Like so many anarchists, perhaps your brain has begun to hurt and your to stomach churn when you hear yet another conversation about the USA presidential election, or talk of any election or democracy for that matter. With the election a little more than two weeks away perhaps now is a good time to pause and reflect on our anarchist analysis of democracy, electoral politics, and our actions leading up to and beyond this election cycle.
Automation is an old topic, but according to some recent estimates, automation is expected to replace nearly half of the US-workforce over the next couple of decades. While some people look forward to this future of less work, it isn't just neo-Luddites frowning about these developments. As anarchists, working less (or not at all) is a familiar goal; however, less work doesn't necessarily mean more freedom. It isn't difficult to imagine a future that is both without work and without liberty. It's especially easy to imagine such a future when the latest popular technologies are surveyed: smart phones, GPS-tracking, high-speed (and highly centralized) interconnected networks, the Internet of Things. Compelling the population to work with the threat of poverty is only one form of compelling populations. There are countless others.
Drawing from last week's TOTW and the politics of everyday life. How does anarchism influence our actions, activities, jobs, hobbies, or other interests beyond the scope of anarchism? Where does this cross-pollination between anarchism and the rest of your life feel more substantial? What are some examples of anarchism informing or influencing your actions, interactions, or opinions in ways that have been positive? When have you tried to apply anarchist ethics, ideas, framework, etc. to something that didn't work out, either at all or how you hoped?
This week could be a good time to revisit the conversation about politics. Are anarchists (or anarchism) political? (definition: The art or science of government or governing, especially the governing of a political entity, such as a nation, and the administration and control of its internal and external affairs.) If we aren't then what are we? Is there another term that concerns itself with the politics of daily life and not with governing?
What is the purpose of enemies? What is the difference between enemies, rivals, and opponents (etc)? What is useful about them? How have they inspired you to be more who you want to be? How have they constrained your imagination?
How have you interacted with people who you disagree with, but are still in relationship with? What is the difference between disagreement and hate?
Anarchists have long rejected the notion that democratic, political representation is a goal worth fighting for. Sometimes this is argued against because of the subordination of the individual to the mass of voters, as expressed by Emma Goldman in Minorities Versus Majorities, for instance. Or to be found in the same essay, the necessary appeal to masses that is required for the success of political parties (and other representative entities).
Let's talk about the ways we engage in conflict with other anarchists on this site and elsewhere. What's the difference between conflict and horizontal hostility? How do we interact with other anarchists we may disagree with on certain fronts, and is there any value--personal or otherwise--in being openly hostile towards them? How has infighting with other anarchist groups or individuals affected you? What's stopping you from resolving current or recent instances of horizontal hostility in your life (e.g. by coming to a mutual understanding)?
Over the years this site has garnered a lot of criticism around the bad opinions of its users. As a platform for anarchist discussion this comes as no surprise. Of course it is disconcerting that some users confuse the opinions of anons with the opinions of the site but that is part of the price of hosting those opinions. During different moments, and with varying consistency, we have attempted to address this conundrum. On the one side the anon is the creator of almost all of the interesting content that has ever run through the comment section.
Of all the human experiences, play has one of the greatest potentials to tell us about ourselves. To some, play represents an essence that seems to evoke the child or the animal in a person and it has been argued that humans distinguish themselves precisely by the manner and frequency by which they play. In this topic of the week, we’re looking at the anarchist idea of play.