Nothing like kicking off an introductory post with a dated Austin Powers reference.
I’ll keep it short and sweet. Maybe. Figured an introductory post would be a good idea just so all my proverbial cards are on the table and y’all get a sense of where I come from.
My upbringing and background is in good ‘ol New England leftism of the JFK-worshipping variety. I got through college still attached to some kind of socialism and certainly under the impression that the state was really the only way to go. Got myself a degree in Political Science and all that jazz, don’tcha know.
Coming as I did from a good, upstanding background in punk rock and “alternative” social and lifestyle scenes, I had at least some exposure to anarchism: besides goofy teenagers painting the symbol on their skateboards, I got it through (fairly) with-it dudes like Noam Chomsky. But it never really grabbed me until I was out in THA REAL WORLD for a bit and had a chance to get some really good conversations under my belt, many of which were with the fellow bloggers on this here blog. Now I’m with the program. On the scene. One of the converted, such as it were.
So, what do I adhere to? I still like my butterflys-and-unicorns leftism, that much is for sure. I don’t see my turn away from the state as a repudiation of all the meaty social issues, which I think are definitely big issues, so much as the recognition that the state is hurting way more than it’s helping. So, I count myself as a left-anarchist generally, although I don’t really get my kicks from Infoshop or consider myself part of the ALL – tho’ there are many decent folks in both scenes, ’tis true. I’m not really too keen on the Von Mises Institute types or more beltway forms of libertarianism either, although all these scenes have their merits.
There’s some folks I like, and tend to think their approach to anarchism is right on. Awesome historical figures like Emma Goldman and Leo Tolstoy got a heck of a lot right in my book, both in their philosophies and disposition. I think that Thomas Jefferson guy said some pretty neat stuff too.
More contemporaneously, I think guys like Roderick Long, Gary Chartier and Kevin Carson are developing visions of what anarchism should look like that I would pretty much sign onto. The phrase “free market anti-capitalism” sums it up pretty well. The power of the markets is an awesome thing, but we need to understand and formulate our ideas of what “free markets” really are in opposition to what currently passes as “free market capitalism” these days. And I tend to think anarchism ehn’t nothing if you’re not addressing all forms of oppression, rather than just talking the anti-state game.
Allow me to second Gene’s praise of Colin Ward. One of the major frustrations I have with the movement is that, you know, you gotta do stuff. It’s not enough to quibble about whether you endorse the ideas of writer x over writer y and what kind of anarchist does that make you and so forth. There are, like, actual real life people that are living and loving and working and dying right here on this planet right now and if anarchism is gonna mean anything it’s gotta be about helping all of them/us in the right here and now. Ward speaks very well to that, and I recommend his Anarchy in Action to anyone.
I’m not gonna box myself in too much by giving myself a bunch of hyphenated descriptions of what my preferred flavor of anarchism is. I won’t call myself an “anarchist without adjectives” either. If you must call me something, just call me an Anarcho-Red Sox fan. Actually, that’s really awesome. That’s totally what I’m gonna start calling myself.
In closing, because I am a firm believer in Having a Good Time, enjoy some music: