Anarchists Care About Brand-Identity

This article was originally published on The State.

by Adam Rothstein

A panda costume, green lasers, social media manifestos. The places where one finds Anarchism in this day and age are startling.

One might expect such over-determined capitalist colonizing in the form of a body spray. Even a chain steakhouse can claim “no rules” as its motto—individually-apportioned takeout rebellion being one of the cultural mainstays of consumerism. But we’re not just talking “anarchy”, we’re talking “Anarchism”. We’re talking fighting the police, not Bloomin’ Onions. Something has been accelerated here.

The theories of riot and Anarchism displayed by Kanye West/Jay-Z and Anarchopanda, while mutually adorable, are not quite fully developed in their theory of mutual aid. But let’s not humbug these instances, either. The video for “No Church in the Wild” is certainly a cultural milestone, if not a road map. And while Anarchopanda may be distracting us from the realities of austerity economics and state repression, photos like the one below are worth ten thousand words of Situationist media criticism.

photo via The Atlantic.

The Anarchist Constitution for Twitter, on the other hand, might require more of a push. Riot porn and cuddly pacifist man-beasts could earn a pass, but the Constitution here is a little too preachy, and therefore out critical Anarchist gaze is piqued.

Summing to really no more than the golden rule, the brief document conspicuously missed the fundamental relationship between class war, Anti-State rebellion, personal branding, breakfast blogging, and radical autonomy found in all real Anarcho-Syndicalist social media accounts. We must therefore condemn it, until clauses that sufficiently name-check other forms of social graph oppression are added. (This is a joke of course: real real Anarchism rejects capitalism absolutely, and has no pseudo-Marxist delusions about being about to organize via social media. [Actually, the last was the real joke, because Real Anarchism rejects technology as well, as the fundamental means by which capitalism exploits people and the planet.])

But let’s not look a gift riot elephant in the mouth here. We can marvel at the rare fact that such a title would even find its way to The Atlantic Wire‘s web page. While Anarchists continue to be entrapped by the FBI, they are also experiencing a cultural renaissance. Let’s not protest, and instead, push it further.

What would an Anarchist Constitution for Cultural Memes look like? Let’s—as autonomous individuals not attempting to speak for any one else (of course)—propose some general guidelines for anyone attempting to incorporate “Anarchism” into their cultural product. The tactics listed below might not always work. But at the very least, no one can accuse you of not being radical enough.

An Anarchist Constitution for Cultural Memes

  • All cute animals are fundamentally Anarchist. While Marmots are known to be amongst the most radical of animal species, even the ironically named Emperor Penguins have expressed support for regicide since the early 1800s.
  • Diversify your branding. If Antifa Bears works as a cartoon, then it will also work as a iPhone game, and probably a pouch fruit snack.
  • All Anarcho-Colas should be labeled as gluten-free.

  • Women (and not just fin de siècle women) are Anarchists too. The good news for your product line is that they can be “attractive women”.
  • If your jingle seems to be failing, “Whose Streets, Our Streets?” will always work. If listeners seem tired of your jingle, just shout it louder, and accuse their smart phone model of being reformist.
  • Anarchists seek rebellion, not caring whether or not that rebellion is successful. Just as passionately, they seek good bargains on kitchen gadgetry, whether or not they really need them.
  • “ACAB” stands for “Anarchists Care About Brand-identity”. Feel free to use this acronym liberally in advertising copy. Use it in social media hash tags to give your tweets that extra authentic edge.
  • The sooner a corporate consortium is formed to make Riot a league sport, the sooner official merchandising and sponsorship options can be sold.
  • All models of sedans sympathetic with Anarchism should be available in black, matte black, and black.
  • Is there a protein bar called “Black Bloc?” Why not? Not moving on this opportunity is just leaving money on the table.
  • Through careful, honest, social graph building, encourage Anarchists to burn your products, and hurl them into the streets. Also encourage them to pay for these products first.
  • Remember, above all else: “Anarchists are just criminals looking for a brand identity.”

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