2021. Can’t say we’re sad to see you go.
Beginning with a literal attempt at an insurrectionary coup by Trump’s fascist goons and closing out with still another deadly wave of COVID-19, 2021 won’t go down in the record books as a great year.
We’ve seen the continuing rise of neo-fascism and xenophobia on a global scale. Portland, OR remains a battleground. Kyle Rittenhouse was not only acquitted but celebrated as a hero for murdering BLM protestors. Mounted sheriffs whipped Haitian refugees seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. Meanwhile, Biden-loving liberals are settling into self-assured complacency for having “saved democracy.”
Yes, to no one’s surprise (or at least not to the anarchists and anti-authoritarians), it was another year of State violence, corporate rule, and wanton disregard for human and planetary need by those in power.
Congress passed the biggest Pentagon budget yet–even more than the administration had asked for and with bipartisan support. Decisions reached during the COP26 climate summit totally dismissed the urgent calls of environmental activists, despite the deepening evidence of climate collapse–from ice storms to wildfires. Profiteering Big Pharma chose vaccine apartheid at the cost of millions of lives in the Global South.
And don’t forget the same old story of quelling dissent through repression of those seeking to demand a better world; be it the imprisonment of DAPL activists or the persecution of anarchist protestors in Belarus and Russia.
Yet, as we warily enter 2022 after still another year of global mourning and pandemic fatigue, it’s important also to take a moment to celebrate our wins.
While 2021 was not quite as momentous as 2020, we saw the continued unfolding of the historic uprisings that took place the previous year. Derek Chauvin was, in the end, convicted of the murder of George Floyd. And albeit far from the societal transformation we ultimately need, progress toward prison abolition and structural racism as household concepts are nothing to sneeze at–and a good reminder that while change is slow and uneven, protest does work.
On a similar note, although there wasn’t the same incredible proliferation of mutual aid projects as during the early days of the pandemic, many of those initiatives continue to grow and support local communities across the world.
At the same time, workers here in the U.S. and elsewhere have grown more militant and organized, staging strikes in virtually every sector from retail and manufacturing to healthcare and education. (Who could have anticipated the first union of Starbucks employees?)
The global movement to force action on climate change continues to grow. Pipeline resistance refuses to die down. Neoliberal consensus appears to be weakening under pandemic pressures. And despite the growth of authoritarianism, critical resistance to right-wing governments is expanding in Latin America and beyond.
Perhaps most surprising, posthumously, David Graeber, one of our own, has become an internationally celebrated intellectual icon and radical pundit. Opposition is sharpening and it’s worth recognizing: a necessary antidote to cynicism and a boost for our collective morale.
At Agency, we’ve been busy helping to amplify and support these vital efforts and daily acts of resistance and reimagining. So, as we make our way into 2022, here are a few highlights from our editorial team in 2021. Onward.
With love and solidarity,