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.

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One response to “One Year Ago

  1. Hey Petez, gonna have to say I agree with Chomsky on this one. I think the problem is that there is an entire ideology we’ve been exposed to in full, and repeatedly, through decades of exposure to mainstream education and media. Anarchy certainly has a wider ideology, and an aphorism such as “Obama 08, no borders, no state” references this–but most people have been exposed to what this references. Without the connection to the reference I think it’s easy to dismiss, and hard to justify as an in itself. The trick has to be in the media, in the references, in finding a wider place in time to slip into, or making that place wider.

    -Adam

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