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+3 votes
In various places on the site, people have mentioned not believing in revolution. Yet many people seem to conceive of anarchism as a revolutionary position. In fact, very many of the questions people ask here (how would you deal with rape, etc) are framed in terms of "after the revolution."

How would you explain a non-revolutionary anarchism to someone who has only considered it in terms of before and after?

(To be clear, I'm not talking about gradual transition, which has its own question already.)
by (20.4k points)
It's not circular. One day I wish anarchists will drop the term revolutionary.

awesome question!

i'm not ready to post an answer, but my gut response is:

anarchism may have some inherent relationship with/dependence upon a revolution, i have no idea. but my anarchy does not, and i choose to live anarchically as much as possible in this pre-atr world.

revolutions, as best i can perceive, simply modify positions and dynamics of power. the very concept, imo, implies an acceptance of mass society as fundamental to the human condition, and mass action as fundamental to liberation from authoritarian relations. neither of which i agree with.

i guess i presume that revolution requires mass, coordinated effort of some sort. i would be open to hearing of completely different forms of revolution that do not require (or even allow) that approach.

all that said, if shit busted out in some revolutionary explosion, i would surely find my own ways to participate.

1 Answer

+1 vote
To me, a non-revolutionary anarchism would be something that embraces the status quo, such as libertarianism, anarcho-capitalism, or socialism, where the people who want to put these ideologies into practice just accept that there will be capitalism and/or the state, so they want to maintain these structures because they don't see any good in totally getting rid of them.

However, there is no such thing as "non-revolutionary anarchism", because:

1. Nobody has used that to refer to their own activities.

2. To someone with a more "normal" or "centrist" perception, anarchism/anarchy is dangerous and radical, so the term itself is already revolutionary in its own way...hence, making the term "revolutionary anarchist" redundant.

3. when using the r word in reference to politics, it implies some sort of wide scale political change or restructuring. Some people, such as myself, reject mass society altogether as being capable of existing in a state of anarchy. This is one of the major splits and devisions that has occurred over anarchist politics, some want to have some sort of a social revolution as the people you imply, others dont and distance themselves from activism and megalomaniacal thinking. In my experience many anarchists believe that egoists and nihilists are anti-revolutionary anarchists and hence are similar to fascists.
by (2.4k points)
While they are inconsistent about being pro-revolutionary, i think that crimethinc count as non-revolutionary anarchists because they emphasize what is anarchist about what people can do (and do) now rather than what people can't do until fundamental social change happens. They say they want revolution, but they don't think anarchist behavior requires it.

If i understand correctly, there are also people here on 101 who agree, without the revolution talk at all... that the closest we can come to anarchist behavior is what we do with our own lives daily.
overall, in terms of me, i guess i most strongly identify as a "lifestyle anarchist" or an "egoist" (more strongly an egoist though...), because i take my anarchist ideas very seriously, and mostly just use them to be happy and enjoy myself, but i have to realize that a lot of the things i do have nothing to do with my ideals. Part of staying happy for me is realizing that i can't SHIT on my ideals, yet i don't have to obey them. I feel like a lot of the existential issues that anarchists have these days is the tension between either being a master or a slave, the difference between those two roles in wealthy nations is often more poetic than anything else, whereas ideally we would be neither.