Thursday, January 1, 2015

What is anarchism? - in one sentence

Josh MacPhee, Revolution of Everyday Life, postcard
"You're an anarchist? What does that mean?" It's a common question I get asked. Through deliberate misinterpretation or unawareness, being an anarchist and what that means is completely foreign to many. As well as this, we are sometimes guilty of using unclear or unknown language when describing our ideas.

While I shed my evangelical fervor a long time ago, I still want to be able to talk with those around me about what drives my thoughts and actions.

Related to this is one of my goals for 2015: to speak and write in plain English. So I thought I would share what usually I say when I am asked what anarchism is.

Anarchists believe that no one should have the power to coerce or exploit another, that we could enjoy a life without capitalism, without government, and be free to decide how to live and work with those around us.

This is a huge simplification of a rich and complex movement, and leaves a lot out. But I find it is a nice conversation starter. I have used other terms at other times, such as 'wage labour' for 'capitalism', 'the state' for 'government', or 'organise' for 'decide'. However these are slightly more abstract or harder to relate to. Plus 'wage labour' does not cover all of what capitalism does to our relationships, our environment, and our lives.

You can find out more about anarchism on this blog, and online. For example, has these great guides on what anarchists are against, and what we would like to see instead:

Happy New Year!

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