GonzoTimes.com| Whether you are a pull yourself up by your own bootstraps kind of person or like me a power to the people kind of person, anarchism is for you. Anarchism is not one single idea, but many ideas and forms of organization to order society and meet our needs without hierarchy, rulers or use of violence to maintain authority.
Anarchist history over the last few hundred years finds it’s focus point in a few historic events. The Spanish Civil War and the CNT Anarchists established a working form of anarchism in Barcelona and Catalonia. The early 20th century workers movement was very influenced by anarchists Such as Emma Goldman and Voltairine de Cleyre and the organization of anarchist styled unions such as the IWW. These are just two important moments in anarchist history.
Anarchism is a definite intellectual current of social thought, whose adherents advocate the abolition of economic monopolies and of all political and social coercive institutions within society. In place of the capitalist economic order, Anarchists would have a free association of all productive forces based upon cooperative labour, which would have for its sole purpose the satisfying of the necessary requirements of every member of society.
– Rudolf Rocker 1938
I am inserting links in this article to learn more about anarchism, I encourage you to follow them and learn more about certain concepts.
Anarchism is not the presence of chaos, but the lack of aggressive force to structure society. A common response to this is often that “people are evil therefore we should have a government made of people.” Anarchism is also not a utopian ideal, I reject the idea that utopia is possible. It is quite the opposite. The language of authority is one that demonizes people with labels that seem to justify violence on another person. The ruling classes (the 1%) define evil, legal or even what is honorable and good (for the 99%). They define how we are to fall into our place, where we can get our food, or how the organizations we use to get our needs met are structures and what rules they follow. Anarchism is the idea that the power over these things should be given to us, each one of us should be empowered to make the decisions in our lives that impact us. The empowerment of each of us is coupled with abolishing power of the authority that uses force, gender, race or any other form of hierarchy to oppress. Currently we see this power in those we are calling the 1%.
In saying that Anarchism is not the presence of chaos, it is the absence of aggressive force to structure society this does not mean a lack of protection and order. It is equal power over the systems that protect and organize. The myth of no organization is founded in the myth that only organization and safety that can be achieved is through the violence of authority and hierarchy.
Anarchism is not one single political philosophy, rather, Anarchists cover a wide variety of solutions and stances that can be more diverse than political options. The strength of anarchism is that it does not offer the one true solution, rather it offers new and old ways of organizing society which does not require all to submit to the same system or collective. Anarchism requires us to build the type of society we wish to live in. The one true anarchist solution is that there are many solutions. The word Anarchism is translated to literally mean “No Rulers”. This can be in regards to the 1%, gender, economic, state, culture, race, class or any other form of hierarchy.
Anarchism is often claims it’s roots with the French anarchist politician and philosopher Pierre Joseph Proudhon. Proudhon proposed the abolition of the capitalist and political class and the rise of worker owned and controlled federations. His philosophy of Anarchism stood on a foundation of equality. He proposed worker organized and controlled alternatives to structuring our everyday needs. This was called federalism or mutualism. Mutualism grew to have new definitions and meanings proposing alternatives to capitalism and communism as an economic structure. Some modern mutualists claim to be ‘free market socialists’. A review of Proudhon’s what is property?, Clarence Lee Swartz’s What is Mutualism?, or the Contemporaty Kevin Carson’s Mututalist Political Economy will give one an better understanding of Mutualist beliefs.
Many anarchists are socialists, communists or syndicalists. They believed in forms of worker ownership over means of production and systems to provide protection and basic needs. Disputes between differing forms of organization do not need to be forced upon one another, rather anarchism is the opportunity to give both sides the chance and opportunity to put their solutions to action as the solution they have chosen. Mikhail Bakunin, Peter Kropotkin, Noam Chomsky and Rudolf Rocker are all wonderful theorists that would fall under a similar category as this.
Some would call anarchism pure democracy, some say it’s worker control of the means of production and still others would say it’s a ‘free market’. The traditional form of anarchism is one that promotes worker control of the means of production where we are empowered to have control of the safety nets and needs that are used to maintain control over us. (Essentially shifting power from the 1% to the 99%.) It is not an unrealistic rejection of what needs the state or capitalism has met, but a rejection of those needs being monopolized by a minority ruling class. It is the rejection of the idea that one answer fits all.
Proudhon proposed federations of trade unions that organize to distribute goods and to meet the needs of all as opposed to an open market. Anarchists like Rudolf Rocker promoted the working class taking control of the means of production through syndicates, educating the worker in the way of the capitalist so that the workers could maintain power over the means of production and could organize society. There are many other ideas within anarchism, the important thing to realize is that we are not giving up protection or order, but we are taking control of those elements within our lives. We are taking the decision making process and the power over the areas that impact us as opposed to having rulers who make decisions or force them upon us.
It is also important to realize that because some anarchists believe in one way of order and structure that we can also have others involved because we will be able to each hold to the forms that work for us without forcing it upon others through violence. The function of police and military is primarily to enforce the dictates of the ruling capitalist class. Enforcement or dictates and law must be replaced with protection, and this protection which we have power over as opposed to the form of enforcement that is often exploitative.
In looking to further understand anarchism I suggest learning about the many strands and beliefs and finding the type of structure that fits you and what you beliefs. Democracy is not an answer within itself. It is the decision we make within the structure of democracy that gives one a solution. Anarchism is the same way. Anarchism is not the answer itself, but it provides diverse structures that can co-exist in which we find the answers and come up with solutions. Anarchism itself won’t protect one or save one, but the decisions we make within an anarchist society offer the solutions, so anarchism is only limited by human imagination and ingenuity.
by Punk Johnny Cash