Thursday, 22 March 2018

Ersatz Anarchists and Fake 'FREEDOM'

by Chris Draper
THERE’s a lot of fake “Anarchy” about these days.  Authoritarians wrapped in the black flag proclaim the pseudo-science of Marx whilst practicing the politics of Trotsky and Lenin.  Their “class-struggle” rhetoric replaces the rejection of authority that properly defines Anarchism.

Kapital' Idea Vicar!

THE rot first set-in at 'Freedom', the movement’s erstwhile newspaper, with the bizarre appointment of a Marxist editor who found Jesus and was reborn as a Vicar.  

Closing the paper down in 2014 with the triumphant declaration, 'Kropotkin Might Have Started it but We Fucking Finished It!'  the ersatz 'anarchists' refused to vacate the building and now run the premises as rentiers issuing occasional press statements like their 6 March 2018 celebration of the violent suppression of free-speech. 
'Freedom’s' response to my reasoned critique betrays an utter absence of anarchist values.  In place of a thoughtful, cogent, closely-argued libertarian response all Northern Voices received from 'Zofia Brom' of 'Freedom' was a random string of abusive invective;
  • I couldn’t care less what you think’
  • can not (sic) be arsed to read Northern Voices’
  • nobody cares what your shitty blog has to say’………etc.

Essential Anarchism
Regrettably this behaviour is all too common. Free-speech, truth and reason are essential ingredients of anarchism.  Other varieties of socialism accept 'means-to-an-end' politics; Marxism-Leninism-Trotskyism demands party-discipline, subservience and uniformity whilst Labourism eschews principles in pursuit of popularity. 

For Anarchism 'the personal is political', to build an anarchist society you need citizens with a libertarian psychology. Communists might imagine they can smash capitalism and mechanically rearrange the pieces to re-engineer citizens in a chillingly instrumental fashion but anarchism’s bottom-up approach demands patience and humanity. 

Old-school anarchists Colin Ward and Gustav Landauer remind us:  

 'The state is not something which can be destroyed by a revolution but is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of human behaviour; we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently.'

Ignoring, insulting, censoring, no-platforming and even physically assaulting critics reinforces the sort of authoritarian relationships anarchists oppose and ultimately strengthens the state.  Rather than expound on the sociopathy of ersatz anarchists I prefer to articulate a positive alternative. 

To offer a practical guide to 'everyday anarchy in action', originally compiled by A K Brown and, incidentally, published in 'Freedom' in the years before the authoritarians took over.  Of course, there’s more to Anarchism than just these eight bullet points but if you’re uncomfortable adopting them you’d probably be more comfy under the duvet with the Commissars.

Everyday Anarchy

1.  Say what you honestly think, not what some theory says you ought to think.  If the evidence of your eyes contradicts your theory (and I include anarchist theory under this), ditch the theory, don’t go blind.

2.  Don’t join organisations whose ideals you don’t share simply because they are bigger than you. Campaign openly and honestly whenever you can and if you can’t form your own organisations and have to join someone else’s (eg a union at work), don’t try to take it over unless the majority agree with you and you want to help. Argue for your ideas instead.

3.  Never ask for something you don’t really want in order to take 'workers' through the experience. Campaign for things which are worth winning (and preferably which may be won soon).

4.  If you are in an organisation, don’t be scared to disagree with each other in public and to accept varieties of opinions. You don’t have to split every time you disagree over what’s happening in Nicaragua.

5.  Respect the rights of minorities. Listen to what others have to say and try to avoid imposing the majority will on them until there’s no alternative.

6.  Participate in campaigns and actions when you want to, not when others make you feel guilty. This will lower your political activity in the short term but enable you to be active for much longer and be more effective (you will sound like you mean what you say not like you would rather be at home).

7.   Accept that no one organisation has a monopoly of the truth. Just because other people belong to other organisations doesn’t make everything they say wrong.

8.   Trust people who are putting forward sensible ideas now (they are the only leaders we need). Never trust anyone calling themselves a leader and thus assuming the right to have all their ideas treated as if they were all good ones.

Christopher Draper (March 2018)



Carl Faulkner said...

At the risk of sounding boastful...I think its 8/8 for me.

Green Swiper said...

Classic! I love the insults.

That angry young woman, Zofia Brom, sounded like a Drama Queen with a Martyr Complex. She seemed to be saying: “You’re not one of us” and “You’re not in our gang.” Why did she want to barricade the doors? What was she hiding in there?

These anarchist groups behave like cults. Was Zofia the charismatic leader or had someone got hold of her? Whose pop-record had she been listening to? Whose paper-back had she been reading?

Raging, spitting, swearing, wearing uniforms, and waving flags is all right, I suppose, but it just represents a wayward lifestyle choice. Immature rebels like her would benefit from a term spent at “Anarchy Prep School”, where they could get all that frustration out of their systems. They could undergo brick-throwing aversion therapy, and practise mindfulness.

Martyrs are killjoys who make everybody’s life a misery. There are no short cuts to Utopia.

Does this site use a US spell-checker?

Editor said...

Zofia Brom's CV is on Facebook:
She 'was born in Silesia, Poland. In 2007 she graduated with MA in Political Science and Journalism from Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Today, she is based in London, England, but she divides her time between United Kingdom, Poland and Greece. She started as a so-called “eco-warrior” when she was 14, joining the well-recognised Polish environmental organisation Klub Gaja. She has volunteered for Freedom Press: the largest publishing house of its kind, and the oldest in the English-speaking world. As for her working life, she busies herself with a large number of occupations, from being a push bike courier both in London and in Krakow, Poland to now, together with her brother, running a small gardening business in London.'