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Accomplishments.  Ink, 3.5″ x 4″.  Circa 1984-1985.

My earliest self-published work was seized and destroyed by a middle-school teacher in 1978-1979.  My self-published work between then and 1987, when I started publishing OVO, is not well preserved.  This is one of very few items that remain.  Here we see the self-doubt (and self-importance) appropriate to a teenager.

Pussy Riot 1913

One hundred and one years ago today…

British Pathe: Emily Davison Throws Herself Under The Kings Horse

Wikipedia: “Emily Wilding Davison (11 October 1872 – 8 June 1913) was a militant activist who fought for women’s suffrage in Britain. She was jailed on nine occasions and force-fed 49 times. She is best known for stepping in front of King George V’s horse Anmer at the Epsom Derby on 4 June 1913, sustaining injuries that resulted in her death four days later.”

Miss Davison was known to egoist Dora Marsden [1][2], who had this to say…

“Miss Emily Davison has gladly laid down her life for woman’s freedom.” This is Mrs. Pankhurst’s latest message. Here, then, we have it – the cause of Freedom. Freedom is the devil which drives. We must get a nearer view of it. [...] Miss Davison, for instance, was in the presence of something innocuous to most of her companions, but very deadly in relation to herself when she lent ear to the pleadings of the great Cause “Freedom.” Her soul strong for action, sucked in the poison which would have harmed little one less sincere. Miss Davison we know has long held that in her “Cause” a death was necessary. Were it not for the tragic sequel, one might smile at the naively-honest mind arguing so simply with issues so stupendous. It was inevitable, that, short of abandoning the “Cause” some such tragedy should gather round her. A fatalism must inevitably attach to those who cannot abandon the phrases of their yesterdays: who must spend more on them; because they have already spent much.

Apio Ludd: Review of Confessions of a Failed Egoist


Successfully Amusing

I know Trevor Blake, and he is not a “failed egoist.” First of all because you really can’t fail at being an egoist, and second of all, because he gets more enjoyment out of his life than most people and avoids jobs better as well. But the essay his book is named after isn’t about that. It’s an argument against egoism. And it does fail. Since humor is central to Trevor’s written endeavors, I think he knows this. After all, he argues against egoism from a position external to me, and as an egoist, I would simply reject such an argument. But the piece is genuinely funny.

The same goes for nearly every essay in the book. Whether he’s taking the piss out of Ayn Rand, mocking Islam, shouting fire at his crowded fist, pissing on the “power of the wilt” or going through the cannon of egoist literature trying to avoid gunpowder stains, Trevor makes me laugh out loud.

Though not a failed egoist, he is a failed anarchist. In “Trajectory Through Anarchism,” he describes this. When I read his definition of anarchism (“the belief it is possible and desirable to maintain the world’s population at the current standard of living without government and without a period of transition from the present to an anarchist world”), I concluded he was never an anarchist in my sense: an individual who chooses to face his world in opposition to every authority. My anarchist has always been egoistic.

But the main thing I want to content with in this book is that I do not, as Trevor claims, “work hard for being such a bum.” Play hard? Sure! Make efforts to accomplish what I want? You bet! But work? WORK?! WORK!?! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Though I do admit, I am a self-made bum.

reprinted with kind permission from…

My Own
Self-Ownership and Self-Creation Against All Authority

May 2014 – Number 13

Intellectual Vagabond Editions
P. O. Box 34
Williams OR 97544

A Reminder from Selective Service


A Reminder from Selective Service.  Collage, paper and glue.  1984.

My earliest self-published work was seized and destroyed by a middle-school teacher in 1978-1979.  My self-published work between then and 1987, when I started publishing OVO, is not well preserved.  This is one of very few items that remain.

I registered with the Selective Service in 1984 when I turned 18 years old.  In the United States this is required of all men and not required of any woman.  The difference between what was required of men and women brought to mind earlier civilizations and their initiations to manhood, inspiring this collage.

Trevor Blake: Let’s All Share – You Go First

Marxism has a long and well-­known history of emerging from the working class, that group who through no fault of their own are impoverished and without political power. We start with Karl Marx (born to a wealthy family) and his comrade Friedrich Engles (born to a wealthy family). Their writing inspired Vladimir Lenin (born to a wealthy family), and Lenin’s success in creating the United Soviet Socialist Republic inspired Mao Zedong (born to a wealthy family) to communize China and Fidel Castro (born to a wealthy family) to communize Cuba. Just because Robert Owen, the man for whom the phrase socialism was coined, owned businesses doesn’t mean he too did not emerge from the working class.

All it takes to be a member of the working class is a lack of ownership of the means of production. That’s why the class interests of marginally-employed crank writers like myself are identical to those of Tiger Woods and Madonna. They, too, are ground up by capitalism because they are given only a portion of the profit of their own labor back from a capitalist class who contribute nothing. Their oppression and my oppression are one.

The re­distribution of wealth under socialism has had measurable effect. In China, land was collectivized and thus real estate worker Wang Jianlin is only a first among equals. Kim Jong­-un has only the interests of the North Korean people at heart, and that’s why his wife can sport a handbag worth a year’s salary to the average North Korean. Jérôme Cahuzac did his patriotic duty for France and the Socialist Party by maintaining an offshore bank account for twenty years. Hugo Chavez had a net worth of US$1 billion, which I’m sure he was just about to pass around to his compadres until death interrupted his final act of generosity.

Michael Moore does the heavy lifting by writing, directing and featuring in his own films. Film such as Capitalism: A Love Story, in which we learn that the fat cats who own several multi-­million dollar estates, who send their children to private schools, and who not only claim to be “filthy rich” but to consider that fact to be “pretty cool” are not the friend of the average auto worker. John Lennon imagined no possessions, and at present has none, but his estate is burdened with US$14 million due to the sale of his music. In 2012. Alone.

Marx and Engles identified the material conditions of history as the source of socialism. The internal contradictions of feudalism came to a head and gave rise to capitalism, and in the same way the internal contradictions of capitalism will come to a head and give rise to communism. Maybe they’re coming to a head right now! It’s inevitable, and as such Marx and Engles and the rest merely report on what they observe. They would be the first to say you don’t need Marx to have Marxism. These are ideas as discoverable and demonstrable by all as are ideas of gravity and biology. They don’t call it scientific socialism for nothing.

The works of Marx and Engles were written over a century ago. They have long passed into the public domain, a bold vanguard action for the common ownership of all property. Translations of the works of Marx and Engles, however, are bound in chains of gold. Communists and socialists hasten the birth of a world in which we may hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening and criticise after dinner. But in the mean time hunters gotta hunt, fishers gotta fish, ranchers gotta ranch and critics – well, there’s no such thing as a free dinner.

Lawrence and Wishart (L&W) of London has been a publishing firm since 1936. While formerly (via the Lawrence side of things) the official publisher of the Communist Party of Great Britain, L&W has long been an independent radical publisher. Starting in the 1970s, L&W undertook to translate and publish the complete works of Marx and Engles. The translations were paid for in part by the USSR. The result of this herculean effort by a small, ill­paid staff on a shoestring budget is Marx & Engles – Collected Works. I cannot comment on whether these workers were exploited. But perhaps they now feel that they were.

Nearly a decade ago, L&W allowed the Marxist Internet Archive (MIA) to publish Marx & Engles online. Volumes One through Ten (of fifty!) have been added to the Marxist Internet Archive. But on 25 April 2014, L&W has asked that the MIA remove their copies of Marx & Engles. With great irony, this change was requested to occur by May 1st. While to this point the MIA publication of Marx & Engles was available to university libraries worldwide (and other universities, and non­-universities), thus having the effect of maintaining a public presence of the Works, L&W had entirely different plans:

We are currently negotiating an agreement with a distributor that will offer a digital version of the Collected Works to university libraries worldwide. This will have the effect of maintaining a public presence of the Works, in the public sphere of the academic library, paid for by public funds.

It takes a nation to prop them up. Public funds are a pleasant way of describing taxes gathered by the threat of violence, and such is not without precedent in the history of communism. The health of the state is necessary for the promotion of the withering away of the state. Should a curious communist have limited access to academia, printed editions remain available. Marx & Engles would normally set you back UK£2,500. But for a limited time only L&W are offering all fifty volumes at a bourgeois­-busting forty percent off the cover price. Privately own yours today for a mere UK£1,500.

The Marxist Internet Archive has stated that while they would prefer to keep publishing Marx & Engles they will comply with the request of L&W, because it is “completely legal.” Such a respect for private property among the critics of private property! The MIA says that since L&W have recovered their costs “and then some” for what has been reprinted the MIA should be allowed to give it away for free. I don’t know if the MIA is objecting to workers being paid to the penny for their labor and no further, or if they support the notion of making a profit. Either outcome is a thoroughly modern form of socialism, one I am unfamiliar with. L&W reply that they have not recovered their costs but they “now do have an opportunity to recover some of the costs.” Supporters of L&W are surely wishing them every success until they and all businesses can go out of business together… but until then, let L&W be just a bit more profitable than before. How L&W intend to address the eleven years worth of archived duplicates of Marx & Engles located at other websites is unknown.

Man’s rationality is used not for the rational, but to rationalize. Men do what they are going to do, then offer reasons why it was the best for all that it turned out that way. Until the 1800s the clergy had a headlock on why it was natural to do as one is told. The world turned on its head in the late 1800s – early 1900s, with the advent of socialism, communism, anarchism, surrealism, fascism, psychology, and a good dozen other belief systems that promised for real and for sure, this time if you put your faith in the new boss he will be better than the old boss. I like a good ideology as much as the next guy. I like them as I like animals, or clouds, or a darling little cactus: just because I can see how it works doesn’t mean I want to mate with it. I read about religion every day but I’m no believer. “Believe me out of it!” as J. R. “Bob” Dobbs once told me.

I’ve been walking in that circle without center and circumference for some time now. I have little to say about what men should or shouldn’t do, including myself. But I do things, and so do other men, and having an accurate description of what men do helps me navigate. It keeps me from getting worked up every day about hypocrisy or deception or perpetration of error, knowing that is just something men do.  I don’t get worked up over it every day.  Only some days.

-­ Trevor Blake is the author of Confessions of a Failed Egoist.