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Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

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+2 votes
is any topic or idea irrelevant to anarchist thought, discussion, or consideration?  what are the borders of anarchy?  is it a pragmatic division, based solely on how interesting we think a topic is?  it is a doctrinal or disciplinary one where its just unnecessary or somehow 'wrong' to apply anarchic thought and consideration to certain concepts, perhaps 'ice cream' or 'the fundamental ruleset of the universe'?  is it a combination of the two?

can you make anarchy out of a cocktail glass in a bar, similar to sartre's existentialism?  or is it a field navigational tool like using landmarks, something only  applicable and useful in certain situations?  genuinely curious as to what yall think, i might even try to answer myself, if i can work out what i actually think
by (2.1k points)
i think i can relate almost anything to almost anything else....given enough thought and creativity!
define what you mean by anarchy?
@george costanza; no
thought i should probably elaborate on my last comment, since this is a public forum and not a monument to my odd comedy.

the reason i say no is because the question is a form of 'define anarchy'.  to define means to limit and contain, so to 'define anarchy' you have to say what is inside the box and what is outside the box of anarchy.  so if there is to be a discussion on this topic, i dont feel at the moment up to the job of 'define anarchy', and i doubt if i ever will, so i left that up to the whomstever wants to have a go.
skyline....sorry for using this place as a monument to my odd comedy (i love that line!)....

but to elaborate...yes, i can see relating just about anything to anarchy....but i don't know if i understand the question in a way i could give much more of a response.

1 Answer

+3 votes

I think almost everything can be looked at from an anarchist perspective (or through an anarchist lens?), be it the computer I am writing this on, my dog who is eating a dog biscuit in the next room, the cocktail glasses in the bar where I had a beer after work (the beer I had after work, fuck, work itself). I am wary however of saying that everything relates to anarchy.

Anarchy, as I understand it, is a way of interacting with the world, and a way of understanding the relations between things. It can be helpful when I think, "why do I go to work?" or "why is Donald Trump such a terrible human?" or "why did I feel like I needed a beer after work?" It tells me a story. That story makes sense to me, and it also informs how I choose to engage with work, Donald Trump, and after-work beers.

On the other hand, I look up from the computer I am writing this on at a framed picture of a nun hula hooping, and that doesn't have anything to do with anarchy. Certainly, I might find appreciation for a picture making light of Catholocism, and which shows a woman of the cloth in a religion whose mainstream is virulently anti-woman transgressing her role as a serious devotee of the father, son and holy spook (but really, aren't all the Abrahamic religions anti-woman, really?) That might give me some joy, sure, but mostly I like the composition of the picture. Same with the one of "Mel's Diner" above it. I don't view or relate to those based on an anarchist aesthetic, but based on my own aesthetics. Granted, as an anarchist, that is an anarchist aesthetic, but....

IDK, does any of this make sense?

Post script addition: I think about the awkward crimethinc. propaganda vis a vis Fighting for Our Lives or To Change Everything, and that effort to make anarchy relatable to my normal next door neighbors who have kids in college and degrees and jobs and vote: "Did you ever have a potluck? DING!DING! Anarchy!" "Have you ever jaywalked or driven above the speed limit but stayed safe? Or maybe ignored something your boss told you? RING!RING!RING! You might be an anarchist!"

Don't get me wrong, when Fighting for Our Lives came out over 15 years ago, at a time when North American anarchy was in a different place (and my relationship to it was also different), I was very excited. It was a staple of lit tables I did, and was, to this day, probably one of the most popular things I've ever tried to give away for free. Which is all to say it has(had?) its place, but that to equate everything with anarchy feels like a gross oversimplification or potentially a slipping in to ideology that makes me feel very nervous.

by (22.1k points)
edited by
Nihilist - I think you are asking the right question, and what you are getting at is something I didn't feel like I could encompass in this answer.

Anarchy is one of those words that means lots of things to lots of people and varies from situation to situation. I do think anarchy can describe a state of being sans law, authority, etc. Like a homeostasis maybe?

I don't live in that world. I live in a world where I have a shit job and a shit boss, I live in a world where I need to be aware of decisions that a businessman turned politician makes based on his moods, Where nuclear waste is seeping slowly towards one of the defining bodies of water in my bioregion (sorry to talk in those terms, they are gross, but they are also how I understand where I live, as opposed to saying Washington State).

Given those factors, anarchy for me is like a particular prescription of eye glasses. It doesn't do anything by itself, but it helps me look at the world and see things in a particular light. Without anarchy there would still be bricks and Starbucks windows, but with my anarchy eyes, I see the relation between the brick and the Starbucks window very differently.

I dunno if this answers what you were asking? If not, tell me and I will try again.
i really like the way you put that last paragraph (in the comment above).

similar to what you said, anarchy for me is primarily about how i relate to the world around me; and how i see others relating. the hierarchical institutions, laws, etc, that anarchism assumedly seeks to destroy, are not likely going anywhere in my lifetime; so anarchy can only take shape in my life on that individual/relational level.