It’s been an awkward couple of weeks to be an anarchist. Maybe couple of years. It’s not really a secret that I find the direction that the anarchist movement seems to be taking, at least in the USA, to be troubling. The rejection of attempts to build anarchist society strike me as particularly absurd. And now, in the past few weeks, after May Day riots in Santa Cruz and Asheville showed a lack of… a lack of nuance in their choice in targets (both attacking small businesses, and in some cases worker’s cars, and in one case a worker-run business and completely ignoring the one chain store in town) there’s been a spate of attempts, by the media and unfortunately by anarchists, to split anarchists into good anarchists and bad anarchists.
It’s remarkably frustrating.
But there’ve been some good analyses coming out of this. In Asheville, Firestorm Cafe put out a communique about how badly anarchism is being represented in the media that gets to the core of some of the problems, while still clearly intended to be read and understood by a non-anarchist audience. In Santa Cruz, a local paper wrote a “good anarchy” piece that is problematic in many ways but at least gets a short quote by Wes Modes in about how it sucks to split us into good and bad anarchists. And in Greece, where anarchists almost certainly just killed three bank workers (by accident, but not that much by accident), people are finally starting to talk about how fucked up that is. (I’ve only skimmed that article so far).
Maybe I’m just nostalgic for 8 years ago, when it seemed like anarchists understood the value of building an anarchist society, of networking with other groups, of respecting a diversity of tactics, of targeted and intentioned sabotage of the oppressive machine, of strategic thinking and actually going about this whole thing like we might want to actually I don’t know… win. When we didn’t buy into the stereotype that the media has always, for 150 years, had for us of being mindless lunatics hell-bent on destruction. Which I think people are buying into out of alienation and hopelessness. When all you could hope to do is lash out at this fucked up society. It’s not subtle, and it’s not strategic.
I still believe very strongly that we anarchists need to have solidarity with one another, that we need to support our arrested comrades. Many of whom are “innocent,” but all of whom were fighting against a society that is unarguably in the process of destroying the earth and oppressing the majority of the people and non-human animals on this planet.