I used to joke about the Steering Committee for the Anarchists United! This was a fictional group of anarchists who were dedicated to educating, streamlining, and organizing anarchist efforts. Through a deliberate use of force and regimentation, these committee members could get anarchists marching in lock step toward a freer tomorrow.
Good heavens. My fictional group has come true.
According to the Occupywallstreet.org website, they are looking for teacher/facilitators to show them how to be good anarachists. I wish I was joking about this. It made me start laughing so hard, my stomach hurt. From the job notice on the website:
“The main goals and values of this college is to teach how important establishing the values of any group is, and that a society or environment of non-dominance and non-hierarchy is the one in which its members thrive. Anarchy literally means without a ruler, so an individual who oppresses any other individual by limiting their autonomy including if it is a member of the establishment’s protection service, (i.e. police) who is not directly involved in oppression, would not be an anarchist since they would be dominating the other without warrant. Unprovoked oppression not for defense of ones own autonomy is not anarchy.”
I just can’t resist and will try to dissect this brilliantly crafted request. I have to say, if these are our future leaders, we are in deep bovine excrement.
“The main goals and values of this college is to teach how important establishing the values of any group is, and that a society or environment of non-dominance and non-hierarchy is the one in which its members thrive.” To paraphrase, I believe the point of this ‘college’ is for the group to establish what values would enable the group to work together without leaders and by consensus only. They seem to be attempting to create a moral code because their values are too diverse. Already, the philosophy of anarchy seems to be causing some problems. Since no one is in charge, and no group is allowed to dominate, individuals may be exhibiting behaviors which threaten the group’s core mission. In other words, they need someone to organize their social interaction because the anarchistic structure isn’t viable.
But, they are anarchists. Don’t say they’re not, dang it.
The next sentence is equally telling. “Anarchy literally means without a ruler, so an individual who oppresses any other individual by limiting their autonomy including if it is a member of the establishment’s protection service, (i.e. police) who is not directly involved in oppression, would not be an anarchist since they would be dominating the other without warrant.” It took me several readings to understand the content. Again, to paraphrase, they are anarchists, which means they don’t have a ruler. Nobody’s gonna tell them what to do. Someone, perhaps telling them not to break the law, should not be allowed to do that. Even if someone makes the argument not to break the law, they are in fact dominating the others through use of the ‘establishment’s protection service.’ So, I think some within the group are arguing not to provoke the police by doing certain things and that is pissing some of them off. Essentially, they are looking for a facilitator to tell those arguing not to break the law , they are not allowed in an anarchy. If they live within the confines of the external civil authority, their ‘autonomy’ is being limited.
These are children playing a game. They want to create a model social system independent of the state and are finding the social interactions aren’t as cut and dried as they presumed. Once a group has to work together, roles become necessary. The reason humans have leaders is because we cannot always just agree with one another. Something must break the deadlock of a lone dissenter or small group in order to achieve a goal. They are skirting just on the edge of discovering libertarianism, but are afraid to concede the point.
Finally, they have one last sentence which finishes the story. “Unprovoked oppression not for defense of ones own autonomy is not anarchy.” In other words, if some in the group want to do something, others cannot forbid it. Unless you are defending yourself, physically and socially, you are not allowed to ‘oppress’ others with your naysaying. The reason this is so confusing is the writer is attempting to navigate anarchist ideals with a specific dilemma. Again, someone riled someone else by trying to limit some action. This infuriates the writer and so he is then calling the naysayer, an oppressor and not a real anarchist. Take that, you Anarchist-in-name-only.
We are watching a group of mental and emotional juveniles attempt to create a utopic revolution modeled on some hare-brained misconceptions of the world and human social interactions. Obviously, it isn’t going as planned. Their shared ‘belief’ in the purity of anarchy isn’t working so well in real life. There is a clash of values and morals. While the goal may be shared, a shiny new world where everyone is equal and no one ‘dominates’ another, the cold, harsh realities of human interaction are playing out within their group. So, in order to make anarchy work, they ask Mommy or Daddy to come and resolve their dispute.
Fascinating, though I believe it won’t take much for their frustrations to become something quite nasty. There could be the acrid sting of violence in the air, quite soon.
Crossposted at Looktruenorth.com