December 2, 2020

TOTW: Connectivity

This week, I’ve been thinking about how different it must have been when the connections between anarchists were not so internet based, but were based on face-to-face interactions, phone calls, letters, letters sections etc. In the ten years I’ve been connecting to other anarchists, it’s been mostly through emails, web forums, and IRC. I say this with some regret.

I attend book fairs once or twice a year, of course, and reading groups every month or so, and on occasion, when forced, I even attend meetings. But my day-to-day connections to other anarchists are digital. Have I been missing out? If so, what have I been missing out on? What are the benefits of connecting ‘IRL’? What might be the challenges? Is it really as preferable to connecting online as I’m implying? Are there good things to be said about digital connections? After all, without anarchists on the internet, would a euro anarcho like me have ever even heard of a certain publisher of dangerous books from SF?

To those who’ve been around longer than I have – have you found yourself moving away from face-to-face interactions and letters sections etc as time has marched on, or have you held fast to your pre-internet ways? If you’ve fought the internet tide, how did you do it? How are you even reading this?

What will connectivity look like a year or two from now? A decade? What will it look like for the next generation of anarchists, the ones whose births are being livestreamed on social media at this very moment?

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