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(en) US, Minneapolis, DAYBREAK #6 - US, Minneapolis, DAYBREAK #6 - Editorial: Daybreak Says Smash the State (of Boring Armchair Theorizing in Activist Circles)

Date Fri, 27 May 2005 10:22:19 +0300

Union meetings. Anti-war meetings. Meetings, meetings,
meetings! Meetings are some sort of titillatingly boring leftist
perversion, perhaps a throwback to a time when monkeys were first
learning to talk and sat around chewing contentedly on words that,
in the end, just sounded good rolling off the tongue. And most of
these are not meetings where people are working through real
issues that are relevant to our lives. Meeting with the people around
you to create dialogue about things that affect you is f'n necessary!
But nothing makes Leftists feel like they're accomplishing
something like quibbling on some inconsequential point of theory
or turn of a phrase. If the Left still thinks it's enlightening people by
tweaking that one phrase about the emancipation of women in
connection to Christian fundamentalist snake charmers then it's
sorely misjudged how dumb people are. Every worker in her heart
knows that wage labor is a bunch of bullshit. A communiqué
from a 3-member Class War federation based in the hills of St
Cloud State is not going to change her life one iota. Few people (a
very mentally ill few) enjoy the mind-numbing 40 hour work week
but most see very few alternatives that are actually functioning, and
therefore no reason to waste even more of their precious 'free time'
listening to utopian visions of a work free world before facing down
yet another workday. We can have all the theories and statements
in the world. We can have the ultimate political line, but as long as
we cease to affect the world around us in ways that affect peoples
lives, as well as our own, then we're doomed to spend eternity
listening to pseudo-academics quoting Foucault or CrimethINC as
we slave away in hot kitchens or fascistic office complexes, and
that, my friends, is a fate worse than death.

The Trouble with Quibbles

This quibbling over petty details is a compulsion that seeks to reject
the complexity of the world, to rewrite it in clear clean lines that
can then be dealt with clearly. Marx tried to do this. They tried to
bludgeon the words on pen and paper into the people and world
around them, in the end, the words were no match for the complex
realities. In the real world there is no perfect phrase that will bring
down the walls of Jericho. It often seems like those lunatics on the
socialist left are, well, just crazy. Just as soon as they've formed a
new socialist party and stocked it with college students from well to
do families, they have another split based on some little ideological
quibble. This isn't as crazy as it looks at first sight. Socialists are
searching for the holy grail of the perfect 'line' that will lead the
working classes to their side. Each split is a new combination of
priorities and phrases that inevitably lead to disappointment when
no one pays any fucking attention. The same behavior can be seen
in academics with their theories and liberals with their Political
Correctness. So if it's not the specifics of the 'correct line' that are
the problem it must be the whole concept of a 'correct line' itself.

An Anarchist Theory of Theories

It's the unique position of authoritarians everywhere that they try to
force specific visions onto people, from the communists to the
capitalists, and they don't take no for an answer. They all seek to
justify the violent coercion by exclaiming that it's for the good of
the people, or some similarly idealistic incantation. Anarchists
differ from all other idealists because we're hoping that we can
remove restrictions like government and capitalism (among
others…of course) so that people can decide what's best for
themselves. That probably sounds like bullshit but anarchists know
that no matter what future society we think might be best, that the
real world will intrude on it. So instead of detached theories we
create working processes that actually reflect our values like
autonomy, direct democracy, and the oft neglected, humor.
However, we must admit, it is a revolutionary's role to dream. But
then, how do our dreams differ from our authoritarian brethren?

When Building Alternatives is the Most Convincing Propaganda

The place where anarchists have always differed from Leftist
revolutionaries is that we make experiments. We make collectively
run co-ops, syndicalist labor organizations, and community
projects like Food Not Bombs. You might say, 'why, communists
have infiltrated labor unions since Lenin was in diapers!' True. But
when they infiltrated the unions they did it as a way to gain power
to take over the state power. They also made a dogma or idol out of
specific forms of organization. When anarchists do things they tend
to build temporary projects that have structures that are more easily
adaptable to real life necessities. Not only are these projects
temporary and adaptable but for us, they're practice. So instead of
focusing on building our political power we usually focus on
building processes that remove the authoritarian realities that we
disagree with. While some of us still romanticize the idea of a
glorious revolution we're not dumb enough to go into it
unprepared. We realize that if we want to live democratically that
we need to practice so we'll be ready if that time ever comes (or is
brought about). Our projects work both to remove authoritarian
restrictions at the same time as we're putting into practice
anti-authoritarian values. Now that's a revolutionary answer to the
chicken and the egg joke.

The Future Never Ends

Essentially, the Leftist obsession with mapping out every detail of
the future is a dead end. We will never be able to plan for all
conditions that may arise. We will never be able to intellectually
convince people to come over to our side from a style of rhetoric or
a detached set of theories. People in the Midwest are not dumb
(can't speak for Iowans). We know that anything that seems too
good to be true probably is. We also have responsibilities that keep
us from joining that nice insurrectionist anarchist collective down
the block. But if something is happening right in front of our noses
we're not the type to quibble. Whether it's a restorative justice
program that is proving prisons are unnecessary or collectively run
workplaces that are proving bosses are. It transforms an idea from
something in the mind of a theorist to a living breathing alternative,
and with it comes hope and inspiration. It's a cycle that brings hope
and dispels the myth that nothing different from the current system
can exist. The inspiration feeds into new ideas and then into
practice, as endlessly, newly improvised practices and alternatives

The future never ends.

Daybreak is an anarchist tabloid put out from Minneapolis.

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