Living in the spirit of anarchy
Someone accused me the other day of being an “armchair anarchist.” And I guess I am. I suppose most of us who call ourselves anarchists are. We rant. We rave. We blog. Then we open a Guinness and watch the tube. But I think being an anarchist means less doing something than it means avoidance of certain actions.
I’m reminded of Michael Ziesing, who edited a journal called Instead of a Magazine about 20 years ago. He used to talk about “anarchy in the first person.” By that he meant living in the spirit of anarchy. In his essay “Personal Anarchy,” Ziesing wrote:
“The point [of anarchy] is to live our lives as a movement toward freedom, away from coercion and as a process involving openness — i.e., choice. If we operate by that principle, we are living in the spirit of anarchy. Whenever we try through coercion, threat, or violence to force people to do things our way we are opposing the spirit of anarchy. Everything in opposition to the spirit of anarchy is anti-freedom. Everything!”
Whenever we move into another long campaign period, I’m besieged by libertarian friends who urge me to participate in the electoral process. That’s happening right now with this Ron Paul movement. But electoral politics legitimizes and empowers government. And when you empower government, I believe you’re fighting against the spirit of anarchy.
So, for the umpteenth electoral season, I will:
(1) Refuse to vote.
(2) Refuse to sign any goddamn petitions demanding this, that, or the other from government.
Those are just two non-actions I take persistently in living the spirit of anarchy.
Now I’m off to the ’fridge for a Guinness.