Some friends and I were just talking about how in their area, the only people who are doing anything, who have any inspiration or energy, are people who are not anarchists, but are close enough not to be terrible. While these particular friends are on solid ground, the conversation reminded me of previous friends who have drifted away from anarchist activity, thought, and friends, into the morass of communism and marxism. Another friend used to say that a certain kind of anarchist would become a commie when unable to find more anarchist theory to read.
My thought (one of them) was that anarchism’s brand is getting sullied, inevitably, by being on everyone’s lips, and this is a normal, and perhaps even helpful, ebb in the flow of popularity. I also wonder what it might mean to u.s. anarchist thought to have younger people be more interested in other sets of ideas, leaving (relatively) older people to, perhaps, develop and pursue the thinking for a while.
What are your friends doing? Are you watching them slip away? Does it matter whether they identify as anarchist, and if so, why? And if not, why? What are the principles that are significant to your relations with your friends? Do you just have to feel secure that they won’t call the cops on you? Or that they won’t shoot you in a revolution? Or that they won’t urge you to join their group/buy their newspaper? (ok – too old of a reference, maybe). For those of you who are watching (or have seen) such departures, was it more of a leaving to or a leaving from?