portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary global

political theory

Liberals, Anarchists, and radicalism

I think the reason that anarchists are so put off by liberals is an understandable one.
Liberals do in fact tend to disregard or even attempt to discredit *any* form of radical thought,
discourse, or even goal. I truly admire anyone who's not an anarchist who listens to what
anarchists and anti-authoritarians have to say without unfair judgement. Anarchists have
historically been put into a position of being on "never-ending defense mode". They are
forever being put into a position of having to defend their ideologies against the mainstream
of many different cultures, whether they be corporate or communist (I say corporate instead of
capitalist, because corporate capitalism has stamped out the ideal of REAL capitalism which
would be run by a "mom and pap elite"--no elite at all because anybody could do it).
All anarchists want is a truly democratic system of human interaction. Liberals always contend
that they can take the existing political structure, and transform it (aka "reform") it into something
that could function equally and fairly for everyone. What liberals continuously fail to understand
is that that is the same as saying "This man has a malignant tumor in his brain, but let's not
remove it. Let's feed it some medication and make it into something beneficial for the entire body!"
It sounds ludicrous, but it's the same principle.
When something is so deeply rooted in oppression, deception, and genocide (starting with the
American Indians), the entire framework of the system or
institution or structure is fundamentally devoid of potential to becoming anything than what it already/always was. Liberals don't undestand that the political system of corportate rule and
cultural hegemony cannot be reformed because it never originated from something democratic,
or at least completely so.
Anarchists realize all this. This isn't to say that they don't contain within them human flaws.
Anarchists from what I've seen can be arrogant, inhospitable, close-minded, and always on
the defensive (the last of which I understand). However, the core of anarchist principle is
right. The arrogance of a movement does not necessarily discredit its overall message or
perception of the world. Obviously arrogance is something that MUST be rid of within any
truly progressive movement, but discussions such as these prove that we really are living
in the beginning of extraordinarily revolutionary times. Seattle marked the coming of something
much greater. It's only a matter of coming together under one universal banner of cohesion and
In Solidarity,
so true 17.May.2004 15:42

an anarchosyndicalist

It doesn't help that the majority of so called "anarchists" given a spotlight in mainstream media do nothing to disprove the incorrect assumptions made about us daily. Overly militant anarchists are given one face- that of mindless violence- and endlessly alienated from any sort of reasonable thought. The word itself causes people to shut down and simply not listen to any argument we may pose. We have been demonized universally and rarely given the due credit we deserve. (You think it was JUST socialists that won the eight-hour day?)
Not that this isn't our fault too. We do very little to publicly change this opinion, and seem to be content with letting the masses think we want "total chaos" instead of peaceful community. Too many of us focus on tactics over campaign. (What's the point in stopping the police if people really don't know how to take care of themselves- what's the point of destroying capitalism if we really can't effectively create a sustainable equal economy, etc.) In short a lot of us really do express interest in destruction over creation.
I'm not going to ask every moderate liberal to instantly warm up to us and be our pals. I don't think the anarchist movement, at this point, deserves it. We will have to actually put effort into building a coherent movement which makes a difference in society, we will have to work to our own credit. I don't think a majority of people will recognize anarchy for what it is (Until we actually live in a running, working, socialist libertarian society) and maybe we will never obtain the persona we would like to have, but we can demand respect at the very least. Lets get our shit together, and make this happen!

well... 18.May.2004 06:55


for one, people, especially anarchists should stop referring to the philosophy as "anarchy", but rather "anarchism". Even I think of teenyboppers drawing the 'A' symbol in their highschool notebooks when I hear the word "anarchy"!!
If it's to be taken as a legitimate ideological philosophy, we should start from the "bottom up"...the very bottom, starting with the actual terminology.
Eradicate "anarchy" from your vocabulary and ONLY call it "anarchism" is a good first step that can't be argued. Right?