Toxic Culture

(October 5th, 2018)

Lately, I’ve been pretty feed up with people being terrible towards each other. In real life, over the Internet, and sold back to us as media to an ever more drama hungry society. If you let it, or pay close attention, this toxicity can permeate everything to it’s core and become almost inescapable, like a black hole set on repeat, sucking you in over and over again, it’s everywhere. This toxic culture is in part defined by Western society – especially in anarchist spaces, as anarchists the world over lament about the drama ridden, get nothing done, North American anarchist movement. Let’s take a closer look by starting with a definition - what is the virulent anarchist space of North America?

“A toxic anarchist space is a milieu that is marked by significant drama and infighting, where personal battles often harm the ideas of anarchism. Toxic anarchist spaces are often considered the result of toxic individuals or groups who are motivated by personal gain (power, control, fame, or special status), use unethical, mean-spirited and sometimes terrible means to manipulate and annoy those around them; and whose motives are to maintain or increase power, control, or special status or divert attention away from their shitty anarchist politics and misdeeds. Toxic anarchist individuals do not recognize a relationship to the beautiful idea of anarchy, for which they have mistakeningly included themselves in. These same toxic anarchist individuals define relationships with other anarchists, not by affinity but by a clique of other terrible anarchists.”

This noxious cabal of the terrible community can look different depending on it’s location in the niche of North America. These relationships vary across places, from the vibrant anarchist city neighborhood to the much more rural and intimate forest garden, spread out in small towns across America, connected back to the city with IRL and AFK relationships. Need a brief refresher, just pick up “7 ways to help identify toxic culture in your radical community and relationships” at your local supermarket checkout, and with that I digress.

How did we get here, is this just another episode of Anarchy Radio rallying against everything? Willem Larsen writing in the 2012 text “Psychopaths in the Village” shares a couple of ideas on how we may have arrived in this predicament:

“It also happens that children, with fully felt emotions, with poor parenting and/or a toxic culture, can grow up ill-equipped to connect with others’ emotional experience. Psychiatrists call these people “narcissists”, and they may resemble psychopaths in every way (grandiosity, aggression, charm, tantrums, etc.) except one: they feel ongoing pain over their inability to create and maintain healthy relationships, losing contact with friends, spouses, children. They experience emotions; but they never had the chance to develop empathy.”

Meanwhile, in real life we remember reading “The Broken Tea Pot” and old AJODA texts from Liana Doctrines on relationships. So many of us, perhaps all of us, have arrived at anarchy by being forged in some kind of fire, in something that has made us angry. There we find an alternative and ideas for all the ails that plague society.

In “The New Nihilism” by Peter Lamborn Wilson, they write:

“At least ten times as much money now exists than it would take to buy the whole world—and yet species are vanishing space itself is vanishing, icecaps melting, air and water grown toxic, culture grown toxic, landscape sacrificed to fracking and megamalls, noise-fascism, etc, etc. But Science will cure all that ills that Science has created—in the Future (in the “long run”, when we’re all dead, as Lord Keynes put it); so meanwhile we’ll carry on consuming the world and shitting it out as waste—because it’s convenient & efficient & profitable to do so, and because we like it.

Well, this is all a bunch of whiney left-liberal cliches, no? Heard it before a million times. Yawn. How boring, how infantile, how useless. Even if it were all true... what can we do about it? If our Anointed Leaders can’t or won’t stop it, who will? God? Satan? The “People”?” ”
What about us? The anarchists. HUGS.

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