What Unitarians Taught Me About Anarchism (Anarchism for Civilians series)

For a while, I’ve wanted to write a short introduction to anarchism for folks who have no background in the subject. It is inevitable that there will be some people who will disagree with my representation of anarchism in the series. I’m still learning about it, and in any case, I could never do justice to the complexity of anarchism. 

So rather than attempting any kind of authoritative definition of anarchism–which would really be contrary to the spirit of the thing–I wanted instead to dispel some of the myths that I had to unlearn in order to grasp what anarchism is about. In each part of the series, I used something unrelated to anarchism to elucidate some aspect of anarchism.

Lesson 1: Anarchy does not mean chaos. Anarchy does mean the absence of hierarchy.

In the minds of most people, “anarchy” has come to mean a state of social chaos. But anarchy is not chaos. Anarchy is simply the absence of social hierarchy.[FN 5] It is the absence of domination of some people by other people. This includes all forms of hierarchy, including authoritarianism, classism (which capitalism is a form of), racism, sexism, hetero- and cis-normativity, and even anthropocentrism. Anarchism recognizes the interconnectedness of all of these forms of oppression and, thus, how opposition to these different forms of hierarchy must also be connected.[FN 6]

Contrary to what some people may believe, there are ways to order society that don’t involve hierarchy. In its essence, anarchy is simply pure democracy. It means letting people make decisions for themselves in community with others, without abdicating power or responsibility to a group of elites. This necessarily requires keeping things small, because the bigger things get, the more people are involved, the harder it is to maintain real democracy. …

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Published by John Halstead

John Halstead is the author of *Another End of the World is Possible*, in which he explores what it would really mean for our relationship with the natural world if we were to admit that we are doomed. John is a native of the southern Laurentian bioregion and lives in Northwest Indiana, near Chicago. He is a co-founder of 350 Indiana-Calumet, which worked to organize resistance to the fossil fuel industry in the Region. John was the principal facilitator of “A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment.” He strives to live up to the challenge posed by the Statement through his writing and activism. John has written for numerous online platforms, including Patheos, Huffington Post, PrayWithYourFeet.org, and Gods & Radicals. He is Editor-at-Large of HumanisticPaganism.com. John also facilitates climate grief support groups climate grief support groups affiliated with the Good Grief Network.

2 thoughts on “What Unitarians Taught Me About Anarchism (Anarchism for Civilians series)

  1. links for rest of post are broken?

    On Thu, 4 Jun 2020 at 13:10, Another End of the World is Possible wrote:

    > John Halstead posted: ” Lesson 1: Anarchy does not mean chaos. > Anarchy does mean the absence of hierarchy. In the minds of most people, > “anarchy” has come to mean a state of social chaos. But anarchy is not > chaos. Anarchy is simply the absence of social hierarchy.[FN 5] ” >

    Like

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