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When confronted with an increasingly despotic régime, the good people of almost any nation will cower in their homes and, once they are flushed out, will allow themselves to be herded like domesticated animals. They will gladly take orders from whoever gives them, because their worst fear is not despotism—it is anarchy. Anarchy! Are you afraid of anarchy? Or are you more afraid of hierarchy? Color me strange, but I am much more afraid of being subjected to a chain of command than of anarchy (which is a lack of hierarchy).
Mind you, this is not an irrational fear, but comes from a lifetime of studying nature, human as well as the regular kind, and of working within hierarchically organized organizations as well as some anarchically organized ones.
Tag Archives | Anarchy
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Like the society to which it has played the faithful servant, the university is bankrupt. This bankruptcy is not only financial. It is the index of a more fundamental insolvency, one both political and economic, which has been a long time in the making. No one knows what the university is for anymore. We feel this intuitively. Gone is the old project of creating a cultured and educated citizenry; gone, too, the special advantage the degree-holder once held on the job market. These are now fantasies, spectral residues that cling to the poorly maintained halls.
For those whose adolescence was poisoned by the nationalist hysteria following September 11th, public speech is nothing but a series of lies and public space a place where things might explode (though they never do).
Fashion as a form of news media? Or an example of how a youth movement is disarmed? Trend Hunter highlights the weaving of Occupy and rioter imagery into designer clothing this summer:
The Commune de Paris Spring/Summer 2012 collection presents intriguing scenes to capture the attention of youths at which the brand is aimed. Implied violence and rebellious spirit are clearly depicted in these images, which are used to create an anarchist’s apparel.
A masked figure in a t-shirt is caught in a striking pose in which he is about to throw a glass bottle with a fuse in it. Two masked men waiting for some smoke and debris to clear the air… Beautiful lighting, dynamic compositions and stylish, wearable clothing. Commune de Paris tries to remind the viewers of this series that there can be beauty in anarchy too.
So argues scholar Alexandre Christoyannopoulos. Could today’s Christians really handle following the sociopolitical implications of Jesus’s teachings? Via New Left Project:
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Leo Tolstoy wrote that: “Christianity in its true sense puts an end to the State.” This illustrates the main idea behind Christian anarchism, which is that when it comes to politics, “anarchism” is what follows (or is supposed to follow) from “Christianity”. “Anarchism” here can mean, for example, a denunciation of the state (because through it we are violent, we commit idolatry, and so on), the envisioning of a stateless society, and/or the enacting of an inclusive, bottom-up kind of community life.
There are many scriptures from the New Testament which provide the foundation for such a view. Arguably, all those passages that touch on politics point to facets of anarchism. The most famous must be the Sermon on the Mount, but much of its content is repeated in the many passages in which Jesus, James, Peter or Paul talk of forgiveness, of being servants or of not judging one another – the state does not do that (or rather we don’t do that through it), and if we did it then the state would anyway become redundant.
“Time Conquers All”, in Latin. A pithy little meditation on the transience of this vale of tears, paradoxically immortalized by being phrased in a dead language.
My pal Pete found it written on the bottom of a half empty beer can around closing time at the local beer garden, as we basked in Wisconsin’s recent and unusually mild late March weather. Or rather, I suggested he’d find it there.
I told him it was the lucky password the bar’s owner had written on the bottom of a randomly selected can as part of a free promotional giveaway contest. Turns out in actuality there was only an expiration date written there. And by the time he’d flipped the can over to read, it was completely emptied. Mostly onto Pete himself.
I laughed, but the barkeep seemed a little annoyed, as some of the beer had spilled on other patrons who didn’t quite get the joke.… Read the rest
EsoZone is festival celebrating alternative culture and thought. It follows a hybrid unconference/conference model, meaning that in addition to pre-programmed content, participants can propose their own sessions to share their own ideas, projects and skills with the group.
This years presentations include:
- Tom Henderson, author of the forthcoming book Punk Rock Mathematics, on illusory nature of self.
- Eric Schiller of Beyond Growth on “digital hipsterism” and the rise of anti-intellectualism in social media.
- Yoga for Slackers lead by Loren mccRory.
- Grant Writing for Artists and Other Alien Beings lead by Amanda Sledz.
- Anarcho-Sewing lead by Jillian Ordes-Finley.
Plus music and performances, and whatever sessions are proposed by this year’s participants.
Drake Bennett writes in Bloomberg Business:
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David Graeber likes to say that he had three goals for the year: promote his book, learn to drive, and launch a worldwide revolution. The first is going well, the second has proven challenging, and the third is looking up.
Graeber is a 50-year-old anthropologist — among the brightest, some argue, of his generation — who made his name with innovative theories on exchange and value, exploring phenomena such as Iroquois wampum and the Kwakiutl potlatch. An American, he teaches at Goldsmiths, University of London. He’s also an anarchist and radical organizer, a veteran of many of the major left-wing demonstrations of the past decade: Quebec City and Genoa, the Republican National Convention protests in Philadelphia and New York, the World Economic Forum in New York in 2002, the London tuition protests earlier this year. This summer, Graeber was a key member of a small band of activists who quietly planned, then noisily carried out, the occupation of Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, providing the focal point for what has grown into an amorphous global movement known as Occupy Wall Street.
Regardless of what your answer is, David Graeber’s classic essay “Are You An Anarchist? The Answer May Surprise You” is food for thought regarding what is possible. Via the Anarchist Library:
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Many people seem to think that anarchists are proponents of violence, chaos, and destruction, that they are against all forms of order and organization, or that they are crazed nihilists who just want to blow everything up. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Anarchists are simply people who believe human beings are capable of behaving in a reasonable fashion without having to be forced to. It is really a very simple notion. But it’s one that the rich and powerful have always found extremely dangerous.
At their very simplest, anarchist beliefs turn on to two elementary assumptions. The first is that human beings are, under ordinary circumstances, about as reasonable and decent as they are allowed to be, and can organize themselves and their communities without needing to be told how.
Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:
For more than three weeks, you’ve been out in the streets, raising your voices in unison to make a change. Not just a little change — there’s no law to tweek here or there that’s going to fix “the system.” Even the most right wing arch conservative republican knows that. This is why you’re demonstrating against Wall Street, against the slow corporate takeover of our government, against endless wars and endless greed. Your list of demands changes and grows. Your democratic process to make decisions beneficial to all who participate in the movement grows.
It’s also one of the most difficult endeavors you’ll face in your entire life.
None of this will come easy.
We’ve already seen how police and other authorities have reacted to your kindred spirits in New York, Boston, LA, Seattle, and dozens of other cities. We’ve seen thousands of people arrested, beaten, gassed, and assaulted in the streets.… Read the rest