Tuesday, December 04, 2007
One of the “rubber-meets-the-road” sorts of questions I often hear is the eminently reasonable (though, I think, somewhat misguided in a sense) question of… does anarchism work? That is to say, is it viable as a way for people to cooperatively govern themselves in the absence of the machinations of state? While I might be tempted to say what’s really important are the principle of justice and mutual freedom on which anarchism is based, and as a Christian I am more concerned not with building some kind of anarchist “utopia”, but rather on following Jesus and examining the relationship between political ways of thinking and the Bible, it is still a valid question.
There are a few prominent examples of anarchistic societies based on mutual aid have been established. Perhaps the most well-known was in Spain in 1936-1939 where anarchist peasants and workers collectivized land and factories in a widespread movement before the uprising was crushed by a strange alliance of Stalinists, fascists, and US-supported business interests. Also, in the Mexican state of Chiapas the Zapatista movement is currently largely in force in the upper part of the state (since January 1, 1994), mostly populated by indigenous Mexicans descended from the Mayans. The Zapatista society is largely anarchic, influenced greatly by indigenous traditions in resistance to the machinations of the Mexican government and large farm owners who have historically oppressed the region’s peasants. If anyone is so interested, you can actually buy coffee from Zapatista cooperatives and support them.
This basically wraps up my discussion of the basics of anarchism. This has been a very basic introduction - there are a lot of nuances and different positions taken up by various anarchist schools of thought, so I encourage you to check out many of the fine resources available at the Jesus Radicals anarchism section and the amazing collection of primary resources at the Anarchy Archives. From here we will move on to a discussion of the relationship between Christianity and anarchism.:: Written by Jason ::
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