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+2 votes
You're always going to run into people you don't know, that's just a fact of life in the current era at least. It may still be possible for some people to only interact with their immediate family, but to me if you are reading this, you are probably civilized/socialized enough that it's a given that you will have to deal with people you don't know.

I remember when i was a kid hearing all these warnings about strangers, i guess it never really permeated because i tend to have little fear of random people out in the world, yet i guess like everyone else certain behaviors would make me suspicious and afraid.

Is the anarchist perception of a stranger different than someone who who doesn't identify with anarchist perceptions? I'm asking this partially because every time i've been around anarch-ish social settings, there seemed to be this greater sense that it's hopeless to try to get to know anybody...even though anarchists don't seem all that criminal to me compared with non-anarchists it just seems like there's this thicker barrier that i can't really explain. There's been a lot of speculation about the insularity and group think about anarchist scenes but overall i'm just still really curious about people who identify as anarchists.

Do anarchists perhaps have different methods for judging people they don't know? Different criteria? To me it just seems like the criteria is different, but people in general seem to be very controlled by their fears.
by (2.4k points)

1 Answer

+2 votes
context matters, and worldview/ideology is merely one part of that.

myself and my best friend share much in our individual anarchist perspectives. yet we would almost certainly each answer this question very differently.

one factor is what "trust" means, and how it manifests, for each individual. some folks are far more (or less) trusting than others; they will deal with strangers differently. is it the case that anarchists are generally less trusting than non-anarchists? quite possibly. i see critical thinking as a major factor.

what constitutes a stranger? if i meet someone for the first time, but they are well known and largely trusted by someone i know well and trust, i will likely deal with them differently than i would with someone i meet for the first time with no other context. others might not make that kind of distinction; everyone starts at trust=0, and they earn trust only through observed behavior. i can appreciate both of those ways of dealing. we all have our own historical context as well.

does an anarchist perceive a stranger differently than a non-anarchist? are context and trust viewed differently by @/not-@? context probably is (viewed differently); that is a major reason why there is the distinction of @/not-@. when meeting a stranger that has some sensory clues to be observed - attire, body language, tattoos/piercings, religious artifacts, vocal stylings, etc - some amount of context is likely to be suspected (if not assumed), and what that is could vary greatly between @/not-@. an obvious example is when meeting a stranger wearing, say, a military or cop uniform. many @s will deal very differently than many not-@s. same if the stranger was wearing hol(e)y black carhartts and hoodie.
by (13.4k points)
i wouldn't say i'm trusting of random people i don't know at all, but I've always been kind of "brave" (other people's way of thinking about it, not mine) in terms of my willingness to go up and talk to people, and my life experience shows me that that's not an error, but just a difference of feeling. Part of what tends to separate me from other people is that i just don't acknowledge or care a whole lot about what is considered "normal", but yes there are many things i've carelessly said and done in the context of strangers that i remember so that i don't repeat the same mistake in the future.

Overall, cops are much better off ignored entirely if you happen to see them walking around, in my opinion. You just don't want to draw their attention, at least that would be my opinion of how an anarchist should think about it. I have talked to cops before in a semi-amicable way...i really wish the catch phrase ACAB could be replaced by DTC (don't trust cops), because it's important remember what they are payed to do. I certainly wouldn't feel upset if i heard about some cop getting murdered, there have been times when i've silently cheered about it, like that sniper in texas who was hunting down cops.
part of the "trust" aspect i mentioned is trust in oneself. the extent to which one trusts their own senses/intuition/judgement/memory/people skills/etc will surely come into play, and maybe even overshadow any trust/lack of trust one might have in a stranger. perhaps you have trust in yourself, hence you are not concerned about approaching strangers.

my ex-wife frequently chatted up strangers. she had good trust in herself, and she met many fun and interesting people that i probably would never have met otherwise.
i like to think of other people as fascinating mysteries that i want to unravel :-)