TOTW: Waking the Dead
How do we mourn?
Many anarchists reject the conventions of faith-based rituals. No gods, no masters, no religion… seems to be the line most anarchists draw. We talk a good line of not falling in to religion, but like so many other spooks, the stink of religion lingers when we look at how we treat the dead.
Theoretically, anarchist rituals of grief, mourning, and memorializing would be radically different than those of the world we seek to destroy, but when we look at how anarchists remember our fallen, and the hagiography that is often connected with it, how different are we? Whether the Haymarket Martyrs (martyrs!), Vanzetti and Sacco, Carlo Giuliani, Bill Rodgers, Brad Will, or comrades killed in the Kurdish regions of Syria, it becomes pretty clear that, at least for some of us, we haven’t quite shaken that spook yet. If we do reject the sanctification of our fallen (admittedly, this is a questionable if), how do we remember and grieve for the people we love and have lost? Are there grief processes entirely antithetical to anarchist praxis? How and who determines these lines in the sand? How does your process look different when it is someone you know personally, as opposed to a person who is already nothing more than an abstraction in your actual life?
If (again, an if that is up for discussion) we choose to embrace ritual as part of our mourning process, what does that look like, and where are the lines between honoring a comrade and beatifying a new anarcho-saint?