The term ‘anarchist’ has become a political buzzword in today’s world. The people who parrot ‘anarchy’ on the news or in their political rhetoric legitimately have no idea what it means. They use it in place of lawlessness, disorder, violence, and chaos. Anarchism means none of these things. If anything could be labeled violent and chaotic, it would be the governments, their armies, police forces. If anything can be considered lawless, it must be the tyrannical corporations who pull the strings above the politicians for their own benefit. If there is disorder anywhere, it’s found in the political ideologies that seek only to further divide people and hijack what little common sense is left.
Anarchism is anathema to these failing ideas.
Anarchist ideals were dismissed only within the last few decades. Until recently, anarchists were nearly considered a legitimate political party: throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, anarchism was the standard across Spain, and nobles, such as Peter Kropotkin from Russia, devoted their time and energy to the study and defense of anarchist principles. People have forgotten who anarchists are and what they value. The misinformation peddled by the media is not an accurate depiction. Capitalism has assumed autopilot because there isn’t any kind of economic competition anymore; the communist and socialist countries that are left live in the shadows of the capitalist coalitions. Anarchism had nowhere to go but into books and discussion forums, put into practice in only the simplest of ways.
Anarchists must declare their legitimacy. The globalization of the modern world calls for more than just back alley action. By reclaiming that social and political legitimacy, anarchists around the globe will be heard, which will create the opportunity for us to take a seat at the table, so to speak. The decaying political parties have been speaking to each other for so long that they hardly have their voices left. Their words are long dismissed, as these parties have been repeating their promises and trading values since their inception. The stagnation we see in our societies today is a symptom of the fact that no new information is being shared from either side; no new arguments are breaking ground. What does a Republican have left to offer the world? What is left for a Democrat to harp about? Their hands and hearts have been empty for years, and yet these parties still worm their way into office. People cast votes for these politicians because no other option is available. This is a breadcrumb at the foot of a rigged system that no longer benefits anyone except for those perched on the pinnacle. Every society is built from the ground up, and every society is exploited by those who do nothing except oversee the labor of others, and then tax them for their efforts. If you disagree with a person making a living off of the livelihood of you and your neighbors, you have more in common with anarchists than you might think.
By sowing the seeds of knowledge in regards to anarchism, hopefully a social revival of anti-political ideals will come to fruition. As the establishment continues to expose itself as a corrupt entity, more and more people are turning their back on the broken system and are looking for alternatives. Anarchism is a philosophy that puts each person in charge of his or her life, and allows them to live however they see fit; no coercion, only voluntary cooperation between free individuals. Anarchists have been forced to conduct themselves on the fringes of society in light of relentless social conditioning. This can no longer be the method. Those who doubt the government or harbor skepticism over laws or wars should be just as vocal as the traditional left and right. Like any past political party, anarchists must establish themselves as credible, on the forefront of change and action in a more consistent manner. Antifa tactics in the streets will continue to earn our ideals the negative spotlight cast down by the media because they are only being exposed to one component of our belief system.
As well as the riot demonstrations and protests, anarchists should be active in their communities. Start a public garden in every town and city across America. Offer assistance to the needy and elderly in our neighborhoods. Conduct book drives and fundraisers, and do it all in the name of anarchy. This is how people are honestly informed and eventually deprogrammed to the propaganda surrounding us: being exposed to the more moderate practices of anarchism, particularly the literature that properly expresses our principles. Hang fliers in the library, put pamphlets in the books, attend meetings at town hall, start a club at your college, do scheduled public readings and discussions of specific texts or writers; being proactive in local communities is the sort of revival anarchism needs. Let the people know that we are here and won’t be going anywhere, and most importantly, we want to help. Agitate those that doubt us into a discussion, and enlighten them.
Anarchist street activism and anti-fascist efforts would be greatly complimented by an intellectual revival. This is a resurrection of knowledge as well as practice. Those who create – artists, writers, painters, what have you – should spread their message far and wide within whatever medium they have talent in. An essay added to the vault of why capitalism is unsustainable is just as necessary as black bloc demonstrators; both serve as reminders.
We need bright minds and problem solvers just as much as we need warriors and tacticians. If our ideals are being communicated by scholars and academics, as they were in previous centuries, anarchism would be better understood by the average skeptic. As long as we’re found only in the streets, being painted as criminals by the media, not many will connect with our cause.
The internet is another key factor. The connections enabled through the web and social media is something no anarchist of old could have ever foreseen. Everyone is talking to each other all the time, and information is always being shared. We’d be fools to not take advantage. As anarchists, flood the streets and bookshelves, and then fill the virtual trenches of forum discussion and social media sharing. Corner the culture on all fronts and force it to acknowledge anarchism honestly.
I hope to revive the traditional principles, not the ideologically compromised mutants that currently claim the title. I hope to inspire the doubters to take up the mantle of anarchists who practice the ideals they find value in. To be an anarchist is to be responsible for every thought and action you have, and to pursue personal passions. It is to establish yourself as an equal with every other human on this planet. Artificial inequalities aside, we are not above or below each other, but rather a varied species on the cutting edge of nature.