(December 28th, 2018)
The new year is only a few days off and with it we are wishing our bests to the year of 2018 as we wave so-long in the review view mirror. I’m not sure about you, but I for one welcome the new year, however picayune it may actually be. Party this January (pizza that is)!
The days off, reflecting on another year of life, of music, of texts, and projects seems like a nice way to round everything off. Create ideas and plans for the new year, for the coming years, although I’m not really sure if I have a five year plan as mentioned by some on this podcast. At least not something deemed such, more like a life project, where the years aren’t that important, but perhaps that because I’ll be an over-the-hill anarchist by then. Always in it for the long run.
This has been a year of many things, but for this editorial lets take a look and see what we can learn from some events that have happened over this past year, all culminating together last weekend or so. We’re talking about relationships, exclusion, the shutdown of discussions, platforming and deplatforming, a lack of critical thinking, the cult of personality, and a dogmatic groupthink. We’re talking about the life and death of Doctor Bones.
Dr. Bones was a relative new kid on the block these last few years, a proverbial “man from Florida” as the popular saying goes for the weird shit that often goes on there. They were a self-styled gonzo journalist in the likeliness of Hunter S. Thompson, who quickly launched themselves into the limelight of egoism and the left. They had all the best friends from the most popular antifa writers to handful of loyal Twitter followers willing to pay him money each month via Patreon to help his living expenses. Obviously I’m doing something wrong.
Dr. Bones wrote desperate and offensive attacks against Wolfi, Little Black Cart, Anarchist News dot org, and friends that really made a name for them among people who are against those kind of things. Famously the “Blocked by Bones Club” on Twitter sprung up, of people who they would block who disagreed with them like the pinnacle of blissful ignorance or an ungrateful little prick who doesn’t even have a 3rd grade reading level of critique.
They co-hosted the now defunct (love and solidarity, rest in power comrade!) “The Guillotine” podcast with a Maoist while trying to hype everything to the next level. Often careless of what they were actually saying or thinking, as in one breath they would praise antifa fighting against the alt-right and government and in the next breath all praise be to the State and government of Cuba. Laugh out fucking loud. What anarchist in their right mind could listen to this absurdity without calling out their support for El Commandante and Dr. Ché? Apparently, not enough as they became the larger than life, figure of radical left Twitter or whatever that means.
In the end, Dr. Bones wasn’t brought down by their ideas, writings, or political acts, but rather by the relationships they formed outside of their public appearance. The cult of personality all came crumbling down last weekend or so, as another Twitter user revealed their relationship to Dr. Bones for all the public to read and digest. Dr. Bones was found guilty of “to have been grooming one of our comrades for sexual favours as well as objectifying trans sex workers, drink driving and other assorted shitty behaviours.” - The Guillontine. Dr. Bones followed up by calling it quits, vowing to never write anything again, and basically deleted their website, Patreon, Twitter, and whatever else. The publisher of their book, Gods and Radicals, who they previously severed ties with over eco-extremism some months earlier also pulled all of their books from distribution(why not after the eco-extremism tirade?), along with various other anarchist-friendly bookstores around the USA. A quick search online today revealed that I couldn’t find their book for sale anywhere. Hopefully, it doesn’t become a giant commodity icon selling for hundreds and thousands of dollars down-the-road like the recent CrimethInc. children’s book from years ago, turned out to be.
On anarchist justice: we don’t wish to publicize crimes over the Internet and put people in danger, but how else could have this played out, could be a good starting point. Perhaps on a more local level, but the actors involved are States away from each other and quite frankly as much as I despised Dr. Bones before, I’d like to see less anarchists (and their friends) put up against the Twitter firing squad, although we may find it funny, as one wrote on Twitter - “if someone could collect Dr. Bones tears and put a hex on them for us.”
On a different scale, but related this sense of public call-outs played out recently in the Northeast of the USA, when a well-known anarchist organizer (think Black Rose Anarchist Federation) resigned from their job over allegations of sexual misconduct and emotional abuse to their former partners. Who knows what happened internally, (and thank you), but they just quit their job over some relationship stuff from the early 2000s and 2010s and got banned from a local anarchist hangout. Originally, it was publicized over social media and eventually made it to the newsprint of the local paper, the same week Dr. Bones quit.
On giving up so easily: Did it ever really matter to Dr. Bones? It doesn’t seem so, although from who they appeared to be, it seems like they’re simply acting out the social norms of their peers, and as unfortunate as it may be, this is what the majority of people do in these types of situations. Perhaps, this says more about the people who were Dr. Bones aficionados, rather than actual anarchists in it for the long run, but it is still intriguing, and hopefully a note taken. The way in which we build and destroy relationships, deal with drama and tragedy, is exactly who we are as anarchists. For some, it’s all they’ve ever known.
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