Graeber’s ideas took concrete form in the Occupy Wall Street movement he helped get off the ground. Graeber also equipped us with the intellectual fuel needed to think beyond what prevails at present. He outlined frameworks for informing and catalyzing emergent exercises in opening up the horizon of possibility to actualize the collective potential of our imagination. The onus is upon us to use his gift going forward.
Of the numerous realities the pandemic has uncovered, few are as stark as how front-line, essential, service industry workers are not just seen as replaceable but as expendable. And many are out of work. When a member of the working-class is without wages and the paltry handouts from the government vanish, reproduction of one’s biological functions and faculties are still required. Working in front-line, essential, service industries is work as is seeking to obtain work in such sectors.
When a society is confronted with an unexpected catastrophe, be it warlike conflict, a sudden scarcity of resources, or a natural phenomenon, human empathy, mutual aid, and solidarity tend to come to the fore. Despite the ideological dominance of capitalism, humans still possess an almost reflexive tendency to come together and develop spontaneous forms of support and collective organization even during times of deep agony. Humans are fundamentally social animals. Coming together is also a means for us to deal with stress, uncertainty, and insecurity in a changing environment.
What is unthinkable, or was at the beginning of the month, is the power of the Black Lives Matter movement in the streets. The emergence of the autonomous zone is a pinnacle of that power, a significant victory. It demonstrates the ability of popular power to win the impossible from structures of white supremacy – the state and the propertied interests they represent. That victory, and the subsequent diminution of state violence, is a major step forward for community self-control and autonomy. It shows that ending anti-Black violence is the first and most basic step to honoring Black life.
Guerrillas of Desire begins with a self-confessed provocation: the left misunderstands resistance. The implications of this claim, which forms the central thesis of the work, have huge significance for those with an interest in both Marxist or anarchist approaches to resistance, and the book goes a long way towards building bridges between these two approaches, highlighting the contribution made to the understanding of class conflict by autonomist Marxists.
The hard part of this distancing at work—other than not being able to hug anyone, even though we’re all under stress and i haven’t had a single hug in weeks—is navigating the smaller spaces, like the kitchen. We have to do a lot more communicating. “I just need to get water at the sink.” “I’m passing through to the office.” “I’m going that way.” “You go first.” We treat each other with exceeding courtesy.