This is in response to something someone said at a seminar about how to combat Police brutality.
I'm writing this because there's a word I can't get out of my head. It was brought up at the last Law and Disorder conference. Someone who seemed like a sympathizer asked someone who was trying to differentiate between the need for Police reform and the need for Police abolition, "I think it's awesome that they fight, but why don't they try reaching out to other communities?" What I took from that was "I'm not much of a fighter, and when I see a group of twenty something's who are all of the same back ground it seems to me to be more of a demographic, but they fight, so who exactly are they and what context am I supposed to put this into.?" The answer she received from someone in the audience was "I don't think that reaching out to other communities is a good thing. It just sounds like missionary work."
This has gotten me thinking, what's so bad about missionary work?
First of all, that's how you spread your beliefs. If people don't know you, what you're about, what you stand for...pretty much have absolutely no context to put what you do into , maybe you should tell them?
There's a problem in the basic socio-factor of the believer, are you doing what you're doing because you feel your life your safety are in imminent danger, or are you doing it out of middle class disaffection. There's a different dynamic between Tunisian youth starving to death and middle class Americans who believe that every one everywhere should be entitled to live a life free of exploitation and social hierarchy. There's nothing wrong with that at all. I fit in this demographic all too well. But if that's where you are as a community, you need to be able to reach across to people of different upbringings and make the connections which you so fervently and genuinely believe are there. Missionary work, true missionary work is not a byproduct of Western imperialism, it's the chief driving force behind behind most social movements. It's responsible for the proliferation of every single major religion...and overwhelmingly most of the time in each case was accepted out of good faith before it become a tool of Western Imperialism. It's an essential force behind any and every revolution. People will naturally probably not just automatically rush over and start wearing cirlce A's. But if you can find sympathizers, you can permeate the culture and be seen as a genuine alternative to what we have now, and a genuine revolutionary force. This is probably a slow process that takes painstaking humiliation and hard work. But without it, again, no one has any context to put you or what you do into. And if you're going to fight, and you're gaining precedence among the people simply on the fact that you combat police brutality, it would seem to me that at some point reaching out to others might be helpful. It might be a failure, whether by exposing yourself too much or just in proving that people can't get along and this is "what democracy looks like."
One of the few things in this country worth feeling good about is our ability to proselytize. Usually the people who do it aren't our favorite people, naturally, Jehovah's witness's and Trotskyist's...no disrespect, but seriously. Jehovah's a made up mistranslation of a mistranslation of my peoples unpronounceable word for G-d, and Trotskyites have been more than obviously proven wrong for the last hundred years. Actually both have, but still, I have no problem that they propagate their beliefs, so long as they don't bully me, in which case I have to mase the Trotskyist people...again. But proselytizing is also used to combat neo-Nazism from spreading into a community. There it's not seen as missionary work, because the threat is imminent, and when a threat is imminent, that's when movements and social bodies get revolutionary. If you were starving to death, or the police where shooting you because of the color of your skin, with your ability to organize and your idealism, you would propagate.
As it stands, sympathizers not only can't put into context a lot of what you do, but can't stand with you because of the way you organize, which is only for your self and your friends. It's not a bad thing because you do this out of safety concerns, but still... This is anathema to any community. Bodies that can't propagate correctly die out. It's inevitable. One generation plays it's part, get's bored, moves on, another generation fills in the gap, keeps it alive, repeats the cycle. This is why the state doesn't see you as a genuine threat. When a riot breaks out on a college campus and the state of Pennsylvania hires an independent investigator to figure out who was responsible, and they go back to the state of Pennsylvania and say "anarchist agitators," do you know what the state of Pennsylvania does? Fires them.
It's an endless cycle that at the moment doesn't build on itself. Someone should get inventive. I wish I could tell you how, but between this and a hundred other missteps I'll probably be excommunicated by the end of the working day. Que sera.
Another problem that arises from not being able to reach out is disconnection from other people. Dealing with people on a face by face basis and getting support is not a bad thing, not only because you might find sympathizers, but you actually can get a taste of where you stand on the socio-political spectrum, and see actually how viable people find your way of life, and how they might respond to it.
I hate putting things into Marxist terms, but we are defined by our abilities to produce (and communicate) i.e. materially. People do not respond to an abstract notion thrown up in the air and twenty people or so who follow it rushing into the streets. I support this action to no end, but it is what it is. If you can present yourself and give the illusion of a civic group people will probably feels safer as to your faith in them and their ability to reorganize society in material terms, which is what people are going to respond to always. This is what forms the basic beliefs of social anarchy. Any connections to anarchism in this country outside of actual anarchists only seem to manifest themselves in relatively misdirected forms, or in chronically misdirected forms i.e. increases in suicide rates, teen shootings, etc. etc., or when people are starving to death because a hurricane has wiped out their bureaucracy and their going to starve to death because their "leader's" a jag off. Again, the latter case only happens so often in this country though. As long as people can live comfortably, easily, they don't care. One thing I always have had mixed feelings about is social security for people who aren't retired, or disabled. As much as I love the government giving out free cash this pacifies the people that would be supporters, and it does quite successfully.
Ex-military too. Alienating people from different backgrounds because they've sold their souls for a piece of the rock and then got screwed is not an intelligent way to go about garnering support. It shows horrible weakness, of character if anything. I hate American Imperialism, and when I get drunk and can't think of anything intelligent to say I say "fuck the troops." But if someone were sitting next to me telling me how they put their ass on the line in Iraq because they thought their faith in humanity had been perverted to fit into a neat nice narrow minded nationalism waiting to be abused, and now they are plagued by nightmare's and can't hold a job, and they hate their country and they're going to loose their wife and kids because their violent alchoholics, I might have a problem with burning paper mache troops and walking around with signs that say "fuck the troops." That's...not a good idea.
Especially if you believe that class warriors, i.e. drug dealers and petty criminals are the ones who will be there to take the streets in the end anyway, which some do. I think if the factors were right and you had enough support people when put against a wall, a man regardless of his past would stand with you, but as it is you don't have that, so nix that. They're going to continue dealing drugs to idiots like me and doing what they have to to get by. Not passing judgment, these people keep me from jumping into the Willamette with a rock tied to my foot, it just is what it is. In this climate they can only ascribe to your way of life through a long process of self realization and work to be able to stand up to what is perceived to be a radically idealistic way of life. Reaching out to these people might not be such a bad idea. Reach out to everyone.
When I look at the way the Greeks take to the streets, if a third of the Police force are put out of jobs they're standing with anarchist the next day. It's not just the same twenty people from the same back ground.
As it stands you have a demographic. I don't feel that way, because I know alot of you, and I know your politics and I know your heart and I know that you have balls where others don't. But only when you can figure out how to give the illusion of a political body without sacrificing your ideals or making yourselves vulnerable to the state will you be taken seriously... by the state. The local media whether they use the word "anarchist" or not makes you look like ballers. Here they break with the state to get ratings, and actually make what you do look like almost an insurrection from time to time. If you talk to average people they sympathize with you more than I think you actually realize. But the state doesn't see you as a threat, because it's not taking on and no one's coming to stand with you. People are not going to just come to you. That doesn't even have so much to do with the political climate as in just that's how people are. Really. I cannot argue this enough. They want you to ask them to the prom, they don't just want you to show up and through some vague abstraction somehow start fucking.
May every government fall, and may we all day come together free of class, religion, race or sex.
Please no personal attacks and DON'T CALL ME A FASCIST.
It's ya boy
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