Several Conclusions on the Identity Crises

From Anarchist News

Capitalism has pixelated the definition of anarchy, anarchism and anarchists. Each pixel has been singled out, rendered into a commodity, and then discarded. Like the schizophrenic, who cannot prevent the onslaught of random stimuli from influencing their reality, the capitalist mind is trained to long for the pixelated idea, to ingest it, to let its meaning irrelevantly diffuse through its I-pod headphones, and then forget it. The capitalist mind travels through each commodity like a worm through and apple. Every playlist gets tired. The next song must be downloaded. All of the anarchist songs are old. It is time for the next commodity. If we can see and accept that anarchy has become a commodity, we must accept several other conclusions.

I: All who visually signify themselves to be anarchists are not always anarchists. When image becomes the unifying force, the power of the ideas themselves as unifying forces decreases. Over time, what is easiest becomes all that unites the anarchist. It is easier to attend a 'show' than it is to do nothing for a week but make money for a project which might fail. It is easier to shatter a glass window than it is to meet ones neighbors. It is easier to live in isolation than it is to create a neighborhood in which all who would ever commit an illegal act were protected, a neighborhood which regulates itself, a neighborhood which does not devour itself.
[The fetishism of the commodity — the domination of society by “intangible as well as tangible things” — attains its ultimate fulfillment in the spectacle, where the real world is replaced by a selection of images which are projected above it, yet which at the same time succeed in making themselves regarded as the epitome of reality.]

II: The large audiences that mass media can reach are byproducts of capitalist saturation techniques. There is a reason the Nike logo can be recognized outside the city where its headquarters is located. The wider the image is diffused, the more people will recognize it. But this only works, and is designed only to work, for easily palatable images and ideas. Democracy is good because democracy works because voting works and so, in the future, vote. Coca-Cola is good because Coca-Cola is better than Pepsi because Pepsi is a competitor so, if you would like to, drink Coca-Cola. The more complex the message, the less it will be understood, the more it will be stripped down to resemble a Coca-Cola ad. Mass audiences, as we understand them today, were created to consume mass-produced commodities. Under capitalism, all commodities must compete. Anarchy, diffused through the filters of mass media, will become a mass-produced commodity. Different anarchist commodities will war with each other, attempting to secure the largest number of consumers. From this conclusion, we return to the first conclusion: It is just as easy to drink Coke as it is to be an anarchist. Mass-anarchy will always be the anarchy of least resistance.

III: Every attempt to spread anarchist ideas outside of a limited geographical area will be doomed to spread a non-specific, easily replicated set of 'anarchist' practices. Transmitted in an impersonal manner, anarchist ideas will be understood in an impersonal manner. Every geographical area is distinct in resources, configuration and density. All that make these areas identical is their connection with each other via capitalist saturation techniques. If the goal of the anarchist is to contribute to the building of communities that are self-regulating and self-sustaining, the anarchist must disengage from what regulates and sustains the current community: mass-diffusion.

IV: In order to secure money or sustenance, an anarchist must directly trade in portions of their existence for a wage. If the anarchist steals or grows their own food, if the anarchist builds their own house or illegally occupies one, they must still spend portions of their existence doing so. All efforts to survive requires effort. In theory, anarchists are committed to sharing their resources. In practice, this sharing of resources does not usually take place beyond the walls of anarchist houses or buildings. In practice, this sharing is exclusive to anarchists. Rather than allow only themselves to have free time, the anarchist should begin asking others if they would like to have more free time. Two neighboring houses will have more free hours in the day than a single house. It is important that, however an anarchist chooses to facilitate this freeing up of time, they do not present another commodity to those next door.
If an anarchist reduces this sharing to a defined set of practices, it will be disregarded as unpaid labor.

V: An anarchist should not relate to other people as an anarchist. The word anarchist, as a signifier, has become the same as the words democrat, patriot or citizen. A self-identifying anarchist is another chess piece of the mass-media. An anarchist can be singled out and identified on a television screen, just as a punk can. To be recognized as an anarchist is to be neutralized as an anarchist. To be perceived as an anarchist is condemning oneself to only being what an anarchist is commonly perceived to be. Everything which is perceived as a commodity will be treated as a commodity: temporal, dispensable, replaceable. This is the grand trick of capitalism. As many have noticed before, capitalism will attempt to sell everything. It will gladly sell anything which wanders into its nets.

VI: If we can accept that the words anarchy, anarchist and anarchism signify a commodity to the people who hear those words, we can also accept that it is best to abandon the words. There is no way to remove ourselves from this crisis of identity. We must continue our practices, whatever they may be, but we must do them anonymously. We can still have goals, but they do not need to be spoken of. The only way we can achieve our goals is if they are common goals. Goals that are shared because of silence rather than words. If the goal does not need to be spoken of, it is usually because it is obvious to everyone who seeks it. The simpler a goal, the easier it is to accomplish. Working less, sharing more and thus having more time for ones existence are simple goals, in no need of anarchist endorsement.

VII: If four city blocks all begin to share what they have at their disposal, there is no reason why the eight surrounding blocks cannot also begin to share in a similar manner. The rewards in time spent free from buying commodities, working and surviving will either be there or they will not exist. One should work for a wage as rarely as possible and instead work to strengthen the general availability of people to each other. Childcare when needed, constant acquisition of available free food, reliable and genuine emotional support and being self-regulating in regards to violence and abuse are good starting points. What is vital is the free time itself. Without free time, a person can barely question their situation, let alone change it. This free time does not imply leisure as it does for some, but rather a determination to support that which allowed the free time: collective resources. This implies people supporting each other without having to agree on anything other than to receive and give support. Ideological unity is not necessary for this. But unity in goals is necessary. As was said before, the simpler the goal, the easier it is to accomplish.


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