Ask Jenn Vicious: Why Anarchists Are (Or Can Be) So Serious

by: Jenn Vicious 


Jenn Vicious is the radical community’s Agony Aunt, providing life coaching and social etiquette answers for radical cultures.  Need poly, kinky, or queer dating advice, need to to know what to wear to court or a family function (you know, one you have to look “respectable” at),  want to understand what to and not to say in some contexts, ask Jenn Vicious.

For me, art has always been deeply intertwined with my ideas about anarchism.  Perhaps because that was part of my path toward discovering this philosophy that matched what I wanted to see in the world.  While there are a few exceptions, for the most part, there are art people and there are anarchists.  Both share a liberatory aestetic [sic] and desire to reenvision/reinterpret how we see our world.  Hey, anarchists why so fucking serious?  Shouldn’t being free feel more playful?  

I generally agree with your premise. I know a lot (though certainly not all) of anarchists who don’t seem like they are having that much fun.  And I see a lot of art people who are so focused on being playful that they miss the real “serious” experiences of people’s daily lives.

Here’s the thing, anon. Being free might be really playful. But who is free?

We still have to work jobs, not get arrested, and deal with a lot of oppressive shit. We have comrades locked up on trumped up charges, or for refusing to talk about their friends. The copsshoot and kill people on the regular. At least one in six women in this country have been sexually assaulted, and trans people live under almost constant threat of assault, and might find themselves in jail if they fight back. The environmental crisis grows, and yet the desire of companies to continue invading the environment at the expense of living creatures is still the top priority. And that’s just a TINY list of stuff going on in THIS country at THIS moment in time!

Maybe that’s why anarchists are so serious.

So, yes, be liberatory and reenvision the world and all that. And be playful. And find people you can share those experiences with. But when you see anarchists you think are too serious, leave room for the idea that they might have some good reasons for being that way.

I am also going to add, for all those serious anarchists out there: there is a lot of importance and value to enjoying your life and acting out of love and passion. And y’all should not write off the art people who seem too playful to you. There are a lot of big problems in the world, and we need to find creative ways to come at them, because doing the same old thing every time is not going to work. So also leave room for playful ideas.


One response to “Ask Jenn Vicious: Why Anarchists Are (Or Can Be) So Serious

  1. Hey Anarchopanda isn’t completely serious, he’s often amusing and the anarchists who organised Afrikan Hip Hop Caravan (kicking off this week and set to travel through part of Africa) are loads of fun, make amusing songs too and they come from slums. It is hard to find joy and humour in a system we fully realise is oppressive, could one draw a parallel between LGBTIQ folks in extremely conservative countries?

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