Possible Submission Topics / Further Reading:
See Catalogue of Activist Journeys for further reading.
Find here some of the copy pasted explinations I’ve given to people to give them a sense of what I’m looking for. Simply put what sustains you, and what motivates you. The hope is by keeping it as general as possible, the responses we get back will be both varied and personal.
Writing format – a few central questions, no agenda
“Point of No Return is a zine that explores the points at which a number of anarchists made the conscious decision to become anarchists and/or realized they were anarchists.”
“I am no hero and neither of you, contributions were made in response to the prompt ‘How have our histories of abuse inflected our anarchist practice?’.”
Obviously not naive to the limits of realism either (see By, For, and About: The “’Real’” Problem in the Feminist Film Movement By Shilyh Warren)
I really enjoyed your zine, and think there needs to be more stories told about Anarchist journeys not just to help non-anarchists understand us, but to help us understand each other and how we relate to the world in novel and unique ways.
There are many books, zines and essays advising how we’d ideally organize together, support, transform etc. Titles like ‘Organizing Social Spaces as if Social Relations Matter’ aim at critiquing a certain ethos, in the hopes of moving the movement in a certain direction. What I really like about ‘Point of No Return’ is it asks people to respond to a central question, so any ‘agenda’ that is present is reduced down to the author second guessing what is the best answer to make them look good, which the reader can easily pick apart.
My simple idea is to get people to reflect on how they sustain themselves as an Anarchist/Activist, what common language and thinking we have found useful in our daily lives to reach new material victories and create healthier communication and environments.
A Variety of Experiences:
- Biography – an effort in the humanities
- Mental Health
- Philosophy and Education
- Post-traumatic growth & Resiliance
- Psychology and Resiliance
- Relationship Anarchy
- Solidarity Activism
- Personal solutions to complex community organising
Biography – an effort in the humanities
Anyone who’s lived a hell of a life but isn’t as confident writing, I can mock up a set of interview questions from our conversation over the phone or skype, and do a bio piece.
Structurelessness, informal hierarchies, identity impact conscious
Finding your own healthy self-care routine, discovering normal in a society that rates your mental health by how high functioning you are in a competitive social climate.
Philosophy and Education
I believe as you do that philosophy has a way of helping you overcoming hurdles in your thinking and finding happiness in movement, which has the added benefit of highlighting the ridiculousness of learnt prejudices like the racial contract.
I wonder if you’d be interested in talking or writing about your personal journey with conventional truth:
When you realized how philosophy had helped you, what gave you the energy to want to show others, specifically what led you to believe it was a useful endeavor, or was it more visceral, like you really wanting to expand the conversation on Bell Hooks and Nietzsche because you wanted to be understood for your own ideas and be able to understand others.
Or was it perhaps that your ideas just grew and grew till you were enjoying the excitement of being able to have a small piece of the world wide conversation, to spark good thinking instead of just commenting on dead old white men’s thoughts.
What are your thoughts on evolutionary psychology, even if society is just a field of antagonisms which function as its discursive limit, do you think we can say human behaviour is becoming more empathetic to the community outsider or the global network as opposed to just the tribe?
Is it useful to think about humans desire to imagine an ideal community in biology as something inherent?
As an aside I’m expecting a lot of responses will comment on the usefulness of the Activist label to them personally, I wonder for you as someone who has found their place as an educator, changing hearts and minds, coming up with fantastic social analysis of examples of systematic oppression like the Penn State sexual abuse cover up.
Would you have any words of advice to someone who dedicates their time to material militant struggles like gentrification, but struggle with activism as a label that fails to usefully describe a fluid role but instead prescribes rules of behaviour on the ground?
I’ve seen many friends sea saw between being subsumed by resentment giving up the activist name for insurrectionary to the opposite were friends become overly impact conscious and regretful of their past roles as outside agitators in a losing struggle and refuse to play the optimistic role again and give up activism to become education as the only solution absolutists.
Resilience and Post traumatic growth
Psychology and Rebellion
Assuming existential psychoanalysis is still relevant to you, I wonder since you situate your pathologically anarchist psychology as outside the standard model pathology pumped out of the identity factory, whether you could go an extra step to say surface level happiness from having goals achieved, are less accessible in this society to the outsider/ pathological anarchist?
In essence I’m asking whether or not you have the inherent desire to strive for the prizes on offer to those who work hard, if happiness is achieving our goals, the pathological anarchist has to be more creative if happiness is winning. What drives them necessarily needs to be trophy making, coming up with and deciphering what would make ourselves happy on our own terms, and finding new and novel avenues towards those ends. Finally in this way whether we will always be doomed to being cognizant of pulling the strings that hold up one’s own charade? Of delaying living for always seeing and choosing the option to perfect the rules of the game first and foremost.
Hey all, I’m putting together a zine on the Activist Journey. I’m looking at how people sustain and motivate themselves to keep on going. I lived in the women’s house in Calais over the winter of 2013/14 when numbers on the ground were small before everything blew up this last summer.
The story in the picture below comes from my first zine called Protest and Identity formation. It follows an experience I had with the pressures of Calais. With my next zine I want to go much further and make a collection of stories of personal struggles with these big ideas; such as a privileged persons parachuting into Calais, doing solidarity activism rather than leaving it to the state or philanthropists, finding ways to cope with the impossibly messy situation on the ground.
This time last year I was coming out of my post-Calais burn out blues, scribbling away, trying to process the age old questions, how did I get to this place, where should I go on from here to find that passion again, just trusting in my hands and the keyboard to process my own struggle was a big step to finding meaning in movement again.
By the time I’d reached my recent past in my writing, where I was able to find a context to reflect on a year spent in Calais without feeling total and overwhelming dread at nothing being enough, a weight had truly been lifted.Trusting myself to put down some of my own experiences for how they were meaningful to me without hoping to highlight everybody’s plight simultaneously.
I realised it was enough to understand my existential struggle at living in solidarity with other radicals with less free choice than me, living bare life in the jungle, fuelled on emotion, needing to propagandize, but fearing the police repercussions on the migrants of every direct action, always feeling like nothing was enough, and everything you did mattered.
I shared my love and solidarity with the strongest people on earth, for whatever value it was worth and knowing that, I could begin to take myself a little less seriously.
So that was one part of my story, and having processed that, I’m now interested to put together a zine collection of activist journey’s . What brought you to this life, what sustains you, have there been challenges in remaining motivated, how do you see yourself moving forward?
(click to enlarge)
Personal solutions to complex community organising
Anyone who; wrote a great research paper/theory piece on the bigger picture, would be interested in reducing the jargon down, and giving the personal narrative behind the writing of the paper, coming to terms with new realities.