Much ado was made, a decade or so ago, about a book that criticized “the milieu” as being a place where a “civil war” was going on, with no useful outcome possible. It proposed abandoning the milieu, and returning to friendship itself as the place to do political work. Clearly this is a framing exercise since most people we know do the bulk of their “political work” in exactly the same social circles they inhabited before and after the so-called milieu became indicted for their lack of success.
Anarchist Traveling vs. Tourism
How do we distinguish between traveling and tourism as anarchists? What is important about traveling to anarchists and how does experiencing different places affect our views of the world around us? How can we prevent ourselves from fetishizing these experiences, as seems to be the case in tourism? Is it possible to reflect on or discuss our experiences without projecting our own biases on places that are alien to our own? Have experiences witnessing or engaging in struggle while traveling changed your viewpoint?
Identity has become a code word for most anarchists. For those who reject it, it connotes people who embrace their victimization. For those who embrace it (or who at least don't reject it), it means the ways that groups of people are linked in how they suffer in this world (and implies solutions to that suffering, as well). The criticisms of identity, like those of the term "p.c.", have also been jumped on by right-wing folks, looking to negate the idea that there is more structural unfairness aimed at some than at others...
This is similar to a past topic of the week but I'd like to emphasize the question a bit differently. What do we do next? It appears that for some anarchists the most exciting work being done now is in the antifa or international solidarity fronts. Do you agree?
Is there work a little closer to home that you advocate for or should our practice look a little more like improving our daily lives? Our question this week isn't "What is to be done?" but what do we do next?
From The Brilliant
In this episode of the Brilliant, we begin by discussing briefly what made us first call ourselves anarchists: Aragorn! talks about being realistic by demanding the impossible while Bellamy almost mistakes the episode for a therapy session. We then spend a good bit of time on the Paris attacks, an effort which mutates into a discussion about how we frame analyses of distant events. Finally, we use a thoughtful and lengthy critical e-mail from a listener as a point from which to wander through the subjects of revolution, “changing the world”, pessimism versus passivity, and the meaning of joy.
Some people, such as Earnest Becker, have argued that the denial of death is fundamental to civilization. Part of this argument includes an analysis of heroism as a method through which individuals transcend their mortality by becoming a part of something eternal. Martyrdom, sacrifice, and risking one's mortality for an eternal cause has been a familiar trope in anarchist past. But, what do anarchists think of this heroism now? Is there anything greater than the individual that is worthy of self-sacrifice? Is there a good anarchist death?
In a Topic of the Week past, emphasis was placed on anarchist life after 30 and how it is experienced individually, at the early stages of family life, amongst other anarchists (the “Scene”), and in its consequences on anarchist-specific capacity. This week, we'd like to move in the opposite direction with the question of age and discuss the life of younger individuals...
How do we enter or engage in actions, projects, or practices that require coordination between other people? How do you make the distinction between interacting cooperatively or collaboratively? Do you situate yourself within a role by volunteering for a collectively determined or constructed position, or by accepting a delegated role at the request of another or the group—both cooperative efforts? Have you felt stronger lines of cooperation that teetered into the realm of collaboration?
Once in a while, an event or personality becomes controversial and anarchists everywhere don their lawyer hats to get in on the action. On this site we get to witness a sample of the things anarchists have to say. It may seem like we can intuitively sort out the mess of argumentation styles, provocations, and jokes; but, the accuracy of such intuitions is less than satisfying upon inspection. Is this anarchist sincere? Is that anarchist making an attempt at humor? And is the joke good enough to transcend the realm of meanness?