Chasing after ghosts: a critique of anarchist organizing, and its worst contradictions, in the North American context

The thrust of this critique is not pointed towards individual convictions, ideas and desires. As always, the greater the scope of our generalizations, the more exceptions we leave outside. These are responses to general trends and tendencies observed in the North American anarchist milieu. It is quite likely that many of these trends do exist elsewhere in the world, as do many american products. That being said, I believe that many of these tendencies are particularly North American, even if their resonance is felt beyond these borders. Many of these statements and points have been said elsewhere, at different times and by different voices. The point lies that critiques ill-heard bear repeating. Will some be offended, feel targeted? I hope that if this is the case, those offended will not take their indignation as an excuse to throw this piece in the garbage, to rail against it. We are already too few, and too isolated. Yet no numbers or figures could be justification for silence. Cooperation and camaraderie in struggle become meaningless if they are conditional on thin-lipped nodding and pats on the back, if they refuse reflection and debate. Forgive the assumption, but we did not become anarchists in an effort to seek support and acceptance on all sides, to paint glue over cracks and inconsistencies. To be cliché, radical means seeking out the roots of any problem, situation, social or political form. If we cannot see aspects of society that are reproduced in our own circles, then any attempt at radical change is hopeless, no matter how large or how militant. That, or the more radical consequences of the anarchist project will be taken up by others before they are taken up by anarchists themselves. Of course, this is already happening, as it has happened before.

Lastly, if your response to this text is merely, 'but we're working hard!' then accept the response that any good boss will give you. 'Work harder.'

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