“We are forgetting how to give presents,” lamented Theodore Adorno. “Instead we have charity, administered beneficence, the planned plastering over of society’s sores.” And more, our capacity to give presents outside of harshly regimented periods: birthdays, holidays, anniversaries—has dissipated.
This is a more general loosening of a feeling of autonomy. The sense that we might act on our own, outside of regimented periods, that we might give, provide, care, on our own, has been systematically substituted by top-down control through our traditions and through our institutions.
At the moment there is a growing awareness of climate change, and a more general broadening of our relationship with forms of democratic engagement like activism and direct action. I would like to say that a liberatory movement away from this social habit of “following” is shaping out of this shift.
However, while it is clear that the regular marches and protests bring with them a widening of consciousness and a tremendous flowering of utopian possibility, they also represent, in Quebec, a highly orthodox and controlled method of expression.
To be clearer—Yes, we decide to disobey and to revolt, but we have our dates of dissent set for us by committees, our means of protest handed to us on a stick, and, much like children, we are given approval by our schools to engage in social movements.
Independent actions are needed to bring in the dynamism necessary to a justice-centered movement.
Independent thinkers are needed who challenge the goals and intentions of the larger whole. We have to avoid our protests becoming so codified, regular, and consistent, that they represent a disruption and challenge only to the lives of those participating and not to power.
It is essential that we don’t fear to organize into disorganization, to talk unconventionally to friends about the world, to express yourself disruptively within whatever community you find yourself situated in. To know that you have the competency (and responsibility) to do these things no matter your job position, experience, or learning.
Organize by distributing pamphlets. Organize your faculties into a choir that knows Woody Gutheries “This Land is Your Land” by heart. Organize by erecting a soapbox in the metro. Don’t organize by writing articles.
Unless there is disruption we won’t see an interruption.
Written by: Samuel Helguero