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The Truth About What Anarchists Want

July 7th, 2008

In a blog post that appears to have since been removed by the author (the original URL was http://celi.us/articles/politics/online-anarchism.html but the site changed hands, or the post was withdrawn or something, and it is now 404 Not Found), a blogger reprised the following stereotype about anarchism:

They want to get together and tear shit up.

I think the author has little to no regard for the actual ideas behind the sort of anarchism that I find all over the blogosphere. He’s associating only the propaganda of backpacks, beards and bombs. This is not true anarchism. This is nihilism.

We don’t want to “get together and tear shit up.” We want to get together and live our own lives!  The second people stop pointing their guns at us, is probably the last time they’ll ever hear from us.

The author attempts to sympathize with the political cause, but renounces thusly:

I can understand why people get upset when they feel underpowered from politics. But I see this tearing up as a bad solution to social problems. It’s not a mature way to respond to anything.

And he thinks pointing a gun at people is a mature way to respond to things? He’s off his fucking rocker.

People are generally pleased with their lives. They might think that it could be better, but the last thing they want is to see their life get worse.

Let me set the record straight:

We don’t want to “tear shit up” with reckless abandon. We don’t want to destroy all the good things, all the plentiful wealth that man has created through the ages, by virtue of his intellect. What we want to destroy is the systematic enslavement of masses of people, by their governments or others. We want to destroy imperialism and war. We want to destroy slavery. We want to destroy class-warfare, legitimized theft and murder at the hands of the State and its agents. We want to destroy the source of the single, greatest threat to humankind.

We don’t want to ruin all the good things that make life worth living: friends, family, leisure, good health, peace and prosperity. We want community to thrive. We want to see mutual aid, benevolence, free exchange of goods and services, free migration of people.

This is why reasoning is so powerful. Show people why one solution is bad and why another one is better. This will make them see the difference and hopefully judge for themselves.

I agree that reason is powerful. Very powerful. But there is no reason in the author’s position. Nobody has even attempted to explain why I can’t disagree, without ultimately getting shot.

What the author is telling us to do, is what we’re asking him to do! Judge for yourself. Don’t impose violently upon others who’ve done no harm. We’re trying to demonstrate that the State is a piss-poor solution to any problem. And if he, or others, think it’s a perfectly reasonable solution; let them have it all to themselves.

Just have the decency to leave me out of it.

Comments

3 Comments

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  • danielo says on: July 7, 2008 at 10:34 am

     

    Excellent article — thanks for it. The “you’re just a nihilist” argument is perhaps the most common assumption I run into, & your notes here are succinct and clear.

  • Francois Tremblay says on: July 7, 2008 at 2:02 pm

     

    Some Anarchists are nihilists, sure. But there are far more statist nihilists than there are Anarchist nihilists- at least, from my experience.

  • Francois Tremblay says on: July 8, 2008 at 3:34 pm

     

    BTW, he should know that Anarchists don’t want to TEAR shit up, they want to BURN shit up. Duh.

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