October 19, 2021
From The Anarchist Library
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INTRODUCTION

1. The following paragraphs are intended to deal with misconceptions about anarchism and to clear up semantical misunderstandings that stand in the way of a good and clear image of the matter. One of the greatest misbeliefs — for example — is that anarchists hate capitalism. That does not make sense and we will see below why it doesn’t.

DEFINITION

2. ‘Anarchism’ and ‘anarchy’ are two of the terms that are constantly misused or misunderstood. This is partially due to ignorance and negligence, but at least as much due to opportunism, intellectual dishonesty, bad volition and sabotage by opponents. Anarchists would never claim to be capitalist, to be a socialist or to be a policeman. Then why would anyone else claim to be an anarchist when they are not? One can call a dog a cat, but that doesn’t make it feline. So, in order to narrow down the word ‘anarchism’ we deemed it first necessary to describe the term. 3. We are not the first to do so, many of the founding fathers of our philosophy have already tried to do so. Kropotkin describes anarchism as: “anarchism (from the Greek ‘an’, and ‘archos’, contrary to authority), the name given to a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government — harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being.” 4. Today, after having been enriched with the experience of the anarchist government participation in Spain in the 1930’s and with the debacles of statism in Russia and China, we can define ‘anarchism’ more accurately as: the consensual social contract of all human beings to refrain from exercising any form of coercion — be it administratively, economically, 2 judicially, physically, socially or mentally — on any other animal (unless it is to prevent coercion) by abolishing all forms of governing, by ending private ownership of the economy and by liquidating all forms of currency and commercial bartering. Colloquially, anarchism then is the philosophical current that wants to attain ‘Anarchy,’ a society without any form of oppression or means of payment.

THE CONCEPT OF THE ‘STATE’

5. Anarchists often have the reputation to be against the state, but in the above definition the word ‘state’ is not even mentioned. That is, because the state is not really the issue. There is again a semantical misunderstanding here. In “The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State,” Friedrich Engels describes the ‘state’ as: “The state is, therefore, by no means a power forced on society from without; just as little is it ’the reality of the ethical idea’, ’the image and reality of reason’, as Hegel maintains. Rather, it is a product of society at a certain stage of development; it is the admission that this society has become entangled in an insoluble contradiction with itself, that it has split into irreconcilable antagonisms which it is powerless to dispel. But in order that these antagonisms, these classes with conflicting economic interests, might not consume themselves and society in fruitless struggle, it became necessary to have a power, seemingly standing above society, that would alleviate the conflict and keep it within the bounds of ’order’; and this power, arisen out of society but placing itself above it, and alienating itself more and more from it, is the state.” 6. Engels who is undoubtedly a great scholar and an erudite socialist theoretician makes a mistake here. His definition of the word ‘state’ might be in the vernacular what it could mean, but this is not at all what ‘state’ can be narrowed down to etymologically. The word ‘state’ comes from ‘status,’ which means ‘the situation at a particular time during a process’. It is impossible to remove the state, because the state expresses a phase. So, if we talk about a ‘social state’, the word ‘state’ expresses ‘the situation at a particular time in the development of a social household’. 7. In capitalism and former societies, the level of subsistence has often been so high that the ‘state’ needs to be constantly adjusted. The instrument that adjusts or steers the state of society is governance. The term ‘governing’ comes from Greek ‘kubernare’ which means ‘to steer.’ And this is the actual instrument that anarchism wants to remove from the state: governance. We reject any rulership and want society to go in an unruled modus in which everything is free and moneyless. If anyone can 3 steer the ‘state’ in the right direction without really participating in the actual government, let them feel free.

CAPITALISM

8. The first pro-capitalist uprising was in Flanders when the army of the Flemish merchants of Bruges defeated the army of the French king in 1302. This is often seen as the embryonic phase of capitalism. But this is also when anarchism started. One cannot be without the other! Capitalism still holds elements of feudalism and of the slave society before that, just like a little baby girl holds the genetic material of her parents and grandparents, the child also holds the “eggs” from which her unborn child and grandchild shall be born. 9. And thus — dialectically — capitalism already held the seeds of anarchism in itself at the moment that it was started. It is incorrect to call anarchists anti-capitalist. That doesn’t make sense. Capitalism holds all elements of the next society. Being anti-capitalist would also mean being anti-anarchist for 90%. We are not anti-capitalist. 10. On the contrary, we need to protect the acquisitions of the capitalist revolution against feudal counter-revolutions as we have done during World War I and II. The ultra-right, many aristocrats and most religious institutions are anti-capitalist. Anarchists are progressive. We want capitalism to do well. We don’t want to overthrow capitalism. That is the kind of elitist vanguardism that communists and Trotskyists have on the back of their minds. The only task of anarchists is to be vigilant against injustice and to oppose it. We want capitalism to do well, without any reactionary government oppressing anyone. It is the working class that will overthrow capitalism. Che Guevara’s famous words were: “I am not a liberator. Liberators don’t exist. It is the people that will liberate themselves!” 11. A petty-bourgeois anarchist once said the same and then added that it was the task of the anarchists to entertain the revolution. We are not “clowns!” Without losing a sense of humor — we have lost too many comrades due to oppression to take matters too lightheartedly! We are the “guardians of light”, we are the observers of the rules of democracy that take a stance against every form of oppression. That is our immensely important task. Do not be mistaken. The democratic rights that we defend are not socialist, communist or anarchist. They are the democratic rights that were obtained by the feudal revolution and the capitalist revolution. We defend acquired freedom and want to expand it!

NATIONALIZATION

12. The capitalist revolution is ongoing. Already today, if we look at the most advanced countries in the world – such as The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, the USA, Belgium etc. — 4 public government is disappearing. Even the police are being replaced by private security companies. Countries, counties and cities are being ran as private companies and if capitalism lasts a little while longer, public governance will entirely vanish — thereby completing the internal process of the capitalist political revolution. We know that political conditions follow the social conditions, because the political consciousness is a product of a new social situation. Thus, privatization is the messenger of the political (capitalist) revolution! 13. Never look back. That would not be progressive! In western states, nationalization is a reactionary demand. Nationalization in capitalism brings us one step closer to the feudal counterrevolution. We do not want a government, so why would we want nationalization? We don’t want national division, but open borders. So, why would we want a national country to own something under capitalism? Obviously, we do not want it in private hands, but we rather want it to be privatized than state-owned. That is the historical role that capitalism plays: the economy and its household become reduced to capital. 14. Nationalized companies under capitalism are not ‘our companies’, they are not really owned by the people. These companies are owned by a government that defends the interests of the ruling class. These companies often have huge debts to capitalist banks and are thus the property of capitalist bankers rather than the property of the people. And they are often used by the banks as intermediaries. Thus, the SFPI-FPIM is the Belgian federal public holding, which fulfils two functions: an investment company and a holding company. A holding company is a company whose primary business is holding a controlling interest in the securities of other companies. This makes that the Belgian government could be investing in oil in Qatar, because BNP Paribas coerces it to do so. But to be honest, if all national debts would be collected today, the entire Belgian government (and most other governments) would be owned by JP Morgan Chase, HSBC, Bank of America and Citigroup. When you do not fully own the company as a capitalist though, there is always the risk that it could be owned by the competitor. 15. In slave society, the motor of the economy (we will call it the decisive production factor) was the number of slaves that one owned. In feudalism, it became the amount of land owned. In capitalism, the decisive production factor is the amount of private capital that one owns. Be careful! This money is owned by companies that represent private people. And that is why true capitalist companies don’t want a government to interfere with their decisions. Proudhon may say “Property is theft,” but for the single private capitalist any government regulation is theft. Capitalists obviously see capital as their own private property and the interference of the government is limiting their freedom. That would be a contradiction in terms, because the ruling class will not accept being ruled! Free-market liberalism would go as far as to say that government interference is a 5 socialist tool, but actually it is a pre-feudal tool that degenerated. It is a tool developed under the slave societies that preceded feudalism. A bureaucratic government was necessary to organize society and to keep the slaves and plebs under control. Fact of the matter is, today capitalists don’t like governments for their regulatory interference. 16. Progress and revolution are directly proportional related as well as they are inversely proportional related to reaction and counter-revolution. So, if capitalism needs to be progressive in order to develop productive forces, it needs to grow and to grow it – still — needs competition. Privately owned companies are a lot more competitive than state-owned companies; the difference lies in the discrepancy between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in the ownership. This means that nationalization is not necessarily a communist demand any more, because the progressive role played by private owned companies lies in the higher productivity. Nationalization may seem progressive at first sight, but it is not. Actually, within capitalism privatization is progressive. Because — as Marx says: “every old society is pregnant with a new one.” And that means that the baby needs to grow in order for the old society to give birth. Nothing can change that! 17. If reactionary forces are slowing down the growth of capitalism it will postpone revolutionary forces, but as a result the postponing will intensify the revolution when it comes. With other words, the baby can be delivered naturally and smoothly or there can be complications. Yet, it shall be delivered! 18. Now, there is an economic law that makes that when the decisive production factor (DPF) changes — i.e., from land to capital — then it will want to be the exclusive factor — the exclusive means of production. In capitalism — by rule — capital will want to be the – immediate and direct — owner of all sectors of the economy. Compare it to a ball that is pushed over the top of the hill. It needs to roll all the way down the mountain! The longer society waits to give capital exclusivity, the bigger the chance of another capitalist revolution in order to complete that exclusivity. We just have seen massive examples of this in the former autocratic socialist states! It is clear that public ownership in statist socialism is an extremely reactionary factor. Many of these socialists are short-sighted. They see the ‘public ownership’ in capitalism as socialist embryos. In reality it is as reactionary as Hitler’s counter-revolution. 19. The ‘state’ is a risk for itself, because it is public property. As long as there is public property, the capitalist does not have exclusivity over the decisive production factor and as long as that is not the case, there will be privatizations even if this means war and pro-capitalist revolutions. But the ‘state’ — which is feudal by nature – will have to go. Worse, if we would have a socialist planet with a ‘state’, the ‘state’ would not die off. The bureaucracy would become a new ruling class and it 6 would need a revolution to remove them. Since ‘the state’ is a land-based feudal tool, it is incompatible with the objectives of capitalism. 20. To recapitulate: in slave society the decisive production factor (DPF) was slaves. In feudalism, the decisive production factor was land. Whoever had most land ruled. The state was there to keep control of the masses and to protect the capitalist and his interests. In capitalism, whoever has most capital rules. As capitalism becomes more and more monopolized, the state becomes more and more of a competitor of the capitalist and thus does no longer perform its original tasks. Instead of becoming a tool, it becomes an obstacle and it inevitably needs to be removed. And the only way that capitalists know to deal with these matters, is by buying the public economy. 21. And this now is why anarchists don’t hate capitalism: we understand that in order to get to the beautiful garden that we have to wade through the smelly swamp. People think that we are attacking capitalism. We are not! Statist socialists do, but anarchists don’t! As said above: we attack the injustice within capitalism. We don’t attack the swamp. We just point out the way to wade through the swamp towards the beautiful garden that will rise once the swamp has been drained. And when somebody gets pushed under in the swamp by a bully, we push the bully out of the way and help the victim. 22. Pitifully enough anarchism has been impregnated with the socialist lust for nationalization. This is perfectly natural. The Communist Manifesto was published almost 200 years ago! The socialist workers organizations have impregnated us with the idea for two full centuries. One cannot be progressive without progress and nationalization is taking a step back. 23. True, progress is often blamed for the damage done to the environment on our planet. Obviously, that is a major concern. After all, the planet is irreplaceable. Rule number one in nature though is the survival of the fittest. From the 16th century onward, until around the year 1800, average life expectancy in Europe hovered between 30 and 40 years of age. At current, average global life expectancy for women is 75 and 70 for men. The bubonic plague killed half of London’s population in only 4 years’ time. Today, we only count 650 cases of the plague every year globally and 90% of them survive if treated. Grace to progress we are doing a lot better than under feudalism. And the general living standard is thriving in comparison. One hundred years ago, people – including children — worked 16 hours per day for peanuts. Under capitalism we have developed a complex social and economic structure. The ant-pile has grown beyond our own belief. 7 24. Imagine what we could do with this social organization in a society without coercion that converts the economy into a social and ecologically-clean hyper-efficient organization. We could use the technology to clean up the mess. Alexander Berkman already pointed out 100 years ago that anarchists are not against organization. Everything is organization. Look at nature itself. Everything is perfectly organized! 25. Even though we are in favor of efficient organizing, we should understand though that we do not necessarily stick to rigid, unuseful principles. We will not always agree with abrupt and drastic plans of privatization. If the Brazilian government wants to gradually allow a private enterprise to take over the Brazilian copper mines during the next thirty years without severe loss of employment, how could we be against. But if the same government wants to sell all copper mines immediately, today with drastic loss of employment, we would obviously be against. We would be against the same measure if it was a private company. Austerity measures are reactionary. Investment and employment are progressive. Here the true nature of nationalization slowly starts to appear: it is reformist. Socialists are against nationalization, because if a company is state-owned, you will not have to work as hard and you will have more “rights”! That is mere reformism!

INSURRECTION

26. Yet, the revolution is always here. It is the internal motor of all things. What contemporary Trotskyists and other communists mean when they defend the ‘state’ is that they want to take power in the same fashion as they did in 1917 during the Bolshevik insurrection. They are not revolutionaries; they are insurrectionist power-mongers. If capitalism were to remove all public government, socialism would no longer be required. Yet, socialists would still re-invent and re-introduce the state! 27. Yes, we may use force to defend our class. Yet, seen the ‘monopoly of violence’ in capitalism, violence is not in the interest of the working class. Anarchists are not insurrectionists or terrorists. Our ideal is a world without rulers in which there is only peace. We need to use violence scarcely, briefly and in the interests of the working class – and preferably only in its defense. We do not want to kill individual politicians or capitalists. In the past we had to kill monsters that treated our class with contempt and that leave a trail of misery, torture and tears. But in general, the propaganda of the deed is counter-productive. And insurrectionism is statism. It has the objective to overthrow a ‘state’ to participate in a socialist ‘state’. Naturally — again there are exceptions to the rule – in the case of a civil war or in rough areas in the underprivileged world we need to take up arms in order to prevent ethnic pogroms and genocides. Even Catholic priests have done so in the past.

GLOBALIZATION

28. In feudalism, a nationalized economy was still necessary in order to defend the national territory. This is in a land-based system. For most of the biggest companies now, those national borders are extremely counter-productive. In a capital-based system they need to be able to sell their merchandise internationally and compete freely with other major players. Any brake on that organization is reactionary and will lead to counter-revolutionary upheaval and insurrectionary movements. The capitalist revolution will and shall be completed. Trying to control the national question by strengthening borders is reactionary. Either capitalists invest in the underprivileged countries or they will have to deal with insurrections and military juntas that prevent the system from growing. Chinese investments in Africa are a sparkle of hope for more democratic rights on the poorest continent on our planet. Technology and mobility are contributing to that success. 29. Territorialism is feudal politics. In essence, nations don’t exist. Does a Mexican not eat? Does a German not bathe? Or a native not sleep? What divides humanity is the divergence created in the past and sustained by old-fashioned politicians. It’s difficult to get rid of old habits. The entire British empire was built on ‘divide and rule.’ According to those customs, the US always needed an external and an internal enemy: an external enemy when it has to assume its role as ‘policeman of the world’ and an internal enemy when it feels that the opposition becomes strong. This is no longer valid! It is the historical role of capitalism to do away with nations. Capitalism is a global system. It needs one global country without states in order to work optimally. Feudal divide and rule will work less and less. What works are initiatives like China’s that develop the economy in the under-privileged countries. This is not because China is such a philanthropist culture, but because American banks want to lift up the living standard by investing in Africa via the Chinese. White people have very little credit with the battered black population, but the Chinese never had much run-ins with Africans. In the end, it is a win-win situation. African living standard goes up and capitalism keeps growing. 30. Anarchists want a global society with open borders. So, what is wrong with globalization? Nationalists don’t like globalization. The same goes for the anti-globalists and the primitivists. Anti-globalization activists often have a radical profile. They go to Genova and fight the police. Let them try to go and tell in Africa and South America that they want the economy to stop growing! We should be surprised that there are no African counter-demonstrations! 31. Anarchism needs one global economy. A step forward to reach that objective are supra-national states. And we are very much in favor of international institutions within capitalism. The United Nations, WHO, G8… are progressive. If we do not want borders, it makes sense to globalize. 9 If we want the “baby” to grow (as we stated in §.16), why would we be against globalization?

UTOPIANS AND FUTURISTS

32. We don’t want small little unproductive farms producing bad crops. That is fascist distortion. They put a guilt trip on us. Guilt trips come from Catholic priests, not from anarchists. We want a united world in which production can become global so that we can give everyone the wealth that they desire. Obviously, instead of a subsistence society we want a needbased society in which everybody’s needs are fulfilled. Then why would we be in favor of feudal conditions on tiny permaculture farms? This would be extremely reactionary. 33. The countries need to grow in size. Small nation states and protectionism create complications for our “baby”. Once the “baby” has been delivered, then we can look into matters of intensity of agriculture etc. In a state without coercion, everybody would be able to live their own way. We would be able to socialize everything and to support people to live in small scale permaculture projects. We could also — for example — consent to a two-child policy, which would solve overpopulation in two generations’ time. 34. We don’t want to dream and fantasize about how ‘anarchism’ will be. One, it doesn’t make much sense to fantasize about how society will look like, because we know that the turn of events may be capricious. The main advantage that anarchism will have, is that people for the first time will be able to choose how to live without being coerced! We are not statist socialists though. We do not fantasize about kolkhoz and sovkhoz farms. We are responsible adults that live in today’s world. We start from the existing developed capitalist society instead of some escapist feudal permaculture dream. Even though it is easy enough to imagine that with the current technology, we can have artificial intelligence and robots do all of the manual labor and dulling chores within one or two decades.

VEGANISM

35. It is impossible to be against one injustice and not be against the other. This is the Golden Rule that stands central in every religious thought. anarchism has often been confused with religion. According to Rushworth M. Kidder , the concept appears prominently in all of the world’s major religions including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, etc. The golden rule is sometimes also called the Mosaic law: “Whatever is hurtful to you, do not do to any other person”. 36. As modern empathic beings, we understand that all thinking creatures do not want to be the object of oppression or injustice. Most religions 10 have had vegetarian currents and groups. One does not need to believe in God, to be empathic. Today, we are experiencing a true vegan ‘revolution’. The anarchist Animal Liberation Front was playing a vanguardist role in this ‘revolution’. Organizations such as Anonymous for the Voiceless, Animal Rights and Biteback are organizing the struggle for animal rights on a day-to-day basis. Anarchists should keep participating in this liberation struggle. 37. Many anarchists are eating vegan and if many non-anarchists are able to eat vegetarian or vegan, it would be unthinkable to eat meat as an anarchist. Stronger, in order to eat eggs and diary millions of animals are locked up in miserable conditions. How could one be a representative of a historic global liberation movement and not be vegan? How can one accept that 300 million animals are slaughtered every day? That is 1,5 billion animals every year or even 2,4 trillion animals if one includes sea animals! This is the largest massacre in history. Nobody can say that they didn’t know!

NATIONALISM AND DISCRIMINATION

38. In a subsistence environment – such as a prehistoric society – there was a picking order. This hierarchy became institutionalized in a slave society. It was the basis for all the tiny little wars in feudalism. In feudalism, if you had beaten another nation in a war, their lord became the boss. In capitalism, this is no longer the case. In capitalism, if France were to conquer Belgium, a Belgian capitalist could still own more money than his French counterpart. And thus, nation states or nationalism do not make any sense. When the USA is the policeman of the world and American capitalists own almost the entire planet, it does not matter being Basque or Spanish. Yet, the minds of people are inert and the minds of politicians greedy. Still, in this society it matters to behave the American way. American culture matters. When the people of Gaul were occupied by the Romans 2000 years ago, they Latinized. Gaelic became French and Spanish. Today, the punishments are not capital, they are with capital. Why would America not refuse to invest in an area where people do not take over their culture? Often, French and Italian nationalists claim that the Americans do not have a culture. This has had a clear impact on the living standard of their people. 39. Animals don’t have culture. They survive. The sole purpose of culture and tradition for humans is survival. It is institutionalized routine. Things are done in a certain way, because we know that this way will work again in our particular environment in the future. In essence, culture does not matter so much any longer. We have recently gone through the technological revolution and this has made local cultures more or less obsolete. Obviously, after having obeyed the traditional way for many, many centuries our minds have become inert. We need to adapt to the new global culture. Some people have more difficulty with that than others. 11 They think that the new culture is shallow and cheap. This is what the decisive productive factor does: we want to produce cheaper than the competitor and only this matters. Anarchists are often artists – that includes myself – and we grow attached to the esthetical part in culture. Slowly, humanity will let separate cultures go and that is progressive even though it lacks esthetics. Perhaps that will be one of the roles of anarchism: re-entering esthetics into a globalized economy. 40. Thus, nationalism does not make sense. Obviously, local governments and politicians think that they can still use the old technique of ‘divide and rule’. The truth is that major US conglomerates owns most of the planet and that the economy is globalizing. We need to evolve and become one nation and most likely that will be under American culture with slight Chinese accents whether there is a war or not. 41. This does not mean that we would accept people to be discriminated, because of their nationality. In March 1914, Lenin concluded his work “The Right of Nations to Self-Determination” with the following words: “Complete equality of rights for all nations; the right of nations to selfdetermination; the unity of the workers of all nations.” Even though we may not agree with Lenin’s statist approach, this basically sums it up. 42. And if nationalism does not make sense, nor does racism nor discrimination. The minds of people are inert, but the general tendency is against nationalism and against discrimination. The major reason for that is, because a capitalist can be a woman, can be black, can be of Chinese nationality, can be LGTBQI, can be Hindu or Jewish… If a capitalist would not discriminate, then how could an anarchist? In the same way in a society without coercion it would not make sense to discriminate against anybody, because that would be a form of coercion!

MORALITY AND RELIGION

43. We have already touched the subject above. Anarchists reject coercion by an earthly authority. “Ni dieu ni maîtres” was a phrase first used by the statist Louis August Blanqui. Blanqui was an elected deputy for Bordeaux. He was even quoted by a fascist newspaper in Italy after WWII. There is nothing wrong with believing in a divinity. There is something wrong with the way the representatives of most organized religions are coercing people. Anarchism allows you to have your own personal opinion, whether you are atheist, agnostic or a believer. This implies though that priest, priestesses, cenobites, etc. do not impose their opinion, their interpretation or their belief system on others either through scriptures, traditions or morality. 44. Morality is a vicious tool of coercion, because it is socially isolating. Émile Durkheim describes it as “(i) The qualification ‘moral’ has never been given to an act which has individual interests, or the perfection of the individual from a purely egotistic point of view, as its 12 object; (ii) if I as an individual do not constitute in myself a moral end, this is also true of the other individuals who are more or less like me; (iii) from which we conclude that, if a morality exists, it can only have as object the group formed by the associated individuals — that is to say, society, with the condition that society be always considered as being qualitatively different from the individual beings that compose it. Morality begins with membership of a group, whatever that group may be. When this premise is accepted the characteristics of the moral fact become more explicable. First, we shall show how society is good and desirable for the individual who cannot exist without it or deny it without denying himself, and how at the same time, because society surpasses the individual, he cannot desire it without to a certain extent violating his nature as an individual. Secondly, we shall show that society, while being good, constitutes a moral authority which, by manifesting itself in certain precepts particularly important to it, confers upon them an obligatory character.” 45. And this is exactly the problem, religion and other moralities have an obligatory character. Nobody likes to be coerced, so as long as somebody doesn’t inflict harm on anybody else, they should not be moralized. Morality is mental coercion induced by group pressure. We do not want to be governed in our religious belief systems either. Anarchists are not moralists! 46. All organized religions are moralistic. The three Abrahamic religions are most moralistic on the basis of their written ‘holy’ books and they are outright sexist. Yet, in essence all Eastern or modern religions have the same objective: the clergy will tell you what to do to communicate with the Divine, they will tell you how to dress, how to behave and what to think. Even the so-called progressive pagan religions can be reduced to this. Wiccan solitaries may be an exception! 47. Islam is not a progressive religion. Some anarchist will point fingers at someone for being Christian, but in the same breath point fingers at someone else for being Islamophobic. We should be Islamophobic! Islam is a reactionary, sexist and moralist indoctrinating cult. In Belgium, the left has campaigned against “calottes” for at least 100 years. It is an epithet for clericalist Catholics. Anti-clericalism has always stood central in left-wing beliefs. When Muslims became discriminated in the 1970’s and 1980’s all of a sudden, the term Islamophobia came into play. We are the first to stand up against the discrimination of Muslims, but we should not allow Islamic bigots to do as they please. Anarchists must be Islamophobic, just like they can only be scared of any other bigot religion. Worse, Islam is far more reactionary than Christianity, because historically it never underwent a separation between Church and State. Just like Christianity and Judaism it is a war religion from the Middle East that developed between the nomadic livestock keeping tribes.

ISLAM AND THE PALESTINIAN QUESTION

48. The question of Islamic nationalism and imperialism is not an easy one. It goes back at least 5000 years. The Arab peninsula is a vast desert and although – often – Arabs are proud of their desert culture, nobody really prefers to live in the desert. Deserts force people to become nomads that keep livestock, because agriculture is not possible. This makes that the Semites (mainly the Arabs and Canaanites) developed a different cultural concept of national and territorial understanding. They know a hospitality that other cultures do not know. When you come to a place with water in the desert, you are asked to join the ongoing meal. Arabs and Jews greet with Peace (shalom or salaam). People that grow crops are territorial, because they do not want their crops to be stolen. This meant that the Semitic people were always pushed back into the desert. 49. The Bible describes the many wars that the Jews had to fight. Whereas the Jews were a small nation that had settled on the fruitful banks of the Mediterranean, the Arabs became a bigger nation and tried to leave the desert in every direction. In the 7th century the prophet Muhammad started to conquer territory and soon the Arab empire contained current Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, North Africa and Spain next to the Arab peninsula. 50. Since Quranic times, Islamic imperialistic urge for expansion has not diminished. On the contrary, Islam has four characteristics that make it a cult that is far more dangerous than cults like Bhagwan. One, it converts; two, it does not allow women to marry non-Muslims; three, it sends men out two by two; four, it uses skillful brainwashing techniques – such as continuous repetition of prayer and the learning by heart of the Quran. Most Islamic countries are still for a large part in the stage of a slavery society. They never knew a feudal revolution nor a capitalist revolution. Feudalism and capitalism were introduced only through colonial occupation and Islam has always resisted these influences. And the Muslim immigrants in Western Europe and the US often keep rejecting those influences militantly. Some anarchists mistake this militant activism for genuine opposition against injustice. Let us not be fooled, we do not want to live in a modern version of a slave society with fascist sharia law. 51. This is the reason why the question of Palestine is a tricky one. Some Maoists, Communists, Socialists and even some Anarchists defend Palestine blindly. This holds a few dangers. It is never good to arbitrarily side in a nationalist conflict. This conflict has certain historic particularities. If Egypt had left the straits of Tiran open in the 1950’s, Palestine would still be part of Egypt and Jordan. And strangely enough the Palestinians never rose up to claim independence from Egypt or Jordan. There was never one Palestinian uprising under Ottoman occupation before 1918. And under the Palestinian Mandate between World War I and World War II the first nationalist uprising of Palestinians was not for independence of Britain; it was against Jewish immigration. The nature of the Palestinian struggle was racist. It was racist before the war; The 14 Palestinians collaborated with Hitler during the war and their fight is still racist today. Their propaganda movies are openly anti-Semitic and are distorting history. And after World War II, they opportunistically sought shelter under the wings of the USSR. They played to be martyrs that were throwing rocks at tanks. When the USSR fell in 1991, their attacks became ultra-sectarian again. Most pragmatic Palestinians have left the occupied territories and the Palestinians that have not left, are often ardent extreme-right anti-Semitic bigots. The attacks against random civilians express this sectarian nature. In Paris — Sarah Halimi — a medical doctor got killed by a Muslim neighbor rallying for Palestinian freedom, just because she was Jewish! 52. Remember the words of Lenin. Anarchists are absolutely in favor of the self-determination of nations. Yet, there should not be a secret agenda. If Palestinian liberation is racist and anti-Jewish, then we do not want part in it. Sooner or later, it will lash back! If the purpose is the blocking of the straits of Tiran so that Israel does not have access to the Pacific Ocean, then we are in favor of Israel’s self-determination. 53. Isn’t it “ironic?” When the Vlaams Belang refuses to accept Moroccan immigrants on the basis of their ethnicity, the Maoist PVDA shouts “racism!” Yet, when the Palestinians reject Jewish immigrants on the basis of their ethnicity, the Maoist PVDA in Belgium shouts “free Palestine!” Admitted, the statist PVDA has never been weary of any ultra-radicalism. And the Arab oil sheikhs don’t mind, because the oil price goes up! Agreed, the Israeli state is fascist and uses excessive violence. But the chain of all pro-Palestinian activists is yanked every time that Israel attacks Palestinian civilians. We clearly saw this during the recent strikes by the Israeli army. All left-wing parties started to shout “Outrage. Free the Palestinians!” If we would follow those slogans blindly, we wouldn’t follow our own agenda, but that of the Palestinians, the Maoists and other Communists. Even Hamas bigots wear a Palestinian scarf and unprincipled alliances in this case would mean a People’s Front! 54. For every local conflict in the world — and as a rule — we should carefully put forward our own balanced position. We should naturally strongly protest against every injustice, but we also have to be careful that we do not hitch our wagon to every sectarian insurrection. We are not insurrectionists. We are revolutionaries!

TYPES OF ANARCHISM

55. We may be revolutionaries, but there are many types of anarchists. The major tendencies within anarchism all have their own specific traits. Mainly, they can be divided in six different categories. There are (1) anarchists that would participate in governments under certain conditions, there are (2) anarcho-syndicalists who participate in trade unions, there are (3) platformists who work in organizations, there are (4) unorganized 15 anarchists, (5) religious anarchists and there is (6) the Especifismo branch of anarchism.

56.1. Anarchists do not participate in governments. Under specific historic circumstances, perhaps we could consent again over armed struggle alongside capitalist parties against Nazis or fascists, but anarchists should not participate in any government under any circumstance. The government is an apparatus of oppression at all times. The difference that you can make on the one hand is being compromised by the damage that you do on the other. We do not want to create any illusions in the tool of governance that is oppressing, killing and torturing billions of people and animals.

56.2. Trade unions are organizations that mediate between the workers and the bosses during a conflict. Most trade union secretaries are corrupt reformists. Anarchist trade unions also have the tendency to “soften up” and become mellow, reformist hollow organizations. While any type of organization within capitalism has the tendency to get either corrupted or to get bureaucratized. Another problem with – especially anarchist – trade unions is the lengthy process of decision-making. In a society without coercion this can work, but it is not easy to deal with employers’ deadlines in capitalism. Although some anarcho-syndicalist organizations have proven to be useful in the past, maintaining the structure of a trade union takes a lot of energy and bureaucratic meetings. Often, this kind of activism deviates attention from other – non-labor – themes such as housing, feminism, veganism, etc.

56.3. Platformist anarchists build organizations that deal with all of these themes. These organizations – again — take some effort to formally organize. The organization is built around a platform – a minimum of ideas – with which the members need to agree, before they can join. The objective of the original Makhnovist Platformist Dielo Truda group was to form an anarchist version of the Communist Party. This was due to their insurrectionary approach. It also had vanguardist deviations. This clearly shows from their platform – that was pretty vague in general – which stated: “As regards the urban workers’ revolutionary labor organizations, the General Union of Anarchists must make every effort to become their pioneer and theoretical mentor.”

56.4. It is clear that organization often holds a certain degree of hierarchy and responsibility. Many anarchists reject even the coercion from comrades and refuse to be a member of any organization. Society itself is a very complex organization and it is virtually impossible to not be part of any organization, but it is good that individual comrades are weary of bureaucracy and corruption.

56.5. Leo Tolstoy was a well-known Christian anarchist and there are many examples of Christians who stood up for an anarchist ideal. In the USA, there are 130 communities of the Catholic Worker Movement that stand up against injustice locally. The Jewish community also knows a few notable 16 anti-authoritarian religious Jews such as Erich Fromm. In Israel there were kibbutz communities that were founded on the ideals of anarchism. Most religious anarchists are more religious than anarchist and sometimes they even create illusions in a Deus-ex-machina solution for society.

56.6. Especifismo is different from every form of organization above. It is an organization that is set up – ad hoc – for specific targets and objectives. It often works with social insertion in labor unions and community groups. It is the most practical and flexible way of organizing for theorizing and for organizing and developing strategic political work. When we build an organization, we create one that is fit for the job, that does not exist as a permanent organization, but that exists for as long as is needed or for as long as is decided. Especifismo is a modern tool – without the risk of bureaucratization — for the 21st Century!

[1]

[2]

[3] [from Durkheim, Émile «Détermination du fait moral (determination of the moral fact) » (1898) in ‘Bulletin de la Société française de Philosophie.’]

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[5] [Rushworth M. Kidder, How Good People Make Tough Choices: Resolving the Dilemmas of Ethical Living, Harper, N.Y., 2003. ISBN 0-688-17590-2. p. 159]




Source: Theanarchistlibrary.org