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Although JD & I spoke some about this at his house over the weekend (where I found myself after being tricked into accepting an invitation for dinner & beers, which as I should’ve expected really meant stapling plastic to the inside of unfinished walls) and I have a sense from those conversations why this isn’t going to be acceptable for him in trying to get to answer his question (i.e., Where have the anarchists succeeded lately?). Nonetheless, I’m squeezing this into my elongated answer. There are some important things that happen throughout this example of “success”, so I want to look at it a bit. Next time, I’m going to finish my answer to you, JD; but I’m going to do so by addressing the problem that I initially suggested: the question itself understands ‘anarchism’ in the wrong way, and leads us off course. We might have to wait until that one gets posted before we can really begin to understand how and in what ways the following is an example of “success” for the libertarian-left.
Because I want to look at the Paris Commune in 1968. While for some of us it’s far too easy to over-romanticize these kinds of moments in history, they’re also far too easily written off by cynics, pessimists, and detractors. Worse, some choose to look at moments of social upheaval in a linear fashion, as if because of the revolution’s “failure” we cannot draw constructive conclusions which better inform our politics, beliefs, and actions. This, in turn, is what will ultimately lead to our success. In Part 4, there will be able time spent on looking into some of the concrete realities that happen as a result of this process (because I know that’s what you really want- concrete results).
For those of you who hear the word “anarchist” and still think of punk kids with tattoos on their face, piercings every which where and clothes that were clearly just pulled out of a dumpster, I’m re-directing you to some great videos of Jewish anarchists from a short film called Free Voices of Labor. It came about in the late 1970’s, when, after almost 90 years of publication the Jewish anarchist paper Freie Arbeiter Stimme was on the verge of collapse. The filmmaker saw to it to interview and document as many “red diaper babies” (as they were sometimes called- I swear I wouldn’t make that shit up) as were around, in hopes of capturing their rich history, culture, and beliefs. They speak about the conditions of their radical organizations, their union struggles, Leninism, violence, and solidarity. These folks are radicals. Screw the lifestyle “anarchism” that gets by nowadays. With thanks to CK from the Open City collective in NYC.