this is Sobering Stuff re: the use by the neoliberal state of volunteering and the non-profit sector, and more broadly, people’s desire to enter into relationships of mutual aid. I used to be really into Overgrow the Government type movement theory — creating community alternatives to necessary state services so that it’s less necessary to deal with the state, so that we’re in the best position to avoid its repressive powers in the short term and make it irrelevant it in the long term. I still think that’s a good idea, to the extent that you can create functioning institutions that aren’t just hot air, if only because it fills a need that exists.
lots of people can’t afford to tangle with state institutions as they currently exist and it’s fucked to reject as reformist and counterrevo anything that’s about making people’s lives liveable in this world rather than the post-revo World To Come. I’m not just being flippant here or indulging my obsession with postapocalyptic imagery — the way a lot of people on the left talk about reform vs. revolution reminds me irresistably of millenial Christians who don’t believe in building social infrastructure because we’re living in end times.
and in general, I don’t think we should stop doing things just because they’re co-optable by capitalism — cooptation is kind of capitalism’s thing. but if you’re doing any kind of activist project that’s also some kind of, well, people hate this phrase, but service provision (which is of course typical of anarchist projects) you do have to seriously reckon with this stuff. I guess one lesson we can take from this is: capitalism is flexible, opportunistic, sneaky, like water, like smoke. we need to be like that too to win. I’m not sure at this point what, exactly, winning might look like but maybe that’s the point.