Anarchism and Revolution -- Taking a Second Look by Dana Williams


I've been thinking a bit about how I normally form ideas into concrete structures of analysis. Then, I try to consider thinking about using more creative, interpretive, and artistic explanations. There's a difference here between these two approaches, a difference I've usually scoffed at. Sometimes I get so bogged down in defining something to the exact letter, but I may need to use a broader brush to paint the real picture. Maybe by using example, analogy, or emotions?

For instance, how does one "explain" or "define" anarchy? Someone asked that of me a while ago, and said that he hadn't gotten a "straight" answer from anyone yet, let alone any similar answers. I told him that I thought that was the beauty of it. That's what makes it so great and original-- not being able to pigeon-hole it to mean this or that. It's flexible, just like the people who refer to themselves as anarchists. You don't need to be a "card-carrier" or a member or anything like that. You don't have to even agree with all other anarchists.

There's a few basic, simple notions or "inclinations" that nearly all would agree to, and beyond that, things will just follow. I mean, if anarchy was supposed to be all about specific tenets A), B), C), and conditionally D), what would be the point? That'd be a cult. Anarchism, if anything is about opposing that pigeon-holing, that restriction, that labeling, that partitioning, that opposition. It's about breaking down walls (since they divide us), and building bridges (to unite us). It's about us all being equal (and not in the "4 legs good, 2 legs better" way). No bosses, no subordinates. We _are_ equals. We should control our own jobs. We should be able to get what we need. We can collectively negotiate what we want. We should associate freely with who we want, forming unions whenever we feel the need, and dissolving them whenever they cease to suit us. And why shouldn't we? It's not about violence, it's not about disorder, it's not about terror, and it's not about fear. It's about peaceful interaction, it's about beautiful and free order, it's about passion and calm, it's about not having to fear anything (getting fired, needing food, etc.)

There's a general idea behind "anarchism", but it escapes a pure, scientific definition. Why? Because it's better than that. Just like human beings who are so much more than bi-pedal carbon-based life forms, anarchism is so much more than a definition. It's an attitude and a hope. It's the belief that we can smile to strangers, that we shouldn't have to live in fear of the unknown, that it's ok to help your neighbors without expecting reward, and that happiness comes from the freedom to do so, and not from our "freedom" to walk all over others.

People will often use the word "revolution" as if it's some act in a play or an upcoming football game. They wait for it. They anticipate it. They plan for it. Well, that's all well and good-- at least it's being discussed and is desired.

But, "revolution" is not an event; it's a process, a journey. Just like when people say that life is what happens when you're planning it, or that the present is what happens when you're looking towards the future, right? Revolution, similarly, is a struggle of the here and now. There's no fireworks and finish line for a revolution. It's always been going, and it will always continue. It's not a discrete moment in time; it's stretched over the past, the present, and hopefully the future. We can make changes with everything we do (right now!) and we don't need to wait for some distant date to do it or to see the results. We only need ourselves, our motivations, and our own convictions. Then, we get others on the "same page". Then it becomes their revolution, too. Not simply because there's a larger number "participating" in it, but because their lives are being improved, inspired, and changed now, too.

Enough of sitting around philosophizing about a utopia, or an ideal "revolution"! It's got to be made right now. Started right now, by each of us! We need to act in all possible ways that will improve all possible aspects of our and everyone's lives. It doesn't require a Ph.D., lots of money, or a helluva lot of time. Just dedication, and effort. Of course, the most important ingredient is the will to change. It's easy to talk about how others should change their lives and others can improve their lives, while it's completely another matter to make those changes within ourselves... even when we desperately need to.

There are two important things that need to be said to every person who says that they "don't think revolution is possible": First of all, "that's self-defeating-- stop it". Then, revolution is every act you do and every decision you make-- don't waste your time!

It begins with you, and ends with the world. Never give up.


Stand Not Run