The Gift Economy, Anarchism and Strategies for Change
Terry Leahy's website
The New Environmentalism and its Critics
A Little Bit Pinker: Human Nature and Sociology
Bringing The Body Back: The New Opening To Biology In Sociology
The Social Meaning of the Climate Crisis
Letter to Greg Combet
Environmental Despair
Climate Code Red: A Timely Suggestion
Checkmate: Why Capitalism Cannot Survive Global Warming
Exploitation, Surplus and the Community Economy - 2013
Religion and the Environmental Apocalypse
Options for a Sustainable Future - Four Models of Utopia
Anarchist and Hybrid Strategies
The Reformist and Radical Restructuring Approaches to Environmental Problems
For the Eighty Percent - A Rap Poem
Sustainable Cities in a Low Energy Future (Part 1)
Sustainable Cities in a Low Energy Future (Part 2)
Sustainable Cities in a Low Energy Future (Part 3)
On the Edge of Utopia: A Letter to the Green Parties (Part A)
On the Edge of Utopia: A Letter to the Green Parties (Part B)
Sustainable Agriculture: A Marketing Opportunity or Impossible in the Global Capitalist Economy?
Ecofeminism Part One: Different Positions within Ecofeminism
Ecofeminism Part Two: Gender and Environment in Culture and Politics Today (Part A)
Ecofeminism Part Two: Gender and Environment in Culture and Politics Today (Part B)
Apocalypse Most Likely: Agency and Environmental Risk in the Hunter Region
Women's Responses to Environmental Issues (Short Version)
Second Wave Feminism - The Opening Debates
Second Wave Feminism - Since the Mid-Seventies
What is the Difference between Anarchism and Socialism anyway?
Food, Society and the Environment - 2003
Anarchist and Hybrid Strategies


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Below is the introduction for the Anarchist and Hybrid Strategies article by Terry Leahy.


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Anarchist and Hybrid Strategies

 

 

Introduction

 

An incident took place at a conference I attended, on “Students and Sustainability”. Towards the end of the conference there was a large plenary forum and people rose to talk about directions for the environmental movement. I spoke as an anarchist along with another academic. Then there was the usual democratic socialist (read Trotskyist), someone from the Green Party and an annoying Christian. After that the floor was taken by a middle-aged woman who was an activist in the forest blockades. She said the problem with all these visions was that they were about doing things now to achieve some future utopian condition. We should be oriented to the now. She invited participants to stand and stretch, then close their eyes and meditate on the now. She finished to strong applause.

 

So what is the connection between anarchist utopian thinking and action in the now? Within some versions of New Age spirituality, what we should attend to always is the present moment. To uncover our mental blockages, the unconscious barriers to happiness and peace, we can be mindful, ever mindful, of the way that our thoughts get dragged away from the now, what comes between us and this blissful state. If we believe this we should avoid utopian thinking if it means judging present actions in terms of some desired state in the future. A utopian dream stands between us and full participation in the now.

 

Mmmm. I like this as therapy but I am still hooked on utopias. So how do they figure in a New Age context? Maybe as affirmations. They take the form – I am making this utopia now. Affirmations help to remove unconscious barriers to realising our deep desires. We use positive affirmations to fend off despair and apathy. Or maybe a utopian dream is like a guided meditation. I am in the middle of a beautiful garden. It is sunny and an orchard butterfly wings its way past the cauliflowers. A guided meditation always takes you to a utopia of some kind and why not the gift economy or some small part of that fantasy? Or perhaps being present to your fantasies and daydreams could be a spiritual goal too. Does living in the now mean living in the material reality of the present moment and nothing else? Is that really possible or even desirable?

 

But maybe there is no getting away from attempts to make current action work to future goals. Can we avoid this completely? We get up, to go upstairs, to make a sandwich and then eat it. Ideally strategies to bring about an anarchist utopia would be just that simple and equally sure of success. Yet endless disasters have often been the fate of people striving for wonderful visions. A New Age emphasis on the pleasures of the now is hopefully some protection against crazy self-sacrifice and wasted delusions.





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