But What About Beer?

A FAQ on drug consumption at common activist spaces – camps, events, social centers etc.

Introduction
This zine was written because we felt that it might be important for people who have not encountered these issues before to have the opportunity to read through some of the common topics raised, so they can feel more informed and confident when discussing in a larger group. It is as well an act of solidarity with all the people negatively affected who don’t want or can’t get involved. We hope that by introducing these topics outside the discussion it will give people the option to read and reflect on what is written in their own time and space. We are not calling for total abstinence or for a drug-free world. We would be happy if this zine provokes some thoughts on the use of drugs at political events, common activist spaces etc. and how this might affect everyone.

Since these types of events are relatively anonymous, temporary and often include a large amount of people that have not met or lived together previously, it is unlikely that people feel safe to express their feelings on this topic. For this reason it is safer to expect that there are people that are affected. This also takes off the pressure from the individual affected to have to speak up.

Below you will find some of the main questions and arguments in favor of drug use in common spaces and a basic response to them based on our own and other’s experiences from activist/political camps and events.

Read the full text at: http://diyconspiracy.net/but-what-about-beer/
PDF version at: http://diyconspiracy.net/downloads/zines/AboutBeer.pdf

But What About Beer?

A FAQ on drug consumption at common activist spaces—camps, events, social centers etc.
Introduction

This zine was written because we felt that it might be important for people who have not encountered these issues before to have the opportunity to read through some of the common topics raised, so they can feel more informed and confident when discussing in a larger group. It is as well an act of solidarity with all the people negatively affected who don’t want or can’t get involved. We hope that by introducing these topics outside the discussion it will give people the option to read and reflect on what is written in their own time and space. We are not calling for total abstinence or for a drug-free world. We would be happy if this zine provokes some thoughts on the use of drugs at political events, common activist spaces etc. and how this might affect everyone.

Since these types of events are relatively anonymous, temporary and often include a large amount of people that have not met or lived together previously, it is unlikely that people feel safe to express their feelings on this topic. For this reason it is safer to expect that there are people that are affected. This also takes off the pressure from the individual affected to have to speak up.

Below you will find some of the main questions and arguments in favor of drug use in common spaces and a basic response to them based on our own and other’s experiences from activist/political camps and events.
FAQ

For clarification, we don’t see a difference between legal and illegal drugs since this is a State (institutionalized) definition. We also consider alcohol a drug. Whilst throughout this zine many of the examples we have included refer to alcohol or drinking, this can be easily substituted with any other substance. One of the reasons that we highlighted alcohol is that it’s one of the most common drugs, and often its usage and affect on society and individuals isn’t viewed as critically as other drugs.

Q/ But I’m an anarchist/this is an anarchist site, why do we have rules?
A/ Anarchy, as we understand it, is not simply about no rules, it’s about not having authorities and oppression, about not having leadership from people or over people. It’s about creating an environment where everyone can feel and act free, without having anyone telling you what you can or can’t do. In order to act more freely and push towards a different world one must feel safe. People who feel unsafe can’t feel and act free.

This creates the necessity for drug free spaces, especially spaces where one needs their full concentration and energy to complete common goals because if people are traumatized, scared or feel uncomfortable by the actions of comrades, then how do we work together?

Q/ It’s my right to have a beer if I want to.
A/ It’s your right to do whatever you want until it starts to negatively affect others.

At that point, you should consider the fact that using your freedom can, in some cases, limit the freedom of someone else. If you restrict someone’s freedom by making them stay at home because of unsafe feelings around drugs, then you put yourself in a power position and effectively set rules for the other person.

Q/ We’re all reasonable people here, I think it’s safe to say nothing will get out of hand.
A/ We don’t know if everyone is reasonable, but also different people have different ideas about what reasonable is.

For some it might be unreasonable to break things or get in fights. For others it might be unreasonable to be loud, tripping on people’s tents or accidentally unzipping the wrong tent at night.

Generally people under the influence of drugs get less sensitive for others boundaries. This can be part of the reason why people have traumatic experiences with people under drug influence crossing their boundaries. So even if you are able to control your behaviour after drinking and don’t actively cross someones boundaries, you can still affect people by reminding them of traumatic experiences they have experienced in the past.

It is also important to remember that everyone may be reasonable now, but different people are affected differently by substances. For some, one or two beers may drastically alter their behavior, for others, it could have no change in their behavior. There is no universal level of what is „acceptable‟ or „safe‟.

Q/ But what if I don’t want to get drunk but just have a beer?
A/ Some people have a problem with people getting drunk. Others have a problem with just seeing alcohol. This means that even one drink is not okay.

People seeing you drink don’t know if it’s your first beer, or if it’s your tenth. People who themselves have a problem with alcohol, or are ex-alcoholics can find it very hard to see alcohol.

Q/ What if I drink offsite?
A/ By leaving the bottle outside you still bring the alcohol back with you in your body. It’s not about hiding your alcohol use, it’s about being considerate that your actions may negatively affect others.

Even if you don’t drink in the common space but in a designated drug tent or offsite, you will eventually need to return to your tent in the common camping space. By entering this “safer space” under the influence of drugs, you are already crossing someone’s boundaries who may feel unwell with the knowledge that someone is under the influence in the area that they are sleeping.

Q/ Some people need to drink
A/ Firstly it’s good to consider what need really means. People who need to drink for medical reasons, should speak with the onsite medic or onsite support group if there is one, to set up a way in which everyone on site feels comfortable. It is important to treat medical issues such as chronic alcoholism as sensitively and with respect as we would other drug addictions. If people who don’t need to drink would not drink on camps it would be much easier to create an environment where drinking for people with medical issues would be possible without making others feel unsafe.

Q/ But we encounter drug use all the time in society, people must have learn to deal with it?
A/ It is not up to you to make this kind of assumption. Some people may have found ways to deal with it, others never do. It can be especially difficult for some people who see spaces like this as safer to encounter the recreation of patterns seen in wider society.

Q/ Shouldn’t we be focusing on political issues and not meetings about drug use?
A/ Political camps are an opportunity to create a space where we get the chance to put our political ideas in practice, while focusing on a specific goal. It is important for people who are politically active to feel safe as feeling comfortable is a requirement to be able to concentrate, communicate well, work effectively and, if applicable, take risks. To involve as many people as possible we need to have an inclusive environment as possible. It is also important to remember that drug use is considered by many to be a highly political issue.

We would be happy to receive any feedback on aboutbeer@gmx.ch
Contact us if you need an online version for printing/editing/translating.

Category: 

Comments

Maybe you should write a pamphlet titled "what about oogles" instead of assuming that beer is the problem? Or maybe if you are having an anarchist event it would help to an even greater extent to try and get actual anarchists there. When you have non anarchists who are generally pretty fucking disgusting people welcomed because of some loose connection to punk rock you surprise surprise, have problems.

I kind of want to agree. I don't like how the article makes too broad of a statement about drugs and organizing. Generally a certain mentality is found around all illegality and anarchist spaces are only de facto legal (unless Nixon butt shaped poodle). Still, it's worth considering when and where moderate drug use would be allowed instead of the prescriptive paternalism smeared all over this article.

What about pharmaceuticals then? Don't think that was mentioned. Well it was but not to say they were not allowed. Go all the way or GTFO.

de facto -> prima fasci
Definitely not de facto but as in nominally.

I totally screwed the pooch on this one point.

This took a reasonable request- don't drink at this very specific action camp/ event and turned it into a really shitty zine. its ok to say that not drinking is tactical, but what you have done despite you language is make it a moral issue by using the delusional idea that we should all feel "safe" in radical spaces all the time. tell the oogles you don't want alcohol at your space because your trying to get something conflictual done and partying isn't part of that.

also by trying to be sensitive about alcohol addiction you aren't really helping that much. how exactly do you propose to draw the line between someone who needs to drink for medical reasons and the drunken @s who can't "not cross boundaries?" (incidentally if sobriety is necessary for consent we are all quite doomed.)

detox from alcohol is one of the most dangerous physiological detoxes. People who have "the shakes" in the morning may need more formal medical assistance to stop drinking- not just medics at an alternative space.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_withdrawal_syndrome

its important to be able to take labs and check levels which isn't always possible in an alternative space unless for some reason you've been stockpiling benzos, vitamins and anticonvulsants. Symptoms typical of withdrawal include agitation, seizures, and delirium tremens. Failure to manage the alcohol withdrawal syndrome appropriately can lead to permanent brain damage or death. why not just say- don't drink at our event because we don't want to deal with this bullshit right now--- that would be honest.

Well for the simple reason that in anarchy land, don't drink at this event becomes don't ever drink as evidenced by this article.

I was going to write pretty much this but then saw someone was already on it. Yeah, so much wrong with this article. -A sober anarchist

I'm through with tolerance, no more acceptances of your crimes; I don't care about your 'freedom' cos your actions restrict mine. And the rights of those you step on every day as you drag down all in your way as you slowly self-decay. Smoking a cash crop, I don't care if you die, but the animals tested, should they pay the price? Or those who are near, who've not got a choice, but to breathe second hand smoke you create. And what of those who are killed or maimed when you drink and drive as if it's a game, or third world peasants forced to make your cocaine, enslaved and impoverished for the choices you've made. To feed your weakness, another vice, to satisfy your hunger, you never think twice, of the pain it causes others you just talk about your "rights" as you eat the flesh from another that you denied life. Freedom is not just a one way street; you've got no right to choose when it gets in the way of others well being, their rights their needs to live free in peace, in a sane society. And everything you do does get in the way of all that surrounds you, so don't even say that it harms you and 'it's your choice to make' cos a weak link in the chain will break the whole thing. And that I cannot tolerate, won't let you pull us all down the drain, I'm through with looking the other way. It's fucking time to set things straight. For too long you've been the one to dictate the way the rest of us live and that's gonna change if you wish to remain, then stay in your place, cos you fuck up again and I won't hesitate... To infringe on your rights, to take them away, to be judge and jury, and make you fucking pay, for the crimes you commit day after day, cos only with you stopped will our lives be truly free!

I like my beer and pot. I don't like people telling me when I'm allowed or how much I'm allowed to consume when I'm expressing my freedom. Want to make a statement about things that suck? Instead of telling the people around you what to do morally, suggest vandalizing churches. Even black churches. It means more than your precious morally just spaces you think are "safe" but are really righteous.

"A/ It’s your right to do whatever you want until it starts to negatively affect others.

At that point, you should consider the fact that using your freedom can, in some cases, limit the freedom of someone else. If you restrict someone’s freedom by making them stay at home because of unsafe feelings around drugs, then you put yourself in a power position and effectively set rules for the other person."
this is a slipppppppppery slopeeeeee

the first line of this is like the textbook definition of classical liberalism. who the fuck is talking about "rights" anyway?

I can't feel myself. All I see is the intoxication overwhelming me. I can't feel myself. Drug infested lives, are they just cries. Cries for help. It makes my body numb to see one's intoxicated lust. How many lives must be lost before you realize you're only living intoxicated lies. I stand surrounded by intoxicated lust and brain washed ignorance. You say moderation, I scream prohibition! Your time is up it's time we put a stop. A stop to your senseless addictions. What more is there to see? Fucking stop! Cleanse the body and purify the mind. Stand on your own two feet. This time we're here to stay. We've come this far, no turning back. It's time to take, instead of give. Grab a shovel or choose to live. Straight Edge is here to stay. We'll never go away. We've taken it long enough. Put an end to your destruction. YOU MUST BE STOPPED!

rights are the currency of the oppressed and the bastion of scoundrels

"Q/ It’s my right to have a beer if I want to.
A/ It’s your right to do whatever you want until it starts to negatively affect others.

At that point, you should consider the fact that using your freedom can, in some cases, limit the freedom of someone else. If you restrict someone’s freedom by making them stay at home because of unsafe feelings around drugs, then you put yourself in a power position and effectively set rules for the other person."

liberal

>>Maybe you should write a pamphlet titled "what about oogles" instead of assuming that beer is the problem

Alcoholics and Junkies come in all shapes and sizes, and the system itself is what keeps these people trapped in the cycle of self-destructive isolation. I used to live on the streets, and would prostitute myself for a gram of meth and a half gallon. I was a disgusting, angry person, and then I went to prison and came out born again. that was a half-joke.. the born again part atleast.

Drugs/alcohol and organizing anything that could potentially put people in jail or get them killed don't mix. Junkies can't be trusted, that is a fact. Junkies are 100% self serving and only interested in feeding their habit. I have dealt with several heroin addicts that were very close to me over the last decade or so (my best friend, and my daughter just to name a couple) They are both great people, but while using they were the most selfish untrustworthy people that I've ever known. There is no shortage of anarchists that are sitting in prison due to addicts getting picked up on unrelated charges and rolling over on their "comrades" Don't conspire with junkies! it's dangerous.

As far as alcohol goes. "Loose lips sink ships" and alcohol tends to loosen up ones lips quite a bit. There are also no shortage of people sitting in prison because they (or someone else) got too drunk and ran their mouth about something they did or were going to do. This is the main reason that the Zapatista communities don't allow alcohol. This isn't a moral debate, it's tactical. That being said, this pamphlet is a fucking joke, and pretty much the definition of "liberal" as a pejorative.

As long as we can get drunk while celebrating in the streets during insurrections, what you activists do during your pointless "organizing" doesn't bother me one way or another. I'll be drinking with friends and neighbors, building bonds that will come in handy if our neighborhood ever fights the pigs.

There will be no allegiance with those who turn to sin. I have nothing but contempt for the turncoats who give in. To regress from purity to weakness I can't allow. The blatant desecration of a sacred vow. Fuck the two-faced losers. Fuck all who go untried. Fuck the evil bastards who still stand by their side. Fuck all who cheapened what I truly am in others eyes. Fuck all those who bent the straight edge with their fucking lies. Integrity, sincerity, I choose to live against the grain. Purged of the impurities that fester in their veins. No tolerance for weakness is what's allowed I say. My decree is my law and it's here to stay. Fuck the two-faced losers. Fuck all who go untried. Fuck the evil bastards who still stand by their side. Fuck all who cheapened what I truly am in others eyes. Fuck all those who bent the straight edge with their fucking lies.

community organizing = booze! more prole than you cause im drinking

Any addiction is inflammable. Why single out junkies? A narcissistic addiction to ones ego or the gambler's for money rolls over just as easily. What about the addiction to state authority, instant snitch?! Alcohol?! My data files describe it as a truth serum.

please don't generalize

The worst sort of subjectivity from the worst sort of identity politics.

At what point, did you end up a prisoner of your own inability to ever "feel safe"?
You should "unpack" that.

Double triple burn

Straight edge - the discipline. The key to selfliberation is abstinence from the destructive escapism of intoxication. I separate from the poison - a mindlessness I've always abhored. Usage will only increase the pain, a truth I constantly see ignored. The pollutants that kill the body breed apathy within the mind. The substances that once brought release in the end will always confine. From drug-clouded lungs and veins motviation dissipates. Imprisoned within addiction, abuse increases until death overtakes. Enslaved by concupiscence, promiscuity leads to despair. Victims used and abandoned by liars who professed to care. Self-exiled from their insanity. Striving to attain higher levels of purity. The beauty in life
is mine to know. Amidst the ruin I survive. I've got to stay free. Damage everywhere - infections at every turn. Through my refusal to partake I saved myself. Abstinence was the beginning. What's important is what's done with the freedom step by step I overcome. Alone I climb the staircase to edification.

Xearth crisisx?? Karl, is that you?

I'm as straight as the line that you sniff up your nose
I'm as hard as the booze that you swill down your throat
I'm as bad as the shit you breath into your lungs
And I'll fuck you up as fast as the pill on your tongue
STRAIGHT EDGE REVENGE
This time you pushed me too far!

Victimsssssssss

Albeit an attempt at drawing out the evermore pervasive issue with substance use as a mitigating factor in navigating day to day social experiences, this does that which it claims to be antithetical to.
We see here that a claim is made that by virtue of persyn x' actions towards themselves, and solely by virtue of this, that persyn y is 'forced' to stay away. I contend that this claim is false, in that in the aforementioned persyns actions I cannot see a limitation of the latter's freedom.
Conversely, by imposing onto the former a universal rule, the author(s) are dictating to and hence limiting the freedom of the primary beings capacity to be relatively autonomous.
The latter being, persyn y, for various experiential reasons may or may not feel as though persyn x' actions are imposing onto them a limitation of freedom by virtue of association, however this does not declare that persyn x is in fact willfully and forcefully imposing.
Persyn x cannot be held responsible for the sentiments of another for which they know not the historical imperative which propels persyn y to feel uncomfortable around substance consumption.

As can be seen, limitations are imposed from one side to another and by the conception of this zine the limitation is inescapable. By limiting persyn x, we purport to free up persyn y and conversely, the other way holds true as well. The difference, I speculate, is that with the latter a universal association and subsequent assigning of a predetermined categorization of character is applied to the former. Whereas, with the former, one acts in a way which is familiar to oneself without any particular intent to impose onto the latter any type of response.

Now, the actions of persyn x subsequent to their consumption of alcohol is another matter and must be divorced from the argument proposed in this zine. Of course is one is wasted and imposes themselves onto others, then they must be dealt with as the individuals on the side imposed upon see fit, however inferring that by virtue of one consuming a substance that this will necessarily lead to....well infinitely negative possibilities and so therefore this must be negated in a predetermined fashion....this is precisely what the police do in their role to impose an order predicated on the myth of what is to come (it's called determinism).

I write this agreeing, based on my experience, that @'s in the west spend far too much time numbing the banality and pain of existence under the constraints of state-capitalism with booze, meds, and w/e else and I too wish to see a healthy alternative present itself. Nevertheless, this notion of 'safe space' predeterminism is a microcosmic example of the totalitarian nature of the state structures set of moral codes themselves.

As noted in comments above, if one wants for persyn x to not attend a social arena for reasons of abstinence, this is completely reasonable. If persyn x wills to get smashed or w/e and show up, then they are in fact imposing themselves. However, to state that by virtue of ones drinking they force another to stay at home dismisses the individuals freedom to will themselves to do this or that. The persyn who chooses to stay home chooses to do so of their own accord, and cannot place onto another the responsibility of culpability for the actions of the former.

Nevertheless, this is a pervasive issue and should certainly be taken up and analyzed.

strong straight edge lyric posting.

OP totally annihilated (srsiouslu)

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