QUESTION: What's our position on all these recent defections & desertions from anarchism (esp. in California-Land): condemn or condone? Purge them or hail them as advance-guard? Gnostic elite...or traitors?
Actually, we have a lot of sympathy for the deserters & their various critiques of anarchISM. Like Sinbad & the Horrible Old Man, anarchism staggers around with the corpse of a Martyr magically stuck to its shouldershaunted by the legacy of failure & revolutionary masochismstagnant backwater of lost history.
Between tragic Past & impossible Future, anarchism seems to lack a Presentas if afraid to ask itself, here & now, WHAT ARE MY TRUE DESIRES?& what can I DO before it's too late?...Yes, imagine yourself confronted by a sorcerer who stares you down balefully & demands, "What is your True Desire?" Do you hem & haw, stammer, take refuge in ideological platitudes? Do you possess both Imagination & Will, can you both dream & dareor are you the dupe of an impotent fantasy?
Look in the mirror & try it...(for one of your masks is the face of a sorcerer)...
The anarchist "movement" today contains virtually no Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans or children...even tho in theory such genuinely oppressed groups stand to gain the most from any anti-authoritarian revolt. Might it be that anarchISM offers no concrete program whereby the truly deprived might fulfill (or at least struggle realistically to fulfill) real needs & desires?
If so, then this failure would explain not only anarchism's lack of appeal to the poor & marginal, but also the disaffection & desertions from within its own ranks. Demos, picket-lines & reprints of 19th century classics don't add up to a vital, daring conspiracy of self-liberation. If the movement is to grow rather than shrink, a lot of deadwood will have to be jettisoned & some risky ideas embraced.
The potential exists. Any day now, vast numbers of americans are going to realize they're being force-fed a load of reactionary boring hysterical artificially-flavored crap. Vast chorus of groans, puking & retching...angry mobs roam the malls, smashing & looting...etc., etc. The Black Banner could provide a focus for the outrage & channel it into an insurrection of the Imagination. We could pick up the struggle where it was dropped by Situationism in '68 & Autonomia in the seventies, & carry it to the next stage. We could have revolt in our times& in the process, we could realize many of our True Desires, even if only for a season, a brief Pirate Utopia, a warped free-zone in the old Space/Time continuum.
If the A.O.A. retains its affiliation with the "movement," we do so not merely out of a romantic predilection for lost causesor not entirely. Of all "political systems," anarchism (despite its flaws, & precisely because it is neither political nor a system) comes closest to our understanding of reality, ontology, the nature of being. As for the deserters...we agree with their critiques, but note that they seem to offer no new powerful alternatives. So for the time being we prefer to concentrate on changing anarchism from within. Here's our program, comrades:
AnarchISM ultimately implies anarchy& anarchy is chaos. Chaos is the principle of continual creation...&