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What are some both effective and ineffective ways to spread anarchist principles?

+2 votes
Some folks here are critical of my suggestion of participating with neighbors in a state-funded community garden project as a way to engage with the community and hopefully spread anarchist ideas and even inspire other similar projects without state help. (See the related answer)

It seemed to make sense to me but I only have a small amount of experience in this realm.. So I'm eager to hear actual experiences people have had, both their failings and successes, in spreading anarchist principles or even inspiring projects where people feel less dependent on the state, self-organized, horizontal, mutual aid, etc.. not necessarily revolutionary or outright anarchist.. but where people have freed themselves from the state's brain grip, even a little bit. Or if you've ever fomented a full-scale revolution, please share any tips.

I'd definitely prefer to hear actual anecdotes, which is where my own original answer may have failed since it wasn't born of actual experience.
asked Mar 11, 2013 by formyinformation (2,400 points)

2 Answers

+3 votes
while i reject your premise (spreading anarchist principles), your goal of spreading the word through good works is what critical mass, food not bombs, and free radio projects (among many other smaller diy projects like bike libraries, prison support groups, etc) are about. well, one of the things they're about.
answered Mar 11, 2013 by dot (50,780 points)
My response would be, what does living your life the best you can have to do with smashing capitalism and the state? I still don't see what's problematic about, for ex., making anarchist ideas accessible and free to 'normal' people  (like a zine explaining how wage labor is exploitative). To use slavery as an analogy, is it unacceptable proselytizing to convince your fellow slaves that slavery is not just? Shouldn't there be am effort to create critical dialogue?

Do you want anarchism to spread but you feel the only way to spread it is through living in line with your beliefs? And looking out for situations that other people can't ignore, like ingrate said? Is that because you don't believe anarchism can ever have mass appeal? Or just not now?

I often sat at a free anarchist lit table in NYC and was always surprised at how many 'normal' people are interested, receptive, and ready to read about anarchism.

When I say "spreading anarchist principles", I really mean, I dunno - I'm trying not to abuse insurrectionist terminology, but, "generalize the human strike"? "Spread the social war"? I don't necessarily mean going up to somebody and giving them a pamphlet on why being an anarchist is good and why they should become one; I mean any activity that encourages people to come into conflict with the social order.
Knock.knock. "hello, I'm comrade ingrate and this is comrade rice boy.  We're from the tendency for autonomy mutual aid and arming desires: the anarchists! Can we interest you in some photocopied literature about our goals? Well,  really less about our goals than our hatred of the existant..."  :)
ingrate, while not quite the same, a friend of mine participated in some black bloc actions which were of course demonized in the media, so him and a few others went a-knockin', presumably saying something similar to your script, claiming responsibilty and explaining why they did what they did. They were pretty well received as I recall.
RB - the jargon (aka terminology) is pretty much my point. those aren't activities - they're interpretations of practices. so what are actions that you (one) would take to "encourage people to come into conflict with the social order"? does that mean teaching (ie convincing people to look at things differently through talking)? or does it mean breaking windows (convincing people to look at things differently through activity)? or something else? what would work to convince people, and why do you think they need to be convinced? isn't the issue that the system convinces people of itself? and if it doesn't, then how could you/we do it?
FMI - mostly i want anarchy to exist. i don't care what people believe (and i am unconvinced about the relationship of belief to behavior). i don't think it's my place to monitor what people believe, i just know that my friends and i can't live the lives we want to. and in general i think i prefer a world where there are more options for diversity and flexibility than there are in our current system.
i think that it can be a good exercise to talk to people who don't agree with us, or who agree on certain very limited things for certain (usually very short) periods of time, but to have that agreement be understood as crucial, or even important, means a fucked up emphasis and a perversion of what i think is important.
0 votes
If nobody minds me jumping on an old thread again, absolutely not. State funding is completely antithetical to the values of anti-statsm and autonomy. If you want to join the welfare state go ahead, but don't you dare call that anarchy. However, community gardening projects  are a good idea, but that's just me.
answered Mar 24, 2013 by solid_black (140 points)
I'd be willing to bet that many of the things you have to do on a daily basis are antithetical to anarchism. It's about using that situation as a jump-off to engage people in creating more anarchistic projects.

..but you didn't quite answer the real question?
Do you really think so? Do you even know who I am?  I have my entire life, sacrificed the privileges taken for granted by most for the sake of not taking part in an immoral government. this has prevented me from driving, going to college, working for corporations(no W2), and many other things that would require joining the"good guys"

As far as your question is concerned, I did say that community gardening projects are a good idea. They can help us to gain independence if only one more step.

But the minute you have government involved, you're asking the government to aid in the cause of anarchism. And why would that be in their interest?

but if you want to spread anarchism, spread knowledge of anarchism and work towards autonomy.

If you want to know more about not participating I suggest you watch the documentary,  ungrip by Ben Stewart.