Saturday, August 1, 2009

How Is It To Be Doing Being Making Total Destroy on Middle Class Anarchism?

Recent events, and the degree of their lameness, as articulated by comrade nostalgia on

So a bunch of batshit crazy buffoons come from out of town to a neighborhood they've never been to before, tell an anarchist convergence to get out of *their* community, and pretend it was an action against gentrification? I don't even know how much this is worth discussing, it's like having a political debate with some wingnut in People's Park about 2012 and Lizard People.

But seriously, what did this do but further highlight the irrelevance of a handful of anarchists to actual communities of color?

I remember being at the APOC caucus at last year's crimethinc convergence and at least one of the clowns responsible for this action was there whining about some white woman dancing in a grass skirt being cultural appropriation for a half hour. When I suggested that we use the rare opportunity of having so many anarchists of color in one place to discuss work we do in communities of color and ways we can become more relevant to these communities, his response was ":-|..........................". Ya'll are some scared to work in communities of color ass mutha fuckas, so you pretend to struggle against white supremacy by starting some dumb ass scene gossip that no one outside of your circle gives a flying fuck about.

If you really think a bunch of traveler kids rolling around in some dirt for 5 days is responsible for the gentrification in Garfield, you are out of your god damn mind. Wasn't the Bloomfield Garfield Corporation, the group responsible for evicting working class bars on Penn Avenue and working to raise property values in the neighborhood attempting to get the convergence evicted?

Ya'll are really on some astronomically dumb Symbionese Liberation Army, New World Order, Area 51 type bullshit.

10 years from now, I hope to be in the streets defending the commune from the police, while ya'll are going to be sitting in some room with 3 wingnuts working on your new zine and arguing about whether to spell "person" with a "y" or a "7".

...have made me question my role in the disgusting beast that is identity politics. As engine summer stated on the 'Smack a White Boy' thread:

check it out everyone, the prole anarchists hate the middle class anarchists, the anarcho liberals and anarchafems hate the insurrectionaries (who hate windows), and of course, apoc hates white anarchists!

...I feel like I have to rearticulate my ideas and what I mean by them, as to avoid confusion or a lumping together with people I don't have an affinity with.

I started writing about being working class within anarchism because I felt that myself and my friends were outside of it. I felt that what I wanted out of an anarchist movement was nowhere to be found and that much of this had to do with not (just) the class composition of the movement (meaning, the degree in which middle class people populate it), but also the substance of which the movement produced. For me, the activist and leftist elements of anarchism I found to be middle class, or coming from a middle class line of thought. Meaning, regardless of if working class people or middle class people were doing the 'work' or not, I still found the product of most anarchists to be in line with middle class ideology and values. Those values were based around people not struggling with those who were faced with similar conditions, but instead trying to set examples and 'show people' a better way of being. It meant making symbolic gestures to capital instead of taking tension and making rupture.

Having been a young person once, and having to sit through meetings with liberals and leftists who openly identified with being middle class (as they were high ranking professors, lawyers, etc), I learned what it meant to have the drive for direct action stifled by people who were scared of it. As an anarchist, I learned what it was like to exist within a movement that ultimately offered me no chance in it changing or bettering my material conditions - because largely it was uninterested in them.

I reasoned, what if this was different. What if people who were affected by the daily realities of existing only by selling their labor power (and all those within the class who help in that reproduction) within anarchism made it into something that (while outside of activism) struggled for not only communism, but also better things here and now. Building the commune of the class.

I reasoned that the anarchist movement would look quiet different than it does today. If we did want to see that change, I reasoned, then anarchists who come from working class backgrounds should step up and become more vocal and put more energy into the projects that they considered to represent their ideas. We should take initiative.

I wanted our conditions to guide our activity, but I did not want to create another identity politic. There is also the question of what to do with those within anarchism who are not working class. What do we do with them? Do we 'evict' them. I work with people first and foremost on if I agree with them or not. I then work with them on the basis of if they actually will do the work and make the effort or not.

Having said that, my goal is to make the most impact with people who live in my local area, who are faced the brunt of Capital, i.e. the working class, which is a huge and very diverse group.

Anyway, what I'm coming to firstly is that I first think that the term "Make the Total Destroy on Middle Class Anarchism" is problematic, firstly because I haven't even been public about what I think the middle class is, although I have an analysis of it myself (which I will go into later). Secondly, because I think what I was really trying to say that the main problem with anarchism was in how it goes about doing things, not just in it's class composition.

In the end, my goal with starting Vengeance was not to make middle class people feel bad about being anarchists, or push them away. My goal was always to inspire working class people to take imitative and speak up for themselves and to do work and projects that they found to be directly beneficial to them. More importantly for them to break out of the anarchist subculture, and to break into the class around them.

In the coming days I hope to map out some notes which will be the last part of the new Vengeance.


  1. excellent clarification- it's sad that there is so much in-fighting, and people feeling attacked instead of trying to create a bridge of understanding, and accepting that just because you label yourself an anarchist doesnt mean your beliefs are firm, it means you constantly have to rethink your position and your actions. For what it's worth, I'm a middle class anarchist who has never met you and when I read vengeance it was clear to me you were attacking the un-critical tenants of 'middle-class anarchism' per se, and not anarchists who are middle class.

  2. wait, you weren't quoting me favorably, were you.

  3. Here, I'll do it again:

    "Escape is only an option for a privileged few."
    U//E #0

    Paragraph 4 of Part 4 of 'On the Current Crisis and the Potential for Revolution." You can write it out...

  4. i could but i don't see how it applies. or are you just saying you like it?

  5. The U//E quote I think applies.

    The other one I just kind of like. I was reading that at work today.