Solecast w/ Cindy Milstein : Confronting the Despair of the 21st Century

Solecast w/ Cindy Milstein : Confronting the Despair of the 21st Century

From Solecast

(link to listen at above link)

For the season 2 premiere of the solecast i sit down with Cindy Milstein to talk about some recent themes they’ve been putting out through various talks and writings over the past year.  Cindy talks about the resurgence of Jewish anarchist organizing in the states and its relation to the upswing of anti-Semitism we have seen in the past few years.  We explore the themes of a panel Cindy did with Aaron Lakoff and Sharmeen Khan at the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair in 2019 entitled “From Another World Is Possible to the Possible End of the World.”  We talk about the despair of these times and how to think about building a foundation in which cultures of resistance can thrive.  Cindy addresses the machismo within radical circles, under representation of marginalized voices within the anarchist podcast world, and the importance of care/mutual aid.  We also address the concept of revolution and scale and why various forms of infrastructure are key to sustaining revolutionary movements.  Cindy also puts a call-out for collaborators for a potential audiozine/podcast project.

Be on the look-out for Cindy’s forthcoming anthology on AK Press Deciding For Ourselves  (The Promise Of Direct Democracy)  and check out our preview interview about Rebellious Mourning.

Other texts discussed in this episode:Skin In The Game: How Anti-Semitism Animates White Nationalism
The Anarchy of Colored Girls Assembled In A Riotous Manner
Antifascism Beyond Machismo

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A related text from the 2020 edition of Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar by Cindy Milstein that she just shared online, related to topic of despair / hope:
Knitting with a Messy Ball of Yarn

excerpt on hope:
"What if we dispense with emoticon-happy hope or dead-end hopelessness as our false-binary assumption? What if, instead, we throw ourselves into weaving self-determined shared lifeways from the promise we have on hand, in the here and now—first and foremost, our messy-beautiful selves—and with the expectation that we’ll encounter a whole lot of entanglement in the ever-dynamic process of social transformation? To borrow an anarchistic slogan, what if we tried hard(er) to “be careful with each other, so we can be dangerous together”?"

"knitting with a messy ball of yarn"

could not have come up with a better metaphor for her writing

but appeals to "be careful so we can be dangerous" are two really different directions to go in. in practice i think that looks like a lot of scenes these days, with people "being careful" with those they consider "each other" and mean, dismissive, stupid, thoughtless about anyone who is not-each-other.
doesn't mean the appeal shouldn't be made, but how does one's practice reflect this? super easy to say the things that sound good... but maybe i should read the thing to see where she actually goes with it...

you can read it, but the talk with sole actually goes more in depth and to the point than the zine, so if you heard it then you pretty much get it. like anything that's real, what would matter is not so much what's written or said about it, but you'd have to be there and live it and see how it is, and how you like it or not.

in my case, what they say and do is something i'd like to see people do and spread and experimented with and see it really thrive. so many people need spaces and practices like that in many places. but not something i would like to be involved with in any way. i bring within me the seed of discord and all the things they find ugly and toxic and have no place in their prefigurations.

This shit rings pretty hollow, coming as it does from one of the primary instigators of the notorious Hope Bloc.

so … don't drink the koolaid? Wait, you're saying always drink the koolaid? Got it.

it doesn't always have cyanide in it!

I find mildly interesting the question resurfacing "how to deal with fascists", i've come to the conclusion, definitely not what many of the anarchists and leftists are already doing...protesting them!

I can't even begin to theorize what i would do about right wing ______ until it actually pops up, otherwise I'm going to continue to happily ignore ultra-pathetic street trolls. I guess don't skip down the street merrily in Louisiana? Idk, what do the rest of you think about this severely beaten horse?

Cindy criticism aside, Hope Bloc was a decade ago now. People can grow and change. Do you want to be called up for all the shit you did ten years ago? I am sure it was all perfect.

It’s true that the Hope Bloc(khead) was a while ago, but as far as I know, neither Cindy nor any of the other signatories have ever repudiated or distanced themselves from its absurdities. If you don’t learn anything from your former perspectives — or worse, if you never acknowledge that they have evolved or changed — then it’s fair for critics to point them out. I stand by everything I said and did ten (and twenty) years ago.

Are you talking about public acts with your name attached? Or do you literally mean everything?

public acts with my name attached, thanks for making me clarify.

This talk was pretty great.
That podcast idea Cindy mentions sounds cool, hopefully we get to hear it.

I liked this.
Care, taking care of each other, grief, mourning, dealing with the despair of our times are not talked about enough in anarchist circles, imo.
The practice of being careful with each other in order to be dangerous together does have the issue of who is 'each other'.
That aside for now, the point is we are not even careful with each other most of the time. How can we disagree on certain issues, say prefiguration, but also do it in a way that doesn't needlessly personally insult or harm?
I may not agree with Cindy on many things but it is clear she has put thought into what she thinks and that is worth much in these times.

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