Sunday, March 15, 2009

Why Anger Will Never Work

by Ima Gardener

Another Fire and Brimstone story.

Our images should reflect growth, love and compassion--not anger and revenge.

Many anarchists and/or trade unionists and/or libertarian communists rely upon anger and outrage as a sort of "emotional fuel" for gathering support, building organizations and generating support for direct actions. Anger and outrage are nurtured, accumulated, and encouraged within the movement. This is a grave error. Though people must, ultimately, be repulsed by that which needs to be changed, anger is not the correct social excellerant. Why is this?

It's simple. Anger, bitterness and outrage are psychologically, emotionally and physically harmful. You cannot be promoting healthy, egalitarian change while at the same time encouraging people to be angry. Nobody likes feeling angry!

Internal anger, frustration and jealousy is the very reason for the bourgeois class in the first place, it is their motivation. A movement which poses itself as the opposite of the bourgeois mental illness must support, express and encourage the opposite of those feelings, which are themselves horrible afflictions of the mind. Anger and resentment are symptoms of a bourgeois mentality and have about as much to do with personal or social freedom as wage-slavery does to the average worker. For this reason negative actions commited by angry anarchists simply play into the bourgeois system of self-containment--providing the entire world with a "them" for the bourgeois "us" to be unified against.

Until anarchists realize this the movement will remain an alienating force on the fringes of society, ineffectual for positive social or political change, and, I would argue, even precarious for the individual anarchist who subjects themselves to so much negative emotion. Only when it is a movement about love and compassion for love and compassion will it be capable of truly aiding those in need.

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