(HERE IS MY WRITTEN PRESENTATION FOR THIS YEAR’S FIRST ANNUAL ORANGE COUNTY ANARCHIST BOOKFAIR)
I preface this writing by saying that knowledge can truly never be owned. Knowledge is a gift. Indigenous relationships with earth have enabled me to trouble my own relationships to land and knowledge because these concepts are peopled. A paralleled sense of belonging occurs between land, theory and ism. When I take a critical gaze at my ability to name my theory after myself, call it an Xism, am I caging and limiting this knowledge? OR can I name it something else that doesn’t belong to me, but rather a theory that others belong to, or have carried on and can expand on critically, temporally and spatially. Capitalism and western philosophy does all it can to capture, commodify and arrest these ideas, but what happens when our collective aim is to liberate them?
I am an anti-authoritarian. I feel that anarchism is one of my first political philosophical loves. Like a great romance with its ups and downs and confusions and respect for its aims, symbology and potential. I attribute some of my greatest critical understandings to anarchism and its many schools of thought minus anarchoCapitlism and anarchoChristianity. Given that anarchism may be a philosophy based within prefigurative politics or an anti politic that aims to remove coercion and violence from every social relationship, when the dominating genocidal narratives are Christianity and Capitalism(Church and State) I wonder what then are the anCaps and anarChrists attempting to “liberate” themselves from? To resolve and organize pursuits without interference from the state and any political economy, meaning a stateless society that isnt organized by the flow of capital and its coercion conformity of productivity. Anarchism is an admirable endeavor. However, with much respect to my ancestors who have resisted the nomenclature of non consenting western dominance, white solipsism, political orthodoxy and its eurocentric canon. I have internal conflict with naming myself an anarchist, but my practices and organizing strategies could very well be named anarchism. “Settler colonization” as a named process seems to be a misnomer that erases invasion of land that was already inhabited. But as far as my persynal invader decolonization is concerned I aim to emancipate myself from this western eurocentric canon, which according to Achille Mmembe is
“a canon that attributes truth only to the Western ways of knowledge production. It is a canon that disregards other epistemic traditions. It is a canon that tries to portray colonialism as a normal form of social relations between human beings rather than a system of exploitation and oppression.”
It is a political motive on my end to refuse to take the anarchist title, but therein having respect for some and finding accomplices and co-conspirators who may call themselves anarchists. I often do side eye many of self proclaimed anarchists because like the term “ally”, it is often a false moniker. Possibly fueled by growing narcissistic individualism it seems the anarchist only in name and theory only really wants the individual social cultural capital of the title without the work necessary to take up such a perpetually reconcilable mantle. It becomes a self interested self determined pat on the back.
Anarchism in all of its anti-capitalist and anti-state analysis and rhetoric seems to fall short regarding focused invader decolonization. An actual constant vigilance toward unlearning the affects and indoctrination and subordination under the state’s rule and the colonial project’s hegemony and values. A necessary reindigenization that accounts for black and indigenous relationalities with the land, autonomous cultures of resistance with domination removed and a decentralization of power. To emphasize the after life of slavery and colonization I quote Lawrence and Dua on black resistance:
“Diasporic Black struggles, with some exceptions, do not tend to lament the loss of Indigeneity and the trauma of being ripped away from the land that defines their very identities. From Indigenous perspectives, the true horror of slavery was that it has created generations of ‘de-culturalized’ Africans, denied knowledge of language, clan, family, and land base, denied even knowledge of who their nations are.” This quote for me begs the question: When the key motive of anarchist belief is self determination how can there be true literal self determination when the subject is thrust into the role of object and the object’s self has been stripped away?
I refer back to anti-authoritarian as my self descriptor because like Queer or Gender Non Conformist it is not only the antithesis of definition and any one stagnant structured political identity, but it opposes all etymologies of authority, categorization or unquestionable “invention, advice, opinion, influence, command, genre” “master, leader, author”. Who authorizes our every waking movement? Who has authored and written Law and Order that dictates our actions, thoughts, emotions and coerces us to labor because of its economy of State sanctioned violence and power? We truly live in thee dystopia because our material reality is designed by these written doctrines and the institutional languages of Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist Dis-ableist Cis Normative Hetero Patriarchy. It is high time we tear at these pages, whilst rejecting their symbolic order and never deferring to ANY canon. We must heal our spirits from the disastrous effects of invasive colonizations. Anarchists, Socialists, and leftists alike tend to fall into the dogmatic trap of the times and forget that the static unchanging written word is a tool dependent on its bearers all on its own, a power that has often legitimized and prolonged genocide and the HISstory of the conqueror. It has privileged the civil. And perpetuates the civilized-primitive dichotomy. Civilization’s written language becomes simultaneous truth and servant to its own logic and reason. This is what some indigenous resistors and those whom salvage their traditions through collective spoken word often mean when they say they are Against All Authority. The industrial revolution and every revolution in between that continues to own land, claim authorship and authority over the earth and all of what it creates to bow at the will and supremacy of huMAN need, it’s state borders and wants is not saving us. This (white)western huMAN hubris socializes us to not relate to those who have a relationship with and or belong to the land as well as stunts the growth of interdependent relations. Without disruption It is a prewritten commoditized future we are seeing and it is always bleak and always fascistic.
I’d like to close with reindigenization and opposition to anti blackness. It’s important to note that we don’t all have the same intergenerational trauma beneath long existing interlocking systems of domination. So the necessary motions it takes for true liberation per descriptive/ political category is not monolithic. For last example, the essential argument of relevant radical black thought linked to the radical black tradition that finds fundamental flaws in engaging Politically with established power to rely on the ultimate demand for liberation is, since the construction of the west’s colonial project known as civilization and socially constructed identifiers, such as ‘black’ or ‘blackness’, there is no other universal “civil” descriptor of blackness that isn’t synonymous with ‘slave’. The slave has been intentionally left out of the conversation of loss entirely because the slave hasn’t ever been a subject for huMANity. Some may argue that other peoples have existed as slave, the pervasive naming and authoring of Africans as black or negro by the West’s language turned hegemony can not hxstorically articulate any distinctions since the civil pursuit and colonial point of contact. The designated slave according to the value and worth assigned by civil society suffers something far greater than just loss. The violence inflicted upon the slave is so great that the slave is not granted a social life. The slave suffers from complete removal from the conversation of huMANity. I.e. social death or absence.
The global construction of civil society has hxstorically been dependent upon master-slave power relations and with that colonial determination it has developed a collective worth FOR blackness in the collective unconsciousness or ‘libidinal economy’ of our world. Though this constructed anti-blackness has existed before the 1492 US colonial project. In order for this absence to be wholly accounted for(should that be the liberatory want), with the State’s institutions, it’s organizational design based off of these inherent exploits of master-slave relationality and Authorization, THIS entire civil society has to fall. The America, as a project, has to end. And the world as we know it has to be destroyed and maybe then blackness and all the downtrodden socially constructed “identities” will have an opportunity for a truer Autonomy. After the fall there is ample potential in this otherwise uncertainty.