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What contradictions are people seeing in their friends and others during this time-of-breakage?

+2 votes
I was having a conversation yesterday with a friend who lives with a lot of people he's known for years, and he was remarking that part of what's hard is the smack in the face about how far they've actually drifted apart. He was (with reservations) appreciating the way that the system is failing, and his housemates (many of them parents) were concerned that things weren't (and might not) get back to normal.

Other anarchists are believing the state lines fully and insisting that all the rules given are the ones we should follow. Yet others are not apparently taking the opportunity to fuck shit up at a time when that would be easier than other times.

How have people surprised you during this time? Good surprises would be nice to hear about too! (lol)
asked Apr 29 by dot (52,130 points)
hi zubaz. why isn't this an answer?

it is curious to me how many people/anarchists still believe the things they hear from the state/the media, but maybe it's an issue of believing the only speakers who seem to know anything or who sound authoritative, especially when the listeners are scared?
dot, I don't know why I didn't put it as an answer and don't know how to change it into one without copy pasting into one, I guess I can just copy paste it into an answer and hit the hide button for the comment and hope for the best.

I think some of it has to do with the media and state exploiting peoples cognitive biases and no one is really immune to them either, but if aware of them it's harder for others to exploit and manipulate. There's so many of them to exploit and manipulate. The state and media have mastered exploiting them long ago. The way they frame info is just one of the many ways to manipulate, like in this case they're using big numbers and avoiding percentage. Another one is if you keep hearing about something like people being shot and killed or got a virus, it gets you to think those things are common even if it's not. They're easier to recall from your memory and that influences you into thinking more common than it is. So anyways, that's my theory. I think it has a lot to do with exploiting those cognitive biases of people.

5 Answers

+1 vote
You're not going to hear any positive surprises from me, one of the things that really annoyed me is one of my "friends" (who is now more IMO just a useful aquintance...) was remarking on facebook about how cowardly it was to shut down a punk show, but then hasn't shown any interest in spending time with me in real life...

The thing that is making me so mad in general is that people are taking on really polarizing/scared points of view in terms of how to deal with the news. For example, a certain family member of mine several weeks ago was equating me to a trumpian conspiracy theorist because I wasn't isolating myself as much as he thought i should have been. I've also encountered this political guilt/shame pandering on facebook and i happily just purged them from my friends.

As far as the real dangers, there are some, and that's why i am taking this opportunity to just pay closer attention to what's going on in the news to see what's really going on:

-the tests still aren't completely accurate. Therefore, the statistics aren't really that useful, and like non-pandemic times risk assessment is a pretty dicey matter.

-If the virus is as contagious as its being made out to be (and probably is...look at all the people dying in highly metropolitan areas like NYC) then there really is no stopping it because most people who get it aren't that badly effected by it.  

-states across the world, and the wealthy, are using this as a means of increasing their power and authority.

One of the take aways from this is that this whole thing has been made worse by the internet...this could even trigger WW3.
answered May 2 by Nihilist (-180 points)
+1 vote

it was a pleasant surprise to learn that some family members were finally getting serious about growing some food in their garden beds. taking, for them, a first step towards meeting their own needs directly.

i have found it very interesting how some of the people i know are responding to being deprived of their normal social interactions. someone i thought of as a hardcore loner is going crazy wanting to socialize more. others who i thought would be pulling their hair out after a week of isolation are discovering the joy of being alone. contradictions? maybe, of a sort. self-learning opportunities, for sure. mainly, for me, just interesting to observe.
answered May 2 by funkyanarchy (12,270 points)
for me this has definetly forced me to take a harder look at my habits and illusions, it reminds me of the fact that i need to find more people to be friends with if i want to have a better life in the long run, but also reminds me that i already was spending a ton of time alone for pretty good reasons...

the thing i've appreciated most on a personal level is that it has certainly forced me to figure out how to stay sane and calm in stressful situations, like who knows how this will all turn out? Are my priorities straight? It's certainly a change of pace for everyone...
+2 votes
I was genuinely surprised that a huge chunk of people rolled over and did as the state demanded without question. Even to the point people of threatening others if they questioned the lock-down stuff and/or didn't comply. I though it may have been because I live in a liberal state, but then I found out the lock-down shit was going on elsewhere. Then I read some article/diatribe on @news called "fuck going outside" or something like that, using fear & guilt to guilt & scare anarchists into compliance with the state's demands. It was bizarre. There was no indication the author of the article at least pondered the efficacy of mass lock-downs/quarantines. Nor thought about the harms that will happen to people as a result of the mass quarantine/lock-down other than the virus. I guess they only care about people not getting the virus

Your friend is right. Things won't back to the way they were prior to this virus. Historically, states don't return to the status quo prior to whichever big incident. Big incidents are good times for the state to monopolize off of with nearly full support of the plebs or try to pass new laws when no one is paying attention, like some law to try to ban encryption. I was reading about some state in the Dirty South where the governor used the coronavirus as the rationale to ban abortion with one of those executive orders.
answered May 2 by Zubaz (4,140 points)
the trump supporters are being equally as crazy as the people who keep barking "STAY AT HOME! STAY AT HOME!", getting angry at people in convenient stores that they aren't getting their shit fast enough and falling back on every xenophobic explanation of the coronavirus.

I'm pretty relaxed because i've found the right rituals to keep my mind together but i have to admit: the geo-political implications of all of this are very scary and threatening. While i typically don't pay any attention to trump he has single-handedly made the U.S. more psychotic and mentally unstable. U.S. presidents in general have basically been revealed as being these less-intrusive cults of personality for U.S. citizens, yet terrorists abroad...
The stay at home folk tend to be liberals and are annoying. The state ordering people to stay at home or receive a huge fine doesn't do anything. I tried to explain to them, when I was playing on the local group on facebook for my city, that telling an infected person to go home (that's what they're doing in my state) puts everyone that lives or work near that person home at risk of getting the quite contagious virus. I assumed they'd realize that, but nope. Unnecessarily restricting peoples movement or else get a big fine, is just trapping people in close contact with people that have been infected with contagious virus. Of course the virus will spread since the plan is just to send an infected person back to their densely populated neighborhood.

It almost seems like the state is encouraging or wants the virus to spread so they can pile on more and more restrictions on top of their power grab with the people's support. Unsurprisingly, more and more people are getting the virus and the virus completely out of control now. I found out there's an ice rink near my house that been turned into a make-shift ice rink morgue. I'm still a bit surprised a lot of people are still blindly going along with these stay at home orders.

The stay at home people tend to be the liberals and the opposite are Trump fans. It's hard to tell them apart because they're both dishing out equivalent amounts of racism and xenophobia. In my state it's mostly liberals and they've let their racism run amok. Normally they try to self-censor their racism, but they're not doing that now. I saw an article on some liberal news site complaining that Trump didn't go as authoritarian as they had desired in regards to the virus. Crazy. I don't pay attention to Trump much or the news, but Trump has played a role in people becoming more crazy and irrational than normal.
+5 votes
I’ll share a contradiction in myself:

It’s an odd time to be an anarchist and a medical provider.

The medical establishment is currently clamping down on people’s rights/freedoms and are implementing protocols based on what’s best for the masses with little consideration for individual choice/experience.  It’s always been there, but its become more blatant and tight-fisted than ever.

For example having to face a life-changing medical crisis completely alone with no support or loved ones, because that’s protocol. (Like NY hospitals not allowing a birthing person to have a support there, not even the child’s other parent. Or my grandmother having a heart attack and not being allowed to have her caregiver, who has medical power of attorney, there with her). With the only option being to refuse medical care and risk your health/life. I think its cruel and in-humane.

But, as a provider, I totally understand why it’s happening. With limited access to protective equipment, there’s none to spare for anyone who does not have a life-saving role. The providers are doing the best they have with the knowledge and equipment they have at the moment, and need to be better safe than sorry. I get that, completely. And I feel for hospital-based workers right now, its a sucky time to be there.


I’m, mostly,  pro-quarantine/shut down theoretically. I understand virology and just how limited emergency / hospital systems really are enough to understand that its one of the few ways that this spread of the virus will be minimized enough to allow time to understand it and prepare and treat it.

However, I also know that you can’t expect enough people to want to or be able to voluntarily shut their lives down enough to really do this. Therefore state involvement is the only way for that approach to work in any meaningful way. And I’m super fucking against the state enforcing such things.

Also, I’m all "fuck life as usual". This system wasn’t working in the first place. We need a crisis to expose its flaws, we got a problem that we deserved.

But I also don’t want my old and asthmatic family members to die.

So... I admit, everyday choices and thoughts feel constantly contradictory for me during this time of unease.
answered May 20 by Katherine DiFiore (5,380 points)
that's basically where I'm at, that some isolation and caution make total sense but I'm totally against forcing people to be separate from each other, and i also think that people need to also be a little bit more afraid of fear itself because anxiety compromises your immune system, and also gives the cops/the state the impetus to start controlling peoples lives more than they did before.

I'm pro-shutdown in the sense that it stops a lot of the shitty economic activities that hurt people before the pandemic!
0 votes

THE COVID CONTRADICTION : in institutions the COVID dialectic is disease fear/ disease denial  = more control ... fear & denial beget the same response ... in individuals the COVID dialectic is disease fear/disease disdain = honor thy leader be he an MD or a polity ... fear & disdain beget the same response .... the coupling of tightened institutional controls with the want for authoritarianistic  solution ... this coupling bodes well for the collective and ill for the anarchist ... that there is a common denominator of collectivist authority want in institutions and  in individuals is contradictory ... the contradiction lies in the human response to COVID ... it seems that, whatever one's belief, the response is to cede one's individual  rights ... the contradiction is that the COVID pandemic begs for individuals to act responsibly without the need for external heeds yet as a whole it seems that ALL have been herded and passively await be mastered ... comrades & foes await the same vaccine bus as if its arrival will cure racism & hate and therein lies the contradiction of COVID ... the contradiction that while a vaccine may cure the COVID:how the vaccinators use the vaccine will be worse than the COVID ... the vaccinators will rule without pause > we are allowing ourselves to become a  herd of isolated individuals ... absent any contradiction our individualism will soon be butchered smiley 

answered 2 days ago by jack pot (370 points)
"it seems that, whatever one's belief, the response is to cede one's individual  rights "

if you are referring to individuals who identify as anarchist, i would challenge that assertion.

for starters, what are "individual rights"? rights require an authority - institutional authority at that - to define/enforce/deny them. hence, not relevant to any anarchist i have affinity with, other than as a potential tool of the state to be used against the state.

if i go somewhere and choose to wear a mask to protect myself and those i care about, is it your interpretation that i have "ceded my individual rights"? my perspective is that i understand the seriousness of the virus, and i am acting directly in my own self interest. the fact that the state has issued suggestions/mandates for people to wear masks is irrelevant, at least to me. so while in your eyes i might be following orders and/or giving up rights, that assumes i respect the authority of the state, which is a bad assumption. i am simply acting with my own agency to meet my individual needs and desires, without regard for the state.

but maybe i have misunderstood what you meant.
i like this:

"comrades & foes await the same vaccine bus as if its arrival will cure racism & hate "