Before we can answer this question, we must ask: what is play? Play is the antithesis of work. Work is the art of an exploitative science. It tugs at the reigns of capital, conducting its movements, speed and flow, carrying with it the hearse of companionship. It tramples our natural sociality, but binds us in a common hatred. Play is the revitalization of life; of our dreams and our desires. It is the rejection of the necessary non-freedom promoted, produced, and projected by work. It is releasing human floods of bodily desire across the barriers of separation created by work. Play is unmediated joy.
Anarchy is a condition; that of being without rule. Anarchy is the absence of, and the rejection of the notions that give rise to the legitimization of authority. It is unmediated freedom. Freedom to shape our lives as we see fit, to make our own decisions outside the realm of politics, where biological life is exposed to death, and to appropriate the means of existence from the chokehold of industrial civilization and its arsenal of economies, experts, and militaries.
Playground Anarchy is a conception; an understanding of what it is to experience life as play while simultaneously realizing its anti-authoritarian implications. Further, it can be considered the absolute embrace of a peculiar yet collective singularity; that of our inner-child. Further still, Playground Anarchy may be best described as the destruction of the great appendage known as chronological history and the creation of an always and all-at-once present appropriation of the past, during which we move from our shared affectivity to a shared direction.
We, its practitioners, recognize that upon entering adulthood (a.k.a. the realm of work, material overproduction, commodity fetishization, etc.) an individual can own nothing but their own labor power, surrendering all other autonomous projects. It becomes painfully evident that we gradually and incontrovertibly lose our real sense of selves. Diametrically, we recognize that in our experiences during the years of our youth, life had been actualized. In childhood, life was all that it could be, and all that it is currently not: adventure, exploration, discovery, learning, loving, sharing, bonding, and growing. This recognition is explicated not only the theoretical writings of Marx or the classical literary contributions of Salinger, but universally: in every individual’s perceived need, even if it is expressed through the great irony of consumerism, to escape from the world of work, and thus, the logic of capital.
Yet, as anarchists we desire more than a pathetic dislodging from the dominion of capital. We are not interested in securing such matters of temporality; rather, we seek an eternal and unmediated freedom, which is to be materialized through a life (re)structured by play. Under capitalism, play has become yet another potentially affirming activity separated from everyday life.
True to its own perverse logic, capitalism designs, manufactures, and sells “parks” to communities – designated areas where our play is premeditated and established within assigned parameters. We are allotted a time and a place to play, so long as it does not threaten the sanctity of the work week, the monetary system at large, or the rigid social order it permeates. These are (often successful) efforts 7
to maintain normalcy. When the clock strikes three, we flood the lot, and things appear to be going along as usual – running the way that they “should” be. Thus, it is only when we make our play total, outside of the increasing limitations of capital, that we destroy the constructs of work and leisure, of production and consump- tion, while simultaneously reterritorializing the space we inhabit through the liberation of our desires.
In a similar fashion, the standing mode of production – being an insatiable beast which finds sustenance only in merciless commodification – has adopted the technique of reifying our common nostalgia. While they rob us of life by exploiting us to wage slavery on the one hand, they expect us to believe that we can buy it all back in films, books, costumes and theme park tickets. We choose, as a response to the great lie we have been fed, to shove dirt in the mouth of such a courteous oppressor, in all of their offerings and claims of opportunity.
In Playground Anarchy we will henceforth begin to take back the images they exploit and credit themselves with – those images that we, their unwanted children, gave life to in worlds outside of work. The genuinely positive social relations (those of cooperation, sharing, and aiding) prevalent in childhood are to be made distinct from the spectacle’s vulgar interpretation/presentation: synthetic friendships, stories that applaud hierarchy and heroism, and adventures that only amount to transparent celluloid. We seek to collectively live out our dreams, while they seek to keep us stationary and entertained with a cheap imitation thereof.
We call for the immediate dismantling of all borders, boundaries, and restrictions. We will leap over every fence. No longer will we accept the painful familiarity of their predict able realm of play. We will watch possibilities explode, like the gunpowder and dust of their spectacular images, yet ours will be so immense that they shade the night sky permanently.8
In attempts to liberate seized playgrounds with locked fences, relentlessly stencil four-square courts up and down city streets, and to occupy abandoned homes, factories and universities, we give content to our particular form of subversion. Whether your experience is in sprinting through a cemetery after dusk, opening a fire hydrant on a hot summer day, or exploring a decaying manufacturing plant, we urge you to rediscover the child within you – to release it at once, and in every direction. Use your imaginations, pack some candy, go outside, find each other, and enact the most bodily of revolts. The playground is open.