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(en) US, New Anarchists are Stupid - Wombat, KSC - submitted to the new electronic Zine Arawakcity

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 2 Nov 2004 18:48:52 +0100 (CET)

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Welcome to ArawakCity.org, a site for people who live in the Central
Ohio area who want to network and share information regarding their
daily lives and projects. We welcome you to participate in our community
and share your thoughts and ideas.
The basic guideline behind this site is about cooperation, mutual aid and
liberation rather than any sort of commodity driven capitalist interaction.
If your trying to make a buck or get people to join your electoral political
organization you should go elsewhere. We're mostly anarchists at this point,
but this isn't an exclusive club and people from all walks of life are welcome
to promote their activities and publish their writings and art in our zine.

The name Arawak City is given as an alternative to Columbus, which was
named after an imperialist explorer accused of genocide and responsible
for the devastation of a whole continent of people. The Arawak were the
first tribe he met when he came to the islands he thought were India, now
known as the Carribbean. They were a peaceful sharing people who didn't
engage in warfare, he quickly set out to enslave them and steal all of their
wealth. Recently we received the blessing of the last hereditary chief of
the Arawak people to change our city name after his ancestors and use it
for this site. Click Here for a copy of the correspondence.

The name has some local historical usage in that a group of anarchists
called the Arawak City Autonomous Collective utilized it in the late 90s,
although they have all since moved out of town or are no longer involved
in the anarchist scene in this town. It also had a brief usage as the Arawak
City Braintrust, which was a idea sharing and discussion group that was
meeting in late 2003 and those who registered this site. This site is the
only legacy of that group and the braintrust is defunct, and this site is
open to everyone in the city and surrounding area.

If you have any concerns or feedback about the site, please post it in the
tech talk forum.

We are working on flyers, t-shirts and other promotional tools to help
people spread the word about this site and make it a more useful resource
for people. Check back here in the future for more information. If you
want to help, just sign up for an account and start posting.

New Anarchists are Stupid - A sample article from the Arawakcity Zine
Too often the debate over attacking the present social order vs. some
other tactic has polluted this most pertinent of discussions. Anarchists
have a lot of hurdles to get over in order to find a need to attack the
system. Its long alliance with the left, with the ideas, tactics and strategies
of liberalism, socialism and the enlightenment, has confused its
revolutionary goals.

I find several forms of left anarchism that weaken the contemporary
anarchist milieu. One of them is the pro-voting anarchist. These
anarchists often refer to themselves as libertarian socialists when not in
anarchist company, but they would more aptly be put somewhere within
the democratic socialist tradition. Sometimes they are actually backing a
candidate or political party, sometimes that are supporting a leftist united
front against a candidate from a right wing ideology. Other times they
only support certain types of voting. Perhaps just local and state elections,
perhaps just local, perhaps just issues.

Voting has never been supported by anarchists until the 20th century, due
perhaps to the marginal numbers of scattered anarchists until the latter
half of the century, when the left began its decline and interest in anarchy
ascended. That interest was taken up by the activists of the time and was
supported by left critics of capitalism who attempted to keep their views
ambiguous or within line of the status quo of the left. By blending new
left politics into anarchist thinking, anarchy became just another
issue..yeah, resist (enter leftist oppressor) and resist the state too! And so
we see the entering of the self-proclaimed 'little-a' anarchists, sometimes
referred to as 'new' anarchists.

Not all little-a anarchists vote, but they definitely wouldn't complain
because little-a anarchists support the left uncritically, so why not accept
anarchists that take up leftist positions and still consider them anarchists?
Both the voting anarchist and the little-a anarchist (well, all voting
anarchists have to be little-a anarchists) are pro-stupidity. I say this not as
a rude insult, but to interpret their view of anti-intellectualism, because
often they are the anarchists who support baby talking to the poor and
excluded, rather than to attack the formalization and specialization of
intelligence. Also and more importantly, with the little-a's
anti-intellectualism they avoid critical theory and prefer to use the current
practice of the activist community as the basis of their
anti-authoritarianism. Ideas about systematic oppression are given ditto
headed nods of approval (the all accepting new anarchist) and uncritical
support is given to a variety of leftists (and sometimes to anti-political
types). Some little-a anarchists refuse the label anarchist, because they
reject labels, yet at the same time, they often reject theory as unneeded
intellectual baggage. This is an error of thought.

Because we must struggle against the expansive domination that the
current social order presents against us, we should be willing to use every
weapon that we can to autonomously attack the totality of the social
order. Civilization, with its divisions of labor, has specialized intelligence
into the role of the intellectual, whose education is developed into an
expertise in a logic that submits to the social order.

This intellectualism is a part of the stupefaction that the ruling order
imposes on those who are ruled. These intellectuals will remember
unconnected facts and bits of information and call it knowledge. What
they don't seem to get is that one can find a qualitative capacity to
understand, analyze and reason about one's own life and perhaps make
attempts to help others attempt the same. This to me is real knowledge as
it is applied our experiences.

One of the proponents of the new anarchists is David Graeber and
perhaps is the one that coined the term. David Graeber's 'New
Anarchists' must be examined to truly understand why the anarchist
praxis of today supports the left today. In 'New Anarchists', Graeber puts
the divide between theorists and 'practitioners' of revolution as central to
defining what the new anarchist is. Written after 9/11, Graeber writes
about how theorists are suddenly confused by the rise of anarchists as a
movement, but I became an anarchist while this was happening and have
no connection to these older theorists, but I can note that social justice,
free mumia, fight racism were big issues of the day. Discussions about
Zapatistas and how they were using ultra-democratic decision-making in
Chiapas brought about a hopeful air. Anti-neoliberalism aka global justice
aka anti-globalization aka social globalization was the big issue and down
with the WTO, the IMF, the FTAA, the TABD and other acronyms that
are disconnected from day to day conversation for most people. Enter
9/11 and Persian Gulf War II and now these new anarchists want to vote
Bush out. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Graeber discusses the neoliberalism that the global justice movement was
fighting against. Calling it a market fundamentalism or market Stalinism,
Graeber immediately disconnects a solid interpretation of capitalism and
places the ruling order into a single ideology, but he clashes with this
view for media attention. Fearing alarm bells, Graeber states that
neoliberalism shouldn't be used and instead we should obfuscate
neoliberalism behind the current practice of global trade rather than its
ideology (and also rather than connecting its behavior to the current
mechanisms of post-industrial capitalism). This failure in critique is also a
part of this failure in understanding a need for theoretic exploration and a
critical examination of any current practice. Perhaps Graeber has read too
much Chomsky, which sounds a lot like Zinn, which sounds a lot like
Bookchin, which doesn't sound very anarchist at all.

Again, we find reason for why the Anybody But Bush movement has
found an anarchist niche. Just as anti-Stalinism and anti-fascism should
be linked to a general critique of ideology itself and its links to
maintaining the current social order, but often isn't within the ranks of
little-a anarchists, so too must neoliberalism find a home in an
anti-ideological critique, else a divided enemy brings about a partial
critique and a strategy to overcome this or that ideology gains priority over
attacking the systematic problems of all ideologies and thus further
perpetuates the political goals of ideological adherents that have
something to gain from anarchist participation.

This partial critique is not isolated to just a failure of the new anarchist.
Graeber discusses Ya Basta!, which is linked to the Zapatistas and the
autonomist movement and what they are doing around the time of 1998.
Currently Ya Basta! is running their politicians in local elections and the
Zapatistas have turned into a militant pressure group, a poor influence for
an anarchist practice.

However, Graeber thinks they are an excellent influence and no wonder,
given his perception of anarchy, 'which is less about seizing state power
than about exposing, delegitimizing and dismantling mechanisms of rule
while winning ever-larger spaces of autonomy from it.' Autonomous of
the regime's ideology perhaps, but hardly autonomous of capitalism and a
participant in the self-perpetuation of the ruling order.

Graeber's view of anarchy is that it is the practice of building networks of
resistance, but never goes into detail about what they should do, but
rather let's use the influence of nonanarchist groups to decide that. We
should work towards reforming the system, towards creating
ultra-democratic institutions and having consensus using collectives that
work towards greater and greater reforms, that win space (sic) and defend
that space as if it were a property right.

Graeber sites that the groups mentioned below were mapping new
territory between 'non-violent civil disobedience or outright insurrection',
yet looking at their current practice, I question the direction these groups
found, being that they supported a non-ideological and non critical
networking. These groups are: Direct Action Network, which for the most
part is defunct, Reclaim the Streets which is only effective if done illegally
as that is a real attempt to reclaim the streets rather than an attempt to
have a party in the middle of the streets that the government allows. Black
blocs and being a participant in many black blocs, I see their failure being
easily identifiable militant protesters that attacked strategically, that broke
the rules, but ultimately didn't draw conclusions that supported a real
break with the left, fearing repression should they hold protests solo, but
also clashed too often with leftist organizers, had to change. But instead
of looking for other options, similar to ideas about the People's Strike,
which didn't succeed like other protests because it was a new idea and I
won't discount future attempts at attacking a city in protest or instead of
considering options outside of protest altogether, the Black Bloc as a
strategy in Ohio dissolved under pressure and/or assimilated into the left
and I assume this accounts for most of those that participated in the
Black Bloc in America. Finally Tute Bianche, which is a tactic anarchists
attempted only once, but the adherents of this tactic, Ya Basta!, has
clearly moved away from anarchy and were mentioned above.

All these groups mentioned have dissolved or failed under the weight of a
changing world. Bush has divided anarchists over compromising to a
leftist strategy and this compromise is founded on the stupidity of the new
anarchist, who listened to David Graeber and others' praise of them
finding compromises, joining the left as the 'revolutionary middle' of the
left and joined in their fronts under the weight of finding new strategies in
the face of repression. Those that consider themselves little a anarchists,
new anarchists or the nonlabeled, need to reconsider their stances on
developing a critical self-theory, as it is desperately needed within the
anarchist milieu. They must understand that the little-a, Big-a anarchist,
that the old anarchist and the new anarchist are false dichotomies
developed by lazy thinkers and that anti-intellectual views don't have to
lack intelligence and especially shouldn't mimic the strategies of the left.

'Activism and "Anarcho-Purism"' by sasha k

'Against the Logic of Submission: Neither Intellectualism Nor Stupidity'
by Wolfi Landstreicher.

'New Anarchists' by David Graeber

By High Priest Wombat, KSC
Copied from infoshop.org

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