Monday, May 28, 2012

Failure of Revolution

     For those who believe merely recognizing gender roles and sexism in our society is counteracting patriarchy, please reconsider how (despite our protests) we are still products of a patriarchal society. No one would ever suggest simply recognizing the faults of a global economy is sufficient enough to oppose its oppression, then continually engage in free market capitalism (either as a consumer or a capitalist). As with both examples, which of course illustrates patriarchal globalization from the perspective of social relations enforcing pre-existing systems of sexist institutions (which of course then reinforces our personal behaviors)...there is a deep psychological manipulation used through economic and social means that condition every person based on a role we are programmed to believe we are destined to play. Meaning, experiencing and/or seeing the injustices of patriarchy (or globalization) and ethically opposing it in theory only deprogram our faith in these systems, which does not necessarily change the conditioning we've experienced up until that point. We no longer believe it's our destiny to play the games of the government but we've still been conditioned to fulfill certain roles.
    Our habits and tendencies are much harder to break than it is to simply change our beliefs, which only takes a thought. Taking action, like to actually stop biting your nails, requires will-power and many times of falling back into the same pattern before your actions match up with your thoughts, which already oppose biting your nails. Essentially, with changing our daily habits, like when we decide to dumpster or grow our own food than shop at the supermarket, or patch up our pants rather than buy a new pair, we are rerouting our brain's pathways and discovering new routes to go about the same situations (i.e. coming up with a different coping mechanism when experiencing mild anxiety rather than biting your nails).
    Our pre-existing habits and social behaviors is why anarchists, during meetings, purposely make room for women to speak. The behaviors we've accumulated allows a social dynamic of, for instance, men being more comfortable speaking and listened to when being vocal which enables women to be less inclined to speak out and opinions less respected. This is the process of eliminating hierarchy through changing our habits.
    It seems as though every time I am at a social gathering, whether anarchist related or not, not only do people talk past me to my boyfriend (as if I am not there)  but then unwittingly, he continues the cycle by leaving me no room to speak, and by no means am I a shy or quiet person! Yet, there I am staring at my feet hoping for a gap in the conversation where they may or may not hear me due to the mere rapidness and exclusion of their conversation. It makes sense that there is no need for my input considering my boyfriend uses the words "we" and "us" to sum up my experiences, as if he is my spokesperson and I feel awkward bringing up topics that are out of context, as if I can't help but be a secondary conversation partaker. Why, as well, do I fixate on gaining a couple pounds when I am aware of the crisis of eating disorders and oppose this consumer driven society that treats women as objects? The only logical conclusion would be that these are knee jerk reactions.
    Most of us aren't "good" anarchists; "good" meaning up to our ideal standards of what anarchism opposes/stands up for. The failures of our attempted revolutions, as with Occupy, is the unwillingness to reconcile our behaviors to match our beliefs. I expect liberals to bring take-out to the Occupations, but the anarchists...doing drugs, drinking PBRs (as if drugs and alcohol aren't already the reason for failed revolutions)'s a hypocrisy we are all guilty of (to some degree) but we have the obligation to be the counter-point to these liberals. It's not radical to support large corporations or fund wars due to opiate addiction. What, in fact, is the difference between Chinese take-out and PBRs? At least with the take out you probably aren't supporting a large chain and also putting a little change in a family's pocket.
    It is understandable to feel pressured by this society of greed and oppression, especially as anarchists, but it's not understandable to play into ignorance out of pride. We should recognize our behaviors and hypocrisies as individuals and attempt to change them. Look at the sophistication of television advertisements, enticing us with bright colors, sounds and key words they know from research will peak our interest. Companies are constantly conducting experiments on willing participants (unwilling depending on your point of view) to find ways to draw us in based on our biology and psychology. They know what colors make us angry or excited, and how to make a jingle that can't get out of our heads. I can't even look away from HD, it just looks so cool, and I don't even know what I am watching half the time, because my brain's pleasure receptors are being stroked so efficiently. Pulling ourselves away becomes a constant struggle living in civilization.        
    There are similar problems with the post-left anarchists who believe we are beyond labels, yet, how can you be beyond patriarchy by just refusing to acknowledge it's existence and not using the ideas and terminology to examine your behaviors? This is why I meet men who refuse to acknowledge patriarchy exists and the same reason why even though we know oil funds war, many of us end up at the dealership ready to purchase a car... already prepared with excuses to defend your decision... because it's convenient. Ethical decisions, I assure you, are usually not convenient. This is also why so many people are against the Anti-Civ folks. It's not impossible to live sustainably with the environment, off the grid and rewild - it's just people are afraid. Bugs, storms, diseases (most which would be eliminated outside of civilization), not having all the foods they love; people are dependent on the concrete structures to protect them from their fears that have been instilled since birth. Most people would honestly,  based on their tendencies and habits, stay within capitalism, even when they hate it, based on a laundry list of excuses and quotes from dead white men who hoped technology would save humanity.
   Revolutions fail only because we prevent ourselves from succeeding. We are a society based on realism instead of idealism, which traps us into being "flywheels on the ram-shackle machinery of the awful truth" (Kurt Vonnegut). We intellectualize things to a point of falling back into our Babylonian prison cell. Sometimes we are duped into thinking we're making a difference  and then you look around you and notice your in a group of white males 20-25 talking about minority issues when who knows if any of these people personally knows one person of color. We must witness our hypocrisies and become willing to fix them with the support of our anarchist friends and not shoot down everyone who has a slightly different theory. I do think that within time, people will abandon the old anarchist syndicalist ways and become open minded to the possibilities of life not dependent on technology, which can only quicken the pace of the world's demise.
   Revolutions take place, first, within yourself. That is the main reason why Occupy countered any attempts at mass uprising, because it tamed anarchists to work within mainstream politics. Radicals failed to differentiate themselves from liberals, due to the bureaucracy of large scale consensus, although it is effective in small groups. As soon as Occupy clearly became a reformist movement about better banking and so on, anarchists should have broken up, back into our smaller groups, and took the opportunity while Occupy was still making headlines to start a counter-Occupy movement. Yet, because our theories do not sync up with our actual practice, many of us were drawn into the game of democratic process and trying to convince middle class people how to go about effective direct action (to no avail).
    There is no solidarity between anarchists which leads us into petty discussions about theoretical points instead of looking at practicality and possibility. For instance, though anarcho-primitivisim  is heavily criticized,( in my opinion for an individual's co-dependency with civilization and fear of nature) you will find a fear of feminism. Expecting the effects of patriarchal civilization to magically dissipate into a peaceful feral community, would be to expect HIStorical and archeological evidence to be accurate, which, of course, is doctored and shaped by the society in which we live. This is not to create an argument about whether or not hunter-gatherer societies held the platform for hierarchy (which it quite probably did considering here we are now) but more so to acknowledge the influences this society already conditioned us with, and to hold out the possibility that maybe the Unabomber had a point. The validity and necessity of primitivisim should not be dependent on whether or not natives were peaceful or at times violent. This is petty arguing, and the reality is, to leave rewilding (which in actuality would take generations to fully realize) the hefty task of eliminating patriarchy based on faith of someone's research instead of taking extra precaution to create a genderless society (specifically in regards to division of labor)  would be ignorant of the current attitudes of individuals and their cultural influences. If on the other hand, people applied these theories instead of debating with words we would see in practice if in fact it is necessary to make genderless equality an issue at the forefront instead of relying on what we were told worked for Tribe A or Tribe B.
    Close-mindedness, from liberals to red/green/black anarchists among themselves, is our only detriment and keeps us DE-radicalized. The very premise for anarchism is that we've been conditioned to believe we need leaders, and as we all know reading this, that is a lie, that  before  in theory leaders were believed  necessary until put into practice otherwise. Upon having the opportunity to say what we've been dying to let the mainstream media know, we cowardly watered ourselves down for the liberals and therefore played right into the hands of our big, mean government machine. Revolutions aren't futile, but with the Occupy let down, it will be difficult for another mass movement, and perhaps different tactics are in order. For now, I say unity, small collectives, and groups is, at the current time, the only counter-point to the oppression we experience in the United States, so working on ways to deviate from the capitalist system should be number one priority. Hopefully others will see the possibilities of our own creations once we stop dividing ourselves and mend our hypocrisies. The failure of revolution? Our own thoughts left over from our pre-anarchist days.

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