Understanding Anarchism Simply

Posted on March 12, 2011


Probably the number one question anyone will receive after declaring himself an anarchist is, “How do you believe society will be structured in anarchy?” I’m here to tell all disgruntled anarchists that the premise behind this question is erroneous and I will tell you why, then how to answer it.

The misunderstanding behind this question is that anarchy is an attainable socio-political state of being. It is not. Many anarchists don’t even understand this fully. They chose to bring up false arguments about it as an institution or tend to ignore it altogether. The reality is that anarchy, just like every other form of social organization, is subject to the nuances and intricacies of biology and psychology of humans, thus making it simply a model for a form of social organization. In a word, all forms of societal construction are theories for perfection that are never perfectly executed.
Anarchy is a constant perpetuation of human activity with the overall goals of equality, eco-friendly consuming, and the erosion (and inevitable dissolution) of any State authority. Every action made by the people towards these goals is an anarchic one.

As I have said ad nauseam, men will not wake up one day and say “today, we have achieved anarchy.” He will never be able to say “this is what anarchy looks like and how we will do it.” the role of an anarchist is to expose the flaws of current society and postulate their origins, thereby allowing the succeeding generations to fix them. It is our job to instill ideas of equality and teach our children that all men regardless of “race” (skin color or geographical origin), sexual preference, gender, or age are equal and free in a society. We must show how all pieces of the economic and social machines are equal in nature and importance.

I have heard it put this way, “A modern man can no more detail to you anarchy than a caveman could detail to you modern capitalism.” That’s a rough paraphrase and I may well have butchered it, but the meaning is there. It is impossible to speculate what anarchy will look like because it is a system based in a completely different socially rhetorical setting. The people in a state of anarchy (or close to it as possible) will think completely different about the world and its inhabitants than the people of today. Therefore, even the greatest of anarchist minds could not possibly hope to tell you what anarchy will look like.

There are many theories of anarchic society from the money-less communist anarchism, to the more contemporary capitalist anarchism, all of which may be correct or all of which may be wrong. We have no way of knowing. The only thing we can do is prepare the world for change and assist it in making as many changes as we can.

All we can hope to do in our time on this earth is make the slightest, most incremental change toward liberation. An entire social philosophy thousands of years old cannot be turned over in one generation through a general strike or innumerable pamphlets, or even a coup d’état. The mental foundation is simply not present for a society like that to take hold in such a short period of time. Incremental changes have clearly been made in history from the establishment of an experimental “peoples’ government”, abolition of slavery (legally), suffrage for minorities and women, and now even a black president of the United States. These things would have been unheard of years before their time such as anarchy is unheard of now.

We are called any number of things from punks to criminals to terrorists, none of which are true in the slightest. It is only natural for a current State of power to demonize any threats to its power. We threaten the power of the few with our revolutionary notions of true freedom and rights, and common law rather than the Law if the State. An anarchic state (as close to one as is achievable) will look back on today – similar to how we look back on slavery and suffrage rights – and ask, “How did they live like that? Didn’t they see how wrong it was?” We will be able to have said, “We did.”

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Posted in: Anarchism