Friday, 20 December 2013

Filthy, irresponsible hippie scum

One of the most common criticisms anarchists face is being considered "irresponsible". This is presumably because anarchists (and activists or counter culture peeps in general) are perceived as workshy rich kids who whittle away their trust funds on ketamine and young person's electronic music. We are perceived as lazy drop outs, organising protests just to kick off for no reason. We are said to be parasitic scum.

The accusation of "irresponsibility" or "laziness" makes my blood boil. Obviously, it relies on a ludicrous stereotype of the anarchist, ignoring the tireless organising many anarchists, often within their workplaces. Because, y'know, some of us work. We are forced to, after all. (Not that there's anything wrong with wishing to avoid the daily authoritarian hell of the workplace if you can...) Wanna talk hard work? Any activist will recount horror stories of the punishing swamps of tedium they've had to wade through whilst organising demonstrations, fundraisers, direct action, strikes and so on. Many do this around studies or full time jobs. It is time consuming. It requires initiative, resourcefulness, and sheer bloody mindedness. It can be emotionally and physically draining. And, particularly within anarchist structures, you cannot palm the responsibility on to an authority figure. You are the organisation.

Anarchism does not reject responsibility. We envision total responsibility over our lives and communities. We want the freedom to shape our present and future how we wish, and not have it shaped for us by capitalist, State or hierarchical agendas. You call us "irresponsible"? The accusation can be fired back ten-fold. I cannot think of anything less responsible than voluntarily - even happily - offering up portions of your time on this Earth to a boss, or control over your existence to politicians. Because that is exactly what the structure does. It demands that you relinquish your autonomy. Anarchism seeks to take it back.

Any resistance to this state of affairs is the most responsible thing a human being can do.

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