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(en) Aotearoa-New Zealand Imminent Rebellion #2 Core Values, Not Pet Issues: Moving Anarchism from the Fringe

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 3 Feb 2004 08:38:52 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
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MANY of us who consider ourselves
"Anarchists" have special issues about which
we feel strongly, and which we campaign
about actively. This is certainly admirable,
and these specific issues also provide an
avenue for many who were previously
uninterested in politics to gain
understanding, skills, and broader ideals for
which to fight. These specific issues
however, are not the core of Anarchism.
Anarchism must be broader, and deeper,
than a mere banner under which a multitude
of "lobby" groups seek solidarity. This is
because Anarchism is specially positioned at
present to make a real and revolutionary
change in our society - one that could
potentially create a society where the people
could finally exercise real control over such
issues. However, it is only positioned in this
way if it is capable of gaining popular support
as a viable philosophy upon which a society
can be built - it is the core ideals of
Anarchism that must be brought to the
people, not the movements current members
stances on specific issues. An authentic
Anarchism is not "winning" on a handful of
pet-issues but removing the structures of
authority, control, and exploitation that
allowed them to occur.
Many people, both anarchists and
potential anarchists, feel uncomfortable with
what can appear, on the surface at least, a
"life-style" discourse in New Zealand
Anarchism. Many individuals hold the
central views of Anarchism but reject actual
"Anarchism" as such because it appears to
them to be merely a radical eco-lobby group.
Others, for instance some members of the
Libertarianz, share the core values of
Anarchism but are fearful of an attack on
their negative freedoms (like the freedom to
wear leather or eat meat) and so turn to a
free-market model as a means of providing
basic choice, deciding that the exploitative
nature of that system is preferable to loosing
their basic liberties. The movement must
demonstrate to people like these that
Anarchism respects both society AND the
individual. "Libertarian Socialism" rejects
the exploitative free-market AND the
overbearing bureaucratic "nanny-state". That
is the message that must be spread to the
uninitiated if we wish to gain popular support
- not our positions on important but
ultimately personal issues.
Questions of the usage of technology,
combating Neo-Nazi groups, GM agriculture
and medicine, Veganism etc. are important
issues, but ones that could be debated and
dealt with best from within the framework
of a truly democratic, free, and participatory
society (and some of course will disappear
under such a system) . To promote Anarchism
via specific positions on these or other issues
risks the appearance (and indeed the reality)
of pre-empting such debates: "We want a free
society where communities and individuals
can control their own lives and participate
equally - provided they conform to OUR
stance on X from the outset". Anarchism must
provide new positive freedoms without, as
has been one of the fatal flaws of other "left"
experiments, attacking peoples negative
An authentic popular revolutionary
movement can't risk fracturing itself around
specific issues of choice
when there is a genuine
existing consensus on
the core beliefs of
Anarchism: a fair
and democratic
society organised from the
bottom up, free of gods and rulers. And
likewise, a movement currently relegated to
the fringe of politics but with such awesome
potential can't risk alienating masses of
potential supporters by drawing unnecessary
lines in the sand about such specific,
personal, and complex issues.
Free the people so that THEY can decide
how they want to live.

- Rob McGrail

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