Anarchist Status: it’s complicated

So, my last post gave a hint of my anarchism, and a little while ago I wrote something a bit more indepth, but today I thought I’d revisit the theme, just to show how complicated my relationship with anarchism is.

It’s hard being an anarchist sometimes – there’s a lot of militancy and revolution associated with it, which just go against my own anarchist instincts, strange as it may seem. A quick look at anarchist pages quickly brings them up, and I get the heebie-jeebies. My sort of anarchism is based on the principal that it is “wrong” to impose your will on the will of another and that each person should have the right and freedom to use their will – it is “free” after all.

Even more,  when people are connected with their true will they are naturally harmonious with the wills of others, so there can be no real conflict (deep down, though on the surface conflicts will arise). Deep down the will of each person comes from the same source, and so when people come from their true wills there is no conflict, or any conflict is just superficial – I’ll see how this idea holds out when my daughter reaches her “terrible twos”! Put another way, if my will imposes itself on the will of another it is no longer free (there are many times when I’ve fallen down on this one – but whose’s perfect, eh?).

So now onto militancy and revolution: both of these concepts, as I understand them, involve the rather authoritarian imposition of one will on another. In the case of militancy, any aggression or violence denies the natural will of other people not to be harmed, so even if you’re fighting for anarchy, you’re doing it via “authoritarian means” – depends on whether you think the ends justify the means or, as Ghandi put it, there is no way to peace, peace is the way.

Of course, if you’re attacked what do you do? Do you just passively accept it as “their will”? Well, at moments like these all “ideals” have gone out the window, noble causes are irrelevant as you are just fighting for survival. You may be fighting for the survival or creation an anarchist society, but for the moment anarchist ideals are put on hold. I suppose you could learn a martial art like Aikido that teaches how to react to violence by neutralising it rather than adding more violence to the mix, but I speak from experience (three years): this is a long term project, perfected over a lifetime, not something you can learn instantly. Peace really is a process, not a just result.

Next up: Revolutions! More on the wierd alliance between reformism and anarchy!