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The driving force of the desire for anarchy is the gap between reality experienced at a bodily level and/or in the imaginal realm, and the dominant social system. When the drive is lost, this usually means the connection between the "higher" parts of the self (head and heart) and the "lower" root of desires in the belly has been severed. This happens because of traumas and repression, or because someone becomes captured in the Spectacle (world of spooks), or because the sources of life and joy are cut off. Freud's work on mourning and melancholy is very relevant here: the loss of an inspiring ideal can be turned back against the self, as depression and self-flagellation.

I've felt a strong loss of lived anarchy mainly since the conversion of most anarchist scenes to authoritarian identity politics over the last decade. However, the ultimate failure of the anti-capitalist movement to prevent the dystopia we now live in is also an enormous blow. Neither has affected my own desire for anarchy but both have made it far harder to act on the impulse.

Some of us *need* anarchy (at least in the broad sense articulated by Colin Ward and Hakim Bey) to have any kind of worthwhile life. Others in the anarchist milieu are there for other reasons and all too easily move sideways into idpol or drop out entirely, because they were in it for the ego-boost or the group belonging or the "policy impact". The Invisible Committee's distinction between milieus and communes is relevant here.

What *should* happen after defeats and movement decay is more like what happens in science: the empirical result feeds into the next phase by providing more precise information on the situation, problems, etc. People all too easily default to claims like, "we failed because too many of the others were not true radicals" or "we failed because the movement was too white and male and middle-class" or "we failed because there's no way we can fight the state with its overwhelming power" or "we failed because we tried to act on things outside our control". These kinds of responses are either melancholic (self-flagellation of ego by superego) or a blame-game corrosive of further cooperation. While we need to question previous assumptions of our strength and any compromises made to ally with non-anarchists, it's much more helpful to think that we *could* have won, but came up against some contingent hurdle which we need to make sense of and find a way around, over, through, etc. For example, high-tech police surveillance was a new threat in the 2000s, and often seemed to make revolt impossible, but it's already being countered with new innovations and there's much more potential to develop new counter-technologies.