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I've just started looking into Anarchism recently. What can I do to further my knowledge on Anarchy?

+4 votes
My lifestyle does not support anarchist views at all (I work for the State, and the Federal Government - military). What I do know is that I hate who I work for, but they pay the bills. So that would make me a hypocrite if I pursued to become an anarchist. I dont know, I just need guidance.  
 [ comments that down-trod my seeking of knowledge - let it be known - fuck off ]
asked Jul 30, 2011 by Seeking (180 points)

1 Answer

+4 votes
If a person desires a radically different way of living than the banal acceptance of the status quo there will automatically be contradictions and tension inhabiting the gap between the way things are and the way you want things to be. Calling yourself (or others) a hypocrite for noticing those tensions does nothing to lessen the contradictions or give you a way to navigate between or around them. I see no purpose in invoking such a term unless you are only interested in moral objections to the status quo, and there are plenty of other ways to object to it.

As long as capitalism remains the dominant socio-economic system, and as long as people continue to inhabit urban spaces, we are all pretty much forced to have jobs to pay for food and shelter. If I want to live in a world where there are no jobs and no money, does that make me a hypocrite for having a job and using money? Do you see where I'm going with this?

When/if the tensions and contradictions become unbearable you will either change your vision(s) and desire(s) or you'll change your job/lifestyle. One of the more interesting things about an anarchist perspective versus an authoritarian one is that anarchists recognize that the choice is yours.

In terms of increasing your knowledge of anarchy, this site is a good place. The Anarchist Library is an indispensable resource for texts. There may even be an infoshop or other anarchist project near you.

If you let people here know where your interests lie, we will overflow with recommendations for reading material.
answered Jul 30, 2011 by lawrence (13,580 points)
Well what turned me to anarchy, besides the hate of the upper management in this government, was what I can only think to title - "The Free life". I got into motorcycles and had a family, and started to look at things different. It clicked one day in my head. I got pulled over after work for doing 10 over on a country highway, and the first thing that popped into my head was "Why cant I just be left the fuck alone." I dont know it may sound corny but it seemed right to me. I dont want the normal American experience, the stress on a man to achieve the "dream." I dont think we were built to live this way at all. We're raised to respect our neighbors and treat people fairly, then when you get out in reality you find that you're own country is fucking you and could give a shit less about it. I have alot of frustration. Not to mention I'm from the South - born and raised - and Anarchy seems to be reserved for the pompous coward sitting in college sipping espressos, it's hard to adapt. Thanks for letting me vent. lol
adapting is indeed hard.

again, let us know if and when you have more specific questions. there are plenty of people here with lots of information.
Most of us have a similar "Eureka!" moment where the realities of class society contrast harshly and impossibly with the mythologies of respect and fair treatment. It doesn't always involve the cops, but that's certainly a quick way to be disabused of one's illusions. Experiencing that there's something wrong is a good first step; feeling frustrated at the way the rest of the world is set up to get around the rules that you and I are expected to follow is another; being dissatisfied with the image of a hyper-intellectual elite who spout pompous ideas remains a problem for other anarchists too (I have often been accused of being one of them, even though I have not been to college in almost 30 years and my hot drink of choice is Yerba Mate - but I am making a real effort to be less of an ass).

You don't have to read a bunch of stuff to be more of an anarchist, but it sure helps to see how other folks (our elders if you will) have grappled with some of the frustrations you're feeling. At the very least, it lessens the frustration of isolation. So get some more specific questions to us and I know at least a couple of us will be more than willing to point you to some useful material.
After thinking most of this weekend, and reading some other things on the internet, the biggest roadblock in my mind is how to deal with criminals, and criminal behavior. My experience thus far with humans is that most seem to be trying to one up the next person. I come from a VERY structured background where rank and respect is everything. (I guess that's why I turned to hate it!) When someone messes up in a bad way, they were punished - severely and without mercy. Alot of times there was a crowd of us walking away shaking our heads, knowing it was done incorrectly, but not being able to do a thing because of hierarchy.
Well, as an all-too-brief beginning to answer the question of how to deal with criminals (which might've been answered elsewhere on this site, if you search for it), consider how many people are criminalized because of property crimes, drug laws, or breaking any of the assorted rules instituted by a hierarchical government.

Considering that the majority of that shit wouldn't be relevant in a society outside of capitalism and authoritarianism, what does that leave? As far as I can see, the only things to deal with would be:

Occasional violent disputes (severe arguments and fistfights and that kinda shit) that can hopefully be resolved by the folks involved or the community they live in;

Rape, which would hopefully become much less common, assuming we keep on fighting for the end of patriarchy and sexism and all that shit;

And murder. Cold-blooded murder seems pretty rare already except in cases of 1) severe psychological illness, or 2) acquiring wealth/power (whether that means having your rich spouse murdered, assassinating a political rival, or killing the drug dealer edging in on your turf), often coupled with some degree of casual disregard for human life. Again, the fall of capitalism and hierarchical political systems would cut down pretty severely on the 2nd category.

With that said, the simple answer could be that "crime" would be handled by the community it happens in. That seems like a big fucking problem in places like the armed forces, who, like ya said, have a tendency of disciplining people swiftly and harshly - but of course, the problem stems from that kind of hierarchical leadership and obedience to authority.

Looks like I kinda rambled on for a while. I hope all this shit is understandable. In any case, I hope ya find the answers you're looking for. Good luck.
Specific to the question of crime, I suggest the section of Peter Gelderloos' book "Anarchy Works" titled just that. Here is a link to a nice looking version of just that chapter in pamphlet form put out by Rise Like Lions: http://riselikelions.info/articles/3/anarchy-works-crime. they also have a bunch of other good writing available on their website. the entire book is available here: http://riselikelions.info/articles/3/anarchy-works-crime for reading or download, or you can purchase the published version at Little Black Cart (http://littleblackcart.com/).

While you're at theanarchistlibrary.org there is a whole section on crime if you search by subject.

Personally, I would hope that an anarchist future would involve far more reliance on face to face interactions, bonds based on affinity as opposed to the proscriptive relationships of necessity or convenience many people have now. In societies based of this sort partipants would be free to define what was and was not acceptable behavior, or choose as individuals or collectively that particular relations were no longer good fits. Which is what I think Rice Boy was getting at in saying "'crime' would be handled by the community it happens in."

I would expand on that to say that with out rulers, rules and laws, there is actually no such category as "crime," but that instead there would be acceptable and unacceptable behavior as determined by each individual community and, more importantly, by each individual, and that those things would be subject to discussion, debate, and change as the group changed over time.

This opens up some other cans of worms that I won't go into here around preventing what is or is not acceptable from becoming rigid unchangeable mores. I haven't really looked to see if that has been addressed here, but maybe I'll formulate a question, if not.

One last thing: Rice Boy also stated that cold blooded murder is relatively rare, except in cases of people attempting to aquire wealth and power and those who are severely mentally ill. I have worked with and been friends with many, many severely mentally ill (as our society defines it - depression, bi-polar, schizophrenic/schizo-affective, etcetra) people over the years, as well as those with various personality disorders. The VAST majority of them are of no harm to anyone (and of the few that are, most of them are a threat to themselves). Most of these people, in a society without the requirements of capitalism, competition, authority and so forth would probably be completely benign. It is far more common that outright homicidal or other violence is the result of those who have or seek power attempting to defend or achieve it. Not that I think Rice Boy was implying otherwise, and I don't mean to suggest that mental illness does not exist, but how those with what we call mental illness engage with the status quo would be radically different in the absence of law, capital, and hierarchy.
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