Who’s In Charge, Anyway?
“Any form of protest can be effectively prevented if the state is willing to employ the full range of its resources for authoritarian repression and control. The only form of ‘direct action’ which cannot be contained by the state is popular revolution. […] We can win the cooperation of the police for precisely as long as we fail to genuinely threaten the existing social order.” — Rob Sparrow in “Anarchist Politics & Direct Action”
I tend to be a cynic, like I said earlier this week. So I agree with these specific fatalistic sentences from Sparrow’s article (and a few of his other statements). However, I’m doubtful that an anarchist revolution is feasible, and revolution is Sparrow’s overall goal. Then again, plenty of smart people disagree with me. Theorists, organizers, and perhaps an economist or two — they believe in better governance by the people, for the people. I mean, democracy was supposed to fill that niche, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Remember how the Ferguson protests didn’t show up on Facebook because the News Feed algorithm doesn’t like ~negative~ content? I don’t think the state needs to employ its full range of authoritarian resources. We’ve constructed systems for ourselves that do the job just fine. When we gave up our lives to corporations, it was a sign that we like control — at least most of us — and we don’t want to make our own decisions in every instance. Who has the energy to choose, choose, and choose momentously again?
I don’t believe that we entirely lack autonomy. Free will is a myth, of course, which I’ve written about extensively. But there’s grey space between humans as automatons and humans as gods, masters of our own fates. We’re somewhere in between — more like pre-programmed machines executing decisions in reaction to various stimuli.
What do you think? I genuinely want to know. Just email me. (But I can’t guarantee that I’ll agree with you…)