Submitted by zoom_zip in AnarchistFAQ (edited )

What is Anarchy?

Anarchy is opposition to power. It is resistance to hierarchy. It is defiance to authority. Anarchy is the uncompromising struggle against oppression, exploitation, coercion, and suffering.

Anarchy is the rejection of all institutions and doctrines that seek to rule people. It is the life of autonomy and self-determination.

Anarchy is a practice. It is about ending authoritarian relationships wherever they exist.

Anarchy is not theoretical. It is not hypothetical. It is not a hope for an imagined future. It is right now. It is a living and breathing praxis.

Anarchy is unending. It is the constant negation of inequality in all forms. It is the path of defiance over subjugation or domination. Not only now, and not only in the future, but both now and until the day we die.

Anarchy is something we create for ourselves.

Anarchy is taking back life from those who seek to steal it.

Anarchy, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property, from the shackles and restraint of government. Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations.

  • Emma Goldman

Further Reading

Anarchism and Other Essays

Anarchy Works

Anarchy

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_caspar_ wrote

so above is what you cut from this, or the new version?

also that Candi CdeBaca is oddly out of place.

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zoom_zip OP wrote

this post here is my attempt at an edit. it cuts down the version on the wiki

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_caspar_ wrote

gotcha.

Ill copy what I said to another user about defining anarchism on another wiki page, as I think it pertains to your attempt without the -ism also.

regarding "Anarchy is opposition to power.":

"arguably power cannot be negated and is behind every force shaping the cosmos. its negation would be an impossible stasis...summarizing anarchism into something so short is a tough one, but I think something like: "If Anarchism is a set of practices in tension against both ruling and being ruled...

my favorite bits from your edit:

"Anarchy is the rejection of all institutions and doctrines that seek to rule. It is the life of autonomy and self-determination. (I removed people, as these institutions seek to dominate the non-human world just as well.) Anarchy is not theoretical. It is not hypothetical. It is not a hope for an imagined future. It is right now. It is a living and breathing praxis. It is the path of defiance over subjugation or domination. Anarchy is something we create for ourselves."

my favorite bits from ziq's original:

"Anarchy is the relentless negation of structures of domination, the endeavor to carve out little pockets of life free from exploitation and suffering. It is about actively working to end authoritarian relationships wherever they exist, and build non-authoritarian alternatives. It is not about trying to prescribe a way of life for imagined people in an imagined place and time. (slightly rephrased) There is no end-goal to anarchy. Anarchy is countless generations of disparate people with the drive to be freer than they are."

the rest I feel fine dropping. if quotes are kept, I like the anonymous quote best out of those.

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zoom_zip OP wrote

this is a wip edit of the what is anarchy section of the faq. i'm posting it here because i don't want to erase the writing of whoever took the time to put it up as is. i tried to edit it for clearer and more concise language and i cut out some stuff that felt unnecessarily repetitive. there were some other things that i thought this could address but didn't:

  • doesn't really address anticapitalism other than lumping it in with anti-authority
  • the quotes were really long and some of them seemed kind of off topic to "what is anarchy". i really like the emma goldman quote for getting to the point.
  • cut paragraph "anarchy is not about worshipping revolutions of the past or idolising dead white men with beards, but fighting our own fight, today."
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ziq wrote (edited )

I wrote the original except most of the quotes are from submedia. Will compare your version to mine when I'm on a pc to see exactly what you cut, but I'm all for brevity.

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ziq wrote

Anarchy is opposition to power.

idk why you changed the original from 'authority' to 'power'. they're entirely different things. we all have power, especially when we destroy authority

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zoom_zip OP wrote

tbh i was just trying to avoid over-using the word authority. change it back if it doesn’t work

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ziq wrote (edited )

what wiki are you working from? this is the version I wrote for the FAQ, but it's nothing like your version - like why are you using the word 'struggle'? It's best to avoid language that depicts anarchy as a holy crusade and now i'm worried it's in some old wiki you're using that i can't find:

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.

Anarchy is above all a practice, not a theory. It is about actively working to end authoritarian relationships wherever they exist, and build non-authoritarian alternatives.

It is not about trying to prescribe a way of life for an imagined place and time, and imagined people. It is for real people and dealing with real problems.

Anarchy is a living and breathing practice that we incorporate into our everyday lives. A personal stance against domination that informs all our decisions and thus shapes the trajectory of our existence.

There is no end-goal to anarchy. It is an ongoing, unending fight against hierarchical systems and the authority figures that construct them.

Anarchy is a desire for freedom from tyranny. Anarchy is countless generations of disparate people with the drive to be freer than they are under the systems that forcibly govern them.

An anarchist is anyone who refuses to be governed, dominated, ruled.

Here are some of those people.

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zoom_zip OP wrote

yeah it’s quite different, which is why i didn’t want to erase what you already had. it’s just another perspective on parts of the text. use it or don’t use it, or use parts of it if they work and throw away the parts that don’t work. the main reason for the edit was just trying to increase clarity, reduce repetition, and cut down the end quotes (some of which seemed off topic to me?)

if none of it is used it won’t bother me any

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_caspar_ wrote (edited )

ok, made revisions, another version is up, and kept the Pistols Drawn quote. the other quotes were from that pamphlet and can be found linked there for those interested.

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ziq wrote (edited )

If anarchism is a set of practices in tension against both ruling and being ruled, then anarchy is the motivating force behind these practices.

this makes no sense to me so i doubt noobs (the target audience) are going to know what it means

their first into to anarchy needs to be simple and immediately captivating

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_caspar_ wrote (edited )

If anarchism is the ongoing practice of finding one's own way out of both ruling others and being ruled, then anarchy is the force behind this practice.

or

If anarchism is the navigation between both ruling and being ruled, then anarchy is the motivation behind why both of these outcomes are undesirable.

something like this? maybe others would like to chime in also.

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ziq wrote (edited )

maybe we should ask on f/anarchism so ppl actually see it

i don't personally see how there's a difference between anarchy and anarchism. not sure why you're making a distinction.

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_caspar_ wrote

sure.

I dont think its an important one, only two different words with slightly different meanings: anarchism is the practice of anarchy. or, anarchism the practice of the thing, anarchy the thing being practiced.

many would differentiate them further, claiming that raw anarchy is something outside of the European tradition of Anarchism (Godwin->Proudhon and Striner-> and branching out from there). not saying I rely on this too heavily, but I see many other anarchists doing so. I mean, theres a reason the FAQ is What is Anarchy? and not What is Anarchism? no? so a differentiation is already being made, I was just putting it into some words.

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ziq wrote (edited )

it's not a differentiation, the word anarchy is just a lot less pretentious than the word anarchism and demonstrates living anarchy / action rather than theoretical political science bullshit that an ism implies

the point is to make the word anarchy the default, so trying to make a distinction between the two words will just confuse people, especially as the first sentence of a faq about anarchy

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_caspar_ wrote

Im confused, you say there's no differentiation, but then have a strong opinion on what you consider the differences? not that your points are totally disagreeable, but if

"the point is to make the word anarchy the default."

, I wasnt aware. - - but also, whose point? is the goal to keep the term or idea of anarchism (or anarch-ist) out of the conversation? there is a forum here named f/anarchism.

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ziq wrote

And to clarify they mean the same thing but the ism version is just ppl attempting to make anarchy sound intellectual and academic for validation from authorities

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_caspar_ wrote

that claim seems like an unfair assumption to me.

I mean, most anarchists Ive read with thoughtful insights on anarchy seemed fine with the anarchism to describe their practice and anarchist to describe themselves as practitioners (and Im not talking about exclusively collectivist, socialist, or workerist anarchists I find over-appreciated and not all that interesting). I have no reason to assume they were doing so out of some intellectual or academic elitism, or especially seeking validation from authorities.

not that there arent alot of folks out there doing such a thing, and I can sympathize with the goal of creating a more present overview of anarchist practice that sheds alot of 19th-20th century baggage, but it just seems like an odd stance to take given the term is so widely acknowledged, throughout this site as well.

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ziq wrote (edited )

anarchy is anarchy

anarchism is anarchy with ism tacked on to look more serious

making a distinction in any way would only feed into the pretentiousness of people who try to claim they're two different things and anarchy is bad but anarchism is good

even explaining why the word anarchy is preferable over the word anarchism in the faq would enable their bullshit

the only reason f/anarchism wasn't named f/anarchy was for S E O reasons

both words ought to be used interchangeably with no distinction but the word anarchy is more appropriate because isms are so tied to ideology and governmental systems

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_caspar_ wrote

"anarchism is anarchy with ism tacked on to look more serious"

I disagree, or at least I think its an unnecessary layer tacked on. again, not that there arent folks out there wanting the -ism to do what you say, but I could care less what they want.

"making a distinction in any way would only feed into the pretentiousness of people who try to claim they're two different things and anarchy is bad but anarchism is good....even explaining why the word anarchy is preferable over the word anarchism in the faq would enable their bullshit"

if an either/or (anarchy bad, anarchism good) approach is the wrong one (I agree), then why double down on the either/or in reverse (anarchy good, anarchism bad), and not instead go for a both/and approach?

"both words ought to be used interchangeably with no distinction"

if this is what you actually believe, then why not do so? it seems like your understanding is being shaped entirely around what you are against over what you are for.

this all might come across as a useless linguistic exercise, but since it seems to have real implications for you, I think using -ism and -ist is fine and even helpful. plus its helping me think through other things as well.... so fuck it, here it goes:

-ism is a suffix in english used to describe a practice or process, -ist the practitioner. so in that case they are just descriptors. we could say anarchic practice or anarchic lifeways instead, but anarchism is shorter and fills that role. we could also say those living anarchically or practitioners of anarchy, but like the previous example, it gets clunky and tiresome after awhile, so anarchists serve that purpose.

anarchy informs practice (anarchism). in doing so, those practicing (anarchists) then inform anarchy. I kinda like this because it shows that anarchist practice is not caught in a linear progression, but a generative and evolving feedback loop. I think this is important to keep in mind with so many calls for anarchy/ism to be rooted in either past or future orientations.

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_caspar_ wrote (edited )

but really if all youre getting at is the problem with capital A Anarchism™ and how to avoid it, then sure, its annoying but I dont think its avoidable in this world. but in spite of it, I think theres still room for local context-based practices (anarchisms) outside of Anarchism™.

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ziq wrote

The point of the original essay before it was rewritten

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_caspar_ wrote

maybe Im just out of the loop. maybe a section of the faq explaining why anarchy is being emphasized over anarchism could be helpful, especially for the 21st century?

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kinshavo wrote

Just a question that maybe don't deserve a post:

Is Acracy concept "part" of Anarchy, or are the words synonyms?

Maybe someone who knows the word etymology can share a thought, in Spanish and Portuguese for example, lots of authors use them interchangeably or even prefer Acracy due to the "weight" of the word Anarchy.

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