As anarchists living in an consumer-driven industrial world where so much of our lives is dominated or facilitated by the State or what we may call Capitalism, what can we consider to be real in our lives, if anything? Are we truly in a Society of the Spectacle, or perhaps lost in the depths of post-modernity or some similar state of extreme alienation that makes the real impossible? Are we truly separated from nature, or are these all simply labels and empty theories that can only attempt to frame the chaotic and complicated world around us?
topic of the week
Fiction holds a certain allure in its capacity to spark our imaginative visions of the sort of lives or worlds we could be living and interacting in if we weren’t quarantined to the reality of our present. How stable is this presumed reality of the present that seems so counterintuitive in contrast to worlds dominated by the anarchist idea—worlds relegated to the imagination? What power or importance does fiction have in fomenting anarchist ideas? Does fiction have to be explicitly anarchist to be in-line with or contributory towards anarchist thought?
Anarchist Traveling vs. Tourism
How do we distinguish between traveling and tourism as anarchists? What is important about traveling to anarchists and how does experiencing different places affect our views of the world around us? How can we prevent ourselves from fetishizing these experiences, as seems to be the case in tourism? Is it possible to reflect on or discuss our experiences without projecting our own biases on places that are alien to our own? Have experiences witnessing or engaging in struggle while traveling changed your viewpoint?
Some people, such as Earnest Becker, have argued that the denial of death is fundamental to civilization. Part of this argument includes an analysis of heroism as a method through which individuals transcend their mortality by becoming a part of something eternal. Martyrdom, sacrifice, and risking one's mortality for an eternal cause has been a familiar trope in anarchist past. But, what do anarchists think of this heroism now? Is there anything greater than the individual that is worthy of self-sacrifice? Is there a good anarchist death?
How do we enter or engage in actions, projects, or practices that require coordination between other people? How do you make the distinction between interacting cooperatively or collaboratively? Do you situate yourself within a role by volunteering for a collectively determined or constructed position, or by accepting a delegated role at the request of another or the group—both cooperative efforts? Have you felt stronger lines of cooperation that teetered into the realm of collaboration?
Once in a while, an event or personality becomes controversial and anarchists everywhere don their lawyer hats to get in on the action. On this site we get to witness a sample of the things anarchists have to say. It may seem like we can intuitively sort out the mess of argumentation styles, provocations, and jokes; but, the accuracy of such intuitions is less than satisfying upon inspection. Is this anarchist sincere? Is that anarchist making an attempt at humor? And is the joke good enough to transcend the realm of meanness?
Let us begin with a couple of basic assumptions that are arguable but will allow us (if we accept them) to address the topic of the week in good faith.
Before we get to this let’s admit that we are trying to read one of our site's frenemies in the best possible light (which isn’t exactly fair to them as they are a stated opponent of anarchism as a political doctrine). The question, stated plainly, is “What exact activity should we be engaging in if we desire society-wide struggles that could lead to an anarchist society?”.
North American anarchist subculture doesn’t offer much to elders. A lot of the time it can actively repel them. Sometimes this is referred to as “burn-out,” but that term can also be used to describe other situations where someone decides that the costs of participating in something are no longer worth paying. The burn-out that is related to aging isn’t limited to the frustrations of losing over and over again. It comes from many places, especially in a system that manages aging just as much as it manages labor, health, public policy, war, and the environment.
Despite various degrees of agreement between common tendencies in anarchist thought, the tools that we use to engage with our politics in the virtual realm of media may complement, contribute to, provoke, or otherwise engage with the actions or other lived experiences. It’s hard to deny the potential role of media to re-contextualize the ways we view or chose to interact with the world around us, as well as the ways it can inspire us intellectually or emotionally.