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Proposing a Better Definition of "Anarchy"

In a few words I have attempted to make for myself a definition of "anarchy" which reflects not simply a state of being, but the benevolent possibility of a free society based on it.

A personal responsibility of all individuals for their surrounding environment, the whole planet, the immediate community of humans and other beings, and their own health. Part of this is spreading this consciousness to others, particularly when they are seen to be acting out of ignorance or irresponsibility towards others and their environment, and doing so if possible in a gentle way, and doing so if necessary in a rapid motion.


So, if this makes it passed the censorship committee here on this website, maybe somebody'd like to shout back with response, revision, or completely different ideas of what the apocryphal 'anarchist' and 'anarchy' is.

Sounds like a nice addition 22.Jan.2009 15:10


It's especially good to hear placement of the emphasis on the responsibility aspect. Note that this works equally well for 'little a anarchy' as Anarchy- that is, situations which don't necessarily have anything to do with anarchism (defined below) and don't call themselves such but act in anarchistic ways: i.e. many long-lasting indigenous societies.
My working definition of anarchy has always been "a relational situation free from oppressive or coercive hierarchy" - which puts the emphasis on any and all relationships rather than just specific institutions like the state, police etc. but does so in a negative light, whereas your definition is one more of a positive model to strive towards.
As far as 'anarchist' as opposed to 'anarchy,' well I've always defined an anarchist as someone participating in 'anarchism' which is the contextual movement seeking anarchy, thinking that once people are operating in anarchy they are more just regular people than 'anarchists'.
At this point in time I would argue that, overall, anarchism has stopped doing its job of effectively advancing towards anarchy- it i not successfully building alternative egalitarian modes of existence and it's not advancing revolutionary situations. At this point it's more of a sub-culture that allows people to find a release for their grievances, and celebrate the aesthetic of revolution, but doesn't actually construct situations where revolution becomes possible or inevitable (and I make a big distinction between 'insurrection' and 'revolution').
In fact I would go as far as to say that anarchism has largely become counter-revolutionary, in that it is largely offering those new to the movement outdated analysis and practices (anarchists, for example, critique endless protesting, and rightly so, but have, in substance of practice, relatively little else to offer) instead of encouraging highly critical, up-to-date reflection and analysis of the current situation (which might in fact lead to revolution)- all the while passing itself off as the best and most revolutionary analysis possible (while in fact the most revolutionary practices that people often think of as anarchist-inspired are more often the gift of indigenous movements like zapatismo)! Ironically enough, I would suggest that anarchists must be prepared even to dissolve anarchism as we know it today in order to successfully achieve anarchy.
And there's my... er, well not 'two cents' anyway, that's for sure...