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(en) US, Minneapolis, DAYBREAK #6 - Column: Jon - If we don’t live like this, then we’re better off dead

Date Tue, 07 Jun 2005 09:50:30 +0300

I was planning on using my column space for a pretty traditional
rant about community. Maybe because it’s the dead of winter
or maybe it’s too much coffee, but for some reason I’m
getting the feeling that no matter what I write that it won’t
convince anyone of anything. I’ve been sideswiped by the
realization that just because I say something about community
doesn’t necessarily make it true. And that maybe the few
people who are listening won’t be affected enough to act anyway.
We’ve always tried to make Daybreak a bridge to connect
different scenes and cliques. I wanted everyone to realize how
much we have in common, how all the petty bullshit gets in the
way of us being a real force for good. Not just unity for unity’s
sake but for the sake of chipping away at our dependence on the
power structure. I wanted to boil anarchist theory down to its
simple essence and hear it being spouted by vegetarian academics
and scenesters alike. I wanted the categories and identities to be
less important than the similarities and our common goals of
having more freedom and happiness. And of course that’s
idealistic! We’re revolutionaries; that’s how we’re
supposed to be! Time and again I’ve seen the typical life
disappointments eat away at activists and radicals until they give up
hope. The entire energy of the authoritarian system is positioned to
crush your hope that anything different is possible, to replace it
with passivity and co-opt your energy into the system. I’ve
been around for a long time, and I can’t pretend I’ve been
perfect. I’ve fucked up a lot. So when people say, ‘the
scene is too fucked.’ And they give up. I think ‘What
isn’t’? And what’s the alternative to doing the best we
can and fucking up a lot in the process?

But it seems like even people around us haven’t really been
listening all that close. Someone is part of a community not just
when they spend 5 dollars to see a punk rock show. It’s when
they support the ethics and institutions of all these interconnecting
projects! It’s when they work to create their own projects
following their own interests without enslaving themselves to what
is given cred, or to any particular youth culture or scene. The
community is bigger than any group of friends. It’s bigger than
cynical cool kids. It’s bigger than even a co-op. If we really
want something different than why not remind ourselves of our
common goal? Why do we do things other than working in an
office and buying exercise machines? Are we just whittling away
the days until we die by riding bikes and drinking too much?
Maybe. But the hope I have is that everyone who has read this far
into the rant is thinking as hard as they can about why instead of
merely accepting their fate. Our lifestyles and the people we share
them with are the embodiment of our values, and far from being
static identities like leftist intellectual or vegan that people choose
to join or not, but places where, with time, we mold the values and
everyday life into a culture that, as something I once read said,
becomes not the culture that talks and sloganeers, but the one you
barely notice, that whispers in your ear.
Daybreak is an anarchist tabloid put out from Minneapolis.

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