October 20, 2020
From The Slow Burning Fuse

This is a great piece of writing take from a longer piece here https://essexstirrer.wordpress.com/2020/10/19/stirrings/

Once you get away from the wilder conspiracy theories that have emerged during the COVID-19 crisis, there are plenty of legitimate concerns about the impact of lockdown and the new ‘normal’. Briefly at an individual level they are – loneliness; not being able to visit elderly relatives; not being able to comfort dying relatives; not being able to give the deceased a decent send off; being deprived of the interaction and physical contact that helps us to be social human beings…the list goes on… At a societal level, they are – concerns about the loss of venues to socialise in as pubs, cafes and restaurants start to go bust after months of lockdown; the loss of live music venues; invasive tracking and tracing software; the threats that if we don’t comply to increasing and arbitrary restrictions, we’ll never get back to ‘normal’…again, the list goes on… At a health level, they are – the impact on mental health of loneliness and long term separation from friends, lovers and family; concerns about the adverse impact of wearing face masks for a long period; fears about rushed through ‘vaccines’ where the manufacturers refuse to pay any compensation should there be serious side effects or complications…again, I’m only scratching the surface and the list does go on… Many of the concerns about lockdown and the new ‘normal’ listed above are about the threats to what makes us truly human.

A growing number of people are sharing those concerns – the problem is that to all intents and purposes, they’re politically homeless. As anarchists, by and large to date, we’ve failed to reach out to these people. Granted, a few of us have been trying but find that being open minded and reaching out to the growing number of people disaffected by lockdown has pushed us even further to the fringes of the anarchist movement, possibly even beyond it. All I and a few other people in the movement seeing things the same way have been guilty of is thinking outside the box and recognising that we have moved beyond the old political categories and divisions. The political divide between those who value collective and individual freedom on the one hand versus those who favour statist, top down solutions to our problems, even if those ‘solutions’ veer towards a 21st century form of tech facilitated totalitarianism is starting to become more dominant.

There’s a growing level of discontent turning into anger. Much of it is about issues that affect each and every one of us in some way, regardless of who we are or what our political beliefs are. Responses to these issues have manifested themselves in ways that stand outside the traditional left/right divide. This is why the left, and sadly, too many anarchists have stood aside from these manifestations because being so new, they defy easy political categorisation. As far as I’m concerned, if this discontent defies easy categorisation and the left has stayed away from it, that is something to be grateful for!

One thing I was taught very early on in my political activism is that a movement for social change, possibly even revolution, may well not come from the expected players and forces. The world now is very different to the one I started out as an activist in way back in the early 1980s. As the world changes, the forces likely to create social unrest and eventually, hopefully, force through radical change will also change. They will not meet rigorous ideological purity tests although to be honest, it’s doubtful whether any movement for change would ever have fully satisfied those tests. Insisting on ideological purity is a cop out that allows ‘activists’ to happily carry on in their protected bubbles while the real world is raging outside. We can’t afford the questionable luxury of retreating into a bubble and hiding away from the messy reality of the world with all of its complexities and contradictions.

Far from there being ‘nothing much happening’ in this country, there’s actually a heck of a lot that’s happening. We are living in a period that can be described as truly historical. There’s a lot of discontent and anger bubbling away. There are no certainties as we move into uncharted waters. All I’m saying is that we need to be open minded, creative and flexible. Once we’ve opened ourselves up, we need to offer our solidarity to those fighting against arrogant local authorities and the arbitrary authoritarianism coming from the corporations and the governments and the agencies who are doing their bidding. There’s everything to play for but, if we don’t respond and get stuck in, there’s literally everything to lose. It’s time to step up to the plate…

Source: Theslowburningfuse.wordpress.com