Outside the Circle

Cindy Milstein

Trying to Have Faith

We anarchists have this profound faith that human beings are capable of thinking and acting for themselves, and putting that self-determining impulse to good collective use, toward self-organized forms of freedom for all. Not that humans will necessarily, inevitably, or naturally do this. But without this belief that it’s a possibility—or one could say, a potentiality within humans—anarchism makes almost no sense. 

Still, there are times, violent and vicious, that shake our faith to its core, like much of this pandemic era, when it’s been too easy to slip into a rage at individuals and then whole categories of them (well placed as that rage may be), and from there feel despair about what humans as a species have done to this world. 

We anarchists can be an impatient bunch, though—wanting others to see what is so self-evident to us, through our lens, and think and act sooner, now. There is, after all, a lot at stake. 

Perhaps more than impatience, there’s this imperative we feel so keenly: Why should more people have to suffer and die? Why does it too often take someone themselves feeling a cop’s baton at a demo, or someone themselves having a boss or school board that cares little for their health and well-being as long as the grocery or school stays open? 

That, alas, is a tension within our faith; learning to do-it-ourselves might entail first learning lessons for oneself the hard way. 

So we anarchists need to be all that much more giving when people do reach a point of thinking and acting for themselves—whether they sport a circle-A or not. We know the trauma it too frequently takes to “get here.” And suddenly it seems, there are many, many anarchistic humans who are now there—walking out of their schools, staging strikes at their workplaces, organizing solidarity sickouts, and even if still embryonic, refusing to return, whether to the old or now new normal, instead turning toward forms of collective and autonomous care, and toward freedom. 

Our faith, my anarchist friends, needs to burn brighter again, so those who are rising up in greater, bolder, and braver numbers can find warmth and aid in our solidarity. 

(photo: sticker seen in Tio’tia:ke/Montreal, fall 2021)

#CollectiveCare #Solidarity #MutualAid 
#SelfDetermination #SelfOrganization #SelfGovernance


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This entry was posted on January 24, 2022 by in Uncategorized.
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