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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Gustav Landauer: Art and Revolution

“In our times, an artist is defined as someone who has a vision: someone with visions and rhythms that form a separate inner world: someone who can manifest this world on the outside; someone who can create a new, an exemplary, their own world through imagination and creative force; someone whose ideas leave their inner being like Pallas Athena left Jupiter’s head; someone who then, like an Italian trader of plaster figures, packs the result in a basket and hawks it in the “the other world,” ordinary reality, where they sell the figures of their dreams and sacred desires to the goblins and caricatures of their artistic mind, all the while advertising, calculating, haggling, arguing, cheating. This is the contemporary artist’s mixture of detachment and participation.
But mine is another: I want to use reality to create; I want art to be the process of imaginative and communal social transformation, rather than the expression of individual yearning.”

Gustav Landauer, REVOLUTION and Other Writings: A Political Reader. Edited and translated by Gabriel Kuhn. PM Press.

I changed the masculine, personal pronouns.

I was probably 22 or 23 when I read the essay on Landauer, in Martin Buber’s Paths in Utopia; it would be hard to imagine how any, indirect meeting with any thinker, could have a more powerful, influence, than the ideas in that essay had for me—over the course of whole life. Three years later, I was living in a commune—where expenses were covered, each according our means. Though it would be 45 years before, my involvement with Occupy Philly, led to the next experiment in communal living, I never gave up my search for a means to realize my ideas on communal living, and this time—I’m sure there was something of Landaur’s ideas of art and revolution, what freed me, to return to what I had been doing when I read that essay: making art.
I only last week bought a copy of this book, and in reading it, began to discover how much—from such minimal acquaintance–the seeds Landauer had planted, have meant to me over the years. The perplexity I feel, and have expressed in posts on this blog and elsewhere, on how survive as an artist in this capitalist wilderness–and as a revolutionary–without losing one’s freedom to create, or submitting to slavery of the market–I didn’t learn from Landauer, but, as in the above quote, I find, this too, I share with him—if from another side, as an artist.

Revolution is an act of imagination

Revolution is action.

Revolution takes place in the present. Now, and now, and now, or never. There can be no waiting

for the “right conditions.”
Revolution is an ever present necessity.

Revolution is every act of the imagination, made real in every present moment.

Solidarity, Love, Imagination, RESISTANCE!

Thoughts on what we call “disabilities”

I’m at a loss how to communicate what this hearing aid means to me–how profoundly it has effected…changed, my life. It’s not the inability to hear–but the effect of losing a capacity one has come to depend on, and lacks the resources to replace. Hard of hearing is not a less severe form of deafness–it is different, as any truly deaf person would almost certainly agree.

I belong to the hearing world. At my age, I will never belong to the deaf world–which is a culture onto itself, for which, “Hearing” is not something that’s been lost, not a deficiency… it is simply, Other. If I were to learn ASL (something I would very much like to do–though learning a new language at my age is probably more of a challenge than I’m able to take on) –and even become proficient in it–I would still be a visitor in the culture. I would still belong to the Hearing world, the hearing culture.

When I say, I’m at a loss to communicate what this means to me–it’s in part, because of how profoundly this has impressed on me the degree to which our various capacities, define us–and what this means. How all of these, are less about our physical differences, or neurodiversity, than the social conditions imposed on us.

I do not have a ‘disability’ because I do not hear well, but because I do not hear well– I am, to the degree of that loss, excluded from full participation in the hearing world to which I belong–in ways more profound than I would have imagined… and more profoundly than I can adequately express.  Let me state this in different words: my disability does not consist of a hearing loss, but in how it excludes me from the social culture to which I belong–and there lies the more important meaning–for in different ways, this can be said of all the various ways humans diverge from the norm, from the privileged, power enforced mythologies of the Normal.

And in this, I can be thankful for this loss, in that it has given me insight into a range of human diversity, and the cruel tyranny of the Normal over all of us.. without which, I would not have understood with such clarity.

The neo-Nazi, eugenicists, who have risen to power–with representatives in the White House–are our ultimate enemies. Enemies of all of us. All of us. Because there is no such thing, as “Normal”… and there is no way to be rid of us… but extermination of the entire human species. Which is clearly, their unconscious goal.

What is an Anarchist?

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I keep reading comments about protests, where peeps blame everything they don’t like, everything they think excessive, violent… on ‘anarchists.’

When they know nothing about actual anarchists, but what the enemies of actual anarchists have always said about them.

There is a rich history of a very diverse stream of anarchist ideologies.

It can be complicated. For me, it’s complicated only in the doing… which is always actions and decisions made with others.

No gods, no leaders… no representatives” … Nehil de nobis sin nobis… nothing about US… without us. We are capable of taking care of ourselves, and one another, without hierarchy, without institutionally mandated leaders.
I am an anarchist.
That is my manifesto. Read it well, read it with care, turn it and turn it, cause everything is in it.

As for how we get there?

Solidarity, Love, Imagination, RESISTANCE!