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(en) New Zealand, Dissident Voice* #7 - What anarchism means to me…

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 28 Dec 2004 08:30:10 +0100 (CET)

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I wanted to take a slightly different tack from the previous ‘A to me'
columnists and look at what anarchism means within the context of my
daily life – beyond my situationist fuelled fantasies of angry-brigade,
red-army-faction days on the run, destroying the structures of capitalist
oppression with stolen explosives. Awakened from my daydreams of
black-clad lovers, on the lam with false identities and car-boots full of
heavy weaponry. When I look up from the pages of crimethinc dumpster
punk romance - there is my everyday life.
Without a doubt, the key factor that underpins my day-to-day experiences
as an anarchist is... meetings. Big meetings, small meetings, long
meetings, short meetings. O, Joyous meetings. My first connection to the
anarchist community in Aotearoa was through a meeting, and the odds are
that one day I'll expire during a particularly heated or prolonged bout of
consensus based decision-making. I'm coming to love meetings, which is
lucky, because I'm sure there'll be a hell of a lot more of them ‘after
the revolution'. I love the human interplay and the shared food, the
invisible hierarchies and the dodgy minute takers. I even love those people
who only come along to one meeting and suggest something that the
group ends up struggling with for months.

If meetings are the vegan chocolate cake of my anarchist life; then plain
old talking bullshit is my daily bread. The anarchists in my life like to talk,
and so do I. Talking theory, talking politics, talking historical piracy and
open relationships. Talking about the challenges that are presented to us,
as anarchists, by the people in our lives. Challenges from our friends and
family, challenges from our anarchist comrades, and most of all,
challenges from ourselves.

Living with an anarchist perspective has made it harder to have political
conversations with my friends and family. It means that everyday I must
face up to the contradictions between my beliefs and the way I live - a
hypocrisy that is unavoidable within contemporary consumerist society. It
can be hard not to feel overwhelmed by the chasm that exists between the
lofty ideals of theoretical anarchism and the oppression around me (in
which I am complicit).

What keeps me sane, the tonic for the malady that envelops me, is
community. My friends, my cohorts. Those freedom fighters, working
together to create some beautiful space - willing to stand against a line of
religious zealots or angry policemen. The sneaky sifters I bump into at the
dumpster hotspots. The men and women who share my work in the
bookstore, and out on the street. The rag-tag bunch of golden-hearted
troublemakers who call me on my subconscious racism or sexism. When I
feel like I'm jumping (or was I pushed?) into yet another battle it feels like
we'll never win, another activist campaign with no end - it's always a
pleasure to know the circle A crew are at my side, swinging misspelt
placards and speaking truth to power.

And I guess, in it's best form, this is what anarchism means to me now.
Good friends with good hearts fighting for freedom. In a world drowning in
plastic existences and synthetic realities, it's an honour, and a privilege to
be surrounded by heroes.

--- Russell Lee
* Aotearoa Dissident Voice - New Zealand's most unrespectable
revolutionary rag. Aotearoa Dissident Voice is a free volunteer-run
magazine that aims to provide an open space for the free flow of
anarchist and libertarian left news, analysis and creativity.
www.dissidentvoice.org.nz edcollective@dissidentvoice.org.nz

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