Thursday 25 February 2010

It’s anarchy

Gustav Landauer
I’ve always thought of anarchy in its pejorative sense; as such anarchists were to be pitied at best, and at worse full of violence, a general urge to destruction and dangerous to the ‘common good’ – though I’m uneasy with such a term. Possibly an unfair generalisation and I am reminded of a conversation with a socialist activist friend who despaired at the appearance of the Socialist Workers Party at every demonstration. Some people, she explained, are full of anger at an injustice whereas some are just full of anger.

I’ve not a lot of time for people railing against a system without providing (credible) alternatives; thus anarchism came even lower down than socialism in my estimation. However I recently came across this quote from Gustav Landauer:
The State is not something which can be destroyed by a revolution, but is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of human behaviour; we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently.
I like that. Anarchism, like socialism, would appear to have many sometimes competing facets. Gustav Landauer was murdered by soldiers one day after being arrested during the November Revolution. It serves to remind me that when I win the lottery, for which I’d have to buy a ticket, I must look to further education and the study of something “useless”. There’s nothing to stop me now of course, except time and a general weariness, I’d just like the money; though in some anarchist systems I wouldn’t need it... apparently.


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