We believe in the three principles espoused by Maximilien Robespierre in the French Revolution, although we consider his own interpretation of it corrupted. The three most important things in the world are Freedom, Equality, and Brother/Sisterhood (Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite). Importantly, we believe the importance of those are in descending order, that is Freedom first, next Equality, and lastly Brother/Sisterhood. If one takes these three principles to their logical conclusion, in that order, then the only acceptable organization for people is anarchy.
What is Anarchy?
According to various dictionary sources, anarchy has two definitions:
- The absence of any authority
- Confusion and disorder
Needless to say, we reject confusion and disorder. However, the second definition is not removed from the first, but is derived from it – the general understanding we have as a society is that the absence of authority results in chaos and disorder. Opposition to this premise is the foundation of our philosophy. Rather, we view the current condition of society as chaotic, and conversely we view anarchy as the ideal order in society. Anarchy is the rejection of the artificial order which is imposed upon us from the top-down, and the belief in the natural order which spontaneously develops from the bottom-up.
Therefore, our goal is not merely to dismantle the system of authority we live under today, but the creation of a new society which can exist in the absence of authority. The difference is that the new society will be founded on free association instead of the involuntary or coercive associations we live under today.
We don’t know the exact answer to what such a society would look like, although much effort has been done in speculating what new forms of organizing may develop which will be briefly outlined here. We are in favor of any organization of community that is chosen by the participants of that community, given it is a voluntary form of organization.
In the most basic case, if human civilization crumbles into nothingness and we return to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, we will still consider it better than the current condition because it will still better achieve the original principles of Freedom, Equality, and Brother/Sisterhood as the three most important things in the world. In general, however, we believe that such a regression is not the only acceptable route and actually prefer a more developed society than that.
Economically, there are three models proposed in anarchist society: market-based, collectivized, and full communist. The market-based economic model advocates for a free market economic system but with the abolition of profit in the form of rent, corporate ownership, etc. The collectivized economic system is one in which laborers are paid for their work based on some kind of democratic system. The full communist system is one in which money is abolished entirely and resources are held in common by the community.
Why the word Anarchy?
The word anarchy carries with it obvious negative connotations. However, as discussed in the introduction of the dictionary definition, the negative connotations are produced from society’s general understanding of the consequences of the first definition. Our first intention in the use of the word anarchy to describe the new society is to make explicit this general perception, and thereby reject it outright. If we shy away from the use of the word due to its pejorative use, we would miss an opportunity to tear down this assumption.
The second intention is to connect our beliefs to a longer history of thought, dating back to Pierre-Joseph Proudhon who was the first person to declare himself an anarchist in his essay What is Property? (1840). We still consider our ideas to be the progressive development of the foundational literature from the 19th and early 20th century, given new context through each subsequent generation.
Third and lastly, we consider the word anarchy beautiful and correct in describing our beliefs. The word anarchy is from the Greek anarkhia meaning “without rulers (archons)”. It represents the decentralization of responsibility for the well-being of society from the few to the many, and to the fullest extent possible to the individual. Although other terms like Libertarian Socialist are correct in representing our belief in Liberty and Equality, respectively, still that term is broad enough to include those who simply desire rulers who happen to be more liberal than the ones of today.
Are you Socialists?
We do not reject the term, but the history is complex – we call ourselves socialists when convenient given the context. To gain insight into the historical popular usage of the term socialism, see the Webster 1913 definition of socialism:
A theory or system of social reform which contemplates a complete reconstruction of society, with a more just and equitable distribution of property and labor. In popular usage, the term is often employed to indicate any lawless, revolutionary social scheme.
None of that description contradicts our beliefs, thus we consider our beliefs to be a subset of socialist thought. Certainly we desire a more just and equitable distribution of property and labor, and do not outright reject lawless revolutionary social schemes.
On the other hand, the Russian Revolution of 1917 and subsequently the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939 has changed the concept of socialism in the world stage since then to be defined strictly as its authoritarian variant. We unequivocally reject the authoritarian kinds of socialism, and view them as equally wicked if not substantially worse than the established liberal capitalist system. We do not hold this view to appease the sensitivities of liberals, but sincerely and wholly reject the beliefs and practices of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, etc.
Therefore we leave it an open question whether the word socialist is still of utility in describing our beliefs, neither actively rejecting or accepting that particular label. In general, we still use the Webster 1913 definition of socialism to describe the five categories of Social Democracy, Anarchism, Marxism-Leninism, Trotskyism and Libertarian Marxism, because we find that useful in giving historical context.