Dot, thank you for coming back to me. I have avoided being involved in chat / Q&A sites up until now because there is so much room for misinterpretation and misunderstanding. I am not particularly sophisticated in theories of anarchism, but a long, twisting (twisted?) journey has led me here. I am hoping this is the place to 'put stuff out there' to help me focus my own thinking. To bounce ideas and thoughts off other folks without getting burnt at the stake for perceived heresy!
When I mentioned isolationism it was a rhetorical question, 'is anarchism isolationist'? Not is Dot an isolationist. I have been really getting into this site in the last few weeks, and there seems to be a lot of talk. I guess I am looking for ideas / validation / thoughts on concrete day-to-day actions to make things better. Good to get into the theory, but then how to put it aside and take action? For many reasons the CNT-FAI and the International Brigades did not change much in Spain, in the medium term anyway, and if history is any anything to go by nothing much will probably change in Kurdistan. Or the rest of the Middle East. Or sub-Saharan Africa. So as anarchists what do we do? Work inside the system to make change? Do we refuse to work in the system because we don't acknowledge the system? Do we make excuses for inaction because there are so many variables? Does every individual who considers themselves to be anarchists just make their own call and do what they want? These are rhetorical questions. A number of times in my life I witnessed women being abused by the guys who they were with (boyfriends? husbands?). For some reason always on train platforms or inside trains. In all instances everyone else turned away. But someone had to stand up and stop the violence. So I did. I was not being a hero, just someone had to step in, to do the right thing, as Orwell would have said to show common decency. Nobody else did. I didn't know the background, the history. But I couldn't stand-by, no time to ask questions. I had to call the guy out, tell him to stop. Luckily I have not yet been knifed, shot, beaten or told to f-off by the women who were being slapped around. And I would have done this for anyone, woman, man, gay, straight, trans, black, white, etc. It was just the right thing to do. Or does every anarchist have a different definition of what is right? What does anarchist theory say about genocide? Bad under all circumstance but might be ok if it was against Wall Street bankers?
I guess the point of my original post, from an anarchist point of view, should we intervene when we see bad things happening (acknowledging background, distance, history, culture, etc.)? Whether protesters being shot in Nigeria or arrested in Hong Kong, peasants being driven off their land in Bolivia or religious minorities in the Middle East suffering genocide? What does anarchist theory say about this? I just see inconsistencies (protests against capitalism in western cities but little said by anarchists on global issues, totalitarian governments abroad, etc.) and I am trying to make sense of it. The domestic violence angle was trying to take a global issue and using an example to make is a local issue. Do we take action or turn away? If I see someone being beaten by a partner, what appears to be abuse (sexual, racial, whatever), would I step in as an anarchist, even I don't know the background? If I see a foreign government oppressing its people, forcing them to flee, should anarchists step in / take action? Or is the nature of anarchism that every individual just makes their own assessment takes action or not according to their own interpretation of anarchism? Do all anarchists make their own call on what is 'good' and what is 'bad'? Is there nothing in anarchism so obviously bad that most agree we should stand against it? Against Wall Street bankers but not so much against foreign totalitarian regimes committing cultural and religious genocide?
Hope this make sense. Again, this is the stuff swirling around in my head. Really, I am grappling with what is anarchism, day-to-day anarchism. Maybe I am looking for a simple answer that does not exist.
Dot, thank you for taking the time to read and reply to my posts. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. James