TOTW: Waking the Dead

  • Posted on: 5 March 2018
  • By: thecollective

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?

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Comments

My friend just got their essay on mourning published by tower imprints. Hellworld by Harper Ferry.
http://www.ultra-com.org/project/hellworld/

I used to be part of the Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Committee in Boston. It was really based on saint making. Like the stated goal was to raise funds and secure a site for a memorial to the two in the city’s Italian neighborhood. It was weird and not surprising that most of the people who showed up were in their 70s or diehard ancoms.

We used to have a rally in the Common and connected their death to current struggles. I’m sure there are videos on YouTube if you search for Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration. Then we’d have a march, one year we had a Salvadoran marching band. But the last few years so few have been interested, myself included, that it’s just reverted to an indoor event.

Mourning an anarchist you don’t know will always take on the stink of religion and martyrdom imo. But mourning a friend is totally different. I’m curious as to what actual friends of the anarchists who died in Syria or Heather Heyer think about the martyrdom of their friends.

I had a very close (not anarchist) friend die several years ago. I’m still not sure if I’ve properly mourned him or his brother, also close, who died less than a year later.

I don’t really care about the concept of ritual being a “spook.” I actually think the higher mammals, apes, elephants, dolphins, may actually benefit from rituals. There’s something therapeutic about it.

We live incredibly atomized lives so I think mourning for all has become so individualistic and therefor difficult. Healthy mourning only seems possible in a community. I only ever feel some sorta relief when I am with other friends of my dead friend and his brother. We joke about memories with him. In those cases it’s like he still lives with us. We are carrying his memory with us and still his “spirit” is a part of our group. Kinda reminds me of how a dead family member is given space and care in a family’s shrine in many East Asian cultures. I’ve got a small shrine with various objects (ocean water and sand from my hometown for example) and on it are images of my friend and my dead grandfather who was closer to me than my father. It helps me to mourn in that I have some area in my physical life to reserve for them and remember them.

One finally thought. Ive been a pagan longer than a conscious anarchist. For me I feel as if my friend and grandfather are tied to the land. I don’t feel their “presence” unless I am in a spot where I was once with them. There is one part of the woods in my hometown I can go to when I want to remember my friend. And several other naturalistic spots, spent a lot of time talking on hills overlooking the city or strolling the beach together at night.

I don’t think I can properly mourn him so far from where we both lived together.

Monuments and museums, and the petrified institutions which spawn them, should go the way of the worm and dust, there is only room for spontaneity in the Now. Humanity has forgotten that it is biodegradable, and it's legacy should be to leave no footprint and to abandon its futile pursuit of progress within the eternal wilderness.,.

I had a friend who was actively a part of the anarchist scene in a few different cities across the country. He was a shy, quiet person, but also gentle and caring. He eventually disappeared and few years later after some investigation I discovered that he had committed suicide. If I had not taken that upon myself to find out what had happened to him, nobody would've known what happened. The takeaway message that I got from this experience is that the only people who are really mourned for in the anarchist scene after they pass away are the popular people.

Is that how it works? People who are shy and introverted make and have fewer relationships, this is at least partially a choice that they make.

Typical Muhrican morale of casting responsibiity back on the individual oppressed, or at least discarded persons; avoiding any analysis of what, collectively, creates such a precedent, beyond a person's attitude in a situation.

Say... I'm also a soft-talking dude who usually doesn't get to dominate others with loud or sooth talk, so that's my fault if others are only listening to the big talker and following the to their place? Not quite.

Part of the foolishness of (anarcho?) Leftists lies in their inabiity to see privilege as not only rooted in economy... that it is also predominantly relational. Exclusion and inequality is all over my daily relations with others, and I can see how/why many people get fed up of being "nice" to others, or else if they are just too good persons for it, they might, indeed commit suicide, or at best travel to some other place. You eventually gotta realize that you can only just help yourself, or not. For the wily, foul-mouthed bastards this means abusing others, yes.

The master-slave, or priest-disciple, or husband-wife patterns are subconsicously imprinted in those social relations where you got a few winners ,who'll be mourned for sure, and many losers, who often get lost in the collective memory hole and its attention deficit disorder.

Like that good dude who offed himself. But it's awesome that, at least, this commenter above did his-her research to know what happened to this poor dude.... This story has left me shocked.

I don’t know why you should be shocked. Since at least the 1990s the American anarchist scene has been a cesspool of fake enlightenment. Moral policing, a refusal to acknowledge informal patterns of domination, deference to Big Men, shallow ideas of friendship and affinity, self-centered blustering, and ignoring people who don’t make noise... in other words, in relationships American anarchists are American first and anarchists almost as an afterthought. Combine that with a pathetic acquiescence to Maoist identity politics and you have a recipe for exactly the kind of hypocrisy and callous indifference that contributes to atomization and suicide. And Bakunin help you if you make a mistake in the meantime, and actually manifest publicly what all these unforgiving true believers do in private. The anarchist moral police will turn you into a non-person.

What a bunch of trolling noise! Hahaha as if you can extrapolate all this shit from such a simple statement. A way more interesting topic would be, who hangs out here all the time, trying to convince casual readers to "avoid the scene" because "the left"? Why does this person expend so much energy attacking strawman effigies and almost using dog whistles like SJW?

I meant "shocked" as in "depressed" or "disappointed", not much as in "surprised".

From my own experiences the folk with the most empathy actually have the loudest voice and act on it. Often narcissistic self-absorption is mistaken for deep compassion. One has to walk away from those wallowing in their own self-pity!,.,

You gotta grow up to the fact that etymologically and historically, religion isn't merely tied to belief in afterlife, or deities, or whatever. It's just a community defined by shared, common beliefs, practices and rituals. To this regard, I've seen plenty of religious fanatics who are very much against the Big Three religions... So when being opposed to "religion", be careful as it may also be closer to home than you think.

I don't deny that there is such a thing as the invisible world, but as long as I don't see tacit inflluences on our ream, why is it to me just another kind of social schizo-paranoia?

i found this assertion very weird. protestant christianity has left its imprint on the western world in the idea that religion is basically a collection of beliefs. it's something about community and ritual and the very basic things that fuse our material and more-than-material experiences as individuals into communal structures that transcend time and evolve as traditions. say what you will about religion as social structure - and there have been MANY radical/anti-authoritarian movements infused with religious/spiritual perspective over time, or vice versa you might say - there is also something real in human experience that it adheres to, or else no one would ever believe in or follow any of it in the first place...i mean right?

some argue that human beings are essentially 'the worshiping animal', that whatever you value most - whether it's money, or heroin, or an idea called 'god', or an ideology called 'anarchism' or even 'nihilism' or 'nothing' - IS your god, is by definition, what you hold sacred. what you choose to put in that place is up to you. i'm not a big kant fan but i think he was on to something when he said there are big questions when they don't have a logical answer, you have to pick whichever one works best for your life.

Western culture is the grandest spook of them all.,.

any alienating THOUGHT is a spook...as society has become more rationalistic since stirner started using the words "spook" and "spirit" a different way, the concept he was talking about has become a little more alien. Now adays it's not "spooks" per say that dominate people's heads, but THINGS. The further development of global capitalism has created so many THINGS, and they are way more meaningless in the sacred authoritarian sense than the "God" of our ancestors. I find it to be no exaggeration to say we live in the age of nihilism or the age of confusion.

Comment on TOTW: It is a truism to say that the dead speak louder than the living, because in the culture we live in the dead take on the qualities of much stronger less malleable substances, like tombstones, robots, buildings, packaging materials ect. Monsier Dupont.makes an excellent definition at the end of his book "species being and other stories" of "true class hatred" being more or less what I described. So...praise be to death!

Just to be excessively pedantic, Monsieur Dupont is two people, and Species Being was by one half, who goes by Frere Dupont.

Back to my cave.

I'm not that big of a fan of reading and my memory is far below computational quality.

Mourning is a pretext, a convenient way of ejaculating nothingness in small drops. The tears, the cries and howls of childhood remain imprisoned in the hearts of human beings. Forever? In you too the emptiness continues to grow. —Raoul Vaneigem

clearly the anarchist ritual of mourning is one of ejaculating nothingness, in small drops, while crying. for The Cause!

Vaneigem isn't an anarchist, he's a sentimental neo-Marxist. I would never cry for a political Cause, I am above such petty roles.,.

"I am above such petty roles.,."

But are you above constantly posting petty, self absorbed, uninteresting posts?

don't you mean a hyper-intellectualized situationist man's Novatore?

I'm really not all that big in him given the bits and pieces that I have read. There are those who I respect who are directly influenced by the man(Black, McQuinn for instance) but for me he isn't exactly fine wine. His idea of nihilism does not really work for me. What he really wants is a neo-classical cynicism as cynicism is already what active nihilism wants to be. He's too much of a politico quite frankly, him and the other southern half of the sits.

you fool! nowhere does what i wrote imply that Vaneigem was an anarchist. your reading comprehension is as empty as your ejaculation!

love,

rfa

I'm working on it, Raoul is cool though ;).,.

so we can decide who the true anarchists are?

"To philosophize is to learn how to die" Heidegger
And he carried on the investigation into psycho-politics which sorely needs to be revisited in the 21st Century.,.

what essays or works are you referencing with psycho politics? there's some philosophy that gives me a headache and some that doesn't

*alley* -- unless you're going for some kind of insertion friendship

Listen petty spelling typos don't need some obsessive correctivism lurking in the background mmk?.,.

the difference between ally and alley is hardly petty. look it up.

That may be true however I don't visualize how a word is spelt when I vocalize it, and the context of the other words used in conjunction produce the meaning. Unless it was a coarse reference to sexual intercourse between two " allies ", which in the context of the thread is not possible, therefore you are out of order bowls, and maybe ineebrehated,.,

they are not homophones; as usual, your so-called argument is nothing but ignorant bluster

i'm pretty sure that's montaigne, you blow-hard.

Totally is haha.

Maybe Heidegger reiterated it at some point, since most European philosophy since Nietzsche is basically a flowery reiteration of something someone else said in simpler words, but yeah. Totally Montaigne.

Heidegger is actually especially guilty of the sin of repeating old ideas using murky language. Most of what he said is a regurgitation of Descartes, Kant, or Hegel, using language he largely made up, so as to sound new and smart and interesting.

There's a reason the Nazis loved Heidegger, and it has a lot to do with his inability to come up with new ideas, but to instead regurgitate old ideas in "new", obtuse ways. In that way, he was their perfect German philosopher. Spent thousands of words, making up many of them on the spot, to say nothing interesting or new.

No no nine, Casein was an original interpretation of beingness, mortality, existence outside of subject/object Cartesian version. What seems like flowery language to a philistine is actually the only way to express the nuanced sense of letting go of externalities and living in the Now, which at the time was the closest anyone had come to describing the Zen consciousness in the West, though Nietzsche and even ancient Greek thinkers had explained similar states of awareness and non-attachment to objects and to oneself's own identity.,.

Dasein , auto correct

Whoa whoa whoa, Le Way. Casein is a family of related phosphoproteins. These proteins are commonly found in mammalian milk, comprising c. 80% of the proteins in cow's milk and between 20% and 45% of the proteins in human milk. Because of the allergic properties of casein, there has even been an increased trend in implementing a GFCF diet (Gluten-free, Casein-free), especially for those suffering from Autism.

Regarding Heidegger and Dasein, Le Way… have you actually ever formally studied Heidegger or made your way through Sein und Zeit? I am highly suspicious… Read the Being book, son!

Regarding Heidegger and mourning…

The 'deceased' [Der "Verstorbene"] as distinct from the dead person [dem Gestorbenen], has been torn away from those who have 'remained behind' [den "Hinterbliebenen"], and is an object of 'concern' in the ways of funeral rites, interment, and the cult of graves. And that is so because the deceased, in his kind of Being, is 'still more' than just an item of equipment, environmentally ready-to-hand, about which one can be concerned. In tarrying alongside him in their mourning and commemora­tion, those who have remained behind are with, him, in a mode of respectful solicitude. Thus the relationship-of-Being which one has towards the dead is not to be taken as a concernful Being-alongside something ready-to-hand.

Which is all just another fancy, German way of saying: "ejaculating nothingness, in small drops, while crying."

Well I'm very well acquainted with der Hinterbliebenen, I know quite a few of them, and I think they are all very stupid folk for having respectful solicitude at funerals. Shit happens and time to get on with life, not mourn the past, mmk?,.,

There have been a plethora of ontological existentialist essays from philofs as varied as boring Kierkegaard, Montaigne, Nietzsche, Stirner, Camus, Sartre, Epicurus, the smug Confucius, who all wrote about "beingness" and mortality. Its just that Heidegger went for the jugular in his style and delivery, no mincing words with that dood,.,

You mince punctuation,,,,,

the way that Le Way has used dood, especially in reference to green nihilism a while back, has been a wonderful source of laughter inspiration for me.

The syndicalists are some of the most religious people I know of, what with their ritualistic workers assemblies and the faith they place in the industrial labour system.

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