This week we ask a perennial question. What is anarchism today? Is it the activity of anarchists? Is it an ideology of negatives (no state, no capitalism)? How about an ideology of positives (mutual aid, solidarity, and sharing)?
How do modern anarchistic activities map to our definition of anarchism? How do you describe anarchism to your grandmother in such a way as she understands and agrees with your choice to be an anarchist? Have you convinced her to join you (us)?
Six years ago on September 17th, the Occupy moment began. Occupy was perhaps a high water mark for the North American anarchist space, although the anarchist idea and practice of occupation on different levels goes back much further. Occupy, assemblies, gatherings, meetings, etc provide anarchists with the face-to-face (f2f) social experiences and opportunity to learn a(n anarchist) culture and survive.
Call me old fashion but I think that anarchism and DIY culture go hand-in-hand. I think that Common Ground, whatever it's faults (and of course there are many and they have been well documented), was the correct response to the reality that Katrina exposed. We are now being exposed to this same dramatic reality week after week. 8.2 earthquakes, multiple hurricanes this year, it doesn't seem to be slowing down.
Rojava, Palestine, Chiapas - all of these are household names among leftists as beacons of struggle against oppression by the dispossessed of the world. Though frameworks like “anti-imperialism” and “anti-colonialism” may be more prevalent among socialists, these and other struggles have continued to attract the interest and support of anarchists in Europe, the US and elsewhere as well.
How often do you talk to people who you disagree with? How do you talk to them? Are they people you've known for a long time, old friends who went in different directions from you, family members, co-workers/students, neighborhood folks? What have you noticed about how you relate to them, what you don't challenge--and what is that based on?
With the growth and increasing pervasiveness of the internet it is becoming more likely that people are being introduced to anarchism, and all things related to anarchy, on the internet. It has been said on the A News podcast recently that there are many anarchists now who experience their whole lives as anarchists online, not in face-to-face contact with other anarchists.