I am an anarchist because I recognise my own fallibility and the fact that I make mistakes. Because of my human frailty I should never have power over others. I should never make decisions for others; only participate in consensus-based decision-making.
The anarchist is not a utopian. There is no perfect society, no one truth and no utopia but we know that social engineering based on oppression is unacceptable, even though the system that oppresses is called democracy. The majority vote can be just as wrong as anything else. Ask the slaves, the women, the gays, the immigrants. There is always power struggle in all communities. That is natural. We now have built-in hierarchies that allow power greedy individuals to place themselves above others.
All human systems collapse at some point. Systems that are based on the responsibility of a few individuals collapse faster. The bigger the units are, the more people depend upon them and the more disastrous the consequences. The smaller units we organise and the more flat we keep our systems, the lesser risk there is of disaster; this applies both to politics and economy. The longer people are stuck with being only voters and consumers, more stand to die helpless when there is scarcity. The more individuals in a community that think like anarchists – that our community is safer when organised without authority – the less chance manipulators can have their way with us. That’s what the words “an-“ and “archy“ mean in the old Greek: “Without authority.“
Originally anarchism rebelled against capitalism. It appeared around the same time as capitalism and as capitalism’s war on community grew, so did anarchism. The philosophy it is based on is much older, but as a political movement it is a product of the changes communities went through with the appearance of capitalism and the nation-state.
The power of governments and other hierarchies is based on the agreement of the ruled. Fear of authority is not the only reason but the fact that the ruled have the same values as the rulers. Both take for granted the principle that some few should rule and others should obey. The oppressive power of the modern state is not only based on political and economic power. The real horror is its ability to establish a certain understanding of the world.
The anarchist critique is about finding power structures and hierarchies in all parts of life and work against them, because they are unjust and should be dismantled (there are examples of justifiable use of force). This applies to politics, property and managing, the sexes, children and the future (defending the ecosystems). This includes participating in and encouraging direct action against what oppresses as well as benefiting and supporting social factors that already exist and are anarchist in nature. This is not everything, but it’s a start.
The author is an activist, an anarchist, a musician and a nurse.