Thursday, March 5, 2009

Just What is an Anarchist Anyway?

Anarchy is very hard to explain, because we have been conditioned by our Capitalist system to disbelieve that we could survive without a government. Even Anarchists find it difficult to explain all of their motives and wants. For decades Anarchists defined themselves by what they were not instead of what they were! I will do what I can to try to explain the main theories and principles that most Anarchists have in common. This blog is by no means the gospel of what Anarchy is, it is my interpretation. The beautiful thing about Anarchy is that my interpretation can be one-hundred percent correct!

Above all these main principles, remember these wants--Survival Necessities for Everyone (Food, Housing, Education, Clothing), and a peaceful environment, free from encroachments on our liberty, to grow into a people that we want to be.

Main Principles:

  1. Anti-Authoritarianism-- Anarchists are obvious anti-authoritarians. We reject and ignore anyone who would impose their will on us through force (violence) or coercion (the threat of violence). We uphold the belief that people are not inherently bad, and that we don't need authorities to tell us how to live. Instead, our lifestyle is a decision made individually, all paths differing and unique. As Bakunin would have us remember, we don't reject all authority. On the subject of shoes, we gain the insight of the boot-maker, who obviously has a mastery over his trade. The thing is, we do this of our own volition. No one can force us to defer to authority. Think about it--We were born free, without any constraining laws on us. We grew into these laws, they were not always there. The State imposes these laws on us, they are not tangible outside of it. I believe that no one is more able to understand my wants, needs and passions than myself.
  2. Anti-Racist, Anti-Sexist, Anti-Homophobic--anarchy has always been about equality. No one, regardless of their race, creed (or lack of creed), "class," gender or orientation, we are all humans, and we are all capable of achieving amazing things. Stereo-typing is criminal, bias and bigotry is sickening and infantile. Anarchists are fiercely opposed to bias, racism, etc. Militant Anarchist groups have been and are being formed regularly to combat racists and fascists wherever they rear their heads. Check out the anti-Racist-Action website, and more.
  3. Solidarity and Self-Reliance--I literally just did a blog about this, so check it out, it should be relatively close to this one and it's way more in depth. These topics are important to making Anarchal society work. Anarchists are connected to their friends and allies very very tightly, and the ideas of solidarity and self-reliance keep us tight and unified, even in our individuality.
  4. Autonomy--Anarchy stresses Autonomy, or, the ability to operate working communities, with infrastructure, education, and all the other trappings of what we say we want, WITHOUT government help. Autonomy is hard to pin down, because it means this, as well as Autonomy in you yourself. The DIY (Do It Yourself!) ethic is stressed here. Over-specialization in the work-force is seen as claustrophobic and unnecessary. Learn how to do some of the stuff you see done all the time yourself! Be Autonomous, operate outside of the system. Grow some of your own food in a garden, learn some basic mechanics for your car or bike, cut your own hair! Basically, Autonomy can mean a lot of things, but it mostly means not being helpless, and being able to achieve your goals through a variety of means, none of them relying on authority.
  5. Direct Action--This is one of the keystones of Anarchism. Direct Action isn't waving picket signs, petitioning the governor, or whining to the Senate about injustices. Direct Action means getting out there and doing what needs to be done, regardless of whether it is deemed completely "legal" or not. For example, it's illegal to serve food on private property (and on most "public" property because of legal mumbo-jumbo). But, free food collectives have been doing this all the time, doling out tons of chili, stew, vegan friendly food and meals to the homeless and anyone else that wants to fill their stomachs without paying. Direct Action can mean numerous things, from this to flipping police cars at a rally. Direct Action is how anarchists get things done.
  6. Mutual Aid-- I could go on for pages and pages on any of these topics, but this one is particularly important. Mutual Aid is professing the idea that people should help other people, regardless of who they are or for what reason. If a neighbor needs a new roof, we go help, just because it needs done, not for payment or reparations. This can be applied to an infinite number of situations. We practice Mutual Aid when we do thing for principle, not profit. It is also very very reassuring to know that you are a member of a community where you can ask for help and get it. Mutual Aid is a very easy concept--help those who need help, and ask for help when you need it. No one can be completely autonomous, and to assume so would be absurd.

These principles should scratch the surface on what Anarchists stand for, at least a little bit. It is most important to remember that Anarchy is a deep and passionate love and respect for yourself, others, and freedom in general. Anarchy is built on love. It might sound corny, but it's true. We love liberty, our fellow humans, and ourselves.

Other defining principles are Decentralization, Anti-Wage Labor, Free Expression, Squatting (Re-Appropriation of living space for those who need it), Feminism, Stateless Socialism, Egalitarianism, Veganism, and more. for further reading refer to:

Mikhail Bakunin
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Lucy Parsons
Peter Kropotkin
Emma Goldman

Wikipedia searches should get you started. I hope that I have at least cleared up some of the fog surrounding what Anarchists stand for. If you still don't understand, it's ok, because we are talking about very abstract topics. Most Anarchists don't even have a full, to-the-letter definition of what Anarchy means, because it means something different to everyone!

Peace and Love,



HalfCrazy said...

Wow, very informative and enjoyable post! Now you cleared up the fog surrounding Anarchists. So it is freedom and love, then! I don't know but, if everyone are Anarchists, maybe the world would be a better place? I mean Anarchists seems to follow the most appropriate, most rightful decisions and judgments!

And maybe I can say that I'm sort of an Anarchist too if I agree with all of the things you stated in your blog? I mean, I'm always all about the love without asking for anything in return!

Well, thanks so much for this post! Really enjoyed it! :)

Monkey Wrench said...

I think you could definitely say that you're an Anarchist. Anarchism isn't about smashing stuff like the media would have you believe. It's a life-style based on mutual respect, peace, and freedom. You've got an open mind, and trust me, that's a rare thing.

Anarchists try indeed to follow what's right. We can be considered very disciplined in the sense that we really do put our theories about life into practice within our Community.

Thanks for reading, I'm very happy to have cleared some things up. Any questions ever (and that goes for anyone else reading this too), just ask me!! I'm not an authority (ha ha ha) but I'll do what I can to explain what it is i THINK i know!!


HalfCrazy said...

Actually, whenever it comes to Anarchism, the first that comes to mind is people pushing cars and then toppling them over LOL. You're right, I guess that's the effect of media! Media is so powerful when it comes to brainwashing people!

Thanks again! :)

Jesse M. said...

Interesting look- very well put together.
Though I truly feel (especially given history and current studies) man just have some form of government - very small though...

As usual you have made me think- and that is good!