Anarchist Communication Woes and the Relationalist Revelations

in #anarchism4 years ago (edited)


"If we allow our imagination, our thirst for knowledge and our youthful passion to be extinguished, then we allow a piece of ourselves and of the human collective to be forgotten. By recognizing the importance of this passion and taking steps today to cultivate empowering relationships and experiences for future generations, we ensure a more peaceful tomorrow. "

The Conscious Resitance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality
By Derrick Broze and John Vibes

Most anarchists who self-identify as either capitalist or communist have difficulty relating to each other. They are often at each others throats, and utterances of hatred and threats of death are commonplace.

They do not communicate well. They bitterly rage and they moan and groan. Many individuals from either economic camp gripe about each other and talk about how the other does not have an understanding of anarchism, how the other is evil, and how the other isn't practicing or preaching "real anarchy" for whatever reason.

Many individuals in either party are not willing to sit down and figure out how to resolve differences. For them, it is all about the strongest appeal to tradition, the best argument, or the largest ego. It's never "let's just sit down and iron this out." It's never: "Let's stop condemning each other so we can plan a future together."

It's just fight, fight, fight.

That's partly why relational, spiritual, holistic, soft, compassionate, and other non-political and non-legal facets of anarchism have recently cropped up. These forms of anarchism want to bring more people together and bridge economic divides.


Anarchism Implies Cooperation to Solve Economic Conundrums

There are clear economic, philosophical, and sociological differences that are contradictory on the surface of the economic and political camps of anarchism. However, their adherents will have to work things out anyway in order to coexist. People have to find ways to resolve their differences.

It would be nice if everyone simply self-segregated into perfect geographical communities where everyone adopted the same perspective, but things aren't so simple.

What happens when those communities become intertwined or displaced? What happens when people change their mind? What if people want to relocate? What happens with more globalization? What happens when reality happens?

Here's the deal.

Anarchism implies cooperation and trust to solve economic and social conundrums. It is true. Difficulties and disagreements are going to crop up, but the channels of communication must be wide open. If people are just talking about how to toss each other out of helicopters or burn down factories, then the seed of violence has been sown before any nonviolent communication for resolution has taken shape.

Is that really what anarchists want? Do they want perpetual warfare in the same vein the State engenders? I doubt it, but that's where economic differences can lead.


Acknowledging Differences, Sharing Space, and Communicating Effectively

To build successful communities where people acknowledge differences sans the State, they must be willing participants in open diplomatic negotiations. If one party simply decides the other should just die because they believe in communal ownership of property or individual ownership of property, how can the world ever go on without a need for some violent dictator or tyrant?

This kind of hostility between camps is an ingredient that provides fertile ground for the growth of governments, Nation States, perpetual warfare, and finally outright obliteration.

Everyone has to remember that economics are a big deal. Oppression is an issue. Starvation through communism is a fact. All these concerns and fears that each anarchy camp has contain merit; but perpetuating, halfheartedly joking about, or actively touting violence before trying to resolve these differences is the largest, most glaring problem in modern anarchist discourse.

Therefore, anarchists of all stripes should start communicating more effectively to figure this out.

Personally, I have learned the hard way. Some people don't want to have a powwow. They don't want to sit down and try to understand me. They would rather maim, kill, destroy—or validate their own philosophy through their ego. And I think this has been bad business for anarchism; worse business for the world when the State fails. Hopefully, with the rise of relational anarchism, their perspective will begin to change.

Anarchist Emma Goldman clarified this issue She said:

“Before we can forgive one another, we have to understand one another.” ― Emma Goldman

Relational Anarchism and The Evolution of the Philosophy

This is why anarchists have built the foundations for a relational kind of anarchism that allows for the emergence of unity in economic camps.

Relational anarchy provides a foundation of communication that is not strictly geared toward one set of economic principles or the other. It is anarchism without economic borders, with a focus on psychological principles for bringing disparate groups of people together. It is an approach that shuns rulers while not taking egoistic sanctuary in an political or economic preference.

Many have condemned these ideas as not falling within the traditional economic and political framework of past anarchist philosophizing. But I say to hell with traditionalism. Anarchism is a radical, novel philosophy that is meant to evolve and grow along with its people.

However, this does not mean the definition or the basic understanding has to change. Only the way people perceive anarchism and anarchists must change. The anarchists themselves must grow. They must strengthen their philosophy and bridge gaps between themselves and society-at-large. And I believe this is already happening.


Relational Anarchy Provides a Network-Based Approach for Freedom

The philosophy must take on new vigor, stamina, and character. And that is what relationalism does. It provides a network based approach for dismantling the State and bridging divides. It gives individuals a framework for working together toward freedom rather than working apart—or falling apart. It instills anarchists with the idea that emotional attachment, connection, and celebration of human dignity are the motivating factors of freedom lovers. They are factors that actually create and propagate freedom.

As my friend Mario Dian pointed out, relational anarchism is a form of anarchism that overlays or supersedes the others. It is an additional approach or process that considers other variables in human interactions, especially relationships and attachment.

In this sense, relationalism is a watershed development in anarchist theory. It is spurring more focus on alternative approaches to anarchism that will allow the philosophy to diversify and likewise bring more people in without losing the core understanding that society should exist and subsist without rulers or masters.

Where we Go from Here

This is where we go from here. I believe this next iteration in anarchism will set the stage to overcome the current impasse, and create a thriving community for anarchists of all economic stripes to start planning for the future of no government.

And with this community of relationalists, new economic theories, foundations, social structures, and other ideas can be worked out using the combined creativity and intelligence of all the actors involved. This is a beautiful epoch, and the relational and compassionate forms of anarchists are spearheading this new thrust in anarchist thinking.

Ad Astra Per Aspera.

"Relational anarchists understand the need for a plurality of strategies and thought process to bring about freedom and social healing, but they also believe that without proper communication, differences in economic or political theory cannot be resolved in practice. Communication—or the processes of interaction—must be completely open and unblocked for positive change to occur."

—Sterlin Luxan, The Relational Anarchist Primer


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This is a great article underlining the uprise of a large group of people found all over the world and starting to unite as, in deed, we start to relate to each other but, more importantly, within our own selves. We want freedom neither at the price of our lives or our safety. Love is the path and is still the ultimate revolution. More and more people are becoming aware of that fact and our unification underlies our respect through tolerance and celebration of our differences.

Luckily, platforms such as this one we're on right now offers us all the potential to elaborate on the matter while taking part in an economical growing that empowers all of us, not only some of us. All for one and one for all! Namaste :)

This is an excellent summary of a new mindset / tool for anarchists! Communication in society is showing signs of fatigue all over - tribalism, "fake news", debate focused on character assassination... New and inspired communication strategies can overcome these problems. I'll be looking into the publication quoted at the bottom "The Relational Anarchist Primer" asap. Thanks for the post!

This article points to why Anarcho-Capitalism have not yet come as far as it hopefully should:
We need to better understand were people are coming from and what their actual day to day needs are rather than just preach about how private ownership and gods of the market will supposedly save us all.

It also very clearly shows why I'm not an Anarchist:
I don't agree. The way I read this article, it most definately is a continuation of traditional Anarchism, although it is of course innovative, discussed from a slightly different perspective than would usually be the case and perhaps very positive.

The general theme is still too vague, based on a philosophy of altruism rather than rational egoism and it seems to avoid the question of ownership, by suggesting that we all can choose how we own something.

The thing is, either you own something or you don't. Wether you then willingly - without any conscription - band together with others and share that which you own, if you give it away to someone else or if you don't want anyone else to have use of it, that's up to you.

All of the above is possible in Anarcho-Capitalism. I personally, some Anarcho-Capitalists will disagree, don't mind "government" if it is "self-government". I don't mind rules, regulations, consumer protection, social security you name it. As long as it's provided by an ethically, "privately", owned body or institution. Not necessarily by one person alone either, but maybe in the form of a cooperative. I don't mind that at all.

You can own something and that which you own you do as you please with. Anarchism, not so much. Their goal is to abolish such ownership. For good reasons they think of course, but it doesn't change the fact that they want something fundamentally different. Something that they can only come close to guaranteeing if they resurect state power; However that socially monopolistic power structure may look.

Now don't get me wrong, there are plenty of anarchists out there who mean no harm, whom I've discussed and debated with over the years. People that I don't mind working with on a project or to achive a common purpose. But we don't have the same theory of ownership. We simply don't.

I believe this next iteration in anarchism will set the stage to overcome the current impasse, and create a thriving community for anarchists of all economic stripes to start planning for the future of no government.

I think we're much at the same point in thought. Only from my perspective, what is happening is that as Cooperative Agorism - in the form of blockchain technologies most of all - increases, so does need for cooperation in general among people of different opinions that oppose state power and the reasons for friction between Anarcho-Capitalists and the Anarchists of all their different stripes decreases. This alone mean that positive relationships start appearing where there before were no common ground and thus no logical reason to have them.

All the same. It's great to be part of an extraordinary and quickly growing movement. I look forward to working with you all.


A great article with some great links on an interesting topic that I run up against every now and again.

I've always found that as long as the anarchist that I'm talking with believes in non aggression we can find common ground.

I used to call myself an ancap... until after some long discussions with anarchists solidly in the communist camp I came to realize that as long as we agree not to use force then we have no (or at least very few) issues that we cannot work out.

Take any polarity of anarchism far enough without the use of coercion and it blends into all other perspectives eventually.

I like anarchy

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