Solidarity: Glocal Action!

Solidarity means attack!

Part 1 of a theme on solidarity, last week we talked about Free Palestine. In discussion, we wondered why some struggles manage to have international appeal and mobilize solidarity more than others, albeit eliciting words, more often than deeds in support. Is distance or marketing the bigger limiting factor in mobilizing international support? What gets some struggles trending, while others remain obscure? In terms of branding, who did it best: Palestine, Zapatistas, Rojava, Occupy, Standing Rock, Black Lives Matter? Is spontaneous affinity, targeted propaganda or simply the news cycle more effective in garnering anarchists' direct actions?

Some direct actions are more direct than others. Some put their bodies on the front-line of a struggle, while others intend to effect solidarity via proxy, choosing targets with the logic of six degrees of separation, counting on the transitive property of their attacks. Others place their hopes on the poetic transmutation of their symbolic gestures. Is there anything that can't be solved with a banner and a march? Beyond making a critique of the effectiveness of tactics: How are each of these approaches responses to the question of how to deal with distance? What is the relation between proximity and effectiveness?

How does distance put a strain on solidarity as a long-distance relationship? Is there a difference between solidarity and relationships of mutual aid? You down with O.P.P. (Other People's Plight), where activists parachute to where the grass is always greener? Does absence make the heart grow fonder, while familiarity with the hyperlocal breeds contempt? Can the clusterfuck of struggles coexist in a polycule, or is anarchy side piece or main?

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Christian "un-conditional love", just a physical impossibility. Un-conditional love would make one a doormat when attempted, international solidarity is like spreading your tentacles across the world.

Theres that one isaac asimov novel where the planet is made up of one nervous system, that is international solidarity.

I think people are drawn to this conflict because it's a war, and now that trump is out of office the news cycle is switching themes on a more regular basis.

As far as all the other questions, I shan't pretend that I know the answer to them. For example, I won't say what's bad/good about BLM both out of respect for their reasons to do it, even though the whole thing seems to be rather reformist and identitarian.

I don't think the concept of solidarity automatically creates meaningless spectacle but unfortunately, it translates that way really easily.

abstract spectacular liberal activism has plenty of critiques that should probably be obvious to anarchists but in this case, with the focus on the NGOs and their media projects that eat this shit up and broadcast it for their own agenda of generating more social capital.

put another way, abstract ideas of "solidarity" are a perfect hustle because you can go through all the performance of it, appear to be doing great things, based on progressive values blah blah blah and there's hardly any real way to measure if you're succeeding or failing or even moving at all. also functions as group therapy for all those people who feel instinctively that they should be doing something but don't know how. they line up and bare their necks for the vampire's bite!

so yeah, I don't blame the concept of solidarity for how much the vampires love to hiss the word, it just happens to roll off their forked tongues. sssssolidarity!

meaningless spectacle, but the problem with the whole "stand in solidarity" thing is that it doesn't imply helping or supporting a specific person who has been injured. I really hate the entire activist mentality: i think any anarchist who takes what they do seriously is all about being in touch with people on the local level, because when you get into the "right" and "wrong", or "supporting an oppressed people's across the world", you get stupid shit like this:

Not only are there people capitalizing (socially and literally) on this idea that "tHe jEwS R UnDeR atTack!", we're seeing more idiotic binary-conflict street demonstrations in the US. These protesters thinking that they are either helping palestine or israel in any meaningful way is


you realize conflict is always binary, right? or more? by definition. it's a strange observation.

except when tyler durden beats himself up I guess? which was just pretend

but at the street demos in the article, they are not fighting for their own cause, but someone else's. I'm not against the Palestinian who throws bricks at cops, yet I'm not gonna get on twitter and be like #throwbricksatcopsjustdoit, lol.

I'm not an anti-binary dogmatist, i just think it's important not to be masochistic while engaging in traditional activism, or making some awkward gesture out of "solidarity".

thought you just said you "hate the entire activist mentality" and were threatening all of them with non-consensual buttsex (?!?!) leading to further confusion with how exactly the moderators make decisions around here (lol)

anti-binary dogmatism would be more interesting, even tho it's a pretty silly way to understand conflict

Either, often within "communities" there are these rich histories of multi-directional conflict.

I personally do hate activism because I used to be a very aggressive activist, but if other people are doing it out of an expression of desires then I have zero issue with it by itself.

The anarchist analysis of the Zapatistas is a case in point. Anarchists have understood that it was an indigenous struggle, that it was armed and decentralized but habitually temper their enthusiasm with warnings about a) valorizing Subcommandante Marcos, b) the differences between social democracy and anarchism, c) the problems with negotiating with the State for reforms, etc. etc. These points are valid and criticism is not particularly the problem. What is the problem is that anarchist criticism is generally more repetitive than it is inspired or influential. Repetitive criticisms are useful in getting every member of a political tendency on the same page. Criticism helps us understand the difference between illusion and reality. But the form that anarchist criticism has taken about events in the world is more useful in shaping an understanding of what real anarchists believe than what the world is.

As long as the arbiters of anarchism continue to be the wielders of the Most Appropriate Critique, then anarchism will continue to be an isolated sect far removed from any particularly anarchistic events that happen in the world. This will continue to make the tendency irrelevant for those people who are interested in participating in anarchistic events.

I agree, protesting in the context of this entirely nationalist and statist confict is a fucking joke, and a waste of time and energies.

If only there'd be such protesting against real-estate and extractive industry parasites domestically... Helluva way to "oppose the empire" by protesting for stuff happening on the other side of the planet, regardless of how legit or not.

it's also basically a religious dispute, since israel still thinks it has some sort of a right to palestine.

People think the campaign against apartheid in South Africa was a success. But I guess that was too liberal or too long ago.
Really, aren't all struggles interconnected, at least in the sense that this current world order won't be overthrown just in one small patch while the rest of it continues on as usual. Either way, climate catastrophe is going to overtake all political fights soon enough.
Be aware of conflicts worldwide, but work on what is next to you now. If we can't work shit out with neighbors how do we expect to work out other people's conflicts across the globe?

-This is bad actually.
No you’re bad and dumb.
-Why are you so mean to me?
This is my anews. Don’t be an asshole.
-I like to eat babycorn from the can! Fuck your you’re not my boss!
Why do you hate less fortunate people?
-All people are mean to my anarch individuality and deserve to suffer.
Let’s agree to disagree.
-How about a hug?
-What was the topic about anyway?
I have no idea.

that hug shit ain't free, what do I look like?! totally unrealistic

Remember that story about the anti-civ squad in northern syria that was calling out "against leviathan" when they were fighting isis? there was a moment when all even all these post-left post-activists were swooning over the good fight in rojava. I had someone try to sell me on it because they had all these improvised road warrior-esque cars, it was great. Everyone could get a piece of desert real estate too - red and black people had big daddy reading the bread book and committees planning green cities, everyone was cheering these pictures of women with guns. The only people criticizing it even mildly were communists who didn't like that the Kurds hadn't gotten rid of their middle class and were teaming up with the US and/or assad and some liberals who were concerned about reports of ethnic cleansing, forced conscription and the conditions in prison camps.

in any case, of the causes you mentioned, at least among anarchists rojava at its peak probably had the best PR job, though the zapatistas probably did it better in terms of being more sustainable and less tainted by nationalism (transmuting kurdish nationalism into communalism) and the chance of getting fucking blown up or shot (though obviously people were getting killed there too). Some of it was spontaneous, although kurdish news sources as well as sites like crimethinc and igd were certainly helping to motivate people with utopian visions and martyrdom stories.

It was also a place where "direct action" could take the form of shooting bad guys or "building the commune" and watching anarchy in action (as some were labeling it) as the kurds built a new society and liberated syria (from certain parties and not others). Isis was fucking awful and anarchists-as-superheros could help save the day and build a better tomorrow in real time.

I was one of the post-left post-activists who wasn't swooning, in fact, I was the first to crìtique the Kurd PR machine which was sexist in exploitng attractive college aged girls posing with AKs as a recruitment drive to lure in naive Incel Western youth to their cause.

Marketing or appealing rhetoric plays more into how many people participate in a mass movement, but distance poses its own significant challenges to even small affinity groups and individuals.

Language is one of the important thing that factors in to the relative trendiness or obscurity of a struggle, as well as mass media coverage. The more people that speak the language and the more flow of information, more instantaneous translation of information to English and media savvy people to get it trending in main social media platforms. This is of course referring only to what makes it trend, not what makes it effective or successful by whatever metrics.

In terms of branding, the Zapatistas seem to be the only ones still engaged in regular updating of their branding. Of course, mentioning all of these in a single breath is just a cynical poke, more than a real question. But we can see for example how Occupy as branding has fizzled out, and that definitely became a brand and franchise. BLM is still active and relevant but it's more of a slogan than a brand or a movement.

While marketing and trending news can motivate many to do banners and march, substantial direct action is more a product of very particular life experiences and circumstances that make few people be able and willing to carry them out.

It's easier for people to resort to symbolic expression the more distant or abstract a problem seems, or the more powerless they feel.
For a real direct action there needs to be a clarity about the intervention, which requires an intimacy with a particular struggle or front, an immediacy and an understanding that goes beyond rhetoric and beyond disinterested abstract academic analysis.
So I would say there is a relation between proximity and effectiveness but not in a straightforward manner of nearer = better, but rather there's no substitute for real experience

Long-distance relationships (whether labeled as mutual aid or solidarity) suck and aren't real, just a painstakingly maintained illusion that falls apart the moment that communication stops. There is no possible being/growing together in silence. Solidarity seems to be more often applied to support in one direction, although also standing together against a common foe, while mutual aid seems to be more of a way of life, a way to do subsistence and care, but it's often just misused to mean charity.

People often try to solve other's problems or give unsolicited advice as an escape from their own, though not saying trying to help others is bad. The clusterfuck of struggles coexist in conflict regardless and anarchy is a bastard orphan.

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