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+5 votes
Since I've began learning about and identifying with anarchism I've become obsessed with considering how my daily decisions contribute to capitalism.  I work a Union job that provides me with a typical suburban life for me and my family. We live in a house, bank owned at the time, shop at chain grocery stores, drive cars, etc. etc. I live paycheck to paycheck like most wage slaves but I do realize that I'm better off than many many people. I often feel guilty about this. It seems that my life epitomizes the typical statist/capitalist American. As I said I feel bad about this but what are my other options, give all of my possessions away and live in a campground with my family?

How do you make daily decisions as an anarchist? When you're forced to make a purchase like food do you try to stay away from places like Walmart? Do you shop at a store where they employ union workers? Does it even matter if the workers are unionized or not?
by (210 points)
great question. and the type of question i entertain almost daily.
same here. i hope to give a little more thought and write up an (my) answer.

2 Answers

+3 votes

the bottom line, for me, is to be very aware of what my desires, motivations/intentions, and priorities are for my life. and to let go of the illusions i grew up with. many years ago i got clear on what some of those were, and i made some dramatic changes to my life in order to start realizing them. none of what i did to change my life is going to do anything to change "the world", end capitalism, destroy the state, or whatever. it merely has reduced (pretty dramatically) the extent to which i must interact with the institutions i despise, and therefore it has reduced their impact on my life. and i am much happier as a result.

but then i personally like (and strive for) simplicity in my life. most people seem to crave complexity, or at least that is what their behavior leads me to believe (despite, in many cases, words to the contrary).

if it is important to you to support union workers, then by all means, shop only at union stores. (i'm not sure how that really supports them in any way other than "moral" support or some abstract sense of solidarity, but no matter). if you hate walmart, don't shop there (again, how much this really matters to them or their success, is probably negligible). the point here is, do what you want to do because it is what you want to do (because it meets your own needs/desires); don't have illusions about how it is going to change anything other than that moment. voting with one's dollars can be personally satisfying, but i don't see it changing anything about capitalism. eg; green capitalism is still capitalism.

my suggestion would be to take serious stock of your life, and do your best to identify what your true (authentic?) needs and desires are - not those that have been sold to you/shoved down your throat by the institutions that run civilization (capital, the state, culture/society, academia, science(tm), public relations, etc). then, decide what you can do to (realistically) to bring your life more in line with what you really want (and need).  

self-sufficiency is a huge factor in my own detachment from civilized institutions. everything i can do on my own to meet my own needs/desires, provides me greater freedom from that which i hate. i have no illusions that i will ever be 100% self-sufficient, but i continue to try to get ever closer to that pipe dream, within my own constraints.

if you limit the scope of your pursuits to your own life (and the lives of those you choose to share yours with), you can avoid a huge amount of pain, guilt, disappointment, disillusionment, etc. some call that selfish; i call it practical.

now i'm rambling...

by (12.4k points)

"Asker, you're right, we do not have the power unless we unite.  But if enough people can come together, people have the power to change things.  "

This isn't what I said at all... there's no change to the relationship between worker and boss (or customer and store) that would be desirable or worth working at.

"This isn't what I said at all"  I know/knew that.  I was trying to get back to the boycott thing which I know, now, is unacceptable to most here.  

I know that we strengthen the system as we participate in it, but for most people I know, I do not see a way of avoiding the trap they/we are in.  The system/capitalism is about control, and by and large, control is accomplished by keeping the masses in debt--forcing them to work, most of the time long hours for little as compared to the amount they need to be debt free.

It seems to me, in one way, we are saying the same thing: that is we try not to participate with the system however we can.  I would try and advocate large organized movements of non participation in order to slap the power holders in the face (although it will not change the relationship of worker and boss); others here, as I understand, try to limit their participation as much as possible as individuals.


I did just order: The Great Anarchists: Ideas and Teachings of Seven Major Thinkers by Eltzbacher.  Maybe that will be little better introduction, as I continue to read the threads here also.

@sas: a couple thoughts:

1. you seem to feel somehow "responsible" for helping "the workers" in their cruddy situation with jobs and debt. if your objective is not to make corporations "better", then what do you ultimately think some mass movement can accomplish (that is not some typical reform [which clearly change very little if anything], eg a minimum wage increase)? if you think you can appeal to institutional power to eradicate itself, you are as delusional as the commies that think the state will simply wither away.

2. you seem to think my ideas are worth "throwing out there". and you seem to think a mass movement is necessary to bring about meaningful change.  how about this: an unorganized mass movement of individuals detaching/isolating from the institutions of power and control (rather than appealing to them to be nicer) and taking direct control of their own time, sustenance, relationships and pleasure?  and for those who so desire, acting in ways to destroy those institutions more directly (though with enough people(tm) detached, would there even be such a need?). that is the only kind of movement, other than a good bowel movement, that i can get with.

i am only mostly joking.

from a bob black interview on @news:

"There is nothing more divisive than an insistence on unity."

'you seem to feel somehow "responsible" for helping "the workers" in their cruddy situation with jobs and debt.'  This is true.  I'm not sure why.  I guess I just don't think that the those with the power should just keep getting away with fn people.

"how about this: an unorganized mass movement of individuals detaching/isolating from the institutions of power and control (rather than appealing to them to be nicer). . ."  Now, that is a good idea!  Of course that would mean for the mass movement to stop buying from them--right?  Otherwise it (the institutions of power would just keep going on and we would not really be isolated from them (LOL).

No, but I did not think of it that way--the way you propose--an anarchist movement of self-reliant communities?  I think that such a movement is possible.  And it is a good point.

+1 vote
There's no style of being an employee or consumer that you could adopt that would make you less imbricated in capitalism. (I'm answering first in these terms since that's how you posed the question, even though there could be other types of daily decisions).

There might well be styles of consuming that, for example, make one feel more ethical, but this is obviously an aspect of marketing. An "ethical commodity" is worth more b/c you feel good about purchasing it.

In just war theory there's often been the idea that your actions in war have their most serious/important effects on you yourself. Your moral character, your eternal soul, etc., suffers when you commit an atrocity (never mind how many people die). It strikes me that this is terribly relevant to any question of a possible ethical consumption, since no matter what products you buy, the deaths still pile up.

That's why, for me, it's unacceptable to engage in any form of work or consumption that appears to justify itself. It would be morally dangerous to console yourself, or to imagine your decisions in this context have some ameliorating effect. Better to go on feeling guilty, than to assuage the guilt via a different type of (equally pernicious) buying.

Here's my idea, in relation to the activities you bring up (working + shopping) but also more generally, as a tactic for living in a world of permanent war, and keeping yourself together, whole, perceptive:

1.Cultivate irony. Shield yourself a little from the things that are asked of you and don't invest yourself in them fully but keep your distance. By keeping your distance you create room within yourself to think and feel.

Equally, you should practice this kind of ironic shielding in relation to proposed "solutions," and political programs, and to reaction and criticism in general. An incomplete critique is worse than no critique, and is usually shallower and less interesting.

2.As the world contracts, open your eyes wider. Social control becomes tighter and more absolute, but as it does so it can never make the whole world boring and gray.  Even in the most intensely policed metropolis there is so much to see and think about and understand, so do that. It's a legitimate pleasure and maybe the last one left.

(if this sounds like advice, please bear in mind that it's intended more for myself than for an unwilling audience)
by (7.9k points)
edited by

"It strikes me that this is terribly relevant to any question of a possible ethical consumption, since no matter what products you buy, the deaths still pile up."

I have thought about how I strengthen the system as I participate in it many times.  I mean I have to pay the bills.  I get up and buy the gas for my pickup, drive diesel consuming truck for a job, eat fast food if I need a quick fix, etc.  I work for a large company which pretty much sees their employees as expendable if they are not efficient enough for them.  I mean how do you live if you don't participate in the system? And how do you live with yourself knowing that your actions only strengthen the system for those making the profits?

Anyway, I like your advice even if you said it was meant for you.  The last line: "there is so much to see and think about and understand, so do that. It's a legitimate pleasure and maybe the last one left."

Of course your day to day activities strengthen the structures that you loathe. But it doesn't follow that non-participation would be materially significant -- your participation isn't required, really. If you want to withdraw entirely, be a hermit and subsist on simple broths and wear a hair shirt or something, that's fine and you might find many things about it that benefit you/your own mind + body. You might feel wonderful about having clean hands (or you might find that it makes little difference). But either way, why should anyone else care?

It seems like you're kind of intent on thinking about this in terms of personal guilt, which could be highly relevant. But if your goal is simply to assuage it, rather than to act on/make use of it, it seems like you might do better to become a Catholic, rather than worrying about radical politics.

SAS, as people have already said, these are questions that we all struggle with--the question of what action to take in a social context that a) is too big and pervasive for any of us to have much of an impact, b) has been created to contain the kinds of resistance that we recognize and desire, c) just keeps getting worse.

many of the people here (not all, but  most) are here because they appreciate that the site is open to skepticism about (among other things) trying to get people to act, or believing that we know what other people should do. many of us, including me, have come through activism and organizing, and now see those activities as both condescending and useless (although they can be helpful to the individuals involved, just not to the populations that they are rhetorically aimed at).

perhaps that is helpful information? or maybe not.

I appreciate all the comments.  Since I've joined the sight, I've been reading a few of, what is labeled by the editor of the book, "The Great Anarchists."  A few of them call for a revolution in thought in the minds of the common people, and so the purpose of the so-called anarchists revolutionary is to start by trying to enlighten the minds of others: "The sole requirement is to convince men that the general welfare demands the change" (Godwin); :If once men are convinced that justice commands the change, then will 'despotism fall of itself by its very uselessness'" (Proudhon); [revolution not by insurrection] "but starts not from this but from men's discontent with themselves. . .a lifting of individuals" (Stirner); "a spreading of correct views about politics, economics, and philosophical questions of every kind, among the masses. . ." (Bakunin).  

Anyway, although they lived in different times, it seems that these thinkers would advocate our greatest dent to the system would be in educating the masses about the system's oppressive nature--robbing them of their greater happiness.  That is they would emphasize the greatest work is to transform minds, not so much of an emphasis on voting with dollars as I have thought.  That's what I get for reading.  Anyway still wading through Kropotkin.
There's a bit in Heinrich von Kleist's essay, "On the Gradual Construction of Thoughts During Speech," where he says:

"...in former times you were advised never to talk about anything that you do not already understand. In those days, however, you spoke with the pretentious purpose of enlightening others -- I want you to speak with the reasonable purpose of enlightening yourself, and it is possible that each of these rules of conduct, different as they are, will apply in certain cases. The French say, <<l'appetit vient en mangent>> and this maxim holds true when paired into: <<l'idee vient en parlant.>>"

It seems like that by assigning yourself the goal of 'educating the masses' you not only assume that you already know what you're talking about (how would this be possible? does saying how the future anarchist society will be, in terms of the "correct politics, economics, etc" really do justice to the idea of freedom at all?) and that the people you aim to educate do not (lots of problems w/ this too).

But even more importantly, you deprive yourself of the option of thinking about these possibilities in the first place. Intelligence + knowledge aren't things that you possess and then "distribute", they are like a little fire that is kept alive when you discuss seriously w/ another.

This is one of the many, many problems that arises from the classical anarchists' reliance on, and complete immersion in, enlightenment thought. You should certainly continue to read them if you have the interest, but understand that they aren't the final conclusions of anarchist thought at all.

I hope it doesn't feel tiring to have all your suggestions get shot down by us grumps, especially since we're so unwilling to give a clear alternative. :)

what asker said, but also, honestly, you can't trust any book called "The Great Anarchists."

and it doesn't even have voltairine de cleyre in it! yeesh! ;)

I was"not" thinking of myself as a speaker for anarchist thought at all.  I was still thinking about the above discussion about boycotts and voting with dollars.  I was simply moved by the ancient writers of anarchist thought of appealing to reason.  It does seem strange; I mean most people I work with either never use reason or use it very sparingly.  

I don't mind being shot down in conversation.  There is a proverb: Folly before wisdom.  I'm learning.  The only way to test my thoughts is to test them.
Right, I was reacting to your paraphrase of Godwin, Proudhon, et al. They no doubt could have been described as spokesmen for anarchist thought (the problem isn't one of expertise/experience, but with the idea of a spokesperson tout court).

Anyway let me try and crystallize my earlier answer:

I said that there's no way of fully justifying the decisions that you make within capitalism because there'e really really no style of everyday life you can adopt that does justify itself. The "correct" praxis is irremediably blocked, so we just have to kind of muddle along.

For me the answer to this question is ultimately about orienting my thoughts/feelings/activity in relation to a certain ethical/political horizon that I can't exactly name or envision but which helps me be clear about what I despise and how I survive it. Including, especially, the ways that those things are always with me whether I like it or not. (you can see this is much different than imagining that I can "reduce" or "evade" anything).
I gotcha asker.

"The law, which first made its appearance as a collection of customs which serve for the maintenance of society, is now merely an instrument to keep up the exploitation and domination of the industrious masses by wealthy idlers.  It has now no longer any civilizing mission; its only mission is to protect exploitation." --Kropotkin, somewhere around 1890.

Still applicable to today.

"It has now no longer any civilizing mission; its only mission is to protect exploitation"

yeah, that sounds a bit contradictory to me. protecting (and expanding) exploitation is very much a civilizing mission. 

". . .exploitation is very much a civilizing mission. "

It depends which end of the civilization you are on.  One person's profit or cheap goods usually comes from the exploitation of another.  Maybe you haven't heard: 90% of the world's wealth is in the hands of 1% of the population while the rest of us fight over the leftovers.

stillaslave, i can only understand your response above if you think of civilization as a positive, which would make you a minority on this site. even then i'm not sure i get your meaning.

I think you originally misunderstood Kropotkin's meaning of "civilization."  I'm sure he meant that law originally was intended to make the followers more humane (more civilized), but as the leaders began to gain power, they past laws to protect certain monopolies, the elite, the exploitation of the poor, etc.

I'm sure a group of anarchists living together could be called a civilization in Kropotkin's sense.  I think you are equating civilization with any society based on an authoritarian model which piles up the laws.  So I guess it's about how you define what a civilization is.

"which would make you a minority on this site"

Anyway, I am not afraid of being a minority.  I've been reading Red Cloud's story lately.  The ancient cultures of the Native Americans is/are very interesting.  I'n not sure if they are considered anarchists, but their way of life (some of it very cruel by our standards) was based more on a kind of honor--not many laws and none written down--yet many were very happy within it.  Many of the stronger tribes lived in a natural, Mother Nature's paradise.

i think you misunderstand how much people care about kropotkin's definition of civilization (since we have our own). perhaps rather than guessing you could ask? perhaps not.

no one said you should care about being a minority, i'm merely trying to give you more information so that you understand what other people are saying, which might allow you to resist saying condescending things like "Maybe you haven't heard:" about really simplistic factoids.

as for your analysis of indians, various tribes, and a "natural, mother nature's paradise," i am not capable of responding appropriately, and so will not attempt to, except to say that people romanticizing indians has been part of the genocide of indian peoples, not separate from it.

Define civilization however you want, but there has already been a common definition the rest of the world has already accepted.

Condescending?  Whatever!  If I care about what other people are saying I will try and respond or ask questions.  Other wise, you can know that I don't care.

Part of the genocide?  Yeh, I can't even comment on a book without being blamed for something?  

There's a lot that could be said about the way you and Kropotkin are using the word civilization.

1.Words can have multiple senses!

2.In fact loads of people have used that particular word in other senses (Freud, Adorno, etc.) Not to mention that the version associated with anarcho-primitivism, which I think dot is alluding to, is actually consistent with the scholarly view. If you look at the wikipedia page for civilization it defines it more in (what I assume is) dot's way:

 civilization (US) or civilisation (UK) is any complex society characterized by urban developmentsymbolic communication forms (typically, writing systems), and a perceived separation from and domination over the natural environment.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8] Civilizations are intimately associated with and often further defined by other socio-politico-economic characteristics, including centralization, the domestication of both humans and other organisms, specialization of labor, culturally ingrained ideologies of progress and supremacismmonumental architecturetaxation, societal dependence upon farming as an agricultural practice, and expansionism.[2][3][5][7][8]

3.The idea that civilization straightforwardly means advancement and refinement in comparison with barbarian savagery, still has some currency but it's totally outmoded as a way of talking about history.

4.Why civilization might not be a good thing (e.g. for me, dot, or Adorno) is a complex question - one that we can't address unless we're clear about what we're even referring to.


But maybe it's more to the point to note that if Kropotkin considers that the law once used to have a 'useful' purpose, then his critique of the law is wildly incomplete. (I actually didn't know that about him, so interesting to be made aware of it).

The reason I say this is because in the formulation you're quoting, his claim is just that the law is a problem because it works to perpetuate economic exploitation. While this is true in some respects, it's not adequate to just say that, because systems of prohibition, punishment, and correction, are very much a problem even when that isn't their purpose. 

One of the things I find most compelling about Foucault's book Discipline and Punish, is that he's able to account for a series of changes in how punishment was administered without attributing it to an economic or otherwise material need. Systems of punishment have their own rationality, their own needs, and inertia. (Not independent of capitalism but also not strictly determined by it.) Do you think that it would make it any better if you were in jail but you were assured that it was for reasons not to do with class  - based economic exploitation?

"1.Words can have multiple senses!"


"Do you think that it would make it any better if you were in jail but you were assured that it was for reasons not to do with class  - based economic exploitation?"

What is the point to this question?  Being in prison for doing something immoral or hurtful to another or being in prison for  disobedience to an economic rule?  What is better?  Would I rather be in jail for doing something hurtful or for simply trying to work out a lively hood albeit against the law?  

The point of it is in the paragraph above: if the only reason you think that the law is a problem is because it supports economic exploitation, then you haven't yet made a thoroughgoing critique of the law.

Here's something to consider: when the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by the Allies, the majority of the prisoners were nursed back to health and set free. However, those that had been detained for homosexuality were generally relocated to a regular prison, as homosexuality was then regarded by the Allied governments as being ***immoral,*** (highlighting that word for yr benefit) and remained a crime pretty much everywhere.

A relationship between this prohibition and the economy may exist, but I think you'll probably agree that it's a subtle and highly mediated one. My own opinion is that if you wanted to understand why this happened you could find more immediate reasons.

To be extra clear, I might repeat my initial question: is the information that "this isn't about surplus value" reassuring in any way to a man who's in prison for being gay? To me it seems instead like a confirmation that he's been transferred to a place where totalitarianism has a different style + rationality, but maintains many of the same arbitrary restrictions.
is there really a discussion going on here about what reasons for being imprisoned are more or less desirable/acceptable? (holy shit!) or am i missing the lines to read between?

" One person's profit or cheap goods usually comes from the exploitation of another.  Maybe you haven't heard: 90% of the world's wealth is in the hands of 1% of the population while the rest of us fight over the leftovers."

@sas, i am sure glad you pointed that out. otherwise i would never have known to be a good, progressive 99-percenter. oh wait, that's you.

funkyanarchy: I brought it up as a rhetorical device, aimed at encouraging stillaslave to consider another perspective. in retrospect it didn't work... (obviously I think imprisonment for any reason is a problem!)
asker: i got the rhetorical nature, but i guess i missed the intent. thanks for clarifying.
I have enjoyed reading some of the early anarchist philosophies and reading some of the threads here.  Also, what I've read on the Spanish Anarchist revolution, to me, is very interesting.  Anyway, I get the point of your question now.  When you asked, "What would be better?" that kind've through me.  I was in jail once when I was a teenager for a short time, and I could not stand it; nothing is worse than being in jail/prison to me.

I am certainly not a "pure" anarchist.  Like I wrote, I am only intrigued by the philosophy.  I'm not ready to condone the removal of all laws, but I am certainly ready to see the collectives which were very successful via the Spanish Revolution for a short time--until they were put down by capitalists--make a come back.

I have to get my notes, but some of the early anarchists made the point of how the piling up of laws bind the imagination.  Now I believe that is so true!  When obedience becomes the measure of morality, we begin to build the stupid society--which many of us--I assume realize.  Not sure if any here care too much about morality, but, if you do, as I'm sure you know, one's morality cannot be borrowed from another by obedience: not by obeying God, or the state, or mom, or any other.  We are responsible for our own actions.  The weight of responsibility is always on each of as individuals.  I write this because, this is what I learned from the anarchists.  When the law or another is telling us what to do (pull the trigger when we are told) there is nor reason to think anything through.  

So, the exploitation becomes easier for the oppressor as we let others write the laws for us, as we go to God/holy book for the answers, as we just obey whoever we think the authority is.  The point is that if we want to be truly moral human beings, the weight of our moral decisions we must accept upon ourselves without allowing some authority to usurp the responsibility for us so that that authority can tell us what to do.  That is what I like about anarchism--at least what I've learned from some.

We cannot look to the law giver; we must look to ourselves.
sas: i am one of those who finds morality dangerous. but i am curious about something in your comment. first you talk about how morality cannot come from outside oneself (in which case i might question the use of the term), and then you immediately talk about personal responsibility. my question is: what is the connection between morality and responsibility (in your mind)?
That is a big question, so I need a little time, but I like how some of the early anarchists wrote that the end or goal of their philosophy was "justice."  Morality, to "me," is about doing the humane thing and not wasting what we have while we are here.  More later.
“i am one of those who finds morality dangerous.”

You are the first I have ever heard say/write that. It seems to me, that you have a point, that morality is/would be dangerous if one looks to another: like God, the state, a book, the life of a corporation, or other institution, etc. We know that a lot of cruel and crazy things have been done in the name of all listed. Because we live as beings who's knowledge is always incomplete (less than perfect, many times not knowing what the answer is) what is moral for one is not moral for another.

For example: Because Red Cloud was a Sioux warrior, what was moral and honorable for him would be an unimaginable immoral act for me. Red Cloud, as a Sioux warrior, within his culture and his mind, when he would cut off the penises of his enemies and stuff them down their throats, while they were still alive, was simply doing what all braves were expected to do. To me, Red Cloud was a great leader and did what he had to do for his people—within the context of who he was, then, in history, he was moral.

For me, now, to do something like what Red Cloud would do to his enemies is totally crazy and immoral. I don't think I even have any enemies in that sense. My morality is based on what the people around me might need from me: my wife, kids, grand kids and my colleagues at work—my community—that is, being thoughtful of those around me including myself.

Morality is subjective and it is not. That is, if one takes the responsibility for her/his community upon her/himself (as I wrote above) and thinks things through and acts upon what she/he knows, and does the best she/he can do, no one can judge her or him. But if one does not think things through in a thoughtful manner and becomes a danger to her/himself and/or others that one is, in my mind, immoral.

If one has the capacity to be moral and does not exercise that capacity, she/he is immoral: that is, not think, not investigate, not try, etc. However, every one, I believe, has the right to live their own life as long as they are not a danger to others. So in my mind, if someone wants to be selfish and never think about others, it's their right; that is alright as long as they are not a danger to others, but they cannot be called moral—neither are they criminal, but, for someone to be moral, in my mind, they must care about their community including the weakest among them. It is one thing to exercise your rights; it is another thing to be moral.
so, as i understand you, your morality implies social responsibility; which is a definitively liberal/progressive position. is that why you use the handle you do?

i don't intend that to be "mean", i'm honestly curious.
so SaS, it's possible to be neutral, neither moral nor immoral, yes? (edit: by this i mean, according to SaS's system, this is possible.)

and did you use "criminal" toward the end of your post, as synonymous with immoral? how would you define criminal?

just to add, most people on this site use "moral" and "morality" to refer to something that is imposed from without (as you allude to in your initial paragraph). many people (not all) here use "ethics" for the internal value system. and i would argue that criminal refers to someone who breaks laws, and is therefore not a derogatory term when used by anarchists.

just some thoughts.
I am definitely a progressive.

I found my notes. Godwin: “How is it to be decided whether an object that may be used for the benefit of man shall be my property or yours? There is only one answer: according to justice.” Proudhon: “this inequality, this iniquity in exchange, is the mightiest cause of poverty. Every error in the commutative justice is an immolation of the laborer, a transfusion of a man's blood into another man's body.” The only reason for any law according to Kropotkin is “establishing the best conditions for realizing the greatest happiness of humanity.”

All of the early anarchist philosophers who I have read applied their teachings to social justice.

The handle is my reflection of my situation and the situation of most working people in our society—whether they realize it or not. One person's work is another's profit. Anyway, I am happy, but I am also very lucky.
Dot, “neither moral nor immoral”

I think in order for anyone to be happy there must be a degree of freedom to do what ever one wants without having to answer to anyone. But neither should anyone be a nuisance to others without good reason.

“criminal” on this web-site was/is, I guess, a poor choice of words. When I wrote criminal I meant actions which would be considered a nuisance to most in society.

'"moral" and "morality" to refer to something that is imposed from without'

I understand completely. Participating on atheists web-sites as well in the past, I understand the whole concept of morality as something created by “others.” That is why I wrote above that morality is something subjective and it is not. That is, it is subjective to one's historical position in their particular society, but for one to be moral, to me, they must care about justice in their community. But as I wrote above, it is alright for people to be amoral (neither moral or a nuisance) as their right to be free.
if you are really interested in anarchy, you may want to expand your readings to anarchist (and other) writers who are critical of progressivism, liberalism and leftism. that is where things got really interesting for me (a former leftist/progressive who broke free maybe 15 years ago). if you cling to progressivism, you will find a great deal of contention on this site. which can be one of the best ways to add meaningfully to your pool of ideas. if you are open-minded, that is. most progressives that have passed through here are (or seem, based on interactions) completely closed-minded and rigidly dogmatic.

i suggest some exploration at theanarchistlibrary.org. you could browse topics like "post-left", "progress", "liberalism", etc.

edited to add: moving away from leftism/progressivism does NOT mean, in an anarchist context, moving to "the right". the whole left/right (false) dichotomy is one of the things many anarchists try to get away from. the term "post-left" is applicable (more so than, say, post-right) only because of the historical ties (which many progressives seem to want to perpetuate) between anarchy and the left.
fa, I will continue to read.  Gotta finish what I'm reading now though.
stillaslave, I think you might be interested in Nietzsche's book, The Genealogy of Morals, as a way of thinking about the ideas you're alluding to w/ your commentary about Red Cloud. (The book has to do with the idea that there are 'fashions' in morality, that change for various reasons without finding a firm foundation ever. It's kind of like what you were saying, but I think might help you develop this line of thought more)

Asker, Nietzsche

I have read Nietzsche in the past, but it has been a long time--at least 30 years ago.  Since it is a copout to look to someone else for morality, and to some, morality is just an idea which has been made up, it is subjective in that sense, but I think the idea of being moral, being true to what is right, good and beautiful to one's self and her/his community is important.  I will get around to the suggested reads.