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What Is Anarchy?
Not chaos, not a lack of rules, and certainly not something that can be bought in the mall. Hot Topic “Anarchy®” is part of a long tradition of propaganda bent on discrediting a genuine movement and now, to nobody's surprise, selling it. What anarchists oppose is not order, it is authority. While some equate this with the simplistic concept of “no rules”, what is truly opposed is the right of people to force their will on others. That includes the power of the politician, the CEO, the priest, and the serial killer.
But Isn't Organization Necessary?
Anarchists are not in opposition to organization. What is often assumed is that organization can't take place without authority. It can be easy to convince us that authority prevents disorder. What we find in reality, however, is that wherever authority is increased, disorder is found. Violence is rampant in places where harsh controls exist. Sexual deviance is linked to sexual repression. Thievery exists only where there is poverty. Disorganization and fragmentation are bred by authority and the result is no cooperation.
Is There Something Wrong with Experts?
There is nothing wrong with specializing in your own interests. Those who spend a great deal of time around a subject can be trusted to be somewhat reliable regarding it. Authoritative expertise, on the other hand, is a problem. In this case, people are allowed to force their will on others because of their expertise. It is also often the case that these people are experts because they have been selectively allowed access to the information.
How Is Anarchy Different From Democracy?
Anarchy is actually a form of democracy, one which rejects the concept of “representatives” such as Presidents and Congressmen. Anarchists favor what is called direct democracy, where the people represent themselves. This goes for your career just as much as politics. This is why anarchists oppose not only government, but capitalism because it creates an undemocratic workplace. According to capitalism.org: “Capitalism limits the democracy -- the majority of the moment -- to its only useful purpose: the electing of various individuals to various positions of public office.”
Isn't That Mob Rule?
In a word, no. Direct democracy requires that the amount of say you have about something depends on how much it affects you. The majority has no more right to force its will on others than the elite. To do so is an authoritative act and is therefore not anarchist. Of course without government there is nothing to physically prevent this, but cultural standards have always worked better than law enforcement anyway. The elite has something to gain by forcing its will upon others while the average person could care less.
Are You Basically Socialists Then?
Many anarchists do also call themselves libertarian socialists. It is important to understand what we mean by socialism, however. We see socialism as any economic system with inclusive ownership of labor. Under capitalism, workers are forced to sell their labor to capitalists. For this reason we have little or no say over how we go about our jobs or what happens to the products of our labor. The result is an ever increasing gap between the rich and poor. What anarchists would like to see is an economy in which you own your own labor. If you put work into a product, you should have some ownership of it as well. What happens in “socialist” governments is a central ownership of the economy where the average person has no direct control over the economy. For this reason, most of us do not see anything that beneficial in government socialism which accomplishes little or nothing toward the goal of inclusive ownership.
How Can We Achieve Anarchy?
It would be hypocritical to think that anarchy could be reached by forcing it upon others. An anarchist society can only function in a group that has abolished authority as a concept. That means cultural revolution. We can make ourselves more anarchist by questioning authority, not forcing our will upon others, and knowing that the ability to force opinions on others is not the ability to turn opinions into facts. We can make the world more anarchist in the here and now by standing up for those who have been exploited and dominated. We can achieve anarchy by realizing all revolutions were cultural and started at the bottom, never the top.