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Hakim Bey Joins the IWW (1991)


Hakim Bey, the Association for Ontological Anarchy

People who think that they know our politics, who know that we are individualists (or even worse, “neo-individualists”), will no doubt be shocked to discover us taking an interest in the IWW. They’ll be even more flabbergasted to hear that Mark Sullivan & I joined the NY Artists & Writers Job Branch of the IWW this January at the urging of Mel Most (who subsequently went & died on us!). Actually, we’re a bit shocked ourselves. “Never complain, never explain” ……; but perhaps this time we’ll relax the rule a bit — hence the apologia.

The Mackay Society, of which Mark & I are active members, is devoted to the anarchism of Max Stirner, Benj. Tucker & John Henry Mackay. Moreover, I’ve associated myself with various currents of post-situationism, “zero work”, neo-dada, autonomia & “type 3” anarchy, all of which are supposed to be anathema to the IWW & syndicalism in general. Other members of the NY Artists Branch are also individualists or pacifist-anarchists (in the Julian Beck line of transmission); some unease has already been expressed during meetings about the Preamble & other IWW texts…..; so, aside from making a sentimental gesture in honor of Mel’s memory….. why are we collaborating with the IWW?

First: what’s wrong with a little sentiment? When I first discovered anarchism at about 12 or 13 I wanted to be a hobo (more practical ambition than piracy, I figured), & the Wobbly organizers appeared to me as authentic American heros. I still think so.

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