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Workshop for lifestylists

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Tarwater's picture
Tarwater
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Oct 5 2009 01:08
Workshop for lifestylists

ok, so in Orlando Fl. getting a technical certificate, the program lasts 15 month, of which I've completed roughly half. I'm originally from Boston and, while I've lived all over, this is by far the worst place I've spent any amount of time in. I'm out of class every day at noon and I spend the rest of my time reading and working in the garage, trying to pass the time but it's not enough. The economy is terrible here, there's all kinds of immigration and housing issues, it's ripe for some kind of organizing, but the only "anarchists" I can find are lifestyle kids who do food not bombs and a bike collective. I bet I can get some of them to come if I do a class-struggle anarchist/libcom workshop, make them think about their politics and try to define terms. I'm all alone on this one though, any suggestions?

ps, I know this thread has been done a trillion times, just work with me.

Tarwater's picture
Tarwater
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Oct 5 2009 01:11

Fuck, my grammar is atrocious

akai
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Oct 5 2009 08:34

I find that if you start out with something basic and palpable, you can move within minutes to the heart of the issue. For example, it's probably true that the FNB types don't like capitalism and are against exploitation of workers, but they have maybe weak class consciousness or no idea for strategy for doing things. So you might start out with presenting something like Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which is something they might have heard of and probably think is cool. Then from there, you can ask people about how they think the workers organized themselves, what were the challenges, how did they do it, how did they interest other people, promote their campaign etc. (This of course isn't an anarchist campaign, but I said, might be a palpable type of start.) Then you can discuss the whole issue of worker organization, how anarchist ideas might be helpful, how anarchists organize themselves, etc. Here you could give perhaps some other examples. Then you can get to the real question: are you in a workplace that could have an organizing campaign or can you support another person's organizing campaign? Or if not, what can you do beforehand to raise awareness and inspire other people to organize?

I think it can be done in an interesting interactive way. But I think that definitely, instead of going in with a class struggle/lifestyle approach, you should present real struggles that people can identify with. People will psychologically react badly if they think you are preaching about their lifestyle choices and will be more likely to react if they think about the fact that things can be achieved.

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Tarwater
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Oct 5 2009 23:32

I was going to drone on about how theye're hopeless beyond belief, stating (for instance) that:

"We don't accept "alternative" fuels to be a solution to climate crisis, nor alternative to any other corporatized post-grassroots movement. We hold that bicycles, particularly, those that would otherwise fill landfills, are a real solution to the issues of overconsumption that created the environmental crises today."

but I dont want to be a baby. The advice so far is good and I was planning something along those lines, but trying to tie things to workplace issues or anything outside of a subcultural crusty wasteland has met with failure thus far. I'd like to go to another meeting and see what they are working on, so that I could try to plan something relevant to whatever they're working on, but the last time I went I was accused of being a cop.

I think the best example of what I'm up against is their points of unity. It's merely a list of things they're against. If I could stimulate an honest discussion about what they are in favor OF than I think I'd be making some progress. But how to do that?

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Tarwater
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Oct 6 2009 00:24

hahaha, yeah they're actually just dirty liberals, I think. I'm more worried about them influencing other people than anything else...

They seem to have real disdain for workplace related issues, I could go into detail but I've already rambled enough in this thread

gypsy
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Oct 7 2009 10:21
Tarwater wrote:
hahaha, yeah they're actually just dirty liberals, I think. I'm more worried about them influencing other people than anything else...

They seem to have real disdain for workplace related issues, I could go into detail but I've already rambled enough in this thread

Probably because they have never had to work much. laugh out loud I feel for you, ditch the cunts is my answer.

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husunzi
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Oct 8 2009 03:04
Quote:
They seem to have real disdain for workplace related issues, I could go into detail but I've already rambled enough in this thread

Actually I'd be interested in hearing why you say they have disdain for workplace issues. Allybaba is probably right - it's probably because they're relatively privileged and haven't been forced to work much. But many anarchists (including but not limited to people you could easily pigeonhole as lifestylists) think they can create alternatives to work and capitalism without confronting them directly, instead trying to live off of scavenging (as in FnB), stealing, gardening, founding communes and so on. And personally I think there's something to this - not to imply that capital and the state would simply wither away if everyone dropped out like this, or that such options are easily available to most proles. But it seems to me the two movements - dropping out and trying to create libertarian/ communistic alternatives, on the one hand, and attacking capital directly in the workplace and so on, on the other - can and should be complimentary. Once we get to a point where capital is really in crisis somewhere, in the context of a drawn-out general strike for example, ex-workers trying to create new, communistic relations and ways of living should be able to draw on the experiences of people experimenting with such alternatives now, and on material resources and networks that aren't completely subsumed under capitalist relations.

I generally agree that the tendency of lifestylists to get caught up in subcultures is a problem, but it also bothers me that a lot of class struggle anarchists and left communists in both the UK and North America tend to draw such an exclusive line between themselves and lifestylists, completely dismissing the latter and experimentation with other ways of living in general as irrelevant to the class struggle or the movement toward communization. This doesn't seem to be as big a problem in some other countries, such as Germany. I'm not too familiar with the scene in Germany, but at least some left commies I know there are also deeply involved in what Anglo-Americans would call "lifestylism," and they don't regard that as exclusive of or irrelevant to the struggle against capital.

Sorry to get away from your original question, Tarwater, but I would like to hear why you say your Orlando lifesylists are averse to workplace issues, and I wonder if your workshop might be able to link their experimentation with other ways of living (including the creation of a bicycle culture, which I do think is important - and in some way antagonistic to capital) with what we might call the negative struggle aimed at attacking capital and its supporting institutions directly - in the workplace and so on.

Maloney
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Oct 8 2009 19:16

airfreshner might do the business

little_owl
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Oct 11 2009 05:25

I would just try to come up with something that people in your communty can work together on using anti-authoritarian forms of decision-making. You would be able to get people to be interested in anarchism who maybe wouldn't have and maybe some of the lifestylists who are actually able to understand what anarchism is about will be interested. And the one's who aren't, I wouldn't bother wasting my time with them. They would contribute to nothing mostly other than just using it as an opportunity to show how anarchist they are and would just contribute to alienating people/creating silly factionalism and just labeling people as cops or liberals.

And this reminds me of the time I tried to start a collective in a small town I used to live in. Me and another person were looking for people and put up flyers, I made up one that had all this stuff about getting rid of authoritarianism and hierarchies and not one person responded and the other person who was pretty lifestylist made a myspace in which it just had the anarchy symbol and not much else and it attracted about half a dozen people. I remember one saying something about starting a revolution and everything yet they couldn't even bother to just come to a meeting. And the lifestylist I was trying to work with had no interest in doing anything at all, giving the most ridiculous excuses and they were only into it because they were just getting into punk music and wanting to have a hangout spot for punk kids. And sticking anarchist symbols on various articles of clothing, nothing else. The group didn't last very long, especially once they started being too authoritarian with things and not really interested in working on things at all.

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Oct 11 2009 15:41

If you're still looking for advice, my group just did a meeting on "What does it mean to be an anti-capitalist?", which might be a good title to nick - the anti-capitalist label is vague enough that all kinds of bollocksy liberal things use it (see climate camp, for example), but it's also an essential part of our politics. So it could be a good question to lead into a discussion of what effective anti-capitalism actually means in practice.

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Oct 11 2009 18:07

Husunzi - I'm working on a reply, sorry it's taking so long

Farce - thats actually not a bad idea, I might pm you for some details...

Tarwater's picture
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Nov 5 2009 00:33

I must have been cleared as a cop, cause they're adding me to their e-mail list...

Quote:
"Sure thing, you're on our list now. Trainings\roadshows is really a broad meaning with any group of folks (activists, musicians, et.) that are interested in sharing ideas, skills, music, or whatever may be pertinent to our collective. Our last show was a puppet show and concert from folks from North Carolina, along with a workshop on Consent.

Just a heads up, this Saturday at ***** Vegan Kitchen downtown will be our Freestore from like 2 or 3 to 6pm and some of us will be out there. You'll probably get an announcement for this as well though.

See you around,
**** of BMC"

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jesuithitsquad
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Nov 5 2009 02:37

Have fun with that . . .

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armillaria
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Nov 9 2009 00:31

Hey, briefly de-lurking to say, husunzi, I really appreciate what you said- One does not have to drive a car or have a job in order to work with people who have to do so to survive. And, like LittleOwl said, some folks will be willing to do the real work, and pay no mind to the ones who don't- Don't waste massive energy trying to convert them, but don't let them drive you off when there might be some other people who'd actually be interested.

Also, I want to say, Tarwater: It's cool that you're trying to do this- The communists who I know and work with locally have practically no interest in reaching out to anyone who self-describes as anarchist, because to them, that word signifies nothing but lifestylism. Hopefully if more people do the type of thing you're doing, it'll be recognized (if not here, in other circles) that there's more to it than that.