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OLder Anarchist Network

I have set up a list on Rise-up for older anarchists to network.
Hi, friends and comrades: I have set up a list on Rise-up for older anarchists to network. Here's the description that i set it up with:
A list for older anarchists in North America to network, and fight ageism in the movement, while still fighting the good fight against the state/hierarchy/capitalism and for freedom and a better world.
If you want to subscribe, you can do by sending an email to:  older_anarchist_network-subscribe@lists.riseup.net or write me and i will subscribe you.

This list emanated from discussions of ageism in the anarchist movement/milieu coming out of some people's experience in St. Paul during the RNC. The St. Paul discussion is of course welcome and important but i don't want this list to only be discussing it.

I will moderate this list very lightly, and i hope flaming will be kept to a minimum.

There will be no minimum age for what is considered older because different people's experience are different. If you get this and you feel it doesn't apply to you, please don't complain, just forward it to someone it you think might find this useful. And by the way, everyone should forward this to anyone they think it might be relevant to.

hmmm 22.Sep.2008 11:24


i think this is the discussion if people are interested in it


Agism 24.Sep.2008 17:41


Wow, that was an awesome discussion. I just clicked on the link and read the whole thing. What a HUGE problem.

I've actually noticed this shit here in Portland, though with something of a twist. I see people patronizing older radicals more often than I see people being mean to them. Either way, it's wrong. While a lot of radicals of all ages here are tolerant of each other, no matter what age, color, gender, etc, there does tend to be a definite, though probably small, faction of scenester-ism. It reminds me of high school, where you had to have the right clothes, the right brands, the right friends. It's not always about age, as the discussion in the link above mentioned. It's about fitting in. (It almost cracks me up to run up against some scenester in their socially approved black garb, who hasn't been out on the streets much, who doesn't know me, and looks at me with snide and openly ridiculing suspicion when I show up to an action straight from work, still dressed in urban camouflage. I usually just laugh to myself, and then ignore the person, because I've been around enough, and am comfortable enough with my place in radical Portland culture, that I am not thrown by it. It's obvious to me who the "outsider" is in situations like that. But it still pisses me off. Because someone just coming into the movement, newly radicalized, is going to be really put off by that crap, and it's destructive to the world we want to create. Plus, it's just so ridiculous and smarmy.)

I have occasionally seen ageism on this site. People glorying in youth culture make fun of older people. I don't like it. Ironically, those same people often complain of ageism because they are young. Personally, I don't see it. I have never seen anyone treated poorly for being young in this community, but I have definitely seen people being patronized and even, occasionally, ridiculed for being older. Like I said, it's not the norm, but it's still really irritating. Gray hair is a sign of wisdom and courage, not something to be suspicious of.

This is something that people need to deal with, in my opinion. (And please, let's do it before we all get old enough to start getting treated like that.)

More on Ageism 24.Sep.2008 17:56


There was a discussion about this on this site a few years back. I just looked it up, because I remembered it, and it had quite an impact on the way I feel about this issue. Here is the link:  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2005/01/309347.shtml

I think my favorite comment from that discussion is this one:

Ageism's real face 31.Jan.2005 09:40
Anarchist Woman link

I'm not trying to make light of your concerns, Ben, but we live in a culture that purposefully glorifies youth. It's a throw-away culture where youth is commodified and the wisdom gained from age is dismissed. I've seen many anarchists and other radicals buy into this philosophy, without even realizing they're being duped by consumer-oriented sales tactics. The reason youth is valued in this culture is simply that the young tend to have more disposable income, since they often have money but often do not have financial obligations. Therefore, they are an attractive and lucrative market -- it's called "disposable income," and it's played to in the media endlessly. Movies, commercials and all the other voices of our culture emanating from commercial interests target, and therefore glorify, the young and make the old invisible so that many people blindly buy into this manufactured worldview.

Ageism against older people is a huge problem in this society. While I had concerns like yours not long ago, I have since realized that ageism against older people is a much bigger problem. As someone said above, you will soon be over 18, but you will not be able to go back in time. Therefore, ageism against the young is a temporary thing, made more tolerable by all the many advantages of youth offered by our culture. Ageism against the old, on the other hand, is a permanent thing. And there are few benefits to that.

Some of the most rockin' activists I know are middle-aged or older women. And yet they are often excluded and usually ignored or patronized by younger activists. It SUCKS, it's clueless, and it terrifies me because I'm afraid when I get to be their age, maybe I will be ignored and excluded and dissed as they are. This is really an important thing for us to consider as a community, and I will no longer tolerate ageist garbage and condescending attitudes toward older people. I urge everyone else to make the same decision.