TOTW: Inspirations from the Anarchist Milieu

A recent Anews Topic of the Week explored "Embarrassments of the anarchist Milieu" and, unsurprisingly, the engagement with the topic was largely successful. Because the Beautiful Idea is largely defined by what it opposes, aims to negate, or is in constant tension with, criticism seems to flow effortlessly from anarchists, for better or for worse.

This week, however, we're looking to discuss the flip side of the 'embarrassments topic' and explore inspirational happenings from within the anarchist milieu.

From anarchist prisoner solidarity events, to burning down xmas trees/vehicles/cell towers/police precincts, to socially distanced bookfairs, or the latest GY!BE record... what have been your favorite or most inspirational things happening from within the anarchist movement—from anarchists? What do these inspirational ideas/actions/ATTACKs/merch!/projects tell us about the state of anarchy in the world today? Are there particular inspirational activities occurring or that have occurred in the past that seems to be inspirational to anarchists of all tendencies? How do anarchists continue to be inspirational, effective, incredible, if at all?

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if you examine the journals, blogs, organizational/solidarity announcements of anarchists over the past 30 years or so, you'll quickly find that inspirations for anarchists come from outside the milieu. sometimes really far outside it. which actually makes this TOTW an unwitting auxiliary topic to the one mentioned in this one: inspirations to most anarchists are still embarrassments.

There is nothing inspirational about the current anarchist scene. All of the inspirational people and things are either in the past, or they exist outside of the anarchist scene.

“All of the inspirational people and things are either in the past, or they exist outside of the anarchist scene.”

Such as?

Your mom.

Wrong again 13:13!

No u, black diaper baby. I, for one, happen to find your mother VERY inspirational. Perhaps not the inspiration we deserve, but the inspiration we all need rn.

Text her rn, tell her I said Hi.

yeah, I almost snarked about how this topic will get no love whatsoever but stopped myself cuz the basketball hoop is so low, why bother dunking?

this is the legacy of everyone being cyborgs of critique all the time. we've let other muscles in our brains and souls atrophy. but you don't really need to be an accelerationist to brace for the g-forces these days, do ya kids?! haha

The most inspirational anarchists in recent memory all accidentally blew themselves up. How many virgins in anarchist paradise does that amount to?

this website and @101 are pretty much my only access points to "the milieu"

however, i will say that i've been very pleased with how anarchist books in general have allowed me to navigate my life outside of it. I like the stuff that has happened in Greece, but as far as NA is concerned i don't have any desire to be a part of it. Also, it's cool that in places like chile that the anarchists are so aggressive it seems...

The large anarchist parades in Athens are very inspiring. Marching and chanting while marching then posting communiques is powerful. Any day now the anarchists occupations of Exarchia will be free. Maybe one or two more MayDays at most. Then the whole of so-called Europe.

I have a phobia about marching with a crowd of people. I don't know what its called, maybe herdphobia, but it makes me feel small, petty and obedient.
Maybe I'm a terminal individualist with an elitist complex or I'm a Stirner addict, or I've watched too many Nazi and Stalinist May Day marches on TV, I just don't know, but its beyond treatment.
So the marching Greek anarchists actually do not inspire me but do the opposite, and repulse me.

...and this ain't the only place where you appear to lack culture. There's protests since the Medieval times... and many were very riotous and joyous in character. To compare them with official manifestations of a totalitarian regime makes you look dumb, and that's legit as this is a dumb comparison. Are all the riots that ever happened also Nazism because of Kristallnacht?

Oh no mine is definitely a repugnance to mix with the herd, with the democratically minded mob who behave like a conjoined mass of moronic clones. I'm a fierce individualist, its either herdphobia or mobphobia. My denigrators call me a misanthropist or elitist, but I object to these nasty pompous labels. Simply speaking, I loath people who can't think for themselves.
Oh I'm fully aware of the ancient riots of Antiquity, and they were hordes of dumb weak slaves mostly, drunk on booze or the adrenaline of violence, so don't go calling me foolish please. And I'm not lonely, selfish or Incel or a bitter sociopath, I'm only me, being myself and following my own and my friends agendas.

The most inspiring moments of 2020 were the wall of moms and BLM burning down a police station.

I'm sure you know the exact demographics on everyone who took part in these protests. Of course we have to believe you. Or else.

Papa Biden called for peace and calm but it's going down in Brooklyn Center tonight. I heard the guerillas attacked a police station in Myanmar. I wonder if the USA still has a duty to respond?

ya me and the rest of pnwylf were inspired by wall of milfs too, but not in an anarchy way.

i was touched by the greeks housing refugees in their squats. the greek stuff in general, probably.

probably sounds sappy, but conversations i have with anarchist friends can be pretty inspiring. keeps getting me through the day(s). reminding me to challenge myself, shit like that.

and things i read. some of the stuff in black seed. like that piece by skoden, or the black fish story.

... inspired to what?

Do you mean Novatore the bot or the author?

I can say, hands down, that Sean Swain and Eric King are very inspiring. The first for his humor and madness having never really stopped, and the second for basically still being alive and apparently in good shape, after all the beatings and torture he's suffered. A few local anarchos do inspiring stuff yet they're usually unknown to wider crowds.

Omg Sean Swaine I hope you're running for president 2024 you are an inspiration for reluctant voters ♡;)

I think I saw a picture of Eric King on this website a few months ago in a yoga posture and I've been doing it ever since.

I felt inspired by Willem Van Spronsen's actions at the Tacoma ICE facility. I felt his manifesto was well written and moving and he chose his death on his own terms, which is always inspiring. Admittedly it didn't really inspire me to do anything but think, but that's my fault, not his.

Seconding this. Van Spronsen did not wait for an affinity group, a milieu or a movement to take action. He went forward with his intent and his disgust at the State.

"chose his death on his own terms" <--- that's a low bar, gotta say

what is more meaningful? what constitutes a more “high bar” act for you, lumpentroll?

your question is way too vague for a good answer so you'll just get a snarky one.

suicide by cop is not inspiring to me. i don't like lionizing self destruction animated by despair (aka martyrdom). it tends to warp the minds of all the other folks who also hate this world and are drowning in their own despair. you won't catch me pouring gas on those flames.

there's a different conversation about fighting in a way that isn't framed by despair but I won't have it publicly with strangers.

Scoop du jour: "Leftcop LT sez Van Spronsen did a death by cop!"

Ok dude... WVS totally, like, attacked an ICE camp before facing the obvious consequence of being chased and fired back by the pigs. It's no like he went punching a bunch of cops while under arrest in order to get shot, you know?

your analysis of this singular authentic act is unfortunate, lumpentroll. if my question was vague it's simply because your provocation of "low bar" was also. it was, however, in good faith.

but as long as we're snarking now... you would prefer to "warp" folks' minds in more "positive" ways with promises of hopeful futures and happiness to save them from their despair with clear minds and fluffy life preservers?

perhaps that "different conversation about fighting" [life? enemies? death!!?] can be framed around starting from seeing the world as it actually is and not how you imagine it to be?

amor fati, lumpentroll. amor fati.

seeing it as it actually is = he didn't even kill any cops. just died. you must be using something other than military effectiveness criteria huh? that's your koolaid to drink, i'm not thirsty.

i would prefer not to warp people's minds at all... not interested in being a demagogue.

not killing cops and just dying is bad, right? if he had killed cops and lived would that inspire you? is that "the bar?"

i don't understand your military/koolaid/demagogue tangent or where in the world that came from. stay focused, luumpentroll!

Not really? But it would at least have a logical coherency? Obviously I can identify with pointless, high risk acts of rage and despair. It would be strange for an anarchist not to find something there that resonates.

But is it "inspiring"? Not to me. The opposite. I've watched too many friends hurls themselves in to the meatgrinder for questionable reasons. As I recall, at least some of Van Spronsen's friends wrote a public letter that said something similar.

I would rather my friends stayed alive and out of jail, without sacrificing their fighting spirits to complacency.

Fortunately the facility wasn't full of homeless Mexican kids just in case he had set off the propane tank, the cops would have been cleaning up a scene reminiscent of Auschwitz.
The world doesn't need any more passionate violent extremists acting out their inflated martyr-esque theatrics.

fortunately some of us remember and know that the propane tank in question was in the vehicle parking lot, not next to the detention area. keep shilling for the cops, though

" socially distanced bookfairs, or the latest GY!BE record..."

ya know, i feel like so many bands have imitated GY!BE that it's no longer inspiring to find out they came out with something new.

Funny enough, i've been having a nostalgic flashback for grindcore and hardcore recently, gonna put some on...

from GY!BE's latest record's liner notes:

this record is about all of us waiting for the end.
all current forms of governance are failed.
this record is about all of us waiting for the beginning,
and is informed by the following demands=
empty the prisons
take power from the police and give it to the neighbourhoods that they terrorise.
end the forever wars and all other forms of imperialism.
tax the rich until they're impoverished.

much love to all the other lost and lovely ones,
these are death-times and our side has to win.


not really my style or without problems, but in some way it's nice to see these words in a form that many outside the anarchist milieu will encounter.

Part of what makes it hard to find inspiration “within the milieu” is that most spaces of congregation are by necessity (rentability or the numbers they need or prefer to do their chosen economic activity) big tent, variegated leftists outnumbering anarchists, and most of these anarchists -being the type that gladly shares space with any “radical” (the space likely referred to as radical space, radical bookstore, radical coffee shop, serving the wide activist crowd rather any anarchist cosa nostra)- would just as easily call themselves anything else: autonomous anticapitalist, abolitionist or what have you.

Why blame the token anarchist that goes in and out of each of these spaces for their respective uninspiring qualities?

I think even most of the trolls that comment here are not really anarchists.

I find it inspiring to think that there are anarchists not “within the milieu” and not even active online, never reading or writing these comments.

Insofar the human and humanity becomes synonymous with civilization, we can look towards the nonhuman and the inhuman for inspiration, which is why this picture is spot on. Raccoons are great inspiration for anarchists, and great anarchists.

The seagrass they consume, like seafloor pasture/prairie, has been destroyed mostly by industrial fishing practises dragging nets and equipment along the sea floor. Sure, polluted water and climate change contribute some reduction in seagrass.

I am inspired by the anonymous manatees who protest and evade the fishing nets of capitalist fishermen who make us anarchists at home look like lazy bags of hot air talking shit!

montreal's anarchist scene is inspiring, i love reading mtl counter info. not much inspiring stuff in america thats verifiably anarchist. i feel like the comments so far are a reflection of how people act on the internet and who uses it.

i made a comment saying y'all (the commenters) are annoying and it got deleted lol. i thought this site didn't moderate their comments section because they believe in free speech

free speech is a bourgeois concept and practice having little to do with anarchism. i've had tons of my comments deleted, mostly due to them going outside the parameters of the admins. i only pursued that twice, and got no relief for my appeals. oh well; that's just the way it goes sometimes. just in case you want to read it, here's the relevant information that's in the "about us" section:

"About moderation: Posts will be deleted when they do any of the following: consist of single words or empty affirmation or accusation (eg: "this", "this is great!", "boring", etc) especially when the poster is not logged in; meaningless shit talking of this website; posts that are flamebait (yes, this is a judgement call); talking shit to another poster without actual content (eg: "You suck, idiot" will be removed but not--for example--"Comparing nihilists to literary figures is idiotically simplistic"). In the rare case of a post that is sufficiently worthwhile and yet has distracting and stupid words in it, we might edit those words out in order to keep the benefit of the good part, but in general we think that tone is part of the message, and are more likely to just remove it entirely.
Additionally, in our infinite and arcane wisdom, we may choose to edit comments/comment threads that use the legal name of Anarchist authors and actors should they fall inside (inevitably subjective) parameters."

SERIOUS free speech is bourgeoisie, however humorous sarcastic free speech is anti-bourgeoisie and therefore permitted on anarchist sites.

You gave a shallow, knee-jerk reply at 19:08's comment, even tho the latter was pretty short it was expressing legit disbelief at the cheerleading for a scene that's problematic and didn't bring much solid radical projects in like centuries.

Now I like what Montreal used to be before it was called Montreal (lol). Having been born and raised there I'm much less enthusiastic at what it became, with all its depressing architecture going on for miles, it's alienating tenants and roommates lifestyles, its long boring walks, its awful hyper-controlling City admin, its SPVM army of idiot suburban thugs, its spectacular "radical" stage, even if indeed there were a few awesome moments of anarchy and rebellion since the '80s and served the theater of three glorious student strikes. But struggles that got left down the road are now gone, a faint memory of a better time of social arrests and openings, that were neglected... coz the participants have been COMPLACENT, only caring about going back home after the daily demonstration of "collective might".

The private still hasn't been subverted, broke open. Everything relates back to this failure to deliver. Anarchos like elsewhere in NA yet have (or had) to reach a point of no return... So I really don't thint"k the "anarchists" I know in this town are interesting to get there. Why would they? Life in society has given them fuck friends and decent living conditions. They don't wanna... lose it. They're afraid to, I think.

There's nothing inspiring in such people who keeping folding back. Those that inspire me, it's those for whom "forward" is the only way out.

to you? Sorry, I'm not too familiar with radical social clubs, so i'm just trying to figure out what you mean...

I used to sound a bit like this person: complacency is a valid criticism in some general sense that most of society is incredibly so but isn't it weird to use it in the context of MAKE TOTAL DESTROY, serious attacks on capitalism, not just a counter culture, etc.

Like, you're criticizing the tiny margin of society who have demonstrated any serious opposition or willingness to fight at all, for their lack of utter and total suicidal zeal to fight the state without hardly any military capacity to do so.

This is a strange thing, the fading scream of the hardline insurrectionaries from the 90s, akin to watching somebody trying to touch the moon in the sky with their hand and you start heckling, if they weren't such a loser and a quitter, they'd be on the moon by now!

i wasn't criticizing anything about the radical counter-culture, i was simply asking what a solid radical project entails. Why do you keep changing your name from lumpentroll back to anon? It seems very cowardly and non-warriorlike.

"The 90's", "back when", is this some sort of servile attempt to make the past sound glamorous and superior to modern people??

nope ... 2 different people. thats why the names are different?

I was referring to the infrastructural projects that the cops have been aggressively repressing for the past 10-20 years. That some "anarchist" milieus were also conveniently either smug or so frightened about, partly due to generational gaps.

So mainly, autonomous occupations and wild parties like clandestine raves and such. And free clinics why not? I've seen that nowadays in the US you can even get the cops crashing your FnB-like events to feed the poor. Also "free fridge" projects are cool and require little efforts once set up, yet public admins tend to give them a hard time (especially under Covid). Things like these are the frontlines.. not to challenge the State by military means -like LT suggests I was alluding to- which seems like an absurd recourse in the current context.

Has deeply empowered authoritarianism and the upper class...the right to assembly is no longer respected at all...

Military recourse is a suicide mission, theres normal people who might shoot you if you spook them, playing the hero or just being control freaks about radical behavior. The cops and military, at least in the us are armed put the ass. Were fucked!

yeah but what else could you have been talking about, if not revolt and insurrection? if you're the same person who suggested the montreal milieu has been "complacent", I mean, it's less true there than everywhere else in the country.

so like I say, you're pointing at the tiny margin and claiming it hasn't done enough. compared to what? this is the fallacy of insurrectionary anarchism, the always receding horizon of "didn't try hard enough".

this is not and never has been a fallacy of insurrectionary anarchism. you will not find this ridiculousness from the mouths of insurrectionary anarchists. stop projecting and/or listening to organizationalist (generally ancom) larper activists calling what they write about on social media ‘insurrectionary anarchism’

don't need to project or listen to social media for the evidence, I just look at the world. but hey, nice to see someone defending insurrectionary anarchism here besides me!

ily lumpenchad. let’s hold hands and watch as the whole fucking thing burns down.

No can do, trollfriend...

Need my hands free for drink and smoke but enjoy the show? That, I can do.

Yep, this is the "Mtl anarchists are COMPLACENT" poster. Nope, you putting words in my mouth (or keyboard) like things I haven't said. This kind of jacketing (should we call that "terrorist-jacketing"?) is the kinda stuff that can put you on a black list here.

At 10:56, I gave pretty clear real-world examples for what I'm talking about. Or did you just not read it? My strategy involves an old taoist principle of "fighting without fighting". Which is not nonviolence, but rather "war by other means". While peace is usually preferable as relation (as in friendship and cooperation), social peace also is the flip side of civilization (as per Elias).

War comes out of necessity; it has its moment. So there is no need to advocate it, here or elsewhere. Just prepare for it, as war, at least the social war, is a daily reality. And this might also become a global open war very soon.

ok, well your point was a bit confusing then and like I said, I used to making sweeping condemnations in a similar way. also, this isn't an issue of incrimination, to just be talking about revolt as necessary? I mean, your comfort levels are what they are but I'm perfectly comfortable saying a vague thing like "sure hope the social order gets destroyed by hordes of angry lunatics!!! wouldn't hate that!!!"

my point was only there's no chance of it happening right now and I don't think that "complacency" is the only reason. and yes, I read your examples...

As opposed to you dude, I don't count on "the hordes" to do overthrow the social order. The complacency is indeed partly the byproduct of using the unlikelihood of the Great Evening as excuse for folding back to resignation and apathy. Coz you know same-old "as long as there ain't a Movement!!!" smug narrative.

I don't wait for others to do shit I could do myself. That's partly due to my individualistic upbringing and history of tensions with the group, where I've learned that there's more things than you know that can be done by yourself, so in the end this whole collective insurrectionist struggle could just be yet another mating gimmick. Or how is "anarchism" in general not just some mating gimmick, when it becomes a group thing? The line gets blurry at times.

Anyhow, this is the difference between me and Lefties like you, who still believe in Santa, lol. I believe in my power as a person, not in the power of BIG impersons, even if imperson can be sometimes conveniently used for personal benefits.

And yet such belief (in Santa), that is inherently revolutionary on the surface, ends up turning them the other way, like reactionary.

What a shit-talking windbag you are! Born and raised in Montreal indeed haha

I also now see that you accusing everyone and no-one of complacency is the least of your jackass assertions? You dont seem to worry to much if whatever you're asserting has any basis in reality so nevermind the discussion on that.

But for the record, I'm not much of a leftist, just thought it was a bitch move to be backing away from the abstract endorsement of revolt lol

Hi anon 11:22 totally agree, and also have the same view about the "hordes" who I loath and despise when they reach 21 years of age and become clones. I am a fierce individualist like you, regards *ROARS*

Though certainly spectacular at times, I don’t consider the mtl scene (or any NA scene, afaik of) to be particularly inspiring if anything bc it doesn’t really equip the people within it with the necessary skills/tools/resourcefulness/etc. to deal with the realities of the modern world as an adult. For most people, it fails to build on any kind of sound theoretical/practical foundation and deliver on its promise of long term healthy and sustainable community. It seems to invariably follow a pattern of degenerating into toxic backbiting and drama leading to implosion which is why most people tend to check out by the age of 30, which is when your survival and paternal/maternal instincts tend to shift into top gear anyways. But again, I think this is a problem with anarchist youth culture as a whole and is by no means confined to any one specific scene or other.

I couldn't better express the issue with the Mtl scene, so you beat me to it.

In short... it is a "scene". Nothing more. People get on it once in a while, put off a show, then disappear back in the audience. That's all there is. There hasn't been known squats or similar infrastructural projects in two decades (that last more than a few hours of spectacular bragging, I mean), and the gatherings when they happen leave much to be desired, especially on the side of having quality conversation and building ties.

"But but but the Mtl bookfair!". Nope. You know it's shit, and run by activists, commies and academics. Furthermore, it's been an online thing last year and pretty sure it'll remain like this for a while. Double plus ungood.

or rather people leave because the become increasingly irritated and aggravated by people like you. easier to leave and leave them in their ambit, than try to keep yourself from lashing out at them all the time.

“equip the people within it with the necessary skills/tools/resourcefulness/etc. to deal with the realities of the modern world as an adult. For most people, it fails to build on any kind of sound theoretical/practical foundation and deliver on its promise of long term healthy and sustainable community”

how do you keep your delusions intact? i’m not looking for no fucking workshops, you paternalistic blood clot. you treat people that are wiser (regardless of age, you ageist fuck, but coincidentally many are older adults) and more experienced than you as if you’re teaching them something, but they’re just holding back on mocking you as you overdose on ideology. they don’t want to be herded according to your “theoretical/practical foundation”.

I wad never looking for anyone to “deliver on a promise of long term healthy and sustainable community“. If anything, I was looking for friends with affinity, I found them and kept them, and left you to rot with your ambitions. So you can go hop from scene to scene, people wisen up and do their own thing, they know that so far at least you won’t follow them back home to pester them.

"If anything, I was looking for friends with affinity, I found them and kept them, and left you to rot with your ambitions."

Herd privilege never sounded so good!

What I've been wondering all these years, tho, is what did you do with all these resourceful, TIGHT relations? Best thing I can think of are one or two anarchoïd cafés... but Covid didn't spare them.

Self-complacency is a thing... Gets more toxic when it's a group thing.

Case in point: how many people, who were involved in the scene in Eugene back in the early 2000s, are still involved today?

The answer? Not many. That’s just the reality.

And before you bring up the Green Scare, by all accounts, the scene had already by collapsed under the weight of its own drama long before the state swooped in for its pound of flesh.

Good for you if “the scene” is more of a help than a hindrance to your life tho.

as someone who was in eugene during that period, i have to agree that the drama was killing any possible momentum before the state stepped in with the green scare. however, though i left that area, i have not left "the beautiful idea".

With "friends" like these, who needs "enemies"?

Or why would the cops spend money and resources on controlling/dividing/imploding the milieu, when... No wait. *light bulb turns on*

I had a friend in California who sold sea anemones. One day he learned to weave baskets out of palm fronds. Last time we spoke I asked him why he switched to basket weaving. He said, "With fronds like these who needs anemones?"

not at all anarchist, but NFAC does have an inspirational element to it.

Jeremy Hammond has been highly inspirational for me and my crew, before, during and after his incarceration.

2nd this^

Jeremy makes a lot of us look like the lazy sacks of hot air we are!

look more closely into jeremy hammond and what got him imprisoned. Funny to learn he was the principal infiltrator of Stratfor. I've read a lot about this hack but i never connected his name to it...

so, I think what he has done is admirable, and i have no reason to dislike the guy, and i'm glad he's out of prison. However...

"Jeremy makes a lot of us look like the lazy sacks of hot air we are!"

isn't this just revealing that you are perhaps more like some typical petty boss who runs a gas station, convenient store, sweat shop, etc. than jeremy hammond or anyone who takes the beautiful idea seriously?? I mean, dammit...what the fuck is with all this self-degrading cult-of-personality worship on @news?!

Does me connecting his name to heroic deeds have any bearing on Jeremy Hammond?? I'm probably never gonna meet this guy, lol.

no? you just imagined all that crap and are talking out of your ass like a weirdo. wtf did you get gas stations from? lol

you somehow ignore EVERYTHING that EVERYONE says to you.

Petty boss says: "ARGH! They're calling in sick again! They're so LAZY!"

Some of my friends have even had bosses threaten to fire them when they call in sick, lol. Not saying that's exactly you, but I find it a sign that I'm not going to like somebody when they talk about how lazy OTHER PEOPLE are...kind makes you want to wake them up at night..."WHY ARE SLEEPING?! You are so LAZY."

Not to say i don't like you lumpentroll! I actually overall find your comments to be really funny and invigorating, which can be helpful considering there's not always so much chat and discussion on here!

they look for the supposed "trigger" words and then when they find them they feel this wierd/displaced sense of superiority.

i said "past troll", i meant to say "best troll", and this is true as I am a naive child at times, not drawing on a whole lot of past experience before pounding on the holy keyboard, that yes, this is what lumpentroll does! The most heroic villain of the anarchy-web, every bit as much of a hacker as jeremy hammond!

Workerists are known to throw around the word "lazy" directed at the more contemplative thinking person. Sometimes ressentiment is projected as jealous outbursts against disobedient folk.

I AM MY OWN INSPIRATION for my own unique creative project. I AM my own resilient warrior battling the everyday peril of mediocre subservience. Ican do everything on my own brilliant imagination. My body is my temple and god.

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