things to think about

today i am thinking about: BABY I HATE MANARCHISTS
October 14, 2011, 3:05 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It is so easy to be cynical about The Movement.

Manarchists and unchecked white privilege and unchecked class privilege and ideologues and grandstanding and the need for ideological perfection and lack of forgiveness and hidden trust fund babies and white person dreadlocks and lack of ferocity and willingness to infight and a hundred other things make it so easy to pour a tall glass of haterade and drink, drink, drink.

I don’t go to actions that don’t have at least one woman as a featured speaker. I don’t go to protests that aren’t backed by people of color-centered organizations that I trust. I don’t go to protests that I think are foolhardy, or pointless, or about marching around to prove we can march around. I hate protests, period, really – it’s not like they change anything, they just are a good reason for us to feel good, and whatever, half the people there need to shower anyways.

And I HATE a manarchist. I hate them deeply. I hate the whole culture of white man manarchy where you show up SUPER RADIKKKAL and take up all the space and don’t think critically about how you are being oppressive in the name of “being an activist.” I hate name dropping manarchists and maoist manarchists and bearded manarchists and especially the ones with the white man dreadlocks. ESPECIALLY THOSE. They are everywhere, in every movement that isn’t explicitly queer or people of color-centered and sometimes, even then, the manarchists roll out and make stupid choices that end up screwing people over.

I have no idea why Occupy Wall Street has not succumbed completely to the manarchists. I saw them there, this morning, when we were there to hold the park in case of police attempt to shut it down. I heard them – I think I heard them, it’s hard to tell on the human mic – orating broadly about the way we will rise up together. You can always tell a manarchist. They like to orate broadly about the way we will rise up together.

But somehow OWS hasn’t fallen into that rabbit hole. The plan for civil disobedience in the face of the park considered all of these things like people who can’t get arrested and varying levels of willingness to risk – because the direct action committee, according to my friend, is largely made up of women of color. The kitchen staff isn’t just women, although there are a lot of women there. Somehow things have not dissolved into partisan tantrums, or hopeless fracturing. The manarchists are there, smelling up the joint and running their mouths and trying to take people on ill-advised “civil disobedience missions” that are mostly excuses to look macho. But that force of ew has been resisted by a much larger and smarter force that seems to be thinking critically about how much danger that kind of manarchy can have to the larger cause.

My other friend was telling me that the whole thing got started by a bunch of white man college students. This could not be a larger red flag – except that no one knows who these white man college students are. Rather than stay up there and manarchist about, they pulled back and started creating structures for many people – any people – to take the mic. That’s the greatest thing I’ve ever heard. It’s enough to make this hardened cynic start thinking about how maybe I should not just bitterly sign another internet petition and, instead, take it back to the streets.

3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I love this piece, and I love your news network that keeps me updated about how this is unfolding in NYC.

I do want to say something, though, in relationship to the statement that “the whole thing got started by a bunch of white man college students.” This whole thing did not get started by a bunch of white man college students. This thing got started when Picture the Homeless started doing empty housing counts. This thing got started when people started skillshares and free schools. This thing got started when Domestic Workers United labored for 9 years to get their bills passed. This thing got started because popular education around economics has been happening on the ground floor for a long time. It’s possible that a few white dudes were the first to sit down on Wall St with marker-scrawled signs (I remain doubtful about origin stories that begin with white man college students, but its not outside the realm of possibility), but they were not the progenitors or the generators of this groundswell. They did not lay the foundation. They did not sit for long hours in each others rooms while family members died from lack of access to adequate healthcare. They did not sit outside in sorrow and protest when the police falsely arrested people at the SRLP anniversary party. They did not do the hours of community organizing training that felt boring sometimes. They did not spit and fight to have gender-based violence and intimate partner violence be taken as seriously as the possibility of a military draft. They did not lay down on the tracks to prevent their union from losing longshoreman jobs that were absolutely necessary to the survival of their rural community. They did not dance hard, covered in glitter and praise, loving each other despite every cultural message about how their perverse bodies didn’t deserve glory and tenderness. They did not take the conversation about money and power to their mosques and synagogues and churches and other worshipping communities.

We did, though. And I think that’s why we run this, and not them, and why it’s good.

Comment by honeyandlocusts

A+++ well said on all points.

Comment by arielariel

For me, other than the use of the word “hate”, this is right on!

Comment by

Leave a Reply to arielariel Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: