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10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Anarchists

Imagine the country that has no government, laws or rules of behavior of any kind.. Where people can act in themselves best interest, and help their community voluntarily… Without any type of repression… Is that country utopia or we just had to work much harder to achieved that? Can every individual live the way him or her wants? Would it lead to chaos? Well, anarchist believed in this kind of society, country without norms, and economic stabillity.

anarchy in the streetsPhoto by chickee510

1. The meaning of the word „anarchy”

The word “anarchy” comes from Greek word “anarhia” which means “without a leader or ruler”.

For centuries every country and society in the world has some kind of leader, secular or religious, but the initiators of anarchism believe that it doesn’t has to be like that, that community could be able to manage itself. One of the main theories of anarchism is – maximizing the personal freedom of individuals of society.

So, some kind of motto – state for people, not people for state! They also don’t believe in religious leaders because they also have they own hard rules, and that is contrary to in what they believe. That is strange, because some of the most known anarchists declared themselves as Christians.

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2. Symbols of anarchism

The black flag and black color, generally, represent anarchism since 1880. Those symbols extended to all countries in Europe. In France it was called “The black tape”, in Andalusia it was called “Mano Negra”.

In February 1921, when Peter Kropotkin, one of the creators of this philosophy, died, a thousands of people carried black slogans that read “Where is government, there is no freedom”!
Black flag represents negation of every repressive structure, not only governments, but any kind of laws and rules.

Circle-A is probably the best known symbol of anarchism. Big “A” rounded by big “O”. “A” represents “anarchy”, and “O” represents “Order”. In short, that symbol means “Anarchy is Order”.
Anarchists also use black and red flags, where black means freedom and solidarity, and red represent material and social equality.

AnarchyPhoto by its Jason B

3. Anarchism through history

The Paris Commune of 1871 was probably the first attempt anarchic social organization that is globally echoed.

Even more interesting and extensive achievements, anarchic principles in society, was the Spanish Civil War, during which time the workers, often as members of anarcho-syndicalist organizations, proved the effectiveness of self-government public transport and manufacturing companies – industrial and agriculture.

Through horizontal assemblies were realized collectivization of land confiscated from landowners in some cases has even been abolished and private ownership. But, all this was violently interrupted because of military defeat, namely except that they fought against the nationalists and fascists, led by Francisco Franco, the anarchists had to keep the Communist Party, which had the support of Stalin, with the explicit prohibition of arms anarchists is an order to sabotage the achievements anarchic organizations and individuals.

AnarchyPhoto by MilanAmanda

4. Society of equals

Anarchy represents the society in which power and authority replaces the self-organization, the society of equality, equal and equitable distribution of all products, in short, a society in which every person can meet their basic and other needs to the maximum extent, and that doing so does not work to the detriment of others.

That brings some questions… What about people who depend of other people? What if individuals can’t work to help the community? How community without laws and rules can help them? What about people incapacitated by mental retardation?

In that case, anarchist said that we should believe in common sense. Well, in a past few centuries humanity has shown that common sense isn’t the right thing to reliance when hard times come.

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5. Economy

As we already know, anarchists reject theory that a government’s sovereignty is legitimated by the consent of its subjects.

They believe that all forms of government have been used as instrument for establishing monopolies that favor the propertied and privileged. Are those some kinds of Robin Hood – take from rich and give it to poor?!

Well, not exactly! You have to work and earn to live nice in this type of community! Many people, who believe in this, identified themselves as members of ant-capitalist society movement, because capitalism is bad, really bad! It is a system ruled by elites. And those folks don’t like elites! Filthy rich people on one side, and starving ones on the other! Not fair!

AnarchyPhoto by khem93

6. Labor for labor exchange

Are you confused? You shouldn’t be, because, it may happen some day… Or, not!

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You are probably wondering what about money, salaries and prices… Well, anarchists maintain that individual freedom can only be accomplished in a society where all material goods and natural resources are placed under common ownership. That means – I help you, you help me, and everybody is happy!

But what if I can’t help you because I have some physical disability? Would you help me? Look around and count how many people near you are ready to help you without asking any favor back? Can you rely on it? Can anyone rely on it? Anarchists said that is possible, and they claim that people would better profit without a laws of any kind!

AnarchyPhoto by daliscar1

7. Horizontal organization

In anarchism, no one owns all the power, but everyone have the power of fulfilling all their needs.

It means that you don’t have a power over someone, but the power of fulfilling all your needs, the power of joint action and decision in your life. Anarchist don’t like classical vertical organization as we know today, they want some form of horizontal organization, where all decisions are made by direct democracy or consensus.

It is pretty different from the system of parliamentary democracy as we know it today. And they almost achieved it in early 20th century in The Free Territory in the Ukraine. Possible or not, an ideas of modern anarchism can be traced from the period of the French Revolution (1789-1799).

Matthias Church on Uniworld River Cruise River Beatrice excursion in BudapestPhoto by garybembridge

8. Religion

Church and priests are pretty unpopular in anarchism, although, Lav Tolstoy, one of the most known anarchists declared himself as Christians.

This philosophy sees religion as on agent of cultural repression. And from that point of view – how anyone can be completely free when you have to respect and live by religious rules? Some theory goes even further, and declares religion as opium for the masses.

In secular countries, church is completely separated, but even in 21st century you can found countries where government and religion are the same. Stop for a while! If you claim that all individual have to live free, how can you forbid them to believe in what they want? Isn’t that also some kind of repression?

AnarchyPhoto by DOC17

9. Small communities

Philosophy of anarchism believes that all community acts would be voluntary, and that helping others for the good of a whole society should be the main motto.

That is possible only in small communities. Let’s reconsider this thesis… People for thousands of years not living in the tribal unions, they have grown into big civilizations, and in 21st century how can you expect to go back there? It was impossible few centuries ago, and now it could only be a sweet dream.

How can you stop people to travel and cooperate with folks from the other communities? Or, if everyone works for its own interest, who will repair the roads and keep hospital clean? This theory falls apart, considering everything.

Flowers & AnarchyPhoto by Sven Loach

10. From freedom to chaos

In the community without army, judiciary, police, secret service, who will keep order. If there are no laws to stop crime, murders, robberies, and no jail to put in those who do bad things, how can you expect harmony?

Anarchists believe that you can rely on humans common sense, but, as we already mention, what about people who aren’t able to think clear because of some mental illness? Remember, no institutions, no system, no laws, and none can’t pay for bad things he did!

You will said, there is some countries that have low crime rate, but there have pretty strict rules that people of those countries have to respect. Opponents of anarchism claim that harmony in this type of community isn’t possible. It will certainly lead to chaos!

Leo Tolstoy telling a story to his grandchildren, 1909Photo by FridayFunStuff1

11. Famous anarchists

Leo Tolstoy and Mikhail Bakunin were probably the best know anarchists in history, but did you know that Emile Zola, Oscar Wilde, Henry Miller and Alber Camus were supported this philosophy.

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Peter Kropotkin laid the foundations of anarchism, but a lot of important people supported it. Alfredo Bonanno, Graham Purchase, Hans Magnus Enzenberger, Donald Rooum, William Godwin, Andre Breton, Noam Chomsky… They all tought that anarchy has the future.

Hollywood also made many movies that hide secret or less secret message that anarchy is good. Some of them you probably like, such as Fight Club and V for Vendetta. Those movies weren’t about mindless beats among group of young people, or revenge to repressive government. They were much more than that.

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