Friday, April 16, 2010

Might people who think differently share anything in common?

Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs, Infoshop News:

[M]any of us did have deep and engaging conversations with Tea Partiers (they were confused. How could we be against capitalism and against the state? It didn't make any sense in their overly simplified perspective of the world, probably attained from FOX news)...

Probably so! Surely the anarchist's task is to "counter" this phenomenon, taking for granted that this is not an easy thing to do with limited resources.

In my view, this would entail not so much "counterdemonstrations" of the sort that are incomprehensible to anyone but the "anarcho"-nerd -- "I'm wearing a red & black ninja suit! Remember Catalonia!" -- but appealing to people on some basis other than shouting them down.

In an American context, this might mean dropping the "hardcore anarchist" pretense in favor of actually behaving like one in this country. It would mean constructive engagement wherever possible, not preemptive sectarianism.


Jack Crow said...


JM said...

Granted, many tea partiers also want budget cuts rather than job creation:

fledermaus said...


Anonymous said...

"actually behaving like one" means what exactly?

JRB said...

That's a good question.

I mean not coming at people wearing "anarchism!" on your sleeve when the likelihood is that this will communicate zero to them, and subsequently require that they wait patiently while you "explain" it to them. This alienates people in pretty short order -- to say nothing of brandishing symbols and other forms of representation that are alien to them.

This is not anarchism as far as I'm concerned; it is proselytism -- regardless of the tradition it purports to represent.

We can't approach people expecting them to conform to our preconceptions; there's no realm in life in which this works, except through coercion, and even then it works poorly.

We approach people in order to understand and learn from them first. That means people we don't agree with, in particular. Once we understand other people, "anarchism" can happen; but given the cultural traditions of the United States it may not go by that name. These are things that anarchists need to account for if they ever want to build a broader movement in this country.