My Relationship With Anarchism as it Currently Stands

Although I have been, and may yet be, an anarchist, I am hesitant to apply the label of anarchist to myself currently. Instead I use the label of libertarian mutualist.

A belief on current political action and a belief on future goals make me less of an anarchist. Although the work done outside of government is more important for creating the conditions for liberation, in the present it matters who holds government power and it can be valuable to influence this aspect of the political situation. In the future where I see left libertarian principles prevailing, I am not sure that there will be no administrative structures that people will call government.

I want to be very clear that am not repudiating anarchism. Anarchists have very good ideas and do very good things.

The state should be abolished. Its absolutist form brought a hellscape of violence and exploitation and even the most progressive republics of today become magnets for authoritarians at all levels and offer the temptation of closing the borders and leaving those outside to deprivation and death.

The economic system where capital rules is simply unfit for a humane society. It is upheld by political power and will be dismantled by dismantling that power. Worker controlled enterprises in a market economy already do well and if more of the economy was owned by workers, then the values of working people would run the economy.

Social authoritarianism, whether that of patriarchy, racism, homophobia and gender reactionaries, of upholding social class through inaccessible social norms, or the subjugation of children and young adults, needs to be defeated if people are to be truly free. We should build a society where the domination of one person over another is widely considered unacceptable.

The protection of the environment is clearly urgent, and it must come with the recognition that humans are part of the environment, that we have our places in it, and that the different places occupied by different people will impact how environmental conditions affect them. A society that centers solidarity and ecology offers better hope for environmental protection and justice than a society that centers the accumulation of wealth or political power.

The most important politics in the short term and the long term is done outside of political office. It is the public pressure, the changing of norms, and the establishment of consequences that those in office will respond to. However, so long as political offices exist it is better that they be occupied by people who are less inclined to use them to build and uphold oppressive structures, and less likely to create a political environment more hostile to building the new world. I support voting when there is a clear picture of who wants to make the government worse for us or who wants to make it better, and I think people with good values in political office play a useful role in improving the world.

It is not possible to predict exactly what a free world will look like because we cannot imagine what millions of liberated people interacting with each other would create. It is also true, however, that how things might work is something we should discuss and something I could personally spend more time thinking about. I see autonomous individuals with a multitude of options for where to develop themselves, to find community, and to create, obtain, and exchange resources. I see federated communities and workplaces. I see regional and transoceanic agreements on things like pollution, nuclear weapons, and human rights.

I see a world of possibilities, so long as the values of individual liberty, social solidarity, and ecological consciousness are guiding action.

Comments are closed.