Days of War, Nights of Love – CrimethInc

I’ve been searching for a book to recommend to people interested in learning about radicalism and anarchy. And I think this is it!

“Days of War, Nights of Love” is a critique of the current system, and doesn’t focus on a theoretical anarchist future, but explains how to try to live in a radically free way now. It is extremely well written (like everything by CrimethInc), and explains things in a really simply way that is really fun and accessible. You can read it for free here (also via audio book) or buy it from CrimethInc (and they’ll also send you sweet posters and stickers)!

It was hard to pick out specific quotes because everything was so good, but here’s a few things. Sorry about typos and such. Enjoy!

  • Heaven is a different place for everyone; hell, at least this particular one, we inhabit in common.
  • You know what everyone’s greatest fear is? it is that all the dreams we have, all the crazy ideas and aspirations, all the impossible romantic longings and utopian vision can come true, that the world can grant our wishes. 
  • Morality
    • the idea that there are universal moral laws is mere superstition: it is a claim that things exist in this world which we can never actually experience or learn anything about. And we would do well not to waste our time wondering about things we can never know anything about.
    • When two people fundamentally disagree over what is right or wrong, there is no way to resolve the debate.
    • We have been so conditioned by centuries of asking permission to feel things and do things, of being forbidden to base any decision on our own needs, that we still want to think we are obeying a higher power even when we act on our own desires and beliefs; somehow, it seems more defensible to act our of submission to some kind of authority than in the service of our own inclinations.
    • Unfortunatley, because of centuries of conditioning, it feels so good to feel justified by some “higher force,” to be obeying “moral law,” to be enforcing “justice” and fighting “evil” that it’s easy for people to get caught up in their role as moral enforcers and forget to question whether the idea of moral law makes sense in the first place.
  • The bourgeoise
    • Does your father drift from one hobby to another, fruitlessly seeking a meaningful way to spend the little “leisure time” he gets off from work? Does your mother endlessly redecorate the house, going from one room to the next until she can start over at the beginning again? Do you agonize constantly over your future, as if there was some kind of track laid out ahead you – and the world would end if you turned off of it? If the answer to these questions is yes, it sounds like you’re in the clutches of the bourgeoisie, the last barbarians on earth. 
    • They plot ways to seem even more normal than their friends and coworkers.
  • culture
    • Culture: a) the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group. b) the set of shared attitudes values, goals and practices that characterizes a defined group.
      Hopefully it is obvious after reading the above definition that culture, any culture, is inherently evil and problematic. who wants to have to conform, and force others to conform, to the predefined beliefs and values of a “racial, religious, or social group”?
    • Because every child rebels as soon as she is old enough to have a sense of self at all, this rebellion is presented as an integral part of adolescence – and thus the woman who wants to continue her rebellion into adulthood is made to feel that she is insisting on remaining a child forever. It’s worth pointing out that a brief survey of other cultures and peoples will reveal that this “adolescent rebellion” is not inevitable or “natural” 
    • Because the adults always seem to be the enforces of the status quo, and the youth do not have the perspective yet to see that their rebellion has also been absorbed into that status quo, generation after generation of young people are able to make the mistake of identifying older people themselves as the source of their misfortunes rather than railing that these misfortunes are the result of a larger system of misery. they grow older and become bourgeois adults themselves, unable to recognize that they are marling replacing their former enemies, and still unable to bridge the so-called generation gap to learn from people of other age groups… let along establish some kind of unified resistance with them.
    • in their desperation to purchase an identity for themselves, they believe they must pay for it by defining themselves against others. you can recognize them by their self-righteousness their pompous show of ideological certainty, the ostentatious way they declare themselves “activists” at every opportunity. political “activism” is almost exclusively their sphere, today, and “exclusive” is the key word… until this changes, the world will not.
  • capitalism
    • nobody truly has freedom under the capitalist system: everyone is equally at the mercy of the laws of competition.
    • Here’s how the free market is supposed to work: people are free to seek their fortunes as they choose, and the ones who work the hardest and provide the greatest value to society are rewarded with the greatest wealth. but this system has a crucial flaw: it doesn’t actually offer equal opportunities for everyone. success in the “free market” depends almost entirely on how much wealth you already have.
    • this means that your time and creative energy are being bought from you, which is the worst part of all. when all you have to sell in return for the means to survive is your own labor, you are forced to sell your life away in increments just to exist. you end up spending the greater part of your life doing whatever you can get paid the most for, instead of what you rent want to do: you trade your dreams for salaries and your freedom to act for material possessions. 
    • Is it in your best interest to live in a world filled with people who aren’t happy, who never got to chase their dreams… who maybe never even got to have dreams?
    • Competition means that we don’t get to come together and decide what would be best for ourselves and the world as a grow; nor do we get to decide those things as individuals. instead, the projects our  species undertakes and the changes we make in the world are decided by the laws of competition, by whatever SELLS the most. 
    • In a system where people compete for wealth and the power that comes with it, the ones who are the most ruthless in their pursuit are the ones who end up with the most of both, of course. thus the capitalist system encourages deceit, exploitation, and cutthroat competition, and rewards those who go to those lengths by giving them the most power and the greatest say in what goes on in society.
    • Capitalism virtually guarantees that the ones who control what goes on in society are the greediest, the cruelest and the most heartless. 
  • Freedom
    • We build monuments, skyscrapers, which we intend to stand forever as testimony of our victory over the sands of time. but this victory can only come at a price, at this price: that though nothing passes away, nothing comes to be, either – that the world we create is a static, standardized place that can hold no surprises for us any more.
    • Real freedom, the kind of freedom we are fighting for, is something much grander – it means creating the choices you choose between, for starters.
    • freedom is to be found only in new spaces, in the brand new moments when fresh elements come into play and you have to create yourself from scratch
    • Isn’t freedom, even dangerous freedom, preferable to the safest slavery, to peace bought with ignorance, cowardice, and submission?
    • Identity is the consolation for lack of freedom (If ‘I can’t,’ at least ‘I am…’)
  • Try thinking of the world as including all past and future time as well as present space. an individual can at least hope to have some control over that part of the world which is in the future; but the past only acts on her, she can never act back upon it. if she thinks of the world (whether that “world” consists of her life, or human history) as consisting of mostly future, proportionately speaking, she will see herself as fairly free to choose her own destiny and exert her will upon the world. but if her world-vview paces most of the world in the past, that puts her in a position of powerlessness: not only is she unable to aact upon or create most of the world in which she exists, but what future does remaib is largely predetermined by the effects of events past.
  • Solutions
    • whatever solution, whatever revolution, we propose, must be present-oriented rather than future-oritented if it is to be genuinely revolutionary.
    • christianity demands of its followers that they delay gratification until they enter the next world, when they will supposedly be rewarded for their proper conduct; in doing so it assumes that this proper conduct is not fuliffiling enough in itself to be worthwhile unless it is rewarded. this kind of thinking reflects a dire misunderstanding of the nature of human happiness; for happiness is to be found in activity, in activites that are exciting and satisifedin in and of themselves, rather than in awaiting rewards for unsatisfing actives.. therefore it is not surprising that menu devout Christaians are bitter, spiteful individuals who jealously resent healthy activity and excitement in others.
    • We must not make the same mistakes as the Christians. The demand that radicals be free from hypocrisy, free from any implication in the system, has the same effect as the Christan demand that people be free from sin: it creates frustration and despair in those who would seek changes, and at the same time makes hypocrisy all the more tempting. rather than seek to have clean hands, we should aim to make the inevitable negative effects of our lives worthwhile by offering enough positive activity to more than balance the scales. this approach to the problem can save us from being immobilized by fear of hypocrisy or shame about our “guilt”. 
    • We will stop at nothing, not even hypocrisy, in our struggle to take control of our lives
    • The thing is to act, to act joyously, not to accept that we are helpless to effect change. for if we seek to rest the roles and lives set forward for us, if we fight a s spirited fight against the forces that would keep us in despair, if we dare to act on our own and to act passionately and freely, that itself is revolution.
    • what we want is something that has never happened before – by its very nature! so we can’t look backwards for precedents, only look forward to try to make this wild dream a reality once and for all. no one has ever tried this before – that’s why it’s going to work.
    • if you want something done right you have to do it yourself – Direct action is the answer!
  • Misc
    • In a system which is conflict systematized as social relations, in which society is a network of struggles arranged as social structure, getting along is practically the definition of the radical act. 
    • one cannot be a lover and a dreadfully responsible, dreadfully respectable member of today’s society at the same time; for love impels you to do things which are not ‘responsible’ or ‘respectable.’ true love is irresponsible, irrepressible, rebellious, scornful of cowardice, dangerous to the lober and everyone around her, for it serves one master along: the passion that makes the heart beat faster.
    • Do you think the powers that be would really let anyone use their own laws and methods to depose them?
  • this is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time
  • Are you living the life you want to live?