Waking the Woken

(July 1, 2017)

This past week Doctor Bones wrote a text entitled “Anarchists Failed Philando Castile and They Have Failed Black Americans” that covers the expanses that anarchists in the USA are failing at. The text takes some strong words towards “woke anarchists” saying that:

if your politics can only function in “radical spaces” they are worthless. If they can’t keep people alive they are garbage.

It goes on to state that in America the police can execute a black man in front of their child and reasonably expect a jury to let them off the hook, while radicals are more concerned with the identity politics behind the cultural appropriation of food from Mexico, arguing over whose administrating Facebook groups, and so on. Meanwhile anarchists are marching in Pride while the cops are showered with roses two blocks ahead.

While I don’t disagree with El Doctor and find common ground in their solutions of going more hard, as hopefully all anarchists can agree (at times, at least), the over arching point is the lack of a large anarchist movement in the USA. If anything it seems to me here that the post-Trump era anarchists are winning, whatever that means. It’s like the old adage, that sometimes our greatest successes come from our failures, or something like that. Because in reality, what winning looks like in the anarchist space is not a large scale social-political revolution, but the smaller scale of an ant preparing for the coming winter months, while the grasshopper aimlessly plays.

The times have changed – this isn’t 1910 Mexico, 1917 Russia, and the 1930s in Spain anymore. It’s not 1969 in France and a long way off from the 1980s and 90s of the USA. One can understand the many reasons for a lack of hope and wild eyed gleams in radical society today, when you and your compas can have a laser guided missile come through your bedroom window one night while you browse ANEWS. I wish all we could do was win, but we’ve been losing so much, that perhaps our idea of what winning looks like needs to change.

Just this past week, I listened to the “Intelligence Unclassified” podcast from New Jersey Homeland Security about anarchist extremists. Accordingly, from their intelligence reports the anarchist space across the USA lacks a central leadership (duh!), is largely disorganized, split into regions, and when we do attack they are low level unsophisticated attacks. These critiques from our enemies in blue is certainly not new, but quite interesting to actually hear, as one an imagine very similar good faith arguments coming from other anarchists like El Doctor about the current predicament. They went on to break down anarchist extremists into two distinct groups, the heroes of the day, the antifa and the traditional anticapitalists. Not surprisingly, the east coast was portrayed as “peaceful” while the west coast not so much. With the exception of Montreal and the fact that it’s a city in Canada and not the USA, the east coast does seem like the sleep of old father time has dazed them off into a long slumber. Writing this editorial from the East Coast of things, I can agree that naps and nothing doing, seem like the status update of the day for our unwoke anarchist friends. Yes, we’ve all failed and will continue to fail. This isn’t grade school anymore though and the grit and grime of failure can hopefully (long pause) only help us pass onto something that looks like winning. And that as anarchists, we can get back to the most beautiful idea of all, anarchy.

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