Topic of the Week: Reflection

  • Posted on: 17 April 2017
  • By: thecollective

What are some examples of things you've strongly believed in the past but don't currently, actions or protests you once thought were effective, or moments that changed the course of your political/anti-political growth or somehow informed the way you view or approach things today? What caused you to change or move away from your former views, methods, assumptions, etc.? Has a negative experience ever proven useful for provoking some sort of personal turning point? Has someone else's failures, negative experience, writing, report-back, feedback, advice, criticism, or even trolling affected you in ways that caused you to grow out of or move away from a certain tendency? How is your anarchism informed by failure? How has failure strengthened your views? Do you have any ideas of how you will continue forward in the face of future failures, or if your current trajectory is fruitless or proves to be counter-productive somehow? What's your most embarrassing moment as an anarchist?



I used to believe in smashing windows and throwing newspaper boxes in the street. But then I grew up. I no longer believe in protests of any kind because protesting is ostensibly about communicating a message to the government (or a corporation). Who are we protesting to? What is our message? It's all merely a public spectacle. The very institutions we are protesting are my enemy. I don't want to send a message to them, I want to destroy them.

Protesting is allowed precisely because it is ineffective. If protests changed anything they would be quickly made illegal. They are entertaining though.

"Who are we protesting to?"

To the deity called "State".

"If protests changed anything they would be quickly made illegal."

That catch sentence reflects a dumb reasoning that is also untrue. There are many courses of action that are legal and yet can influence those in charge. It's just that they're not socially accessible, due to separation and exclusion dynamics. The anti-marxist idiots here will suddenly get butthurt about these words, but I challenge them to go stir things up on a BoD of Enbridge or Raytheon after taking over majority shares.

As an anarchist, I don't want to "influence those in charge", I want to get rid of those in charge. .

So perhaps you're one of those very few who're getting busy at getting rid of those in charge? I'd like to see that happening more... instead of movies or pretend insurgency, or pretend insurgency movies

Agreed. I'd like to see that happening more too.

(As an aside, whenever I see the word 'Orly', it reminds me of an old Coke/Pepsi challenge radio commerical that ran in Canada during the 1970s, in which an ordinary man-on-the-street named Orly Dunston was convinced he preferred Coke over Pepsi in a blind taste test. But when his preference turned out to actually be Pepsi, Orly Dunston couldn't believe it. The announcer finally says, "There seems to be a little confusion here, Orly", a catch-phrase that became a big meme in Canada for years after.)

Everytime I hear "Orly" it reminds me of beautiful romantic PARIS, where every summer I'm shaking my yuppie hipster ass on the Rive Gauche!

Hey there I'll be coming through in November where can I get a decent hamburger?

And if i don't want "change", what then? Change is just a slight difference in a system that in its entirety i have so little want off i rather have a fucking apocalypse. If that isn't telling why i'm not going to invest time doing boring, stagnated shit like protests or organizing i don't know what is. In EU you have a better chance of instigating change through the electoral party politics, if the far right has proven anything it's precisely this; any moron with time on their hands can gain state power and bring change! I rather embrace the gray parts of society, milk it like a leech, while doing shit that has meaning to you. I might occasionally join you in your egalitarian, borderline religious indulgences but for the most part, surfs up!

I used to believe in the anarchist "movement" as being a force that can change the world, until the anti-globalization movement came to an abrupt halt with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Later on the same process repeated itself, but in half the time, when the Occupy movement fizzled out and was replaced with the effort to get Obama re-elected in 2012.

I used to believe in the anarchist "scene" as being a place for healthy supportive relationships, until various big controversies erupted all across the country at different times and places over the last decade or so. The nastiness, bitterness and vindictive nature that surrounded these controversies dispelled any illusions that solidarity and comradery are things that one can reasonably expect among anarchists.

I still hold onto a belief that anarchy is a possibility between human beings, I just now think that it is not bloody likely.

"until the anti-globalization movement came to an abrupt halt with the 9/11 terrorist attacks"

In what dimension were you back then? In mine, there was the Summit of Americas, several G7-8-20s, Davos, and to a lesser extent Montebello 2007 (which is probably the point where the movement really stopped). There's been 2-3 other counter-summits of importance afterwards in the West, but they were both heavily-repressed and undercrowded. By 2007-08 the momentum was gone.

Then December 2008 happened in Greece, and everything has moved in a different direction.

What did December 2008 change? It didn't last like any other great insurrectionary event

A shift of paradigm back towards insurrecto anarchy, after several years of intense pacification of the global anarchist and radical Left movements. Among the capitalist establishment, a breaking up of the old liberal democratic pretenses, underlined by the 2007-08 financial "crisis".

I agree that it did inspire hope and perhaps a renewed belief in insurrectionary tactics within the movement, but it also lead to a massive sense of disappointment and hopelessness among antiauthoritarians when people realized that the momentum never lasts. My Greek friends still talk about December 2008 as some kind of revolutionary bubble they'll never get back.

On the wall in Exarcheia where Alexis was shot in 2008, there's also a photo of the Turkish boy who's death inspired the uprising in Gezi park in 2013. The story is the same so many places, but the will to fight dies out.

Yes of course. And this was like France one year ago, and Quebec five years ago, at about the same period. In Greece it was vastly watered down by the stupid holidays, in Quebec and France by even worse Summer break, where all the schools empty out and youngsters go work for another sector of the capitalist machine, or just do whatever where nobody cares.

Many insurgents didn't get that, at least in a Western mass society, the soft part of the State -its social institutions which insure the seamless dynamics of subservience and power in daily life- is the most dangerous.

The State was not on its last leg, to paraphrase a text from the CCF from a few years back. The State is not like a chair, it has no legs, but tentacles; the State is an octopus! It hs soft, pervasive, invasive, far-reaching limbs that suck on people and trap them in its embrace.

UnderHILL will agree with me that, like in a famous scene everybody knows, the only way to at least release ourselves from its clutches is the "Boromir Approach to Insurgency".... ;-)

Exactly. Escaping seems impossible most of the time. But did the December revolt in Greece stand out in any way then? I'm asking because I've had this discussion many times before and to be honest I don't know the answer. Perhaps because there isn't just one.

It stood out as a "pivot" moment, like Seattle 1999, the Watts rebellion of 1965...

It simply must be found in the apolitical temporal now.

could put quotations around "the", instead of around scene and movement...
belief's in the action, not an institution.
whether a team, culture, family, ethic, spirit, whatever; all of it,
magic, -non-thingness-.
a common-conditional suffering binds us, together; for Team Love, unconditionally(in anarchy) !

physical constitution is a relative judgement whereas abstract being's a flux-dynamo.
worldly institution is death. freedom lies in surrender to The infinité.

Lets reflect on an anarchic network that barely existed 10 years ago - can you believe that, before 2005, a majority of net users were stupid Americans! - lets reflect on quantum & encryption technological advances that are making the net exponentially MORE anarchistic. Finally lets reflect on the possibilities for a global Spain 36 today aided and abetted by this great gift we have been given by enlightenment-driven-science.
Lets choose life, live and globalized anarchist revolution!

anarchic internet? spain '36? what planet do you live on?

i (and others) have explained exactly how the internet is NOT ANARCHIC, it is absolutely hierarchical, technically speaking. from dns to the owners of the hardware, there is nothing anarchic about internet technology.

spain? come on, do you NOT remember how many anarchists were killed by your hated commies? get a lesson from mr. grumpy, one of the most learned experts on the spanish civil war (used to border on obsession, years ago) i have ever come across.

I used to believe in going to protests, demos, etc. and was a part of an activist scene where I used to live. After being there a couple of years, the ineffectiveness of these methods seemed clear but I still had one foot in the activist world. I think I changed from a political to an anti-political stance from being in the activist world and reading Nihilist Communism, I think that book was the shock to the system I needed. I have no idea of how to continue forward, I still consider myself an anarchist but since moving from where I used to live, I have not put my body back in those spaces, mainly kept up with actions, writings, etc. through the internet while have a rather mundane day to day. A land project has been floated around among some friends but as of now has now moved beyond being a vague idea.

Is this … satire? Or did you just typify how disempowering nihilism is?

Empowering is disempowering.

You've gone full zen platitude ziggy … sound like a cheesy pickup line at a music festival.

The very opposite of full retard.

Yes, to pick up gay crusty hippies who do bad drugs who like to kiss their dogs on the lips. You know... these people.

This isn't satire, the point is politics and activism, whatever you want to call it and whatever stripe of it, is disempowering.

There's other options besides activism and nihilism


like creating your own life as you see fit!!!! placing your own desires above those of some spooky "society" is neither activism (though i guess your desires could take you down that path) nor nihilism. i won't call it egoism, because that is just another ideology/ism, and i don't know what that ego is, anyway.

if you truly can see no alternatives to activism or nihilism, you are wearing some pretty high-functioning blinders.

I think it can be aptly called "autonomy". Yet this word has been abused by both maoists and neoliberal capitalists aplenty, and also the socio-democrat communitarians.

Although I used to think the opposite, I have taken on some millenarian beliefs. I think that think that things have to get so bad before any revolutionary change can happen. Protests and Demonstrations do very little to pull people over to more radical politics. It will be out of desperation and hate that people fight back against the state and capital. A little taste of salvage communism.

Anarchy is already an unstoppable aspect of physical existence, it's really just a matter of finding the right relational intercourse and living it. Anarchy will always be the default in time. Better and worse conditions is irrelevant. State and capital is a belief first and foremost.

Only if you have relative wealth and privilege (and/or autism) …for many of us, those are external, often hostile forces of oppression, as real as a boot on your neck or the daily anxiety and deprivation of abject poverty.

I do have the autism thing to some degree but I view that as a neuroatypical advantage against sublimating socialization as I have written about before.

Some people have that Bartlebyan to carry on and not take existence to personally and occasionally make things interesting.

Gay sex on speed in a smelly backstreet sounds to me like waaayyyy neuroatypical. Or in the sewers why not.

I agree with you, but I don't think the poor and dispossessed necessarily do. I'm speaking from the context of the United States. I think it will have to get far worse than it already is for poor people and reduce the standard of living for the so called "privileged" few to get people to rise up. In other words, put on your Marxist hats! Crisis! Crisis! Crisis!

As I have said before it would take a volcanic meteoric tragedy terrestrial scale tragedy like a younger dryas 2 to potentially return humans to more simplified existence. This is nothing you can configure or prefigure however. If we look at the collapse of Rome in the West a lot of Roman habits including exchange continued even though there was a catabolic breakdown. There was no formative level edenic rebirth. The same things would happen if this proto global civilization collapses. From all this politics really does not make any sense. If one is going to be attached or justify existence in anyway it really should only be personal and aesthetic. Always remember that suicide and thoughts of it are that friend on hand that can end things at anytime.

geez ziggy … I wouldn't have any problem with you if you didn't spend 90% of your time here giving some of the worst advice ever

For anarchy:)

All we know for sure is that you're self-assured

nah, but we do know anon trolls love to throw boxes on everyone.

the paternalistic are uncomfortable when the illusions that are boundary maintenance are not only disobeyed but when some are busy actualizing anarchistic experience and never knew the invisible lines were to be believed in and taken as more real than reality in the first place.

I come here to read comments such as this

yes, I'm just "uncomfortable" and "throwing boxes". That's a totally valid characterization, not self-serving at all ...

I don't see how you miss the charm.

i remember it so well. a freshly filled pothole with a bag of sludge i bought at ace hardware. seeing the first few cars pass over it smoothly was one of the most liberating moments i can remember. i felt alive, as if something unknown in me had awakened. my comrades and i, dressed in our silly getup, had conquered something real. people would see. anarchy had won one small intersection here in the heart of leviathan.

later, i look back on these adventures as a precursor to something more. the city maintenance crew had a job opening. and so i could turn my DIY life into a job. i make 25,000 a year now (with benefits) - now that's growing up!

Are you the one that really wants to believe but can't, or the one that believes too much but has to pretend not to?

"anarchy had won one small intersection here in the heart of leviathan"

Man, you just pwned badly, Victor Scourge.

I used to be into unions until I realized that I don't want to work.

The revolutionary dreamed of a better world. He truly believed in it, more than anything. He longed for the adventure it would bring, the play it would provide, and the death of the roles that crushed him. With the right perturbations, enough protests and education of the public, perhaps the change necessary to create this world could be brought about? Alas, the trajectories of history did not appear as so. The revolutionary spirit of the proletariat was but a fading ghost --- a projection of a memory, perhaps a false one, of an era long before his time. The People had made their choices, and their choices were not, and could not be, his own. The sorrow this knowledge brought him left him feeling hollow. The emptiness in any action he may take echoed inside him, reverberating in his soul. What was one to do with a life without hope? What was one to do in the face of the absurd?

Ah, yes of course. The Absurd. The answer was so clear now. There was only one thing that could bring joy, or meaning, however ephemeral: Rebellion.
No Revolution could create that which he truly desired. Therefore, he decided with resolution he had so longed for, he shall rebel in the face of all that would seek to quash his desires, irrespective to how futile this rebellion may be. And in this futile rebellion, he will find joy, in his role as the great Sisyphus: doomed forever to roll the weight of stone against the forces of nature, but forever in gleeful rebellion against the Leviathan that places it. Ignore his enemies? Face them head on? It mattered little, so long as he knew his desires, and sought them regardless.


The boy dreamed of the girl. He gazed longingly, across the room at her perfection. To know the sweetness of her company, the softness of her words... They briefly locked eyes, but both quickly look away, pretending that no fleeting connection had been made. Could it be that there was something more? That with the right words, at the right time, she could be his? No, better to reject such false hopes. The bell rang, and the pupils emptied the class, their eyes regaining focus. As he wandered from one hellish circle of the middle school to another, he pondered the futility of his unrequited love.
"Dude, stop staring at her." Ah, so your erstwhile companion had noticed. "Seriously, it's fucking creepy."
The boy only managed a shrug.
"You know barely anything about her, but you know she has a boyfriend. So give it a damn rest."
Images of the churlish brute with her filled his mind, mixing his sorrow with swirls of rage at the caricature of a man she placated herself with. "That guy's a dick," the boy opined.
"No, he's not. But even if he was, she likes him more than you."
Again, the boy simply mustered the energy to shrug. Such simple minds couldn't be expected to understand the depths of his emotions.

Weeks later, the boy found himself at a soirée, where the girl was also present. Standing with his "friend", he again found himself enveloped in the silent melancholy that came so easily to him.
But his friend grew wearisome of his troubled behavior. "Just go fucking talk to her. Maybe you'll finally get some god damned perspective and stop acting like an emo bitch."
Oh, how little his companion could comprehend of the oceans that comprised the boy's wishes and desires. But perhaps there was some truth to the simplistic observation. Why not come to see what Icarus may observe in his climactic flight? Steeling himself for the arduous journey, the boy began to walk.
With so little room left, and his resolve beginning to falter, the girl noticed his approach. Her face lit, like the brightness of the sun. "Hey! I've been meaning to talk to you!"
What cruelty or greatness have the fates put forth? He is frozen, cast in ice where he stands.
He manages to let the word escape from his lips.
"So you seem like a cool person, and I'd like to hang out with you more." The sun beat down upon the boy's face, the heat thawing the ice that contained him. "But I just wanted to make sure we were clear with where we stand. I'm in a relationship, and I'm really happy with it. So I would definitely want us to just be friends. Okay?"
And so the wax of his wings have melted. He finds himself crashed amongst the rocks. "I completely understand. You've got your thing going, and it wouldn't make sense for you to mess that up."
But even the rocks provide no respite, as he continued tumbling into the depths, where Hades await.
"Cool! I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page, you know?"
And what may he find with him, but one of the rocks that had also fallen, placed along the bottom of a hill.
"Oh, totally. You have no romantic interest in me, even though I'm madly in love with you."
Her face blanched, a sickly pallor falling upon her skin. "What?"
She did not understand. But this was fine, for the boy could explain. "You can keep living your pleasant life, and I will just keep ceaselessly trying to convince you that we are perfect for each other, and should be together."
"Please don't do that," the girl quickly replied.
"These efforts will, of course, be to no avail, but they will be the only solace that I find."
"No. I... No. How about you just-"
"I will roll my rock up this hill in Hades, and every day it will come crashing down. But still, I will carry on with my task."
"Holy shit."
"I will see those around me, flesh torn from their writhing bodies, and know that there is no justice in these worlds, but that I must continue to mercilessly fight the die I have been cast."
"What the hell is wrong with you? Please stop."
"For I know that there is truly no other, neither for me nor for you, who can bring the completion that we together can have."
"My dad has a shotgun."
"I will sow such seeds in your mind, seeds that I know cannot be reaped, but seeds all the same."
"He knows how to use it, and I know where the keys are too. Just so you know."
"And perhaps one day, a day too late, you will see, that all along, I was right."
And with little fanfare, she is gone. The boy's "friend" stands within earshot, his head hanging firmly in hands, like the weeping angels of the Missionary grave yards, where the converted Primitives lie. The boy wonders at such odd sobbing.

are you talking about me? cuz if you are, you got me all wrong.

It goes without saying that you're nothing like the other boys.

I used to read emile's comments. But then I discovered cat videos on youtube.

(see Robin Seplut) AND read emile's comments.

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