the anarchist manifesto
The following is an approximate summation of my beliefs as an anarchist. My system of beliefs is constantly evolving and so it is impossible for me to put down on paper anything more than the basic premises that define my overall worldview. I do not write this to have anyone agree with me. Chances are that at some future point, I will not agree with everything contained herein. This is not a picture of a future anarchist society. There are no examples of ways individuals or collectives can solve problems. There are no guidelines for bringing the revolution to a head. This document simply defines the way that I have chosen to structure my life as an anarchist. I encourage you to read what I have to say, adapt the parts you like to your own worldview and to e-mail me with comments and ideas so that I can continue to evolve as a human being. I heartily discourage you from adopting my (or anyone else’s) ideas in whole without spending sufficient time thinking, researching, questioning, discussing, and changing them to fit with the definition of what you believe.
I. I. There are plenty of historical, scholarly, and scientific definitions of anarchism. Enough so that I feel comfortable jumping straight to my personal definition:
Anarchism- a political system composed of no system
wherein the adherents are enabled to be complete human
beings and exercise free will to the extent that other human
beings are not restricted in their own exercise of free will,
a non-system where individuals are allowed to work out their
own destiny (karma) and organize individual and community
ideals of living both alone and together.
There are of course contradictions in this definition i.e. a system which is a
non system. The truth is that contradictions are normal. Look for them and
they exist everywhere.
II. II. My Personal System
I believe that each person is responsible for creating his or her own set of rules to live by (10 commandments, code of conduct, etc.) As stated above, I also believe that each individual is responsible to personalize their rules…i.e. take the 10 commandments and make them your own. (Thanks to Robert Heinlein for introducing this concept in Time Enough for Love ) The following are my 10 commandments, they form the basis of who I am (right now.)
1) 1) You’re not the boss of me, I’m not the boss of you. – this rule goes back to childhood when we were all equal. Remember when one kid would start acting like the boss, we’d always say “You’re not the boss of me,” kids are born anarchists and it takes years of conditioning to create whatever it is our society turns them into. I’ve added the second part to remind me that I too am conditioned to “take charge” and I am not the boss of anyone else either. The truth is no one is the boss of anyone. Leadership is derived from either consent or coercion. Consensual leadership is a giving process that utilizes compassion. Coercive leadership is a taking process that utilizes fear.
2) 2) NO thing is SOME thing. This rule is to remind me that a lack of anything is still something. If you create a vacuum in a bottle there is nothing in the bottle except a vacuum that is something. If you eliminate all hierarchical systems in day to day activities there will be a vacuum of order. The vacuum of order (anarchy) is not non-existant simply because NO thing defines it.
3) 3) Over esteem leaders and the people lose their power. Over value possessions and people begin to steal. This one is straight from the Tao Te Ching. It says to me people are people and stuff is stuff but there is something else more important so don’t put too much value on what any person (including yourself) says or has.
4) 4) What isn’t worth saying or doing isn’t worth thinking about. If you are thinking about saying or doing something either do it and accept the consequences (good or bad) or quit thinking about it. Take a stand or shut up.
5) 5) Autonomy builds community. If you are able to take care of yourself, you are more valuable to your community. Not only are you not a problem, you become a part of the solution. By asking the community (the state) to take care of us, we give up the joy of knowing we can take care of ourselves and (later) of each other. Focus on being the provider of your own needs and you will have better relationships with spouse, children, co-workers, and friends.
6) 6) Don’t preach, live your life and let others ask the secret of your happiness (success). This seems like another contradiction if you take this treatise as a sermon. However, I am not forcing anyone to listen to me. I am simply defining my own existence in the hope that it will encourage others to define their own existence. The essence of this one is twofold 1) don’t try to force your ideas on others 2) be prepared to share your ideas with others when asked to.
7) 7) No one is right, no one is wrong. We are free to form our own ideas. We are free to agree or disagree with anyone. We are not free to make determinations of “right” and “wrong” this way lies totalitarian government. An idea may be appropriate or inappropriate but it may not be right or wrong in my reality. Galileo was “wrong” and the church was “right” etc etc etc. Right and wrong are subjective impressions based on worldview.
8) 8) Walk a mile in the others moccasins before passing judgement. Before condemning someone for their actions try to figure out why they acted that way. A business person may be trying to be less of a burden, a cop may not know how else to improve society than enforcing society’s rules, and a thief may not know another way to live.
9) 9) Respect others as you would be respected. This one is just about being cool. Don’t rip peoples personal shit off unless you want yours to be ripped off. Think how you would feel if you were treated the way you might be considering treating someone else. Don’t stomp on their beliefs or ideas…listen, acknowledge, question, and respect others.
10) 10) What is a good man but a bad man’s teacher, what is a bad man but a good mans job. Another one straight from my Anarchist’s Bible (the Tao Te Ching). Think about it. A “bad” person gives you a chance to teach about true “goodness” by your reaction, your words, or your being.
III. III. The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease (the role of violence in the revolution)
We are entitled to defend ourselves. We have voices to speak up against the injustices of the world. Sometimes, it takes a little something extra to make the world listen to what we have to say. Violence against private property is an excellent way to make a point. If a company is abusing our right to exist, we ask them to stop, we use our voice, and then we begin to make it expensive for them to operate. This is the worst nightmare of a capitalist. Human life is cheap compared with the cost of operating a business to the capitalist. He (she) would rather you killed employees than destroyed his shop. Violence against property makes the capitalist angry and he (she) will try to provoke you to violence against himself or his employees so that he can feel justified in condemning you and your cause. This is why it is good to smash and run. This leaves the capitalist unable to conduct business and yet uninjured. It also leaves you uninjured if he (she) should have a gun handy. Leave the looting for those who don’t know any better, stuff is a burden we do not need for fulfillment.
IV. IV. How we will do things after and during the revolution (now)
That is up to us and our comrades. Each group (family, collective, cell, affinity group, etc etc.) must come up with their own way to solve problems and to provide necessities for the members of their community. In order to bring about the future, we must act now. Collectivize your business. Buy out your bosses (by grouping with your fellow workers and pooling your resources.) Seek out other anarchists with new ideas and ways of doing things.It is my thought, that if we all act as anarchists how we can, where we are, right now…we will suddenly find ourselves living in an anrchist world based on liberty, equality, and solidarity. Remain open to change, but most of all speak your mind.