We’re writing to point folks towards an excellent piece published by CrimethInc called “Nightmares of Capitalism, Pipe Dreams of Democracy.” It’s been out since the New Year, but we think it’s very worthwhile reading for anarchists. It looks at various struggles against capitalism over the past two years – Egypt, Wisconsin, the student movement in the U.S., Occupy Wall Street, the plaza occupations in Spain, and the London riots over the summer – and offers a serious attempt to analyze what the limits of these struggles were in order to push further in the future. It’s helpful because it not only recognizes successes, but it also points out anarchists’ failings. It’s sadly rare to see anarchists being this thorough, but hopefully this piece sparks discussion.
From the conclusion:
In addition to exacerbating the contradictions inherent in the financial crisis, we should undertake to make life in upheavals more pleasurable and robust than workaday life. Those who participate in wildcat strikes, blockades, and occupations should experience these as more exciting and fulfilling than their usual routines, to such an extent that it becomes possible to imagine life after capitalism. As many anarchists live in a permanent state of exclusion, making the best of it despite everything, we should be especially well-equipped to assist here.
Finally, we have to be tireless in our critique of democracy, as the alternative people in this society intuitively fall back on against the excesses of capitalism. The more unpopular this is, the more important it is that we do it. Private property and government are the two great sacred cows of our age—the ones for which our lives and the earth itself are being sacrificed—and challenging the ways they monopolize legitimacy is one project, not two. They are two heads of the same beast; they cannot be beaten separately.