Fighting for our Lives!

Fighting for our Lives

Fifteen years ago, we published the following text introducing anarchism to the general public as a total way of being, at once adventurous and accessible. We offered the paper free in any quantity, raising tens of thousands of dollars for printing and even offering to cover the postage to mail copies to anyone who could not afford them. In the first two weeks, we sent out 90,000 copies. It appeared just in time for the “People’s Strike” mobilization against the IMF and World Bank in Washington, DC; the pastor at the Presbyterian church that hosted anticapitalist activists in DC preached her Sunday sermon from the primer as she spoke to her congregation about the demonstrations. Over the following decade, Fighting for Our Lives figured in countless escapades and outreach efforts; read this story for an example. In the end, we distributed 650,000 print copies.

Fighting for Our Lives has been out of print for several years, as we’ve focused on other projects such as To Change Everything. We’ve now prepared a zine version for our downloads library. From this vantage point, we can appreciate both the text and the project itself as ambitious and exuberant attempts to break with the logic of the existing order and to stake everything on establishing new relations. We’ve learned a lot in the years since then—but we haven’t backed down one millimeter.

 

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How does an artist judge their own work?

This is how I would answer that question.

What most consistently matters to me is where this piece is taking me, so my liking, or judging a work to be good, is never entirely about that work–but something I see before me, something that doesn’t yet exist–or hasn’t been realized (as in, made real). That may be something I don’t see until later, after I’ve made–maybe–many many more pieces. Finding the almost hidden signs that mark the trail. I find it most satisfying when those are the pieces that others are drawn to — like, ah! they get it!

Imagine having the entire oeuvre of an artist before you, seeing each piece in the order of its making for the first time, and trying to suss out what will come next, or what will represent the apex of their life work, never knowing if that point will ever be achieved, whether the next piece will be a detour, a dead end, from which the artist never returned, but continued to turn out work that failed ever again to realize the promise of what they had done before–it’s like that, only I’m the artist. THAT describes the character of my anxiety about my own work. Nothing that anyone else will see till my work is over.

There’s a Yeat’s quote, along those lines–I believe he writing about William Blake. “In the beginning of important things—in the beginning of love, in the beginning of the day, in the beginning of any work, there is a moment when we understand more perfectly than we understand again until all is finished.”

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#319 Reworked: Self-Portrait in the Spirit World

31″ x 36″ Acrylic on stretched canvas. I thought I’d finished this in 2015, but was not satisfied with it. Seeing work by Tatiana Leony, an Igor Shcherbakov on Saatchieart (whose work is amazing–I encourage you to seek it out), helped me to see this with new eyes… or maybe, with my Third Eye.
#319 reworked.JPG

View more work at SaatchieArt,
on ArtFinder, and
on my web portfolio here ART BY WILLARD
For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right and scroll down.