In this follow up to Below and Beyond Trump, we will briefly highlight recent expressions of the dominant trends that characterize the current social, political and economic landscape and outline a strategic orientation for building popular power and advancing social movements toward libertarian socialism. Our argument is simple, that we need to move from “protest” to building popular power.
Starting off, Tom argues that one of the successes of Bannon and Trump, is that they have locked many on the Left into a constant cycle of shock and awe, often that keeps us in a constant social media feed back loop, at times venturing out to march in circles or take photos of our witty sign, but never developing a strategy, and often burning out very quickly. We then spend some time talking about what it would mean to develop a non-activist approach to confronting the major tensions we find today, and building a material force.
From June 11
The June 11th International Day of Solidarity with Marius Mason and all long-term anarchist prisoners is quickly approaching.
This year in our call, we focused on questions of sustainability and burnout, asking how we can nurture relationships and projects that can nourish us as we fight for our comrades’ freedom. These are not easy questions and we think that developing any “one solution” is bound to lead to further burn out and disillusionment. We want more than anything for June 11th to be a counter-point to deleterious forms of activism that erode the joy of living and leave us exhausted and hopeless.
I rarely read fiction. I regret that truth and so every few months, when I get given a book of dystopian sci-fi or imaginative history, I stumble through it halfheartedly. I know that fiction has a lot to offer in terms of expanding our realm of possibility, of inspiring creation of new worlds. Someone near and dear to me once advocated for changing my reading habits by explaining that non-fiction changes what we know but fiction changes how we think. And yet, I find myself falling back into the practical guides for non-monogamy, the exposés of political corruption, the treatises on decolonial feminism. I'm driven by the internal desire to dismantle systems of dominance and hierarchy. If I can learn enough about them, maybe I'll be better equipped to aid in their destruction. Theory to practice to theory to practice.
Of course, I don't have to choose between fiction or non-fiction. I can let my tastes and desires ambulate between the two genres. Perhaps one day, when the problems of the world feel less urgent, I'll gravitate towards the creative potential of fiction. But for me, right now, things do feel immediate. And grave. And aggressive. I feel as though there are battles to be fought on all fronts and me and my comrades are standing back-to-back in a circle with swords drawn. To those who say this rhetoric is alarmist, I say you're not paying close enough attention. Or maybe living too much inside your bubble.
This analysis was developed by ongoing discussions among members of the Black Rose / Rosa Negra (BRRN) Anarchist Federation’s Analysis and Strategy Committee and sent as a discussion document to our August 2017 convention, where it generated deep discussion and further feedback. It is organized into four sections: an analysis of ruling class power, an analysis of social movements, a statement of basic organizing principles in light of the current moment, and some suggestions for the federation moving forward.
From Anarkismo by Wayne Price
Review of Jonathan M. Smucker, Hegemony How-To: A Roadmap for Radicals
How can we build an effective popular movement to change society? That is the subject of this book, which has been widely praised. In my opinion, it has important and profoundly true things to say, but is politically unbalanced and mistaken in certain ways.
As anarchists, we may often find ourselves in challenging situations. This TOTW takes a looks at the anarchist relationship with natural disasters (hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, etc) and other major adverse events like insurrection, war, riots, and general trouble.
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
We’d like to respond with our thoughts to a text Mise en Commun (Putting in Common) that has been circulated critiquing insurrectionary projects and perspectives in Montreal. We appreciate that the authors of Mise en Common want to elaborate similarities and clarify differences, and move past bad faith. We’re taking this as an occasion to respond and to clarify ideas that we’ve been reflecting on for a few years now. We’ll try to use points of difference with Mise en Commun as an opportunity to delve further into ideas and how they inform practices, rather than limiting the scope of our text to simply addressing the critiques. We recognize that the length of this text might not facilitate a simple back-and-forth with the original authors, but our goal is to contribute to a larger discussion about these questions. We hope others will feel compelled to participate in this process of clarifying ideas and directions.