Anarchism, properly understood ?
By Tom Over--- Perhaps I’m an old guy looking down on a younger generation of folk seeking social change, but most of the self-described anarchists I’ve engaged with are–in my humble opinion–actually something else. ‘Nihilism’ might be closer to the truth than ‘anarchism’ when it comes to their worldviews, though still not quite on the mark.
Anarchism might rank among the most widely misused and misunderstood concepts.
I’m still working my way thru the cannon, which includes Bakunin, Kropotkin, and other thinkers, but my guess is anarchism, properly understood, is no more violence prone than other philosophies.
In fact, properly understood, it may be less supportive of violence than other worldviews. Anarchism seems to be based on a comprehensive attempt at doing away with violence and all forms of exploitation–corporate, governmental, familial, and so on— among humans and between humans and other animals.
Further, anarchism— with which we focus our attention on the root issue of ANY form of exploitation— would seem to involve skepticism toward revolution. That is, replacing existing exploitative systems with new systems won’t necessarily solve the root problem.
As a proponent of strategic non-violence, I acknowledge anarchism’s usefulness as a conceptual framework for social justice and ecology movements.
Not sure if anyone here on this thread is reflexively associating anarchism with violence. But if some of us do, it might be ironic, given the immensity of violence carried out as an apparent function of social order and civilization. Consider the organized violence of wars and campaigns of genocide. Some might add global capitalism to this list of organized infliction of suffering–in that case, (perhaps to over-generalize) of the world’s rich upon the world’s poor.