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.
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.
Just as rapidly as COVID-19 spread around the world, top-down responses that have allowed national governments to consolidate their power have proliferated in the opening months of 2020. At the same time, there has been an outbreak of antiauthoritarian responses to the disease and its impacts that look beyond the state and build power beyond this crisis.