Source: The Anarchist Library
Republished with permission.
People Have Lives! This was what was screamed at me when I criticised peoples attitudes and commitment towards activism. It was revealed to me that there are excuses which are taboos — never talked about or challenged. These excuses include: girl/boy friends, parties, alcohol/drugs, children, jobs, etc. The painful truth is that as our movement lacks resources, manpower, support of all kinds and a good network, and the little hope that is left is wasted by people spending their time and energy on socialising with friends, going to parties and getting pissed.
Is it coincidence that any half successful movement or revolution was achieved only by certain rules which in most cases included limitations on alcohol and drug use? I’m not advocating a ban on alcohol or drugs — the will must come from inside.- just pointing out the irony of hippies idealising the Zapatistas while ignoring the fact that their heroes have one simple rule which extends on the whole of the occupied zone by Zapatistas: a total ban on alcohol and other drugs.
‘Fascist’ they call me when I mention the word ‘self-discipline’, yet what is wrong with someone restraining themselves for a cause because they respect their friends in the movement and would be ashamed to let them down?
Even the ‘enlightened’ individuals of our movement seem unconvinced by the current situation in the world. It seems that only in countries where peoples baby’s are getting killed people finally realise what the cost of freedom is. It seems to me that it is not enough in this country for peoples babys’ being killed by the government slowly with dioxin, fluoride, BSE, etc. — how can you convince these people? Do you have to have persons intruding into their apartments shooting the fuck out of their kids in front of them while wearing tshirts with “THE STATE” written on them before they SEE? Freedom is not a consumer item one can purchase from their local Bodyshop. It is the result of a struggle with commitment, sacrifice, respect and discipline.
Why am I angry? Because I have been pissed on and fucked up by people doing exactly the things I have described here — wasting my time and most importantly wasting the little effort I have tried to push toward saving this planet.
“People Have Lives!”. So I don’t have a life...? I have chosen not to have lots of friends to go to parties with, or to abuse myself with alcohol and drugs, or a full-time job, a car and other mod cons, useless hobbies etc. This is something I have chosen so I can fight for the destruction of civilisation. If these people’s ‘life’ requires such trivia to be worthwhile, I don’t see much to recommend it.
Some years ago I voiced these ideas to activists at the EF gathering. I said that I thought having entertainment, i.e. alcohol, loud music etc. at a gathering that should be primarily about serious issues isn’t acceptable. This is because only one thing can be a priority at one time.
The EF! gathering exhibited some of the most gruesome hypocrites I’ve seen for a long time. There were a lot of people there who’s priority wasn’t the serious issues at hand but having a good time generally and entertainment particularly. Because of these people the gathering was made into a festival, a ‘happening’, and the Earth was not first but last.
The entertainment thus became a priority and dispite the limitations of time and space applied to as camouflage it by-passed the serious issues we should have been working on. This phenomenon is not exclusive to Earth Firsters and contributes greatly to the failure of environmental organizations and movements to bring about real, rather than superficial change. If we are serious about tackling civilisation we have to be utterly self-disciplined and focused. Alcohol, drugs, sex, socialising, etc distract us and re-deploy our energy, weakening our intent and dissapating our actions.
“My countrymen, shall the glittering trinkets of this rich man, his deceitful drink that overcomes our mind, shall these things tempt us to give up our homes, our hunting grounds, and the honorable teaching of our old men? Shall we permit ourselves to be driven to and fro — to be herded like the cattle of the white man?” — Oglala Red Cloud
Not only do sex, alcohol, drugs, computer games, tv, etc. sap energy and time which needs to be devoted to other more important things. But they make us self-indulgent and dependent on the thing we have to destroy. So why is there such a dissappointing pattern of substitute activities among what’s classed as ‘activism’? And why are activists so self-indulgent and un-self-disciplined?
Jean Liedloff, in “The Continuum Concept” describes the differences between civilised children and the Indians she lived with in South America. She noted the following explanation for why the Indian children were so happy, self-motivated and confident compared to the unhappy, dependent, self-destructive civilised kids:
“Ironically, the reason it’s possible to make these profoundly social animals bad or anti-social is because we are so social. Our parents, our tribesman, our authority figures, clearly expect us to be bad or anti-social or greedy or selfish or dirty or destructive or self-destructive. Our social nature is such that we tend to meet the expectations of our elders.”
— Interview in ‘Touch The Future’ www.continuum-concept.org
Self-destructive, substitute activities are expected of us. And even activists find it hard to ignore Mother Culture, our modern elder. We scream for our ‘right’ to get drunk, socialise, etc as loudly as any pampered brat, truly not knowing how we could live without our substitutes.
“The world’s full of the walking undead and you want to party?”
— Buffy the Vampire Slayer
If activists were to expect their allies to be sober and self-disciplined, then we might have a good chance of eliminating our self-centred indulgent behaviour. If we were expected to act with determination and dedication then maybe we would start acting that way. I think a good way to start changing this is to completely eliminate unneccessaries like drugs, alcohol, parties, tv, etc and incorporate the idea of self-discipline into our lives. But as I said, the will has to come from inside, when we’ve decided we’re really serious about kicking civilisation.
Freedom – Equality – Solidarity
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