Anarchy today is considered to be a very controversial subject due to the fact that there are many different philosophies about what anarchism represents. In this essay, I will provide a brief examination of two perspectives of anarchy: the political and the terroristical.
Dictionary Definitions: According to Webster's Dictionary, (Jean L. McKechnie, 1958), the meaning of anarchy is the "lack of ruler or government; the complete absence of government and law; political disorder and violence; lawlessness; disorder in any sphere or activity". Anarchism is, "the theory that formal government of any kind is unnecessary and wrong in principal; the doctrine and practice of anarchists;" anarchy and confusion.
There are two schools of Anarchistic thought: the Philosophical Anarchists and Terroristic Anarchists. The basis of the former school would be to setup a happy, human society based on, "the willing co-operation of the men with no compulsion from government or the church." Unlike socialists, they believe that the state should control all the industry, and that small groups working together should take control of all production. On the other hand, the latter school of thought believes that other forms of government can be overthrown by violence and assassination in belief that one evil might correct another. This movement was first formed by Mikhail Bakunin during the mid 1800's. (World Book Encyclopedia, H.M.Kallen, 1970)
For years, anarchy has been known to be a part of destruction. Often when people are asked to make a picture of what anarchy is like, they will draw a sinister looking person, hiding in the shadows, holding a bomb. Other aspects people relate to anarchy are explosives, violence, drugs, weapons, hacking and killing.
William Powell, the author of, "The Anarchists Cookbook", (1971), proclaims that there is no other form of anarchy besides an anarchy of explosives and drugs. Is it possible that the sole purpose of anarchy is to cause destruction?
Violence does tend to be a major part of anarchistic terrorist beliefs. In the "Anarchist's Calendar" (Portland University, 1995), the most referred to special events for anarchists are of people getting killed, blown up or being assassinated. Basically the only non-violent statements in the calendar are when famous anarchists are born and when a trial ends where the anarchist victim was innocent.
Political anarchy tends to be accomplished by a group of many people, for a purpose other than just causing destruction for no reason at all. In the `politically correct' anarchist group no one should have total power over anyone else. The anarchist see anarchy as a way to expand and gain freedom, not to produce "Social chaos or domination by rival marauding gangs." (Freedom Press, 1995)
Although anarchy could be a way to expand the mind, there is also more to understand about political anarchy. First of all, everyone has to agree on any political decision-making. This means that no matter who you are or how you act, you will have a say to any political decision. Also, everyone's wealth should be equally accessible. Whatever cash flow is going around the group should be shared perfectly evenly. Everything that is bought should be bought for the group, and not only for one persons need's. (10 Anarchist Principals, Peter Kakol, 1995)
Is it possible that the sole purpose of anarchy is to cause destruction, considering the fact that most people tend to associate anarchism with explosives, riots and destruction? In my opinion the answer must be no, since anarchism contains some very constructive ideas to improve society such as: the Association of Workers, known as Self-Ruling, Federalism and Revolutionary Syndicalism. The Association of Workers are anarchists who refuse to have the economy run by either private-capital or the state, because, "What good would a revolution be, when tyranny is just replaced with bureaucracy?" Self-ruling means democracy for workers in factories. All workers have two roles: they are responsible for management and production. This way of working will solve the problem of alienation. Companies around the world should depend on each other, other than battle against each other. This will cause more production and less hassles. Federalism suddenly popped up during the French revolution of 1789. Once absolutism came to a fall, "councils of most communes proposed a free union, on a voluntary basis, and from which each member could withdraw anytime." Finally, revolutionary syndicalism is to preserve the solidarity between the self-ruling corporation and the communes. A person arising directly from the working class is needed for this job. Most of the time this job is done by the labour unions. (From an article found on the InterNet at "www.yahoo.com/politics/parties.and.groups/anarchy/" and which was based on the book "Pour un Marxisme Libertaire", by Daniel Guerin, 1969)
Although the previous definition of a political anarchy is very nice and organised, politics is not that simple. There are a few people who tend to think that there is only one idea to anarchy and that is a revolutionary anti-state socialism. Most of the people that believe this theory are greatly involved in the `Class War'. The Class War is a type of war where some of the working class want everyone to become equal. This means everyone should work, share political views, bring politics down to a basic form so that everyone has a say in what happens, and that no one has anything more than anyone else. (Phoenix Press, 1995)
Carefully looking at all the details, a big anarchistic society would be very hard to setup because there are always people who think they should have more than everyone else. What person, ruling class or otherwise, would willingly give up their fortune and power to make everyone equal. Some anarchists say that Anarchism will be created by millions of working class people, not a dictatorial elite, and everyone will have their part to play in shaping it. The new society will not be born through abstract ideas, but will come from the need for the working class to unite. The way the working class will unite will not only involve the resistance of the ruling class power, "(strikes, mass protests and other forms of direct action)", but also construction. Anarchists will build federal organizations and will have the power and the willingness to go further. Nothing can change with only one person, but groups of millions who have the same ideas will cause anarchism to grow. (Phoenix Press - Brief Definition of Anarchism, 1995)
Most English speaking humans believe anarchism involves irrational violence, terrorism and lawlessness. They seem to change the word `anarchy' and make it sound like `chaos'. Then again, if you are Greek or have an understanding of the Greek language, you will notice that `anarchy' means `no ruler'. So in Greek terms, a society without a ruler would be an anarchist society. Finally in England, if you mention `anarchy', you are saying that the political government is not good and it should be changed.
Words are special and mean absolutely nothing unless a society makes them mean something. Because there are so many different societies in this world it is close to impossible to put a definition on any word. For this reason alone, I believe that anarchy is whatever your society makes it to be. There is no right anarchy, and there is no wrong anarchy. It is up to the society that you live in to realize the times, and where it is located before anyone can conclude what their, and only their, actual definition and interpretation of what anarchy really is.
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