On the Recent Discussions; (1) Mutual Respect & Some Historical Consciousness; (2) Some Words on Election Politics

Opinie, gepost door: Dylan op 12/03/2021 03:07:47

First of all, it is great that indymedia has come a lot more alive, and there is now intense debate here with some good content here and there. But there are definite problems with this discussion, and I would like to add some thoughts on electoral politics as well.

First of all, and most important, there is a lack of mutual respect and consciousness of even the most recent history. Nothing is gained by making vague yet grandiose threats of ‘revolutionary responses.’ What do you mean by this? If someone from Bij1 hands out a flyer at an anarchist action, will you punch them? Or what? This is insane. Let me just say, if I see you do that, I will punch you back. If part of your way to achieve anarchy is the use of violence against people to suppress (non-fascist!!) ideas, then you are my enemy.

This leads me to a second point: have some historical consciousness. Now I'm not saying I have a lot of this. A recurring problem in our circles is the lack of the passing on of knowledge and experiences between generations. But I'll give some of my impressions, to at least do this a little bit (also since I am one of the older ones now). We are standing on the ruins of the squatters’ movement. Radicals in this movement, united in the Political Wing of the Squatters Movement (Politieke Vleugel van de Kraakbeweging – PVK) also tried to violently purge elements of the squatters movement in order to come to a better, more effective movement against state and capital. They did not succeed, instead contributing to the decline of the movement as a whole and poisoning relationships between people (which to a large degree is exactly the same thing). We are extremely far from the strength of the squatters’ movement in those days in the ‘80’s – who, it must be noted, declared war on the Dutch state with a similar grandiosity and was then thoroughly defeated, even though it put up a hard fight and had mass support – yet already this violent form of “i know the best way to do things” is starting to re-appear.

Please realise that all those people who spend “too much time on endless organizing secretariat duties” do not do this unconsciously, because they are weird proto-bureaucrats or because they cannot do anything else. Some consciousness of even more recent history is necessary here. 10 years ago, or even 6, the Free Union (Vrije Bond) basically did not exist. What did we have? Only individual action groups and local anarchist groups. There was often a hyper-activism of organizing action after action after action, and not organizing anything except but through action. Perhaps this sounds romantic to you – the point is that it led nowhere. This is why some people decided to start building outside of and before actions, in order to attract more people to do actions with and to better do actions. In order to be able to have projects which last longer than a couple of weeks. In order to be able to do sustained campaigns, instead of exhausting yourself with one action, then recovering for a couple of weeks, then exhausting oneself again, and repeat. Now we have growing anarchist networks: the anarchist idea is spreading, and more people than I have ever seen self-identify as anarchist and are in some way involved in anarchist structures.

Now there are criticisms of this way of doing things. That is good. Definitely valid in some respects. There is always the problem of longer projects making you unavailable for immediate action when the time calls for it. And there is always the problem of means becoming ends, including but not limited to meetings that lead nowhere or to not enough. But please, have some respect. Not in the sense of having to shut up and listen, but in the sense of being curious about other people’s experiences and why it is they do what they do. Because we are comrades god damn it, because we need each other, and because we can learn from each other. And if you are convinced you know best, show it! Use those boring networks created by too many secretarial duties for your own purposes! That is why they were built to begin with!

(2) Some words on Election Politics.

Election politics can be used as a stage to spread ideas. This was countered by an argument about how right populists say they are not from politics, that they are angry at politicians and that they are not like them. And that this is what we need to use. That is a good argument. Except that you are arguing not only for us to stay outside of any form of electoral politics, but to actively eliminate people from our movement who do any form of this. And those right populists are exactly popular, because they used the spectacle of parliamentary politics against parliamentary politics! They use the stage of parliamentary politics for a (fascist) critique of parliamentary politics. Otherwise, only very few people would have heard from them. Presence in parliamentary politics gives you access to the mass media. That is the point, about using this type of politics as a platform/stage for your politics.

The problem is that most people are glued to their screens. This sucks, but the answer cannot (only) be to not appear on their screens. (In fact, this reminds me of the position of many anarchists 10+ years ago, so again with some historical consciousness you can see that this strategy did not work either). If you do not appear on their screens, you do not appear in their consciousness. We need to find ways to appear on screens without making people more glued to them, to point them away from screens. In the same way, we need to appear in the spectacle of parliamentary politics (in order to appear on screens in fact), in such a way to point people away from parliament into anarchy, self-organisation, etc. Obviously, that does have risks. But to simply not do this, does not seem to work. You point at all the historical failures of parliamentary politics for liberation etc. In response, I can simply point at all the historical failures of such politics which did not in some way enter parliament, or simply at the historical failure of all such politics (global capitalism is still firmly in charge, is it not?). This does not get us anywhere, except fighting each other. And that too, has led to historical failures. Etc. Etc. Etc.

That said I do not think anarchists should take a seat in parliament. At the most, we should run for parliament and leave the seat empty if elected. But that does not mean we should not have people with which we share certain (or even alot of) things in common, and have a friendly relationship with them. This of course does not mean we shouldn’t critique them. But in any case we definitely should not declare everyone who does stuff related to parliamentary politics our enemy, and threaten them with forced expulsion. People with a different strategy are not immediately enemies. In between anarchist comrades and enemies there are allies, and in between (and even inside!) those positions yet a million more. The trick is how to navigate them properly. Not to use violence when things get a little messy and don’t conform to the idea you have in your head on how things should be. Also because, damn, shit gets REAL messy when you do that!

We are in this together!

Tags: discussie elections Verkiezingen

Global IMC Network www.indymedia.org Afrika Ambazonia Canarias Estrecho / Madiaq Kenya South Africa Canada London, Ontario Maritimes Quebec Oost Azië Japan Manila QC Saint-Petersburg Europa Abruzzo Alacant Antwerpen Athens Austria Barcelona Belarus Belgium Bristol Brussels Bulgaria Calabrië Cyprus Emilia-Romagna Estrecho / Madiaq Euskal Herria Galiza Duitsland grenoble Hungary Ireland Istanbul Italy La Plana Liege liguria Lille Linksunten Lombardia London Madrid Malta Marseille Nantes Napoli Netherlands Northern England Norway Nottingham Oost-Vlaanderen Paris/Île-de-France Piemonte Poland Portugal Roma Roemenië Russia Scotland Sverige Switzerland Torun Toscana Ukraine UK-GB Latijns Amerika Argentina Bolivia Chiapas Chile Sur Braszilië Sucre Colombia Ecuador Mexico Peru Puerto Rico Qollasuyu Rosario santiago Uruguay Valparaiso Venezuela Oceanië Aotearoa Manila Melbourne Perth QC Sydney Zuid-Azië India Verenigde Staten Arizona Atlanta Austin Baltimore Big Muddy Binghamton Buffalo Charlottesville Chicago Cleveland Colorado Columbus DC Hawaii Houston Hudson Mohawk LA Madison Michigan Milwaukee Minneapolis/St. Paul New Mexico New Orleans NYC Philadelphia Pittsburgh Portland Richmond Rochester Rogue Valley San Diego San Francisco Bay Area Santa Cruz, CA Sarasota Seattle Urbana-Champaign Worcester West Azië Beirut Israel Palestine Process FBI/Legal Updates Mailing Lists Process & IMC Docs Projecten Print Radio Video Regio's United States Topics Biotech