posts tagged: society
The past century has been coined by scholars as “the century of genocide.” An estimated 50–60 million people have been killed in conflicts that can be classified as genocides. Many have observed that the development of the nation-state and the industrialization of killing has led to increased violence. However, few have examined the violent roots and effects of the processes that claim to prevent domination and promote peace. The United Nations, neglecting to address and act to resolve its own place in modern, rationalized violence, demonstrates its ignorance of power relations through the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.1 By authoritatively defining and ranking violence, the UN Convention, itself a product of 20th century bureaucratization, perpetuates and permits violence and reinforces the state-sovereignty that frequently effectuates crimes of genocide.
I’m not a big fan of the self-deprivation – which often presents as puritanical and ascetic –often associated with New Year’s resolutions, unless they involve giving up… self-deprivation. The following five points – what I see as ways to make anarchism/ anarchy sexier, more practical, and in the here-and-now – do not serve as an arbitrary set of resolutions for a most heterogeneous of social/ political movements. Rather, they are my own aspirations and hopes for the anarchist movement in the New Year.
If they’re not your own hopes and aspirations, please add to this conversation. That is to say, I would love to hear others’ thoughts on what they would like to see anarchism become in 2011, and in the future.
The 2000’s have been a mixed bag for this movement that seeks to alter globalization. Of course 9/11/01 radically shifted the direction – and changed the dynamics, while slowing the momentum – of a movement that started the 2000’s still coasting off the fumes of Seattle ’99. We could consider 2011 as a time to reconsider what anarchism is, jettisoning the useless, and building on the valuable and useful and imaginative aspects.
I. Be nice to each other
What is a mark of the colonized mind? Perhaps concerns that offer little or no benefit for the concerned or recognized equal(s) of the concerned… where the beneficiary is somehow over-and-above the concerned.
Society makes us and we make ourselves, both are so. For the (un/de)coloniz(ed/ing) mind the society’s role is beneficial in this process insofar as its symbols and representations can be put to the ends of creating meaning and happiness; these signifiers are recognized as subjective and changeable. For the colonized mind society’s role is either totalizing or absent, where one sees oneself as having no power to change one’s world or arguably worse, where one identifies the values and concerns of the colonizer as one’s own.
This is a much belated response to an article by anarcho-primitivist blogger Nihilo Zero, who was writing in response to an essay I wrote about anarchy and the BP oil spill.
I must say, first and foremost, that the response will hopefully spark something seemingly uncommon in the anarchist milieu: civil discourse amongst those who reach different anti-authoritarian conclusions. To be sure, there should be a healthy pluralism; homogeneity has more than simply authoritarian connotations. What still attracts me so, to anarchism/ anarchy, is that it has evolved into a macro critique of domination. And delegated boxes of homogeneity, to which we are confined, are a big part of this critique. Hence, when we speak of all-encompassing financial markets, spaces where we are permitted to do certain things but not others, with orders from above, it’s more than analogous to being delegated to gender binaries, or sexual orientations as Jamie Heckert has so wonderfully articulated, or people who perceive the world or move around in space differently than the majority being delegated to certain normative behaviors, etc.
So, if anarchism becomes a space in which certain tendencies are tolerated, and others are determined fraudulent by an informal leadership, I suppose you can count me out, and this philosophy has become antithetical to itself.
The Black Bloc conversation lacks nuance. Since the recent G20 Summit recently took place in Canada, this conversation has been sparked again.
Unfortunately, the conversation from all political sides lacks vision, clarity, and understanding. From Marxists and anarchists, to thinkers ranging from the snake oil salesman right-wing conspiracist Alex Jones, to thinkers I respect like Naomi Klein, everyone seems to be getting it wrong. The conversation hasn’t made it a centimeter below the surface, and it’s really one of the most superficial arguments I’ve heard in a long time.
The so-called “Left” is something in which I loose more faith in every day as a force that will combat the spectacle of market society and capitalism, including some anarchist and Marxist comrades. In regards to their superficiality, they don’t sound much different than mainstream media or right-wing hacks when they speak of agent provocateurs, and how burning cop cars or breaking windows hurts their precious movement, for whatever that means.
Further, while the right-wing conspiracist milieu perpetuates their baseless claims of agent provocateurs donned in ski-masks, the left-wing critics continue to talk about this entity referred to as “the public.” “The public,” in itself, is particularly hard to define in our society. David Graeber explains this: