Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thoughts and articles on anarchism

I am not an anarchist, and I'm know for being critical of anarchists in the Keene area. In general, however, I tend to like anarchists. A few recent articles provide a sense of the fascinating social side of anarchism, a side that I enjoy.

What does an anarchist look like — or stand for?
“My message is, community not commodity,” Black said, a slogan handwritten on the back of her hat. “We need to recognize the value of our relationships and not the dollar signs that we put on things and people. … The problem is we don’t put any value into the relationships with our neighbors and friends. We see each other as walking dollars.”

It's a few weeks before May Day and I'm sitting in the living room of the Emma Goldman Finishing School, a four-story house on Beacon Hill that is also a 15-year-old experiment in anarchist-style living. It has 12 rooms for members, one guest room, a 500-square-foot garden, and some fruit trees dotting the property. Inside and outside, EGFS looks tidy, cozy, and totally unremarkable.
Addy, a young woman who used to work in social services but is now in nursing school, sits on a couch across the room. The house, she explains, was built in 1907, fell into disrepair, was eventually condemned by the city, and was collectively bought by a group of people in 1996. "It was in bad shape," she says. "Where you're sitting right now used to be all blackberry vines."
Addy is an anarchist, but she's no window-smasher. "For me," she says, "identifying as an anarchist means that reformist strategies are not working and I want to find more revolutionary strategies." Her revolutionary strategy is helping to manage the household finances in a way that, in her words, "resists capitalism."

Anarchistic and self-trained, are street medics the future of first aid?
A trained EMS team is standing 20 feet away, but the police aren't letting any medical workers through. The injured demonstrator's only resource is a team of street medics — fellow radicals, armed with basic first-aid knowledge. In all-black outfits with red duct-tape crosses on their sleeves, they quickly surround the guy and hustle to construct a makeshift splint.
Anarchistic, high-energy, and self- organized, street medics have been part of activist counterculture since the 1960s, with major presences at civil-rights protests, anti–Vietnam War actions, the American Indian Movement's occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973, anti-globalization protests in the 1990s and early aughts, and most recently, at Occupy encampments internationally. Street medics also take their skills to disaster areas: there were medics in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and in Haiti after the earthquake.

Unfortunately, many anarchists in the Keene area don't seem to grasp the concept of community, and their decision-making process is far too dysfunctional to organize anything as sophisticated as street medics. It's sad.

1 comment:

  1. I don't even consider the "Keene" brand of anarchism (i.e. rothbardianism) to be "anarchism" at all. Much, much better resources for understanding anarchism would be,, or to name a few.

    In all honesty, if Keeniac propertarianism was able to come about it probably wouldn't last a week, simply because wealthy capitalist bosses and landlords would simply take the place of the government. It's funny, but it's actually the capitalist businesspeople in Somalia who have been begging the rest of the world to help them bring a centralized government back to the territory. In fact, the provisional government of Somaliland is working with oil companies to set up a central bank in the region, just so the oil tycoons will have an easier time investing. More reason why anarchists have *always* been against hierarchical economic systems (i.e. capitalism) as well as the state.