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ZERZAN, John. "What is anarchism?"

"Two developments have become rather clear over the past ten years or so: (1) opposition to the status quo has become increasingly "anarchist," and (2) anarchists are becoming increasingly critical of technological civilization itself and its hollow refrain of Progress."

Article published on 19 July 2005
last modification on 27 April 2015

by r-c.
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For decades an unwritten but universally-observed rule required that media avoid using the terms anarchism or anarchist. Such reference would tend to give legitimacy to a doctrine that was anathema to the powers that be. Under this ban only very odious references to these terms could be made. Namely, any breakdown of authority had to be portrayed as resulting in a completely awful situation; for example, the "anarchy" that allegedly reigns, from time to time, in places like Bosnia, Somalia, Beirut, etc.

But lately this has changed somewhat, at least in Eugene. The dreaded A-word has been used several times in the past couple of years and, even though generally applied in a pejorative sense, its political meaning is at least somewhat acknowledged. This usage has mainly occurred by reference to the late great lckv’s Tea House in the Whiteaker district, and its coterie of anarchists. It was these anarchists who established a sort of haven for some of society’s undesired, who held a benefit for Ted Kaczynski in May ’96, who were harassed by police for their activist ways, etc.

For many an unanswered question remains: just what is anarchism?

Most simply, anarchy means "without rule." This implies not only a rejection of government but of all other forms of domination and power as well. This antiauthoritarian principle is generally thought to be grounded in autonomy for the individual. But how is such an outlook fleshed out? Disagreement begins here among anarchists.


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