This is another essay from 2000. Again, my credentials as an anarchist are not clear since I can’t put myself in a box. I’m not sure what to call my beliefs in a religious, political, or economic sense, though I am clear on what my beliefs are…more on that later.
I thought that the first time I heard of anarchy was when I was 15. I was listening to the Anarchist Collective “CRASS” and had become fascinated by the anarchist symbol. My understanding of anarchy then was simply a world without rules, that was why I thought I’d never heard of anarchy before. As years went by I studied anarchy along with the usual curriculum of subjects taught in American schools. On occasion, I would come across amazing people in history who stood out as individuals, even when the odds were against them. Ben Franklin, Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Jefferson, Sacco and Vanzetti. Remember Sacco and Vanzetti? We learned about them in grade school history. A couple of “anarchists” who were convicted of murder and executed on August 23rd, 1927. A cobbler and a fish peddler found guilty of being anarchists before being given a fair trial. The teachers in grade school glossed over what anarchism was. It was thrown in with Communists and Socialists as uniquely European ideas. That was why I hadn’t thought much about Anarchy prior to CRASS.
Below is the full length documentary, “There is no Authority but yourself” my article continues below the video.
In my studies since, what has anarchy come to mean to me? Before I go into that, I need to explain that I have always wanted to learn the truth about souls, and in particular my soul. Do I have one? What is it? Where does it go? Where is it? I studied many of the worlds major religions and learned the following more or less:
There is more to everything than anyone knows. Each of us has
the potential to be anything. We have free will and can make the
choices which define our “soul”. If we have choice, we can soar with
angels or wallow in mire, it is up to us.
At this point Taoism became a force in my life. Again choice determined everything.
Anarchy is everything. To me, anarchy is teaching a society to take responsibility for their collective actions. The ideal anarchist society would prohibit nothing and simply have well known ramifications for certain acts. People must be allowed to make whatever choice they need to. The responsibility of society is to be sure individuals are educated about the consequences in broad terms.
Anarchism is the absence of absolute authority.
In many ways, our society has been undergoing an anarchist revolution from the moment the first shots of the American Revolution were fired. The expansion of the west was about moving beyond the reach of the government. The West, where ideas ranged free with the cattle. Unfortunately, the forces of repression followed quickly on the heels of the anarchist trappers, hunters, and settlers. The long arm of the law reached further and further into the homes of the fleeing masses. A system of property taxation quickly established a virtual leasing agreement between “owners” and “landlord government.” The long arm kept reaching, first into schools, then into transportation, then into the pockets of the peasants. Income tax became standard, mind control media systems were in place, the constitution was violated by one president after another. The high hopes and ideals of the founding fathers were gradually subverted.
Labels were quickly established for political parties which called for alternative administrative techniques. Anarchists were labeled as angry revolutionaries based on the 1901 assassination of President William McKinley by self proclaimed anarchist, Leon Czolgosz. Socialists, communists, labor unions, and anarchists were lumped together as enemies of the American way of life. A way of life which increasingly took liberty and replaced it with legislated morality, community, and a decided lack of financial integrity.
Some anarchists took matters into their own hands in an effort to break the publics glossy eyed perception of their “enemies”. No sacrifice could be too big. These were people who accepted the consequences of their actions. Vinzetti wrote:
If it had not been for this thing I might
Have lived out my life among scorning men
I might have died unmarked, unknown, a failure.
This is our career and our triumph. Never
In our full life could we hope to do such
Work for tolerance, for justice, for man’s
Understanding of man, as now we do by accident.
Our words- our lives- our pains- nothing!
The taking of our lives-the lives of a good
Shoemaker and a poor fish peddler-all! (Coull)
The struggle for freedom is at its best, the struggle to control our own souls. We don’t wish for people to suffer, we see the opportunity to avoid most of that, and we see the other alternative. Anarchy is the chaos in nature which controls the population of a food chain. Extremely good conditions can create an abundance of grain, which in turn causes the rabbits to breed excessively, which attracts a number of foxes which in turn multiply. The result eventually is that a regular season comes, there is not enough food for the rabbits and they die or migrate, the foxes are faced with the same problem and either die or migrate…eventually the populations reach an equilibrium. Now consider humans and the food chain. If the governmental foxes collect the grain before the rabbits and trade them meals for whatever they want. They create a class of consumer rabbits dependent on handouts. Within the consumers create a system of subclasses with varying degrees of affluence. Demonstrate how certain rabbits can become foxes by complying without question to fox authority ( in fact, the compliant rabbits are gobbled up by foxes who replace them and smile at the rabbit masses) . The consumers are given one luxury item after another while their freedom to collect grain, lie in the sun, dig burrows, or browse meadows is taken away. Soon the consumers are working longer to collect the grain for the foxes, in order to collect a smaller portion of the grain, while giving up liberties from shear exhaustion. The rabbits can never win…even if they did, the foxes would eat them.
Emiliano Zapata said “A strong people do not need a government.” Strength comes from knowing you are right. Having faith in your beliefs, your values, and yourself. Strength does not come from having your individuality undermined by “what is right” by society’s standards.