portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

political theory

What Is Anarchism?

From Archetype to Zeitgeist, by Herbert Kohl, one gloss of this often misused and misunderstood concept.
"Anarchy is the social state where people have no rulers or government, and where organizations develop on the basis of voluntary cooperation and the freely chosen association of individuals.

Anarchists call for the abolition of the state, and of all governmental authority. For them, people are essentially good and social life is corrupted by governments, national boundaries, and other imposed mechanisms of control.

There is no single anarchist philosophy. A major distinction must be made between those anarchists who believe in a stateless cooperative society, and those, usually called libertarians, who base their hostility to the state on its interference with the individual's right to own property and accumulate wealth.

Among anarchists, there are different theories about how to achieve a stateless society. Some believe in separating themselves out of mainstream society and developing utopian communities. Others believe that communities can vote and deregulate themselves into an essentially stateless existence. Some believe in nonviolent action, and some few believe in violent insurrection.

Most political states, whatever their philosophy, are opposed to the anarchists in their midst and try to repress or eliminate them. This is purely a strategy for the state's own survival and applies particularly to anarchists of the left. One method used to discredit anarchists is to identify all of them with the few that are violent. Another method is to set agent provocateurs loose in the community and blame their actions on anarchists. These state police agents, whose job is to incite violence, are disguised as anarchists and have been known, particularly in pre-WWI Europe, to set bombs, burn buildings and in other violent ways give the authorities cause to deport or jail suspected anarchists.

A third method of discrediting anarchism is linguistic. The word 'anarchy' is used in the media and in political rhetoric to mean chaos, and anarchists are portrayed as advocating philosophical, economic and every other kind of disorder. However, it is important to understand that anarchist thinkers do not equate anarchism with chaos. On the contrary, they believe that people would thrive in a self-governing and self-regulating voluntary society."
Freedom is responsibility 25.Aug.2002 16:02

Allahntin Bahana ysab@efn.org

Anarchy is responsibility. Knowing what needs to be done without having to be told. So, what are you waiting for?

Sipapu

They just make it up as they go along! 25.Aug.2002 19:24

Cort Greene

These so-called anarchists just make it up as they go along .No theory, No organization - just do whatever you want.What bullshit!!!They should study the long disgusting history of these rainy day revolutionary's.They talk a good ballgame but runaway when the going gets tough."The theories of anarchism are like a leaky umbrella useless when it rains" Leon Trotsky

. 25.Aug.2002 21:18

Adam

And look were socailist Russia is now. If it were not for the Fascists and the Communists in Spain the entire country and perhaps all of Europe would today be anarchist

Shut up Cort 26.Aug.2002 00:17

I know, don't feed the trolls

Cort, why didn't I see you in the streets on Thursday?

For more insight into this creep, do a search on his name.

Signed, an anarchist

A.C.S.N. 26.Aug.2002 10:10

Michael mbthink@hotmail.com

I believe anarchy is self government. You develop the capacity to face your own imperialist additudes and act free. So much of the way we comunicate is bent to the unconcious aim of controling others, that any free culture or mindset that people strive for is difficult to realize. I think it's gonna take a network of support. Nothing less than an Anarchists Anonamious. One way we are conditioned to dominate is through the media and ideas. The way we deciminate ideas in our culure is disgusting. Media's focus is solely aimed at putting property culture before people's. Indymedia represents a step away from that because it is a NON-Authority driven network of support or better stated the peoples media.
Another way we're brainwashed is through the material culture around us. In american culture you have little choice but to go along with this program for world DOMINATION. You either take the carrot or get the stick.
Both the material culture and the culture of ideas have been nothing less than hyjacked by folks that believe freedom lies in property and authority.
I can tell right now that we might have different ideas about non-violence, but existing in a world of different ideas and cultures is synonamous with being free. Material culture and media cuture work synergysticly to standerdize our existance. This crusade of standerdization is a war agianst individuality and the belief that we have the right to distinct communities. Then what better way to fight world domination than to form distinct communities, strong individuals, and face the lie that says we can be free yet exist in thier cage? I believe that fighting this war, holds little value, if we as anarchists cannot know each other, have a sense of family, and be an inclusive community.
I believe that a community doesn't happen over night. It takes dedication and sacrafice. I think that we need a local anarchist community. The word community is bastardized by the media in this abstract way that effectivly makes it meaningless. I'm talking about a network of support Day Care, Food boxes, healthcare, Gas masks, and skills, forming cooperative buisiness and striving to the goal of bringing down all governments, starting right here.

Begining late this month I'm putting out a (monthly?) Geurilla Art Zine as a fund raiser for an Anarchist Community Support Network. The A.C.S.N.'s not a group so much as an idea. If People like the zine then there will be supply funds for anachists that are doing community oriented projects locally. That's the goal.

If your interested, give us a call and we could throw a potluck.

Thanks!

(503)493-1105

well said, but one thing missing... 04.Sep.2004 23:30

(A)CE

I like your definitions, but you forgot one of the most essential thing about anarchism
It lies in the nature of the word "anarch". In ancient greek, "arch" implies CLASS. Anarchy, by that definition, is a society without class. As an anarchist, one of the things that rouses me the most to resistance is the control of the wealthy businessmen, bankers, politicians, and corporate executives in their view of people other than themselves as expendable and exploitable resources.