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Friday, Mar. 17, 2006 at 6:19 AM
WHAT IS ANARCHISM? by Steve
Anarchism is a political philosophy that embraces democracy and freedom, and seeks to destroy all forms of coercion and oppression. The root of human oppression is seen as authority and inequality. This is why it is the perfect ideological guide for destroying poverty, racism, and sexism.
All these oppressions are systems of power based on hierarchy. Hierarchy means top-down, like a pyramid. Hierarchical constructions of power create positions of relative privilege and relative oppression. Capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy (male supremacy) are also top-down constructions of power.
Anarchism conceptualizes power differently. Instead of power over, anarchism proposes power with, cooperation. This means that social systems and institutions should be based on cooperation. Power would rest in individuals and the collectives they freely associate into.
Anarchism revolves around five basic principles: 1) equality; 2) democracy; 3) free association; 4) mutual aid; 5) diversity. Equality can have many different meanings. In regards to our anarchist political philosophy, we speak of equality in reference to power. This doesn't mean we want a new society based on a totalitarian vision of everyone looking and acting the same, in fact we see strength in diversity. Instead we mean that everyone should have equal access to power, to determine how he or she wants to live his or her lives.
The best way for equal power to be institutionalized is through different forms of democracy.
Democracy is a vague notion, but in general it seeks to empower everyone to have an equal say in decisions that affect their lives. This is only useful if it extends to all areas of social life. Capitalism is undemocratic, especially when combined with racism and sexism.
Free Association is the idea that individuals should not be forced into social arrangements against their will. In the world today if you are born into poverty, most likely you will die in poverty. For the first time in American history children cannot expect to live at a higher standard than their parents.
[In an anarchist society] collectives will be created for every purpose humanly desired, of people freely associated with equal power to determine its future. This vision extends to all forms of social arrangements - from your neighborhood, to your city, to your neighborhood restaurant, etc.
Many critics of anarchism accuse us of excessive localism. We understand that with increased technology our lives around the globe are inextricably linked. We believe that power must be based in the grassroots, and that organizations should flow from the ground up, but we understand that our focus must be global.
For larger forms of organization beyond the local level we advocate federations of free collectives. These could coordinate things as diverse as waste management, computer technology, natural resources, defense, or production. They would be based on the same anarchist principles; but would operate with delegates from collectives, as opposed to all the members of each collective. Delegates, in an anarchist conception, are not career politicians, but members temporarily chosen to represent a collective on a specific issue.
The last two principles go together. Mutual aid is another word for cooperation, but it has a more specific meaning. Mutual aid would be the cultural ideal, in opposition to competition. When people work together they can accomplish much more than when they work against each other. Social organizations should embrace and encourage this. It may seem like common sense, but when you look around all you see is how we are constantly pitted against each other.
Once again this doesn't mean anarchists seek to stifle creativity and individual excellence, but we do hope to spread it out, and allow everyone to chase their dreams.
Diversity is the key to survival in the future. The modern drive to standardize everything and apply the assembly line to all aspects of social life has left many alienated and hopeless. It has also been key to destroying our natural environment.
Diversity is a form of organization that is more organic. Instead of trying to make reality conform to state bureaucrats conceptions of order through imposition of their authority; anarchists realize that social organizations function more effectively for the people involved in them if those same people have the power to shape them in ways they desire. So anarchists support diverse forms of democracy, family organization, production, dancing, loving, eating, whatever.
Diverse organization is not always efficient, but we must question the importance of efficiency. Efficiency has never been for us. We work harder and get paid less. When we grow food in an efficient way, the path to that efficiency was the removal of land from everyday people to a corporation for profit. Examples proliferate. When people live diversely they interact in a way similar to nature. They also become more difficult to rule. They become free.
an = absence of
archy = comes from greek word archios = ruler
anarchy = political system in which there is no hierarchy, all are free and equal, responsible of themselves and each other. In an anarchic society, a minority exploiting a majority like we see here ( is the cause of people’s protesting) could never happen. I think a lot of people are anarchist. They just don’t know it yet.
anarchy = political system in which there ianarchy = political system in which there is no hierarchy, all are free in equality.
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