Anarchists and their friends often use the words community, solidarity, and affinity to express their relationships with one another. Our personal relationships with each other among anarchists and friends is one area of our lives where we have a great ability to create and share the most beautiful ideas together.
The past few weeks have had a few more headliners than usual when it comes to death by bullet. While police and soldiers are killing people consistently throughout the year, the other recent attacks happen less often. What is consistent for these other shootings is that despite differences in personal motivation, there really haven't been any organizations to claim them. They have been so-called lone wolves, taking action towards whatever targets they decide.
Decades ago, I was part of organizing against Operation Rescue. At a couple of meetings some people showed up who seemed off. No one asked them to leave, although we all agreed afterwards that they were suspicious. When we called the contact info they'd left, it was wrong numbers all the way down. The first time this happened we all agreed that we would call them out if it happened again. It happened at least twice more, to similar silence from those of us who felt uncomfortable.
Location plays a key role in dictating the nature of our ideas and opinions, who our enemies or friends may be, if we're separated from or near family and relatives, if we have a connection over generations to a land-base and its resources or are maybe just vaguely familiar to our surroundings, along with plenty of other variables.
There haven't been many new people around our circles lately. Perhaps this is due to living in a big City and not because of some structural flaw but I've heard the same issue exists in most places in North America. I've heard that since Occupy there has not been a fresh crop of fresh faced anarchists turning up to replenish the ranks who left radical politics after 2011. Is this true where you live?
Anarchists have held and continue to organize conferences, gatherings, workshops, discussions, summits, and meetings on a local and international level. These events offer an opportunity for friends new and old to meet, socialize, build and renew their networks, and have adventures together. A long list of report-backs and happenings could seemingly go on forever. This week we're taking a look at organizing and participating in face-to-face anarchist events.
Co-operative modes of property, labor, production, distribution, and consumption have been around as long as their hierarchical alternatives. Sometimes anarchists have argued in favor of cooperatives: that the workers are able to own and manage the enterprise, make decisions together as stake-holders, and operate with an emphasis on other values besides competitive profit-making. Other times, cooperatives have been criticized as self-exploitation, reformist, and/or counter-revolutionary.
Writers, conspirators, assassins, bank robbers, theorists and wingnuts alike--individuals throughout history have an impact on the ways we conceptualize our vision of anarchism, or otherwise act on it. Individualist and collectivist adherents alike often espouse fondness for a particular leader or writer, or someone who turned them on to the idea of anarchism in a way that just "clicked".
Contemporary anarchism is one often associated with the city for better or worse. Today more than half of the worlds population live in cities, including seemingly the majority of anarchists. Outside of the city, in the spaces between, what does the project of anarchy look like? In the countryside, along the borderlands, and the isolated regions where friends are few and far between, what are anarchists doing?
In 1999, a film (distributed by Crimethinc) was released called Breaking the Spell. The anti-WTO protests in Seattle, WA were the subject, but the loose thesis of the film and some other popular anarchist material at the time was that despite whatever intentions someone may have, and however systematically oppressed they may be, what often keeps people in line the most are beliefs in their own powerlessness and the invincibility of authority.