Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Anarcho-bollox and guilt

I have just had a big falling out with the activist samba band Rhythms of Resistance. RoR are not doing very well, with falling membership, enthusiasm and attendance, mainly because they haven’t had a proper rehearsal space.
So I, on a late night whim, without recourse to interminable consensus meetings, struck out on my own and set up a facebook RoR group, inviting members of the group who were already on facebook as individuals.
This caused uproar and I ended up leaving the band! But, hehe, I still manage the facebook RoR group so in effect I am now the leader of a breakaway virtual RoR sect.
Anyway, my argument was that who gives a toss if the CIA owns it, tracks it or whatever. So they’ll get to find out that I’m interested in remote viewing, spirals, Judy Garland and wood fires. Big deal.
The revolutionaries of RoR got really offended when I suggested that that CIA might not find them as subversive and dangerous as they imagined. In fact, as it’s an open band, the CIA or MI5 could easily join.
"Let’s hope they have rhythm!" I joked.
In the end, avoiding then wading through dreary arguments, justifying my appalling action, I ‘lost it’ around Christmas and told them, on their list (no doubt tracked by the secret service) to shove it up their collective (big c and little c) arses.

Bad people on the left, good people on the right. Can you spot why?

Have you noticed the all-pervasive guilt we are tripped into feeling nowadays? We may have given up religion but we now have the opportunity to have a bad conscience about so many new things. Going shopping for instance, is an orgy of remorse. What shop shall I chose? If I go to Tesco's I am evil. Shall I drive there? Evil. If I don't buy organic and fair trade, evil. If I forget my reusable shopping bag (which I always do) I am evil. If I can't be arsed to recycle the packaging, definitely evil.
Sometimes this nouveau guilt can be taken to ridiculous extremes. Recently at a party, I met an old friend, an activist. He told me that his girlfriend had broken her back on holiday in Turkey. Shocked, I asked:

"Oh dear. How is she? What happened?"
He replied:

"Oh it was awful, we tried so hard to be carbon neutral we even thought of taking a train to Turkey. In the end we got a flight because we didn't have much time off. But the holiday was fantastic: an eco-resort with yoga, organic food, meditation."

"So what happened with your girlfriend?" I ask again.

"She was hit by a motorcycle. Terrible, we had to fly in doctors and nurses, get extra seats to fly back. Our carbon footprint was severely affected. We felt really bad about that."
I stood there, trying to process this. Finally I said:

"Surely, when your girlfriend has a broken back, that is one time when ecology and the state of the planet just isn't important? If something happened to my daughter, it would be the least of my concerns."
He smiled, thought and said "I suppose so".


  1. Well done for speaking out. Maybe you got through to him and made him realize.

    It's actually degrading when people are made to feel unworthy for not being perfect saints (I know you shouldn't speak ill of the dead, but my mum did that to me!) Is it just so some people in the environmental movement can feel all holier-than-thou? Is there a egotistical competition to see who can be the most "green"? I thought it was about about saving the planet, not being first past recycling-post ahead of the Jones'!

    It's especially absurd when they try to pplay a guilt trip on you just for releasing a few cc's competely harmless gas that's a natural part of our atmosphere anyway! I've got some gas for them, and it ain't harmless! And I'd like to bend over and release it in their face!

  2. Heh heh, what a rubbish boyfriend! Anybody I know?


  3. Yes you do know him. He's actually really nice, just a bit of an evangelist about these sorts of issues.
    Remember how he got annoyed with me for accepting free Starbucks coffee from the sweet staff during the anarchist carol singing?
    I felt it would have been bad manners to turn them down after they reacted so gracefully to our invasion of their coffee shop and after all they don't own the corporation, they are just staff.
    Compare and contrast to how the staff at the Apple store(a so-called 'cool' corporation) behaved when we did our stint in their store...

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Paranoia is par for the course with some people in left wing groups. When I was in the PWS years ago (I spelt it backwards in case the feds are tracking any posts containing 'SWP' on the web,ha, ha) there was one guy who always suspected that another person in our group was an MI5 spy.

    I always hoped there wasn't any about as we were a right shower and I could imagine the spymasters pissing themselves laughing at a debriefing over our antics.

    Shame about the RoR thou they were always a great spirit lifter on a demo.

  6. Hi Mike John,
    I think RoR will continue but it's true that it's been declining.
    Marches/demo's before samba were so boring. But it's really tough doing them with a large drum, it takes a lot of strength and endurance.
    The SWP have complained about us making demonstrations too much fun and that people party in the street with us rather than listening to their boring speeches.


I would love to hear what you think of this post! I try to reply to every comment (if there is a delay, I am probably away from an internet connection or abroad)