So the purpose of the phrase is to demonstrate how what seem to be personal choices are in fact influenced by the greater political struggle. When a woman chooses whether to wear makeup or not, or keep her last name when she gets married, her choice is in fact socially conditionned by a particular social context. Whether her partner is a perfect feminist (you know, the mythological perfect feminist man) or not, she still struggles against *the entire* patriarchy. The actions of a single woman compared to an entire system composed of millions of men (AND women) aren't going to make a dent. It is the organized struggle of women as a whole (which took its form through the feminist movement) that was able to make social changes.
It follows from this that even what may appear to be insignificant and apolitical choices are in fact socially conditionned by the various systems of oppression of which we are part: capitalism/class oppression, white supremacy/racial oppression, and patriarchy/gender oppression.
However from there many people use this fact to reverse entirely the meaning of the phrase 'the personal is political' by focusing their action on personal change. The idea, that ' the political is personal', puts this saying on its head and asserts that personal change will result in political change. But this is a sterile praxis. While personal change in order to conform with our political beliefs is beneficial, it does not lead to a global change in politics without collective action.
There are numerous traps with the Cult of Individual Change as a praxis. For one, it has often obscured the central issue at hand. Environmentalists of a reformist variety often champion individual change, by promoting awareness of recycling, energy saving, etc. But households are a minimal part of the environmental problem. Most of the garbage production and energy use is done by corporations. Further, capitalist economy as a whole causes much more damage than individual choices, through industrial practices like planned obsolescence and a lack of research in sustainability. Since it doesn't profit as much to build, say, computers that are designed to be upgraded continuously rather than thrown out for new models, capitalism results in huge waste. But our elites easily recuperate environmentalist language when it is couched in terms of individual responsability. Hey, it's not the system that's broken, it's all you dumb workers that aren't taking time to compost your trash!
For another, it often leads to a certain holier than thou attitude in certain activists. In fact, some of the allure of this form of activism is exactly this. When I was a student I was working with a reformist group that tried to bring fair trade coffee in the student cafeteria. We succeeded, in particular since we proved to the administrators that the coffee in question would cost *less* than the one they were buying previously. However, it didn't sell very well. So the administrators, instead of selling it for under the usual cost, decided to charge a premium to students who wanted to get fair trade coffee. The sales jumped up. The moral of this story is that nobody seemed to care much about the coffee being fair trade until they thought they were sacrificing something to get it. A marketing guru would say that they were probably willing to pay extra for the branding. Which is just another way of saying they were paying for the privilege of feeling like they were more politically advanced than their fellow students.
But most troubling is the reasoning shown by some of the more individualistic branches of anarchism and left-wing thought which posit the need to drop out of society in order to preserve a certain brand of political purity. It is my belief that this is actively counterproductive to 'the cause', as it were, as it disconnects activists from the general population which is needed to be brought on board to get a mass struggle. I must admit that when I first started down the road of radicalism, drop out culture was appealing, because it meant I could renounce my responsabilities as a contributor to 'the System'. But the most common response I get from reactionaries when I discuss the anarchist political programme is "why don't you just go off in the woods and build your little anarchist society and leave us in peace?" Isn't it weird when you agree with your political enemies? Shouldn't that trigger some introspection?
The politics of Personal Liberation that is frequent in individualist anarchist practice and in punk rock are basically a giving up of the fight. The most misanthropic individuals I've known were all part of this submovement within anarchism. Their belief system usually resolves around the idea that humanity as a whole is mostly hopelessly corrupted and beholden to capitalism as a system, that they'll never grow out of it or seek to tear it down, and that only a few enlightened individuals (themselves) recognize the truth and have the moral fortitude to drop out of society and live at its margins. It's a corrosive belief system. At some point I couldn't sustain that hatred anymore. I would have burned out and killed myself from it. One of the myriad ways in which I got out of that death spiral was when I read "Mutual Aid: A factor of evolution" by Peter Kropotkin and I got to see the other side of the coin: in spite of all the systemic ways in which capitalism and the state try to kill human cooperation, it is still a part of human nature that can never be killed and always resurfaces.
There is a lot of personal investment in the identity of 'radical' when you believe that you're one of the few who has his eyes wide open while the rest of the masses are sleeping. There is a danger when you're feeling all holier than thou that this feeling of being the only person in the world intelligent enough to know the truth becomes more important than the truth you claim to hold. There is a point when some anarchists seem to me to be more invested in *being anarchists* in a non-anarchist world than actually bringing about a freer world. What is more important to you: your view of yourself as a 'pure' individual, or moving the world closer to your view of a better world?
2. "Pyssed" - Crispus Attucks
3. "Ta place est dans la rue" - Les Perfusés
4. "Inde$troy" - Saw Throat
5. "Blind Life" - Provoked
6. "Basilisk" - Schifosi
7. "Héros & Martyrs" - Brigada Flores Magon
8. "Ain't She Sweet" - The Beatles
9. "Shock and Awe" - The Profits
10. "Homeless" - Pennywise
2. "Rien qu'une vie" - Bolchoi
3. "Vietnam - Laos - Cambodge" - Bérurier Noir
4. "Het Bloed Kruipt" - Makiladoras
5. "Summer Dying Fast" - Cradle of Filth
6. "Downtown" - Planet Boppers
7. "Limp Wrist" - Limp Wrist
8. "The Great Fear" - Naytia
9. "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" - David Bowie
10. "Under the Banner of King Death" - Crispus Attucks
I very rarely watch MTV, or our local equivalent MuchMusic/Musiqueplus. But I caught this clip zapping and I found it very moving.
I love the "Lord of the Flies" vibe to it. Except I always detested the ending of "Lord of the Flies", as you can imagine. The interpretation usually given of the book and its ending in particular is that it is an analogy of the need for an external authority to keep the 'kids' (i.e. human beings) in check. I'm not an English major so I never figured out if the adults were stand-ins for God or Leviathan (the State), but either way it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I love this ending better, even though it is technically more sad, as nobody comes to save the day. Our culture is addicted to the 'Good Ending'. This one is more poignant. There is no higher authority, the adults are busy doing the same atrocities as the kids. While it is a dark ending in the immediate, it also holds a libertarian potential. I'm pretty sure that's not the message that Serj wanted to pass in this clip, but there it is. I think it's a demonstration of the 'mainstreaming' of anarchist/libertarian cultural memes. If you want to end war, better start cracking on it yourself with your human comrades, because no God or State is going to do it for you.
2. "Welcome to Armaggeddon" - Fleas and Lice
3. "The End Result of 11 Months in Prison" - His Hero is Gone
4. "I Wanna Be Sedated" - The Ramones
5. "Naturally Fucked" - Provoked
6. "Nada" - Bérurier Noir
7. "For want of" - Haymarket
8. "I Am The Thorn" - Cradle of Filth
9. "Stand Strong, Stand Proud" - Vice Squad
10. "Ordeal by Fire" - English Dogs
Wednesday night is Dreamblade night, at least until Wizards of the Coast decides to pull the plug on the game for real, so it's no surprise I didn't update that night. I spent all of last year playing this game competitively, dropping my previous favorite game of Magic in the process. I got interested in Dreamblade for three reasons:
- I wanted to try out a minis game, and D&D minis seemed, well, boring
- Prize support was insane. We had monthly tournaments in Montreal with 1K$ in prizes
- The demo on the website was nice and made me interested in the gameplay
I stayed with the game because the gameplay is incredible (I'd say both simpler AND deeper than Magic), I made great friends, and we started travelling to Ontario and the USA to attend tournaments. In fact, this year was the first time I attended GenCon in my life, which is like nerd Mecca. I paid the trip with the 1000$ I won over the year playing the game. I went there to play the first (and probably last) Dreamblade annual championship. I ended up with a bad record but it was the most fun I've had in my life where I wasn't at the barricades throwing stuff at cops. The big issue is that the game is currently in a state of limbo. WotC cancelled the money tournaments. Even the casual tournaments we do each week now have crappy prizes: we receive special repainted figures, and they've started sending us the same ones that we got months prior. And there's no information about whether we'll see the next expansions. This is a big bummer for me. I'd really like to go to GenCon next year, but without prize events I fear I won't be able to afford it, not to mention that I won't get to play with my friends if there's no championship.
Thursday I usually have to work double hard in order to placate the boss because I leave early on Wednesday nights to attend the tournament. Arbeit Macht Frei...
Tonight I'm taking my girlfriend to the movies. Seems we'll be hitting the new Resident Evil flick, unless there's something else watchable. My girlfriend is a horror movie buff, this series is actually more of an action-oriented thing with zombies thrown in but it should satiate her bloodlust. Plus, videogame movie? Total geek points for me.
Saturday is the Magic prerelease for Lorwyn set, which I'm attending because if Dreamblade drops off the face of the Earth I'm going to have to find a new hobby. I love Magic but it's just so much less fun than Dreamblade. This new set seems fun though. I'm gonna build me a new goblin deck. I might have time in the evening for an update.
The irony is, for sure, less cruel, or at least less directly so, to the international working class than it was to the victims of the Holocaust. The Jews were being deliberatly, systematically and immediatly slaughtered by the Nazis, so the responsability was stark, clear and undeniable. The members of the international working class are sometimes directly slaughtered, more often indirectly, and mostly in ways where the responsability is diffused, muddled, and indirect. And responsability is often shared, widely, by people who are both executioners and victims. But a miner who dies of a work-related illness that would have been preventable if it wasn't for cost-cutting and the profit motive is still as dead. A child that dies of malnutrition is still as dead. A single mother who kills herself out of despair because she can't pay the bills is still as dead. A union member in a Latin American country that gets beaten to death by police during a strike is still as dead.
"Work will set you free". It is a common belief in the West that if you work hard, save up, do as you're told by the boss, are a good person, that you will be rewarded. The American and Canadian middle class is full of people who worked hard to be where they are, so it is full of people who feel entitled to have what they have. But American and Canadian society is also full of plenty of people who worked hard and got nothing. It is full of people who were born to wealth. It seems to me that being deserving is not enough, or necessary, to have a good life. The primary thing to have is luck. Luck to be born in the right family, to have access to the right ressources, the right connections. Luck not to get a life-altering illness at the wrong moment. Luck to not get killed on the job because of cost-cutting on security.
"Work will set you free". Except we work 40-plus hours on the job, in an environment that is usually the farthest away from freedom that you can find. Most workplaces are regimented, bureaucratic private fiefs. Some people work freelance, which basically means that they work with multiple regimented, bureaucratic private fiefs and on top of that don't know if they're going to get work next week. Some people run other people. They tend to have a tad more freedom, though as Jack London once wrote "they are so tied up to the machine that they sit on top of it". A boss, a foreman who shows compassion and humanity, who doesn't obey market imperatives, will be crushed and replaced by someone more willing to do anything to make a buck. One can hate the boss but one cannot deny this simple fact. It is not the Man that one hates but the Position. The same man in any other environment might have been likable, a friend even. But dog-eat-dog capitalism, as a system, does not foster this. Class war isn't something that we radicals invented. We just named it. It existed prior.
"Work will set you free". Except for the number of people, like both my parents, who fall to depression, burn-outs, stress or other work-related mental and physical illnesses. Some, lucky them, have health benefits and sick leaves. Some don't.
"Work will set you free". In a way, some of the more individualistic of the anarchist tendencies might accuse us "workerist" anarchocommunists and anarchosyndicalists of falling prey to the same mythology. But it would be, of course, a misunderstanding. If that which imprisons us the most is work, then the leverage point of society is the working place. It is where the struggle is the most intense. It is where we must go to do battle. It is where we build the barricades.
Struggle will make you free. Not work. At least, not until our workplaces are free.
Déjà la différence entre la Moral Majority et notre maire Tremblay est nette. Aux États-Unix, il ne serait même pas question de respect pour les minorités religieuses, encore moins de déclarations que l'athéisme est un choix religieux que l'on doit respecter. On nous déblatairerait que c'est une "Christian Nation", et pan! Fermez vos gueules, sales communistes!
Mais Révolution Tranquille oblige. La différence n'est pas dans le contenu (toujours aussi réactionnaire), mais dans le contenant. La société québécoise est beaucoup plus ouverte à l'athéisme et à la laïcité (quoi qu'il ya du chemin à faire sur l'acceptation de l'Islam). Donc il serait politiquement suicidaire pour nos culs de bénitiers nationaux de s'attaquer directement à la laïcité. En fait, plus souvent qu'autrement ils détournent le concept de laïcité pour s'attaquer aux minorités religieuses. On tente de nous leurer avec des équivalences farfelues. "Les femmes peuvent voter voilées, alors pourquoi je pourrais pas faire une tite prière explicitement catholique avant la tenue d'une réunion municipale? Pourquoi je peux pas afficher des crucifix dans l'hôtel de ville? La distinction entre le choix individuel et le favoritisme institutionel? Kossé ça?"
On va mettre de quoi au clair. Lorsque le juge Moore, aux États-Unis, décide d'afficher les Dix Commandements dans son tribunal, c'est du favoritisme religieux. Le but est d'afficher l'État comme foncièrement au service d'une certaine majorité religieuse. Semblable pour les crucifix à l'hôtel de ville. Il s'agit d'un favoritisme institutionel, et on envoit le message que le gouvernement municipal est au service de la majorité catholique avant tout. C'est complètement différent des choix individuels que certains membres d'une communauté religieuse peuvent faire pour exprimer leurs croyances.
Le maire Tremblay dit que l'on empêche aux chrétiens d'exprimer leur religion dans la sphère publique. Mais personne ne dit qu'on va aller pogner le maire Tremblay et l'empêcher de se rendre à l'église le dimanche, ou bien de porter un crucifix sur sa personne. C'est pas ça la laïcité. Mais c'est pas ça que le maire demande non plus. Il demande un favoritisme envers l'Église catholique parce qu'elle est la religion de la majorité. Il demande que l'Église s'occupe des cours de morale dans les écoles. Et la condescension ensuite est évidente lorsqu'il dit que les non-catholiques pourraient aller faire du sport ou des arts plastiques à la place, comme si ipso facto les athés (ou les minorités religieuses) n'ont pas d'intérêt pour l'enseignement moral. D'ailleurs, le thème central de son plaidoyer est que l'État n'a pas la compétence du domaine moral (ben, il a peut être un point là-dessus) et que celui-ci relève entièrement du domaine de l'Église. La belle affaire. Laissez-moi vous dire que l'Église catholique n'est pas trop bien placée pour critiquer la morale de l'État québécois. Que ce soit son rôle dans la saga des enfants de Duplessis, son camouflage des abus sexuels commis par les prêtres, son support en Europe et en Amérique Latine des dictatures fascistes, son aide apportée à certains dirigeants nazis pour fuire l'Allemagne après la défaite contre les Alliés, l'Église a peu à envier à l'État lorsqu'il s'agit de commettre des atrocités morales. Et bien sur, ses exemples de l'État qui vient s'ingérer dans le domaine de l'Église (avortement et mariage gai) sont précisément des exemples de la grande faute morale de l'Église. Sa misogynie patriarcale.
Le maire Tremblay parle de l'Église catholique comme une de nos richesses québécoises. Mais je crois que je parle pour la majorité des anarchistes lorsque je dis que la vrai richesse québécoise, c'est quand la majorité des québécois lui ont envoyé un gigantesque 'fuck off' lors de la Révolution Tranquille. Notre richesse, c'est tous les droits que l'on a acquis en se battant pour alors que le pape nous disait de s'agenouiller et de prier pour notre salut dans l'autre monde. Mieux vaut être debout qu'à genou.
As could be expected, the Jena Six story which made the round of the left-wing blogosphere last week also happened to be picked up by the fascists. Whenever you find someone who's been trampled by the system, you can be sure that someone is not far away waiting to stomp them on the face anew.
First of all, a notorious neo-nazi posted the address of the Jena Six and asked that white men in Louisiana "deliver justice". Classy, huh? I won't name the bastard on my own blog, let's just say that he's an attention whore and well known by antifas and anarchists online, and I don't want to give him the satisfaction of more name recognition. If you truly need to know who he is, click the second link.
Second, two KKK boneheads thought it would be really funny to drive around near protesters with nooses tied to their pickup truck. Apparently they might have been cruising for a fight, considering they had brass knuckles on board. I wish a bunch of antifas had gotten hold of them first instead of the police, and given them their own little private Battle of York
Overall, very disappointing but hardly surprising. I am in fact a tad surprised that none of the usual suspects decided to show up and rile up the crowd. Though given that they can hardly get a hundred people to show up at their rallies these days, and the usual cowardice of the fascists, maybe it should have been expected that they wouldn't show up to piss off a huge crowd of dedicated anti-racist activists.
No, I've found exactly why they've pushed this law to forbid people from voting while masked. It's not targetted at the Muslim community, it's not a plan to disenfranchise women under the guise of freeing them from patriarchal oppression. No. It's entirely a plan not to let THESE people vote.
Once again, the State has thwarted the anarchist menace!
(And if you don't get the joke, read this.)
J'ai travailler un temps aux États-Unis, et pendant ce temps je m'étais habitué à recevoir mes nouvelles par l'entremise d'Internet. En particulier les sites de nouvelles à gauche, style Indymedia ou Infoshop.org. En effet, l'alternative était de me taper CNN ou bien (urgh) Fox News. À la limite NBC ou ABC, mais ca c'est comme dire Burger King ou McDo, c'est toute d'la merde anyway et la différence de goût est à peine palpable.
Je sais pas pourquoi mais j'avais l'impression que les nouvelles c'était quand même potable au Québec. Okay, y avait TQS qui faisait ses choux gras sur le dos des syndicats, ou bien qui martellait l'opinion publique contre les squatteurs. Mais je sais pas si c'est par naïveté (n'ayant que 20 ans à l'époque) ou quoi, mais j'avais eu l'impression que les nouvelles d'ici en comparaison avec les États-Unix c'était complètement différent, qu'il y avait un semblant d'objectivité en quelque sorte.
Lorsque je suis revenu au Québec j'ai tout simplement continué à me gaver d'infos sur le Net par habitude. C'est seulement il y a quelques mois que j'ai synthonisé la chaîne LCN pour la première fois. Fatale erreur!
Je sais pas pourquoi, peut-être que ca me prend ma dose de rage quotidienne. Mais depuis, je me tape chaque jour les insignifiants comme Denis Lévesque et je me retiens de pêter ma TV chaque fois qu'un commentaire xénophobe se pointe (je suis servi avec les commissions sur les accomodements raisonables). On dirait qu'ils ont une liste d'invitations pour tous les réactionaires du Québec. Je dois être masochiste.
C'est assez ironique pour un anarchiste que la seule chaîne de nouvelle relativement potable pour s'INFORMER soit Radio-Canada (avec tous les problèmes d'objectivité que cela implique). TVA et TQS sont des chaînes d'infotainment comme les chaînes américaines que j'ai démolit au début de mon post. Pas étonnant en fait, j'aurais du le savoir au départ. C'est de l'anarchisme 101 qu'une chaîne corporative va avoir des idées de droite. Le boss paye pas pour que son joujou de presse donne des idées aux travailleurs. Mais est-ce que je suis juste nostalgique ou bien c'est un changement récent que ce soit SI moche? J'ai l'impression d'un backlash généralisé de la droite au Québec, et je me demande si c'est juste parce que j'ai passé ma vie dans une famille de syndicalistes et milité au CEGEP et à l'université dans des causes de gauche, puis juste écouter des actualités sur des sites de gauche, et que je me retrouve maintenant dans le vaste monde et que ce monde pue le réactionisme.
En attendant, excusez-moi, y a une autre jeune fille blanche qui a disparue, alors les nouvelles vont pouvoir nous repasser ca non-stop pour que le peuple ne pense pas trop à l'économie ou à l'Afghanistan.
(Et toutes mes sympathies pour les parents de Cédrika Provencher. C'est le cirque médiatique que je critique, pas les sentiments justifiés de tristesse des familles.)
Les sujets dont le blog va traiter sont multiples: anarchisme bien sur, lutte de class, féminisme, anti-racisme et anti-fascisme, ainsi que des critiques de la Droite conservatrice et libertarienne, ainsi que du néolibéralisme, selon une perspective anarchiste. Je vais aussi surement écorcher quelques-uns de nos amis les socialistes d'état, mais c'est de bonne guerre.
Ici c'est pas Anarchisme 101, c'est mon blog et je lâche mon fou. Il risque d'y avoir des tabarnaks de lâchés quelques fois, j'suis pas du genre à me soucier de l'étiquette bourgeoise. Mon but c'est de lâcher la vapeur quand j'vas exploser de rage, et aussi de m'amuser un peu au dépend des magouilleurs et des crétins qui composent la Droite, aussi bien états-unienne que nos idiots nationaux. Le but c'est pas l'éducation, même si parfois j'vais prendre l'occasion d'en faire. Mais si vous cherchez Anarchisme 101, je vous conseille la FAQ anarchiste.
This blog will be mostly me ranting off on anarchism-related subjects. In both of Canada's official language. I haven't found a lot of interesting, left-wing French blogs. One of them is Voix de Fait, which is the organ of the North-Eastern Federation of Anarcho-Communists, an organisation that I support and of which I am an ex-member. So part of my interest in starting this is to provide a far Left analysis of world and local (Quebec) events, in French for my compatriots and in English for foreign comrades.
Subjects I usually spout on would be class struggle, feminism, ecology, racism, as well as critiques of Libertarianism, conservativism, but also of state socialism and liberalism from an anarchist perspective.
Note that this is Anarcho RANTS, not Anarchism 101. While I will sometimes explain key anarchist concepts as they relate to some issue, I will mostly be using this as a soapbox to let off some steam, as well as a platform to ridicule the pompous asses of the Right. I'm doing this to entertain myself, and others, not as much to educate (though sometimes I will take an opportunity to do so).
I refer anyone who does need Anarchism 101 to an Anarchist FAQ.
Updated: The Voix de Fait blog is not the organ of the NEFAC, but is maintained by the NEFAC Quebec City collective. It does not represent the official voice of the federation as a whole, or even that of this particular collective as a whole.