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Commentary :: DNC
Revolution or Alienation?
28 Jul 2004
Modified: 04:39:09 AM
I was at the bazaar today and I've been involved in anarchist organizing for a while. At some point today I started thinking about how the people who weren't involved in the "scene" perceived us. Maybe I shouldn't have; maybe I should have been like: "fuck that, why should I give a fuck about what other people think?" But the truth of the matter is that I do. Vangaurdism is for authoritarians; not anarchists. But I think that we're perceived as vangaurdist sometimes. I feel that we've built some strains of a very interesting subculture and movement that is fun to be a part of and that is doing a lot of good work. But I feel like we need to step back a second and think about how our rhetoric, ascetic and project focus/ implementation relates to what we claim to want.

For example, does "smash the state" or "up the punx" or half the rhetoric that we use mean anything to anyone outside our own egos? Does our rhetoric actually communicate what we're all about and what we want or does it contribute to misunderstanding of what we are and what we're all about. Are we communicating with people or at people? Does our rhetoric alienate potential allies from us because they see what we're doing as a sub-cultural thing that doesn't relate to them? Are we caught up in old-left revolutionary or hippie or punk rock rhetoric or some other subcultural talk when we communicate with others not like us? If our rhetoric is about expression of ideas and not about conformity, then what are we expressing and how do we think expressing is going to connect us with our communities, our regions and our world? Are we being dismissed because we are so self-absorbed and focused on our own subcultural styles of communication that we can't understand how others communicate?

And this kind of bridges over to our ascetic. There's something to be said for the effect that dressing in anti-conformist ways have in combating a larger mindless control system. Situationism and the original punk rock seemed to be a lot about that. But what was originally anti-conformist, has that just turned into another form of sub-cultural conformity? An anti-conformity conformity? Does it have any effect anymore? Could the effect instead now just be a further separation from potential allies because other folks dismiss us as a subculture and don't feel like they connect to our ascetic expression? How does this contribute to lack of real diversity among anarchists? Are our political beliefs just another fashion? What kind of "insider"/ "outider" dynamics are we creating by our ascetic? Are there more effective ways of communicating what we're trying to communicate through our ascetic, if we're actually consciously communicating anything at all?

And lastly, what about our project focus/ implementation. How integrated are we really into our communities? Are we integrated enough to build projects that make a real step towards social revolution? Do we have alternative projects and counter-institutions that could replace the system we have now? Are we actually building towards them? Are we doing it in ways that are effective and inclusive? Are we ready to make real long term commitments to these projects or are our projects just another way to fit into the scene? Do we give a fuck enough to engage in the kind of projects and do the kind of work that doesn't have glamour or excitement; but in the long term actually make a difference? Are we also just caught up in a world of instant gratification without the determination to build towards a world ready for revolutionary change? Are we ready to engage and connect with the world at a deeper, more serious level than just another sub-cultural scene? How are we really stepping things up? And what ways can we?

I don't mean to be negative. There are a lot of really positive steps that we're making. But I think that we also have a long way to go. And I feel like progress is going to be made if we start thinking about our actions and our commitment levels for the long-run. I feel like we need to be thinking about our rhetoric, ascetic and project focus/ implementation on a much deeper and serious level than I can do in this short commentary. And I think that these are among many other things we're going to need to do to move beyond a subculture and become and inclusive and effective movement towards social revolution.

This work is in the public domain


Re: Revolution or Alienation?
28 Jul 2004
I have to say that while some of the comments to this post are less than stellar, the actual post has a point. No matter how much we hate to admit it there are anarchist who are anarchist for subculture sake. They would rather spend a protest screaming and fighting with the 5 Nazis who happened to show up then reaching out the those who are interested in what we have to say. They would rather get drunk and go to a show then spend the time and effort learning the nuances of their arguments. No matter how much we try the whole world will never wear all black, nor quit their jobs to become a revolutionary. Not, of course, unless we are able to provide an alternative to the paycheck that feeds their family and pays their rent. Our communities must be self sustaining. People will not break from the status quo without a solid alternative.

The question we have to ask is are we doing everything we can to create that alternative. If you are that is great, keep it up convert your friends, you are the strength in our movement. But if you idea of contributing to the cause is wearing all black covering your face and showing up to protests to break shit, you need to grow up. This isnt a movement of teenage boys and it is a movement of ideas and organizing. The people who I am speaking of have a chance to advance the movement. They are exposed to our ideas, the implementation is just not there yet. Let me make it clear that I am not saying that property destruction is not a valid and necessary action, I am just saying it should not be the only action.

We are at a point where our numbers should be growing. People are disillusioned with the government and are looking for an alternative. If we can not provide it someone else will. This is a big summer for us, we have the potential to reach out to more people, diverse people. If we are not able to achieve that goal then our movement is in trouble.

New York will teach us a lot, we will learn what we are made of while we stand united staring into the eyes of the enemy. But we should also take that time to look around evaluate were we are and what we need to do. Stand up, Rise up, but please realize that the revolution will only occur once we have the foundation for the alternative.