Occasionally, I need to vent about the frustration and sometimes, pain of being an activist. This is one of those occasions… The frustration and pain have got worse over the years. They’ve got worse to the point where there have been times when I’ve seriously thought about jacking it in and quietly living out the last few decades of my life indulging in my passions of walking in the countryside and photography. The problem is that the world has become such a dysfunctional shitshow, jacking it in isn’t an option my conscience will let me live with. So here I am, ploughing on through the shite as best I can.
Why has the frustration and pain of being an activist got worse? I’ll try to explain. I used to be very tribal. Once I’d found a political home, I’d defend it and my comrades vigorously. Any nagging doubts I had were packed away in a box and hidden in a dark cupboard. That was until the point when it started to become clear that what I thought was a ‘for ever’ political home was changing and going off in a direction I couldn’t travel in. That was the point when the doubts packed away in their box were making so much racket, the box had to be opened up and the doubts had to be acknowledged and acted upon.
There are only so many times that can happen before the realisation dawns that thinking for myself, drawing my own conclusions and accepting the consequences of that is a better and more honest approach than tribalism and blind loyalty. That started to happen not long after I joined the anarchist movement in 2010. It didn’t take long for me to realise that the movement, such as it was, had a tendency for self division that would put an amoeba to shame! Rather than side with one faction or another, I started to try to dispassionately assess the issues at stake and then draw my own conclusions.
The tensions of gender identity politics
This questioning as opposed to passively accepting the prevailing consensus started with nagging doubts about the pivoting towards identity politics in the mid 2010s. Identity politics being something I never had much time for in my days in the Independent Working Class Association.
These doubts massively accelerated after the ill fated London Anarchist Bookfair in 2017. An event that was disrupted by a mob of trans rights activists angry with the organisers allowing the presence of gender critical and radical feminists. The organisers of the bookfair were happy to have the gender critical and radical feminists there because they wanted to foster an open discussion about the issues with gender identity politics. As far as the trans rights activists were concerned, those issues were not up for debate or discussion. That’s why they were harassing and confronting anyone at the bookfair, including the organisers, they felt were facilitating the presence of the gender critical and radical feminists.
At that point, along with other comrades out in Essex, we were heavily involved in community activism. Identity politics, particularly those relating to gender, simply did not crop up in the conversations we had on the estates. People were way more concerned with whether Basildon Council were going to collect their rubbish that week or yet again, find some minor infringement of a very opaque refuse collection protocol that would prompt them to leave it uncollected. When you’re struggling with a council who can’t be arsed to get the basics of their job right, considerations of gender identity are going to be pretty low down your priority order!
After the ructions at the London Anarchist Bookfair, I was instructed by my comrades in Essex to look into the issues at stake and work out why they were inflaming passions in the way they did. I duly did this and over the ensuing weeks, it dawned upon me that I would be taking a very different path to that of a fair few of what I thought were my comrades and indeed, ‘friends’ in London. This was pretty difficult because I knew that being true to my conscience would bring me into conflict with some of these so called comrades and ‘friends’. Let’s just say that once I started to show some sympathy to the gender critical and radical feminists who were at the bookfair, some of those ‘friends’ who had bought into gender identity politics turned out to be anything but…
At this point, I should put the events round the bookfair in some kind of context. That means divulging personal information about the situation I was in at the time. A week before the bookfair in 2017, my dad had passed away after a long illness. His funeral was scheduled for the Friday after the bookfair. I nearly pulled out of going to the bookfair and being on the stall we had booked. I decided to attend in the hope that for a few hours at least, it would take my mind off what I was having to deal with at the time. Attending that bookfair turned out to be a massive mistake…
Bereavement leaves its scars. The process of grieving takes a long time. Both leave you changed as a person. A fair few of the London comrades and so called ‘friends’ knew what I was going through at the end of 2017, going through into 2018. Yet, when it became clear that my views on gender identity politics were at odds with their views, despite the fact they knew what I was going through, it didn’t stop them from verbally piling into me for the sin of deviating from their orthodoxy. It’s situations like this where you see people for what they’re really like. Trust me, it wasn’t a pleasant experience finding out that some of them were utter shits…
I could have taken the easy path of not questioning gender identity politics and simply gone along with it. The thing is, if I had chosen that path, I would have been living a lie. I may still have had a few more ‘friends’ but I would have been getting sucked ever further into something my conscience and intellect could not go along with. At the end of my life, I want to look back and think that as far as was possible, I did the right thing, regardless of the cost. Although to be honest, losing ‘friends’ with an almost Maoist adherence to their beliefs wasn’t exactly a loss! ‘Friends’ who often exhorted people to ‘be kind’ but who made no effort to practice that themselves. The kind of hypocrisy that’s dealt with in this post: Double standards? 24.9.22.
Leveraging a crisis to accelerate the ‘great reset’
Just over two years after the ill fated London Anarchist Bookfair, the Covid ‘crisis’ came along. Like many people, in the first few weeks I went along with the restrictions that came with the lockdown as well as the social distancing, the queuing outside of the shops and the rest of it. However, it soon started to become clear to me there were a growing number of aspects of the narrative that simply didn’t add up and I started to ask questions about that. That questioning raised a difference of opinion with my Essex comrades. Fortunately, we were all mature enough to accept that we wouldn’t be seeing things the same way, yet we still managed to find a way to work together and be friends. I’m not going to pretend it was easy because it wasn’t – there were some fairly heated conversations that took place during the course of 2020!
Inevitably, there was some falling out with the few comrades I had left in London. Particularly those who airily dismissed the adverse mental health impact of the lockdowns, the other restrictions we were under and the constant barrage of fear propaganda. I didn’t see my granddaughter who was down in Bristol for nine months during 2020 because of all the restrictions. Trust me, that hurt deeply. Which is why for me, it’s pretty personal with the zealots who claimed there were no adverse mental health impacts associated with the lockdowns. There I was, quietly screaming on the inside, having to face these dismissals plus the zealous virtue signalling and behaviour policing coming from my now former comrades. That kind of shite can’t be forgotten or forgiven as far as I’m concerned.
The differences over the immediate impact of the lockdowns and restrictions were bad enough. It was when I started to look at how the Covid ‘crisis’ was being leveraged to accelerate the implementation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) a.k.a. the ‘great reset’ that things started to get really weird. Weird in that I was left wondering what the f**k happened to what was supposed to be the questioning spirit of anarchism? Weird in that anyone writing anything about the way the crisis was being leveraged to bring about the 4IR was being labelled a ‘conspiracy theorist’. Weird in that so many ‘anarchists’ fell into lockstep with a lot of the narrative that was being pedalled to keep people complying with the restrictions, the (anti)social distancing, the masking and dutifully getting a jab of a experimental mRNA. Weird in that not only did they buy into the narrative, the f**kers were actively enforcing it and shaming anyone who didn’t comply. ‘Anarchists’? Maoist zealots would be a lot closer to the truth with some of them.
The agenda of the 4IR and the transhumanism that comes as an integral part of it is so dystopian, it’s something we cannot afford to leave unchallenged. Something I hope I’ve made clear in this piece: What next? Dystopia? 18.3.23. What makes matters even more fraught with former comrades is the way that transhumanism and trans rights activism are so entwined with each other, they can’t be separated. Which means that if I’m speaking out against transhumanism, I’m inevitably raising some difficult questions about trans rights activism as well. That makes for a difficult life.
It would be too easy to walk away from the fight against transhumanism. I’ve probably got just over a couple of decades left on the clock, if I’m ‘lucky’. However, whether living another couple of decades as we slide further into a dystopia counts as ‘lucky’ is something to consider, isn’t it? I could just try to find a way of having a quiet life and get on with it. The thing is, the agenda of the 4IR isn’t going to leave any of us alone, particularly us older ‘useless eaters’. Also, with a couple of grandchildren now, I’ve got skin in the game because it’s their future I’m fighting for. So, despite the claims of being a ‘conspiracy theorist’ and on occasions, an ‘anti-Semite’, I’ve no choice but to keep on fighting while I’m still able to do so.
Getting it wrong with drag queens – another issue waiting to blow up
Let’s deal with drag queens with particular reference to drag queen story time readings for kids. I’m struggling to get my head round that concept, I really am. Not just because it’s attacking the innocence kids should be able to enjoy. It’s also because as far as I’m concerned, drag is a parody that plays on every regressive gender stereotype that’s put on women. It reinforces gender stereotypes when now more than ever, they need to be challenged so women can lead the fullest life possible without being judged on how they look or behave. It’s not asking much is it?
Blackface is rightly condemned as crude, racist stereotyping. So, why are demeaning parodies of women not only allowed to go unchallenged, but instead, they’re actively promoted? Anti-fascists would rightly be angered at a pub putting on a blackface show so why the f**k do they turn out to defend drag queen events aimed at kids because a few people choose to protest against them? Yes, I know the likes of Patriotic Alternative are involved in the protests against these drag queen events. As I’ve said more times than I care to remember, when anarchists, anti-fascists and the Left, leave a political vacuum by dismissing the concerns of ordinary people about events like drag queen story readings for kids, the reactionaries will step in to fill it. That, my former comrades, is the price you pay for being tone deaf.
I know that as soon as I stick my head above the parapet on this one, there will be a queue of people waiting to blow it off. I also know that a few more anarchist comrades will turn their backs on me. So be it…
Sometimes, nuance is desired and required…
Right, that’s the areas of major disagreement out of the way. As a bit of an aside, it’s worth taking a brief look at issues where things are complicated and where a more nuanced understanding can take place. These are issues that I’m still developing my thinking on….
There’s the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia. A conflict that escalated when Russian troops went into eastern Ukraine in February 2022. You’ll not be surprised to learn that there were differences in how I saw the situation and how the likes of Freedom and their mates in the Anarchist Federation saw things. My concerns were about the conflict escalating to a wider war and possibly going nuclear. Those concerns were informed by my having lived through a fair few decades of the Cold War. With Freedom and the Anarchist Federation, given their links with activists in Poland, Ukraine and Russia, understandably they had a different perspective on things. Whether these are differences of emphasis or substance is something to think about. The more I look at the situation, the more complex it becomes and developing a nuanced understanding is vital. Suffice to say, that when it comes to both Ukraine and Russia plus their respective allies, there are no ‘good guys’. I’m prepared to admit that my initial position was possibly a bit simplistic and partial, and that a re-examination is needed, with this being one of the pieces that has prompted this: Multipolar World Order – Part 4 – Iain Davis 18.10.22.
Last but by no means least when it comes to differences of opinion and potentially falling out with people, there are all the debates around 15 minute cities/neighbourhoods, clean air zones and low traffic neighbourhoods. Issues which I covered in some depth in this piece: The future of movement on a finite planet 20.2.23. A piece which if you read it, makes it pretty clear that there are differences between me and some of the allies I picked up in the battle against the lockdowns. Differences which with some of them, it’s possible to have a reasoned discussion. That stands in stark contrast with some of my former comrades who I basically gave up trying to get through to on a number of issues.
Why I can’t walk away
As you can gather from this piece, there are a fair few issues I’ve fallen out with people over! This is discussed in a fuller way in this piece: Honesty vs tribalism 17.2.23. What I want to deal with next is what keeps me going through all of the shite when I could at least try to opt for a quiet life in the few decades I’ll still be knocking around.
It’s simple really… With the way the world is going, it will be pretty much impossible for me to carve out a quiet life of seeing family, walks in the countryside, photography and the occasional meal out. The dystopian shitshow we’re sliding into is already impacting my life and it’s only going to get worse. As a so called ‘useless eater’ who rails against the increasing digitisation of more and more aspects of our lives, I’m genuinely fearing for my future. It will be even worse for my grandchildren. It’s for the sake of that rising generation that I keep on slogging away, despite the obstacles that keep getting put in my way.
While things may superficially appear to be back to normal, the world is not the same as it was in 2019. The bastards inflicting the 4IR upon us along with a dehumanising transhumanist agenda have already made gains. Ones which they’re not going to give up without a fight. Ones which they have every intention building on, using the next ‘crisis’ as a Trojan horse to do so.
The drive to net zero carbon is one thing they’re weaponising. They’re taking people’s concerns about the environment and using them to slyly and sometimes not so slyly, impose restrictions on how people lead their lives. The drive towards so called ‘fifteen minute cities’ is one such example where an array of surveillance and tracking technology is being imposed to control how people move around urban areas. This is a top down measure which is a long, long way from planning policies which would allow the development of attractive neighbourhoods where a fair number of life’s amenities are actually within a fifteen minute walk.
It’s this disingenuous weaponising of people’s concerns to introduce restrictions in the name of the ‘common good’ which we have to be alert to. I can’t stand by and watch as what could be an attractive way of urban and suburban living which could be implemented by sensible planning is twisted into something completely different, hijacked by those with an agenda of wanting to impose ever greater levels of control over how we live. Having seen how people I hoped would know better, welcomed, supported and through their virtue signalling and behaviour policing, facilitated the implementation of Covid restrictions in 2020/2021, I’m not going to stand by and let that happen again with the drive to net zero.
It should be noted that the bastards are getting rumbled as can be seen with a growing wave of protest across the globe, most notably in France. Their response to getting rumbled by the populace is to unleash ever more violent oppression in the hope that people will back down. The signs are that the people are not backing down. We’re heading towards a crunch point. When that will happen and how it will play out I’ve no idea. Suffice to say that when it does, we’ll need to be prepared as best we can. It will be historic. In all honesty, how can I step back with all that’s coming down the line towards us?
It’s difficult to put words to it but there’s a weird feeling of tension here in the UK. While some of this does manifest itself politically, often it just comes in the form of seemingly random flare ups. A generation of kids had key years of their adolescence screwed up by the lockdowns and associated restrictions. A lot of the key moments that were a feature of life as a teenager didn’t happen for them. Those kids who were already disaffected fell through the net as they could not access the one to one, face to face, intensive counselling necessary to keep them engaged. There are a cohort of kids and young adults who feel rejected by the system, feel that they owe the system nothing and who are very angry. In conjunction with the much wider cohort of kids and young adults who missed out on key years of their adolescence, that’s a lot of anger and resentment building up. Anger and resentment that could end up being expressed in a pretty nihilistic fashion.
With all of the above, as much as there are days where I could happily jack it all in, my conscience won’t allow me to do that. Sure, I may take a week out here and there but that will be to recharge the batteries before returning to the fray. Pretty much most of the political damage that could be done to me because of my habit of choosing honesty over tribalism has hopefully been done. However, it would be a mistake to rule out any further damage taking place… Having said that, after this rant, hopefully it’s onwards and upwards from this point:)
Dave – the editor
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