Anarchism is Romantic

By Beth Durruti (March 28, 2017)

At its best and worst, anarchism is romantic.

I love the passion of our songs and writing, the rejection of limitations on our abilities, the drive to build better and more beautiful things out of ashes and suffering, and the undying belief in our ability to determine our own futures.

But I hate that our desire for a utopian future manifests as us throwing away our friends, lovers, and comrades when they’re hurt and struggling. I hate that anarchist culture engages in witch hunts and purity trials, and so openly accepts our own irrelevancy as a subculture within the real world, because we accept the idea that interpersonal conflict can be resolved by simply pushing people “out” of our immediate circles.

How can we call ourselves prison abolitionists when we have no capacity to rehabilitate or find compassion for each other? How can we call for a world without cops when we are so willing to step up as judge, jury, and executioner? What kind of future are we building where no one will be safe enough to be honest about their trauma, and nobody will be loyal enough to work together to be better? Why can we only find accountability within the safety of mobs, and never in using our bonds to teach the people we love not to hurt each other?

I don’t want to live in the world we’re building if what it means is that people are disposable. Anarchism is romantic, to a fault. I don’t want to build castles in the clouds, I’m here to build something I can actually live in.

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