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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

If you want to change the world, start by changing yourself.

In my Niamh de Barra post yesterday I ended by saying we could fight back against the forces of neoliberal capitalism by "forming affinity groups based on the principles of libertarian socialism". I was asked by someone last night to elaborate what I was on about, and to define what an affinity group is, so I've decided to give you all a little gift today, which will make everything clear.

In 2004, the CrimethInc. ex-Workers' Collective put together a book which they hoped would serve as a source of information and inspiration for political activists the world over, who might make use of the tools therein in the course of making the world a better place. The book was called Recipes for Disaster: An Anarchist Cookbook and since its release it has been circulated, reproduced and transmitted to anyone who wants to take control of her life and accept responsibility for her part in determining the fate of humanity.

Recipes for Disaster: An Anarchist Cookbook is a handbook for direct action. For the spectator born in captivity and raised in submission, direct action changes everything. The morning she arises to put a plan into motion, she awakens under a different sun - if she has been able to sleep at all, that is - and in a different body, attuned to every detail of the world around her and possessed of the power to change it.

Step 1 of this new world might be forming an affinity group, basically a circle of friends who know each other intimately and who work consensually together to accomplish a goal, or series of goals. An affinity group could be a sewing circle, a bicycle maintenance group, a guerilla gardening collective, even a group of bloggers blogging about art, politics and culture! Whatever it is, you and your friends already comprise one, so begin by trading ideas and start changing the world. What are you waiting for? You don't need anyone's permission.

Recipes for Disaster: An Anarchist Cookbook gives you the lowdown on making things happen, from A for Affinity Group to W for Wheatpasting. In between, you might want to try Coalition Building, Dumpster Diving, Hitchhiking, Pie Throwing, Spellcasting or Stickering. Or, indeed, just make up some activities of your own - the world of direct action is yours, do what you will with it. To get you started, however, you perhaps want to read the book for yourself, and that's our little gift to you today. You can download a pdf of Recipes for Disaster: An Anarchist Cookbook 'here'. It's quite a large file, but is worth having as it's a good quality copy, complete with photographs etc.

At this point, we'd like to give the following disclaimer; Some of the activities in the book are illegal or dangerous and we wouldn't like you to think that we are endorsing these or encouraging anyone to take part in activities that they do not feel comfortable with. We do think, however, that Recipes for Disaster: An Anarchist Cookbook is a great starting point for anyone interested in the sorts of varied techniques that comprise direct action. Better to start slowly and conservatively though, building a sustainable involvement with direct action projects that you can continue over a lifetime rather than rushing headlong into something you're not prepared for.

Don't let anyone tell you that nothing ever changes. Politicians, the media and all of the forces of the establishment want you to think that way. They want you passive, silent and acquiescent - is that what you want?

If you want to change the world, start by changing yourself.


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