Zombie Apocalypse and the Politics of Artificial Scarcity
Dystopian narratives have long been an alluring and thought-provoking form of entertainment, especially for those who take an interest in studying social and political structures. From classics like Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World to the current hit, The Hunger Games, these stories play on our fears while simultaneously serving as warning signs for the future. Their attractiveness within American society is not surprising. Our lives are driven by fear. Fear leads us to spend and consume; fear leads us to withdraw from our communities; and fear leads us to apathy regarding our own social and political processes. This fear is conditioned as much as it is natural. The ruling-class handbook, Machiavelli's The Prince, made it clear: "Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved." The idea of apocalypse is a central tenet of human society. We've been taught about Armageddon, Kali Yuga, Judgement Day, Yawm ad-Dīn, nuclear holocaust, the end times, the four horsemen, and the Sermon of the Seven Suns. Hierarchical societal arrangements leave us feeling powerless. Exploitative systems like capitalism leave us feeling hopeless. And the widespread deployment of fear ultimately keeps us in our place, and out of the business of those who own our worlds.
Anarchism and Political Non-engagement
As an anarchist, being politically engaged looks very little like the way most people understand political engagement. Political engagement typically brings to mind all kinds of activism, handshakes with the rich and powerful, and emotional speeches about why some candidate or policy is the ultimate good, but anarchists don't like to play that game. It's a losing game for all parties and for every living being on this living planet. Anarchism precludes something wholly different from political engagement, and that is political non-engagement. Under a system which dominates and oppresses all aspects of our lives, all acts have been rendered political. Where you buy your food, who you bank with, what clothes you wear, what shoes you wear, where you work, how you worship, these basic aspects of life are all deeply political - perhaps even a great deal more political than the ballot you cast or the petitions you sign. "In the slave wage economy, who will your master be?" is the question that politics asks. Politics never asks you if you'd like to be a slave, or suggests that you may not have to be one. The question of politics is indeed a loaded question, as the questions of "which slave masters will you serve" and "what color would you like your shackles painted?" are presupposing that you have consented to being a slave and are more concerned with the particulars of your slavery. The anarchist ideal is grossly misunderstood because it presents the idea of walking away from the ballot box and, discontent to live shackled by an abusive system, declaring "No gods! No masters!"
Education for Life, not Empire
Nowhere more so than in America does the "objective of all human arrangements" strive to distract "one's thoughts to cease to be aware of life and to use technology to arrange "the world so that we need not experience it." This seriously mitigates against America waking up soon enough to make a mid-course correction to survive. The structural problems of the world capitalist system in general, and America in particular, have reached critical mass and are likely to precipitate a crisis of epic magnitude in the very near future. "The ideological celebration of so-called globalization is in reality the swan song of our historical system." Until this scenario is played out - or education for once decides to abandon the status quo in favor of the progress of humankind - any talk of educational reform or improvement is simply rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. America's last hope for survival is to (1) create a cadre of people with transformed ways of being in the world who could create the liberated territory of the new society, embryonic islands of alternative culture that may grow into each other, like a reef displacing the sea, (2) speak truth to power and isolate how the evil is done, and (3) walk a long march through the primary institutions of society, emplacing righteous people in strategic positions of responsibility in the courts, media, think tanks and elsewhere..
Waking Up America
An Interview with AmericaWakieWakie
This is important though for those reading this interview. I cannot express enough how if you continue to challenge your presuppositions, you will evolve. Eventually you will look back on yourself and see your progression as both amazing and silly because some things you will know in your heart to be true, and others you'll be befuddled at how you could have ever been so wrong. Malcolm X once said, "Don't be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn't do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn't know what you know today." I try to practice that. My execution is not perfect, but when I remember that I once could get teary-eyed over a flag that represents more genocide and hatred than nearly any other in the world, I humble myself. We all have work to do. We are better equipped for it coming from a place of our imperfections. As for my intersectionality, again, we all have work to do but I have tried hard to cope with my own contradictions and to be better for them. A principle contradiction for me is the fact that I am half white and if I choose, though not always, I can often pass. This has given me unbridled access to spaces excluded to people of color, and while I could have built a life where I capitalized off that, I have tried to instead use it in a way that amplifies the voices of PoC.