The (Seemingly) Undying Appeal of the Money God
If we assume that money is not a mere product of capitalist relations but rather its vehicle for actively and systematically tying actors within a social web of interdependence (and starvation, and submission), it constitutes a powerful and pervasive tool in the perpetuation of relations of domination and how they get entangled in our daily lives, starting at a very young age.
First there’s mother’s breast, then there are the toys and the candies, ten the cartoons, then during our entry to «adult» age, through the period being called «teen-age», we become progressively sold to the idea that all those goodies come with a price tag, that everything as to be paid for, therefore, yes, like honest citizens, we gotta work hard to get it. This new, inculcated process then becomes associated with a quest for personal «liberation» within society.
The accumulation of capital is the more or less assumed doctrine of emancipation. This is pervasive, as not only this is the source of personal survival but also well-being. We can’t get our weed without money and working for it- we can’t move from one place to another without it, nor dwell in any place without paying for a stupid rent, to an entitled landlord under a usually mandatory 12 months lease. They used to call that «freedom», but I’m sure that, by now, nobody cares about how it’s called. In a shallow world driven by facade identities, that no longer requires any clear rationale behind our choices, where a rationale itself may be seen as irrelevant or pointless, we just do it, we just serve, being too lousy or shit-scared to critically analyze and deconstruct our practices. But after all why should we, anyway... it doesn't pay, right? Conformity is being reproduced, in broad daylight, as people keep reproducing themselves like mindless drones. Society keeps winning, but we all know, deep down, how we aren’t winning, just like the rest of the living. That we’re in fact being continuously pushed, pressured, pressed, oppressed, repressed, used up, sucked dry, wasted, and, of course, forced to comply.
But like some suburban idiot once shout out loud at the Tim Horton’s, in regards to some new rule I don’t remember, «ain’t got NO CHOICE!". The web of inter-dependencies is just damn too strong to us, anyways, for being boldly resisted, or negated. Sometimes, even the most radical of us may see it as a reasonable compromise, in order to push projects or sustain lives without having cops breaking in the next morning. We’ve (some of us, have, okay) come to accept a diluted notion of radicality, one that is best contemplated through writings, fiction, «anarchist theater», even TV series or film. It is especially a comfort zone for writers and artists to be fantasizing, just as typical libcom would, about anarchist romantics from 100 years ago, who always had a long string of justification for any acts they were accomplishing. The experience, for how it thrives away from the pretty ashes of spectacular representation, is unworkable to both the producers just like the spectators. It is functionally a taboo. It all cannot be, as it is not being seen through a screen. Therefore what still eludes us is a look at the radical of the here-and-now, on what it means to be an anarchist in today’s society, where we live. This is far too close for narrative comfort, to be looking into activities we’ve been led to rule out as "illegalist", criminal, devious, immature, impetuous, «triggering», filthy, violent or just foolhardy.
We used to say that anarchists are those who burn money as a symbolic ritual, of showing how it’s all fake. It is, truly all fake. Yet the common men’s morale, the calculating, sober, cosmopolite men, will tell us a sharply different take on such an act; it will describe it as insanity, or idiocy... as a nonsense waste of valuable commodity. They will not be seeing it exactly as sacrilege, but more akin to an expression of madness.
Yet to the view of today’s anarchist, these practices are very rational and well-rooted. They are reflecting, or expressing a desire to live outside of the all the fake, useless, tiresome crap. To reject the bullshit cultism that the adult world has been led to serve, mindlessly and heartlessly, to a point of betraying and destroying their own relatives, just like themselves.
As the appeal of the «money world» doesn’t cease to perpetuate itself, after all the strikes and protests and riots and occupies, at the end of the day many of us are led to the conclusion -less than consciously- that this is an empire that cannot be overcome. An empire that has taken hold of our personal and collective lives This is how the radical migrates to the conservative pole of thinking. Because no matter what we tried (which means very little anyways in the context of the comfiest parts of the Western world), the system wins anyway. The highway’s the only way, as we didn’t try anything else... and why should we!?
So let’s look into asking the question before answering it, as opposed to what the dear, dear moral cowards among us tend to do.
How can you live without money, or at least without money as a primary means for a living?