Wayne Mellinger: Anarchy in the USA

<table><tr><td>From <a href="http://www.noozhawk.com/article/110512_wayne_mellinger_anarchy_in_the_us... Hawk</a>

<p>The only time we hear of anarchists in the popular press is when they have committed acts of violence and destruction. Hence, to many people the word “anarchist” means “bomb-throwing kook” or “terrorist.&#8221;</p>

<p>The media present a disparaging stereotype of anarchists as black-clad youth with masks over their unshaven faces, fists raised in the air, typically behaving poorly and probably getting ready to smash some bank’s window. Historical research reveals this cultural representation has roots in the 19th century.</p>

<p>Moreover, anarchy has come to denote the dog-eat-dog chaos that emerges when the State’s forces of social control are absent. “Anarchy” in popular media culture is typically violent street crowds getting away with murder and other forms of destructive lawlessness. So pervasive are these connotations that most would not associate anarchism with any utopian image of a future society that is just, equal and peaceful at all.</p></td><td><img title="Anarchy" src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2009/superanarchy.jpg"></td></tr...

<p>Recently, several major newspapers have reported the detention of three “self-described anarchists” in a federal facility near the <a href="https://www.portseattle.org/Sea-Tac/" rel="nofollow" title="Seattle-Tacoma International Airport">Seattle-Tacoma International Airport</a>. The three have refused to testify before a grand jury and are suspected of damaging a federal appeals courthouse during the May Day protests in Seattle (<a href="http://www.latimes.com/" rel="nofollow" title="Los Angeles Times">Los Angeles Times</a>, Oct.19).</p>

<p>Given our media portrayals of anarchists, one might never suspect that the most frequently cited living scholar in the world is <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noam_Chomsky" rel="nofollow" title="Noam Chomsky">Noam Chomsky</a>, a noted <a href="http://www.mit.edu/" rel="nofollow" title="MIT">MIT</a> linguist, respected anarchist thinker and tireless social justice activist.</p>

<p>So what is anarchism, and what do anarchists believe?</p>

<p>Anarchism as a term means “no state” or “no rulers,&#8221; and anarchists are generally against all organized governments and the power that they have over us. Anarchism is a vision of a future without domination, a critique of hierarchical forms of social organization, and a mode of praxis guiding us on how we are to move forward in the present moment.</p>

<p>Anarchism provides a critique of all forms of domination. While classical Marxism provided many leftist political thinkers with much insight into the machinations of capitalism and class domination, from an anarchist perspective Marxism bought into an acceptance of the ability of the State to serve the needs of a populace.</p>

<p>Moreover, considering the issues of gender inequality, racism, ecological ruin, homophobia, etc., has led many contemporary activists and philosophers to think that, rather than attempting to salvage Marxism, we need a theoretical approach inherently concerned with all forms of oppression.</p>

<p>Anarchism, I believe, can allow us to examine all aspects of modernity, including many that are ignored by other strands of critical social theory. Anarchism questions the very premises of modernity, including our notions of progress, rationality, civilization, democracy, freedom and justice.</p>

<p>Anarchism is not merely a critique of domination in modern society. It provides a vision of what human beings are capable of becoming, how we might organize our lives and how our potential is squashed by hierarchical social relationships. Anarchism is a vision of a social world in which each person actively participates directly in the decisions that affect their own everyday lives. It is a vision of society without authority.</p>

<p>Seven key ideas of anarchism include:</p>

<p>&raquo; 1. mutual aid — voluntary reciprocal cooperation for mutual benefit;</p>

<p>&raquo; 2. anti-hierarchy — opposed to any system of stratification in which one group has power over another;</p>

<p>&raquo; 3. libertarian — individual liberty, especially freedom of expression and action, is upheld;</p>

<p>&raquo; 4. decentralization — power is disperse among the populace;</p>

<p>&raquo; 5. consensus decision-making — a method of group decision-making that seeks consent, not necessarily agreement on laws and policies;</p>

<p>&raquo; 6. rejection of the idea that the ends justify the means;</p>

<p>&raquo; 7. direct action —&nbsp; when a group of people take an action which is intended to reveal an existing problem.</p>

<p>Of course, there are many different definitions of these terms and many different varieties of anarchism, and not all would agree with my listing above. We live in times in which there are healthy debates in a lively anarchist political movement.</p>

<p>Anarchist modes of praxis involve “walking the talk.&#8221; This means that we cannot achieve liberating and non-hierarchical goals through oppressive and non-consensual forms of organizing. Anarchists, unlike some other radical perspectives, do not simply hope to grab power and force their way of doing things on others.</p>

<p>Anarchism provides a way to move forward through voluntary association, consensus decision-making, decentralized and non-hierarchal organization. “How we get there” is very important! Moreover, there is a carnivalesque, Dionysian and celebratory aspect to much of the contemporary anarchist social movement, in which politics is often infused with performance, poetry and parade.</p>

<p>By all standard indicators of a healthy country, the United States has fallen behind other industrialized nations. To many of us, it is clear that we are on the wrong path. The attempted reforms of the past 30 years have largely been offset by exacerbations in other social ills.</p>

<p>We need a new operating system — a new political economy built upon sustainability, fairness and justice. To me, anarchists are people who have given up on reform and are committed to major transformations in how things work. They have lost faith in the current system and in our ability to salvage it. Anarchists want a New American Dream, one built on social justice, economic democracy and environmental sustainability. Rather than vilifying them, I think we should thank them.</p>

<p>The next time you read or hear about anarchists in the popular media, know that many of these folks are peaceful, progressive activists working hard to bring about a more just social world and that most of them are largely law-abiding. And many of us are pacifists.</p>

<p><i>— Wayne Mellinger, Ph.D., is a board member of <a href="http://www.clueca.org/" rel="nofollow" title="Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice">Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice</a> and is an active advocate for all those who suffer on the streets. He holds a certificate in alcohol and drug counseling from <a href="http://www.sbcc.edu" rel="nofollow" title="Santa Barbara City College">Santa Barbara City College</a>.</i>
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Comments

NEW AMERICAN DREAM

knock knock.

Who's there?

Consensus.

Consensus who?

Consensus Chomsky.

Consensus Chomsky who?

Consensus Chomsky daddle down to the voting booth and vote for Obama.

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay (claps and drools on bib)

"Noam Chomsky, a noted MIT linguist, respected anarchist thinker and tireless social justice activist."

One of these things is not like the other...

Dude killed Skinner. Some people have jobs and some of those people are actually good at what they do. At least it's not like Marx where people confuse his sociology and criticism with his shitty politics. Theres no real connection between innate grammar and anarchism.

Yes there is. Screaming expletives without punctuation whilst stomping authoritarians ;)

Are you upset because Chomsky called the USA the greatest country in the world in a debate with conservative Bill Bennett ?

CHOMSKY: I don't. I choose to live in what I think is the greatest country in the world (United States of America), which is committing horrendous terrorist acts and should stop.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0205/30/ltm.01.html

Chomsky's favorite politician lost the 2012 election

http://www.jillstein.org/chomsky

Why because he gets shit done? He's one of the most respected people the world over. As a member of a cummunity he doesn't represent, no, you can't put him in a patch and sell him as a representation of yohrself. But as a man who uses an ideology to reach people and fight for their rights and as a good reoresentation of Anarchism to people steeped in materialism and disenfranchisement, who might be culturally at odds with the "Anarchist scene," yeah, beats John Zerzan. Is he an ends, no, but he's a bridge that can transcend certain values and that makes him a better representation of Anarchism as an abstraction than us who don't believe in representation.

Plus, he grew up with Anarchists. Real fascist tested CNT aproved Anarchists. He knows revolutionary potential when he sees it. His predictionsin regards towards revolutionary movements and political shifts in regards to the world over are usually dead on. Bitch all you want the mans ethics are impeccable and his genuis is one of the only that deseves the respect it gains attention of.

As an abstraction. He's a piss poor representation of Anarchism in practice but as a reference point he works. Liberals love him socialists love him. He more or less built the antiwar movement in the 60's from scratch. He's backed the wronv horse once or twice and is definitely steeped in intelligentsia leftism. He is defined by the same materialism that just his adherence to Anarchism helps him transcend. But for an article to leftists sayinv "don't feed us to the fire," he works.

I kinda like that anarchists are painted in such a negative light. If only we lived up to the infamy in the US. Then the rich would be forced start traveling in armed caravans again and we'd would rather become brigands than become wage laborers.

We do in some ways. But this gets turned inward because of our inabiljty to categorize. Making a difference between insurrection and community building, raising awareness. We buckle under the traditional religous zeal that has always defined Anarchism because our exhaustion of those elements in mainstream society is what brings many of us here. There are a lot of steps you have to reach toget to that hill, and if its something you want to sustain as a defining faftor instead of brief flashes of sectarinaism that flash and then turn to smoke these steps are positive and affirming. Hope. Hope sustains revolutionary ferver. Not despondancy. Think Spain. Schools, families and close bonds defined Anarchism. They had a fully functional community, bordering "Platformism.". I'm not saying this would work in a concrete way but a community of support and healthy communjcation never hurt anyone. Abstractions.

» 5. consensus decision-making — a method of group decision-making that seeks consent, not necessarily agreement on laws and policies;

EWWW NOT INHERENTLY ANARCHIST EVER. EVEN WORSE THAN DEMOCRACY.

JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!

XTIAN - anarchist I despise your force propped theology and I will hang you for it. Long live propaganda-of -the-DEED!

Signed pro2rat

Don't talk about your saviour like that you Dawkinist lost soul!!!

Agreed. No. 5 on this list is just straight-up wrong. Key idea my arse.

There is an historical stigma which derives from a popular 'cliché of violence' assumed by the bourgeois as a lumpish conspiracy, inturn derived from the tautology that "if we, the bourgeois, are happy, content, and non-violent, then everyone else should be likewise, because we manage it and know how reality works, and that truth is really about myths and religious fantasy, and we have a security force to prevent violence(with extreme violence)". So even a mob riot of workerist soccer fans who have capitalist desires is called,,,anarchy. Or a bunch of rednecks running amok in a mall because of the dress regulations is called,,,anarchy. Shootouts with capitalist bank-robbers,,,anarchy!
That big meeting in Switzerland they had this year, they should have made changing the name to something else, like Mellowism, or Ourism, something, anything, to escape this historical persistent stigma. In this way we may attract more admirers.

Perhaps (A)narchists spend too much time on whether the body politic acknowledges them and should focus on constructing a working community, no matter how insular?

This would involve some paradigm resolving how to live within a repressive society without becoming a part of it--living in a state of 'grace' something like the hill people in many nations do by utilizing elevation as their shield. Perhaps a combination of mountainous public lands, abandoned urban structures, and homeless encampments could become the matrix for such a coalition of the willing?

Altering the assumptions of the unenlightened is a hard slog. Best to teach by example rather than rhetoric. Plus, implementation, no matter how minuscule, has the advantage of simultaneously loosening the clutches of and starving the beast. After all, didn't the Soviet Union collapse (at least in part) by what its denizens perceived (no matter how falsely) the benefits of capitalism to be? Example/Perception can be infinitely more powerful than rhetoric.

- amicuscuria.com/wordpress

Definitely Example/Perception as a praxis rather than glass-breaking and news-paper boxes in the street. There are better ways to vent, such as internalising rage and converting it into a potentiality with an inner release valve opened when authoritarians are actually in your face imposing their restrictions. It's about tact, when and when not to unleash.

I think most do, but this website isn't a good reflection of anything IRL 'cept what's in the article sometimes.

if one takes a leaf from the book of ‘de-colonization’, anarchism is constituted by a ‘letting go’ of the notion of an ‘operating system’ which governs ‘how things work’, and not in devising a ‘new operating system’ as the author suggests;

“We need a new operating system — a new political economy built upon sustainability, fairness and justice. To me, anarchists are people who have given up on reform and are committed to major transformations in how things work.”

in a decolonizing system, what is needed is a return to a natural‘values system’; a values system that doesn’t believe in the need for ‘a new operating system’ or a new ‘political economy’, that orients to ‘how things works’ and to making them work in ‘correct manner’, as provided within the framework of the ‘sovereign states’ which may be hierarchically ranked on a better/worse performance scale;

“By all standard indicators of a healthy country, the United States has fallen behind other industrialized nations. ... Anarchists want a New American Dream, one built on social justice, economic democracy and environmental sustainability.”

the decolonizer ‘values system’ does not start from a new American dream or a new French dream or a new EU dream which are theory-driven [common dream-driven aka common belief-driven] ‘operating systems’ governing ‘how things work’, ... the decolonizer values start from different assumptions; i.e. that we live in a relational space wherein we cannot isolate ‘how things work’ from the dynamics of the common habitat these things share inclusion in, whether we are talking at the level of individual people or individual sovereign states.

the decolonizer ‘values system’ orients to the beyond good-and-evil quest for cultivating, restoring and sustaining balance and harmony in the relational space we share inclusion in. it is a values system that transcends the moral values based governance of common-belief driven ‘operating systems’ that describe the correct way for ‘how things work’ and the incorrect way for ‘how things work’, so as to ‘realize’ a common belief based ‘vision’ or ‘dream’. evolution is not heading towards a particular ‘end-vision’; it is an unfolding [a continual transforming of relational space] whose forms/shapes arise from the quest for sustaining balance within an interdependent connectedness.

this is the way of nature; i.e nature is continual ‘organizING’ that does not allow ‘ego’ to get narcissist about an ‘organizING’, notionally creating an ‘organizATION’ driven from some ‘common belief’ or ‘common dream’, and establishing ‘dream-police’ to enforce dream-convergent behaviours on all of the participants with ‘the organizATION’.

the anarchism in decolonization is by way of values that suspend this reifying of balance-and-harmony-sustaining ‘organizINGs’ into ‘common-belief driven local organizATIONs’ [the latter being ‘genomes’ that have cast aside their ‘epigenomes’. without the 'epigenome' the 'genome' becomes an internally directed 'mechanistic organizATION'. with the 'epigenome', which ensures continuing resonance between the dynamics of the relational spatial-plenum and the dynamics of the diverse multiplicity of inhabitants of that plenum, interdependent connectedness is acknowledged. ]

Fuck this. We are beasts.

NEWSPAPER BOXES INTO THE STREETS!!!11

"6. rejection of the idea that the ends justify the means"

what does this mean exactly? sounds like some self-righteous, non-violence sound(text)-bite.

maybe it should just be "don't have shitty ends"

It means don't instrumentalize people to achieve any end and don't dictate false comportment from a belief that relates to nothing at all in the world. The means always have to justify the ends--no ifs, ands, or buts.

“maybe it should be don't have shitty ends.”

:/

I think the Ends are apart of the means is more appropriate.

that's probably a reference to dicpro

Fuck machiavelian politics!!

"And many of us are pacifists."
Right so if I get bashed in the face by some transphobic shitnugget, I totally shouldn't fight back, and no one should ever strike out against the totality that's crushing them, because anarchy.

Go drown in a bucket of Tolstoy's piss or something, I guess? Or just become a '70s throwback performance artist and lock yourself in a locker... forever. And stop sabotaging the tiny corners of the social body that understand and promote the legitimacy of the oppressed fighting back, and just take your liberal do-nothing giving-flowers-to-cops "anarchism" and leave those who do in fact suffer (on and off the streets) alone. Forever. Please.
It's entirely possible that you do some good work in the world, but if so, shaming us for fighting back is not part of that good work. Pacifist anarchism is just an idle political faith built on false moral superiority. It is an insult to every one of us who is stepped on.

Also, Chomsky is a rationalist tool.

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