We all have seen how the media portrays Anarchism as inherently a bad thing. Movies, T.V. shows, cartoons, and all corporate media has clearly shown us a picture of Anarchism as being a “destructive” ideology which causes recklessness, crime, disobedience, and chaos in a society. This has made most people think of “Anarchism” as a derogatory term and Anarchists as criminals and disobedient youth who want to vandalize the neighborhood.
This is exactly the plan of corporate media: making people afraid of what Anarchism is.
So first, what is Anarchism?
According to well-known anarchist Noam Chomsky, Anarchism is “a tendency that is suspicious and skeptical of domination, authority, and hierarchy.”
Most Anarchist schools of thought seek to abolish government, authority, and hierarchy because to them they represent oppression and inequality, even if the government in power is a Socialist State. Revolutionary anarchist Mikhail Bakunin described government as “the vilest and terrible lie that our century has created.”
So then, what is “Anarchism of thought”?
What I mean by “Anarchism of thought” is that people should adopt the skepticism that the Anarchist ideology has towards authority, without necessarily advocating for a government-less society.
Some forms of authoritarianism can actually be justified like, for example, when a mother tells her children to not do certain activities that can put their life in danger, such as crossing the street without looking. We can all agree that the mother is being authoritarian when she prohibits her children from doing certain acts. Is her use of authoritarianism justified in this instance? It certainly is, because she does this purely for the sake of her kids’ well-being.
The same is true when the government decides to give Universal Healthcare, public free universities, environmental regulations, or other progressive programs to the population as a whole and we can all assume this form of authority is completely justified because it seeks to help the general population. But there are some forms of authority that actually hurt the general population and when this happens we should dismantle that form of authority and rebuild it to make it more just.
We cannot keep allowing the government to brainwash us with neoliberal propaganda which wants us to think that authority oughtn’t to be questioned and that the capitalist system is the most “just” form of living within a society. We have to stop being individualistic and we have to start thinking not for ourselves but for the rest of our community also.
We need to stay active in politics, questioning every single policy that the government enacts. If a policy that the government implements are good, we should applaud it and make sure that it is done correctly. If the government wants to implement a policy that will harm the population, we should vehemently fight against it by protesting, making and signing petitions against the ruling, calling the lawmakers that represent our state, or doing the simple, but powerful task of informing others about the things that are going on in the country.
If we don’t question everything that the State does, it can take advantage of our ignorance by giving big corporations and others the freedom to do whatever they want with us, thus hurting the 99% and helping the 1% out.
An ignorant population is the easiest to control, so that’s why we should question authority and its functions within society by asking ourselves this single and important question: does it help me and my community?