Poor Vago

My TechPlanet Experience

The following are the resume I got a job with a dotcom with, my letters to the CEO in silicone valley, after he came to Seattle to have a conference with me, I thought things were going to get better, but as you can see from the resignation letter I sent to every employee in the company when I quit, they didn’. The company went out of business a month and a half later. Nobody got stock options.

Christ Damitio
301 W. Holly St. Suite U5
Bellingham, WA 98225
(360) 738-9074
Personal Statement: I am repulsed by much of the monetary system we live in. I’ve tried to make my living in the past six months by “following my bliss”, but bliss won’t pay the bills in Whatcom County, so now that my resources are nearly gone, I find that I have to get a job. Working at TechPlanet sounds much less distasteful than writing radio ads for corporate America, working at Olive Garden, or any number of other exploitive, underpaid, greedy corporate employers.
August 1999-Present: Self employed publisher of Conchsense: A Bioregional Magazine and President of Conchsense Multimedeia. Duties included writing, sales, editing, public relations, advertising, printing, distribution, website maintenance, videography, photography,coordinating volunteers, organizing events, setting up promotions, and everything else necessary to start and run a small business.
Several periods over the past three years: KGMI/ Cascade Radio Group. Copywriter, producer, stunt guy, Mr. Beaver, DJ, engineering assistant, production work, promotions assistant, etc. etc. etc
Other jobs in the past three years: Bartender at several Bellingham and Juneau, AK bars
Craft Services for John Sayles “ Limbo”, Juneau, AK
Casting Assisstant for Hubbard Casting, London, England
Stand in for “Practical Magic”
Bed Builder at Liberty Bedworks, Raleigh, NC
Assisstant for Deans Tree Service, Bellingham, WA
Knife Sales, Juneau, AK
Other info: Honorably Discharged from USMC, 12/94- E-5, ATC, etc.
AAS Degree Whatcom Community College
I’m looking for at least $8/hr. Hours are very flexible. I am still publishing my magazine and maintaining my website, so any work week free hours will be appreciated.
1st Letter to the CEO
Hi Matthew,
My name is Christ and I’m a Partner in Seattle. Part of me recognizes that writing this may be a CLM, but I have some serious questions that need to be answered if I am to
“ride for the brand”.
I want to believe in TechPlanet. I want to sell TechPlanet. But, I need reassurance that the vision that has been painted is, in fact, the same vision that you hold. Here is the vision I see:
TechPlanet was created because you saw a market niche that was not being fulfilled on a national scale. The idea being that in this rapidly changing world, small business needs the same tools as large business in order to succeed. Small businesses were paying too much for an unknown amount of service and were being outgrown by their technology consultants. There’s the market.
You decided to create a corporate culture that focused on working and playing hard.
Based on a simple set of principles: 1) It’s my job to make it right (initiative) 2) I’m always on stage (responsibility) 3) I’m a good person (morality) and 4) I’m a business person too (profit incentive) (I’ve intentionally switched 3 and 4.) The corporate culture would focus on the needs of small offices. It would provide known services for upfront prices and never outgrow its market. It would be a partner to the little guy.
The corporate culture (cc) would be built upon the 4 principles, self-motivation, integrity, and obsession with customer satisfaction. This in turn would provide opportunity for advancement, increased responsibilities, travel, and financial rewards (commission, bonus, stock options.) The corporate culture of TechPlanet seems designed to change the way corporations do business. Each office offering the same services for the same price, guaranteed.
Here are the problems I have:
1) 1) Are we on the way to outgrowing our 2 and 3 computer clients? Will we have time for them when the big jobs start coming in? I don’t want to tell the customer that we will always be there for them and then not have time for their needs. I build relationships with my clients. I don’t lie.
2) 2) I went to Burger King the other night because I was in a hurry. The employees were not well trained. The level of service was not what I expected; I saw obvious flaws in the operation. I see that happening at TechPlanet. While we are all good people and knowledgeable in sales, the level of technical expertise is very low. I don’t want clients to think of us as fast food computer guys without good training. The two weeks in Houston were a great introduction, but further classroom type training would be good. Mack Avery does his best here, but right now he is the one tech to our 16 partners and PITS. If we lose him, we are screwed.
3) 3) I’ve already seen a lot of valuable people leave TechPlanet because the immediate expectations were too high and the results and rewards were too low. A perfect example could be this recent mailer. The employee expectations were set so high that if it doesn’t work, morale is going to drop. We’ve all been cold-calling our asses off in Seattle, but the market is a bit different in the northwest. Business’ have money (and their computer needs taken care of), know someone in the computer industry, or can’t afford our services. We’ve priced ourselves out of the market in many cases with no latitude for competing.
4) 4) If someone came onto TechPlanet with the intention to rip us off, it would be easy. Partners could under bid the planet. Take hardware. Break into the office after hours and rip off all the gear (it sounds like that is what happened in DC.) Employee theft is something you have to count on and I don’t see many safeguards built into TechPlanet. This is a serious threat to our future.
5) 5) The stock options, rumors abound about them. What is this process? No lawyer can read the paperwork before we sign? Is there something you’re trying to hide from us? Do the options in fact max out at $100,000 and then revert to the company? If so, that should be made clear, $100,000 is still a lot of money, but it’s all about setting and meeting expectations.
6) 6) This is the big question…my big doubt about TechPlanet…when we go public are you going to sell the company? Is it the company or the cash that matters most?
I hope these doubts don’t appear insulting or silly to you, but my loyalty does not come blindly. Once it is in place, it is an asset to those who have it. I want to go places with this company, but I have to believe in it. I realize that the only way to get past my shit is to address my concerns to you. Everyone who knows you assures me that you are a very cool guy with an altruistic vision. Ideally, I’d like to sit down to some coffee with you and discuss business, marketing, philosophy, politics, and management. Just shoot the shit, but I realize how constrained your time must be.
I believe in the parts of TechPlanet I know. Each member of my training group, partners in the Seattle office, START members, and SD’s are outstanding human beings.
I just want to make sure we’re not all being naïve (you’ll pardon my distrust of distant corporate offices making broad based bottom line decisions which screw with peoples lives) in serving “Corporate”.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and to respond.
Kindest Regards,
Christ Damitio
Letter to the CEO #2
Hello again Matthew,
“Whatever it takes”, that’s what it says on the pin I wear proudly on my collar, day after day. I believe in that philosophy. I believe that writing to you (again) is what it takes. On a purely descriptive level I like my job. Rather, I like the idea of my job. The reality of the situation is very different. I just don’t understand.
In my last letter, I mentioned that if we lost Mack Avery, the Seattle office would be screwed. Now we’ve lost him, and guess what? For the moment anyway, we are screwed. I assumed that whatever it takes meant at a corporate level as well as a personal level. I don’t see how this company can make it without retaining good people. There wasn’t even a counter offer made to Mack that I am aware of. Now we have Joe Scholl, a guy who works his ass off for TechPlanet in the same position as Mack was. He is the sole tech in our office and by his own account far less capable of handling it than Mack. Not only that. Robert Blakely has also left with no counter offer, despite other factors, Robert was one of a few technically able people in our office, losing him hurts. Adolph Briggs is probably going to follow soon based on “miscommunication” from corporate. We are in a messy situation here. All the venture capital in the world can’t save us.
Here is the Seattle office in a nutshell. A bunch of nice people who are not really qualified to handle anyones computers…even our own. Our network is constantly having problems, our computers have glitches, we don’t even have the firewall we recommend to others. We “feel like a bunch of idiots” standing around our fax machine. We are a highly qualified sales staff, but we don’t have the technical knowhow to do what we sell.
I went on a planet help today by myself because a tech was not available. This was a potential client who was ready to write a check for $2400 if I could fix what sounded like a fairly simple problem. I couldn’t fix it. In fact, when I replaced the lithium battery as Mike Easley suggested might be the problem over our help desk, I may have ruined this guys machine even further. I of course did not charge him and he of course did not write the check.I was not qualified to go on this job. Later another client called and asked for Mack, who was supposed to install a VPN for them. When she heard he had left she said “He was the only person with your company who knew what he was doing, we won’t do business with you again.” I received this message when I returned from my possible destruction of a clients machine. I called and she had left the office until Monday. I may be able to salvage things, but I doubt it, mainly because I don’t want to recommend us to anyone. We are not qualified for what we are doing.
I feel like you are leaving us out to dry. Why not use some of that venture capital to put some of us through an intensive technical course? How can you afford to fly so many people to so many places and then let them quit? Where is the support from above? I don’t like lying to people. I am a good person and this entire company is forcing me to misrepresent myself. I can make sales all day, but how am I supposed to feel good about charging someone $750 for a Frontpage website? If the idea is to make the company look good to the investors and buffalo them out of millions, bring me in on it, I can be helpful there. But charging a small business that is struggling to survive $300 an hour for my unqualified services is not a “decent” living in my book. Maybe I’m just seeing you as a talking head, but based on the more experienced people in this company’s view of you, I see you as that Tom Brokaw meets Willy Wonka sort of guy…I guess I hope that you’re waiting for Charlie to point out the problems and then you’ll let him stay in the chocolate factory.
Mike Campbell was allowed to leave despite the heavy investment in his training and his effectiveness as a sales leader in our office. You’ve lost people from Chicago, Portland, Seattle, and probably every other office. We don’t even have a library of technical books in our office, people were going crazy when I brought in DOS for Dummies….a bunch of “Techs”. You are not even giving us the tools to teach ourselves. We need many things to achieve success, here are a few of them:
1) 1) a solid technical library covering the basics (for dummies) through heavy duty techy stuff
2) 2) more training, the certification is a good start, but we need experienced teachers
3) 3) technical workstations to practice our in the box and some out of the box procedures
4) 4) All of our products installed so we can show them to clients who want to visit our office
5) 5) Regional marketing and practical promotional items like hats or umbrellas, or scratch pads
6) 6) A tech staff with incentives to stay (the stock doesn’t look too promising to me right now…I wonder how it looks to someone more technical?)
7) 7) Voicemail…if Shannah is not there my clients get picked up by anyone available…I lost one yesterday when an overenthusiastic PIT (lousy insulting term by the way) tried to oversell a callback for me while I was on a consult, he didn’t get a message
8) 8) Training on how to use Outlook and Filemaker ( I don’t know how to use them effectively because no one has taught me and I don’t have time to figure things out by playing and do the amount of prospecting necessary to sell some of our heavily overpriced products
9) 9) Real human beings instructing us instead of voicemail and e-mail
10) 10) Confidence in you
I can go on and on, but honestly I don’t think you care. If corporate doesn’t start living the same “Whatever it takes” attitude you want us to have, this thing is never going to work. If I sound bitter, I am. I thought this company was different.
Doubt you’ve read this far,
Christ Damitio
Unqualified Partner and Incredible Human Being
Why Am I Quitting?

My “corporate” “bosses” or “superiors” have shown a decided lack of integrity towards promises made to myself and other partners. (Compare your offer letter to the reality you have experienced, count the number of verbal promises or implied promises that were made to get you here and the number of these which were not met.)
“Corporate” has shown a lack of competence in training, marketing, inventory, and morale. These are areas key to survival.
Inefficiency in meeting payroll promises has led to a few black marks on my financial record as I bounced checks written on expected payment to meet financial obligations I only took on naively to help build “the premier brand in the world.”
Corporate has given me little opportunity to exercise my creativity (outside of the cold calls I make everyday or lying to prospects about my qualifications so I can screw up their computer systems.) No one has told me to lie, but little in the way of effective training and a strong emphasis on “making the sale” leaves little choice if I want to retain my job or have the possibility of advancement and a rise in responsibility.
I have very little economic security because my future income relies on a company that won’t pay mileage but would like me to put magnets on my car. A company which cannot seem to use its own products let alone sell them. I’ve felt little loyalty from distant “corporate” to make sure my needs were met while I’ve beat the drum for this “startup”.
TechPlanet lacks stability at the fundamental level of partner (employee) retention. Hyped marketing has shown little effectiveness and yet I am expected to show effectiveness through cold-calling. My time is 90% useless, robbing me of any meaningful work. A lack of training has lead to inefficiency, loose ethics, wasted time, curbed freedom (in a sales job), sub par excellence, distortion of the truth, very little excitement, faked openness from above, and very little honesty to those who have taken the bold move of putting their fate in TechPlanet’s hands.
We show little expertise, nearly complete disorder, and limited achievement to the world.
However, I do value the many friendships that have been born from this fiasco of an endeavor to “change the way corporations do business.” I have enjoyed the challenge of encouraging growth from a stunted seed.
It has been my pleasure to take part in a huge family of good people filled with affection and dedicated to helping each other. I have enjoyed the challenging problems of technology and tried to conduct myself with honesty.
However, I am a person who needs change and variety. I require independence, quality, and honesty in business. I value my community and the close relationships I form with my prospects and clients.
I am not a person who deals well with closed minds, blind authority, exploitation of people, soul-less values, bureaucratic gridlock, and lack of compromise, which is what I have experienced at the hands of “corporate.”
I believe each person needs a sense of purpose and has special skills and abilities that can benefit others. With respect and support from the people around us, sufficient resources, and fair treatment, each of us can achieve our goals and define our values. The result can be more pleasant physical surroundings, the ability to use our own ideas, and creating a sense of identity in the individual and the company. I just don’t believe in it anymore.h
I have taken a job in public service, it is a drastic pay cut but a dramatic rise in decency. I hope you all start looking for work or quit your jobs too because I’d hate to see you end up like Alain Eav who was moved to SLC with his new infant and wife and very excited about techplanet and was laid off about a month later.
Christ Damitio

Poor Vago

Of Anarchists, Protestors, and the LAPD

Of Anarchists, Protests, Conventions, and the L.A.P.D.
By christ damitio
Over 600 anarchists from all over North America converged upon Los Angeles for the North American Anarchist Conference. I was one of them. From the moment I heard of the conference I knew I had to attend. This was an opportunity to meet my comrades, share ideas, and work together to bring on the revolution. I drove from Seattle to Los Angeles picking up hitchhikers, anarchists along the I-5 corridor who needed a lift, and a bizarre blond woman in a pink top who is a missionary for Ted Turner. She told the rest of us in the car how Ted is God and performs miracles like Jesus. The real bizarre part was how often Ted Turner turned up in conversations over the next week.
Arriving in LA we followed directions to the check in point, a cooperatively owned Mexican café. A large group of protestors from different groups were laying out guidelines for the following weeks marches and protests during the Democratic National Convention. Simple guidelines. Support each other, respect each other, and do what you have to do to get your message out. A severe looking brother handed me the schedule and information packet on the NAAC.
The packet contained directions to the conference space, a giant orange warehouse beside the LA River. We checked in and made our way inside. It was about 10 PM. A motley group of anarchists were watching a video about the police problem in Eugene, Oregon. Almost everyone was wearing a nametag with his or her “handle” on it. Paranoia was running rampant and very few people were using their real names. The house rules were posted in obvious sites “No alcohol, drugs, weapons or anything that will give the police a pretext to close us down” and “No cameras, video, or recording devices.”
It was hardly typical of the first hours of any other conference. People were gradually introducing each other, claiming space to crash, eating free food prepared by Food Not Bombs, and taking in the remarkable anarchist scene. People ranged from clean to crusty and young (14) to old (70+). I met up with one of the organizers who had agreed to let me crash at his house for the next week or so. I said goodbye to my road companions and followed my hosts to their Pasadena residence. They were pretty confident that their phones were tapped, the house bugged, and that cops and/or FBI had rented an apartment across the street. Sure as hell, when I woke up in the morning to go back to the conference a cop in a cruiser watched me walk out of the house. What do you call paranoia when it’s very real?
The conference kicked off with about 200 anarchists present. Mixed in were reporters from the mainstream media and almost certainly a few undercover law enforcement officers. Workshops on Friday covered bike repair, insurrectional anarchism, first aid training, welfare reform, race discussions, radical art, primitivism and green anarchy, legal support, and vision discussion groups. Each hour contained far too much information to go into detail in this article. Each individual had their own ideas of what anarchy is and respected the views of every other person. Los Angeles Times staff writer Nicholas Riccardi described us as “…a multifaceted, hyperintellectual, communitarian bunch….”
The most heated discussions were between advocates of Primitivism (Green Anarchists) and Syndicalism (Red Anarchists). The greens are very anti-tech calling for a return to a more natural human condition while the reds are more involved with radical unionism (IWW), workplace democracy, and collectivism of industry and work. The two philosophies are not mutually exclusive, though an outside observer might of thought so based upon some of the arguments and discussions. Both fill necessary niches in an anarchist future. For more information on Primitivism a good starting point is John Zerzan’s book of essays Future Primitive. Other works on primitivism and syndicalism can be found at your local anarchist bookstore or lending library.
Security was tight and most of us expected the LAPD to burst in and arrest us at any minute during the 3 day conference. They never came. On Friday a federal judge disallowed “pre-emptive” police raids like those used in Philadelphia two weeks earlier.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were community meals. Some of the most interesting discussions took place in spontaneous groups sitting on the concrete floors or next to the concrete river outside.
The second day of the conference focused on strategy. How to bring about an anarchist society. John Zerzan opened up the day with a somewhat controversial presentation in which he argued that civilization erases a world of egalitarian food sharing and creates organized violence. He berated the political left and described primitivism as part of the vision the left doesn’t have. Many were angry or disturbed by his straight up radical vision, but everyone respected his voice and views. As anarchists, we agree that we can disagree. Other workshops covered police abuse, anti colonialism, combating homophobia, developing consensus skills, political prisoners, food politics, and womyns and mens groups.
A panel of radicals and a workshop on anarchist tactics again illustrated the divide between greens and reds. Reds and non-green anarchists shared tales of ditch digging collectives, book stores, and direct action to reclaim the economy and workplace from fat cat capitalists while the more militant Greens condemned industrial tactics and trust fund anarchists as ineffective and contributing to the problem we live in. Both sides have valid points but most of the anarchists there fell somewhere between the two extremes.
One of the day’s most important workshops was on developing a security culture. Knowing that our direct action movement will increase the governments surveillance and harassment of activists and revolutionaries, there are some simple steps we can take to cover our asses. In a nutshell, be sure to know who you are talking with. Many monkey wrenchers have been exposed by people they thought they could trust. Lying, bragging, gossiping, and talking about direct actions unnecessarily are some security breaching behaviors. Never discuss plans in buildings, businesses, on telephones, or in cars. These areas can be bugged and tapped.
Another well attended workshop focused on the Black-Bloc. The Black-Bloc has its roots in Europe where anarchists dressed all in black and wore masks so that police could not identify individuals. This tactic also makes it easier to “unarrest” other activists because the cops aren’t able to tell who’s who. Veterans of Seattle, DC, Philly, and other violent protests shared tips and tricks to help keep people safe. Avoid showing tattoos and other identifying features, do not put grease or gels into your hair(they hold chemicals which can drip down into your eyes), wear gloves so you don’t leave fingerprints, have a gas mask handy, do not wear contacts as CS gas can weld them to your eyes, don’t use sun block or oil based lotions as they cause pepper spray to burn your skin worse, link arms as you march so that you can pull comrades back from the cops, do not bring identification or address books as they can be seized by cops, do not let media film or take pictures of black-bloc activities. Above all, be prepared to be arrested and beaten- but don’t let them if you can help it.
About 30 people woke up sick on Sunday. The amazingly clean porta-potties became puking dens when we could make it to them before hurling. I threw up twice and missed the crapper once. We think it was the fruit or possibly the untreated water we were drinking in the warehouse. Many left the conference to march in the Free Mumia Abu Jamal March, the first of the week. About 15,000 protesters, 2000 media, and 5000 cops showed up. I wasn’t among them. After I finished throwing up, several of the countries most visible anarchists decided to go to the beach. We were going to go to Venice but got a bit turned around and found ourselves looking at what might have been a checkpoint. Motorcycle cop after motorcycle cop zoomed by us. I decided to head the other direction and whipped an illegal u-turn. A cop sped by me and yelled…”Nice U-turn” and then kept going! We stopped at a beach a mile or so down and stood beside the road watching all the cops go by. Suddenly…there was Bill Clinton himself whizzing by us in his presidential limousine and waving. Random chance got us within 15 feet of the President. One of my comrades whispered “The secret service must of never heard of McKinley.” It was an obvious joke, but made all of us a bit nervous.
The DNC opened up Monday with fat cats and delegates sitting inside the posh Staples Center while thousands of activists marched from Pershing Square to the designated protest area or “free speech cage.” The cage was about 2 blocks of parking lot surrounded by a 10 foot high security fence and about a thousand cops with night sticks, rubber bullet guns, pepper spray and tear gas. The black bloc marched and chanted rousing slogans like “Racist, sexist, anti-gay…LAPD go away” “Fuck the police and corporate media” and my favorite “Tonight, we’re gonna, smash the fucking state”. Once inside the cage Rage Against the Machine played a free concert and agitated the crowd with anti political/corporate rhetoric and anti authoritarian music (strange coming from a band on a big bucks corporate label.) The media was largely ignoring the protests focusing instead on the buyers of democracy having a fancy party inside the DNC. Several individuals began throwing water bottles at the police. A lone anarchist climbed the fence with a black flag and began waving it and was promptly shot by the police with a rubber bullet. The police pulled the plug on the second show and ordered everyone to disperse. They gave the huge crowd 15 minutes to leave but started shooting and gassing after 5 minutes. The black bloc picked up abandoned protest signs and covered the fence to protect the fleeing peaceful crowd. Two anarchists climbed on top of the fence and waved black flags taking shot after shot from the brutal and cowardly cops on the other side. Several people began pulling no parking signs from the street and using them to bust up concrete and battering ram the fence. Individuals began throwing rocks at the cops and shooting slingshots at the giant windows on Staples Center. The cops fired indiscriminately hitting peaceful protestors, the media, and even a 4 year old child in the back with a rubber bullet. The black bloc continued skirmishing with the police and then melted into the crowd. The police arrested 10 people, none of them anarchists. Suddenly the media began paying attention to what was happening outside the glitz.
Earlier in the week, members of the community had met with anarchists and organizers and expressed fear that property damage would occur. The LAPD was finally on the ropes about police brutality and the neighbors were concerned that property damage would not only bring on more bruatality later but also do harm to poor working people who are having a hard enough time getting by. The overall consensus was that property would not be damaged. To my knowledge there was no property damage…not because of police but because of communication and solidarity between activists, anarchists, organizers, and the community.
The week continued with massive marches protesting racism, police brutality, womyns rights, corporate control, and a variety of causes. The LAPD had several more skirmishes with those pesky anarchists and continued to brutalize a mostly peaceful crowd with strongarm tactics. The number of police in LA was overwhelming. They were everywhere. Rumors of white vans abducting people from the street began circulating. The FBI nabbed one girl and questioned her, the next day two police cruisers were sitting outside of her mothers home in Michigan. The media largely ignored most of the issues until some brave anarchists created some eye candy violence for the corporate lap dogs. Politicians and delegates never even acknowledged that upwards of 15,000 people were a few hundred feet away calling bullshit on their big money politics and being brutalized by the most racist, violent, and cowardly police force in the country.
As we left LA and California, we all felt relief at escaping the police state. The story doesn’t end there though. We stopped in Eugene where anarchists are serving free coffee traded from Zapitistas. The enterprise is called Café Anarchista and happens on the street daily from 9-11. We scavenged a large bag of donuts from a dumpster to contribute and enjoyed the coffee and open camaraderie on the sidewalk. I dropped off several riders along I-5 and finally drove to Bellingham to relax and de-brief myself so that I could return to our normal fucked up society. I was absolutely stoked to find the good work of anarchists blooming in the ham. The Colmena Collective has established a library /bookstore /beauty shop on State Street. For those of you who haven’t been there…you absolutely must check it out and support it. Other anarchists are working on similar and diverse projects too.
Lessons or morals learned? Anarchy is coming and its bringing free food and coffee, clean restrooms, respectful relationships, friendship, lending libraries, and a damn fine time….Viva La Revolution.

Poor Vago

A Question of Authority

Often with the topic of anarchy comes the question “But what about authority? Who will be in charge? And how will they stay there and be kept from corruption?”
The answer is much simpler than you might think. A nearly perfect example is the cooperative movement. Co-ops are owned by the workers who operate them and the customers who purchase the goods or services being manufactured. They are run democratically and have checks and balances built in to protect against abuse of power. Authority is granted by the workers and patrons of the co-op.
To the average American, this formula sounds good. Democracy, checks and balances, responsibility. Sounds just like what we all learned about America, but the truth is, America has changed. One of the more obvious changes from the ideal is the representative democracy made up of the two political parties, the delegates, and the electoral college. Democracy has been subverted. The popular vote is meaningless. The mainstream media has even taken to calling the popular vote the “beauty contest”, implying that true democracy is only for show. The real decision is decided by delegates. Who are the delegates? Ask anyone, someone is sure to know. Good luck.
The checks and balances are in place to keep the executive from cheating the supreme court and the congress, but what if they work together? Even if the visible figures of the government are kept in line, who is responsible for the unelected and mysterious delegates.
So to start, my answer to who would be in charge in an anarchist government is who the fuck is in charge now? Where does authority come from, because it certainly is not coming from the people. In the pages that follow I will attempt to outline an anarchist society from the ground up. My postulations are based upon the studies I have performed in my lifetime of government, human systems, and human events.
1) 1) The Group (neighborhood, office, school, or other place of grouping)
Groups are simply people who have reason to be in contact discussing the rights and wrongs as they see them in their lives. A representative from a group takes these concerns to a city or county referendum where all group representatives meet and vote on issues. No laws are passed, instead people talk about the problems and how to solve them. No time is wasted in legislation that deflects interest from the actual problem.
Ex: There are homeless people in our group, how can we help them?
Current Authority: We will hold a conference telling everyone that your group has homeless people, we will condemn homelessness and offer our sympathy, after some time we will give some money to a foundation so that they can run more ads to tell people that people are homeless. We will pass more stringent laws about residences so that people who don’t think they are homeless get to become homeless.
Anarchist Authority: Okay, we’ve got some wood and so and so has that old house, do we know any carpenters? Lets build a house? Wait..but what about permits and rules and regulations? Ha..don’t be silly there are no rules when someone doesn’t have a house to stay in.
This same group process is taken up to the next level if it needs to be. Decisions are made as close to the bottom of the ladder as possible. Eight is the age required to vote.
Pride in self rule brings about innovative solutions to keep problems from needing to go beyond the group. The group and the individual are allowed to do whatever they like so long as no other individual or group are affected. If other groups are affected than a meeting of groups gets together and finds the problem and the solution.
Ex: Group A is strip mining and the slag is running into the river which Group B and C require for agriculture and human use.
Current Authority: Acknowledge everyone’s right to either mine or suffer the consequences of mining. Build up ill will between miners and farmers by making it a mine or don’t mine scenario. Ignore all other possibilities. Create legislation which allows strip mining and limited polluting of the water source. Rename strip mining and pollution to mineral extraction and emissions.
Anarchist Authority: Shut down the mine. The groups get together and figure out exactly how to provide the same income and needs to the mining group. If a satisfactory answer is achieved it is implemented. If it is not, the mine is reopened until an answer can be found.
Taxes, revenues, records, and land ownership.
There is no authority for collecting taxes. Revenues are collected from a portion of all business operating within a group. Revenues are used to supply training in the use and care of firearms at city group ranges and armories. The armed authority of the people is what will keep the power hungry in check. Land is owned by title and deed by individuals and groups. Corporations cannot own land.
Corporations are taxed upon the amount of revenue generated by their product or service in each city group, a percentage of this is used to fund education.
From grade school, children would be encouraged to explore their interests in elective classes and apprenticeships.Schools would be funded primarily by the students labor and the “wages” earned in apprenticeship programs. The Mondragon cooperatives have a beautiful working model.
Roads and Transportation
Gasoline tax would be used to maintain roads. Tolls would be collected to fund massive public transportation projects using “clean” energy.
Of course, the collective could decide on completely different criteria. The one constant would be to avoid creating laws which require a police force to enforce the laws. In the case of murder, let a jury decide and the family sentence.


Religious Anarchy and Social Context

I thought that the first time I heard of anarchy was when I was 15. I was listening to the Anarchist Collective “CRASS” and had become fascinated by the anarchist symbol. My understanding of anarchy then was simply a world without rules, that was why I thought I’d never heard of anarchy before. As years went by I studied anarchy along with the usual curriculum of subjects taught in American schools. On occasion, I would come across amazing people in history who stood out as individuals, even when the odds were against them. Ben Franklin, Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Jefferson, Sacco and Vanzetti. Remember Sacco and Vanzetti? We learned about them in grade school history. A couple of “anarchists” who were convicted of murder and executed on August 23rd, 1927. A cobbler and a fish peddler found guilty of being anarchists before being given a fair trial. The teachers in grade school glossed over what anarchism was. It was thrown in with Communists and Socialists as uniquely European ideas. That was why I hadn’t thought much about Anarchy prior to CRASS.
In my studies since, what has anarchy come to mean to me? Before I go into that, I need to explain that I have always wanted to learn the truth about souls, and in particular my soul. Do I have one? What is it? Where does it go? Where is it? I studied many of the worlds major religions and learned the following more or less:
There is more to everything than anyone knows. Each of us has
the potential to be anything. We have free will and can make the
choices which define our “soul”. If we have choice, we can soar with
angels or wallow in mire, it is up to us.
At this point Taoism became a force in my life. Again choice determined everything.
Anarchy is everything. To me, anarchy is teaching a society to take responsibility for their collective actions. The ideal anarchist society would prohibit nothing and simply have well known ramifications for certain acts. People must be allowed to make whatever choice they need to. The responsibility of society is to be sure individuals are educated about the consequences in broad terms.
Anarchism is the absence of absolute authority. In many ways, our society has been undergoing an anarchist revolution from the moment the first shots of the
American Revolution were fired. The expansion of the west was about moving beyond the reach of the government. The West, where ideas ranged free with the cattle. Unfortunately, the forces of repression followed quickly on the heels of the anarchist trappers, hunters, and settlers. The long arm of the law reached further and further into the homes of the fleeing masses. A system of property taxation quickly established a virtual leasing agreement between “owners” and “landlord government.” The long arm kept reaching, first into schools, then into transportation, then into the pockets of the peasants. Income tax became standard, mind control media systems were in place, the constitution was violated by one president after another. The high hopes and ideals of the founding fathers were gradually subverted.
Labels were quickly established for political parties which called for alternative administrative techniques. Anarchists were labeled as angry revolutionaries based on the 1901 assassination of President William McKinley by self proclaimed anarchist, Leon Czolgosz. Socialists, communists, labor unions, and anarchists were lumped together as enemies of the American way of life. A way of life which increasingly took liberty and replaced it with legislated morality, community, and a decided lack of financial integrity.
Some anarchists took matters into their own hands in an effort to break the publics glossy eyed perception of their “enemies”. No sacrifice could be too big. These were people who accepted the consequences of their actions. Vinzetti wrote:
If it had not been for this thing I might
Have lived out my life among scorning men
I might have died unmarked, unknown, a failure.
This is our career and our triumph. Never
In our full life could we hope to do such
Work for tolerance, for justice, for man’s
Understanding of man, as now we do by accident.
Our words- our lives- our pains- nothing!
The taking of our lives-the lives of a good
Shoemaker and a poor fish peddler-all! (Coull)
The struggle for freedom is at its best, the struggle to control our own souls. We don’t wish for people to suffer, we see the opportunity to avoid most of that, and we see the other alternative. Anarchy is the chaos in nature which controls the population of a food chain. Extremely good conditions can create an abundance of grain, which in turn causes the rabbits to breed excessively, which attracts a number of foxes which in turn multiply. The result eventually is that a regular season comes, there is not enough food for the rabbits and they die or migrate, the foxes are faced with the same problem and either die or migrate…eventually the populations reach an equilibrium. Now consider humans and the food chain. If the governmental foxes collect the grain before the rabbits and trade them meals for whatever they want. They create a class of consumer rabbits dependent on handouts. Within the consumers create a system of subclasses with varying degrees of affluence. Demonstrate how certain rabbits can become foxes by complying without question to fox authority ( in fact, the compliant rabbits are gobbled up by foxes who replace them and smile at the rabbit masses) . The consumers are given one luxury item after another while their freedom to collect grain, lie in the sun, dig burrows, or browse meadows is taken away. Soon the consumers are working longer to collect the grain for the foxes, in order to collect a smaller portion of the grain, while giving up liberties from shear exhaustion. The rabbits can never win…even if they did, the foxes would eat them. Why?
Because rabbits don’t have guns. In the words of Emiliano Zapata “Hang onto your guns and they can never take the land away from you!” He also said “A strong people do not need a government.” Strength comes from knowing you are right. Having faith in your beliefs, your values, and yourself. Strength does not come from having your individuality undermined by “what is right” by society’s standards.

Poor Vago

Bellinghamblin Rant

by Christ Damitio
Hey, if you’re lookin to read about some wierd long winded guys vacation outta state, you’re in the wrong column. I’m here to talk to you about fun, local stuff in 400 wordsish. How’s this for fun? I was pulled over two weeks ago for speeding down Yew Street hill. They impounded my car, because that’s the law, I guess. As a result, Johnsons Towing recieved a hefty sum from my sad bank account. Who says Bellingham doesn’t encourage local business? We legislate it. After that, I mentioned to the officer, Lt. Succi, that he might as well send a patrol car to pick up my suicide stricken body in about an hour. It was an emotional moment. I had no license, no insurance, and my registration was at home. I visualized my job ending because of no transportation, my house disappearing because of no job, and my new business, The magazine Conchsense, going up in smoke. I’d never kill myself, I’ve suffered from friends that did that. But the Lieutenant didn’t know that. I wanted him to feel the suffering his job causes. Our society discriminates against the poor, and theres no difference in Bellingham. Is it fair to punish a single mom, or even underpaid single guy with the same traffic fines Bill Gates would get? No, it’s not. It’s a system designed to keep the poor down and give the semblance of freedom. I went to the mental hospital for a 10 minute session with a psychiatrist ( I had to pay him too! Not to mention the insurance company, the courthouse, the speeding ticket, the department of licenseing, and the Hospitals emergency room) The doc told me I was fine, theatrical, and emotional and sent me on my way. The upside is I got a free ride in a copcar while handcuffed,spent two hours in a urine smelling rubber room waiting for the Doc to arrive, and got to get rid of all that money.
Next fun issue. The pipeline is going to re-open. Why? Because it’s a rich corporation that runs it. If it was a poor single guy running that pipeline, he’d be on death row, but its not. It’s a rich corporate entity with lots of cash to grease palms with. I’ve heard people say, we have no choice. Bullshit. Who’s town is it anyway? Are people the residents here? Why does that corporation get to come in here and tell us what to do where we live, and where they destroyed. Society sucks kids. That’s all there is to it, and the big problem is most people know that they gotta put up and shut up to make it. Not me. I never do seem to know when to keep my mouth shut. I doubt you’ll even see this in print….until I print it. Oops! Too many words, guess I’ll shut up.

Poor Vago


It was a beautiful fall day when he realized that he was through waiting. He didn’t even know what he’d been waiting for, it just seemed like 29 years was long enough. It was time to quit waiting and start doing….but what did that mean. It was a whole new way of looking at things and he didn’t know if he could make the shift.
It wasn’t even like he was able to make a choice. He’d been waiting to quit smoking, waiting to quit drinking, waiting to write a novel, and waiting for something to happen so that he could do all of those things he’d been waiting to do.
He owned a business, but he was waiting to have the time and money to make it work. He knew a couple of girls, but he was waiting to see which one wanted him and met his standards…he’d been waiting a long time and wouldn’t settle for just anyone….waiting for what or who? Who knew? Not him. He just knew he was tired of waiting.
He’d been waiting to get rid of his stuff, waiting to learn martial arts, waiting to get in shape. He’d also been waiting for a catastrophe or a heart attack. He’d been waiting to get dumped and waiting to go camping. He’d been waiting to try heroin, he was really waiting to die.
Today, he is tired of waiting.
The anarchist woke up to the sound of his housemates getting ready for work. He didn’t have to work today. He only had to get his precious rest. He liked to whine, but sometimes he covered his whining in intellectual discussions about the state and the rules, and the rulers. He didn’t know if anyone saw it for what it was….whining. His dog was whining, whining to either get out of the house or up into the bed with him…he sat up on an elbow and called her up…they both went back to sleep.
He woke up and dragged his knappy head from the pillow, looking around the room and thinking about rubbing one out. He shooed the dog from the bed and yanked his pud for a minute before dediding not to. His nuts had really itched yesterday and the day before and for aobut two months before that. He should have gone to the doctor when he had health insurance, but it was too late for that. After all, an anarchist can’t work for a corporation…or so he told himself so that he could quit the first decently paying job he’d had in nearly two years. He took a job as an organizer in poor communities, half hoping he’d get shot or kicked and half hoping he’d get fired so that he could sink further into the gutter….really ma,it wasn’t his fault, life was so unfair and the state dragged a man down. He was good at his job, but the anarchist excuse allowed him to reject parts of it and offer his new boss of two weeks the terms and conditions he would work under…to his surprise his boss accepted and he found himself with nearly a week off so that he could tell himself to do all the things he’d been waiting to do when he got some time. Most of them had to do with getting rid of his stuff and making his computer work better for him so that he could streamline his stuff and really be organized. That was the idea. Instead, he bought more stuff, and drank more than he could afford, and then to top it off, he bought weed and a volkswagon bus. He had a car, but he loved buses and so he bought one for $100 that he’d planned to use for rent….and maybe it was rent…he could very well be living in the broken down bus by the end of the month…it had happened before….but not when he was an anarchist.
The hippie hated where he lived. His roommate was a loud meateater. He was overly aggressive and drank or was fucked up on something all the time. The hippie was obsessed with getting less stuff so that he could move out of the house. He loved the house, but something told him it was time to go. He told the folks at the morning show he worked at that he’d gotten a job in Alaska. He held a huge garage sale to get rid of all the things he’d found it so important to get…the telescope, the books, the artwork, the furniture, the computer stuff….everything but gear, and what he could fit in his VW bus.
His dog was barely 6 months old and into the bus they moved. He was tired of waiting…waiting to live in the woods, waiting to take his dog into bars, waiting to throw himself to the winds and find adventure, tired of waiting to meet a girl in the town he’d been in for nearly 4 years.
He’d been waiting for a great music scene to be born around him, he’d been waiting to get discovered and become a big radio star, waitng to get his big break, waiting to inherit some money so that he could start a business, waiting to graduate college so he could get a good job.
He’d been waiting to pay off all his bills, waiting to get his DUI fines paid so that he could get his license, waiting to have something exciting drag him away from everything and introduce him to the girl he’d been waiting to meet, she’d better come because the girl he’d been waiting to break up with her boyfriend didn’t seem to be in any hurry. He’d waited for a few other girls. He’d waited to break up with his last girlfriend until she was in love with him and not waitied for anything in the other two ro three drunked out fucking sex-lationships. He’d been waiting three months to get his dick checked and waiting for a windfall to get his teeth cleaned, should of gotten them done while he had insurance.
He was tired of waiting and so he waited until his bus was running decently and he had enough for the ticket. He cooked in alleys, got food from the foodbank (where he waited in line with everyone else) and waited for the date on his ferry ticket to Alaska to come around. Then he waited in the car line (he’d waited for his ticket weeks before) then he found out his dog had to be ticketed and have a statement from the vet, so he frantically drove to the vets, waitied for the certificate, and then returned to waiting in the car line.
Once on the ferry, he could barely wait until he got to Juneau, Alaska…but wait he did, for three days while his dog waited below decks. He waited until the right time to introduce himself to the pretty girls on deck with him. He waited to break out his pot. He waited to touch the girl. Not until the last minute did he touch her and then she had to get back on the ferry…so he made out with her so intensely that he felt okay that he had waited but she was probably freaked out that he tried to fit so much in so little time.
He set up camp by a river and waited for something to happen. He got a job and waited until he was tired of driving so much before he rented a house and waited to see if he’d be able to pay his bills. He waited until he knew that he needed a second job, and sometimes he waited until the girls in the bar had waited as long as him before getting lucky with more drunk sex…sometimes he waited for days before admitting he didn’t remember much and then he waited fro some uncomfortable moment to come up with the girl and it usually did…since he was waiting for it.
He usually waited until he was about out of time before he acted and usually he failed but it was easier to say he had tried and failed because he waited than he had just tried and failed. So he kept waiting.
He drank a lot and waited until he said the wrong things before lighting out, he always said the wrog thing when he drank, but he told himself if he waited it would come under control.
He walked on trails and wrote poetry and made knives and waited for someone to notice how special he was. He waited and waited and in the meantime he waited until sex came along that he could feel bad aobut and he waited for it and jumped onit and called himself an asshole and a jerk and tried to make himself feel cool, but his solitary laughter was hollow and fake and he knew it but wouldn’t admit it.
He waited for job after job to end and then finally waited until a job he’d gotten on a movie ended before saying the worng things to all of the wrong people and picking up a drunk native woman and having sex over and over with her until the morning when he realized he didn’t know her and sank into a depression while he fucked her again and again and again and then hoped she’d disappear soon…he’d waitied for his hippie girl to come…he was a writer and he’d been waiting to write…well no more….he’d leave and start fresh….
The Screenwriter returned to his hometown from the great wilds. He expected somewhere inside himself that a big party was waiting to welcome him back…he’d been waiting for it…all the way back down…he’d sold his bus in Alaska and was waiting for someone to show up to pick up him, his gear and his dog….no one showed…at the gas station someone he didn’t know recognized him and said welcome back….he’d been away abot six months but people had liked him on the morning show…he’d waitied for bigtime fame but he’d wait no longer….he lived in a friends basement and built a fort in the woods…he was waiting to feel how it felt before he made any decision to do anything with the bankroll he’d brought from Alaska….he spent a lot of it drinking while he was waiting, by telling himself that he was paying to have space to be…but really he was waiting for any excuse to get drunk at all. He saw the girl he’d been waiting for, she was very happy with the man she’d been waiting for all her life, he thought of waiting to see what would happen with her as she gave hints of how problems could arise should he wait? He left her house angry at himself for even considering it and went to the travel agent where he had been waiting to buy a ticket to Asia or Australia, instead he bought a monthlong ticket to England which he’d never really been waiting to go to at all. He lived in the park, drank a lot and waited for the time to come when he could use his ticket, he waited for his friends to get home from work to use their showers, he waited until dark to walk through the park, he waited to get the rest of his stuff from his mothers garage before taking the trip, while he was waiting his favorite grandmother died, he hadn’t spent any quality time with her for years, he had been waiting for the right time when he was more stable and better abloe to take the time to visit her, now she had died, waiting to see him one last time and perhaps give him that final word of advice that would have ended all of his waiting…he drank and cried in the woods…it was whiskey this time…
The boys grandfather died while he was waiting to start school. He had some money he’d been waiting to spend and he got his two best friends (who he was waiting to replace with better best friends once school started) and they went on a milkshake spree. They had been waiting to have the opportunity to go on a binge and now it was here, his birthday,Christmas, and paper route money spent on milkshakes, food, and toys. A fire lit from garbage under the street. He waited to cry until later.. He wanted to wait until he was alone but it was a small house and his stepdad was perched on the couch, he waited until he had gotten up to go to the bar and his mom had gotten up to scream after him, both waiting for hours to return, his little sister patted his shoulder and said it’s okay, what’s wrong? He waited until his rage overwhelmed him and then said mean things to her and she began to cry to, but not about their grandpa but about him being mean to her. He left and waited until he was alone near the creek to cry and cry and throw rocks hoping to smash crawdads or fish. The little sister sat in the house waiting for someone to come back and tell her everything would be okay. He waited until he was almost a sleep to go back to the house where his sister was waiting and sleeping. He looked at her and he cried, this time not for his grandfather but because he had been mean to her. He knew it was wrong but he waited to apologize. He waited for thing s to get better but the stepdad kept moving them and kept drinking and doing drugs and the mom kept chasing after him and drinking more and more and strange bar people began filling the house and the boy and his sister waited for their big brother to come make things better and he came and they waited for hime to either fight the stepdad, runaway with them, or kill himself. The big brother did drugs too and held very little back about his emotions told the boy and girl how bad the step dad was and the boy began to think of ways to kill himself too, and he tried a few times but waited to do anything real drastic and waitied and the big brother went away and the mom accused the stepdad of being a homosexual and sucking men off at truck stops and they both began drinking more and fighting more and hurting each other more and the mom accused neighbors of attempted rape and the stepdad beat her more and grandma came and drove the stepdad away and then she left and then he came back and then the boy walked in and found the mom screaming on the floor and the stepdad standing over her and the boy had a gun and the boy pointed it at the stepdad and told him to stop, but the step dad told him to shoot him, the step dad demanded that the boy shoot him and told him he didn’t have the guts for it and the mom begged him not to and the boy waited and he cried and he left. He figured he’d wait to shoot the stepdad until later, he waited for another incident but the fighting and the drinking and the drugs never go that serious again while he was there and the boy began stealing beers and drinking them and thinking about stealing pot and smoking it and looking at the stepdads dirty magazines that he kept under the dresser and under his pistol that the boy began to play with and the boy called his dad and begged to let him come live with him and then he packe up his stuff in two trunks and illegally shipped all of his guns and weapons to his dads house in California. The boy was waiting until december when he would turn 13. He was waiting to be a teenager and he would be so cool in California, because here he didn’t get along with other kids and he was sort of a geek, but he had tried to be cool playing sports and hanging out with all the popular kids and waiting for a girlfriend since the 5th grade but none of them ever liked him, they liked bigger kids and smaller kids and never him that he could tell, but he would wait til he got to his new school to be cool…like he used to be in the 3rd grade before the step dad moved them…he waited and he knew he would be cool because all his gradeschool friends were the cool 8th graders now.

Poor Vago

Anarchist Manifesto

the anarchist manifesto

The following is an approximate summation of my beliefs as an anarchist. My system of beliefs is constantly evolving and so it is impossible for me to put down on paper anything more than the basic premises that define my overall worldview. I do not write this to have anyone agree with me. Chances are that at some future point, I will not agree with everything contained herein. This is not a picture of a future anarchist society. There are no examples of ways individuals or collectives can solve problems. There are no guidelines for bringing the revolution to a head. This document simply defines the way that I have chosen to structure my life as an anarchist. I encourage you to read what I have to say, adapt the parts you like to your own worldview and to e-mail me with comments and ideas so that I can continue to evolve as a human being. I heartily discourage you from adopting my (or anyone else’s) ideas in whole without spending sufficient time thinking, researching, questioning, discussing, and changing them to fit with the definition of what you believe.
I. I. There are plenty of historical, scholarly, and scientific definitions of anarchism. Enough so that I feel comfortable jumping straight to my personal definition:
Anarchism- a political system composed of no system
wherein the adherents are enabled to be complete human
beings and exercise free will to the extent that other human
beings are not restricted in their own exercise of free will,
a non-system where individuals are allowed to work out their
own destiny (karma) and organize individual and community
ideals of living both alone and together.
There are of course contradictions in this definition i.e. a system which is a
non system. The truth is that contradictions are normal. Look for them and
they exist everywhere.
II. II. My Personal System
I believe that each person is responsible for creating his or her own set of rules to live by (10 commandments, code of conduct, etc.) As stated above, I also believe that each individual is responsible to personalize their rules…i.e. take the 10 commandments and make them your own. (Thanks to Robert Heinlein for introducing this concept in Time Enough for Love ) The following are my 10 commandments, they form the basis of who I am (right now.)
1) 1) You’re not the boss of me, I’m not the boss of you. – this rule goes back to childhood when we were all equal. Remember when one kid would start acting like the boss, we’d always say “You’re not the boss of me,” kids are born anarchists and it takes years of conditioning to create whatever it is our society turns them into. I’ve added the second part to remind me that I too am conditioned to “take charge” and I am not the boss of anyone else either. The truth is no one is the boss of anyone. Leadership is derived from either consent or coercion. Consensual leadership is a giving process that utilizes compassion. Coercive leadership is a taking process that utilizes fear.
2) 2) NO thing is SOME thing. This rule is to remind me that a lack of anything is still something. If you create a vacuum in a bottle there is nothing in the bottle except a vacuum that is something. If you eliminate all hierarchical systems in day to day activities there will be a vacuum of order. The vacuum of order (anarchy) is not non-existant simply because NO thing defines it.
3) 3) Over esteem leaders and the people lose their power. Over value possessions and people begin to steal. This one is straight from the Tao Te Ching. It says to me people are people and stuff is stuff but there is something else more important so don’t put too much value on what any person (including yourself) says or has.
4) 4) What isn’t worth saying or doing isn’t worth thinking about. If you are thinking about saying or doing something either do it and accept the consequences (good or bad) or quit thinking about it. Take a stand or shut up.
5) 5) Autonomy builds community. If you are able to take care of yourself, you are more valuable to your community. Not only are you not a problem, you become a part of the solution. By asking the community (the state) to take care of us, we give up the joy of knowing we can take care of ourselves and (later) of each other. Focus on being the provider of your own needs and you will have better relationships with spouse, children, co-workers, and friends.
6) 6) Don’t preach, live your life and let others ask the secret of your happiness (success). This seems like another contradiction if you take this treatise as a sermon. However, I am not forcing anyone to listen to me. I am simply defining my own existence in the hope that it will encourage others to define their own existence. The essence of this one is twofold 1) don’t try to force your ideas on others 2) be prepared to share your ideas with others when asked to.
7) 7) No one is right, no one is wrong. We are free to form our own ideas. We are free to agree or disagree with anyone. We are not free to make determinations of “right” and “wrong” this way lies totalitarian government. An idea may be appropriate or inappropriate but it may not be right or wrong in my reality. Galileo was “wrong” and the church was “right” etc etc etc. Right and wrong are subjective impressions based on worldview.
8) 8) Walk a mile in the others moccasins before passing judgement. Before condemning someone for their actions try to figure out why they acted that way. A business person may be trying to be less of a burden, a cop may not know how else to improve society than enforcing society’s rules, and a thief may not know another way to live.
9) 9) Respect others as you would be respected. This one is just about being cool. Don’t rip peoples personal shit off unless you want yours to be ripped off. Think how you would feel if you were treated the way you might be considering treating someone else. Don’t stomp on their beliefs or ideas…listen, acknowledge, question, and respect others.
10) 10) What is a good man but a bad man’s teacher, what is a bad man but a good mans job. Another one straight from my Anarchist’s Bible (the Tao Te Ching). Think about it. A “bad” person gives you a chance to teach about true “goodness” by your reaction, your words, or your being.
III. III. The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease (the role of violence in the revolution)
We are entitled to defend ourselves. We have voices to speak up against the injustices of the world. Sometimes, it takes a little something extra to make the world listen to what we have to say. Violence against private property is an excellent way to make a point. If a company is abusing our right to exist, we ask them to stop, we use our voice, and then we begin to make it expensive for them to operate. This is the worst nightmare of a capitalist. Human life is cheap compared with the cost of operating a business to the capitalist. He (she) would rather you killed employees than destroyed his shop. Violence against property makes the capitalist angry and he (she) will try to provoke you to violence against himself or his employees so that he can feel justified in condemning you and your cause. This is why it is good to smash and run. This leaves the capitalist unable to conduct business and yet uninjured. It also leaves you uninjured if he (she) should have a gun handy. Leave the looting for those who don’t know any better, stuff is a burden we do not need for fulfillment.
IV. IV. How we will do things after and during the revolution (now)
That is up to us and our comrades. Each group (family, collective, cell, affinity group, etc etc.) must come up with their own way to solve problems and to provide necessities for the members of their community. In order to bring about the future, we must act now. Collectivize your business. Buy out your bosses (by grouping with your fellow workers and pooling your resources.) Seek out other anarchists with new ideas and ways of doing things.It is my thought, that if we all act as anarchists how we can, where we are, right now…we will suddenly find ourselves living in an anrchist world based on liberty, equality, and solidarity. Remain open to change, but most of all speak your mind.


Poor Vago


You can’t really do anything about anything except make the best choice you can and face the consequences. You weigh what you can about the consequences, greaten your odds and go for it. Never look back with regret, there’s no reason to if you made the best decision possible. Learn from your mistakes, but don’t punish yourself if you know you made the best decision possible. That is why it is important to understand your own nature, so that emotions, drugs, alcohol, ignorance don’t prevent YOU from makein the right decision. You’re responsibility is to make the best decision you can. The consequences can be devastating and far reaching if you .
Gaiasopht…….Be what you want society to be. Live the way you want others to live. But think carefully, there’s truth to the parable of let him who is free of sin ( guilt) cast the first stone. It is in fact a demonstration of the sin of men, but the joke is that one who is free of sin would forgive the sinner and have no need nor desire to throw the stone. So no stones can or will be thrown. Ha…the sinner is freed by the words. The words were magic.

Poor Vago


One of the biggest problems our society faces is the amount of waste we produce. Our dumpsters, our landfills, and our landscapes are overflowing with waste. What is waste?
Websters defines waste as (1) Using, consuming, or expending thoughtlessly (2) to lose or cause to lose energy, strength or vigor and (3) to fail to take advantage of; lose: waste an opportunity.
I’d like to offer another definitionto add to this list. Waste is an unused resource. I’ll repeat that, because I think it’s important: Waste is an unused resource.
Our society is overflowing with waste- resources we are not using. From paper cups to food waste to no longer wanted, though once favorite toys to senior citizens who are pigeon holed into “ human landfills” depriving us of their life experience and wisdom. Why do we do it? Why is our society like this?
Let me explain. After World War II, we entered a period when the industrial base which had been built to supply a world war was turned to civilian use. After years of rationing and scarceness, suddenly there was more than one society could use. A new ethic was born, a new society was born. “ The Throwaway Society”. You’ve heard that term before, right?
The throwaway society was able to provide maximum employment and offer huge amounts of goods and services to the public at prices they could afford. Suddenly, Americans had more available to them through production and gainful employment. The key though, was to keep people spending their paychecks by providing incentives to buy “new, bigger, better” products. By building in obsoleteness, we could keep the factories in full production creating a disgusting symbiosis….people had more income to spend, and it was necessary to encourage them to spend it to keep the assembly lines rolling.
Sounds pretty good, right? Not know, but at the time it did. It wasn’t an easy thing to do though. As Americans, we’re descended from imminently practical ancestors. Ask your grandparents…it may be hard to believe now, but prior to about 1950, there were three values most Americans shared…Frugality, Economy, and Neighborly Cooperation. These weren’t just arbitrary values. Survival depended on it.
Frugality, which we look at as a bad thing,”being cheap”. In fact, frugality is defined as practicing or marked by economy…What does that mean? Well, it means making the best possible buying decision, weighing the power of your buying dollar and getting the most for it. Makes sense, right?
Ecoonomy refers to running your household efficiently, using that frugality to make your dollar go even further sot that you can buy more seed, a new plow, or maybe even splurge and get one of them newfangled telephones to communicat with your neighbors and loved ones.
Neighborly cooperation meant knowing your neighbors and being willing to help them with your skills or work- What you got in return was the help of your neighbors with their skills of work. Imagine a barn raising, where all the men in a neighborhood come together to create something. And instead of pigeonholing the women, children, and elderly at home- utilizing their skills to benefit everyone. The men, and the women who choose to, work on the structure, the other women prepare a midday meal for the workers, and meanwhile, the elderly and children spend quality time together removing plants from where the structure will go, or just learning from each other. Youth and experience, who says they don’t go together.
You see, our ancestors needed these values of economy, frugality, and neighborly cooperation….and so do we. Without them, there was and is no hope of building homes where families can grow up and prosper.
So, back to the 1950s. In order to get people to support this new “ throwaway society”, the simple values needed to be replaced with a new ethic. That ethic was a different sort of economy…the government realized that in order to make it successful, the capital had to be in a constant flow, from employers to employeees, from employees back to the employers. By building in the concept of consumer debt, they ensured that people would need to keep working in order to satisfy the need to “ keep up with the Joneses”. In short, it worked, in a very short period of time economy, frugality, and neighborly cooperation had gone out the window.
The self made man replaced the community leader as role model and the new model replaced the trusted old car. The new products rolled off the shelves nearly as quick as they were produced and dreams of utopia inspired newer, bigger, and better replacements even quicker. Which brings us to today.
We’re starting to see the drawbacks of this “throwaway society”. Consumer debt is at an all time high. Instead of working less, we’re working more. Do you realize a family with one income used to typically be able to buy a home, raise multiple children, and still have time to enjoy the home and kids? Now it’s all we can do to have two incomes support a rental home with one child– and forget about time to enjoy either.
The key to this problem lies in our perception of waste and the three values I’ve been telling you about.
For example: a few years ago, I started paying attention to the amount of “waste” I produced… amazingly, I was producing more than 15 pounds a week! Me, a single guy! What did I do? I started by recycling. Jars, pizza cartons, packaging, bottles, scrap paper. Next, I started to compost. My food scraps now create healthy soil for my garden. I was still producing to much waste. So I started to pay attention to packaging, refusing to buy overpackaged products. I was still producing several pounds of waste every week- so I started thinking of ways I could use waht was still going into my garbage…instead of tossing it. As an example, I’ve found over 70 uses for plastic grocery bags! Isn’t that amazing?

Poor Vago

An interview with a candidate for Mayor

Russ Weston Interview
…filtering that out and determining whether its critical or important or not or both or neither and uh that just comes down to the bottom line and people get emotional about things and I think its an interesting thing the uh third world country, people deal with things differently, and uh I think they deal with the critical and the important, if you make an appointment to get your car fixed in Mexico two days ahead of timeand you drop your car off at 3:00 and expect to pick it up at 5:00, well somebody brings their car in at 3:15 and they say hey, I’ve got a problem, it’s more important, and its important and its critical to them, the person that is working on the car, so they take that car first, before yours. and yours goes on the bottom. And thats how they work through issues wheras in our society we say well this guy had his appointment and its more critical that I keep my good name and deal with your appointment than delaing with your car, in different cultures its dealt with in differnt ways, but it seems like in our culture, we’ve gone into the everything is critical and important…
Chris…Working in advertising, let me tell you, I imagine Politics is the same…
R: I don’t know anything about Politics ( both laugh) but with answering and machines, beep beep beep, that must be important or it probably wouldn’t beep, no excuse me, it’s probably not important, and its probably not critical, it could be, but we’re all walking around with shock collars basicly. Some people the phone rings and then the answering machine picks it up, they go over and look and say well, thats from outside the area so I’m not gonna pick it up, some peoplle never answer their phone, I tend to run for the phone and its a reactionary thing. And if we’re in a purely reactionary world, you’re probably not preparing for the next step.
C: Who is Russ Weston, besides the moose mayor, what kind of a person are you?
R: Gregarious. I’m a gregarious person. I love people, I’m happily married and I guess some people percieve me as being too hyper. A friend of mine said to me and another old schoolmat “ If you guys were in school today, you’d both be on Ritalin” I enjoy a high level of activity, and this has been great, I’ve dealt with projects, typicly with city hall, the 11 years I was there, you’re dealing with multiple projects all the time, and its almost like three-d chess, you’re trying to figure out where youre gonna be next and it takes a high level of energy. People ask me about the election, were you excited about the 42% you got? but when you’ve been pasted to the cieling for the past six weeks you don’t go any higher. I enjoy a constant level of activity, you know about 10:30 my wife will say come to bed, I say just a sec and you know I’m there at 1:30 or 3:00. I run on the adrenaline. Live on coffe and altoids, but I get a balanced diet. I feel guilty having a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee and not reading the paper at the same time. It’s a guilt trip, theres more things to do. Slow down and eat your cereal in a common sense matter. The old indigestion commercial “ you eat too fast, you eat too fast” > Yeah, I operate at a high energy level, when I go somewhere,a lot of people see me running “ We see you putting in your yard signs and you’re running. Why are you running?” I’m running for mayor. I sleep well at night and I go during the day. My dad woke me up on his death bed. The last couple of months of his life and I spent the night with him and he woke me up at 2 or 3 in the morning and said “ You inherited something very special” and I said “What’s that Pop?” thinking aw gee, hes gonna tell me about the hidden treasure or something and he says “ The ability to live on about 15 minutes of sleep per night” Geez pop thanks for waking me up to tell me.
C: How do you play?
R: I don’t . My neighbors got all the exciting toys. I used to boat and golf, but the acitivity I enjoy most is interacting with people. I enjoy the rush, like when the boss calls your office and says “ I need to see you in my office” Whoa, the heart starts pounding and you’re short on breath. That’s a rush.
C: What do you do for joy? Outside of work?
R: I like to cut wood. We have a woodstove. I like gardening. And you notice we don’t have a lawn, theres a routine maintenance thing I don’t really appreciate. I cut lawns as a kid and its not exciting for me anymore, but someone calls up and says my car went off the cliff, can you help me get it out, hey I’m ready to go. Or a tree fell on my house, can you help me get it down, I put on the climbing spurs and do it.
I enjoy a diversity of tasks. I’m ready to go all the time. We’ve got a nice place here, we’ve planted 2 or 300 trees and uh . I like to pick up an apple off the ground, polish it on my shirt, and eat it.If theres a worm in the apple it doesn’t bother me, it’s just a little bit of meat there.
C: how do you feel about the county’s pro development stance in particular around the lake whatcom Watershed?
R: We need moderation and if you’re going to control the growth in the Lake Whatcom Watershed, we need a vested interest in it. Annexing it or buying it is one of the things that has to be done to control the resources, not necessarily to control the growth, but you have additional homes and you’ve got to deal with the probvlems you’ve got in the stormwater and sanitary area. Both of those are a problem in the county with the wells. The city services 50 square miles with sewer and watrer, even though theres only about 25 square miles incorporated. So we’re servicing a lot bigger area than we have incorporated and I think those areas, we will have a say in how the building goes, but if its owned by someone else you’re not going to have much to say about it.
C: what about The Drinking Water Initiative?
R: I came out early saying I wholeheartedly support that as an individual. But I will not use the honor and respect of the mayors office to unduly influence one way or the other, the citizen initiative. I think it’s totally inappropriate. There’s a balance of power. Legislative, judicial, and executive and the citizens have the right to bring forward any initiative they want, I think its the mayors duty to keep people informed on these initiatives. What are the upsides, what are the downsides? And the mayor can use the respect and honor of his office to obtain information and to share information.
C: What made you decide to run for mayor?
R: I was gonna run four years ago and my Dad was still alive and not in very good shape and there were eight or more candidates in the race and I felt like it would just be muddying the waters at that time. We had some outstanding debts, that we’ve since paid off. Our home is paid for, our car is paid for. I went to my wife last October and said should we get a new car or put it into a campaighn? And she said the Car is running just fine. I’ve got support from my wife. It’s a tremendous partnership. Opposites attract and that helps us moderate our thinking on a lot of issues.
C: If you were dictator for a day, How would you handle the Pipeline situation?
R: I’m not a politician. I come to you as a public servant. I love serving. I’ve served for the last 30 years of my life. Helping people find solutions to problems and needs, but they have to be clearly defined needs. I’m not an innovative person. People ask me are you a democrat or a republican and I say Math computer Science. Where’s that put me? Liberal or conservative? Math computer science. So I’ve learned to roll with the punches and do things according to the rules, because its simpler that way. To be dictator of the pipeline, I would still go back to the rules. What rules do we have that could solve this problem?Prevent it from happening agian. The most critical thing that the mayor has control over is the franchise agreement ran out in 1994, that could be a blaring help me, help me, solve this problem. And it wasn’t heeded and it wasn’t dealt with and according to the city charter, its the mayors duty to make sure that all contracts are upheld in court. That contract ran out and there was no attempt to renew it as far as I can tell. Let’s get the contract back in place so we know, so we have a two way communication with the party. I definately would not handle it as it was handled, to hire somebody to tease the big dogs with a little stick, go after the pipeline with a veangeance when they are so much bigger than the city of Belingham, they’re resources are tremendous. You know and many of the people in Bellingham probably have stock in the pipeline and don’t even know it through their mutual funds. It’s well financed, we’re not gonna beat the pipeline company. We can work cooperatively with them and say What do we need to know that you know, sharing information, and if there are anomolies in the pipe underneath our water treatment plant, to beat on em and say you gotta fix those is one thing, the other thing is to say, just let us know where they are. It’s our safety that we’re concerned with, you may not be, as a large corporation, but as a city as a resident, as a mayor, we’re concerned about the safety, tell us where the pitfalls are. And then we can work on em but without communication, nothing.
What kind of programs or activities do you suggest for kids? In particular low income kids in low income neighborhoods like the Roosevelt Neighborhood?
R: We’ve gott the YMCA, the boys and girls club, churches, the ice arena, the swimmingpool. We’ve got a lot of things out there for kids to do, but matching up kids with the appropriate activity is a tough thing to do. It’s my personal feeling that we can have the extra recreational opportunities in the community through private giving tenfold over what we get through public taking. Once you filter public taking through the system, only 10% comes out at the end. We’ve got the Syre museum, the childrens museum, and things like that that are privately done. They wouldn’t be possible without the private giving. And as public taking increases, private taking goes down. The federal government has backed off of a lot of social services programs that they provided, but they’ve given the money back to states and local communities to do something with and I think that’s a tremendous opportunity. But you’ve got to figure out what you want to do and I’m not creative.
What is your stance on the NRA?
I haven’t heard of anybody that was amember of the NRA who have done damage in schools, in churches, in the post office. I look at the NRA almost like the State Drivers License Agency, sure anyone can go out and buy a car then start driving, but they probably won’t be the safest driver. We have driver education programs in the school, publicly funded. The NRA serves that purpose from a private standpoint. They have educational programs that are wonderful. I took a course from the NRA when I was 15. I’m a member.,I’ve been a member for a long time. People accuse me of being a proud card carrying member. I don’t carry the card. I don’t flash the card and say “ I’m a member of the NRA and I’m coming to get you” I think its totally inappropriate. I belong to a lot of organzizations. I encourage diversity. When communication stops, you don’t know both sides. When I was president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, I’d go in the tavern and have a beer with the guys. They’re not a prohibitionist organization, but a lot of people thought that. So being part of society is where we’re at and some of the people in MADD are teetotalers, but they didn’t throw me out. So its getting along with other people and doing things in moderation. I think thats the key. People say are you a liberal or a conservative, well I’m a moderate, but compared to what?
How do you feel about the development on cemetary creek?
Yeah, on Fraser. It’s another surprise issue. The people that bought along fraser Street six months ago had no idea that the hammer was going to come down on them. It’s rude, unfortunate. You know I can see another potential with Calvary Temple. The city bought some apartments with Calvary Temple and there was an article in the paper the other day that within five years those aprtments are going to be destroyed to put in a parking lot. This may be the last time you hear about that if the incumbant is reelected. “ We warned you about it five years ago…Right! When the bulldozers come in and say we warned you five years ago. Theres got to be public interaction and public process. Communication. The goal is to have more single family residences and less multi family dwellings and it seems out of sync with the Benchmarks for Progress. We need dwelling spots but where are the people working who are living in the dwelling spots.
The Barracks?
It was a case of a lot of secrets, a lack of open process, and whether that was the best site or not will probably never be known. The fact that they painted signs on the street marking the water line before the residents even tknew the property had been sold, it was a slam bam, a lot of closed door dealing. I think that’s exactly what I want to avoid in public interaction. The mayor is working with Staff and the Coucil and it’s almost like a funnel squeezing on both sides and out squirts the mayor. Press releases, documentation, and tracking. The fourth meeting after the purchase was done, people were asking the same question as at the first meeting. Lack of tracking, lack of follow through.
Have you ever used Marijuana? How do you feel about drug policy?
I ahve never used hemp or Marijuana. I’ve smelled a lot of it. A lot of people consider alcohol and caffeine as a drug, so if you consider those drugs…I was having a beer when you showed up today. I drink too much coffee probably and it keeps me hyper, so I enjoy that. I’ve got a lot of friends that participate in extra curricular activities and its a tough decision on who to bust and who not to bust, but as the Mayor, it is the duty of the Mayor to make sure that all laws and ordinances are enforced. So if I walk into a joint and someone is having a joint, it is my duty to notify the authorities. So don’t invite me to your parties.
The moose? Are you a fan of Teddy Roosevelt? A fan of Bullwinkle? Or does your wife collect Moose memoralilia?
My wife has an extensive collection of Moose memorabilia, I’ve watched documentaries on Teddy Roosevelt and appreciate a lot of his comments and methods., but I’m not that kind of guy. Teddy Roosevelt used a bullmoose with its head down in a charging position and I would say mine is the happy moose party but not quite as entertaining as Bullwinkle.
I appreciate that you took the time to come to me and ask. An open dialogue is the solution. On the Herald Survey I just filled out the number one is diversity and communication. That needs to come first, even bvefore the watershed issue, if we don’t have that where are we gonna go.