Thursday, November 6, 2008

Anarchism is not far away

For most people, anarchism at first seems impractical, as the world shown to us is composed of different kinds of nation-states, societies, institutions, unions, etc. It’s hard to imagine a place without an actual power or order; if there is, it must be in chaos or war. Though we doubt all kinds of centralized power, to simply throw over the power with no substitution, as what anarchists pursue, is not a good option.

However, if changing the word anarchism to something else, people might agree: “decentralization, voluntary association, mutual aid, the network model, and above all, the rejection of any idea that the end justifies the means.” Graeber described these as the core principles of anarchism. Maybe inherently, we all have some sense of anarchism, such as anti-authoritarianism, but it’s hard to put thoughts into actions, as we already live in a society with laws or other social values to follow.

I wonder whether the founders of Freeskool think themselves as anarchist, as they said, “The Freeskool is inherently against compulsory education.” If Ithaca Freeskool’s example could be seen as an example of anarchism, then the definition of anarchism should be much broader than I originally thought to be, and anarchism seems more practical in subtle ways.

But I also noticed “the project seems uniquely at home in Ithaca, a city with two universities and a multitude of progressively minded intellectuals.” In other words, anarchism might only attract to certain groups of people, and can run well only within those groups. Beyond that, the space for anarchism is still limited.

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