Friday, April 08, 2005

Anarchism and Kindergarten

Supposedly, everything people needed to know, they learned in kindergarten. There may be some truth to it. Think about the Left's demands.

Anarchism: Don't bully people; leave them alone.

Critical Legal Studies: If you make the rules of the game and the game is unfair or unfun, you can't defend it by saying that it's the rules.

Socialism: Share; help out with the tasks of the community.

Defense of the Ecology: Clean up your mess; don't hurt animals.

Feminism: Treat girls with respect.

Racism: Play well with others.

I frankly agree with Noam Chomsky on the matter of monosyllabics: There's very little in politics, economics, etc. that needs words outside of a normal dictionary.I'd also like to correct some myths about anarchism:

-Anarchism means chaos: Not at all. The Greek anarkos meant not just "no government", but voluntary sharing and governance. It was contrasted with the traditional state. Read Rudolf Rocker, Bakunin, Proudhon, etc. For example, Rudolf on the topic: ""Anarchism recognises only the relative significance of ideas, institutions, and social conditions. It is, therefore not a fixed, self enclosed social system, but rather a definite trend in the historical development of mankind, which, in contrast with the intellectual guardianship of all clerical and governmental institutions, strives for the free unhindered unfolding of all the individual and social forces in life. Even freedom is only a relative, not an absolute concept, since it tends constantly to broaden its scope and to affect wider circles in manifold ways. For the Anarchist, freedom is not an abstract philosophical concept, but the vital concrete possibility for every human being to bring to full development all capacities and talents with which nature has endowed him, and turn them to social account. The less this natural development of man is interfered with by ecclesiastical or political guardianship, the more efficient and harmonious will human personality become, the more will it become the measure of the intellectual culture of the society in which it has grown."

-Anarchism is a definite ideology: Anarchism is less any particular advocacy of a post-statist and post-capitalist society than an outlook that credits freedom, not simply freedom FROM state and private intrusion but concrete freedom to act as one wishes without constraining others. It implies anything from parecon to green bioregionalism to primitivism or simple anti-statism and anti-capitalism to libertarian municipalism to syndicalism to any infinite number of other concepts.
-Anarchism assumes violent, direct action: There are plenty of anarchists who believe in reform; after all, anarchists support wage raises, ending of wars, etc. Any tactic that doesn't immediately replace the state and capitalism isn't revolutionary in the anarchist sense, nor is anything race or gender related revolutionary if the society doesn't immediately change basic rules. That having been said, anarchists are willing to do direct damage to property if they feel that reverence for the law should be eclipsed by effective resistance to illegitimate structures. This doesn't mean that we like to kill people for no reason or burn down buildings as a matter of principle, though perhaps some deranged individuals calling themselves anarchists have justified such behavior. Nor do most anarchists believe that anything is okay if it's effective. However, we do believe that the law can be illegitimate.


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