On publishing all the bad things. And the best of.

(October 27th, 2017)

A lot has been said over this past week in regard to publishing all the bad things, which is just the latest hubbub to strike the infamously drama-ripe North American anarchist space, at least according to the comments from everywhere else. You’re probably as sick of it as I am, but maybe not – and if so, in that case here you go. In the text “On No Platform and ITS” by William Gillis they not only call out Anarchist News and Little Black Cart, but The Anarchist Library as well for publishing texts related to eco-extremism. A simple DuckDuckGo search reveals that these are far from the only three websites to have published so-called eco-extremist material. Oh well, let’s grind the axe on the most hateable of all. As the old fishing saying goes, the only certain things in life are death, taxes, and leaky waders – one could probably add bad things on ANEWS. 

Fortunately, one of the beautiful things (and often one of the ugliest) about Anarchist News is the comments. And an anonymous author has already replied at length to the William Gillis text along with many more well thought-out bits of commentary to be found on the site and in the long comment forum. Curiously, what really grabbed my attention was the attack on The Anarchist Library project for having published these bad texts. Before writing your call out, I wonder if it’s ever a practice to first try to engage those in question privately, maybe have a dialogue before going full public? I don’t recall seeing any texts by pinche ITS on the library since 2014, although related hanger-ons and similar topics is perhaps the problem? To the reader, these are more anarchx years of ITS and not related to the much more recent bad news that isn’t published there or on this site. Sorry, I forgot you already addressed this point in your text. Do you know who else is still published on the library? Michael Schmidt!!! GASP. 

Although, not a lot of texts were ever submitted by Schmidt, it also turns out he really didn’t write many parts of “Black Flame” (wink wink, nudge nudge) and you can still find a text or two by him on the library. Does continuing to share text by Michael Schmidt mean the library is evil? Did you ever try asking them? I wonder what the response might have been... Dialogue with the people and projects you share affinity with, but also question and disagree with seems like a much more rationale approach to finding an understanding and possible solutions than writing reviews that fail to take into account previous replies. Then again, if all else fails – just make stuff up and go public like real anarchists in North America do said some comments from everywhere but North America.

Anyways, moving on into the other direction of all things ANEWS, we have the recent text “Perfect Black #2” by shadowsmoke where we find out that “One of the problems with anarchist discourse right now is that we tend towards being assholes with one another – or at least, it often feels that way.” I couldn’t agree more, and think this problem goes all the way back in anarchist discourse, as was there ever not a time? As the member of thecollective that wrote the comment described by shadowsmoke as being unexpected and that made them feel bad, I’m sorry – but, at the same time what did you expect in writing such a critique? A non-response? To be clear, I think they are talking about what I wrote, but it could be the other comment by another member of  thecollective as well. In the end, nothing but support for being that force in the world that works to counter the tendency towards being assholes with each other and towards all hanging out doing the things we love, find fun, and worthwhile. This is what drew me into anarchist discourse years ago, continues to keep me here, and is nice to hear.

One quote that resonates a lot with me over the years is the opening quote from “Choosing Relations” by Liana Doctrines published in AJODA #63, which was then uploaded to The Anarchist Library. It says: “If there is one place that anarchists have the power to shape our lives to our desires, it is in our personal relationships. So why don’t we have all the community, solidarity, and lifelong affinity that we articulate so beseechingly?” 

Probably because of ANEWS honestly...


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