Interview with The Commoner
We are honoured to present this interview with Mèo Mun, an anarchist group who focus specifically on archiving, translating, and disseminating anarchist texts. You can find their work on Libcom, the Southeast Asian Anarchist Library, and follow them on Twitter. In July, we published one of their pieces on LGBT+ liberation and the fight for partial freedom in Vietnam. Credits for the banner art go to u/anarchist_snufkin on Reddit.
What part do you hope to play in the revolutionary movement?
Mèo Mun, as it is and as its goals stand today, mainly works to provide a theoretical and educational backbone to the anarchist movement in Vietnam. Specifically, we do the work of archiving, translating, and disseminating anarchist texts, which can be found on the online Southeast Asian Anarchist Library and various other places. We are also working to connect Viet anarchists and libertarian socialists in general, and build a network where they can freely express themselves, exchange ideas, and live out the arrangement we wish to see in the real world. Or, in anarchist terms: prefiguring social relations and organisational forms. These things, from our point of view, are the first steps toward something larger.
It is important, however, to put our work in the context of Vietnam. The majority of Vietnamese are alienated from politics: politics is something esoteric and superfluous, only comprehensible to the ‘highly educated,’ to doctors and professors, to the elites, and only they are capable of making decisions, so it goes. The people need only follow their lead and need not question their politicians, for the people’s only job is to labour for the nation — it is not up to us to participate in political discourse! Or so they say. Such is the class division between the so-called people’s party or people’s state and the people ourselves. Furthermore, to make a living in Vietnam is an arduous endeavour, so the people, for our part, don’t have the time and the energy to bother ourselves with politics.
With this in mind, precisely to unalienate Vietnamese people (including ourselves) from politics, Mèo Mun has been doing the aforementioned foundational work (albeit, only a tiny part of it). Without undoing the population’s alienation, there is no hope of a mobilisation against the state or any other hierarchical system for that matter. Opposition might exist and claim that this foundational work is not enough and that we have no revolution. To them, we shall point with tired hands and bid them to behold the revolution of the past in whose shadow we still live, where the people were not unalienated, where they were pushed into a so-called revolution by a self-righteous vanguard party, where no proper foundation was laid. Behold for yourself: the wealth gap, the market economy, the soul sucking wage labour, the corrupt state — all bearing the brand of socialism! To the opposition, we say, ‘nevermore.’ The true revolution must necessarily be a continuous one, a steady process of building and dismantling, and one where everyone can partake in on their own volition. So here we are.
How are you organised and who makes the decisions?
We are organised in a horizontal, fairly spontaneous manner. When it comes to decisions that affect the whole group, we all discuss our options, reach a certain consensus and then carry it out. This is possible since our group is not yet massive in scale and so meetings where the majority of members can attend are relatively easy to organise. It should be noted, though, that we do a considerable amount of our work independently from the collective. An example of this is translation work; members decide for themselves what they want to translate and then they go ahead with it. As of now, we prioritise introductory texts which are of moderate length and can be translated with minimum time and manpower. This also makes it possible to enjoy the translation process instead of tolerating it as a duty. When problems or questions with regard to the texts arise, members can request help and input from the whole collective. After we are finished with a piece, we usually ask for proof-reading by others and then the piece is published.
Other tasks, such as archiving texts and producing original materials, require more collective action. But the mechanics are the same: the artists make art, the writers write, the readers read and summarise source materials, the tech-savvy people do their magic, and so on. Still, we adopt a certain level of flexibility so that the group can adequately fulfil whatever needs that might arise. This is achieved by rotating roles within the organisation. This is also necessary in order to grant everyone the opportunity to learn and accumulate various skills.Many members also organise on their own, independent from Mèo Mun; these individual organising activities affect and in turn are informed by their work within the collective.
In all nations anarchists have to deal with the regressive force of nationalism. You’ve critiqued Vietnamese nationalism quite significantly. In what ways do you believe it limits socialism in Vietnam, and how do you plan to tackle it?
First of all, we must be clear with our language and avoid wishy-washy terms like ‘socialism in Vietnam.’ Is this ‘socialism’ interchangeable with ‘communism’ — a stateless, classless, moneyless society, wherein everyone has free access to the means of life and production, as used by Marx in his literature? Or even more broadly, is this ‘socialism’ the one where the workers are in control of the means of production? If we go by those definitions, such a socialism does not exist in Vietnam, as we have great class stratification — there are billionaires and there are those who starve; there is a ruling party which holds all legislative, executive and judiciary power; and a valueless currency. Moreover, worker struggles are defanged in Vietnam. As of now, there is only one single union in Vietnam — the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour, which is state-led and hasn’t organised a single strike in years. Independent unions are met with hostility and accusations of reactionary activity, labour organisers are targeted and jailed. Consequently, all strikes that take place are wildcat strikes, which, while effective in improving workers’ temporary condition, are relatively atomised and remain miles away from seizing the means of production or putting an end to wage labour. Or, is this ‘socialism’ a ‘transitional period’ between capitalism and communism? If it is such, then just about any political entity that claims to bring about communism can call whatever horror they bestow upon their subjects ‘socialism,’ be it disappearing dissidents, censoring critiques, or systematic alienation of the majority. To us, this definition is rather devoid of meaning and useless: a ‘socialism’ which anyone can throw around to get the ‘name brand.’
Vietnam’s so-called ‘socialism’ is state capitalism in a coat of red. The State dangles a communist haven before the oppressed, while politicians and capitalists work the people to their bones and call it ‘socialism’ so no one would think of the pitchforks. Vietnamese nationalism holds this lie up by selling the illusion of a trans-class solidarity — a solidarity between Viet workers and Viet capitalists, between Viet subjects and Viet rulers. The shared identity of ‘đồng bào’ (compatriots) obscures the class stratification, the soul-sucking wage labour, the bleeding wounds caused by capitalist exploitation and alienation, and the systemic oppression and discrimination against many marginalised groups.
Nationalism also pits workers of different identities and ethnic groups against each other, such as the Viet and the Khmers. While the extreme nationalism of Pol Pot and Ho Chi Minh has exacerbated the enmity between these two groups, as libertarian socialist Ngô Văn remarked, the Cham and Khmer populations are also continuously being displaced by Viet people. ‘Nationalism is indeed the scourge of our times,’ he concluded. Having busied us with infighting, the rulers are left to exploit their subjects in peace, inviting foreign overlords in to fill their shares.
As such, our relationship to the State is like that between a child and an abusive parent. The abusive parent assures the child that they have it better than others who are suffering worse, or that there are other parents eager to hurt the child. ‘The outside world is scary and outsiders wicked,’ the parent would say. ‘Parents know best and you need to do as we command, otherwise you will be hurt. If we punished you, that’d be for your own good and to protect our family.’ Other abusive parents lie to their children similarly, and knowing no alternatives, generation after generation of children submit and accept their ‘fates.’
Working towards anarchy in Vietnam, the fight against nationalism is an uphill battle we must overcome. Some of our proposals to tackle it include:
- Kill the nationalists in our heads: Unlearning the nationalist conditioning that has been hammered into us from a young age is a difficult but necessary task. It is no exaggeration to say that, should we be not careful and conscious in our conduct, nationalism could creep its way into our praxis and taint our outlook, dividing us from those who would otherwise be comrades. If we are not free from it ourselves, it would evidently be difficult to spread anti-nationalist sentiments to others.
- Worker solidarity: The toilers must be aware of our predicaments and common enemies in order to organise and strike back. Years under oppressive social structures such as feudalism, colonialism, and capitalism have conditioned many of us into being competitive and bitter beings, ingraining a reflex of hostility directed towards ‘outsiders’ — to distract us from seeing the commonality between workers of different ‘nations.’ We hold that to practice worker solidarity is to replace the nationalist reflex, to learn to see that “nationhood” is a merely lie perpetuated by hierarchical structures, meant to calm our just ire towards our oppressors.
- Self-organisation and mutual-aid: Just during the last few months of 2021, a torrent of bleak news broke about migrant workers from Vietnam. In Serbia, where there is no Vietnamese embassy, more than a hundred Viet workers for a Chinese tyre factory going on strikes to protest their abysmal working condition were deprived of food and other essential supplies, and their passports confiscated. In Saudi Arabia, a teenage domestic worker from Vietnam was beaten to death by her employer, while the Vietnamese embassy offered virtually no help. Meanwhile, the state of Vietnam was more than eager to work with foreign countries to arrange help for themselves, with the Ministry of Public Security working to ease the process of extradition. Such is the potency of the state when it comes to matters concerning itself, and the impotency of the state when it comes to matters concerning the workers it claims to protect. The Serbian and Saudi states were, unsurprisingly, of no help either. So there we see, without a inkling of doubt, a need for self-organisation and mutual aid. These will serve not only to protect the workers but also to weaken the spell of nationalism.
Anarchists and workers outside of Vietnam can help us in this fight by supporting Viet migrant workers in your communities, and by keeping in mind that Viet people are not a monolith. It is impossible to give us blanket solidarity: if you stand in solidarity with Viet capitalists, you are actively sabotaging Viet workers. If you support Viet nationalists and statists, you are siding with the oppressors of Viet anarchists and libertarian communists, who are fighting tooth and nail against Viet nationalism and authoritarianism.
What are [some of] the cultural roots of Vietnamese anarchism?
First of all, it should be noted that Vietnamese cultures are highly diverse: there are fifty-four ethnic groups (at least going by official state numbers), with more than one hundred Vietnamese dialects. As such, the cultural roots of anarchisms in Vietnam are equally rich and colourful, and we by no means can provide an exhaustive list of such traditions and practises by all communities and all ethnic groups.
The council communist Ngô Văn observed that before French colonialism, each of the communal villages in Vietnam was ‘administered by a council of notables, and enjoyed considerable autonomy and independence from the central regime.’ This can still be seen in the Vietnamese proverb ‘phép nước thua lệ làng’ (the will of the king yields to the people’s customs), which many Viet people naturally still adhere to in modern times. This is compatible with the anarchist notion of self-organisation: the members of a community know best about organising their lives, and the State is but an alien entity, serving only as a source of relentless oppression and exploitation.
Beyond this embedded concept of autonomy, many other anarchist principles show up in Vietnamese customs, such as the spirit of solidarity and mutual aid in the saying ‘lá lành đùm lá rách’ (the intact leaves protect tattered ones). This is the understanding that the whole tree cannot be healthy if some leaves are torn and left to rot, and so helping others is helping ourselves, for the sake of a healthy overall system or community. We also say: ‘một con ngựa đau, cả tàu bỏ cỏ’ (when a horse is sick, the whole herd refuses grass), which runs parallel to the spirit of ‘an injury to one is an injury to all.’ The collective and the individual co-depend. Indeed, people in Vietnam have been practising solidarity and mutual aid from time immemorial, but in modern times this practice is often co-opted by neoliberal and capitalist organisations, wherein the spirit of mutual aid is bastardised into charity and brand-building.
Yet another folk verse:
‘Bầu ơi thương lấy bí cùng
Tuy rằng khác giống nhưng chung một giàn.’
Which can be roughly translated as: ‘despite being of different species, winter melons and gourds are grown on the same structure, in the same place, so they should love each other.’ This celebrates the diverse cultures within Vietnam, the diversity of individual human beings, while underlining the fact that we cannot thrive without mutual love and support. But again, in modern times, this is sadly often invoked to promote Vietnamese nationalism and chauvinism.
In the spirit of anarchist direct action, we say: ‘muốn ăn thì lăn vào bếp’ (if one wants food, one must roll into the kitchen). This is a Vietnamese equivalent of ‘direct action gets the goods,’ wherein we understand that no one but ourselves are in charge of our well-being and are ready to fight for our interests.
Last but not least, we shall point to the communal living and flexible family structure, a stable feature of many Vietnamese communities. It is not strange for three or even four generations of a Vietnamese family to live under the same roof, sharing responsibilities such as child-rearing and food preparation. Contrary to the nuclear family unit, which is incredibly susceptible to capitalist exploitation and alienation, the communalisation of life has proven to be strong and endurable in the face of those adversaries. This can be beautifully incorporated into the construction of an anarchist society by reducing the power and influence of capital.
What are the ideological foundations of your anarchism?
Mèo Mun, as a general anarchist organisation, does not strictly adhere to a specific anarchist tendency. The strength of anarchism lies in its diversity and flexibility, which encompass many fronts of struggles. As such, our members follow several different anarchist tendencies.
To give some examples, one member is an anarcho-communist/anarcho-syndicalist, holding the position that it is possible to achieve anarchy mainly (but not solely) through labour unions and other related organisations to build dual-power: in essence, the strategy of prefiguration. But they acknowledge that ‘as of now, no revolutionary labour organising can take place since the Vietnamese state cracks down hard on whatever it perceives to be endangering its power. So the most important thing now is to radicalise the general populace through methods that are harder to repress and crush.’
Another member does not adhere to any particular political labels. They believe that labels can be easily used to obscure one’s actions. This can be observed in the way many states bald-facedly proclaim themselves ‘Communist,’ all the while jailing labour organisers and churn out new billionaires on a regular basis. The same applies to many ‘anarchists’; some are all too eager to marginalise the undesirable, envisioning an ‘anarchy’ where they get to police and punish — anarchists in nothing but name. Of course, labels can be useful for theorising and conceptualising, but actions speak louder than words.
There are members who are simply anarchists without adjectives. They mainly focus on sustainable development and the negative environmental effects of our current society. In the past, they thought the problem lay in the method of production, the misuse of resources, the disposal of waste, or perhaps the usage of non-renewable energy sources. But they now think the problem lies not narrowly in those areas but also with the systems upon which modern society is built and how these systems maintain inequality in the distribution of power. It is concentrated in the hands of a small group of people — the wealthy and the political elites — and so is wielded to cater to their wasteful needs (think space tourism, private jet planes). Meanwhile, the working class — the people who are most affected by climate change — are disempowered so they can’t directly protect the environment and better their conditions. Nevertheless, they are robbed by the system, taxed for their supposed destruction of the environment, or called upon by companies to consume greener products which are completely unaffordable. Protecting the environment, instead of being something that anyone can participate in, has been commodified and capitalised upon. People are forced to consume green products lest they be branded irresponsible. While it is true that calling upon everyone to avoid using and throwing away plastic has its impact, as long as the wasteful systems of capitalism and the State are operational, there will be efforts spent on maintaining militaries; on testing newer, more terrible weaponry; and on producing high-end luxuries for the rich — all at the expense of the majority and the environment.
Mèo Mun seems to be the first group translating anarchist texts into Tiếng Việt, what challenges are there in translating them?
The terms for many anarchist concepts in Vietnamese are either poorly worded or altogether non-existent. For example, one of the major problems we encountered right at the beginning was that the word for anarchism itself was not at all conducive to interest and further learning by non-anarchists. The main term used was ‘chủ nghĩa vô chính phủ’ which translates literally into ‘no-government-ism.’ This quirky literal meaning of the word comes from its etymology, being a loan word from Chinese. In any case, we decided that we’d use another word, ‘vô trị’ which translates to ‘un-governed’ — quite self-evidently better.
Another issue is the sheer volume of work. Think of all the essential anarchist texts in the past century, all of them… all of them — that’s effectively what we’ll have to translate! And if one goes to the Vietnamese Wikipedia and looks for articles related to anarchism, one is greeted with extremely rudimentary content — or worse, no content at all.
We must also be mindful of prioritising Global South and other lesser-known yet important anarchist struggles in our translational work. Needless to say, we have our work cut out for us, but that is also what makes it exciting.
It is worth noting that we are certainly not the first to translate libertarian communist texts into Vietnamese! Some older anarchist-adjacent materials, such as ones by Ngô Văn Xuyết, a council communist active in Vietnam during the struggle against French colonialism, as well as the situationist text ‘The Society of the Spectacle’ by Guy Debord are available in Vietnamese. They are just almost inaccessible in Vietnam, which is why projects like The Southeast Asian Anarchist Library are immensely important. It has served not only as a platform for original Vietnamese anarchist texts and translations, but also for older translations that used to be scattered around obscure corners of the internet. This underlines the increasing importance of online anarchist organising and archiving.
In the past there was a degree of interaction between Vietnamese anarchists and those in other East Asian countries. Is this something you wish to revive, and how do you approach international collaboration more widely?
Indeed, during the 20th century (especially the 1920s), due to severe repression by the colonial government, many Vietnamese radicals went overseas to learn and seek support from other radical milieus. There, some came into contact with and were influenced by Chinese and Japanese anarchists; anarchism subsequently informed their activities and radicalism back in Vietnam. For further information, we would recommend Hue-Tam Ho Tai’s Radicalism and the Origins of the Vietnamese Revolution.
At the moment, Vietnamese radicals and anarchists find ourselves in a somewhat similar situation, where information is suppressed and state censorship cracks down hard on any substantial critiques of capitalism and the State. Naturally, similar to our predecessors, we also turn to other milieus to learn from their experience and seek support. As such, we believe in the solidarity of the alienated and the interlinking of our struggles. Perhaps we are far away geographically, but as we all toil under global capitalism (albeit in different contexts), we must stick close and learn from each other’s experience to resist our common enemies. Solidarity on all fronts is key to not only local liberation but the liberation of humanity as a whole. The principled support from many groups who are struggling and operating on a shoestring themselves have solidified our belief in the importance of international solidarity. However, we must admit that we are limited by the circumstances in which we find ourselves, and therefore have not been able to offer as much solidarity as we would like to. As such, it is our hope that, in time, we can join the international anarchist milieu by forming a close-knitted solidarity network.
In what ways do you see anarchy as being applicable to the Viet context?
First, as we have said before, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the ‘Viet context’ is highly diverse. There are fifty-four ethnic groups in Vietnam, and life in different regions differs to varying degrees. We will not and cannot speak for and over other Viet communities whose contexts are wildly different from ours. Even amongst our members, our experiences differ as we are distinct individuals who have dealt and are dealing with struggles that are specific to our circumstances.
With that said, we hold that the answer to this question lies with the groups in question when the time comes. For us to try and say what will happen is akin to speculation, nothing more. In the text, ‘Towards an Anarchism in the Philippine Archipelago’, Simoun Magsalin summarises the ubiquity of anarchism in the following manner:
‘Beyond anarchistic elements in existing movements, it can be argued that anarchy already exists all around us, as the pamphlet Anarki: Akin ang Buhay Ko suggests. For the authors of Anarki, anarchy is mutual cooperation without need of coercion or payment. Anarchy is whenever we relate to each other as equals and peers and whenever we discuss among ourselves the issues we have instead of relying on an authority figure. We already naturally organize ourselves in egalitarian and non-hierarchical lines when we organize among friends. Human cooperation is already natural. What anarchists want is for all social relations to be organized under egalitarian lines with free association and free from hierarchy and coercion.’
It is our sincere hope that everywhere in Vietnam, in our lifetimes and long after that, people will decide for themselves how to answer this question.
What particular problems do you face as a group and how do you deal with them?
As a group composed of distinct individuals with different life experiences, the first problem we naturally have to face is intragroup conflicts. Of course, to prevent them from arising in the first place, we try to break down the boundaries which exist between us. For example, when you are addressing someone in English, there is only ‘you’ and ‘me’. But in Vietnamese, pronouns depend on the age, gender, etc., which carries with it a certain implied hierarchy and order of domination. So, in our group we try to use neutral pronouns.
If interpersonal problems do arise, we will try to tackle them when they are still manageable rather than leaving it to fester. If worse comes to worst and the problem is severe, we resort to a meeting where the conflict is discussed; we will raise our problems, our views, explain the causes, and then we see what can be done to best alleviate the issue.
People are different, and that is fine! We are flawed and continuously growing: we do not have a perfect blueprint or answers to every problem in Vietnam, nor are our proposals applicable to every context. Consequently, we must be conscious in our effort to produce and reproduce prefigurative social relations, namely egalitarian social relations. This is all the more necessary to avoid building amongst ourselves the very structures we wish to destroy.
As for external problems, we face a steady stream of accusations from the Vietnamese nationalists and other unsympathetic actors. They denounce us as reactionaries and anti-communists in disguise. They say we are foreign state pawns trying to infiltrate radical movements and make Vietnamese lose faith in the communists, so that ultimately, Vietnam will be sold to foreign capital! We can brush these accusations off pretty easily due to their quite self-evident absurdity, but we would be lying if we said it does not affect us at all. The occasional death threats aside, we are simply saddened since it shows how much work needs to be done.
We also have problems trying to connect with other leftist groups in our country, often due to cybersecurity reasons. As mentioned above, trying to take political action is quite dangerous; you can be tried and jailed if you dare to say something ‘incorrect about the CPV’. For this reason, leftist groups in Vietnam who are in opposition to the CPV often operate alone. This is also a rather complex problem that we cannot simply make vanish overnight; so again, we come back to the point of steady, continuous revolution. We already have tools to protect ourselves and keep our operations hidden, with many thanks to the open-source community, and of course we try our best to share these tools. But nonetheless, it takes time for others to become aware and adopt these tools. So for the time being, this is another problem we have to deal with. (A few useful tools would be Thunderbird, VeraCrypt, Element/Matrix, RiseUp, Tor, Autistici, KeePassXC, Cryptpad).
Yet another problem while trying to connect with other leftist groups is differing principles. We put great value in mutual respect, regardless if one is new, young, or not yet knowledgeable. This enables everyone to listen to and consider each other’s opinions, and facilitate productive exchange. But perhaps in part because of the Confucian culture, elitism creeps everywhere — even within the left. We can be side-eyed for not being able to prove our qualifications, or for not having access to certain resources or information.
The practice of constructive criticism is also important and challenging: there are critiques that will help the recipient grow, and others which are merely personal attacks and humiliations. The capitalist education system certainly does not help us in developing a healthy critique culture, which means we must learn by trial and error to avoid personal attacks and to focus only on one’s practises and points of view.
Getting inputs from a wider demographic is also a challenge. While it would enable us to be more informed about the various struggles of Viet people from different paths of life, we have to toe the fine line between outreach and drawing unwanted attention to ourselves and associates.
What has been the biggest success in your struggle?
We are hesitant to call any of our activities a success. But if we were to, we think that simply putting our own thoughts and truth out there is a success. For people living under a regime like they do in Vietnam, the very act of voicing our thoughts and living our libertarian politics, let alone having people listen and show us solidarity, feels like being able to breathe for the first time. We risk much to breathe, but it is worth it. So, for those of you who refuse to fall for the Vietnamese statist propaganda, you are our biggest success.
Being able to share our humble platforms with comrades in the diaspora also keeps us going. Viet anarchists in the diaspora face alienation and ostracisation as well, from nationalists and so-called leftists who label them fake Vietnamese and leap at every chance to fed-jacket and harass them. So being able to connect with each other and collectively speak against the systems of oppression has given us quite a bit of hope.
What advice would you offer those who would like to learn from your practice?
First, we would like to underline that we are not in any way a pioneer, and emphatically not a vanguard. Radicalism in Vietnam has a long and elaborate history; we just see that there is work to be done and clumsily set out to get it done. We ourselves are still learning, and therefore, our advice is rather basic. Evidently, it is not our intention to be teachers. This advice is shared between equals, nothing more:
- Practice operational security: The Vietnamese state apparatuses for countering revolutionary organising, both online and on the ground, are constantly looking for cracks in our operational security. And so, we, too, must be constantly alert and aware, practising tight operational security. The general principle could perhaps be summarised as such: Speak not, ask not of what you need not know, and employ every technological tool you can, regardless of convenience. We may be reduced to mere ghosts in the process, never able to reveal much even to our closest comrades, never able to even call each other by our true names. But ghosts are hard to catch, so that is the price one must pay. And regarding those technological tools, they can be easily found on the internet: you merely need the intention to seek them out.
- Do not overlook online organising: One would not be faulted for holding the view that online organising cannot bring about revolution. It is not an outrageous view to say ideas untranslated into the real world do not accomplish much. And it is true that online organising would not do much of anything alone. However, it is not to be discarded as a distraction from the so-called ‘real work’ of revolution. The internet is a potent tool, and indeed, Mèo Mun as an organisation and all our educational work would not be possible without it.
- Take good care of yourself: Self-care is radical: ‘If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution’ (a misquotation of Goldman but nevertheless summarises the sentiment she held). One must find a balance between carrying out revolutionary work and the work of self-care. Only then will you be efficient in revolutionary projects.
- Do not hesitate to reach out (with opsec in mind): In an authoritarian regime like Vietnam, where politics is a spooky word to be avoided like the plague, political (or, anti-political) creatures like anarchists are often-times atomised and isolated. It takes time, effort, and caution, but connections are essential. ‘One is small, one is weak, one cannot do much’, as the system of oppression has ingrained within us: this could not be more false. Of course those who hold the power would like to have us believe that we hold no power of our own, that it is too late for us to fight, that their positions are impossibly consolidated and impervious to all struggle! But all of that is simply untrue. Even stone wears against flowing water, and even dams burst with pressure. And we, together, can accomplish great things.
- Have hope: The belief that we have extremely little or no chance at all in the fight against hierarchies and are thus doomed is an unhelpful attitude at best and a counter-revolutionary attitude at worst. It invites apathy, and therefore inactivity, in the face of supposed inevitability. After all, what is the point of struggling in a hostile system when you’re not going to win or get anything out of it? It also lays the grounds for counter-revolutionary attitude as well, more specifically the mindset of making the best out of the supposedly inevitable results, disregarding the well-being of others in the meantime. So, hope! Hy vọng! We are not saying that we are definitely going to win; that would be too optimistic and would also invite a certain inactivity. What we have is a chance, and so it is worth it to fight. Hope gives power to build power to dismantle power. So… hope!
- Be kind: Kindness is the glue that binds an organisation together. It is the prerequisite of understanding and empathy between fellow members, and without understanding and empathy, it is nigh impossible to reach consensus or resolve conflicts. One would find that without kindness, anarchist organisations would break down before long, or morph into something diametrically opposed to the goals and methods first set out by the organisation.
Is there anything you would like to add that we have not covered?
Whew! If you made it to this part, please drink a nice cup of water! Thank you for reading and thanks to The Commoner for their diligent work and delightful questions. We had a great time discussing them between ourselves and answering them. Have an awesome day, and don’t forget to stay hydrated.