Survey: Response by Carla Vazquez

1. — How would you most succinctly define anarchism? Is there a shared “anarchist project” — and, if so, how would you characterize it?

Anarchism is the abolition of the state, oppressive structures, and hierarchies within society and our personal lives. I don’t think there’s a shared anarchist project because sectarianism is prevalent among anarchists. Even though as anarchists we can agree on being anti state, capitalist, and hierarchy, where it goes sour is when we try to decide how to get there. For example, there are anti communist factions within anarchism, anarchist communists and those who don’t agree with markets but aren’t communist. With sectarianism clouding our judgement it’ll be hard to have a shared anarchist project.

2. — What is the relationship between anarchism and the concept of anarchy?

Anarchism and anarchy are intertwined, if not existing in a sort of dialectical relationship. The material productions of anarchists would create the instantiation of anarchism while I consider Anarchy to be more of a conceptual ideal to work towards.

3. — What is the value of tradition within the anarchist milieus and what might be its uses?

Tradition is important within anarchist milieus as it serves as the foundation for anarchism, but it shouldn’t stop there. Anarchism shouldn’t be something that remains stagnant, rather it should grow and adapt to different population’s needs and wants. Also anarchism shouldn’t be seen as a one size fits all thing, instead use whatever tradition/traditions is useful and then expand from there. Also tradition should be used as a way to learn from past mistakes and make sure we don’t make those mistakes again.

4. — What, specifically, is the role to be played in the present by the anarchist literature — whether theoretical or artistic — of the past?

Anarchist literature should serve as a way to educate people in a way where said people can relate to it. Anarchist theory shouldn’t be advertised as a school textbook, rather it should be used as a way for people to ground their beliefs and then expand from there. Theory should be able to meet people where they are rather than expect, people to be born knowing. If people don’t know much then they should be able to use theory as a way to gap their knowledge.

5. — What are the most significant challenges facing anarchists — and anarchism, as you understand it — in the present?

The significant challenges facing anarchists is the erasure of anarchists of color and of women, whilst giving a platform to those who already have a voice such as straight white men. Even though anarchism is an ideology that promotes no hierarchies, it is usually not the case within the anarchist spaces. For the most part, in my experience, it’s usually white men or men in general who are given platforms, yet anarchists of color or women anarchists are kept voiceless. Another challenge would be the lack of intersectionality within anarchist spaces. When talking about organizing and solidarity we usually focus on class, while ignoring other aspects of oppression. Lastly, I think white fragility is a problem within anarchism because when people address the issue of whiteness, white anarchists take it as personal rather than look it structurally.

6. — How would you characterize the present state of anarchist activity (outside the realm of theory and propaganda)?

Anarchists outside the United States have been doing great things, but anarchist activity in the United States is very limited. It seems to be a lot more hard to organize within the United States, which is understandable considering how repressive the state is. Another prevalent issue keeping us from being able to organize or have any anarchist activity is that some anarchists would rather fling mud at MLs than actually try to do something effective.

7. — How would you characterize the present state of anarchist theory and propaganda?

Anarchist theory has been prolific within certain groups as of recent, which has expanded the realm of anarchism. It has given us more perspectives on anarchism, which is refreshing. Memes are really popular right now, which as anarchists we should take advantage of and use as propaganda. With memes you can be educational such as eduprop or even use them as agitprop. Memes are very versatile and we should use them to our advantage.

8. — What are the most urgent changes to be made in anarchist practice moving forward?

First of all, class reductionism needs to go because oppression doesn’t just start and end within the class structure. By reducing all oppression to class oppression, we’re denying that oppression occurs within other structures, which is dangerous because it alienates people. We also need to make sure that white anarchists and male anarchist aren’t the only ones who are being platformed because anarchism isn’t just white or male. We should also think about how much space white people/men take in places/conversations that aren’t for them.

9. — What is the role of some kind of “anarchist unity” moving forward? What form could or should that unity take?

Anarchist unity should serve as a way for anarchists to organize, but outside of organizing I don’t think it has a solid foundation to survive on. I think it could look like a federation, which would join different factions of anarchists together. Other than that it couldn’t survive in other environments.

10. — What are the greatest needs with regard to new anarchist theory, propaganda, literature and art?

I think we need more identity based anarchist theory, that’s tailored to marginalized groups such as: poc, lgbtq+, women, etc. It’s important to have their input because there are things we may not realize that are important and should be included within anarchism. Disability is also another issue often overlooked in anarchist discourse and we should always make their concerns our own.

11. — Do you currently identify with any particular anarchist current or tendency — and, if so, how do you characterize your position?

I currently identify as an anarchist communist with insurrectionary tendencies. I heavily influenced by the militancy of the Black Panthers and especially by Assata Shakur. My anarchism centers around my chicana identity, but not in a nationalistic sense.

12. — What additional questions would it be useful to pose to a broad anarchist audience?

I think questions regarding whiteness, the reproduction of hierarchical relationships within anarchist couples, and identity politics would be useful.

13. — Would you be interested in participating in future surveys, perhaps addressing more specific elements of anarchist theory, practice and culture?

Yes I would be interested in participating in future surveys.