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#14 Fair Trade Coffee

Being a citizen of the first world, one realizes that many things we touch are brought to us by the hands of exploited labour, bloody wars, and more heinous crimes against humanity.

Anarchists, like anyone else who lives in the first world, comes in contact with these goods multiple times a day. However, when it comes to getting their latte (soy if you’re vegan) anarchists won’t have anything to do with it. They will insist with great fervour on only consuming fair trade coffee.

They may even know which cafes use fair trade beans in their roasting. If you get coffee with an anarchist friend, it’s best to let them choose the cafe so you don’t stumble in a “do you know how they treat the farmers” discussion. Yes, the Hanes t-shirt and Levi jeans they’re wearing were produced with third world labour, but they don’t see that as the point. If you get coffee take-a-way from somewhere, you’re best not to even show them the paper cup. Regardless of the fact that the cafe may or may not be fair trade, they’ll hound you endlessly for not buying a ceramic take-a-way mug.

#13 Solidarity

Solidarity is one of the buzz words of any labour militant.

If there’s a labour organiser with a grievance, you can be sure there will be a solidarity event. In fact, if anything happens remotely bad in the world, anarchists show up with solidarity showings. It’s their solution to everything.

It’s best not to point out to the anarchist that the people she’s showing solidarity for over in third world sweatshops more than likely don’t have an internet connection to see images of her sign, nor do they have any concept of what what anarchism is. That would upset an anarchist too much and bog you down too much in petty bickering over how evil you are for being a consumer of this or that.

They also name things like their zines after the concept of solidarity. Anarchists are painfully unoriginal at naming things, so you can be sure if something is called solidarity, organise, or has the word black in it, it’s probably an anarchist organisation.

#12 Direct Action

If anarchists don’t like voting, then what do they like? The answer to that is direct action.

Direct action can take many forms, and is defined as any sort of action that is a direct effort to change the state of affairs, outside political channels such as voting. The concept was made famous by Martin Luther King and Mohandas Gandhi.

You won’t see anarchists marching in great numbers to usher in civil rights for ethnically oppressed people, or break away from imperial empires.

Instead, you’ll usually see anarchists marching with anywhere from 5-10 people, trying to organise a transnational Fortune 500 coffee corporation. It’s painfully clear this is only a marginally better alternative to voting, but don’t tell them that. Anarchists also derive a sense of amusement from protesting, and this would deflate their pastime as well as enrage them.

Sabotage is also among the favourite weapons of direct action in an anarchists repertoire. It’s romantised to be the act of destroying whole factory lines, but sadly it mostly works out to be clogging the break room sink for the fifth time with coffee grinds.

If a co-worker of yours always shames you when you go to Starbucks instead of the independent coffee shop down the block and is always trying to get you to read a book called “The Conquest of Bread”, beware: you may have an anarchist in your workplace.

When the occasional G20 pops up, anarchists flock to the CBD of that particular city in great number to participate mass-sabotage. The scene may look like a trip to Mecca, except with a lot of black bandanas, riot shields, tear gas, and Molotov cocktails. Throwing bricks at windows is the most popular activity, and if the black bloc is particularly lucky, they’ll get to destroy a police cruiser.

The day usually ends in a few really pissed off upper-middle-class McDonald’s franchise owners who have to replace windows, and a few criminal records that are all the more longer. The events are always construed as a win because some anarchists will get arrested, which is a badge of honour for any political activist, and anarchist forums get new pictures of riot porn to fawn over the next day.

The fact that countries are still implementing austerity measures is bitter sweet. Sure, citizens are still being screwed over, but it also means there will be new riot porn.

#11 Spain

Spain has long been the place where anarchism has taken hold more so than any other place. In the mid 1930’s, there was even an anarchist revolution, the only of its kind.

For this reason, anarchists love Spain. After all, their ideas have been relatively insignificant in the public sphere of every other country in the world.

The CNT boasts membership in the thousands, unheard of for any other anarchist organisation.

Anarchists in the IWW on the other hand, probably know every other member in their chapter, been to their house for dinner, and have met their kids. While the IWW is busy organising sandwich shops, the CNT actually has several mainstream workplaces organised, the stuff wobblies only dream of. When the IWW go on strike, an employer gets kind of upset, then goes back to get more coffee. When the CNT or CGT go on strike, an actual industry is effected nationwide.

While the Marxist has a handful of revolutions they can romantically think back on, the anarchists only have one. As such, they hold on to it dearly.

If you meet an anarchist who speaks Spanish or Catalan, beware, they are a serious anarchist. Do not talk about history to them under any circumstances unless you’d like to hear an hour long oral history of the Franco regime.

#10 Acronyms

AIT, CNT, CGT, FAU, IWW, IWA, FAI.

If none of these make sense to you, don’t despair. No one else remembers them except anarchists themselves.

Anarchists speaking with one another might resemble code speak with all the acronyms they use. It has a purpose, however. Anarchism in the English speaking world has traditionally been lacking. Most notable anarchist causes have been in Spain or Slavic nations, and considering most people don’t want to say “Confederation Nacional del Trabajo” when they’re referring to the famous anarcho-syndicalist union the CNT, they just go with the acronym.

This has made anarchists lazy in their speaking over the ages. If you plan on forming a new anarchist group, it’s imperative the acronym for it is catchy and easy to remember. Otherwise it’s incredibly likely it will die because people confused it for some other organisation, or just didn’t want to say several garbled letters.

#9 Hating John Zerzan

Anarchists spare no love for John Zerzan.

Zerzan, of course, being the leading mind in the Anarcho-Primitivist movement.

For anarchists this flirts dangerously close with the “wrong kind of anarchist.” His ideas of dismantling the whole of civilisation and returning to hunter-gatherer means of survival run contrary to what every other philosopher wants to do. What’s more, the concept of chasing after rabbits with spears and dancing around a fire naked aren’t popular with many except primitivists themselves.

With his jabs at socialism, civilisation, and borderline libeling of anarchist messiah Noam Chomsky, he’s clearly not popular among many.

The late anarchist philosopher Murray Bookchin exhibits the anarchist hate for Zerzan in his work Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism, a book that frequently jabbed at anti-civilisation and anti-technology thought.

Perhaps anarchists also harbour a subconscious loathing for Zerzan considering his friendship with the Unabomber, a man who put Chomsky on an assassination list among other academics.

Anarchists are eternally puzzled by the fairly new phenomenon of Anarcho-Capitalism.

For close to a hundred years anarchism had chugged along as a philosophy vehemently opposed to capitalism, as well as the state.

Then, Murray Rothbard came along and founded the philosophy of Anarcho-Capitalism. It was the bizarre marrying of a traditionally socialist philosophy with extreme laissez-faire capitalist individualism.

This peculiar hybrid of sorts still has anarchists confused. After attending several protests against Fortune 500 companies, picketing countless business, and trying to form anarcho-syndicalist unions in their workplace, they can’t help but scratch their heads when they see their ideas used in the context of classical liberal extremism.

But anarchists won’t make an attempt to argue against their ideas, sans perhaps Chomsky and a few others. Instead, they just make fun of them.

For anarchists, their efforts of argument are better aimed at their authoritarian brothers like the Trotskyists, Leninists, and other Marxists. The main gripes for Anarcho-Capitalists such as paedophilia laws, road laws, and the minimum wage are so strange, anarchists don’t know anything to do except make fun of them.

Perhaps there is also some joy anarchists take in there finally being a school of political thought more irrelevant than their own.