Roots, Resistance, and Disco Balls

View from the window
View from my window in 2009. Yes, that’s a disco ball.


My first original essay for Gods&Radicals was posted today, entitled The Roots of Resistance:

Capital requires new markets to expand, but the earth is limited and we only need so much shit.  Enclosures are an old trick, and the displacement they cause generate both more profit for the rich, but do something even more vital for the smooth running of Capital: displaced peoples lack community, become desperate, and most significantly of all, have no access to their history.

Slaves hauled across oceans cannot visit the graves of their ancestors; peasants forced off land cannot visit the old wells and stones which rooted their world firmly in the other.  Old contracts with the land are broken, old gods forgotten, and the standards once used to judge if an act would serve the community or damage it fall away.

There’s a lot there.  One of things that has been missing from so many conversations about Gentrification is how it’s not precisely a new form, but is a hyper-efficient process developed by early Capitalists in the British Isles.

And one of the things that’s been missing from a lot of Pagan discourse is how disenchantment springs from the soil of uprooted peoples, a point first brilliantly made to me by my friend Sarenth Odinsson.  The uprooting of peoples has had a primary cause in the last 300 years–Capitalism.

And it’s precisely the intersection between Capitalism and Disenchantment that I’ve been trying to unravel for people over the last few years, that Capitalism and Pagan belief are forever at odds, and that you cannot hope to world back the gods when everything you plant becomes uprooted by the profit-seeking of the powerful.

Other things of interest:

That piece is part of a longer chapter of the book on Pagan Anti-Capitalism I’m finally turning my (very limited) attention towards.  I’m tentatively titling the book Throwing Open the Gates, but this may change.

It appears I’ll be speaking at Many Gods West on top of co-organizing.  We had an early cancellation (one I’m really bummed about, though I understand their scheduling difficulties).

Speaking of scheduling difficulties–since January, I’ve been working full-time, and since March I’ve been putting a lot of effort into Gods&Radicals.  On top of co-organizing Many Gods West.  On top of writing monthly for The Wild Hunt.  On top of working on the book.  This…hasn’t been easy, and I’m actively looking for ways to reduce the amount of time I spend selling my time as a Social Worker.  I have about 2 hours during any day when I’m not working on something, and I don’t think I can keep up such a state for much longer.  And as waged work is the least meaningful (to me) of everything I’m doing, it’s gonna have to go somehow.  Not sure how yet, because Capitalism.  But Capitalism never stops me for long.

Be well, dear people!



3 thoughts on “Roots, Resistance, and Disco Balls

  1. I’ve been wondering a lot recently about re-emchantment and points of contact between the worlds – a few ideas have been tentatively forming at the back of my conscious mind, and as of yet I can glimpse them only obliquely. What you identify, about communities severed from their roots in the name of capitalist progress, is heartbreakingly true. People forget how to love their land, and how vital this love is. Instead, here, we have “aspiration” (the ugly buzzword of early C21st British politics), encouraging people to turn their backs on the task of re-enchanting their unloved and unlovely home landscapes. The end of aspiration, as I see it, is having enough money to buy the luxury of turning a blind eye.

    As someone with a slightly rootless existence, a lot of my spiritual life has been spent navigating the need for re-enchantment within the limits of my (in)ability to make a physical, geographical commitment. Perhaps it is no wonder that the sea speaks to me the most. A lot of pagan discourse is centred on imagery drawn from the earth: roots and bones. I wonder whether water might give us another way to imagine our relationship (not to mention other elements): currents and tides; shorelines as points of contact. As mentioned, these are still only tentative ideas, but you have inspired me to try taking them a little further 🙂

    Good luck finding that balance!

  2. There’s a lot I’d love to speak further on with you in your latest piece…including some limited experience with the “bus transfer” trade even in my neck of the woods up here. 😉

    I’m about to move, it looks like…while I may not be getting a job in Seattle or Oregon, nonetheless I’m going to have to move to Whidbey from Fidalgo, which despite only being one island down, and returning literally to the land of my birth, nonetheless, is going to be a bit annoying as all occasions of moving are. It may happen before MGW, or perhaps just after…I’m not sure yet. As the buses between the two islands will be stopping as of late July, if I don’t have a way to get to work (such as the “work” is), I’ll be totally screwed, so thus moving. Ugh.

    In any case, see you on Sunday morning in Granite Falls!

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