Creating Anarchy Is for the Greater Good

<table><tr><td>From <a href="http://www.spinner.com/2012/02/24/say-anything-max-bemis-anarchy/">Spinn...

<i><a href="http://spinner.com/tag/maxbemis">Max Bemis</a> is the lead singer of Los Angeles punk group <a href="http://spinner.com/tag/sayanything">Say Anything</a>. In anticipation of the band's upcoming album 'Anarchy My Dear,' the frontman penned an essay on his singular definition of anarchy exclusively for Spinner. Check out the full essay below.</i><br />
<br />
I am a fairly passive, overly analytical and neurotic Jewish guy with almost no set political beliefs or attachments and a seemingly tame lifestyle. I spend most of my time reading, playing music and hanging out with my wife. Gone are the days of wanton self-destruction and flagrant drug use. Thankfully, I've pulled myself out of a couple of pretty <a href="http://www.moviefone.com/movie/sid-and-nancy/4438/main" target="_blank">Sid and Nancy</a>-esque relationships and now rest comfortably in a loving, supportive one. I sit around and play with my dogs a lot and live in a very conservative, slow-paced town in Texas. So why is it that at this stage in my life, I identify so strongly with the idea of creating anarchy, enough so that I felt compelled to write an entire record centered around it?</td><td><img title="THIS is the thing about the 'nothing' at the center of the beautiful idea, it is greater than lazy towns, indulgent rock stars & their supportive wives." src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2012/chaosdude.jpg"></td></tr></...
<!--break-->
Perhaps it's because my definition of anarchy isn't what pops into most people's heads when they hear the word. The two most widely accepted definitions of the word are A) a state of chaos due to a lack of authority or directive pattern, and B) the absence of a government (see the root of the word, an-archy: No government). My interpretation is a bit more metaphysically and spiritually based but mixes the two.<br />
<br />
I believe that all of our collective existence, that of life itself, time and energy is essentially an all-encompassing, constantly evolving organism. Weird hippie crap, yes, but it's what I believe. You can call this being God if you want, but if you're not the religious type, feel free to just see it as evolutionary progress personified as some kind of willpower. I also believe that we are all on a quest towards enlightenment and the more we become enlightened, the more this collective force continues to evolve. To me, embracing the freedom to think what you want, being true to yourself and balancing a love for all things while honoring your individuality is the deepest struggle we all undertake in life, and what stimulates our collective the most. What one might define as chaos is really just each particle of this greater thing expressing itself and thereby powering a greater truer good.<br />

<br />
<center>
<div>
<center>
<strong>Watch 'Burn a Miracle'</strong></center>
<iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="357" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/7ZHXFA4mK64" width="476"></iframe></div>
</center>
<br />
The idea of a ruling class, or a defined system of beliefs or government that is imposed on everyone in the world, slows and negates this path to enlightenment because it stifles creative energy and freedom of thought. I really do believe in my heart that in an ideal world, there is culture but not the boundaries of governments and nations and the struggles for power and wealth they create. There is no war, especially over religion or oil or anything fleeting and superficial. I am smart enough to know we are countless years away from achieving this kind of a society. I am not smart enough to know how to create it, but I know in my heart that a balance of freedom, compassion for our fellow man and personal expression will create the kind of world that we all somehow deserve.<br />
<br />

The only way an ADD-infected, clumsy and right-brain centric dolt of a man such as myself can do his part in creating this reality is starting with the environment I create around myself. I love who I love and do what I do because I want to do so voluntarily, because I know it's the right thing, not because there is someone looking over my shoulder telling me who is deserving of it and who is not. I play music for a living, live where I live and dress how I dress because it works for ME, whether it happens to be socially acceptable, "cool" or not.<br />
<br />
In fact, taking it easy and the act of not destroying myself and being full of false anger or self-loathing is the most anarchistic thing I can do. I've found the lifestyle that works for me and I freaking love it to death no matter what, because I know it's true. I choose to question the idea that being a rebel means disregarding your health or happiness, and even though I question <em>that</em> line of questioning sometimes, I come to the answer that suits both myself and the greater good: Being how I am is OK for me and I don't give a crap who disagrees.<br />
<br />
Another defining tenet of my beliefs is that often false rebels start to try to subvert social expectations for the sake of doing so, because they are secretly looking for approval (see our flawed, sad modern "indie" culture). Though everyone is guilty of this sometimes, I always try my best to avoid this and to even fight against it, as it's just as powerful a force of mental manipulation as fascism. Do I see myself as "punk"? The real question is "Who cares?" If punk is a questioning spirit of dissent rising against hypocrisy and those who would exert power over the weak, then sure. If it's defined by how I dress and who I vote (or don't vote) for, then certainly I'm about as punk as my dad.<br />
<br />
So basically, I'm about to go eat a brown rice bowl and most likely watch a <a href="http://www.moviefone.com/search/Matthew%20Mcconaughey" target="_blank">Matthew McConaughey</a> romantic comedy with my wife and perhaps read my new Spider-Man comic later on. We will not be shooting up, organizing a protest of anything in particular or listening to <a href="http://www.spinner.com/tag/AntiFlag/">Anti-Flag</a> or even <a href="http://www.spinner.com/tag/Fugazi/">Fugazi</a>, because, frankly, I'm in no mood for it. However, I'd like to think this is my own brand of chaos, and I couldn't be more proud of it.<br />

Comments

Obvious troll is obvious.

is that the Chaos that supposedly can't be stopped?

Is there any other kind?

What do you mean "supposedly"?
It can't be stopped.

that guy? hahahayeah i could take take him blindfolded and with my hands tied behind my back

hot

But admit it, his charisma would have you backing down and embracing him instead.

luckily, i want be able to do this, hands tied and all

>__

seriously, the wax idols are soooo much dreamier.

Someone needs to mail this dude a giant rock.

*a giant cock

Definition of BANAL: lacking originality, freshness, or novelty: trite

Origin of BANAL: French, from Middle French, of compulsory feudal service, possessed in common, commonplace, from ban
First Known Use: 1825

b'anal: the act of being anal. Not anal retentive, but trying to embody in the most hyperbolic way, anal sex.

Whatever, haters gonna hate. I don't really care one way or the other about this guy. I'm fine with people finding anarchism on their own and having their own definitions of it. He seems to have the basic idea (no rich assholes, no borders no nations) down, so fuck it.

No, it has a defined history. Historically anarchists have been syndicalists and platformists. If you ain't down with those two, you are not an anarchist, but a crypto-fascist.

Not my cup of tea, but I'm all for pop songs urging youth to burn America.

yeah, that was almost exactly what I was thinking.

yes, the evil of banality.

Or the banality of evil?

FULL TRANSFORMATIONAL CRITICISM.

It's all about the class consciousness and material conditions, and unfortunately, political and economic discontent has at times been channeled into fascism through the influence of opportunists. Emphases on national identities in the modern context are a construct of global capitalist society, the perceived national interest in opposition to other countries; 'the ideas of the ruling class are the ruling ideas in every epoch.'

I've never read Arendt, my response was purely spontaneous, and in jest. Thanks for the link.

I think there is a real tendency for people to implement fascism after anarchist conditions exist, actually. due to the nature of power being completely un-institutionalized, it will be personalized, and a charasmatic leader could certainly sweep people into a powerful mass based on the exclusion on certain "others" that allows them to gain slightly more power, at first, and gradually more and more.
Kind of like the movie The Wave.
Even with that being a real possibility, I'm still an anarchist. LOL. Maybe I just like to gamble.

What exactly do you mean by anarchist conditions, economic turmoil propitious to social revolution? If so, we aren't in complete disagreement.

Historically, fascism has mostly been a product of capitalism in decline. Power wasn't necessarily de-institutionalized so much as it was momentarily unstable, and it was eventually consolidated under the state in collaboration with the bourgeoisie; supported by segments of the working class and petit-bourgeois that had been influenced to hold specific cultures culpable for said turmoil, or simply to maintain their class position within society. You probably know this. In the future, if any charismatic leaders espousing the ideology of fascism start to gain momentum in such a context, they must dealt with in such a manner that they no longer pose a threat.

Our social consciousness is largely influenced by our material existence, so I would presume that ideologies such as fascism would eventually wither away, or at least be diminished, after a couple of generations within communism. Die Welle was a great movie, I enjoyed it.

In the future, if any charismatic leaders espousing the ideology of fascism start to gain momentum in such a context, they must dealt with in such a manner that they no longer pose a threat.

this is exactly where i think it'll come from, as a matter of fact. because to defend ourselves from those who would be oppressors, we must "other" certain people/groups, even tiny minorities of nazis. we will eventually see them manifested everywhere, in a sort of paranoia brought on by the desire to maintain our freedom (sort of like how rich people see potential criminals everywhere, and so must live in gated neighborhoods and pay for police to attack the poor because we are all potential criminals to them...), and that desire will eventually morph from defending freedom to consolidating power (first genuinely, then later only ostensibly, to defend our freedom), until eventually what began as a defense becomes an attack on those who try to question the consolidation of power.

i think it might just be a cyclical type of characteristic of human social psychology....

i agree with you that if we can get through a few generations of freedom without that occurring (which, i must say, i think is highly unlikely), i'd agree that the urge to head in the direction of "othering" and power concentration will lessen and may even disappear.

i like your comments, they are great. and despite this, i am still an anarchist. despite what may happen *because* of freedom, that is no reason not to fight for it. (which is i think the position many reformers or pragmatists take in our society actually.)

* i meant their position is not NOT pursue total freedom due to what could happen once we get it, i.e.-the main point of my comments. they in essence come to defend the limited freedom they have by sacrificing the desire for more freedom, and even fighting against it for fear it may backfire once we get it.

Right, what you just described is basically the dreaded 'dictatorship of the proletariat,' the consolidation of authority within the working class. I'm an anarcho-communist who has been heavily influenced by Marx and Left-Marxists, so I'm partial to the notion that communism is only attainable through the autonomous struggle of the working class against the limitations of capitalism. I think that in the process of communization, we should strive to be remain as democratic as possible intra-class, while suppressing any undesirable elements that attempt to foment counter-revolution, including but not limited to: fascists, the remnants of the nation-state, and capitalists.

The measures which we take to suppress these counter-revolutionaries would be dictated by the circumstances, and while at times the exercise of authority can be tantamount to 'evil,' it's a necessary 'evil' nonetheless. I think that if it's at all feasible, it would be prudent to attempt to reason with them, as opposed to driving them underground by precluding them from class power, in which they would comprise a minority. Your contention may be valid in that we may become excessively preoccupied with defending the revolution, but as a dynamic process, I could only hope that communism would eventually unify all the dichotomies that have emerged since the inception of the division of labor, including patriarchy.

Maybe I'm somewhat utopian, but the true utopians are those who contend that humans can continue to exist within the social relations that constitute class society, or that we can just simply reform capitalism and the state to be more benevolent or accountable. If the history of bourgeois democracy demonstrates anything, it's that war is always its eventual recourse to recommence capital accumulation, and that it's always the working class who are sent to kill each other for it.

*i am still an anarchist. despite what may happen *because* of freedom, that is no reason not to fight for it*

I completely agree. Nothing is predetermined, the next social revolution could diverge into multiple scenarios, including abject failure or a repetition of Leninism; as you say, it's a gamble, but a departure from the status quo is imperative for the majority of humanity. I don't think communism would be completely free of social antagonisms, but that it would be a vast improvement over currently-existing society.

*i meant their position is not NOT pursue total freedom due to what could happen once we get it, i.e.-the main point of my comments. they in essence come to defend the limited freedom they have by sacrificing the desire for more freedom, and even fighting against it for fear it may backfire once we get it.*

They'll remain conservative until capitalism implodes as a consequence of its contradictions, or they'll do exactly as you stated, which would be unfortunate. By the way, I'm not assuming that you are unfamiliar with my perspective, but I feel that I just need to clarify my own for the sake of comradely discussion. Thanks for the kind words, likewise.

*i think it might just be a cyclical type of characteristic of human social psychology*

I've put some more thought into this, and you're absolutely right, I'm guilty of this at times myself. I suppose that this is an innate human flaw that will be a recurring issue probably for the entire span of our existence, regardless of the material context; although a horizontally-structured society that facilitates the ability of the minority to engage in debate with the majority may allow for this 'exclusion of others' to be addressed in a somewhat proper manner.

max, if you believe something, why apologize for it by calling it ‘weird hippie crap’? it doesn’t sound very ‘punk’ and doesn’t seem to fit with your statement; “Being how I am is OK for me and I don't give a crap who disagrees.” apart from that, your statement seems nevertheless to place you in that portion of the activist spectrum that has a big ‘A’ sitting over top of it. if the ‘burn america’ message were more serious than the sort of thing that a film director in a reclining chair might bellow through a bullhorn on a movie set, ... it would probably not go in the CD package in any case.

Max to 99 - "The ol' hipster in the establishment identity suit trick,,,"

Gunter

OMG this is boring, domesticity has become radical now,,,eww!

You really want to fuck up the system? Go to business school. That's what I'm going to do. Get a job in some big corporation and, like, fuck things up from the inside.

Going to business school is akin to joining the actor's guild. You want to start a corporation and fuck with corporate culture, do that. Otherwise you're just selling out, and you know that or else you wouldn't try to convince others to do so, because they'd already be doing that.

I think that the main point here is that that band is really terrible.

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
CAPTCHA
Human?
W
1
H
V
7
Y
U
Enter the code without spaces.
Subscribe to Comments for "Creating Anarchy Is for the Greater Good"
society