Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Revolution Game (Anarchist Text)



Democracy is not just a thing of the people which they make together. It is a particular kind of thing. It is a tool, not a house. It is not even a tool in the house. It is a tool like a game is a tool, like a story, a myth, a picture or a poem is a tool.

There are particular rules, laws, that function like a tool: they are fairly fixed, useful, and can be agreed generally upon as being useful.

The rest is more like a story, or better, like a game we play with others.

What tells us we are playing a game, are not in ordinary life, is that we have another, separate life outside of the game. If our fear, or our hatred, is keeping us in the game, it is not a game any more, it is our home, our life.

However good the rules of the game, it can lose our loyalty. Our playmates might start colluding with each other to get around the rules. They might steal pieces when we aren't looking. They might cheat in innumerable other ways.

When governments have become homes, not games, we call them totalitarian: Fascism, Nationalism, National Socialism, Communism. These state homes begin with leaders raising a mob, or sometimes appear to originate in the mob itself. A mob is a group of people without individuality. A people who, each like the other, lowering themselves to acting on fear and hatred, have made a game into a home. The government is the only place they have. They don't even have themselves any more.


It is our nature to play games. We are born with the wish to play and the knowledge of how to play. Play is one of two ways we have to learn. The other is ritual, equally basic, equally inborn.

Ritual is a repetition performed with others giving us the security of knowing what to expect. Mobs perform rituals. Rituals are what make the state a substitute home.

Children play to learn. Then, as they get older, they play for keeps. Learning good things about their playmates, they take them home. They make families. Security in family is not from rituals calming our fears and organizing us around hatred of others outside the family. Security in family is from knowing good about the others and feeling grateful to have their company. In a word, love.

A baby knows how to laugh much better than adults do. Laughter is a ritual against ritual. A repeated, vehement sigh distances us from something happening not like we expected, which might be seeing us as outside the family, might be hostile, changing the world we play in, into a world which wants to destroy our home. Laughter says, that is not the game! I won't make your game my home. I have my own home. Apparently you don't!

A baby knows to laugh at the world which doesn't know enough to keep to playing games.


When Democracy has been changed from a game, a tool, an idea, into a home, the proper response is laughter. Not violence, not hatred, not fear. Those responses make you into a mob, lose you your home, make you unworthy of what you demand. You can't demand government keep to its place, stay a game, if you can't yourself stay a player.

And to stay a player, you have to protect your home, your real home. Stay loving, grateful for the good you see in each other.

But be careful not to overdo it with love. You don't love those you are protesting against. You laugh at them. You play with them. You don't play by their rules because your game, in protest, is to play at withdrawing from the game. You are in the game but you are not. You tell a story, put on a show, demonstrate to your opponents: this thing which for you is real and your home, is for us a game and a joke. Wake up, move out, join us.