The Paltry Ideal of Democracy
In recent years, the ideal of democracy has achieved global dominance. Organizations from the U.S. government to the EZLN to the United Nations call for more democracy on both the local and the global scale, and many revolutionaries let themselves be drawn into this chorus of bleating sheep and calling shepherds. A mythology develops in which the goddess Democracy is flanked on the one side by Liberty and on the other by Justice and together, it is said they will bring peace and prosperity to the world.
Reality, of course, never lives up to the myths by which it justifies itself. The ideas, perspectives and social systems promoted by the rulers of the present society are those that serve to mainta... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
I believe it was Clausewitz who said that war was simply politics carried out by other means. I think that the reverse is a truer expression of social reality. Politics is simply the social war carried out using less bloody means. If we consider that it is always the ruling class and its lackeys who call for social peace, demanding that the exploited and excluded refrain from violence in dealing with their social condition, it becomes obvious that social peace is simply part of the strategy of the social war. For this reason, the peace movement must be rejected as a way of dealing with the current American call for war.
Examining real relationships of power
The peace movement is based on an ideology of nonviolence, a pacifist mora... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
A Few Words
“Between tactical dogma and strategic expectations I choose neither the one nor the other, for I would be transforming anarchism, which for me is an ethic, a way of seeing and living life, into an ideal to be realized at any cost, whereas there can be no separation between theory and practice.”
“I believe that the anarchist choice cannot be subordinated to future events but that it must during its actual course bear the mark of difference, pleasure, dignity.”
— Massimo Passamani
Fairly frequently in anarchist circles, one will hear calls for us to be more effective, to act more strategically. Undoubtedly, there is a place for such calls, particularly when there se... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
A Few Words
The changes occurring in the way capital functions today present a difficult challenge to all of us who reject and seek to destroy the present social order. We are living in a world in which existence is increasingly precarious, in which possibilities for a relatively autonomous existence are narrowing, in which our physical and mental beings are increasingly attacked by the poisons this system spews out, and in which the democratic state no longer feels the need to disguise what a state is but rather complacently garners citizens’ support for the most repressive measures through propaganda about “violent crime” and “terrorism”. To dream of finding individual freedom outside of the terrain of... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
A Few Words
The reasons for eradicating every form of rule can be enumerated repeatedly to infinity without inspiring a single act of revolt. The fact that this civilization, built on domination and exploitation, is really just a clock-work march toward death could just easily move one to give up or fall into the logic of emergency that so easily leads to the acceptance of band-aid measures and dependence on the experts of the ruling order. All the lists of the excesses of exploitation, of environmental destruction, of specific acts of repression and so on remain in the realm of the quantitative, and thus continue to be based in the methodology and mentality of the economy and the state. Therefore, they provide a fine basis for the s... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
A Few Words: Thoughts on Alienation
Alienation is a concept frequently talked about in anarchist circles. Clearly, domination and exploitation can only develop in conjunction with alienation, so such discussion is important. But it is necessary to focus this discussion in order to make it useful to the anarchist project of destroying the present order and creating new ways of living.
I have always said that the revolt against the present order of things originates in the individual desire to create one’s life as one sees fit. This does not contradict the necessity for class struggle or the desire for communism, but rather provides a basis for clarifying the methods for carrying out this revolutionary project. In terms of... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
A Few Words: against binomial thinking
As our desire to create our lives as we see fit, to realize ourselves to the fullest extent, to reappropriate the conditions of our existence, develops into a real project of revolt against all domination and oppression, we begin to encounter the world with a more penetrating eye. Our ideas sharpen as they become tools in a life and in relationships aimed at the destruction of the social order and the opening of unknown possibilities for exploring the infinity of singular beings. With a clear aim, a resolute project of revolt, it is much easier to throw off the methods of thought imposed by this society: by school, religion, television, the media, advertising, elections, the internet — all... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Against the Logic of Submission: Neither Intellectualism Nor Stupidity
In the struggle against domination and exploitation, each individual needs to take up every tool that she can make her own, every weapon that he can use autonomously to attack this society and take back her life. Of course, which tools particular individuals can use in this way will vary depending on their circumstances, desires, capacities and aspirations, but considering the odds we face, it is ridiculous to refuse a weapon that can be used without compromising autonomy on the basis of ideological conceptions.
The rise of the civilization we live in with its institutions of domination is based on the division of labor, the process by which the activities ... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
A Few Words: Developing Relationships of Affinity
“Today the spirit drowns in a mass of chance encounters. We are looking for those who are still alive enough to support each other beyond this; those fleeing Normal Life.”
— Against Sleep and Nightmare
We live in a society in which most of our encounters have already been defined in terms of predetermined roles and relationships in which we have no say. A randomness devoid of surprise surrounds the scheduled torment of work with a “free time” lacking in joy, wonder or any real freedom to act on one’s own terms, a “free time” not so very different from the job from which it is supposed to be a respite. Exploitation p... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
A Few Words: On the Practice of Theory
One of the foundations of the world in which we live (and to which anarchists want to put an end) is the division of labor, particularly the division between intellectual and manual labor. Many anarchists carry this division into their own projects, speaking of theory and practice as two separate aspects of anarchist activity and, in some cases, going so far as to proudly reject theory as the realm of intellectual specialization.
From an anarchist perspective, revolution is a complete overturning of current social relationships, a total transformation of existence. It follows from this that, for the individual anarchist, each project would be an experiment aimed at transforming one’... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
A Few Words: On the Aims and Methods of Critique
The development of a coherent anarchist practice based on our desire to take back our lives requires the ongoing use of critical analysis on all levels. But, as with the totality of anarchist practice, critique is only useful when one is clear about the aims of the practice and develops methods consistent with those aims. Here as in all other areas of practice, our means need to embody our ends.
For the sake of simplicity and clarity, we can speak of three general areas in which critical analysis is necessary: 1) the critique of the present society, of the institutions, systems and relationships that produce and maintain domination and exploitation; 2) historical critique, the c... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
A Few Words: On Being Who We Say We Are
I call myself an anarchist not because the word sounds good, nor because it will make me appear more radical, nor even merely because I desire the disappearance of the state (even Lenin claimed that he ultimately desired this much... when the time was ripe). I call myself an anarchist because I have chosen to go about my struggle against the world of domination in a particular way. In these times when the degradation of language drains words of their content, undermining the capacity for meaningful dialogue, it is particularly important for anarchists to maintain the significance of this term.
It has been rightly said that “anarchism is not a concept that can be locked up in a word... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
A Few Words: On Projectuality
“Anarchism... is a way of conceiving life, and life... is not something definitive: it is a stake we must play day after day. When we wake up in the morning and put our feet on the ground we must have a good reason for getting up. If we don’t it makes no difference whether we are anarchists or not... And to have a good reason we must know what we want to do...” — Alfredo M. Bonanno
Perhaps one of the most difficult concepts that I have tried to express in Willful Disobedience is that of anarchist projectuality. The difficulty in expressing this concept does not merely stem from the fact that the word is unusual. Far more significant is the fact that the concept itse... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
A Few Words: On Some Recent Events
Just a few weeks ago on a bridge about four blocks from my house, the city police pulled a car over. They took the man who was driving into custody because there was a warrant for his arrest. The woman who was in the car climbed into the driver’s seat hoping to get away. One of the cops who had pulled the car over jumped in and shot the woman. A few moments later, she was dead.
This story is not unusual. The cops stop people all the time, and if they are too poor to afford legal assistance, particularly if they are not white, there is a good chance that they will be arrested or beaten, even shot and killed. This only surprises those who prefer to live in the illusion that democracy has ... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
We are at war, even if the images of spectacular daily life try to make us believe the contrary. We have not chosen these social conditions ourselves, we can only choose from what position to fight. In order to do so, it is necessary to look at what is happening in our camp and in that of the ruling order at the same time, what forces move below the empire of names and official declarations, beyond the eternal present of the media. Not at all a careful investigation by cold analysts. Rather a social reconnaissance, if you will, of those who have the urgent need to live, a breach in both sides of the barricades for perceiving and practicing a different concept of force.
A Few Words: On the Degradation of Language and the Art of Listening
... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
What is the point of asking questions if we are not free to answer?
What is the point of answering if the questions are always false?
After this issue, I will stop publishing Willful Disobedience in order to work on a number of other projects. I have several translations in the works, as well as a few major writing projects. I am also working on compiling a selection of my writings from about 1995 to 2005 to put together as a book in order to better clarify the development of my ideas as well as the common threads that run through them. So for now I want to put my time and energy into these projects without having to think about publishing a semi-regular publication.
I originally intended to make this l... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
February 13, 2021; 5:26:58 PM (America/Los_Angeles)