ANARCHISM IS NOW

The latest sedition of The Anarchy Show is focused on the question – what is anarchism?

anarchylives

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We start of with the ABCs of anarchism which was put together for the show a few years ago.

Then after a few songs Peter gives a run down on nihilism.

And we discuss David Graeber’s article Are You an Anarchist? The Answer May Surprise You.

We play a few songs from Nacion Libre Netlabel, you can download a whole lot of music for free from their site.

MUSIC

Combat Wombat – Asylum info
Against Me – Baby I’m an Anarchist info
Louis Lingg and the Bombs – Anarchist info
Steve Towson – We Will Rise info
BAMBU – RENT MONEY info
Urthboy and Ciecmate – Warfinal info
The Go Set – In the Streets info
Trash of all Nations – Walls of West End info
Rotten – No gods, no managers info
Anti-Venom – Annihilation of the human raze info

Are You An Anarchist? The Answer May Surprise You!

Take this questionnaire.

David Graeber

Chances are you have already heard something about who anarchists are and what they are supposed to believe. Chances are almost everything you have heard is nonsense. Many people seem to think that anarchists are proponents of violence, chaos, and destruction, that they are against all forms of order and organization, or that they are crazed nihilists who just want to blow everything up.

In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Anarchists are simply people who believe human beings are capable of behaving in a reasonable fashion without having to be forced to. It is really a very simple notion. But it’s one that the rich and powerful have always found extremely dangerous.
At their very simplest, anarchist beliefs turn on to two elementary assumptions. The first is that human beings are, under ordinary circumstances, about as reasonable and decent as they are allowed to be, and can organize themselves and their communities without needing to be told how. The second is that power corrupts. Most of all, anarchism is just a matter of having the courage to take the simple principles of common decency that we all live by, and to follow them through to their logical conclusions. Odd though this may seem, in most important ways you are probably already an anarchist — you just don’t realize it.
Let’s start by taking a few examples from everyday life.

• If there’s a line to get on a crowded bus, do you wait your turn and refrain from elbowing your way past others even in the absence of police?

If you answered “yes”, then you are used to acting like an anarchist! The most basic anarchist principle is self-organization: the assumption that human beings do not need to be threatened with prosecution in order to be able to come to reasonable understandings with each other, or to treat each other with dignity and respect.
Everyone believes they are capable of behaving reasonably themselves. If they think laws and police are necessary, it is only because they don’t believe that other people are. But if you think about it, don’t those people all feel exactly the same way about you? Anarchists argue that almost all the anti-social behavior which makes us think it’s necessary to have armies, police, prisons, and governments to control our lives, is actually caused by the systematic inequalities and injustice those armies, police, prisons and governments make possible. It’s all a vicious circle.

If people are used to being treated like their opinions do not matter, they are likely to become angry and cynical, even violent — which of course makes it easy for those in power to say that their opinions do not matter. Once they understand that their opinions really do matter just as much as anyone else’s, they tend to become remarkably understanding. To cut a long story short: anarchists believe that for the most part it is power itself,
and the effects of power, that make people stupid and irresponsible.

• Are you a member of a club or sports team or any other voluntary organization where decisions are not imposed by one leader but made on the basis of general consent?

If you answered “yes”, then you belong to an organization which works on anarchist principles! Another basic anarchist principle is voluntary association. This is simply a matter of applying democratic principles to ordinary life. The only difference is that anarchists believe it should be possible to have a society in which everything could be organized along these lines, all groups based on the free consent of their members, and therefore, that all top-down, military styles of organization like armies or bureaucracies or large corporations, based on chains of command, would no longer be necessary.

Perhaps you don’t believe that would be possible. Perhaps you do. But every time you reach an agreement by consensus, rather than threats, every time you make a voluntary arrangement with another person, come to an understanding, or reach a compromise by taking due consideration of the other person’s particular situation or needs, you are being an anarchist — even if you don’t realize it.
Anarchism is just the way people act when they are free to do as they choose, and when they deal with others who are equally free — and therefore aware of the responsibility to others that entails. This leads to another crucial point: that while people can be reasonable and considerate when they are dealing with equals, human nature is such that they cannot be trusted to do so when given power over others. Give someone such power, they will almost invariably abuse it in some way or another.
• Do you believe that most politicians are selfish, egotistical swine who don’t really care about the public interest? Do you think we live in an economic system which is stupid and unfair? If you answered “yes”, then you subscribe to the anarchist critique of today’s society — at least, in its broadest outlines. Anarchists believe that power corrupts and those who spend their entire lives seeking power are the very last people who should have it. Anarchists believe that our present economic system is more likely to reward people for selfish and unscrupulous behavior than for being decent, caring human beings. Most people feel that way. The only difference is that most people don’t think there’s anything that can be done about it, or anyway — and this is what the faithful servants of the powerful are always most likely to insist — anything that won’t end up making things even
worse.
But what if that weren’t true? And is there really any reason to believe this? When you can actually test them, most of the usual predictions about what would happen without states or capitalism turn out to be entirely untrue. For thousands of years people lived without governments. In many parts of the world people live outside of the control of governments today. They do not all kill each other. Mostly they just get on about their lives the same as anyone else would. Of course, in a complex, urban, technological society all this would be more complicated: but technology can also make all these problems a lot easier to solve. In fact, we have not even begun to think about what our lives could be like if technology were really marshaled to fit human needs. How many hours would we really need to work in order to maintain a functional society — that is, if we got rid of all the useless or destructive occupations like telemarketers, lawyers, prison guards, financial analysts, public relations experts, bureaucrats and politicians, and turn our best scientific minds away from working on space weaponry or stock market systems to mechanizing away dangerous or annoying tasks like coal mining or cleaning the bathroom, and distribute the remaining work among everyone equally? Five hours a day? Four? Three? Two? Nobody knows because no one is even asking this kind of question. Anarchists think these are the
very questions we should be asking.

• Do you really believe those things you tell your children (or that your parents told you)?
“It doesn’t matter who started it.” “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” “Clean up your own mess.” “Do unto others…” “Don’t be mean to people just because they’re different.” Perhaps we should decide whether we’re lying to our children when we tell them about right and wrong, or whether we’re willing to take our own injunctions seriously. Because if you take these moral principles to their logical conclusions, you arrive at anarchism.
Take the principle that two wrongs don’t make a right. If you really took it seriously, that alone would knock away almost the entire basis for war and the criminal justice system. The same goes for sharing: we’re always telling children that they have to learn to share, to be considerate of each other’s needs, to help each other; then we go off into the real world where we assume that everyone is naturally selfish and competitive. But an anarchist would point out: in fact, what we say to our children is right. Pretty much every great worthwhile achievement in human history, every discovery or accomplishment that’s improved our lives, has been based on cooperation and mutual aid; even now, most of us spend more of our money on our friends and families than on ourselves; while likely
as not there will always be competitive people in the world, there’s no reason why society has to be based on encouraging such behavior, let alone making people compete over the basic necessities of life.

That only serves the interests of people in power, who want us to live in fear of one another. That’s why anarchists call for a society based not only on free association but mutual aid. The fact is that most children grow up believing in anarchist morality, and then gradually have to realize that the adult world doesn’t really work that way. That’s why so many become rebellious, or alienated, even suicidal as adolescents, and finally, resigned and bitter as adults; their only solace, often, being the ability to raise children of their own and pretend to them that the world is fair. But what if we really could start to build a world which really was at least founded on principles of justice? Wouldn’t that be the greatest gift to one’s children one could possibly give?
• Do you believe that human beings are fundamentally corrupt and evil, or that certain sorts of people (women, people of color, ordinary folk who are not rich or highly educated) are inferior specimens, destined to be ruled by their betters?
If you answered “yes”, then, well, it looks like you aren’t an anarchist after all. But if you answered “no”, then chances are you already subscribe to 90% of anarchist principles, and, likely as not, are living your life largely in accord with them. Every time you treat another human with consideration and respect, you are being an anarchist.

Every time you work out your differences with others by coming to reasonable compromise, listening to what everyone has to say rather than letting one person decide
for everyone else, you are being an anarchist. Every time you have the opportunity to force someone to do something, but decide to appeal to their sense of reason or justice instead, you are being an anarchist. The same goes for every time you share something with a friend, or decide who is going to do the dishes, or do anything at all with an eye to fairness.
Now, you might object that all this is well and good as a way for small groups of people to get on with each other, but managing a city, or a country, is an entirely different matter. And of course there is something to this. Even if you decentralize society and put as much power as possible in the hands of small communities, there will still be plenty of things that need to be coordinated, from running railroads to deciding on directions for medical research.

But just because something is complicated does not mean there is no way to do it democratically. It would just be complicated. In fact, anarchists have all sorts of different ideas and visions about how a complex society might manage itself. To explain them though would go far beyond the scope of a little introductory text like this. Suffice it to
say, first of all, that a lot of people have spent a lot of time coming up with models for how a really democratic, healthy society might work; but second, and just as importantly, no anarchist claims to have a perfect blueprint. The last thing we want is to impose prefab models on society anyway.

The truth is we probably can’t even imagine half the problems that will come up when we try to create a democratic society; still, we’re confident that, human ingenuity being what it is, such problems can always be solved, so long as it is in the spirit of our basic principles — which are, in the final analysis, simply the principles of fundamental human decency.

ELIMINATE BORDERS

I’ve uploaded the latest Anarchy Show to radio4all.net.

The focus of this show is motherfucking borders and some of the trouble they cause.

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In Australia the political parties on both sides are obsessed with our borders and stopping many brown people from entering them.

The result of this obsession is the dismal conditions children, women and men are having to endure while there kept in Australia’s detention centers, the worst being offshore on Manus Island (Papua New Guinea) and Nauru.

Earlier in the year the Liberal National Government introduced a law which made it illegal for doctors and others working with detained refugees to speak out about conditions and incidences of concern in detention centers.

Dr Richard Kidd is co-founder of Doctors for Refugees and one of the 40 health professionals who has spoken out of defiance of the Border Force Act.

I interviewed him after he spoke at the Brisbane rally Stand Up for Refugees.

I also talk about G4S the huge multinational corporation who run some of Australia’s detention network.

Plus a debrief of the fascist activity in Australia over the weekend from Anna.

And finally The Stimulator givers us his rant about borders.

MUSIC

Backing music by http://unisonicascension.com/

DDM – People Never Heard info
Tu P Stem Master – Border Force Facts info
Phil Monsour – Who Killed Reza Berati info
Steve Towson – Christmas Island info
Chumbawamba – The Day the Nazi Died info
Oi Polloi                                                                                      Bash The Fash
Alerta Alerta AntiFascista – Across the Border info
RACE RIOT 59 – SMASH NAZIS info
stimulator – erase the borders info
The Lurkers – Mining Man info

SPEAKING OUT AGAINST THE BORDER FORCE ACT

Dr Richard Kidd is co-founder of Doctors for Refugees, He spoke at Stand Up for Refugees rally which was held in Brisbane as part of a National Day of Action.

As a doctor who works with refugees in Australia, because of the Border Force Act he is risking 2 years jail by speaking out.

I interviewed him during the Rally. He speaks to me about the effect the Border Force Act has had on Doctors, the difficulties doctors have treating patients in detention, children in detention and the work of Doctors for Refugees.

To the Australian People from Manus Island

In the heart of the dark nights, I yell out through the mass of metallic and hard fences. Surrounded by agony and torture, I yell out right next to the tropical birds, thousands kilometre further away from the people’s world, in the heart of a remote island located in the corner of the vastest ocean in the world.

In the name of humanity and freedom, I yell out, in the name of all the values, values which connect human’s dignity with peace. I yell out, a yell from the hell where people are tortured and humiliated in a systematic form.

A yell having the quality of those flower-like ambitions when their petals are being plucked cruelly and a yell having the quality of a heart which has been crushed under the steel boots of politicians. Here is the hellhole Manus island.

Protecting the boarders and saving lives from the dangerous sea journey are the excuses for this brutal policy (The excuses for this brutal policy are to protect the boarders and to save lives from the dangerous boat journey).

After 27 months of implementing this policy, now it is time to impartially evaluate how this policy has been applied. During this long period, the Australian government has been accused of human rights violations by most of the credible international organisations which are active in human rights realm.

So far two people have lost their lives in the Manus prison ( detention centre). On Naura, dozen cases of rape and violence against women and children have been recorded, and with the continuance of this policy, everyday new cases are being added to the list of rape and violence.

Unfortunately, the government still insists on pursuing this policy. after 27 months, no one has been settled on Manus island yet. It shows that there is no planing for refugee resettlement on the island. Thus we could say that an obvious and official hostage-taking is occoring because since then no one has been resettled and no one has been released from the prison.

It is an apparent reality that saving people’s lives at sea is being used as a cover to implement the inhuman and immoral policy. Unfortunately, this policy has not had any achivement, it has just caused the intense suffering and the extreme agony for detainee asylum seekers as well as damages to the reputation and the credibility of Australia in the worldwide public opinion. It seems that it is time for Australian people to yell loudly at the government to urge it to confess that the policy of Naura and Manus resettlement has reached a dead end, and also to urge the government to bring an end to this harsh policy as soon as possible.

Behrouz Boochani Journalist and human rights defender Manus prison 5 October 2015

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