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Why do anarchists put so much emphasis on breaking shit?

–1 vote
Shouldn't they be organizing in their communities instead?
asked Jan 3, 2011 by anonymous
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I take it you've been taking what you feel are more constructive measures and organizing a lot of protests and such since you wrote this..

6 Answers

–1 vote
Most of us believe that violence may have a place in struggle, depending on the circumstances, but we'd prefer to see the destruction of the state happen with as little violence as possible. The way we see it, it's the state that is violent. It deliberately starts wars, maintains huge armies, repressive spy agencies, a cruel judiciary and police forces, all aimed at upholding the existing 'order'- these days as best represented by Capitalism and Leninism. We see these systems as being chaotic and against human nature and we want to see them done away with. We're not a vanguard and we don't want to lead a movement- it's our job to influence movements towards anarchism. Burning people's cars and smashing up their grocery shops won't achieve this.
answered Jan 4, 2011 by Tommo (140 points)
+1 vote
Breaking shit questions authority. Breaking shit deconstructs the systems of oppression and authority. Breaking shit burns down The Man.

Breaking shit inspires people to dream differently, to dream of a world beyond capitalism, consumerism, neo-liberalism, authoritarianism, and hierarchy. Is it only symbolic? Yes, in today's modern practice (in most countries). It creates a space in the imagination for all of us to envision a world in which we are all treated as equals.

No matter how many cars we torch or windows we smash, we will not bring down the systems of oppression and hierarchy. These systems are in our minds. But if we can deconstruct the oppression that is branded into our minds, and inspire people to dream differently, we can overwhelm these systems, and they will evaporate like ice castles in the sun.

Breaking shit is not "violence." Violence is harming people, animals, or other living creatures. It is the destruction that is conducted and catalyzed by the capitalists.
answered Jan 4, 2011 by alpheus (140 points)
–3 votes
Because breaking shit is easy, as opposed to organizing effective resistance, which is hard work.
answered Jan 5, 2011 by mr.johnson (170 points)
downvoting you because of your false dichotomy.

i loathe false dichotomies.
Let me try again -
Because breaking shit makes a more immediate statement, is more fun and is a lot easier than organizing.
breaking things can be just as difficult as organizing and organizing is not necessarily any better of a long term strategy.
but yes, this is better than your first one.
+3 votes
Organize communities to do what?

If your answer is not to break shit, then how will there be revolution?

The powerful will not give up their power willingly (so some shit will need to be broken).

Anarchist should be present in their communities, but you can't wait to engage in militant action until you have a million people who will do it with you.

I don't know the situation where you live, but in the Northwest anarchist are involved in all sorts of projects in the community and they break stuff.
answered Jan 6, 2011 by Taigarun (1,720 points)
+4 votes
I don't know about other anarchists in general, but personally its fun & can open uncontrollable empowering possibilities.

for us aggy needs no other justification.
answered Jan 8, 2011 by scum (710 points)
Damn right it's fun, simple as that, makes all the theory and reading seem worthwhile.
+6 votes
The "emphasis" that is put on breaking shit is largely a way of taking a non-legalized or illegal forms of action. Because legal avenues do not “work”. The state is not going to listen to a bunch of people sitting in the street to block some movement, just as much as the state is not going to a listen to a petition, nor a member of the green party that gets elected to a seat in office, which has been seen time and again by the different factions of the Left. To engage in property destruction or more so a strategic attack against institutions, is an active refusal of engaging in speaking truth to power. The very idea that those whole hold positions of power actual have an interest in listening.
The basis of these acts, is by and part in trying to destroy the present order, whether they are banks, police stations, currently exist within capital, state and if one goes further civilization. It is also the active negation of some present utopia that can be created here and now. Again another one of the failure of the hippie movement in the sixties and seventies, by setting up alternative life styles and communes outside of the city limits. These acts are more immediate rather than again wait for the right moment of “revolution”.
I do not necessarily want to take a stance of "social change" with the fact that power is the "real" creator of violence. Violence is not an ethical debate. All forms of domination and exploitation are obviously violent, there is no need to come to some non-violence vs violence talk. There are some anarchist who seem themselves at war with the current order. Engaging in a war that is social and not-militaristic in the sense that they use a non-hierarchical set of relations to act together as a group, crew, autonomous base or affinity group against power.
answered Jan 8, 2011 by bruno-larrea (510 points)
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