For some time I've been mulling over whether I should air my politics publicly, they are to say the least, unconventional. The more observant of you may have noticed the little collection of anarchy symbols that adorn my blog on the left hand side, couple that with my obvious adoration of religion, organised systems of control, our political system and the individuals who inhabit those spaces - you've probably guessed but please permit me a little explanation.
After years of political indolence interspersed by engagement - through those periods of frustrated inactivity modulated by almost manic participation in organised politics it became apparent to me that our natural born expectations of freedom and happiness appear to run contrary to conventional political structures.
Nothing I tried quite fitted, I couldn't quite put my finger on it - the differing cuts of the parties and systems just pinched in wrong places. Its been a long journey which has concluded in my belief that, no matter how passionate or motivated an activist is to join a political party and attempt meaningful change from within, the existing structures cannot deliver empowerment and freedom; this is no more realistic a prospect as my very real desire as a child to fly.
'Change from within' - that oft expressed desire of those who are politically motivated - is an acknowledgement of failure; an admission that despite many decades of trying, our democracy has failed miserably to deliver what feels naturally like equitable freedom. If democracy was such a success story, as some would have us believe, why would change be needed? A success would not require new laws every parliamentary term, new legislation on old legislation restricting freedoms further, it would not take human lives, be indifferent to suffering, raise armies and be so open to corruption.
A prison called democracy; that's how I see our political system and its manipulation of our society - it locks us, our desires, passions, natural rights and freedoms in a constructed environment, one that gives our undeserving jailers free reign to exploit their unhealthy passions for power and acquisitiveness. We are born in prison and we die there; in an unhealthy political system so cocksure and certain of its veracity, its unquestioned superiority, that it will brook no dissent, no discussion required, no debates called for - whilst all the time failing to represent its constituent's rights to basic freedoms.
You got it, I think - I'm an anarchist, I think...
I don't however have the answers, a better system? Sure let's discuss that seriously, it's important, more important than anything else, ever, anywhere - we have but one life; to spend that in chains in a version of freedom dictated to us by our 'betters', who all the time suspiciously reassure us it's the best we can expect, is wrong.
What I do know is that our current structures, the accepted truths, seem all too often to mitigate against freedom, maybe less so than others, but that is no excuse for refusing to discuss change - what sane man or woman would compromise their life, accept second best? Life is our only one and true possession of import. Why would we surrender a worthwhile and free existence to others? Why is there no serious discussion of exactly how we organise society and politics for the maximum benefit of the individual, now and in future. Have we accepted this because we are told by others that this is the best we can expect?
The last word goes to Emma Goldman from her essay "Anarchism: What it really stands for"
To achieve such an arrangement of life, government, with its unjust, arbitrary, repressive measures, must be done away with. At best it has but imposed one single mode of life upon all, without regard to individual and social variations and needs. In destroying government and statutory laws, Anarchism proposes to rescue the self-respect and independence of the individual from all restraint and invasion by authority. Only in freedom can man grow to his full stature. Only in freedom will he learn to think and move, and give the very best in him. Only in freedom will he realize the true force of the social bonds which knit men together, and which are the true foundation of a normal social life....rant fin
But what about human nature? Can it be changed? And if not, will it endure under Anarchism?
Poor human nature, what horrible crimes have been committed in thy name! Every fool, from king to policeman, from the flatheaded parson to the visionless dabbler in science, presumes to speak authoritatively of human nature. The greater the mental charlatan, the more definite his insistence on the wickedness and weaknesses of human nature. Yet, how can any one speak of it today, with every soul in a prison, with every heart fettered, wounded, and maimed?
John Burroughs has stated that experimental study of animals in captivity is absolutely useless. Their character, their habits, their appetites undergo a complete transformation when torn from their soil in field and forest. With human nature caged in a narrow space, whipped daily into submission, how can we speak of its potentialities?
Freedom, expansion, opportunity, and, above all, peace and repose, alone can teach us the real dominant factors of human nature and all its wonderful possibilities.
Anarchism, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations.