Anarchy Bang: Episode 20 - Dad is very disappointed in you

From Anarchy Bang

This week we discuss aging out of the anarchist space. We have always known that anarchism in the late 20th and early 21st century has more in common with subcultures like punk than political organs like the Communist Party or even the RCP. That means there is a natural 10 year arc and then you are done. The "old punk" option is available for a few, like tattoo artists or maybe someone with a record label, but mostly it is 10 and done. What does that look like in anarchyland? When do we know we are too old? What does it look like when you don't get the message that the kids don't want you around any more? Distracting essay that relates to but is separate from the point of this weeks essay but we'll read if we get no calls...

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"What does it look like when you don't get the message that the kids don't want you around any more?"

I get dat feeeling, A!... Damn zoomers behaving just like the boomers, being like the word started and will end with them. That may happen at every generation yet being a Gen-Xer we know what it's like to be in a position of meaningless inferiority. Until someone somewhere does something the kiddos don't understand, because that wasn't part of the clean & lean narrative inherited from their tight social programming, lacking any individual critical thinking, and alien to anything original whatsoever... just surfing the wave of their own social conveyor belts.

Yes, the conveyor belts. You and I used to ride on these before we fell. But if you don't attack the cogs and wheels, they'll just keep going, you'll be disappeared and maybe also even forgotten under the massive waves of the Leviathan.

i don’t think it’s helpful or meaningful to use the same reifications of “generation theory” that marketers make up and use to build a moulds of consumer base with attributes they can understand.

I think it's at least meaningful is how it frames (even if implicitly, often beneath people's consciousness) herd dynamics. And this framing is defined by more than just marketing; it is institutional and structural. Like I recall being involved in some college tent city a while back, and I couldn't escape being treated as some kind of professor by the youngsters and being called "mister".

I wasn't saying that generations aren't a bullshit social construct driven by institutions; we NEED some intergenerationality in anything we do, or any approach that negates the generational scheme. Bookfairs are kinda successful at that... but we gotta also look beyond bookfairs. Tabling is just another over-the-counter transaction, and lectures are, well... you know what pattern they remind you of.

I got the impression it's way more important than it looks, as we're living in a neoliberal age of apparent historical stagnation, where everything that isn't mass-produced by society has gotta be started over at every new cohort. MARK MY WORDS.

i marked them.

are we friends now?

The generational division is a social construct obeying a mechanistic linear time narrative. It need not exist if a society is fashioned upwards from infancy rather than downwards from the inherited materialist wealth and the values and laws which allow it to accumulate . The system only requires social power to not have a pyramidal monopoly of capital but a rotational recycling, returning wealth to the emerging youth for their empowering growth and graceful maturation.
Let there be no senile old types holding back the virile and noble thought lords from their passionate youthful creations.

interesting reading material to discuss in this context.
i wonder if and how the author, being such a loner, manages to find and enjoy those wonderful relationships that they value. i agree with what it says, but find it very difficult to find, maintain and enjoy these interactions to the point that i read those words with skepticism and incredulity.

"To merely tolerate others is intolerable to me.

If your projects, aims or desires conflict with mine, we will be enemies. If you are not a worthy enemy, I will scorn you."

Amerikah comin' your way! Dog-eat-dog, instead of god-eat-god. Also forgets to consider how it's been already the stance of communitarians... how they already despise, denigrate, slander all those that even potentially might get into conflict with their own interests. As Stirner was saying, there are the unassumed egoists; and those that accept egoism.

But how this distances you from just accepting the same old dominant nihilo-capitalist morality, is what the author's not addressing. I don't see how any drug lord would disagree with that text... beyond sounding fancy and a tad sanctimonious?

I'm starting my 20th year in the anarchist space, and not a single one of these questions seems relevant to me. I'm still fighting, thinking, and building, mostly alongside comrades both younger and older than me. What else would I be doing that's worthwhile and interesting, that I can't do at the same time as I continue with my collective, political engagements? Any other hobbies, skills, or passions I develop only have more dimensions and interest since they occur in the context of the struggle against capital and state. The framing for the episode seems sad and bizarrely existentialized. I'm sorry it's hard to figure out how to relate to others.

So the secret is … quality relationships with quality people?!

Steps to staying in the anarchist space past the 10 year mark:

1. Don't have a child
2. Handle all break-ups perfectly
3. Use all the proper terminology & correct buzzwords when speaking to others
4. Stay hip to the new theories (which are old theories just wrapped up in those correct buzzwords mentioned in Step 3)
5. Start drama and then attempt to exclude people who are less liked than you, in order that you may keep the heat off of yourself
6. Distance yourself from anyone who has even a hint of drama, even if they are your friend, especially if they are your friend
7. Become a shitty writer & use those skills to critique whatever tendency is out-of-fashion
8. Use your shitty writing to develop a cult of personality (small college towns are great for this step)
9. Work on surface-level developing a socially acceptable skill like herbalism or permaculture gardening (you don't have to actually learn it, remember this step is only to keep up the facade that you're an interesting person)
10. Dress for success (if everyone looks punk again, then ditch those expensive rainjackets & flat brim hats that were cool a few years ago & get with the program already)

P.S. Fuck you Olympia

I'm sorry your time in the anarchist space was sad and difficult. Again, as I said above, pretty much none of these points seem to apply to me or to many people I know. Even the points about drama: I've repeatedly stood up for friends in unpopular situations, and as a result, I'm a well-hated person in some (particularly conformist/milieuist) circles. But that basically doesn't impact either my happiness, my ties with people I actually care about, or my ability to fight. Again, I'm sorry to hear you've had to go through whatever it was that made you so bitter.

I hope you can open yourself up to everything that's going on in the world. To take your 10-year mark seriously, let's think about where we were in 2009, setting aside all the bad sub-structuralism that Anarchy Bang used in their episode framing ("everything comes back around, we're all just in a big loop, FNB=riots=crust shows=occupations, you always are just against daddy, etc."). Now we're in a position to be blase and cynical about the frequent movements, clashes, strikes, prison strikes, insurrections popping off all the time. During the long social peace, we'd wait years between events of a certain scale that now happen monthly.

really enjoying the bragplaining of having friends, being in milieus, participating in events, and things happening all the time, for years and years, enough to either be jaded about it in one case, or to say it was worth it in the other case

11: Be skinny if you're a dude, and try to sound queer for extra bang bucks. Skinny nerds are over-hyped by liberal insecure women of the milieu, as per their hidden unadmitted rule of "sleep with him only if you can beat him at wrestling".

Be physically thick, and get ready to be shunned, if not labeled a macho, cop or whatev.

Publishing is the dissemination of literature, music, or information. It is the activity of making information available to the general public. In some cases, authors may be their own publishers, meaning originators and developers of content also provide media to deliver and display their content.

i will not be able to listen live this sunday.
anyone who comments in the irc this sunday, it’s not me.

Gotta laugh at that episode title.

It's abundantly clear that anarchism as youth culture is pretty toxic, so the question for me is how do we go from an often exciting and inspiring adolescent rebellion to a culture that can support parents, small children, the elderly, etc.? There was an effort ~10 years ago to provide childcare during gatherings, but even that small effort seems to have died out. As usual, I don't have any answers.

my experience with anarchists in the u.s., relevant to this discussion:

either you are:

1. an aging academic, whose anarchist activity includes writing, reading, broadcasting, pontificating, and building a cult of personality and a following; or

2. a youthful rebel whose anarchist activity includes traveling, squatting, crimethinc-ing, complaining about how nobody does anything "real", living on social media, and proving how incredibly "hardcore" you are and how softcore everyone else is.

generalize much? yeah, sometimes generalizations are spot on.

i am

3. engaged in neither of those activities and aged right in between thise groups. i’ve had thoughts and opinions developed throught my life based on experience and then later (maybe too late) it comes to my attention through the internet that there’s this thing called “anarchism” “anarchy” “anarchists” etc etc that kinda coincide in a bunch of parts here and there from this and that current.

what does that mean or imply for me? unclear.
not much besides finding new things to click, read, and listen online.

I'm oldish and I don't trust other old people. The old yippie rule of not trusting anyone over thirty seems about right. It's an unfortunate fact of life that as people get older, they make compromises and become more conservative, even in the anarchist sense, as in less willing to take risks. Follow the youth and try to support them in whatever ways are useful and welcome, or get out of the way. Us oldheads tried and failed, we need to support the next generation of rebels, and do so in a non condescending or dismissive manner.

See, here's the thing, if the young are not properly raised up (and in this white-dominated, north American culture they/we are not) there will be no trustworthy adults or elders. Trusting youth is just as hazardous as trusting the old.

Let me trouble this word "conservative" too. Sure in the political lexicon of our day it is a bad word. Yet conservation of the wild of this planet is a worthy goal. Perhaps there is a function to the elder being conservative if it means having an eye toward not destroying the living world through youthful shortsightedness and no idea about how it all really is, in the fullness of time.

Some of us are going to need to become adults.

"Don't trust anyone under 30" makes a lot of sense if you're optimistic that your generation will usher in the Millennium, but that attitude seems a bit silly in hindsight. To be fair to the the Yippies and their cohorts, they got a lot closer to overthrowing the global work machine than anyone post-68, though it's hard to assign blame or praise for inhumanly large historical trends. Ironically, my first anarchist elders were in fact Yippies.

The matter of trust is interesting - who is it that we're trusting? The person that exists now or the person that will exist later? Robert Anton Wilson said "don't trust anyone under 40" and that advice is just as salient in the latter context as "don't trust anyone under 30" is in the former*. Most 20-something anarchists will become 40-something liberals. If you meet an anarchist over 40, you've met an anarchist for life. The volatility that makes youth valuable is the same thing that makes it untrustworthy.

*I guess no one trusts 30-somethings?

Interesting how I started as a pathetic liberal in my '20s then ended up in the "anarchy 4 lyfe" social hell 15-20 years later. We'll that's fine.. to me anarcho-nihilism reads more like I've seen the machinery behind society's spectacle and won't put up with it anymore. I'll die in one or two decades in a forest or at best a meaningful battle, and that'll be a very comfy end of the ride, I guess? Fuck the rest. So much work and pains for shitty materialist fairy tales...

i’m currently listening to the recorded version, i wasn’t able to listen to it live, sad that a chunk of the audio cut off due to technical difficulties.

i agree with what the caller lily said.
ya’ll are young despite your ages.
my age is younger and i aspire to be as young as ya’ll when i’m older.

age is a topic. too young, too old...when is it just right?
is ageism the name of this topic?

that aside, it’s also a topic about “haters”.
they’re haters, but at the same time they’re your followers. they are “confused admirers”.
they want senpai to notice them as “worthy enemies” as equals somehow. they’re “vying for respect”.

i don’t think ya’ll should scratch your heads too hard trying to reinvent yourselves as if ya’ll are at fault.
maybe ya’ll do need a well earned vacation of sorts, from everything that’s bitter and stressing you out.

there’s nice people out there that love you!
it’s okay to block out haters online and in real life!

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