[ Content | View menu ]

Anarchy for All: Expanding the Horizons of Practice Beyond Privilege

Open Forum shared with Nekeisha Alexis-Baker, John Zerzan, and partly with Wes Howard-Brook “In the beginning: Anarchism, Christianity, and the roots of resistance” conference, Portland, OR 7th August 2010

My original reasons for proposing this topic were described below. But because of the strong resistance from Wes Howard-Brook to talk about issues of race, Nekeisha edited the original proposal to the second version below. Wes proposed to take the issue of race out completely and proposed the following:

“This session will engage the question of anarchy and Christianity from a variety of perspectives, seeking to explore diverse ways of getting to the bottom of our captivity to ‘civilization’ and routes out into a truly liberated space for all creation.”

Even after Nekeisha abbreviated my original proposal, Wes still insisted that he didn’t want to talk about the subject and proposed to make fun and entertainment of the topic. He left in the middle of the session. I discuss this more in-depth in a follow up essay.e

1st version:
Synopsis: The nature of civilization is to classify and stratify. The pyramid, both, as a metaphor and a real structure of civilization is not a coincidence and throughout its history, human and non-human animals have been discriminated, marginalized, exploited, neglected, and abused based on different, random criteria: such as mythical origins and birth, as in the caste of the untouchables, the size of the cranial skull, the color of the skin, circumcised genitalia, height, tails, diet, quadrupedalism, et al, ad infinitum. After having suffered from discrimination through “knowledge”, the resulting economic and social disadvantage of the discriminated groups is then taken in itself as a criterion for further discrimination.

Yet, as long as there has been abuse, there have also been revolutionaries – the prophets who fought these injustices from the religious, the political, the literary, the scientific, and all other domains. The tactics, the rationale driving these expressions and movements of resistance, the theory and the actions, however, have been multi-varied and not always clear. Often, the repercussions of questioning and rebellion end up forming new categories of those to be exploited and marginalized: for example, feminism made it more rewarding for western (mostly white) women to give their time to the labor market, yet, the women of color from the third world have replaced the “emancipated”, mostly white upper middle class women, in the still discredited and under-valued exploited domain of family care (for the elderly, children, or the ill), sex, and house-keeping. Hence, while the European and North American feminists had important contributions in challenging the oppressive patriarchy, the practice only reshuffled the categories of exploitation. The same goes for anarchist theory. The anarcho-primitivist direction, in particular, draws greatly from aboriginal traditions and has one of the greatest possibilities to challenge the root of civilized abuse. Yet, it still remains largely a domain of white male privilege.

The intention in this open forum is to address the real structural and epistemological problems that hinder the voices and acts of resistance of the people of color from accessing public space and the spheres of the production of knowledge and media. Our aim is to identify the structural values that guide individuals in their personal dispositions that, even when unintentional, foster racist behavior and spaces of privilege that exclude and deny legitimacy to the expressions and reactions of the people of color and the oppressed non-human species. Finally, we plan to explore the areas that can be rectified and respectfully acknowledge the critiques of where the theory fails the needs and the realities of the majority of the oppressed people on earth and of our non-human compatriots. Acknowledging these critiques will point to where individual practice and privilege, which have become ingrained in the inter-racial and inter-species socio-economic relations, counteract the anarcho-primitivist thought and will help find feasible ways in making this theory inclusive for the practice of all and allowing the movement to move forward with strength and confidence demolishing the civilized borders of alienation.

2nd version:
Anarchy for All: Expanding the Horizons of Practice Beyond Privilege
The nature of civilization is to classify and stratify. Throughout
history, human and non-human animals have been discriminated,
marginalized, exploited, neglected, and abused based on different, random
criteria. Yet, as long as there has been abuse, there have also been
revolutionaries. The intention of this discussion is to address the
structural and epistemological problems that hinder the voices and acts of
resistance from those who are oppressed—especially people of color—from
inhabiting a place at the table within anarchist theory and discourse.
Together, Layla AbdelRahim, Nekeisha Alexis-Baker, Wes Howard-Brook and
John Zerzan will explore these and other issues related to anarchism and
Christianity from a variety of perspectives, with the particular aim of
exploring diverse ways of understanding our captivity to ‘civilization’
and routes toward a truly liberated space for all creation.

Filed in: Uncategorized.


No Comments

Write comment - TrackBack - RSS Comments

Write comment