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Why are so many anarchists so reformist?

+2 votes
There are probably about a few hundred explicitly revolutionary anarchists, and maybe a few thousand loosely identified insurrectionary anarchists, but most anarchists seem to just espouse a mix of alternative lifestyles akin to green consumerism, creating co-ops and collective houses, getting involved randomly in single issue activism, etc. Is it possibly because many anarchists are recovering liberals?
asked Jul 9, 2012 by anonymous
Are you claiming that starting co-ops and collective houses, i.e. how we would want to live under anarchism, is reformist?

Claiming that nothing short of insurrectionist tactics are reformist is a very naive view to have. Contrary to popular belief, most people do not just want to see the world burn, they want a better society.

4 Answers

+3 votes
Probably a background in the tendencies of progressive liberals, the left or they started within a left anarchist context.  Some involved in college activism might see how they don't need government intervention so become anarchists, perhaps seeing it as one more aspect of their identity.  For co-ops and collective houses, there is a long market anarchist history tied up with them (mutualist and collectivist tendencies).  People like Noam Chomsky provide an entrance for a lot of people to anarchist ideas and because they don't have much difference with the left, a lot of anarchists might think it is okay to follow their example.

On the flip side, anarchists that want to be an example might benefit from being more accessible to where ever anarchists seem to generally come from and have strong, explicit views on how they think anarchists should practice.  There is this large attempt by anarchists to be broadly accessible, hoping that we get a demographic that more accurately reflects general society as a whole.

What we seem to get is primarily a lower middle class and working class mix.  Though anarchists are staying anarchists longer than before with more and more anarchists still identifying as they grow past their 30s, the age of anarchists is still rather young.

I'd say this reason is because we haven't attempted to adapt a stronger critique of the family and presented a viable practice for anarchists who are attempting to raise families.  When anarchists have children, often the anarchist mantle is hung up.  Where this isn't true, it would be more interesting to hear about and how child rearing is done with parents capable of getting arrested for their practices.

There is the issue of the government and family services intervening in an anarchist parents life, taking children from anarchists should they raise them in a way that is contrary to acceptable norms.  Eventually it would be nice to see anarchists raising anarchist children as well as still attracting people that weren't starting as anarchists to become anarchists.

Though I don't want to put a lot of pressure on parents, much of this weighs on anarchist parents as the guardians of children.  They decide how they'd like to raise their children.   If an anarchist parent offers input and perhaps want to see multiple parent families, but the other in the couple disagrees, custody would typically go in the non-anarchist parent's direction should a split occur due to disagreement.

Imagine an anarchist parent teaching their children graffiti, vandalism, bomb making.  Imagine anarchist parents exposing their children to anarchist theory and encouraging the children to form juvenile gangs with analysis.  These types of things just seem to only be able to exist as a fantasy.  Yet professional criminal parents often teach their children how to commit crimes, even having their children assist them in criminal endeavors.  Passing their crafts from parent to child.

Itinerants and particular types of deviants or oppressed people have different social norms than the status quo also seem to be able to continue their ways of life and conflict greatly with family services and juvenile courts.  These might need to be examined and anarchist parents might need to break ties with their extended families to raise their children in ways that might "endanger" their children.  As I have no children, I can't exactly suggest a way to raise kids, but I do think if we want to see anarchists offer a critique of reform, we also have to be able to have a full way of life that is viable enough to cross generations.
answered Jul 10, 2012 by hpwombat (3,910 points)
–1 vote
If i understood correctly, I would guess it is rooted in the original culture of anarchism which was generally left leaning and so certain anarchists of the modern day can practice could or have potential to shift into what's labeled as liberal practices or causes  found in this current age.

Offtopic ( apologies) : Hpwombat : Curious to know if previous discussion will continue on since it been a while... noticed you've been posting around a lot in the meantime...would be good to know....peace
answered Jul 10, 2012 by shothit (130 points)
+1 vote
a better question would be, why is everyone so reformist? being rigorous in our thinking, and in our acting on our thinking, is difficult for everyone. anarchists are no different in that regard.
answered Jul 13, 2012 by dot (52,800 points)
http://anarchy101.org/3466/why-is-everyone-so-reformist

Figured since you posed a question for a question, I'd answer with a question seeking an answer ;)
+1 vote
they're not recovering. they are liberals. for so many it's yet another stop on the ideological buffet. why conceive a specifically anarchist attitude or agenda when all the important issues have already been laid out by the left? anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-capitalism, anti-whateverism, add a dollop of anti-statism and by god this mish-mash of reheated left-overs it tastes just like anarchy. or does it...? does it matter? i think it hugely has to do with the class origins of most of the people who associate themselves to active radical politics, which is usually at or above what most people would consider 'middle class'...
answered Jul 21, 2012 by rswain (460 points)
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