Anarchism is About Love and Play and Getting Free
By Alexander Reid Ross (August 11, 2017)
Earlier today I made a mistake. I stumbled upon what I thought was a funny juxtaposition in my feed. First, an article headlined, “White House adviser says people should stop criticizing white supremacists so much,” and just beneath it and article from the Washington Post asking “Why are so many Americans are turning to anarchy?”
I thought the headlines danced with one another in a way—Sebastian Gorka, the WH aide in question, is a Hungarian immigrant honored by an international ultranationalist extremist organization, and he purportedly represents our anti-immigrant, anti-extremist White House. The hypocrisy in itself, let alone in the context of a country that is nearly majority non-white, would lead one to question the legitimacy of the state in general.
At the same time, the photo used by the Washington Post was obviously misleading that I thought it would clearly prove comical. Two people looking like they just stepped off the set of Natural Born Killers, the cookie cutter image of Hollywood-version “anarchists,” one of them holding a baseball bat in a real macho pose. I don’t even think anarchists have all the appropriate answers, but the photo was so obviously misleading about what anarchists really do beyond posing like tough guys with baseball bats. Too many people are taking this bait. I apologize for being the first.
(Photo: Bonnie Jo Mount for the Washington Post)
Yes, it’s real that anarchists are joining in and coming from embattled communities defending themselves from the alt-right. Let’s not fall into the typecast role of violent provocateurs who center their identities around ultraviolence. That’s not what anarchists do. Anarchists are about love and play, joy and providing for others. We are good people. The state wants to warn everyone that we’re volatile bomb throwers all over again, that we’re responsible for political violence. No! We have the right to defend ourselves and the right to live unharassed. Anarchism is about getting free, it’s not about falling into a dubious pattern of attacking whomever one thinks is wrong. That’s who our detractors want us to be, because they want us to be irrelevant and self-destructive. Let’s not fall into their trap.