A Collaborative Project for 4/20
Here’s an idea: a zine, well laid out and readable in an afternoon, with a funny picture on the front of it and a few varied articles inside; a day in late April, hopefully not too rainy, and a bunch of people gathered in a park or a public square; anarchists, normal-looking or otherwise, and maybe with a solid chemical excuse for not being able to articulate their ideas in plain words.
Needless Exposition – or skip to the TL;DR
I’ve only ever attended one large gathering on 4/20. (Or, at least I’ve only attended one weed-themed gathering on this date.) It was in 2013, on the eastern slope of the mountain in Montréal. I didn’t realize what day it was until my friend and I arrived there and saw what was up. We had been planning to hike up the mountain and we didn’t have any weed on us. But still, it was a good time. There were so many people there, and so few cops – just a few, watching from a healthy distance. Once we started climbing, there were no cops at all, but there were lots of people, teenagers mostly, climbing trees and running around and talking shit around the fires they had made for themselves. Some folks were playing some pretty good hip hop from speakers in their backpacks. It was a fun atmosphere to be in.
I cared about 4/20 for a very brief period in the latter half of high school, when I was living in a much smaller town than Montréal. For a few years in a row, it was an excuse to skip school and do stupid shit with my friends. The year I remember best, it was the first really nice day of the year, and me and the crew spent most of it by the river, talking and dipping our feet in the water. I didn’t sesh that day at all, because I was back on my straight edge or whatever. But it’s a good memory; my friends did what they wanted, and I did what I wanted, and we did it together, even if what we did wasn’t much at all.
I stopped caring about 4/20 when I stopped hanging out with those people. For a few years, I definitely didn’t think about it all. As I became an anarchist, and got involved in struggle with other people against the state, I developed some fairly complicated – but mostly negative – thoughts about drugs, including weed. You know the deal: sober for the revolution and such. At the same time, I didn’t always do what I thought I should do (who the fuck wants to be a serious revolutionary all the goddamn time?), and I smoked up pretty frequently, sometimes to ill effect.
I am not against weed. The very notion of being against weed is, of course, fucking dumb. But what I thought was cool on 4/20 in 2013 wasn’t the weed itself, but the sight of lots of people having fun with their friends – some of them high school age, and maybe less jaded or worn down than I already was at twenty-three years old. I liked the blatant criminality of the whole thing, the good-clean-fun nature of it. That’s what life should be like all the time.
So anyway, in the last few years, state institutions – in North America, at least – have moved in fits and starts towards the deprohibition of weed. Justin Trudeau got elected on his legalization promise. It’s already happened in a few places in the United States, and perhaps it will happen across Canadia soon, in one shitty form or another. Of course, poor and black drug dealers like Jean-Pierre Bony might still get shot by police while we wait on parliamentary committees, while those with the most power have time to set themselves up to control the market when the hat finally drops. If you’re reading this, you’re probably an anarchist, so I don’t need to tell you that technocracy and capitalism are bad. The relevant question is, How do we determine for ourselves what we need, and actually make it happen?
There can be no final answer to this question, obviously. Final, complete, ostensibly perfect answers are for Marxists and worse. Rather than pretending to have articulated the anarchist position on weed or whatever, me and my friends think it would be better to just hear what people who are thinking hard about freedom and domination have to say about Trudeau, weed addiction, counterculture, cognitive self-determination, disability, the War on Drugs, actually existing weed capitalism in Colorado, how getting stoned at work is an act of sublime rebellion, ways to fuck with Marc and Jody Emery, solutions for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that involve the desert blooming with kush, and whatever else.
For my part, I am planning to go to a 4/20 gathering this year, both to have a good time, to make anarchists visible in such a space, and maybe to contribute something helpful in the event that the cops act like pricks. Hopefully some friends will come with me, and ideally, we’ll have a zine that we’ll feel good handing out to strangers. Perhaps some people will go off, read some things from the zine, and come back to ask us about it and talk to us. Maybe it’ll do all sorts of things. But first, it needs to exist.
I want to do a zine about weed and anarchy for general distribution on 4/20.
The Real Plan
If you know of a good text about weed (or something), get in touch.
If you are writing one, or want to write one (or something), get in touch.
If you want to do a comic, a poem, an infographic, or something else instead, get in touch.
If you want to get copies for yourself – and especially if you want to distribute them at your own local 4/20 gathering – get in touch.
Me and my friends can accept submissions in English, French, and Spanish. If we have the time, we might be able to do some translation, but otherwise, we might just create something hectic and multilingual. It’s hard to say.
As an editorial group, me and my friends obviously have our tendency, and that will partially inform what we are going to want to put effort into publishing. That said, we have a pretty pluralistic idea of anarchism, and are definitely open to publishing perspectives that aren’t our own, so long as they’re lucid enough. (And if we don’t want to put it in our zine because we’re snooty bastards, you can always post it yourself to anarchistnews-dot-org.)
Being based in Montréal, in the territory of the Canadian state, we are hoping for stuff relevant to our context – both because we will be to apply it better in our lives, and because we are more likely to understand whether what we’re reading actually makes sense. That said again, we are very interested in stories from further beyond, and our aspirations are such that comrades anywhere in the world would be able to find useful in what we’ve presented. On basically the same note, we aren’t necessarily opposed to a bunch of texts by white European cis dudes with some level of university education, so long as they’re all good, but we suspect this will… just… suck a little or a lot more than the alternative.
Deadline for proposals (not complete pieces) is TWO MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT (23h58, or 11:58pm) on March 22, 2017. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.