest in France (dubbed “Les Gilets Jaunes” or the "Yellow Vest" movement in the English-speaking world) — a response to President Emmanuel Macron's decision to implement a fuel tax hike in France. Alley and Rhyd provide much needed context to what is currently unfolding in France -- tying cultural, historical, and broad economic trends in France and Europe to what is currently unfolding under this movement.

In this discussion, Alley and Rhyd contextualize the cultural, historical, and political reasons as to what the Yellow Vest movement is ultimately responding to, including what this fuel tax symbolizes within the broader discontent with neoliberal capitalism in Europe, and with the European Union more generally. What has been most misunderstood and misrepresented in the American press about Les Gilets Jaunes is the political and ideological elements present within it and the direction this movement may likely head in. Within the contextual framework provided by Alley and Rhyd, we can more fully appreciate and discern what these revolts may spell for the rise of either a left or right-wing co-option of the movement, based on the underlying factors that lead to this revolt to begin with — including the widespread unpopularity of President Emmanuel Macron and his neoliberal economic reforms, the rising popularity of far right political ideologies (central to the popularity of far right political party Front National), the role automobiles and public transit has played in the lives of the average citizen, and that the fuel tax hike is an attempt to obscure the reality that cheap oil production is coming to an inevitable end. This revolt is but a prelude to what’s coming in light of the material conditions present in so much of the Western world right now. Alley and Rhyd provide needed insight into what these events spell for the future, and in particular what the Left more broadly needs to incorporate into their analysis when addressing how to build revolutionary movements in this time of widespread economic, ecological, and social collapse. As Rhyd states in this episode, this is what happens when empires crumble.

Alley Valkyrie and Rhyd Wildermuth are political theorists, the co-founders of Gods & Radicals Press — “a site of beautiful resistance,” and the hosts of the Empires Crumble podcast. After spending much of their lives within the borders of the United States, they now reside in Rennes, France.

Episode Notes:

- Some of the best English language analysis of Les Gilets Jaunes can be found at: https://crimethinc.com

- Read Alley and Rhyd’s writings at Gods & Radicals Press: https://godsandradicals.org / https://abeautifulresistance.org

- Listen and subscribe to the Empires Crumble podcast: http://bit.ly/EmpiresCrumble

- Support Empires Crumbles on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/EmpiresCrumble

- Much of Alley’s work can be found at: https://alleyvalkyrie.wordpress.com

- Rhyd's blog: https://paganarch.com

- Alley’s video series Badly Made Ramblings: http://bit.ly/BMRamblings

- Follow Alley and Rhyd on Facebook: http://bit.ly/FBvalkyrie / http://bit.ly/FBwildermuth

- The songs featured in this episode are “Zerulean” and “Koi Fish” by Lord RAJA from the album Para.

#156 | Not Him: The Farce Of Liberal Democracy & Indigenous Rights In Brazil w/ Mirna Wabi-Sabi

In this episode, I speak with Mirna Wabi-Sabi — writer and Co-Editor of Gods & Radicals Press. We discuss the recent presidential election in her home country of Brazil and her recent piece on the subject; voting and the farce of liberal democracy; the destruction of indigenous and quilombist peoples’ lands, culture, and heritage and the ecocide currently underway in the rainforests of Brazil; the ongoing efforts by leftist and indigenous groups to generate dialogue and united action in the face of rising far right populist organizing and violence.

Mirna and I address her recent piece in Gods & Radicals ‘‘A Luta Continua’: The Struggle Continues,’ in which she addresses the recent presidential election in Brazil, resulting in the election of far right neofascist candidate Jair Bolsonaro (referred to as “J.B.” or “the dude” in this episode). As an anti-capitalist and an anarchist, Mirna elaborates on her views about voting as expressed in her piece: “People are so stressed that even anarchists are talking about voting and doing the ‘lesser-evil’ thing. But what will voting actually do?”⚑ We get into what participating in the voting process would actually accomplish, as well as the social/economic/political realities of the situation in Brazil in spite of which candidate is elected. Mirna also elaborates on the struggle of the indigenous and quilombist peoples to maintain and gain real autonomy and protect the wholeness and health of the rainforests of Brazil, especially in the face of J.B. promises that “there won’t be a square centimeter demarcated as an indigenous reserve” and “where there is indigenous land, there is wealth underneath it.”☍ Even in the face of this threat, which is to be taken very seriously, the health of the Amazon is already under massive threat and vast destruction due to both legal and illegal mining, logging, fossil fuel extraction, and agricultural projects.

This conversation covers a wide variety of subjects, and addresses the sense of anxiety present in Brazilian society as a result of this election, particularly within minority groups most affected by this election. Mirna was very open about her worries and fears about the state of affairs in her home country, and what these trends mean for the future of not only the people and ecology of Brazil, but also the global implications of these developments as well. I thank her for her willingness to have this discussion with me.

Mirna Wabi-Sabi is an anti-capitalist writer and organizer in Brazil, and is the Co-Editor of Gods & Radicals Press — “a site of beautiful resistance” — where writes about decoloniality, feminism, and anti-capitalism.

⚑ Source: http://bit.ly/2qW2a7X

☍ Source: https://nyti.ms/2K6cnHz

Episode Notes:

- Read Mirna’s writing at Gods & Radicals Press: http://bit.ly/GRmirna

- Follow Mirna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MirnaWabiSabi

- Read more excellent pieces from Gods & Radicals Press: https://godsandradicals.org

- The documentary Mirna mentions is ‘Master Moa of Katendê - The First Victim’ by Carlos Pronzato. The documentary now has English subtitles: https://youtu.be/-iV7RQ_oc5U

- The songs featured in this episode are “I’m Overflow” and “Feels Like A Wheel” by Death Grips from the album Government Plates.

#133 | Rationality & Its Discontents: The Heart Zone, Narrative, & Folk Magic w/ Dr. Bones

In this episode, I speak with Dr. Bones - conjurer, political theorist, and gonzo journalist. We discuss the irrational nature of human behavior, the narratives that direct human activity, folk magic, and the practicality of conjuring as a form of direct action.

I’ve come to know Dr. Bones primarily through his writings as a gonzo-journalist, whose work cuts to the core of America’s predatory capitalist economic system and the institutions and ideological frameworks that protect and perpetuate its logic. We discuss the ideologies that govern and direct human behavior, and dissect the myth that rationality and evidence guide human decision-making - in particular the delusional thinking many on the Left have regarding political theory and its practical application on the ground level. Many people, on both ends of the political spectrum, treat theoretical frameworks as “holy scripture” - as inherently and self-evidently true, dogmatically so. We discuss why this form of thinking limits our understanding of political and social change - hindering our ability to effectively organize against the ideologies and institutions that seek to exploit human beings and the natural world we are invariably connected to.

In the latter half of this episode, I ask Bones to expound on a subject I know little about: magic, or to be more precise - the Hoodoo folk magic tradition Bones is steeped in. Bones defines himself as a conjurer, and I ask him to elaborate on what that means to him - to practice magic as he understands it to be. I personally am not well-versed in the subject (and I remain skeptical of it), but Bones delves into the topic with astounding clarity, upending many of my unexamined assumptions regarding the scope and limitations of human consciousness, as well as the practical and observable impact conjuring can have on the unfolding of events in day-to-day life. We also discuss how magic and it application fits into our understanding of political direct action, and how “the map is not the territory” when it comes to understanding magic’s use as a tool to empower oneself in opposition to the forces that subjugate humanity for its own purposes. This is conversation covers territory I’m unaccustomed to exploring, and I appreciate and admire Dr. Bones’ take on the subjects discussed in this episode.

Dr. Bones is a conjurer, Egoist-Communist, and a writer that “summons pure vitriol, straight narrative, and sorcerous wisdom into a potent blend of poltergasmic politics and gonzo journalism.”☨ Dr. Bones writes regularly for the publication Gods&Radicals and is the co-host of ’The Guillotine’ podcast. 

☨ Source: http://bit.ly/2upBgaA

Episode Notes:

- Learn more about Dr. Bones and his work at his website: https://theconjurehouse.com

- Read Dr. Bones essays at Gods&Radicals: http://bit.ly/2upBgaA

- Listen and subscribe to ‘The Guillotine’ podcast: https://theguillotinepodcast.libsyn.com

- Dr. Bones on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheConjureHouse

- Dr. Bones on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Ole_Bonsey

- The resources Dr. Bones references in the episode:

‘The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives’ by Leonard Mlodinow: http://bit.ly/2mloCVm

‘The Trickster and the Paranormal’ by George P. Hansen: http://tricksterbook.com

Rune Soup’s piece on sigils: http://bit.ly/2LlHheR

- The songs featured in this episode are “Enchanted” and “(You’ve Got) The Magic Touch” by The Platters.


#116 | A Zone To Defend: The Historical/Cultural Context & Purpose Of The ZAD w/ Alley Valkyrie

In this episode, I speak with Alley Valkyrie about the recent events in western France regarding the communal, long-term occupation at the ZAD (French: zone à défendre; English: zone to defend). Alley provides a much needed explanation of the events currently unfolding there; she contextualizes and expounds on the overlapping and interplaying cultural, political, and historical trends that have led to the present situation on the ground there.

Here's a very brief (and simplistic) description of what is unfolding at the ZAD, published in The Guardian, on April 9th 2018: 

"French police have used teargas in an attempt to clear anti-capitalist squatters from the site of an abandoned airport project. About 2,500 riot police made a pre-dawn raid in Notre-Dame-des-Landes to evict about 250 activists. The squatters have occupied the site for 10 years to prevent the airport from being built, but refused to leave after the plans were dropped earlier this year, saying they sought to construct an alternative way of life. The government had warned they would be evicted and carried out this threat on Monday morning. The protesters threw petrol bombs and set fire to barricades made of tyres and wooden pallets to obstruct the police’s advance. An eclectic group of anti-capitalists, eco-warriors and squatters, known as Zadists, joined a handful of farmers on the site in 2008." [source: https://bit.ly/2vUyLjC]

While this situation is complex, Alley does an absolutely superb job laying out all the necessary details of this under-reported event (particularly in English language publications), bringing us all up to speed as to what is really happening on the ground there. 

While this conversation mainly focuses on clarifying the events at the ZAD, we also discuss Alley's decision to leave the United States and begin the arduous process of becoming a citizen of France. We discuss the major underlying differences between French cultural attitudes surrounding protest and resistance, to the United States' general attitudes about protest and resistance, and why such differences exist in the first place.

Alley is an activist, political theorist, writer, and co-founder of Gods&Radicals. After spending much of her life in the within the borders of the United States, she now resides in Rennes, France.

Episode Notes:

- Read Alley's essays published at Gods&Radicals here: https://godsandradicals.org/author/alleyvalkyrie

- Get updates on Alley and her work/projects on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alleyvalkyrie

- Keep Alley well-fed and alive. Support her work on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/alleyvalkyrie

- The audio sample at the beginning of this episode is from "France: ZAD eco-camp eviction battle continues between riot police and radical activists" published by Ruptly April 11th, 2019 on YouTube. Source: https://youtu.be/n1W-iR44yI0

- The music in this episode is from the video "Dungeon sessions: Knxwledge - Jstowee" published by Stones Throw May 4th, 2015. Source: https://youtu.be/yK91vjg2Hsg