Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Some thoughts on anarchist praxis in the 21st century

"Praxis is the process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted, embodied, or realised. "Praxis" may also refer to the act of engaging, applying, exercising, realizing, or practicing ideas." - wikipedia

The state did such a great job of pathologizing acts of resistance against capitalism in the 20th century that often the most rabid condemnations of so-called 'illegal' actions against the state came from large sections of the left itself.

In the 21st century this tradition of cowardice and kowtowing to state dictated 'societal norms' and 'acceptable methods of protest' continues with denunciations aplenty - a recent example being those on the left in the UK who practically lined up to condemn the spray-painting of an anti-Tory slogan on a cynical state-sponsored 'war memorial' during protests against the Conservative Party's election coup.

Militant direct action taken by anarchists in the modern era is not 'vanguardism.' No anarchist individual, group or cell that has taken militant action against the state in the current era has ever claimed to be fighting on behalf of 'the people' or any other such nonsense like some of these sniveling civil anarchist cowards will have you believe. They took these types of actions because they were prepared to go the extra mile - to put words into action - and were prepared for the consequences! Anarchists currently incarcerated around the globe for militant direct action don't want your sympathy or pity regarding the circumstances of their incarceration - leave that type of liberal bullshit to amnesty international and their ilk. Solidarity is what is required, solidarity and broadening of the struggle, IE go on the offensive!

Enough of the endless pandering to what people perceive as being 'popular opinion.' We don't have to endlessly justify our beliefs to the mainstream. How the hell are you reaching the mythical 'people' on social media anyways? Do you have a friend count of 1000s of non-politicized people? Do the pages you admin have 1000s of non-politicized followers? I don't think so. Stop regurgitating and echoing the mainstream / bourgeois media - use and support anarchist media and counter-information sites! Create your own media, create your own websites!

This is not advocating "propaganda of the deed" (doing direct actions for the sake of propaganda) by any means. Nor does this imply we shouldn't use every means available to us to radicalise the population; countless liberals have been converted into leftists thanks in part to social media such as Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, and reddit. However, all these can do is merely make them receptive to ideas - we must constantly unashamedly engage with liberals to identify those who are developing class consciousness. Likewise, we must constantly struggle to agitate the population, to organise, to educate, to spread information, ideas, and concepts.

This is not to say going around spraypainting circled A's on public art will be effective; they often conjure up images of burning dumpsters and broken windows, if they conjure up anything at all. It is entirely possible for propaganda to have the opposite effect we are hoping for; we should use care in selecting both targets and methods. We must constantly adjust our methods and tactics to maximise effectiveness, and this involves gauging the public mood, as well as other objective conditions. Truly effective subversive propaganda has hooks. It makes you ask yourself questions - it makes you ask others questions.

We must act in the offensive. We must seize the initiative. Stop reacting, and start acting. To maximise effectiveness in agitation and propaganda, we must study many subjects - such as marketing, operational research, etc. Every anarchist seeking to maximise their effectiveness when engaging in subversive propaganda should study books such as:

* The Art of War - Sun Tzu

* On War - von Clausewitz

* The Utility of Force - Rupert Smith

* Recipes for Disaster - crimethinc

* Who's Afraid of the Black Blocs - Francis Dupuis-Der

* FM 3-24: Counterinsurgency - US Department of Defence

* FM 34-60 Counterintelligence - US Department of Defence

* FM 90-8 Counterguerrilla Operations - US Department of Defence

* Aesthetics and Radical Politics - Gavin Grindon

* The Guerrilla Marketing Handbook - Jay Levinson + Seth Godin

* Guerrilla Social Media Marketing: 100+ Weapons to Grow Your Online Influence, Attract Customers, and Drive Profits - Jay Levinson 

* Guerilla Marketing: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business - Jay Levinson, Jeannie Levinson, Amy Levinson

* The Best of Guerrilla Marketing: Guerrilla Marketing Remix - Jay Levinson, Jeannie Levinson

* Guerrilla Marketing for Free: Dozens of No-Cost Tactics to Promote Your Business and Energize Your Profits - Jay Levinson

Clearly, we must understand the tools of the oppressors, to know how to avoid them, to subvert them, and to use them for good, not evil. We must understand our own strengths and weaknesses, and that of the enemy. We must understand our own goals, and that of the enemy.

We must be calculating. We must be scheming. We must plan carefully. We must look at every angle in every plan, and work out contingencies.

We must take our praxis seriously.

"The general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand." - Sun Tzu, The Art of War