Topic of the Week: Leaving the Milieu

  • Posted on: 1 August 2016
  • By: thecollective

Have you ever felt the need to leave the anarchist milieu behind (or have you more or less already done so?) What makes people (or you) leave or separate themselves from the anarchist milieu? Have you ever taken breaks--and what made you get back into the mix? How did leaving (temporarily or permanently) affect you or the people you know? Is there anything you regret about leaving (e.g. severing ties with friends you wish you hadn't, leaving behind projects that you had invested a lot of time in, moving away from places you liked, etc.)?

What is important to you about being involved in one way or another, and why are you compelled to do so (or why aren't you compelled to any more?) How can (or do) you engage with anarchism outside of the milieu? How much of the milieu is what you (and the people you choose to collaborate with) make of it, and what elements are inescapable? How often have you needed to separate yourself from certain events, projects, people, situations, etc. while maintaining active connections elsewhere?

Why is burnout so common, and has anyone found any remedies? How often does leaving the anarchist milieu mean leaving behind anarchism itself (i.e. proclaiming not to be an anarchist anymore, or taking on another political ideology)? How do you get over the initial curve and make it into your thirties without "growing" out of anarchism? Can you see yourself becoming disillusioned by the milieu but not anarchism?

What's your favorite aspect of the anarchist milieu? What frustrates you the most?



I've never been able to find an anarchist milieu. I've always been a lone wolf anarchist without any comrades.

Orpheus (a famous musician) and Eurydice fall in love and get married. After the wedding, Eurydice decides to get some fresh air. She takes a walk through nearby Berkeley, partying and laughing with her bridesmaids.

The lustful hotdog vendor Aristaeus surprises Eurydice. He's pretty hot for her, and he chases her down a nearby backalley. Desperate to avoid his sexual advances, Eurydice stops looking where she's going and stumbles into an anarchist infoshop. Surrounded and entranced by reams of such persuasive literature, she stays.

Orpheus is obviously overcome with grief at his wife's disappearance and ideological conversion. And just like any good musician, he expressed himself by singing the blues. Fed up with his depression, Orpheus decides to take action. His plan? Travel to the infoshop and ask the anarchists to let Eurydice go. Seems straightforward enough.

As he enters the shop, Orpheus uses his music to charm the spirits and monsters who live there. Ever get serenaded by a cute guy with a stringed instrument? Hard to resist, right? Even animals love him. Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guards the entrance, stands motionless and lets Orpheus pass. Everyone else is moved, too: the grotesque Furies weep, Sisyphus stops moving his rock, Morgan LeFay stops applying his mascara, the vulture stops pecking at Tityus' liver, and the souls of dead illegalists gather to hear him play. So yeah, guess he chose the right song.

In any case, Orpheus finds Aragorn and Bob Black, the King and Queen of the Milieu. Now the convincing begins. He makes a grand speech and plays his lyre to try to persuade these two to let Eurydice leave the milieu. His strategy? He reminds Aragorn that he fell in love once, too (with Bob).

Orpheus' eloquent speech melts the hearts of Aragorn and Bob. Surprise, surprise. And – success! – they agree to free Eurydice.

But there is a small catch. Aragorn says Eurydice must walk behind Orpheus as they travel back to Walnut Creek – Orpheus is forbidden from looking back at Eurydice until they have passed the last BART stop. Doesn't seem too tough, right? So Orpheus agrees, and the couple begins their journey.

Orpheus can hear Eurydice's footsteps behind him and before long, he can see the BART sign. He carries on past it for 100 yards, and is so excited to have gotten his wife back! But due either to excitement for having succeeded or concern for his wife, Orpheus totally forgets about Aragorn's warning and turns to look at Eurydice.

Eurydice is just on the verge of passing the BART sign, but she hasn't quite made it past. At that moment, three loud noises echo throughout the entire Bay Area, signaling that something is very, very wrong. Orpheus and Eurydice lock eyes for a split second. Eurydice just barely manages to say "Farewell!" before she is sucked back to the milieu.

Orpheus reaches for her – but he's grabbing at air.

Our guy is stunned. What should he do? He tries to enter the infoshop a second time, but this time the guard dog won't let him pass.

Now it's time for more wallowing. For seven months, Orpheus sits weeping on the banks of Suisun Bay.

I've, maybe not left, but distanced myself from what gets called anarchist where i'm at (libertarian socialism and/or anarcho-marxism). All they want to do is jerk off at how syndicalist they are, celebrate minimal, meaningless strikes (associated with the syndicalists union ofc) and read the usual leftist literature - and anyone who diverts from this line has no place there.

fuck milieus! be anarchic, have trusted relationships.

Where can you find trusted relationships, without a living milieu around7 Dominant institutions? Bloc parties (assuming you're privileged/lucky enough to have those in your bloc)?

I'm all critical of the shape that anarchoid milieus have taken in NA cities where I've been, but what are the alternatives?

^ trapped in anarchy cycle think

Anarchist milieu... where? All I see is a buncha punk rock scenesters who're okay with rape and property (as long as you're in the in-crowd, ya know) and some suspicious bougie Leftists who are as much polite as they are superficial.

if it's a bad scene, it's everyone's fault.

quite often milieu's lose sight of the prize and become concerned only with themselves.
don't become a milieu? keep your eyes on the prize?

radicals/anarchists/revolutionaries/whathaveyou don't just exist.
they're "made", "created", "unlocked", "radicalized", "found". not by people.
but by subversive moments, situations, ruptures, etc...

don't give up

I agree with that, but the problem is that most of the subversive moments and situations I've experienced or created on my own were isolated actions where nobody cares, and no one's even around. How do I find accomplices to take down power lines or antennas, attack bank trucks, set a whole neighborhood on fire, or do safer things like social events? A lone person hardly can attract people around. Groups do that. Groups with a base of support among the milieu.

Punks used to be that way, decades ago. Then there was the antiglob-era anarcho-leftists. Now an whole tradition has been lost, and we gotta rethink and rebuild the wheel all over again, maybe because we have put our trust into facetious people, if not people discretely hostile to the cause of anarchy.

it's not hard to find people. it's hard to find people who want to co-create subversive moments.
they exist, they're out there. the responsibility of finding them is on us.
if whatever we're doing isn't working in terms of attracting or finding them, we only need to look in the mirror.

I love you, even if I also can't love you. Yet I believe part of the search is having a clear idea of what/who we're looking for. Tons of youngsters out there get to subvert shit sometimes. They don't make a life out of if, though.

Tiqqunians were partly right in saying that we should draw and follow lines of rupture, as a form of life. It's actually curves, zig zags and breaks. (but hey, commies can't think outside of symmetry... what can we do?).

if we are committed to the unraveling of this world, we can never have a clear idea of what/who we're looking for beyond our commitment to the unraveling of this world. our commitment is a commitment into the void, into the unknown, a never-ending adventure. That is our form of life.

i agree and disagree with you. Actually, who is the 'we'?

There are infinite expressions of alternatives to 'this world'. perssonally I don't like this world, I oppose it, because I want to be free, because I want to feel a deeper connection to others and to a natural environment that will sustain me and my friends/band/clan/kin or whatever. So for me the direction i hope humans would take should this world ever fully unravel isn't a complete unknown. I don't want a mass society for instance, or any society for that matter, so that really only leaves small scale permutations of social relationships. I want a healthy environment and an environment that will make me healthy, so it has to be essentially 'green'. A de-massified planet without coercion excludes literacy/schools/universities etc because they wouldn't make sense in a free, green, small-scale world. So the more thoroughly we unravel 'this world' the closer we get to ending up with variations of primitivism or green anarchism,( but which are also infinite), i.e: bands of foraging surrealists, or superstitious groups nomadic gatherers, or gruff dangerous hunter clans or peaceful lazy sensualists, or villages of half starved spiral eyed mushroom eating crazies, etc.

So unknown? Yes. But absolutely no idea whatsoever of the social landscape or practices or orientation or direction? No.

"we" is those of us committed to the unraveling of this world. to whatever end, forever, infinitely. no matter what obstacles we come upon, be they from within or without.

there is no common or standard or absolute path, journey, program, answer, or solution. there is just an endless horizon, a pathless journey to the end of this world.

The fault for a "bad scene" is on society. A "scene" appears to me as the reflection of a wider social configuration. I look at the milieu in the city where I live, and they've got exactly the same issues -in that case, bad communications, hermeticism, insular behavior, closedness, pretense and posering- than the non-anarchist or non-political people around. The gangs hanging and drinking beer at the park in the night, that I'm watching alone in silence in despise, have nothing better than any anarchist scene hidden in the background, and vice versa.

If NA anarchists really are serious about their ideas, they gotta consider how ORDINARY they really are in their lifestyles, and how they need a major shift or overhaul in their relations with others. A relational advantage is our BEST advantage.

I know nobody will care about this rant, but I always trust one or two intelligent and non-pretentious people out there might be listening.

don't blame society. it doesn't exist.
if there's a bad scene, it's OUR fault.

the issues that exist in your local scene are a result of a lack of commitment. a commitment to commitment. to the unraveling of this world. find those who have that commitment, that feeling in their bones. whether they're in the scene or outside of it.

in fascist amerikkka milieu leaves you

I find it frustrating because there are no actual anarchists in it.

In all seriousness tho, as with most TOTWs, I disagree with the premise... THE milieu? I mean, there is no global scene (yeah, "scene" is just "milieu" but less silly, I'd say "milieu" were I speaking french, y'all Yankees have been affected by at least half-wanky French ultraleft books too much), there is at best some spectrum of culture that might be worth semantically clumping together in some way.

How it is in your town, or even North America (which seems a rather big place to generalize about, but hey, I do it too), ain't saying much about other places - at least not necessarily.

but more for some than for others -- if you have an idea for topic of the week, shout it out. if it piques our interest, we'll be happy to post it as a totw...

"Milieu" in French is often used in the sense of a "milieu de vie". Which means a life-supporting ensemble or social configuration. Can be an ecosystem. Can be a damn suburbia. Or a communal house of radiCULLs...

Yet in the civilized sense it means a configuration which supports only its own, self-serving form of life, instead of Life as some general fact of existence. Hence why, through the punk just like the yuppie subcultures there is complete disregard for any life outside of the preset form of life.

Also it's always nice to have your input, but next time work harder having some substance to your comments, as they are precious, since I -like many others- know you from real life. You appear to be scared of taking any position in the fear of being judged by your brethren. Which is totally understandable, yet still not exactly brave.

Of course I never write anything here I wouldn't say straight up to another party's face, but since it's so fucking hard to have a talk in person with any other anarchist around here...

Cuz yes, the word is not exactly the same as "scene" as you say.

And yeah, I dunno, just ranty. Thanks for your kind words. Really, I am trying to comment less, since I have often feel (right now) like I don't have interesting things to say, or don't have a strong conviction about something, or don't think my opinion is going to be particularly meaningful to anyone simply because I expressed it. But haha, I think I have a desire to participate all the same, which tends towards expressions of ranty pedantry.

So the other day during a trip on some really good organic weed grown under a power line I find out that I'm really just a clown in this life... though most often a sad clown.

Which is probably why I tend to be bitchy for a bit of lols though I'm never sure people get the humor around here, but nowhere did I suggested you should comment less (you aren't comment much already). Anyways comments on Anews are sooo important that I'm sure coming across any punk in the street asking last week's TOTW will get me a live debate (nope).

But srsly I reiterate that in your position the best thing to do would be to develop moments and spaces with your "milieu" for Better Comment Sections, I mean in real life.

Now I'm way beyond my weekly quota of words under that nickname. taw taw and see you maybe someday somewhere...

There is no such thing as a milieu, only individuals and their families.

Milieu is a spook, a name on a map, a wheel in your head. Nothing outside your own ego is real.

Knee jerk comment is knee jerk.

There's no fixed self. There's no self/other split. There's no individual/environment split either.

Nice try.

Yes but no.

..I guess.


Ha! great discussion in the middle of the biggest black uprising since the 60s.
Worthless losers.

Losers are those playing the social game of capital. They are all losers because the only winners are some aristocracy who's assigning their buddies and family members to high positions of the invisible power (finance, big industry and the media); therefore attempting to "win" get some privilege means being just another rat.

60s Marxism FTW! There was the 'Stone Age' the 'Bronze' the 'Iron Age' and now in the 21st Century, the 'Irony Age'.

I have never considered myself part of the local scene but have been around it for like 15 years. Anarchy is my life and people do not impact that. If you let people impact you (no matter what you are doing) to the point where you stop you weren't really wanting to do it anyhow. Right now I encourage anarchy outside the scene and it is absolutely fulfilling and successful. Seeing people side with the anti-authoritarian movement even if only in name and never even dealing with the bullshit is more important than I could ever imagine.

That said, this does not make the milieu happy, for obvious reasons. I get attacked maybe one every two weeks for the past long time.

Responding to my own comment here: This does not mean that I don't consider it a really good idea to have a close group of friends, an action group or whatever. I don't even discount organizations at all. But if you create an organization for the sole purpose of creating an organization than well, dumb.

Through innuendo, rumours, and public discrediting that a hostile environment was created in which individuals gathered others to willingly, or unwillingly, participate in continuous malevolent actions to force members out of the scene/organization.
What was happening was that these identity politicians were manufacturing an offence, throwing a tantrum and then using the backlash to play the victim.

The identity fiends will not stand any revolution if it is not primarily about them and their needs for attention and power.

I know, but how to destroy them... or at least repel them from any environment? As of now, after several years of reactionary plotting, they're still circling around the local @ library, which is the only anarchist open space active in town these days.

It all happened sometime back in 1991-1994. Counterculture did a great, gigantic sell-out of historical, cosmic proportions. Anyone who was not younger than teenage in the '90s knows this. It was so big in repercussions that I guess even an embryonic metalhead scene in Estonia or Kazakhstan felt the tremors from it, and the outcome is still in effect today, more than two decades later. The epicenter of it was a defunct band called "Nirvana", who took garage sludge punk to new levels, which was then called "grunge" music and lifestyle. They got really big commercially, and turned the "underground" inside out. Loolapalooza and shit. The cover picture of the album "Nevermind" was of striking symbolic irony, looking back at it.

But grunge doesn't matter here... what matters is what happened with the teenage subcultures that were thriving in the schoolyards in the years leading up to this unavowed social cataclysm/cultural revolution.

And here's my sociological statement: All the dominant subcultural categories you have today through the Western mass culture are roughly continuation of these embryonic teenage schoolyard identities. Save the rockabillies, who were still very present in the early '90s but since then have went somewhat to the background. Subcultures have not evolved, at all, but only grown up, and spread far and wide. The punch line is that, even though it is contradictory to the basic tenets of some of these subcultures (especially punk rock and hippie), they ALL have become the new way to FULL social conformity.

Elvis did it, the British Invasion did it, that's the whole artiste/recuperation intentional irony aesthetic, its been going on since Jesus has been the dominant behavioral trope in Western culture, in dealing with hypocrisy as a sin, therefore deliberately sinning, to flaunt hypocrisy and show that it is harmless, and to annoy the self-righteous.

You may be conflating things a bit. It's rather adventurous to make comparisons between some Cultural Revolution in the '90s and Jesus, and the British invasion of whatever area of the world at whatever time in history... I'd rather go for a walk in the Appalachian mountains.

The Appalachian mountains have become domesticated and therefore boring.

That's because you don't attack the forces domesticating them. So that makes you part of the boredom. Stand up for the forest (because it can't stand up itself) and the bore will vanish.

(Experienced opinion... you think I just go in the mountains like any stupid yuppie tourist!?)

I left the nihilist book fair milieu because I was so bummed out by id pol and my podcasts being dissed. I went to Rojava for a while to see what was up there and now I'm floating around Mexico scalping civilians indiscriminately with ITS. I feel much better now and I would highly recommend that others follow my lead. There is no future in NA @ism.

Mexico is north america.

no shit sherlock. I said I'd left the milieu, not NA (apart from when I cruised over to Rojava for a bit) and I still say there is no future in NA @ism. eco-extremism and indiscriminate terror is where it's at now homes.

Hmmm... Interesting, so now it's the new shit to be slaughtering random proles for anarchy. No wait... For thre ancestors and dead pagan deities. Got that. I guess that wiht sufficient re-brainwashing to cultist beliefs I'll be good to go soon!

Judging from the way they've written it. If they're not, then they are scum of the highest order and I hope they blow themselves up

If you're reading or posting on this thread, you haven't left the milieu, but you should (me too)

Strickly political relationships are weak. They have a hard time surviving stress or conflict.
They mean you are hanging out with people for a reason other than you love and enjoy them.

Key here is home groups. Most everyone has a crew of close friends and maybe family,discuss important ideas, issues and plans with them, then work outwards.
This will help your life in balance.

This is also the basis for democratic autonomy and that democratic confederalism confederaliam in Rojava.
Or anarchist federalism if far flung places aren't your thing.

Start at the family then work outwards.

Quality relationships based on love and affinity never cause burn out because they are part of who you are. They don't sap your energy overall they make you stronger.

Relying on a group of strangers is a sketchy idea. I think not a very anarchist one.

Public offices and libraries, public organizing work can be treated in a professional way. Put your game face on and let a load off when you get home.
Revolution is work. In fact if it is organized well some jobs can be paid work. That ensures your new institutions will be reliable and the commune will grow.
The movement will feed the family/home group and visa versa.

Working with your group that is part of groups of groups that makes for explicit agreements and balanced relationships of solidarity.
*Needing to be alone sometimes doesn't constitute burn out. Take a breather, take care and get back to doing what needs to be done.

10.49^^Anarchism according to Dale Carnegie with a Bookchin brain transplant^^

I was "kicked out". I still remain an anarchist, but don't show up to anything 'cause I don't want the hassle of being intimidated by people looking to use my presence to build up their reputation within the Milieu.

I do sometimes wish that I could talk with some of the people who used to be my friends, but I have enough self-respect not to.

We miss you too.

What's this... Wolfpack bigotry over an anonymous comment section? You must be sooo NOT powerful in real life. Do you even question your leader or you're too afraid?

too afraid...its different in the dont understand...he has powers i dont quite understand...he pinches our nipples while we're sleeping any time our sleeping bags fall down low enough for our nipples to protrude...i think he pulls them down himself.....

Is this a Kama-Sutra commune? If it is, sleeping bags are heresy!

you better be pinching my nipples with your teeth or gtfo

Kama-Sutra activists burn down sleeping bag factory then form milieu.

When I was rolling up to the computer I saw "leaving" and accidentaly thought it said "keating". I was like, yeah, keating like a motherfucker. Leave the milieu and establish communism with people that are willing to do something. It is here anarchy will grow. It won't grow in the critics corner. That is where losers go to sulk.

Pretty much all the people who stick around in anarchy after age ~25 are insane.

Because society is a very sane place for sane people. Schizophrenia is only when the docs tell you it's there... Blablablabla...

Yeah, it's the culture of pervasive emotional abuse in activism. The comment about relationships seems pretty on point to me...

Tho anarchy ≠ activism. That, unless you were unfortunate enough to have this kind of shitty urban milieu as the only reference for "anarchy".

Is there a milieu to leave? I was involved in the NA @ scene ~2000-2008 ending in somewhat of a 'mutual breakup'. Towards the end my friends and I (or whoever these people were I thought of as friends) were talking about how the next steps should be about seizing space and resisting policing, which sounded like science fiction apparently to a lot of people at the time. Now it's become banal. @ stuff seemed to be everywhere during "#Occupy(TM)" but that was it. now it seems like there's nothing but citizenism.

We've entered an age of general meltdown; perhaps the movement has been swallowed up by the chaotic emergence of direct struggles. Perhaps the failure of the political has become all too clear to anyone with a genuine desire to change everything.

If you reduced my views now to their political aspects I guess they would look similar. But this is flattening out one part of a much richer stance toward life and I would consider resisting such a reduction even more crucial to expressing 'what I'm really about' than picking an ideological label.

In any case maybe it's just as well, but it's a bit lonesome when I want someone to talk radical philosophy with, ride trains with to an indigenous resistance camp, eat some vegan mush in a park or whatever.

You wont get vegan mush at an indigenous resistance camp. Strictly B-B-Q folk, old habits die hard ;)

You're a racist idiot.

I'm another poster, you have to admit that there is no case of any indigenous tribe living on a vegan diet. So racist may not be the accurate term, maybe sarcastic moronic troll?

most archaeology points towards early hominids living off a mainly frugivorous diet, with some nuts, legumes and very occasionally, a little bit of meat. but the primitives and the modern vegans are in agreement on one point, which the carnivores don't seem to get: we do not NEED meat. All that industry propaganda about Vitamin B12 is just that: B.S.

as far as I am concerned, race doesn't come into it.

No my ancestors loved hijacking successful predator kills with numbers and violent rock throwing and ate quite a lot of meat thankyou very much tree-hugging proto-hominid banana-chomper lover.

actually, hillary, i personally know 3 long time vegans who suffered severe health problems that were only resolved once they started eating meat. what is "healthy" for one individual is not necessarily healthy for another. far too many vegans and anti-vegans have made arguments for how the human body is geared towards their preferred diet. fuck all of them. eat what you like and keeps you healthy. that will not be the same for everyone, get over yourself.

Thanx honey, yes our ancestors needed meat in more ways than one to become reproducing giants of a species, Hillary got no groove baby <3 U

anecdotal non-evidence. there is literally nothing in meat that humans require. it is a fact that humans are omnivores whose diet has been overwhelmingly based on plants for millions of years.

i bet your vegan friends were dumb fucks who lived on ramen like most vegan anarchists i've ever met. a forager-style diet is strong on leaves, nuts, fruit - not much in common with most of what modern veganism is, replete with industrially produced soy and sugar products...fuck that capitalist-colonialist vegan bullshit. it's all about a healthy plant-based diet tho. i don't think it's morally wrong to eat meat or animal products, but i think it's a dumb idea from a nutritional standpoint to eat a lot of either of those things. unless you're like Inuit or something and wild meat is basically your only food source. but most of us don't live in the arctic circle and human beings don't need crazy amounts of protein unless they're body building. if you really feel the need to eat this stuff despite the harm it does to the earth, animals and your body, please do so with some restraint.

The fact that it is a milieu/scene.

Vague one-liners make me feel so brilliant gotta masterbait see ya

I'm not sure what it's like outside the North American context but, here, anarchists have ghettoized themselves within their subcultural bubbles to such an extent that I have no desire to associate myself with the vast majority of them. Unless and until I find an anarchist milieu that consciously rejects collectivist groupthink, PC moralizing, and other such covert (or not so covert) authoritarian tendencies, I am quite content with my decision to part ways with "The Scene."

There's a lot of places in the USA where there is currently a split between the camps. So in fact you do get a rejection of the cult politics. But it also brings a flavor that is much more real, being that it is grounded in everyday life and not providing you with a friend group. So I think even though it is a billion times better than the other horrid people, there is an adaption process specially for younger people.

That's at least *slightly* heartening to hear. I guess things have changed a bit since I first began my extended hiatus several years ago. Still, In my experience, subcultural stagnation is a difficult rut to break out of and, when it comes to participating in radical projects of any kind, I have to be really choosy about who I will collaborate with and who I won't. For every one person with whom I may share at least a partial basis for affinity, there's at least a half-dozen others whose priorities are completely incompatible with my own. Still, because you all frequent the same circles and attend the same events, you at least have to interact with them to some extent. And, as you say, this necessarily involves a certain amount of adaptation to the "unwritten rules" of that particular scene that people have just sort of fallen into over time and never really bothered to question.

Not the poster above, but I got this resilient theory that we in fact should become an official cult. The only problem with anarchist or radical sectarianism was that it wasn't assuming its own sectarianism. Turning cultist hierarchies inside out can only have benefits. It makes the truly anarchistic people realize the ridicule of these power dynamics. then make them seek a truly respectful (anarchistic) endeavor towards the other. Even better, such a formal cult could be used in a sarcastic way, so that only the servile people don't get the joke, while those who get it can make it to the inner circle of true anarchy.

If you think that's worth your energy, then I say go to it. Just keep in mind that there's a fine line between parody and mimicry.

I never really had anarchist friends, although i consider myself an anarchist. I'd show up to bookfairs alone -- never really could connect with ppl -- they were just too subcultury.

Now i dont really read political stuff -- every article just says the same thing, nothing new.

I've generally given up on the idea of revolution or at least an anarchist communist one.

If it happens great, if not I wont be surprised.

I think the reason anarchy can't make it is because of the subculture. I dont see this ever getting resolved.

IDK I think anarchy as a project won't happen. i dont feel like I gave up ... just not willing to use energy on tasks I think are a waste of time.

"I think anarchy as a project won't happen"

that probably depends on what you mean by "anarchy as a project". for me, it is a completely personal, individual "project", one that is ongoing and dynamic. there is no end game/goal for my anarchy, it is a way i choose to live my life and relate with others. as such, i have no use for any milieu, subculture, scene, etc. i may well choose to engage and relate with others who identify with those things, but i have no such desire for myself.

Yes, I have a hard time understanding this entire topic, to be honest. Anarchist is what I am, a way of being and of living life that is natural to me. It doesn't require a millieu, a scene, a subculture, an organizing committee, a checklist of lifestyle factors. It just is. So there is no real cause for burnout, aside from the burnout that could happen in general when human beings are interacting with a set of violent, inhumane, and insane power structures as we are.

I don't require anything of anarchism as far as a political movement or a social scene, I guess. There is no way that anarchism could be a failure to me because it is a way of being that I love and that sustains me. It's an individual revolution, and it creates change just by being what it is.

Isn't calling anarchy a failure or a disappointment because the "broader scene" has failed to act the way you think it should act or achieve the goals you think it should achieve unnecessary or even against the real spirit of anarchism?

yes! your first two paragraphs are spot the fuck on! particularly this:

"Anarchist is what I am, a way of being and of living life that is natural to me. It doesn't require a millieu, a scene, a subculture, an organizing committee, a checklist of lifestyle factors. It just is. ... There is no way that anarchy[ism] could be a failure to me because it is a way of being that I love and that sustains me."

I'm pretty much in the same boat as you with regard to my thoughts on revolution - at least insofar as the concept has historically been understood. This outdated notion of "revolution" as some distant historical moment residing in the future when self-professed "revolutionaries" of will suddenly overturn all the governing institutions of this civilization in one foul swoop has pretty much run its course. Like the proverbial carrot dangling from a string, "revolution" becomes an alienated ideal forever chased after but never grasped with both hands. Anyone who's paying attention can't deny the religious or at least quasi-religious overtones of this. Much like the Rapture in Christian eschatology, revolution understood in this fashion is like the final arrival of a promised salvation in which God's "chosen people" will be elevated to the Kingdom of Heaven and sinners cast into the seventh circle of Hell.

Having said that, I won't go so far as to say that I've given up on *any and all* ideas of revolution, just this one in particular. I tend to think that, given a radical reconceptualization that makes it immanent to daily life and fully acknowledges the play of contingency in the emergence of events as they happen, "revolution" can be updated for the 21st century. The idea of revolution that I'm currently playing with is very much inspired by Gilles Deleuze's notion of "multiplicity," which is to say not a singular point in time when revolutionary aspirations will at last be realized but a fluid and interweaving network of what he called "lines of flight." Anyway, I'll admit that I'm a bit of a theory junky and I make no apologies for this, but I also get the fact it isn't everyone's cup of tea.

Suffice it to say that the cliquey nature of the anarchist subculture has always been a major problem for me and I think it has a lot to do with a tendency toward collective guilt and self-sacrifice to "the Cause" of revolution (or anti-gentrification or anti-poverty or anti-homelessness or any number of subsidiary "causes" that hang over their heads and preoccupy their time). Any vision of "revolution" that I don't not create for myself on a daily basis and that does not expand the sphere of my own autonomy at one and the same time that it purports to expand that of others is simply not worth my effort.

Sure but Deleuze followers are the worst of the bougie radicals, all leaning towards becoming the cadre of the rev in how as a self-absorbed vanguard they pretend to own and run the very "lignes de fuite" they created for themselves and their Friends. Which makes these lines into the same old exclusive circles... then cliques... then (abracadabra) classes.

I also see little point in being inspired by this insane metaphysician of philosophical Marxism who also thought that humans should ideally become egg-like simplified organisms (the "body without organs"). There's nothing sustainable or serious with such drivel in attempting to overthrown capitalist society on your own, it's rather conducive to more autism.

Even if I don't like the Tiqqunians too much, their writings are somewhat more relevant and down-to-Earth for any radical Leftist de-rev the Revolution in his-her mind, way more than this loony. Though it's much better to see how Bonanno and Novatore have been getting bigger these days. Even if Novatore's theory is from a very different historical context, it's one of those conceptions which cut through the totalitarian context we have today with the whole commodity society and give by far the best solutions for a war OF the Self against the war ON the Self.

Deleuze taken in isolation only provides a partial picture of what a useful transformation of "revolution" might look like. I too have misgivings about Deleuze but acknowledge that certain aspects of his thought are, at least for me, indispensable to breaking free from the essentialist pitfalls that have plagued anarchist theory since the days of Bakunin. One aspect of Deleuze's thought that I find particularly problematic is his response to Foucault that he thinks pleasure is a "rotten idea" to be abandoned in favour of pre-individual desire. This reeks of the same asceticism and spirit of self-sacrifice that one finds in so many left-activist circles. To overcome this attitude, it is necessary to draw in, among others, Stirner and his thoughts on "self-enjoyment." However, just because I reject this one aspect of Deleuze's thought doesn't mean I dispense with everything he had to say in terms of multiplicity, deterritorialization, and the critique of molar identities.

Well if only Deleuze would have become a '70s academic transnational guru leader he'd have had a much better fate in life... Oh wait...

To 18:15... well that's an interesting statement tho I wonder what are you still doing "here"?

My study of history (and I don't pretend knowing it so well, yet enough to say how fucking complicated and full of plot holes it is) has shown me that nothing "works" -or not- by design. Determinisms only exist because of the self-serving forces of the determinists.

Capitalism as a parasitic economy was unlikely to work for long, back in the 8th century -where it must have been an aberration to the mostly-monastic intellectuals of the times who were into thinkers like Plato and Seneca, but it is from this very point that it just grew and kept accumulating power as a system.

Anyways, "anarchy as a project" appears to be quite a huge idealistic thing to you, like the stuff CNT or Emma's revolutionary workers were fighting for back in the days. Their vision of mass liberation through a worker's anarcho-communism was limited to their socio-historical context. What it would mean if applied to today's realm would be basically to massively appropriate and use Fedbook as the ultimate global platform of the Revolution. Duh.

I don't want the whole world to become an anarchy... like you know having this anarcho-communist global configuration. I'd be hoping for it if I had the leisure to, I know that it can't be done within my lifetime, unless some alien species with Type II civilization arrives here and gets all "A-HA!" at us still submitting to laws and voting, then send all the world's ruling class for a one-way trip the Sun.

But an anarchy project can very easily be done at a modest, interpersonal scale. Maybe not here in "Paradis City" where I struggle to only get a life and keep my mind together.

I say this because I have seen and experienced it. Because it is actually easy, but requires you to remove those moral preconceptions and work on simply building a living without external regulations and influence. Autonomy isn't complicated, it's success into capitalism that is. At least for us "losers".

There is no revolution but your own, or mine. That big Revolution idea got far too close to the Promised Land for comfort. But the Promised Land is here. It's what YOU DO out of it, for fuck's sake! If you banish this utopia from you, you'll only fold back to being dog and cattle for whoever runs the show; a system slave, like I'm becoming these days, and most of YOU are as well, and I know this.

There is nothing glorious neither reasonable in this, nothing to be proud of... this is pure acquiescence, resignation. The kind that makes every dictatorship succeed, for who knows how long.

This is rotting, spiritually and physically, at the receiving end of a vast, impossible hierarchy that feeds on your drive to go upscale as an "escape" route from the oppression and dereliction you're living. Solution? I dunno... can't tell what's good for you. But that's really not what I want to be such a systemic puppet, being played with, and ridiculed every fucking morning.

Speaking of insult, can you just remove 21:5, mods? Your system is still fucked up, Thecollective. Yeah that system too. Thanks.

Plus I just realized this is an old TOTW, so again I spilled my guts for... a reason? Thank you, Internet, to give us a voice and at the same time make it irrelevant like a tear drop under a rain storm.

I loved it. I have since entered normal, rat race life, gone to university (not as a radical) etc, and modern mainstream life seems quite hollow compared to the intimacy and intensity I left behind. The squats, the collective houses, the actions. I moved into a protest squat at the age of 18, and spent another decade chasing that electric glow of groupness that comes from having a clear enemy at the gates.

I left when I realized it wasn't going anywhere. I left when I realized that I had given up hope of changing the world and was playing for status, sex and glory. I left because I started asking myself questions which Good-Anarchists-Do-Not-Ask.

I tried being a Serious Leftist, then a progressive, and I eventually came out center right. I started to look at the world from the perspective of those who had power, asked myself what I would do in their position, learned about "dirty hands" and figured they weren't so easy. I travelled in countries that had experienced civil war, (failed) revolution and a breakdown of law and order. And I realized how many radicals seemed to be doing everything with a mind to their career capital or what their radical friends thought. You were either a sociopath expecting to get out with a book deal, subsidized housing, tenure, or membership on a non profit board, or you end up a clueless loser 40 something punk with no career, no family, and friends half your age. Or you get out.

But J, you gotta admit, the sex at the squats was good, and had no attachments. Now, you have a mortgage maybe, and family pressures, hey, I'm not judging, but you did leave it behind and at least acquired some better values from your experiences? You didn't revert to being a total bourgeois asswipe did you?

To keep having that sex, I would have had to continue taking risks for a movement I no longer believed in, and very likely everyone would have seen through it. Sexiness would turn to cynical creepiness very quickly; I know guys who stay in the scene and date 20 years younger. They're not exactly aspirational models.

I am working on "selling out" but probably will not be very good at it; I still have weird principles around careers and making money, even if I am not a hardline anti capitalist. I consider myself less of a bourgeois ass wipe than career activists who, for all the militancy of their rhetoric, seem to end up in well paid careers instead of prison.

The guys who date 20yrs younger are most likely the leftist activists with Napoleon complexes and ideologies which believe in a feminine consciousness. You did a smart thing not having anything to do with these creeps!

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