Confronting Anarchists |
In Portland's broad community of anarchists I'm coming across more and more self-described "anarchists" and "anti-authoritarians" that have little knowledge of the philosophies backing up their "anarchist" ideals. They are "anarchists" who seek nihilism and violence - not as a mean, as an end. I sense that many of these individuals are adopting the term "anarchist" as a justification for their actions, and not as a philosophy. It would be harmless if it were only a fashion, a Circle-A badge on their school bag, but this is not the case, it is much more dangerous. Soon we will see Anarchism as synonymous with Terrorism, as it is in the UK, and there will be much truth to it. We can only blame ourselves for this, and only we can do something about it.
Every person who lives by a philosophy should, as often as possible, confront their own philosophy to challenge it, to discuss it. Here is the 124 year old problem of the "Anarchist" presented by Nietzsche:
Christian and anarchist. - When the anarchist, as the mouth-piece of degenerating strata of society, demands "justice," "righteousness," and "equal rights" with embellished indignation, he is only under the influence of his lack of civilization, which prevents him understanding why he is actually in trouble, - in what respect he is impoverished, that it is in vital vigor that he is impoverished. . . An impulse to seek for causes is strong in him: it must be somebody's fault that he is in a bad condition . . . Even "embellished indignation" itself is pleasant to him; it is an enjoyment for every poor devil to vilify - it gives a taste of the ecstasy of power. Even lamenting and bewailing one's self can give a charm by which it becomes tolerable. There is a refined dose of revenge in every lament; people reproach those who are different from them for their own bad condition, and under certain circumstances even for their wickedness, as if it were injustice, as if it involved unpermitted privilege. "If I be canaille, thou shouldst be so also:" it is on the basis of such logic that revolutions arise - Bewailing one's self never does any good: it originates from weakness. Whether a person imputes his bad condition to others, or to himself - the socialist does the former, and the Christian, for example, does the latter - it makes no essential difference. That which both cases have in common, let us also say that which is unworthy in both cases, is that somebody is to be blamed for the suffering - in short, that the sufferer prescribes for himself the honey of revenge to alleviate his suffering. The object towards which this need of revenge, as a need of enjoyment, is directed are furnished by occasional causes; the sufferer finds causes everywhere, which serve to cool his petty revenge, - if he is a Christian, we repeat, he find the causes in himself . . . The Christian and the anarchist - both are decadents. - But moreover, when the Christian condemns, calumniates, and befouls the "world", he does it from the same instinctive motive which impels the socialist working man to condemn, calumniate, and befoul society: "doomsday" even in the delicious comfort of revenge, - revolution, the same as the socialist working man expects, merely conceived as somewhat more remote. The "other world" itself - what would be the use of it, if it were not a means for befouling this world?
One might use "Anarchist" as their title because their only purpose in life is indignation: there is no creative thought, nor ideals, nor morality - their purpose is to blame others and to seek revenge. The "Anarchist" alone is not responsible for this, a similar symptom is in those who "Occupy", or who have become the "Left" or "Right": many create nothing for our society but the purpose of fighting. In 13 years nothing has changed, we have become stagnant, we complain incessantly about the problems of others, and - I ask us, why?
How did this come to be? It is simple: we narrow the problems of our society to one underlying evil, what is sometimes called Capitalism, or Bankers, or Police, or Western decadence. The problem is critiqued in our mind to exacting science. At that point, every child who is ill is only ill because of the Capitalistic world, and we wrap ourselves in myopia and this "injustice." We focus on our indignation as a purpose to our life, as our reason to be an Anarchist! Then, we fight imaginary titans of power who are always just out of reach. Organize! Prepare! The revolution shall be at hand! Then, in lull of a rally, as our adrenaline diminishes, the lesson we should have learned one hundred times before become obvious: our actions are futile - but it is always denied! We become more enraged, more justified to fight, and we repeat the same tactics, over and over. Soon the mind degenerates to insanity as the "problem" becomes insurmountable.
When I see the "Anarchist" dawned in black, posturing as violent, I beg them, "Sharpen the rock, slit a throat!" - but this is their purpose: to fight for revenge, never to win - Victory is only useful for those with a dream, and only achieved by those with ideals and morality. The man in black has no dream or means to end, the purpose of destruction gives him power, to fight the problem is the purpose! Many people are lured to this power of destruction, the power of being anonymous and unaccountable, it is the only power they have seen. There is no education of liberation, there is no means to inspire others, and this is how we, as "Anarchists", are being defined!
How do we confront "anarchism" as a means of revenge?
I have simple answers: We need philosophies of empowerment. We must use our self-interest to communicate, to learn, and to build. We must transform the word of "Anarchist" from one who destroys to one who creates, educates, or changes the society. I am not talking about art of whores that is sold in the Pearl, but the art that confronts a life of servitude, indifference, and dolent. Every act or art must be gauged exclusively on its ability to inspire or educate others: as to inspire the dreams of one person is worth more than all of the world's windows broken. At every opportunity an anarchist must be devoted to educating: not a single soap box should be unstood. Do not say, "My life is terrible, I will fight those who make it so... ", rather say "I will make my life better, and I shall make the life of others better by doing so."
There is no need for freedom in a world without dreams. I feel that the very concept of freedom, the utility of liberty, is diminishing every day, along with our dreams. I feel that our society is at a point where we may maintain the allure of power or exchange it for the liberation of all people - we cannot have both, and simultaneously that is what has been sought. Make no mistakes my friend, I am not a pacifist: arm yourself, there are those who would take what we have - but we must never condemn others to oppression or poverty because we have been oppressed and poor. Anarchism cannot be an act of revenge.