It seems this blog is becoming a catalog of the madness of our present political era. Yet another individual has seen fit to indulge his capacity for evil, in the name of good. This time, from the left rather than the right.
A 69 year old man man by the name of Willem van Spronsen, apparently a WWII immigrant from a Scandinavian country, living in Tacoma, Washington, cobbled together a manifesto, of sorts, and marched off to an ICE detention center with the goal of lighting it on fire, and getting himself killed.
There is some question as to the true motives of this man. He was apparently embroiled in a custody battle with his now ex-wife. But I think questioning the psychological motives of men like this (i.e., whether they were “genuinely” driven by political purposes, or whether they just wanted a way to commit suicide in a blaze of glory) is to miss the point. Whether this was a personally motivated suicide, or a politically motivated attack, it was nonetheless political violence. That political violence is becoming a du jur feature of American political life, is a fact that should seriously concern every American. Do we really want to live in a society in which political decisions are made on the basis of who’s mob has more military preparedness?
A couple points of interest, before I post the man’s manifesto (such as it is).
First, there is an interesting parallel, here. This kind of political violence was once quite common in the United States. Turn of the 20th century New York City was the scene of an immigration crisis. Tens of thousands of impoverished Russians and Germans were overflowing the slums of the city, and among them, hid hundreds of Bakunin and Kropotkin anarchists. They were responsible for dozens of bombings, assassination attempts (including McKinley), labor riots, and petty murders throughout the first decade and a half of the 20th century. The chaos became so severe, that it was the impetus for the very first wave of strict immigration laws in the US. Among these criminals, two individuals assumed leadership roles: Emma Goldman and Alexander (Sasha) Berkman. Berkman especially, and then later Goldman, were entirely dedicated to the use of political violence as a tool of political change. Berkman actually attempted (and failed) at least one assassination, for which he served almost a decade in prison. Goldman was more coy about her support for violence. Publicly, her speeches, while firebrand, would demure to others to address the question of violence. She wanted to be seen by the public who attended her lectures, as socially acceptable. Berkman’s overt tactics weren’t helping that. In any case, van Spronsen names Emma Goldman as a hero, in his manifesto (which you shall soon see). It seems to me, he should have named Berkman, given that he was a bumbling failure.
Second, it’s fascinating to me how easy it was to obtain this manifesto. When the two previous shooters manifestos were published, I had to hunt for several days before I could obtain a copy. This ended up being a PASTEBIN link, right out in the open on Twitter. Suddenly, the manifestos of crazed killers are no longer something we have to hide from children, for fear of radicalizing them. Why is that?
Also, I cannot help but notice an additional fascinating reverse trend surrounding this shooter. For all the center-right’s “1776” bluster, whenever anyone actually goes over the edge and “takes up arms”, it is quick to distance itself from radical violence, and quick to denounce people like Brenton Tarrant as unrepresentative of conservatism or right-wing views in general. But the left takes the opposite tack. Instead of vocally denouncing Spronsen, the center-left just ignores the story altogether, and leaves the field of commentary open to their radical fringe — all of whom are now praising this man as a “folk hero” and a “martyr for the cause”. Why is that? Il Duce’s black shirts were proud of their violence. Likewise, the perpetrators of Kristalnacht. These groups are usually characterized as being on the “far right”. But, from where I’m sitting, it seems the people who act this way are not the heirs of Edmund Burke, but Mikhail Bakunin. What are the implications of this?
Finally, I cannot help but notice a marked similarity in these manifestos (both left and right). The intensity of the idealistic sentimentality involved is striking. Whether we’re reading about the glorious past to who’s past defenders we owe a debt of ultimate gratitude, or we’re reading in this manifesto about the glorious future to who’s fruition we owe a duty of ultimate commitment, these men are desperate for membership in a cause greater than themselves, and eager to believe they’ve found it. What’s also similar, is the degree of moral certainty. Both have somehow achieved an absolute commitment to a moral compass that is both indubitable in their own minds, and diametrically opposed, in reality. Next, is the fact that they all seem to think they’re talking to an audience that is sympathetic to their cause. While the right-wing manifestos include sections in which the author is addressing ostensible enemies, there is still a clear sense that he is imagining sympathetic eyes reading those passages as spectators. Finally, they all think their mission is to instigate more violence. This and the Tarrant manifesto are both explicit about this. They all imagine themselves to be the vanguard of some in-the-near-future army of revolutionaries, who just need one man to take a bullet for the rest of us to pluck up the courage to revolt.
The mindset of these people is tragic and horrifying. If any of them actually did inspire a war, it would mean that the whole of society had become infected by whatever sickness it is that infects them. I pray that day never comes. In any case, here is the manifesto, in all its hideousness:
there's wrong and there's right.
it's time to take action against the forces of evil.
evil says one life is worth less than the other.
evil says the flow of commerce is our purpose here.
evil says the concentration camps should be more humane.
beware the centrist.
i have a father's broken heart
i have a broken down old body
and i have an unshakeable abhorrence of unjustice
that is what brings me here
this is my clear opportunity to try and make a difference, i'd be an ingrate to be waiting for a more obvious invitation
i follow three teachers:
don pritts(?), my spiritual guide, "love without action is just a word."
john brown, my moral guide, "what is needed is action!"
emma goldman, my political guide, "if i can't dance i don't want to be in your revolution"
i'm a head in the clouds dreamer, i believe in love and redemption.
i believe we're going to win.
i'm joyfully revolutionary. (we all should have been reading emma goldman in school instead of the jingo drivel we were fed, but i digress.)
(we should all be looking at the photos of the YPJ heroes should we falter and think our dreams are impossible, but i double digress, fight me.)
in these days of fascist hooligans preying on vulnerable people on our streets, in the name of the state or supported by the state.
in these days of highly profitable detention/ concentration camps and a battle over the semantics.
in these days of hopelessness, empty pursuit and and endless yearning.
we are living in a visible fascism ascendant. (i say visible, because those paying attention watched it survive and thrive under the protection of the state for decades. [see howard zinn: "a people's history of the united states.) now it unabashedly follows its agenda with open and full cooperation from the government, from governments around the world.
fascism serves the needs of the state serves the needs of business and at your expense. who benefits? jeff bezos, warren buffet, elon musk, tim cook, bill gates, betsy de vos, george soros, donald trump, and need i go on? let me say it again: rich guys, (who think you're not really all that good,) really dig government, (every government everywhere, including "communist" governments) because they make the rules that make the rich guys richer.
don't overthink it.
(are you patriots in the back paying attention?)
when i was a boy in postwar holland, later france, my head was filled with stories of the rise of fascism in the 30's. i promised myself that i would not be one of those who stands by as neighbors are torn from their homes and imprisoned for somehow being perceived as lesser.
you don't have to burn the motherfucker down, but are you just going to stand by?
this is the test of our fundamental belief in real freedom and our responsibility to each other.
this is a call to patriots, too, to stand against this travesty against everything that you hold sacred. i know you.
i know that in your hearts, you see dishonor in these camps. it's time for you, too, to stand up to the money pulling the strings of every goddamn puppet pretending to represent us.
i'm a man who loves you all and this spinning ball so much that i'm going to fulfill my childhood promise to myself to be noble.
here it is, in these corporate for profit concentration camps.
here it is, in brown and non conforming folks afraid to show their faces for fear of the police/ migra/ proud boys/ the boss/beckies…
here it is, a planet almost used up by the market's greed.
i'm a black and white thinker.
detention camps are an abomination.
i'm not standing by.
i really shouldn't have to say any more than this.
i set aside my broken heart and heal the only way i know how- by being useful.
i efficiently compartmentalize my pain…
and i joyfully go about this work.
(to those burdened with the wreckage from my actions, i hope that you will make the best use of that burden.)
to my comrades:
i regret that i will miss the rest of the revolution.
thank you for the honor of having been in your midst.
giving me space to be useful, to feel that i was fulfilling my ideals, has been the spiritual pinnacle of my life.
doing what i can to help protect my precious and wondrous people is an experience too rich to describe.
my trans comrades have transformed me. solidifying my conviction that we will be guided to a dreamed future by those most marginalized among us today. i have dreamted it so clearly that i have no regret for not seeing how it turns out. thank you for bringing me so far along.
i am antifa. i stand with my comrades from around the world who act from the love of life in every permutation, comrades who understand that freedom means real freedom for all and life worth living.
keep the faith!
all power to the people!
audio manifesto: theSuper8.bandcamp.com
don't let your silly government agencies "investigate" this one. i was radicalized in civics class at 13 when we were taught about the electoral college. it was at that point that i decided that the status quo might be a house of cards. further reading confirmed in the positive. i recommend reading!
i am not affiliated with any organization, i had disaffiliated from any organizations who disagree with my choice of tactics.
the semi automatic weapon i used was a cheap, home built unregistered "ghost" ar15, had six magazines. i strongly encourage comrades and incoming comrades to arm themselves. we are now responsible for defending people from the predatory state. ignore the law in arming yourself, if you have the luxury. i did.