There is no “anti-vanguard” vanguard: an anarchist responds to BOC

<table><tr><td>The following is a comment from <a href="http://blackorchidcollective.wordpress.com">Black Orchid Collective</a>, written in direct response to "Between the Leninists and the Clowns"

I appreciate some of the criticism in this piece as well as the comments. I’ll also repeat Nate in saying that I am friends with folks in Black Orchid and also feel some political kinship or overlap.

A couple of things. The Wildcat has absolutely nothing to do with the Occupy movement, either in origins or form. The space has been happy to host many events and provide space for Decolonize/Occupy discussions and community organizing, but it is incorrect to attach it to this swath of activity you mention. It’s actually pretty frustrating and makes me feel dismissed and invisible.</td><td><img title="I feel things every day. Feel!" src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2012/invisible-man.jpg"></td></t...

Wildcat did not manifest by some kind of zeitgeist fevered imagining of the newly uprising 99% . The space was started and is collectively run by people from anarchist spaces and infoshops like Autonomia, M11 and L@s Quixotes. We knew the last space would likely be shut down as early as June and at least a couple of us committed to reopen somewhere else. I mention this seemingly minor point because it takes a fair amount of time, money and work to start a space and keep it open. I feel like anarchists and anarchist projects (including participation in Occupy) are continually the recipients of dysfunctional love: one minute we are the darlings and everyone loves our 10th & Union / [insert other liberated space], or our crazy GA hand gestures and anti-authoritarian processes (it was anarchists who introduced these things), or our propaganda/ posters or spaces or whatever, but the next minute we have to be denounced for being too unorganized, being bad/violent protesters, etc etc, the usual things anarchists are accused of doing.

I think criticism is crucial and welcome useful critiques. That said, I feel like anarchist projects and organizers have a lot of fair weather friends. When we are the darlings, our ideas and work is frequently co-opted or everybody and their brother is attaching themselves to our projects and temporarily redefining their own work and organizations, even when our anarchist principles and organizing style directly contradicts their own formations and theoretical background. Temporarily being the key word there. I have seen some interesting changes in tune from people over the past couple of years as far as different individuals’ and organizations’ support for Seasol. I personally attribute this to solidarity networks or this particular group being more in vogue or novel at a particular time, because while we have grown and improved in some respects, our basic model and activity has not changed at all.

Also I think there is more fluidity and flexibility in the prevailing anarchist tendencies and more political overlap than outside organizations and critics realize. For instance, I know anarchist bookworms who spend most of their time on radical bookstores/infoshops who also like to go nuts in the streets every once in a while and who also come out to picket lines or Seasol actions. I can think of others who spend time on co-operative housing or guerrilla gardening who also support militant anti-prison organizing. I can think of several people who may or may not describe themselves as insurrectionists who have worked as union organizers. (Not to give the wrong impression, they would very likely denounce this now.) I could go on and name dozens of supposedly “outlier” examples of people who don’t fit neatly into these political boxes. My point is that anarchists come from a lot of different backgrounds and theoretical trajectories and most of us are still actively developing as people and political (or anti-political) actors. Mistakes are commonly made and outside oppressive dynamics of capitalism and civilization are of course frequently being reproduced.

What we do have in common is rejection of authoritarian structures, would-be leaders and elite castes of political or cultural experts. Just because one can spot informal cliques or elitist tendencies in what appears to be an insurrectionist action or temporary formation, does not mean that was everyone’s goal or that some people don’t actively fight it. I would also argue that there is a difference between secrecy and exclusive selection of comrades/insurgents/whateever as temporary tactic to plan more risky actions and is much more fluid than some would give credit. I can’t speak for others, but I’d be surprised if anyone else self-identifying in this tendency would state that this kind of exclusiveness is the goal rather than a temporary or one-time formation because of a particular strategy. Some would probably not have any criticism of elitism and actively pursue it, either in late night actions or isolated commune-building but I and others disagree with that as a sole activity. So what? There is no finished product or perfected methodology, a mythological uniform one, especially. I’ve seen so many people change and evolve their ideology or organizing the past couple of years and I have no desire to lock somebody into a tight theoretical box. I appreciate the different tactics and strategies being employed and am not looking to any one person or group for guidance or dogmatic adherence to one form. Hopefully others can say the same.

Really the caricaturization of anti-organizational anarchists including insurrectionists is inaccurate, as many people who participate in temporarily elitist or secretive actions are also doing a ton of organizing and propaganda alongside all kinds of other people. Painting in such broad strokes renders people invisible who actually did a lot of outreach at Occupy and are currently doing community building type work and frequently support everyone else’s projects. The tight knit nature of some people’s crews is also just a byproduct of less active times when not a lot of organizing was going on and people had to stick together. It’s served useful in that there is very strong loyalty and trust between a lot of us and we’ve set up very solid ways of handling emergencies like jail and court solidarity that are extremely effective and that we’ve shared broadly with Occupy and other folks over the years. It’s nice to know you can make a phonecall or two and mobilize several dozen people at 7am or can come up with money to support arrestees or projects pretty quickly. This doesn’t mean people favor a cadre model but rather that there are strong bonds among a fluid network of equals who all have varying levels of activity at different times. The leaderless social network is very useful and also makes us completely incomprehensible to the pigs and state who just don’t understand how we work.

If someone doesn’t want to pass out their amazing beyond-revolutionary insurrecto flyers to the “mouth breathing masses” or do some other thing I think is useful, whatever, maybe they will next year, or maybe not. (Ridiculous exaggerated caricature intentional as example of most obnoxiously elitist nihilist you or others may be trying to invoke as a strawman.) I’m okay with that because I am for autonomous, non-coercive action and organizing. I don’t want to pressure or trick someone into working on a project or planning an action with me by pretending to be more open or flexible about things I actually feel strongly about but then force them to only do things one way.

For instance, The Wildcat is explicitly anarchist and anti-authoritarian. We don’t pretend to be all things to all people in order to get more financial or social support. However we also actively encourage people to come to events regardless of their politics as long as they can respect the space. I think this is a good example of honest open organization which avoids sectarianism.

Another example of your claim of anarchists secretly embracing unofficial leadership I’d like to refute would be in Seasol. There have definitely been issues with unintentional concentration of power and unofficial leaders but it has never been some nefarious plot but rather, in my opinion, the usual reproduction of outside oppressive forces. 100% anti-authoritarian anti-oppressive organizing is currently impossible. That doesn’t change the fact that that should be our goal, in fact it’s even more important to keep that aim in mind, no matter how far off we are from achieving it. Just because there are examples of unofficial leadership or power dynamics in Seasol doesn’t mean that the most people in the group are fundamentally opposed to that or are trying to beat it back, even in themselves sometimes.

Spotting examples of oppressive authoritarian behavior in anarchist circles or organizations is a terrible argument for encouraging more of the same, except better or more expertly formed.

The fact is, I will never want any number of leaders, no matter how friendly or how many anti-oppression statements they put out. I just want anyone confused about this to understand: I am opposed to all authority and hierarchy. I am opposed to cadres because they further these things by focusing on a group of would-be experts who have the right analysis that needs to be shared with me and the rest of the beaten down masses. Direct experience and participation with struggle in your own life fought by you (and hopefully your friends, coworkers, other tenants or busriders or farmers or rape survivors etc alongside you) is much more meaningful than participation in cadres or even worse passive reception of unidirectional cadre transmission of the one true theory or methodology.

Let’s look at who most often forms and joins cadres and study groups: mostly college educated middle class white people. Having people of color and working class people join doesn’t change the inherently oppressive dynamic of such formations which rely on the expertise of academics past and present, the vast majority of whom are white men of bourgeois privilege and education with little real life understanding of struggle. What’s worse is the way people outside the cadre are viewed and treated, even processed to test how ready or receptive they are to these amazing new ideas (sarcasm) that said geniuses have come up with and how useful each person may or may not be in furthering the aims that these self-appointed revolution experts have come up with. Why continue to follow in these fuckers’ footsteps? I am always going to be distrustful of such a model, no matter how much I like the people involved or how well intentioned I believe them to be.

That sounded pretty harsh and I know that these worst examples of cadre style organizing are not indicative of the Black Orchid folks I know, in that I realize you guys do try to listen to others and take differing viewpoints into account. That said, that manipulative dynamic of viewing the masses as revolutionary resources or “rev units” and being opportunistic or disingenuous in how cadres join other struggles or groups is part and parcel of the cadre model. Both history and personal experience has taught me and many other people, anarchists or not, this eventuality.

Lastly, there is no “anti-vanguard” vanguard. That doesn’t make sense linguistically or historically. Reclaiming vanguard is a worthless and destructive undertaking. Arguments for a vanguard would make more sense if we were in the middle of an actual armed uprising, although I would still argue against it. As it stands, it makes no sense to be advocating for this.

All that aside, I am in the camp of wishing there was more organization. I am used to working on anarchist projects that though totally decentralized and leaderless are much more organized than Occupy endeavors have been, with members more ideologically committed. However, this is where we are at consciousness-wise right now. There are too many newly radicalized people to expect too much more at the moment. I feel like some patience and long term relationship building is in order. I wouldn’t be where I was if different people and circles hadn’t been patient with me and tried to help me in a non-judgemental and (mostly – I’m a woman and patriarchal dudes abound) non-creepy/authoritarian way. We can help other people develop but still learn from them and do it in a way that brings them up to speed and equalizes the playing field as quickly and transparently as possible. It’s hard and all of us including myself do it wrong constantly, but fighting oppression in our organizing is hard and will be a lifelong battle which we must recommit to fighting every day. If we aren’t constantly replacing ourselves, we won’t survive. That’s kind of Nature 101.

I hope we are all learning from mistakes and get better and better at bringing in new people and sharing skills and ideas in a non-authoritarian way. I hope our spaces get better over time and are more inclusive. I hope more solidarity networks and similar models pop up that do it more successfully than those existing today. I hope something like Occupy continues and evolves into something more powerful with more sophisticated ideology and a strong anarchist practice. I hope we really do see an insurrection in our lifetimes in this country. I hope we figure out how to become truly international and organize in solidarity with people the world over to destroy nations and borders and end genocide and petty inequalities that oppress people.

Seeing these things manifest will take work and flexibility and humility and limitless patience. I view this as not only a lifetime but a multi-generational endeavor. I don’t think we can afford to take any shortcuts or make compromises and should avoid embracing authoritarian models and practices every step of the way. The things worth doing in life are often the most difficult and frustrating or scary but ultimately most satisfying. The things most of us want: personal freedom, true intimacy / love (*both individually and communally), and creative expression currently are out of reach and one must jump hurdle after hurdle of capitalist bullshit and socially and class constructed walls to reclaim our basic humanity and express these parts of ourselves. When the ends are so necessary and so critical not only for our happiness but for our survival, we can’t compromise them with the wrong means.

I guess this is a request to non-anarchists to just take us or leave us, at least when it comes to the question of leadership and authority. Ongoing debates and discussion are healthy and anarchists definitely need to hear outside criticism. However no anarchist worth their salt is going to being convinced to embrace hierarchy or authoritarian tactics, no matter how dulcet the tones, and by virtue of this, I would question and encourage you to question anyone who does. I am by the way including in this people who don’t really call themselves anarchists (good for you, anarchism as identity is worthless) but subscribe to anarchist ideals.

I can’t speak for anyone else but I don’t need any leaders and I don’t want to join any cadres. (If anything I am doing resembles those things, please tell me, though chances are I am already fighting against those tendencies.) If it is frustrating to organize with anarchists, I’m sorry but it’s messy trying to organize in a non-authoritarian manner when the capitalist, racist, sexist environment around you is so oppressive and hierarchical. It’s all the more important that we keep trying. The only power I’m interested in is collective power formed by those affected by whatever common condition in a non-coercive, flexible and decentralized way.

My analysis of people advocating cadres or leadership in the current time here in Seattle, not historically, is that they are not evil power hungry megalomaniacs but rather they are being impatient, not being honest about current potential for revolution or militancy and/or looking for shortcuts or methods that will make them feel like they are being productive or successful. Unless we master time travel, we are kind of forced to acknowledge current conditions and work with what we have. Seattle in 2012 is just not going to be as sexy as Spain in the 30′s, Paris 1792, 1968 everywhere, or Egypt last year. Maybe there will be a crazy transformation tomorrow, you can never tell, but for now we should be real about current material realities and work with those. We just have to keep on trucking and be ready when conditions are right. Part of being ready for me is making sure we aren’t allowing ourselves to unwittingly develop into this new world’s authorities. I might be in a minority in that I actually believe revolution is possible and that capitalism’s days are numbered and there are a million ways to live other than this one. The last thing I want is to develop a select group of people into experts or leaders who are going to spring into positions of power after the revolution. The new world doesn’t need them.

Comments

It's a comment in response to a recent piece by someone in the Black Orchid Collective (named in the intro paragraph), not a member of the black orchid collective. For the record ^^

i really am over this anarchist organization = you and your friend clique bull shit.

it is a bad excuse for an affinity group or anything for that matter.

friendship is no longer revolutionary.

True, friendship isn't revolutionary because as social animals friends and families are how we maintain social relationships within our lives. So what better way to come to any form of revolutionary or insurrectionist politics or movement than by bringing along those you love with you. We all need friends in our lives so why not in our movements as well. The problem identified here is when we get so insular in our groups and friendships and cadres and organizations that we are unwilling or unable to form meaningful connections with other people or groups across differences in ideologies, identities, experiences, and political perspectives. It is as equally important to deepen our connections with those already in our lives that we share action and ideas with as it is to do the crucially important work of reaching out to form bonds with those who are different from us and those we disagree with us. It is through strengthing our connections with both friends and those who are not our friends (but not our enemys) and then acting on those connections that solidarity is created. Please for the sake of us all if we wish to accomplish any change in this world do not forsake your friendships and never dismiss nor diminish those you disagree with for then any hope of collective power will be lost.
Wait I have to take back my first statement. Friendship is revolutionary and so is love. Capitalism wishes us devision and isolation so we can all be more easily controlled. Be also vigilent to not replicate those controlling systems of division amongst ourselves, but not at the sake of knocking down the friendships and networks that are already so difficult to find and maintain. In friendship and solidarity.

hell fucking yes. this warmed my cold nihilist heart. thank you.
- a seattle @

enjoyed this piece, lots of good points here even for those of us outside seattle.

Very inspiring. Though I'm also thankful for the BOC piece.

- another tumblr grunge fan

tl;dr, need a cadre to TEECH ME

it's ok comrade when the rev comes the revolutionary working class consciousness will come to you all of itself.

is that like a geist or smthng?

this, too, you will learn when it comes and touches you.

Vangaurd = The section of the working class who throws the most newspaper boxes into the street.

This piece is one of the better ones to come out on BOC’s site.

It is thoughtful, thought-provoking, and strikes a generally hopeful tone for this movement and for the anti-kkkapitalist movement in amerikkka generally.

Now, I must ‘pee’, tremendously, on Mamos’ roaring campfire of positivity, while singing out of tune from the rest of the campers (Lol).

A few points, in no particular order, taken from my blog, allpowertothepositive.blogspot.com, with additional comments:

A. Who, or What, is The Vanguard Party? Many Of You Operate This Way And Don’t Even Know It. Even More of You Know You Do And Shamefully Lack A Coherent Analysis Around This Living Phenomenon And/Or Attempt To Lie About It, Even As We Watch You Work. Be Consistent! Be Honest! Be REAL!

1. The vanguard party is an intentional organization that attracts and groups together “the vanguard”: those who are the most directly and disproportionately effected by the negative effects of global capitalism, imperialism, and white supremacy, who are acutely and openly aware of this fact, and who are the most ready and willing to see this system of global capitalism, imperialism, and white supremacy end in their lifetime…and are willing to DIE in the pursuit of real freedom, justice, and equality, if necessary.

2. The vanguard party is a specific and particular instrument of struggle, a headquarters of the worldwide anti-capitalist/anti-imperialist revolution. One does not become a member by purchasing a membership card or by having someone offer them one (as is the case with Republicans, Democrats, other ‘mainstream’ imperialist parties, religious organizations, or sectarian “Marxist-Leninist” cults).

3. Genuine revolutionary vanguard leadership means:

Taking personal responsibility for the political and tactical direction of a particular struggle, grassroots organization, the party, and the revolution generally.

Taking criticism and making criticism of the party and others.

Being fair, friendly, firm, and patient with all proven allies and potential allies…and absolutely ruthless and uncompromising with all proven enemies.

Maximizing collective democracy and the ‘hands-on’ participation of those who are the most directly and disproportionately effected by the negative effects of global capitalism, imperialism, and white supremacy; both generally and in the context of a particular struggle.

Take careful note: Far too many on BOTH sides of the ‘vanguard party’ argument fall horrifically short when it comes these ‘best practices’ for ANY type of activism. Further, if your word is NOT bond, regardless to whom or what, you’re a counter-revolutionary. Period. Over time, NO ONE will trust you, with GOOD reason. The world has more snakes than people already. Don’t be a snake.

The majority of those who claim to be the revolutionary “vanguard” leadership in the U.S. today are NOT the real proletariat (as defined in point #1): they are the radicalized petit-bourgeois/labor aristocrat descendants of those whose current wealth as a nation was obtained by the free labor of our ancestors on the stolen land of our fellow oppressed nations in the 3rd world and internal colonies in amerikkka.

Based upon the real-world implications of this fact alone, the most directly effected have every right (and in fact a duty) to sharply interrogate and criticize any and all who proclaim themselves to be “the vanguard”, “the leader of the revolution”, “the messiah”, “the madhi”, “our lord and savior”, or otherwise claim to be in sole possession of “the truth”!

4. To be a member of the party, one must be an involved and committed activist and advocate, be active in a local grassroots organization, take part in the discussions, study groups, and internal life of the party, contribute to the financing and realization of its short-term and long-term goals of the party, including and especially the expansion of the party to the point where objectively the party and the whole of the people may be separate in name, but are in fact one and the same.

B. It’s LESS About What You Claim, It’s MORE About What You Actually DO.

If anarchism really (in practice) means, ”I do what I want, when I want, to whoever I want, as much as I want, without and regardless of consequences”, then it is NOT anarchism, it is a form of sociopathy.

Likewise, if “activism” or any variant of “Marxism” means “just impose your will and ideals upon others by deception (opportunism) and/or armed force”, with zero regard for the very “workers”, “community members”, or “proletarians”, or “comrades” you claim to represent, protect, defend, have affinity with, or come from amongst, then that too is is a form of sociopathy. Both tendencies often first display themselves as a form of political zealotry (possibly as a result of religiosity) in character and practice.

C. Organization and Ideas As Crypto-Religion is The Opium Of The Movement.

Cultism, rooted in religiousity, is near the top of the list of rightist errors that cripple the left (including anarchists) in amerikkkka. Few want to admit they belong to a cult, let alone admit that their [formal or informal] leadership is not only fallible, but often wrong.

If “religion is the opium of the masses (Marx)”, as in providing a cathartic effect, then the left (especially in amerikkka) is a network of opium dens serving a synthetic, watered-down version of the drug, cut with personal prejudices, trauma, drama, and hidden agendas; and promising a cure-all when all it can really do at this time is temporarily dull the pain…barely. And only for the most ardent “defenders of the faith”, regardless of whatever sect, branch, tendency, trend, tribe, crew, firm, church, mosque, temple, party, or ideology they ‘belong’ to.

And what do we do when were ‘high’? We study our ‘scriptures’, go to fellowship, go out and proselytize to the sinners/unbelievers, and occasionally (but not often enough) go out and punish the wicked; while at the same time being called ‘heretics’, ‘heathens’, ‘sinners’, ‘unbelievers’, and ‘the wicked’ ourselves by both the established order ( the genuinely wicked themselves) and by those ‘vanguard elements’ who seek to become the new order.

Can I get an “Amen!” or an “Allah-u-akbar!”, somebody? Lol. How about a “This is what democracy looks like!” or a “Si Se Puede!” ? Lol.

Question: have you accepted Chairman Avakian as your ‘lord and savior’? How about Sergi Nechayev? Or primitivism? Or workers’ councils? Lol.

Better question: do you have ideas, or do ideas HAVE you?

Praying to an idea is just as much a type of ‘spook-worship’ as is praying to an invisible ‘being’ or ‘thing’ in the sky, or a rock at your feet. The Avakianoids pray to a living man; while the 57 varieties of Trotskyists pray to men (and a few women) who once lived, much like the Christians do with Christ and the various Saints.

allpowertothepositive.info

I bet you troll @news a ton when you're not plugging your blog.
I know I do.

second half of this is much better than the first

so far the only useful comment

"If someone doesn’t want to pass out their amazing beyond-revolutionary insurrecto flyers to the “mouth breathing masses” or do some other thing I think is useful, whatever, maybe they will next year, or maybe not. (Ridiculous exaggerated caricature intentional as example of most obnoxiously elitist nihilist you or others may be trying to invoke as a strawman.) I’m okay with that because I am for autonomous, non-coercive action and organizing. "

The problem is this is not a caricature or strawman.

For whatever reason you're okay with it - cool. I, for one, will never be okay with you for being (or having been) okay with it. Especially when, historically, these 'strawmen' were coercing others into joining their obnoxious elitist witchunts or whatnot.

mouthbreather

have you looked in the mirror lately? because i think you really should.

We have met the enemy and he is us

so far the only useful comment

sounds like drama. i'm out.

sounds like llama and smells like teen spirit. i'm down.

witch hunt... you mean the grand jury?

Also, remember - that I invited you here - you fucking asshole.

IE you should be dismissed and invisible - you obnoxious dishonest piece of shit.

Ok just looking at this crap now. I never re-posted my response here so someone else did who either liked it, or... someone who didn't like it but wanted to say something nasty anonymously did. If I knew it was going to be reposted to these different sites I would have not posted the original comment (again, COMMENT not carefully crafted article, good grief why do you even care) and would have edited the stream of consciousness down a bit and taken out local/inside references that few will get.

Re: ^ above bizarre comment
WTF are you talking about? Invited who where? Anarchist news har? And they should be dismissed because.. why? If you are actually talking to me, you are one seriously delusional fuck.

There are basically two possibilities here, either: 1) you don't know me or any of the context of the original article or my response, or 2) you know me and know at least a little of the context. If it's #1 (pretty likely considering this site) you are some hostile idiot responding to things you don't know about. If it's the second option, you are two-faced and irrationally hostile. If it is rational and I somehow did you some great fucking tragic misdeed, you should I guess grow a fucking spine and talk to me.

Re: rest of the incomprehensible idiot babble comments

Go fuck yourself. Take up a fucking hobby.

I seriously doubt anyone who actually knows me has posted any weird anonymous hostile comments, but if so, I guess congratulations on your winning personality?

But yeah, agreed - these covert "leaders" have made things VERY unsexy. It will keep being unsexy as long as powerhungry clowns roam these parts.

The second half of this is great, really. Hope things are 'looking up' - people learn to 'take the high road' once in a while - even if they can't hit exactly the high notes.

-Jesus, of the western society

only the angelic whores of god can hit those high notes, at least that's what many experts say...

yes, but never on troll sites or for IRL trolls...lollololol

so, in the end, this is pretty much meaningless to me when I don't know who is speaking and what the situation is. nice read though. cheers.

meaningless.

I'll add that the tone changed dramatically when the speaker or speakers turned, in the second half, to 'being in the camp that wants more organisation'. The anti-organisation tone was harsh, paranoid, and defensive. Again, it is really difficult for me to gauge, as that might be the case simply because of different authors, or, perhaps just a reflection of these persons and times, rather than something more general.

just like the comments on @nooz

Lenin Was a Clown: Organizations Are Obstacles to Organizing Ourselves

From: http://pugetsoundanarchists.org/node/1944

The following is a response to certain claims from a piece by The Black Orchid Cadre. There is much to be said response to their claims, but the arguments addressed here are the ones this author felt most compelled to address.

When we are looking for leaders we are bound to find them. A year ago members of the Black Orchid Cadre put out an analysis of Seattle's anti-police protests, and asked why Seattle didn't riot. Their conclusion (simply stated) was that the anarchist's “hardcore ideological criticism of all leadership prevented them from effectively focusing the energy of the crowd they had helped assemble”. The failure of anarchist leadership is not because of an ideological opposition, but because others are looking to be led. We are socialized into authoritarian models of thinking, conditioned into a linear top-down view of the world. We mistakenly use this lens to view the world and then place varying phenomenon into hierarchically stratified categories. But these are misconceptions based on linear/statist logic. Due to these the BOC consistently mistake self-organization for leadership.

If there aren't enough banners or signs at a hastily organized march, its not a problem of self-organization, but a lack their of. We assume others will do the work because of our authoritarian top-down conditioning. Our failure is not due to a lack of leadership, but a reliance on it. Having the skill-set necessary to plan a march, design a flier, write a communique, give a speech, etc; do not make one a leader. Leadership does not mean having skills, but the desire for others to follow.

The tactical suggestion for revolutionaries “leaders” to formalize into cadres in order to educate the working-class on how to lead will not only reproduce our alienation, but exasperate it. By acting from a sense of revolutionary duty or moral obligation we re-create the same alienating dynamic of work. Tasks that should be enjoyable in their own right become obligatory, done with an “If I won't then who will?” mentality. Acting from guilt places a morally righteous value onto our activism-as-atonement. Instead of selling our labor to bosses we donate (sacrifice?) our time to the “movement”. Exhaustion and fatigue become badges to be worn, proof of our devotion. When anarchists say “Give Up Activism” we do not mean the title, we mean the practices of morally righteous self-sacrifice.

“We have to invent a form of war such that the defeat of empire will no longer be a task that kills us, but
which lets us know how to live, to be more and more alive” ~Living & Wrestling, Tiqqun

We shouldn't share our skills out of some sort of revolutionary duty, but because we enjoy spending time together. Our “failure” as revolutionaries is not from a lack of peer-to-peer education, but when we act from a sense of moral obligation instead of shared desire. We need friendships that matter, based on shared desires and mutual understanding of one another's differences and agreeances; not feelings of guilt or obligation toward each other. Our methods of fighting this society need to carry the relationships we desire within them. Only in this way can our struggles be carried out with joy, free from the moral baggage of duty & sacrifice.

I don't want leaders, allies, or followers; I want accomplices. I want comrades I know and trust whom share my desires in order to explore, experiment and play with them. This practice is known as an affinity group. Affinity is not a given between acquaintances but something cultivated by intimate knowledge and reciprocal understanding between individuals. This is also known as friendship. What we need is the willful effort of individuals willing to confront their own alienation by means that don't inadvertently reproduce it. I am not claiming this as a practice I have mastered, but as an approach toward cultivating the relationships I desire. I don't want my friendships to feel like work, I never want to act from obligation, I want to act from a place of desire, not guilt. I doubt any revolutionary practices it begins or ends with guilt and obligation.

So, basically - any woman who is not sleeping with someone in your group will be shut out.

oh, sorry, I was just creating abstract scenarios. I could really see that happening a lot, based on this model, and your use of the word 'guilt'...and all that talk of 'rev units'

haha. feels really good.

how exactly do you see that happening a lot based on this model?

welcome to the eugene model, part 3 of many.

-The FBI

Any relationship out of your 'comfort zone' might seem al little 'like work'...I mean, if people want to be completely insular, that's cool. if you're not really interested in revolution, then isolationism makes sense I suppose.

I don't know any anarchists/communists in my hometown. Also, I'm a woman. I have to join an organization if I want to be a living anarchist, or talk to others.

A couple years ago I got to know some people and was badjacketed (and really a noob, tbh) for no real reason by some guy I used to date's girlfriend. So, yeah, I can see how these groups work negatively. When you're someone's ex, suddenly you can become ' a cop' or 'a lot of work'.

That's how that works. Some people have to fight harder than other for "skills" and "knowledge".

I was called a cop, and Lenin, and all kinds of other things. I think I was referred to as "Kronstadt" (I had to look that up, like I said I was a noob). So - to conclude - the problem with these small formations, based more on 'desire' than actual political affinity/ends, is that they can be extremely petty, esp to the outliers, the more replaceable parts. Women are taken less seriously, in that more women are accepted, no matter what their actual politics, based on their current 'desire' quotient, whereas I think the men all do have more similar politics - even though all this is supposed to be 'anti-politics'. Anyway, it's pretty similar to bands. It's not different at all. At least that's what I noted from my brief experience.

someone who a few months ago - was making me feel guilty if i didn't babysit them on the internet night and day....for MONTHS....

you owe me a huge apology. you do.

and since i'm not getting it. AND I DO FUCKING DESERVE IT YOU CRAZY FUCKING BASTARD

and since i am not getting a fucking APOLOGY , even...

this is the last time i will even imagine you could be a decent, caring, loving human being. the last.

What the fuck are you talking about? Does yelling anonymous, nonsensical things into a big empty void make you feel better about whatever the fuck it is you are upset about?

why are you complaining about boring things into the void?

I'm sorry! I'm sooooooooooo sorry!!!!1!!1!!!!

always a new angle....this is a GREAT ONE...make SURE everyone is your 'affinity group' is white (97% male) and has a PhD...oh, and you better you want to fuck them all!!!! and if you've already fucked them and are done with them....let your other affinity members banish them!!!! SKILLZZZZZZZZZZZZ

bc this guy is all about FRIENDSHIP.....so many friends...just too many

i hope everyone has enjoyed this dramtic historical reenactment of Tecumseh. it is for amusemnet only. goodnight.

most of these comments make NO fucking sense. does that mean i actually have to read this stupid fucking article?? or are all of you just being crazy scenester drama-queen victim-mongering liberals, and a few Feds?

yes

-- fbi

Full Blooded Italians?

Femanarchist Body Inspectors

tl;dertc (didn't even read the comments)

"It’s actually pretty frustrating and makes me feel dismissed and invisible."

Wow enough with the ressentiment already. Someone has locus of control issues lol.

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