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Recent articles by Heather
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Fighting for the Future Apr 17 13
Open Letter to U.S. Anarchists from Midwest Unrest
north america / mexico | anarchist movement | debate Sunday May 08, 2005 19:37 by Heather - Midwest Unrest
The late 90s and early 21st century saw a rise in energy, inspiration, activity, and exposure for anarchism in the US. But as of late, that motivation and accompanying hope have fizzled to a large extent. I am worried by the trends we are developing and by the direction in which our anarchism is being driven. We need to step back, examine the gains and the mistakes that we’ve made, assess where it is that we must go from here, what path we must take, and what we must do to get there.
We must begin to build. Revolution does not appear out of the blue. The revolution does not suddenly arrive and present itself. The revolution is now—has already started—and we are shamefully behind schedule. We have to make strides to regain what ground we’ve lost. We have to catch up to where the mothers and fathers of anarchism left off a century ago.
Malatesta’s Fra Contadini, with 100,000 copies published in 1920 in alone, was deemed “most elementary and directed to the mass of the people who knew nothing about social questions…” but it “did not prevent Malatesta from developing his most profound ideas.” Malatesta was not alone. At that time anarchist publications were being printed by the thousands and hundreds of thousands to meet the demands of the times. Like Malatesta’s time, and as was carried out in the Spain during the war, we need a flow of fresh, accessible, visual and written propaganda produced and distributed on a scale not yet known in the US.
Accessibility is key. If we are to achieve a mass base of support, — and we must achieve a mass base of support— the very first step is to dispel the myths and fears that hinder the name “Anarchist”— indeed the most natural, pure, and fantastic of things. Our approach as a movement needs to shift. Apart from what we prove through practice, art and written propaganda will be at the forefront of our arsenal. Our own sort of advertisements—-for life rather than products. Perhaps something like CrimethInc, plus substance and relevance. Cut and pasted photocopies advocating dumpster diving and the like are not going to get us beyond talking to ourselves. And really, that’s not representative of the world that I, for one, advocate anyway.
While we do not want to lose solid hold of our politics by stooping to the level of the dumbed-down, reconstituted, abbreviated attention span of capitalist consumer culture, the reality is that that is the starting point that we, in the US, have to work from. From that given point we can begin to build our capacity to reintroduce thought, consciousness, intelligence, social questions, cooperation, joy, passion, and life to the mainstream.
It will take demonstration of the feasibility of The Idea through practice, our unfaltering dedication to it, as well as that flood of fresh art and written propaganda. Rather than speaking to ourselves, as we seem to prefer to do, we need talk with (and not to) those that have not intentionally taken up the front lines of the battle, but who are on the forefront of the struggle more than we. Our aim has to be to build a sustainable force while, again, popularizing The Idea.
We must abandon our tendency to embrace life stylist politics. Not just what anarchism is commonly mistaken to mean, but what anarchism has come to be for even most anarchists is a shameful, contorted version of the true beauty and possibilities it carries. Some working class single mom is probably not going to give a fuck about some weird looking kid preaching about dumpster diving. That’s not what she’ll want to strive for and we shouldn’t settle for that shit either. Such things will not only be rejected as undesirable by anyone who does not readily embrace irrelevant anarchist counterculture, but will really prove to be nothing more than a side note in history of what anarchism, for some, used to be. But, if we can talk with that mom about collectivizing childcare, or healthcare, or improved housing, or, better yet, actually organize with her to make it happen… we might actually have something.
Like I said, we’re way behind… if the right work had been laid down for the last 100 year, the last 200 years, maybe we’d have a concrete chance at a better world in our lifetimes. Unfortunately, that’s not where we are. We could continue to stand gawking, overwhelmed by the enormousness of the struggle before us, claiming that “the time is not right,” clinging to our comfortable yet irrelevant politics… or we could roll up our sleeves and get to fucking work.
If we throw ourselves into it today, not just now, but really commit ourselves to creating something better— something useful, something sustainable, something new— then maybe, if we do it right, the next generation or the one after that can look back at the work we’ve done and the foundations that we’ve laid, throw down the final bricks, and know what it is to cry “The Revolution is ours!”…and to have it be true.
The revolution does not step into the picture and politely announce itself. The revolution is here. It has been here, quietly lurking, growing, and preparing, for so long—forever— that we don’t even recognize it. Even now that it has gotten tired of waiting for us, now that it has stepped up and introduced itself, we’re still oblivious.
The flaws of capitalism are showing through the widening cracks. It will not be possible for capitalism, as we know it, to sustain itself for future generations. The gap between the wealthy and the impoverished of the world is widening by the day. Resistance and uprisings are daily occurrences. Now the tenets of anarchism are more timely, more relevant than ever before. Now is the time to act. Now is the time to take ourselves seriously. Now is the time to honor The Idea. Now is the time to build. Now is the time to translate our passion— our love and our rage— into eloquent action.
from the first and soon to be released issue of midwest unrests chicago area anarchist newsletter. Submissions still being accepted but hurry the hell up and send it to us asap! -
Forever yours in struggle,
Heather Midwest Unrest
Sun 26 May, 05:39
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