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Is there anything more revealing of a certain witlessness of supporters of leaderville than the word “the” they use to describe a government that happens to be theirs? “The government.”
And by “the government” they don’t always even mean just some particular administration. In fact how common is it to use “the government” to mean the whole of leaderville in their nation-state? How common it is. The government.
Now imagine another government in that nation-state. This is a thought experiment that is almost impossible for people raised in leaderville, and the point at which they’ll usually go back to the pablum of another article about their half-black leader whose randomly acquired pigmentation is supposed to be some sort of consolatory fetish for the rest of us. If they stick around they’ll think, when you say ‘another government’, that you want them to imagine some other administration or candidate set. If you believe in “the” government, how could there be another government? It’s like imagining another internet. Or another universe, once you’ve defined the universe as ‘everything there is’. But occasionally you meet people whose ability to overcome their conditioning is strong enough that they can think of two governments inside one nation-state without thinking of the second government as a subset of the first. The brain’s the part of the head just up behind the blowhole there.
If you can get someone to imagine two governments, you’re well on your way to imagining, paradoxically, no government. This is so because the notion of a second government raises the possibility, however dimly, that that first government isn’t necessarily the only world there is. Of course, it’s pretty difficult to hint to a man that there’s another way to think when his cultural capital (often tied to his sexual and dollar capital) depends upon his misunderstanding you. In a world of toddlers (leaderlovers or ‘archists’ as we an-archists call them), respect comes from scrunching the eyebrows to indicate seriousness and then babbling about the daddy leaders and complaining knowledgeably about them. It’s pretty hard to ask a toddler to grow up when all she sees in the adult world is people with soft palates ga-ga gooing about “the” daddy government and how disappointed they are with it. Their babble about hope for change reminds me of the guy without teeth holding his hat out in front of Loblaw’s.
Archists are violent people, leaving behind them a world-wide trail of broken glass, broken treaties, drone-killed babies, broken soldiers murmuring their nightmares to anyone who will listen, and of course the tell-tale spoor of archist passage: sewage, garbage, and smoke. Archism is a religion, and people come into it before the age of reason. So they tend to believe its tenets with the slack-jawed look of True Faith. Go to any voting place and watch the people line up to do the nasty, to spew their venom on the world. How many of them look troubled or uncertain? The fact is that they stand there gleaming like they’re engaged in a positive virtue.
Every serviceable Western religion needs a good devil, and for an archist or leaderlover the most convenient devil is the an-archist, and the most convenient site of culpability for archist crimes is to lodge them with the an-archist.
Think about it for a moment. Is it an-archists or is it governments that are killing en masse? And they call us the anarchists!
The archist imputes his own violence to the an-archist, like the way a parent whispers to a child about the boogeyman. This unrealistic, superstitious way of looking at the world is what the archist calls “being practical.” But in fact the archist needs the arche or daddyleader (gods, originally) in the name of a pragmatism that just looks silly if you’re not a co-religionist. I gotta be honest with you. You folks really don’t seem to notice how ridiculous you look. You have your little imaginary friends that are supposed to make some difference. Your “ten steps towards radical revolution in the USA” proffered by some archist lawyer, a program for maintaining US hegemony with a slightly smaller, gentler reign of mass murder and incarceration.
Real toddlers have the advantage of being cute.
Even the cosmically hierarchical Paul in his letter to the Corinthians understood how silly it was to follow this or that man. They’re just humans, he points out, just flesh, carnal. The “leader” puts his pants on one leg at a time, same as everyone, though admittedly he gets them off faster and in more places. “For while one says, I am of Paul and another, I am of Apollos, are ye not carnal?” Paul asks. Heed and venerate the words of that man Paul, which is to say, don’t.
The arch belief of the archist religion is that things will fall apart if we get rid of leaders. As if, with tens of thousands of children dying every day from hunger and related complications, things haven’t already fallen apart! What the archist really means is: things haven’t fallen apart in her gated community. Gated communities, by the way, often have names stolen from the people they’ve killed or disrupted. “Canada,” for example.
Archists are brutal people, and the worst are the ones who see how violent they themselves are but continue at it anyway, electing vicious leaders like “the” current half-white one, or wasting time supporting green parties whose members come hat in hand to the archists and offer to lick their boots for a chance to sit at the table with them as long as they, green kowtowers and toadies, don’t do anything to disrupt the basic supremacy of archism.
What we need, as that French philosopher Derrida once joked about Archie Bunker, is more arch debunkers.
Nowtopians of all stripes are living in the cracks of your archist dominance, and every day they’re living the basics of nowtopia: getting food, securing shelter, being curious. Occupying themselves, getting on with it. They do it in spite of constant opposition from archist police, and in the cities from archist cars and archist cultural presuppositions. They do it without cultural capital, sometimes in the face of withering contempt from their archist womenfolk or menfolk. They cobble it together with bits and pieces of archist trash. No archist leader needs to tell them to grow their garden. They just do it.
Six Occupy tents were still up this week, by the way, by the tao, by the tao way, on a construction site behind that fancy lawyer dining building on “Queen” Street (see how this works?) west of “the” city hall. A pox on the fatuous fartings of those and all lawyers, and may those dipshits in shitty hall be brought down, as the good book says, to sheol. Either that or come out and have a picnic next sunny day.
There isn’t just one nowtopian life the way there’s “the” government. A thousand communities are doing it in a thousand and one ways.
An-archists occupy their own lives and their own streets, and they’re willing to fight for a better world. We’re here, everyday. We hope some day you’ll join us.
David Ker Thomson lives. Find an earlier CounterPunch article for contact information.