Sunday, May 16, 2010

Let's Talk Anarchy

The Riot Or The Attack is an excellent critique of the current trends in anarchy and the MayDay related riots. The writing defines the differences between riots and attacks. It also correctly comments on the strong need for communication.

anarchists in the US no longer need to be so desperate for a riot that they are willing to throw everything away just to get their game on. Less combative anarchists have intuited a weakness in this new direction, a potential for isolation and repression, but unfortunately for everyone they couched it in the tired old terms of a fetishization of violence.

We had to come to this point. And if we back off now rather than charge across this line, we will deflate, putter around a laberinth of invective and disconnected bicycle repair workshops for a few more years, and then once we regain lost steam only have to face this challenge again... let's spread lessons, or we'll only retreat and have to come this way again.

A riot expands. It is spontaneous, or it takes hold amidst a backdrop of social struggle.

The attack is good because it gives us strength and confidence, it helps us manifest as a material force in the social conflicts, it illuminates the rage and dissension brewing in the ranks of capital,it disrupts the illusion of democratic peace even at times of lower social tension, and it communicates that we have an enemy, and this enemy is easy to attack.

Does a disdain for populist mass movements mean that we want to be alone in our struggle? That would certainly be a caricature of the insurrectionary. If the strongest motion of capitalism is the movement towards alienation, than the strongest attack would be the one that communicates, the one that connects us, the one that mixes us, the one that overcomes isolation.


Another interesting read is Sound-bite Vandalism.

This writing seems to be written for a non-anarchist audience and does a nice job of communicating what anarchy is / can be and some of the current manifestations.

Coming out of Asheville (as did Sound-bite Vandalism), Eli Scott attempts to explain that anarchy has a long history of successful social struggle. While I would characterize some of Scott's tone as liberal, it does point to an important idea.
Social war is a long and protracted struggle. Anarchists can't expect to see utopia in their lifetime and shouldn't consider everything lost when they don't. Anarchists have contributed to major progress in society. It is a dangerous road to discredit this and accept the only victory as absolute destruction of this social order.


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