Loving as a Revolutionary Practice: Introduction

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“What’s love got to do with it?” is a question one may ask when thinking about revolutionary practice. When engaging with radical critique, I often go hard to treat most things post-homosapien as abstractions (or originating from abstractions) which play a role in our alienation or oppression. It is part of the ruthless critique of all things which I have always enjoyed when it came from a member of the Frankfurt School, the Situationist International or other polemicists. It honestly does feel good to negate the life I have obliviously led up until the point when I decided to dedicate my life to revolutionary struggle. This has led me through many paths. At first I would ask many questions trying to demystify my beliefs which still connected me to capitalism, white supremacy, the state and so on and to understand my repressed desires and abilities which have been manipulated by those same constructs. Then I romanticized my new beliefs letting them take over every aspect of my life, and it gave me purpose. Sadness and depression made sense. Conflicts with people close to me took on a more political purpose, and often I only spoke about rebellion or revolution to the point where close friends of mine didn’t want to be my friend or relate to me. I guess I still have a bit of that in me, because without it I fear I may collapse. I balance it more with the lessons from revolutionaries from the past and present: like being patient, understanding, tactful, disciplined, organized, consistent, and clear. I feel like I can only continue developing into a person I want to be rather than ever embody an ideal person as a static entity. Being a revolutionary is not something one could ever be it is something one is in the process of becoming.


Recently on a trip to Mexico, I met a person who showed me a bit of a side of revolution which is totally toxic to life. Knowing him showed me more of the complexity of organizing and the error of pushing blindly towards an abstract revolutionary ideal. A line I really like by Guy Debord in Society of the Spectacle, because it lends itself to interpretation and encompasses a swag of revolution which is iconic, is a wonderful reminder of how to approach radical thought. “… Not a negation of style but a style of negation.” How fly is that!? It might not be much, but it says a lot to me. I’ve been a person totally beyond hyped to hate on everything which exists. I took pride in critiquing the very things I loved and were very important to me at one point. I don’t regret anything. And I think my ability to do what the quote implies by negating style or as I interpret it constantly and indiscriminately critiquing every part of the world as is has actually helped me transform many social relations I once had no hope of seeing transform. But having a style of negation or actually embodying the activity of negation by being conscious of the real conditions present is so much more satisfying. Meeting that person in Mexico helped me see this revolution is not for soldiers, although we are fighters. We are not trying to be people without a life hypnotized by a thing which has yet to clearly define itself. We are the thing and living must be the aim of revolution.

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Which finally brings me to why I started writing. I wanted to talk about love and how important it is. Even more important than bullets I would say, the most powerful practice for a revolutionary is loving. And yes it is an abstraction. And yes I am still conscious of the negative form of love our society perpetuates. But it is still something we need and is intrinsic in communal social relations. I’m reading All About Love by Bell Hooks. And I feel like this is the perspective I needed to take loving beyond a thing and further to a true practice. I have the habit of reading too many things at once so I haven’t finished it yet. But I just wanted to put out some preliminary thoughts about the things I’ve been thinking about so far and the moments which drive me to be the person I want to be. I’ve been thinking about writing different things about love. Starting with love being about commitment. It isn’t just about one thing of course. An experience I had last year with someone almost made me say love is about fun! A part of it is, but I think that moment was more about sex. I separate the two for reasons rooted in historical consciousness from reading Caliban and the Witch by Silvia Federici. I’ve also been reading Foucault’s History of Sexuality which has also been illuminating for similar reasons. Mostly because sexuality is another thing I’ve been doing wrong by accident. But love is such an essential part of life and relationships. It isn’t just commitment, and it isn’t just about fun or sex. It is nessecary to really think about love in revolutionary organizing. Not just critique, or fighting, pero amor. It is the thing which has always been a part of me and will be there all the time even when I completely deny it. But I can’t truthfully deny it at all. We ought to embrace it as part of our reality and make it a part of our style of negating the conditions which have tried to destroy us.

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Reflection on Alejandro De Acosta’s essay “A Funny Thought on a New Way to Play”

Link to the essay: https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/alejandro-de-acosta-a-funny-thought-on-a-new-way-to-play

The subject of play has come up before when studying the methods of “Theatre of the Oppressed.”  In “Theatre of the Oppressed”, play is a way to know yourself through exercises practiced alone, with a partner and progressively with a group.  It is instrumental in the transformation of participants from spectators to actors. In our relationship with the state, our role in society is reduced to spectatorship.  We often participate passively in matters decided in advance by capitalist production.  In order to break out of passive participation in a process quickly leading to our extinction, we must develop the capabilities to actively participate in the social, economic and political structuring of our lives.  “Theater of the Oppressed” creates a living forum of experiences to be transformed in a playful setting.  But how can that playful, creative activity, so essential to the liberation of the spectator, be applied to our everyday lives?

Alejandro De Acosta has helped me start answering that question.  Acosta writes philosophically about the games which exist in our universe and in our society.  He writes about the differences between discreet games or unspoken games in which we all participate but do not create the rules; and games that are communicated– the rules of which are freely developed by all participants.  Acosta also writes about seriousness and how it leads to superstition, impeding free play and hence progress.  The essay ends with a kind of invitation to play.  Acosta writes, “This is my move, my position: nature or cosmos is the outside, unbounded in every sense. Which is perhaps how, playfully, we might have come to admit that nature also – and eminently – plays games. But if that kind of language is too abstract, turn to your lover and say, “this is a game.” Turn to your parents or children and say, “this is a game.” Turn to your friends and enemies and say, “this is a game.” Say silently to your self and any imaginary entities you discover in solitude, “this is a game.” See what happens next.” After reading this I find myself playing truthfully in situations where before I might have been more passive.  I can see more clearly the rules which I once followed subconsciously, and can visualize actions to change those rules which oppress me.  But my ability to play is still limited.  I have to build my capabilities alone, with a partner and progressively with a group.

What are your experiences with games, playing. or seriousness?  How do you think we can be free from spectatorship and become free actors?  What are your impressions of Acosta’s essay or this reflection?