For a while now I’ve been really coming to terms and confronting the notion that anger isn’t a bad thing by default. It’s a normal, human emotion that we all have in us somewhere. Along with really challenging my dated pacifist ideals and what violence truly is – particularly in the context of self-defence.
I hate to admit it, but I was a very typical liberal; condemning any ‘violence’ – as we should “use our words”. “I’m colour blind, I don’t see skin colour”… Pointing fingers at the agitators or the rioters because “that’s not an effective way to bring attention to your problem” – never really stopping to criticise the power dynamics at play and succumbing to authority (whilst “Fuck Authority” by Pennywise being one of my most played tracks…). YUCK! And I’ve got privilege for days (as if you hadn’t figured that out already), so I’ve never had to stop and question anything as I’ve never suffered, never been marginalised, never oppressed. Sure, I’ve been bullied and discriminated against for being part of the counter-culture but not in any systematic way. None of that required me to question the main narrative that was being fed to me.
Looking back, I kinda had a handle on colonialism, imperialism and capitalism but it hadn’t really filtered beyond liberal ideals. Eventually, I started verging further left after reading more Chomsky, Klein, Adbusters and Strike! Magazine (which reminds me, I need to resubscribe). What really helped with some perspective was an essay from David Graeber. Slowly I started to really take off my liberal blinkers and began confronting norms. (I even made an animation addressing some issues in a lifetime ago in college!)
I’ve always been sympathetic to anarchism but never really proactively read into the philosophy never mind consciously lived in line with the philosophy. However, in recent years I’ve really fine-honed my politics and live more in line with anarchist principles.
Stop believing in authority and start believing in each other
Back in December, I was attending a Make That A Take Records show at Conroy’s Basement to see Tragical History Tour and their support acts. (I grabbed a video of the show and put it up on East Coast Bootlegs, please do check it out below) I was particularly interested in seeing Nana play as they were on tour from Italy and I hadn’t seen them before.
Safe to say, none of the bands disappointed – they were all great! The only complaint of the night was how damn cold it was! Like most punk shows, there is a firey spirit that wants to bring about change for all. Nana shared some stories and imparted some positive advice for all of us to heed. One particular thing they said that night really resonated with me; “With the right amount of love and rage, we can accomplish anything” which was an English translation of an another Italian artist’s words.
With the right amount of love and rage, we can accomplish anything.
For me, love and rage serve as a perfect example of the balance of where we all need to get to where we are willing to make real changes. As much as I would love the idea that spreading love will solve all of the problems of the world, I know now that this is a naive notion. Love is certainly a necessary component but too often ‘love’ is used as a liberal excuse for non-action. What use is love when there are people in immediate danger that need allies to speak up and stand up against those that would harm others? I see now that anger is required to fuel and motivate action.
This isn’t to say that reckless rage is the key but we all need to start getting really pissed off with the way the world is right now. I mean come the fuck on, people are dying in our streets because of neo-liberal governance and capitalists are destroying our planet. Your very survival is at risk. Why aren’t you already angry? Let it out and do something about it. Our inaction only benefits those with power and causes those without power to suffer.
Seriously, if you aren’t already angry really ask yourself why. Is it perhaps your privilege, like mine, that’s insulated you all this time that you’ve been able to avoid any real pain points?
Know that you aren’t the only person pissed off and wanting change. You need to be bold, say it out loud and get active. Remember, with enough love and rage we can achieve anything – even bring about a fair and equal society.