Anarchy or Terrorism?

Posted: 30th June 2010 by The ImModerator in anarchist thought

Global authorities can be seen as the pinnacle of coercive (as opposed to inclusive) government. They will consciously ignore local cultures, situations and perspectives when concocting and dictating policy or action. Given that anarchy is a concept of having no rulers then it makes sense for any globally based gathering to attract a larger share of protest and reaction.

If you are aiming for less authority in your world, at what stage do you step across the threshold, and embrace attacking authority of any kind, anywhere? In other words, at which point do you leave the armchair and wear an armband acknowledging your stand and your position against authorities that are impacting on you. Take the point one step further – what triggers you to fight against any authority?

The recent gathering of the G20 nations in Toronto, and the presence of the representatives of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) attracted the usual gamut of opponents, protesters and critics. There was also a core of people who labelled themselves ‘anarchists’, who were the centre of violence and a little destruction.

People like some of those posting on this site.

In exercising my right to display my displeasure at an organisation/event that i disagree with, when can i impinge¬†on another person’s right to be left alone? If i smash an ATM, all that i have proven is that i can smash an ATM. It is arguable that i have also delineated my rights as having a hierarchical superiority over those of the owner of the ATM. You could argue that property is theft, and go on to point out the inequities of the system and some narrowly delineated example whereby the ATM is guilty of an injustice of one kind or another. Again, on what anarchistic authority are you exercising your superiority over my rights as an ATM or the owner of an ATM?

How about you arguing that the ATM is a symbol of all that is wrong with the world, and so you are entitled to desecrate or destroy it? If that holds true then the owner of the ATM would just as validly be able to express a similar concept and act on their beliefs. What if they had a friend who had been unjustly imprisoned by a law enforcement person in black trousers, who wore a silver watch with a black strap. Wouldn’t the owner be quite justified in expressing an opinion that black trousers and silver watches with black straps are symbollic of oppressive authoritarian rule, and that they will destroy any such items that they find. Let’s say that on the way to destroy your targetted ATM, you leave some clothes and your watch in a bag and go off to fulfil your assumed role. What if the ATM owner finds your bag and proceeds to destroy your black trousers and your silver watch with a black strap, that had been a present from your very much loved father from his deathbed after finally succumbing to a painfully agonising, lingering and debilitating illness.

Arguments could rage around the validity of the example or the choice of articles to illustrate a point. However, there is a key underlying theme here.¬†Immediately you assume your position/ideas/expression is more important than someone else’s and you then go on to act in support of that idea – then you have destroyed any authority that you have to consider your actions correctly anarchistic. You could point to the extensive anarchic history of rebellion-focussed action and use in in support of your action. Something along the lines of ‘any strike against The Man is a strike to move forward to a world without authority’. You may point to the need for a catalyst to trigger an uprising of the oppressed working class.

All of these options and more are available to you when casting around for a justification for smashing an ATM. But how many of these have you actually thought through in a contemplative moment? Again, you could argue that we are all endowed with greater or lesser skills in different areas and that cogent thought isn’t one of yours – you are a man/woman/avatar whose skill lays in action. Fair enough. So what happens if your action is incredibly, unbelievably, massively successful. What if the proletariat emerge from their pathetically inadequate homes, rouse themselves from their millenia of slumber and descend upon the money classes in an orgy of unrestrained, enraged violence that results in the fall of the fabric of society as we know it? What if they proclaim you as Leader as a reward for your inspiration? What are you going to do now? Fall back on a comment that your role is action and destruction, not stewardship, regeneration or nurturing?

The point is, smashing an ATM proves you can act with more force but no more thought than a kindergarten child. If anarchistic philosophies are to ever take hold, it’ll require a great deal more thought and force than that.

You must be logged in to post a comment.