I am honored to be offering a 5-week, online seminar on APC

(Anarchic

Phenomenological Communitarianism)

at INCITE SEMINARS

during the summer of 2024


The seminar will take place Wednesdays from July 24 (and ending August 21), each session running for ninety minutes from:


7:00 - 8:30 p.m. (Eastern)

6:00 - 7:30 p.m. (Central)

5:00 - 6:30 p.m. (Mountain)

4:00 - 5:30 p.m. (Pacific)

TO REGISTER

CLICK

HERE


Anarchic Phenomenological Communitarianism,

Or How to Think Outside of the Liberal Megamachine and Discover You Are Already Free


a summer 2024 online seminar

with INCITE SEMINARS

hosted by H. Peter Steeves & Danielle Meijer


 

Communitarianism often gets associated with a backwards-looking conservatism; anarchy is often thought to be a form of chaos.  It is also often the case that when either anarchy or communitarianism are championed by the rare individual brave enough to buck the status quo, that appeal to change is made without much reliance on arguments as to why these ideals would provide us with the best and most ethical quality of life.  Indeed, why the revolution is necessary is often overlooked or taken for granted by those who want it and dismissed as unrealistic by those who can’t imagine such a better way of life.  This seminar wishes to challenge all of this by looking closely at one form of (anti-)political philosophy that would truly usher in a life where we could support each other’s mutual flourishing: Anarchic Phenomenological Communitarianism (APC).  Phenomenology, which begins as the study of the structures of consciousness and how the mind engages the world, opens the door to seeing clearly how the things/goals we consider good are really just one perspective on an intersubjective communal good, and how the government and institutions in general are taking over the work of being a person for us, leaving us bitter, frustrated, anxious, and hollow.  APC argues that living in smaller anarchic communities is not only the corrective we need but the ideal toward which we must strive given the nature of the world and our very being.  In this seminar we will study the theory behind all of this as well as discuss the practical questions that arise concerning how best to create such a future and what that future might look like in the end.  Along the way we will also engage with Indigenous/Native philosophies, Black Anarchisms and Afropessimism, Feminism, Queer and Trans Anarchisms, veganism and animal rights, Anti-Colonialism, and other radical traditions of thought and action.  The truth is that you are already free.  But there are countless ways in which “the system” tells you that you are not, trying to convince you that it is the only game in town, trying to keep you so busy and so distracted and so afraid that you don’t ever look down and notice there are no shackles on you whatsoever.  This summer, we will face these facts head-on and begin to forge a way toward truly thinking and living as if we are free—together.

 

 

SESSIONS


Session 1 (July 24, 2024): The Need for Phenomenology

 

In the first session of our seminar we will be discussing phenomenology—specifically an Husserlian-based phenomenology but with certain “modifications” and “enhancements.”  Phenomenology is the “P” in “APC” and the methodological foundation for creating an argument in favor of communitarian anarchy.  We will begin by motivating the question of the need for phenomenology by looking, briefly, at the history of Western epistemology, then we will get into the nuts and bolts of presence/absence, horizons and being, intersubjectivity, values and categoriality, and what all of this means for the ontology of the self and the common Good. (If you are following along with the APC Manifesto book, this session will generally cover chapter 1.)

 

 

Session 2 (July 31, 2024): Truth, Language, Concepts, and Technologies

 

With the basics of phenomenology under our belt, we next turn to unpacking the ways in which a phenomenological understanding of ontology changes how we think about the nature of truth and reason.  How can we base truth on intersubjectivity and not also embrace relativism?  Thinking of truth as a verb and as an ethical project, we’ll next turn our attention to how language operates, why we might not want to champion literacy, the ethics of concepts, and the question concerning technologies of all sorts—from tools in general to the sorts of technologies we might and might not employ in an APC community.  Along the way, we will also see why comedy rather than tragedy must be our guiding ethos. (If you are following along with the APC Manifesto book, this session will generally cover chapters 2 and 3.)

 

 

Session 3 (Aug 7, 2024): The Ethics and Politics of APC

 

In week three, we turn to the heart of the theory: exploring how to live anarchically in a communitarian way.  We begin with an analysis of the liberal political spectrum, discovering that there is a way to reject that spectrum completely.  Most of our time during this session will be spent thinking about how we can live without certain things and structures that otherwise seem necessary as we move to abolish laws, rights, the discourse of equality, police, prisons, money, bosses, work, economics, and all institutions in general.  (If you are following along with the APC Manifesto book, this session will generally cover chapter 4.)

 

 

Session 4 (Aug 14, 2024):  The Life of the Polis

 

Week four will be spent thinking together about some of the practical issues of living in an APC community.  We will consider why size is so important to the success of a community (and how degrowth and anti-colonialism are our allies).  We will take up possible worries that some might have (such as, “But will I still get to do…?” or “Will I still have nice things?”).  We will conclude this session by analyzing the senses in which voting (for any candidate or issue) in contemporary America is an immoral act, how several Indigenous traditions give us interesting models for achieving consensus, and other issues related to how we will likely make decisions together “after the revolution.” (If you are following along with the APC Manifesto book, this session will generally cover chapter 5.)

 

 

Session 5 (Aug 21, 2024):  Others and Unothers in an APC Eutopia

 

The final session will consider some classic questions related to “others.”  Starting with an analysis of identity politics, we will move to think together about four main topics here as they relate to APC: children/schools; the planet and the environment; the problem of eating; and religion/spirituality.  The majority of our time will likely be spent thinking together about animals, plants, and rocks.  If there is time, we will conclude with a discussion concerning violence v. nonviolence as a means to achieving a revolution as well as look at some examples from history and the contemporary world (e.g., Venezuelan Bolivarian communes) to guide us. (If you are following along with the APC Manifesto book, this session will generally cover chapter 6 and perhaps parts of chapter 7.)



REQUIRED READING


There is no required reading for this course, however you are encouraged to get a copy of H. Peter Steeves’ Up From Under the Rulers: The Anarchic Phenomenological Communitarian Manifesto (RPI, 2024). 


This book will form the skeletal outline of the seminar as we will be working our way through it, approximately chapter-by-chapter, week-by-week.  The book can be purchased most easily at this website. 


CLICK HERE and go to the bottom of that page to purchase the text (with or without a frisbee!). 



COSTS


Glenn Wallis of INCITE SEMINARS is amazing—and he is committed to making all of the seminars his project offers open to everyone.  From each according to his ability to pay, to each according to his need.  If you are in a financial place to support INCITE SEMINARS, the cost is


(i) $80 for non-members
(ii) $64 for Incite Seminars members
(iii) Donationof your choice, including no cost solidarity ticket if you cannot afford to pay at this time (to avail yourself of the no-pay option, please email Glenn Wallis, requesting this solidarity registration: inciteseminarsphila@gmail.com.  [But do, please, pay to support INCITE if you are able.])


As for the book, if you are not in a financial position to purchase the text, not to worry. The sessions will not involve a close reading of the text but instead will be about the ideas presented in that text. Having the book would be extremely helpful but is not required or necessary to understand what is going on.


Click HERE to become a member of INCITE SEMINARS.


Click HERE to REGISTER for the APC Seminar.




SEMINAR FAQ


Q: Am I allowed to drop in to a later session even if I missed an earlier one?

A: Of course! While you will probably get the most out of the seminar by attending all of the sessions from the start, everyone is welcome at any time.



Q: Do I have to have my camera on and show myself on Zoom in order to participate?  I ask because I am exceedingly beautiful and fear that I will distract all of the other seminar participants if my face is shown on-screen for 90 minutes each Wednesday.

A: No. Although everyone is encouraged to have their cameras on (just to help build a sense of community), there is no requirement for this at all, and Peter, Danielle, and INCITE SEMINARS all just want you to be comfortable and happy.  Click here to learn more about "Seminar Participation Guidelines" at INCITE SEMINARS.  Also, I don't hate you because you're beautiful, Kelly.  You made Weird Science, which created enough goodwill for you to coast well into the 21st-century and beyond, and you starred in Hard to Kill without actually killing your co-star Steven Seagal in real life (an omission for which we reluctantly forgive you; after all, it was, we have heard, a hard thing to do).  



Q: Will JJ Pepper be part of the revolution?  Will he be present at the Zoom seminar?

A: He would, and he could.  



Q: Will all of the sessions be co-facilitated by both HPS and DM?

A: That's the idea and the hope. But please know that Peter is facing some serious health issues and might not always be able to teach/join in the conversation. In case of a medical emergency, Danielle will be there to take over. But the goal is that both will be there at all times (fingers crossed!).



Q: How would Don Draper suggest advertising this seminar?

A: A woman sits at a kitchen table in middle America.  It's summer.  We know this because we can see the fan resting on a counter, lazily blowing cooling air in the background.  A peach pie sits, uncut, beside it.  The window to her back shows a scene of flat grassland, maybe farmland, in the greenest greens, the sky the bluest blue.  We also see two children playing in a tire swing hanging from an old oak tree.  It is the oak tree that their great-great grandfather planted years ago, here on this land passed down through generations.  We sense the simple happiness of the children, but only in the back of our minds, only in a sort of shadowy awareness, as we are drawn to the woman's face while she sits there, alone.  We can't look away, in fact.  She isn't young and she isn't old.  Her hair is pulled back, though not exactly neatly.  She wears an unremarkable and plain country dress.  She has been working around the home.  She sighs just ever so slightly.  It is the expression on her face that draws us to her like a fly to honey.  She is staring off to the side, not at anything in particular, with a slightly-furrowed brow.  We wonder: "What is she thinking?  Why doesn't she look happier?  Is there something I could do to help?"  She doesn't seem angry—at least not right now, but we get the sense that she could become angry at some point under the right circumstances.  She seems too strong to cry, at least here in front of us.  Her eyes lower, her attention refocusing on something in whatever mental world she is inhabiting.  She takes a deep breath—the fan not doing its job as a bead of perspiration runs down the crease in her brow, along the slope of her sturdy yet delicate nose, continuing down her lower-cheek like a tear that can't be shed.  All of this—all of this tradition, all of this glory, all of this greed, all of this vanity, all of this empire, all of this patriarchy, all of this loneliness and all of this suffering—it all could be different, it all could change if she only stepped back in her mind and realized she was already free.  Her lips part slightly, as if she might soon utter a single word.  Maybe "yes."  Maybe "no."  But then, her eyes turn up again, her brow unknits, and the faintest trace of a smile appears at the corner of her lips at this, her moment of realization, her moment of...emancipation?  She turns her gaze back slowly until she is just a fraction of a second away from making direct eye contact with the camera, with us!  The screen goes black.  Then the words appear with voiceover, "Anarchic Phenomenological Communitarianism, Or How to Think Outside of the Liberal Megamachine and Discover You Are Already Free. An INCITE SEMINAR.  Summer 2024.  Will you answer the call?"  The words hang in the air and on-screen just long enough to register their import.  Then, in the final two seconds of the ad, we see the woman again, holding a bottle of pop.  She starts to sing....



Q: Will the revolution be televised?

A: Nope.



Q: Is there really an APC flag?  I mean, is the one on the cover of the book really the only one

in existence?

A:  a) Yes   b) No



Q: Has HPS ever had a letter of his read on David Letterman's show?

A: OMG.



Q: Does that last question really have anything at all to do with APC, let alone with the APC seminar being offered summer 2024?  It just seems like a random thing: a letter on "Viewer Mail" from the 1980s?  Come on!  Can't you please just keep these FAQ's on point for once?!

A: Gosh, I'm sorry.  Of course. On Point?  You got it.



Q: Really?  That's your answer?!  A ballet joke?  I suppose Sylvie Guillem is the greatest, but still the "point" remains: getting a letter read by Letterman when you're basically just a kid has nothing to do with APC or the seminar, right? It doesn't belong in this FAQ section at all.  RIght?!  Give me that.

A: I'd give you the shirt off my back, but I can't give you that.  Do you have a copy of the book?  Have you read section 3.2.2?  Or 4.3.1?  Or even 7.1.1?  Comedy is the language of the revolution.  



Q: I heard a rumor that one person who attends all of the sessions of the seminar will be chosen at random the last night to receive 1,000 pounds of gold (worth about $24 million in the summer of 2024).  Is that true?

A: Hmm.  Probably not true.  But only one way to find out, I suppose.  (Though after we cover section 4.3.1. of the book in the third week of the seminar, if you are really still hoping for this then something has gone horribly, tragically wrong.)



Q: How do I register for this seminar, again?

A: Glad you asked, again.  HERE YOU GO!







"I've been hyp-mo-tized!"

—David Letterman