Thoughts on politics, religion, violence, inequality, social control, change, and random other things from an autonomous, analytical, adopted, abolitionist, anarchist who likes the letter A

Beliefs as Barrier

December 16, 2010 By: Mel Category: Anarchism, Seeking

I understand and respect the choices that many people within the anarchist community make.  I love the self expression and weirdness that is embraced in how people dress or act.  I completely respect the decision to be a vegan, to avoid chain stores, to criticize suburban homogeneity….

But there is a price that we pay by being too strict in those choices or too harsh in our judgments.

I have friends who grew up in the projects and really like suburban homogeneity.  They think it is great to live somewhere clean, without rats, where the plumbing works.  They don’t want to go to the vegan café, they want to go to Fridays.  And if I refuse to go to those places, I cut myself off from them.  If I am disdainful of their choices and dreams, they will know it.

I understand that people don’t want to support corporations and institutions that are at the heart of our problems.  But there is no way to extricate ourselves completely from that system.  We aren’t always going to be able to engage people on the most ideal terms.  And if we want them to consider coming to our spaces, we have to be willing to go to the spaces they want to be in, and to do it without raising eyebrows or preaching.

I’m not asking that anyone do things that are against their principles.  We all have to act in accordance with our conscience.  But we should understand that living in accordance with our beliefs can be an obstacle to working with people who find the anarchist subculture odd at best.  And rather than giving anarchists the side eye who aren’t fully immersed in that subculture, we should be happy that there are people who will be able to communicate anarchist ideas to audiences that we might not be able to reach.