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Stuffiness needs the doors and windows open

Peter, you'll note that I consider hustling a skill - we need to critique it, but we also need to not be puritanical. Part of the hustling allows us to 'punch above our weight' on the international stage, but I am very concerned at the way local activists seem to believe the mythology, when they should know better.

It becomes absurd - especially as it results in no real movement building. I honestly don't know what real movement building would look like myself - it's easier to identify the problems, than work towards solutions, BUT I want to face the problems head on and honestly, so that we can build stronger foundations.

At the moment, the performance of spectacle is as far as we get. I am convinced we can do more if we critique honestly, work with integrity and allow creativity to flourish. There IS way too much claiming of easy victories.

And as Zachary points out, even huge protests, while potentially being productive of solidarity, can swing far-right: I've seen and heard it with my own eyes - from xenophobia, calls for capital punishment, homophobia and sexism (often justified in terms of 'culture'), to petty rivalries, such as the Anti-Eviction Campaign food fight in circa 2006, where the 'black' comrades and 'coloured' comrades fought with each other about how to cook and spice the free food at a rally.

These protests happen despite the 'left', not because of us. We have not figured out how to go about our work effectively, and therefore we don't work effectively (we just run around jumping on bandwagons, claiming solidarity) (in the absence of anything else, I sometimes do it too). We have habits, routines, regular performances - they all pretty much look and sound the same - but we need to revolutionise our own practices, and this can't happen if we don't admit that we're not getting it right, that we're not sure yet how to get it right. The 'left' here is to backward looking - referring to Lenin, or Bakunin, or such like. Tomes are stuffed in doorways, blocking access for new ideas to flow in.

The 'left' here simply does not seem open to the possibility that the ideas we need to win the fight are in the future (or if we allowed such a possibility, among us in the present moment) - instead I find inflexible people clinging to the ideas of dead men. Albeit I like some of those dead men's ideas myself, I believe that if we collectively applied our minds to breaking with 'left' traditions, we can generate ideas for life as it is lived now.

Of course there's continuity with the past - 'nightmares of history' and all that - but there's also specificities, nuances, that can be opportunities - materials - for creating new ways of life.


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