Solidarity and Autonomy: Or why you should get out of the streets!
<table><tr><td>Let me be clear: I am an anarchist.
I am also deeply committed to multiracial organizing, solidarity, and taking leadership from survivors of oppression.
Like many others, I was dismayed and outraged at the oppressive and disrespectful way a sizeable group of people stayed in the streets after SEVERAL undocumented immigrants and allies requested, then demanded, that we prioritize the safety of people at risk of deportation and STAY ON THE SIDEWALKS.
There is a troubling discourse about "autonomy" which has been circulating around anarchist as well as Occupy circles. How many times have activists, largely white men, acted on their ego while putting other people at risk in the name of "autonomy"?</td><td><img title="I don't believe that this is not just a subtle troll" src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2012/discocat.jpg"></td></tr></t...
I am deeply inspired by autonomous communities in the Americas. These communities are diverse in their practices, but many use consensus and direct democracy, and work to ensure that every persons needs are met to the best of the community's ability.
The inspiration of autonomous communities has been reappropriated by individualistic activists in the US to mean INDIVIDUAL autonomy. Phrases like "I do what I want" and "We're all autonomous" place individual desires over collective decision making. Which is more powerful: an autonomous individual, or an autonomous collective? Which reinforces the American ideals of individualism, and which is a threat to the status quo? Why would anarchists espouse a belief that upholds capitalist individualism, and shuns collectivist anarchism?
Individualism is the ideological basis to prop up capitalism and social Darwinism; its all about me, myself and I and fuck everybody else. Doing what the fuck you want, against the will of the collective, is not radical. Putting yourself and others and risk is not radical. Building powerful movements across race and class and borders; checking your ego and your privilege to prioritize self-determination of the most criminalized; LISTENING instead of SHOUTING; are radical!
I am writing this because I believe in the principles of anarchism: non-hierarchy, mutual aid, and, yes, autonomy. But I think that anarchists have lost sight of our core beliefs, and are often blinded by privilege, insular communities, and an incessant desire to fuck shit up. Individualist autonomy is toxic to anarchism: it disregards the collective while reinforcing patriarchy, capitalism, and hierarchical oppression.
I love anarchists and I believe that we have a role in social movements in the US. I would love to see a shift towards COMMUNITY autonomy, anti-oppression, and a commitment to centering people of color, queer, immigrant, and working class people. That means walking your walk about being an ally. That means shutting up and listening. That means so many things that I am still learning too, because we are in this learning process together.
In the words of the Zapatistas, an inspiring autonomous community and movement, "Para todos todo, para nosotros nada"- "For everyone, everything. For us, nothing".
just another critical neighborhood anarchist
-EVERYTHING on SONG's website: http://southernersonnewground.org/about/working-agreements/
-Building Zapatista Autonomy: From Below and to the Left http://www.leftturn.org/building-zapatista-autonomy-below-and-left
-Know your history! Bakunin and Collectivist Anarchism: http://www.weisbord.org/conquest11.htm
-Catalyst project: resources for white antiracists: http://collectiveliberation.org/
-Building a Multiracial Movement, from the Wayside Center: http://waysidecenter.org/buildingmultiracialmovement.php
-How to be an ally: http://dartmouthcwg.com/2012/05/01/how-to-be-an-ally/