I don’t actually really know what epistomology means (and I have no idea if I’m spelling it right, cause this computer is spellchecking thinking I’m writing in Dutch), but today I ran across anarchapistemology. It’s a rather interesting anarcha-feminist blog. They’ve got a really solid analysis… almost non-analysis, of what happened in Pittsburgh at the g-20 (parts two and three are worth reading as well.) From the last post:
I wanted to write about the street medics who had created a clinic with skilled medical volunteers, anarchist staff, massage, acupuncture, herbalists. The street medics who stayed behind in Schenley Park to treat college students while all the activists got the hell out, and who got arrested mid-treatments, prevented from helping, held chained on buses for hours and hours in the cold, came out with handcuff injuries and tears. The injuries and the emotional trauma. The fear, the helplessness felt by unprepared victims of completely arbitrary police violence. The helplessness felt by the medics and friends trying to support a crowd of people who they couldn’t get to. Medic work is hard and important, and shouldn’t ever be overlooked or thankless. It is one of the greatest contributions to the new world that we are actively building right there, right there within the act of destroying the old!
The thing I love about this is that it sidesteps a false dichotomy. There are people who say “protests are traumatic, therefore we shouldn’t go to protests, and anyone who says we should is practically responsible for causing the trauma themselves.” and this irritates the piss out of me. And there are people who say “who cares about sissy stuff like trauma? we’ve got cops to fight! er, I mean, summits to counter-demonstrate!” who, clearly from my sardonic tone, I have no time for either. Instead, the author goes about describing how we can learn to be powerful, how we can address the mental wounds we will be taking as we confront state power.
I just came from a memorial for an israeli anarchist friend of mine, Tal, who died this past winter of cancer. She was one of the most powerful and vibrant and stern people I’ve known. It’s always the case that when people die, we use hyperboles to describe them, but Tal really was one of the most bad-ass folks I’d met. I, of course, wish I’d known her better. But when I came back to Amsterdam the second time, in 2006, she let me stay at her place. I was worrying about this or that emotional thing. She looked at me sternly: “You american anarchists. You’re all too sensitive.” Sometimes, I think she’s right. I’m a bit fond of cold, emotionless cultures myself. But we can’t just “toughen up” all the time, not internally, not within our own discourse among people who should be our allies.