Congratulations, it’s 2015

I’ve been absent from WordPress for a bit more than a month, now (I had a lot of blogs to catch up on over the past fews days). I’ll be back to my regular weekly updates starting with this one.

A quick update on the progress [ha!] of the bike:

Despite multiple attempts, the bolt holding the swing arm (driveshaft) to the frame has still not come out. After a couple hours of dilegent searching online I found that what is needed is a custom fabricated socket drive, 27mm. Since I have a couple different 27mm sockets lying around the house, and my dad has an angle grinder, I think I’m just going to attempt to grind down the walls of the socket in order to get it to fit in the bike.

Most of the engine pieces which are off the main body/frame have been cleaned. I made a pass on the main engine body, but it’s hard to do the detail work while it’s still inside the frame.

One thing left for me to decide is whether or not I want to paint the engine, and if I do, what the best method for doing that may be. Powder coating is one option, but I’m not sure how it would be best to send it to the coaters.

The frame will definitely get powder coated, it will stay matte black, the handlebars as well.

The tank, fenders, etc will be painted either green or red.

My goal is to have everything ready to send to the powder coaters/painters by the end of the month. That means I have to hustle to get the engine out, over to Alan’s and tuned up.

Money is going to be tight this month.

Obligatory hopes and resolutions for the new year:

I don’t really do new year’s resolutions, I never have and I don’t exactly plan to start. I do, however, have a laundry-list of things I want to be better about. There are, of course, the standard lines of eating healthier, working out, saving money, and other typical crap. RIght now I want to focus a bit more on serious considerations.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what I want my ideal world to look like. How would people treat each other? I’ve said before, both in my beliefs section and here that I believe people should be free and equal, and should treat others as such.

Recently, in an email exchange with a good friend of mine, I laid out (in a rather lengthy fashion), why I believe that both violence and capitalism are incompatible with the core principles of anarchist theory [as I see them and as eloquently written up here]. While I haven’t ever considered myself a true pacifist (as defined below), I’m beginning to see it as an integral part of my belief in an ideally egalitarian society.

pacifism

: opposition to war or violence as a means of settling disputes; specifically:  refusal to bear arms on moral or religious grounds

[From Concise Encyclopedia]…conceived of pax, or peace, as a covenant between states or kingdoms that creates a “just” situation based on mutual recognition.

source

So I’ve been converted. I’m a pacifist. What does that mean? Can I not play video games with violence? Is killing and eating animals out of the question? No more Jason Statham movies for me? I’m not entirely sure, to be honest. Certainly it means I should avoid violence in my own life, and do my best to protect and discourage those around me from it.

One way I can do those things is by trying to abandon the violence in my vocabulary. I can reduce my endorsement of violent media (like those Jason Statham movies), not by abandoning them entirely, per se, but by not recommending them to others or openly critiquing their stance as violence being justifiable.

Why have I been converted to pacifism, and why do I see it as incompatible with anarchism? It’s rather simple, really. If anarchism advocates anti-authoritarian principles and non-coercive persuasion, violence clearly stands opposed to both of those ideals. From my email with Nick:

…some might say that matching the threat of violence, or violence itself, with action equal is acceptable because it balances the playing field, so to speak. Basically it is said to remove the coercive element by equalizing all parties. I’m not sure this is a rational way of looking at it, nor do I think it promotes an anti-oppressive society. I think meeting violence (or the threat thereof) with the same means that every member of society must then adopt the same level of pre-oppressive tactics.

If each member of society must be prepared to meet violence (because of the perpetual threat of it) as an accepted function of society, it does not reduce the amount of oppression or coercion felt, it increased the amount of those things as a whole, which is the opposite of the goal of anarchism.


Likewise, capitalism stands in direct opposition to the goals of an anarchist society. I’ve written briefly about wage slavery before, which plays quite a bit into the anarchist opposition to capital. Beyond that, I do not see a way in which capital can exist without authority or coercion. Again, from my email with Nick:

…money becomes a barrier over which people much climb in order to gain access to various goods and services.

Even if those goods and services were strictly luxuries, [we]’re still saying that, by default, some people are incapable of accessing them, which means you no longer have a society based on equality.

If we assume that people do only what is required to gain the product, at no profit to anyone, we have to ask two questions: first, who determined the value of the product (was the value determined based on horizontal/democratic systems and were all participants rewarded equally); second, who decides what is enough/required—if it’s based on money, who gives the money value. The problem here is that it requires someone besides the individual who wants the luxury good and the producers of the good to establish and sustain some sort of minimum threshold, which translates to a hierarchy which is not horizontal and democratic.
It places a control on the exchange of products of labor, which is part of what anarchy seeks to eliminate.

Looking forward, into 2015, I want to take this information and act upon it. Both pieces, and more. I want to remain critical of the world around me, questioning the values and the accepted truths of society as a default response. I will question more and probe further as the year (and my life) progresses. That is almost a given.

What I want to focus on, beginning now, is turning those questions and that thinking into action. To change my behavior—sometimes in small ways, sometimes in major ways—to better reflect the values I come to hold.

That means adopting a more steadfast stance on pacifism and figuring out what that means in terms of my consumption of media (games, movies, etc.).

That means standing more opposed to capitalism—not just in theory or in rhetorical discussion, but in practice and in the way I live.

What those will come to look like in terms of my daily life I don’t yet know, but after a few years of exploring and questioning values and theories I believe I have a good plot of ground to stand on in terms of putting those theories into practice. This isn’t some final act, however, I will continue to expand and adjust my theory and my ideals as I expose myself to different aspects of the world around me. I will refine and adapt my practices to find the best compromise between my ideals and the reality of the world.

That is the direction I am pointing myself in for 2015. I’ll be posting the evolution of my thoughts here, as well as the progress on the BMW as they both move forward.

See you next week!

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