Sunday, 18 May 2008

Anarchical? Moi?

Perhaps I am indeed, if one steps away from the given - and vilified - sense of anarchy which, to the money-lovers, signifies chaos: senseless, shapeless, formless and hell-bent on the destruction of all in its path. They question how anarchy can have a rule-book, for example, because it's supposed to have stepped away from the rules. Not so. Anarchical thinking is merely that which steps away from the party line; which agrees with the saying that To be Ruled Is Humiliating: To Vote For Your Ruler, Even More So. I must confess that I see absolutely no point in even casting my vote, these days: politics is merely an uncertain popularity contest, and the winner invariably has to sort out the messes made by the last victor. So that nothing, in effect, ever gets done: it's promises, promises promises, and people are treated as mere statistics in the game. They only have value, only lose their 'thing-ness' status, when their vote is being touted for; once their usefulness is over, they are pulled this way and that, subject to the whims of Empire-size egos and tyrannical market forces, until the next election comes around.

The difficulty is, due to the rigid matrix in which the globalised world has become fixed, is to find a valid alternative. What is going to cause true 'people-power' to emerge? How do we get away from statements like Michael Kinsley's, who asserted confidently that attacks on civilian targets should be weighed up dispassionately, solely in terms of the end result: 'a sensible policy [should] meet the test of cost benefit analysis' [of]' the amount of blood and misery that will be poured in, and the likelihood that democracy will emerge at the other end'? Whenever an individual's life, and the worth of his life, is subordinate to an idea - any idea, be it utopian or fundamentalist - apathy invariably sets in. It seems totally pointless to fight against those who would sacrifice anyone and anything to uphold the idea.

The big issue, though, is that no-one really seems to be entirely sure what the idea of democracy actually means (except those at the top, and they're keeping schtum). There seems to be an awful lot of woolly speculation, and various invasions (both corporate and military) occur all over the world in democracy's name: the basic premise seems to be that it somehow entails freedom. Highly unlikely, when the last two American administrations have laid claim to space, using it as a launching-pad for weapons which would ensure 'instant engagement anywhere in the world'. Star-wars, indeed. It seems to me that it is easier to leave democracy as a vague and undefined entity, or represented as a bright and shining idea, rather than to define it and thus risk having the existent systems toppled.

Over the past ten years I've seen England ravaged by those who claim to be increasing civil liberties and have taken the majority of them away. In fact, our society seems to be a perfect advertisement for removing the voting franchise at present extended to all adults. I hate the very notion of ID cards, human-animal hybrids, lesbians conceiving through IVF and leaving the father's name off the birth certificate, the Iraq war, the war in Afghanistan, the perpetuation of Orientalism, to name but a few things. So if one definition of anarchy is the desire to eradicate the status quo and return to a state in which individuals valued privacy, decency, honesty and a little dignity, please count me in.

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Life is to be lived, not controlled, and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat -Ralph Ellison