Daily Archives: November 23, 2008

Love Me, I’m A Liberal

Fucking liberals.

I am SO down with it remaining a slur, and for not purely sectarian reasons.

While the article above does a good job of problematizing what the term “progressive” really means, I think the term does a good job as a euphemism for an alliance of folks on the left. From communists and some anarchists to non-explicitly-ideological folks like Glenn Greenwald and Amy Goodman. Euphemistic as it is, I believe it is a good rhetorical tool for folks to play with. As in a previous discussion, naming one’s self and one’s movement creates a certain sense of solidarity even across ideological lines.

One Year Ago

If I’d been paying more attention, I would have noticed that a little less than a week ago marked the one year anniversary of the blockades at the Port of Olympia.

In many ways, the events of those weeks mark a new chapter in my life, the point where I took the plunge into anarchist organizing and to a certain extent, identity. It marked the beginning of very deep concerns around the Iraq war and tied me to it in a very real way. I bonded with so many people in those few days, and some of the people I met and got to know through it I count as some of my best friends.

There is a sort of binding solidarity in mass actions, even through all of the disagreements over tactics and approach that we had in those days, disagreements that are at least thirty years old. I began to take ideological challenge seriously and began putting question marks at the ends of everybody’s sentences and slogans. It heralded in a year of resistance and repression.

Through the onslaught of PTSD and paranoia I began to ask questions about strategy and began to clarify my perceptions of all the various contradictions in the world, cracks in the armor of state control and ideological conditioning.  While watching riot porn, I begin to feel terrified instead of excited, but a sort of terror that comes with a feeling of responsibility. I realize that while riots and confrontation may alienate “the public”, being calm and approachable about your support for militant action can shatter more than a few worlds. In fact they both have grounding in the same intellectual dirt: occupy and defend.

It is by doing both of these things that we can not only put our bodies on the gears of war, not only stop the revolving door of shipments, but by which we can insert ourselves in to so many rhetorical cracks and push and push and push. I don’t agree with Noam Chomsky that anarchists can’t be good at soundbites, that we need more room and space to really get to the meat of our ideas. It’s just that our soundbites are better expressed in questions, skepticism, and challenge. For every thousand justifications for war, and cops, and presidents, one really good question!

The slogan NO WAR BUT DANCE WAR lives tattooed on my arm as a reminder that people who have been beaten by cops for days on end have the best parties.

There will be more reflection.

Upper Middle Class Weight

Wow. So I really did not expect to run headfirst into this. I am realizing that a lot of my stress over finding work likely comes from a good load of upper middle class expectations.

Thinking about it… I got out of high school, went to college, got out of college and after an internship and some traveling, start looking for ways to get paid to do social change work. Not a totally atypical story for someone with leftish politics, and my class standing.

Now after three years of telling my mother I did NOT want to be a professional, I’m busy spending my time trying to find some way to fit my politics into a job structure. Not entirely anarchist of me.

Acknowledging that I want to eat, and live in a house or apartment or something I need to figure out a way to earn money. Up until a few months ago, I was perfectly fine with that way to make money being childcare, but as my travels have gone on and the prospect of being out of money and back home looms the prospect of professionalizing myself bears down on me.

What does professionalizing myself mean? Does it mean getting paid to do something I enjoy? Probably not. Does it mean adhering to authority and exerting authority over others, probably.

So is there a way for me to navigate this minefield? Am I focusing on this part of going on with life to avoid thinking about what other things the change means? Like changing community, safety, responsibility…