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?
In 1999, a film (distributed by Crimethinc) was released called Breaking the Spell. The anti-WTO protests in Seattle, WA were the subject, but the loose thesis of the film and some other popular anarchist material at the time was that despite whatever intentions someone may have, and however systematically oppressed they may be, what often keeps people in line the most are beliefs in their own powerlessness and the invincibility of authority.
This week in particular is a good example of people attempting to take lessons from around the world (especially Europe) about how anarchists should behave, and, by extension, what makes a good anarchist.
Does that work? How do you and your friends negotiate the differences of culture, police capacity, city structure, etc, that create different visions and expectations and abilities for anarchists in various places?
For the more philosophical among you, what do you think of the implicit (tacit) internationalism of blanket comparisons between scenes in different places?
The spectacle of professional sports, capitalism, and people making millions of dollars to perform in front of an audience seem to have little in common with anarchism. However, anarchists especially those in Europe and Latin America have a rich past of being involved in various sporting clubs, local community organizations, and associations especially with relation to soccer (football).
From the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton's e-mail debacle to the blah blah of Bitcoin enthusiasts, from Anonymous to Michael Schmidt catfishing fascists (or not), debates about Privacy, the Surveillance State, cryptography, whistle-blowers, and other security culture topics can be found everywhere today. As anarchists, this has been a longtime area of interest, being no strangers to the State (and others) targeting us for surveillance and infiltration.