“Can you imagine what would happen if even a fifth of the uncompromising suicides of each country associated their last breath with that of an infamous, powerful man? …they would think twice before casting other human beings into the despair which is yours.”
We live in a time of resignation. It’s heartening to see so many people leaving their jobs, though sadness comes at the realization that, despite the fretting of so many business owners, they won’t be staying away forever. We love acts of finality – the fraught text message exchanges we see circulating on social media with pleading managers, “we’ll talk about this tomorrow” “no we won’t” – but hate to imagine the next job application, the “millions of people going to their graves as failures, forever denied the experience of a full human experience.”
Deprived of a big happy ending, life goes on for us, and the whole death march into an endless capitalist present can be, well, kind of a drag. Quitting the hopium and giving up on the future is supposed to bring us joy, but can just as easily lead to despair. Add on all the mundane stresses that come with living in the world and we’re in quite the pickle.
“The ibu’s external world is a continuing nightmare, too. Enervating dangers keep it caught between fear and heroism. All the while, it could end this ghastly theatre by killing itself and disappearing forever”
So, to put it bluntly, why not throw in the towel? Resign forever and escape the nightmare?
Many anarchist responses to suicide voice some form of what Huey Newton posed in Revolutionary Suicide – instead of being overwhelmed by the world, we should live dangerous lives in line with our politics. The system will likely kill us for it, but we’ll go down fighting in the process. If we’re going to die, why not die happy instead of sad? Even in, especially in its hostility to the “living death” of the world anarchism can be life-affirming. But is that enough? There’s no shortage of us throughout history that have gone down fighting and we’re still here in this death march. Isn’t this just more hopium, another kind of futurism? Is living even that good to begin with?
What’s a good anarchist approach to hopelessness? Are your politics part of the reason you’re still here, or a reason you’ve considered leaving? What made you step back from that ledge, or pull someone back from it?
(note – if you’re considering suicide, please consider talking to someone such as the suicide hotline at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/)