Submitted by ziq in Anarchism (edited )

The purpose of this essay is to avoid alienating people by talking about long dead white men and their competing dogmas, instead to explain anarchy in a way that anyone can follow without needing to read a dozen other sources, historical contexts, biographies, or grapple with the definitions of a dozen unfamiliar words and concepts. With that all in mind, what could I add to this essay to make it more substantial?



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Hibiscus_Syrup wrote

Ummmmm. Talking about the ways it relates to other approaches would help I think.

Prefiguration and direct action and how that's different from how the world is now and how others propose things. People like me often will have trouble understanding something unless it's rooted in negation of something else. 'We're not like marxists because xyz' is possibly more effective a means of conveying ideas than more general claims for me.

Because you've written the base, but if a person reads what you're saying as a 101 piece they probably won't have the info needed to draw the right conclusions based on what you said. So teasing it out a bit would help.

And there are other ways to say certain bits that fill it out with substance in a similar way. Like how you say

for an imagined place and time, and imagined people. It is for real people and dealing with real problems.

Although it's not explicitly said, for me it's implicit that this also speaks to how anarchy is situational, it's always rooted in a specific context, and looks different depending on that context. A reader might not draw that immediately just based on what you said,


lautreamont wrote (edited )

I don't agree here.

Prefiguration and direct action and how that's different from how the world is now and how others propose things.

This has nothing implicitly connected to anarchy. These two concepts are more typical of autonomists and tiqqunians.

Also prefiguration is what got many anarchists in the mess they're in, these days, as it equates to be initiating a game and believing it will be carried upon by the rest of the people around, which doesn't happens unless there's really a felt cause for it.

Before prefigurating, you people would better try develop your empathy, as it'll make you realize how so many people might just not be interested in the stuff your believe in.

Anarchy is anarchy... there's no making of a new society or system out of it, and I neither am interested in having one. It's a negation of power (over others), in many forms. An opening to new horizons at best. But the rest of the path, you gotta walk it. No one else will.


Hibiscus_Syrup wrote (edited )

I don't understand what you think prefiguration is, but I don't think it's prefiguration. What I generally mean by prefiguration was written by someone here and here if you are interested. If you have critiques of those positions I would be highly interested!


lautreamont wrote

I was referring to the prefigurative politics like those of Tiqqunists, but also a more broader anarcho-left, which does involve that kind of "State Thought" you're referring to in that other post. Just like in the mathematical model in geometry, prefiguration is about collectively creating and casting a mirror-image of an abstract order to reify... some image suspended in our heads, such as the Revolution, of a coming world.


Hibiscus_Syrup wrote

I'd be interested to see some examples of that kind of prefiguration, it might be a fun thing to write against. If you happen to know any reference spots offhand, please let me know.


lautreamont wrote (edited )

The Commune in itself, as a paradigm, could stand as old and well-known example of prefiguration. Some people are attempting to "start it up" through non-radical ventures like urban "communes", potlatch, FnBs, some other types of activism, toward the realization of this Commune. The thing is that it always remains an imaginary community, never really something that broader masses of people pick up upon and further grow... but in a way I ain't sure I'd like to have all the normies to keep building the Commune, as it may turn into yet another form of capitalism.

Oh wait... that happened already. lol

So preconfiguration is closer to an ideal than an utopia. Where the utopia is always about something to fulfill in the here and now (even tho some are idealistic), where the ideal is something people follow and seek to reify, or at best lean to. "Leaning to" also means waiting, delaying, postponing due to some planning, as inherently it is sourced on a projected ideal to attain.


celebratedrecluse wrote (edited )

Needs specificity. That is, examples of anarchy, rather than general statements of values; contrasted with other ideologies and examples of ideologies.

I would condense the existing text into a paragraph and keep what is most relevant about these statements at the front of the essay, but then add more at the bottom: Anarchy is NOT x, Anarchy IS y, Anarchy is NOT z, etc...

good start though! I merely think, where people (including anarchist) get confused, is the application of the general ideas toward specificity. Dealing with that problem, of course, also will arouse the frustration of archist within anarchist spaces.

For example, state socialists also say they are moving toward freedom, so do neoliberals, even fascists are pro-freedom. The general ethos is often not disputed, because freedom sounds good to a lot of people, but the actual application is of course wildly different, and those ideologies always contain more than that kernel of acknowledging the human desire for liberty.


moonlune wrote

It's missing a few examples.


Vulgar_Soda wrote

Depends. I assume you'd like to keep this essay short on length in order to keep it approachable for a curious "non-anarchist." Unless your audience or goal is different? Adding more words might risk losing whatever audience you have in mind. Entry level writings need not be herculean in impact or length to be effective at enticing further reading.

With that all in mind, what could I add to this essay to make it more substantial?

Since the essay is titled "What Anarchy Means to Me," why not include some experiences or examples of your own lived anarchy? Would certainly be more relatable than some old dead white guy's jargon filled rant.


ruin wrote

I appreciate the action orientation of your essay, but I do think some mention should be made of thought, if not theory.

If we don’t dismantle our internal authoritarian tendencies and biases we have little chance of living the anarchy that you describe.

Also might be worth ditching the dualistic theory/action distinction all together at this point.


d4rk wrote

I wouldn't say anything is missing, on point IMO, it's an introduction, you fill the plotholes as you go along.


throwaway wrote (edited )

Perhaps defining how it sets itself apart from ordinary ideology.

Ideology of any kind has proven itself to be nothing but a quick way to systematically degenerate a movement. Anarchy does not have a leader; no author; no holy bible. It is the simple effect of human intuition, given meaning and expanded by thinking people - greatly empowered in the cultural library through decades of struggle at the hand of the controller.


HeidiJD wrote

I clicked through and came out straight away again...first and foremost, the phrase "relentless negation" is not a phrase that "anyone can follow". That's a university phrase. 50% of people in the UK don't have post-16 education, iirc.

"Anarchy is the relentless negation of structures of domination, the endeavor to carve out little pockets of life free from exploitation and suffering. Anarchy is the uncompromising push against oppression and the vocal demand for autonomy and self-determination, the rejection of all the classes, institutions and dogmas built to rule people

(Very poetic, very lovely but... )


Anarchy is when we refuse to let others control us. We want to have good, happy lives without being forced to do bad things. We will never stop demanding this and we reject any ideas or people that say we have to give up.