I had a good discussion with friends in Montreal this past weekend about the growth in people approaching anarchy through the lens of spirituality, and vice versa. From the burgeoning movement of Christian mystics and radicals through things like the Friendly Fire Collective (which often looks like the religion of struggle) to people engaging with gods and spirits older and younger, the rise in spiritual modes of anarchy is refreshing to me as a phenomenon which offers a challenge to those who “love to indulge in the spurious disagreeable and pointless exercise of ex-communicating the differently-faithed amongst their comrades”.
topic of the week
Watching the ongoing destruction of la ZAD in France, I’ve been thinking about how anarchists take up physical space. Examples include protest occupations such as la ZAD and Olympia Stand, insurrectionary infrastructure projects such as the Breakaway Social Center in Chicago, as well as longer-term land projects.
What kind of exchange do you anticipate working in an anarchist situation? Is barter or trade the only option consistent with your principles? Or do you see a committee-run economy with currency much as we have it now?
Do any anews readers believe in the power of crypto-currency to bring about a better situation, on the way to anarchy? Do local currencies have a place in your dreams? Do you have any experience with using one?
If you could make a change to how people exchange things here and now, what would that change be?
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.
One of the major problems that anarchists wrestle with is what James C. Scott terms “legibility” - that is, “the state's attempt..to arrange the population in ways that simplif[y] the classic state functions of taxation, conscription, and prevention of rebellion”. For Scott, this attempt at simplification includes large-scale centrally planned projects like relocating peasants and developing the streets of Paris to prevent rioting as well as standardized measurements and the encouragement of crop systems that lend themselves more easily to being taxed.
There is a tension between people who don't/would never call themselves anarchist but agree with (some) anarchist principles, and people who own the label. Projects like Crimethinc have perfected (?) the naming of things as anarchist, when some would call those things simple human behavior (like, making and eating meals with friends, etc). Obviously the main point of this sort of practice is to de-mystify anarchy and anarchists, to put the bomb-throwing in a larger, less scary context, or to negate the scary bits altogether.
Everybody's doing it, so let's do it too: let's talk about Donald Trump. As anarchists, what are we to make of this guy?
Is this guy the new Hitler of the 21st Century? Or is he just a total idiot and ultimately inconsequential? Or is Trump himself a non-issue, but the pandora's box that he opened of blatant racism, xenophobia and the "Alt Right" the real threat that we need to take seriously?
The closing of one year and the opening of another provides an opportunity to reflect on the year past and the year ahead. This TOTW is a space for those reflections, both personal and general.
- What did you do this year that you’re proud of? What did you start, what did you finish? What are you looking forward to doing in the new year?
- What were some of your favorite comments on @news? What we some of your favorite stories? Did you have a favorite topic of the week?
Some of us don't do Christmas. Some of us have rejected holidays as obligatory time with Loved Ones(tm), etc, and just hide in our homes avoiding commercials and sappy music (or only listen to detourned sappy music, which can be awesome). Some of us just bare knuckle it every year, avoiding calls from our families as the year draws to a close, while others have clearly and decisively said “NO” and don't get harassed any more.
What is your most creative way to deal with this (and other) seasons of obligatory merrymaking and family time and saccharine eggnog, etc?