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Is it important for anarchists to keep up with what's going on in the world politically?

+2 votes
asked Oct 16, 2012 by anonymous

3 Answers

+4 votes
It could be, but it would depend on what the anarchist in question was working on at the time, and might also depend on what is meant by politics. Many anarchists find politics boring (because it is), and when you hate something, it is rather maddening to immerse yourself in it.

Even though I don't vote, and don't have any interest in electoral politics, I do find it helpful to know what is going on in that realm to (hopefully) better engage with the people around me. I find I am able to offer much more resonant critiques and provocations to the non-anarchists I know when I can reference current events.

Knowing what is happening in local politics can also be helpful for predicting where possible opportunities for future flare ups of rebellion might arise. If the city council is pushing redevelopment and gentrification of a particular neighborhood, for example, that might be a place where anarchist interventions will be particularly effective. Or not.

At the same time, I don't read political blogs or keep up too closely, as that just feels like a waste of time. I'm not trying to be Noam Chomsky (by which I mean, very engaged with politics and offering up an anarchism so watered down that it is just social democracy).
answered Oct 24, 2012 by ingrate (21,110 points)
+2 votes
I think it could be useful, as described in the answer above, however perhaps to bring up something not often discussed, I think that as human beings entrapped in this society, were are assaulted every second of the day with entirely too much information.  Dare i say, we need a lot less information.  Assuming the way we interact with each other and the way we feel is not entirely based on a quantitative analysis of the material conditions to continually update our abstract theory of "the way the world is", i think it would actually do us all a lot better if we werent totally subsumed with information, facts, analysis, etc.  on a constant basis.  I dont really have much trust for anarchists and especially communists who have some to occupy a position based on analysis and rationalization rather than feeling, instinct, etc. Perhaps it is useful to remain "relevant" and "non-autistic" if we wish to engage in social ways with others besides close friends, but really the total consumption of information, even under the guise of it adding to "our analysis" is totally detrimental to our ability to function as a living animal.  How many of us have had our ability to remember totally destroyed, all things personal and subjective, our memory thoroughly ravished?  This constant bombardment puts us always on the defensive, either having to process and internalize, parse through useless shit (at what cost?) or entering into total dissociation.   

How many of us have been in some event that was "significant" in some way, and later seen it processed and spit out in some form of media, alternative or otherwise, and thought, "that isnt how it happened" or "that is so far from the experience that i had"?  I think it makes sense to apply this process of total mediation and representation to all other "events" that we internalize through "keeping up with whats going on".  Our ability to have subjective experience is constantly being hammered down, more and more with the incessant progress of the technological apparatuses, and our way of being is so often implanted with the mechanical view of experiencing everything through an abstract, objective lens - a total construction of life and its experiencing for us.  

I think this is inescapable if we wish to stay "up to date with current events" but is it worth it? to actively participate in it? perhaps we have no choice, who knows
answered Nov 13, 2012 by jingles (2,240 points)
edited Nov 13, 2012 by jingles
i think this is a really good point, jingles.
and usually i hear the argument that we should keep up to date as part of a strategy to convince other people of things.
but my reason for wanting to stay abreast of events has more to do with understanding what other people are doing and reacting to, and to how old enemies are newly spinning the same line (for example)... so that i can be watchful for people i care about (also for example)...
but i haven't looked at a newspaper or a news site in years. so, fuck yea.
i think that is probably the most important thing to glean from staying relevant - to understand how those who position themselves as comrades are actually inventing "new" politics to wrangle in our friends
0 votes
Being able to express an opinion—simply just being able to articulate one's self and have those ideas diverge from the injunctions of institutions—is far more important than absorbing a bunch of facts about current events. This is very important in an age where Google finishes what you're saying before you do.

All of the information available through the media has already been computed and shaped by those agencies that collected it in the first place, so approaching the formation of your own, let's say, self-theory from the quantitative approach of commanding a clear recollection of news items is, at best, truly redundant and at worst a way of buttressing your own command of "what's really going on" in the world so that you can badger others into accepting your worldview.  You become a thinking man, who thinks for your own self, contrary to the sheepish masses. Thinking for yourself is crucial but not in that way. All of that information isn't inert in the hands of the agencies that announce and tend to it. It is actively working upon billions of minds already. I mean, media institutions are fundamentally business enterprises. You never quite get the information that you want and it always has a reductionist bent to it that aligns with a profit-maximizing filter. Case in point is how the suffering and grief of America over the Sandy Hook massacre works as front page material with Obama's single, manly tear as the crowning image, but the suffering and grief of the Chinese over an extremely similar tragedy isn't even of tertiary value. Even in China itself this is true. http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/121217/chinese-reactions-newtown-sandy-hook-henan-school-attack

There's also something far deeper to be said about these media institutions. The current sex scandal in the BBC bears a remarkable likeness to the disrepute of the Catholic clergy. These professional, managerial classes have the same fundamental dysfunction of not being able to discuss how the disciplinary functions they perform facilitate morbid exercises of power and systematic violence, which is important since they seem to have such an awful lot to say about the rest of the world. They have a good, slick hold on the issues of the day but they are shockingly ill equipped to disclose their structural role in class domination. Not much can be gained for the thinking man in the absence of reflecting on one's self.

I'll leave you with this,

“The working class bury their heads, that’s good, they might see the root of things.”
answered Dec 19, 2012 by madlib (2,730 points)