TOTW: Chasing Politics

  • Posted on: 31 July 2017
  • By: thecollective

The ups and downs of mainstream politics are generally a clusterfuck to say the least.

How do we respond expediently when things are so unpredictable? What does the slippery nature of the public's relationship with and reaction to politics mean to us anarchists? Is there anything destabilizing about the constant political upheaval that you've found to be beneficial or detrimental to what you do as an anarchist? What causes a project that began as a response to a mainstream political moment to materialize into something that lasts beyond that fleeting moment in politics?

How do you keep the notion of anti-politics in mind when such big waves keep splashing through mainstream politics? When do these shifts in mainstream politics influence your everyday life (beyond the chatter), and when and why has it been important to either respond or re-position yourself as an anarchist?


There were some excellent debriefs after the G20 in Hamburg that touched on the old critiques of the 90s summit-hopping era and how it seemed to decline for awhile and then reemerged.

The gist being that summit protests are very costly to the radical movements that organize them and of course, having a widely publicized pitched battle with the riot pigs isn't for the faint of heart BUT

There's also a lot of potential for some very inspiring, transformative dynamics that comes out of them that wouldn't otherwise be possible without the aggressive creation of the "temporary autonomous zones", etc.

This theme applies to reactive, spectacular anarchist politics in general, IMHO. Big risk for potential gains that can break out of the radical echo chambers and rupture the social peace.

A smaller scale example would be the recent anti-gentrification attacks in Montreal. Polarizing, messy, impossible to ignore.

one of note destabilizing force of the constant political upheaval detrimental to anarchists seems to be that of third-party platforms and online! censorship. i know it's a bit taboo to mention IGD here, but here we go. for example, IGD just had their Patreon taken down via the alt-right, so IGD is now missing out on some serious monthly struggle loot. one reason the censor came was for site doxxing of alt-right. funny enough, IGD is also censored on Reddit (especially r/anarchism) by main Reddit mods, (like the people who run entire website). the alt-right have also in turn tried to or have doxxed anarchists as well. users were also censored there for posting, of all things, a CrimethInc. book. this is not even to mention, anarchists censoring other anarchists seems to have become the common nowadays.

back to struggle loot and large companies - it feels like anarchists should be taking these kind of things more into their own hands, as third-party programs, whatever they may be, can turn on you in a moments notice, plus it's just not apart of anarchist practice (politics!). online, but esp offline whatever that means or looks like.

the latest online purge (anarchist on anarchist), seems to have also come from online (surprise!) Reddit #squad r/anarchism - now anarcho-primitivists are being banned on the third party chat platform, Discord plus the subreddit (supposedly mods are a bunch of transhumanists). the chat is one of the largest "anarchist" online chats (900+ users) and requires an invite to access, via Reddit which they pop up occasionally, or if you know someone already in it. prepare to be banned if you label yourself as anarcho-primitivist, or if they just decide you are, although surprisingly anti-civ wasn't a bannable label.

coming around full circle, i think i remember seeing an @news tweet that said their twitter is banned from following the IGD twitter. lol, comrades plz!

i guess in the end, irl and afk, try to avoid friends with shitty politics.

How do we respond expediently when things are so unpredictable? How do you keep the notion of anti-politics in mind when such big waves keep splashing through mainstream politics?

Our task is terrible, total, universal, and merciless destruction.

... that we have long forgotten about; ... assumptions which are now unquestioned in our use of the word 'politics' and the common 'meaning' or sense of it that comes to our modern mind.

'Politics' is taken to be a system of "organizing" the participants in a collective that supposedly makes up a 'state' or 'city' seen as a 'system-in-itself' [a patch in a global patch-quilt composed of notionally "independent" patches... lol!]

of course, there is no such thing in physical reality. all 'patches' are not 'born equal in the eyes of God', although the colonizing 'mother-countries' [those with the dominating military power] would like to have the individual patches (colonized states) that they are "squeezing the life blood from" believe such bullshit. this bullshit of the state as an 'independent system-in-itself' is built into the concept of 'politics';

"Politics (from Greek: Politiká: Politika, definition "affairs of the cities") is the process of making decisions applying to all members of each group. More narrowly, it refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance — organized control over a human community, particularly a state." -- Wikipedia

What do 'politics', the decisions of the constituents of a state 'mean' [e.g. a colony-state] if their state is NOT an independent system in itself but is being bled dry by more powerful states that meanwhile promote the bullshit that "every state is fully and solely causally responsible for their own actions and accomplishments?"

As Adam Curtis shows in 'Hypernormalisation', 'Bitter Lake', 'The Trap', ...for example, ... since the advent of petrodollars controlled by financiers outside of state administrations, states and state politicians are no longer "playing with a full deck"; i.e. their group decisions or 'politics' are not 'determinant' [they never were 'determinant' and have become less so in the modern world.

Debates over the politics of the "political left" [i.e. where the needs of the collective must orchestrate the actions of the individual] and the "political right" [i.e. where the genetic agency of able individuals spout forth a fountainhead of goods and services that floods down on the collective, satisfying the needs of even the non-performant] are a SIDESHOW.

As a patch in the patch-quilt of nation-states is being bled dry by military power enabled Euro-American colonizing powers and international financiers operating beyond the traction of state administrations, the theoretical debate over 'politics' (whether they should be of 'the left' or 'the right' is looking more and more like the 'sideshow' that it is; i.e. the importance of how a people allocate their wealth declines when people experience a drying up of the supply of wealth.

Modern American populism, even if it is tinged with "politics of the right" is more interested in resuscitating the supply of wealth so that there will be something there for leftists and rightists to fight over how to divvy up.

Unfortunately, while populist opportunists like Donald Trump are there to capitalize on the rising tide of populism, the belief in the 'independence' of the 'American state' is part of the colonial brain-draw that has domesticated the state collective and put them in the palm of the hand of politicians who pretend that they and their followers are in control of their own future [forget about the other 6.5 billion wrestling around within the same interdependent global relational matrix].

This belief is supported by written history that portrays the state as an 'independent system-in-itself' that has been fully and solely responsible for its own development and accomplishments [whether or not it was fuelled by a global brain-drain, military force backed pipelines tapping into middle east oil, and an international matrix of octopus like suction cups marked at their 'take-point' by factories such as the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, garment industry sweatshops in Bangladesh, ... swollen veins feeding and growing the muscle of the so-called "independent state" that claims to be 'fully and solely responsible for its own growth and accomplishments'; i.e. fully responsible for its own 'greatness'.

This is all good material for a stand-up comic like Trevor Noah [Scared of the Dark] but the sad reality is that many colonized peoples have bought into 'belief' in the 'independent things-in-themselves' bullshit, even as it applies to themselves., and it is this belief that is the 'hidden assumption' that gives (pseudo-) meaning to "politics".

Wherever the flow of wealth 'dries up', theory-oriented, politically-minded people come to the realization that they are the puppets in a puppet side-show that they were talked into believing was 'real' so that others could get on with their rape and pillage that is beyond the traction of 'politics'.

"Politics" is the mode of management of a 'system-in-itself', the problem being that there is no such entity as a 'system-in-itself' [it is a convenient 'reasoning device', a 'hidden assumption'; ... an "idealized self-actualizing entity", ... "a spook", an "error of grammar"].

The only interaction I have with mainstream politics is voting and watching it on the TV. So it isn't a big part of my life. There are a bunch of Trump supporters living around me, patriarchal types that I am in conflict with because I'm a horizontal guy and I resist hierarchy. Sometimes I interact with the left, online at marches and protests. For instance I was at the Women's March for Social Justice in my town not in DC. I support anything that relieves the pain of suffering people so for instance if Bernie Sanders was elected he might summon the political will to get us a National Healthcare System or some other useful reforms but I don't have much faith in electoral politics.
A situation like Venezuela is baffling to me. When oil prices were high and money was long it seemed like a good place to be. I can't believe there's no good faith on the part of the socialist government. But I don't know anything about Venezuelan politics so I trust the anarchist critique. Anarchists must say what only anarchists can say.

anarchists don't vote …

What difference does it make whether I mark an absentee ballot, stick a stamp on it and mail it in? Of course I was flabbergasted when the results started coming in and Trump took the lead because I knew the local partisans would claim victory. But guess what? Trump is no victory for the Republican party, he's a disgrace to the human race. Like it or not the Democrats are the only viable party who could administer socialism in this country and they can't even hold on to the reigns of power which is a sad commentary on the state of US politics. If there is an impeachment or a resignation I can plant the red flag in the yard and do a little victory dance. But yes I know voting is a contentious issue in anarchist discourse.

"Contentious"? Not at all. There's people that fully understand a rejection of state institutions and people that don't. These are hostile, alien forces to us and we to them.

Anarchism is already a very broad set of tendencies and I rarely play the role of gatekeeper but participating in the total bankruptcy of the neoliberal electoral process?!

Anyway, do whatever you like but I don't see how a self-identified anarchist could possibly rationalize it.

if you believe that 'belief in the sovereign state and its institutions' is delusional, then there is no need to make moral judgements about its institutions and refuse to touch them with a ten-foot pole.

an indigenous aboriginal (e.g. an Iroquois from Akwesasne) may opt for avoiding some conflict by acquiring an American and/or Canadian passport though he doesn't believe in the existence of 'independent sovereign states' period. It's not like he is 'acknowledging' the truth about their existence by acquiring a US or Canadian passport, it's more like bumping into a guy on the street who is waving a machete and claiming he is Che Guevara. Greeting him as "Che" (or "Che, old buddy"), means nothing more than acting so as to avoid conflict.

If you are a Mexican anarchist with naturalized US citizenship who has brought his extended family into the US illegally, why would you not vote for the candidate who has pledged to pardon illegal entrants?

Bad analogy: voting almost never has immediate consequences on the personal level that can be directly attributed to that one person's vote.

Use of a passport (or lack thereof) on the other hand ...

you are now saying that 'one man's vote doesn't matter'. so if one man's vote doesn't matter, why should an anarchist not vote?

you can't have it both ways at the same time; i.e. the argument was that the act of a single person voting does matter [i.e. it supports the continuance of the state and its institutions and thus contributes to a negative outcome for the well-being of the anarchist] and thus an anarchist should not vote.

but you are saying that a single vote cannot be correlated with any particular consequences of positive or negative impact on the well-being of the single vote-caster. if there are no consequences that can be correlated with a single anarchist voter, as you allege, there can be no problem in an anarchist voting.

are you saying that anarchists should not vote even though it is impossible to correlate their single vote with any impact on their well-being? if so, on what grounds should an anarchist not vote, according to your reckoning? would "not voting" be, just, ... 'on moral principle'?

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