One year ago today, after a life of adventures and polemics, longtime anarchist Aragorn! passed away. Among other things, Aragorn! distinguished himself by maintaining an array of infrastructure projects providing information to thousands of people across North America and the world. Some of the projects that survive him include the Anarchist Library, the distribution Little Black Cart, and a constellation of online resources under the Anarchy Planet umbrella, to name just a few. His publishing efforts helped to keep Indigenous, ecological, and post-left perspectives in circulation, even if he rarely agreed in full with anything he helped to publicize. Aragorn! could be a polarizing figure, but it is impossible to understand the contemporary US anarchist movement without recognizing his contributions.
For a full review of Aragorn!’s life and activities, you can read our eulogy for him, “Elegy for an Antagonist,” which includes recollections from many comrades who shared some part of his journey. Alternately, you could begin with his own account of his development as an anarchist, captured in an interview conducted in summer 2018.
We’ve prepared a zine presenting the 2018 interview, in hopes that people will print and distribute them and pass on his memories to the next generation.
We’ve also tracked down video footage of Aragorn! speaking on a panel entitled “Anarchism and the 21st Century Paradigm” on April 26, 2002, at the Total Liberation Project at Evergreen State University in Olympia, Washington. Other participants included members of the Green Anarchy collective, the Number 3 Collective, Arthur Miller, and Mary Margaret.
The second part of the 2002 panel discussion. Near the beginning, Aragorn! concludes his remarks characteristically: “Anarchism has proven itself, in its lack of victories, to be more willing, than most… to be right, instead of having friends.”
Finally, we include the following poem by an acquaintance of his, “The Time I Visited Aragorn!” It was not originally composed for public release, but it captures some of what it was like to share a milieu with him.
Kriminala Sekta “Punks Not Dead” poetry series #1
The Time I Visited Aragorn!
heard I was in town
invited me to dinner
asked about my project
paid for my dinner!
invited me over,
showed me his project,
proceeded to tell me,
point by point,
how his project
to the point that he literally asked me why I was spending
on my project
he asked about this one guy involved
and talked about a woman he didn’t like
but they were in for their own reasons
and when I talked about mine
Aragorn! nodded and said stuff like, “well yeah,” and, “ok.”
that was the moment I realized that Aragorn! wasn’t so intimidating.
perhaps, even, it was my intellect that intimidated Aragorn!!
but if that rubs you the wrong way,
I invite you to consider that hierarchies
like who’s smarter than who
aren’t a desirable way to order the world.
put another way:
unbelievable as it may be to some people,
it seemed like we agreed on some things.
he, of course, would disagree.
ask any of his friends and comrades and family and people and concrete lots and animals and and machines and wild places and non-material metaphysical abstractions he loved that survived him.
ask maximum rocknroll.
consult his texts in his library.
and you’ll agree:
he would disagree.
but he’d take you out to dinner first.
punks not dead
The Time Aragorn! Visited Me, Well Us, Well Our Town, or Maybe He Saw It as Our Region Because He Had a Very Detailed Taxonomy of the Kinds of Regions in the United States Where the Biology Could Support a Free Society
turned onto 40
tuned in to 89.3
dropped into town
walked through the front door
to the left, the wall of dead anarchists (and bob sheldon)
Aragorn! isn’t there today.
would he even want a people’s history poster?
I’ll tell you what he’d say about it,
he’d cackle about it eventually getting carried in some anarchist “presence rather than protest” at a politician’s inauguration.
he could be big on grudges.
grudges and having a
“good” was one of those words he probably ctrl+f’d for whenever somebody submitted a new something.
this is why,
for fault of our own,
without protest or party previous to the bookfair,
Aragorn! fronted an impromptu Minor Threat cover band
that spurred Atlanta to kick their boots around
until one went right through the glass.
two panes, lots of shards, it was bad.
Aragorn! was glad.
we were far too busy playing our parts to fix… anything in our lives.
let alone a window.
so cardboard and tape
to stop the cruel fall
from cooling the moshing room heat.
insert cliché about anarchists and broken windows and Aragorn! training his aim on the lifelovers and nihilists and rejects and outcasts—everyone who lives on the edge of society:
His chief opponents weren’t faceless corporations or every organized body with an acronym.
His focus was on the people in this world who are so close to conceiving a free life,
yet hold themselves back out of concerns for security, comfort, clout, legacy, or any other currency of value. If you feared freedom, you were his enemy.
but there were other ways to be his enemy, too.
he left wreckage in his wake
and grinned back from his sporty motozoomer
watching everyone else’s flabs aghasting.
after he was gone,
the broken window was still there.
his broken window
landlord never even said nothing
but it was ugly,
and it was next to the wall of dead anarchists (and bob sheldon)
poetic and shit
but because fuck poetry
a punk came through town
crashed at our pandemic pad
and she masterfully fixed the window out of gratitude
punks not dead