1) I’m not a Christian, a Marxist or a Muslim.
Maybe it’s because I’m not that into dead men with big beards. Although it has more to do with a dislike of dogmatic and rigid thinking than a prejudice against facial hair. Of course, this is a sweeping generalisation: not all those who define themselves as these things are dogmatic. I simply see no need to believe in the things they hold dear. There are plenty of earthbound tyrants for one to hypothesise another one up there in the heavens. Even if I was somehow forced to accept the existence of a higher power, I’d probably be a bit cross about it, rather than worshipping it. At the very least, the Muslim and Christian gods come across as fairly petty, at worst decidedly horrible, although apparently still all-loving even when massacring millions of people.
Marxists of course have no god, but they have Marx. I have no desire to define my really rather personal beliefs by using a dead bloke’s name. Sure, Marx created a brilliant critique of capitalism, and sketches a nice anarcho-communist utopia, but other people had good ideas too. My lovely partner has good ideas, but as much as I love her, I’ve no desire to define myself as a Nickist (partly because that makes me sound like a rather pompous robber).
So, in short, I don’t want my ideas to be categorised by the names of dead men with good ideas. People who aren’t Marxists, or Christians, or Muslims have good ideas too, and I see no reason to limit myself to one set. Of course, this is perhaps being greedy with my ideology, but even with nothing new under the sun, I still want a nice home-made pie of ideas from here there and everywhere.
None of this is to bash people who do define themselves as these things. Most people I know and associate with are mostly lovely.
2) I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I don’t believe the Queen is a lizard, the Jews are all evil, aeroplane vapour trails are actually poisonous chemicals, microwaves give you cancer or 9/11 was an inside job. I don’t like David Icke, and I can’t stand Alex Jones, though both are good for a laugh.
There is one conspiracy however that is no theory, but a demonstrable fact. The global capitalist system is run by the rich, relies on vast social and economic inequality, and is trashing the planet. I could elaborate, but I shan’t patronise you. This isn’t because they are bloody lizards, or some kind of Jewish conspiracy, but a bunch of rich people wanting to stay rich, help their mates and get more rich. So please, stop digging up drivel about silly satanic rituals and crop circles, and get on with fighting the real fucking enemy!
I think my biggest gripe here is that people who call themselves part of a ‘truth movement’ (and very often act like irritating know-it-alls) regularly (and rightly) question mainstream accounts and official stories rigourously (sort of!) but then apparently apply no criticism whatsoever to people like David Icke who claim that Satanic sacrifices occur annually on the Isle of Wight. If you are so into revealing truth, poke your own ideas a bit. It seems this doesn’t happen, as normally when asked for evidence you are presented with either a dodgy website or a dubious Youtube video.
I’m not sure why these conspiracy theories seem so appealing to so many. Perhaps it’s because they make people feel like they have some kind of special knowledge, so they can feed their ego and patronisingly inform you that you ‘just haven’t opened your eyes and seen the truth’ if you dispute any of their stories. Maybe it makes them feel like X Files is real. No, you’re not a detective investigating extra terrestrial activity, you’re just reading silly things on the internet. Furthermore, often the people who helpfully inform you as to how unenlightened you are about Bohemian Grove and nasty Satanist rich people don’t actually try and do anything about it other than posting links to their crappy videos. There are so many social movements that need more people power at the moment, so leave the tinfoil hat at home and get out on the streets!
3) I’m not a vegan, though I think we should all eat much less dairy and meat. It’s better for the animals, the planet, your wallet and your health. Shut the fuck up about bacon. When you can kill a pig, I’ll happily sit and listen to you wank off about how nice it’s flesh tasted. I don’t want to hear anything about preachy vegans either, if you want preachy, the meat industry ranks far higher than the fairly small number of people who have to try and stop soy milk curdling in their tea every day. Flesh and dairy is everywhere, advertised or simply eaten. Vegans are by comparison pretty damn minimal. If you are a vegetarian because you are concerned about animal suffering, you should be a vegan for the same reason. Dairy cows suffer just as much and are still killed at the end of it. If you know how to cook, switching to vegan isn’t too difficult. If you don’t know how to cook, learn.
My position is essentially a selfish one, which I feel fairly guilty about. I like eating the flesh of dead things occasionally, and also enjoy the products of animals suffering sometimes. An awareness of this reality is no bad thing however, and I strongly believe that the less of the stuff we eat, the better for all concerned (apart from those who profit from it of course).
4) I’m not female, but I am a feminist. Believe it or not your sex is not a prerequisite. Feminism is a struggle against oppression, the difference is in this struggle I belong to the oppressive group. Not all German’s were Nazi party members however, and while all men benefit from patriarchal privilege, not all men are sexists. Neither are all feminists bra-burning men haters. That is a stupid stereotype used to discredit a genuine and seriously important movement against oppression.
I would say one of the biggest problems we face is actually macho masculinity. The bundle of attitudes, characteristics and behaviours that are most typically common of those with an excess of testosterone. Being aggressive, dominating, bossy, controlling, competitive, arrogant, boastful, patronising and egotistical fall into this category (incidentally, behaviours that are very important to capitalism). Of course, people of all genders can be these things. Being a woman doesn’t make it ok to be an obnoxious emulator of the worst aspects of maleness. That isn’t what feminism is about. We don’t want more masculine dickspittles. It’s about collectively developing forms of behaviour that aren’t oppressive. Feminism is not purely a woman’s job any more than washing the dishes or making your fucking sandwiches. If anything, men have more to do than women. We have to change our behaviour and our ways of thinking. It’s not enough to say you support feminism, you have to actively challenge sexism.
So there’s a few things I’m not. One other thing I’m not, hopefully obviously, is a capitalist. Capitalism helpfully links other forms of oppression and exploitation, in the interests of the profit of the rich, which I think is shit.
In the interest of balance, I’ll end by saying that I really like chickens (alive), driving fast, good beer, beautiful women, ska-punk, and long walks in the countryside.
By Beau Nafyde