The first time that I really got a taste of the Culture Wars was during Occupy in 2011. Occupy was an interesting moment because it brought people together from across the political spectrum; Marxist’s and Socialists, Tea Party Libertarian’s, members of The Zeitgeist Movement, Hare Krishna’s — all sorts of people were united against the so-called 1%. If there was any unifying mantra, it was that elites had accumulated too much wealth and power, that the post-2008 world was creating a lost generation and we should do something about that.
But Occupy failed because there was no real cohesive structural ideology behind it other than “this is what democracy looks like” with jazz hands.
Beyond this, the real reason was that the people who were not part of the 1% were becoming more and more polarised, that much is now clear. The reasons for the polarisations that followed however are much less clear; they are complex, systemic and multifaceted and the Culture Wars since 2011 have intensified and are now mainstream — affecting all of us in some way or other.
During Occupy I was attending the demos and I was also active in online discussions. At that stage I was still very naive, I didn’t have a real grasp on politics and I was not sure where I stood politically.
I remember casually mentioning David Icke in an online public discussion — I didn’t know a lot about him then, I just knew that he was talking about shapeshifting lizard people and elites and that interested me because Iv always been fascinated by extraterrestrials and paranormal subjects. When I did so, I had someone try to frame me as an antisemite; I was incredibly ignorant back then and all I really knew of antisemitism was the Holocaust. But the way this person was trying to attack me and frame me just because I mentioned Icke seemed insane — they were trying to bait me by asking me to clarify my position on the Protocols Of the Elders of Zion, which I had to look up on Wikipedia and of course I didn’t know what to say as id never heard of it, let alone read it, I didn’t see why I should have to clarify anything to them.
Jump forward a few years and I started noticing that a lot of listicles from the website Buzzfeed were being shared or appearing on my Newsfeed — this started to have a negative effect on me because I found the titles, the articles and the logic behind them to be dumb and annoying; A kind of self-righteous passive-aggressive anti-liberalism. I remember thinking, ‘if this is pissing me off it’s going to be pissing others off too, it’s going to push people further in the other direction and it’s going to get ugly’; which it did. That era, around 2013–2015 was the beginning of the movement towards the contemporary manifestation of woke/SJW Antifa culture and its antithesis — the red pill, MAGA, kekism and later QAnon.
A little later down the line the thing happened with LD50 gallery in London. With that situation I didn’t know much about their program, I later understood that they had some extreme right-wingers give talks but I didn’t check much up on that; I just saw that some people were aggressively trying to publicly shame the gallery owner because she supported Trump with the aim to take her down and get her cancelled.
My view was something like; whatever talks they are having, even if they are platforming some seriously hateful and disgusting views; the outrage mob and the tactics deployed to deal with it was worrying — this attitude of trying to publicly paint others as heretics, the public posting of private conversations, the screenshotting of comments, and the move to get them to shut down was taking things in a really dangerous direction — and thus Cancel Culture had arrived in my filter bubble and on my cultural doorstep; I was not a fan.
I made some enemies back then as I was not on the side of the SJW’s, my view was that they were also behaving like fascists. My politics are now much more clear, I don’t like authoritarian types or politics of fear and control; whether they be left or right — I define myself as anarchist/libertarian and spiritual — so a Mystical Anarchist, basically. The libertarian/authoritarian axis is more important to me than the other one. When it comes to the economic left/right margin I’m much more of a centrist. I may be persuaded either way; post-left libertarian, or libertarian-right; I’m not sure — it all depends on the situation, or I haven’t fully made up my mind.
I believe that God sees what you do, and you are responsible for your actions — if you are putting out hate, negativity and evil vibes; or if you are doing wrong to others, you will inevitably reap what you sow ☸️ — I remember seeing a documentary that featured a Christian couple who befriended the lady who killed their son, they forgave her. I thought that this was incredible. Recently I watched a Micheal Pailin episode that featured a family staying in a refugee camp somewhere in North Africa; Pailin asked them why they appeared so happy (I’m pretty sure they genuinely were) and the reply was “we are happy for what God gives us”; I also found this response incredibly moving, it shook me.
I don’t think that attempting to publicly shame or ridicule people, to bring them down and destroy their careers, or having the intention to shut down people and platforms that hold opinions that you don’t like is ever going to be the way forward and I will never support or respect that. It seems obvious that this kind of tactic will always inflame counter-reaction and make the situation worse. It seems to only represent resentment, control, miserablism and lack of a spiritual dimension.
I grew up listening to Dead Prez, I was fascinated by their perspectives on white supremacy; if they were angry with white people and had strong views on that — I respected their right to express it and the necessity to communicate the suffering of their people at the hands of whites, and I respected their fight for black liberation. I also shared much of their disdain for the system and their propensity for conspiracy theories;
“If you examine what they tellin’ us then you will understand what they planting in the seeds of the next generation — feeding our children miseducation — No one knows if there’s UFO’s or any life on Mars or what they do when they up in the stars because I don’t believe a word of what the President says, he filling our head with lies, got us hypnotised…”
I support black liberation and black freedom movements, but I also think many of these have suffered in modern times due to what could be defined as a cultural hegemony that has co-opted them away from meaningful politics and towards an absorption into the new world system, dare I say that they have been “neo-liberalised”, smothered and globalised by woke-capital? Many were also infiltrated by Marxist ideology, and it is often presented as though Marxist-Communism is the only radical political option, but Dead Prez were mixing socialist ideas with a combination of individualism, collectivism and conspiratorial-libertarianism, spirituality and organic naturalism.
‘Neoliberalism’ (I don’t like the term but I can’t think of a better one (modernism?)) is afraid of real black liberation — which is why it vapidly shows support for BLM with no real grasp of the potential for true and emancipatory black politics — which are suffering as they are being eaten away and co-opted by woke capitalism; just like so much else.
To return to my anecdotal experience of Cancel Culture — from Occupy to LD50 and thereafter, until only recently I was not able to stand up for myself and my beliefs and I was not able to articulate myself, so I didn’t speak out. I got negatively affected by the fact that I didn’t agree with the SJW types, I fell more and more out of love with the controlling Left (I was exiting the Vampires Castle, you could say- a reminder that Mark Fisher was not a fan of the Authoritarian Left), but at the same time I was still worried that I might be cancelled or shamed by my peers for having committed some kind of wrong-think; it was causing me intense anxiety and affecting my relationships.
It is only recently that I have started to stand up for myself. And now I have become more vocal and knowledgeable and can articulate my thoughts more fully (to the shock and destain of some people) — without being afraid to do so. Other than generally gaining more confidence; the big one is that I no longer care about being cancelled or what may be said about me. I hardly want to be a part of any of these institutions or platforms anyway — I used to care and try to fit in, but I no longer believe in them or their future; it’s dead to me.
The system, the media, the academia, the dominant institutions of our time, have already collapsed into obsolescence as far as I can see — one of the tenets of mystical anarchism is that you make yourself nothing, and then they cannot harm you. If they go so far as to burn you at the stake — you look into their eyes and smile, You know that you are with God, they can’t really touch you or bring you down if you reject all that they represent or stand for. It’s liberating.
Whatsmore you are unaffected by the things they say of you or write of you — since you get to define your morals and sense of right and wrong in the eyes of God — they can think and say what they like, it means nothing. There is an element of ego dissolution combined with egoism — the central heresy of mystical anarchism is that you essentially become God; in that the kingdom of God is within you, not the church.
We are all God as God is within us all, this makes you indifferent to the state or to the mob mentality; whatever they do to you.
And thus you are no longer part of their world. It’s an ‘acrimonious divorce’ as David Wilcock put it.
Of course, this will likely affect your career and ability to earn money and you will probably find out who your real friends are — even if you haven’t been formally or officially cancelled, you will likely be dropped and not picked up again if you express the ‘wrong opinions’ on social media, in your writing, Art etc.
That’s the cross you bear.
So what comes after Cancel culture? Freedom, liberation, no more fear… but also shunning and exclusion — but that is OK if you can handle it.
And beyond this — We are beginning to form new arrangements and more meaningful connections as we start to operate within new algorithmic post-web 2.0 systems. Maybe Web 3.0 and next-level artificial intelligence, if it doesn’t destroy or enslave us; will bring a new sense of wonder and meaning to our lives. It could help us develop to our full potential and connect with others in more profound ways; it could transform society.
Society sucked anyway, all of the meaningless consumerism and materialism — the vapid attention based aesthetics, the futility of gain and status and notoriety at the expense of our true potential and our true selves.
If AI can be used to help us make better sense of our lives, and to interweave with new currents that operate outside of the institutional systems
– which will become less and less relevant and detached from reality as time goes on, we will move underground; where truly new and exciting things begin to happen.
It is the matrix, after all.