Thursday, September 30, 2010

Denis Rancourt on anti-hierarchy activism - Nine-part video mini-series

Here is a nine-part video commentary about anti-hierarchy activism.
#1 On the need to act across hierarchical strata; act up.
#2 When does our opinion matter to power?
#3 Is organizing activism? (When does it help?)
#4 Is community building activism?
#5 On the need to embrace hatred. (related essay)
#6 Fight your own oppression!
#7 Where do you fight?
#8 How do you fight?
#9 What is the payoff?
The underlying assumption is that of anarchism, that hierarchy by design and nature is violently oppressive. These videos are about activism aimed at flattening the hierarchical pyramid. (If you're not fighting hierarchy then you are helping to maintain it.)

Related essays HERE.


Dark Daughta said...

Thanks for putting this together. I think that there are opportunities for our politics to become less reactionary and more generative, layered and conscious. Why spend all our time paying attention to the police budget when we can take a look at the formation and development of the radical political. The one about hatred and emotions as a form of resistance which can be used to develop clarity about our agendas, our enemies and our allies was particularly useful. the piece about attempting to engage with people across class and hierarchical strata with a focus on those defined as up above can be a good approach but it also highlights one of the problems with our movements namely that we have hierarchical views inside our movements as well as outside.

Denis Rancourt said...

Thanks DD.

Good point that we can do so much better in development of radical political and that this should be our focus.

Regarding the hierarchy within our own stratum, that one is relatively easy to fix and the fixing is good practice. Here we are body to body, voice to voice, without many of the trappings of power. Our own fears are among the relatively few barriers.

I say don't anti-oppression train that white guy; straight up put him in his place and keep doing it until you succeed, until you come together from a good battle.

As a white guy, I don't want the collective fucking with my mind. I just want authentic interaction and I will give same.

Yes sensitivity exercises/experiences, as needed; yes learning/exchanging about mobbing; yes practicing speaking out. But no thanks to anything institutionalized and guilt-based.

Just putting that out there to clarify...?

peter laux said...

I finally got around to watching, good stuff Denis.
The internal oppressor is what makes me want to shoot as many activists as oppressors.
To illustrate 'the green activist' is often a misanthrope with visions of a legislated totalitarian state as their utopia but my dystopia.
They may claim love of nature but really operate from the unconscious realism of a projected hatred of self (as acknowledging a self loathing is impossible, so hence others are to blame) So are really haters of humans and their works not lovers of nature. Same,same with many animal activists - they even unconsciously reveal their self hate "I love animals but don't like people." They see that as a morally good !!
Another example are activists I have known who operate from 'envy of power' - unionists whom really want to be a contra-mangers.
Then of course greed or even amongst many alternative types the feeling of not being able to compete with their perceived betters, so 'rebel' but are merely the other side of the coin.
Any change must be started within by acknowledging our prejudices and base motives, otherwise we are simply the self-righteous and that is always a cover for guilt or self recrimination. Misdirected change will always come out sideways and be harmful.
The other point I loved was where to start, I have always despised the "think globally, act locally mantra", it makes problems too huge and appeals only to the grandiose with huge solutions that will lead to a greater good, whether we like it or not!!!!
Your point is to start where I rub shoulders with the oppressor - right there, as small and as humble as that may be, it is real and leads to real change. As opposed to a grandiose jargonistic abstract and vision that only appeals to those who wish activism to be a 'label' of aloof superiority and not action or if action, another hierarchy-the intellectual disorder !
"Where I am activism" makes action bite sized and obtainable, action that can make a difference - "act locally, think locally and then have a ponder at the world."

Denis Rancourt said...

hi peter,

I would add that so-called "self-hate" in wanting to limit our own reproduction or the reproduction of others (or our consumption, etc.) is one natural response to perceived overcrowdedness. It is one possible natural animal reaction to stress from real and/or perceived "overpopulation". For example, many animals are observed to naturally resort to cannibalism under such stress and many species simply will not breed in captivity.

Therefore, I would not judge such political reactions as "evil" or "un-natural". A good solution is to discuss and compare notes and find ways to liberation that do not oppress or self-oppress...