With the current theme being "Freedom" at the Woluwe Independent, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at one of the most misunderstood and unknown political beliefs in the history of the Universe: Anarchism.

Anarchism is a political philosophy that believes societies should be self governed, and that no rules should exist that could limit one's personal freedom. As it is put by Noam Chomsky, a notable linguistic and political philosopher and activist, Anarchism is a "tendency in human development that seeks to identify structures of authority that constrain human development" and then subject them to a challenge: to justify themselves, and demonstrate they are legitimate, or otherwise accept "dismantling and reconstruction".

Anarchism is not averse to Democracy. In fact, Anarchism actually follows many Democratic guidelines. It seeks, like all Democracies in the world, to give the power back to the people as well as the control of their own lives. They both believe in personal freedom, but they disagree on the method.
Anarchists argue that the majority of the population has no influence over policy in a Capitalist, Democratic society, and that as you go up on the wage scale, you get more and more influence.
This is, to some extent, what we see every day in well established democracies, like in the United States. There, "buying" presidential candidates became the norm, and as a consequence for example, there is a mainstream party that actually denies climate change! It is also why people are getting fed up with the "establishment", and a person like Bernie Sanders, a Democratic candidate who is refusing money from any other source except small donors like you and I, is doing so well in the polls.
People tend to lose out in such societies, at least having in mind the possibilities an anarchist society can provide. For anarchists, a truly democratic system would be different: an alliance of free groups of people based on cooperative work, and a planned administration of things in the interest of the community, instead of those with more money and big businesses.
They call for public control of the means of production, exchange, publicity, transportation and communication: workers are not to be owned by masters and must have own their industrial fate; workers are not tools to be rented by employers.
This looks very similar to Communist thought. The truth is, in many things they actually agree. During the Russian Revolution of 1917, both worked together, for a while, working for the same objectives. However, again, both differ in the method: Communism believes in the "dictatorship of the proletariat", and in a one-party state, with the people ruling through that one party; Anarchism believes a perfect society does not have any government or constitutional authority to rule thoughts and actions of individual citizens.

To sum it up:
Today's society is built on the ideal of "gain wealth, forget all but self", to put it in Noam Chomsky's words. It has turned us into egocentric, individualistic beasts, competing amongst ourselves to be favoured by companies and governments whose bestiality is incomparable. We are disrespected by all, bombarded with advertisements that wish to control us. Today’s society made us wage slaves of consumption and wealth.
Anarchists wish to restore the boundaries: a society based on workers control, community control, which respects the dignity of the producer and of the consumer as genuine people, not tools in the hands of others.
We can be against many of the ideals represented by Anarchism. Ownership and private property are definitely sensitive topics. The protection of the environment, quality of life for all, people's control over their own lives, and freedom, however, are all ideas that most people believe in, and want for themselves and for others. That is what we should take from Anarchism as a thought.

By Afonso Boavida Rodrigues
Edited by Juliana Saunders, Anna Duch Giménez and Emilie Kerstens


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