TOTW: Anarcho-Humility or Anarcho-Defeat
I am not a man of action. My brief experience with anything resembling activism ended with the whimper of realizing my flame didn’t burn quite as bright as those leading the march or drafting the petition. I didn’t discover a mystic tome of Nihilism and suddenly decide that all was lost and it was time for something new; instead I lost a fight with myself before it even began.
I would never say my experience in Anarchy is in any way typical, but I have heard others say anarchists are often the losers of activism, or perhaps just losers. The idea of a radical transformation of the world in any measure, let alone one that destroys something as foundational to modern society as Capital or Anthropocentrism, is bashed and broken upon the enormity of the world daily. This breaking is perhaps what leads people to give up Anarchy, start a family, advance in their career, or escape to the woods; in other words a bowing to inevitable defeat.
Yet beyond the label of defeatism or escape, there is a strain of something that could be called Anarchist(ic) humility. A sense that the World™ is irreducibly large and complex, that we aren’t actors on the world stage of anything resembling politics, but are in fact the small rodents running between the feet of dinosaurs. Perhaps this leads people to live smaller lives, to view the immediate relations they’ve made among Anarchists not as comrades on the path to victory, but fellow survivors on a life-raft, one with a better aesthetic than that boat over there.
When were your Anarchist ideals bashed against the rocks of reality? How did you deal with this defeat? Did it drive you down a different path, towards different types of projects? Or did it just double your resolve, make you realize you just weren’t trying hard enough? Perhaps you reject this framing altogether, and want to take this opportunity to call out the Anarcho-Defeatists who stand as a barrier along the glorious path to radical change. You decide!