Posts Tagged Etienne de la Boetie

Anarchism: basic concepts – Rotterdam lecture notes, more or less

Saturday, 29 October 2016

On 27 October, I did a talk in Rotterdam on ‘Anarchism: basic concepts’. It is the first talk in a series of five. A written version of the talk – not the exact words, but the braod outline of the story, and some additions – follow below.

Anarchism- Basic concepts


Anarchism comes in as much varieties as there are and have been anarchists. Yet, we do have concepts in common, even if not all of us do use the same words. I will try to introduce what I think are the main concepts, using words as they have generally been used within the historical anarchist movement.

Anarchism is a movement of resistance. Anarchists resist the state. Anarchists resist oppression, class exploitation and the most diverse forms of domination and imposed power relations that restrict and violate our freedom as individuals. We – yes, I am one of them – want to replace all thes structures of unfreedom with a society of freedom, equality and voluntary cooperation. And we have a specific methodology opf social change, in which the end to be fought for is already visible in the means we use. Together, the critique, the goal and the road from here to there, form a recognizable whole. As historian George Woodcock formulates it:

There is a definable anarchist philosophy, just as there is a recognizable anarchist temperament. It involves three elements – a criticism of society as it is, a vision of a desirable alternative society, and a way of proceeding from one to the other.” (1)

Now, let us make vision into visions, and plan in to plans, and you have a very usable framework for presenting anarchism as a current of social and political thought and action. Read the rest of this entry »

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