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Hey everyone, I just have a question. Perhaps some of you all have seen or at least heard of this. But anyways...

I've been been working with my local anarchist contingency for about a year now (4 people + a bunch of others we just hear of... I know, sad, but lemme explain) but I've been having some major problems. I don't believe that the group commits itself to long term advances. It often falls towards stencils, food not bombs and a strong desire to burn down malls. Don't get me wrong, those things are great, but my problem is thats it. There are no meetings as none want to deal with or see no need in "organizing the masses". They choose not to work, which has the affect of not contributing into soceity (only work is several hours on fridays for food not bombs. other than that, notta). Not to mention that they frequently refer to other local anarchists with no mention of them helping out or inviting them to events.

I've so often met with many people willing/interested in Anarchism, but when there is no organization whatsoever then there seems to be a problem. Its hard to have a nice conversation end end with "Sounds great, when do you guys meet?" Instead, many people end up going to the ISO then to be taken in by the "Trots" (who praise Lenin...) or just disappearing into the town again.

Work: I see great problems with them not working also. Sure, work sucks don't get me wrong, and I'm not asking them to work in McDonalds or a bank but shouldn't we contribute SOMETHING to society? After all, whats going to happen when we obtain Anarchism, how is anything going to get done?

As a result, I'm getting really dissatisfied with the "Anarchist movement" and Anarchism in general. It really worries me that if there's no incentive to work, why would anyone do it? If we hate organization, how will we ever obtain a level we acheived in Spain, let alone a "successful" anarchist soceity. Any comments, suggestions? Tell me I'm a complete dumbass or whatever. Its just I'm getting really worried about the state of things.

Comments

( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
syndicaliste
Oct. 12th, 2005 01:05 am (UTC)
>>now you go ahead and reach out to the other people that are interested in getting involved, and find a few who are interested in something else important---say, some sort of education outreach.

I do that a lot actually. I bring a fairly large number of people interested, but since there is no organization, they say "oh, anarchism=chaos, disorganized, i understand". Also I tried to stress that the current group really doesn't care and doesn't seek out these new or even people who already agree.
(no subject) - syndicaliste - Oct. 12th, 2005 01:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - joarree - Oct. 12th, 2005 01:32 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - syndicaliste - Oct. 12th, 2005 02:20 am (UTC) - Expand
lurking - (Anonymous) - Oct. 12th, 2005 02:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: lurking - joarree - Oct. 12th, 2005 02:36 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: lurking - syndicaliste - Oct. 12th, 2005 09:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pika_pik - Oct. 12th, 2005 03:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ____guerilla - Oct. 12th, 2005 02:33 am (UTC) - Expand
savestheworld
Oct. 12th, 2005 02:07 am (UTC)
it really bugs me when people don't work
life is really different between working a lot and school or not working. it's hard for people to relate to each other when they're so different like that. especially if they don't know each other to begin with (as in, trying to form a collective)
____guerilla
Oct. 12th, 2005 02:31 am (UTC)
What do you mean?
(no subject) - savestheworld - Oct. 12th, 2005 01:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ____guerilla - Oct. 12th, 2005 02:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - savestheworld - Oct. 12th, 2005 02:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - lema_oda - Oct. 12th, 2005 04:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - savestheworld - Oct. 12th, 2005 04:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pika_pik - Oct. 12th, 2005 04:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - pika_pik - Oct. 12th, 2005 07:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
crudocrust
Oct. 12th, 2005 02:29 am (UTC)
Try and doing some sort of activism that you feel has alot of agency in you and your community's day to day struggle.
lema_oda
Oct. 12th, 2005 03:53 am (UTC)
i have mixed feelings about this whole issue of working. on the one hand it's harder i think for working-class people to relate to people who don't work and for anarchists who don't work to relate to people who do. on the other hand work eats up a lot of time that could be spent doing more productive things. (i don't think you can say that all work contributes something worthwhile to society; indeed fine me that many jobs that really contribute much that is useful to society.) some anarchists, who see themselves as working class (either by deliberate choice or by virtue of how they were raised), heap scorn upon anarchists who don't work, or only work part-time, as "lifestylists." But you could say that working a 40-hour a week job is also a "lifestyle" (i recognize it's an absolute necessity for many), although it's probably unrealistic for a variety of reasons to expect many people to get by through dumpstering, shoplifting, squatting, or living in a collective house with a large number of people.

Have you tried to get these people interested in having meetings? Have you had discussions with them about doing more than Food Not Bombs, stencilling and burning down malls? Have you thought about starting another collective, and reaching out to those anarchists that your comrades don't work with to do so?

syndicaliste
Oct. 12th, 2005 09:31 pm (UTC)
"on the other hand work eats up a lot of time that could be spent doing more productive things"

The thing is, they don't.

"Have you tried to get these people interested in having meetings?"

Yea, they laugh at me.

"Have you had discussions with them about doing more than Food Not Bombs, stencilling and burning down malls?"

Yea, with the same reaction.

"Have you thought about starting another collective, and reaching out to those anarchists that your comrades don't work with to do so?"

Try to, but no one really cares. Its just tough when I have parents, friends, and strangers all telling me that what I'm doing is too radical, too much work, too little too late, or they like blowing shit up. I'm sure then you can see why I'm becoming worried/disheartened.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 12th, 2005 04:10 am (UTC)
FNB can be good bread and butter work meaning something that your group will always do. You interduce other thing while your cooking for FNB show vidoes, talk and invite others to do the cooking. These how Santa Rosa FNB started Free Mind Media (book collective) now they have info space sence May 05 it took 3 years of hard work to get it.
syndicaliste
Oct. 12th, 2005 09:32 pm (UTC)
Can you get me more info on this? Like how much the collective brings in, spends, where they put the shop up, where they got all the books and items, etc. That'd be tons of help.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Oct. 13th, 2005 01:08 am (UTC) - Expand
moxie0
Oct. 12th, 2005 05:11 am (UTC)
I think it's important to examine the fetishization of work and where that comes from in ourselves. If we look close enough, we might discover strong echos of a Christian morality that manifest the Protestant Work Ethic in many different ways.

Maybe these people who aren't working don't care about "contributing to society" because they don't care about this society to begin with. How can you ask someone to suffer through 40 hours of meaningless and disheartening labor a week, when they're doing well at having the free time to really explore their own interests and ideas? I don't think people should ever be forced to do something out of guilt, duty, or obligation. Right now it sounds like your friends are doing pretty good at "working" (dumpster diving, cooking fnb, making art) by meeting their needs for survival in an unoppressive way. Why is this kind of work viewed as being less "good" than delivering pizzas, fixing mufflers, or selling retail items?

I've seen Food Not Bombs referred to as the "bread and butter" work of an organization a few times in this community. I think it's dangerous to work on a project for the explicit purpose of perpetuating the existence of an organization. This, to me, reeks of ANSWER marches that exist solely to increase the size of their mailing list and their coffers. I think that Food Not Bombs or any project should exist because there's specific direct action that you're trying to take -- not because it's the "anarchist thing to do" or because it will increase the size of your organization.

My advice would be to start with yourself, look at your desires, and act on them in a way that can be generalized to a larger struggle. You do not need an organization to sponsor your actions. If you end up starting or working on a project around a certain goal, and you feel it's necessary, have meetings specifically for that project. If you meet people who are interested in helping, invite them to those meetings.

If you're not trying to take specific action and are just trying to get people thinking about anarchism, start an anarchist reading group and invite the people that you meet to that.

Or, invite them to the Food Not Bombs serving so that you can all talk about your ideas over soup in an informal way and find the spark there.
syndicaliste
Oct. 12th, 2005 09:57 pm (UTC)
"Why is this kind of work viewed as being less "good" than delivering pizzas, fixing mufflers, or selling retail items?"

No no no, that's not what I'm saying. I'm just saying that the "group" always talks to workers about how horrible their job is, but don't give them options. The "group" has so much more extra free time, but its just spent doing not really helpful things. I'm not saying they do no good, or am I saying to work in some muffler store, just to contribute towards soceity in some form more than they currently do seems to be needed for the long term. Perhaps its just my IWW, class war beliefs talking, but without a workclass backing, we're screwed.
resist_anywhere
Oct. 12th, 2005 05:31 am (UTC)
I agree with you about the not working thing. I don't care about contributing to society, but they should at least be picking up skills and habits that come in handy now AND later. Pick up a trade, there will always be need for carpenters and plumbers. Or if cooking is their thing, expand food not bombs and try to make a collective restaurant if possible. I don't really mind if people choose not to be employed, as long as they're doing something to help their communities and comrades.
____guerilla
Oct. 12th, 2005 02:17 pm (UTC)
Word.
dumpsterfresh
Oct. 12th, 2005 02:28 pm (UTC)
If the group isn't doing what you want to do, leave or just start doing your own thing. If there are other anarchists you've heard of, go meet them. Or get involved in other projects that you find value in, whether they're anarchist or not. Affinity groups and collectives should only be together as long as folks still have the desire to be together.

I know exactly how you feel, and there comes a point where you just have to stop feeling responsible for getting other folks to do stuff they aren't interested in and start working folks who want to do something. Don't beat a dead horse.
satanscientist
Oct. 12th, 2005 02:59 pm (UTC)
what kind of specific stuff are you interested in doing?

To not have to work for some people... must be nice. I can't remember a time when I didn't have a job of some sort.
syndicaliste
Oct. 13th, 2005 02:43 am (UTC)
I want more organization. Like the two members in the group always refer to some anarchists around town but they just never come by or are active, probably because they have nothing to be active in. On the other hand, if they were out organizing some of the shops, I'd be much happier.

An infoshop would be cool. I recently joined the IWW and became a delegate. More food not bombs stuff. A constant zine published around here would be awesome. A nice bike collective would be cool. One or two of these would be awesome.
(no subject) - satanscientist - Oct. 13th, 2005 02:54 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Oct. 13th, 2005 02:57 am (UTC) - Expand
sanguinrypsycho
Oct. 12th, 2005 08:20 pm (UTC)
Why should we use our entire lives to work for someone? you say, we will be contributing to society!
but, this is capitalism. It isnt honestly contributing to society to become a doctor... and then put poor people in debt because they cant pay for your services. So we dont work at a job, big fucking deal. You can criticize me and others all you want, but what you see is not what the situation is. Do you work? no, you dont. dont make it look like were horrible people who do nothing. Aside from food not bombs, what else do we do? well, we went to DC, we organized this next march. We distribute literature and come together with other organizations to discuss issues we can get involved in.

Youre just upset because we dont have some title or distinct organization. But we all do things to help, we all do things to mobilize people, and to live our lives like anarchists. one of those other four you speak of and me, hell, we got about 50 ARA members to travel to attend this march. I got many kids interested in coming from school.

go on, tell me im not dedicated just because i dont believe in working for a profit, because i dont believe in working because you HAVE to. Ill do as much volunteer work as i can, because i believe in those things, and i love doing it. and thats whats important. We are the last people you should say are uninvolved.

but, you can insist that im not dedicated. Here are the facts that i see, however. Before we all got together, there was nothing happening. Now, we do things. How many times has it been just us at FNB? look at the success of this next march; consider all the people we are bringing together, to meet eachother and share ideas. i bet we will have about 200 people there, and thats a lot to be orchestrated all by three different people, in a very apathetic city with almost no support.

i hate to attack you, but what do you do? you basically stepped out in organizing this march. you dont work, either. not to mention, i work really hard in school, and you dont. why do i? because im getting a fucking scholarship and going to berkely, so i can CONTRIBUTE to society, like youre accusing me of not doing. Ill go to school and learn something that i can share with others, and i WONT get a job, because i can contribute without being paid or getting a car, house, and travelling to the office every damned day. dont accuse us. we do everything we can for the small amount of people we have. Consider the bike co-op that is just getting on its feet. Consider all the peopel weve begun to talk to from the ISO, who are starting to get an interest in anarchism. Consider the time we spent in DC, the unity we experienced there, the people we met, the way if felt to be with all those people who had a common goal in their hearts.

weve always accepted you, and included you. we all learn things together, and meet new people, enjoy ourselves, and have wonderful, stimulating conversations. we arent lazy or ignorant, you, for some reason, just have some sort of anger, and have put us down and yourself up above us. Why? weve never done that to you. weve always come together for our common ideals, for our love of true human relations.

beyond that, theres only so much you can do as a minor. i try, i really feel like i do a lot. i dedicate so much time. WE dedicate so much time. WE have done so much, WE can do so much more. theres no reason to pull in this negative, destructive energy when all weve had so far is good fortune.
syndicaliste
Oct. 12th, 2005 09:40 pm (UTC)
"It isnt honestly contributing to society to become a doctor... and then put poor people in debt because they cant pay for your services."

With your extra money you can build things like collective practices. You can also do what they did in Detroit and have DIY health workshops.

"Do you work? no, you dont. dont make it look like were horrible people who do nothing."

Actually I do. Fridays FNB, concessions after that. Sought jobs but none hire to due me being gone every weekend, school, and not being 18. All those things combined, no one chooses to hire. On the other hand, the others in our group are plenty old enough, have had plenty of jobs, but now simply choose not to work.

"go on, tell me im not dedicated just because i dont believe in working for a profit, because i dont believe in working because you HAVE to."

This was never about you. I don't have a problem with you, I have a problem with the others that choose to do nothing.

"Consider the bike co-op that is just getting on its feet."

A for profit institution which I said should be a free public service, not to mention they haven't given a bike or sold a bike in a few months I believe.

"Consider all the peopel weve begun to talk to from the ISO, who are starting to get an interest in anarchism."

Yea, And have they done anything about it? No, why not? Because there is nothing to really contribute towards.

"Consider the time we spent in DC, the unity we experienced there, the people we met, the way if felt to be with all those people who had a common goal in their hearts."

I loved DC, learned a lot and had fun.
( 42 comments — Leave a comment )