It saddens me that many people I love and care about – friends who are activists, those who work within the NHS, the individuals who have done all they can to provide solidarity and support to vulnerable individuals during austerity and others – seem to be so affected by the election results. Whatever scepticism towards political institutions and anarchist revolt I feel towards statism and government, my desire to see those I care for not wounded sits on my chest heavily.
I am an anarchist. I do not believe that the machinery of politics, state, government, production, etc., will do anything but do maintenance work and “improvements” to the deadened machinery of itself, comprised of “resources” the extraction of which has left a depleted space of a scarred body, regardless of its impact on living beings (human or non-human). I agree with Emma Goldman’s statement that voting would be illegal if it could change anything. I am a cynic who sees the system that this culture has built as a means of blocking out the beauty of the sunlight and who actively seeks spaces for becoming-animal, dehumanising and joyful experiences. The social contract that is the basis for parlimentarianism appears to me to be nothing more than chains built to cage and deny me and other living beings the freedom that they encounter with their birth.
It is not from callous unfeeling that the election result itself does not bother me – my political pessimism, based in the belief that this culture is psychically and bodily more under the authority of technology than the authority of groups, individuals or parties of politically motivated living beings, is not unempathetic. I encounter the situation as something far worse.
My invitation here is for anyone reading this to encounter the election result as something like a nightmare – or what Freud would call a phantasm and Stirner would call a spook – as something that was terrifying, unwanted and undesirable, and ultimately nothing more than a psychic apparition. Nothing has changed structurally. Cars still pump out pollutants. Wild fauna and flora still face the violence of development daily. Homeless individuals and other vulnerable people are still treated as being worthy of sweeping under the carpet. This wasn’t going to change through the technology of institutional political machinery, because this is what the machinery of this culture requires to sustain itself. And this is absolutely no reason to despair.
Treat this as a challenge, not a defeat. Treat this as an opportunity to become stronger, to grow individually and strengthen bonds of friendship and solidarity, and to become more intensely what those you despise do not want you to be.
I a very publically open hunt saboteur and an advocate of animal liberation and ecotage type direct action rebellion. One of the “threats” that the Tory victory poses for those of us engaged in this type of direct action is trespassing being made a criminal offence. This will not mean that badger defence will not be worth doing, due to the increased risk – if anything there is potentially more fun to be experienced while out in the fields. It will be an opportunity to become stronger, be better, to learn how to navigate the increased risks, and more.
This afternoon I talked about the book Blessed is the Flame with a friend, before we did some gardening. The book details accounts of people rebelling, and fighting back, from within Nazi concentration camps. It is a brutal read and remains one of the most beautiful works on radical freedom that I have ever encountered – the refusal to accept repression, even in the face of the most intense authoritarian machinery imaginable, is very moving.
When out in the garden, I was haking away at various bits, trying to make space for stuff to grow in the spring. With my enthusiasm (and tendency to “get stuck in”), I quickly ended up with hands that are covered with scratches and stinging. What I appreciate in the experience of plants attacking me, when I get closer than they might desire, is that it is an immediate and direct reminder that living is never ceasing fighting. My mind turned to the anarchist poet Novatore, his hatred of (their) war, his warrior aesthetic and personal rebellion against the state. In many – perhaps ridiculous – ways there is a Novatorean energy to flora, as I encounter them, maybe most noticeable in his poem Black Roses: “A magical wind of divine madness will emanate from the Unknown to rock us on the waves of a radiant dream … We will have a bed of white flowers that will never wither, and we will be happy, happy”.
Maybe I am mad for finding opportunity within this situation. There is a beauty in madness I find, when sanity means, well, this situation.