Total Liberation

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(642 Words / 3,830 Characters)
Things have never been spinning so decisively out of control. Not once in the history of humanity, nor even in that of life in general. Extreme weather is no longer an abnormality; the fish are disappearing from the oceans; the threat of nuclear holocaust is back. Poverty ensnares us as much as ever, whilst the bodies pile up at the borders. To say this order is choking us is nowadays more than a metaphor: in most cities, you can no longer even breathe the air. Which is to say, in short, that the very atmosphere of the existent has become toxic. Within the confines of the system, there’s nowhere left to go. But that isn’t to say such confines are inescapeable – not in the slightest. A million roots of inquiry, each one as unique as you could imagine, begin to converge on exactly the same conclusion: the need for revolution has never been so pressing. Perhaps it’s a little predictable to point out the hopelessness of... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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1: The 21st century context From class struggle to identity politics It’s not that we’ve forgotten the meaning of revolution; on the contrary, it’s the refusal to let go of the old meaning that’s holding us back. With every passing moment, the state of the world changes irreversibly. Perspectives that once commanded utmost dedication begin to stagnate, losing touch with the tides of a reality that swirls in constant motion. Even the brightest ideas are bound to accumulate dust. And so too those offered in response. To this day, most dreams of revolution come grounded in some variant of Marxian analysis. On this account, class is the central principle, both for understanding oppression as well as resisting it. History is taken to consist primarily in the drama of class struggle; different historical phases, meanwhile, are defined by the mode of production that sets the stage. The current phase is capitalism... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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2: The greening of revolution Animal liberation There’s a certain volatility to resisting oppression in all forms. This is exactly the kind of project that can easily run away from you, vastly exceeding one’s familiar terrain. Let’s do our best to keep up: throughout the last decades, one of the most distinctive developments among social struggles in the West has been a dawning of concern for other animals and the environment. Many radicals have been keen to drag their heels, passing off the oppression of nonhumans as irrelevant to our prospects for revolution; the Left, after all, is firmly rooted in the humanist ideals of the Enlightenment, something unquestioningly reproduced by Marxism as well as orthodox anarchism. Yet the weighty tradition of a bygone era is no excuse for closing down possibilities in the present. The critique of social hierarchy, besides deepening the scope of human liberation, applies just as well beyond our own... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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3: One struggle, one fight Economy and ecocide Both animal and earth liberation offer key footholds in the imagination, but we’re not there yet. You could say anti-speciesism and deep ecology are revolutionary, yet not necessarily in a political sense, only a moral one. Indeed, the best-known thinkers of both movements – Peter Singer and Arne Næss – sought to analyze the oppression of other animals and the earth in isolation from a critique of the state and capital, taking it for granted that the system isn’t inherently ecocidal. Both intellectual movements – themselves outcomes of the New Left – thereby found themselves looking at oppression in a way suspiciously similar to identity politics, offering practical proposals focused around personalistic evolution and legislative change. The corresponding activist movements have, of course, often utilized much more radical tactics, but even militant strategi... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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4: Putting into practice The limits of activism What we have so far is a vision of total liberation. As of yet, however, it can only be admitted that this vision remains by and large a fantasy. Throughout The Politics of Total Liberation, Best speaks of the need for “radical, systemic, and comprehensive social changes, of a formidable revolutionary movement against oppressive global capitalism and hierarchical domination of all kinds.” This clearly describes the struggle that resonates so deeply among many of those committed to animal and earth liberation. It confirms that total liberation must be revolutionary in order to gain substance at all. But, then again, we seriously have to ask: does the current trajectory of total liberation activism – contained as it is primarily within the terrain of activist campaigning – justify speaking in such terms? The answer to this question is surprisingly obvious, given how r... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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5: The insurrectional path “The secret is to really begin” The point of departure for what follows is simple: revolution is not around the corner. Presumably most would agree, yet the road forks sharply regarding how best to move forward. The Left maintains that proceeding into open conflict with the state and capital would be premature, given that “the masses” can’t be expected to join any time soon. A reformist agenda is sought instead as the only realistic approach – just until the conditions necessary for revolution arise. But there’s a big problem here, because to merely wait for the revolution ensures it will never arrive. Contrary to Marxian dogma, there’s nothing about revolution that’s inevitable; rather, the only thing that invites the right historical conditions – the only thing that can actually bring revolution any closer – is to proceed to action now, even if the tim... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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6: Autonomous zones Revolution in the real world Perhaps the most influential argument leveled against anarchism is that it just isn’t realistic. Even among those who feel an idealistic attraction towards the prospect of a nonhierarchical society, it can be difficult to square this vision with the real world. After all, we’re not on the cusp of a revolution: there are few countries in the world today (if any) with anarchist movements capable of becoming mainstream any time soon. Can we really be sure that revolution is going to happen in our lifetimes? What if it were never to happen? It’s worth asking… Of course, many of us feel the imminent potential for widespread or even global upheaval, especially when we’re young. As we grow older, though, we often shed that youthful optimism, perhaps becoming disillusioned, burnt out even. This is no doubt a big problem. And yet it’s entirely avoidable. M... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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7: Pushing the boundaries Anarchy made livable Something important for revolutionaries to bear in mind, particularly during the more pessimistic moments, is that the system isn’t working for most people. We’re confronted with an uncertain situation nowadays: a great many people – if not most – are clearly unhappy with the way things are, perhaps even profoundly so. As the everyday strain of fitting into this world increases, rates of suicide, addiction, and self-harm all continue to rise. School shootings – the clearest indication of a society at war with itself – proliferate at an ever quicker pace. Whatever semblance of social peace remains is banded together by the mass consumption of psychiatric drugs, which are frequently administered even to one-year-olds. Whilst anyone still unconvinced can expect to know the four cold walls of a prison cell, the populations of which continue to surge. These dire porten... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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8: Confronting the future “It’s later than we thought” The current historical conditions are shifting, giving rise to a new epoch. As the heat gets turned up, so many of our deepest assumptions about the world – about just what is and isn’t possible within it – are beginning to melt. A distinctly novel, far more volatile terrain is piercing through the current one, promising a century of confused certainties and gritty opportunities. Confronting the future means returning to the theme of crisis, only this time to a specific case: climate change. This is surely the distinctive crisis for the coming decades, the one that threatens us most severely. Yet few still truly believe it can be still be stopped, at least not completely. Each new headline smashes into our optimism, confirming a fraction of what’s yet to come: droughts, floods, heat waves, hurricanes, forest fires, forced migrations… The... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Bibliography / further reading Andrew X “Give up Activism.” from Do or Die, issue 9 Anonymous At Daggers Drawn with the Existent, its Defenders and its False Critics (London: Elephant Editions) Anonymous Call Anonymous Desert (St. Kilda, UK: Stac an Armin Press) Anonymous Down with the Empire, Up with the Spring! (Wellington: Rebel Press) Anonymous “Insurrectionary Anarchy: Organizing for Attack!” from Do or Die, issue 10 Anonymous The Issues are not the Issue Anonymous “The Veil Dops.” from Return Fire, issue 3 Bari, Judi. “Revolutionary Ecology: Biocentrism & Deep Ecology.” from Alarm Best, Steven, & Nocella, An... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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January 31, 2021 ; 4:25:44 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
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