TOTW: Working together

  • Posted on: 14 August 2017
  • By: thecollective

This week we’re taking at look at collaboration among anarchists. Anarchists working together with other anarchists, along with anarchists working (or not working) alongside non-anarchist groups.

More often than not, anarchists work together on projects and help provide support, solidarity, and mutual aid to their friends - however this is not always the case or as clear cut as it may seem. Why have you or your anarchist project chosen to not collaborate with other anarchists who may have been able to offer support? What were the results? Looking back would you have done things differently? On the opposite end, have you ever been hesitant to work alongside other anarchists, but in the end were pleasantly surprised by the collaboration?

If anarchists can’t work with other anarchists IRL, is there any hope? Or is it as simple as saying, we’re on the same team, but “just want to do our own thing and build two, three or many anarchist projects to flourish throughout the world”? What about anarchists who are openly hostile to other anarchists and their projects? What is the best way to approach a difficult situation like that? Is it important for your anarchist practice that in someway, shape, or form anarchists manage to get along with other anarchists even if they may use a different label? What happens if we don’t?

On the other side are anarchists collaborating with non-anarchist groups, such as the especficismo idea of social insertion. What has your experience been of collaborating as an anarchist with non-anarchist groups? How would you compare the experience of working with more liberal groups to working specifically with anarchists?



Be wary of anarchists who work collaboratively with non-anarchists because, in their words, anarchists aren't "doing enough" on their own. This is an excuse for the slippery slope of abandoning anarchist principles (if the activistists had any to begin with) in the hopes of bringing some kind of "anarchist influence" into larger social justice work. If you want to see the results of anarchists working with anarchists and maybe some antifas, check out Cornel West on Democracy Now! from this morning. He credits anarchists and antifa for saving the lives of the 20 or so folks he was standing with in C'ville.

but given the wide breadth of beliefs and opinions that anarchists hold, it's could be a little unfair to blame the slippery slope. i mean, what looks like principled (to me and maybe you) could just be people who agree with my definition of anarchist. what looks like unprincipled responses to collaboration (or attempts to collaborate), could be actions by people who never agreed with me about what anarchy is/anarchists are for in the first place, you know what i mean?

Sure, I get what you're saying. But that's the thing about actual principles: they are not negotiable. For me, the non-negotiable are: no electoralism, a.k.a. direct action; mutual aid (not the same as charity); voluntary association; non-hierarchical decision-making. Most of the rest of the "things" anarchists choose to do or not do are up for discussion, especially strategies and tactics. But without a set of basic principles, what ways do you have of identifying real flesh and blood anarchists vs. the people who pay lip service to anarchism but don't do anything with other anarchists? Maybe they're afraid of being outed as not very anarchist?

otherwise, when one tries to describe 'anarchy' as 'something that anarchists do', identity politics runs rampant.

it's like asking 'what do muslim's do? the fact that there are various strains of belief is only part of the problem, there is also the reality that those given the label 'anarchist' may be contributing to non-anarchy or contra-anarchy activity such as financing capitalist governments and authoritarian regulatory and enforcement systems; e.g. how many that fit the description of 'anarchist' of this or that strain, are taxpayers?

'more anarchy' is more important than 'more anarchists' since it is far less ambiguous.

Emile Armand talked about life and activity being primary to anarchism(individualist in this/his case). For me this is why I talk of Neo-Anarchy and Anarch as breakaways from anarchists/anarchism. Anarchists most certainly are impediments to anarchy in ways that you describe.

Anarchic behavior trumps anarchists organizing. Anarchy as such exists beyond an eschatological event horizon. It is always here and now simply needing the in relationally tuned individuals, the behavioral embodiment and archetypal anarch and the anarchic.

Fuck the anarchists and all the other elective organizational ists/isms.

So …how is anarchist organizing not anarchist activity? Keeping in mind that almost no-one is arguing for being dupes of the mainstream left, which seems to be your favourite strawman to attack.

Is sublimating away from anarchic activity simple as that. You may need some kind of organization body to deal with certain political belief behavior realities, but I'd rather cypher that job to someone else. Let the radical liberal types do that and not the anarchic. I've suggested that it's time to abandon the temple of anarchism to the liberals(who I think are ready for it now) and simply focus on the anarchic activity. Make the left(and perhaps some of the right) dupes for the anarchic.

Right .. so if I decrypt your typical mental gymnastics, you just admitted that you don't want to do any of that work but instead of just shutting up and staying out of the way while other people do it, you prefer to sit on the sidelines and toss peanuts at them like a little dickhead.

And that includes not initiating the process of work itself. IF other people believe in it and continue to do it however then I say cipher them for your own ends. There is nothing particularly mendacious about this. Think of indigenous people who ask civilized allies to do them favors(Piraha to Daniel Everett). For me the anarch's relationship to the non anarch can run along those lines. I'd rather have edgy radical liberals doing rough prison risking political work then debased agents of anarchy(anarchists) who have to be bailed out for silly reasons that are not based on actual corporeal existential risks to life.

There is living dangerously of course but I don't view that as political.

Semantics. Calling it organizing "work" is more of a colloquialism for accessibility to wider audiences. Obviously very little anarchist organizing is paid or commodified in any meaningful way, so it's "work" in the sense that it's not based entirely on immediate gratification or exclusively self-interested.

But you tend to spend long hours here, criticizing people who are spending their time trying to apply their politics to meaningfully impact the world in ways that can't be explained by selfishness. Then you say, "let them do that work" with an assumed superiority. I don't see your position as lofty at all, just so you're aware ;)

And the simple reason is that anarchists have an affection problem based on what they are and what they can say. What you should be doing is letting the more radical liberals do that work and focus on anarchic orientation. Ask yourself this, why hasn't something like work abolition become an issue. We live in the internet age where you don't have to pamphlet anymore like Bob Black and company in the mid 80s. The radical part of anarchist messaging has not become one of the issues and I don't believe for a moment it's because the message is esoteric.

The fact is anarchists are not speaking as they must speak and the impact is not being meaningful. Now obviously cyphering non anarch ideologues would be a filtering process but I argue it would have a better impact then what anarchists are doing right now. Immediate gratification and self-interest are pretty important in life btw.

"What you should be doing" <--- let me just stop you there, little "anarch". Sure as fuck ain't interested in whatever mystical "non-realist" esoteric bullshit you'd try and prescribe. Spare me. HA! You're going to give ME advice?! I'm humouring you by even talking to you … pull your head out of your ass ziggy.

Nothing esoteric about it. People that understand the likes of Wittgenstein and Lao Tzu have no issue rejecting realism(which is not the same thing as realty in its various plural experiential manifestations btw) and the reasons for rejecting it are actually quite simple. It's dualistic spookery.

And I'm simply suggesting. You are free to keep on failing to communicate or inspire anarchy in the world with you deaf ears elective proposed dead end ism.

That gives me license to generalize:) If you actually have a record of successfully communicating anarchy to your place of existence then don't be shy and show it. The burden is on you. If you cannot I will simply assume that you are one of the bottle as far as the dead end subculture scene goes.

Tah tah

That's not how the burden of proof works. Is coherent argument too much "realism" for you?

Antifa was protecting Cornell West and other clergy bearing witness from a large group of Nazis heading towards them with weapons. WTF is wrong with that?

Be wary of anarchists who see this as some sort of slippery slope towards abandonment of pure and pristine anarchist principles.

Anarchist 'principles' yet vegans are labelled as ideologues? Interesting don't you think, Chisel?

So are you saying that having principles makes one an ideologue? I don't get it; you're being vague. Just say what you mean. Do you believe that there are no such things as anarchist principles? Do you believe that principles can only rely on ideology? What do you mean when you use the term ideologue, or are you just quoting someone who annoys you?

To 22.54: People 'live and die' for their principles so some would argue they are ideologues. Principles have a positive connotation whereas ideologies have a negative connotation. Anarchists on this site often cite vegans as holding 'vegan ideologies' not vegan principles but refer to their fellow anarchists as being principled!

is the order of the day with so many fluid definitions of identity. People on this site claim to be non ideologues but nothing could be further from reality. Working together long term seems far away to me. Compromise is a dirty word for anarchists: "You're a sell-out!" etc. People prefer to concentrate on differences. People might work together to combat a serious threat such as food shortages. However, once this was fixed, people would drift back to their previous positions.

Very true, I worked very closely with prison employees to get an early release which required some compromise, some may call be Machiavellian but in fact the process was amoral and motivated by a genuine desire to help someone.

moral judgement is the curse of Western civilization. it goes hand-in-hand with the Western egotist belief in 'independent being' and the corresponding sense of being able to attribute full and sole causal responsibility to the actions and accomplishments of individual people as notional 'things-in-themselves'.

moral judgement is then applied on the basis of being able to attribute the actions of a person fully and solely to the individual through whom the actions manifest. the oppressors and slave-masters who have suffocated and deprived the individual of 'having a natural life' are 'let off the hook' by this mode of attributing and morally judging people on the basis of THEIR ACTIONS, since a powerful clique can condition the common living space dynamic so that it is selectively far more accommodating for themselves than for de-selected others [the slaves, the oppressed have-nots, those who have not (by circumstance or by choice) monopolized the essential resources of the commons to use them to extort subservient behaviours from the have-nots].

as nietzsche and emerson point out, people are 'vents' through whom the accumulating energy of relational tensions find outlet (in seeking relational reconfiguration that is more in balance and harmony). just because noun-and-verb language constrains us to saying 'he did it' as if 'he' is an 'independent thing-in-itself', does not over-ride our experience-based intuition that a common space conditioned so as to be selectively oppressive for some and accommodating for others, is the root source of his venting, and that we all contribute to the condition of the commons we share inclusion in.

"the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat at the same time as the dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants" -- Mach's principle

the defining of 'anarchist' and/or 'communist' and/or 'capitalist' continues to be 'infected' by the absurd belief in the 'independence' or 'thing-in-itself being' of the individual and in attributing full and sole authorship of 'his' actions and accomplishments (whether imputed to be meritorious or reproachful) to him.

we can define 'anarchy' in relational terms (mutual support without over-arching Direction), as in your actual experience-based example, but it is impossible to define the result by starting from definitions of who the contributors are. so why bother trying to define 'anarchy' starting from the definition of 'anarchist'? it doesn't make any sense, as your example shows.

That someone was me. Nope, the deal is I give councilling to alienated youth as part of a reach out community service arrangement for the social justice people. I know it sounds very liberal but its actually about saving my ass from the big nasty Aryan Brotherhood meatheads, though I think I could have dealt with them cos they're dumb. They think Machiavelli is a type of pizza.

anarchist should describe relationships, not individuals.

individuals that do not identify as "anarchist" can actually have an anarchistic relationship, i have seen it many times.

all your damn labels and boxes need to be blown the fuck away along with the institutions that prevent anarchic relations.

one is not "anarchist" because they don't do things with other anarchists? fucking pathetic perspective, imo.

Regardless of if they do it with other anarchists, or not, one is anarchist because they do anarchist things. Activity defines, not theory but "relating" might be an activity. A lot of jokers who toss that word around here seem to do nothing much except post online.

So your anarchism's all about interpersonal relations with buddies and lovers?

That's fucking lame and neo-hippie too. Just forget all that insurrection and the mutual aid infrastructures. Gay buddies or stfu!

"So your anarchism's all about interpersonal relations with buddies and lovers?"

put words in people's mouths much? who said anything about buddies and lovers? fyi, mutual aid describes a way of relating. IA stands for Internet Anarchist, wear it proudly.

jeez, this place has become more and more pathetic.

mutual aid is primarily action, based on relation. very little activity that takes place on the internet could be considered serious mutual aid. too much time spent online has a way of watering down and abstracting … turning everything in to the spectacle.

kropotkin's 'mutual aid' came from nature, not from human scholarship. it is not a rational, purpose directed 'mutual aid' aimed at achieving results that the participants know will be beneficial to them; a knowledge that supplies the motivation for 'mutual aid'. 'mutual aid' is an inductively actualized response to a unfolding relational-situational need.

rational purpose directed mutual aid is herd behaviour. the evolving Oasis ecosystem which includes a slowly gathering contingent of desert nomads who come to settle, and which is mutually supporting/sustaining, is NOT a rational, purpose-directed project. it is a relational matrix that opens up niche opportunities that inductively actualize, orchestrate and shape its evolving 'genetic development'.

nevertheless, 'mutual aid' in understood by some as a deliberate rational purposeful cooperative action wherein multiple individuals conspire to achieve a result which will beneficial to all participants. this is not the 'mutual aid' that Kropotkin saw in nature. plants and nonhuman animals and organisms do not have language and they do not consciously conspire to co-create ecosystems which they know will deliver benefits to all of them. as Lamarck points out, the inductive ('exciting') field is what pulls things together; i.e. 'field' is the source of 'mutual aid'. the apparently 'assertive' action associated with 'genetic expression' is, in physical reality, field-induced. the genetic structures that seem to manifest 'mutual aid' are epigenetically induced.

it makes no physical sense to limit our depiction of 'mutual aid' to deliberate, rational, purpose-driven actions executed by a multiplicity of 'independent things-in-themselves'.

Mutual aid, which is pervasive in nature, where plants and bees and moths and earthworms and bacteria and fungi and other organisms neither speak nor conspire together to bring about a commonly desired result, are nevertheless participants in a sustainable mutual aid based ecosystem, a 'whole' that is NOT the simple sum of the parts. instead, the 'whole' is a matrix of relational influences that inductively actualize genetic expression. the diverse multiplicity of relational forms that develop within a matrix of mutually-influencing relations are not the authors of 'mutual aid', they are the product of 'mutual aid'.

would you care to describe how your anarchist relationships/friendships manifest themselves in the real world: how could the layperson know the difference between your friendships (based on anarchism) and their own friendships: what would be so different? Are not all friendships based on anarchism?

This question is interesting because it is muddy and not in spite of it. I nowadays have become a bit of a humorless bastard and most all of my (@) friendships are based on the projectual desire for a shared understanding of an unleashed anarchy (in theory) but I've pegged that down to specific work on specific anarchist projects. My anarchist relationships are largely manifest by shared work on specific projects OR an interest in someone else's project (Kalan and his NYC performance art is an example of this that is public because of the Brilliant episode). For the purposes of your question the answer would be "projectual."

So, how about personal relationships? Projects I understand how people can make something happen. Personal relationships are typically different. How do you 'manage' personal relationships (as an anarchist) with others (who may not be anarchists) which are not based on projects or don't you bother (anymore)?

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