Laugh, Love, Live

23 12 2008

There are two sides to Anarchism, the political and the humanistic.  The political targets the mind, and you’ll find examples of it anywhere where two Anarchists have come together only to argue in infinite detail every aspect of organisation, economic theory, and interpretation of the world. The second involves giving a damn about humanity, your fellow men and women, music, art, poetry, giving the two fingers to big brother — it’s the stuff that has romanticised Anarchism as a movement for centuries.

So let’s fess up and admit it now.  Just stand tall and accept it.  The political side to Anarchism can sometimes feel as boring as a discussion about the optimal size for a felt elbow patch.  People can only read so many Anarchist tomes before their head becomes over-encumbered with words, phrases, concepts as it all works itself into a steady blur.  Many are unable to cope and so feel it’s not worth the time.  We’re already able to politicise people who are willing to enter the debate, argue with us and do our damned best to win them over.  But then what of the others who aren’t just interested in that?  They may feel something’s wrong, but to them it’s a case of, “You can’t fight city hall,” while they go on about their daily routine.

The answer to reaching these people, is to bring back the romantic side to Anarchism.  What do I mean by this?  Basically that we spend so much time bickering between one another, or alternatively, analysing to infinite detail often the most tedious details of political theory, that we forget the essential essence of Anarchism; the humanistic part that promises the individualist dream.  We have so many working in such a calculated, precise manner that we have this tendency to ignore the fiery, human mannerisms that have made Anarchists famous.  You know, that whole “living life,” deal.  We have one.  This one.  Go out occaisionally and damn well enjoy yourself.  Go be an Anarchist; eat, drink and be merry.  Dance, laugh with your friends and family, work hard at whatever you do.  Love your partner and love them to the fullest of your ability.  Live for the moment.  Get angry and rage.  Be all you can be or some similar cliché.  Bring back the larger than life, romantic vision of Anarchists and we’ll no doubt attract more people to our ideas, for what is more attractive than a movement that is both ethically sound and emphasises being yourself and living?  Even if you don’t care about that, do it for yourself.  Anarchism is rebellious, subversive, and downright anti-authoritarian.  What can be more anti-authoritarian than actually enjoying yourself and living the best life possible?  Throughout history some of the most rigged, authoritarian regimes have been puritanical and obsessed with some absurd notion of purity and how people should act — regimented, subservient, conforming.  To that I will proudly, and unapologetically raise my middle finger.  Each of us should burn as bright a flame as we can.  It’s what makes us awesome.  As William Gillis wrote (November 11, 2008),

…Anarchism IS the individualist dream. You, you personally, can singlehandedly start the motherfucking revolution. You’re going to have to.

Anarchism is not some mechanical proletarian revolt, nor is it some impersonal mathematical reality of laissez-faire economics. And it’s certainly not throwing up your hands and saying to hell with it. Anarchism is a simple ethical and philosophical realization: to be a fully living, thinking human being you have to let go of your power over others. They must let go of their power over you.

The thing is, you already know this. (You’re awesome.) So why don’t you embrace it further. (And be more awesome.)

…So, and I’m just saying this, what have you done today to spread your awesomeness?

Now, I don’t mean to take shots at those that have both the ability and the capacity to expertly learn and discuss specific subjects of Anarchism and explore deep philosophical arguments.  No doubt they will join the ranks of the greats among our philosophy that have shed sweat, blood and tears in order to teach us the lessons we have today and so deserve our deepest respect for their commitment.  In fact thanks to them, our philosophy, as William Gillis pointed out, is the most ethical out there.  We unwaveringly oppose all injustice regardless of whether it comes in the form of systematic theft of the fruits of our labour, the parasitic existence of the state, war, slavery, racism, nationalism or outright authoritarianism.  Those thinkers, scholars and philosophers among us are always working their ass off to advance it even further and provide us with new ideas, arguments, theories and organisational models.  But we should always take care to never  neglect the other side of Anarchism either.  That is you.  Enjoy your life and live it with passion. Laugh, love, live and be human.




3 responses

23 12 2008
Gaius Cornelius Hobnobus

Excellent post. It is great that someone realizes and explicates the human side of this movement. After all, it is the human side of this movement that is going to be the difference between the movement remaining people arguing semantics on message boards ad infinitum and the anarchist revolution occurring in our lifetimes.

27 12 2008
Ethan Lee Vita

A most excellent article. While I disagree with the political side(I prefer philosophical personally) being boring, I fully endorse that we need more humanistic emotion. At the same time, I would take care to use our rage carefully. I would shy away from ad hominem attacks while condemning the evils of the state.

27 12 2008
Royce Christian


Thank you. I choose political because Anarchism does not reside totally in the philosophical domain. A lot of Anarchist theory comes from philosophy, particularly the ethics, but Anarchism itself is intended to be a reality. Calling it strictly a philosophy, isn’t enough, in my opinion.

It’s interesting you picked up on my reference to rage and anger. I included these two because, as I see it, anger is a key element in humanity and something that needs to be there. On the other hand, in general many people seem to be so passive and submissive. I’m not sure about where you’re from, but nothing seems to make people angry more, they’re just happy to lie down and take it. This is one of the reasons I was slightly taken aback by the events in Greece as people there — Anarchists, other political groups and just everyday people — actually became angry at the murder of a teenager. It’s not so much about the individual anger and resorting to ad hominem in debates about the state, but more about actually giving a damn. In some cases I think it’s reasonable that the complete lack of anger and rage by people at certain policies, programs or actions by government agents has merely allowed these policies to reproduce just as bad offspring.

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