Submitted by ChaosAnarchy in FuckDave

This is something I've learned from the days I've been working as a mod in /r/antiwork on Reddit. Simply saying that you value anarchist things like having no leaders does not make you leaderless.

The first pillar of what makes you a leader structure is Reddit itself or any other social media site. Reddit can at any point of time decide to remove moderators from your team or even outright ban you from the platform because you didn't cooperate with what to delete with them. You ultimately end up toning your message down a bit in order to spread the message, ultimately losing a sort of invisible leader a bit of control of what the movement is trying to accomplish, be it that every do what whatever they want but the invisible leader, a Reddit admin, simply deletes your message advocating for violence against the state.

The second pillar is the media. The media keeps talking with either the same, few moderators or handpick selected few opinions out of hundreds from an /r/antiwork reader or simply left reasons behind from comments with theory, unexplained, leading to some looking ridiculous. Usually they take the most system friendly reader and shape it to their narrative. Meanwhile in the library you could find texts advocating for violence and lots of not so nice words for the capitalists, all you could read in the media was how nice it would be to work 40 hours with benefits, basically, what Europe is today. If Europe has social democracies, then the US has work democracies. Legalized slavery in prison, way too few laws for workers and powerful employers.

The third pillar is the community. This is a hard one to deal with. In any radical movement, you will be getting a lot of system friendly liberals, that are slowly weaseling their way to being radicalized by the experienced members, but this will become a too slow process if too many liberals join at once, ultimately it ending in the echo chamber of the ideas of more radical liberals instead of anarchists. In the case of /r/antiwork a lie such as that the moderators decided to do no interviews even though that was not the case spread like wildfire, meanwhile maybe one percent dared to even read the sources provided at the digital library and in the sidebar.

The fourth pillar is the effect of capitalist culture. Anarchists theory can be lengthy quite at times, (in)famously even acknowledged by cops in a study as a challenge for entering the anarchist scene. That in itself can be somewhat helped by making visual content such as the series of Submedia's "What is..." about Anarchism, but some theory does still need a minimum amount of words. And capitalist culture trains your brain to feel better by reading short texts. Hell, there's a whole industry about getting your attention in one sentence and then distracting you for the next 10 minutes and the code word is called click bait and influencers. If the basic information can't be moved through the crowd in the movement, at worst it ends up as an echo chamber of liberals spouting system friendly ideas and at best there will be exhausting, lengthy discussions about basic ideas that were already held for the thousandth time, making experienced members more likely to avoid talking to others because of boredom, stress or being exhausted, ultimately perhaps leaving the fate to people that still are inexperienced anarchists themselves and could be spreading false anarchism ideas such as direct democracy or supposedly justified hierarchies.

The fifth pillar is inexperience about autonomy. We grew up in a society where you are forced to do lots of things you don't want due to being threatened by state violence, be it a fine or even in some countries taking you away from your parents if you don't comply, such as skipping mandatory school rapidly. Having the choice to do whatever you want can lead you to a sort of state of mind where you are frozen to choose your next action, out of fear that you could do a mistake and get thrown state violence at you or that the next action could lead to you becoming less autonomous. If you don't end up experimenting with everyone having their own choice, you end up just reproducing hierarchies, be it by simply using social pressures to let some people come to a consent instead of them having a choice in what they do.

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Styx wrote (edited )

Anarchists theory can be lengthy quite at times, (in)famously even acknowledged by cops in a study as a challenge for entering the anarchist scene.

Omg, just don't tell that to the Marxists or their heads will explode!

Seriously though, I think this is a really good analysis and I don't have anything in particular to critique. I'll just add, somewhat tangentially to your last point, that having the confidence/freedom (whatever you want to call it) to walk away from movements/relationships that no longer work for you is an anti-authoritarian move. So take an inspiration from subrosa, who walked away from r/antiwork a few days before you-know-what.

There is a lot of sadness when perspective groups/associations disintegrate, mostly because we associate longevity with quality, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Freedom of association is not about till death do us part. It's about doing what works for us and what we think is important to do. It's crucial to acknowledge your feelings and perhaps even consider what could have been done differently. But don't for a second feel like a failure because that project you worked on didn't last forever or didn't accomplish everything you hoped it would. Keep it moving, kids, there is nothing more natural than communities/projects falling apart.

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ChaosAnarchy OP wrote

Yeah I still need to learn when to abandon ship. I think I was lucky having had this opportunity when I was this young.

Thanks for the feedback.

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ChaosAnarchy OP wrote

ironically I do this write up even though I'm probably just an out of touch shut-in newbie Anarchist anyways. Critique is always welcome I learn from it (hopefully)

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MarxistKropotkinistVaush wrote

Leaders aren't against anarchism though, we can be leaders without being liberal as long as we're on the same level as the people (what we call a flat hierarchy).

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Fool wrote

The biggest problem I actually have with this statement is "we're". It gives the presumption that you and your group (possibly inclusive of other entities here) will lead.

I could ramble about the dance of power making everyone a leader at some point or another, but that is not what you meant, so I won't go into something beyond.

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