this was how i used to write when i knew most people who were going to read it were college students. despite a few “clunkers” here and there, i think it’s worth a do-over! taken from the anarchist library, and originally published in
I am an anarchist. I cannot believe that there are people in the world more capable of determining what is best/most appropriate for me than I am myself. If I were not born into a society like the one we live in, I would never have chosen to live according to it’s dictates. Though I utilize much of what the capitalist/nation/state has to offer, I do so only because there are no acceptable options available to me (live as a wage slave or die!)
Yet, what does it mean to be an anarchist? Does it mean that I’ll protest the oppression I live under while never taking any action to liberate my life from the dominate forces of the nation/state and capitalism, or does it mean that I’ll resist these same forces through action and non-cooperation, no matter the consequences of my actions? Or, are there other options I can’t yet envision due to the fact than I am immersed in the machinations of my oppression?
These are questions and issues which have always nagged anarchists. Classic anarchists were almost incapable of defining who they were and what they believed in without having to resort to explaining what it was they were not! It is this philosophy of negation, of opposition, which has prevented anarchists — for the most part — from being able to present a clear definition of what they truly believe in and how an anarchist society would function outside the parameters defined by capitalism and the nation/state. It is far past the time for anarchists to begin to envision their lives without having to resort to referring to all the reified actions which define what they are not. The challenge for anarchists as we enter the 21st century is to define ourselves, our beliefs and actions, outside the paradigms set for us by the dominate social constructs we were born into and to demonstrate what it is we actually believe about how we are to conduct ourselves and the directions we take our lives. What do we want to actively achieve with our lives, not just how we do not wish to participate in the domination of those in less developed nation states, lesser social/economic categorizations, nature-based lives.
One of the easiest ways we can start down this road of self-definition is to reject the terminology of black/white — either/or — relationships that are the foundation of Western dichotomy. The greatest fallacy of Western ideology is that human beings are something apart from — and somehow superior to — the natural world. Here are some suggestions about how to overcome this:
- Stop referring to the planet where we live as “the Earth,” or “planet Earth.” We should acknowledge this place as what it is: our home. Home — in this more expansive definition, would exclude trashing, destroying, sacrificing or otherwise shitting in the place where we live. While some people may take a particularly strong liking to certain places, we should all be aware of the fact that our home world belongs to all of us, that we are only passing through and that other generations will want to enjoy this place the same way we could, if we were not stuck in some hideous circumstance which compels us to kill our home world.
- We would do just as well to stop referring to human beings by differing categorizations. We are “we.” There is only one race, the human race — we are but a single species. The concept of race is a tool the ruling elite created to keep the oppressed peoples from realizing their common plight and banding together to overthrow the ruling class. It has worked amazingly well, as the poor have pretty much fallen into in-fighting and “racial” divisions as a survival mechanism, thus not only leaving the ruling elite unscathed by the desperate violence of the down-trodden, but also by acting as front-line footsoldiers in the oppression of other poor people in exchange for some limited “acceptance” by the rulers.
- We must reject the Marxist view of class divisions. The rich are (almost) every bit as oppressed as the poor. After all, they have to struggle hard to uphold their social status, discarding any semblance of any kind of behavior that can be described as “human,” or “natural.” Most humans cannot see another person suffering and begin to calculate how they can turn a profit from it, nor look at a lush rain forest and immediately begin to plot how to depopulate and strip mine the place in order to improve the earnings of the coal/mineral extracting corporations. Some one who does is no longer a person, but a money-generating carbon-unit, with no feelings, no emotions, no heart. Their total existence is based on their fear of losing their place in society, of somehow not being able to buy something they want, of having everyone turn their backs on them because they have no more wealth to parcel out to their minions and the other lackeys of wealth. I can only pity the wealthy for the complete impoverishment of their experiences of life.
- Anarchists must abandon anarchism. Anarchism is only the far left wing of socialism. Socialists have no problem with creating more laws, empowering the police and courts to enforce them and discarding anything which may stand in the way of disrupting their ability to determine what, who and why we do the things we do. In the end, all socialist ideology leads to fascism. Or worse.
It is also important to recognize just how far we have to go in our development as anarchists.
Adherents to the ideology of Anarchism try to discredit us by calling us names and making up fantasy scenarios about us in order to discredit us. Murray Bookchin and his henchwoman Janet Biehl have pulled no punches in their criticism of anarchists who are willing to expand anarchist discourse beyond the confines of capitalism and the nation state.
While taking it upon themselves to determine what is and is not anarchist thought, theory and practice, they have labeled anyone willing to take a closer, more insightful examination of capital and our current social constraints as fascists, lumping antiwork theorists into the same category as those who put the slogan “to work is to be free” above the gates to concentration camps. Those of us who desire to abolish the death camps face the greatest opposition from those inside the death camps who — as long as they are able to serve their masters — are doing just fine. Why rock the boat as long as there is space for bootlickers as well their masters?
There are many organizations devoted to the development of anarchists as servants to the ruling class (the IWW, WSA and other worker-defined groups). Their total devotion to upholding the capitalist world is sickening. They can no more envision a life outside of capitalism than a fish can envision a climb to the summit of Mt. Everest. In this regard, anarchism can be said to be but another tool in the subjugation of the human species by the abstractions of money and economic relationships, rather than a theory of liberation from them. If the enlightenment view of progress can be interpreted as an ideology of the annihilation of life on Earth in the pursuit of monetary gain, then anarchism can only be seen as a more democratic form of worldwide genocidal-euthanasia.
The final deathknell of the viewpoint of anarchism can no better be illustrated than by the essay from Left-Green Perspectives “The Culture of Terrorism,” by another lackey of Bookchin’s — Michael D. Weiss. His piece deals with the concept of “terror culture.” Is his concept of “terror culture” somehow related to the encroaching police state which TV viewers are subjected to in programs like “Cops,” or “Scariest police chases” or other such depictions of actual, real terror on Americans by the forces of “Law and Order?” Is his diatribe merely revisiting the intellectual ground covered by Noam Chomsky in his examination of how the various military, media and law enforcement agencies impose rule by fear, intimidation and murder upon the American people as well as the victims of the capitalist system of production in lesser “developed” nations in his book “Nation of Terror?” Did Weiss turn his eye upon the 70s concept of “deathkulture” as the Zendik cult continues to expand upon? No. Sadly, Weiss was ranting against people with body piercings and tattoos. Who read (and even publish) books. Aaaiiiieeee! Nothing could better illustrate the deathknell of classic anarchism than this denunciation of people who do not fall into the narrow definitions of what they think people should look and act like in order to be good workers and — more importantly — loyal acolytes for the dying career academics who have built their reputations by defining where the anarchist movement was — thirty or more years ago — and demanding that the following generations sheepishly follow their lead and thus give life to the dead ideas espoused by these aging academics.
Since the 80s, and even before, investigations by the likes of Fredy Perlman, John Zerzan, and even by the Situtationist International and philosophers like Michel Foucault have brought forward new ways of looking at history and the forces of domination we live under. The investigations of how the languages we speak (among other things) shape, confine and otherwise determine how we view our world and social situations have lead many people to reject orthodox ideologies in favor of developing more far-reaching aspects of rebellion and insurrection. If this leads to the destruction of everything we now know as living (from the viewpoint of economic survival), then so be it. We have the world to gain and nothing but our chains — and the lives of those willing to enslave us — to lose.