Sunday, December 14, 2008

Why I'm an anarchist

I don't think I've ever really talked on this blog about WHY I'm an anarchist, or what lead me to agree with that particular philosophy. I've only ever said that I am an anarchist! So now I want to explain why. I'm not really sure how to go about this in a logical manner, but I'll try.

I've been vaguely interested in anarchy for at least a year (I think even longer), but I never believed it was a real possibility, a valid opinion. I always just believed the commonly held opinion that anarchy can never work. I thought it was an amazing yet entirely unrealistic ideal. But then, I came across an essay (on deviantART of all places) that was very much anarchist (anarcho-primitivist to be exact), and brought up some very interesting points. I commented on it, not all that positively, and got into an extremely long conversation with the author. Pretty quickly, my arguments melted away. What he had to say made sense, and I was totally drawn to the ideas he expressed. Wanting to find out more, I asked for book suggestions, and he was happy to oblige. His top recommendation was Derrick Jensen, and so I read his book The Culture of Make Believe, and it rocked my world (if you've read any of my early posts, you'll know just how much I love Jensen). That book broke my heart, and made me incredibly angry. But even more then sadness or anger, I felt determination. I couldn't really identify as anything but anarchist after that. Now, you may be thinking I was to fast to change my opinions, or that I didn't research the other side, and I'd say that isn't true. As for changing opinions too fast, I'd believed, in my heart, that anarchy was the right way to do things for a long time, Id just never had that gut feeling backed up by anything definite before. And as for looking at things from the other side, that's impossible not to do in this society. My entire life I've seen the other sides view, and I hate it. That's why anarchy has always appealed to me. Since The Culture of Make Believe, I've read several other books by Jensen, and numerous essays by numerous authors online. I'm still sure that anarchy is the only political view that's right for me (and the earth). I should make it clear that although Jensen is an anarcho-primitivist, I'm not. I'm certainly leaning in that direction, but I don't believe that a complete return to the hunter-gatherer lifestyle is the only sustainable way of life. I'm also not convinced that agriculture and domestication are Bad Things, I just think they need to be completely re-thought. I'm honestly not sure what little sub-group of anarchy my views fit into (there are a LOT), but I'm definitely a collectivist, one who sees a world of sustainable communities and mutual support, not an individualist, which seems like a pretty cut throat every-man/woman-for-themselves type setup. I envision a return to nature, in small, self sustaining communities, communities that love and support each other, and live in freedom and peace. Idealistic? Perhaps. But if you never go for the ideal, and make do with well-things-could-be-worse-this-will-do-I-guess, then things will never change! I don't want a world that "could be worse". I want a world that I'm actually proud to be a part of, one where I can hold my head high, and not be ashamed of everything I do, since everything, from eating to buying cloths to peeing in the toilet harms others. How can that be right?

The main reason I'm anarchist is because I genuinely believe in freedom and respect for all beings, and for the the land itself. No human, creature, tree or plant is a resource, or there simply for their usefulness to us. Each is an individual, and each deserves respect.

I suppose all I've done so far is say why I'm against industrialized civilization, not why I'm against government. So, why I'm against government is simple; although it sounds corny, I really believe the old adage "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely". I don't think it's possible for someone in a position of power and control over others to not abuse that power in one way or another, even if they're ignorant of that abuse themselves. I believe that people can never be their own bosses until there are no bosses other than themselves.

I always used to scoff when I heard our civilization described as a "machine". I'd roll my eyes and think the people who were saying that were idiots. But now, I really understand the metaphor. Each individual, no matter what position they hold, is in a neatly fitted slot. The people, wether they're in positions of seemingly high importance or not, can change so easily, someone else fitting perfectly into that same slot. Each person really is like a tiny piece of a huge machine, and, just like machines, parts are easily replaceable, and the machine keeps on working.

Since I became anarchist, or more realized that I was an anarchist, I really do feel like my eyes have been opened, and like I'm seeing things for the first time. I no longer look at things the same way the mainstream does. I see so many things, commonly accepted, almost never questioned things, that are so WRONG! There is so much irony, and so much insanity in our culture it never ceases to astound me. What's even more astounding is that so few people see it. But then again, it took me 17 years to start to realize, so I suppose it's not all that surprising. It's hard seeing things in a way that's so very far from the commonly accepted "normal" views, and I think I'd go crazy if not for reassurance from books, people online, and my sister that I'm not the only one to see the fallacy of our entire civilization... Also, something that really helps when I get overwhelmed with all the negative stuff people think and say about anarchy, when I start to question whether I might be wrong on this one, even though I believe it whole heartedly, I just have to think about the fact that EVERYONE "knows" that you can't learn anything without school. Then I laugh. And the doubt goes away.

Wow, that's long (and rather abrupt and disjointed, I'm afraid). I thank you very much if you got this far! I hope that made sense, and wasn't to all over the map... As always, comments and opinions are much appreciated!



  1. Fantastic and good for you for posting this. Thanks for the comment on my blog as well.

  2. so that's why you're an anarchist.

  3. Very good! I'm not sure if I'm an anarchist. Maybe I will be one day, I'm not sure, but I certainly agree with what you're saying here. :) When you said: "I envision a return to nature, in small, self sustaining communities, communities that love and support each other, and live in freedom and peace." it actually reminded me very much of a place I visit often, and hope to move to in the not-too-distant future. Sure, it isn't paradise; the fact is human beings are not perfect, but there is no government, per se, and no police. It is a self-governed community which has basically returned to nature, in which the people all work together, but still live individually (not a commune), and are mostly open with one another, living pretty much in freedom and peace. It's an amazing place.

    So, thank you. :) Good for you for having an opinion! Makes me very happy!


  4. Wow, that does sound like an amazing place Sheila! I wish Quebec had cool hippie sounding places like that... :-( I would love to live in a green and/or alternative community of some sort at some point in my life! And I think both communes and simply communities that live individually are cool. :-)

  5. That was cool. I have been an anarchist for 23 years :-) yeah I am old, lol. I really liked to read about your thoughts behind your decision political views. My dh and I had often wondered if it were possible for anarchism to come out of unschooling. I am not being very articulate right now, sorry.

    I just keep erasing lol so I shall give up trying for now. Be well and I plan to follow your blog and hear more.

  6. That's awesome! It's always cool to come across fellow anarchist unschoolers. :-) It surprises me that there aren't more, since it seems to me anarchy and unschooling are very complimentary!

    *Grins* at least with me unschooling can lead to anarchy! I came across the ideas myself nearing a year ago...

    No, don't worry, your comment was fine! Thanks very much, I love it when people enjoy reading what I write. :-D

  7. This is cool. You'd enjoy Ishmael by Daniel Quinn also.
    I wouldn't say individualist anarchism is cut throat. I think each flavor of anarchism is beautiful in its own way once you read into it.
    I explain why I'm an anarchist here:

  8. Robin: Thanks for your comment! :-) This was written a while back, and my opinions have changed a decent amount since then, so not everything I say is still an accurate judge of what I believe/how I feel.

    I recently read Ishmael, and I love it!