The first introduction to the concept of anarchy for most people may be via the Sex Pistols song – . Unfortunately this is also one of the primary reasons why anarchy is one of the most misunderstood political philosophies.
Despite the popular misconception provided by content of the Sex Pistols lyrics, anarchy has nothing to do with chaos, death and destruction. Anarchists are not bomb making murderers, nor do they ascribe any virtue to beating up old ladies in the street.
Anarchy is often associated with with lawlessness and riots. However, in many ways has nothing to do with the total abolition of all laws, but is rather more focused on the curtailment or abolition of traditional forms of government and institutions.
It is the interpretation of this subtlety that causes the confusion and introduces the complexity to the philosophy. Whilst I will do my utmost to explain Anarchy and Anarchism as briefly as possible, I would advise the reader to take the time and opportunity to read – in only 188 pages you will get a thorough introduction to this simple yet completely misunderstood philosophy.
Anarchism is often totally misunderstood, although it is a very simple, straight forward idea. It can be expressed basically as running your own life instead of being pushed around.
The reality is there is nothing inherently threatening about Anarchism, excepting of course arguments and confrontations one can get into with those who do not understand or misinterpret the philosophy.
Many people will argue that Anarchy will lead the world to chaos and destruction, as opposed to the path of chaos and destruction the world is already on!
Bombs being dropped on schools and hospitals. Presidents tweeting threats of nuclear war against Communist despots. 1% of the worlds population controlling most of the money.
The planet is raped and polluted to near exhaustion in order to produce the next have gadget for a population eager to buy it , just to stave off the next bout of depression as they feel their lives are worthless.
Taking the opportunity to read any days newspaper, will undoubtedly uncover intolerable acts of lunacy and chaos. Yet this is what we refer to as controlled order!
It’s almost completely laughable, if it wasn’t so painfully true!
State of Desperation
People are hoodwinked and cajoled into making their vote count! Ordered to go to ballot box and place an X in the box of their choice, to elect a party that will make all the promises it needs to deserve that X.
The party will promise to rebuild the state, and to even make it great again. They’ll promise to put right everything the last party did wrong, even though that party had promised to put right everything it’s predecessors had done
Even the good’ things that the State does are actually harmful. The Health Service, for example, patches us up just like an industrial repair shop which in a sense it is. It serves to make us dependent on the State and, worst of all, it buys us off cheaply. It prevents us from creating the genuine, self-managed Health Service we need, geared to our needs not theirs.
It’s a basic Anarchist principle that only people who live in an area have the right to decide what happens in the area.
Yet often times the state will try centralize this power, to Diplomatic Capital and require representative of an area to travel to capital to make their case and debate and vote with others that is best for their areas. Often times, these people will not actually be from these areas or indeed live amongst the people!
Yet this is what we refer to as Democracy! This is the chaos that arises from an authoritive state.
State of nature
In order to begin to understand the Anarchism, first it is important to understand the the state of nature
State of nature – the real or hypothetical condition of human beings before or without political association.
Robert Nozik tried to adress this concept in his 1974 book – , which to be honest is not an easy read and is very in depth, but is well worth taking the time to work through it.
According to Nozick, a minimal state – one which functions are limited to protecting the natural rights to life, liberty, and property– is justified, because individuals living in a state of nature would eventually create such a state through transactions that would not violate anyone’s rights.
What Does it mean to be an Anarchist ?
The most basic per-requisite for an Anarchist is just to be an Independent Thinker, this often requires to eschew the principles of leaders and followers.
Anarchism is notorious for its diversity. Diversity is only achieved by education.
It is through learning and continual improvement are anarchist able to not only help themselves but more importantly others. Until people are less dominated by fear, anxiety, doubt and insecurity there is little point expecting them to behave sensibly and to start building a free, tolerant innovative and creative society.
A fruitful approach to understanding anarchism is to recognise its thoroughly socialist critique of capitalism, while emphasising that this has been combined with a liberal critique of socialism, anarchists being united with classical liberals in their advocacy of autonomous associations and the freedom of the individual.
What is Not Anarchy
… before I tell what anarchism is, I want to tell you what it is not
That is necessary because so much falsehood has been spread about anarchism. Even intelligent persons often have entirely wrong notions about it. Some people talk about anarchism without knowing a thing about it. And some lie about anarchism, becuase they don’t want you to know the truth about it ….
Anarchy is not about destruction
Those opposed to Anarchy will often try paint a picture that Anarchy and Anarchist are hell bent on the destruction of the state. This is certainly not the case, even though anarchism is focused on the removal of state, it does not necessarily mean it all about the destruction of it.
Refering back , it is somewhat agreed that powers of the state will be minimized, but it couldn’t be destroyed.
Anarchy is primarily focused towards building and maintaining self-functioning and controlled communities. These communities cannot function or flourish without development and positive contributions from the communities. Anarchy is more about positivity than it is negativity.
Anarchy is not about violence and terror
Although Anarchy doesn’t explicitly condone violence, it also makes no guarantees whether an Anarchist society will or will not respond with violence when it provoked, attacked or feels it is under threat.
It is left to the decision of the community to decide on how it will respond. This is no different to how current forms of state-hood operate.
Violence in any form of life is not desirable and ideally should be avoided. However, living in an obvious state of nature, there is a reliance on the fight or flight instincts.
Although a community in general may be against a violent struggle, it is also left to the individual as to how they respond. This again, is not too dissimilar to how modern states operate.
It is our hope that through the writings and resources we will provide throughout this website, we will provide you with a detailed consideration of the anarchist theory.
We will provide areas of activity and make every attempt to outline anarchist approach to life, education, culture, relationships and outline indicate which types of activity are most likely to lead to a non-authoritarian future.
This kind of judgment requires careful consideration of the nature of society and strategy for change. We hope that you will eventually form your own conclusions.
Anarchists make up their own minds.