Of all the human experiences, play has one of the greatest potentials to tell us about ourselves. To some, play represents an essence that seems to evoke the child or the animal in a person and it has been argued that humans distinguish themselves precisely by the manner and frequency by which they play. In this topic of the week, we’re looking at the anarchist idea of play.
topic of the week
The notion that we are living in a Consumer Society has been a fundamental piece of post-1950s social theory. This has been the case for anarchists and other anti-authoritarians/anti-capitalists; but it has also been the case for neo-Conservatives and other right-wingers who blame the Consumer Society for cultural decadence, moral relativism, etc.
Many anarchists come from the Left, and anarchy is popularly understood as a Left phenomenon. There are definitely anarchists who come from the Right also (maybe I only think there are fewer because of my own history). And then there are the anarchists who reject that anarchy/anarchism is a part of the model of Left/Right at all, who see it as a construction particular to a time and place that no longer exists.
What about you? What strengths and limitations do you see to identifying as either one side or the other?
Have you ever felt the need to leave the anarchist milieu behind (or have you more or less already done so?) What makes people (or you) leave or separate themselves from the anarchist milieu? Have you ever taken breaks--and what made you get back into the mix? How did leaving (temporarily or permanently) affect you or the people you know? Is there anything you regret about leaving (e.g. severing ties with friends you wish you hadn't, leaving behind projects that you had invested a lot of time in, moving away from places you liked, etc.)?
Anarchists and their friends often use the words community, solidarity, and affinity to express their relationships with one another. Our personal relationships with each other among anarchists and friends is one area of our lives where we have a great ability to create and share the most beautiful ideas together.
Location plays a key role in dictating the nature of our ideas and opinions, who our enemies or friends may be, if we're separated from or near family and relatives, if we have a connection over generations to a land-base and its resources or are maybe just vaguely familiar to our surroundings, along with plenty of other variables.
Anarchists have held and continue to organize conferences, gatherings, workshops, discussions, summits, and meetings on a local and international level. These events offer an opportunity for friends new and old to meet, socialize, build and renew their networks, and have adventures together. A long list of report-backs and happenings could seemingly go on forever. This week we're taking a look at organizing and participating in face-to-face anarchist events.
Co-operative modes of property, labor, production, distribution, and consumption have been around as long as their hierarchical alternatives. Sometimes anarchists have argued in favor of cooperatives: that the workers are able to own and manage the enterprise, make decisions together as stake-holders, and operate with an emphasis on other values besides competitive profit-making. Other times, cooperatives have been criticized as self-exploitation, reformist, and/or counter-revolutionary.
Writers, conspirators, assassins, bank robbers, theorists and wingnuts alike--individuals throughout history have an impact on the ways we conceptualize our vision of anarchism, or otherwise act on it. Individualist and collectivist adherents alike often espouse fondness for a particular leader or writer, or someone who turned them on to the idea of anarchism in a way that just "clicked".
Contemporary anarchism is one often associated with the city for better or worse. Today more than half of the worlds population live in cities, including seemingly the majority of anarchists. Outside of the city, in the spaces between, what does the project of anarchy look like? In the countryside, along the borderlands, and the isolated regions where friends are few and far between, what are anarchists doing?