Anarchy Without Anarchists

In the wake of May Day vandalism and property destruction in downtown Santa Cruz, blamed on unnamed “anarchists,” the real anarchist community held a meeting last night to discuss the meaning of anarchism and anarchy and our reasons for pursuing this particular sociopolitical pathway.

It was a good meeting, even prompting a sympathetic article in the semi-local newspaper: Anarchists seek to demystify anarchy A panel made up of representatives of at least four trends in anarchism: cooperative local, mutual aid; queer individualism; anti-authoritarian confrontation; and anarcho-syndicalist self-organization.

John Malkin of Santa Cruz, host of a weekly radio program on music, art, spirituality, anarchy and compassion on Free Radio Santa Cruz spoke on, well, music, art, spirituality, anarchy and compassion and his work organizing here in Santa Cruz. Here’s an interview on John:

Barry Pateman gave a rousing talk about his upbringing in a mining town in Yorkshire. When the miners went on strike they took care of their own, not because of any Marxist, Anarchist of other “-ist” teachings, but because it was the right and only thing to do. Mutual aid.

As for the other speakers, advocacy for gender diversity has nothing to do with anarchy. Nor do I support violence against anyone, including police and military, as a valid anarchist strategy. The best way to deal with the constabulary is non-cooperation and right livelihood. If we confront their authority, we give legitimacy to their power. Best to ignore them, take care of our own, and let them wither away through disuse.

The bookend introductory speeches were so good, we didn’t stay for the Q & A. It was obvious that anarchy is in good hands in Santa Cruz, called by any name. Barry said it well:

“Anarchy will come, even without anarchists.”


One thought on “Anarchy Without Anarchists

  1. Wonderful! A nice read for me, as my level of frustration with damn near everything is at an all time high. Thanks to the BP disaster just 400 miles south of my home, and the response of many in Louisiana and in Washington-Wall Street (calling for more drilling), my despondency has given way to anger. This is dangerous, as it makes me question many of the principles I've supported (non-violence as an effective tool, for example, since I'm seeing anarchists, progressives and non-humans get steamrolled). It's encouraging to know there are “others” out there that see the benefit of community, mutual aid and non-violent resistance. I don't feel so alone any more down here in the Deep Dumb South. All I need is a little encouragement or a positive story to stay the course and not fly off into Zapata fantasy land. 😉


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