‘All is to be doubted.’ —Descartes There’s an inherent challenge in organizing anarchists and even in defining a single philosophy of anarchism, when the concept […]
For my two-year Substack anniversary, I am publishing an essay I started last summer to accompany a guest article by Paul Cudenec. It seemed a fitting anniversary piece because it covers connections, collaborations, community, and courage—four C’s that have defined my transformative experience at Substack.
Why has the frustration and pain of being an activist got worse? I’ll try to explain. I used to be very tribal. Once I’d found a political home, I’d defend it and my comrades vigorously. Any nagging doubts I had were packed away in a box and hidden in a dark cupboard. That was until the point when it started to become clear that what I thought was a ‘for ever’ political home was changing and going off in a direction I couldn’t travel in.
I’ve written this piece because there are a few things about who supposedly ‘owns’ the movement and what anarchism actually is that I want to try and clarify. In part, it was written in response to some of the ongoing sniping that’s going on between various factions in the movement. If this sniping is all people see of anarchism, then it may well not have much of a future.
Looking back over the last six years, the issues I’ve had with now former comrades stem from me wanting to find out the truth of a situation as best I can and to then formulate what I felt was an honest opinion. What I found was that some of the opinions I formed were at variance with what could best be described as the prevailing orthodoxy. I don’t use the term orthodoxy lightly but, on a range of issues where I has differences with comrades, it transpired that there was very little room for an open and honest debate.
Among the various currents of protest against the way the Covid situation was leveraged to accelerate the 4IR, there are those of us doing what we can to join the dots and understand what’s being done to us and why. In the process of doing that, a fair few of us have moved beyond the political labels we once had and we once, sometimes proudly, wore.
It’s only when you start to pull all of the disparate threads of the ongoing clusterf**k together that it becomes frighteningly obvious we’re heading towards some kind of system failure, possibly even a collapse. What this piece is attempting to do (quite possibly in vain) is to try and analyse why we are where we are and then establish what, if anything, we can do to save ourselves.
One part of the strategy and tactics being deployed against us is persuading a significant chunk of the populace to do the dirty work of divide and rule for you. Having an atomised, frightened populace makes the project of breaking and re-making us that much easier. Atomisation is a key part of the process.
Do you remember March of 2020 when it was ‘just three weeks to flatten the curve’? We do although given how far back that is now, the memory is not exactly an immediate one. It’s not even two years ago but it feels like a lot longer than that as we unwillingly become acclimatised to a new (ab)normal.