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community building | homelessness

Why Don't Other Radicals Like Me?

I've tried for years to understand it.
I don't sexually assault people, I don't make offensive statements or slurs against others because of their gender, sex, ethnicity, race, mental state, or anything else that people are oppressed by. I am a vegan and vocal supporter of animal rights. I love the trees and laying in the forest. I love when people disobey authority. I want a world that is non-hierarchical, full of love, peace, justice and anarchy. However, every time I get close to befriending someone in the radical cliques, they treat me like I am toxic poison. They passive-aggressively back away from me without telling me why. I've had people in these circles make fun of the way I dress, the way I talk, my mispronunciation of people's names, the funny things I say get laughed at and ridiculed. I've had people suspect me of being an agent provocateur, call me "sketchy," look at one another with judging glances in front of me and then stop talking to me. This happens when I am talking about totally normal things. Years ago I didn't know what security culture was and talked about foolish things in foolish places a time or two, but nobody even took me aside and said anything to me about what I should and should not talk about. The main way I learned better was through internet searches and reading essays. However, I am called "sketchy" and met with suspicion at all times. I do not understand it. I read the action reports, so I know that the United States gets but a handful of actions per year. That means that the overwhelming percentage of people who dislike me and who are obsessed with their close-knit circles and shutting me out are not doing actions, and they shut me out just because... but why? Is it pretension? Is it because I do not look, dress, cut my hair, talk like you and listen to your same kind of music? Is it because I avoid mosh pits? I want so badly to be among other people who want a world free of hierchy, who love laying in the woods all day long, who are like me in these ways. I have experienced rejection almost always. I can't change who I am. Why does this happen to me time and again? I can't function in mainstream society. I am at my wits end. I want to die. I am homeless, hopeless and loveless. I hear the word "community" so often among this subculture, but I don't see it, not unless the "community" refers to a mostly homogeneous group of people. It makes me cry.

sad 09.Jul.2011 00:07

Clyde

All social organizations will have cliques, or whatever you want to call them. In your case, these will tend to be people who are lifestyle members and get little done aside from "participating" in organizations with little interest in actually producing change. They will attend meetings, network, and be present at the right functions in order to represent themselves as radicals, and leave it at that.

Those people will be the ones who will shun you for your clothes, or who you know, or whatever. It is also the reason that many radical movements exist as insular pockets and do little or nothing at all aside from perpetuate their own existence through meetings in cafes of co-ops, then dissolve.

if you keep looking, you'll find people doing real work who will take your passions seriously. Try volunteering with some conservation groups, homeless outreach organizations, etc - you'll find some well-established societies who are doing real work every day to try and change things for the better.

Not to say you should turn your back and leave any time you see a group of people wearing black hoodies with patches (I'm one of them), but keep in mind the term "lifestyle anarchist", and realize that it exists for a reason.

Look for what people are doing, and not how they look, or act, or who they say they are.

As a vegan, AR activist, I'd say... 09.Jul.2011 01:17

****

go to protests, go to outreach events, go to work parties for sanctuaries, volunteer to walk shelter dogs, volunteer to scoop the cat litter at shelters, volunteer at benefits...anything but gazing at your navel at vegan potlucks...just get out there and do your thing to be an active, positive influence. I don't know if you'll make friends, but you'll be doing something good. And if I see you selflessly doing the work, I'll think you're fantastic and want to be your friend! But hey, I don't have that many friends either.

People are clique-y, and some of us are shy and don't seem to be interested in friendship when in reality we just don't know what to say. Give it time, get out there, and maybe you'll find a couple people to relate to. Maybe it's easier said than done.

The Real Deal 10.Jul.2011 03:12

blues

I'm an old fart now. When I was a little kid, I used to listen to Long John Nebel on the vacuum tube radio. The guy was full of wisdom, and the very most important thing he ever said was:

If you have ONE FRIEND YOU ARE RICH!

If you have some little booty on offer, you will find yourself in the company of many fake friends.

With a bit of effort, and mostly luck, you just might glean one or two or three REAL friends. If not, you will just be like most of us.

Life is hard, in case you haven't noticed.