July 06, 2006

muh powhurs

In between texting the word "babe" to mobile numbers handily supplied by my television, and spending all my money on comic books (I wish that was a joke), I've been silently stewing at how crappy things are getting. Specifically, I went to the "community protest" against the Howard Gvernment's Industrial Relations laws I blogged about previously. Below is an [edited version of] what I wrote on the Australian Anarchist Bulletin Board:
It was crap. Not many turned up the General Strike Bloc (maybe 20 or 30). The small amount of revelry in the beginning soon turned into annoyingness as the same chant was produced over and over again. From my point of view, people decided to deliberately bug the dickhead pro-ALP unionists around us with the "general strike" chant meaning that any pretense of agitation for a general strike was thrown out the window. The Beasley heckling was funny for about 15 seconds, but I felt more like a shitstirrer than anything else.

The paper was pretty much right on who turned up ["union fossils"], though they may not have mentioned that the government had made it illegal to actually strike (hence being called a "community protest"), and anecdotally, it wasn't well publicised. Most of the speakers were [Trades Hall] hacks or politicians. One good thing was getting some workers to tell their stories about how AWAs and the other new laws had affected them, though I wouldn't be surprised if at least one of them were a branch member.

[Fascists] were there in the form of Australia First. They seemed to have handed out a shitload of pamphlets. On the plus side, they were obviously a bunch of nutters. On the negative side, other than some minor confrontations they were able to operate unhindered.

Others will disagree, but I wish I had've stayed in bed. I was embarrassed by the small numbers in the Bloc (though I didn't do anything to build it other than put a note on my blog) and by the decision to behave brattily in lieu of numbers was disappointing - though given the level of anarchist organisation at the moment, it wasn't surprising.

On top of that, adding to the numbers of a shamefully pro-ALP rally was a bit soul destroying. Trades Hall is putting all of its eggs in one basket: an ALP victory at the next election. And that means we are fucked unless there is more direct action, and I don't necessarily mean "fuck shit up" either...

Isn't it painfully obvious to everyone that the ALP aren't going to win the next election? They don't stand for anything, but even if they did, the best they can hope to be, and to quote my highschool history teacher on the subject of government, the window dressing of capital. Okay, so it's kind of a no-brainer to say things like that. I guess the real question is, what can be done about the IR laws and the existence of government ?

For me, anarchy is the answer. A system of agreed rules and commitment to amicable dispute resolution, the abolition of class and free rainbows for the elderly. I feel hopeful when I look at the history of anarchism, but then I look around at the complete fucking shambles of the anarchist milieu. I take comfort in the fact that anarchism is something that is practiced rather than avowed (a "historical tendency," I think Chomsky said), but it seems that anarchy (and anarcho-syndicalism) could offer some very pertinent strategies for defeating the workplace repression that going on at the moment.

So I think that you have to offer leadership by example (I've been saying that a lot lately), literally practice what you preach. It seems that if you can practically create a functioning anarchy, other people will follow in kind. In the short term, it seems to me that the task is to build bridges — to other groups, other people. We need to address why the anarchist scene is so bloody white for example. If we can get to the point where we can resolve these kinds of problems we can be in a position to stand up to repression and create an alternative.

Ah, but these are my priorities. For some people, it might be enough to create a community in which they feel comfortable. Camille Paglia (*swoon*) said something in an interview with the June issue of LOTL* that sort of put this into focus for me:
People are often attracted to activism because of their own personal problems; they lock onto it, it's like a big teat — they want all their answers given to them.
But I'm not sure that people are necessarily looking for answers. Comfort maybe. At least, the kind of comfort that comes from defining a niche for yourself. For example, I know of one guy who defines himself oppositionally within the anarchist scene. He's never done a single constructive thing, obviously holds women and gays in complete contempt... Twice, he decided to tell me that I "wasn't natural", as though nature is so fucking great. Basically he's a useless piece of shit. So why does someone like that still try to hang around the periphery of a group that obviously compounds his sense of broader social isolation? There's probably more reasons than can be blogged, but at a guess one reason is because it gives him an identity and a sense of place.

So what do we do? How does anarchism move from ghetto to a force to be wreckoned with? I'll be buggered if I know. Probably something to do with ads on television. It'd be nice to hear what other people think.

*Unfortunately you can't see the article without subscribing. Pity, because it was pretty good overall.

Okay, time for more Web 2.0 idiocy. Is it just me, or is the woman in this video not entirely unhot? "Yuuve taykin muh pohwuuuhrs." Brilliant.

Currently Playing — Love Tinted with Misogyny Mix:
Boys In Town - The Divinyls
Ain't No Fun - 213
High Fidelity - Jurassic 5
Land of Ladies - Brothers Johnson
The Voice of Love - Angelo Badalamenti
Desci and Bob Show Podcast
Then He Kissed Me - The Ronettes
Clark Gable - The Postal Service
Virginia Plain - Roxy Music
Graduation Day - Chris Isaak


Anonymous weatherwoman said...

I reckon you got to practice not to preach.

Get out and about outside your ghetto, hang with a broader range of people turn off your computer just for a few hours and come out.

Have a bit of hope.

The world of anarchists are not just white people maybe thats just the people that you hang out with?
I think there are lots of people out there who operate with similar principles to you.

For the record i agree that the IR protest was a stage managed labor party advertisement & want to throw a spanner in the howard gov social engineering project with the combination of welfare to work + work choices combo, but I dont think that marching in a protest and appealing to the powers that make those laws will make any real difference. But yeah i still went to the action, i was standing there beside you.

So yeah i agree we need direct action, i reckon we do need to fuck shit up. Maybe we could start by just not going home in an orderly fashion when the speeches end.

Anyway mate come and play soccer tomorrow come have some fun I miss you and I am going away for a month so make an effort- yo!

Go France!

2:23 pm, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Lumpen said...

You're totally right about having to get out of the ghetto. Advice taken.

2:30 pm, July 07, 2006  
Anonymous aketus said...

Axxs was saying something to me a while back, that has a similar vein to the 'leadership by example' concept. He (who works in a collective) was saying that the way to make anarchy stronger and more noticeable to the general public (in an attempt to encourage them to adopt it) is to practice it, to live it, in short, to BE the example of anarchy.

To be frank I'm not interested in forums and I'm not interested in clubs that have meetings and don't actually *do* anything. And that includes me typing here, I'm aware of the contradiction.

We need to start forming collectives, grow our own food, provide (as I'm trying to do) web space and assistance for other anarchists, help each other, sustain each other. Literally. Maybe with the Two Minutes of Infamy we'll get a better idea of what peoples skills are, and we can utilise them to form those collectives.

I get really tired of ye olde anarchists saying 'don't talk about 'the people' like we're separate from it, we *are* the people blah blah blah'. It's a nice concept but right now, here in Melbourne at least, it's bullshit. We are entirely ghetto-ised, we are not *the* people, we're a tiny unknown minority. How do we, and anarchy, *become* the people? Practice it. People adopt it, and it's no longer 'the anarchists' doing it, it's everyone.

Leadership by example. Well said, and a terrific post.

10:00 pm, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Anthony Woodward said...

My god that video was crazy awesome!! (sorry to get all unpolitical now) It's like one of your drawings come to life, I'm sure I've seen that man with the kryptonite gun in your sketchbook before...I was expecting it to turn into weird porn at any second.

Now onto politics
I sometimes think that maybe the system just reflects who we are as people (yes we should try and be better people, etc.), and then intern changing the 'system' will not change the people (as Doug used to say also)

Another thing that pops up in my head is that we all have these ideas about what makes us better than everyone else, 'I'm a vegetarian', 'I own a big car' 'I vote Howard' etc., a competitive urge that's propelled us as a species?

I'm not trying to say , so just give up. These are just my ponderings about us silly monkeys.

10:57 am, July 10, 2006  
Blogger Anthony Woodward said...

I can't stop thinking about that movie 'muh powers' do you have any info on it? Is it preformance art? Bizzare porn? Or a geeks power fantasies?

5:46 pm, July 10, 2006  
Anonymous Keith.. said...

I guess anarchists can start by making an honest assessment of where they're at and then start focusing on doing stuff which compliments their present position.

It's a ghetto in my view because the activities that we are involved in are so far removed from the daily struggles of ordinary people. Maybe not on an individual level but collectively.

Some projects, one in particular can strike out at this kind of way of doing things in a major way. It will just take the perseverance of a collective and the development of a clear idea about what we are doing to make it happen.

Personally I'm sick of people telling me how shit things are in Melbourne. The first thing that kind of jumps to my mind is always, so fucken what?... What's your point???????
I think it all comes back to that honest assessment and knowing what you want to achieve. Goals are good... mindless complaining is just a waste of time.

8:09 pm, July 13, 2006  

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