6 Misconceptions About Anarchists
Before you talk about anarchists, make sure your understanding of anarchism isn’t complete BS.
Anarchists are one of the most misunderstood and incorrectly maligned groups in contemporary society. When most people hear the word “anarchist,” they picture images they fear: bombings and riots, chaos and violence. They imagine weirdos and outsiders, degenerate vagrants who threaten the delicate fabric of our social order.
First of all, the fabric of our social order is fraying into oblivion all on its own due to inherent problems with it, not with those who question or oppose it. Anarchists are trying to offer solutions.
Second, the reason we hold such negative images of anarchists is because we’ve been subjected to 150 years of concerted propaganda to frame anarchists as de facto agents of Satan. You are still being fed this kind of propaganda today.
Anarchists are not the reason society is in turmoil. Anarchists throughout history have been offering a way out of our violent social order, a means of reshaping and rebuilding a society that is already breaking down because it is fundamentally unsustainable. I’m not arguing (in this essay, at least) that anarchists offer our only way forward, but anarchism undoubtedly has important lessons that all of us can learn from as we debate together what will become of our societies.
So, without further ado, let’s clear some things up about anarchists:
Misconception #1: Anarchists are all violent punks who hate everything.
Actually, anarchists are all queer vegans with mullets who write mediocre spoken word poetry and play the banjo.
I am, of course, (half) joking.
Anarchists are people who believe in abolishing hierarchical systems of government and instead support organizing society based on principles of voluntary cooperation and free association, without the use of force (read: violence) to coerce behavior.
Anarchists recognize that the state, and its instruments for social control like law enforcement, the military and the justice system, wage violence every day. Because we oppose this…