Thursday, September 08, 2005

"Why I am an anarchist" - from Chuck Munson's Blog

why I am an anarchist

A political treatise in progress.

I am an anarchist. Sometimes I identify as a anarchist without adjectives or a practical anarchist or a ecumencial anarchist.

1. Anarchism is the only way forward for the human species and the planet. If you don’t like labels, then “something like anarchism” is the only positive way forward for the human species and the planet. Traditional political ideologies have led the planet to ruin (capitalism and imperialism) or have prevented freedom (authoritarian communism).

2. Anarchism is a syncretic, living and breathing form of politics. Anarchism is not limited to a linear history of ideas. It is unnecessary to know about Kroptokin if you want to be an anarchist.

3. Anarchism is a broad system of thought, practice, struggle, and analysis. Anarchism has a solid tradition of supporting the struggles of women, people of color, and similar oppressed groups. Anarchism encompasses anti-racist struggle and anti-oppression analysis. Anarchism is about the liberation of all people from oppressive systems. The struggles of oppressed people are just as important as the struggles against capitalism, imperialism, and other oppressive systems and institutions.

4. Anarchism is about the rights of an individual in the context of a community. A community can only be free and healthy if it is comprised of liberated, free individuals with full rights. Individuals benefit from being part of a greater community. The splits between individualists and collectivists is a false one, as an anarchist society would be based on an integrated meshing of community responsibilites and individual rights.

5. Anarchy is practical. We must build the type of society we want to live in, now. Putting our ideas into practice not only demonstrates the vitality of anarchism, but it helps us create the space for anarchy within the current system. Anarchy is more of a process than it is a magical moment “after the revolution.” In order for the idea of anarchy to take hold among people, they hav eto embrace it as an alternative. People become liberated when they “kill the policeman in their head,” not when a vanguard of revolutionaries seize government power.

6. Humans are innately anarchists.

7. Organizations must serve the needs of the people who are part of the organizations. Organizations are not the goal, they are a tool. Way too often, anarchists and radicals form organizations because they believe that change can’t happen without an organization. They create an organization and are mystified when people fail to join it. Organizations are useful tools when they address a specific need, such as the creation of a cooperative house or the organizing of a strike at work.

8. Anarchism without adjectives. I am NOT an anarcho-communist or an anarcho-syndicalist or an anarcho-primitivist. Too many anarchists waste time and resources promoting their narrow ideological take on anarchism. These labels lead to factionalism and sectarianism.

9. Revolution of the mind. Anarchism cannot happen unless most of the population desires to live in an anarchist society. I am against any “revolution” which would intend to force anarchism on a society which isnt ready for it. I also reject extreme leftist revolutionary fantasies where “the capitalists and the rich will be shot.” Anarchism is not about mass murder of ideological opponents. Anarchism begins when people start “killing the policeman in their heads.”

10. Anarchism is ahistorical and non-Western. Anarchists need to get over their fascination with dead White European male anarchist writers and thinkers. It’s time to put away the books on the Spanish revolution. Anarchism has been a tendency that can be found around the world. It’s a contemporary system, which isn’t dependent on re-interpretating the words of some dead guy named Marx.

11. Anarchists are not leftists. Anarchism is not a system that is part of the traditional left-right political system. Anarchists are anti-state, therefore we cannot be part of a political spectrum which is statist. Anarchism has never been part of the Left, going back to the 19th century when early European anarchists split from the communists. Anarchism has picked up many new people in recent years, most of whom misunderstand anarchism as being a black-clad form of leftism. This has led to absurdities such as anarchists advocating voting and participation in election campaigns. There are also some anarchists who defiantly insist on identifying with the Left (which is always pro-statist). And the biggest problem in the anarchist movement is anarchists and anarchist groups which ape leftist rhetoric and strategies (such as workerism).

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