accidental anarchist

Carne Ross

Observer New Review (@ObsNewReview) tweeted at 4:35 AM – 9 Jul 2017 :

Ex-diplomat @carneross’s case for anarchism: how a former Middle East adviser lost his faith in western democracy (

The grandson of one of Bletchley Park’s wartime codebreakers

In Accidental Anarchist, a new documentary that details Ross’s political transformation, the former diplomat speaks of his disillusionment with his job following a visit to the British embassy in Kabul in 2002.



He took a year’s sabbatical and read about political alternatives. Meanwhile the war in Iraq started, following an active campaign by the Blair government to ensure that Britain took part in the invasion. In the film, Ross is damning of this decision: “They had deliberately misled the public by claiming that Iraq was a threat when it wasn’t and that there were no alternatives to war when there were. To lie to the public and to the servicemen and women you’re sending to war is the gravest of disservices… that’s the worst thing any government can possibly do.”

The answer to the second question, according to Ross and many theorists, is that you ensure the “people” retain power through mass participation. But the problem with that proviso is that, by and large, most people don’t really like sitting around in meetings for hours on end listening to other people’s arguments and complaints. If representative democracy has one overriding advantage, it’s that we appoint other people to sit in the boring meetings we don’t want to attend.

a nother way – sans meetings.. redefine decision making

He believes that if people had a say over the future of their local hospital or local school then they would show up, “however boring the meeting, because you really give a shit about it”.

why meetings..? w today’s tech capabilities..

Ross’s idealism is the kind that strains to find some means of politics that recognises the deepest emotions. “With the most important things to humans we have only the vaguest terms to communicate them: love, community, solidarity, meaning, purpose, spirit, soul – the feeling of them is certainly not captured by a vote or a GDP statistic. I believe anarchism promotes these things.”

let’s try 2 convos.. [via idio jargon – our means to communicate words or no words..] the day

a nother wayhlb that io dance




“We do not need the government. We do not use them. We have our own indigenous government. We have different problems now, but we are finding the solutions ourselves. …Our organisation is stronger. Things changed because we organised ourselves.” #EZLN

Original Tweet:

notes/quotes watching documentary

i was looking for political ideas i could believe in.. a better way of doing things (year off.. random reading at the library)

meets w/david kelly.. then suicide.. that was a moment of rupture.. after which .. there was no going back

oh my

17 min – they had deliberately misled the public by claiming iraq was a threat when it wasn’t.. and claiming that there were no alts to war when there were.. to lie to the public and to the men/women you’re sending to war is the gravest of disservices.. govt is established to provide security for the people.. and to lie about war.. to make false decisions about war.. that’s the worst thing any govt can possibly do

dirty wars

when i was at the un.. you could guarantee that the people most effected.. were never in the room.. i set up an ngo to try to address that: independent diplomat.. advisory.. believing that people should be part of the decisions that effect them

sitting w daughter.. watching tv.. by chance i heard about complexity theory.. it changed the way i saw the world.. i grew up believing govt type of machine and complicated.. once you figure it out can control input output.. but.. the world is not complicated/knowable.. it is complex.. billions of actors in constant motion.. acting and reacting to each other and reacting back again.. a highly connected.. constantly fluid state between order and chaos..t

top down authority does not work in a complex system.. because the state of the system is unknowable.. t.. we can never be sure what the consequence of any one action will be

rory stewart: (after talking about politicians being powerless).. oddly .. waging a war is one of the things that is easier to do.. because it’s about other people’s countries

22 min – complexity theory tells us that when a system reaches a critical state.. only one tiny event can make the whole thing shift.. ie: when mohammad set himself on fire.. arab spring.. consequences are still playing out today

we think we need to be big to be powerful.. but in fact.. we can be small


2011 in us.. occupy wall street.. occupies great achievement was to make equality a political issue.. turned anger into action


24 min – michael primo: people are naturally collaborative.. and that given the opportunity.. people want to work together in community to solve problems.. inherently.. we understand that we have power together.. rather than what’s taught to us .. this dog eat dog notion of competition.. we need to be able to unlock our imagination.. and to be able to even dream out of that paradigm.. how do i dream..? i dream by helping people take over the streets

imagination.. competition

oct 2012 – hurricane sandy hit nyc

25 min – michael and tammy shapiro: we were able to use networks.. much more effective than ie: fema.. and other institutions that are set up to do relief

occupy sandy

tammy: these momsent like sandy are moments we expand the perception of what’s really going on.. ie: i thought govt would always be there.. and this is showing they’re not

puerto rico

26 min – so in crises.. ground up networks work better than top down govt.. this is what i was looking for.. a politics where the people w most at stake were in control.. self org.. no hierarchy.. a philosophy that most regard as radical and totally impractical.. anarch\ism

self org


noam: anarchism is a pretty big sweep.. but basic conception is that humans have a fundamental need/right for free/creative work/life under their own control.. meaning any kind of hierarchy (boss/worker.. slave.. ) any kind of hierarchy .. is going to have to justify itself.. and if it can’t.. ought to be dismantled and replaced by a more free cooperative participatory society.. probably peak of modern anarchism was *spain in the 1930s

when asked if he thought he might be being too optimistic in believing in the good will of people.. noam said perhaps.. but the other side is being moreso.. in believing in the good will of single leaders


*david‘s father – why he knew it was possible

27 min – first heard about anarchism by my fav author.. george orwell’s homage to catalonia: barcelona was something startling and overwhelming


1936 – anarchism actually put into practice as a philosophy.. workers took charge.. and afterwards.. govt decreed worker control

orwell: it was the first time i’d ever been in a town where the workers were in the saddle.. a surge of possibility.. of equality and freedom.. human beings were trying to behave as human beings and not as cogs in a capitalist machine

31 min – but in 1937 stalin decided this was something he could not allow.. genuine people’s revolution.. to succeed.. where communists attacked the anarchists.. the anarchist revolution brought to an end.. and it happened.. at telephone exchange

32 min – although fascist rule ended in 1975.. today’s spain still has widespread deprivation.. high unemployment and ineq..  then an occupy farmland.. happened led by juan.. govt eventually gave us the land.. we didn’t want ownership of it .. we wanted use of it

elizabeth pozo guerrero – explaining the buildings going up for people to live in.. don’t have to pay for if help build.. i think this system should be everywhere

juan: in reality.. if you change life in one single place.. you are changing the world.. that’s why i believe that a revolutionary act in any given place is a revolutionary act all over the world.. even in capitalism.. able to show that another world/reality is possible.. and dreams can flourish even where there’s no utopia.. and i believe that if we persist.. these dreams will triumph


38 min – i get money from rich people to support this work.. i was just about ready to ask richard branson.. when i see.. he’s having a kite festival where one of the most inspiring (tortured) woman i know.. realized.. we are dependent on the very people who are the status quo to change that status quo..t.. it doesn’t make sense.. there is something very wrong with this model.. and i’m really really struggling with that right now..

39 min – then read about abdullah .. in solitary for fighting kurds to protect people in turkey..

while in solitary he (adbullah) read the ecology of freedom by murray bookchin

murray: people’s movement.. anarchism was not invented in the british museums like socialism

he explored.. he went back to first principles.. what is it that works.. how do people really interact face to face.. how do people live richly.. and from there he developed what became communalism.. but a theory of anarchism basically.. and he also blended that w ecology

maté basic needs.. via  2 convos

ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way

41 min – murray bookchin: we have to realize today that there are millions of people.. who under different names.. are really anarchists.. deep in the culture of the people is the desire to regain their power to create their own institutions/lifeways.. to take control of their lives..t

when abdullah read bookchin.. he decided this was the answer.. he adapted bookchin’s ideas for the kurdish struggle.. this was self govt w/o a state for people w/o a state.. and these ideas are coming to life in a country at war

42 min – syria.. and i’m going into rojava – it sounds like everything i’ve been thinking about is in practice here..



43 min – in this corner of syria.. something extraordinary is going on.. whether it is replicable.. whether there are things we can learn for the rest of the world.. is what we’re crossing the river for

in the un where the future of syria is being negotiated.. rojava doesn’t even get discussed.. the syrian kurds don’t have a place at the table.. but something is happening here

44 min – democratic experiment in rojava came to life in 2012 .. when large parts of the assad regime collapsed in syria..

amina ossi – deputy foreign minister: the assad regime pushed sectarian conflict.. this is the only place it didn’t exist.. we encourage everyone to work together

47 min – as far as possible decisions are made locally

50 min – for anarchists.. this is like republican spain during the civil war

we’re 8 km from the isis line.. in ypg nobody has ranks .. they just have teams.. non hierarchical

53 min – attackers (isis) say they don’t like coming to front line.. because won’t go to paradise if killed by a women  (army of young women)

fighter: our aim is to protect our homeland.. culture.. language.. first you have to free women.. w/o free women you don’t have a free society

54 min – rojava shows the world there is a better way of doing things.. they are the people fighting the world’s war against this horror.. the problem is.. nobody is listening to them.. and countries like america who is at war here.. is not talking to them on a political level..

55 min – i have never felt more solidarity with a cause.. with these people here.. this is what i’d like to do.. this is for me.. and i’m really sad to leave

56 min – it’s like coming back out of the rabbit hole.. what did i see.. was it real.. can it happen here.. and i’m greatly upset by it because i feel that they’re fighting an epic fight.. and here.. we’re talking about a new iphone.. et al

well.. not all of us.. right..? incarcerateds.. like kalief.. evicteds.. et al

so the bile (?) rises.. and we think we’re better than them.. we think we have a superior system.. and i’m like.. who’s the idiot here

this is not ridiculous

57 min – the basic claim of govt is to provide order.. but the evidence suggests.. disorder.. and as they lose control.. the response of govts will be more intrusion/coercion.. this is the future.. unless we act..

the opposite of govt imposed order is not chaos.. there’s a deeper order.. concealed w/in human society.. which relies not upon coercion but cooperation and trust.. t.. built not by govts/politicians.. but by people who realize at last their own true power.. but this won’t happen on its own.. it’s up to us..

as it could be: deep\simple\open enough for all of us

a nother way