A Call To Kindred Spirits, To Those Wanting Out

  • Posted on: 15 March 2012
  • By: worker

<table><tr><td><em>The following text was made for the Occupy the Midwest conference held in St. Louis, Missouri. While some are coming to town this weekend to recreate the same tired, methods of struggle, this text hopes to speak to those who are wanting something more.</em>

There was a lot of bullshit this past fall, but at its core, the occupied autumn was magical. The sadness and frustration and abuses I've carried around with me for years came bubbling out. Things I only felt brave enough to share with friends or the occasional trusted acquaintance were coming from the mouths of strangers. My little neurotic tendencies and all the self-medicating I do - that's only killing me slower - eased for a moment.

Whether we intended to or not, we tore a hole in the straightjacket of society. Now: How do we rip it off, completely?</td><td><img title="stop touching me!" src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2012/dogfence.jpg"></td></tr></t...

General Assemblies, consensus, and organization are important, but they should be treated as a means, not an end. These structures only make sense in terms of how well they help us coordinate activity, not how well we can experience direct bureaucracy. The more time and energy we spend trying to appear official and respectable or on internal policies about behavior and language, the more rigid and sterile our movement becomes. This isn't a call for the more authoritarian structures that activism has used in the past (also critical of decentralized structures like consensus).
We want experimentation in trust and learning through a dialogue of words and deeds.
The more Occupy is about who can sit through meetings the longest or best draft policies that decide what's allowed or what's not, the more our spirit fades. The response to disagreements over strategies and tactics should be in dialogue, and lead to each of us doing more of what we want, not helping to bind each other's hands.
This is a call for de-centralization, for dissemination, for contagious dreams and activity.

Those in power–those running the government, business, the media, our lives–want to stop us. Any interest they show in us is a mark of the power we've created. Business and the state spend a lot of time and money trying to figure out how to adapt and use our own tactics and language against us, reinforcing their power over our own. No better are the professional revolutionaries and activists, the experts (read managers) in revolt.
Beware of anyone who wants our revolt to be neat and tidy: something that can be packaged, made two dimensional and fed back to us, “better” and completely inaccessible. Something, like everything else, that they get to control and we don't.
0n this note, there's a lot to be learned from moments of resistance in the past, but repeating the same tactics and strategies ad nauseum for decades is getting us nowhere, especially when such tactics work hand in hand with or reinforce the very power structures we're trying to dismantle.

We need to adapt, to stay in motion, to keep taking back "public" space, buildings that aren't being used or ones that are being used against us, striking, blockading, stopping the flow of capital. We need to spread this spirit into every aspect of our lives–workplaces, the streets, our homes, our bodies–and turn all these sites of revolt completely on their heads.

If you're frustrated with Occupy, push it further or make something better, but please don't let yourself be clubbed back into the misery.

Occupy belongs to the disillusioned and frustrated!
For an uncontrollable spring, for a year to end all years!


Anarchists should stop self medicating with alcohol and drugs so much. Work on a project or something...
Malcolm X was against drinking. I don't think it should be banned, but self sabatoging behavior is a problem in anarchist circles. Sometimes taking some temporary pain can have long term benefits.
Anarchists are too out of touch with other socially marginalized groups of people.

really? that's what you took from this?

I've got the spirit, lose the feeling, let it out somehow.


Often times socially marginalized people imbibe alcohol and/or drugs.

In order to better relate, I propose that anarchists drink much more 24 oz cans of Miller than they're currently drinking.

sharia law and.or mormonism for anarchy (see also: 'straight edge')


"Sometimes taking some temporary pain can have long term benefits."

... I use this as reason for both taking substances and not taking them regularly/abusively. You say this as if there is no "temporary pain" involved in the act of taking most substances. Doesn't add up.

"Anarchists are too out of touch with other socially marginalized groups of people."

"Work on a project or something..."

I know perfectly functional heavy every night drinkers working in the field of alternative education of children, and I know sober people that do relatively nothing. It sounds like your advice "work on a project or something" applies more functionally if you LEAVE OUT STIPULATIONS of other potentially negligible persona preferences.

"Anarchists are too out of touch with other socially marginalized groups of people."

The accuracy of this statement is why you would make it in the same breath of suggesting less self-medication when it is actually plenty prominent IN OTHER SOCIALLY MARGINALIZED GROUPS. First time I heard the term "self-medicate" was from a black homeless man offering me a joint. Should I have told him to "stop self-medicating and work on a project!"? You're being the anarchy-version of the common "GET A JOB!!!"-shouting jerk.

"self sabatoging behavior is a problem in anarchist circles."

So is the amount of them prescribing what others should do. In fact, I'd argue it's more sabotaging to anarchist circles to point to such a singular issue as a source of self-sabotage, particularly one that does transpire in to a commonality with other marginalized groups. Also, I think it's fairly accusatory and blame-placing to place emphasis on "self-sabotage" here, being that the origins of various levels of intoxicant use and reasons for drug abuse and surrounding issues are often attributed more to systematic conditions and pressures. So, where it can be said to appear to "sabotage," it's not so simple to say that it's "SELF" sabotage, unaffected by pervading external pressures and conditions. You say "work on a project" like the common daily drinker isn't "self-medicating" as a result of their depressing/debilitating DAY JOB. Oh yeah, just "work on a project" (because your daily life just isn't good enough for us anarchists) after your degrading 9-5 work day.

that's an interesting point, but i mean i think a lot of the self-sabotage of anti-authoritarians comes down not simply through 'failing to be anarchist enough' but more in the positive production of 'being anarchist as such', that is as existing in terrible 'communities' which are as heavily determined as any other part of society, either mainstream or fringes. the common policing of the idea of what is the proper individual manifestation of 'being anarchist'. there are no communities in capitalism, and every anarchist who proclaims themself to act in the interests of 'the community' is using the same rationale as every cop.

I think I agree, so if you can tolerate my lack of confidence that I'm interpreting correctly, are you talking about some of detriment of anarchist "communities" lying in anarchist's tendencies to police each other and project their expectations?

This statement:

"there are no communities in capitalism, and every anarchist who proclaims themself to act in the interests of 'the community' is using the same rationale as every cop."

is soooo accurate.

yes, exactly. these 'communities' are composed heavily of, and dominated by, not people who want to act immediately in an anti-authoritarian manner, but people who simply want to see themselves as being 'against' this, that and the other (and such and such). thereby the anarchist 'community' recreates its own kind of normalcy. it is a more turbulent, but no less real kind of normality than that produced and policed in the mainstream society. 'we must all be x, we must be against y, we must exclude people who are suspected of having done z and/or y, or disagreeing with x or supporting y'. and so on. the 'anarchist community' is a scene like any other scene that exists within the multitude of scenes that constitute the subjectivity of existing in modern capitalism. the anarchist scene is a terrible community that likes to substitute for itself for the possibility of capitalism producing its own supersession. did that answer your question more or less?

and partially, i would like to add that the critique of civilization per se has lent fuel to the fire of denying any form of rational thought per se as somehow a radical act. this critique, or this 'attack as critique', has been appropriated to even the most civilized forms of 'resistance' discourse. capitalist civilization makes use of rationalism instrumentally, but is not inherently rational. after all as i hope we can all agree, it produces the conditions of its own supersession. anyone feel me?

i don't really feel the "produces the conditions of its own supersession" thing. one easy retort would be: prove it. it's never even been superseded, so how would we know what that means let alone what the conditions would be let alone have faith in the system producing those conditions?

fair enough but i think it's easier to say that it's headed in that direction or that it's headed in that direction at various times in history. marxists often think this will come about simply through the mass production of work, basically, but i think it's the exclusion from work of a growing sector of the populace that does it.

at any rate, anti-rationalism continues to have a cherished place at the heart of the most idiotic and childish sectors of the anarchist milieu. people act as if all they care about is 'being anarchist' and participating in the terrible community of same, rather than actually behaving in any kind of anti-authoritarian fashion.

That's totally apt, descriptively.

I would, however, say that those "we must" statements don't occur like that, in an overt way, for the most part. I think it's usually something that occurs and is perceived, but the way it ends up that way is due to a flaw in attempting more horizontal power structures in a sub-community situation. Instead, the "we must" aspects manifest when certain people are *able* to have personalized projections be made standardized by the mere fact of anarchist communities tendency to seek out equal say. When you seek out equal say, and someone is confusing the LANGUAGE and the PROCESS of anti-authority with actually BEING anti-authoritarian, it can result in a subversion of the very purported benefits of seeking out equal say.

Anarchists too often revere various community processes over the fact that being an anarchist means having to readily critique and be skeptical of the fact that horizontal power and equal say *is not immune* from being used to result in traditions/pressures/authority/policing/etc. Anarchists behave like because they're not "actual" cops, that their say in community affairs should be immune to scrutiny and suspicion for authoritative influence. The simple fact is *you can be authoritarian in how you confront authority*, but some folks seem to have established this invisible line where if you accuse something of resembling "policing" in an anarchist process, you're out of line for trying to identify authority in YOUR OWN WAY just as they were in the process you're questioning.

It's weird.

"Call me on my shit, unless you're calling me on my shit for calling people on their shit."

yes, yes i totally feel that. (i am the poster of those you were responding to btw)

i know these statements aren't made overt, that's why i feel the need to make them overt. the 'anti-authoritarian' anarchist community is shot through with lines of law that are as supple and as hidden as any techniques of policing normality that are known in any other stratum of society. like you say, they're not 'actual' cops, and yet 'anarchists' want to be cops one unto another within said 'communities'. there is no end and no out other than deserting the terrible anarchist communities in all their subculturalism and leftist/identity politics, and so forth.

even though they react to what we all hate, in doing so they only establish new forms of law, reason and fascism and so on...

can i get some working class language? less theory. thanks.

yo yo it's like this what he's sayin is we gotta get da fuck outta the anarchy ghetto yo man yaknowaddamean???

"Working class language"... funny.

You know that the concept of "class" that you're using came from theory, right?

It's really interesting to see a request for non-theoretical language that depends on the classifications made by theorists.

What a predicament to accidentally show that you're stuck identifying with and seeing the world through what theorists develop, but also alienated by those developments.

Don't you want classlessness?

Reading/writing itself was restricted to control slaves, and access to more reading/writing has been met with resistance by rulers throughout history... Why do you want language catered to you? Why would you trust language catered to you?

Asking for terms you understand relinquishes accessing the tools to understand them. You're asking for less theoretical language from a person who failed every grade above 4th, right now, by the way.

There is alot of differing opinions but Im happy to hear we are having some affect on the goverment and upper class .

Last night st. louis police left comrades bloodied. At least two of the arrested requiring stitches and one of those needing staples in their skull.

Police had tried to calming clear a park that occupy the midwest had taken for the weekend, but had been met with chants of "Cops Out! Our Park!" and an advancing crowd. Profanity and the unpredictable crowd forced police to edge of the park. To say everyone in the park participated in pushing the police out or approved of it would be untrue, but equally untrue are the claims that the later scuffles and beatings were unprovoked.

Once 40-50+ cops had amassed, the crowd decided to remain mobile, moving to another city park via a major street. Within a few moments of getting in the street, police began tackling and beating members of the march. Some had their faces repeatedly smashed into the curb and street, while others were chased down and beaten repeatedly in the head with batons. One comrade might have a broken jaw from a police boot stomping their facing. During or shortly after police moved against the march a police cruiser windshield was smashed.

The police violence is unsurprising, but still horrible and shocking to witness first hands on our bodies and the bodies of our friends. It was also clearly in response to a moment of our power, forcing them from our space.

that's sickening. but fuck yes! for standing up for your space and yourselves against the fucking gestapo pigs.

solidarity. hold it down! spring is coming! any youtube videos of the police brutality that can be spread around the webs?

the quote that springs to mind is "revealing the true nature of the struggle".

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