Mar 14, 2016

When Anarchism Becomes a Religion

By Tim Hjersted / filmsforaction.org
When Anarchism Becomes a Religion

I love the core spirit of anarchism. But like most philosophies, oftentimes the spirit gets lost as it gets codified into a religion.

"I'm a true anarchist and you're not" is a clear example of the spirit getting lost and getting replaced by dogma. Just like Christianity with its dozens of denominations and splits and sects, some anarchists believe their way of practicing anarchism is the only one true way.

It's one more example of our culture's toxic ideology getting internalized even by the people desiring to overthrow that toxic culture.

This belief in the one right way is so deeply embedded it effects many of us who want to change the world. Yet the spirit of anarchism to me is the spirit of a very ancient, life affirming worldview: there is no one right way to live.

No one right set of tactics. No one right set of beliefs. No one right way to be a human being. No one right way to live.

If we ever want to see a world of peace, we've got to account for diversity. We've got to celebrate diversity and support many ways of being. We've got to learn to get along with people we agree with on 90% of issues let alone bigger differences.

A lot of people see the problems with the world's ruling ideology and many solutions become about figuring out how to replace that one way with a better one way.

But so long as humans hold a core desire for anarchism in their heart (the desire to be free to be themselves and live how they want to live) we're going to continue to see a great deal of cultural diversity in the world, and we should be happy about that.

Our task shouldn't be to figure out a new one right way to replace the old one right way. We need to figure out an umbrella philosophy that can allow for thousands of diverse ways of peaceful living to co-exist.

If the world could come to embrace the spirit of anarchism, which is also the spirit of indigenous wisdom, and the core of Sufism as well, we might be able to create a diverse and peaceful world. That spirit is simply believing that there is no one right way to live. If it's peaceful and doesn't harm others, we should be able to get along.

There are more and more places where many religious people are getting along because they respect that their way isn't the only way. Atheists can get along with theists. There are anarchists that can get along with progressives.

Generally I just think it'd be helpful if we on the left could recognize how many of our movements as diverse as they are, are moving in the same basic direction, and it's worth supporting all these efforts that take many different approaches.

There is no one right way to make the world a better place.

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