What freedom is there left?

in anarchism •  20 days ago

During the 2016 presidential campaign I realized, understood, that I was not a "voter" or a "party member". At that time my party was the Libertarian party - my candidate was Gary Johnson. I know that there are many minarchists and Libertarians who would claim that I ought not to judge the party by the failure of Johnson, but we can't really say that was the first failure. The Libertarian Party has been the siren, the gentle and bewitching melody, that has drawn the liberty community to the rocks and reefs of failure and disillusionment - since the early 1970's. The argument goes like this: "eventually, we'll win ...". Problem is "eventually" might be too late.

I am an anarchist - I know this.

I know that I've been an anarchist since I was a kid. Sure, I didn't have a name for it back then but I knew what I was. When I left the U.S. Army in 1999, I was so lost, so confused by my experience, that I sought answers - and I struggled with the answers that led to more questions.

"What had I believed in?" - this was the central question.

I'd believed the U.S. was a free country - and I understood, finally, it was not.

I had believed we were a nation that concerned itself with truth, respect, and the notion that each of us was master of our destiny - this belief was gone as well.

The reasons why I had taken a commission in 1996 had melted away, I was ashamed of my stupidity. I was ashamed of my naive understanding of the world.

In 1999 I dove into anarchism - more left-anarchism, but anarchism nonetheless. Noam Chomsky was my guide, his critique of media still resonates with me to this day. Emma Goldman too, Kropotkin, and others ...

I think left-anarchism has its flaws, but at least its humanist values are in the right place.

And now, more than a year after admitting what I am, I am more lost than ever.

I had attempted to find an authentic way to meld my work with my life, my ideals with my income - and all I found were more lies, more deceptions, more confusion and pain.

Yes - I am an anarchist.

No - I truly do not believe this has any practical meaning.

I guess you could say "organize", but the organizing of anarchists is a futile exercise. And, to be blunt, there are many minarchists or petty tyrants that masquerade as anarchists. Sure, many smaller governments is preferable to one large one, but you still can suffer the brutality of group think and the cult of personality. Whether it's "workers democracy" or "Jim Jones", the small scale society can have at its core the same evil that imbues the mass-societies, the super-states. Maybe small groups can't wage major war, but they can still beat and torture and execute.

I don't know what I'm seeking now - I know that what I am seeking and how I make a living will not intersect, not in the USA in 2018. The personal journey of carving out freedom in an increasingly oppressive and empty civilization will be a challenge for any thinking, feeling, caring human being.

And then there's this ...

The admission that the only freedom left might be suicide - I know, scary and dark.

But there are times when I wonder what freedom we have left BUT the freedom to choose non-participation.

I am not advocating for self-harm, though the last few months have forced me to consider this many times.

I am not advocating for suicide because I think I've turned a corner - I am feeling a queer optimism over my own ability to weather the emotional storm.

I am choosing to admit the mistakes of the last couple of years AND to ponder their meaning ... perhaps I have echoes of pain and shame, but this is ok ... life is messy, and a life lived is usually a quagmire of bullshit ...

But I do ask this question, and will not stop: what freedom is there left?

What freedom do I have?

Do I accept the consumerist freedom to "buy shit" as freedom?

And if I reject consumerism as freedom, then what, perchance, is there?

(ideas to ponder on a Sunday night)

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