Risto Juola
Ab absurdo, ad libertatem.
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Political Activity


Aug 07, 2009


A number of people have asked me why I don't belong to a popular political party, if I am indeed serious at all about politics, as though aspiring towards hierarchy, bureaucracy, and domination was the only valid form of social expression, regardless of vocation. The simple answer is that belonging to a party is neither necessary or sufficient for being serious about politics. I have a rather different idea of what being political or politically minded implies. My view of politics begins with the idea that politics is a group decision making process. Ergo, the existence of multiple people implies the existence of politics; no professionalization or institutional normalization needed.

The observation that political systems around the world often employ similar institutional structures and rule systems does not necessitate the fact that those characteristics held in common are the best possible characteristics as regards human political activity. Instead, a better supported conclusion is the claim that international political similarities reflect human similarities; similar animals follow similar patterns.

I'm wary of attaching myself to any particular party program because I have no interest in subverting my will to that of others, having others subvert their will to mine, or providing uncritical observers with an illusive bridge between my life and the actions and ideas of other people. Why would I commit myself to further someone else's political program if I don't have intimate knowledge of their history and potentialities (-- precisely the type of knowledge one cannot obtain when working under the totalizing, life-encompassing, hierarchical power structures of popular political parties)?

It makes perfect sense to align yourself with a movement in order to push projects forward, or to set aside differences when faced by a common injustice, but we have to be careful not to permit others to impose group norms on us, and not to impose them onto others. "[A]ny sort of Procrustean bed, any system of norms that is imposed on social life will constrain and very much underestimate its energy and vitality ... Why [political activity] should fall into two, three or n political parties, I don't quite see. I think that the complexity of human interest and life does not fall in that fashion. Parties represent basically class interests." In other words: there are as many political belief systems as there are people.

As my friend Justin expressed it, "What's the issue you want to talk about? Let's talk about that issue, and I'll tell you where I stand on that issue." This is the reason I identify with the federative and decentralist patterns of left libertarianism -- not because I think I have the answers, but because I want to be realistic about the problems. Indeed, a permanent investigative approach to living is the very core of left libertarianism. Moreover, this is the reason my blogs focus (or, at least spend more time) on problems, rather than solutions. As far as recommendations go, I'm confident only in recommending that we all share ideas, beware of titles, split natural resources, and place "no faith in intuitions or impressions" whether our "own or anyone else's."

Although popular political culture might suggest otherwise, we don't need to rely on anything other than ourselves to develop solutions that fit our lives.