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How do you respond when people tell you to conform or just leave?

+3 votes
For example I've had people tell me, "If you're an anarchist, and think that government is corrupt, why don't you just leave, and go somewhere else? Stop using our money, eating our food, and filling up our schools." I usually get that a lot. The reason people tell me this is because I say "education is indoctrination, our food is gmo, and our money is debt". What do you think?

edited for tags
asked Sep 7, 2013 by anonymous
edited Jul 15, 2014 by dot

4 Answers

+4 votes
some options:

"other places have similar problems."

"is that the best response you have to these problems i'm pointing out? 'cause i'm talking about problems for everyone, not just for me..."

"it is depressing, isn't it?"

"what about the packers this year?"
answered Sep 7, 2013 by dot (49,970 points)
+2 votes
If I'm being serious, my response is typically that capitalism and the state and hierarchical social structures (and the various symptoms and expressions of this social order) are so widespread that it's literally impossible to escape them. You can live in conflict with them or hide from them at varying levels of extremity, but you can't just leave.
answered Sep 7, 2013 by Rice Boy (8,590 points)
+3 votes
Following 9/11 and the "move to Afghanistan if you don't like it" wave of patriotism, my response was always something along the lines of "this is my home, and I do love it, and what I hate are thick-necks like you blindly following leaders." I had the benefit of having grown up in the area I lived, which is not the case of most residents, but even if I wasn't, as both dot and Rice Boy elude to, we can't just "go somewhere else."

Capitalism is expansive, and it will encroach upon us even if we try to drop out. Not that Ted K is a great example of an anarchist, but to the extent that he is an anarchist, that is exactly what he tried to do, and then as civilization encroached upon his life "somewhere else" he got mad, and acted as he saw necessary and appropriate.

And anyway, why should we leave? We are here too, and capitalism and society ask way more of us as individuals than we ever ask of them as institutions. I think that deserves our ire, our hatred, and our attacks while we stand whatever ground we can strategically hold.
answered Sep 9, 2013 by ingrate (20,520 points)
Upvoted on purely emotional grounds.
+1 vote
"So even though your institutions are illegitimate, you're saying it's everyone else that should leave?"

You can always challenge those assumptions by asking "How does that qualify as being more anarchistic?" Disengaging from the struggles against state and capital is not necessarily what it means to be an anarchist. That's not really what anarchists do (not in every case at least), nor is it always a desirable option for every anarchist.

Also, with this kind of mythological thinking, e.g. the rebel disappearing into the distance of "somewhere else", it's not always the perceived malcontent that becomes isolated. The communities left behind risk becoming an insulated ship of self-assured fools, blindly following leaders (like ingrate said), minus the creative input of shunned or otherwise marginalized anti-state/anti-capitalist intellectuals. Who knows what the end results would be for such a place lacking the social influence of these anti-political renegades.

Edited for clarification.
answered Sep 9, 2013 by skitter (3,910 points)
edited Sep 10, 2013 by skitter
That's not really what anarchists do, as it is not always a viable option for everyone.

do anarchists only do what everyone can do?
that doesn't sound like me...
I meant not "every anarchist", sorry if I was unclear (see my edit). I was suggesting more the opposite, that the subjective experience of individual anarchists ought to be, and often times are, self determined and do not require one to "leave" or disengage from their struggles. Doubtless there is something to be said about such characteristics, as well as the need to either pull back or engage statist/capitalist ideologies and institutions. Yet it is still my understanding that it's characterized more by the latter then former. So is it not true then, that to a certain extent, to be an anarchist, is to stand in opposition against these things?

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