Skip to content

Principles of Circle Ansuz

October 21, 2012

The ideas behind Circle Ansuz are born from the information in the lore regarding the Thing and Ding assemblies. These assemblies were the means by which the Germanic peoples governed themselves. As described by Tacitus and in the Heimskringla these assemblies consisted of all free people who had equal rights to speak and vote. Every member of the community had a say in the affairs of society. Justice, while harsh, was levied with an eye towards fairness and the needs of the people individually and communally. They maintained the peace through mediation, debate, and fair restitution. When they were threatened by invasion all of the people participated in the defense of their homes. Even the Gods followed this order, resolving questions like the courses of the heavens, the shape of Midgard, and how they would manage their own affairs by council and discussion.

The coming of Christianity put an end to the primacy of the Things. Along with the cross came the crowns of kings. Would-be emperors, supported by the growing medieval Church, demanded conversion and tribute on pain of war. When the tribes resisted, as the Saxons and Frisians did, they were exterminated. With foreign support ambitious, ruthless men like Olaf Tryggvassen imposed their will on the peoples of the North by force. Any who opposed them faced cruel death by torture. Governance by community assembly was one of many elements of Heathen society which was curtailed to strengthen the rule of warlords appointed by unaccountable, divinely-supported kings.

Every political system in Western society since the final conversion of the pre-Christian peoples was based, like the kings and conversion of the Germanic world, on the use of force by the few to ensure control and dominance over the many. Such systems are the foundation of modern state power which evolved based on the assumption that all societies depend on the monopoly of the use of force and coercion under a centralized authority to maintain peace and order. These institutions actively encouraged the growth of racism and sexism to keep the people divided and distracted while those at the top wallow in wealth created by the labor of those beneath.

Based on this evidence and these conclusions we assert our modern attitudes on race, gender, and human relationships are not inherent human flaws but the consequence of a millennium of domination by such authoritarian institutions. By challenging these ideas and building alternative social structures to this harmful status quo, we hope to bring about a new social order which nurtures and fosters growth, freedom, and prosperity for all members of society.

We stand for the following principles and are in solidarity with all who support them:

Autonomy

Autonomy is the right to live free of oppression. The best way to ensure this right is upheld is to build communities where oppression is not possible. Popular assemblies, where all people have an equal voice and the safety to express it freely, are the best way to ensure the rights of the people are protected and the needs of the community are met.

We argue popular assemblies, based on the Things of the Old North, are the necessary foundation for building a community free of oppression. Giving equal voice ensures all people’s needs and interests are protected.

Egalitarianism

As made plain in the Eddas, the deeds of our lives are what define us as people. They are the surest measure of the content of a person’s character. This idea is the foundation of effective meritocracy where value is assessed by the true merit shown by a person’s words and actions. To judge a person by any standard other than the value of their deeds is contrary to this key principle.

We reject the notion that any society, culture, spiritual practice, or community has the right to discriminate based on external characteristics. Holding features like race, gender, sexuality, or national origin as more important than a person’s deeds makes it impossible to assess true merit, doing harm to all involved. Such judgments limit our understanding of the world by blinding us to possibilities based on factors beyond a person’s control.

It is based on our unconditional support for egalitarianism that we stand unconditionally opposed to racism in all its forms. Whether claiming supremacy, calling for separation or segregation, or arguing for racial conflict these actions are a direct attack on the foundations of egalitarianism. Racism is a tool used to blind people to their shared experiences and circumstances, weakening communities and oppressing countless lives.

Grassroots Culture and Spirituality

Culture and spirituality are as old as humanity. The myths, legends, songs, and stories of the many nations of the world are the summation of the ideas, beliefs, and principles of the ancient peoples. The wisdom of the people was preserved in legends and fables while religious rituals built community solidarity. In many places there was no difference between the spiritual and the cultural, each blending into the other seamlessly. These pre-institutional religions the world over emphasized the importance of freedom, solidarity, and hospitality. They were not tools of oppression and tyranny when they were first born. It was through the subversion and corruption by powerful elites that religion became a tool for division, conflict, and domination.

The rise of centralized governments led to the institutionalization of religion. Everywhere in the world the ruling elites, established through the use of force, sought to subvert the power of folk religion and use it to reinforce their own positions. This led to the development of institutionalized religion and elite culture. These tools gave the elites the means to establish their own cultural and religious narratives creating further barriers to reinforce their power.

In spite of this there have been many attempts to return religion to its original purpose: a source of solace, community, and inspiration. Whether they are Quakers, Wiccans, Liberation Catholics, Voudon, Neo-Pagans, Gnostics, Rroma, or Heathens, such radical spiritual sects remind us of these original functions of spirituality and offer solutions to the problem of institutionalized religion while working to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. Building new folk religions which return to the original functions reclaims a vital part of our species which has long been subverted and corrupted by the few at the expense of the many.

We reject the perversion of spirituality by racist organizations. The argument that spirituality has any genetic basis is founded in the same logic behind racist supremacy and separatism. It has no basis in scientific fact. Such claims are nothing more than a naked attempt to promote racial separatism under another name. The use of pre-Christian myths, legends, Gods, and symbols to build false legitimacy for racialist spirituality is contrary to the spirit, intent, and nature of grassroots spirituality.

Sanctity of the Natural World

In the ancient times the peoples of the North, like most other tribal societies, revered the natural world. They saw nature as populated by animistic spirits of the trees, rocks, and rivers. In the lore the land-wights are said to live alongside the people. Much of the day-to-day practices in this tribal time was focused on land-wights and relationships with them. This was because of all the spiritual forces in the world the wights were the closest to them and had the most regular impact on their lives. These ideas show a keen understanding of the interconnectedness between humanity and nature.

The perspective put forth by Deep Ecology and Ecophilosophy, which argues humans live within nature as opposed to being outside of and superior to nature, has been proven at length by modern natural sciences dovetailing with pre-Christian Heathen perspectives and cosmology. The destruction of our natural environment is having consequences scientists are only now beginning to understand. Toxins pumped into the air and dumped in the waters of the world ravage our bodies from without while the industrial food system slowly poisons it from within. It is obvious our modern lifestyle is badly out of balance with our human need for a clean, healthy, and nurturing physical environment.

We argue all human activities must take into account the impact they have on the natural world. The destruction and pollution wrought by the demands of the modern marketplace are rapidly making our world uninhabitable. We must halt these dangerous practices and implement new solutions such as grassroots renewable energy systems and permaculture, while restoring respect for nature’s sanctity. Only then can we stop the bleeding and start the healing.

Opposition to Patriarchy, Racism, Imperialism, and Authoritarianism

Patriarchy, Racism, Authoritarianism, and Imperialism are four socio-political systems which were steadily implemented by elite forces in society over the course of centuries. These four systems are used by elite powers to divide all people to facilitate more complete oppression. This is done through the granting and withdrawal of privilege. Certain groups are granted privileges over other, less privileged groups. These privileges give their recipient power over those who lack them.

The selective extension of privilege is based on an implicit bargain between the privileged and the powerful. Those with privilege will retain that privilege so long as they support ideas which perpetuate the domination of the powerful. These reciprocal arrangements are why these systems have endured for so long. The powerful have always sought to expand their dominance over others to better secure their social positions. The privileged, in turn, have always had a vested interest in upholding the powerful because without their support they would not enjoy their special positions in society.

Patriarchy pits men against women, turning our natural sexual desires into a source of anxiety and fear. Authoritarianism denounces any challenges to the system by branding its opponents anti-social malcontents intent on creating a world of chaos. Imperialism elevates the system above all other societies, justifying the oppression of any groups which stand outside of the system and dividing people along elite-mandated lines. Racism encourages suspicion, distrust, and hostility between the people stuck at the bottom by making physical ethnicity more important than the content of a person’s character. Freeing ourselves from these intellectual shackles is the first, necessary step to replacing the institutions they maintain.

Internationalism

The challenges we face are global. For this reason we do not limit operations or participation to any one nation or region of the world. Wherever the forces we oppose rear their ugly heads and the ideals we cherish are threatened we will act. Considering the magnitude of the problems we face, limiting ourselves by lines on maps would be foolish in the extreme.

In that same spirit we celebrate the cultures, ideals, and beliefs of the many nations of the world. We believe all those ideals which nurture human potential, encourage human freedom, and strengthen local communities should be upheld and praised. We stand opposed to ideas used to oppress and perpetuate human suffering.

Direct Action

Throughout history the most effective means for achieving social change is through agitation and direct action. Confronting problems head-on in a visible, public fashion draws attention to the problem. Creating awareness of a problem leads to swifter resolution of the existing issue. These methods have been proven, time and time again, to be equally effective against hate groups, corporations, and governments.

We use strategic applications of non-violent direct action to accomplish our goals. We favor non-violent action because, historically, non-violent direct actions have always been the most effective in building a strong, enduring movement. Examples like the Bread and Roses Strike, the Seattle General Strike, the Indian Independence movement, the Civil Rights movement, and the environmental movement show the use of non-violent tactics and strategies are the most effective methods for rallying the support of the people.

In our direct actions we support the right for necessary self-defense. The fascists and racists we oppose have no respect for the rights or lives of other human beings. For this reason we accept the need for the reasonable use of force for personal self-defense against aggressors.

Co-operative Ownership of the Means of Production

In the pre-Christian world ownership of property was defined by use and occupancy. Land was owned by the people who lived on it, farmed it, and made it their home. Tools, weapons, and livestock were the property of those who possessed, maintained, and used them. The feudalization of Europe and the imposition of serfdom on the people ended this state of affairs. Land, under the new model, became the property of a local warlord who demanded tribute from the people in exchange for their “protection.” Adding insult to injury, the people were then bound to the land and could be transferred to other warlords as part of marriage arrangements, a sale of property, or as part of a peace agreement. As a result of this new arrangement the people lost all control over their means of economic support.

Modern corporations, much like feudal overlords, maintain a similar relationship with their employees. They offer economic security in exchange for the labor and loyalty of their employees. Employees, like feudal serfs, have no input in determining business policy. Their role is to do as ordered, make do with less on command, and keep quiet. Any who challenge policy too openly are threatened with poverty due to lost income. In the case of most large companies the owners making the decisions are rarely, if ever, involved in the labor needed to produce goods and provide services. Also, like serfs, if a corporate asset is sold off or a business is bought out by a competitor the employees are frequently an implied part of the package.

We believe the best approach is for people to cooperatively own their means of production. Only by taking control of our means of production can we ensure our survival and prosperity. We believe the best way to achieve this goal is for the employees of a business to own and manage the business. The employees, as opposed to a group of absentee owners, would set policy by participatory democratic processes where all employees will have equal say. This model has been proven effective by modern worker-owned and managed co-operatives which use the methods we have outlined above. Implementing these methods of ownership and labor self-management, by whatever means are most appropriate, will lead to greater shared prosperity while retaining the dynamism, energy, independence, and innovation of capitalism.

Social Revolution

In Heathen spirituality, creation, destruction, and adaptation are essential elements. The world we live in now, according to the Eddas, was created when Odin and his brothers rose up against the frost giant Ymir, killed him, and crafted a new world from his flesh and bones. In so doing they ended a world which was largely hostile to their people and built a new one which was hospitable and nurturing. This new world was one where the Gods self-governed through open council. When they created humanity they gave us no divine commands, giving gifts of life, breath, and sense before letting us go to shape our lives.

We believe modern societies are not set in stone. Like the universe, what exists is always in motion. The world is constantly changing, growing, and evolving in big and small ways. Old ideas and practices give way to the new. Even the Gods themselves, one day, will die and be replaced by a new group of Gods. By the same token we do not believe the current social order we live under is so stable and effective that it should not or cannot be changed. We conclude the current social order is not beneficial for humanity or our planet. As free people to demand this be changed to a new order founded on liberty for all, unrestricted by dictates of the few, the repudiation of the use of violence as the foundation of maintaining that order, and recognition that the only legitimate forms of social organization are those where all participants have equal say.

We reject the notion that radical political change requires the use of violence just as we reject the idea that order requires violence. We believe a more effective approach is to change the dialogue, discussions, and ideas people have about social organization. This is best done through fearless advocacy, raising awareness, intelligent agitation, and direct action. We argue by elevating these ideas, organizing people who feel similarly, and proving their effectiveness through practical application we will create a shift in the consciousness of the people. These actions would, inevitably, lead to a non-violent social revolution just as surely as the freeing of Buri from primordial ice led to Ymir’s demise.

Agreed to by General Consensus of Circle Ansuz on 10/20/2012

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: