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.
The past few weeks have had a few more headliners than usual when it comes to death by bullet. While police and soldiers are killing people consistently throughout the year, the other recent attacks happen less often. What is consistent for these other shootings is that despite differences in personal motivation, there really haven't been any organizations to claim them. They have been so-called lone wolves, taking action towards whatever targets they decide.
Decades ago, I was part of organizing against Operation Rescue. At a couple of meetings some people showed up who seemed off. No one asked them to leave, although we all agreed afterwards that they were suspicious. When we called the contact info they'd left, it was wrong numbers all the way down. The first time this happened we all agreed that we would call them out if it happened again. It happened at least twice more, to similar silence from those of us who felt uncomfortable.
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.
There haven't been many new people around our circles lately. Perhaps this is due to living in a big City and not because of some structural flaw but I've heard the same issue exists in most places in North America. I've heard that since Occupy there has not been a fresh crop of fresh faced anarchists turning up to replenish the ranks who left radical politics after 2011. Is this true where you live?
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.