Topic of the Week: Gatherings

  • Posted on: 25 April 2016
  • By: thecollective

As anarchists, what is the importance of gathering with others IRL? Which elements of getting together with others are most important to you (e.g. having common interests or identities, meeting in a private or public location, meeting to plan or accomplish a goal or without any goals in mind, your anonymity or levels of openness with others, based on the strength of your relationship to others, loud parties or a more relaxed atmosphere, in a sober environment or around the use intoxicants, mainly sticking to project-oriented groups, gathering with the intent to make total destroy or build the commune, etc.)?

Is it important that your comrades are also your friends or the people you socialize with or spend the most time around? Or does keeping a work/home-style separation between comrades and friends make sense (and why/why not)? How important is structuring time around family?

Is it possible to gather in ways that feel in line with your vision of anarchism, or are we doomed to interactions grounded in commerce, religion, bureaucracy, etc.? Is there anything that brings us closer to our vision of a so-called authentic gathering (e.g. the heat of a riot or the sweat of an orgy)? What is the power or potential in gathering in Temporary Autonomous Zones (TAZ) (e.g. Mutant Fest) or in places such as Slab City in Southern California? What place does sharing meals have in our lives, or what other forms of ritualized gathering impact the ways you live and interact with others (potlucks, drinking buddies, sports leagues, social clubs, annual events or festivals, hobby groups, gaming communities, etc.)? Are there alternative or obsolete ways of gathering, such as the potlatch, that could be explored further in today's social context?

Is it necessary to meet in real life at all? Can we accomplish similar goals by connecting virtually? Can we reject the social altogether and live out our lives as atomized anarchist individuals?

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Comments

the answer depends from our age and how much we are included in the system (work, etc).
young anarchists will drink beer together and socialize and make actions/protests/whatever, older anarchists will visit gatherings but they will have to go to work or to care about kids, etc. some people can protest every day, some people one time per month.
people are more active when they are young or they study, so, they have time for gatherings and protests. usually when people are young they try to find very similar people, while older base their activism on common goals, it doesn't matter so much if we are so much similar or different.
for example, some anarchists will work only with anarchists, while revolutionary struggle in greek prisons can work together with communist guerrilla (17 November).
I think the most important is to find balance between private life and activism, too much activism will burn you, you will expect too much from the people and you will be disappointed (arrested, etc), too much private life will include you in the system and you will become more and more part of it, something like typical story "when I was young i was crazy but now I have wife and kids and I am adapted in society, I have the same life like majority".

Our collective has been hard at work researching and developing mediation methods that may help with the sort of disruptions/conflicts that have become increasingly common at book fairs, conferences and gatherings in recent years. Please check out our video and resource guide. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtV7Ch_9bUQ

That video is very helpful, thanks for doing the hard work nobody else wants to.

IGTT 10/10 for deadpan

I would love to see the @ version of this speech given any time a pc shithead tries to disrupt a gathering. It's incredible that they keep getting away with it.

every year on Canada Day we play 'capture the flag' in our nationalist little city and then have a big nasty bonfire where we burn all the stolen flags. it's a nice way to cope with the spectacle of Canada and renew our social bonds.

Hammy <3s your town. Let's meet up irl soon k?

*As anarchists, what is the importance of gathering with others IRL?

I think this includes the way other anarchists carry themselves - the way their voice sounds, the body language, in what context do their faces scrunch in tiny laughter or a subtle eye-roll. For me, having actual conversations in person offers so much more depth than an online conversation can, even over something like Skype. Having relationships and conflicts with tangible people helps me to work in/toward a "human sized" world of my own.

*Which elements of getting together with others are most important to you (e.g. having common interests or identities, meeting in a private or public location, meeting to plan or accomplish a goal or without any goals in mind, your anonymity or levels of openness with others, based on the strength of your relationship to others, loud parties or a more relaxed atmosphere, in a sober environment or around the use intoxicants, mainly sticking to project-oriented groups, gathering with the intent to make total destroy or build the commune, etc.)?

I really like having spaces where I'm actually hanging out with my friends. Maybe there's some other people outside the periphery of our specific gathering spot, but the people who are physically closest to me stimulate me intellectually and validate my own experiences in the world. The event of outdoor camping, or taking over an empty dorm, or having drinks and so-and-so's house serve as a backdrop to us engaging with each other.

Whereas, the feeling I get at something like a protest rally is that someone's sign is the most important thing to pay attention to right now. Or that signing this petition is way more important than the people who show up and that holding a round-table style discussion is unnecessary "because they'll be plenty of time for that on our Facebook page after you sign!"

So, I suppose its human engagements that I'm /really/ looking for; talking with another person about loves and hates in every day life and being open to conflict. I don't know about "organizing" anything, since even getting a planned barbeque off the ground seems just not possible whereas friends randomly showing up with beef and vegetables is actually more reliable.

I've never seen a gathering that honestly talked about destroying anything. I've heard of "slowing down the machine" and maybe that's more realistic for some, but that mindset as the foundation for battle planning feels weak to me. If a horrible monster were coming down the road to turn you and your friends into red smears on the asphalt, slowing the creature down would make sense if the next maneuver to follow is a killing blow or a crippling one to enable escape. What I see are young people binding their limbs together and laying upon the asphalt as a sacrifice to the creature. And as the monster tramples and violates these youth, another line of tributes applaud the revolution as they bind each other and lay down.

*Is it important that your comrades are also your friends or the people you socialize with or spend the most time around?

I'm sure this is way off and would like someone to clear this up for me, but the image in my mind of what the word "comrade" means is someone that you don't really want to have dinner with, if you can help it, or go any events where they are invited, but you work together on the same project. Is that right? Isn't that just a shitty coworker?

That's all for now.

And there's always the challenge of leaving the basement and getting a bit of the old in and out later on in the night ;)

for me, comrade is somewhere between acquaintance and friend, recognizing that we have a lot of abstract affinity even if the personal chemistry is somewhat lacking. certainly many levels above "shitty coworker" which is more like sharing a cell in prison.

I do think that the shift in focus from in person gatherings to online platforms has done the anarchist subculture a great disservice.

Facebook is the new revolutionary platform for the 21st century, it is the town-crier and poster-paster of previous millenia.

Facebook is tired. I use Youporn!

Gatherings other than book fairs are pointless strugglismo.

who needs books when you already have all the answers?

The answers are only to be found in books?

Yes. But not just a few books. The answers lie in entire fairs of books!

The use of the term IRL as well as the closing question indicate to me that "the collective" or whoever authored this is already lost to the virtual, i.e. the synthetic, artificial, fake world of the online spectacle. Get off the fucking Internet.

I guess you are too full of your own self-importance to note the irony of telling somebody to 'get off the fucking internet' ...via a comment on the internet.

I guess you don't understand logical fallacies. Tu Quoque.

The anarchist 'community' seems to be in a crisis, and that crisis is the insular community and vocal minority that perpetuate trollish behavior. Some of the members of the anarchist community are so angry and toxic that their way of being is the very thing that is preventing the 'community' from growing. Until the anarchist community can be dominated by positive people I think its doomed and IRL meetings will dwindle.

One can be critical without being pessimistic. e.g. 'The world is fucked up and the odds are against us but lets try our best' vs 'The world is fucked up and the odds are against us lets not even try'

Another thing is those toxic anarchists are so fucking insecure -- all attempting to appear smarter than the person that disagrees with them. Someone should write an article on Insecurity in Anarchist Subculture.

Most anarchists interested in pessimism would reject your definition. It's not about not trying.
http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/aragorn-anarchy-and-nihilism-cons...

ok. well whatever you want to call what i described my point is still the same.

That article doesn't give a definition or pessimism, can you give one?

you've got an additional problem where a lot of nihilists won't admit that they constantly paralyze themselves in all but the most basic decisions, they're blind to it. You have to watch them flopping around like a fish on the sand for awhile before it becomes obvious

The situation is very real but this critique of it is extremely insufficient in its total focus on 'being dominated by the wrong individuals' without any sort of contextual insight on where that behavior is coming from, how it's rewarded or perpetuated. It's much like when people describe police violence as the work of 'a few bad apples' - an idiom which by the way is used pretty stupidly, as it seems to imply the rest of the apples/individuals are 'good'. The fact is that if you put one rotten apple with a bunch of good apples, they will all become rotten much faster. No one is innocent.

Endless episodes of subculture types hanging out with each other and "...validat(ing) my own experiences in the world" is all the anarchist scene can come up with. It is a subculture. This is the be-all and end-all of what it is and of what it can be.

"Is it necessary to meet in real life at all? Can we accomplish similar goals by connecting virtually? Can we reject the social altogether and live out our lives as atomized anarchist individuals?"

1. YES, IT IS. 2. NO, YOU CAN'T annnd 3. NO ... you can't.

I sincerely hope that the questions were designed to provoke discussion and not in good faith. I also fucking hope that we don't need to actually discuss it on account of how obvious the answers are. Right folks ..?

The racism and green anarchy topics had some interesting discussion but the most recent few feel like trying too hard.

"Moreover, if one looks back to the past, both the near-term and distant past, one will see that whenever there was attempted a separation of a current of anarchy in a manner distinct and competitive with all the others, this has led to the politics of entrenchment and introversion, resulting in a short time of loss of momentum. This naturally occurs because when you remove the terms of the dialectical discussion, you automatically remove any field of fruitful confrontation through which different theoretical concepts can develop their potential. Following in the footsteps of such logic, one is forced to absoluteness in discourse, not as a means of self-determination, but as a technique of polarizing struggles- yet this applies only to words, as the real world offers us a multitude of contradictions, conventions and contradictory facts on which it is impossible to answer on the basis of a fully-formed absolute theory. So this leads to creating distances between theory and practice, which as they are exacerbated lead each of us to deal exclusively with the spectacular display of events and not their content."

the complexity of physical reality is beyond words, so that anarchist practice that is well tuned to unfolding needs will not be capturable in terms of generalized theory. . the unfolding situational conflict arising from one-sided imposing of authoritarian plans and actions is unique and particular and can inductively actualize anarchist creative potentials.

the eruption of anarchist violence; i.e. 'what anarchists do', is 'appearances' [Schroedinger's 'schaumkommen'] rather than the 'physical reality of our actual experience', so there is no point in developing a 'theory-of-appearances' = 'a theory of what anarchists do'.

my comment to this same point was removed by thecollective. it included a quote from kropotkin on 'mutual aid' which makes this same basic point that 'mutual aid' in nature is where situational need inductively authors, actualizes, organizes and shapes the outwelling of actions. to develop a generalized theory of anarchist action from these 'appearances' dumbs down 'mutual aid' to a doer-deed strategy that deals "exclusively with the spectacular display of events"; i.e. 'how to put on a good anarchist protest show.

anarchy "IS" the spontaneous storm-brewing ferment of mutual aid actualized, organized and shaped OUTSIDE-INWARDLY (inductively) by unfolding situational need. the error of theorists is in trying to construct a theory of 'what anarchists do' or 'common properties', as if these inductively actualized [situationally fetalized] actions are intentionally formulated, driven and directed, which they are not.

as i said in my comment which was removed;

"one could develop an 'identity' for an 'anarchist' on the basis of 'common properties', one such property being socializing habits. this construction of a 'category' is the [fucked up] default way of establishing identity in Western society.

sorry, can you put this in your own words?

in our real-life experience, our behaviours have long roots; i.e. they are situationally fetalized, and that situational fetalization brews up in the relational dynamics of community. in other words, our dynamic ‘identity’ unfolds from situtional-relational context.

Western practice; i.e. the scientific approach, is to use ‘common properties’ (social activity profiling, assertive behaviour patterns, physical attributes such as skin colour etc.) as the means of giving ‘identity’ to an individual and/or group, as if we were 'stand-alone entities'..

this imputing of ‘identity’ based on ‘categorizing’ the attributes and deed-doing of a ‘subject’ obscures the actual, physical ‘deep roots’ [continuing relational context, situational fetalization] that are the real meaning-giving source to individual and collective behaviour.

any exercise that seeks to manufacture an ‘identity’ by ‘common properties’ such as ‘social activities’ obscures the ‘real basis of identity’. the common doer-deed behavioural properties that define an ‘insurgent’ are sufficient for ‘labelling an insurgent an insurgent’; i.e. for calling a spade a spade in KISS terms. those ‘others' (self appointing judges) making that assessment are meanwhile contributors to the situational influences that are the actual source of the ‘insurgent behaviours’. in other words, ‘insurgent behaviours’ do not come from [in the sense of ‘originate from’] ‘insurgents’.

likewise, “anarchist behaviours do not come from anarchists”.

as kropotkin says mutual aid is inductively sourced by situational need in a non-dual circularity.

Mine is a solo journey, but if I can get or offer help along the way, so be it. I find engaging non-anarchs more useful. Ideally, I'd be rich and give to anarchs anonymously.

That is the journey of a condescending crypto-capitalist!

The service of truth is the hardest service

there are no 'solo journeys' in the 'real world' of our actual, natural experience; i.e. the unfolding relational situation is the actualizer of individual and collective journeys; i.e. we do not 'really' live in Euclidian space and we are not 'really' subjects that inflect verbs. that is, anthropocentric propositions such as "Mine is a solo journey" are illusions constructed from subjects and verbs that live in 'semantic reality'.

it takes a 'Supreme Being' to make a solo journey;

"“Indeed, nothing has yet possessed a more naive power of persuasion than the error concerning being, as it has been formulated by the Eleatics, for example. After all, every word and every sentence we say speak in its favor. Even the opponents of the Eleatics still succumbed to the seduction of their concept of being: Democritus, among others, when he invented his atom. “Reason” in language — oh, what an old deceptive witch she is! I am afraid we are not rid of God because we still have faith in grammar.” – Nietzsche, ‘Twilight of the Idols’

Thanks, just thought I'd say I remember it as "O what a deceptive old witch she has been. I fear we will never be rid of God so long as we have faith in grammar"

" In der That, Nichts hat bisher eine naivere Überredungskraft gehabt als der Irrthum vom Sein, wie er zum Beispiel von den Eleaten formulirt wurde: er hat ja jedes Wort für sich, jeden Satz für sich, den wir sprechen! - Auch die Gegner der Eleaten unterlagen noch der Verführung ihres Seins-Begriffs: Demokrit unter Anderen, als er sein Atom erfand… Die "Vernunft" in der Sprache: oh was für eine alte betrügerische Weibsperson! Ich fürchte, wir werden Gott nicht los, weil wir noch an die Grammatik glauben…"

emile, can you respond to the deconstructionism comment below? bitte...

To what extent is Emile's critique of semantic reality a symptom of overbelief in the same categories? Is it deconstruction? Can't "mine is a solely journey" be said including all the distanciation, like asking for 'coffee, black' but assuming a cup and saucer will magically appear as well....Anyone?

Emile's "critique" is a broken clock in a broken record player. Occasionally correct by accident and repetitive noise.

do not capture the essence of our situation.
In the full plenum that meets the appearance of
Dasein's arising , we are at once and forever "thrown into the world"
as interactive with each other and the habitat we occupy.
The relationship to one and other and our dwelling-place is existentially
a given that describes our shared destiny. we basically respond to each other and our surroundings.
Situations arise and evoke response. we utter our notions in terms of mutual aid . The hallmark of the sentiment
in this situation is an intuitively based concern, care, wonder-of and interest-in our world.
No Doer-Deed Nightmare prison, here. We can resound to this with an appreciation of each other and our habitat. The apt term is
Dignity; towards others, our-selves, and our habitat. The attitude in these situations is one of respect; regard, gratefulness,
and resolve. We utilize creative disparate ideas , as we experiment with what "works", as we develop our praxis of this is never-ending process,method that seeks collaboration
in our getting-to-gethwe , to-gather. There is no Aim, no PLan, no Telos, no Goal. Just living our lives with as much ease and poise as can be expressed.
We , therefore, cannot "achieve" Things. But we can indicate many different and sustainable paths in the journey of our lives.
This process at times and in various places can encounter zones of autonomy , freer from constraints of noun/verb , subject/object
Binary Ideological straight-jackets. But the reward is one of joy, redemption, and a taste of the sublime. If we are open
to the possibilities of new worlds- to - come, and new peoples-to-be, we ,as a multitude of uniques, can flourish, and that is certainly not a little thing.

I appreciate you writing what you did, but I haven't intuitively disagreed with anything written here more than:
"Dignity; towards others, our-selves, and our habitat. The attitude in these situations is one of respect; regard, gratefulness,"
We can pretend those words have the same meaning they might have had in former times but in my mouth they are disgusting foul notions, honesty on the other hand that still has legs

For the past couple of months I've been reading about anarchism and become more an more interested. I have reached the point where I would like to start DOING more anarchist stuff as opposed to just reading ABOUT anarchism. Does anyone have any tips on how I could connect with anarchists and learn more about what "being an anarchist" means. BTW, I'm not a cop or something and am not looking for someone to tell me "go to this location at this time". I just want general advice on networking with anarchists. I live in a major city, so keep that in mind. Thanks

Depending on how pathetic your local anarchists are, a few simple searches of my city's name and various anarchist keywords turned up my hoodlum friends, our social space and the last few years of news headlines. There's always a good chance that your city has no active anarchists but best of luck to you. You can always start something yourself?

Thanks dude.

The crimethinc convergence was the best annual anarchist event. I miss it.

I don't do academic poetry very well. Especially when tomorrow is mayday. Speak English. Fuck that boring shit. Next.

simpleton

Nobody cares about your bullshit. Just you.

All we have is now. This person hates poetry and ideates the future. Lol.

How about some old haiku?

"'Everything I touch'"
Kobayashi Issa

Everything I touch
with tenderness, alas,
pricks like a bramble

-----

Life is not a solo journey.

The truth is like poetry.
People fucking hate poetry.

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